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Home > Goldfish > Raising Goldfish Fry: Vet-Reviewed Care Guide 2023

Raising Goldfish Fry: Vet-Reviewed Care Guide 2024

colorful Oranda goldfish in freshwater aquarium

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Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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A group of goldfish kept in a pond may spawn once winter passes and spring arrives. At times, this is unexpected, but at other times, this process is simulated with temperature-controlled tanks. After spawning, you may end up with baby goldfish, also called fry. Getting the eggs to safely make it to “fry” level does take some doing on your part, but once you have your little fry, you’ll need to know exactly how to care for them to maximize their health and growth. Let’s talk about raising goldfish fry!


Considerations Before You Have Fry

Although the prospect of having baby goldfish might seem exciting, you should be mindful of the investment and effort into breeding goldfish. The main factors to consider are as follows.

Things to consider for Goldfish Breeding:
  • Number of eggs: A single female goldfish can lay up to 1,000 eggs in one spawning session and over 10,000 eggs per breeding season!
  • Injury risk: Females are prone to being injured during the mating season, and the process places a high demand on your fish. Beloved pets that you wish to breed because they look spectacular might be injured during the process.
  • Space requirements: You need vast numbers of tanks, a great deal of money and time, and ample preparation before goldfish can spawn.
  • Heartbreak: The process comes with its fair share of heartbreak, as most fry (baby goldfish) are eventually culled.
  • Rehoming prospects: It is naive to assume that all your goldfish can be successfully rehomed.
  • Financial risk: This is not a quick or easy way of making a monetary profit.
  • Constant tending: It is vital to realize that goldfish (regardless of which variety you plan to breed) have no parental instincts whatsoever. They will eat their own eggs and their offspring. The task of raising goldfish is solely up to you.
  • Time commitment: Unlike adult goldfish, baby goldfish (also known as fry) need more frequent feedings.
  • Ethics of breeding: There is the worry of ethics in purposefully breeding already inbred goldfish varieties. There is no shortage of goldfish; in fact, there are many goldfish that could benefit by being offered good homes. There are also no detrimental effects to your goldfish if they don’t breed. However, there are risks involved in breeding.
Goldfish fry_zoosnow_Pixabay
Image Credit: zoosnow, Pixabay


Caring for Eggs

So, your female laid eggs. Now what?

The first thing you should do is remove either the parents or the eggs. Spawning mops, which can be plants or items like thread or yarn, can be added to the tank to catch the eggs. This will make it easier for you to remove the eggs from the tank, and it will keep the eggs safe if you aren’t present when the spawning occurs.

Alternatively, you could remove the fish, since catching a few fish is easier than mopping out thousands of eggs.

Whether you’ve set up a specific breeding tank or your goldfish are spawning in your main tank, the eggs should be separated from all other fish as soon as possible. Most fish will eat eggs, and this includes the parents. They will also eat fry, which are very tiny when they hatch. Allowing the eggs to stay in the tank with adult fish risks losing some or all of the fry.


Culling is a conversation that many people don’t want to have, but it is a necessary conversation when it comes to breeding your goldfish. Some fry may be deformed, injured, or otherwise unhealthy. If you have a fry that is suffering, it is cruel to let its suffering continue. Some people also find they need to cull their least desirable fry to help maintain the fish population they can manage. Remember that keeping too many fish and not being able to keep up the needs of the tank is cruel and may result in unnecessary illness and death.

To euthanize fry, you can put them in a small container or bag of tank water and a few drops of clove oil. Clove oil is a sedative and is often used by fish veterinarians as sedation. It will help your fry gently fall asleep without feeling any suffering. Sometimes, clove oil is enough to help them pass. If you are unsure if they have passed, you can put the container into the freezer. The clove oil will ensure they stay asleep throughout the whole process.

Moving Fry

The main thing to consider before moving your fry from their baby tank to an adult tank is their size. If your fry are still small enough for the adults to eat them, then leave them in their fry tank until they are larger. They are usually ready to be moved around 6 months of age. When they are ready to be moved, you need to acclimate them to the new tank just like you would a new fish from the pet store. Moving them directly from tank to tank can lead to shock and death.

You can float them in a bag of their own tank water until the temperature adjusts, then poke small holes in the bag to allow for water exchange before you release them into the tank. Another option is to use drip acclimation before adding them to the main tank.divider-fish

Final Thoughts

Raising goldfish fry isn’t for the faint of heart. It is hard work and can be full of heartbreak and difficult decisions. Choosing to raise fry is a commitment to the health and wellness of your fish, and you are responsible for providing them with high-quality care. Carefully consider the pros and cons of raising fry before you attempt it to ensure you are ready to commit to the entire process.

Featured Image Credit: Arunee Rodloy, Shutterstock

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