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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11319
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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when a goldfish female is full of eggs how do you know that

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when a goldfish female is full of eggs how do you know that she is ready to expel them? If the male goldfish has been nudging her off and on for about a week or so and the eggs still haven't been released what should i do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.

I'm sorry to hear your fish is having this problem. Some additional information will be useful.

What are the reasons you think she is full of eggs?

Has the male developed breeding tubercles (also called stars)?

Has she laid eggs before?

Have you tested the water? If yes, what numbers did you get for ammonia and nitrites?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

the reason i think she is full of eggs is because in late winter they seemed to want more to eat than usual. She is a white color and her abdomen is round like a tennis ball and her scales are not sticking out. When viewed from the top her sides apear to be like a gray to grayish blue color. Also the shape of her vent looks like its flat toward the belly and protuding towards her anal fin.


The males I have are a sarass Comet and a black moor. They 've had their breeding stars since late winter. the comet has been nudging her tummy usually during the evening hours.


No she has not laid eggs before. This would be the very first spawning.


Yes, i have tested the water and the ammonia level is : 0.25

the nitrite lever is :0.5

Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. It is possible your fish is retaining eggs, but the fact that she is upside down also makes me suspect swim bladder disorder. She could even be suffering from both conditions. Swim bladder disorder can be caused by constipation, which also leads to a bloated belly. Something that may help the fish regardless of what is wrong is to feed her nothing but thawed out and peeled peas for a few days. If the peas are too big, you can smash them. You may need to hold them right in front of her mouth.

You are on the right track with the baths. The goal with baths is to have the fish lay the eggs or reabsorb them. Epsom salts are the only thing that has been found to help with that. Most goldfish keepers use 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts per gallon of water, so you may want to try this higher amount. Leave the fish in the bath for 15 minutes each day. I wouldn't add any Epsom salts to the tank. Instead use Maracyn according to the package directions to prevent infection from any retained eggs. The Epsom salt baths, Maracyn in the main tank, and feeding peas will be the only measures you can take. If the fish is suffering from swim bladder disorder, the Epsom salts won't help.

You'll also want to reduce the ammonia and nitrite levels in the tank. I realize that some test kits say there are safe amounts of these chemicals, but when dealing with goldfish, the only safe amount is none. These chemicals can be a factor in almost any health condition.Start with a 25% water change, being sure to replace it with dechlorinated water at the same temperature as what is in the tank. Tomorrow, test it again. If you still have ammonia and nitrites, change another 10% of the water. Do this every day until the zero level is reached. If you can't get to zero, it may be that your fish have outgrown their tank. It used to be recommended to have one gallon (about 4 liters) of water per inch of fish. that still holds true for tropical fish, but not for goldfish. There are various recommendations, ranging from 2 gallons (8 liters) per inch of fish to 30 gallons (about 113 liters) per fish, regardless of size. Another recommendation is 1 square foot of surface area per inch of fish. So, you see there is no hard and fast rule. I’ll share my own experience with 12 inches total of goldfish (3 fish). They are in a 90 gallon tank. I have an undergravel filter, a hanging filter, and a powerful canister filter. It takes all three of those filters to maintain perfect water quality. Regardless of tank size, frequent water testing is needed.

If you want to do everything possible for your female, you could consult an aquatic vet. The vet could determine with certainty what is wrong and prescribe a proper treatment. If you want to do that, this link will take you to a directory of vets:

If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your fish will be fine.


(The above answer is intended for informational purposes only. If your pet is ill, you should consult a veterinarian. )
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

How long does it typically take a female goldfish to lay eggs? Also somethimes she also lays on the botom of the tank with her tail in the air and tummy on the botom. What could this be a sign of? should i also use freshwater salt with the epsom salt in the salt baths?

Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
It usually only takes a few minutes for a goldfish to lay eggs. Here's a YouTube video where you can see how egg-laying normally proceeds:

You only want the Epsom salts in the bath, not the regular salt.

Any time a fish is found in abnormal positions, such as the one you describe, we have to suspect swim bladder disorder. The swim bladder is an organ that enables the fish to properly orient itself in the water. When something goes wrong, the fish may float, swim upside down, or at an angle. Poor water quality can be a factor. If swim bladder disease is the problem, the Epsom salt baths will do nothing. I'll give you the treatment for it. If she will eat, give her a couple of thawed out and peeled frozen peas, as I described above. You should also remove one-third of the water in the tank, and replace it with fresh water at the right temperature and de-chlorinated. You can also add one teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water. However, you are going to have to decide what is wrong. It isn't a good idea to treat with Epsom salts and salt in the tank at the same time. I hope the video will help you narrow it down.

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