Goldfish Fry Colour Change

I have a number of fry in my pond. Can I expect them all to live and when do they change colour from black to golden? I have five adults. The fry are about 1" long.

Grant's Reply


Your fry have done very well so far to grow to 1" long without being eaten by the adults or succumbing to parasites. They must have had plenty of hiding spots and the pond must not be too crowded.

If their body length is 1", then they are still susceptible to parasites until they are 2" in body length. (Read the website page on goldfish flukes).

If the adults can get them in their mouths, they will still try and eat the fry.

You don't say how many fry you have, but if you are planning on raising a number of fry to adulthood, they will need adequate food and room to grow before winter. The Goldfish Care website page gives details on how much room goldfish need in a pond.

If your fry have turned black, that is the first stage of turning orange/gold.

The colour change starts in the lower regions of the goldfish, and gradually moves up to the dorsal or back region. You can see this process when fry are observed from the side, but in a pond you only see the change occurring in the last stages.

The speed of the colour change is dependent on several factors, food, water temperature and genetics.

The higher the water temperature, the faster the change. In ideal conditions, faster colouring varieties such as Comets start changing colour when the fry are 50-60 days old. The process has usually finished in another 50-60 days.

Fry change colour at different speeds, even within the same brood. Some fry never change colour and remain a dull brown. Choose those fry that change colour first and with the deepest colour for future parents.

The fry will be a light orange/yellow at first but this deepens over time. The deepest colours are developed when the fry are in ponds and exposed to sunlight.

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