Goldfish Full Of Eggs In The Fall

by Bruce
(Puget Sound, Washington)

I have goldfish and Koi in my 1000 gal pond. This is the second year that I have had female goldfish that are full of eggs and not spawn in the spring or early summer.

It is Sept now and on the west coast Puget Sound area. Last year I had a female goldfish that was full of eggs and she went all summer and through the winter before she couldn't swim anymore and was upside down, so I put her down since I tried milking her eggs and couldn't get any out.

This year the same thing is going on with another female. Full of eggs and didn't spawn.

I have 8 goldfish and 3 of them are males.
Any ideas would be helpful.



Grant's Reply


Hi Bruce

My first question would be, are the scales distended on your female?

If they are, the fish has dropsy, which causes the fish to swell up.

If females are ready to breed but males aren't present or in breeding condition, the female will scatter her eggs anyway. This is why I am doubtful that the female is full of eggs.

Not being able to get eggs out of your other female confirms my suspicions.

A ripe female will scatter eggs everywhere if she is caught in a net, and if you have 3 males that are old enough to spawn, a spawning will occur.

If your goldfish do spawn in your pond, I would assume the eggs and fry would be eaten by the parents or Koi, unless you intervene by providing spawning material that can be removed.

A densely planted pond can afford the necessary shelter for eggs and fry, and many enthusiasts have some success with this method of breeding their goldfish, but it doesn't work for fancy varieties.

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Oct 09, 2014
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Just another option
by: Anonymous

You could put her inside in a tank in your house or in your garage with a heater, it is always a better option than putting down the fish.

Oct 09, 2014
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Goldfish Full Of Eggs
by: Grant

Hi Bruce

What age are your goldfish? The ideal age for spawning is between 2 and 5 years.

I assume 10 inches is total length, not body length. For a deep bodied fancy variety 5-6 inches in body length is getting pretty large.

I wonder if either the males or female are too old to breed.
Did the males develop new tubercles in spring on their gill plates? Males always show some after they have reached adulthood, but this doesn't mean they are in spawning condition.

Put the female in a mild salt bath and don't feed her for a couple of days.
Trying to milk her of eggs has probably disturbed her delicate air bladder which is used for balance.

Oct 08, 2014
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Hi Grant
by: Bruce

My goldfish doesn't have dropsy. The scales are normal. Last year when it happened I put the fish down and when I cut her open she was full of eggs. This year it looks the same again. I have plenty of vegetation in my pond and the Koi and goldfish have plenty of room. The male goldfish ( 3 of them) ignored her this spring and the summer. It is now October.
She is a big fancy tailed goldfish and is a pretty bright Red/gold color and about 10 inches long. I tried milking her but couldn't get any eggs out. She is now swimming upside down and I will probably have to put her down.

Sep 24, 2014
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My suggestion
by: Niall

Dropsy sounds like a likely explanation but with my Goldfish I had a female who looked as if she was retaining eggs though I knew she had been breeding earlier in the year.
Upon closer inspection I discovered she was just a bit obese.

Also just as a side note in my pond (which has no vegetation, 3 females, 3 males and 3 turtles) I discovered, to much of my surprise, that there are 6 fry all between 1 and 2 inches long which have somehow raised themselves in the pond through the summer, without being seen until this week.

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