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

Hi

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.

Comments for Goldfish Fry Colour Change

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 05, 2020
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Hybrid Babies?
by: Grant

Koi and Goldfish will interbreed, creating sterile offspring.

Just because a young fish is white doesn't automatically mean it is a Koi, as white is a common color for Goldfish.

The only sure way to identify a hybrid would be if it had fins longer than a Koi and barbels, in other words exhibiting characteristics of both Goldfish and Koi.

The young Koi at 3-4 inches would seem to be a little young to be spawning; my guess would be it is a Goldfish.

Sep 04, 2020
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Hybrid Babies?
by: Julia

I have a backyard pond with goldfish, one old Koi and 2 very young Koi (about 3-4 inches) that we introduced in June.
We had a late spawn, after the new babies arrived and are now seeing the babies. First 3 then 4 and 5 over the first week... varying in size pretty dramatically. 3 of them are already pretty orange (1 big and 2 small) the other 2 are medium sized but are still very dark. This morning I spotted a very tiny (maybe 1 inch) little one emerge from the depths at feeding time and this little baby is all white. Could it be that its a hybrid?

Aug 20, 2020
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
5 weeks old Goldfish Fry
by: Jenna Marie

Hi Grant ok thank you and the parents are a mixture of colours l have some that are like a redish/orangy colour and white and others that are like a goldish/brownish and whitish colour with a bit of orange on them and l have 7 goldfish living in the same tank and l have 4 females and 3 males but l think l know who the parents are as some have some scales missing on their sides ao I'm guessing they're the females as they're are 1-2 years old now and the males started chasing the females l wasn't sure if they were fighting until l saw the female scattering eggs in the spawn mop and on the plants the fry will be 6 weeks old on Monday and l clean them out everyday or every other day but not sure when they will be out of the woods as I'm still losing some but it's the smaller ones I'm losing though the bigger ones are thriving which is good :)

Aug 20, 2020
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
5 weeks old Goldfish Fry
by: Grant

If your fry are already yellow/gold, they are well advanced through the colour change process.
5 weeks is early for metallic scaled varieties, (I am assuming the parents are red, yellow or gold and possibly white) as some fish can take months to change colour, some never changing.
The fry will darken in colour over time, but to get the deepest colours, they should be exposed to direct sunlight for some part of the day.
Fry get used to the food they are fed, and if it changes, they tend to ignore the food initially until they learn it is food.
I have had them do the same thing when weaning them off brine shrimp on to gel food.

Aug 17, 2020
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
5 weeks old Goldfish Fry
by: Jenna Marie

Hi lovely l am New to raising goldfish fry been following your advice on this page since day 1 they're now 5 weeks old when do l start seeing colours on them as at the moment they're like a orange/yellowy colour and I've been feeding them on Micro Pellets which they seem to love as they won't eat the Daphnia as I've tried them on it only thing they will eat is flakes and Micropellets but at the start l did give them liquid food until their mouth started to develop as when they first hatched l didn't feed them as they were feeding from their egg sack kind regards Jenna

May 21, 2020
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Fry
by: Grant

A fry of that size is past the fry stage and is now a juvenile.
At that size it can be fed the ball pellet food you are putting in. The only problem will be the other fish getting to the balls first.
If the fry is black, it is still going through the color change. The lower belly will start to fade into a pale yellow which will slowly move up the sides and finally into the dorsal area.
The color will gradually change into a yellow/orange over time.

May 20, 2020
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Fry
by: Steve Anonymous

I restocked the pond after 24years as I kept loosing my fish and put it down to the cats in my area but then found out it was a heron so netted the pond in 2005. Since then I have never seen any fry until last Friday when I noticed one black fry it’s about 1.5 inches long and doing quite well. The other fish don’t seem to bother it but I have started putting extra small balls in they are about 1.5 mm balls. What food do you recommend please

Oct 11, 2019
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Gold at birth
by: Anonymous

My pet shop common goldfish have produced about 40 fry in my pond. 39 are black but one is orange. How can this be?? He was orange from the very beginning.

Sep 13, 2019
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
My fry
by: Ash

I have had 2 opportunities to separate the fry from the parents and I have a second pond for them . That was the middle of July so they’re now getting more bold and are roughly 2 different sizes. I have a third pond indoors ( it’s a tub for watering cattle, perfect, no glass! ) where I winter over the apple snails and plants.
It’s time to bring everyone indoors so you can imagine my surprise to find newly hatched fry, they’re about 1/3" and all eyes. Are they goldfish fry? Could something else have spawned in my fry pond? I can’t find a fry guide!
Still puzzled?!?!?

Apr 24, 2018
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
My Goldfish
by: Grant

If the black fish that turned gold had a single tail, I suspect it had Black Moor genes.
Often Black Moor turn orange with age, and as you mention that it got fat and big, I suspect that the good care it received when younger allowed it to develop the short, deep, fat body that is normal for a Black Moor.

Apr 21, 2018
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
My goldfish
by: Crissy

I bought goldfish at petco for about 26cents. Got 10 of them pond was 10x8. They did so good. I had 2 black ones and the others were just orange n white. They got about 3 to four inches lost a black one due to hungry cat I saw hanging out. The other black one turned totally orange got really fat n big. Wondered why??? I gave up the pond due to dangerous poison cane frog. My dog bit one n almost died!! Wasn't worth the trouble so I put them in separate tanks. They haven't grown much more but still I enjoy my goldfish!

Jul 28, 2017
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Black is Black
by: Grant

When calico scaled Goldfish spawn, they produce fry with three scale types, calico, matt and metallic.
The pink one is a matt, and that is the colour it will remain.
The black ones are metallic. The metallic fry from a calico spawning are slow to colour, if they colour at all, because the gene that triggers the change to orange/gold is suppressed.
If the fry are black, and not dark grey/brown, they are changing colour.
To speed up the process the can be kept in water around 25C and fed plenty of live food.
Read the page on Goldfish scale groups here.

Jul 28, 2017
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
black is black
by: Strebori

I have three motley coloured shubunkins in a small garden pond (1m long half as wide and deep) with lots of weed and circulating water.

They spawned about two years ago and there are two surviving black fry and one white pink one with an orange head spot. They are thriving, feed happily with the adults and in their second year are over an inch long and but showing no sign of changing colour. I have no problem with this but I am interested in how the genetics work to produce this coloration

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Goldfish FAQs.