Young Changing Colour From Black to Gold

by Sheila
(Oadby, Leiceser)

Black Moor changing colour from black to orangeWe have a reasonable number of gold fish in our garden pond. This is about 6 ft by 4 ft. and 2.5 ft deep in the middle. It is about 15 years old. We have a filter and a waterfall.

We bought fish originally - just small ones. Alas the local heron found them good for starters and so when they reached a fair size about 7 inches, they were snapped up. We found in the next spring that there were very small fish in the pond, obviously born in the pond but they were black!

They grew and grew and eventually turned gold at which point, the heron was back for the next course and this sequence has gone on since and we have a reasonable "fleet" of mixed breed Koi and fantails.

Is the change of colour to do with their environment as when I bought very small fish they were all gold/gold and white or tri-coloured.

Grant's Reply

Hi Sheila

The black colouration of your Goldfish has nothing to do with environment, but everything to do with the process of turning orange/gold.

Your fish are metallic scaled, in other words, they have a bright shiny metallic sheen.

All metallic Goldfish start off silver gray, turn black, then slowly fade to a light yellow before their colour deepens to orange or red, sometimes with patches of white.

Metallic Goldfish can start changing colour within 3 months of hatching.

Goldfish change colour at different rates. I suspect the heron has picked off the faster colouring individuals when they were small, and when the slower colouring fish, which had continued to grow, changed colour they were then an easy target.

If this cycle continues, your surviving fish will take longer and longer to change colour as only the slower colouring fish will reach maturity.

I would suggest covering the pond in early spring one season and selecting the fastest colouring fish to grow on away from the heron.

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Apr 24, 2023
Black Fantail Goldfish
by: Grant (About-Goldfish)

If they are progeny from a spawning of calico (Nacreous) parents, probably not. The color change gene seems to be suppressed in calico fish.

If the progeny are from metallic scaled (shiny gold) parents, they should have changed by now.

What happens is if they are raised in an uncovered pond, the first to color while still small are eaten either by the parents or other predators, especially birds. What survives are the slow to color or never to color individuals.

If your fish are black, that is the first stage of changing to gold. They may turn gold but it will be a slow process.

Apr 23, 2023
Black fantail goldfish
by: Anonymous

I have a lot of goldfish that are 3 yrs old and have never turned gold! Beautiful fantail,will they ever change color?

Mar 20, 2022
Baby fish
by: Sam

Our pond was in a bad state, lots of silt and intrusive irises. We used to have fish but the heron got them. Still lots of newts and frogs. Got the professionals in to clean it in the summer last year,(Women in Waders, they were brilliant,) We installed a pond filter and pump (fountain type) and waited 6 weeks to add 7 goldfish, all about 4 inches long and calico. Over the summer they flourished and bred. We now have sooo many baby fish of various sizes of all different colours, even the smallest ones who are calico. We also have some black ones that when the sun shines on them look navy blue.

Aug 10, 2021
Net the pond
by: Anonymous

Why let the heron get your fish at all. Just cover it with a net. You will get used to it and your fish will be able to live!!!!!

Jul 15, 2020
Goldfish colour changes
by: Patti

We had 6 gold fish survive from spawning last year and they all survived the winter. They were all black this spring. However, over the course of the spring they have continued to change colour. We have one that has stayed completely black, one turned white with some very cool deep orange markings, two changed completely to white, one turned orange with really nice white markings (on one side it has a white circle with a distinct orange u in the middle of it!) And one is still in the process of changing but appears it will be all orange (gold). We have since seen 5 more baby fish from spawning this year (there could be more!). 2 are white and 3 are black. Can't wait to see what happens with them! Very fun to watch the colours change!

Mar 24, 2020
Changing colours
by: Anonymous

My fish were born three years ago and are still black in colour is there any chance that they will eventually turn golden as was their parents
Hope someone has some answers as my husband is beginning to doubt that they will ever change

Mar 18, 2020
Spawn changing color
by: Cindy

I’ve had a pond in my back year for at least 20 years and I’ve watched the spawn change from black to gold. It seems they start to change from their belly up. I’ve decided this is a camouflage technique. When they’re small they’re black and as they grow larger their color changes till eventually they’re larger and gold

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