How Long Does It Take For Fish Eggs to Hatch?

fish fry

Every aquarium hobbyist has had the thought and idea of breeding their fish at some point during their experience. And why wouldn’t you attempt to do it when in most cases, it is neither hard nor troublesome.

Numerous fish species will breed naturally in the right conditions while others may need more dedication from you but the success is always rewarding and satisfying. 

One of the commonly asked questions from people that are new to the hobby is how long does it take for fish eggs to hatch. The answer is simple: it depends on the fish species. For example, Goldfish eggs will take around 4-5 days in the right conditions and water temperature while Angelfish eggs normally take around 2-7 days. 

Why did we choose Goldfish and Angelfish as examples?

Because it is extremely common for owners of these species to attempt to breed them. Therefore, we will take a closer look at these two fish species and the process before and after the eggs hatch.

You can also take a look at the additional questions at the end of the page where you will find answers to some important common questions.

Angelfish Breeding & Egg Hatching Time

If you want fish that spawn easily, get yourself a pair of Angelfish.

If you want to make quick money out of this particular business, also get yourself a pair of Angelfish. This species requires nothing but suitable water conditions to spawn. You could find yourself in this situation even if you didn’t want to breed them. 

Assuming you already have your suitable pair of Angelfish and they have spawned, you now need help with the pile of fish eggs. 

If this happened unexpectedly and you haven’t got the time and dedication to raising Angelfish from babies, simply do nothing. There is a chance that your Angelfish will eat the eggs and save you the effort. 

In fact, even if you purposely want your Angelfish to breed, it may take a few tries before the fish learn how to take care of their eggs and fry. If the pair you have has not spawned before, then it is highly unlikely that they succeed from the first time. 

As we mentioned, Angelfish eggs will take up to 7 days to hatch but you will know if you will actually have fry in about two days. If your eggs are white after 48 have passed, then the breeding was unsuccessful. It would either mean that the eggs are simply not fertile or that some bacteria killed them. 

Where Did the Angelfish Eggs Disappear?

There is a common case with Angelfish that makes people wonder. 

In certain situations, you may be unable to find your Angelfish eggs even after there haven’t been any signs of aggression by the parents. Logically, you will think that they have eaten the eggs.

However, Angelfish often move their eggs to different locations and they do that by keeping them in their mouth.

Especially if you own a pair that has already bred before and has adapted to parenting, it is highly unlikely that they would eat their eggs in the future.

In these cases, inspect the behavior of your Angelfish.

If it looks like it is protecting a certain area of the tank, then you should look for your eggs around that location. Overall, if you see that the Angelfish is showing any kind of protective behavior, then there surely are eggs that have not been eaten.

Goldfish Breeding & Egg Hatching Time

Goldfish eggs are an entirely different story if we compare them to Angelfish. In a similar way, both species have different methods of taking care of the fry later on.

Once the Goldfish releases her eggs and fertilizes them, they stick on to whatever surface they could find. It may be the edge of the aquarium, plants, rocks, ground, etc. This is their natural way of surviving in the environment. 

As for the hatching time, it mainly depends on the temperature in the aquarium or pond.

Generally, it would take from a couple of days to a week. If the water is hot or you heat it once the eggs are fertilized, they may hatch in less than three days.

On the contrary, if the temperature is low and cold, it could take up to a week and more. 

It is curious that Goldfish take little to no care of their eggs and fry. Even after several spawns and breeding cycles, they will still be equally uninterested.  Therefore, it would be good if you have some plants in your tank.

This way, the newborn fry will have some places to hide and also eat since the fry eat algae. If there is nowhere to hide, the larger Goldfish will, in most cases, eat the newborns. 

Additional Questions:

How to Protect Fish Eggs in an Aquarium?

If you purposely want to breed your fish, you need to make sure that they have everything they need to succeed in the tank in advance. For example, different species lay their eggs in different ways.

You can see the different cases in the next question. 

Anyway, you need to research the species you plan to breed and match their environmental requirements. Most fish will hide their eggs in certain places. If you see that your species requires a lot of plants, give them the correct plants in advance. 

Other fish will lay their eggs in caves or isolated locations. For such species, add wood, stones, or decorative structures that they could use.

Even with the addition of suitable hiding spots, your fish may simply eat their own eggs especially if they are new to parenting. 

There is another factor that includes fungal and bacterial infections.

Eggs are weak and thus, vulnerable to any potential diseases. Your major concern should be the purity of your water. If you keep your water pristine during the few days before the hatching, you decrease the chances of any infections and diseases to the very minimum. 

Where do fish lay eggs? 

There are numerous methods for fish to lay and protect their eggs.

In each case, you will have to do your own research for the specific kind of fish you own. Here are a few of the common methods of caring for eggs: 

  • Using plants. Some species will hide their eggs in plants while others will simply lay them on the leaves. 
  • Burying the eggs. Certain species will bury their eggs underground until it is time for them to hatch. 
  • Nests of bubbles. Certain species like the Betta fish will create nests of bubbles at the surface of the tank and lay their eggs there. 
  • Hiding the eggs in wood/caves. 
  • Swallowing the eggs. Certain species prefer to store the eggs in their mouths. This may sound strange but it is their instinct to protect them from other predator species. 
  • Out in the open. While this may sound like the worst possible method, there are species that simply lay their eggs out in the open and then leave them be. If this is the only species in the tank, you shouldn’t expect problems. If there are other fish, it is only natural that these eggs will be eaten at some point. 

How to stop the eggs from getting eaten? 

There is only one effective way of protecting fish eggs from being eaten. If you see signs of aggression from the parents or any attempts to eat the eggs, you can simply separate them. 

To make it clear, you need to put the parents into a secondary tank and not the eggs. If you own a community tank, it is advisable that you also do the same with the remaining grown-up fish too. It is only logical that your eggs will survive if there is nobody left to eat them. 

There are certain fish that need to be close to their eggs because otherwise, they will not hatch.

If such fish show signs of aggression, you should once again separate them but only for a few hours. This gives you a chance to reintroduce them later and hope for a more peaceful relationship. 

How do you know if fish eggs are fertilized? 

Assuming that your fish did not eat their eggs and the potential for a successful hatch remains, how will you know if your eggs will end up hatching or not? We already mentioned that when we discussed Angelfish eggs but you should wait for around a day or two before you can be sure.

Eggs that have been fertilized will change their color and you would soon see the dots that represent the eyes. 

Eggs that have not been fertilized or have caught an infection will remain opaque and white after the first 48 hours which are usually enough for the owner to see which eggs will hatch and which will not. 

Have in mind that the fertility rate will increase with every following spawn between your fish.

It is normal for the first few tries to be even entirely unsuccessful. You can assist your pair by adjusting the water flow to be far from the area of the eggs. This way, your fish will have a higher chance to fertilize more eggs. 

Saurabh Kumar

I am a passionate fish keeper, with years of experience. You will find some really useful tips and information on this blog about Freshwater Aquariums.

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