What Do Fish Eggs Look Like In A Tank? Adorable Pictures!

Feb 7, 2022

What Do Fish Eggs Look Like In A Tank

No matter how ‘primitive’ a creature is, the lengths it will go to reproduce and extend its lineage is awe-inspiring. And as a hobbyist, watching your little fish spawn and yield a healthy batch of fry is the most rewarding experience for me. 

However, although thrilled to lay eggs and fertilize them, some fish species don’t have the slightest parental instinct. They will proceed to eat the eggs as soon as they’re laid. Yikes!

Therefore, you need to isolate the eggs and tend to them as soon as possible. But for that, one must know how to identify the eggs. So, what do fish eggs look like in a tank?

Fish come in a myriad of every color combination ever possible. Therefore, do their eggs look like tiny skittle balls? 

As a matter of fact, the answer is a lot simpler than you’d imagine. Let’s find out! 

What Do Fish Eggs Look Like In A Tank?

No matter how colorful your fish is, its eggs most likely will look like white or translucent poppy seeds barely bigger than 1 mm. The eggs are adhesive and stick to surfaces like plants, substrate, and decors. 

Once the male fertilizes the eggs, they will develop a yellowish or orangey tint. Towards the end of incubation, you can even see tiny black dots for the eyes and a crescent shape for the spinal cord. 

The eggs that aren’t fertilized will retain their original white color and soon develop fungus. They will then either be consumed by their parents or decompose. 

By the way, it’s important to note that fish eggs don’t hatch the way a reptile’s eggs do. Tiny fry don’t break out of little shells and swim away. 

Instead, the eggs develop into different body parts and finally morph into little wigglers. 

And all baby fish have a nutritional yolk sac attached to their body that provides essential nutrients in the first few formative days of their lives.

Once the sac is depleted, it will be absorbed into their bodies. 

What Do Goldfish Eggs Look Like? 

goldfish eggs
Credit: Michelle Jo (CC License)

Goldfish eggs have an oval, bubble-like appearance. When first hatched, they have a transparent, whitish look. And once fertilized, they turn yellow-orange. The ones that didn’t fertilize will retain the original look or look white. 

Goldfish are prolific breeders. They can lay anywhere from a few hundred to 1000 eggs at a time. And they’re also egg-scatterers. The adhesive eggs will fall all over the place – plants, substrate, rocks, and decors. 

However, they make terrible parents. They will immediately proceed to eat their eggs as soon as they’re laid. 

Their tendency to scatter the eggs and eat them means that the number of eggs that’ll hatch and make it to adulthood will be significantly low compared to how many eggs they lay. 

Therefore, if you’re looking forward to raising little goldfish fry, you need to remove parents from the breeding tank ASAP. 

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What Do Glofish Eggs Look Like?

So far, there are five glofish species – glofish bettas, danios, barbs, sharks, and tetras. They were created to glow in the dark by modifying their genes in the embryonic stage. However, their eggs look like regular fish eggs. 

Glofish eggs are neither colorful nor emit a glow as their parents do. Instead, the adhesive eggs have a translucent to stark white color initially and turn yellowish once they’re fertilized. 

When first laid, the eggs are barely any bigger than poppy seeds. 

And like goldfish, all glofish species are known to scatter their eggs and devour them. Therefore, if you badly want fluorescent fish to light up your tank, you will need to remove the parents once again. 

But note that it’s illegal to sell or barter glofish offspring! You may land in hot water! 

If you want to watch some cool photos and videos of glofish eggs, you will love this article! 

Related: What Do Glofish Eggs Look Like?

What Do Angelfish Eggs Look Like?

angelfish eggs
Credit: Bill Kasman (CC license)

Angelfish eggs look like your regular fish eggs. When first laid, the adhesive eggs sport an off-white color. And once the male fertilizes them, the eggs will develop a translucent amber to brownish hues. 

If the eggs turn stark white, it means they have met their fate – they weren’t fertilized. 

A female angelfish can lay between 100 to 1,000 eggs in one spawning cycle. And unlike goldfish and glofish, they make good parents. In fact, they’re overprotective! 

Angelfish prefer vertical spawning sites like tree trunks or plants. So, they’d hugely benefit from a breeding cone in the tank. Luckily, they’re not a fan of scattering the eggs. 

If you are interested to read up on angelfish and their eggs in depth, I’m sure this article will come in handy. 

Related: How Often Do Angelfish Lay Eggs?

What Do Corydoras Eggs Look Like?

corydoras eggs
Credit: Pixabay

When first laid, corydora eggs have a transparent white color. The eggs are laid in clusters. They are comparatively bigger than the eggs of the rest of the species mentioned here. They are reportedly about 1.8mm in diameter.

Besides the size of the eggs, what sets them apart from the rest is that they prefer laying eggs on the aquarium glass. Yes, glass. 

And they lay a significantly lower number of eggs at a time – just about 4 to 20. 

Since corydoras aren’t known for their parental knack, it’s best to remove the parents as soon as eggs are laid and fertilized. 

What Do Blood Parrot Eggs Look Like?

blood parrot cichlid eggs
Credit: Momtoangel

Blood parrot eggs are incredibly tiny. They are slightly smaller than or equal to 1 mm in diameter. When freshly laid, the eggs have a whitish color and later on develop yellow-brown pigments when fertilized.

Breeding blood parrots is easy. The female can lay eggs once every 2-3 weeks.

Also, the mother will tend to her eggs and fan them routinely to keep them aerated. They are pretty good at parenting! 

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How To Protect Fish Eggs In Aquariums?

Since most fish provide no parental care for their eggs, it’s best to remove the parents from the breeding tank and transport them to the community tank as soon as possible. Then, if you have the resources and the time, create a separate fry tank and move eggs there. Otherwise, you can transfer the eggs to a breeding box that perfectly gets the job done. 

How To Remove Eggs From The Breeding Tank?

You need to handle the eggs with the utmost care, so they don’t sustain any damage. Don’t use a net to transfer the eggs. Instead, gently scoop them out with a cup. You can also use a hose and siphon them out with some water. 

If your fish is an egg-scatterer, it will definitely be hard to collect the eggs and move them. However, some species lay eggs on plants, rocks, spawning mops, and cones. In that case, you can move the entire object to the fry tank. 

How To Set Up The Fry Tank?

In my opinion, the fry tank shouldn’t be any bigger than 10 gallons. The fry will find it incredibly hard to find food in a big tank. And mind you, they’re super prone to starvation at this point. 

As it goes without saying, the fry tank should be fully cycled, and its parameters should closely mimic the parameters of the breeding tank. A reliable heater for stable temperature and a robust air pump or air stones for proper aeration are equally important. 

Also, a sponge filter is indispensable. If you use a water filter that sucks in water or creates current, it will exhaust your young fish and even suck them into the filter and kill them. 

I’d also recommend skipping substrate for the fry tank as it will once again make foraging difficult for your little wigglers. 

Are Breeding Boxes Worth It?

Breeding boxes are absolutely worth it if you don’t have the time or resources to set up a separate fry tank. Here’s a link to Fluval’s beautiful and functional breeding box that I use for my fish. 

A few advantages of setting up a breeding box are:

Lowered cost

  • You don’t have to spend cash on a separate tank and equipment. 

No need to cycle and wait

  • You don’t have to strive to mimic the original tank’s water parameters. Instead, you can simply use the water from the breeding tank. 

Safe and secure

  • Breeding boxes offer your eggs a safe and secure haven to hatch and grow into tiny wigglers.

How To Protect Eggs From Fungal Or Bacterial Infections?

Fish eggs are prone to develop bacteria and fungus. Therefore, performing frequent water changes and maintaining the water quality to the T is extremely important. 

The general practice is to use a small dosage of methylene blue treatment in the water to keep bacterial and fungal infections at bay. The rule of thumb is to use 10 drops of methylene blue per gallon or 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons. Don’t overdo it. 

How To Fan The Eggs Using Air Pumps?

Eggs need to constantly be fanned until they transform into little wigglers. Otherwise, they’re highly susceptible to developing fungus and decomposing. 

Use an open-ended air line to produce water current and let it pass over the eggs to mimic the parents’ fanning style. You can also use air stones. 

How To Protect Fish Eggs In A Community Tank?

Frankly, the survival rates of eggs and young fry in the community tank are very slim. Nonetheless, you can pull a few tricks and hope for the best. 

You can use a tank divider to separate the adults from the eggs. You can also add plenty of hiding places like caves and rocks. And lastly, you can move the aggressive and predatory fish from the tank temporarily. 

Frequently Asked Question 

Before we end the article, let me answer a few interesting questions on the topic! 

Do Fish Lay Eggs In Water?

Yes, fish most definitely lay eggs in the water. The reproduction method may vary, but practically all fish species lay their eggs in the water. Some do it in the open water, while others prefer sandy bottoms and among plants. 

How Do Fish Lay Eggs In Aquariums?

Fish lay eggs in a number of ways in the tank and in the wild. Most fish scatter hundreds or thousands of adhesive eggs in open waters where the male fertilizes them. A few examples of egg scatterers would be barbs and goldfish. 

Most catfish prefer laying eggs on the aquarium glass. So if you have catfish in the tank, don’t be surprised if you find some spherical eggs sticking to the glass one sunny day. 

And lastly, fish like discus and angelfish don’t scatter their eggs. They lay eggs in clutches in a few places. In fact, they prefer vertical spawning sites. So, they can lay eggs on plants or vertical decors. 

What Do White Fish Eggs In The Tank Mean?

White fish eggs in the tank can mean two things: they’re either freshly laid and are waiting to be fertilized, or they were not fertilized at all and will soon develop fungus. 

If the eggs don’t turn yellowish even after a couple of days of being laid, the most likely scenario here would be that these eggs didn’t make the cut. The male didn’t fertilize them. 

In that case, it’s best to remove them as they’re prone to developing fungus and mess with your tank’s water parameters. 

Where Do Fish Lay Eggs?

Depending on the species, the egg-laying site can vary quite vastly. For instance, fish like bettas, barbs, and goldfish scatter their eggs all over the place. 

Catfish like corydoras and royal whiptails lay eggs on glass. Angelfish and discus prefer vertical spawning sites like a breeding cone or a plant. 

And lastly, most cichlids lay eggs in designated pits in the substrate they meticulously created and cleaned. 

What To Do With Fish Eggs In A Tank?

You can either choose to rear or discard the eggs. If you’re not looking forward to having some tiny fry, you can leave the eggs to their own devices. They’ll either decompose on their own, or the parents will eat them. 

However, if you are keen on little baby fish, it’s best that you isolate the eggs from the parents and incubate them safely in a tumbler or dedicated fry tank to increase their chances of survival.

Final Words: What Do Fish Eggs Look Like In A Tank?

Fish eggs look nothing out of the ordinary. They are sticky, white or translucent, spherical, and about the same size as poppy seeds. 

But once the eggs are fertilized, they will take on a yellowish tint and develop tiny dots for eyes and a curve for the spine that you can observe if you have a sharp eye. 

The ones that weren’t fertilized will turn stark white and soon develop fungus.

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rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.