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I have an outdoor pond that has 6 large (10+ inch nose to tail) goldfish in it. These are fish that were originally bought as pet store feeder-type fish, so they're nothing special. I have a webcam on the pond, and have observed that several of the fish keep chasing, crowding, and trying to bump into one of the other fish (which is distinctly colored, so I know it's the one that's being consistently targeted).

https://youtu.be/vv1Cq10dh3I

I am suspecting that this is a breeding behavior where the targeted one is likely female and is ready to lay eggs and the others are males, trying to squeeze eggs out of her by pushing against her in order to fertilize them. But this is just a guess, as I'm not a goldfish behavior expert. :-) We did have some in-pond births last year with these same fish, so I know that there are both males and females in the pond.

So is this expected breeding behavior, or should I be concerned about something else going on?

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  • Welcome to pets.SE! Please add a clear marked question :) Jun 7 at 20:05

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This is classic mating behaviour in goldfish and other fish in the carp family like koi.

The mating behaviour will most often happen in the evening as the sun sets,it can be a danger to the fish as sometimes the fish jump/get pushed out of the pond so if possible you should have an elevated barrier around the edge of your pond.

If you want to keep the eggs/fry you can put a tiny pine tree in the water so your fish have a place to spawn and to protect the eggs or they will get eaten by the other fish.

After the spawning you can then move the tiny pine tree to a separate tank/pond for hatching of the eggs,they will hatch in about a week and the fry will start to eat after the egg sack is consumed after 2-3 days.

If you do not want a gazillion of fry swimming in your pond you do nothing and let nature do it`s thing and let the eggs and fry get eaten(you might still get a few extra goldfish during the summer).

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  • Thanks for the confirmation. Yeah, we had a few fry in the pond after last year's outdoor season. We let nature take its course with them, and between the frogs and the fish, most didn't survive, I'm sure. But we had a few that made it, and they're now happily living in a small pond that's not visible in the video. Hardest thing (that many people don't realize), is that "gold"fish, are often not actually gold, and the brown small fry were a pain to see and catch, since they blended into the bottom so well.
    – Milwrdfan
    Jun 8 at 14:04
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    Interestingly, the small fry that were brown are now almost all gold after being inside and fed a goldfish food during the wintertime. (during the summer, they all self-feed with whatever bugs/insects/worms/plant material that get into the pond).
    – Milwrdfan
    Jun 8 at 14:05
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    I put some carpet on the side on my pond for koi eggs. It Worked fairly well , It could be easily removed and put in another pond to hatch. A very big part of koi breeding is sorting through the fry and removing brown or other less desirable colors. The spawning it self is very active with water splashed out ( 20+ inch fish). Jun 9 at 0:52
  • one can use a lot of things to catch the eggs like a large brush-a small bush or one can buy a spawning brush,breeding ornamental fish is fun and one can get some interresting colors. Jun 9 at 3:05

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