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Surprise Shubunkin/Comet Babies Questions

Discussion in 'Coldwater Fish and Ponds' started by Paprikakitty, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. Paprikakitty

    Paprikakitty New Member

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    In short: I have 3 questions about ‘surprise’ shubunkin/comet babies I discovered in my outdoor pond.

    1. When do the grey/brown babies change color?

    2. How long will these guys all be ok together before they get too crowded?

    3. (Don’t judge- it may be a naive question...) Is there any way to prevent this from happening again? My Comet-Orangina, and Subunkin-Fred, absolutely adore each other. I can’t possibly separate them, but I don’t want to be an irresponsible fish owner by adding more fish I don’t have adequate space for.

    THE DETAILS (Long...)

    I have an outdoor 2-tier pond, roughly 100 gallon on the bottom and 50 or so on top. Two years ago I got one shubunkin and one comet for the bottom pool and they have been bff’s since day one.

    Fast forward 2 years later, I was doing a routine cleaning and out of the corner of my eye I saw a little orange and white glint dart across the bottom pond. Upon closer inspection I discovered a total of 7 babies-SURPRISE! (I guess I should have thought that COULD happen, but honestly it never crossed my mind!!) I have a fair amount of submersed and surface plants in the ponds, which apparently provided ample binding places for these guys.

    I don’t know much about the full lifecycle of these fish, but the wierd thing to me is that 3 of the babies are around 2-1/2 to 3” inches and the other 4 are maybe 1-1/2”. Is this possibly 2 different batches?

    And 6 out of 7 are a brown-grey while only the one is white with minimal orange and black flecks (incidentally one on the larger babies).

    I’ve since moved the smallest guys up top and added pvc pipe pieces in both ponds as additional hidey-holes.

     
  2. Deanasue

    Deanasue Fish Fanatic

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    Congrats on your find. I can only answer from my experience with fancies in an aquarium. Yes, the males and females can and will breed more than once during breeding season which is early Spring through summer depending on temps in your area. The male chases the female and bumps nudges her to stimulate her to lay eggs. Once she lays them (usually on plants) then the male swims over them and fertilizes them. As far as color, the fry start out clear and then turn to dull grey or tan color. I believe mine started to change colors around 4 months. I’m afraid there is no way to stop them without separating them. I now have my females in one tank and my males in another. They buddied up with their tankmate and are fine. I think the ladies were relieved! Hope this helps some.
     
  3. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    All young goldfish start out bronze and when they are a few months old (about 1 inch, not including tail) they start to change colour. Some fish will remain bronze and others will go red, orange, white, black or a combination of colours.

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    If you do regular water changes on the pond (say 50% each week), you could probably keep all 7 young with the adults and let them grow up. If you don't like all the young (their colour) you could sell or trade them in at the local pet shop and get a different fish to go in the pond. This would add genetic variation and would help prevent the adults breeding with their young.

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    The only way to stop this happening is to separate the fish and that would stress them out. I would leave them together and just remove the young when they are 4 or 5 inches and that is assuming you don't want to keep them.

    Goldfish breed in spring when the weather starts to warm up after a cold period. If conditions are good they can breed every couple of weeks for several months.

    The females are fatter than the males and the males get small white dots on their gill covers and pectoral fins when in breeding condition.

    The females can produce hundreds to thousands of eggs in each spawning but the adults sometimes eat the eggs or young. If you have a filter on the pond some of the young will be sucked into that. If there are insect larvae (dragonfly larvae) in the pond, they will eat the eggs and babies too. Birds will eat the young fish. The fact you only have 7 young would suggest the adults and insects are reducing the number of fry that survive and this will mean the pond is unlikely to become rapidly overstocked.

    The fry grow at different rates and fancy varieties of goldfish like fantails (2 tails) or comets (comets have long tails) will grow slower than common goldfish that have 1 short tail. Coloured goldfish will usually grow slightly slower than bronze coloured fish but in most cases this is negligible.

    Chances are you will get mostly bronze coloured young because they are harder to see in the pond and less likely to be eaten by predators.
     
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  4. Paprikakitty

    Paprikakitty New Member

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    Deanasue- Thank you so much for taking time to answer my post! I appreciate the breeding info and the color change info. I’ve been trying to piece together how old they might be!


     
  5. Paprikakitty

    Paprikakitty New Member

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    Wow Colin_T! So much helpful info! Thank you. I’m curious about adding other fish— I am concerned about inbreeding. I don’t feel like our pond is big enough for koi. I’ve been told the fish I have are the best suited type for outdoors in Washington. Do you have any suggestions for other breeds/species I might add without creating issues for Fred and Orangina? I would love a bottom feeder, but I was told river catfish are really the only ones that MIGHT work, and that they can be aggressive.

    I was curious/concerned about how many babies did not survive. We do have a filter, as well as a uv light to help with algae. Also dragonflies and birds so it’s sad, but I’m sure that took a lot of them.

    Again, thank you for all the info and for taking time to reply!
     
  6. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    The only other fish I would add to the pond would be a couple more goldfish with the same type of tails as the ones you currently have (either fantail, comet or common goldfish). Goldfish are generally social fish that don't fight so adding another 1 or 2 fish would not upset the balance. :)
     
  7. Deanasue

    Deanasue Fish Fanatic

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    Colin has some great information. If You choose to go with fantails, be sure they are not fancy goldfish. Fancies don’t fair well in ponds as a general rule. I keep only single tails in my pond as the fantails don’t swim as fast and can’t compete for the food. Occasionally you can find a comet cross that has a fantail and they can compete a little better with the single tails. Good luck and have fun with the babies.
     

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