Difference between Male and Female Goldfish

A goldfish is a freshwater fish. They are mostly orange-gold in color and just like any other living organisms that have the ability to reproduce they come as males or females. It may not be easy to distinguish between a male and female goldfish, but, with the guidelines below, identifying one should not be a problem anymore.


Common goldfish
Common goldfish

A female goldfish possesses certain characteristics that a male goldfish does not.  A female goldfish has a rounder and thicker body shape. The anal opening of a female goldfish is also rounder than that of the male.

The male goldfish has small white spots on its gill shields. It also has a thinner, more streamlined body shape than the female. In addition to these features, it has a narrow anal opening compared to its female counterpart.

Comparison chart

Female goldfish Male goldfish
Has a rounder and thicker shape – looks slightly bigger and heavier. Has a slimmer, more streamlined body shape.
Does not chase after the male fish during mating but rather runs away from it. Chases after the female fish during the mating season.
Its anal opening looks larger and more swollen during the spawning season. Its anal opening is always small.
Has no midline ridges on its undersides. Has midline ridges that begin from the back of the pelvic fins and end at the vent opening.
Has no white spots on its gills and pectoral region. Develops white spots on its gills and pectorals during spawning.

Male vs Female Goldfish

So what is the difference between male and female goldfish?

  • Owing to a female goldfish’s rounder and thicker body, it therefore looks slightly bigger and even heavier in the abdomen than the male goldfish. This is to make it easy to carry eggs during the mating season.
  • It is always the male goldfish that chases after the female goldfish during the mating season. The female goldfish is always tired and worn out as a result of being chased for a long time.
  • During the spawning period, the female’s anal opening tends to look larger and more swollen as the eggs begin to ripen, while the male opening always remains narrow.
  • Whereas females have no midline ridges on their undersides, the male sex of the gold fish have these ridges that begin from the back of their pelvic fins and end at their vent opening.
  • Male goldfish are most likely to develop white spots on their gills and pectoral fins during spawning. This, however, is not the case with female goldfish.


If you want more information regarding the differences between the two, watch this video