Why Do Goldfish Kiss? [Out Of Aggression + Mating]

Image of goldfish trying to kiss each other

Goldfish exhibit various weird behavioral traits. From digging the substrate to swallowing rocks and even uprooting plants, they do many unusual things. Another strange activity that goldfish do is kiss each other. So, why do goldfish kiss?

Goldfish kiss because they are either flirting or threatening each other. Kissing is usually an act of aggression, where the goldfish try to size up each other. Male goldfish may also kiss females during the mating ritual, where the male pursues the female until she gives in and releases her eggs.

Let’s talk about this in detail now.

Do Goldfish Kiss During Their Mating Ritual?

Goldfish have a tiresome and time-consuming mating ritual.

When the male realizes that the female is fertile and bearing eggs, he begins to chase after her.

The male fish will follow the female for hours at a stretch and not give up until she releases her eggs.

During the chase, you may notice the male goldfish nipping at the female’s fins and tail.

It may also appear as though he is kissing her if he gets too close.

Nonetheless, the entire process is a long and exhausting ritual. The male will appear very aggressive during this time.

You may notice him forcing the female into a corner of the tank.

He will try to nip and peck at her fins and tails as she tries to dodge his moves.

Finally, the female gives in to his advances.

When she is on the verge of exhaustion, she ends the ritual by releasing her eggs into the water.

The stick eggs attach to the different surfaces of the tank.

Immediately after this, the male goldfish releases milt into the water and fertilizes the eggs.

Once the mating ritual is over, the fish will resume their usual activity.

Recommended Further Reading:

Why Do Goldfish Kiss Out Of Aggression?

On many occasions, fish owners have noticed that the existing fish in an aquarium kiss new fish that joins the tank.

It may look like the fish are warming up towards the new member. However, that’s not the case.

Although goldfish are friendly, they can become territorial in certain circumstances.

If you keep your fish in a small or overcrowded setting, they will not appreciate the introduction of new members into the tank.

So, they may try to threaten the new fish and establish their dominance through physical contact.

Even peaceful fish can get aggressive and irritated when they have insufficient space or unmet needs.

As a result, they may start pecking or chasing each other.

Apart from kissing, you may also see your fish nipping the fins and tails of other goldfish in their space.

Such aggressive behavior will disturb the peace of your aquarium.

The weaker fish can get injured. They will be subjected to immense stress if these attacks continue for too long.

Hence, you should be alert if you ever see your fish kissing. It could lead to a chase or fight.

So, be prepared to separate the two fish if things escalate and they try to injure each other.

Consider moving the bully fish to another tank or put it temporarily in time-out to reduce the occurrence of such fights.

Related Further Reading:

Can Goldfish Hurt Each Other?

Goldfish are generally peaceful animals. They don’t usually get into fights with their tank mates.

Hence, these fish are very popular pets in community tanks.

Nonetheless, goldfish are fin-nippers. They tend to go after fish with long flowing fins and tails.

Fancy goldfish are highly vulnerable since their long fins and tails slow them down.

Comets and other smaller varieties are less prone to such attacks.

Now, different goldfish have different personalities.

Therefore, you cannot predict how a goldfish will behave until you place it in a tank and understand its attitude towards its tank mates.

Goldfish don’t usually fight unless there is something to compete over.

The lack of food, overcrowding, and rivalry to mate are some of the factors that lead to fights.

By feeding your goldfish well and keeping them in a big tank, you can avert fights to a great extent.

You can further reduce the chances of fights by offering your fish enough hiding places.

For example, tanks with plenty of plants and decorations will give weak and small fish places to hide from the fish that bully them.

The situation in a peaceful tank may change during the breeding season, when the fish may fight over mates.

If you keep several males and females together, more than one male may pursue the female goldfish.

It can lead to a lot of commotion in the tank. Fortunately, the fish resume normal behavior after the mating process ends.

When goldfish fight to establish dominance, the participants of the fight often get injured.

Since goldfish have long tails and fins, fights can result in tears and injuries.

If your fish are constantly fighting, consider separating them, at least temporarily.

You can put the bigger fish that bullies the others in time-out when it starts getting aggressive.

Return it to the tank after it calms down.

If your tank doesn’t have enough space, you can also use a different tank or tank divider to keep aggressive fish away from small and weak goldfish.

Interesting Further Reading:

How To Prevent Goldfish From Fighting?

If you have only one goldfish, you may think it’s a good idea to get it a companion.

Although goldfish enjoy the presence of other fish, not all aquarium fish can co-exist with goldfish.

Keeping fish that don’t get along with each other often leads to a commotion in the tank.

Constant fights can cause stress and injury to the fish. Goldfish may not only fight with their kind but also with other types of fish.

If your goldfish seem to chase or bite each other all the time, they are fighting.

You can wait for some time and see if your goldfish sort out the problem on their own.

In some cases, such fights end once they establish a pecking order.

However, if the aggression continues, it’s a highly damaging behavior.

Injury and stress will affect the well-being and reduce the lifespan of the fish.

Here are some of the things you can do to prevent goldfish from fighting:

  • Add or rearrange the plants and décor: Small and weak goldfish will be better off if they have enough hiding spaces to avoid their attackers. Add more plants to the tank to create suitable hiding places. If your tank already has plants or other decorations, rearrange them to create more hiding places for your fish.
  • Feed the fish that fight separately: The competition for food is a common cause of aggression in fish tanks. To avoid this problem, feed your goldfish separately. Try to feed the weaker fish separately to ensure they get enough food and don’t have to compete with aggressive fish for nutrition. You can also add the food to different parts of the tank. When all the fish receive enough food, they are less likely to fight with each other.
  • Use a tank divider: If your fish are constantly fighting and injuring each other, you may have to keep them apart. If you do not have a separate tank, invest in a tank divider. By physically separating your goldfish from each other or other fish, you can eliminate all chances of a potential fight.


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