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FISH AND YOUR
In the water garden, the focus is on the
pond plants and ecosystem. Plants
consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Fish consume
oxygen, give off carbon dioxide and ammonia, giving them an
important role in the balanced pond. They also consume algae
as a routine part of their diet and control pests in the
water. There are some exciting fish choices for the water
garden - Goldfish, Comets, and Shubunkins are the most
common. A more difficult-to-find fish is the Golden Orfe.
Orfes are larger than the others mentioned, and they school
as they flash through the water. Smaller fish might include
Rosey Red Minnows, Rainbow Dace (a.k.a. Shiners), and
Gambusia (a.k.a. Mosquito Fish). These are all practical
choices for the water garden, as these fish do not tend to
interfere with plant growth.
Follow our guidelines:
- Keep no more than 1" fish per sq.
ft. surface area. Unless you plan to increase pond size
and/or filtration, plan for the eventual growth of the fish
and keep fish population down!
the Koi pond, the focus is on the Koi.
Known to be the “flowers” of the pond, these fish come in
varied colors and designs, and they can get to be as large
as 3’ long and can live for more than 50 years! It is
important to provide a protective environment for Koi, as
there are predators who would love to have them for dinner.
Shelter and shade are strong planning and design
considerations for the Koi Pond, as their most common
predators, big birds, like open spaces. Since fewer plants
can live harmoniously with the Koi, shading the pond will
provide an environment that is less friendly toward algae.
Here are some guidelines for your Koi pond:
- Koi require
a LOT more water than smaller fish. Stocking density is
affected by many variables: The number of plants in your
pond, the type of filtration system, and the dissolved
oxygen levels in your pond. The waste handling capacity of
your filter system and how much of what quality food you
feed your fish also play a big role. Allow 100-300 gallons
+ for each adult Koi!
- Provide your Koi with adequate swim space- a minimum of
a 10’ x 10’ surface. A depth of 4’ provides both vertical
space for exercise and water pressure for good fish body
confirmation, and more gallonage to dilute their waste.
- Include a marginal shelf (at least 2’ deep) to
facilitate servicing the pond, but deep enough to
- Adequate filtration is a MUST! Koi ponds require a much
higher degree of filtration and circulation than water
gardens. Koi grow quickly, and a pond that does well in
its first 1 - 3 years could be challenged later if the
filtration is not able to handle the increased fish waste.
Spec. filtration for the intended number and
size of Koi.
and Monitoring Guidelines
In the water garden, feeding fish is a choice, not a
necessity. There is plenty of natural food available for a
light fish stocking load. In a Koi pond with no plants, this
is not true. Be aware: Know that fish feeding and green
water are linked! Also, fish in your pond grow and multiply,
thus you can count on the need to cull fish in your pond at
some point. Late fall/early winter is the best time to cull
unwanted fish - the water is cooler, fish metabolism slows
down and they are easier to catch. In the spring, after a
long winter, their immune system is weak and they are
susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections.
- Regular fish feeding provides the pondkeeper the
opportunity to monitor fish health on a regular basis. Look
for changes, laziness, or anti-social behavior. If you
notice any abnormalities, first check your
water quality, then get help to determine the problem and
course of treatment.
NEW FISH AND QUARANTINE PROCEDURES
Be aware when purchasing new Koi and goldfish.
While they are hardy creatures, travel can be a very
stressful experience for them. Their immune systems are
often suppressed, and they can already have parasites,
bacteria, or fungus problems.
- CHECK fish for visible wounds, and look for “ick” and torn
fins and tails BEFORE you bring them home.
- DO NOT put new fish directly into your pond! DO quarantine
your new fish! Even fish which look good can be a problem to
Follow these quarantine procedures to prevent trauma to your
fish and YOU !!
- Quarantine Tank to hold at least 100 gallons
- Pump w/ Filter- 200-300 GPH or Air Pump with Airstone
- Dechlorinator. One which binds ammonia can help keep
- Short-Handled Net labeled for quarantine use ONLY.
- Grating or netting laid over the top of the tank to
prevent fish from jumping out.
- Test Kits- KH, pH, ammonia, nitrite, salt
- Non-Iodized salt
- Pond Thermometer
- Clean out the quarantine tank, using bleach solution(10%
bleach to 90% water) to disinfect...
- Fill up the tank, pumping water from your pond.
- Start up the pump and check for possible leaks.
1. Place fish in quarantine tank. If fish is in a bag, make
sure the water temp. in the tank is similar to that of the
bag. This can be accomplished by setting the bag in the tank
for 10-20 minutes. If fish look stressed, place the fish
immediately in the water by hand or net. DO NOT add the
water from the bag as it could be contaminated. Wait 6-8
hours to feed the fish a small amount of food.
2. After 12 hours, add salt to the tank. 1 pound of salt for
every 100 gal. of water. Wait for salt to dissolve and test.
Salt levels should read 0.1% - 0.3%. The water should remain
within this range during the entire duration of quarantine.
Test KH, pH, ammonia, & nitrite. Adjust accordingly.
Ammonia & nitrite are TOXIC to fish. Your levels should
read 0.00. This means NONE present. If ammonia/nitrire is
detected, do a 10% water change and consider using an
ammonia binding dechlorinator/product. Remember to re-salt
for the amount changed if a water change occurs.
During this 3 week period (at a minimum), examine fish
daily. Test for KH, pH, salt, ammonia & nitrite every
2-3 days. Adjust accordingly. Watch for odd behavior and any
signs of sores or bacterial/fungal infections. Feed
sparingly (every other day) and remove any un-eaten food
after 5-10 minutes.
If the water becomes cloudy, perform a 30-50% water change.
Bucket out the quarantine tank- do NOT put this water in
Refill the tank with water from your pond.
Note: This will dilute the salt level, so you will need to
add more salt.
Moving Fish into Your Pond:
- Fill a clean bucket or tub with your pond water.
- Dip out a few fish at a time using the Q.Tank Net to the
bucket. Minimize the amount of Q. Tank water in the bucket.
- Take the bucket over to your pond and remove them gently.
- Repeat until all fish are transported.
DO NOT move any questionable
fish into your pond!
DO NOT pour your quarantine
water into your pond!
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