This page last edited on

01 August, 2008

Ponds & Fish

 

Goldfish Information

 

Fun Facts
 

Goldfish are omnivores and will scavenge for food on the bottom.  Their diet consists of aquatic plants and animal matter such as worms.  In captivity they should be fed commercial goldfish or koi pellets, greens, veggies and earth worms. The gold color was selective bred in China during the Tang dynasty well over one thousand years ago. 

 

Food:

 

  The goldfish get a DAILY diet of Mazuri koi pellets. I also feed it to the turtles. I throw several handfuls of the pellets into the pond every morning and have the pleasure of watching them all come to the surface and eat.  Often times they swim right over to me when they see me at the pond edge. Turtles and fish, like people, just love to eat!  For the goldfish fry and the rosy red minnows I throw in goldfish flakes. Those fish are simply too small to eat the pellets. There are websites that talk about special feeding for fry but I have never done that. In fact, in a pond you never see the fry until they are probably several weeks old! Goldfish fry are dark in color, NOT bright like adults so they are virtually impossible to see until they get bigger.  In my experience they don't turn color for 4-6 months after they hatch. Rosy red minnow fry are pale pink or orange fairly young so you can spot them easily. I have never had a problem with either goldfish or minnow fry not finding food to eat. You must remember that they are scavengers and will eat pretty much anything. A lot of times I see fry eating algae and leftover food that has sunk to the bottom of the pond. This must sustain them quite well since I am never without fry in either pond and I have seen a million of them grow into adults.  If you only have adult fish you don't need to add flakes. You can find flakes at any pet store or discount store like Walmart. Be sure to not overfeed your fish. I throw a lot of food into my pond but that is only because I have ten turtles living with them!

 

$$$ $aving tip:  Buy the Mazuri koi pellets at your local feed store. 

  If they don't carry it in stock they can order it for you. The local pet stores and chain pet stores charge a ridiculous amount of money for Mazuri brand food. You will save a lot of money by supporting your local feed store instead of the mostly corporate run chain stores.

 

   Fish in the wild obviously do not eat pellets or flakes so you should add more natural foods for them as well. Although I have turtles in the front pond, I also add the same extra foods to the fish in the back pond. I would feed the fish this diet without turtles. Fish can develop digestive problems when they don't get enough plant material. Its best to have aquatic plants in your pond such anacharis, not only to help keep algae down but also for your fish to have a food source and a place to hide and material to lay their eggs on. I have tried various plants over the years in the front pond but between the turtles and the fish they eat them all up right away. If you don't have plants for them to munch on then it is even more important for you to give them greens and vegetables.

 

  This is a list of foods that I throw into the pond once a week:

  • Romaine, red leaf or green leaf lettuce, or endive (chicory)

  • Shredded carrots

  • Green beans

  • Bananas, strawberries or peaches

  • Tomatoes

  • Zucchini squash

  • Hibiscus flowers

  • Red wriggler worms - read more about them on the worm page from the link to the turtle page on the top picture menu. The worms are given more for the turtles than the fish but fish absolutely love them and in nature would be considered a part of their diet. If you think about it, why do you put worms on a hook when you go fishing? Often I see the fish get the worms before the turtles even notice the worms in the pond. I have seen fish become literal vultures over worms!

  You must cut the food up in small enough pieces for the fish to be able to eat it. If at first your fish don't eat what you give them don't give up! Most fish are raised without these foods and are simply used to eating flakes and pellets. My fish, and especially the fry who have hatched in my ponds are avid eaters of the vegetable matter. I have seen them eat tomatoes, bananas, zucchini and greens. I have seen them eat hibiscus flowers as well. Remember in nature these are the foods they would eat!

Breeding:

  Unfortunately if you start out with even just a few fish you WILL end up with a million! This is especially true of the ROSY RED MINNOWS WHICH I THINK COULD BREED IN A COFFEE CUP!!! I am always amazed as to how many fry I have in both ponds at all times! Obviously the fish are finding the ponds suitable for mating. The fry are hatching out of the eggs and growing into adult goldfish and rosy red minnows. I can't give anyone tips on HOW to breed them because I don't do a thing and I have a lot of fish. I WISH someone would give me tips on HOW TO STOP THEM FROM BREEDING!!! I hate to say it but I wish the turtles would eat some of the live fish to thin the school out. I have seen the turtles eat dead fish but never live ones.

  It is interesting to me that I see tadpole eggs a lot but I've only seen fish eggs once and they were not fertilized so didn't develop. I would love to see the eggs and watch them develop but the only evidence I see is the actual fry when they are big enough to be noticed, probably weeks after they hatched. I am also surprised that the turtles don't eat the eggs or the tiny fry - well may be the do - because they eat tadpoles up the ying yang when they are in the pond, which is why I never had little toads hopping in the front yard!

Checking the Ph and other levels: (repeated on Pond Maintenance page) 

I cannot stress enough how vitally important this is!  I have had fish die from acid water and I didn't even know it! I ended up taking water samples to Petsmart to see if they could find out what was killing my fish. They tested it and told me the water was acidic and that is what caused my fish to die. I have tested the water coming out of the hose and the Ph is always alkaline, around 7.8 so I know its good coming out. Goldfish need at least Ph neutral - 7.0. Any decline to acidity will jeopardize their lives. For whatever reason, over time the pond water DOES become acidic. There are complicated factors involved I'm sure, but I now realize that I need to check the Ph level at least once a week and remedy it if the level is 7.0 or below. 

  Get in the habit of checking the Ph when you install a pond and have fish in it. I did not know to do that in the very beginning. I did not do my research before hand and the fish paid the price. Please learn from my mistake!  Ph test kits are inexpensive and easily found online or at the local pet chain stores in the fish section.

  $$$ $aving tip - use baking soda to raise the Ph of your pond, not chemicals that are outrageously priced!!! Use one tablespoon of baking soda for every 10 gallons of water. Retest and check your Ph level and add more baking soda if needed. You cannot add too much baking soda but you could add too little and your fish could still die. 

  The signs of acid build up in fish are floating at the surface, flipping onto their side, missing tissue or body parts and pale colored scales. In the end it is very obvious the fish is in deadly distress. This is a completely avoidable situation if you just test for the Ph on at least a weekly basis whether you have a pond or an aquarium. Another sign of acidity is from the pond itself. All algae dies, the plants become white and the water is white as well. The pond liner will look as though you bleached the algae away. It is a grim scene.

  There are also test kits with strips which test for various things like ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, etc. You should does this at least once a week as well if you have a lot of fish in a small pond. I have never had a problem with anything other than Ph in my ponds.

Water Changes and Making the Tap Water Safe: (repeated on Pond Maintenance page) 

I cannot stress enough how vitally important this is!  When you fill up your pond for the first time you will need to make sure to add the proper chemical, such as Jungle Pond's Pond Start to the hose water so that the fish do not die. You need to add the chemical every time you add water, even if it is just a little bit to fill it back to full.  Tap water has chlorine and other chemicals in the water and they will cause your fish to die within minutes. I've had this happen several times and I've learned my lesson about always adding the chemical when the hose is filling up the pond.  You can find Pond Start to make tap water safe at any pet store or home improvement store like Lowes.

  The signs that your fish are dying from the untreated hose water are surfacing at the water and making bubbles, flipping onto their side, sinking to the bottom and rolling over and resurfacing until they eventually sink again and die or float dead on the surface. If ALL of your fish, and especially the fry and the rosy red minnows are all doing this you know you are in serious trouble!!!!  If you are able to get Pond Start or some other product to make the water safe into the pond within a few minutes of seeing this reaction you MIGHT be able to save your fish. I have run out to Lowe's several times in this emergency to get Pond Start and quickly added the entire bottle. I did lose a few fish but not all like I would have had I not added the water treatment. NOW I always keep at least two bottles of Pond Start on hand for when I do water changes or add water to fill up the ponds. I never take chances on adding water anymore without also adding the Pond Start because I have lost fish with just adding even a little bit of hose water.

  The other important thing to do is once a month drain 25% of the pond and replace it with new hose water.  Never drain the pond entirely to get rid of algae because it will come right back in a few days or weeks. Aged pond water has the necessary beneficial bacteria in it to help break algae down. You don't want to have to start all over on that long process.  Replacing 25% of the water helps rid the water of ammonia build up and other impurities than can cause death in your fish. Fresh water also stimulates the fish and according to some, induces egg laying. I notice how happy and active the fish are when I do water changes. They seem to feel like new fish!

  I hope that my goldfish information was helpful to you!

 

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