Your pond does need to stabilize for a while before introducing any fish. Like many people, we were a bit impatient and bought a few gold fish a few days after installing the pond. A couple of them died but most made it. Since then, we have added more fish on a couple of occasions. We bought a total of about 17 fish in six different varieties over the first summer of our pond. In late summer, they began producing babies and we now have about 32 fish! I think we are getting close to the limit that our pond will support so we may need to start giving some away if they have another reproductive frenzy this fall. Common goldfish and their cousins can live for up to 30 years with proper care.
Do seek advice from a reputable
pet store about fish. There is a chain of stores in our area called
“Feeder’s Supply” that have been a great source for excellent advice as
well as fish, bird seed, and pond supplies.
You do need to monitor your water
condition for PH balance and acid content. You can do this yourself with water
test kits available at pet stores, pond supply stores, and other outlets. You
simply mix a few drops of your pond water in a test tube with the appropriate
chemicals and the resulting color of the mixture is matched with a color chart
to show you the condition of your water. It is important to check your water
occasionally, especially with a new pond, to make sure your fish stay
healthy. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can put a little pond water
in a plastic bag and take it to your local pet store and they will test it for
you for a couple of bucks.
Primarily, pond fish tend to be some variety of goldfish, comets, shubunkins, and koi.
BUYER BEWARE! Be sure you get your fish from a reputable source. One diseased fish can infect and kill ALL of your fish. A fiend of mine had several fish that had lived in his pond for many years. He bought some new fish to add to his pond and they turned out to be diseased and he lost them all.
Goldfish (regular, plain old
Feeding Your Fish
Your fish should eat well over the summer and they will eat more in the fall when they begin to store up reserves for the winter. In the winter, you should taper off and eventually stop feeding your fish. They will stop feeding, go down to deep water (where it is a little warmer), and move very little during the winter to conserve energy.
Try to feed your fish around the same time every day and in the same place in the pond. Your fish will soon become accustomed to their feeding time and place and will anxiously wait for you to come and feed them.
Your fish will learn to eat from
your hand if you want them to. It takes a few days for them to get comfortable
and learn that you are not going to hurt them but they will do it. My fish will
all come up to me whenever I approach the pond and even follow me as I walk
around the pond. If I put my hand in the water, they will swarm around my hand
and even let me stroke them. This is because I have hand-fed my fish and they
are no longer afraid of me at all.
Introducing your fish.
DO NOT just dump your fish into the pond! You need to “float” your fish in their bag for about 20 minutes. Add a little of your pond water to the plastic bag (about 20%). Place the bag in the water. It will float. Keep the bag shaded. If you place it direct sunlight, the bag will magnify the sun and possibly kill your fish. After about 20-30 minutes, the water temperature in the bag will acclimate to the water temperature of the pond. You can let the go into the pond.