Thursday, June 27, 2013

Stocking the Pond with Goldfish

The pond isn't leaking; the plants are still maintaining their colors, and the water is clear.  It is time to stock the pond with healthy and shiny goldfish from the pet store.  Some experts say that you should wait at least six (6) weeks before adding fish to the pond so that the vegetation has had a chance to root and the pond has obtained desired balance.

Goldfish are members of the carp family and they are surprisingly hardy.  They have to be to live and survive in our pond and, yes, they have proven to be hardy.  They have withstood predators and inclement weather with sudden changes in the water temperature.

When transported from the store, the goldfish are placed in a plastic bag half filled with water, tied, and placed in a cardboard box for stability during the ride.  To minimize the shock for the fish, we placed the bag onto the surface of the pond; still tied.  After ten minutes, we opened the bag and gently eased the fish into the pond.

At this time of the year, the water contains less amount of oxygen so we are on the look out for the fish coming up to the surface gulping for air. If this is the case, the water needs to be aerated.  It is also helpful to add more water to the pond.  Another factor is the vegetation:  it may be too much and cause the water to become too hot.  Happy and healthy goldfish breed readily in outdoor ponds under favorable conditions.

We prefer to feed the goldfish flaked food that floats instead of pellets that sink to the bottom.  With the flaked food, the gold fish has to come to the surface to grab the food and we can see them better.  We feed the goldfish about the same time each day, if possible.  If food is still left after five minutes, the fish are getting too much.  When we go away for a few weeks, we leave "vacation" food for the fish.  It is food in small containers.  But the fish will do well without food, too.  There is usually enough food for the fish to forage.

In the Time/Life book, Easy Water Garden, there is a chart for stocking levels and Alison B. Frances writes that it is important not to overstock the pond.  Her chart for stocking the pond reads:  "If the water surface area is 1 x 1 ft (30 cm x 30 cm), it will support a fish 2 inches (5 cm) long, from nose to tail."  To continue:  "This means that a pond of 100 sq ft (9 sq m) would accommodate 200 inches (500 cm) of fish.  This could work out to be one hundred 2 inch (5 cm) fish."

It is restful to watch the fish swim about in the pond and gracefully dodging plants.  It is a joy to be greeted by the goldfish.  Tell me that they don't recognize us and greet us.

Moisten stone,
Trickling water, 
Shimmering fish--
And the lily opens.
                                                                               --Helen Nash

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