Fish. For most people the only thing they know about these scaly creatures is whether they taste better with lemon or tarter sauce. For Pond owners however, a little more information is needed. If you’re a new Pond owner who has just purchased, or are thinking about purchasing, Koi, goldfish or other pond fish you might have a few questions. How do I introduce new fish into my pond? What do I need to do to make my pond suitable for them? How do I maintain my new friends?
Fortunately I know a little bit more about fish then the topping they taste best with. Here are a few basic tips all future pond fish owners need to know.
Before purchasing fish you must first have your pond suitable for life. Meaning there should be no (zip, zero, nada) Ammonia, Chlorine, Chloramines or Nitrite in your pond water. A test kit will be needed to determine the level of those parameters. A de-chlorinator can be used to rid the pond of Chlorine, Chloramines and Nitrites. And a water change can be conducted to do away with Ammonia.
A filter is crucial to maintain Ammonia levels. A Biological filter is the best choice. Be sure the filter can support a pump that is able to move the total gallons of your pond AT LEAST once per hour. So if you have a pump (assuming your pump is big enough for your pond) that has a GPH of 950 you would want a filter with the capacity of at least 950 (although a 1000 would be better.)
Once you have your water levels up to par, and proper filtration unit has been installed it’s time to purchase the new additions to your family- which is exactly what they will become. After selecting the right fish there are a few things you need to know when introducing them into your pond.
A bagged fish generally only lasts for 45 minutes, assuming the correct water to Oxygen ratio has been applied. Be sure your drive home is less than 30 minutes away. If this is not the case tell a sale associate so special measures can be taken. An additional supply of Oxygen can be given to you.
Once you are home, let the bagged fish float in the pond for 15 minutes before releasing it. This will regulate the water temperature and help to prevent it from going into shock. If however, you feel that your fish is stressed or the ride home took longer than 30 minutes, gradually fill the bag with some pond water to speed the regulating process.
Once the water from the bag is about the same temperature of your pond water you can place your new fish into the pond. Do not pour the water from the bag along with your fish into the pond. Use a net to drain the water from the bag outside your pond and then release your fish into its new home.
Now that your new friends are swimming pretty what has to be done to maintain them? Here are a few tips:
1. Test your pond water for Ammonia, Nitrite, pH, Oxygen, Carbonate Hardness, and General Hardness once a week for 2-3 months for new ponds. Once the pond is pretty much established, you can test as needed.
2. Do not over feed your fish. They eat Algae, Aquatic plants (especially lilies) and small bugs found in your pond. Only feed them fish or Koi food twice a week. This, along with regular filter cleaning, will help prevent high Ammonia spikes.
3. Keep in mind the changing seasons. As fall and winter come around, special accommodations will have to be made: A de-icer for climates that tend to drop below freezing and Wheat Germ food (no matter the climate,) for the fish slowing metabolism.
Then it is time to enjoy! Fish, whether they are specific breed Koi or simple comets, add to the beauty and placidity of your pond or water feature. They become dearly loved pets and extended members of your family!
By Faith Ruiz
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