Preparing Your Pond for Fish
The Perfect Pet:
fish are a popular addition to the pond, they help ad life, color and personality to your water feature. Not only are they beautiful but can help balance your ecosystem as well. Fish, such as Koi will eat certain algae and help keep it under control. Fish will also eat mosquito larvae and insects that are out of reach of the skimmer. With a little luck, your fish spawn and allow you to witness first-hand the life-cycle of your ecosystem. Occasionally fish will find their way into the skimmer. This usually occurs for the first week or two. Simply remove the fish and place them back into the pond. The fish will quickly become adjusted to the current created by the skimmer and will no longer swim into the filter. If you have newborn fish, a temporary screen can be placed in front of the skimmer opening in order to prevent them from entering.
Types of Fish:
There are many types of fish that are suitable for your pond. Ornamental fish such as Koi, Shubunkin, and Comets (goldfish) are beautiful hardy fish that do well with the change of season. Some pond owners stock their ponds with native fish or game fish, such as bluegill, bass, northern pike, etc.
The first step in preparing your new pond for fish is to remove the chlorine from the water. Chlorine in the water can burn the fish gills and possibly kill your fish. Operating the filter system for at least 3 days to a week will allow the chlorine to dissipate through the waterfalls. If you are anxious, and wish to ad your fish sooner, you can purchase dechlorinator from your local pet store.
Before adding fish, you should purchase a pond water test kit to make sure your water quality is safe. Remember to float new fish in the bag for 30 minutes, and do not add the water in the bag to the pond.
Fish do not have to be fed provided you do not overstock your pond. They will live off of algae, insects and other miscellaneous food that the environment provides. Many pond owners never feed their fish and enjoy very healthy active fish. Don't worry if the fish are hungry. Mother nature will take care of them. Feeding your fish, however, can be a relaxing break in your daily routine. There are many different fish and koi foods on the market. Ask your local pet store or fish supplier what they recommend. Fish can be fed one or three times daily. Be careful not to over-feed your fish. Only feed the fish amounts that they consume within a few minutes. Stop feeding if you notice the fish are done eating or food is entering the skimmer. Excess food that is not eaten by the fish will decompose in the pond and may cause poor water quality. New fish sometimes take a few weeks to begin eating.
If you live in colder climates, monitor your water temperature during the fall and spring. When the water temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit "Stop feeding your fish!" During this time of the year your fish will become dormant. Their respiration, metabolism, and overall activity slows down as they prepare for their winter hibernation. Feeding your fish this time of the year can cause your fish to become sick or even die.
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