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Total beginner seeks advice on pond fish

(11 Posts)
KristinaM Sun 11-May-14 15:41:25

Hi fish peeps

We built a pond in our garden last autumn. Have been running the filter system for about a month now ( we live in Scotland ) so have just bought 6 small fish . We got two each of sarasa, shubunkin and goldfish as we were told they were the easiest .

Man in the shop said to feed them fish food pellets, about 10 every day and remove any they don't eat. They ate one on Friday, when we got them, and none yesterday or today .

They are all swimming about together, eating flies off the surface and bits off the pond walls.

Should I be worried? What else can I do to make them happy ?

They seem to hang out a lot under an upturned plant pot in the corner. Is this normal ?

KristinaM Sun 11-May-14 15:43:32

I forgot to say that my children are absolutely ecstatic. It's chucking it down here and they are out in the rain to check the fish are ok. They want MORE

EauRouge Sun 11-May-14 16:23:51

They'll manage to find a lot of bugs etc to eat over the summer. Some people with more established ponds only feed their fish once a week.

They'll take a while to settle in- have they got many hiding places? If there's not much surface cover then you'll see less of them because they'll stay in the depths away from predators (real or imaginary). Some floating plant cover would help- if you're waiting for water lilies to grow up then something temporary like water hyacinth or water lettuce will give them some shelter for the summer.

Sounds like a great selection of fish, and bless your DCs for being so excited grin They will probably get their wish next spring, goldfish are not known for their chastity.

KristinaM Sun 11-May-14 16:49:00

Thanks Eau

There are no hiding places except 4 upturned pots and a bit of plastic down pipe ( vair posh here) as pond plants are tiny things in pots. No surface cover at all, So I will try to get some of the plants you suggest. It's been quite cold here so plants and not growing very fast - even frogs have not laid spawn yet .

Should I put more plastic things on the bottom for them to hide in until I get some plants ?

Kids will be very excited at fish babies but I'm not sure they can wait until next spring . Will the fish breed across the different kinds ? Obv I don't know if my pairs are male or female as they are too small. Sorry if this is a Stupid question

Is it safe to buy lots of little fish online? And how do I calculate the right number for the pond? Is it by Square meters of surface or cubic meters of water?

I do want them to be happy. I'm quite surprised at myself, I only got the fish for the kids and now I'm all anxious about them blush

EauRouge Sun 11-May-14 17:22:46

I wouldn't buy any more fish tbh, the fish will populate the pond in no time and it will get pretty crowded if you buy more because there will be even more babies.

All the fish are the same species, the names just refer to the markings- a bit like calling cats tabby, tortoiseshell etc. So they will breed and the babies could be a mixture of the adult colours or might revert to the wild colouring of grey/olive.

What plants have you got so far? Something native like water crowsfoot or water soldier might do better than imports.

How cold is it exactly? Fish don't eat over the winter and only tend to eat more once it starts getting warmer and their metabolism speeds up a bit.

KristinaM Sun 11-May-14 20:32:33

Temperature is about 12 in the day and 8 at night. A few warmer days up to 16 ish. Nothing great for May . If you mean the water temperature, I have no idea. Cold .

Plants -so far just a few grasses in pots. Still have to be planted into bigger baskets. Pond has liner so all plants will be in baskets, except the kind that aren't rooted . I still have to get water lilies. Was advised to wait until weather warms up before bringing delicate plants up to the frozen north wink

It's a formal pond, not a " wildlife " kind with clay bottom and sloping sides. Hopefully will deter heron .

Should I give the fish some plastic toys to hide in?

Won't they take ages to make babies? They are only about 4" long. I'm relieved to hear about the interbreeding. The children are very worried they are all boys.

I'm a bit disappointed to hear I can't get more < sulks>

Thanks for your patience with my questions

EauRouge Mon 12-May-14 06:58:37

Plastic toys would work for now, yes. Ponds take a while to establish and there's no way to rush them because of the cold winters. You could chuck some elodea in there for now so that the fish have some soft plants to hide in.

They will probably breed next spring. They might even breed this spring. They don't need to be fully grown to breed. A female goldfish can lay hundreds of eggs. If you can get a good look then you may be able to tell if you've got males or females. Look at their bottoms- females have an outie, males have an innie. It's not so easy to see that in a pond though, so behaviour is probably a more reliable way to tell. Once it warms up a bit, the males will be the ones chasing and the females will be the ones being chased.

How many more fish were you hoping to get? What are the dimensions of your pond?

KristinaM Mon 12-May-14 13:49:34

Our pond is 4m x 8m and is 850 deep.

I wondered if I could buy a few more smaller ones, as they are much cheaper. Is it safe to but them online or should I go to a local supplier?

Re behaviour -there is definitely one that is more lively and one that likes to go off on his own and hide in a different pot. Am I weird to have noticed this?

EauRouge Mon 12-May-14 13:59:32

You've obviously spent some time watching them grin If he's hiding a lot and avoiding the others then keep an eye on him and make sure he's getting some food. The weaker ones can sometimes get picked on.

Smaller ones will be OK, you might want to wait until it gets a little bit warmer though. I've ordered fish online before and they've been fine. Personally I would only do it if it was a species that I couldn't get in person, so if it's a long, inconvenient journey to the garden centre then ordering online is fine.

I'm guessing the 850 depth is millimetres- how cold does it get there in the winter?

KristinaM Mon 12-May-14 14:35:54

We are inland in the west of Scotland, so not very cold. Last winter we had a thin sheet of ice on the pond in the morning on about 5-6 occasions. It usually melts later . So rarely stayed above freezing for the whole day . This was a mild wet winter though , we had no proper snow or frost

It's more wet and windy here than cold < looks out window sadly >

Yes depth in Mm, I should I just measured and the water level is actually 810mm so 0.81m

KristinaM Thu 21-Aug-14 10:12:25

Just an update -I've plated water lilies , water hawthorn and marginal plants . Also put some oxygenating plants in weighted bunches on the bottom .

The fish seem very happy with the plants and and growing very fast -about 50% bigger in the 3 months since we bought them. The water quality seems good.

The fish don't hide under plant pots any more, as soon as anyone goes near the pond they all swim over and ask for food . They are very sweet , I've got quite attached to them . I talk to them when I feed them. Is this normal ? blush

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