People have many questions when choosing fish. Below are the answers to some of the most common.
How many fish can I put in my pond?
To determine the stocking capability of a pond you need know the available surface area of the pond.
To calculate the surface area is simply length x width = square surface area, for example a pond which is 10ft long x 5ft wide has a surface area of 50 square feet. If you prefer metric the calculation is the same but in metres.
When introducing fish into a new pond you should allow a maximum of 1 inch of fish per square foot, or 25cm of fish per square metre.
Once a pond has matured (around three years) you can gradually double the stocking level to 2 inches or 50cm, never add large quantities of new fish at the same time and allow for the size that they will eventually attain.
Please remember that these figures are based on a good healthy pond. It is possible to increase the stocking capacity with additional aeration and items such as fluid bed filters but should they go wrong (for example a power failure) your fish are at risk.
Small water features and self-contained units are not normally suitable homes for fish.
What types of fish can I keep in my pond?
Only species, which can handle the temperature range of your region, should be put into your pond.
Do not put fish obtained from the wild into the pond, as these will most likely introduce unnecessary diseases (also do not dispose of unwanted fish into our natural waterways as this can have a devastating effect on the indigenous wildlife).
You should keep to the pond fish that you see at your local suppliers such as goldfish, comets, koi and orfe. Fish seen kept in glass aquariums are usually in there because they need warmer water and should not be put into your pond.
Certain varieties of fancy goldfish (large wobbling ones for example) do not do well in a pond as they cannot compete against faster fish for food.
What do I look for in a fish retailer?
When you first walk into a fish-retailing outlet your natural instinct should give you a feeling of professionalism and experience, watch how other customers are being treated and advised.
Take a close look into the fish vats, do you see dead, sick or otherwise unhealthy fish. You may see, vats that are marked up as quarantine, but these are good because all fish should be quarantined before sale to the public.
All fish should be gently netted and placed into a clear plastic bag which should be 2/3 filled with oxygen injected from a cylinder into the bag and this bag should be placed into a darker bag so that the fish cannot see out. Larger fish should then be placed into a polystyrene box.
If you are dissatisfied then do not take the risk of introducing infected fish into your pond and go elsewhere. On the other hand if you are pleased with what you see then do not be afraid to ask the shop assistant for advise even if you feel embarrassed to do so (when they first took an interest in fish they probably didn’t not know the answer either).
How do I choose good healthy fish?
The main things to look for when choosing fish for your pond are signs of poor health.
A good healthy fish will have a healthy sheen to its body and will have good bright colours with gills that are blood red when viewed.
Avoid buying fish that have any one of the following faults.
Also avoid any fish that tend not to swim with the rest or hide on the base of the vat. If you are lucky enough to see the fish being fed, unhealthy fish will be slow at coming up for food.
Once you have purchased your fish avoid knocking or shaking the bag about unnecessarily and if putting them in a car do not expose them to excessive heat such as direct sunlight.
How do I put my new fish into my pond?
As soon as you get your new fish home remove the outer packaging and float the unopened plastic bag containing the fish in the pond for around twenty minutes, this allows the water within the bag to reach the same temperature as that of the pond water.
Then open the bag and introduce an equal amount of the pond water into the bag, this is to let the fish get used to the different water chemistry of your pond (drastic changes in PH etc, could kill your new fish). Leave the fish in the bag for another five or ten minutes before releasing them into the pond, and if possible avoid introducing too much of the bags water into the pond.
Do not feed for twenty-four hours after introducing new fish.