Pond fish are some of the most entertaining and exciting additions to any pond landscape. No matter how beautiful your pond may be, it is only enhanced when you have the ability to enjoy the spectacular colors and amusing antics of your own fish. There are many different types of fish that can be incorporated into your pond and stocking your pond begins with carefully considering your options and making sure you know how to properly care for your fish once you choose them.
Types of Fish for Your Pond
The most popular pond fish are the koi. Koi are large and brightly colored and, when treated with proper pond fish care, can live for a very long time, which makes them the ideal pet. There are several types of koi that grow to varying sizes, from 10” to over 24” in length.
The size of your pond will dictate the size of the fish as the larger the fish, the more water space it needs. If you have a large enough pond, then larger koi and other jumbo fish will fit in nicely; for smaller ponds, you may need to downsize your choice.
Aside from koi, there are many other pond fish to choose from, starting with the traditional goldfish that you would routinely see in indoor tanks. These little guys are surprisingly hardy. They can even overwinter in your pond provided it has the proper ventilation and doesn’t freeze solid, which means they can even withstand the winters of the Albany, Saratoga and Schenectady area. Because they are relatively low maintenance, they are a particularly good starter fish for the novice pond owner.
But your fish selection doesn’t stop there. There are many types of fish that can add life and sparkle to your pond, including shubunkins, sarassas, orfes and even catfish. Shubunkins and sarassas are more exotic types of goldfish, with exquisite coloring and elegant tails. They both tend to be a bit smaller than your average koi, which can be an advantage when it comes to pond fish care.
Orfes come from Europe, where they are usually found in the Danube River. They are a metallic orange color, which helps them stand out when they catch the glint of the sun. That same quality can help them draw other fish to the surface of the water, as they tend to swim near the surface most of the time. Catfish are one of the more striking types of pond fish, but they can also be problematic. They grow far larger than most fish and the larger they get, the more they eat, including other fish, so you’ll want to exercise caution when it comes to adding this fish to your pond.
Of course, choosing your fish is only the first step. Once you have populated your pond, you’ll need to pay particular attention to pond fish care. Keeping your fish happy and healthy is an ongoing process, but one that has obvious benefits both for you and your finned friends. As such it’s important to be diligent about it. Fish need the proper amount of water, regular feeding and a safe and healthy environment in which to grow and thrive.
Introducing Fish to Your Pond
Before choosing any fish, you should be careful to find out how large it will grow so that you can determine if it will be suitable for your pond and how many you should get. Once you’ve chosen your pond fish, you’ll need to carefully introduce them to the pond water to avoid shocking their system. Make sure your pond water is dechlorinated and is close in temperature to the water in the fish’s transport bag to aid in this process.
Once your fish is in the pond, don’t be surprised if it disappears from sight for a while. Fish will instinctively look for a place to hide when first introduced to a new environment. This is perfectly natural and in fact, one of the most common suggestions in terms of pond fish care is to make sure you add rocks and water plants to give fish a place to hide. Not only will this help them feel less stressed, but it will also give them a place to take shelter from the heat of the sun.
After your pond fish has gotten used to his new home, he’ll eventually come out and begin to explore. He’ll also come looking for food, which you should provide on a regular basis. However, you need to be careful not to overfeed as excess food left in the water can decay and promote the spread of algae. Only give your fish as much food as they can eat in about 2-3 minutes. And remember to stop feeding entirely once the water temperature dips below 50 degrees F, as fish won’t need to eat in the cold weather.
Food and water aren’t the only essentials for pond fish care. You’ll also want to have some supplies on hand to help regulate the environment. A thermometer will help you maintain the proper water temperature; salt reduces stress and prevents parasites by restoring the fish’s slimy protective coating; adding beneficial bacteria helps to maintain a healthy bacterial balance; and detoxifier can help to remove chlorine, ammonia and other substances that can be harmful to fish.
Adding fish to your pond can be a fun experience for everyone in the family, but it requires careful thought and proper care. If you take care of your fish properly, you’ll be able to enjoy them for many years to come, and they’ll truly make your pond the highlight of your backyard.
Consider bringing your pond to life with the addition of colorful koi and other fish and discover the true joy of pond ownership. Let the experts at Decker’s Pondscapes help with your next fish selection.