October 25, 2021

How & When to Add Fish to Your Pond

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Adding Fish to Your Pond

Aquatic friends can literally make your water feature come to life. Koi fish and goldfish add beauty to a water garden and watching them helps people relax. Adding fish to your pond takes a little planning. Here’s what you need to know....

Get the pond ready for fish

No one likes to move into a dirty home, and fish are no exception. Your pond water should have good clarity and be free of toxins like chlorine. For ponds filled with tap water, use a detoxifier to remove these harmful chemicals. It’s also ideal you have a proper filtration system. We like the ecosystem pond approach. A mechanical skimmer helps remove debris and a biological filter uses bacteria to break down waste. Both of these tools will help keep your pond healthy and ready to host fish.

Do the fish-to-water ratio math

Just like the rest of us, fish need some space. Pond fish generally need 10 gallons of water for every inch of their length. Plus, you need to plan for fish to grow. Koi can grow to be more than 20 inches long! So, know the size of your pond and do the math. Too many fish can strain your pond’s delicate ecosystem and stress the fish. If you overstock your pond, Mother Nature will eventually right-size your school of fish – some of your fish will die.

Provide protection for your fish

Sunshine produces vitamin D that can be beneficial for vibrant colors on the scales or skin of fish. But just like humans, fish like to have some protection from the sun, especially in the long, hot afternoons of summer. Aquatic plants like lily pads, lotus, water hyacinth and water lettuce will spread out on the surface of your pond and provide protection from the sun and predators. If you have a shaded pond where sun-loving marginals don’t cover the surface as well, consider adding a fish cave for a cool, protected place for our finned friends to hang. Check out how we install a fish cave.

Purchase fish from a reputable source

Would you like your fish with a side of parasites and bacteria? No! A trustworthy retailer won’t try to sell you fish that are sick. Be on the alert for fish that have a grey film on the skin or that have clamped fins. Learn more about what fish varieties do well in Kansas City ponds.

Introduce fish to their new habitat with care

Temperature changes can shock fish. When you bring new fish home, keep them in their bags (or pour them into a 5 gallon bucket). You want the water the fish are in to become the same temperature as the pond. Set the bags in the pond water for 20 to 30 minutes. Then, you can open the bags and allow the fish to swim freely. This helps your aquatic friends get acclimated to the water temperature without experiencing shock.

Maintain your fish habitat

Fish help sustain the balance of an ecosystem pond. But they do need your help – especially in the winter and when it’s time for spring cleaning. Make sure your pond is well oxygenated in cold weather. And know what maintenance is needed when weather starts to warm up. These steps can help keep your fish happy and healthy for years to come.

Making your dream water garden a reality

If you have questions about an existing pond or want to create a water feature for fish friends, we can help. Good Earth Water Gardens installs, maintains and remodels ecosystem ponds all around Kansas City. Contact us online or give us a call at (816) 720-7577 for more information.

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