Fish add life to your pond with their color, movement, and grace. The size of your pond is an important factor in determining the number of fish that can thrive in it. Overstocking should be avoided since there will be a resulting high amount of waste that is potentially toxic to the pond’s inhabitants. It is best to start with a few ones, since the pond environment is a favorable place for fish to reproduce and grow quickly. As a rule of thumb, allow 1 inch (2 cm) of fish for every 13 gallons (50 liters) of water.
Here are some tips to help you select healthy fish:
- Eyes must be clear
- Fins must not be damaged
- Scales should not be sticking outwards; these should be parallel to the body with no red blotches
- Check the fish for holes, lumps, or ulcerations
- Fish should be active and have normal swimming patterns
- Respiration should be regular and steady
- Check for white spots or white cottony growths on the fins or body that may indicate fungal disease
- Actively feeding
- Gills are red, not discolored, distended, or puffy
- Avoid selecting fish from a group that contains any sick members
Introducing Fish to your Pond
Fish in the hatchery should be conditioned for at least 48 hours in holding facilities with excellent water quality and aeration before collection. The fingerlings are left in these holding units without feed until they are collect, but should not exceed three days.
Conditioning provides time for the fish to empty their digestive tract before being transported. Transporting fish with full stomachs is not advisable for they will defecate and vomit in the container that they are transported in, resulting in poor water quality by increasing ammonia and organic load.
The increasing amount of waste in the water will entail extra levels of oxygen to enable the fish to breakdown food in their gut. This will eventually lead to a more rapid depletion of oxygen levels within the container.
Handling and transporting your fish from the breeder to your pond is a very stressful period for your pond’s soon-to-be inhabitants. Before adding fish to your pond, make sure to treat and condition the water to eliminate chlorine and chloramine which are harmful to fish. Water treatment and conditioning will also help neutralize toxic metal ions. There are also water treatments and conditioners that coat and protect fins and scales that may have been damaged during handling and transport.
Introducing fish to your pond must be done slowly and with great care. Make sure to match the water temperature by floating the bag that contains the fish in the pond before they are released. Since exposure to the sun can quickly raise the temperature in the bag, keep the container in a shaded area of the pond. You can also add a small amount of pond water into the bag to acclimatize your fish.
After 15-20 minutes, you can now release your fish into the pond. If you need to handle the fish, do it minimally using only a soft net.
About the Author:
Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a proud Australian company that provides excellent online aquarium supplies for hobbyists to build their own betta fish tanks, nano tanks, fish ponds, freshwater shrimp tanks and other DIY aquarium tanks.