The addition of goldfish to a water garden provides unequalled interest, goldfish care involves more maintenance but they are well worth it.
Goldfish bring an added dimension to a pond
with their bright colors flashing back and forth under the water. Often goldfish can be trained to be hand fed and may crowd around when they anticipate your arrival. In addition goldfish will aid in ridding your pond of mosquito larvae and help to get rid of algae.
Required maintenance for a goldfish pond:
- Regularly test for ammonia and nitrate levels. High nitrate levels sufficate goldfish.
- Maintain the correct water level. When adding city water that contains chlorine always add chlorine remover.
- Aerate the water using a fountain or waterfall. Fish tend to avoid the splashing, but proper oxygenation is utmost in the success of a fish pond.
- Remove debris and leaves before they decompose. Decomposing material depletes the water of oxygen.
- Divide overcrowding plants.
- If your fish population becomes prolific, give some away.
- Feed the correct amount of food - feed only when they are hungry and only as much as they can consume in 10 minutes. Fish food & feeders.
Tips on solving pesky problems associated with goldfish care.
Natural predators include raccoons, possums, herons and egrets.
To help deter raccoons and possums, build the edges so that they do not have a an easy entrance to the pond. Shallow ledges offer a way for the raccoon to wade into the pond, instead build up the sides or build a pond more than 12 inches deep. Raccoons do not like to wade in water more than 6 inches deep. Plant marginal plants further into the pond, placing them on bricks or rocks at the correct depth. Blood meal and fox urine is a natural deterrent for pesky raccoons - available at garden centers.
Birds are not so easy to dissuade from fishing at your pond. Artificial herons placed on the pond will help to ward off live birds. Herons tend to be territorial and will avoid a pond they think has already been occupied, but they are pretty smart so you will have to move the decoy around every few days. Another solution is to place netting over the pond, unfortunately this method is effective, but not very attractive.
Cats are natural predators and may take up fishing in your pond. Cat repellents are effective when placed around the pond, alternately place a layer of chicken wire on the ground - they don't like the feel of it on their paws.
The most effective method of keeping predators away from your fish pond is with a motion sensor sprinkler. Activated when it senses movement near by, the sprinkler sends out a strong jet of water.
Common Goldfish Diseases & Parasites
Many diseases are seasonal. Always consult with your fish supplier before treating fish and follow the manufacturers directions.
Several types of parasites and bacteria occur naturally and are beyond the gardeners control. Although they are always present hey do not create a problem until the fishes immune system has been compromised.
Parasites - Fish Lice, gill flukes, gill maggots and anchor worms are all visible to the human eye. Anchor worm is easily treated. The parasite attaches itself to the fish leaving a tell tale red mark. Remove the parasite with tweezers and treat the wound with topical medication. Others like skin lukes are hard to detect, but cause a grey mucous on the fishes body.
Oxygen Deprivation - Fish gasping for air usually signals oxygen depletion, but may also be a sign of flatworm parasites or nitrate toxicity. Increase the oxygen level of the water by adding fresh water and then test the water for nitrates to rule out flat worm, then treat if necessary.
Bacterial Infections - Signs of bacterial infections include body slime, eye clouding, mouth fungus, tail rot, body sore.
Ich is a common parasite that areas as white dots on the fish, gold fish with ich with rub themselves along the pond sides are swim very quickly. Treat with medication.
Dropsy - A fish that looks bloated, with protruding eyes and scales may be suffering from an internal problem known as dropsy.