Stocking the Garden Pond with Fish
Stocking the Pond
It is as well to leave a newly planted pool for about three weeks before introducing fish. Once the plants are established they will not be affected by fish feeding off them, but if the fish are introduced at the same time as the plants, then the plants may not get enough time to settle down. Provided you follow this advice do not worry about the appearance of the pool. You are aiming at a properly balanced pool, and once you have the pond stocked with the right types of plants and fish in the right quantities, problems such as algae and green water should disappear. It should never be necessary to change the water of a healthy pool.
When it comes to working out how many fish a pond will hold, there is a simple rule of thumb: allow one square foot of water for every two inches of fish. Thus a pool of 9 feet by 6 feet (equals fifty-four square feet) might accommodate 108 inches of fish; 27 fishes each four inches long. Obviously the fish will not only breed but will grow in length, and a pool of these dimensions eighteen inches deep will hold at least three times that number of fish. However, it is best to start on the low side to avoid the dangers of overstocking.
Make your selection according to your own taste, but avoid at all costs including catfish, perch or pike and other predators, or ‘tiddlers’ from local ponds which may carry diseases, and which can turn out to be monsters.
When buying fish do not put them straight into the pool from the container, as the violent temperature change could kill them. Lay the container in the water for an hour and then make the changeover. Avoid overfeeding. Hardly feed at all in cold weather. Do not smash ice on the pond with a hammer, the shock waves could concuss the fish. Keep the water open by leaving a plastic ball floating on the surface: when the water freezes, lift off the ball and bail out enough water to leave an air-space between the ice and the water. Then replace the ball. Alternatively use a thermostat heater worked from the mains, which will keep the pond at an even temperature without ice completely covering the pool. Cover the pool in autumn with a wire frame to keep leaves from falling in.
Goldfish is the name given to selected strains of fish of gold or similar colour. Apart from the true red-gold ‘goldfish’ many fancy-colour strains such as black, red, silver, or yellow have also been selected. Shubunkins are related to goldfish but have non-shiny scales and come in a very varied range of colours including mottled combinations. Other types include comets (long tails),’ nymphs (round bodies) and calicos (fantails). Other fish which it is safe to introduce include golden and silver orfe, golden and silver rudd and tench.
Goldfish and other ornamental fish are not purely decorative in that they contribute to the health of the pool by scavenging. However, it would not do any harm to introduce a few water snails, say a couple of dozen for a new pool. A pool which has accumulated a fair amount of muck on the bottom is the ideal place for tench, which feed on scraps that fall to the bottom. Once introduced, the tench are never seen near the surface again.
Water lily‘Aviator Pring,’ one of the more stunning double yellow water . Water lilies need water a minimum of 15 ins deep to flourish and come in a variety of colours including whites, pinks and deep reds