Does anyone here raise fish?

canuckistani(5b)March 6, 2009

I'm considering making a small fish pond this summer. Anyone have experience raising hardier fish?

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Natural or plastic?

If your digging one, allow some deep pockets so the fish can hide & get out of the warmer water, and below the thermo plane(?) so they don't freeze. Allow both sun & shade during summer months, and unless you like a real weedy bottom don't add too many aerator plants as they will overtake the shallow edges within 3 years & are hard to get rid of.

Bass do well just about anywhere but you're probably talking something a little more fancy.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 8:42PM
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If you call gold fish "Hardier" then yes, other wise i can't help you. LOL. Well we raised our gold fish in a tank for about five months then just reacently put it in a pond (bathtub) outside. It is doing pretty find. We feed it two worm each day and some pond pellets.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 12:14AM
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I have raised goldfish and koi previously. Do you mean ornamental fish or food fish?

Here are some things I learned that might help. These are just general information. It doesn't sound like you're interested in discussing exact details and measurement on anything right now and I'm not really interested in doing that either :-)

You will need a pond that is deeper than the frost line for them to survive the winter. Here the frost line is at about 3.5', so I will need room under that for the fish to winter, probably about 2' more, at least. Unless you have a huge indoor tank to put them into for the winter, where they will continue to eat and grow. Preformed ponds are usually not deep enough for fish here, in teh Canadian gardening zone 5, which is different than the US zone 5. Dig a hole, buy liner.

How small is the pond? Don't put koi in anything that anyone would call "small". They will grow to 1/5' and more and need lots of space. The general rule for ponds and aquariums is this: One inch of fish, including tail, per gallon of water. If you have an extxremely good filter system and watch the chemicals carefully, making regular changes, etc, you can get away with more fish.

-Unless you are on a well you will always need dechlor. Chloramines do not evaporate and will burn the gills.

-Use an out-of-pond bio filter. The in pond filters don't grow nearly as much bacteria to eat up the ammonia. Persoanlly, I don't think they don't do much of anything, really, other than keep things out of the pump. Almost anything not organic makes a good filter media and fancy terracotta pots make good filter tubs. You can drill holes in them. You can buy bags of clean pure lava rock in the BBQ section of the hardware store for very little - nylon dish or bath scrubbies work well too. Sand and quilt batting are too fine for most out of pond filters. You will have to clean the quilt batting almost daily, but it is a good, temporary way to clear a pond quickly.

-Put in lots of plants to keep the nitrates down.
Cannas will do great in a pond, planted in a big pot of dirt, after they start growing leaves. Line the pot with burlap to keep the dirt inside the pot. Watercress is a great plant for streams and pots. It's a hardy perennial, free from the grocery store. You can eat it in salads and it comes back and blooms every year. Creeping Jenny (also called moneyplant,Lysimachia nummularia) does very well in the water too, planted in the pots to cover them or anywhere else and the fish don't eat it. It's probably the only small plant that your fish won't eat. Underwater oxygenators don't last long. Impatiens from the nursery do well with roots in water instead of dirt. Stick a few in pond pots, stream or waterfall and they won't wilt in the heat. Siberian iris doesn't need to be in dirt in the pond. It will do well bare root with just a big rock on the roots to hold it in place. Use as little dirt in the pond as possible.

-Don't over feed with commercial fish food, just a little once a day. They will eat algae and bugs and plants. Goldfish will not eat people food but love all bugs. Its a great way to dispose of slugs, earwigs, cabbage worms, etc. Mine used to take worms out of my hand. They are very friendly and will get to know your voice. They hide from strangers unless they're very quiet. They have personalities and are curious. I had to cull a big beautiful bully because he would not let anyone else eat and terrorized the whole pond. Once they learn to eat from your hand, you will always have lots of helpers when working in the pond and lots of kisses on your hands :-) It does make it really hard to get any work done with the kiddies always in the way, begging for food.

-You will have lots of little black babies in the fall.

-You can start with larger feeder fish. Pick the ones with white spots and long flowing tails. I once bought 24 thinking I would lose most, I didn't lose many and ended up with lots of beautiful large sarassa longtailed goldfish by the end of the summer. Had to give some away. They will change colour as they grow and all black spots will dissappear.

-Stress: Give them lots of hiding places for protection and sleep. Keep the lights off in the aquarium at night. Goldfish do sleep at night and don't have eyelids. They get stressed when sleep is interrupted, just like everyone else. A stressed fish is a soon to be sick fish. They develope a slime coat that protects them from parasites and diseases, etc. Poor water quality, no food, no sleep, danger, constant movement, etc. will stress the fish. When stressed the slime coat gets thinner or nonexistant and they get sick. Salt is a good cure for most of what will ail a fish. A little salt in the pond is good for them. If you want the recipe for salting the pond, let me know. I think I still have it. It has to be added gradually so as not to kill the bacteria in the filter. Too much salt will kill the plants. Feeder fish are often ignored and not treated well so you should salt the pond and put in some of that blue powder conditioner before bringing them home. You will lose some feeder fish, anyway. Don't put feeder fish in the pond with other fish until you quarantine them in a salted tank for a couple of weeks. Float the bags in the water so it's the same temp as the pond before putting the fish in. Water temperature is very important to goldfish. They get stressed if it reaches 80F and don't get enough oxygen from the water. Under about 55F don't feed them. They start to slow down and don't digest food well and become suseptible to parasites, until the water gets too cold for the parasites. There's a dangerous temp range for them in the fall under 55F. They need lots of shade too. If you don't have good coverage with water lilies yet, you will need to shade it with something else. Loud noises stress fish. Their entire body is an ear drum. Sound/vibration is their greatest and most sensitive sense. This is why you don't tap on the aquarium glass or pound ice to break it.

-Dont use plant food in the pond that contains phosphorous if you want to keep the algae down. Mix your own - mild potassium nitrate (stump remover) - SMALL AMOUNTS - test the nitrates if you do this. Algae is a given, you will never be without any of some kind and a little is good for the pond for filtering the water, for fish food and for hiding and feeding fry.

-Snails can help keep the pond clean and are an interesting addition, but can get out of control quickly.

-Frogs are great but hard to keep in a small garden pond. Large frogs might eat your fish eggs and babies.

I'm sure other ponders will have lots of pearls of wisdom to pass on too.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 8:26AM
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sumac(SE MI)

We have about a 100' x 120' x 10'-14'deep (depending on season) fish pond which is a ground seepage/runnoff type pond with a mix of channel cat, large mouth bass and hibrid blue gill. Also some minnows the first couple of years until they establish. There is a suggested ratio of predator to prey fish and amount for the size of the pond. Ironically, these types of ponds are considered warm water ponds even up here in the North. We started with 2 inch fingerlings and that was about ten years ago. The fish are huge today. Not unusual for someone to catch a 10 inch bluegill, 18 inch bass or 2 foot cat!
I got a wealth of information from a site called pond boss although based in Texas they were a great help planning our northern pond. Another source I used was a book called EARTH PONDS Sourcebook--The Pond Owner's Manual And Resource Guide by TIM MATSON. I also recall getting info from our County Extention Service and Michigan State University.
We use Aqua shade (pond dye) to shade out invasive weeds and hand pull the cattails to keep them in check which is a must or the weeds will totally take over the pond.
The wild life it attracts is another bonus and sometimes not as in the case of muskrats which will damage the integrity of the pond with their tunnels and cause it to leak. So far, with minimal maintenance we have been able to control all this and enjoy our pond.
Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: pond boss

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 3:07PM
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Thanks for all the advice peeps. I was thinking of food fish in a natural pond. There's plenty of water on the property and already a small pond so I thought I could build on it and would like to use a natural approach. I would like to keep it as natural and self sustaining as possible, but also productive in terms of fish. I'll check out that Earth Ponds book.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 4:38PM
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Sorry, I thought you meant ornamental fish. lol!
I would delete my large post on keeping ornamental fish, if I could.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 6:35AM
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Ive got a one acre pond in florida. I dug it in 2001 and once it filled up I put 1000 fingerling catfish! I havent done a whole lot I feed them when i remember about five gallons of floating catfish food but they have gone months without me! I have been able to catch and eat a mess of fish at will since 04-05 and some are 2-3 foot long now! Iwould catch an occasional bass,bream or talapia, in the river here and put it in as well but now im pretty well loaded with fish! And just so you know a an idling bush hog lowered into the water makes an awsome emergency aireator! anything specific you are concerned about?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 8:04PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

The real danger with Chlorine and Chloramine is not that it will burn the gills (in a pool that would certainly happen) but rather that it will kill the bacteria in the pond, and you need those bacteria to perform functions such as metabolism of Ammonium.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 2:31AM
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Lol @ the bush hog! That's cute!

I am planning to put in a natural clay pond, if possible, but would like more aeration without electricity. I have considered a small windmill over one end with a small waterwheel. Has anyone done this? How difficult do you think it would be to set up and build?

It may not be necessary, but I won't know until I get there and like to plan ahead.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 5:30AM
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i started one of these this week. gonna use the excess water on my vegetbalbe garden. already have a huge wormbed set up. see link.

Here is a link that might be useful: catfish in a barrel

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 10:11AM
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I have a 3/4 acre farm pond stocked with large mouth bass, bluegil, a few goldfish from my sister's ornamental pond, fat head minnows and crayfish.

The minnows and the crayfish feed the other fish.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 1:17PM
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Do you eat the crayfish?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 4:58PM
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Swedes do eat crayfish.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 5:31PM
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very interesting thread. Runningtrails your advise for ornamentals was right on the money!! My mother had a pond and she stocked hers with feeder goldfish which turned out to be HUGE fish. I did notice that she kept having these black babies and i was wondering why since all her fish were gold. We thought there was a black fish hiding somewhere that we could not see that kept reproducing. LOL thanks for clearing that up!!

Two things I would like to add is that with any pond you have to make sure you have something to protect the top-an embankment or your pond will overflow with mud

If you have a filter make sure you keep on top of debris falling in the pind as this will clog up your filter.

Cakistani I notice one common theme you have in most of your questions. You want to raise things with minimal care, things that are self sustaining. Now matter what you decide to do there is going to be some work involved!

Just my 2 cents from one peep to another. LOL

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 7:40PM
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I may not be such a scientific genius or "whatever" but the most work i put in to my pond was digging it. It filled itself up, Iput some fish in it and it was cheap. Since then I fish in it mow around it and swim in it. It has otters, ducks that visit a ton of turtles, gators( I have to get them out) I would say its very self sustaining!
It did start too fill in with mud so 100% agreement on the embankment i've built one since. But if Cakistani is
just wanting a fish pond my opinon is it is one of the lowest maintnence items on the farm!

p.s. you shouldnt have an o2 problem but if they ever do start gulping at the top, the bush hog works in short order that wasnt a joke. a man that runs a commercial talapia farm down the road taught me that!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 8:46PM
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I don't eat the crayfish, supposedly the bass do.

Mine is also self sustaining, especially since I had it re-dug. I put in 4 sterile grass carp, one died, and they are now huge compared to the other fish. It's very cool to see them swimming across the pond.

I love having the water and animals that use it, so close to my house. Luckily, the canada geese only visit for a short while every spring.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 1:07PM
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