Keeping goldfish in a pond

Goldfish Ponds Part 7: Adding and keeping goldfish

When you have finally reached the stage where you are ready to add goldfish to your pond, it can be very tempting to rush out and buy a large selection of fish immediately!

However, it’s important to handle the introduction of your goldfish slowly, to avoid placing too much of a strain on the natural ecosystem of the pond, and allow the pond to mature and acclimatize.

Introducing your first fish

  • Start off with just one or two goldfish for your pond, and introduce them to the water gently.
  • When you get your goldfish home from the pet shop or aquarium that supplied them, it’s important to make sure that the water temperature and quality between your pond and the water they have travelled in are equalized gradually.
  • Begin by floating the closed bag that your fish travelled in on the edge of the pond, to allow the water temperature in the bag to adjust.
  • Gradually, add pond water into the bag over the course of an hour or so, to allow your fish to get used to the difference between the pond water and the water they came from.
  • Try to avoid water from the bag itself entering the pond, to reduce the likelihood of introducing any bugs or bacteria that may be present into your pond.
  • When the temperature in the water and the bag have equalized and your fish has had time to get used to the change slowly, use your net to remove the fish from the bag and place them in your pond.
  • Dispose of the water from the bag away from your pond.

General considerations for keeping goldfish outdoors

  • Never overcrowd you pond and always introduce new fish into the pond gradually over time.
  • Keep an eye on the water quality in your pond and how your filtration system is managing the demands placed on it by your fish.
  • Perform partial water changes within the pond on a regular basis to keep the water fresh, but never replace more than a quarter of the pond water at a time.
  • Remember to condition the water as needed with a dechlorinator and other necessary supplements.
  • Feed your fish regularly and ensure that they receive enough appropriate food, but do not overfeed!
  • Keep an eye out for any problems within the pond, such as diseases that may need treatment. Remove any sick or dead fish from the pond as soon as you spot a problem.
  • Keep algae growth under control and ensure that the water is not too nutrient-rich. A sufficient number of appropriate goldfish pond plants can help with this.

Summer care of the goldfish pond

  • In the summer, your fish will tend to be more active and eat more.
  • Make sure that the water level in the pond does not drop too low due to evaporation.
  • If you find that your pond is receiving too much sun during the hottest months, consider adding more surface plants, such as hornwort, or placing some shading over the pond.
  • If your fish appear to be congregating on the surface of the water and gasping for air then they might be suffering from a lack of oxygen within the pond. You should consider altering or adding to your air pumps.

Keeping goldfish outside in winter

  • Goldfish are capable of weathering all but the coldest of weather, and can even manage freezing weather without an issue in most cases.
  • Ensure that you break enough of the surface ice on the pond to allow for oxygenation.
  • If you find that you are going through a particularly prolonged cold snap, you may need to consider adding a heater to your pond to keep the water at a suitable temperature.
  • Never add very hot or boiling water to the pond to raise the temperature or break the ice, as this can shock your fish.
  • Goldfish pond plants will grow more slowly in the cold weather and your fish will also become less active and eat less.

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