|Selecting and Adding Fish
Get a fish you LIKE!! If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. Don't start with feeder goldfish or cheap, ugly koi.
Why? Because if they don't die within the first week you have them (and they most likely will), you will NEVER kill them, and
what's more, they will BREED!! Besides, feeder goldfish aren't MEANT to live very long. They are meant to feed to something
else, like a bigger fish or a frat boy. They are raised in a very poor environment, so if you throw a dozen in your pond and
half of them die, you don't know if it's something you did or if they were terminally ill to begin with.
Koi and goldfish like company, so start with just a couple of fish and work your way up after 6 or 8 weeks. It is better to start
with small, quality fish than big, ugly ones. Like I said, you will never kill an ugly one. Just assume you are going to do
everything right and these fish are going to grow to their full size in your pond.
Pick healthy fish from a healthy tank. When choosing a koi or goldfish for your pond, you should look for active, healthy fish.
I use the term "active" here loosly. Koi do not typically dart about, but they should be responsive to your presence when you
lean over the tank. Don't even THINK about getting a fish that is gasping at the surface, lying on it's side at the bottom, has
open wounds or torn fins. Oh yeah, and don't buy the only "healthy" fish in the tank either! If the other fish in the tank
appear to have something that is making them act funky, move on. In most cases, the tank of fish you are selecting from have
been through a lot of stress already, what with shipping from the breeder to the wholesaler to the distributor to the retailer.
They have been in an overcrowded environment, they have not been fed during the shipping process, and they have been
chased around with net after net after net. (I'm getting tired just thinking about it!)
Whether you are selecting koi or goldfish, you should keep in mind that these fish will be viewed from the TOP in your pond.
If the display tank is a glass aquarium, and you are viewing the fish from the side, lift up the lid and look down at the fish.
This is how you will see the fish in your pond. Check and make sure it has all of it's fins: one dorsal (top), one caudial (tail),
two pectoral (side), two ventral (below) and two (or one, depending on variety) anal (under tail). Yes, you CAN buy a fish
with missing fins if you want to, just be aware that this particular fish might have problems keeping up with the rest of the
class when feeding, so you will have to be extra careful to make sure they get enough to eat.
ALWAYS treat your new pond water with AmQuel or another product that will bind any chloramines (chlorine and ammonia)
from the water. I have never (never say never?) lost a fish in a new pond that I have installed because I always treat the
water. More koi and goldfish are killed by ammonia than anything else, so do yourself and your new pets a favor and invest in
some AmQuel. Removing the chlorine alone is not enough. Get something that removes, or more accurately, BINDS, both.
Here are some general tips that you should follow when selecting and adding fish to your
pond. These general tips apply to whatever type of fish you ultimately decide to select (koi
or goldfish), and even if you don't follow every tip, you should at least be familiar with them.
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When bagging your fish to transport home, be sure there is only enough water in the bag to cover the fish. More than that is
just unneccessary and will take up valuable air space. Typically, pet stores will bag your fish by trapping air in the bag. This
air doesn't contain very much oxygen, which the fish needs to survive to journey home. A fish bagged in air will last about 2
hours before it suffocates. A fish properly bagged in pure O2 can live for up to 3 days in the bag! So you can see, the "air"
part of the bag is more important than the "water" part of the bag.
If you are not able to quarantine your new fish, I suggest a salt dip. To do a salt dip you will need the following: Three
fish-safe tubs or buckets, Morton NON-iodized salt, and pond water. Fill all three tubs with pond water in a shady area.
Then, take the bag with the fish in it and set it in tub #1 for 15 minutes. The fish will have to adjust to two things: 1. Water
temperature, and 2. Water quality. While waiting for the first 15 minutes to tick by, add as much salt to tub #2 as the water
will hold. Stir it around and remove any excess salt that will not dissolve. Back to the bag - when the 15 minutes is up, open
the bag and add some water from tub #1. Roll the top of the bag down and you can release your fish into the pond as
follows: Take your hand and scoop the fish out of the bag (Do NOT use a net!) and set it in tub #2 until it looks distressed or
starts swimming sideways. Scoop it out, again with your hands, and place it in tub #3 until it is swimming normally again.
Finally, scoop it out of tub #3 and place it in your pond. Do this for all of the fish in the bag and DISCARD THE TUB WATER
AFTER USE. This dip method will knock off most parasites before you introduce the fish to your pond. DO NOT add any
water from the transport bag to your pond!! The last thing you need to do is add some new parasite or disease to your pond
by throwing dirty pet store water in it. Get in the habit of doing things right now and you won't be sorry later.
Keep your fish in a cool, dark place until you get it home. IF you're not able to acclimate them into your quarantine tank or
pond as soon as you get home, and IF they are bagged in pure O2, and IF they are reasonably small fish, you can keep them in
the bag over night in a cool dark place, like a cooler in your garage or basement. There has been many a fish show where I
have purchased fish and arrived home in the wee hours, completely exhausted and too tired to put my new babies in their
stock tank. They do just fine over night, as long as they're kept cool, dark, and remain bagged in pure O2.
For more specific information on koi or goldfish, please click on one of the links below, and of course, if you have any
questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.