The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Community => Coffee Lounge => Topic started by: tommytink on December 04, 2018, 04:19:37 pm

Title: Inherited fish
Post by: tommytink on December 04, 2018, 04:19:37 pm
I have recently completed and moved into my smallholding. I know nothing about nothing about animals (except my dog!) at the moment, and am feeling very overwhelmed and worried (especially as there is a large amount of land that seemed a good idea at the time!) So please excuse what is probably a stupid question.

I have inherited three goldfish in a small raised patio pond. The previous owner left notes regarding the place and for the fish said give them a small pinch of flakes once a day but not to worry too much if missed.

I have looked on the tub of flakes and it says feed 2-3 times a day, as much as your fish can eat in a few minutes. It appears to be normal fish food like you would use for cold water fish in an aquarium indoors.

Do outdoor fish eat the same as indoor fish? Or do they eat algae etc in the pond and that's why the previous owner said only a small pinch a day?

They also left a "weekend" tablet. I used that this weekend just gone - chucked a few flakes and the tablet in on Friday, and was back Monday, and the fish were still alive. So I guess that was okay, even though the box on the weekend food again seemed more related to an aquarium as it referenced tank size.

Can someone just confirm whether that food is right, and the amount you'd expect to feed?

Thanks.

Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: Fleecewife on December 04, 2018, 04:47:21 pm
You don't say how big the pond is.  As we're getting towards winter, fish eat less with dropping temperatures.  The advice we go by is not to feed at all if your pond water is below 6C as the fish can't digest food even if they take it.  We have mixed koi carp and goldfish (although I can't tell the difference!) and in summer we feed the Koi pond pellets, and in the winter they get wheatgerm mini pellets (easier to digest).  In the summer with long days we feed them up to 5 times a day if they come asking, but as the days get shorter it goes down to once then not at all. Your fish are used to flakes so carry on with those then perhaps introduce something a bit bigger in the summer.
I would worry about your pond freezing solid, depending on where you are and the size of the pond.  Our pond is about 2 1/2 feet deep with a surface area of about 150 sq ft and it has only once frozen solid, when loads of toads were frozen to death.  Last winter half our fish died, but it was cold and the winter was longer than usual almost everywhere. Also we were unable to keep a hole open for oxygen exchange and we felt a pump would just bring warmer water to the top so freeze faster.
I wouldn't agonise over exactly how much to feed your fish, rather work out how you are going to protect them in winter.  There is plenty of info online and in books.  You could even get a large indoor cold water tank for them over winter - that may be safest.
Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: fsmnutter on December 04, 2018, 08:43:21 pm
Over feeding fish usually causes more problems than under feeding as it can lead to constipation or water quality problems if the filters in place (this includes the natural filter provided by the good bacteria that accumulate at the bottom of a tank/ pond as well as any man-made filters) aren't able to cope with the excess material.
I always fed my tank fish no more than once a day and fairly frequently only every other day.
Hope that helps
Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: doganjo on December 04, 2018, 10:02:58 pm
I agree with Fleecewife regarding the pond being above ground.  I wonder if the previous owner had more fish and these three are the only surviving ones.  You don't say what size the pond is but three isn't many. 

I had an above ground pond at my last house and I checked it every day  if it was very cold.  I had quite a bit of mud and vegetation at the bottom of it that the goldfish could snuggle down into in winter, but I still lost some when the temperature dropped down to minus 10 C (north of Aberdeen it gets really cold  :gloomy: and was sometimes lower than that!) 

Once a day is fine for feeding just now as FSM says overfeeding causes problems, and less if the temperature drops.

Good luck - I love my indoor tank with tropicals and i'm thinking of sorting out my outside one if I can get someone to dig it further into the ground  :innocent:
Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: Mad Goatwoman of Madeley on December 05, 2018, 11:24:07 pm
Not tried it but I've read that putting a soft plastic ball or tennis ball  in the pond in winter helps with keeping oxygen levels up. Just remove it each morning to leave an opening.
Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: pgkevet on December 06, 2018, 07:30:06 am
Location regarding likely temperatures and volume of the pond are the basic starting points... then size of the fish. Options include bringing indoors (as suggested), letting them take their chances, rehoming or perhaps simply adding a small heater - where running costs depend on size and position.
My small farm has three large ponds.. the original farm duckpond and then 2 newer ones created as part of the reedbed sewage system predecessors put in. Those were also stocked with fish but the reality of trying to control and maintain the assorted invasive water plants meant that netting the pond wasn't practical and slowly fish numbers have dwindled mostly down to heron fishing. The aerating pump and cascade keep the area below the cascade free of ice in the worst winters and there was enough pond life that fish never needed feeding but frankly the whole system is a PITA and V and I cannot keep on top of it pulling out rafts of vegetation every few weeks.
Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: Possum on December 07, 2018, 10:12:05 am
I also inherited three goldfish when we moved into our smallholding. The pond was a small water tank that was probably taken out of someone's loft. Just over 3 ft long and 18 in wide and sunk into the ground. What amazed me was that the house had been uninhabited for 18 months and so no-one had been feeding the fish for all that time. I spoke to the lady who had been keeping an eye on the house and she hadn't know that there were fish in the pond.


There was a lot of mud and vegetation in the pond which might have provided food for the fish. But if they survived for that long without any additional  feeding you probably don't need to worry if you miss a few days.



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Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: tommytink on December 15, 2018, 03:22:33 pm
I would say it's roughly 3 feet high and the same across but in an oval shape. The fish are probably about 10cm long? It's hard to tell actually how deep it is - I keep meaning to dip a stick in and see. Also to check what plants there are if any. I think there are some. Moving in when it's dark and wet all the time makes it difficult! 

I'm situated in a valley so the hills are quite steep. The pond is in front of earth so protected from that side. I don't imagine the whole thing would freeze. There are two plastic balls in there so assume this is for the reason Mad Goatwoman has mentioned.

I am feeding every other day now. The other day I put flakes in and they weren't interested. Can you get little thermometers for ponds?

Amazing your fish survived Possum! I would imagine there would be some sort of organic food in a pond but 18 months is a long time!
Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: pgkevet on December 15, 2018, 03:40:37 pm
Pond thermometers and pond heaters available.. ebay for instance.
Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: Fleecewife on December 15, 2018, 03:47:25 pm
Pond thermometers and pond heaters available.. ebay for instance.


....and for not much more you can get them so the readout is indoors  :thumbsup:   They don't work below zero, but you only need to know if the temp is above 6deg for feeding, or getting too hot in summer.
Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: arobwk on December 15, 2018, 04:13:38 pm
"Cold-water" fish really quite resiliant to low-feeding regimes.  Example:  3 yrs into a gardening commission, a tell-tale surface-ripple finally identified existence of a black gold-fish in a 3x2' over-grown granite trough.  So that would be at least 4 yrs without human intervention on the feeding front!
(Unfortunately, the black moor comet seems to have been predated or has died since it's discovery.)
Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: Possum on December 16, 2018, 09:13:00 pm
OK. That beats my 18 months. Can anyone raise that? :)
Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: tommytink on December 23, 2018, 02:04:37 pm
Wow - four years, that's amazing! I said to my husband surely there is organic matter from plants and algae etc that fish can feed on and he didn't think so. But it must be something like this keeping them going. A bit sad they sometimes get forgotten about though.

My three are still surviving. I'm feeding every other day now but sometimes they don't seem too bothered. If I catch sight of them hanging around the surface I take that as a cue that they're after something. I'll pick up a pond thermometer - and the rule with it is if it's below six degrees don't feed?

There appears to be a couple of square areas where plants might have been at one point. We've spotted two or three snails in there too. Once summer comes I'll give it all a good clean out and put some new vegetation in there. Hard to do anything at the moment as it's just so wet all the time!
Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: doganjo on December 24, 2018, 05:20:45 pm
. Once summer comes I'll give it all a good clean out and put some new vegetation in there. Hard to do anything at the moment as it's just so wet all the time!
You'll probably kill them with kindness  :roflanim:
Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: Buttermilk on December 25, 2018, 06:09:30 pm
They probaby gorge in midge larvae in summer.
Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: tommytink on December 31, 2018, 12:29:34 pm
Pond thermometer now on order! Will be interesting to see how cold it is. I think it's been an extrememly mild winter so far. I keep lighting the log burner at night but really don't need to!
Title: Re: Inherited fish
Post by: doganjo on December 31, 2018, 10:14:24 pm
Yes I've had the log burner on too, but I've heard big snow is on the way so no more till then.  :innocent: