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FAQs on Pondfish Behavior

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Follow the leader 2    10/15/13
Meant to ask on my previous e-mail. Is it normal for the largest goldfish to be the dominant one?
<More likely just a large moving object that's "fun"/natural to follow>

Re: Follow the leader 2  10/15/13
Thanks for the reply. Yes, that sounds like the situation exactly. It is funny to watch all three follow my big white fish. It is too cute. Thank you.
<Ah, welcome>

3 fish questions, Pantodon repro., Koi color change, Fiddler crab sys. stkg.   1/16/12
Dear WWM
<Aaron>
I got a butterfly fish (freshwater) the other day . recently I noticed a group of bubbles on a bamboo leaf ,the next day there were tons in my tank (bamboo plants and surface) what is going on?
<Pantodon... is a bubble nest builder, spawner...>
 should I get him/her a mate?
<Mmm, up to you. Do see the brief notes here re sexing, reproduction, rearing the young. And elsewhere re raising food/s:
http://animal-world.com/encyclo/fresh/miscellaneous/butterfly.php#Breeding/Reproduction:>
In my outdoor pond (12ft wide 6ft deep)
I had a 2 foot Koi in my pond (I live in MD).he started out orange and white but over 3-4 years he changed to all white to orangish pink to sort of transparent to white with a orangish pink head is this normal?
<Happens... due to genetics, foods/feeding and water quality mostly. Best to not allow such stock to reproduce>
And last I would like to set up a ten gallon vivarium
with 1-2 fiddler crabs . is it okay to put a small fish in the water half?
Like a Betta or something?
<Not generally, no... water quality too variable, crabs too predaceous... Bob Fenner>

Aggressive behaviour in goldfish, pond  7/21/11
Hi
I have recently added a comet, a ghost Koi and a 'canary' goldfish to my 10 by 4 by 3ft depth pond. The original five (a Shubunkin and four goldfish) are chasing the new ones relentlessly. The ghost Koi has taken to hiding but the other two are being 'hounded'. The fish are all of a similar size (3-5 inches). The pond has a filter and a waterfall and is plenty big enough. Could this be breeding behaviour and if so why didn't it occur before the recent additions?
<Is likely reproductive related... though the comet-type gold fish and Koi are too small to be reproducing. And just the introduction "did it">
If it is aggression, will it pass without damage or should I take some action?
<I'd add at least some decor, floating plants, sunken block, brick... to "break up" the environment, give places to get out of view. Do separate the "losers" if they're apparently getting too beat up>
I hope you can advise.
Many thanks
Colin
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

goldfish... Pondfish repro.   6/7/10
Hi
<Paris>
I hope you can help me please. I have a large pond, about 1000 litres.
<Mmm, not all that large...>
I have around forty fish,
<?!>
two of which are Koi, one I have had about 5 years and the other I have had about 1 year. My original goldfish I have had around 4/5 years and the rest have bred in the pond over the last couple of years. My current problem is that today one of the goldfish, a pond bred one of approx 3/4 years, has been pursued by about 5 of the fish, including the big Koi and is exhausted and appears to have some damage to its scales.
<"Spring has sprung"... reproductive behavior... the "combatants" need to be separated... likely the pursued (female) placed elsewhere>
I have removed it to a small tank and put some medicine into the water.
It is only a small tank. Am I doing the right thing?
<Mmm, yes>
Do you have any suggestions what to do in this situation?
<Monitor water quality, consider "thinning the herd" here... You have too much fish life (unless all are very small) in this volume. Bob Fenner>
Thank you Maggie

Goldfish Puzzle 8/15/09
I have 5 regular goldfish (about 4") in a 150 gal. outdoor pond.
One of the fish is turning gray over about 70% of its body.
<Sometimes goldfish do this...>
I segregated the fish into a 5 gal bucket with aeration and treated with a Fungus Eliminator.
<Of no use here>
After 2 weeks, the problem is not improving. The fish seems healthy otherwise.
The other fish show no symptoms.
Any ideas on treatment?
Scot
<Lots and none... this is a genetic/developmental change... may become golden again or not. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish Puzzle   8/18/09

Thanks Bob.
<Welcome Scot>
So it is OK to return the fish to the pond? (No danger to other fish)
Scot
<Yes. Absolutely fine. Cheers, BobF> 

Pond Fish Very Strange Behaviour -- 06/30/09
Great site btw.
<<We thank you>>
I have been looking for answers to a very recent and very odd behavior of my pond fish (2 Koi and 8 goldfish).
Background
Pond is approximately 3' x 6' and 2.5' deep w/1 ledge.
<<So, about 336 gallons'¦ and much too small for the Koi, ultimately. These large and messy fish will need some 4-5 times this volume, in my opinion>>
Pond has a bio-filter, and a UV-Filter. Pond is 3 years mature, as are the fish (outside year-round) No new fish in years, nor new plants in over a month. Until now - the fish have always been very active and healthy - all of them.
<<Then what has changed? Or maybe 'they are just 'outgrowing' the pond'¦>>
They are fed high quality floating pellets - generally twice a day - enough for less than 1 minute of eating. (They used to eat like they were ravenous) They also eat the floating pond greenery (though not as fast as it multiplies) The fish as of this last week have almost all started congregating around the base of my bio-filter fountain shaft - essentially all touching the shaft (or very close to it) with their noses.
<<Hmm'¦a clue perhaps>>
They are no longer swimming around aggressively as they had always done.
<<More clues>>
If I startle them, they will dart away and swim around, but will then return back to the fountain shaft.
<<Something about this location'¦ Water temperature and/or oxygen content I imagine>>
The only change that comes to mind is that I had another fountain/water spitter ornamental unit that actually shot water into the pond
<<Had? As in there is nothing agitating the water's surface now?>>
(the Bio Filter fountain is missing the top so the water just rolls down it). I have no idea why the fish are suddenly acting this way and I fear there is something terribly wrong that is not showing up in pH, Ammonia, or Nitrate tests.
Any guidance or next possible steps I should take are greatly appreciated!
Steps taken so far.
1) 20% water change
2) Added some diluted Aquarium salt at that time
3) Siphoned the water from the bottom of the pond (to remove sludge)
Here is a picture of what the fish are doing (reduced to 400k as noted in guidelines)
[cid:image002.jpg@01C9F950.713701A0]
- Marty van den Bosch
<<Well Marty, the picture doesn't show me much which is maybe telling enough as I see no evidence of any water movement. You didn't state your geographic location but I'm still guessing the weather/water is warming up quite well about now'¦and with the loss of the spitter and your description of diminished appetite and lethargic behavior, I think your fishes are suffering from oxygen depletion. Add a small pump and fountain or another spitter to get some surface agitation going and see if your fishes don't perk up. I find the 'bell' type fountains work very well for small ponds such as yours to well oxygenate the water without creating a lot of splash-out. EricR>>

Re: Pond Fish Very Strange Behaviour -- 07/01/09
Thank you for the prompt response.
<<Quite welcome Marty>>
- Water surface agitation was definitely affected by the temporary loss of the one spurter. There is some agitation from the Bio Filter tube, and the hose that was connected to the fountain, but very little compared to before. The Bio also blasts out a stream under the surface to create a small current - but does not impact surface to bring down air.
<<This is helpful for distribution, but something to agitate the surface of the water to expedite gas exchange is really needed here. The very high oxygen requirements of these fishes, the small size/volume of the pond, and the warming weather all deem this necessary>>
I will get a replacement in place today. I will check out the Bell types from the local store.
<<Excellent>>
As for your other notes: I live in Vancouver Canada.
<<Ah! I would have guessed the UK from your spelling (I lived in Ipswich/East Anglia for 3 ½ years)>>
- The weather was very hot last month (for here) but this week has been cooler (70F +/-)
<<Mmm'¦ I can only dream of highs in the 70s for now. But I shouldn't complain, I do like the very long warm season here in SC (I've even managed to keep some of the zone-9 pond plants year-round)>>
Yes, the pond will become too small as the Koi get larger (even w/ Bio and UV) - I am building a much larger pond but am working out a design for predator protection (Herons and Raccoons are plenty here).
<<Ah yes'¦I too have Heron and Raccoon problems and can sympathize>>
Right now the Koi are about 8~9", and the Goldfish are about 5~6".
<<Nice, but also quite large for this pond>>
Thank you for your advice.
<<I hope it helps>>
I will let you know how it turns out.
Martinus van den Bosch
<<Please do mate'¦ Eric Russell>>

R2: Pond Fish Very Strange Behaviour -- 07/03/09
I added a Laguna 900 with Bell fountain attachment.
<<Very good>>
I was able to add the 2nd attachment to the one missing from my Bio-Filter (bonus). I also added an air pump and air stone (down 2ft).
<<A very worthy addition>>
The fish are back to their manic aggressive happiness.
<<Ah, excellent! So good to know this took care of the problem>>
Thank you for your help!
Martinus van den Bosch
<<Was my pleasure Marty'¦ Eric Russell>>

Pond fish very strange behaviour.   Again...  7/9/09
Great site btw.
<Thanks,>
I have been looking for answers to a very recent and very odd behavior of my pond fish (2 Koi and 8 goldfish).
Background
Pond is appx 3' x 6' and 2.5' deep w/1 ledge.
Pond has a bio-filter, and a UV-Filter.
Pond is 3 years mature, as are the fish (outside year-round)
No new fish in years, nor new plants in over a month.
Until now - the fish have always been very active and healthy - all of them.
They are fed high quality floating pellets - generally twice a day - enough for less than 1 minute of eating. (They used to eat like they were ravenous)
They also eat the floating pond greenery (though not as fast as it multiplies)
<Indeed!>
The fish as of this last week have almost all started congregating around the base of my bio-filter fountain shaft - essentially all touching the shaft (or very close to it) with their noses. They are no longer swimming around aggressively as they had always done. If I startle them, they will dart away and swim around for a bit, but will then return back to the fountain shaft.
<Hmm... when fish congregate around bubbling or splashing or otherwise strongly circulating areas of water, it's typically because water quality or more specifically oxygen concentration isn't sufficient. It's possible that during the summer your pond is suffering from an oxygen crisis of some sort, and the fish are compensating for this by finding the patch of water with the most oxygen. Typically, that's the surface layer or water, but it can also be around anything that mixes air and water.>
The only change that comes to mind in the past month is that I had another fountain/water spitter ornamental unit that actually shot water into the pond (the Bio Filter fountain is missing the top so the water just rolls down it) - which got plugged up late last week, so I removed it for now.
Could it be lack of oxygen?
<Yes.>
I have no idea why the fish are suddenly acting this way and I fear there is something terribly wrong that is not showing up in Ph, Ammonia, or Nitrate tests.
<If there's a lack of oxygen, biological filtration often suffers, but during the summer, plants absorb ammonia directly, so a spike in ammonia might not be obvious.>
Any guidance or next possible steps I should take are greatly appreciated!
Steps taken so far
1) 20% water change
2) Added some diluted Aquarium salt at that time
3) Siphoned the water from the bottom of the pond (to remove sludge)
Here is a picture of what the fish are doing (reduced to 400k as noted in guidelines)
Marty
<Would perhaps concentrate on clearing out the pond: removing sludge, cleaning any filter inlets and outlets, checking the biological media isn't all bunged up with sludge. I'd also look to see if the pond wasn't also overstocked; your pond is about 45 cubic feet, or about 336 US gallons.
That's not a huge amount for a pond, a Koi carp especially can use up an awful lot of space, and a common minimum allowance is over 500 gallons per Koi. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Pond fish very strange behaviour. 7/9/09
Thank you for your response, however another gentleman from your company <Not a company, just like-minded volunteers...>
had already replied the other week.
<Oh, I see. I wonder how the message got into my Inbox then?>
Yes, it was lack of oxygen - I added an aerator, bell fountain, and cleaned up the biofilter - all is well now
<Very good.>
Marty
<Cheers, Neale.>

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon
 

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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