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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Trouble Getting Pond Fish to Eat       4/28/14
Hi. I live in Arizona's desert. I have been having difficulty feeding my pond goldfish lately.
<Likely too early in the season. See WWM re Spring Maintenance of ponds>
My pond goldfish are now supposed to be on their floating summer staple diet. But visiting birds are eating it all before they get to it.
<Perhaps sinking pellets instead>
Either that or the fish just are not eating it. They are used to their sinking fall and spring diet. In an attempt to get the fish to eat something, I have temporarily been feeding them sinking API Goldfish food for aquariums until I get in proper pond food. My big white goldfish, Ping-Pong has been eating it , but the others really have not. The API food is low in protein. About 32%.
<Too high...>
Will the aquarium grade food hurt anything in the pond? The other 3 fish I have are hiding and will not come out when I feed them.
I have ordered Omega One Goldfish Small Sinking Pellets of the 3mm size, because they are only 3 inches long and not yet large enough to properly handle large grade food. The company recommends their large pellets for ponds. Should I get the large size, or will the smaller size do for now?
<... likely "smaller">
They just had their pond cleaned last week. Could that have stressed them out to the point of not wanting to eat?
<Oh yes>
Any other suggestions on what to do for them to get them to eat?
<The usual: Reading. Bob Fenner>
They do not seem to like flakes, floating pellets, or peas. Any suggestions or advice would be most appreciated. Thank you.
Re: Trouble Getting Pond Fish to Eat     4/28/14

Thank you so much!
<Welcome. B>
Low Protein Food Recommendations for Goldfish     4/28/14

What brand of low protein sinking food would you recommend for my 4 pond comets?
What brand of low protein sinking food would you recommend for the fancy
redcap Oranda goldfish in my aquarium?
Thank you.
<Just search on the Net re. Am a huge fan of the Hikari line. BobF>

Cheerios As A Food for Fish?     12/18/13
I have stopped feeding my pond goldfish for the winter already. But upon doing a little research, I read Koi enjoy eating honey nut and plain Cheerios, a breakfast cereal. I was wondering, can you also feed Cheerios to goldfish once in a while?
Thank you.
<Not a good idea>
Feeding Pond Goldfish kale?    12/20/13

Can you feed pond goldfish parboiled kale?
Thank you.
<I wouldn't...>
Thank you!     12/20/13

How Long to Go Without Feeding; ponds, winter      12/16/13
I stopped feeding my goldfish a while ago. My 500 gallon pond contains 4 goldfish and no plants. The fish are doing ok so far. But I have one burning question that I can't get a straight answer to. When you stop feeding goldfish for the winter, how long will they survive without food of any kind? A few days? A few weeks? Three months? A year?
Thank you.
<Being ectothermic animals, fish have a metabolic rate (and therefore food requirement) proportional to temperature. Essentially, below 10 degrees C (about 50 F) their metabolism is so slow that their food requirement is almost nil, and they can easily get by on their fat reserves and perhaps nibbling on whatever algae and organic detritus they find in the pond. While they aren't hibernating in the way some mammals do, the basic result is similar. In fact, should you feed Goldfish at temperatures below 10 C, any food they eat might actually rot before it gets digested, and this could cause all sorts of health problems. So the standard advice for overwintering pond fish is not to feed them at all once the water temperature (not air temperature) gets below 10 C, and again in spring not to start feeding until water temperature (not air temperature) is above 10 C. During late autumn and early spring, it's further recommended you use low protein foods if possible, typically wheat germ-based foods, as these seem to work best for reasons we needn't go into here. In any case, the upshot is that in places like the UK where ponds can freeze over for several months, Goldfish have no trouble at all surviving without feeding.
Of course that doesn't mean indoor Goldfish can go without food for so long -- indoor tanks will be much warmer, and consequently indoor Goldfish will have a higher metabolic rate, even in winter, than their outdoor cousins.
One last thing: while Goldfish can go without food for some months during cold winters, they can't go without oxygen. In small ponds especially, consider how oxygen is going to get below the ice. The old school method was to use a floating ball to keep a patch of pond open (look this up online or in books) but more recently electric pond heaters are favoured.
These do not keep the pond warm (that would use huge amounts of electricity!) but they do keep a very small patch ice-free, enough for oxygen to get in. Don't leave the filter or fountain running though -- these prevent ice forming, and during cold winters, that's bad! Once it forms, the thin ice on top of still water helps to trap warmth, and the wintering fish depend upon it. Likewise, don't be tempted to smash ice with a hammer. Hmm... have just realised, Bob will likely have covered much of
this elsewhere...
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pondsubwebindex/pdmaintwint.htm
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: How Long to Go Without Feeding

Thank you!
<Welcome! Neale.>
What Should I Do About Cold Weather and Feeding?     1/3/14

A while back I asked you how long my pond goldfish could go without food. I was told in the Arizona environment I live in, they could go for 2 months without food.
This month would be their second with no food.
But the warmer weather will not be here until March. What should I do from the 27th of January until March? If I feed them, what do I feed, how much do I feed, and how often should I feed?
Thank you.
<Search, read on WWM re pond feeding and temperature, winter maintenance.
BobF>
Pond Goldfish Feeding in Cold Weather     1/4/14

I appreciate the information on your site on feeding pond goldfish. It is very useful information. Especially if you live in areas where the ponds freeze over frequently in winter.
But I could not locate some of the specifics of my questions. Winters in my area, the Arizona desert, can get temperatures into the 30s (F wise not C).
But usually they are in the 50s, sometimes 40s. Water rarely freezes here.
I was told by another source that in my area, the Arizona desert, my goldfish could go 2 months without food. Can they go longer than that in the Arizona desert?
<Yes>
If so, about how many months do you think they can go with no food in the Arizona desert?
<Many... as long as the temp. is below what (clue: mid fifties F.)...>
Also, if I must feed my fish in the winter, in the Arizona desert,  how much and how often should I feed them?
My goldfish's 2 months are about half over now. Any advice on what I should do when their time is up would be helpful. Thank you.
<Don't feed. Is this clear? B>
Re: Pond Goldfish Feeding in Cold Weather    1/4/14

Yes. Thank you. This is my 1st time dealing with goldfish in ponds during the winter. I am very nervous about not feeding them. Thank you for guiding me in the right direction!
<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdmaintwint.htm  
and the linked files above>

Pond Goldfish Feeding      12/4/13
I live in Arizona. I own a 500 gallon pond. I have 4 small comet goldfish in the pond. This is my first winter keeping goldfish in a pond.
The pond temperature has reached below 50 degrees F now consistently. The instructions from other sources I have read say to stop feeding pond goldfish when the temperature gets consistently below 50 F.  The instructions on their food bag say I can feed them their brand of food until the temperature reaches 39 F.
The fish are so small. And Arizona's temperatures tend to fluctuate. The temperatures rarely reach 40-39 F outside.
Should I still be feeding the fish now, or will they be alright now until the spring?
Thank you.
<I would stop; see WWM re. B>
Re: Pond Goldfish Feeding       12/4/13

Thank you so much!
<W>

Multiple Bloated Goldfish   4/5/11
Hi there Bob/Sabrina/WWM Crew in general!
I am helping a neighbor of mine with an issue of multiple goldfish who are bloated.
They are in an outdoor pond, approximately 300 gallons.
I am unsure as to how large the pump is, but I am sure that it could have a better filtration system. It is a submersed box filter with sponges that is run to a fountain. There are 5 Veiltails, 2 Comets, and 1 Koi. The Koi is unaffected so far, as he was a gift from a friend who had to move. The veils and comets are the only fish who seem to be affected. I have read through your site extensively and it seems to be constipation, but from what I can find on your site this issue is in the case of one fish. I am dealing with
multiple fish with the same issue. The reason I believe it is constipation is the HIGH (47%) protein food
<Yikes>
he has been using for who knows how long. But would this affect all of his fish? Or is it some other type of infection?
<It's almost assuredly the food>
I am considering an Epsom salt/water change treatment regimen along with a change to a diet that is lower in protein and higher in fiber. (I keep aquariums, and I have generally found that less is more.) How often should I change a portion of the water, and how much should I change each time?
<I'd change a good quarter a week>
I was thinking every 3 to 4 days, about 50 percent changed each time.
<Mmm, IF you can trust the source water, this should be fine>
I was going to do this for 3 to 4 weeks to see if there was any improvement. If this does not work, I have also read that Kanamycin in their food might be the next best route,
<I'd leave off with antibiotics here>
which, from what I have read and what my local fish store recommended, seems to be the best follow-up in the case the salt treatment is ineffective. Please let me know if you need any more information to help
get these guys back into shape, or whatever else you think the problem(s) might be.
Thank you for your time and help! We really appreciate it!
Mitchell
<The better, more appropriate food (perhaps some Anacharis/Egeria added to the system for a few reasons), and water changes, time going by will "do it" here. Bob Fenner>

Feeding pond goldfish 6/24/09
We have a back yard pond (eighty feet in diameter and 3 feet deep). Several years ago I stocked it with thirty goldfish and they have reproduced rapidly. I now estimate there are between five hundred and one thousand fish. I use a 1/3 HP pump running twelve hours a day to blow the pond water in the air for purification and to oxygenate it.
A large air pump runs at night. I have been feeding them a commercial pellet fish food up until now.
Quite frankly I'm looking for less expensive food for them. I was debating feeding them a fifty-fifty mix of commercial pellets and cracked corn. I'm looking for some input as to whether this is a viable idea and if not I'm open to any suggestions.
<I would not use cracked corn... And for what the electrical cost you're encumbering here, neither an unsuitably "cheap" fish food... Better for you to trade in some of your excess goldfish stock, maybe grow a few simple pond plants to sell as well... to your local fish/pond store in exchange for food. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Not Eating, pond   8/13/07 Hello, <Hi there> I hope you can help. We recently purchased a new home in the Seattle area that has a lovely large koi pond with 7 koi and one gold fish. I've named her Lips because she has a red line along her upper lip. We've been in the house three weeks and up until about 5 days ago, she seemed fine. But she has stopped eating and mostly just sits at the bottom of the pond. She does swim about some, but she stays at the bottom. When I feed the fish, she comes up a little but makes no real move to eat. Up until this behavior began, she ate with the other fish. We've tested the water in the pond for nitrates (0), nitrites (0), ammonia (0), ph is 7.1. I'm not sure how old she is but she is about 8-10 inches long if that helps. Thank you Eilean <Mmm, well... sometimes a lone pondfish will seem to get in a funk... but maybe this one "swallowed a bug" that was not to its liking here... And hopefully will rally in time. If the rest of your fish livestock seem fine, I would just be patient here. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Shrimp/eating pattern, for goldfish, repro...  - 6/25/07 Neale... thanks again for your reply. I witnessed spawning for the first time this morning at 5:30am. At first I thought it was a shark feeding frenzy, then a murder taking place when finally realizing my pond critters were just following Mother Nature's rules. At least I know that Sparky is a girl. Don't know about the rest of them. Pond is now in a bad state of disarray. All I know is that if I were a girl fish... I would definitely keep my leg's crossed! hehehe All I see is murky water, water lily leaves shredded, floating Anacharis and other rooted pond plants floating, bent reeds. Don't really care, just hope all are okay. Even little Shrimp was taking part... the little devil... not too terribly bent for bada bing... obviously. After 4 hours they were all swimming around as if there had been no party... just looking at me thinking "what are you looking at... we didn't do anything!". <Hello Barbi! Goldfish spawning is indeed very vigorous. If the supposedly unwell fish is taking part in the "nuptials", then it's pretty reasonable to assume he's in OK health. Fish only tend to breed when they are healthy and happy. This is especially true with egg laying species.> Shrimp is swimming okay, but isn't quite able to grasp a mouthful of food as everyone else is. It's as if his tail can't quite propel him up enough and he ends up with only a single pellet... sometimes even missing that! I found a website... and you have to enter the entire thing to have it come up. I can't send you a pix of Shrimp 'cause I don't own a digital camera... and if I did I don't know how to use my scanner... really techno-challenged here. But on this site you can see how his tail goes to the side. He is white, pink and orange, however, the only difference. On page 9 of this document is the picture: www.nda.agric.za/docs/AAPS/Articles/Aqua/FishDiseasesandHealth/Koihusb.pdf - whew! <For some reason, this link doesn't work for me. I get the old "The page cannot be found" page.> What do you think about his eating ability. They really aren't too fond of lettuce, or apples. Grapes... sometimes, but not always. <In a pond, you have some latitude, because of algae and pondweed. So provided you have lots of these in the pond, don't worry too much about [a] the green side of their diet or [b] whether all the fish get enough to eat. Koi, like wild carp, will eat algae and pondweed when nothing "meaty" is on offer. It's good for them. So just make sure they have access to greens of some sort, but don't worry too much about precisely what they are.> I'd appreciate anymore insight you may have about this, Neale... I feel as if I've been run over by a steam roller... just feel frustrated. Good thing I am a very persevering woman!!! Regards, Barbi <Ah yes, the joy of keeping animals. You're obviously really concerned about Shrimp, and that's a good thing. But I can't really add anything useful to my analysis without actually seeing the patient. Maybe you can borrow someone's digital camera? In the meantime, see if you can hand feed him, or maybe divide up the food into two or more portions around the pond, so the fish split up. Shrimp will forage on the bottom, so scattering sinking food around the pond might help, by putting food where he can easily get some. The main thing is keep an eye on his condition, check he isn't losing weight, and just get a sense of whether he's basically happy or not. It sounds as if he's happy enough, giving he's spawning. Good luck! Neale.>
Re: Shrimp/eating pattern - 6/25/07
Neale... thanks again for your thoughts and time spent. I tried to sleep in this morning after a restless and fretfilled night but I couldn't. Just learned last night of a problem with my daughter's ankle (she is career USAF stationed at Travis in CA). We were in Tahoe skiing in March and she fractured her ankle. She was told yesterday that the bone isn't healing properly. She doesn't ask lots of questions (like her mom) so I will be on the computer trying to get answers. The military is fraught with inept medical people, and this is her second encounter with them. Good thing I am off for a few days, pending doctor's release... when I tripped at the pond. I can concentrate on that dilemma. <Hello Barbi. Too bad about your daughter. Hope she gets well soon. One of my uncles was a USAF colonel, a chaplain to be precise. Ever been to the Academy out in Colorado Springs? Quite the place. Really amazing church/chapel/synagogue hybrid building. Nice scenery too.> I will attempt to hand feed Shrimp... when the others are off in some other direction... but my heart remains heavy for the little guy. Again, Neale, thank you so very much for the information you've given. It's been wonderful chatting. Barbi <Persevere, and hope for the best. Keep observing. So long as he is feeding and maintains good condition, don't worry too much. Fancy goldfish are mutant "deformed" goldfish and people seem to like them that way... so maybe you've created a new breed! Cheers, Neale>
Re: Shrimp/eating pattern -- 06/27/07
Neale... again -- can't thank you enough. <Not a problem.> As to the "USAF Academy"... no, never had the privilege; however, the commander of her base when she was in Florida wanted to recommend her for a commission and she refused. She refused the offer because she would have to redo boot camp and cut her hair while at the academy. The USAF is the only branch of the military where women don't have to cut their hair as long as they wear it up... off their neck/collar. As hers was then almost to her waist and naturally curly... a real "show stopper"... along with her emerald green eyes, she didn't want to do either of those. <She sounds a babe as well as serving her country. You must be very proud.> Anyway, back to Mr. Shrimp. No one was interested in watermelon this afternoon, but perhaps it was too hot. They were all (including Shrimp) rooting around on the bottom in and out of the Anacharis (presumably for those eggs that Ms. Sparkle dropped yesterday a.m.) so I will try again tonight. It isn't that he doesn't want to eat his pellets... he just can't seem to stay surfaced long enough to get a real mouthful. I'm not more concerned about propulsion for eating purposes than I am about his swimming abilities. That seems to be fine, despite the curve in his tail. His behavior is otherwise right on the money!! <Well, there's only so much that can be diagnosed without a picture or without seeing the fish "in the flesh". On the one hand, bad genes can cause problems other than deformities, and often such fish gradually fade away however good the care. Seen it more than once when breeding fish. On the other hand, provided overall health stays solid you can be fairly sure he's eating algae and other foods in the pond, so even if he only gets the scraps at dinner time, he's otherwise making up his calorie count someplace else.> Neal... I do apologize for being so wordy and not sticking to the facts... but you make it easy for me to stop obsessing about Shrimp. <Heh, heh...> I am getting far behind in my part-time home based business...'cause I am running out back to watch Shrimp at least for 15 minutes every waking hour -- one has to do something interesting and less stressful on their days off, right??? <Tell me about it. I spent Sunday carrying 25 kilo (~50 lb) bags of rock and sand from the garden centre to my house to redo an aquarium I just wasn't pleased with. Boy, talk about backache the next morning!> As always, please accept my sincere appreciation for all your advice and help. Barbi <Happy to help. Good luck, and keep us posted. Cheers, Neale>
Re: Shrimp/eating pattern -- 06/29/07
> G'Day, Neal... Am on duty but just stopped home a bit to pick up some cookies I had in the freezer. I must confess... they are a legend at work. > The neighbors still gawk when the truck is outside the house... you'd think they would have gotten accustomed to my "other vehicle" being big and red!! <OK.> > Back bothering you, eh... well... I hope the pain has subsided by now. A weekend warrior you are? Sooooooo, how would you like to have to wear turnout gear and other paraphernalia that weighs as much as you do... and then have to not only walk, but climb, crawl and perform other job related duties with it on. Not complaining, though... but sometimes when I'm working it feels as if my legs are embedded in cement but I still have to keep going. > Nice to be around the corner, though, so I can cruise past the house and look over everyone at least 3 times a day!! I may have told you this already... really tired this morning... lots of interruptions during the night... mostly because the police use the same radio frequency as we do and for some strange reason they had about 10 times the calls they usually do... and then sat on the radio talking about them. I guess they don't realize that we get to sleep at night unless we are on a call and not drive around eating, talking and laughing. I guess I will have to kick some butt today. > Yeah... right... I'm made fun of when I try to be "macho". Those are the times when I long to be 5'10" and weigh about 180#. Well... not really............... <Heh, heh.> > Anyway... back to "our little guy/girl". Shrimp appeared to do much better when feeding last night. I finally figured out where he likes to "partake" of his food. He swims under the water lilies and bumps them with his nose and waits for the food to roll off. I know he's getting lots more pellets/treats than he was one week ago. No one wants to eat greens or fruit out of my hand yet... yucks... could it be my deodorant!!!??? > (smile). As always, Neale, thank you, thank you. I can feel some of the stress leaving my body each time I see Shrimp get more than a single pellet. > I just pray he isn't in pain or suffering in any way. It doesn't appear so. > I will definitely keep you posted. And again, a most sincere thank you for EVERYTHING... and watch that back! Have you ever used one of those "cold/heat packs" that you apply to various body parts that are aching? > They have them at work and they say they work. Best Regards, Barbi <I'm glad the fish makes you feel good. That's the idea of keeping them! Anyway, the question of whether or not fish feel pain is complex, but the evidence seems to be shifting towards the idea that they do, though perhaps not in quite the same way as "advanced" vertebrates. Be that as it may, animals generally adapt to disabilities remarkably quickly. They don't have a sense of what's optimal, and merely want to stay alive. You've probably seen those 3-legged cats on TV. Animals adapt and simply get on with living rather than worrying about whether they look different. So what I'm saying is that provided the fish is otherwise healthy and clearly acting normally, then you're probably much more bothered by things than he is. I hope this helps! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Shrimp/eating pattern  6/30/07
Again, again and again, Neale... thank you so very much. Your words are very comforting... like a good dish of homemade pasta!!! <Happy to help.> Sorry about the analogy... but just one of the things that makes me feel good. Shrimp didn't seem to be really interested in food last night... or at least didn't make quite the effort to eat as he did tonight. This appears to be a yo-yo thing for him. Is that possible... or gets so hungry that he makes the extra propulsion effort to get grub? <Possible. Or he may simply prefer some of the algae and stuff he's eating in the pond when you aren't around. So long as he isn't losing weight, don't worry too much.> One new thing I noticed... ever since the frenzied spawning I witnessed the other day is that my pond smells a bit "fishy". Again... don't know if I just never noticed it before... or am being paranoid. I've held up handfuls of water and containers of the pond water up to my nose and don't smell it... however, upon entering the backyard seem to smell it. Everything tests good and normal (water quality)... and am wonder if maybe a partial water change is in order. <Well, spawning shouldn't change the smell of the water. Any eggs and milt produced will be diluted to such a massive degree as to be practically undetectable. Water does smell though when allowed to "mature" naturally depending on things like algae and bacteria in the water. Blue-green algae for example has a very distinctive smell, somewhat musty. Water changes are never a bad idea though.> I've never done that, but have an automatic fill valve that turns and adds water when the water gets to a designated level. I add a little "stress coat", to cut the chlorine... but have never done, say, a 10% water change. Do you think that is in order? <I can't recommend adding "raw" water without dechlorinator. Too many fish get sick from the chlorine and chloramine. But before fussing too much with the water in the pond, check the nitrate and nitrite levels to see if they're safe. All things being equal, the natural cycle in a pond should purify the water to some degree, with rainwater diluting the rest.> Or... just a thought... could it have been all those hormones being exuded in the water during spawning... just reaching here... need your expert input. Geez, Neale... it just hit me... your my only e-mail person... I tell everyone not to e-mail me 'cause I don't have the time to sit here... but I guess when it is important... I can. <I think you're over-fussing a little here. Check the water quality, and look for obvious sources of ammonia like dead frogs, rotting vegetation, etc and clean those out instead. Ponds to benefit from that sort of maintenance rather more than water changes. There's even a good argument for stripping down small ponds every few years and giving them a thorough clean.> When my best friend became a vet, I went out on farm calls with her... have delivered calves, kittens and helped her in surgery when my Guinea pig had a ruptured spleen. But.........she knows nothing about critters in the water. I think this is the beginning of a long education... with Koi. I researched Irish Wolfhounds for five years before I got one... perhaps I should have done the same with Koi. My experience with Aquatics has been solely with goldfish and Bettas. Now I need to learn about the Jewels of Japan!!! <Pond fish are generally very low maintenance, especially if the pond is well maintained. I've kept Corydoras in ponds over the summer, in a tiny pond with no filter and just plants. The results were amazing, the fish grew so fast, and within 24 hours of being brought indoors when autumn set in they spawned! Water quality in even a mediocre pond is simply so much better than an aquarium because of the sheer size of the thing, and the diversity of foods on offer far more healthy. It's really the ideal way to keep many fish.> Appreciate hearing your thoughts about my sense of "fishiness". Apparently no one else's nose smells it. Am I daft??? By the way... what does it mean when someone calls you a "cracker"? Whether it is good or bad, please tell me. Thanks. Barbi <A "cracker" is someone or something that is exceptionally good. So if I said about some girl I'd met at a party that "she's a cracker" that would typically mean I thought she was very pretty or had a fun personality. You could also say that something was "cracking", as in, "that was a cracking party last night". HOWEVER, "crackers" means something else, that someone or something is crazy, as in, "she's absolutely crackers", meaning "she's nuts". Finally, "cream crackered" is rhyming slang for "knackered", i.e., tired and worn out. A cream cracker, by the way, is a type of savory biscuit had with cheese. Hope this helps! Neale.>
Re: Shrimp/eating pattern  7/4/07
Dear Neal... well -- number one of importance -- Shrimp's eating patterns are improving. His "MO" appears to be get to the variegated reeds first... and quickly gulp two or three mouthfuls before anyone else does. Then... he stakes out the waterlilies on the left side of the pond and stays under then and nudges them with his nose and manages to "siphon" morsels. Then to the right side of the clump of waterlilies and does the same. Then he goes to the bottom and forages. So... I really think he is doing better, although I am still closely observing. <Hello Barbi! What you're describing sounds very positive. Animals do tend to adapt to disabilities very quickly, providing they aren't too severe. Clearly he's adapted to take algae and invertebrates. Excellent foods for goldfish!> In fact... and an unexpected visit yesterday morning to an Orthopaedic... again tripped on the piece of driftwood near the pond... trying to see if Mr. Shrimp was eating and this time, left knee went down on small riverbed gravel, right knee wasn't so lucky and landed on one of the large flagstones. Doc said if I had been a foot taller the velocity with which I hit the rock would have shattered my kneecap. So... just badly bruised, a bit bloody... and in a "knee stabilizer" for two weeks. I can still work, but will be sitting at a desk or perhaps in Dispatch. Rats, rats, but that's what I get for not staying focused. <Er, perhaps you should remove the driftwood someplace else?> Thx for the into about a "cracker". Vainly, I must say that the word was thrown around quite a bit when I was in London... mostly by Her Majesty's Irish Guards... but no one would tell me what it meant. Oh, well... such is that! <Indeed! Perhaps you should sell your story to the London 'Daily Mirror'...> Neale, I can't thank you enough for all your help and consoling. Your expertise and kindness will ever be appreciated. I'm going to research "water quality" which I hope will help me understand the difference between Ph buffering capacity... and Ph... and how to achieve proper water balance without doing a partial water change. <Researching these things shouldn't be too onerous. Goldfish like hard, alkaline water, which is easy to create. Hard water (if you have that) will serve this function automatically, but if you have soft water, then adding stuff to harden the water is easy. Any calcareous material added to the substrate or filter will do the job.> Quite frankly, it scares me a bit. <No reason to worry. Fishkeeping is basically quite easy if you follow the numbers. People usually have problems because they try to cut corners or skip steps, like keep too many fish in a tank or add the fish too quickly.> But there are so many myths floating around in my area... mostly by vendors wanting to sell pond supplies. Hope to talk to you again, and hope your back is better. Best Wishes, Barbi <In defense of the vendors, the hobby has changed a lot over the years, and the variety of species is massively greater than it was even 20 years ago. The big chain pet stores are often pretty useless because they don't train their staff, but the smaller retailers often have problems because the owner may be good at one aspect, say community tropicals, but inexpert on others, like cichlids or marines. Over the years some products, like tonic salt and carbon, served a good purpose at one time but are now largely redundant, so recommendations can become out of date. So there's a lot of retailers to keep on top of, but many don't quite manage it. At the end of the day you won't go far wrong borrowing or buying a good aquarium book and using that as a guide. Anyway, yes, my back is better, so thanks! Good to talk, and good luck with the fish, Neale.>

My pond goldfish... winter maint. 10/31/05 I am new to this (just built concrete pond this summer). Do they need any food or plants when temperature is in 40s at night?  <Mmm, generally not> Wait until spring to start feeding them? <Yes... till the water is consistently above 55 F.> I have been told there are no plants for the winter for outdoor ponds. True? <In a manner of speaking, yes. Please take a read over our site re Pond Maintenance (particularly seasonal) and feeding. Bob Fenner>

Re: Please eat!!  10/5/05 Hi Bob, <Bob> I have to admit that I was somewhat skeptical that all was well and eventually my "giant fish of concern" would take food when ready, but I did welcome the relief this provided!  Well, low and behold, in three more days (yesterday), she began to do just that! <Ahh!> When I noticed that she began to have more interest in the surface, I tossed her some medicated pellets and she happily (but slowly) gobbled them down and has been taking pellets and peas ever since. (We've recently experienced some above average temperatures over the weekend, which might have helped influence her to end her hunger strike.) I must say that you certainly "hit that nail right on the head" and once again thank you for your expert advice and keen assessment of the situation. <Welcome> Sincerely, Bob F. Tiverton, RI <Bob F. Northkingston, RI, right now in Kailua, HI>

How do I fatten my koi up for winter?  9/3/05 Hello, I'm lacking some knowledge about how to prepare my pond and koi for the winter. I know that i would have to fatten my koi up for the winter, just like squirrels do before the snow comes. How do i do this and what else do i have to do?                                                                                         Thank you! <Mmm, there are a few things to do in anticipation of cool/er weather. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdmaintwint.htm and the linked files above... and for koi nutrition: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfishfeeding.htm An ongoing process... Bob Fenner> Feeding my koi  8/26/05 Mr. Fenner:     I've heard about feeding garlic to koi. Some people even say they just throw in raw garlic! Is it true that I'm allowed, and raw garlic is spicy, how do the fish stand the taste?                                                                                                     Thanks: Jarvis <Mmm, I am of the opinion that feeding fishes garlic is overrated... but, the fresher the better if used... and most fishes have very limited "taste" sense in their mouths... though some have exquisitely sensitive gustatory sense over parts of their bodies... Not Nishikigoi though. Bob Fenner>

Article on pond fish foods The article on Pond fish foods, Feeding, Nutrition, ends at; v) Minerals, Trace Elements, Ash/Fiber: Where is the rest of the article ?? Can one obtain the full article somewhere?? Thanks Riana <Well, I've just about worn out my backspace and delete fingers (Ha!), as neither Jason.C nor I could find a working WordStar conversion program for the original file... but did place the remainder of the requested outline: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfishfeeding.htm Bob Fenner>

Koi consumption of phytoplankton Hello Bob, John here. Im not getting much of an algae bloom this year so far, so i was wondering if large koi will consume large amounts of phytoplankton. Thanks again for your time.-John <They don't eat any as far as I'm aware... very small/fry ones do consume some. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish non-feeding Again, thanks Ronni. What a quick response. I truly appreciate it. I will read all you mentioned and get a good test kit. <Very good> Should I test ph too? <Yes, it's always a good idea to keep an eye on it too.> Sorry to do this but I have a goldfish question also. <No worries> I have two comet goldfish in a 44 gal outdoor pond.  They've been outdoors about two months now, having wintered in indoor aquarium (not for any reason other than my ignorance). They will be a year old soon. Since back in pond I don't see them eating flake food or frozen bloodworms!!!! which amazes me. Anyway, could they be eating only the Anacharis? I realize they could be eating when I am not watching but it is not like before when they were first in the pond and came up for flake food. Sorry for long story. <They are most likely eating when you aren't looking. Probably a near constant grazing on the Anacharis and also eating bugs and such that land on the waters surface. Shouldn't be anything to worry about unless you notice them losing weight. Ronni> Appreciate any info. Marty

Re: Koi.... again I wanted to get your opinion on a medicated food. It is called Medi-Koi. MEDI KOI contains krill meal, fishmeal <White meal I hope/trust> , wheat germ, soybean meal, fish oil etc. 38% protein, 12% fat, stabilized Vitamin C plus many, many more Vitamins and minerals. MEDI KOI contains four antibiotics consisting of the 2 in ROMET (sulfadimethoxine & ormetoprim sulfa), PLUS Oxolinic acid and Kanamycin. ( copy pasted from the site). Another thing is that Quality Koi in Philadelphia, PA says they can do the swabs to see what it is.  <Ah, great> The only thing is its about an hour and a half away. <Worth the drive or expedited mail...> They said don't feed him for a few days and possibly a battery operated pump, bag him and put him in a cooler. Do you think this is more harm than good? <Always a possibility... but an adventure! And learning experience par excellence...> And please tell me what you think of the Medi koi...thanks <You can/could make your own... but it does sound like a worthwhile formulation. Very valuable fish are often injected (if your vet. can get you some, the old standby: Chloromycetin Succinate...). Bob Fenner>

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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