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FAQs About Goldfish in Ponds

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

goldfish breeding...and breeding       11/5/17
I have an 8' by 12' by 4' deep pond. I stocked it with 3 pet store variety goldfish this past May and now I have approximately 50 fish!
Will goldfish breed to the volume the pond can bare or will I have 300 fish next Spring and so on and so on?
<Likely you will have more next season... the one after? Not so many more.
A bit of Malthusian experience coming your way. A useful lesson for humans>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re[2]: goldfish breeding...and breeding

Thanks for your prompt reply!
I thought that might be the case, along the lines of goldfish growing to the size of their environment.
<Ah yes>
<Welcome. BobF>

Hiding Ranchu in Pond. Mixing comets w/ fancies...       3/14/17
I worry about my little Ranchu. She lives in a 765 gallon pond with other goldfish. Some of which are comets. The comets never hurt my Ranchu the few times she has met them. But she is also only about 2 inches, not including
her tail fins.
<Can't compete w/ them for food. Comets are much faster than fancies>
But she still only hides under the filter and won't come out. I have to lift up my pond filter to feed her. It has been about 4 weeks. What do I do to get my Ranchu to stop hiding? Thank you.
<IF the fish is thin, it will have to be moved, separated. BobF>
Re: Hiding Ranchu in Pond       3/14/17

She is not thin. She gets plenty of food. I make sure of it. I just can't get her to stay out from under the filter. Really scratching my head in confusion on this one. Just can't seem too get my finger on what the problem could be. It is like she is scared but I have no idea what she is so scared of. The comets don't harass her or anything. They get a little pushy at feeding time, but certainly nothing out of the ordinary for goldfish. Should I just put her in the 40 gallon pond I was planning for if I have move?
<Yes I would. B>

Re: Hiding Ranchu in Pond     3/15/17
Thank you so much Bob for clearing that up for me. I was wondering if I might have to make it my Ranchu's permanent home. Thank you so much.
<Ok. B>
Ranchu hiding # 3     3/15/17

I can't keep my Ranchu in the 40 gallon pond. I have no choice but to keep her in my 765 gallon pond with comets. What can I do to make her feel more secure. Should I include more hiding places. There are only 2 deep spots in
my pond. The rest is all too shallow for her. Should I place something for her to hide in within one of the deeper parts of the pond? What would you recommend I use for her to hide in that the other fish wouldn't get into?
Thank you.
<Look up Anacharis, Ceratophyllum and Myriophyllum on WWM>
Ceramic pvc and resin ornaments use in Goldfish ponds      3/15/17

I am looking for hiding spots in my pond for a- inch Ranchu. I was wondering if I could use ceramic mugs.
Also I was wondering, could I use pvc pipe or resin ornaments too? Thank you.
<You could; I would use floating plants as stated. B>
Re: Ranchu hiding # 3       3/16/17

Thank you Bob.
<Welcome Cam>
Re: Ceramic pvc and resin ornaments use in Goldfish ponds       3/16/17

Can I use fake floating plants? I got a few more fake lotus lilies I can use. Should I try them? Here is a photo of 2 of them already in the pond.
<Yes to using the fake; though some live would definitely be of use here.

How many goldfish for my pond?      5/5/16
My pond is irregular in shape.
Average width is 4.5 ft.
Average length is 11.9 ft.
Average depth is 1.6 feet
Deepest area is 3ft. L x 3ft. W x 3ft. D
It is 86 cubic feet, I think.
I think it is, 602 gallons
The ph is around 9
<Way too high... see WWM re>

679 gph pump
9 watt UV sterilizer
Filter can handle up to 1,500 gallons
No live plants. I can’t keep them alive.
<The pH... You need to drain, acid-wash this pond... >

I have plenty of fake plants in the pond and fish shelters to provide shade.
I live in Arizona and have naturally hard water.
<What hardness, pH?>
I am having trouble locating any specific information regarding my problem. I have 11 comets and 2 fantail gold fish in my pond. I have an Oranda and another yellow comet on the way. In total about 15 goldfish will be in this pond. Is that too many for this pond?
<Not too many of the types listed>
How many gallons does each goldfish need in a pond?
<Depends on a few factors... filtration, circulation...:
Thank you for your time.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish size for spawning / mystery fish in pond         9/8/15
Just wondering how big one year old goldfish are.
<Mmm; can be "dwarfed" to just an inch or so; or more than four inches under good conditions>

We have some new little fish in the pond which are a mystery because our largest goldfish are only 5 inches long. The new fish are brown,
<Start off as such>

the largest about one inch long. The likelihood of our goldfish being old enough to spawn is...not...we think.
But where could these new fish have come from???
<Likely are young from your existing... though "fish from the sky" (mainly water spout events) and trickster humans shouldn't be totally discounted.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish size for spawning / mystery fish in pond        9/8/15

Thanks for your reply! Very helpful.
<You're welcome>
I particularly like the waterspout theory...
<Am re-reading all "The Aquarium" mag.s... 1932 on.... there's quite a few summations, accounts>
The young are dark brown, the bigger ones lighter with pale bellies. Is that common?
<Ah yes; BobF>

What to do with a Little Fish. GF, overwintering in a pond   11/13/14
My question involves a tiny 2" fish in my pond. I fear this fish is too small to survive 3-4 months without food, when I stop feeding for the winter. Photo of it is in attachment. It is smaller than my 4 inch fish. I was told I might have to rear it indoors this winter.
If I change the water every day, could I keep it in the 6 gallon tank for a while? Should I put it in one of the other tanks? Should I just leave it in the pond? Thank you.
<Better to leave it outdoors; enough food there at lower temperature.. BobF>

Re: What to do with a Little Fish    11/14/14
Thank you so much Bob! :)
<Welcome commensurately Cam!>

Again re overwintering GF    12/1/14
I have a 28 gallon tank. The gph of the filter is about 350, it is a power filter. The ph is 8 and nitrates and ammonia at 0. I ordered a sponge filter rated for 40 gallons for the 3 female guppies I own. This tank contains 3 guppy females, 5 neon tetras, 2 ghost shrimp, and numerous bladder snails.
I also have a 10 gallon tank with a sponge filter rated for 15 gallons. The ph is 8 and ammonia and nitrites at 0. This tank contains 1 Betta fish, 4 ghost shrimp, and numerous bladder snails.
I also have a spare 6 gallon tank that is currently empty. I have a spare 10 gallon power filter I can use for it.
I also have a 765 gallon pond with 10 goldfish in it. The ph here is 8 and ammonia and nitrates are 0. It has a 625 filter with a uv and fountain attachment. The filter is submersible.
My question involves a tiny 2" fish in my pond. I fear this fish is too small to survive 3-4 months without food, when I stop feeding for the winter. Photo of it is below.
<Hmm... no picture attached. But I think we answered this question or something similar a few weeks ago? Ah, yes, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PdDailyFPg.htm
Bob F thought it'd do fine; I'd prefer to bring such a small fish indoors. I wouldn't keep a juvenile Goldfish (if that's what it is) in a tropical tank though -- better to find an unheated tank of suitable size and keep it there. It's "body clock" will already have shifted to cool conditions, and warming it up too dramatically could be stressful. Bob F's comment works the other way, allowing the fish's metabolism to slow down with the winter, and that being the case, it won't need much/any food anyway. Hmm... what to say... ultimately your decision, risks either way, but likely more baby fish in spring anyway. Left outdoors easier, perhaps less stress on the fish, no need for a ready-cycled filter, "what doesn't kill makes it stronger" so far as this baby fish goes. Bring indoors means you can keep feeding during the winter, faster growth rate, able to medicate if something goes amiss, less likely to just vanish without trace. Your move. Cheers, Neale.>

goldfish      7/13/14
please could you let me know what size pond I need for 21 goldfish
, at present I have a 750 litre pond will this be sufficient. thanking you. kay
<Hello Kay. Part of the answer to this depends on where you live. Since your email address has a TalkTalk domain, I'm guessing the UK. Now, in the UK the critical factor with ponds is depth. That's because we have relatively cold winters that cause ponds to freeze over. As a rule of thumb, a pond needs to be at least 2-3 feet deep so that the ice won't go down to the bottom AND there's always a sufficient depth of unfrozen water underneath for the Goldfish to swim about in happily. Realistically, 2 feet
is the absolute minimum in the southern part of England, and the further north of that you go, the deeper you'll want your pond to be. There are lots of variables to this, which is why these depths sound like a lot but are actually there to make life easier. For example, after a couple years ponds silt up, and you'll surely have some plants in your pond too, and that removes some of the available depth for swimming. Also, we're only talking about the deepest part of the pond, not the whole thing. If you have a 2-3 feet deep area at one end of the pond, but the other end is shallower, that's fine -- your fish will sensibly "hibernate" in the safe, deep, ice-free end. Pond capacity is a secondary factor to depth, but important nonetheless. As a general rule of thumb, 5000 litres is recommended as the minimum for Koi, and for Goldfish, particularly large numbers of them, you wouldn't want to too far off that value, perhaps 2000 litres. I know that sounds like a lot, but a pond has to provide so much for Goldfish, while also being easy to maintain. A too-small pond offers no depth for Goldfish to hide from herons, and no distance from the bank to escape hungry cats. Plants use up a lot of space as they grow, as will algae, and unless both are frequently cropped back, a small pond can very quickly become so choked up the Goldfish have no place to swim. The pond also needs to provide food and spawning sites, and unless you have a filter installed, it's got to dilute the Goldfish waste long enough for ambient populations of bacteria to remove it safely. In short, a 750-litre plastic pond is more likely to be a water feature than anything else, and you'll probably find something substantially larger (perhaps using pond liner) a more successful, better-value investment. Cheers, Neale.>

At what age do baby goldfish eat with the adults?   7/9/14
Wanted to let you know I saw my 2 biggest baby goldfish feeding with the adults today for the first time. They are no longer the very shy and timid little babies I first saw them as. I think it has taken them about 3 weeks to become bold enough to eat with the adults. Is it normal for the babies to eat with the adults at a month old? Thank you.
<Not unusual... just need to be "larger than mouth size"... a half inch or so plus. B>
Re: At what age do baby goldfish eat with the adults?      7/10/14

Thank you Bob! :)
<Welcome Camster!>

Ryukin and pond comets     5/22/14
I got a common fantail and a Ryukin for my pond.
The trouble here is I already have pond comets.

I think the fantail will be ok. But i worry about the Ryukin.
<Fancy goldfish can have problems competing for food when kept w/ comets...
and these can bump into fancies, damaging them. B>

Will the Ryukin be ok in the pond with the comets?
I have no room in my indoor aquarium for the Ryukin and I cannot get a new larger tank yet.
If it cannot stay in the pond, can I leave the Ryukin in the pond, until I can get a larger tank?
Thank you.
re: Ryukin and pond comets     5/22/14

Thank you! I returned both the fantail and the Ryukin. I got a shubikin <Shubunkin> instead.
I got a 500 gallon pond. 4 comets already dwell there. I do not believe there will be any problems with overcrowding or compatibility this time. Do you think there will be any overcrowding or compatibility issues?
<Not now>
re: Ryukin and pond comets     5/22/14

Thank you! I was also thinking, with my 4 comets (at 50 gallons each minimum) and the 1 "Shubunkin" (at 180 gallons minimum), the fish would need 480 gallons (minimum). According to my calculation skills (which are
rather poor) there might be room for 1 more comet, according to my calculation . Should I add 1 more? Or should I just leave the 5 fish I have in the pond without adding anymore? Thought I should ask the experts before making another huge mistake.
<Five is a good number here. BobF>
re: Ryukin and pond comets     5/23/14

Thank you so much Bob!
<Welcome Cam>

GF, pond size       1/1/14
Hello. My name is Joshua and I am 15 years old. First off, I would like to thank the crew for all the help I've received over the years.
Between saltwater & freshwater, I've really learned a lot from your website and it has been my "go to" website whenever I need a question answered, or for a recommendation to others. But anyway, on to the question! I've been a long time reader on WWM (about three years), and I'm writing in today because I have a few questions regarding Goldfish. I've noticed there seems to be quite a debate on the topic of Goldfish pond sizes. Websites such as Aquascapeinc.com and Watergarden.org (I will place links to the articles at the end of the email) as well as several videos on YouTube state that as long as the pond is over 10/20 gallons that any type of Goldfish can be added.
<No... foolish statement
... First off, the "size" as in volume is only one indication/limiter... the shape, and location... relative to structure as well as ambient weather are important/critical as well. Secondly, "it depends" on gear in use... There ARE some countervailing heaters, filters, circulators, aerators... that can be used to crowd goldfishes, but some/most varieties get too large for a system of only a few tens of gallons>
 They also say that Goldfish can limit their size to the size of their environment.
I suggest these folks try living in a closet for a few weeks>
Now, however, your website states that stunting their size can cause a variety of physical deformities, as well a shortened lifespan. My question is, is there any truth to what they say? Can Goldfish really live happily in such small quarters for long periods of time?
<Ah yes>
 And would you consider the 20 gallon rule a good one?
<Ah no>
Thanks for taking the time to answer this, it's just a question that's bugged me for quite some time.  ~Joshua.  
http://watergarden.com/tub/index.html  Ps. I've probably read all the Goldfish pond articles and FAQs 10 or more times now. :)
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Thanks for the fast reply!
One last question: can Fantails be kept outdoors year-round?
<... if the system is stable enough, doesn't vacillate temp. wise too much... yes. BobF>

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>

Pond goldfish; env. hlth. issues   6/27/12
<Good morrow Robert>
I keep about 20 nacreous veiltail goldfish in a pond that is 8 feet long by 8 feet wide and 3 to 4 feet deep. It is an above ground pond.  I have fish from three different English strains. The problem I have is that the fish from one particularly colorful strain (orange/red, black, blue and white) seem to have fins that are yellow, lightly red-veined and just not healthy looking. One of them gets a greenish brown ball of slimy growth periodically on the very tip of one caudal fin at the top almost like a bacterial bloom or something. I have remove this before and tried to look at it under a microscope but cant see anything moving, but the scope is a digital one that puts pictures on the computer.
<Am familiar>
The fish are vigorous and growing and active. But when viewed up close the fins look yellow and dirty. They all seem to have a yellowish cast not just to the fins but on the belly too.  I know some strains of fish seem to have this yellow pigmentation but there appears to be something else going on as well. Sometimes these fish show a band of visible red across the bottom of the tail fin about half a centimetre in from the edge. I have other fish and they do not show any symptoms although they get the odd fungusy-like patch on the tail which disappears.  I  keep a water hose slowly running in the pond continuously and syphon out the bottom every fortnight or so.
<Mmm, do you have gear, measures for aspect/s of water quality?
Am interested particularly in Nitrate/NO3 concentration... I suspect your system and fish have too much metabolite present>
I would estimate that the pond water is completely replaced every 2-3 days. 
I have tried malachite green, ESHa 2000, the stuff that turns your water purple (forgot the name).
<Potassium permanganate, KMn03 likely>
 I will be most grateful if you have any ideas. By the way, the temperature rarely hits 65 F. Usually about 60 F. And I have had trouble with Gas bubble disease in fins last year but not since I covered the pond with a bamboo screen. I am in North West England
Thank You
<Likely you need to add biological filtration, perhaps decrease food/s, feeding. The symptoms you mention are almost assuredly due to water quality. Dilution via the slow running hose pipe won't solve this... Bob Fenner>
Re Pond goldfish;     6/28/12

Hi Bob, Thank you very much. I have test strips
<These are notoriously inaccurate and imprecise. Look for a liquid or capsule reagent type master "pond" or freshwater aquarium kit>
 for water quality but I honestly can't make heads or tails out of the readings;
<You're not alone>
matching the colours, etc. I only know my fish are healthier in the pond than in a tank.
<Oh yes; assuredly. There is much more volume/space and cooler temp./lower metabolism in the pond>
 I suspect you are right that water quality is likely to blame I had thought that might be the case. I don't have an electricity point outside for filtration but will see what I can do to get that done. I do tend to feed the fish a lot of salmon based gel food that I make myself, so meantime I'll cut down on the amount of food too. I appreciate your time and expertise. I'll go now and sort out an electrician! Thanks Loads!
<Welcome in kind/degree. BobF>

hiding goldfish  -- 1/3/12
Hi.  I have six 6-7 inch goldfish in my 7,000 gallon pond.  I have had the pond since last Fall.  The fish have been playing happily since Spring began, but now are nowhere to be seen.
 I actually thought that perhaps they had been eaten, but then one day, when I was cleaning the pond, one poked his head out for a moment, and another was spotted as well.  What happened?
<Hiding during the winter likely... I'd hold off on doing much w/ the pond till Spring... as measured by the water staying 55 F plus diurnally>
Why don't they come out of hiding anymore?
<Lethargy from the cold, perhaps frightened by a predator... A good idea to provide some sort of cover, shelter in the pond for this... even just pots or blocks on their sides>
  I have never seen any predatory birds around, and the fish used to be out all day. 
<Could be other... Read here re:
and the linked FAQs file above>
I am about to receive 8 Koi, and I am concerned that something might be wrong.  Thanks, CSH.
<Again, I hope/trust the weather is warm/er where you are... I would hold off... on adding any new stock here till... as above. Bob Fenner>

Pond... goldfish mostly    7/30/09
Morning!!...I have 2 ponds...the first pond...about 125 gallons..feeds into a second pond...which is about 400 gallons. I have a skimmer box in the second pond..that draws water up to a Laguna 1400 Pressure filter with a UV light...that leads to a waterfall which spills into the 125 gallon. The pump is rated at 940gph. Would a 1200gph pump be too much?
I plan on enlarging the 400 gal pond in the fall to about 600 gals. I currently have 10 comets in the 125...am I pushing their limits?....
<Not as long as the filter/pump keeps going>
It's well planted with water hyacinth, I feed them peas in the am...nothing else. The ponds are about a year old...and I've had a big problem with the males(and not just male fish...haha).....running the females to death. I put a plastic laundry basket in the pond and put the poor fish being run ragged in solitary confinement for
her safety. I should add...the fish range in size from 3 inches to about 7 inches. My Shubunkins in the 400gal....I have 9...seem to be fine. Should I switch the comets into the 400?.
<All can be mixed... same species, and these two varieties are compatible... unlike fancies>
and one more question...so sorry!!....Has anyone ever noticed if certain color variations in fish....seemingly are more "aggressive".....
<More so individuals themselves... not by colour as far as I'm aware>
love your site...I have learned sooo much. Thank you.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Wine barrel goldfish hlth.  03/11/09
Hello crew,
I have three comet goldfish that live in an old wine barrel (approx. 55 gallons) with a fish-safe liner, filter, bubbler, and variety of plants. I have had this setup for a couple of years and the chemistry is stable; test strips read ammonia 0, nitrate 0, nitrite 0, total hardness somewhere between 75-150, chlorine 0, total alkalinity about 120, pH 7.2. I do water changes regularly.
<All reads as good>
About two weeks ago, one fish started swimming abnormally, and slowly but surely his fins became clamped. I took a close look and found red streaks through his body and tail. I treated with Maracyn-Two. The fish improved during the first day or two of treatment, but then declined. Now he can't swim, so he just sits on the bottom and waggles his pectoral and ventral fins. He is not eating. His tail fin has lost all color and is entirely frayed. The color loss appears to extend into his body. I have removed him from the barrel and housed him in a 10 gallon container, but I don't have a filter for it. I know 10 gallons is small so I've done 50% water changes daily and am continuing to treat with Maracyn-Two.
The other two fish remain unaffected. I have no idea what caused this.
<I can only guess... but it may be that this one fish "swallowed a bug" (does happen), something that got into your pond/barrel...>
My question for you is whether the fish can recover from this, or if it would be kinder to euthanize him. If the latter, what is the best method?
<If it were me, mine, I would keep the faith, not euthanize this fish... It may well spontaneously recover and I don't think it has something that is "catching"... I would likely return it to the barrel>
I've had this fish for about three years and while I'd obviously rather help him heal, I am sad to see him suffer.
Thank you.
<Thank you for sharing Linda. I have remarkable "resurrections" in goldfish... I would not give up here. Bob Fenner>

FROLICING FISH, goldfish in a new pond 2/14/09 Hi There <Howdy> Just came across your site, WOW how interesting. My question'¦ We have had a small pond in our garden since we moved in 5 years ago. It originally had 12 goldfish in it, over the years were now down to 7 large (6 -- 7 inches). Last year they had babies until recently we didn't know many until yesterday (21 of them ! 2 -- 3 inches long now). <Neat> Anyway to cut along story short, they have lived in the horrid small pond we estimate for 10+ years. We have had our garden landscaped and have a super new large pond (7000 litres) with a lovely big waterfall (3ft across and 8ft high), <Wow!> Fishmate 7000 litre pump with Fishmate 30000 litre ultraviolet biological filters IT'S GREAT. The water has been in for 4 weeks. After testing the water found the levels to be fine, the only one that was a little high was the PH. last weekend we brought 3 small goldfish to put in it,. We did not want to put the old timers in until we knew it was good for them, <Mmm, the new ones might have been biologically diseased...> as they have had what we think to be a miserable life for years, and did not want them to suffer any side effects of the new pond. Yesterday we finally put them in. <I would have encouraged you to mix some of the new water in their old system a few times over a few weeks time... and to wait till the water, weather was milder in temperature> I'm sure I saw them laughing with joy when they swam in their new home. They are swimming around chasing each other (spawning) that's fine, but they are rolling around under the waterfall, and swimming into the inlet pipe in the bubbles and jumping through them. Does this mean that perhaps something is wrong, or do you think it is they are enjoying there new found freedom and space to really swim around? <Much more likely the latter> I would appreciate you comments, as I really don't want anything to happen to them they have survived this long and really deserve to spend many more years in better conditions. Thank you very much Kind regards Sally <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Bob Fenner: deja  vu -- 8/25/08 Dr. Bob, Do you recall that you helped me in May (see email, "Whoever wrote...," May 18), with a Sarasa goldfish we call Beatrice, that vanished and reappeared 11 days later, with serious abrasions? <Yes> Bea is fine and healthy, thank you, although her scales haven't grown back yet. I'm sure you're aware of that timetable. <Yes> It's "Ben" this time, she's our alpha female, that disappeared 10 days ago, and showed up this afternoon, looking much the worse for wear. In fact, the photos don't show how ragged she really looks. So, as Bea survived so well, this time, we won't panic. We're close to the end of the spawning season here---we're in Zone 7, near Phila., PA. We'll just keep the water healthy. We'll figure we picked up a twofer on your advice in May. Thanks, Max Smith <I suggest you add some purposeful spawning media (see books... the Net re...) to break up the environment, reduce the amount of damage your stock causes itself thrashing against the rocks... and likely "thin the herd". B>

Goldfish with that sinking feeling - 3/21/08 Hi crew, <Linda> I have an outdoor half-barrel pond (approx. 28 gallons) with three feeder-type goldfish purchased from a megastore. <Mmm, will need more room...> One fish appears to have developed a problem with his swim bladder; the other two are fine. I checked the pond chemistry using a five-in-one dipstick test and levels are all good; I have had the pond for about two years and it has long been stable, and I do water changes (though perhaps not as often as I should, especially in winter). <Okay> The sick fish appears very weak and lays on the bottom of the pond without moving. He has been ailing for several days and getting progressively worse. I have tried shelled peas but he doesn't appear overly interested in eating. He did eat a bite or two of pea yesterday, but has trouble eating since when he does try to swim, he's head down, tail up, and doesn't seem to have much control over his direction. I read that I could try adding Epsom salt to the water, and I believe the recommended ratio was 1 tbsp per 10 gallons. I also read that I could try a more concentrated salty "bath" for a shorter period. Do you think I should try this or would this put him over the edge? <I would add the Epsom to the tub garden at the 1 tsp/10 gal. volume... Should be okay for plants... in the container, outside if the water is dispersed in your garden> Is there anything more I can do for him? I don't have high hopes for him at this point but will do what I can. Thank you. Linda <Hope, like Spring for me, is eternal. Bob Fenner> goldfish with that sinking feeling Forgot to mention that I feed them the dreaded pellets only occasionally (perhaps once a week), and the pond is full of tasty plants for the fish to nibble at their leisure. <And likely all manner of other bits... insect larvae, what have you. No worries. Bob Fenner>

Re: goldfish with that sinking feeling, & stkg. cont. garden ponds f'  -- 03/22/08 Thank you, Bob. I will add the Epsom salts this morning. The fish is still alive but rarely moves at all, though yesterday was the first official day of spring, so... <Ah, yes> I have one question about your response. I thought the rule of thumb for goldfish was 10 gallons per fish. <Mmm, something more than this... perhaps 15-20... and a bit more again for this "variety" (all goldfish are the same dihybrid crossed species)... The Comet gets quite large, even in small volumes...> I had just under that with the half barrel, at 9.3 gallons per fish. I just transferred two fish to a new, full-size wine barrel (with a fish-safe liner) which holds about 60 gallons. (I left the ailing fish in his old habitat, with a partial water change; once he is well or passes, I plan to have only water plants in that barrel due to raccoon problems.) I was going to buy another fish or two, thinking the 60 gallon pond could hold up to 6 fish, though I was planning on only 4, perhaps 5. Am I wrong? Thank you again. Linda <Mmm, not really wrong... to be clear/er here, it's a good idea to switch out such comets as they grow a bit larger... Bob Fenner>

Handling of fish... koi, pondfish... Mucus f'    10/21/07 Hi, Too many times I see people that sell fish especially koi pick up and hold them with their bare hands and then measure them. Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't this remove the natural slime not to mention stress the fish out? I figure netting the fish is enough trauma without going through all of the excess torture. Am I wrong to not want to purchase from places that put their fish through so much stress?? Thanks, Doris <Hello Doris. Indeed, most fish do not like to be handled, and yes, you can risk damaging the scales and skin. Up to a point, the mucus will be re-secreted if any is lost, and I'm not convinced that handling a fish is any better or worse than netting a fish as far as losing mucus goes. It's probably six of one, half a dozen of the other. Mucus has a low metabolic cost, so assuming a fish is in basically good shape, loss of mucus isn't particularly serious (it's comparable to mucus produced in our nose, mouth and throat, where mucus is constantly being lost). What matters is minimising the time a fish is out of water. I have seen aquarists handle large fish like koi in preference to using nets. Expert fishkeepers at least may consider the relative softness and smoothness of their hands kinder to the skin of their fish than the coarse netting used in large nets. But that's probably a personal judgment call rather than anything objectively tested. Anyway, to answer your specific question: a good fish retailer won't be handling any fish out of water regularly. Indeed, the less often, the better. If the fish are handled excessively and without care, it should be apparent by missing scales, damaged fins, Finrot, fungus, etc on the fish in the store. On the other hand, koi are large fish with solid bodies and heavy scales, and up to a point they tolerate handling well (their ancestors, plain Carp, Cyprinus carpio, are incredibly durable fish). So while you're right to be cautious, if the quality and health of the livestock on sale is good, the fact the retailer handles the fish shouldn't be a reason to boycott the store in and of itself. Cheers, Neale.>

Schooling and spawning I have a two-part question. First, I have a small pond (1500 gallons or so) heavily stocked with about 30 feeder goldfish. The fish are getting quite large - all appear to be 4-5 inches long, and some are a good bit larger. They've lived together for the past three years, the first two in a much smaller pond (200 gallons). They are exhibiting aggressive mating behavior since the weather got warm. Is my pond getting too small for them? Second question: the two oldest fish are now seven years old, but are still large and active. I didn't think goldfish lived that long. How old can I expect them to get? Jeff Resta <Hi Jeff. As a rule of thumb, each goldfish should be given about 30 gallons of water, so by my reckoning 30 x 30 = 600 gallons so you're fine. This assumes the tank is filtered and basically well cared for. You might want to "thin the herd" a little if you find water quality isn't as good as it should be. Sharing good quality, pond-bred goldfish shouldn't be difficult given your fish will be far healthier than anything available in the average pet store. As for age, the oldest goldfish known are around 30 years of age. So yours are a ways off drawing their pensions just yet! Cheers, Neale>

Goldfish, koi, turtles and ponds  7/8/07 We have two comets, which are survivors from last year's pond fish in our (new) "small" pond. We had an unusually cold winter and the pond froze over, these were the only two to survive the first month of  winter. <... have you learned from this experience?> These comets are 4 and 5 inches long and have been living in a 30 gallon indoor tank since we rescued them from the nearly solidly frozen pond. <Ahh!> We also have a very large pond/small lake where it's way too deep to freeze solid. When we moved in it already had a full complement of carp (up to 3' long), koi (up to 2' long) and adult 14" comets. There are also some turtles in there, I don't know what kind they are, they have red stripes on the sides of their neck/head. The largest are about 6" across. <Okay...> We've been having problems with raccoons in my small pond, they ate all the new comets I put in there (they think it's their private sushi bar), <Heee! It is... and splash bath> and shredded most of my pond plants. So I haven't put my comets back in their pond, I put in some little mosquito fish instead, with their small size and less flashy coloring they do much better escaping from the raccoons. <Good> How big do my comets need to be before they have a reasonable chance of survival in the big pond with the big fish and turtles? <Mmm, should be fine as they are now...> I can't buy a larger tank for them, I don't have room for one! <I see> My other option is to put them up for adoption at one of the local pet stores, but I can't control who gets them and what the new owners do with them. The last thing I want is for these survivors (who earned a long life!) is to end up as food for a piranha. Jean <I would place them in your "lake" when the water temperature there is about the same as the tank. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Question, Pond goldfish health, beh.  -- 07/03/07 Hi, I am extending the size of my garden pond and, rather than buy new goldfish, I took some spawn earlier this year. Many of the goldfish fry have grown quickly and are extremely healthy. Some aren't... I have two questions and really, I guess I know the answer but here goes: <OK, I'll try!> 1. Two of the fry (8 weeks old) have difficulty swimming. They spend considerable time on the gravel with short burst of activity to move. They are currently in an aquarium with no natural predators. Am I cruel not to put them out of their misery (are they in misery?). <Tough call. Personally, I think fry that "don't make the grade" should be destroyed painlessly. The risk is further inbreeding, where the mutant genes get passed on to the next generation. So it makes sense to remove the bad genes from your stock of goldfish, and periodically add new fish to add genetic diversity. If, of course, the goldfish in question live in a tank and aren't going to breed, this doesn't matter. It's then your call. The only thing to consider is if the fish are clearly unable to do goldfish things, like swim about in a school or root about the bottom.> 2. One fish (Dave) truly is a fighter. He has a spinal deformity and only one eye. To make it worse he has a huge air bubble in his belly and the stomach seems to stretch around this bubble. He is extremely active and seems happy enough. Two other fish have the same air bubbles but as they do not have the other "challenges" that Dave suffers I am not so concerned. Is there anything that can be done to encourage him to expel the air (is this even possible?). Again, am I being cruel letting him live? <Again, your call. The air bubble problem is probably a swim bladder deformity. Goldfish are "physostomous" fish, meaning that they cannot inflate their swim bladder. Baby goldfish have to swim to the surface, gulp some air, and fill the bladder thus. As they grow, they gulp more air. If the baby goldfish cannot swim properly, it cannot make that first dash to the surface, so cannot inflate the swim bladder. I think that's the problem here. Not fixable. Personally, I'd destroy these fish as they're never going to have a very easy time of things.> Thanks Jon <Cheers, Neale>

Goldfish in a stock tank -- 06/26/07 I recently got a stock tank that holds 250 gallons of water for my horse. We have about 15 fish in there now. I have fan tail goldfish and little 29 cent feeder fish to help cut down on the algae and things I feed them every other day and they all seemed very healthy and happy. <Greetings. There is really no such thing as a "feeder fish". When you buy feeder fish, what you are buying are intensively farmed goldfish maintained in appallingly bad conditions: overstocking, few water changes, poor filtration, minimal healthcare if any at all. That's why they cost pennies. The insanity of the whole thing is that these fish are positive time-bombs of disease, shuffling bacteria and parasites between themselves, and yet people buy them to feed other, more "valuable" predatory fish! Net result is a vast number of predatory fish that become needlessly sick because people (presumably through ignorance though maybe stupidity) buy these goldfish as live food. Utterly incomprehensible. Thankfully, the practise is effectively non-existent in the UK, but in the US, sadly, it is still widespread.> They love to nibble at my fingers when I feed them. I took a trip, I left on Saturday and came back Sunday. I got home in the evening and fed the fish and while I was feeding them I noticed one off to the side not wanting to eat. So I fetched my net and a pan and fished it out thinking it could be pregnant. <Goldfish don't get pregnant. They lay eggs.> I kept it in the house and checked on it and it was sitting on the bottom with its tail towards the surface. Then when I checked on it in twenty minutes it was on its side at the bottom. I tired to move it to where it could swim, it tried but eventually died. The fishes body was swollen and its scales were sticking out. I read about this on-line and I looked at the pictures I believe it is Dropsy. <Sounds very likely. Very, very difficult to treat because it can be caused by a variety of things. Providing optimal water conditions and using antibiotics *can* help, but often the damage is too far gone and the animal is best destroyed painlessly. Anyway, see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dropsyfaqs.htm > I am however worried about my other fish... They do have to live in a bit of a dirty environment... is there anyway I can treat my other fish before they get sick? <Well, obviously this has to be a two-step operation. You need to establish first what the water quality in the pond is like. There really should be a filter, though understocked ponds with lots of plant growth can work fine without filters (obviously, this is what happens in the wild!). Second, you need to remedy any water quality problems if they exist. So, do some water tests. If you don't want to buy a bunch of test kits, then many retailers will do the tests for you. Here in the UK they usually charge around £1 a go. You want to do nitrite, nitrate, pH, and hardness. For goldfish, you want nitrite = 0, nitrate = less than 50 mg/, pH around 7.5 and certainly not less than 7, and hardness has to be "moderately hard" to "hard" on whatever scale you are using. Adding medications to the aquarium without establishing the basic level of water quality is pointless.> It was one of the feeder fish with this problem. <Entirely possible for the reasons outlined above, but water quality walks lockstep with disease. In good water conditions, the immune system of fish helps them fight off disease (just as people a more likely to get sick when ambient conditions are poor). In poor water conditions, fish will get sick regardless of whether or not you had feeder fish in the pond. If water conditions are really bad, the fish will be poisoned, and organ failure leads to death. Cheers, Neale>

Goldfish population control in a pond   4/19/07 Hello Crew, <L's> You have helped me many times with my saltwater tank and now I have a pond question.  I have a pond about 3000 gallons, 26ft x 16ft in the Chicagoland area.  The entire pond 'floor' is covered with larger granite stones and it  is about 4 years old.  It is stocked with about 12 Koi of various sizes (5"  to 14") and several varieties of Goldfish.   My problem is that when I first installed the pond years ago I impatiently ran to the pet store and bought 24 feeder goldfish and put them in.  Most  died off in the first few weeks but many survived and are about 6" in  size.  Last year they began to reproduce and now I have many, many unwanted  goldfish in my pond.  I have tried in vane to net them during feeding time  and other times to no avail.   <Been t/here... tried that> Is there a way to control these small fish or capture them?  I  wondered if the introduction of a predatory fish temporarily (i.e. one large  mouth bass) until they were gone could do the trick. Thanks for any advice <Mmm... the only way to do what you're looking to accomplish is to drain this pond, move all the desired fishes... discard, give away, sell the non-desired. On the plus side, this dumping/cleaning is likely timely... with the warming weather... a good idea to get in there, remove the stones and gunk around them... once a year or so... Do take care to save a good deal of the "old" water, return it with the desired livestock. Bob Fenner>

Re: Timid Koi/Goldfish hybrid  9/6/06 Thank you for the swift and useful reply <Welcome> Our koi goldfish hybrid and three goldfish seem to be doing well. The three goldfish now explore the pond during the day, after a period of hiding near the bottom. However, the black silver koi/goldfish hybrid are nowhere to be seen during the day. <Interesting> During night, the lights in the pond turn on and the koi/goldfish swim with the other goldfish, just as actively. I was wondering, why do the koi/ goldfish hybrids refuse to swim during the day? <Perhaps there is something in the way of their coloring and "perception" re being predated... that is, maybe these fish can tell they may be detected during the day by predaceous birds, other animals> They were swimming in schools at the tank we bought them from, and were in a pond before that. They appear to be healthy and active, but active only at night. They are much harder to detect during the day because of their color (look almost like shadows, only clearly seen when going over a goldfish for example), but we are sure they hide somewhere during the day. <Again, curious... perhaps with time, acclimation they'll come out more during daylight hours. Bob Fenner>
Re: Timid Koi/Goldfish hybrid  9/6/06
Thanks once again for the reply <Welcome> I had thought that perhaps as these Koi/Goldfish hybrids are similar to wild carp in coloration and shape, they might have more of an instinct for avoiding predation. However, the fish are far more camouflaged than the easily visible goldfish. <Yes... have seen a few "studies" demonstrating this> Even at night, when in clear view of a strong light, they are all but impossible to discern from rocks (silvery flashes and passing over the goldfish is the only time they are really visible). Have you encountered this phenomenon yourself? <Oh yes... a common phenomenon on this planet... "counter-shading"... Bob Fenner>

Mixed Koi and Goldfish... chasing beh.   7/31/06 I have a pond with 9 koi and 7 comet/Sarasa/Shubunkin.  The large Shubunkin chases all the fish with it's head at the others anal fin. Is this fish being territorial, trying to mate, or just being an aggressor? <Mostly the middle, but likely a bit of the others as well> We are not sure if we should remove it from the pond or if this is normal behavior. What is your advice? <Moving the aggressor if apparent damage is being done. Might be able to be re-joined when the weather starts cooling down... Bob Fenner>

Goldfish attack!   7/2/06 Hi, Just before Christmas a Heron ate most of my goldfish in my garden pond.  All that was left was a small Koi and a couple of fairly large goldfish. <Happens> This Spring I introduced replacements, quite small Koi carp, goldfish and   Shubunkins. Everyone seemed to be getting on ok, but now the largest of the   goldfish has started attacking one small Shubunkin and one small Koi. <Also... unfortunately> It has quite literally eaten the tails of both down to the roots and I fear they will not now survive. How can I stop the big goldfish eating the smaller fish? <Move or destroy this fish> The pond is currently besieged by tadpoles but I can't see this as a factor? <Me neither> There is plenty  of space in the pond for all the fish. Appreciate any help you may be able to offer. Many thanks ADS <There are just some "mean", rogue individuals... "Mad dogs" and goldfish... Bob Fenner>

Need Help!!! Oranda in a koi pond, I know it's serious...  6/20/06 Hi, My grandmother has a 5" Oranda in a koi pond, she discovered it a few minutes ago with its wen in shreds, and mostly missing, fungus all over its body   and its fins all shredded. She says it looks like its been through a meat grinder! <Yeeikes!> I told her to put it in a spare 10 gallon there, but she is elderly and unable to set up the tank. What can she do medical wise? <Salt/s are best here> It is her favorite fish; what can we do? <Move it, indoors as you've mentioned...> As of now it is sitting in a pot, treading water. It is a large pond, but she has fungicide and salt on hand, as well as "heals all". What  can she do? PLEASE HELP! Thanks, Anthony <Please have her read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm Orandas don't do well in ponds in general... can't compete with other goldfish types/breeds for food, reproduction... or other coldwater livestock, predators... Bob Fenner>

Orandas in Ponds  6/5/06 Hi, Great site!      I have two questions: 1.  Can Orandas be kept in ponds with koi, catfish, and single  finned goldfish? The Orandas are 5-8", the koi are 8-24", the  single tailed goldfish are 8", and the catfish are 10", 14", 18". Right now the  three Orandas are in a 55 gallon tank, and are beginning to outgrow it. <Mmm, not a good risk... the chubbier varieties of fancy goldfish take a beating when mixed with these likes. Can't compete/move for food...> 2. Also, can these be kept in the pond during the  winter? I live in New Jersey. Thanks, Anthony <Mmm, again, not worth trying IMO. Bob Fenner>

Bringing Orandas indoors from pond in cold weather  12/13/05 I have a 750 gal. pond.  Since it has gotten cold here  I decided  to bring my two Orandas inside. <Good> The weather has been dropping into the  30s. <Best to bring fancy goldfish indoors once the water dips and stays below about 65 F> Anyway, I brought them in and put them into a 29 gal. aquarium.   New rock, a new Penguin 150 BioWheel power filter.  A few plants from the  pond went in also. <Good>    I used some of the pond water to fill the  aquarium and tap water that I dechlorinated. Three days later, I smell what  smells like male cat urine. I know it is ammonia but its not a strong  ammonia smell.  But its def. there.  I never noticed that smell before  with an aquarium.  the fish are each approx. 5 inches long. <Need more room...> very fat  and very healthy looking. Did great in the pond.   There is absolutely  no visible waste in the aquarium at this time.   Is this filter   ok?   <If it's "working" biologically, yes> Should i <Please "I"> give it more time to establish? <... you need to test your water for ammonia, nitrite...> I don't have a  test kit.   <I'd get one> Never used one before on our other aquariums.  Never  noticed that smell either.   Please advice. <Advise>   Also, should i even  have brought them in. <Yes>   The water temp had gotten into the 40s.   I was just worried about them.  If i leave them in the pond next winter,  will they be ok and what precautions do i use to keep them ok in the cold  weather.   Filter? Survive in cold pond? water quality? Thank you so much for whatever advice you can give. colleen Fontenot <Posted on WWM, for Freshwater Goldfish... Bob Fenner>

Dumbfounded by a Goldfish Pond 10/15/05 Help please!! I have a goldfish pond in my backyard and I am dumbfounded!!  My first question is: How in the world do I tell if it is female or male? I do know about the white (pimple like) spots. They won't hold still for me to see. <These small whitish bumps on the operculum of a mature male are difficult to see even when the fish is in an aquarium.... you likely won't be able to see them in a pond.> So far I have not seen any. I do have 4. The two in question I think are in love. One is a bright colored reddish orange with a short tail and the other is a dull orange with a long tail. Also they go in circles and foamy stuff is on the surface. Are they mating? The long tail is about 7" long and the short tail is 6". Now they are chasing the smallest long tailed one around. why?  Thanks for answering my questions. Lisa <This all sounds like normal social and courtship behaviour of goldfish. Though I cannot tell you definitively who might be male or female, typically a male will chase females, and to a lesser extent other males. Females don't do a whole lot of chasing. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Re: large-ish man-made pond in NY, pt.2. Corrected - Or! An Orfe is an Orfe of Courfe, of Courfe 10/11/05 Dear Mr. Fenner, I wrote you earlier today about my two-foot long goldfish, who lives in my 80' by 40' by 12' deep spring-fed pond. I'm wondering if he is really a goldfish. He's medium gold in color, torpedo-shaped but has no barbels, and also does not have the classic koi shaped  head. When he goes for the food on the surface, he snaps it aggressively out of the water and speeds off or dives like a whale, making a great deal of splashing. What is this guy? (I call him "Mr. Big.") Maxine Paetro, Amenia, New York <At this size, and the type of behavior you list, my guess is that this is a cross between a goldfish (which itself is a cross) and carp/koi, Cyprinus carpio.... sometimes called "Orfes". Happens. Bob Fenner>

Pond Comet behavior at feeding time...  9/12/05 I looked long and hard on your Web pages and found nothing that answered this question. I have (3) 3" pond comets in an outdoor 90 gallon pond. It has a 300 GPH pump driving a fountain and water fall for aeration. Everything seems fine. the fish move about through the day and nibble at the algae at the bottom of the water fall. They push the water plants (water lettuce and one water Hyacinth) around an I think they nibble the lowest leaves. All that to say that I think my pond (installed for 3 months) is healthy. When I feed my fish floating fish pellets - they gobble the 3 pinches in the prescribed 3 to 5 minutes. But during and after the feeding they kinda go nuts. The swim around very fast and nudge each other mostly in the midsection. Do I have any worry? <Mmm, no> The actions could be aggressive of they might be matting type of ritual. I have no idea. Can you give me any input?? Ron <Very likely "just" displacement behavior... not a worry. Bob Fenner>

Bringing Outdoor Fish In - 09/08/2005 This spring, I set up a 16 gallon outdoor "pond" that has 3 small common goldfish in it.   <As they grow, they'll need a larger space.> Everyone seems to be doing well and they have been a great source of entertainment.   <Wonderful creatures, aren't they?> My question:  at what temperature do I bring the goldfish indoors?   <If you plan to keep them in through the winter, I would recommend that you bring them in well before the water reaches 55 degrees F.  Preferably a little closer to the room temperature of the place they'll be living for the winter.> In West Tennessee we don't get many hard freezes until January, but I want the little darlings to live and do well.   <They will....  Very hardy fish.> BTW, I've really enjoyed your website and your learned advice and sometimes caustic comments.   <Yee-IKES!> Ya'll are a hoot. <Thanks much for the grin!> Ramona <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Goldfish color change, no longer constipated koi in pond  8/27/05 Hi Bob, <Irene> One more question, if I may. Do you know what kind of fish would go from a 3" charcoal gray little thing to an 8" pure golden orange fish in under two months? <Happens> The metamorphosis was so drastic! He started getting lighter on the belly, then developed a dark gray and orange pattern on his body, almost like snakeskin, and then turned completely orange/gold. The last place to turn color was the ridge at the top of the body  (just beautiful! ). And a very friendly little guy - would come to me when I put my hand in the water, hover right  under my hand, and then let me slip my hand under his belly and hold him for a few seconds. He would then swim off, make a turn and come back under my hand and let me hold him again.  I suspect the egg from this fish was transported via Eichornia roots from a pond store that sells the usual ornamental pond fish. Everybody says it's probably in the comet family, but the rapid and total color change and fast growth seemed to confuse the issue. <Again, does happen> Still mystified in RI by my own pond, but somewhat less so since your clarification that my koi was constipated :) He/she is doing well, by the way, happily munching fish pellets and goo in the pond, and playing with the other fish. No more big belly! Thanks again. Cheers! <Ah, good. Bob Fenner>

Moving goldfish indoors for winter 8/17/05 Help me....... please,                I'm losing sleep and winter's comin.  We have a wonderful garden pond that has roughly 20 large goldfish, 6 Shubunkin, and 15 multi colored babies that survived the breeding and eating season.  I've come to the realization that I have to bring all of them inside to enjoy over the long Minnesota winter.  Would either 2 150 gallon or a single 300 gallon tank see them through the winter? Joann <Yes... depending on how "large" is large, about this volume should do... you might save some money by looking for Rubbermaid troughs... and investigating filtration for these on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Re: Pond Goldfish behaviour 7/5/05 Thanks very much for your reply.  I found the credit note from the water company when we had to have the concrete pond relined with a butyl liner as it had cracked (September 2003) and I found I reclaimed for 35metres3 not put back into the sewage system. <A good note... in the States we also can at times realize such a saving from notifying our water/sewage service provider> Add to that the contents of 2 x 45 gallon containers, one large fish tank and a paddling pool (for the marginals) I think that works out a pond approx 7,800 gallons, am I about right?   <Mmm, 35 cubic meters of water is about 9,409 gallons...> About a hundred goldfish (although most of them have bred black).  I have ordered a solar powered oxygenator to help things & use barley straw in old tights (last added about three weeks ago) but I guess 2 and half inches of rain the other day really upset my systems. Although I have to confess I was in there the week before taking out some weed!  At the moment I am just spraying the water a little each day to add oxygen. <All good techniques> The fish seem to be okay but after looking through your web site I am resolved to feed them less often than the several times a day they have got into the habit of begging for. It's a great site - I have learnt so much from looking at it. Cheers Angie Watts <Thank you for your kind words, caring and sharing your experiences. Bob Fenner>

Sarasa comets I have been reading a lot about Sarasa comets and backyard ponds on the net, but they all seem to be man-made ponds. I have a 60feet by 30 feet pond in my back yard. fresh water flows in over a water fall (about 3 feet high) and flows out over another waterfall (about 1 foot high). I have 12 Sarasa comets that I put in last summer, any suggestions on making the pond a good home for them? My e-mail address is XXXX. I would love to hear from you. Thanks Lisa <What I know is posted on WWM. Read there. Bob Fenner> 

Are They Spawning? Goldfishes on the Make Hello, I have 2 fantails and a comet in a large claw footed bathtub outside, planted with water lilies, oxygenators, and marginal plants. Used to be 3 comets and 3 fantails, but our neighbor's cat had lunch, so I have added hiding places for the fish. <<More likely fishing birds or other wildlife, but the end result and prevention are the same/same in this situation.>> We have a filtered pump running the water through a spout, creating a large splash area on the edge of the tub. All the fish have been very active. I lost one fish last week - the fantails were ganging up on him, and I think he died of exhaustion (no bite marks). I have since introduced seven pet store goldfish, and they have been getting along very well. But yesterday noticed that all the goldfish were 'riding' the waterspout like a ride at an amusement park. The just face upstream, and swim over the splash, and then go around again and again. <<Sounds like fun!>> The pond is relatively new, and I have not done the ever important water testing, as the water is clear and until yesterday, behavior looked fine. <<Water clarity is NEVER an indicator of its healthfulness for aquatic life. E.g. swimming pool. How long would our goldfishes last in a crystal clear swimming pool? About as long as it takes for the Muriatic acid and chlorine to kill them, which ain't long at all.>> Testing is now on my urgent list. I am afraid to raise the water level (we have had a little evaporation) because I don't want them to accidentally jump out.  <<Cover with shade netting or similar.>> I know that it is good weather for 'fish love', and from your website, I see that water quality may be an issue, but is there anything else that I may have missed that could cause them to jump like this? <<All sorts of things find love is in the air this time of year, as well as your fishes. Are they flashing? Gilling rapidly? Do you have dragonflies and/or water bugs? Dragonfly nymphs are nasty little predators, do NOT ever let yourself be nailed by one, they hurt. Watch for other signs of disease here. Oh, a collar around the tub might be helpful. If they appear to be gasping for air, gulping at the surface, then their preference for the area around the fountainhead could indicate poor oxygen saturation. Know also that a raised tub like this will heat up QUICKLY, if you can find a way to prevent this it will be better for your fishes in the long term. Rockwork, filling the area with potted plants will help a great deal with this issue.>> They look like they are playing, but if they are in distress, I want to fix it. Thanks, Grace <<Watch more closely, expect die-off from the recent additions, have a hospital (kiddie pool) handy if need be, as well as rock salt in case any treatment is necessary. Otherwise, I believe they're fine at this point. Marina>>  

Goldfish/Koi in Mud Pond and Dirty Birds Hi Robert, <Wendy> We had a pond dug last summer, it's about 20x60 by 30 ft deep at the deepest. It filled with ground water and a slightly underground stream/run off feeder in maybe 2 months during the hottest part of the summer (so I feel pretty comfortable it has fresh water supply). A couple weeks ago we released ~40 goldfish and when no "floaters" happened we got perhaps 80 more goldfish and 3 very small koi. This morning I found 1 dead goldfish (I'm not very worried about that. one of the bag of fish releases was not very gentle - my 4 yr old!).  The goldfish definitely look bigger already. <I'll bet!> I'm wondering now if we have overstocked this pond. Do you have any feedback/recommendations for us? <Not overstocked... as of yet... but these fishes will reproduce... perhaps crowd themselves in time. I do hope, trust the water does not overflow from this basin into outgoing waters...> Lastly, my husband saw an adult duck w/some ducklings the other day, but our dog scared them off into the bushes. I hear they might eat some of the fish? <Not ducks no, some ducks will eat small/er fishes> Any info you have is greatly appreciated! Thanks, Wendy Armstrong <Congratulations on your new pond. A few years hence you may want to consider the introduction of a few predators (catfish, sunfishes) for balance. I would keep the waterfowl life to a minimum... very "dirty", disease (for humans as well) carriers. Bob Fenner>

Tench n goldfish Hi I was just wondering if my medium sized tench would eat smallish goldfish. my family are bored of their indoor goldfish so I was wondering if they would be ok in the outdoor pond, we have also got a nice sized carp, 2 ghost carps and two medium sized goldfish, thanks for your help. jo, (Greater Manchester) England <Both these minnow/cyprinid species lack actual teeth, and are largely herbivorous... but will eat smaller fishes if they are small enough and sufficiently enough. Bob Fenner>

Pond Goldfish I recently bought 3 goldfish to restart my pond for the spring. I had them for about a week and two of them disappeared and one is just hiding at the bottom of the pond under a leaf.  <Possibly stress induced. I would say acclimating, but a week is a long time for a fish to adjust. It's not unheard of, though.> I was thinking that it was still too cold.. <A very real possibility. If it is below 60 you may want to move the fish to a warmer place.> ... or maybe it's pregnant.  <A very real impossibility. Goldfish are egglayers, and do not technically get pregnant. Even so, with livebearing fishes such as Mollies, Platies, and Guppies, lethargy does not usually accompany pregnancy.> But that doesn't explain where the other two went.  <Predators? Died? Hiding? So many possibilities.> Can you give me some insight on goldfish behavior in a pond? I'm kinda new to this! <Well, here are a few links on goldfish, read them over and see if they do not answer your questions. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfishsysfaqs.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsysfaq2.htm  http://www.petlibrary.com/goldfish/goldfish.html  Best of luck, Mike G> Sincerely, Morris Porter 

My crazy goldies I have roughly around 20(?) goldfishes currently living in a pond in my backyard. I've had them for about 7 years. when we first got them, they lived in a tank and nothing weird happened. Then we transferred them to a pond and they've lived there for about 4 years. Now, I am starting to think they are turning feral as my goldfishes have started nibbling and attacking each other for no apparent reason.  I dismissed this at the start thinking it was "normal" but recently their golden/white/orange scales have started turning black. I'm not sure if its because of the water or because it's evolving. I'm too scared to take them out of the pond and possibly clean them as I'm too scared it's a disease and I'll catch it (I know, very paranoid). What can I do? Without dying? Yours sincerely Hiratio Saka  <This time of year, the fish are likely interacting vigorously due to reproductive drives... The color change could be nothing, but I would monitor water quality, keep up with your regular water changes. Bob Fenner>

Bringing fish indoors I have recently lost three pond fish. They were large and healthy, but I believe that the extreme changes in our weather here killed them. <Does happen, particularly in systems that have wide temperature changes in turn... are too small in volume, too shallow, not placed away from thermal influences> I have since brought the remaining five smaller fish indoors. I have them sitting in bowls in my floor right now because I need to clean out the aquarium that I borrowed. The problem is that the aquarium didn't come with a filter or anything, and I am clueless about taking care of these fish indoors. <Same as aquariums period. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm> I have never had so many, and I wouldn't even know what type of filter to buy or even if they need one. I have 2 black moors, 1 calico fantail, 1 goldfish, and 1 Koi. please tell me what to do. I just didn't want them to die, but now I feel like I have made a mistake by bringing them inside. Thank You, Stacy <Read, make a list of possible purchases... act. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish dilemma Hello <Hi there Lukas> I have a question about gold fish and their survival outside. My in-laws have a large pond in there back yard and we were all wondering if we could place some gold fish in to it and leave them in there over winter?   They are not Koi.   How ever I have been told that a lady that my mother in law knows keeps gold fish and koi out side all winter and does not house them in side at all.  I also have to mention that they live just out side of Calgary Alberta.  So it does get quite cold out there. <Does the pond freeze all the way to the bottom? If it is deep enough, perhaps protected from the elements... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdmaintwint.htm> My other question is I have just bought 4 small clown loaches and I have been told that they will eat snails.  I have 2 rather large rams horns in my tank and I kind of want them gone.  They have been happily munching and destroying my plants.  So now  for the question will these loaches eat the rams horns? <Very likely so. May take some time due to the relative size of the prey, predators> I also wanted to say good work on the site I use it every time I have a dilemma with my fish, and manage to get an answer with out emailing you guys. Lukas <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Goldfish attack! we have a series of large ponds with comets in each pond, usually all get along fine. last week all of the  fish in the largest pond started "ganging up" on one fish and seemed to be trying to push it out of the water. It 's a n average sized fish in the pond ( neither the smallest or the largest) . I captured the fish under attack and moved it to another pond and it is fine with the other fish. Today, the fish in the large pond seem to be after another fish. we have had the ponds for a year, and haven't experienced this problem before, do you have any ideas? thanks Sheridan <Very likely your fish are engaged in a bit of reproductive behavior. You can diminish this by removing any sort of floating, filamentous breeding material... or you may be forced to remove the males (chasing party) or female/s (chased). Bob Fenner>

Mysterious dead pond goldfish Hi, I've read all of the questions posted and none are quite the same. I have a 2000 gallon pond, with a 1600 gal/hour filter, biofilter 4000, skimmer, and a U.V. clarifier.  I have a huge water lily, 3 oxygenators, and 4 marginal plants, which are all doing very well, as well as a waterfall that runs continuously.  The pond has been up and running since early May.  I have bought goldfish on 4 occasions, and the same thing happens to them.  I put them in, in the afternoon, they swim around all evening, and by morning they are floating.  I've tried feeders, Shubunkins, and comets.  I've had my water tested for PH, nitrates, and ammonia, and the levels are all normal.  I can't for the life of me figure it out.  I've had fish for 18 years and this has never happened before.  We just redid the pond this spring using slate and I'm wondering if that could be the problem.  Any suggestions? Sincerely, Penny King <Something is definitely amiss here... as in chronically toxic to fish, but not plant life... Either a chemical poisoning source or perhaps an electrical one... Re this last, there are ways to test your water for "electrical leaks"... I do hope your pump, UV are wired through or plugged into a GFCI or GFI protected outlet/breaker... If not, take care to NOT put your body, even hand in the water. The poison part I'd like to test by removing some of the water... to an aquarium or kiddie wading pool, placing some of the new fish there and see what ensues... maybe the slate is leaching something toxic... perhaps there is another source like insect spray... Please respond back to me re these issues. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish follow-up 27 Aug 2004 We've been using an extension cord to run both the smaller pump and the main waterfall pump but they lay in the middle of the grass; not a real good idea to have them running when the sprinklers for the grass are running.  Since last week, I haven't had any of the fish die (knock on wood) at this point. All levels that I can test with the testing kit are still showing either 0 for the Nitrate and Nitrite and in the Ideal range for everything else. <That's good to know.> Still have issues with the hard water, but I'm not sure what I can do about that.   My lily hasn't bloomed yet and I'm not sure that it will this year.  I winter it in a plastic bag as the instructions that came with the plant indicated; it didn't get put into the pond until mid- to late June; maybe next year I'll get the chance to see some flowers. <It may still bloom, some are very late bloomers.> I haven't bothered trying to feed the flake any longer; why put something into the water that will just decompose if it doesn't get eaten. <Bravo!> I even make sure that whatever koi pellets don't get eaten get skimmed from the pond, too. <Very nice> I'm really trying to make the pond a nice habitat for all the fish; seems like the goldfish are getting HUGE though. <They will fast and then they will breed.>  Guess that'll happen if they're eating koi growth formula pellets, huh?  I haven't seen any chlorine testing kits to know what the chlorine levels may be in the water, so I haven't done anything along those lines.  Again, I haven't had any fish die in almost a week; I think I scooped the last one out Sunday, to be honest. <That's good to hear I hope you don't have anymore die ever.> I started wondering if things haven't managed to balance themselves out and I just over-populated the pond to quickly. <I think that's really the case.>  I'll never know if I may not have had any problems if I hadn't gotten so overzealous with adding the fish in the first place.  So far, everything seems to be doing okay.  My only problem now, that I'm trying to find a safe way to deal with for both the fish and the lily, is to control the algae that is growing along the sides and bottom of the pond. <That can be a majorly tough thing to do.  There are some commercial things on the market that seem to do well but can hurt the lily so you'll need to make sure before you use it. Good luck, MacL> Thanks for all your help and suggestions.

Pond goldfish pregnant or diseased? hello, <Hi there> just wondering if you could advise me. we have a pond with around 50 goldfish most of which are very young. Recently (well within the last 2 months) we have noticed that one of the older fish has become bloated. At first we thought it might be "pregnant" with eggs because we keep seeing new little goldfish all the time! However it doesn't seem to have given birth so we're wondering if it's diseased? It has a good appetite and seems quite happy and joins in the feeding frenzy. Any ideas would be very welcome and appreciated. Thanks Dan and Diana <Mmm, if it's only one fish affected... seems that some sort of pathogenic complaint can be ruled out... or even trouble with food/feeding... It may be the one fish has what is called "dropsy" or a dropsical condition, but I suspect you are correct in your estimation that it is a female full of roe. If you are concerned that this might be a problem that could spread you might administer Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) at the rate of about a teaspoon per two gallons of water (hope this is not a very large system), or move the one fish to a smaller system and treat it hence... or just wait and see "if this too passes". Likely so. Bob Fenner>

What the.. Where did THESE guys come from?? >I have to say I am rather new at goldfish altogether. I have an outdoor pond, well balanced, and was putting a new pump in when I noticed some new fish in my pond.  >>Some secret "blessings"? >I have goldfish, fan tail some of them and I guess a variety of about 12 to 13 in about a 250 gallon pond.  >>I don't know how long you've had them in the pond, but I have a pond pretty much exactly the same size, and they end up thinning their own numbers (by death) down to a half dozen or so. Btw, the first spring after we set up our little pond the EXACT same thing happened to us. Unfortunately we lost all the fish to Furunculosis, it's VERY virulent and terrible. >I do have some that are solid white and some that are gold and white. Don't know if those are Koi.  >>Hard to say without seeing the fish, there are MANY fancy goldfishes, and they often come with much white mixed in. >I noticed 3 new fish from about 2" to about 1" but they are dark, showing no signs of color at this point. Lot's of rocks and plants so I am not sure if there are a few more. I didn't put them there, so I guess somebody was breeding, but am surprised about the color. Is a dark color natural and will they turn another color? Thanks for the help. Van >>This is actually the original coloration of Carassius auratus x C. goeblio. I would expect the fish to continue changing color over time, but HOW and WHAT colors is a bit of a shot in the dark. If you're interested in learning more about "goldies", try this site (great chat board, too) - http://www.kokosgoldfish.com/breeding.html  Marina 

Catfish and Goldfish  I have a 125 gallon outside pond. I have 2 white catfish and they are jumping out of the pond. Can you tell me why?  <Test the water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH; usually fish do these things when the water that they're in is unsatisfactory to them.>  So far, someone has been home to put them back in. My pond has plenty of plants and filtration and the catfish are about 9" long. I have about 9 small goldfish with them. Also, my goldfish are chasing aggressively all the time. They will single one fish out and chase and bump him until he's above the water.  <Probably most of this is in play or breeding behaviour. Comets/Shubunkins will sometimes be a touch aggressive to 'fancy' goldfish, so they're usually not a good mix.>  I have already taken my fan tail fish out and put them in the house because they were targeted first. Is there something I can do about this?  <Not really, unfortunately. It's just their nature to be chasey and playful. Keeping the non-fancy goldfish separate from the fancy goldfish is really the best route.>  I have more fish inside than out.  <Perhaps you could fashion a divider for the pond? Wishing you well, -Sabrina.>  Jumping Goldfish 11/03/03  Hello again,  <Hi, its Pufferpunk again>  Thanks for the advice, Pufferpunk.  <You're welcome>  I was afraid the decision would hinge on my goldfishes' appetite for platys. I have the platys because my local pet shop couldn't supply guppies for my turtles' menu. I added half the order of platys to the turtle tank and they were eaten within minutes! Too easy a target for even myopic turtles. I have two large red-eared sliders in a separate, in-ground pool, with attached basking area. They are doing superbly.  <So they can eat the rest of the platys?>  I've tried to cover the goldfish tank to protect my water lilies from the  unseemly interest of crows, but the large, upward growth of the Louisiana iris  rendered that ineffective. I had no idea that koi would jump like mullet!  <The only other think I was thinking of was to keep a close eye on the water parameters. Although it is a large tank, goldfish emit a high bioload. Some fish will try to leave a tank that has less than perfect water conditions.>  Thank you for your kind words about the tank. I have enjoyed it, at ground level as well as the view from second-story windows above it.  Thanks so much for your advice and continued success with your valuable site.  <Thanks for your kind words--Pufferpunk> 

Mystery in a pond, solved. Hello, <Hello again!> Sorry about the late reply.   <No sweat.> But we could not get a good picture of our mystery fish because they were very skittish and they really did not have any markings.  The mystery has been solved though.  When they reached about two inches long, they started turning gold.   <Aha> I did some more research and found that baby gold fish are dark and then turn gold later.  We now have four new two inch gold fish that we did not purchase.   <Wonderful little freebies, indeed!> In my research I also found that spawning can be stimulated by a water change.  Our "pond" is a very large recycled Jacuzzi that was not in working order when we purchased our home.  We dug it up and moved it to the middle of our yard and at that time did a complete water change.  It was only a couple of months after that that we noticed the new fish.   <Sounds like you found your answer.  Wonderful to hear, and congratulations!!  -Sabrina> Thanks for your help.  Patricia

- Big Fish in a Small Pond - <Good morning, JasonC here...> I have two large fantail goldfish that I have managed, by more luck than judgment, to keep alive for 6 years, they are so big now that I have transferred them to the garden.  They have been outside in a 10 gallon plastic container for a year now (I know, not ideal, but I have a low budget and can't afford all the filters etc...) Anyway, one of the fish developed red streaks in his tail which I treated with fin rot and antifungus treatment 5 days ago, I looked at them both today whilst changing the water (which I do every week because I have no filters) and they both look absolutely awful, their tails and fins are all ragged and have white spots all over them.  They seem happy enough and are eating, but they really do look awful - what have I done? <Well, I must admit, I'm a little confused... are the fish still in the 10g container or are they in larger quarters? In either case, what is most likely the problem is that something is wrong with their environment. Any fish of this age/size can fill it's tank with waste in less than a week. Even if you were changing 100% of the water, these two fish could pollute it soon enough. Your best bet is to run a full course of water tests - ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH - there will be some clues there. Also, it's time for you to spring for some filtration... leaving things up to the fish has produced the problems you have now. Here is some more reading that should provide some background: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm > I read the FAQ's and saw that someone else mentioned red streaks in the tail and you advised that is was probably septicemia?  Please help - Donna <Cheers, J -- >

Advice on goldfish in pond Hi <Hello>    I have a newly set up pond of 8ftx5ftx11/2ft.A week ago I purchased 2 large goldfish (about 8 inch) which had come from a pond with very large koi.  I put 1 into my pond and the other into my large tank because it was so beautiful with massive flowing fins and tail. After a week I noticed 1 of the small goldfish nudging it and I felt that it may be better off with more space in the pond. After about 1/2 an hour the other fish that I had bought at the same time started following it side by side. This has been continuing for 2 days. I have separated them from time to time to give it some peace by putting a rigid plastic barrier across the middle of the pond. The fancy fishes tail looks kinked at the end. Are they trying to breed and should I let nature take its course, or am I doing the right thing in separating them for periods. I have been told that sometimes a fish will not release its eggs if the ponds conditions are not right. What happens then? Could the fish die if it is continuously chased? I am a novice and don't know what to do. There is also 4 small koi and 4 small goldfish in the pond. <There are many reasons that could explain the other fish following and bumping it but unless the chasing is extremely aggressive, it's probably not going to hurt the fish. I would just watch it closely for a while and see if it adjusts. Don't keep adding the divider, things should settle down on their own soon. Ronni>

Goldfish hatchery Hi my name is John Butler, and I have a question for you. My question is, I'm planning on starting a goldfish hatchery. I need to know if all varieties of goldfish can be raised in earth ponds? Also, what varieties should I keep together or separate? <The more common (Comet, Fantail) varieties are bred and reared in earthen ponds, and more exotic ones can be as well if you have mild weather, consistent water quality/temperature in the area you are using. All should be kept separate by sport/variety. Bob Fenner>                                                                     Sincerely, John Butler

Moving Fish from tank to small pond Bob, I currently have 5 goldfish living in a 40 gallon tank. They are all around 4 - 6 inches in length and very healthy. I have a semi planted tank however I am moving to a house where I can have a small (around 400 gallon) pond. I was wondering if there are any issues with moving the goldfish to the pond once I slowly bring the temperature down in their tank (as it is currently at 79 degrees F).  <You're right... acclimation to temperature change is the biggest obstacle... and all that goes with it... Move them while the weather is still warm/ish... with all their water... even place the water change water in the meanwhile in the pond... to condition the water, establish microbes...> I live in southern California where the temperature will not fluctuate too much during the winter. Any advice would be great. <I live in San Diego... some parts are quite cold, but the issue of thermal fluctuation is of more import than a given value. Please read over the pond design, construction materials here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm to aid you in making the shape of your new pond, filtering same. Bob Fenner> Cheer, Vince

Gold Fish Killed I have a garden pond here in Florida. I put it in almost two years ago. It is around 3000 gallons. There is 50 goldfish in size from 2" to 6". Last year I had this problem and now it has started again. I never figured out what the problem could be. What it is, several fish will chase one fish and force it up on bank. This will continue until the one they are chasing is totally exhausted and than dies. At first I thought they were spawning or something.  <it may very well be. The chased fish is typically a larger/more round individual (the female) followed by several slender males> This happened last year and I lost around eight fish. It suddenly stopped until a couple of days ago it started again and now I have a dead goldfish. Could you possibly shed some light on what is happening? Thank you, Mike Rhoads <your pond needs some bushy floating plants or a plastic floating spawning may to entice the female to throw her eggs on a pass during the chase. Else, the chase goes on and she dies. water hyacinth are just one fine example. Kindly, Anthony>

A goldfish by any other name... Thanks Bob, What is the difference between a Pond Comet, goldfish and Koi? Is Pond Comet a fancy name for gold fish? <All Goldfish are the same species (dithered actually, Carassius auratus X C. goeblio)... the "Comet" is a variety (sport mutation), the only one developed (thus far) in the United States... Koi (Nishikigoi) are of the same family (the Minnows, Cyprinidae), different species, genus: Cyprinus carpio... though the same species as "common" carp found in lakes most anywhere humans are. There are crosses (sterile, like the book of y) called Golden Orfes. Bob Fenner>

Dear Rob, Is my pearly fantail goldfish sleepy? <Anthony Calfo in your service here at WWM> She (we guess it's a she, as she has red-lipstick lips!) is a new addition to our tank in the last 3 weeks, and since she arrived, she's taken to exhibiting a rather unnerving behaviour. She swims with the other four fish quite happily, and then drifts off to the bottom of the tank, finds a well or dip in the gravel, and then appears to go to sleep! If you call her, she happily jumps awake and comes to the front of the tank to have her belly 'tickled' through the glass, but will then return to the back or corner of the tank, tuck herself into a stone dip and lie completely motionless. She's feeding just as well as the others, her colour and scales have improved since we got her, she mixes well with the other fish and she seems to be quite a character, other than the 75% of the day that she lies on the bottom on her own! Is she sick, or just playing with the minds of her new owners? <ornamental goldfish are plagued with congenital defects from selective breeding for their unique shapes that may even put pressure on the swim bladder and cause such unusual swimming behaviors. It is not curable if so. If the fish however swam fine for quite some time and then evidenced the behavior... you might look towards impaction (especially if given an all dry food diet). You may try a one time dose of Epsom salt at 1 Tablespoon per 10 gallons of tank water and feed high moisture green foods including thawed frozen peas and spinach (small bits at first). Very nutritious foods for goldfish. Kind regards, Anthony>

Is my pearly fantail sleepy? 2  Oh, dear, Anthony - it's all going pear-shaped here! <me too if I keep sucking down donuts like they were oxygen!> Our pearly fantail is now looking very, very sorry for herself. Her dorsal fin is currently laying flat <not a big deal> on her back and her pearly scales are getting pinker by the minute, <OK...a big deal> especially around her gill covers. <maintain maximum oxygenation please> We've isolated her in a salty 'holiday' fish bowl to treat her as you suggested, but she's not interested in the spinach, and floats motionlessly about, her mouth and gills hardly moving. Is it time to book her a room in the freezer compartment? Hoping not and desperate for advice! <have faith and please do not euthanize, if at all, unless you see evidence of a virulent or seemingly incurable condition (hemorrhaging and the like). Keep good water quality, daily water changes, add common aquarium salt (NaCl) too at 1 Tablespoon per 5 gallons. Lets hope for the best. Anthony> Inga

Goldfish Behavior Question Hello Robert, <Hello> My name is Roland Graham and I have a 120 gallon goldfish tank. My question to you is this...Is it normal behavior for goldfish to hang at the top of the water and then go down underwater and appear to be chewing something in their mouths and then appear to be spitting something out of their mouths?  <Yes, not unusual at all... Goldfishes and most of their kin (the minnows, family Cyprinidae) have a "chewing" apparatus in the way of cartilaginous protrusions on their gill supports... by "mouthing" foods, help to break up, aid digestion> They occasionally thrash from side-to-side like a shark ripping their prey apart when they exhibit the behavior I stated above. The goldfish also do not exhibit this behavior all of the time. I've spoken with people knowledgeable in goldfish and they can't figure it out. <Mmm, I may have an advantage here... am writing reviews of goldfish books, and a few articles on their care, biology currently... "Goldfish" on the brain. What you describe is not unusual> At first, I thought the goldfish had flukes and I did two treatments with Droncit over three days. That didn't work. I did some more reading and thought that the goldfish may have a bacterial infection. I then gave them 3 injections of Baytril spaced a day apart. That didn't work either. I then purchased a microscope and looked at both gill scrapes and body scrapes. I found no flukes or other organisms. <Ah, a thorough approach.> My water quality is excellent. I test all parameters with Hach dip strips. I have 2 AquaMaster 600 filters equipped with Cell-Pore substrate. I have a UV Filter and I have a couple of airstones with the largest Rena Air Pump available. <Sounds very nice. A good-sized system, with adequate filtration, aeration.> I believe that I am doing everything right, but to me the behavior my fish are exhibiting does not seem right.  Thanks, Roland Graham <Thank you for writing. I would do nothing extraordinary here. Bob Fenner>

Help with a Constipated Gold Fish Hi Robert, <<Not actually Robert, but Jason filling in while Bob is away diving.>> Mike Kobert recommended I contact you as I seem to have a problem with one of my goldfish. I have a 50 gallon hex tank with a split tail fancy gold fish, a red cap and a junior black moor. The gold fish and red cap are very large. A couple of months ago I changed food and my very large black moor started to swell up. I discontinued food and researched problem. He apparently was constipated or had dropsy (sp?) Anyway, I se up a hospital tank with the Epsom salt treatment per the book recommendations. The moor eventually died. <<I am sorry to hear this.>> Now my Gold fish (very large) is swollen and I haven't seen him poop for weeks. <<uh oh...>> Do you recommend any other course of action besides he Epsom salt treatment. <<have a recent account from another reason who had a similar problem with his clownfish. His solution was to add fish-oil to the food. You might want to try this.>> It didn't seem to work for the moor. <<No, it didn't did it, but unfortunately this type of problem can only go on for so long before it will kill the fish, so the Epsom salts may have come a little too late.>> Do you think I should try to manipulate (squeeze) the blockage out? <<not unless you are very familiar with the fish's physiology - no guarantee you won't squeeze something in the wrong direction.>> I am at a loss and we have had him for a few years - hate to see him go to fish heaven! <<It would be unfortunate to be certain. Do try the fish-oil.>> Mike says your the man when it comes to goldfish. I'd really appreciate any advise you can give me. <<hope that's helpful.>> Thanks! Ted Burgess <<You are welcome - Cheers, J -- >>
Re: goldfish -friend of mike Kobert
Thanks Jason! <<Ahh, you are quite welcome.>> We'll give the fish oil a try> <<Do let us know how it goes.>> Ted <<Cheers, J -- >>

Urgent advice needed (goldfish bloat "disease") Dear Robert I have a black Ryukin, less than a year old. About 3 weeks ago, it started swimming sideways, I changed the water, tried feeding it peas. But the condition remained the same. I have used fin rot medicine for treating its fin which was looked like it was having fish rot. The fin improved, but he remained bloated. Lately I noticed there was a small white spot on its bloated belly (exposed to the air), and a red spot beneath scales. I was prescribed AZoo, an antibacterial powder, by the fish hobbyist shops. My Ryukins condition did not improve, but lately I noticed the red spots looked like internal bleeding under the scales. What should I do? I am really desperate, as I am new in this. Thanks. Adeline <Thank you for writing. It is likely that the prima facie cause of all the other symptoms you list is a "swim bladder disorder"... all-too common in "rounder" breeds of Goldfish. Your step to intervene with feeding peas is a good strategy, as over time, consumption of less "fat" prone/storage foods allows for a better balance/orientation. I would move this specimen to a shallow system (A handful of inches deep) w/o rocks, other sharp decor, no lighting, feed it very sparingly, and perhaps add a level teaspoon of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) per ten net/actual gallons (no need to re-new unless you change out water). Over a period of a few weeks it should "right" itself. The other suggested medicines won't hurt, but the sores should clear on their own. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Disease Hey Bob, how are you at fish diseases? A friend has lost one black moor and may loose another large goldfish to some kind of bloating/constipation issue. Can you assist? <Yes> Mike

Re: Meteor Watching, Goldfish problems Mornin Bob. Went to the "big shower" last night. A little groggy this a.m. Great visuals. Took a camera and t-pod but not able to get far enough off the road to suit my taste. Plus there was a cloud that was moving in and out the entire time. Maybe something will come out. Did, 5, 10 and 15 minute time lapse. <Neat... was out at the sushi bar with friends last night... and they were going to make the big drive to the desert for meteor viewing as well... but too foggy, and late...> All in all it was a lot less "amazing" than the hype. We did see about 100 meteors in about two and a half hours though and that was amazing. Great tails. Anyway, on the fish matter. My friend Ted is getting a bit desperate to figure out what is happening with his fish. The Moor died after bloating and not dumping. <Very, too typical... am writing a review (while reading the book) on Goldfish husbandry... reminded of many losses attributable to too-fancy breeds, too much dried food...> He tried broad spectrum antibiotics but to no availed. Now he has another with the same symptoms. He set up a hospital tank as isolation and is ready to move the sick fish into it. The only change that he can think of is that he changed food types a few weeks before the first fish became ill..... Perhaps you should give him a call and speak to him directly. <Mmm, I don't generally call, talk re such matters (we have thousands of people on our sites daily... I would be buried)> I really think that he needs expert advice from a fish person.  <Agreed... have him email me, and I will answer directly and/or send on the way to other sources> Now if he wanted to know what to do with a Moor Gazelle with a luxated hock joint, well I'm his man...but here I fear my expertise falls woefully short here...he is at 619-222-3746. He should be home later today (Sunday) so if you have the time and don't mind giving him a jingle I am sure that he would greatly appreciate it. Thanks. Mike <Please have him write if possible. Bob Fenner>

Pigmentation change We have a new pond feature in our backyard. This is our first year with fish, and we have 2 comets, 2 Shubunkins, and (I think) a fantail. All have been healthy all season. Recently, one of the comets lost his/her orange stripes and is now mostly a gold color. The other comet still has his/her strong orange spot and stripe. Why did one lose its color? Still healthy, still goes after food, still plays and socializes. <Thank you for writing. For whatever reasons (genetic predisposition, "weather", water quality, nutrition...) some goldfish as individuals tend to lose their color with time, growth. Black Moors produced in the U.S. for instance have tended to go "brassy" rather than stay black for years... Nothing to worry about here.> Thanks for any help you can give. <Enjoy your pond and goldfish varieties. 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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