How to Help a Pond Fish Sitting on the Bottom That Won't Eat

Written by sarah terry
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A fish that refuses to eat and wallows at the bottom of the pond could have several different problems. The first thing you should do is observe the fish in your pond to determine whether all of the fish in the pond are refusing to eat and wallowing at the bottom, which would indicate a water-quality problem. If only one or two fish are displaying these behaviours, they may be suffering from an illness. Even if you determine that the symptomatic fish is suffering from a disease, ensuring good pond water quality is essential to helping the fish to recover from the illness.

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Things you need

  • Pond water test kit
  • Water conditioner (optional)
  • De-chlorinator tablets
  • PH buffering solution
  • Appropriate fish disease medicines

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    All or Many of the Fish Have Symptoms

  1. 1

    Test your pond water with the test kit per package directions. Test for high levels of ammonia, nitrite and water pH in your pond, which can all harm and even kill your fish.

  2. 2

    Replace 20 to 40 per cent of the total pond water volume every day, if you find ammonia or nitrite in the pond water. When you're adding water to the pond, spray it onto the pond's surface to dilute any chlorine and add a de-chlorinator tablet.

  3. 3

    Stop feeding the fish while replacing the water in the pond in increments, until you've replaced water equal to the total pond volume.

  4. 4

    Adjust the pH as necessary as indicated from the pond test kit. Add a commercially-made pH buffering agent designed for fish ponds or aquariums. Follow the directions on the label exactly to achieve the optimal pH level for the type of fish in your pond, usually around 7.0 to 7.5.

    One or Few of the Fish Have Symptoms

  1. 1

    Net the symptomatic fish and inspect the fish for any injuries, damage or visible symptoms. Look for ulcers, parasites or abnormal spots or blotches on the fish.

  2. 2

    Remove the symptomatic fish from the pond and isolate it in an aquarium tank.

  3. 3

    Diagnose the exact illness with the aid of a veterinarian. Look for diseased or rotting fins and tail tissues (Finrot), white blotches (fungal disease), raised white spots and lesions on the fish's body or gills (Ich or White Spot), wound-like ulcers on the sides of the fish (ulcers) or tiny worms feeding on or attached to the fish's body (parasites).

  4. 4

    Purchase the appropriate treatment from your veterinarian or a fish retailer. Dispense the medication into your pond, following the instructions on the label exactly. You must know your pond's water volume in order to dispense any medications at the proper dosage rates.

Tips and warnings

  • Quarantine the fish if only one fish is affected. If more than one fish is displaying symptoms, you should keep the fish in the pond and treat the entire pond.
  • Install a bio filter in your fish pond if you don't already have one. The filter will maintain good water quality and either cure the fish problems or at least assist in your fish getting better.
  • Remove any dead or dying fish from your pond to prevent any spread of disease and increased ammonia levels in the water.
  • Keep in mind that Koi and goldfish often do not eat for a few days after spawning. This is normal. If your fish aren't eating, look for foam on the water or around pond plants to see if the fish have been spawning.

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