Goldfish ponds have been around since the Tang dynasty of China. They were once a symbol of royalty. Thankfully, times have changed, and now anyone can add a little royalty to the backyard with a goldfish pond of their own. While goldfish ponds do require care and maintenance to keep the water clean and the fish happy and healthy, this is not difficult. Planning and knowledge are all you need to keep your pond looking good and your fish swimming happily for years.
Water Care and Cleaning
Pond water should always look clean and clear and must not contain chemicals that can harm your goldfish. Remove and replace approximately 25 per cent of pond water every two to four weeks. Since most people fill the pond and maintain water levels using a garden hose, a good idea is to call your local water company and ask for a chemical analysis of your water supply. The presence of chlorine, ammonia and nitrite will kill fish almost immediately. While filtering will not remove these chemicals, water treatments are available from any pond supplier. Test your water on a regular basis and take immediate action when you detect unwanted chemicals.
Use a filter to help clean the water. Check it three times weekly so that the tube and filter insert remain free of plant material and sludge.
Use a water pump to ensure water is always moving and to provide for adequate oxygenation. Install a pump below the water surface or above, as in a waterfall. The flow rate you set the pump to will depend on the size of your pond and on the manufacturer of the pump. Inspect a water pump three times weekly and clear away any obstructions or debris that may prevent water flow.
An ideal water temperature is between 4.44 to 40.6 degrees Celsius. Install a heater if seasonal changes mean water will fall below 4.44 degrees C. Provide for shade over the pond or plant water lilies to keep goldfish out of direct sunlight on hot days.
Water pH should fall within a range of 7.0 to 8.0. A pH too low will prevent ammonia breakdown and a pH too high will kill fish and plants. Test water on a weekly basis at the same time of day each time you test as pH levels can fluctuate throughout the day.
To avoid overstocking your pond, plan for one average-size goldfish for every 3 to 4 square feet of pond surface area. For example, a pond measuring 10 by 10 feet will have a surface area of 100 square feet and can hold up to 30 goldfish. Too many goldfish will decrease oxygen levels and increase ammonia and nitrite levels.
The best and most hardy goldfish varieties for pond use include the Comet, Sarassa, Shubunkin, Wakin, and Tamasaba goldfish.
Only feed goldfish what they can consume within five minutes. Temperature will have a definite impact on appetite. In warmer weather, feed fish twice daily, and in colder weather feed every other day. Do not be alarmed if fish stop eating entirely if the temperature drops below 10 degrees Celsius. Remember the five-minute rule and adjust feeding times and amounts accordingly. Also, remember that goldfish are scavengers and will eat mosquito larvae and other small insects, algae, and will sometimes nibble on plants.
The type of food a goldfish requires depends on temperature. In warm weather, feed a high-protein food, and in colder weather, feed a lower-protein food.
Bring fish indoors when the temperature falls below 4.44 degrees Celsius.