How to Tame a Pond Fish

Written by deborah whistler
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How to Tame a Pond Fish
With a little time and patience, you can have pond fish eating out of your hand. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Interacting with the koi or goldfish in your garden pond by hand-feeding them can add another level of enjoyment to the backyard pond experience. Being able to connect closely with the fish can also help you monitor their health and check for illness or injury. Patience is key when working with fish, especially those new to the pond. It can take a fish several weeks to adjust to its new environment.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • High-quality floating fish food
  • Small rock

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  1. 1

    Buy high-quality floating fish food. Pond Experts recommends Profishent, Dainichi, Tetra and Hikari brands. Other brands are available, but they are often made of fillers and other inexpensive ingredients that are unattractive to fish.

  2. 2

    Start by standing a few feet from the pond's edge and throw a small amount of food in the pond. Do not move. Wait until fish come to the surface for the food. This can take time for timid fish. Repeat this several times a day for a few days. Use slow, deliberate movements around the pond so that fish become used to your presence. Sudden or jerky movements will startle even tame fish.

  3. 3

    Move one step closer once fish will feed readily with you standing a few feet from the pond. Toss in the food and don't move until they have surfaced to feed. Stay at this distance and feed the fish for a few days.

  4. 4

    Continue the process, moving closer each time until you can kneel at the edge of the pond while fish are feeding.

  5. 5

    Tap a small stone on the edge of the pond before tossing them food. This can serve as a fish dinner bell, signalling that food has arrived.

  6. 6

    Take some food in your fist and hold it in the water. The scent and flavour of the food will leak out and attract the fish. Release only one pellet of food and let it float. Keep your hand still and don't move until the fish move in close to investigate. Repeat this process for a few days. Once fish are readily swimming to your hand, open it and let them feed.

Tips and warnings

  • -If fish in your established pond are timid, introducing a new fish to the pond can sometimes embolden the established fish.
  • -Always feed fish from the same spot.

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