Creating artificial fish habitats in your garden pond helps protect your fish from predators by allowing them to use their natural hiding instincts to greater effect. In an indoor aquarium, you will frequently find fish retreating behind any decorative items you have placed in your tank. In outdoor ponds, homeowners may spend a great deal of time beautifying the area surrounding the pond, but neglect to provide ample habitat for fish.
One of the easiest ways to create artificial fish habitats in your pond is to simply submerge a few terracotta pots of varying sizes. Algae will grow on these underwater hides and provide your fish with food and a cool place to escape the heat on a sunlit summer afternoon. Opt for terracotta, rather than plastic, because it remains submerged once soaked and is less likely to give off harmful chemicals.
Water lilies are great aquatic plants for fish habitats for a few reasons. Their roots provide food for minnows and goldfish. They help keep your pond water clean by absorbing dissolved nutrients and ammonia found in fish waste. This, coupled with their shading effect, helps reduce the risk of dangerous algae blooms. All the while, their leaves float on the surface, providing a hiding place for fish while feeding, and their root masses provide a place for your fish to lay their eggs.
Floating plants, such as water hyacinths, are wonderful additions to your fish habitat. They float on the surface of the water, trapping debris and absorbing dissolved nutrients that can contribute to algae growth. Furthermore, they provide a place for top-feeding fish to hide while hunting for insects and their larvae.
A plastic shoebox with an intact top and large holes cut out of all four sides provides a wonderful underwater fish habitat for a pond. It is unsightly, so placing such an item in an indoor aquarium would be a non-starter. However, hidden at the bottom of your outdoor fish pond, a simple plastic shoebox can provide a hiding place and spawning site for any medium-sized fish such as goldfish or minnows.
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