Goldfish Pond Care (Guide)

Feed and done? Not quite. We have summarized for you how you can avoid problems when keeping goldfish in the pond and what you should definitely pay attention to.

If you want to keep goldfish in the garden pond, you should pay attention to a few points in order to avoid problems and enjoy the attractive ornamental fish for years. In short, a suitable location (neither in the blazing sun nor in the immediate vicinity of tall trees), a sufficient water depth and pond size as well as a variety of plants and good ventilation ensure the well-being of the goldfish. Ideally, a third of the pond is always shaded by a wall or building so that the water does not get warm. From a water depth of 120 centimetres, goldfish can easily overwinter in the pond.

Keeping goldfish in the garden pond: the most important things in brief

The optimal fish stock is two goldfish per cubic meter of water. Pond plants, the right amount of food, clean and ideally filtered water and a good supply of oxygen are important for the well-being of the fish. In addition, ponds should be cleaned regularly.

Why do too many goldfish upset the balance in the pond?

There is a constant redistribution of nutrients in ponds: plants grow, consume nutrients and then give them back later when they die and decompose. It’s similar in animals, with nutrients going straight into the water via their excretions. They don’t stay there long, but are quickly put back into new plant growth. The pond is therefore in the so-called biological equilibrium and supplies itself with nutrients and aquatic plants. And ensures clean water all by itself. At most, the pond gets a small additional bite in the form of fallen leaves from outside.

The larger and deeper a pond is, the better it can cope with small fluctuations in this cycle and does not heat up as quickly in summer. If too many additional nutrients get into the water from outside, the plants can no longer do anything with them – but algae can. These then grow so fast that they use up all the oxygen from the water, causing it to “turn over” and become a cloudy broth. Fish feed also acts like fertilizer and gets directly into the water through the excretions of the animals.

And that brings us to the main mistake that many pond owners make: They keep too many goldfish in a pond. The first stocking of fish is like the first planting in a garden: people like to overdo it and add way too many fish or plant too densely – a cardinal mistake that can hardly be corrected later. The correct fish population is two goldfish per cubic meter of water.

What makes goldfish feel good in the pond?

The right pond planting

A pond with a variety of plants is better than a puristically furnished pool. Underwater plants such as crab claws, chickweed or seaweed enrich the water with oxygen, get their nutrients directly from the water and provide good hiding places for fish. Floating plants such as frog bite or vigorous marsh plants such as swan flower and cattails devour nutrients and act like natural sewage treatment plants.

The right amount of feed

If there are only a few goldfish in the pond, they can even live as self-supporters, because they feed on parts of plants and small water insects. If there are a lot of fish swimming in the pond or if the pond is only sparsely planted, you have to feed them – but if possible in such a way that everything is used up. To get a feeling for the right amount, put the food in portions in special, floating feeding rings. What isn’t eaten after two minutes is too much and will sink to the bottom, rot and allow algae to grow. Fish off the leftovers and use less next time.

Buy filters

The larger the pond, the lower the technical effort. In small ponds or with a high stock of fish, however, you cannot do without technology. Pond filters clean the water mechanically and also remove pollutants with activated carbon. Filters with UV light are effective. The pond water is passed through a glass tube and irradiated with UV rays. This kills germs and floating algae that would otherwise cloud the water. Filters bring a certain amount of agitation to the pond when they run day and night. Best practice is to select the filters one size larger than necessary and then only run them for a few hours or at night.

Aerate small ponds

Small ponds need an extra dose of oxygen in addition to the filter. A water feature, a fountain or a small stream is often enough, where the water cascades back into the pond and absorbs oxygen in the process. If that is too complex for you, you can install pond aerators that constantly “bubble” oxygen into the water.

Regular pond cleaning

Always remove dead or rampant plants from the pond – and with them the nutrients bound in them. So-called pond skimmers automatically clean the water surface and collect leaves and insects that have fallen into the water in their collection container. In the fall, a leaf protection net acts as a bodyguard, deflecting the masses of fallen leaves blown into the water by the wind. Over the years, nutrient-rich sludge accumulates at the bottom of the pond, which should be removed with stable nets or suction cups.

How often do you have to feed goldfish in the pond?

Twice a day is completely sufficient. It is important that the fish eat the food completely within a few minutes. Otherwise, superfluous residues will sink to the bottom and contaminate the water.

Can goldfish survive in a pond without a pump?

A natural pond survives without a filter, pump and skimmer. However, these ponds are often cloudy and covered with algae through and through.

What can goldfish not tolerate?

Feeding goldfish with dry food alone is not recommended, just like with other fish species. Especially with the compressed varieties, this feeding, often chosen for convenience, leads to digestive disorders and animal suffering.

How long does a goldfish live in a pond?

Goldfish can live 20 to 30 years! Interestingly, the color of goldfish only develops over time.

What does a goldfish need in the pond?

The optimal fish stock is two goldfish per cubic meter of water. Pond plants, the right amount of food, clean and ideally filtered water and a good supply of oxygen are important for the well-being of the fish. In addition, ponds should be cleaned regularly.

Why do the goldfish die in the pond?

One of the most common causes of sudden goldfish deaths is old copper plumbing that is leaking water into the pond/aquarium. If the copper content in the water rises, poisoning of the entire fish population is possible within a few hours.

How do I recognize lack of oxygen in the pond?

A lack of oxygen is best recognized in the early morning hours (around 6 a.m.) by observing the behavior of the fish. If the fish gasp for air on the water surface or cavort around the outlet of the filter, this is a clear sign of insufficient oxygen in the pond water.

How do I get more oxygen in the pond?

As technical means of increasing the oxygen content use filters, pond aeration and an oxygen pump. Active oxygen supplies the pond with oxygen within a short period of time. The water can also be enriched with oxygen through water features, streams or waterfalls.

Can goldfish starve in the pond?

As a rule, fish keepers think that their animals have starved to death over the winter. However, pond fish usually stay close to the bottom and do not need food. “In fact, the goldfish didn’t starve, they suffocated,” says Ingeborg Polaschek.

How do goldfish sleep in the pond?

They sink to the ground, have their eyes open and are just asleep. Nocturnal during the day and diurnal at night.” This means that our fish also sleep, and at night. They are not remote-controlled!

How many goldfish in a 1000l pond?

The bottom substrate made of gravel, stones and sand must also be subtracted from the available water volume in order to know whether the pond is suitable for fish. The right amount of fish is two adult goldfish per 1,000 liters of water, i.e. one cubic meter of water.

How do goldfish overwinter in the garden pond?

Goldfish hibernate in the garden: This is how your pond becomes winterproof. Use late autumn and the time before the first frost to clear the garden pond of leaves, small branches and dead parts of plants. This gives the goldfish plenty of space, order and oxygen for the winter.

How long can goldfish survive in the pond without food?

Goldfish survive 134 days without food.

When do you stop feeding pond fish?

In spring and autumn, when the water temperature is below 12 °C, the animals’ digestive system has to be relieved and feeding is stopped. The animals now only eat natural food – if at all.

What do goldfish like?

Like all animals, goldfish like variety, but a good quality staple food is more important. Commercially available fish food in the form of dry flakes or pellets can occasionally be mixed with live food, such as frozen mosquito larvae. Salads and Chinese cabbage are also eaten with pleasure.

How does the water in the pond stay clear?

  • Not too many fish in the pond.
  • Don’t feed the fish too much.
  • Make sure there is enough oxygen in the pond.
  • Remove plant debris and leaves.
  • Make sure you have enough shade.
  • Install a UV-C filter.
  • Measuring is knowledge!

What do you do with surplus goldfish?

Live goldfish can be given to pet dealers and pond owners – with their consent! Goldfish must never be released into any body of water! Exposing a natural enemy in the fish pond can also help.

Can you keep goldfish in tap water?

For goldfish (with only a few exceptions), tap water can be used without restriction almost anywhere in Germany. Industry and trade present so-called “water conditioners” as indispensable.

Can you tame goldfish?

Many goldfish even become really tame and take the food directly from their keeper’s hands. In a very large, long-running pond, targeted additional feeding is sometimes not necessary at all, the goldfish then eat algae, mosquito larvae, etc.

How to lower ph in goldfish pond

Add standard, white household vinegar to your pond if the pH testing kit reveals a pH that’s above 7.5. Use 1/4 cup of vinegar for every 500 gallons of water in your pond. The acid in the vinegar helps neutralize the alkalinity and lower the pond water’s pH levels.

How deep pond for year round goldfish?

For most parts of the US, 18 inches depths are sufficient. Koi, Shubunkins and most goldfish survive winter by staying inactive at the bottom of the pond where the water remains a constant cold temperature.

What is bad in a goldfish pond?

The most common cause of fish kills is suffocation due to lack of dissolved oxygen. Most dissolved oxygen is produced by algae and aquatic plants through photosynthesis. A lesser but also important source of oxygen in water is diffusion from the atmosphere, which is enhanced by wind-induced surface water turbulence.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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