Pond Fish Care

Pond Fish Care - Marquis Gardens


Pond FishPond Fish and plants within a pond ecosystem work with one another to create an ecosystem. Pond Fish waste feeds the plant life and the plant life in return can create oxygen for the fish.

It is important to keep this balance in check to avoid any disturbances within the created ecosystem. 


If you are starting a new pond. Allow the pond to cycle with pumps and filtration for a couple weeks before adding fish. It is usually a good idea to start with a few smaller fish to test the new pond conditions before gradually adding any larger fish.


Selecting Your Pond Fish

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General Stocking Tips:

(The more filtration used the greater the allowance for fish)

  • 1” of Goldfish per sq.ft. of water surface area
  • 1/2” of Koi per sq.ft. of water surface area
  • Plan for average mature fish size:       Goldfish-10”     Koi-18-24”




When selecting pond fish look for the following attributes:

  • No white spots or ulcerations
  • Fins are intact
  • Scales are flat against the body
  • Clear eyes that are not bulging heavily
  • Normal swimming patterns (swimming with the other fish)
  • Actively feeding



Bringing your Pond Fish Home


Transportation, handling and a new environment will all cause stress to your pond fish, therefore try to limit handling and transportation time and acclimate your pond fish properly.


Use a dechlorinator before adding pond fish to any pond to make pond water safe. Dechlorinator will also give the pond fish an added slime coat that will help protect their fins and scales.


When introducing pond fish to a new pond it is important not to shock the fish with vast temperature changes. 

Begin by floating the bag in the pond for approximately 10 minutes (keep the bag shaded and out of the sun

Pond Fish

After ten minutes add a small amount of pond water to the pond fish bag to allow the fish to get used to the pond water

Pond Fish

After another 10 minutes use a soft mesh net to slowly release fish into the pond

Pond Fish


Note: Pond Fish will likely not eat for the first couple of days as they become accustomed to their new environment. The Pond Fish will likely hide for the first week before you begin to see them surface for food.



Feeding Your Pond Fish


Only feed fish what they are able to consume in a time period of 2-5 minutes (better to feed less food more often than too much food at one time)

Feed fish from the same area of the pond to get them into a routine and help prevent predator attacks

Turn off the skimmer pump prior to feeding fish for routine for the fish and to prevent fish food from entering the skimmer

Pond Fish


Most people underestimate the importance of a quality fish food. Cheap koi and pond fish food will create a large amount of additional waste as there is not much nutrition being taken in by the fish, resulting in cloudy water, sludge build up, lowered fish health, and potential colour loss.

A quality fish food will:

- have the nutrients that maintain beautifully coloured koi and pond fish

- provide the fish will the nutrients they require for their immune systems to protect against unwanted bacterial and fungal disease.

Pond FishPond Fish


SPRING: Begin feeding fish again once your water temperature has reached a consistent 50°F (10°C). Be sure not to feed fish prior to this, as they are unable to digest the food in cooler temperatures. Use a Spring/Autumn Food or cold water food that is high in spirulina and wheat germ (easily digested).

SUMMER: During the warm summer months, switch to a food that is higher in protein. Use a quality fish food to cut down on fish waste, which will save in pond maintenance. It is often a good idea to mix in two types of fish food for a varied diet.

FALL/WINTER: Pond fish and koi are able to overwinter in a pond that has a 42”-48” depth (or more) at it deepest point; as long as there is a pond heater and aeration supplied. For ponds that are less than 42”, fish can be brought indoors and kept in a holding basin with aeration and filtration.

Once water temperatures have reached 50°F/10°C change to a Fall/Spring food that has a higher wheat germ content that is easier for the fish to digest in cooler temperatures. Stop feeding the fish all together once the temperature has reached 45°F (7°C).

Pond Fish


Pond Fish Behaviour and Disease

You will determine what ‘Healthy’ or ‘Normal’ fish behaviour is by keeping a close eye on your fish, generally when they change behaviour there is something that has changed within their ecosystem to cause them stress or potential disease. The following chart is a guideline of fish behaviours or symptoms that could be cause of concern.

Symptoms Possible Cause Treatment

Cotton-like growths



Open wounds

Bacterial Infection


Gasping at surface

Oxygen deficiency

More aeration, fewer fish

Bulging eyes

Pop-eye, Bacterial Infection


Swollen body and scales protruding from body

Dropsy, Bacterial Infection

Melafix (mainly for the other fish as usually it is too late for this fish)

Fins deteriorating

Finrot, bacterial infection


Floats upside down, trouble swimming upright
"Flashing" through the water (sudden sideways
bursts) or jumping

Swimbladder disorder

1. Parasite infection

2. Water toxin

Sinking Food

1. Salt Level to 3-5%

2. Water Change

Coloured fish turning white 

Loss of pigment

More sunlight, better quality food

Swollen gills

Flukes, parasite infection

Salt Level to 3-4%

Lying on pond bottom

Flukes, parasite infection

Salt Level to 3-4%

Scales raised (on only part of the body)

Parasite infection

Salt Level to 3-4%

Strong red veins in the fins

1. Bacterial Infection

2. Parasite Infection

3. Ammonia or Nitrite poisoning

1. Melafix

2. Salt Level to 3-4%

3. Water Change

White Spots (pinhole size only)

Ich, Parasite infection

Salt Level to 3-4%


Note: 1. When increasing salt, remove plants from water.

  2.  When adding any chemical, ensure increased aeration


Pond FishAll of these conditions are generally caused by an underlying disturbance in the pond.

Overstocking fish, overfeeding fish, breakdown of debris, contamination of water with unhealthy fish or birds, insufficient filtration, insufficient aeration, are all factors that can affect fish health.

Therefore, the underlying cause must be addressed if the ecosystem is to improve.