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Designing Rocks, Water and Plants

Designing Rocks, Water and Plants: What Fish Need in a Pond. Those who love pond fish such as koi are known to fuss over them no end, especially when the weather gets a little hot or a little cold. Perhaps there is a predator around and it’s interested in eating the fish. That can be a cause for alarm as well. Before panic sets in and you renovate your pond once again, take a moment to think about the pond from the perspective of a fish. This will help you understand what your fish really need.

Designing Rocks, Water and Plants

Fish Need Food Sources in a Pond

In nature, people don’t feed the fish. This job is left up to the bugs, invertebrates that live in the water, drop into the water from trees, and drop into the water as adults after they mate and die. People feed pond fish because people tend to overstock ponds with a lot of fish, so many that the fish cannot feed themselves through natural means. Reduce the number of fish or build a bigger pond and you have a pond where fish can use more and more natural food sources. Supplement these sources with fish food.

Pond plants are a good source of hiding places for invertebrates, and invertebrates can also lay eggs on these plants. Adding plants to the pond and allowing a small amount of detritus to enter the pond system is one way to invite natural food sources to the pond.

Fish Need Clean, Oxygen-Rich Water

Fish breathe through gills and they extract oxygen from the water. When you listen to the crashing and burbling noises of moving water, you are actually listening to the sound of air mixing with the water. While a cool pond temperature helps the water remain full of oxygen, moving water is key to getting oxygen-rich water.

In the summer, this means that there needs to be a source of movement. This might be a pond aerator or bubbler. It could be a small waterfall. All of these devices add oxygen to the pond. In the winter, this means that you need to ensure that the fish have an air hole to breathe, either created by a waterfall or a pond deicer. There is another way as well: in nature, fish can go dormant and reduce their need for food and oxygen in the winter time. This can work as long as the pond is not overstocked or polluted, the fish are healthy, and the species is winter-hardy. Check with the store where you purchased your fish to see if they recommend overwintering the fish in the pond.

Koi Need Rocks, Plants and Hiding Places

Fish need places to hide. When there is a predator around, people tend to turn to fancy electronic solutions or swathes of netting. While these solutions can work, a good pond design is also very important. Your pond should have rocks that jut out from the side, plants like reeds where baby fish can hide, and curved, undulating edges where fish can tuck themselves into corners. A pond should also be deep enough to allow fish to escape into the depths if necessary.

Fish Need Koi Pond Areas That Are Cool

Fish also want to live in places that are cool. They can’t regulate their own body temperature, so they rely on the environment to do that for them. Fish need deep water and they need shade plants inside the pond and around the pond. These help them keep cool in the summer.

Whether you’re building a new pond or modifying an old one to address a problem, begin by thinking about the pond habitat from the perspective of a fish. Thinking like a fish can transform the way you design your pond.

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