Proper Care of Goldfish in a Water Feature

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Water features come in a variety of shapes and sizes and add tranquility to the backyard landscape. Whether you have a natural looking pond or elegant fountain, the addition of beautiful goldfish, glistening in the afternoon sunshine, only enhances the sounds of running water among the fauna and flora. Goldfish are a hardy species but still require proper care to remain healthy. Careful attention to water temperature, feeding and winter care are essential.

Things You'll Need

  • Goldfish pellets
  • Water testing kit
  • Teakettle or pot
  • Plants
  • Plank
  • Aerator
  • Aquatic plants
  • Feed your goldfish a daily diet of goldfish pellets designed for pond fish. Follow the package labeling for allocation amounts. Refrain from feeding the goldfish when the temperature of your water feature drops below 55 degrees Fahrenheit or when the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Maintain a pH level between 7.0 and 7.8 at all times. Keep nitrate and ammonia levels at 0.0. Perform a water test weekly to determine the pH, ammonia and nitrate levels. Follow the instructions on the testing kit if the water in your water feature requires adjustment.

  • Poke a hole in the ice if the water in your water feature freezes over the winter. Form the hole by pouring hot water over the ice. Simply fill a teakettle or pot with hot water and pour it over any section of frozen water. The hole will allow for oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange in the water feature.

  • Provide your goldfish with protection from the sun. Plants overhanging your water feature or a plank placed across the middle of the water feature will provide the necessary shade that goldfish need.

  • Place an aerator in the water feature to keep the water moving. Stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacterial growth. An aerator will also ensure that your water feature maintains healthy oxygen levels for your goldfish.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are introducing fish to your water feature for the first time, allow the bag that contains the goldfish to bob along the surface of the water for a minimum of 20 minutes. The 20-minute waiting period will allow the goldfish ample time to acclimate to the temperature of the water in your water feature. Open the bag and free the goldfish after the 20-minute waiting period.
  • Add only one or two goldfish to your water feature at a time. Too many goldfish added at once can cause bacterial overgrowth in the water. Wait one to two weeks and add two more goldfish. Repeat the process each time you add goldfish to the water feature.
  • You do not have to remove the goldfish from the water feature over the winter. Once the temperature drops below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, the goldfish's metabolism slows, forcing them into hibernation.
  • Plants added to your water feature encourage oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. Water lilies and aquatic plants work well in most water features.
  • Do not overstock your water feature with goldfish. One cubic foot of water is required for every 1-inch of goldfish.

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References

  • Photo Credit goldfish lily pond image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com
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