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What’s the best way to introduce new fish to my pond? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q&A

What's the best way to introduce new fish to my pond?

What’s the best way to introduce new fish to my pond?
Chelsea – Eagan, MN

So you’ve made the decision to invite a few new friends to your home, but are you getting more than you bargained for? As is true with any purchase, you want to make sure you are getting quality before you hand over your hard-earned dollars. Inspect the fish you intend to purchase for symptoms of illness or poor health. Look over their fins, mouth, and gills for blemishes, discoloration, or signs of fin rot and check their body for growths, loose or missing scales, or other blemishes as they may be an early indicator of disease or parasites. Take a few moments to observe your prospect’s behavior to make sure they are active and having no mobility hindrances.

Your newly purchased fish are typically handed over to you in an oxygenated plastic bag or container to allow adequate time to transport them to their new home. While it may be tempting to just dump them into your water garden upon your return home, you will want to make sure your pond is ready to accommodate its new inhabitants before you begin their acclimation process. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Make sure the water in your pond is free from potential fatal heavy metals and chlorine and replenish the protective slime coating of your fish by adding Pond Logic Stress Reducer Plus during your water changes.

To help prevent disease and reduce fish stress in your new tenants, add Pond Salt to the water between your water changes. To ensure the well being of your Aquatic Plants, only add 1 1/4 cups per 100 gallons of pond water.

You can purchase a Master Test Kit to verify acceptable pH and Nitrate levels in the pond.

You can prevent many potential health issues throughout your fish population by simply maintaining a clean and healthy pond. You can read more about pond maintenance here.

Now that the pond is ready for the addition of fish, it is time to get your finned friends ready for the big show. You will want to gradually equalize the temperature of the water your fish are currently occupying with that of the water in your pond. If the container carrying your fish floats, go ahead and place it in your pond. As the bag bobbles around in your pond, the water inside will start balancing with the outside water temperature. This process should take no longer than 30 minutes.

During this time frame, slowly add small amounts of water from the pond into the container which will allow your new fish time to acclimate to the chemistry of your pond water. Most of us have, at one time or another, jumped into a pool too early in the summer only to find that the water is unimaginably cold. Those of you who’ve been in that situation understand why you will want to take your time with the acclimation process. Now that the water on both sides of the container is the same and the fish have had time to try out the make up of the water in the pond, you are clear to release them into their new environment! Take a few moments throughout the day to check in on the pond and monitor the behavior of the newly introduced fish. Active and curious fish are happy and healthy fish.

Pond Talk: What rituals do you use to ensure safe transport of fish into your new pond environment?

Pond Logic Stress Reducer Plus

What’s the best way to acclimate new fish to my pond? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Float for 30 minutes.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: What’s the best way to acclimate new fish to my pond? – Lafayette in Maryland

A: So, you’ve been to the fish farm, picked out your fingerlings, brought them home, and now they’re sitting in plastic bags or tubs waiting to dive into your farm pond. Unfortunately, you can’t just pour them in. In order for these little fish to survive and thrive, you’ll want to slowly acclimate them to your pond’s water and its temperature.

Here are some tips to make it easy:

  • Oxygenate: When you pick up your fish, most farms will pack your fish in plastic bags with water and oxygen; the fish will be fine for several hours. But if you transported your fish in barrels, keep in mind that they will quickly run out of oxygen unless supplemented with an air stone or air diffuser, like the Laguna® Mini Aeration Kit.
  • Float for 30 minutes: The most widely used method of acclimating your fish to the pond is to float the unopened bag in the pond for about a half hour. This allows a gradual change in the water temperature until the water inside is the same as the water outside, at which point you can open the bag and release the fish into the pond.
  • Just add water: If you transported your fish in barrels or containers, use a bucket to add water from the pond to the barrel. This will gradually change the temperature and will provide some additional oxygen for the fish. Check your water temperature with a fish-safe thermometer, and once it has stabilized, pour your fish into the lake.
  • Remember, take it slow: Patience is critical when acclimating your fish to the pond’s new water temperature. Rapid changes in temperature may weaken the immune systems of your fish and make them prone to infection or – worst case – cause the fish to die immediately.

    POND TALK: How have you acclimated fish to your farm pond or lake?

    How to Acclimate Your Koi & Other Fish – Water Feature Q & A

    Picture of a koi in a container.

    Water Feature Q & A

    Q: When is the water warm enough to add fish in the spring? I have some in a tank in the basement and can’t wait to add them. – Lorrie of Michigan

    A: Spring is a great time to add fish to your water feature, but you have to be careful when adding fish not to simply toss them into their new environment. You must acclimate them first. I’ll explain:

    Since Lorrie has a tank in the basement and a water feature outside, it’s good to note that these are two different ecosystems altogether. The makeup of the water is different, the temperatures are different, everything about them is different. Thus, moving fish from one environment to another without allowing the fish to become accustom to the new environment (aka acclimate) can put a heavy load of stress or shock on a fish. Here are my recommendations when moving fish:

    1.) Fill a water tight container using water from the environment’s they are already used to. Make sure this container is small enough for you to carry if you’re doing this by yourself. I suggest adding some Pond Salt to the container to help keep the stress levels of the fish at bay.

    2.) Carefully place the fish into the container filled with water and cover with Netting or Cloth to prevent them from jumping out.

    3.) Slowly began to add the new environment’s water to the container. (Take note that if the new environment was just filled with fresh water, you want to add Pond & Fish Conditioner to remove any chlorine or heavy metals from the water before acclimating.) This process should be done slowly to ensure the fish adjust gradually. It should take between 15 & 20 minutes. After this time has past, release the fish into their new home. At first the fish may be skittish and hide, but in a few days they should adjust just fine.

    When adding fish to a water feature I always suggest not to add too many at any one time. You must allow time for your pond and filter to balance the new fish load. Adding too many at one time can cause ammonia to reach lethal levels. Add only a couple at a time and use a Master Test Kit to make sure the water is fine before adding any more. It may take up to 3 to 4 weeks before you can add more.

    Adding New Koi – Water Garden Q & A

    Q: How do I introduce new koi to my pond? -Ceasar of Hampton, GA

    A: When purchasing koi or goldfish they will come in a plastic bag filled with oxygen. Please note that if the pond is new or if the water has just been changed or added, be sure to remove any chlorine or heavy metals using Pond & Fish Conditioner. Follow these steps to ensure happy and healthy fish:

    1. Place the plastic bag, containing the fish, into a shaded part of the pond. As the bag floats on the surface, the water temperature in the bag will slowly adjust to the water temperature of the pond. This may take anywhere from 20-30 minutes.

    2. After waiting, further acclimate the fish by opening the bag and slowly adding pond water. By mixing the pond water with the water in the bag, the fish will be allowed to adjust to the pH of your pond.

    3. Let the bag float for another few minutes and repeat step 2 a couple more times.

    4. Once you’re done, slowly remove the bag and free your fish into its new home.

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