For many people, a garden pond is the “crowning glory of the home garden”. Certainly rightly so, as the pond brings life to the garden and makes the whole property appear a little “like a small park”. Not only children feel that a real garden pond is a home for pond fish that swim happily around in it. Unfortunately, you can’t just throw any pond fish into any pool of water. Unfortunately, this is a little more complicated. Here is an overview of keeping and overwintering pond fish.
Table of Contents
The advantages of a garden pond
The advantages of a garden pond are by no means limited to its decorative effect. On the contrary, a garden pond introduces many new elements into the garden:
- Pond with plants and fish is its own habitat, an ecological biotope
- A natural pond quickly gathers a hundred times the number of plants and animals in the smallest area than any other part of the garden
- Habitat for aquatic animals and plants scarce in our environment due to drainage and agricultural use of wetlands
- Garden ponds can make their contribution to replacing natural areas and maintaining biodiversity
- especially the small standing waters are visited by many different plants and animals
- Garden ponds are a last refuge for many animal species today
- through neighbors with a pond in the garden, a network of small bodies of water can develop
- Water also helps terrestrial animals: they drink from it and bathe in it (birds)
- Water makes the air in the garden a little better
- the water can absorb many contaminants from the air
- I pick up a lot of pollen
- pleasant for allergy sufferers
A garden pond is really more than just a decorative addition, it brings a whole new and unique living environment into the garden.
A garden pond like in nature
The most convenient way to create a pond in your own garden is certainly the natural pond, which develops its own ecological balance. These are the features that characterize a natural pond:
- in the natural pond there is a biological balance that naturally persists
- Equilibrium is established after a phase of consolidation between the different living beings, and it is maintained without disturbance
- many small creatures take on the most diverse tasks
- Natural pond contains only a few pond fish, exactly as many as the nutrient supply and oxygen allow
- the population levels off
- do not feed these pond fish
- take care of themselves from the natural environment
- if you want a diverse ecosystem in the garden, with newts and frogs, choose the natural pond
- ecologically more valuable than a fish pond that has been created and operated with technical assistance
- Advantage: operation causes hardly any costs and effort because it cleans itself
- much cheaper in the long run than a fish pond
The alternative: the “natural fish pond”
If you would like to have quite a lot of pond fish in your pond, you would have to create a fish pond. A purely natural pond is home to only a few pond fish. However, you can still decide to create a fairly natural fish pond. In this case, only the size of the pond has to be in proportion to the number of pond fish that “live” in it.
This could e.g. For example, a garden pond with a few golden orfes (aland ornamental fish breed, a type of carp) and a few goldfish, which then also contains a few aquatic plants such as spring moss, water lilies and underwater grass and several small animals. However, the fish in such a pond must be fed regularly. You cannot take care of yourself. In addition, you have to filter the water, because otherwise it would become so cloudy in a short time that life could no longer survive in this garden pond.
The pond life in such a “near-natural fish pond” shifts from the middle of the pond to the swamp area. This is not accessible for the larger pond fish and many aquatic plants offer hiding places. You can create such a reasonably natural fish pond if you have enough space available. Because garden pond fish always thrive without much effort when the pond is larger.
Here it is still important to select the right number of fish and fish species to be used. Garden pond fish should never be kept individually, as a rule they are schooling fish. For the natural pond, in which all kinds of animals should feel comfortable, rather small fish species should be selected. Bitterlings and Moderlieschen, for example. They can usually take care of themselves, but the children are allowed to feed them. Then they just multiply a little more. When the children are out of the “feeding phase” the fish population will go back on its own.
Even the near-natural fish pond needs a minimum depth so that the pond fish do not suffocate under the frozen surface in winter. It should be a meter deep for the main area.
The transition to the “designed fish pond” is fluid: few fish that have enough aquatic plants in the marsh area of the pond need neither a circulation pump nor filtering. These couple of goldfish B. do not need to be fed by you either, their population levels off so that “everyone gets full”.
The pond stocked with many garden pond fish becomes more complicated, especially when it is inhabited by many voracious species of carp.
The pond fish determines the pond
If you plan to keep a large number of fish in a garden pond, the first thing to consider is which fish you want to keep.
Every pond fish has its own requirements. Some fish feel at home in almost every garden pond, such as goldfish or the ornamental carp known as koi. Other fish need very special conditions, minnows and trout e.g. B., which will only survive in heavily oxygenated and moving water, which should not get too warm even in summer (difficult in small ponds). And special attention: minnows like to jump out of the pond. A silly habit that will cost them their lives if they are not scooped back into the pond very quickly by a helpful human.
The actually unproblematic Koi present you with other challenges: They can only survive in really deep ponds. A depth of two meters should be available to them in an area that is not too small.
And then not every fish likes every company. The large, slow-moving pond fish species (goldfish, mirror carp, koi, golden orf) get along well with each other. But if you also put a few small fish in the pond, you should think about it: carp are omnivores. They like to eat the small fish. But you can ensure that the hungry carp lose their appetite by adding the right small species to them: the North American sunfish hardly grows any larger than 15 cm, but it is a real small predatory fish that knows how to defend itself well against any attack. The stickleback, too, remains quite tiny at just under 10 centimeters, but is extremely defensive. The fish has spikes all around, which will deter even the biggest carp mouths.
Of course, you could also choose carp fish right away, which cannot pose a threat to the rest of the garden pond inhabitants. Gudgeons or Schlampeitzger z. B., they simply have too small mouths to swallow others.
Fish species for the garden pond
The normal pond fish is a shoal fish. For some species you need a minimum number to encourage fish to spawn. When selecting the fish, the planned pond size also plays a role. Smaller fish (bitterlings, mustache, ablett) will easily survive next to greedy big fish if they can retreat to a nice, shallow swamp zone where larger fish cannot follow.
The selection of the desired fish, which ultimately determine the layout and shape of the garden pond in detail, is a task that encompasses several facets.
And you can draw on a powerful selection of pond fish that can be kept well in a garden pond. Here is a list of the least problematic ways to obtain further information:
- Abletten (Alburnus alburnus)
- Bitterlinge (Rhodeus sericeus bitterus)
- Goldfische (Carassius auratus auratus)
- Goldorfen (Leuciscus idus)
- Gudgeons (Gobio gobio)
- Karauschen (Carassius carassius)
- Koi (Cyprinus carpio carpio)
- Moderlieschen (Leucaspius delineatus)
- Rotaugen (Rutilus red)
- Rotfedern (Scardinius erythrophthalmus)
- Mud-cheek (Misgurnus fossilis)
- Schleie (Tinca tinca)
- Sonnenbarsche (Lepomis gibbosus)
- Stichlinge (Gasterosteus aculeatus)
The wintering of pond fish
Any pond fish that is to survive the winter must have the chance to be in unfrozen water (without fighting with the beleaguered neighbor and without being eaten). A basic requirement for wintering in a pond is a minimum pond depth of about one meter (some fish need more), and not just a few square centimetres.
To ensure that the fish get through the winter well, the pond is “cleaned” in autumn so that no plant remains rot over the winter and thus reduce the oxygen even more. That’s it for the natural pond, there are actually always enough plants and therefore plant stalks available, which ensure the entry of oxygen even with an ice cover.
In the fish pond, you then have to switch off the pond pump, which whirls up (or freezes) the lowest, warm layer of water to the detriment of the pond fish. The diet of the pond fish must be adapted to the reduced metabolism in winter. If there are not enough aquatic plants to breathe in the pond, an ice preventer is used, and some pond owners also use bubble wrap to protect against ice.
Various evergreen underwater plants, such as aquatic grass or spring moss, also carry out photosynthesis in winter and thus produce additional oxygen for the winter pond.
It is better to let the garden pond fish hibernate in the garden pond than to bring them into the house, because this upsets the natural biorhythm of the animals. B. to spawn in warm water.