Do you have a pond that your fish will appreciate? Several factors influence whether a pond is habitable by fish, so before you stock your new pond or choose a few new finned friends at your water gardening store, take a few minutes to assess your fish’s dwelling space.
It all starts with the size of your pond. You need to make sure that it is large enough to support fish and their growth. Pond fish generally need 10 gallons of water for every inch of their length, and you have to be ready for them to grow larger, so be careful not to overstock, no matter how tempting this may be! Some pond experts go so far as to recommend only ½ inch of fish per 10 gallons of water as a maximum stocking density.
On occasion, you may encounter ponds crowded with 2 or even 3 inches of fish per 10 gallons of water and the fish seem to be fine. However, the density and ecological strain of this loading turn these ponds into fragile systems. The pH tends to sag, the fish tend to grow more slowly, and disease can become a common occurrence.
It’s very difficult to salvage sick fish in a pond that’s overcrowded. Most likely, Mother Nature will pick off your favorite fish to achieve her ideal stocking density based on the system the fish are in, and then the remainder may recover. So reduce the number of fish if your pond is overstocked before Mother Nature handles this crucial step for you.