Fish For the Garden Pond
for the week of 7/16/98
Now that pond season is in full swing, I would like to take this opportunity to go over some fish that are commonly stocked in the garden pond. Some of these fish can get fairly large (up to three feet) and some only grow to a few inches. I would like to start with the largest and probably the most colorful on this list, the Koi.
Koi. The Koi is bred specifically for the pond for all of it's color is above the midline of the fish. This trait makes the fish look better when viewed from above. These fish come in many different colors such as, red, white, black blue yellow and any combination of these colors. Koi can grow up to three feet long making them quite visible in the pond, they can also outlive their owners as most books written about this fish say that they can get up to 100 years old!!! The draw back to the Koi is that it has an insatiable taste for plants so if you prefer to keep water lilies, hyacinths or other pond plants this fish should not be kept.
Comet Goldfish. This is the most common fish kept in the garden pond. Color is generally red but some can have some white or black mixed in. A particularly beautiful variety is the Sarasa comet, which has a deep red and white pattern. Full size on the Comet is about one foot making this fish a little more manageable to move than the Koi especially if you choose to bring the fish inside or the winter. The Comet will also not harm any of the pond plants.
Shubunkin. This fish is a tri-color cousin of the comet. The three colors usually evident on this fish are red, blue and white. The shubunkin grows to a length of between eight and ten inches and is very peaceful. It also will not harm any of the pond plants.
Sarasa Fan. This bi-color fish is also very peaceful and beautiful. Color is almost always red and white and unlike the previous fish discussed it has a double tail fin, hence the name "fantail". The fan tail, though beautiful, does tend to make this fish a little slower in the water and therefore more vulnerable to predators such as raccoons cats and herons, and even rowdy koi. Still, the Sarasa Fan is a safer choice then Ryukins, Orandas, Celestials or any of the Moors, as they tend to be faster swimmers.
Rainbow Dace. This fish although not related to goldfish is still an excellent choice for the pond. Full size is only about two to three inches making it a good choice for the whiskey barrel or other small pond. Dace make a great fish for mosquito control and look quite striking in the sunlight as they are very colorful as their name implies. Rainbow Dace will also not harm aquatic pond plants.
There are many other fish that can be kept in the outdoor garden pond; the preceding are some of my favorites and most with the exception of the Dace are winter hardy (meaning they can be kept in the pond when the pond is frozen provided it doesn't freeze solid).
"Tip of the week" appeared regularly in 1999 and 2000.
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