Aquatics Unlimited: Articles: Pond Fish
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Pond Fish

Of Koi, Shubunkins, and Comets: which are best suited for ponds? Comets are the hardiest, especially in areas with long, cold winters; they also cause little damage to other fish or plants. Shubunkins are a very close second. Koi are a bit more disease prone, aggressive towards smaller or slower fish, and can destroy most plants.

Can Koi be kept with plants? If so which types (marginal , floating, submerged, etc.)? Koi graze on almost any plant, but love aerating (e.g. Anacharis and Vallisneria) and floating plants like hyacinths and water lettuce the most, and water lilies next. They feed first on the soft roots, which will stunt growth and eliminate flowering, but continue to browse on the remainder of the plant soon thereafter. They also enjoy digging in submerged pots, uprooting plants and making a muddy mess. Koi can generally be kept with marginals, since they really can't get at the leaves if there is only an inch or two of water above the pot. Net or wire fence barriers can be used to keep koi away from plants.

How many fish can be kept in a pond 10' x 15' by 2' deep? A safe and conservative estimation of fish capacity is one inch of fish for every square foot of surface area (the water depth generally makes little difference). So our 10x15 pond has 150 square feet of surface area and thus could hold 75 two-inch fish or 37 four--inch fish. Obviously, the pond owner should consider the ultimate size of his fish - those 4-inch koi of May can become the 12-inchers of September. This rule can be stretched if the pond is heavily aerated by a fountain or waterfall, and has adequate biological filtration.

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