Pond Fish - Jewels of the Water Garden
The jewels of the water garden! Have you thought about making fish a part of your watery paradise? Everyone who has fish preaches the joy they feel while feeding them, watching them swim through caves and waterfalls, and even naming them. You'll find fish of all different shapes and sizes at the store. Come visit "Goldie" - everyone's favorite yellow fish and "Spot" - the fish with a precarious spot on the front of its forehead; the names can go on, and on, and on!
Koi, (Cyprinus carpio), are descendents of the common carp. In nature they are brown, but through selective breeding by the Japanese, numerous colors and patterns were developed. In the 17th century Chinese rice farmers began keeping carp in their rice paddies. This practice found its way to Japan. The Japanese rice farmers begin to notice slight color variations in a few of the carp and bred these "mutants" into what eventually became what we now know as koi.
Koi normally attain lengths of approximately 2 to 3 feet and weight up to 35 lbs. Because of their large size, they should only be kept in large ponds of at least 1000 gallons. Koi need very good water quality to remain healthy
Included in this showy category are lionheads, telescopes, black moors, orandas, ranchus, and ryukins. The single most distinguishing characteristic of this group as a whole, are their round, bulbous abdomens.
With this exotic group, extra caution should be taken if they are going to be placed outdoors, especially over the winter. Because they’re not as hardy as some of the other goldfish, they may become ill if left outdoors in the winter. This is especially true of the adults of these varieties.
The reason for this overwintering weakness is thought to be related to the compacted, contorted abdomen of these fish. Their abdomens serve as a delicate balancing act of downward ballast, intestine, and fat versus the buoyant structure of the airbladder. The hardship of winter almost always degrades this equilibrium, resulting in the fish flipping over and eventually dying. This is easy to overcome by bringing these finned friends indoors to join you just in time for the holidays!
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Goldfish (Carassius auratus) are the most popular choice of fish for a water garden. These fish are well suited for almost any pond size. Goldfish can be found in a number of varieties and colors. Through selective breeding over the centuries there are now many classified varieties of goldfish. The list can extend into hundreds of individual varieties, but the ones best suited for pond life for the beginner are Comets and Shubunkins.
Catfish are another popular fish seen in the water garden. They are commonly sold as scavengers to help clean up the pond and control population. Caution should be taken with these fish because they can become quite large in a short period of time. When they become large, they can cause trouble because they may start eating whatever they can fit in their mouth … including other fish!.