Fish Ratios For Oklahoma Ponds
Most Oklahoma ponds/water gardens include fish. Fish are often the reason people get a water garden in the first place! Watching your fish glide gracefully through the pond is a sight for sore eyes after a long day and/or week at work. But do you have an Oklahoma pond that promotes the health of your fish?
While Oklahoma pond fish create a memorable experience, they can also bring headaches to water quality if you go overboard when stocking fish. Too many fish in the pond creates an imbalance in water, so you’ll want to make sure you’re smart about the number and size of fish that you place in the water garden. If you have too many fish, they won’t be healthy.
If you don't have enough fish your plants might take over and if you have too many your pond might turn into a nightmare. There are so many variables that can affect the ecosystem you must tread lightly and go slow. So here are a few things to consider when stocking your pond with fish.
How much water per fish?
Fish typically need 10 gallons of water for every inch of their length, but keep in mind they will grow larger over the years. So no matter how tempting it might be to add just a few more fish, be careful not to overstock! Some pond experts even go so far as to recommend only ½ inch of fish per 10 gallons of water as a maximum stocking density.
If you’re a fish fanatic, you may find yourself with a pond containing 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 can turn your pond into a fragile system. The pH tends to sag, the fish tend to grow more slowly, and disease can become a common occurrence.
Too many Fish
It’s very difficult and can be costly to salvage sick fish in a pond that’s overcrowded. Most likely, Mother Nature will sadly pick off your favorite fish to achieve her ideal stocking density based on the system the fish are in, then the remainder may or may not recover.
So before adding another fish to your koi collection, make sure you have ample space-filtration so that all your fish are ensured a happy, healthy home!
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Tim Trammell has been building, designing, servicing and maintaining pond in the Oklahoma City Metro area for over 20 years. His company Continental Ponds, is Oklahoma's first Master Certified Aquascape Contractor and is an national award winning pond and water feature builder.