Count the fishies

The first summer we put in our pond we were pretty conservative with the number of fish we provided for. I think we started with less than twenty and I worried that even that small number was too much for our 1100 gallons. There was, of course, some formula involving the number of gallons divided by the ‘inches of fish’ that confounded me, as does most math, so we sort of ignored it and hoped that we didn’t have too many fish to overload the filtration system.

Pond books also had me scared to death to actually feed them very much food. I had the idea that if I fed them too much, the pond would quickly go green and the goldfish would grow to monstrous proportions in just one season. So I fed them once a day, if I remembered.

However many years out now… 6 or 7 since we put it in… I’ve decided that most of what I read in books is baloney. Maybe you have to worry about all that crap if you have a really small pond and man-eating koi, or if you think of a garden pond in terms of an indoor tropical aquarium, or have no means of filtering it, but I’ve found that it takes care of itself pretty well so long as I just leave it alone!

And the fish, well, they’re taking pretty good care of themselves too and multiplying. We added three small koi two summers ago and they seem to really like it here. They’ve certainly added some color to the mix of babies. Somehow the twenty or so survivors that we started with last spring have turned into…

Well, I’ll let you guess. You can try counting them in the pic, but like those count-the-jelly-beans-in-the-jar contests, it’s much more fun to just eyeball it and make a guess.

The person who guesses with the closest number wins all of this season’s babies!


Note: I’ve finally added a category in the sidebar for pond posts, so if you should ever be in the mood for reading more, go there.

10 thoughts on “Count the fishies”

  1. Uh, let’s see — 1100 gallons divided by 4 inches of fish times 1 pellet per fish per day whether they need it or not minus today’s date and adding in the square root of 17. Yes, I think you 46 fish. I’m quite confident in my answer. Please do not send the baby fishlets however as I have no pond and Gage assures me that he doesn’t want to take his baths with fish in the water! 🙂

  2. I was going to guess around 52, but there is no pond here, so no beebies please. Funny how nature can pretty much take care of itself regardless of what the books say, hey?

  3. Built a garden pond a few years ago, to go with the myriad of aquariums I keep indoors. Not gonna spend the bucks on “Koi”, so I saved a bag of “feeder” goldfish from predators by putting them in the pond. $2.50 a dozen. Then I found that I hadn’t really saved them at all because the herons and hawks showed up and ate them after they fattened up a bit. Bah!

  4. Liza: Thanks for the chuckle! Your guess was almost closest to the actual number – 59! – so you would win the prize.

    (Gage has no idea of the fun he might have with some fish in the tub!)

    Jayne: Guess what – I think you win!

    Can I send you a cranky half-asleep bullfrog instead? He might like it there in GA.

    Dr. Know: We’ve not really had a problem with marauding birds. Fish just disappear. Most of our through the years have been fancy goldfish of some sort; we did buy 3 small butterfly koi and they are really gorgeous and not the pond-wreckers that I’d read they would be.

    Do you still keep fish in your pond? To begin with, i hadn’t wanted any, choosing instead to focus on the pond as a water garden with nice plants, but I’ve found the fish to be really fun and relaxing to watch; so much nicer than in any indoor aquarium and much less fuss, too.

    Dennis: Um… I have really good aim with any cat that gets too near my pond (flip-flops get a nice spin going you know) – I hope you’ll get your own pond someday.


    The Bunns: A squillion was near to my estimate too!

  5. Yes, each year I throw a few more feeders in to replace the victims of predation. They end up being a mix of black, orange, and white fancy goldfish. Tossed in some hornwart last year and it at least gives them something to hide in. It also slows the hawk down, who sits in the dogwood tree branches above the pond and waits patiently. Quit feeding them in the open because it caused them to become trained to come to the surface whenever a shadow appeared – whether human or predator. Now if I could just keep the rude neighbor’s dog out of the pond – he tears up the rockwork and plants. Lost an expensive nocturnal blooming water lilly to his exploits. Lots of frogs as well. The first year it was filled, hundreds of frogs showed up and spawned. They apparently knew it was a new water source – now there are only a few. They are the most amusing part of the pond.

  6. Pretty fishies Laura. I get a couple just plain ($2.24) goldfish every couple years at Wally-Mart. Apparently I’ve never been fortunate enough to get a male & female at the same time because even though I’d like more, there have never been any babies (at least this makes it easy to make the indoor living arrangements for winter)

  7. 59? My pond installer scolded me for having too many last summer (maybe 25) so I took about 9 large goldfish to a local pond. But truthfully, a few too many is no big deal. They take care of their own population and control it very well! I have about 9 large koi and a half a dozen golfish so I won’t be buying any new ones for a long time.

    Your fish are beautiful, Laura!

  8. Dr. Know: Yeah.. I’m always surprised with the number of frogs that manage to find it.

    RuthieJ: We didn’t get babies right away. I think it may be a matter of their having something to breed amongst (those underwater plants) and a large water change – the different temperature makes them feel amorous, I think.

    Mary: Yeah 59! But most of them are really tiny, no bigger than my pinky finger.

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