Goldfish in a Pond That Needs Fixing

by Anne
(Bungendore NSW Australia)

We need to take our large goldfish out of our pond so the pond can be fixed due to a leak.
Where do we keep them and do we need plants etc in a plastic pond for the duration.

Grant's Reply

Hi Anne

Yes, removing fish from their normal environment can be stressful for both the fish and their owners.

The biggest concern is how to maintain water quality while they are in a smaller container.

Depending on how long the repair will take, anything over a few hours in a smaller container will be risky.

The main considerations will be:

Oxygen level - do you have a method of circulating the water?

As you are in Winter now, high water temperatures shouldn't be too much of a problem, but the water temperature of a small temporary container may fluctuate quite a lot between day and night. Keep the container in the shade during the day.

Water parameters - If the fish are to be kept in the temporary container for a short time, no more than a few days, don't feed them.

As soon as the fish are in the small container, they will be producing ammonia by breathing, and from waste. Feeding them will only add to the ammonia problem.

Plants would help, but plants also produce carbon dioxide at night, so if you do put plants in with the fish, you will definitely need some water circulation system.

If the fish are to be in the temporary container for any length of time, (more than a few hours) then partial water changes using a water de-chlorinator will be necessary.

Jumping - Single tailed Goldfish will jump if stressed. You will need some sort of cover over their container.

Pond repair - I assume you know whether the repair is non-toxic to you fish. If the pond is concrete, any new concrete will be very alkaline and should be sponged down with vinegar several times and the pond filled and emptied a couple of times.

Pond plant life - If the pond is left to dry out, any plant life such as algae will die. If any dead plant life is not removed, an ammonia spike will occur a few days after the pond is refilled.

If you are running a filter, clean it out and keep it running in either the fish container or in another container to stop the beneficial bacteria dying.

Returning your fish to their pond - The pH and temperatures should be the same otherwise you will shock your fish which will lead to disease.

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