Sudden Disappearance of Goldfish
(Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)
Our goldfish always happily swimming around and readily come to the surface edge to be greeted daily.
We've had the growing family going on 14 years. I sufficiently enlarged the pond to accommodate their needs. We have 35 of the extended family!
This morning for the first time ever, the goldfish were nowhere to be found??? I even went in to the deeper end but none could be located that I could readily see. We thought some predator may had eliminated the entire clan!
Later on in the day, behold, several timidly swam lower under the surface than usual--but at least they were alive! Later in the afternoon, several more gingerly swam to where I could see them clearly. (I was about to blame my neighbors cat).
We did have friends over last night and I let them feed the fish a very small amount for the second time in the day (1x is normal). And, earlier in the week, I added UV blue tint block (not a new bottle) to protect them from the direct sunlight until the pond lillies are fully in bloom. Would either one of these have anything to do with the very unusual, first-time ever strange activity? I added some water to help dilute that mixture. Not sure what is going on.
Our yard is safe from predators but, might they have been frightened by something. Thanks, what are your thoughts?
From your Goldfish's behavior, they have had one heck of a fright. It must have been prolonged for them to display this much fear.
Normally if something scares them, by feeding time they would be over the fright and gather to be fed.
To get a quick answer you need to ascertain whether you have all your fish. If not, I would suspect first a bird, then any other fish eating species.
Check for any loose scales in the pond. That is a sure sign of the fish being attacked.
There may be something still lurking in the pond. I know you feel your yard is predator safe, but the water and fish combination are a strong temptation to many predators.
Feeding a small amount of food wouldn't cause this behavior. By the next morning they would have processed the food and be eagerly waiting for their next feed.
I can't comment on the UV tint as I've never used it.
If you had friends over, were there any children. I'm not suggesting anything but....
Until you have some answers I would cover the pond as I assume it isn't presently.