Pond Water Treatment
Although outdoor pond fish tend to be less delicate than most of the freshwater or saltwater fish kept in aquaria, they still need cautious care. Water should be aged, planted with any growing plants and tested before introducing new fish. The new fish themselves are best quarantined in a separate tank for the first couple of days to avoid introducing potential parasites or disease to your older resident fish. Soaking new introductions carefully for a limited amount of time in specially sea-salted water can help kill of any unwanted parasites if you do not have the facilities to quarantine your new fish. Study the proper way to use sea salt before using it on any fish. ( See Myron Kebus’s article in Aquarticles for detailed information on salt dip treatments.)
The quality of water in your outdoor pond is something you need to monitor. Although the most common pond fish – goldfish and koi – are remarkably resilient, sometimes it is in the least expected places that problems arise. Pond water treatment is something you may have to do occasionally.
If you have a pond, it is important to know about your local water. Most city water around the country has been chlorinated to kill germs and make it safe for human consumption. Since chlorine was shown to be a carcinogen, it has been mandated that water supplies across the country should replace chlorine with chloramines and many cities have already done so. Unfortunately, chloramines are far more dangerous to fish than chlorine and, unlike chlorine, are slow to evaporate. Find out if your city’s water is treated with chloramines. You can top up pond water with chloramine-treated tap water so long as you only use a small amount at a time. If you use a hose, you might want to add a timer just to make sure you don’t forget and accidentally leave the hose on. I recently had the sad experience of losing nearly all my 60 fish – many that had been with me for 12 years – due to forgetting the hose and leaving it on too long. As embarrassed as I was, when I went to a pond supply store, I was told they had made the same mistake just a week before and lost dozens of beautiful, fill-sized adult koi. So apparently, forgetting to turn off top-off water is a both a lethal and common thing to do. You might also want to keep an ample supply of pond water treatment – and make sure it specifies that it works with chloramines, not just chlorine – in your back up supplies.
If you are on well water or have another water source that may contain concentrated minerals or chemicals, become familiar with the effects these may have on your fish. Also check your city’s water supply. Fish live in a water environment that is not natural in our built-in backyard water features. If you live where it is possible to regularly collect natural rain water, this is your best option for topping up your pond. It will save you money and reduce the likelihood of introducing possible pollutants. Otherwise, educate yourself about the effects your water supply can have on your fish to keep them safe and healthy. And checking on your water with a chemical testing kit on a regular basis is also a good way to keep on top of your pond water treatment. It’s always better to avoid big problems rather than try to treat them after the fact.
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