Q: I try to keep my pond clean, but is there anything else I should do to prevent my fish from getting sick?
April – Colorado Springs, CO
A: Prevention really is the best medicine—and that’s true for humans as well as fish. Keeping your pond clean, filtered and well aerated is a great start at preventing disease, but there’s more you can do to ensure your finned friends stay happy and healthy. Here’s what we prescribe:
- Vacuum Debris: Decomposing organic matter gathered at the bottom of your pond can be home to all sorts of parasites, fungus and bacteria. It’ll affect water quality and fish health, so use a ClearVac™ pond vacuum as needed to suck up all that sludge, debris and algae.
- Add Natural Bacteria: In addition to vacuuming up debris, use the all-natural beneficial bacteria found in the DefensePAC® to help clear the water column, and break down and remove muck and organic waste.
- Don’t Stress: When you do water changes in your pond, be sure to add some Stress Reducer Plus to the pond to keep your fish stress-free. The water conditioner detoxifies heavy metals, chlorine and chloramines, and it promotes a healthy slime coat—which will keep your fish’s immune system functioning swimmingly.
- Toss Them Some Salt: Pond salt, at low concentrations, will help soothe your fish, build their slime coats and improve their gill function.
- Add Aeration: Fish need fresh oxygen just like humans, and the best way to do that is with an aeration kit. It pumps O2 into the water and keeps the water moving—two things that ensure a healthy environment for your fish.
- Quarantine Newbies: Before you add new fish to your pond, keep them in a quarantine tank for two to four weeks to be sure they have no infectious (or contagious!) diseases.
- Knock It Out: Fish fungus, parasites and ick can be treated with KnockOut™ PLUS as a 7 day treatment or as a preventative measure.
If your fish are showing signs of illness, chances are good that it’s due to stress or water quality. Unless you see visible signs of a disease, test your water quality with a test kit and then do a partial water change (25 percent or so) to help relieve your fish’s stress.
After you’ve identified any disease and begun treatment, take some time to reevaluate your pond routine. Did something change that caused (or led to) the illness? Sick fish are no fun. Do what you can to keep them healthy—but know what to do when they’re under the weather.
Pond Talk: Have you ever nursed a sick fish back to health?
Enjoy this article?
Join over 60,000 fellow pond owners and receive our Weekly Pond Talk every Saturday.