How to Build a Water Garden

Animal Life in the Water Garden

Fish add much enjoyment to a water garden.

Plants are not the only things you'll want to raise in a water garden. Fish are also quite popular. They need surprisingly little care and add so much enjoyment to the experience of water gardening that few water gardens are without them. They also help equilibrate the pool and eliminate unwanted insects.

Don't overstock the pool. You'll need only one inch of fish for every five gallons of water; the fish will grow over time. Don't introduce fish to a freshly filled pond: Wait at least a day for the chlorine to evaporate and preferably two or three weeks. Fish are generally sold in plastic bags of water. Let these bags float in the pool for about 20 minutes before releasing the fish. This allows the fish to adjust to the new water temperature. Feed fish lightly with commercial goldfish food. Fish will get much of their food from the animal and plant life that forms in any pool.

Goldfish and koi (Japanese carp) are popular fish for a water garden, and both make colorful and lively guests. They will actually multiply when happy with their conditions. Match the size of your fish to the size of your pond. Koi need lots of space.

Goldfish and koi will overwinter nicely in warm climates or in deep ponds in cold ones. Elsewhere, they can be brought indoors and kept in a large container in a cool spot over the winter. Fish remain inactive during cold weather and will not need to be fed during that time.

Most other animals for garden pools are considered "scavengers," meaning they eat detritus and other debris. This helps keep the water clean. Check with your local water garden supplier for snails, tadpoles, freshwater clams, and the like that are suited to your climate.

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