My goldfish have disappeared!

Discussion in 'Garden Pond Talk' started by max384, May 19, 2011.

  1. max384

    max384

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    I just set up a pond and added twenty cheap feeder goldfish. Two of them died right away. That left me with 18. The second day I could only count twelve, but I figured they were hiding, since I lined the pond with rocks that these small 1" fish can get behind. However, this morning I only saw two of them! I stood and watched for a few minutes and no new ones appeared. They don't yet have the 'feeding drive' (or whatever you call it) where they all come up to the surface at feeding time, so that doesn't help me find them. There is a possibility that they're all here, but just hiding, though that seems unlikely to me.

    I haven't seen any raccoons or coyotes around my area and I live in town with a fenced in yard (not that a 4' chain link fence will keep too much out). However, there are several cats that roam around my neighborhood. I also saw an eagle flying not far from my house today. I'm assuming it's one of these two that is responsible for the disappearance of my fish. I'll have to dig out my game camera and see if I can catch what is responsible for the lost goldfish. I'm hoping it's the cats so I can set up a temporary electric fence to keep them out. I really hate the idea of having to use netting for birds. I'll post pictures if anything turns up.
     
    max384, May 19, 2011
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  2. max384

    DrCase Moderator Moderator

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    Fish hide good !!
     
    DrCase, May 19, 2011
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  3. max384

    max384

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    I hope you're right! That would save me a bunch of hassle.
     
    max384, May 19, 2011
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  4. max384

    mouseams

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    Max, last year my koi were nabbed by a Heron, I also thought my channel cat was snagged along with them. Low and behold as soon as the water temp came up there was my catfish looking for food. The first fish we got I did not see for a long while as our pond was going through its spring cycle. With 1" fish I highly doubt the Eagle- too small for the effort. Most likely hiding. Good luck!
     
    mouseams, May 19, 2011
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  5. max384

    scooter7728

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    I lost a few tester fish once they got sucked into the pump took me a minute before I realized where they went. Snakes? Birds? cats hate water, I would lean towards racoons happened to my friends 2- 20" koi came out and the heads were ripped off
     
    scooter7728, May 19, 2011
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  6. max384

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    from all the predators you listed the most likely candidate to catch fish out would be the Raccoon. Coyotes, I've never heard of attacking a pond for fish, If anything they would be attacking the cats. Eagle, slim possibility but small 1" fish are the one thing that makes me think not them, they would far prefer larger fish to go after. Cats, That one is a slight possibility, That can and will but have you ever seen a cat in water? they hate water, they will sit there like a raccoon and tap the water to get them to come up, your fish not even being in there long enough to start getting use to feeding are very unlikely to come to a cat paw. raccoon whole different story, they will get in the water, they are smart enough to figure out how to get to fish, but even so, I have my doubts. with my experience with predators I would have to bet if you have a predator problem I would bet it's bird related. with the size fish your missing, I would be on the lookout for the little kingfisher. they love that size fish, they dive so it's nothing for them to go down 2'-3' to get a small brightly colored fish. Heron is another and they are slick and smart, If it's a heron your best bet is going to be the trail camera to find out. most visits by them will be from just before day break to about two hours after day break and just before sundown. That's when most heron attacks occur but once they know food is there they will get bolder and show up when ever they feel the need for a quick snack.
    But, first off are they missing, check near folds in the liner, two for sure died. Hmmm look around the pump intake, skimmer, water falls. place water are being circulated and drawn from, if they are weak or dying the water will carry them to these spots. Also the easiest way to find hiding fish, Flashlight at night! shining the light around dark areas and places of cover will startle them they will try and move away from the light. By doing a after dark flashlight look you should be able to find out if there are more that are hiding or if they are missing.
    One good thing, it's better to lose those cheap feeder fish and figure out what to do now, than find out you have a problem after you have paid for more expensive fish!
    Good luck! Oh and you'll be surprised what all you catch on the trail camera!
     
    fishin4cars, May 19, 2011
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  7. max384

    mgeez

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    I agree....hiding. I have a rock liner also hiding the top of my liner down about 6" into the water of a 200 gal pond i installed 2 weeks ago. Put (2) 2" koi and 25+ tadpoles. We saw max 2 tadpoles and zero koi for 6 days. Then, yesterday the koi appeared for maybe 30 seconds, then darted back into the rocks. We never see more than 2 of the tadpoles at one time. They scoot right into the rocks whenever they see movement. I wonder if more activity will be viewable at nite with a flashlite.....Will look tonite!
     
    mgeez, May 19, 2011
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  8. max384

    Nova

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    I think they are hiding too. I bought a 3 inch koi last weekend and have only seen it once. Last year when some of the fry lived I would not see them for weeks but they all came out eventually.
     
    Nova, May 19, 2011
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  9. max384

    max384

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    Thanks everyone. I hope that you guys are right, and they're just hiding.
     
    max384, May 19, 2011
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  10. max384

    vertigo72

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    Dont underestimate fish' ability to hide. I have 4 small koi in a translucent square plastic container, and they manage to hide out of sight in there!

    (yeah okay, I do have some PVC pipes in there and some coffee cups)
     
    vertigo72, May 19, 2011
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  11. max384

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    I have over 50 fish, still have not seen any in weeks/months. But I am a fish grandmommy, saw some little fry near the waterfall..............lol So there must be parents in there somewhere.
     
    addy1, May 19, 2011
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  12. max384

    Karen I'd rather be Fishin'

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    Hi. I'm having the same problem. A new pond. I put in 7 feeder fish and 6 very small painted turtles (about the size of a silver dollar). I found 2 dead fish in my skimmer net and can only spot one turtle and one fish. My pond is around 2000 gals so I wouldn't think that I have high levels of ammonia yet to kill the fish. My fish also do NOT come up to eat. I think they starved to death...I'm in a fenced in yard (privacy fence) that is 6' high....no where near the wildlife that could come in and eat. Maybe a neighbors cat....I have no idea...Just keep trying!
     
    Karen, May 20, 2011
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  13. max384

    Nova

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    When I bought some goldfish from Petsmart they told me the very little goldfish they consider feeder fish are not really ment to live long because people buy them in large quantity to feed other animals. They said they are not the best quality of fish and would not be surprised if they don't live long. But I have bought some and 4 out of 5 did survive.

    In a 2000 gal pond there is a LOT of room to hide. If the fish are only an inch or two you may not see them for awhile. If they did die while hiding you will never see them because the other fish may eat them.

    Larger goldfish, 3 inches or so may not hide as much. Think about it, you are 2 inches long, you have lived your life in small aquariums surrounded by hundreds of siblings and now you are alone, in what they may see as an ocean. It would be scary to venture out in the unknown. Small fish are most likely exploring all the little caves and dark places where they feel safe as they would in nature.
     
    Nova, May 20, 2011
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  14. max384

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    7 feeder fish in a 2000 gallon pond they will hide and It's pretty much expected some may die. turtles are rarely effected by ammonia unless it gets really high, they may have crawled out but could still be there just keep watching. Starving to death, I doubt. It takes some fish literally months to starve to death. It's not uncommon for dealers to stop feeding for a week or two before shipping fish to keep waste to a minimum for shipping and to keep ammonia low in the shipping bag. Also you have a new pond, 1 gallon or 1,000,000 gallons it's still going to have a climb in ammonia and it's going to peak as the pond cycles and the bacteria establish themselves. This goes for every pond, aquarium, or any body of new water that has a living creature in it and is biologically breaking down waste, Even a septic or sewage system does the same thing. the thing you want to be on the lookout for is for it to do it and then stabilize back out.
     
    fishin4cars, May 20, 2011
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  15. max384

    Karen I'd rather be Fishin'

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    Thanks! How do I know when it has stabilized itself? And I do think some of the turtles have perhaps crawled out. It would be very easy for them to do so.
     
    Karen, May 20, 2011
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  16. max384

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    keep testing ammonia, what will happen is the ammonia will slowly start decreasing, and nitrites will start rising, these too are dangerous in high levels but not as bad as ammonia, The the nitrites will start going down and the nitrates will come up. when your reading some nitrates it means your bacteria are working and eating like they are suppose to. nitrates are what the plants eat, They are the least dangerous of the three, Nitrates get eaten by plants so if you have a whole lot of plants then your nitrates will normally stay low, if the plants can't keep up and the nitrates keep climbing then that's why you would want to do water changes and either feed less, or reduce your fish load as that is what is starting the process to begin with. So now you have gotten the story of cycling a pond. LOL It Is One cycle of life......
     
    fishin4cars, May 20, 2011
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  17. max384

    max384

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    Thanks for all the help guys. Looks like you all were right. It appears they were just hiding. I got some time and just stood and watched and saw some of them peak out and swim back into their hiding places. I've also only seen one of the dark colored ones, even though I started off with about five or six of them. This makes sense since they blend in much better. If it was a predator issue, the bright orange ones would be the first to go. Also, the only thing on my trail cam was my dog, myself, and my kids!
     
    max384, May 21, 2011
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  18. max384

    Andins

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    no net? I'm going with a heron! I have lost ALL my fish to them but not anymore! I finally gave in and purchased an ugly net. I put dowels on each end so that I can remove it easily. When I am entertaining in the yard the net comes off and the pond looks awesome! When its just me net goes back on and the heron loose out on a tasty snack! Last time the took my most favorite fish and just left her head for me to find! :)
     
    Andins, May 21, 2011
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  19. max384

    mikeinpgh

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    I like the flashlight idea. I just found out I still have a frog. I think it's one from last year. I haven't seen him in months. I went out one night this week with the flashlight and saw him. I also saw 3 baby fish and some tadpoles that I rarely see. Try it and let us know what you find.
     
    mikeinpgh, May 21, 2011
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  20. max384

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    My frogs just sit out along the pond sunning themselves. They don't even try to hide when I come by unless I get within a foot of them. It is fun to go out at night with a good flashlight to see things, used to love night diving, the life under the water at night is unreal.
     
    addy1, May 21, 2011
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