Any problem with adding gravel to shubbies pond?


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A while back, I had a complete die-off of the shubbies in my 40 gal. patio trough; cause still unknown but likely an Illness introduced from new additions.

Finished mourning and now preparing to start fresh. Is there any problem with adding a shallow layer of (washed) gravel or pebbles on the bottom of the pond, max. 1”? I’d like to do it for decorative purposes, to give the fish some environmental “enrichment,” and to better see them in the otherwise bottomless black pit. That cage you see is a spike-topped raccoon discourager that hasn’t failed me yet.
 

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Mmathis

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I’m sorry to hear about your loss!

Your pond is 40 gallons? How many fish did you have and what kind of filtration did you have?

I’m personally not an advocate of gravel as a substrate, but my only comment in this case is that, with only 40 gallons, any substrate you add is only going to displace water which means less water for your fish — maybe not a big deal, but MHO. I would be more concerned with limiting future fish loads.

I just went back and read your previous threads. I’m not going to try to diagnose anything.....but I still think that you have water quality issues related to excessive fish load and possibly inadequate filtration. Keep in mind that you can do anything you want to with your pond, but until you get a grasp on fish-keeping procedures and education, I think you will continue to have problems.
 
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I have to agree with @Mmathis on this one. 40 gallons is too small for shubunkins long term. That's the size of my patio pond and I will only add babies from the previous season from my pond - all under finger length long - and then only three or four. At the end of the season they go back in the big pond where they live out their lives. If this is planned to be a forever home for your fish, I would choose something smaller.

As for gravel - I wouldn't have a problem with it. I put a bit in my patio pond, mainly to help anchor underwater plants and cover the airline. Not an inch thick though - just enough to cover the bottom.
 
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I agree with @Mmathis and @Lisak1 with the size issue. With a 40 gallon container I wouldn’t have anymore than 1-2 shubunkins and that’s pushing it. If you want fish for mosquito control you could do minnows, but I definitely wouldn’t put several goldfish because that’ll lead to water quality issues and illness for the fish.
 
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I’m not going to try to diagnose anything.....but I still think that you have water quality issues related to excessive fish load and possibly inadequate filtration. Keep in mind that you can do anything you want to with your pond, but until you get a grasp on fish-keeping procedures and education, I think you will continue to have problems.
Before I upgraded to this 40-gal., I had two shubbies in an 18 gal. pot with a few mosquito fish, some plants and snails, and no filtration. They thrived for several years and grew to about 6” before I upgraded. I now have AquaClear filtration and, as always, I condition and dechlorinate all water additions with Tetra AquaSafe Plus. These were the conditions in which the previous occupants died.

I’ve been accessing this forum for a couple of years, as well as doing exhaustive online research. All I want now is to resurrect my pond with some Shubunkins/comets and a few plants, and make sure they thrive. So I am here precisely to “get a grasp.” Lecturing is NOT helping—I need advice, and it’s impossible to find any two sources who agree on anything.

So, precisely how many Shubunkins will thrive long term in this size pond? Two? Three? Four? I will get them as 2–3” babies. Can I add some plants? Is a thin layer of smooth pebbles on the bottom of this tank harmful/not a good idea? I keep water level topped up to a hair below the rim.
 

Mmathis

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Sorry if I offended you. Not my intention. But I think that your question was already covered back in some of your older threads. Twenty gallons for 1 goldfish (and a Shubunkin is considered a goldfish), so for 40 gallons, you wouldn’t want any more than 2, 3 at the most. And with goldfish, you shouldn’t need to add any other type of fish. Even mosquito fish will add to the bioload.

Were you having a problem with your fish jumping out of the pond in the past?

Putting gravel in there is totally up to you.
 
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Sorry to make you feel you were being lectured to - not the intent at all. We're a friendly bunch... no offense intended from anyone, I'm sure.

I'm pro-gravel, so you already got my answer on that one!

Here's another (perhaps annoying!) question for you - are you sure that your patio pond only holds 40 gallons? Now that I look at it it looks larger than my container pond which holds 35 gallons.
 
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Thank you everyone for replies so far. I will get only 2 Shubunkins; maybe 3 maximum.

I never saw any indication of fish trying to jump out of the pond until the 40 gal. upgrade, when the two originals often displayed spawning behavior. That raccoon barrier keeps them from jumping out.

Lisak: it’s a Tuff Stuff Little Giant 40 gal, 28” x 36” inside. Perhaps it’s a little more than 40 gal. when filled to the top. Maybe my small patio makes it look bigger. ☺
 

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