Brought the fish indoors for the Winter (Seriously)

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Earlier this year I build a small pond. Maybe about 800Ltrs. Most of it is just around 8inches deep with a small deep section at one end about 16inches.

I must add that it was not planned for fish. I just wanted a water feature in the garden that might get the odd frog or something like that. Didn't get frogs but dig get Mosquitoes. Millions of them. Water was teaming with larvae.

So, without thinking too far ahead I got 5 little Orfe. Maybe under 2inches. Put them in the pond and they fixed the mosquito problem in under 2 days. All gone. Didn't think such little fish could eat so much so quickly.

Anyway. Winter is now coming and that little pond really is not set up for overwintering fish. Just not deep enough.

So. I got myself an aquarium. 140Ltrs. Ran the new aquarium filter in the pond for a month before doing the move. and then brought the fish in with 100Ltrs of pond water.

That was month ago. Fish seem very happy in their new (temporary) home and they're eating well and water is crystal clear and I test it for amonia etc every two days. No problems so far.

But that's my problem. The only thing they'll eat is shrimp dried or live they don't care. But they won't eat man-made foods like koi pellets, koi sticks etc.

They're now about 4.5 inches in size. I'm concerned that shrimp is high in protein and could, in the longer term, cause problems with ammonia and I would rather they'd take a lower protein food some of the time.

Sorry about the long explanation.

Yes. I've already started digging the new pond for next year so won't need to over winter them indoors again so please don't tell me to do that.

My question is just about food. Do you guys know of any food that they'll eat? Or should I just keep feeding them shrimp (they love it - the fish, not the shrimp)
 
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Hi Ian,
Everything I've read about the Orfe is that they are a predatory fish, so they prefer a higher protein diet.
I wouldn't worry about them eating only shrimp for now. Try to offer some algae based pellets or wafers every now and then.
My bigger concern is that they will outgrow your larger outdoor pond as orfe get quite large.
Great to read that you monitor water quality. (y)

You may need to increase the size of your winter tank filtration.
What are you using for filtration?
Five 4 inch fish in a 140 L is pretty tight.

.
 

addy1

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So happy you care enough about your fish to over winter them. We will enjoy watching you build.
 
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Hi Ian,
Everything I've read about the Orfe is that they are a predatory fish, so they prefer a higher protein diet.
I wouldn't worry about them eating only shrimp for now. Try to offer some algae based pellets or wafers every now and then.
My bigger concern is that they will outgrow your larger outdoor pond as orfe get quite large.
Great to read that you monitor water quality. (y)

You may need to increase the size of your winter tank filtration.
What are you using for filtration?
Five 4 inch fish in a 140 L is pretty tight.

.
Thank you Mitch.

I was wondering if I should just stop feeding the shrimp for a few days and keep offering pellets and eventually, when they're hungrier, they'd take them. Then I can feed the shrimp as an occasional treat. Just didn't want them to starve so was looking for guidance from people with more experience than me. ie if there was a tried and tested method of switching diets.

New outdoor pond is still just a rough hole in the ground. I haven't decided the final size or shape yet. I'm not going to build a lochness sized pond but suitable sized pond for the future size of these fish is my intention.

Indoor tank filter is the "All Pond Solutions 1000EF." 1000 ltrs per hour. It's an external filter in the cabinet under the aquarium. Additionally in the aquarium is a UV filter. UV is currently switched off so just running that because it's got a 'snorkel' that aerates the water without causing too much turmoil.
 
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Ok, that's a nice oversized filter.
I would look at the ingredients of the koi pellets including the phosphate/phosphorous content.
High phosphorous content will feed string algae which can become a nuisance.
You would probably do best with feeding only shrimp plus algae wafers. I don't like general pellets because they can include fillers that provide no benefit to the fish.
I would also disable the UV if you can. Suspended algae will help protect your fish from high ammonia.
Also, do not heat the water. That will only speed up biological activity. You want your fish to be fairly inactive during the winter so they don't grow and don't produce too much waste.
 
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So happy you care enough about your fish to over winter them. We will enjoy watching you build.
And all this 'caring' isn't cheap either. The aquarium is in my office so I had to get a nice oak cabinet with space underneath for the filter and other gubbins as well as my single malts.

Next year when the orfe go back outside I'll convert the aquarium into a tropical tank.
 

addy1

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So now they have nice surroundings also, so nice of you!
 
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Also, do not heat the water. That will only speed up biological activity.
Can't avoid the heat, unfortunately. In hindsight I suppose I could have overwintered them in the garage where it's cooler but they're now in my Office where it's steady 19c. I work home alone (software developer) so it's nice having the company :)
 
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So now they have nice surroundings also, so nice of you!
Yes. and if they don't start eating their dinner and showing some appreciation for the Modern Neoclassical mixed with contemporary design of their surroundings they'll find themselves back outside in the cold :p
 
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Yes. and if they don't start eating their dinner and showing some appreciation for the Modern Neoclassical mixed with contemporary design of their surroundings they'll find themselves back outside in the cold :p
Ha! The little ingrates! They know they found a kind hearted owner so they're gonna milk it for all it's worth!

Can't wait to see the new pond build!
 
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You would probably do best with feeding only shrimp plus algae wafers.
So I guess the general consensus is to just feed them what they like - shrimp etc.
But how much?

While they were outside they didn't show too much interest in pellets. Pond had other insects etc so they were pretty much fending for themselves and the amount of food was obviously based on how much they could catch.
But inside they'll need me to give them the correct amount?

So. What is the correct amount? The packets says to feed as much as they can eat in 2 to 3 minutes. If I did that the greedy oafs would eat the whole packet in less than two minutes. - and then some. So surely that can't be correct. How do I know when to stop?
 

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I think I am envisioning a very large pond in your future for some very big Orfe's :smuggrin:
 
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So I guess the general consensus is to just feed them what they like - shrimp etc.
But how much?

...
Feed them less and watch their body shape.
If they start picking at algae in the tank and then they are interested in algae wafers, try balancing out their diet from there.
There's no exact amount, it's a judgment call as you observe their body shape and behaviour.
Commercial facilities feed their fish based on weight gain over a period of time. You just want your fish to maintain a healthy appearance.
 
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Will the orfes eat pellets when thrown in there with the dried shrimp. I have orfes in my pond they are pigs zipping around and eating just about anything I throw in there. They are surface feeding fish so they prefer to eat floating foods/insects.

Never had to ween my orfes onto pellets. Usually mixing in prepared food with their preferred food will get them to eat it, especially when they get worked into a feeding frenzy. Can always try adding garlic to the pellets as well as the shrimp that can be an attractant.

Also, agree with Mitch can feed them bloodworms frozen or otherwise. Most fish can’t resist them. As also was mentioned a little variety doesn’t hurt.

Sometimes it can take a bit to get fish weened off of a preferred food. I’ve has to do it with baby cardinal fish, as well as baby turtles.
 
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I did this too but with goldfish babies. Two 50 gallon tanks in my bedroom. I just can't bear to find the dead babies in the skimmer!
 
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