Feeder fish dying - what's normal rate of loss?


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My two ponds (one 200 g, one 1200 g) have in prior summers had lots of tadpoles and frogs and algae. This is the first year I added fish and water plants, partly to make sure the mosquito and gnat larvae are getting eaten and to stabilize things.

I put in about 2 dozen feeder fish (comets) and a few floating hyacinths and water lilies over the course of the last 3 weeks (a handful of the fist at first, the rest a week later when all the water tests were still perfect). Everyday, they look healthy to me, but I come back in the morning and find about 1 dead on average. Right now, 7 out of the original 23 are still alive. Again, the living ones all look healthy.

The pond is lined - I have a pond master kit and everything is coming out in ideal levels (it doesn't test nitrates, but nitrites, ph, phosphates and ammonia. The ph is just below 8 and everything else is coming out at zero levels, and I've tested every few days (just did again).

I used aqua safe on the water before adding the fish.

Is it just the natural result of all the diseases those fish have? It seemed like about a third of the comets in the tank at petsmart were dead when I went to get these (and I'm sure they clean them out daily). I'm hoping its nothing I've done and the remaining ones will live.

There is a shop that specializes in pond supplies not too far away. When I first went there, they didn't have any comets. Last time I went to get more hyacinths, they had some larger, healthier looking comets. I wish I'd just bought from them to start with. I think I need a few more (there's only one comet left in the 200 gallon pond, think I need at least three or four in there to keep the bugs eaten?) but I'm scared to add any healthy fish in if there are still diseases floating around killing these guys off...

I can't think of what could be killing them other than that they were just in bad shape when I got them -
 
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Look at it this way, if they are feeder fish they have lived longer in your ponds than the alternative 'home' they could have had. If your water tests perfect and you have divided them between the two ponds, say, a few in the smaller pond and the rest in the 1200 gallon then my guess is they were not going to last long anyway. Feeder fish are not the healthiest, are crammed in horrible conditions besides being mass produced for feeding. So, I would monitor the rest and continue to give them a good home. I have two large feeders that I rescued and they can live for many years. Yeah, I would wait for awhile and see what happens with the remaining seven. You might want to double check your water parameters. Your one fish in the 200 gallon is fine. It will happily eat all of the bugs.
 
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Yeah, the most I've had in the 200 gallon was four. Right now there's 6 in the 1200 gallon, 1 in the 200 gallon. Both have lots of aeration, uv filters, and regular filter. Pretty confident about the tests because I've done them all several times now. Guess I'll just wait and see!
 
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Good deal, it sounds like you are doing a great job. Some of the surviving feeders might turn out to be amazingly beautiful. Out of the millions, a few of them and a few turn out to be Corvettes!
 

mrsclem

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When I was buying my koi from stores, I made it a habit not to buy anything from a tank that had a dead fish in it. If one is dead, doesn't look good for the others. I made an exception a couple of years ago and bought a blue koi from a local nursery. They had treated the tank and all but 2 had died. I brought the little guy home, quarantined him and Wentworth Blue is now a healthy 8" koi.
 
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Man I can’t think of anything. There’s no way it’s nitrate poisoning. We’re sure nothing’s leaching in or runoff is getting in there? Sounds like you have it covered. Yeah, don’t add anything for a spell til you get this hammered out.
 
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Wait. Let nature finish what it’s going to do. If they had any disease, it’ll run it’s course, and if it’s a defect, they’ll either make it or not. Short of getting a necropsy, if there’s no sign of disease, you have to presume they were just not going to make it. I personally think getting feeder fish is a gamble. When I bought mine, (also feeders) I only lost one due to unknown reasons, the rest were due to geese draining the pool, then parasites, then toxins getting blown in, leaving me with three left. But those three have had hundreds of babies, which I’ve culled, reduced to 20 odd pond quality, and about a dozen bait quality left. I’d say come pick some up if you were close enough!
 
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Thanks for all the advise! No new deaths - lucky seven are doing well for now, so hoping they’ll stay strong. Ponds are both raised above ground so they shouldn’t be getting runoff.
 
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Pond looks beautiful, 7 fish are still doing well - think it was probably diseases running their course, looks on track for the summer now. Will have to learn about winterizing soon!
 
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Well, we are down to lucky 6 but we never saw a floater for the 7th, so maybe someone made him a snack - the remaining six are growing so fast!
 
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Good deal, it sounds like you are doing a great job. Some of the surviving feeders might turn out to be amazingly beautiful. Out of the millions, a few of them and a few turn out to be Corvettes!
While four of my feeder comets are very "basic looking," I think two of the comet goldfish I have are quite beautiful! One is almost entirely white, but with a bright orange mouth and a large, "big fan" tail. The other is his mirror-image twin-- almost entirely bright orange, but with a white mouth and a large, "fanny" tail. I think they're pretty!

I bought those two fish on the day I found out that the twins with whom I was pregnant would not survive (one had already died and the other was not doing well at all). I know it's weird, but I think of those two pretty "mirror-image twin" fish as being symbolic of my two babies. You can think I'm weird. It's fine. When facing excruciating loss, sometimes we look for even the smallest of comforts. ❤
 
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While four of my feeder comets are very "basic looking," I think two of the comet goldfish I have are quite beautiful! One is almost entirely white, but with a bright orange mouth and a large, "big fan" tail. The other is his mirror-image twin-- almost entirely bright orange, but with a white mouth and a large, "fanny" tail. I think they're pretty!

I bought those two fish on the day I found out that the twins with whom I was pregnant would not survive (one had already died and the other was not doing well at all). I know it's weird, but I think of those two pretty "mirror-image twin" fish as being symbolic of my two babies. You can think I'm weird. It's fine. When facing excruciating loss, sometimes we look for even the smallest of comforts. ❤
I'm so sorry for your terrible loss. You are not weird, small comforts are important.
 
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@Amsomething - you are not weird at all! I am so sorry for the loss you experienced... I think you found the perfect way to remind yourself of your beautiful twins. I have found my pond and gardens to be a great comfort to me so many times when life gets hard... and boy, can it ever get hard. Thank you for sharing! We will all be weird together!
 

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