Gold Fish Dying


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We have had goldfish in our outdoor pond for many years with no real problems - they have bred several times. we had just 5 in there recently. About 6 months ago I put 5 Water Lilies into the pond - probably in hindsight too many as they have grown very well and have been flowering nicely. The pond is around 1.5 m long and 1.5 m wide and around .7m deep (1.6 Cu M - 425 gallons water) However, 3 weeks ago a half grown goldfish died and today one of the adults died. I have a fountain and water wheel both of which I run for at least an hour or longer twice per week. Since putting the water lilies into the pond I have not changed the water as my wife's sister has a similar pond and only change the water once per year with no gold fish deaths. Does anyone have any advice? It seems to me that it must be something to do with the water lilies. We use tank water in the pond.
Thanks.
Glen
 
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Glen, I'm sorry for the loss of your goldfish. I doubt the water lilies contributed to their deaths, as generally speaking plants are a good thing. Can you tell us more about your situation, location / climate, filtration, aeration etc.?
 
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Glen, I'm sorry for the loss of your goldfish. I doubt the water lilies contributed to their deaths, as generally speaking plants are a good thing. Can you tell us more about your situation, location / climate, filtration, aeration etc.?
Not any more to tell really than what I have already said. There is no other filtration or aeration other than the fountain etc but as mentioned- that is all we have had for some 25 years. The climate of course has been hot like everywhere else but the pond is in a fernery which does reduce the temperature. We live between Murgon and Goomeri in Qld so have a temperate climate.
 
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The only thing I can think of. Is that you now have more fish. With more fish comes more poop and the need for more oxygen.

You also said since you put the Lillys in you have not changed the water.

Prior to the Lily’s how often did you change the water?

I would think. If you have no filtration and only run your water wheel and what not twice a week. Plus you stoped doing water changes. And your fish population is increasing.
Looking it from a fish keeper point of view and not a pond person. You have under filtered and lack of oxygen problem. Plus not doing water changes.

how many fish are in there. Compared to how many were in there.?
You said you had 5 in the past 6 months.
5 what?? 5 fish?? 5 spawns with 20 fish each spawn??

how many fish does your sister in law have in her pond.?
Does she have less fish?
Does she have a filter.?
filters are not only mechanical but also biological.
Does she have gravel in her pond?
 
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The only thing I can think of. Is that you now have more fish. With more fish comes more poop and the need for more oxygen.

You also said since you put the Lillys in you have not changed the water.

Prior to the Lily’s how often did you change the water?

I would think. If you have no filtration and only run your water wheel and what not twice a week. Plus you stoped doing water changes. And your fish population is increasing.
Looking it from a fish keeper point of view and not a pond person. You have under filtered and lack of oxygen problem. Plus not doing water changes.

how many fish are in there. Compared to how many were in there.?
You said you had 5 in the past 6 months.
5 what?? 5 fish?? 5 spawns with 20 fish each spawn??

how many fish does your sister in law have in her pond.?
Does she have less fish?
Does she have a filter.?
filters are not only mechanical but also biological.
Does she have gravel in her pond?
Hi Joejoe80,
thanks for your interest in my problem. No we don't have more fish - in fact 5 is the lowest number we have had for some years.
I used to change the water but for the last couple of years I have just used Algae and Slime treatment which seems to have worked very well - in fact as I hadn't done that for a little while I did a treatment today. Possible the hot weather has caused more algae so maybe I need to treat the water more often.
Re your thoughts and questions.
We have never had filtration for 25 years.
We haven't done water changes for at least 2 years.
We had mostly 7 to 10 goldfish and now have only 5 goldfish.
Our sister has a smaller pond with 8 goldfish. They rarely change the water maybe once per year.
She has no filter or any aeration device or fountain or anything at all to move the water.
She does not have gravel in her pond.
I guess my question was mostly concerning the water lilies as we had no deaths prior to putting them into the pond.
The replies which I have received seem to say that the water lilies do not have any negative affect so at this stage my conclusion is that the problem is probably the hot weather and my being remiss in not treating the water with algae and slime treatment more often. Iwill run with that unless someone comes up with something different.
Thank you again for your interest and advice.
Glen
 
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I don't think the waterlilies are the problem either, nor do I think the algae and slime treatment are either helpful or necessary. And it is indeed possible to have a goldfish pond with no filtration - I've seen lots of them that, like yours, have remained healthy habitats for fish for many years.

Is it possible some kind of outside contaminant got into the pond? Perhaps some fertilizer or weed killer was sprayed in the vicinity? What do you mean by "tank water"? Do the fish show any signs of illness or injury when they die?
 
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As stated above contaminants in the water probably not most likely not.
The only other thing I can think of like you said is temperature . how quickly did the temperature go from normal or whatever. to ho? because if that happened like overnight then that’s a good possibility that rapid temperature change did it.

if you haven’t changed anything you’ve normally been doing then it’s a question of what has changed to cause this.

Adding lilies is definitely not it.

The only other thing that sticks out to me is this temperature change you’re talking about. And with such a small pond outside it’s going to be affected by weather change versus a much bigger pond.

even though the pond is shaded. It’s still gonna suffer from some sort of temperature change. it may not be as hot as if it wasn’t shaded, but it’s still going to go from cooler to warmer and if that happens rapidly that’s a problem.

Other than that test the water Nitrate nitrate ammonia etc. if all your parameters are good then it’s got to be a temperature thing.

I would imagine if something got into the pond it would’ve killed all your fish but then again you never know

I would test the water just in case it won’t hurt anything. And that will tell you if it is your water and if you need to do more water changes or treatments.At least if you do test the water it will take that out of the question of what’s causing it. Or you never know you might find out that your water parameters are all off.
Got to test the water
 
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I don't think the waterlilies are the problem either, nor do I think the algae and slime treatment are either helpful or necessary. And it is indeed possible to have a goldfish pond with no filtration - I've seen lots of them that, like yours, have remained healthy habitats for fish for many years.

Is it possible some kind of outside contaminant got into the pond? Perhaps some fertilizer or weed killer was sprayed in the vicinity? What do you mean by "tank water"? Do the fish show any signs of illness or injury when they die?
Hi Lisak1,
thanks for your post.
I did have a little smile when I read your comments - you must live in a city!!! Out in the country there is no 'Town Water' connected so we install tanks which catches the rain water from our house roof and sheds when it rains. This is the only water we have for drinking or gardens. Naturally, it is called 'tank water' as it comes from rainwater tanks. I mention that it was tank water as opposed to bore water which could contain minerals and salts as it comes from underground.
No there was no contamination from outside - I am the only one who uses sprays here and nothing has been used near the pond. As far as I can see, there were no injuries. The smaller fish was dead when I found it. The adult goldfish was still breathing or at least opening and closing it's mouth for about 2 hours before it finally died. I did put it into a clean bucket of tank water in the hope that it might recover.
As I mentioned, I have given the water a treatment so will watch to see how the remaining 3 goldfish fare. Treating the water is all that I have done for some time now so will be a little more vigilant with the treatment and the fountain. It seems from your and Joejoe80's comments that it may be the hot weather primarily to blame along with my negligence.
I will keep you informed - thank you for your interest.
Glen
 
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Ahhhh... gotcha! We don't live in the city per se, but we do have water and sewer provided by our village. Maybe more of a language difference than anything - we would call "bore water" well water.

Do you do water testing?
 

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Hello and welcome! I don’t have any advice — sounds like it’s all been covered.

On that note, adding the water lily’s themselves may not have been the problem, but as they grow and put out pads, there is less surface area on the pond for gas/oxygen exchange to take place. Again, maybe not a problem in a larger pond, but in a smaller pond, I can see where it could make a difference. Just something to think about.

I’ve only been a pond owner for 6 years, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that, well,

1) sometimes things just happen.....and sometimes the mysteries remain mysteries. Sometimes fish die. I have been careful about quarantine. I look at fish scrapings under the microscope (And have never found anything). In my 6 years I’ve only identified one constant when I’ve had mysterious fish deaths — some or most deaths have been preceded by bad thunderstorms with lots of lightening. This is a controversial topic In the fish-keeping world. Oh well, mine will remain a mystery.

2). I’ve learned that whenever you make any changes with your pond, it’s important to only make one change at a time. If you do too many things at one time, and there is a bad outcome, it’s very hard to say which thing helped or hurt.

3). As your fish grow (and have babies, etc.), but their environment stays the same, the ecosystem that is the pond gets out of balance. It’s all about balance. In larger ponds, these changes aren’t necessarily a problem as the pond can make adjustments. But in smaller ponds (like yours), even a small change can make a big difference.
 
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Definitely a dialect of Language issue there! Lol for me, tank water is water from my aquariums that I water my plants with, and what you call bore water, we call well water. I’m luckily on well water, as the local town water is horrid.
We would love to follow up on what all you find. I’ve had fish in an above ground pool, no plants, no shade, no filtration, only the steady Oklahoma winds to agitate the surface as airation, back when I first started. Now I’m working on putting in a better pond with bog filtration, but have no fish due to summer heat and possibly a raccoon or bird of prey taking my surviving keepers. I’ll restock with better quality then! So I did see one thing to ask about. You added lillies, how long ago? Did you decontaminate them? Bare root or pre planted? Lots of things can catch a ride, snails can have parasites in them, which could then harm the fish.
 
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Ahhhh... gotcha! We don't live in the city per se, but we do have water and sewer provided by our village. Maybe more of a language difference than anything - we would call "bore water" well water.

Do you do water testing?
Hi Lisak1,
so seems like you live in the USA? We in Australia differentiate between bore water which is an encased 'hole' drilled down to underground water and a 'well' which is a larger hole which in the old days was dug by hand say 2 yards by 2 yards square which is then lined with timber. Interesting. No we do not test the water because we use tank water and so there is no ammonia or salts or minerals in the water. I guess originally I was concerned that the newly added Water Lilies were causing the problem but as I am told that would not be the case I am almost certain that it was the hot weather coupled with my lack of aeration with the fountain etc. Cooler now and the remaining 3 fish seem very happy.
Thanks.
Glen
 
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The lack of air in a gold fish tank can work as they are very hardy HOWEVER your sis may have plants that replace o2 into the water that you do not have. also I thought i read that some muck away or bacteria was added. Well that could be the problem if it was hot the o2 levels decrease, Warm water holds less dissolved oxygen then does colder water. And if you added a new additive to the pond even one that is suppose to be beneficial it being bacteria could have taken off working over time on a well aged system and depleting oxygen. The one sure sign is when the fish come up to the surface and suck away at it.

It also could have been any number of contaminants in the lilies you never know . but the lilies them selves I also doubt that was the issue

I myself would get an air stone into the picture or something to circulate the water a little.
 
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Very sad.
My guess is lack of oxygen. Why? Well I am in Sydney and also very hot for much of the year. As the water heats up it holds less oxygen. The plants use oxygen. The water gets oxygen from the air. The lilies are blocking that air exchange. Lack of water circulation also adds to the problem of air exchange. The algae makes it worse as it uses oxygen to grow. Then if it dies it uses oxygen to decay.
Basically in my view you need water circulation in a hot climate all the time. And you need to restore a larger air/water interface to ensure the water can get oxygen from the air. If you add fresh water (your rain water) then you will add some oxygen immediately. But that is only a short term fix.
Ray
 

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