My fish stay at the bottom.


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I have a small pond I built a couple of years ago. It measure approx. 9' long x 6' wide x 3' deep. I live in the Texas panhandle where it can get very hot (110*) in the summer and down to 0* in the winter. Sounds lovely, huh. It's not, but it's home.

Anyway, I have 4 fish, 2 koi and 2 gold, and all they do is hide behind the rocks in the daytime. They come out at night but always sit on the bottom. They don't swim around much. During summer, they come up to surface if I feed them but right back to bottom. I have to go out at night to make sure I even have fish! They just huddle at the bottom both summer and winter. Why are my fish so anti-social?
 
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Can you describe your pond or post some pictures?
Do you have any plants with floating leaves??
Fish can get sunburn if your water is too clear and have no shaded place to rest in for the day.
Have you seen any predators that they could be hiding from?
 

JBtheExplorer

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Like MitchM implied, fish like to have cover. If you don't have cover plants for them like waterlilies that protect them from sun and predators, they may be too stressed to come out, especially if something has attempted to attack them before.
 
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I've thought it could be predators if they can see them flying way up high. Don't know if a hawk (which I have seen fly overhead) has ever come down to water but doves and other small birds frequent the edges all the time.
I'm still working on getting some good plant cover. Lillies didn't grow very much and had small leaves. Water lettuce is illegal here but I plan to get some when I go out of state sometime. So maybe they are just trying to stay out of the sun. AND... I've probably scared the dickens out of them when I try scooping leaves, etc. out. I can get pretty aggressive with trying to keep it all clean.
As I've heard, ponds are NEVER finished. lol There are things I want to change on mine. Time is my biggest issue! But even if it just stays like it is, I love it. Just hoping I can get my fish to be more friendly. Not sure how I can gain their trust. :/ Do you have any tricks?
 

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Thanks for the picture.
I think your fish would benefit from having a better feeling of security.
Could you maybe place some potted plants around the perimeter?
I imagine that they could feel quite exposed.
Maybe some other people have some ideas to coax your fish out a little more with plantings appropriate to your area.
 
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Place a pot of lily pads in the center of your pond. It will grow some pads and the fish will feel safer cause there will be coverage in the center.
 
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Thanks for the suggestions! I want to re-do around the edges of pond to try and soften it a little. And I'll get some more lilies. Perhaps I can find a big plastic lily pad to float in there for a bit. And if anyone wants to anonymously and discreetly send me a clipping of water lettuce, I would greatly appreciate it. lol
 
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I've seen my fish startle and dart for the bottom when a bird shadow flew across the pond. If there is road noise and vehicle vibration, they will become edgy and startle easily. These are prey animals characterized by their eyes set on either side of their heads like deer or squirrels. Some folks use blue dye to help settle their fish. We used a pergola over the pond with a shade cloth and tree cover. Plants too. Some have cut a blue barrel in half and weighted it to sink to the bottom. Deep water down to 4 feet helps calm them.
 
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Water lettuce has raphides in its sap, you may encounter intestinal troubles if the fish graze on it.

Lilypads are benign, edible and will go a long way to provide shade, shelter and much more moderate water temps in the worst heat of summer....
 

JBtheExplorer

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Water lettuce is illegal here but I plan to get some when I go out of state sometime.

I wouldn't recommend taking the chance. Plants are prohibited for very specific reasons - because of their invasiveness and damage they can cause to local habitats. It's not worth it.

Try adding waterlily fertilizer to your lilies. I've seen massive differences between years where I did add fertilizer and years where I didn't. You can often buy the fertilizer as tablets and they sell enough in a package that can last multiple years.

You can also look into plants like Water Hawthorn and see if it's ok to possess. Even marginals like sedges, irises, rushes and others can help fill it in a little and make the fish feel safer.
 
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I like duckweed but it never lives long in my pond and it gets into the filter... Water lettuce attracts lotsa insects and seems always beaten up in my pond.

Hyacinths and lily pads are the best experience but lily pads will be stable in the center of your pond if you toss the pot in the center.
 
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Calcium oxalate is not a nutrient (nor a beneficial source of calcium), and it can be toxic in large doses. Duckweeds can contain up to 2 — 4 percent oxalic acid equivalents by weight. However, oxalate also is found in a great many leafy and very nutritious vegetables, including spinach, swiss chard and others. In these edible vegetables, calcium oxalate is found in at levels up to 0.5 — 1 percent. So, minimizing oxalate has the potential to make duckweeds more nutritious and digestible.

However, published reports of calcium oxalate levels in duckweeds are likely to be misleading. The late Vincent Franceschi (Washington State University, see reference below) demonstrated that the calcium oxalate content of Lemna minor depends greatly on the calcium content of the water on which they are growing. Elevated calcium in the water favors formation of calcium oxalate crystals, and their content can be lowered by growth on low-calcium medium. It seems likely that placing duckweed on soft water for a reasonably short period could lower oxalate content significantly in a practical setting

aka, if your water is hard, high in ph, you might notice duckweed is less tasty, as far as peckers are concerned...
 
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Yup, water lettuce is noticed to have less raphides in softer water. Question is, how toxic the levels. At high levels, asphixiation is likely when the gut, throat, windpipe all swells up...
 
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In other words... agree to do lilies before Adavisus and Meyer start duking it out with swords.
 
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Raphides are a significant hazard. Something to be wary of. When water lettuce mass up, you might think oh, its a good grower. That has more to do with the fact that it is viciously toxic to grazing critters...

Like, yew tree seeds, gobble it fast and pft.... dead

As a means to shade fish, ummm, a mass of water lettuce may be problematic
 
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Meyer Jordan

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Yup, water lettuce is noticed to have less raphides in softer water. Question is, how toxic the levels. At high levels, asphixiation is likely when the gut, throat, windpipe all swells up...

Yes, these physiological reactions are a sign of high levels of ingestion of Raphides in Mammals!. There is no scientific data to support that the ingestion of raphides is harmful to fish. There are anecdotal opinions scttered bout the internet but even most of these state that there is no real proof of toxicity. Many substances, at high or massive levels, Will prove to be toxic.
 
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Calcium oxylate is insoluble in water, it would affect the soft tissues of fish and reptiles just like glass splinters would. You will find mentioned herbivores, plant grazers generally are mentioned as being at risk

You will also notice problems with fish, tadpoles, on ponds where water lettuce rots off in volume. Not good stuff to be floating about, tiny splinters

If you have thirty ponds, and water lettuce rotting off in a couple or three, you would notice. I sure notice the skinny tadpoles that never get to maturity

"Raphides seem to be a defense mechanism against plant predators,[6] as they are likely to tear and harm the soft tissues of the throat or esophagus of a plant predator chewing on the plant's leaves.[7][8] The venomous process is in two stages: mechanical pricking and injection of harmful protease. Typically ingestion of plants containing raphides, like those common in certain houseplants, can cause immediate numbing followed shortly by painful edema, vesicle formation and dysphagia accompanied by painful stinging and burning to the mouth and throat with symptoms occurring for up to two weeks"

You might also look up what kidney stones are made of. Oh, science mentions calcium oxylate, quite a bit, making quite a few references to, don't guzzle the stuff...

oh and as for the protease inhibitors ingested, now there you are really moving into the realms beyond scientific knowledge as far as biological weapons are concerned
 
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