Mystery deaths and births


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[I just realized this thread may belong more in the "Fish & Koi Talk" forum and not here]

I have a pond with three gold fish, not sure what kind, because they were there when I bought the property 18 months ago.

I never fed the fish, there are plenty of tree frogs around with swimming tadpoles in the pond, and they eat mosquito larvae and other stuff. There is even a blue crab that lives under the wood bridge.



The three goldfish seem happy without any issue. Herons come visit occasionally but the gold fish hid under the bridge. The Iguanas come down from the trees but they only eat the green plants. They got bigger too up to about 8" in size.

Suddenly one day in March one of the gold fish died. No idea why. I don't think it was any attack, the body just floating on the water. There were only two goldfish left.

A few months later, I noticed one tiny goldfish swimming in the pond. I have read that goldfish eat their babies, so I don't know what to expect. A week later I noticed two more babies.

My first question is, is it possible, the third goldfish died because the other pair attacked him because they were mating/hatching?

Second question is, is there a way to figure out how many small baby goldfish I have because I am planning to drain and clean the pond soon, and I have no idea how many I need to scoop up before I start draining it.

Third question, I noticed later on two additional babies but they are not gold, instead black/white. Is this normal to have both parent goldfish to be gold entirely then have babies in totally different colors? In the next picture you can see inside the circle there is a black/white goldfish amongst the three gold ones.



Then two weeks ago, one of the large goldfish died mysteriously. Again, no sign of being attacked by birds or cats, no sign of any disease or parasite that I can tell. Anyway to tell if this one that died is male or female?



The baby fish are still doing fine, they are over 2" in size now. But I am still wondering what happened to the two big goldfish that died in the past 6 months. Now I have only one large one left.

I want to get another large one to pair with the lone large goldfish, but it would be best if I can get one in opposite sex, is this possible?

Finally, yesterday, I noticed one single baby fish, gold in color, about only one inch in length. Water is murky with a mucked bottom and algae (part of the reason I need to clean the pond and rebuild the bridge), but no doubt a smaller goldfish much less in size compared to the four I have been able to spot so far, does it mean there was a second spawning, or it was the same spawning but some grow faster then others?

Sorry for so many questions, just learning.
 
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Mmathis

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I’m so sorry about your fish! Yes, females can die as a result of spawning. GF can and will eat the eggs, but are less likely to eat the fry. It’s normal for fry to stay hidden.

But I’m more curious about why you are going to drain and clean your pond.
 

mrsclem

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Guessing your location is Miami area? You say you have a crab, they are salt water animals. Any chance salt water is getting into your pond? If so that could be the cause of the deaths. I would be careful about doing a drain and clean. You will be starting over with basically a new pond. Maybe just get a net and slowly scoop out the debris on the bottom.
 
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Good advice already, so I'll just add - yes it's entirely possible for babies to be black or dark in color. You will find that they will most likely change color as they grow. Nature's camouflage!
 
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I’m so sorry about your fish! Yes, females can die as a result of spawning. GF can and will eat the eggs, but are less likely to eat the fry. It’s normal for fry to stay hidden.

But I’m more curious about why you are going to drain and clean your pond.
There are several reasons I would like to drain the pond.

(1) The pump is not working. I had a tree company earlier in March to come do some pruning of several trees with limbs above the pond. One large branch dropped down into the pond, broke the PVC intake pipe to the pump. I cannot get to the pipe without draining the pond.

(2) The wood bridge is severely rotted, not only the deck, but the center support structure below it. It needs to be redone but I need to replace the supporting structure. I am thinking a concrete pier from the bottom of the pond to the bottom of the deck, then redo the deck with wood.

(3) The pond has never been drained, the last owner who had it for 8 years also never drained it. It has lots of leaves and seeds and who knows what else. I used an 8" copper pipe and I have determined it has over 12" of yucky muck settled at the bottom, the algae is getting out of hand as well.

I really need to get a fresh start and do it right.
 
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Good advice already, so I'll just add - yes it's entirely possible for babies to be black or dark in color. You will find that they will most likely change color as they grow. Nature's camouflage!
I am in Fort Lauderdale, and I am next to a river. I don't know if the crab is salt water or not. It's blueish in color and the size of my hand, but I don't think I have seen it submerged, it's always just crawling around the bridge. I doubt salinity is the reason the big goldfish died, if that's the reason I would imagine the smaller babies would be affected first? But they are fine.
 
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You've got a job ahead of you! But it sounds like lots of good reasons to drain and clean your pond. One suggestion - keep as much of the current pond water as you can. You'll need a place to house your fish while you are doing the work, and they will prefer the water they are already in - it will help reduce what will be a stressful situation for them. Then when you finish, add the old pond water back in to give your new water a good boost.

As for finding the babies - I think you will just have to drain the pond down, search for them, drain some more, search some more, etc until you're sure they've all been scooped up. Less water makes them easier to catch, too, so that's a plus.
 
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Oh I meant to address the deaths - sometimes fish just die. If they had died in close proximity to each other, I'd be more concerned. It could be that the amount of muck on the bottom of your pond has started to created a toxic situation - that's never a good thing. So be very careful when you start removing the fish and try not to stir things up too much before you get them out. Easier said than done, I'm sure!

Yes spawning can be hard on the female - not because anyone is attacking her, but because the nature of fish spawning is kind of aggressive. When you see spawning happening just keep an eye on who is chasing and who is being chased - that's your best way to identify male and female. You will likely see several males going after the same female - perfectly normal. The females may look for a spot to hide to avoid the chase - if she looks like she's unable to get away and seems exhausted by the process, you may want to either provide her with a hiding spot in the pond or even get her out until she can rest. Our females will go into the planted areas of the pond to get a break. Mostly though they all make it through just fine.
 
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You've got a job ahead of you! But it sounds like lots of good reasons to drain and clean your pond. One suggestion - keep as much of the current pond water as you can. You'll need a place to house your fish while you are doing the work, and they will prefer the water they are already in - it will help reduce what will be a stressful situation for them. Then when you finish, add the old pond water back in to give your new water a good boost.

As for finding the babies - I think you will just have to drain the pond down, search for them, drain some more, search some more, etc until you're sure they've all been scooped up. Less water makes them easier to catch, too, so that's a plus.
Thank you, I will keep that in mind. My concern is because of the bridge being in the way, it will be difficult to find the fish as the pond is drained. There is so muck muck and as I drain it I am sure as the water level drops they will hide under the bridge where water is deepest, and I won't be able to see them to scoop them up especially if the bottom is stirred up with a net or with me getting in there with water boots.
 
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How long does it take a goldfish to go from being a fry to mature? Several years?

Here is one picture. A is the parent fish, B and C are frys. But B is twice as long as C. B is about 2.5" and C about 1.5". Are they from two separate spawnings? I have four the size of B and two the size of C. I am sure there were none before March 2020.

IMG_20200903_160858.jpg


Another one below showing the different size frys. Any idea what kind of goldfish I have here?

IMG_20200903_160058.jpg


Finally, you can see a black/white one in the yellow circle on top. Is that one going to turn gold at some point or stay black & white? If I have more of those, they are even harder to spot when I drain the pond.

IMG_20200903_160303.jpg
 

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How long does it take a goldfish to go from being a fry to mature? Several years?

Here is one picture. A is the parent fish, B and C are frys. But B is twice as long as C. B is about 2.5" and C about 1.5". Are they from two separate spawnings? I have four the size of B and two the size of C. I am sure there were none before March 2020.

View attachment 133582

Another one below showing the different size frys. Any idea what kind of goldfish I have here?

View attachment 133584

Finally, you can see a black/white one in the yellow circle on top. Is that one going to turn gold at some point or stay black & white? If I have more of those, they are even harder to spot when I drain the pond.

View attachment 133585
sometimes goldfish can take years to turn to gold, completly harmless and just fun to watch!
 

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