The Truth About Aquatic Plants

The Truth About Aquatic Plants

To plant or not to plant? As is the dilemma facing most freshwater tank and pond owners. Live plants can add beauty and filtration, but come with their own set of issues. If you are interested in pursing adding live plants to your system, be sure to read through the following points.

WAIT! I was told you can’t have plants in koi ponds! No matter what the purists say, you can absolutely have plants and koi together. You can also mix koi and goldfish, but that’s another article.

  • Your system needs to be producing nitrate in order for plants to thrive. If you constantly use an ammonia-binding additive or have a brand new tank, hold off on adding any plant life. Buy yourself a test kit and make sure your nitrogen cycle is established prior to getting those plants in there.
  • Plants can carry pathogens, especially if they were previously housed with fish. That means they need to be quarantined too! Set them up in your quarantine with a few fish to signal if there are any issues. You can also do a hydrogen peroxide dip that will take care of most bugs.
  • You will need to trim your plants regularly as parts die off. If you leave the rotting bits in your tank, you’re only making your ammonia levels worse. Make trimming your plants a regular part of your weekly maintenance and your system will thank you.
  • Fish will try to eat your plants. It doesn’t matter if you feed them the most awesome food on the planet, they will harass your plants if they’re simply bored. Don’t get too attached. You can try to create a buffer zone between plants and fish using mesh or netting. But, be prepared for some losses.
  • If you’re expecting a few plants to significantly decrease your nitrate levels, you will be sadly mistaken. The amount of plants you need to make a dent in your water quality is immense. If you want to use plants for filtration, consider adding a bog filter for ponds or an aquaponic system. Don’t expect those three fronds of anacharis to do the trick.
  • Any medications or treatments you add to the tank or pond will affect the plants. Salt treatments in particular can kill plants. However, if there is a disease in your system, the plants could be harboring pathogens. If you have a disease that could be hiding in your plants, make sure you treat the entire system appropriately. With some diseases, replacing the plants entirely may be the best option.

If you have any interest in adding plants to your system, but aren’t quite sure what to add, please call The Fish Vet Store at 831-728-7003

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5 Tricks to Healthy Fish

5 Tricks to Healthy Fish

5 Tricks to Healthy Fish

Directly from our veterinary staff!

Water Quality

The #1 thing you can do to keep your fish healthy is to have good, clean water. You’ve probably heard this before, but we cannot stress this point enough. Think about how the air you breathe can affect your own health. It’s the same for fish, just underwater.

Regular water testing is a simple step to add to your maintenance routine. You should test pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, alkalinity and temperature regularly. Buy a reliable test kit that uses liquid drops, not strips, for the best results.

Buy a test kit here!

Quarantine

Any new fish you bring into your pond has the potential to bring along all of its diseases. In order to protect your established fish, all new additions should be separately quarantined for 4-6 weeks minimum. This will prevent disease spread to your other fish and allow you to treat the new fish specifically. Quarantining will save you time, money and lives. Potentially the lives of all your fish.

Can’t quarantine your fish at home? Send them to our hospital!

Nutrition

Indoor Tanks

Make sure you know what your fish need to be eating! Many specialty foods are available for all types of freshwater and saltwater species. Do your research before purchasing or adopting a new fish and make sure you have their favorite foods at the ready!

Outdoor Ponds

Pick a food for your koi from a reputable company with a good reputation who know their products well. The two main differences in koi foods are growth and maintenance. The temperature of the water in your pond will determine what type of food to feed when. Below 50°-55°F, do not feed your koi. Their metabolism is not high enough to digest anything. Between 55°F and 65°F, feed them a more easily digestible, wheat-germ based diet. Above 65°F, it is okay to feed a higher-protein, growth diet. There are also specialized diets to enhance the color of your koi.

We recommend feeding koi using the 5 Minute Technique. After checking the pond temperature and choosing the appropriate diet, sprinkle a small amount of food and wait for your fish to eat it ALL. Then, sprinkle another small handful and wait for them to eat it all. Continue this for 5 minutes, then stop.

Here are some recommendations:

Cold Weather Diets – 55-65F

Warm Weather Diets – >65F

Recognize Signs of Disease

Since you see your fish every day, you will be the first to notice anything amiss. Maybe one fish doesn’t have the appetite she used to or another who used to be a bully is hanging back at the bottom during feeding time. Sometimes, it’s not the obvious wounds that we get called out for.

Signs of disease can include inappetance, anorexia, lethargy, change in color or behavior. Fish have different personalities that may change upon the addition of new fish to the pond. Stress can cause a lot of problems in koi. Most stress in koi comes from poor water quality!

Don’t Guess! Ask a Fish Vet

Not all fish owners have direct access to a veterinarian specializing in fish, but not you! Dr. Jessie Sanders, chief veterinarian of Aquatic Veterinary Services of Northern California, is a certified aquatic veterinarian through the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association. Her mobile clinic brings the full veterinary clinic right to you! Our hospital offers in-house appointments, critical care and boarding.

Any questions you have about any aspect of koi care can be answered promptly and correctly. The next time your fish gets sick, don’t just throw a bunch of treatments at it hoping to correct the unknown problem. Call us and we can schedule a phone consultation or appointment to get to the root of the problem quickly and treat correctly the first time.

Call now to schedule an appointment or phone consultation!

(831) 346-6151