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Gardening


If you’ve thought about a pond to complement your garden, Hannah Stephenson and Jason Harris offer a few tips on how to get started and some basics on giving fish the best start in their new home.


Make sure the water is clear and balanced before introducing any fish.


Remember...


• Ponds can be dangerous additions to the garden if small children are regular visitors to the garden! • Inspect your pond regularly for leaks saving water and unwanted expense!


However, it is invasive and will need to be thinned out several times in the summer to stop it taking over.


Let fish acclimatise to the water gradually. It’s a good idea to let them float in a plastic bag on the surface for an hour until the water adjusts to pond temperature and then open the bag and let them swim out. It’s advisable to buy a treatment for the water before adding the fish as tap water contains chemicals that can be harmful. This additive can be bought at most garden and aquatic centres for around £8.


Pond fish are cold blooded and the amount of food they need depends upon their activity, which is closely tied to the water temperature. Goldfish and koi become very sluggish below 8-10C and it is generally best not to feed them when daytime temperatures fall below 10C or if there is any night-time ice on the pond. Feeding at too low a temperature can result in food being uneaten and polluting the water. Even when it is mild enough, feed only lightly until warmer weather arrives. Special foods are available for cool weather feeding that are more readily digested. Follow


Three ways to . . . Renovate a pond 1. Remove all planting baskets, divide overcrowded plants and repot after washing everything well in clean water.


2. Empty as much water as you can out of the pond, either using a submersible pond pump, or making a syphon with a hosepipe, or simply bailing it out with a bucket.


3. Clean out all but 5cm (2in) of silt from the bottom, removing rotting debris, before refilling it and replacing the planting baskets. (remember to treat the tap water with a special tap water treatment if putting fish back into the pond)


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the manufacturer’s recommendations on when to feed and use a pool thermometer if necessary to monitor water temperature.


Feeding during the milder days of autumn can help to build fish up for their winter ‘down time’, and feeding in the warmer days of spring will help them to recover from the winter. When really cold weather finally arrives, it is best to stop feeding altogether.


It’s a good idea to have a water feature of some description whether it be a fountain or a waterfall as this can provide much needed oxygen for the fish. A lack of oxygen in the water can eventually kill the fish. It’s more important in warm weather especially on warm nights when oxygen levels can reach dangerously low levels in the water. If possible buy plants that put oxygen into the water. Ask your local aquatic centre about the best varieties. They can normally be purchased for around £5 for a fairly decent amount to get you started.


So now all that remains is to get out the spade and start digging!


Water Lily’s will give fish shade and cover from herons and other predators.


PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos.


PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos.


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