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Breeding goldfish is easy when the outside conditions are right. Because then the ornamental fish reproduce naturally, without further human intervention. It is important that spawn and young fish are protected from predators. Therefore, comfort and protection zones should be created in the pond, not just for the spawning season.
As a rule, goldfish reproduce naturally on their own. However, the external conditions must be right for this to happen, and not just during the spawning season. Therefore, when designing the garden pond, make sure that the ornamental fish can choose between different comfort zones. Goldfish also need a lot of space. Therefore, the first stocking should be counted: there are two goldfish in one cubic meter of water.
Design of the garden pond
Goldfish feel particularly comfortable in ponds that have several levels. In addition, at least one third of the pond surface should be shaded. Aquatic plants for different depths also create “feel-good zones” for the goldfish. They also provide food, shelter and shade. Since the fish bottom, they need a natural substrate, for example gravel or earth. Stones are also valuable aids in pond design.
Tip: If the pond is very varied, the fish can choose between different comfort zones and seek protection from enemies. Large-leaved aquatic plants are suitable as hiding places.
Aquatic plants are a natural filter for the garden pond. In addition, the fertilized eggs can attach themselves to the plants after spawning. Nevertheless, you should integrate an additional filter into the pond so that the water quality can be maintained for goldfish. It also prevents algae.
Although goldfish are very robust when it comes to water quality, they feel more comfortable when the water is of a certain quality. You should therefore carry out a water analysis or have it carried out before the first stocking.
Ideal water values for the ornamental fish are:
- pH: 7 to 8
- Water hardness: 12 to 18 dH
- Carbonate hardness: 10 to 14 dH
- less than 0.1 milligrams per liter of ammonium
- less than 0.1 milligrams per liter of nitrite
- less than 25 milligrams per liter of nitrate
- less than 20 milligrams per liter of carbon dioxide
The water temperature should be between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius in summer and between 6 and 14 degrees Celsius in winter. Some cultivated forms of ornamental fish also need warmer temperatures in winter.
Tip: When creating the garden pond, make sure that it is deep enough so that the water does not cool down too much in winter.
Goldfish find their food by bottom gudgeons as they feed on aquatic plants and aquatic organisms. If the garden pond is set up appropriately, the fish do not have to be fed every day. If the number of fish increases, you should feed them.
You can get species-appropriate food for the ornamental fish in specialist shops in the form of pellets, flakes or granules. Provide variety in the feed. You can also give your goldfish water fleas or mosquito larvae. When feeding, it is important that no feed residues remain in the pond, as they affect the water quality. Therefore, feed the fish in several stages. If there is any food left over, be sure to remove it. Leftover food is food that has not been eaten after about two minutes.
Tip: How much food your fish actually need can only be determined through experience. Start with a small amount and increase until there is leftover food. A spoon and/or measuring cup will help determine the right amount.
If these external conditions are right, the ornamental fish should reproduce naturally. The spawning season of the fish extends from spring to summer. From a water temperature of 15 degrees Celsius, the fish begin their courtship display. Females can spawn up to ten times per spawning season. But don't worry, the entire offspring of a spawning season will never survive in nature.
You can tell whether the fish are willing to reproduce by the fact that the males constantly nudge the females from behind. This behavior is intended to encourage the females to lay eggs. The eggs themselves are then fertilized by males. The eggs then attach themselves to finely feathered aquatic plants. Its shape is caterpillar-like and it has a shiny silver color. The young goldfish then hatch within a few days. For the first few days they feed on the yolk sac attached to them. Once this is used up, microorganisms are on the menu for the young fish.
In order for the reproduction and breeding of the ornamental fish to succeed, the spawn must already be protected from predators. This also includes conspecifics, because the ornamental fish are cannibals. The offspring are often eaten shortly after spawning.
Young goldfish, measuring one to two millimeters when hatching, are naturally protected by their dark color, which serves as camouflage. They only get their golden color after about a year. Since your own offspring are also part of the adult fish menu, you should offer them protection. A shallow waterhole with dense vegetation is suitable for this.
The best way to protect the fertilized eggs after spawning is to remove them from the pond. Therefore, when breeding goldfish, you should already remove the eggs from the pond and place them in an aquarium. Since the fish spend their first year there, this nursery should be set up appropriately for the species.
Tip: Protect the suction pipe of the filter with fleece so that the small fish (1-2 mm) are not sucked in.
After a year, the young goldfish have reached an impressive size of four centimetres. Then they can be carefully placed in the garden pond with their larger relatives.