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Fish Frenzy

The anticipation is growing … the thought that another great water gardening season is just around the corner is steadily lurking in my mind. This is the time when I start getting more and more flower bulb and seed catalogs in the mail, tempting me to give in to the fact that spring is almost here. As I flip through the pages, trying to decide what would go best in my now-barren gardens; my thoughts can’t help but drift toward my pond.

While I know my fish are still resting, I often wonder if they are as excited as I am about the season to come. I wonder if they’re thinking about the warm summer water and the beautiful sounds of the waterfall as it splashes into the pond. Yes, I am a sucker for a beautiful pond and waterfall. You can call me crazy if you’d like, but in the spirit of this “month of love” that is February, I like to think about my soon to be thawed piece of paradise in my own back yard.
If you own a pond, or have done any reading on the subject, you may know that many pond enthusiasts are fish enthusiasts as well.  Most of us crazy pond owners have ponds full of colorful Koi and Goldfish.  Some like to baby their fish a little more than others, but for most of us we hold a soft spot in our hearts for our fish.  So, I thought I’d spend a little time talking about our fishy friends.  Maybe if we are all thinking about spring and our ponds it will get here sooner.

Most of you who have fish in your ponds feed them at least occasionally, and I would guess that most of the time you feed them store-bought fish food.  If you have never strayed from the standard fish food then perhaps this summer can be a bit more adventurous for you and your beloved fish.  Did you know that Koi are especially fond of watermelon? If you’ve never tried feeding them anything but fish food, it may take a bit of time for them to warm up to the idea of eating things like watermelon, but once they do, watch out.  It will become a very special treat for them.  Some people report that their Koi swim right up and eat the melon right from the rind.  I’ve also heard that Koi enjoy grapefruit even more than watermelon.  You simply cut it into quarters, keep an eye on it so it doesn’t clog up your filtration system, and watch the fish go crazy for it!  That should add a little zing to your usual fish feeding.
I’m sure that it will come as no surprise that fish are also big fans of worms – as long as they aren’t on a hook! If you drop earthworms into the water, the fish may look at them funny, but once one has a taste, they will all catch on. One of the not so common fish treats I’ve learned about in my years of pond building is that fish simply love fish! It’s true … watch your fish swoon over some chopped up, thawed sardines while enjoying a great nutritious treat!
Finally, a favorite for me, and any young kids that happen to be frequenting my pond, is good old Honey Nut Cheerios. The Cheerios float on the top, allowing fish the chance to get to them while the children watch the treats bob up and down as their favorite fish go in for a taste.  The Cheerios are especially nice to use if you have little guests over that are prone to putting whatever they get in their hand right into their mouth.  It’s much more pleasant than watching one of your horrified friends trying to dig fish food out of their baby’s mouth.
I’m sure that you could find many more treats that your fish will find yummy if you just start experimenting a bit.  Do a little research this winter and your fish feeding will be much more interesting come summer time.  Remember never to feed them when the water is below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even in the spring.  And also, don’t go so crazy with the feeding that you mess up your pond balance.  Remember hungry fish make for a clean pond. Happy Pondering!
Doug Hurth

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