Water Garden Troubles

FISH

Fish, like other pets, can be afflicted by a host of problems. A list of potential troubles and ailments makes depressing reading, and so it is useful to begin with two assurances. Most diseases and attacks by parasites only occur when a fish has been injured in some way or is under stress due to unfavourable conditions in the pond. Secondly, you are unlikely to encounter more than just a few of the problems listed in this section.

So as long as you follow the basic rules of fish care there is no point in being unduly worried about the well-being of your fish. Begin by making sure that the fish you buy are healthy — choose a reputable supplier, inspect them carefully, ask advice if necessary and keep them in quarantine for a little while if in doubt. Next, make sure that the environment you have created for them in your pond is satisfactory — simply follow the instructions in this book.

Keep watch for unusual behaviour as you would with any pet. The danger sign is either sluggishness when other fish are active or increased activity. This includes sudden darting to the surface, frenzied swimming to and fro plus rubbing against the side of the pond. There may be a problem, and fish problems are of three types. There may be internal or external parasites or disease on the body of the fish, there may be injury from pests within the pond or there may be injury from pests (cats, birds etc) from outside the pond. If a problem is suspected it may be necessary to lift the fish into a holding tank (see Inspecting Fish on page 1*23) for closer scrutiny. Remedial action may be necessary — these days all sorts of chemicals and medicines are available, but do make sure that anything you use is right for the problem and also light for the fish involved. Follow the instructions carefully — the recommended use may be 'topical' (treating the affected area on the fish), 'in-tank' (keeping the fish for the prescribed time in an aquarium or other container filled with the diluted chemical) or 'in-pond' {adding the chemical to the water in the pond). Unfortunately not everything can be cured, and there may be a time when a badly diseased or injured fish has to be destroyed. Not a pleasant job, so do it as humanely as possible by following the technique on page 124.

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