New Pond Owner Syndrome
We have a problem folks. It’s called “a little bit of knowledge”
and it’s running rampant across the US. One difference between
new pond owners and seasoned veterans is the high anxiety level.
Sure, you seasoned vets have to remember standing over your
pond, fretting over the first glimpse of algae and panicking
when the inevitable algae bloom erupted. “My fish are going to
die! I can’t see them! What in the world is happening in
there??? OMG!! Somebody help me..”
And when it came time to feed the fish, more became better so
you went out to buy one of every type of food available,
thinking the fish need variety, or they might not get all the
vitamins from just one food… That was because somebody told you
the fish need to have certain nutrients in order to have bright
reds and clean whites, right? They didn’t tell you the
red-enhancing food additives would make your white colors pink
or yellow, did they?
Did you know that people suffering new-pond-owner-syndrome don’t
sleep at night and may be spending their mortgage money on their
fish? Every pond they see tells them theirs is inadequate for
their fish. Every advertisement for a new filter is cause for
great anxiety. They are gnawing their way through life… They
throw chemicals into the pond to solve one problem and create
several new ones. They live in a constant state of unfulfillment.
But that’s not what a pond is supposed to be. Pond ownership is
not exactly the same as raising a child. It is something to
bring down your blood pressure, calm your nerves after a hard
day at the office, and entertain friends on the weekend. A pond
is something that evolves naturally over time into something
quite healthy… as long as a few basic principles are followed.
First, don’t overstock with fish. If it looks at all crowded,
it’s overstocked. Give some away and don’t buy any more.
Second, have a good filter, keep it clean, and don’t worry about
washing out the bacteria. The bacteria are not just in the
filter; they are on the sides of the pond as well. And you can
replace them easily enough.
Third, do weekly water changes. The amount isn’t a life or death
matter, just do the water changes.
Fourth, the fish do not need to be fed every time you walk by
the pond. Just because they swim to the surface and “look”
hungry doesn’t mean they need to be fed. These are FISH, with
fish brains, not scientists that know which end is up. Please
don’t listen to them.
Actually, new-pond-owner-syndrome sounds a lot like new parent
syndrome to me. We want to do everything perfect. We want our
kids to have the best of everything, to excel in school, to stay
in the womb until they graduate college…
These fish are most likely our “practice” fish, not the last
fish we will ever have, unlike our own children. We don’t go to
jail and nobody thinks ill of us if our fish are eaten by a
heron. Perhaps in the future we will require a college education
and license to own a goldfish or koi, but not today. So, sit
back and relax. It’s all going to be fine if you can just live
through the first fifty years of new pond ownership.
By Carolyn Weise
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