November 24, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:




Perhaps you're the one who will be able to answer this question
for me.

I have a small pond, about 6' by 12' by max. 18 inches deep, in
upstate SC, gardening zone 7a.

2 years ago I purchased 2 red comets and 2 shubunkins. Last year
I asked the local dealer for an algae eater fish of some sort,
and got something the guy called a "chinese shark" but he said
it's not really a shark, just called that because it looks like
one. it cost about $20 for a 4 inch fish.

It's mostly brown, with some white near the head. He mostly lurks
near the bottom, and seems to be a bottom feeder (as should be
expected if he's really an algae eater.) He does not come up to
feed like the others do.

Last year I had spawn from my comets and shubunkins, but none
appear to have survived. I'm guessing cannibalism. However, this
year I have about a half dozen fry, about 3-4 inches long, brown
in color, and shaped seemingly more like the "shark" than the

Do you have any idea what this shark is, and whether he/she could
have mated with the goldfish, which is apparently what has

Oh, and the fry come up to feed with the goldfish. Or did my
goldfish fry from last year turn dark? Some were light last

- Loey Krause

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The only sharks I can find are tropical fish, some are colored as
you described and herviborous, however they also eat smaller fish
and would not interbreed with other species. I can't say for
certain, bur seriously doubt that these two breeds have

If the fry should happen to be shark babies, then perhaps the
shark was already mated before you bought it. sometimes a fish
can breed one time and remain pregnant for life, although if that
is true in this instance I can't say. As for the goldfish, they
tend to start their lives as black fish, gradually losing the
black color as they become gold or red adults.

It is also possible that the light colored fish you saw last year
were eaten by the shark and these are not the same fiish this
year. I looked through all the books I have on fresh water fish
and that was the closest I came to finding a shark-like bottom
dwelling fish. If it is a catfish it will eat the other fish in
time. Perhaps you might check again with the shop from which it
came to get more information.




I plan to build a larger pond and move my three koi. I've
waited late in the season to start, and may not have the new
pond finished until December or even January. I sit dangerous
to the fish to move them in cold weather. The old smaller pond
did not freeze solid last year, we are in Virginia, although it
did freeze over and the fish were inactive. Can I move them
when they are in their inactive, not eating phase of midwinter?



It is not necessarily dangerous to move them at this time,
however it depends upon where you move them. If they are moved
to a warmer spot, then they will not be able to reacclimate to
the cold weather until next year. They will need to remain in
the warmer place.

It is probably best that they are not eating, as it will keep
the temporary holding tank from becoming ammonia toxic, the fish
will be easier to catch and handle, and will be less stressed in
the long run. You still need to take the precautions of putting
a net over the top of the container and I recommend salting the
tank. Use the same water from the pond, and put that water back
into the new pond to start off. Good luck.

- Carolyn

Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens

MacArthur Water Gardens
PO Box 3628
Alpharetta, GA 30023-3628

Posted by bfogle at November 24, 2005 02:12 PM