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keyplayer

Is ?natural? food all that is needed?

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After a full season in a small, totally-natural, captive pond with crystal clear, totally chemical-free, healthy water full of all sorts of native flora & fauna, my goldfish (all 11 of them from hatchlings to smelt-sized) are fast approaching their FIRST in-pond winter.

Last year a late-Fall hurricane destroyed the pond but we were able to rescue ALL the fish, and with the help of this Forum we managed to save all but one fish over the winter in two 35-gal indoor aquariums. They have had MINIMAL commercial food since we put them back in the reconstructed pond because they seem to prefer the abundant (and self-regenerating!) Duckweed which is part of the pond's flora.

IS DUCKWEED ALONE ( in an all-natural pond) SUFFICIENTLY NUTRITIOUS to prepare these fish for a winter layover? If NOT, what else should we be feeding them? They are in top-notch condition and have been showing aggresive breeding activity most of the summer. (We have about another 4-6 weeks before the water will reach dormancy coldness.)

Freeman & John

Nova Scotia, Canada

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My best guess would be that there is much more than duckweed your fish are munching on in that pond in preparation for winter -- everything from insects to larvae to algae. Because your fish were in such superb condition during summer without supplemental feeding of commercial foods, it stands to reason that the pond's natural food supply is ample, and should be adequate to get them ready for winter. If in doubt, though, offering a commercial food occasionally before the temps drop might be beneficial.

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Goldfish are carp, so their digestive system is designed to make use out of a lot of not-very-nutritious foods, as that's what they would get most of in the wild. I would say they will be fine with their current diet. :)

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Actually, goldfish have been grown very successfully on a diet of nothing but duckweed. It is a very nutritious food, not only for fish but for livestock and humans. http://www.mobot.org/jwcross/duckweed/practical_duckweed.htm

It doesn't just have the vitamins you expect from a vegetable it has lots of high-quality protein as well. Since eating natural food requires effort, fish will not overeat as they get sluggish from cold so you don't have to worry about whether it is safe to feed your fish at 55F (or any other temperature).

How is it that you can grow duckweed in a pond with goldfish? Do you have a large pond with few fish? My fish will not stop eating duckweed until every last mini-plant is gone.

Edited by shakaho

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