With fish being the chief attraction to your pond, It can be upsetting to see them disappear from your line of sight. It’s very normal and common for fish to hide sometimes which may make your pond seem dull and lifeless.
There are various reasons for fish to go hiding in your pond. Fish sometimes can get scared with the addition of new fish in your pond, the quality of water, etc. It can also be because of different predators’ attacks, for instance, Herons, Snakes, or even your pets.
Sometimes it can be tough to find out the exact cause of the disappearance, however, there are some common causes you should know about.
Keen to know why fish in your pond disappear and what to do? Read on!
Why do your pond fish disappear?
You may have heard about fish disappearing from the pond from your friends or family or unfortunately you may have already experienced this yourself. Regardless, we are here to provide you with all the information to keep the fish in your pond safe and sound.
Since we all know the disappearance of pond fish from time to time is not so uncommon, it is time to know why your fish are hiding in the first place.
1. Addition of new fish
One of the common problems pond owners face is when they introduce a new fish along with the other old fish in their pond; or the addition of fish after building a new pond. It is very usual for fish to hide when they are introduced to a new environment so shyness is acceptable.
Besides, it can be quite a change for the fish so a certain amount of time is needed to get used to the surroundings. Since It is a normal occurrence there’s nothing to worry about, just have patience and you will see fish thriving in your pond in no time.
2. Inadequate accommodation of fish
When you’re moving your fish from one place to another, it is crucial to check the temperature change, water quality, and water chemistry in your pond. Sudden changes in temperature and pH level can cause a fish to die just a few days after stocking; no matter how healthy the fish was in the first place.
3. Keep the predators under check
The fish in your pond may be under threat which you’re not aware of. Predators not only eat but also scare your fish into hiding in the deeper parts of your pond. You may not notice often when they come or go but if your pond fish go missing, constantly hiding, or injured in any way, it is because of the predator’s attack.
Fish usually go to the very bottom of the pond during an attack and stay there for a long time to be safe. So if that is the case, your fish may disappear due to the attack of predators. Here is a list of predators you should be aware of.
The major offender for the disappearance of your fish from the pond is Herons. This bird will visit your pond either very early in the morning or just before nightfall; the times when you’re not typically present. They will make your pond a target and destroy it in no time.
Leeches can also cause damage to your pond fish if the numbers are too many. They usually suck the blood from the fish which oftentimes leads to infections and death of fish.
Although Frogs can appear in your garden occasionally; but once the number is too much they can prey on your fish and cause your fish to disappear for a long time. Besides, too many frogs can distort the ecosystem of your pond.
Snakes may not be a threat to your pond right away but like frogs, if the number of snakes increases, it should be taken care of as they will eat the fish and cause damage to other animals of your pond.
Sometimes pets such as cats can cause damage to your pond fish. Cats can scratch the fish and it may cause infections, besides, it can also scare your fish and make them nervous.
As Raccoons have a pretty destructive nature so there is a huge possibility your fish may disappear due to a raccoon attack. They are nocturnal animals, so they can easily prey on your fish during the nighttime.
4. Quality of water
For the fish to maintain a healthy environment and not go hiding in your pond, it is important to check the level of pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, and other factors that can affect the water quality.
A rapid or sudden change in any of these factors may make your fish nervous and eventually disappear from your eyesight.
Therefore, to keep the fish healthy, comfortable and safe it is essential to keep a stable and safe level of pH in your pond. Because a sudden change will make your fish edgy and you don’t want that. So be sure to check and maintain the water quality from time to time.
5. Be aware of infection
Sometimes the fish in your pond may behave strangely due to a growing infection inside. Observe the behavior of your pond fish often to see if there is a bacterial, fungal or, parasitic infection.
An infected fish will surely separate itself from the shoal and will hide in a corner separated from everyone. It may also reject any type of food. So be aware of the symptoms and if you observe any of this unusual behavior, try to treat it right away.
6. Quality of fish food
Choose the type of food that meets the demands of your fish. If your pond is in a densely planted area then it is obvious they have a pretty amazing source of food from insects and plants so the food you provide may be less compelling for them to consider.
Besides, It is important to give them protein that is aquatic-based and ensure your fish likes what you’re providing.
So the quality and the amount of food you’re providing is important to note, as surplus or uneaten food may make the pond water toxic by releasing ammonia and nitrite. This problem can also cause a drop in the pH level.
Moreover, the decomposition of the excess food left in the water uses up the dissolved oxygen thus, increasing the stress and skittish behavior of fish and decreasing the cleanliness of your pond.
7. Lifeless pond water
Aeration is very important for fish to thrive in your pond. Fish in the pond needs oxygen to breathe, so if your pond water is lifeless, it means there is not an adequate supply of oxygen.
As a result, algae growth can increase and your fish may die. In addition, oxygen is needed to break the beneficial bacteria in your pond; otherwise, the decreased level of oxygen will increase the level of ammonia that can be harmful to your fish.
Additional Read: Best Pond Aerators
How to keep fish from disappearing?
Since we all know the addition of fish not only enhances the beauty of the pond but also improves the overall look of your pond by making it more lively. As a result, you have an amazing and peaceful view to enjoy in your leisure time.
Oftentimes, however, fish may go missing which can make your pond boring and unattractive. Worried about what to do? Don’t fret because we have all the solutions to keep your fish from disappearing.
1. Fish shelters
Normally it’s common for fish to hide due to the change in the environment. Usually, it takes a certain period for fish to get used to the new environment, and there is no shortcut method to fasten up the process.
However, one thing you can do to make your fish comfortable is to add fish shelters in your pond to make a hiding space for your fish. In that way, when your fish is scared they have somewhere safe to go to which will make the adaptation process easier. Remember, your goal is to make a new fish feel safe and comfortable.
Some of the fish shelters we can suggest are Aluminium and Mesh fish shelters, Nycon fish shelters, Faux wood shelters.
2. Natural hiding spot
Fish needs time to feel secure and confident in a new environment. So if your pond has a good amount of plantation, it is easier for fish to hide and de-stress.
Besides, a heavily planted environment allows fish to escape from predators whenever there is a need. In this way, you’re giving your fish natural protection and a way to adjust to the new domain.
Here are the pond plant options to go for- bog plants, water lilies, zebra rush, etc.
3. Proper accommodation
While transferring a new fish to your pond it is better to start the process gradually and let the fish get used to the new environment.
First, start by adding a few cups of water to the bag your fish is in. Keep the bag opened and to the edge of the pond while making sure the fish doesn’t swim out. Add more water to the bag and float it like this for the next 5 minutes.
Repeat the same process of adding water to the bag and until your fish is acclimated for about 60 minutes; once you’re done, the acclimation is completed.
4. Hinder predators attack
Regular predators attack from different birds and animals will surely make your fish feel less secure and confident in your pond. It may also have a permanent effect on your pond fish such as they won’t swim in the surface level of water and will constantly be wary of attacks.
Here are the tips to keep your fish comfortable from various attacks-
Herons are smart, beautiful, and territorial birds. So if you place a heron sculpture in your pond, there is a chance your fish might be safe as they don’t like sharing. They will leave your pond untouched if they see the presence of another Heron.
However, they are smart birds so you need to move the sculpture often to make it look real. You can look for a few decoys here, Aquascape blue Heron decoy, Flambeau decoy.
Another way to stop Herons from attacking is to add mirrors or reflective surfaces to your pond. Herons easily get scared by movement so they may run away after seeing their reflection.
Netting is also an option to stop the attacks of Herons. If you are thinking of putting a cover or netting your pond, ensure it’s high enough so the Herons will not pierce through it.
We can suggest you some netting covers to check out, Rainleaf netting cover, Alpinereach netting cover.
To control the growth of leeches, you should remove the dirt and slime from the bottom of your pond. You can use a vacuum cleaner to remove it.
Add leech traps and using nets remove the big leeches from your fish.
Install waterfalls and fountains to keep frogs from laying their eggs in the water body. The moving water also helps to keep the mosquitoes from coming.
Frogs also like to hide in tall grasses and weeds so trim the area around your pond from time to time.
Using fox urine and cinnamon oil can help to keep the snakes from coming. Besides, keep the area around your pond trimmed and cleaned as snakes are inclined to live in such an environment.
Sometimes without your knowledge, your pets may also like to prey on the fish in your pond. You can avoid this by providing safe netting or any pond cover to keep pets from attacking.
Moreover, adding natural hiding spots like big rocks or water plants can keep your fish safe. You can also use cat deterrents like nature’s cat repellent to keep them from coming near your pond.
Besides netting your pond, you can also set out traps to stop raccoons from eating your fish.
Aside from the methods mentioned, putting fences and other barriers will also save your fish from sudden attacks. Another advanced method to go for is motion sensor sprinklers; it scares off the predators by attacking them with sudden bursts of water.
Few motion sensor sprinklers go for activated animal repellent, motion-activated sprinkler, etc.
5. Boost the water quality
Subtle or rapid changes in the water quality can cause fish to be uncomfortable and sick which eventually may result in your fish disappearing.
So the first thing to check if your fish is not behaving normally is the quality of the water in your pond. There are several methods to check the water quality; a common way to check is by a water testing kit, such as API test kit, API pond master kit, or using a pH meter.
The test will let you know if there is a change in the pH level, or if there is a rise in any of the toxic chemicals, such as Ammonia, Nitrates, or Phosphates. This way you will be able to solve and maintain good water quality.
6. Cure the infection
Fish with infections tend to separate themselves from the group and start to hide in the more private part of the pond. If you see your fish being not very active, or hiding from everyone, it may be due to an infection. Thus, check up on the fish behavior and if you see any changes, go for a treatment as soon as possible.
There are several infection treatment methods you can go for, for bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections such as bacterial infection treatment, aqua meds, etc.
Moreover, maintaining water quality is also essential for fish to live a healthy life.
7. Improve the quality of food
The quality of food is necessary for fish to live a comfortable and healthy life in your pond. Make sure the food you’re providing is well-liked or else it may seem you’re only providing filler content for your fish.
Fish that are surrounded by plants have a natural source of food from various insects and plants. Thus the food you’re providing may seem less interesting to them, which can lead them to hide away from you.
Feeding time is important to bond with your fish and to make them feel more secure and comfortable in your pond. It is important to give them food they like so when it’s time to eat, they will not hide away. You can check out API fish food if you’re facing difficulties in feeding your fish.
8. Install and improve aeration
Having enough oxygen supply is needed for fish to grow and live comfortably in your pond. If your pond water is lifeless it may be due to less oxygen supply in your pond. Fish in that case tends to get sick and disappear if the oxygen supply is not enough.
Thus, make sure you are properly aerating your pond once in a while to keep the fish happy and comfortable. You can use pond aeration tools for instance laguna PowerJet fountain, tetra pump.
Due to lifeless pond water algae growth can increase. Here is a way to stop algae growth and keep your pond water clean.
Time to make your fish feel safe
The presence of healthy fish truly enhances the look of your pond. However, it is not easy to maintain a beautiful and healthy pond. You may have a hectic schedule so sometimes, it gets problematic to know the real reason why pond fish disappear and what to do. Regardless, we are here!
We gave you the reasons why your pond fish disappear and what to do to help yourself. So now it’s time for you to find the cause of the disappearance and instead of getting worried, look for the solutions yourself.