Ponds and Water Gardening forum: How to thin my fish

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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Jun 17, 2016 4:07 PM CST
I have some goldfish in my pond, and this spring they had a kajillion offspring and most of them are now at least 1 inch long. I can finally see them now, some of them are starting to color up but many of them are just gray colored. I am afraid there will be WAY too many for the size of my pond, I counted at last 40 one day at feeding time and I am sure there are many more I can't see. I am wondering if using a minnow trap would catch them? How do you all thin out your unwanted fish?
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
Jun 21, 2016 9:55 PM CST
I caught some last year, not so many as yours, in a net and put them in a bucket of water laced with clove oil. They just go to sleep so I don't feel so badly. I just don't have room for more than about 20 fish and those are fairly small by the standards here. Maybe 4-6" is all. And one big koi that is about 16" long. The others are gold fish and shebunkin.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jun 21, 2016 9:57 PM CST
thank you, I did not know about the clove oil, I will look into that. I could try a net, but I am afraid it would take forever and I wouldn't get nearly all of them. I have never used a minnow trap though.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Jun 29, 2016 3:47 PM CST
Or, you can check local aquarium shops in your area ... they may take them on trade! Many aquarium shops sell goldfish but some also use them as live food for other fish.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jul 13, 2016 9:11 PM CST
@Oberon46 Will this work?

http://www.swansonvitamins.com/now-foods-clove-oil-4-fl-oz-l...

How much oil do you put in say a gallon of water? I seen a youtube video on using clove oil and apparently too little will only make them appear dead, but they revive later. I do want them to die, I would feel awful if they came "back to life" Crying Also how do you dispose of yours? Is it ok to dump the water down my toilet and wrap the fish for the garbage dumpster?
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Jul 14, 2016 10:44 AM CST
I got this from the internet though that is not where I learned about it.
"In my experience, clove oil is about the most humane method to euthanize a goldfish that is beyond help, which happens especially when they grow old and get sick. The active ingredient in the oil of cloves is "eugenol." But it is very important to use it correctly, because it does not dissolve easily in water. Get an empty glass jar from pickles or something like that. Fill it half way with tank water and drip in about 15 drops of clove oil. Shake it vigorously until the oil is dissolved and the solution is milky looking. Remove the sick fish from the home aquarium into a separate container and slowly add the eugenol mixture. Your old friend will be in fish heaven soon - a very merciful way to put your fish out of misery" Dr. Bill Brehm

I used a product purchased from AquaMeds. My instructions said that if you leave them in the water with oil of cloves for long enough (I left them in over night although they stopped moving shortly after being immersed and I used a healthy amount - 1 tsp - of the oil) they will die, not just sleep indefinitely. The instructions were very clear on this to assure if all you wanted was anesthesia not death you watched the fish carefully. I have used it both ways. To calm my koi for administering meds to ulcers and to kill them. I buried them in my garden. Great fertilizer. Or wrap them up and put them in the dumpster; water down the toilet is fine. Oil of cloves is a natural product and not a poison to humans; um might want to check on that last. Possible if ingested in sufficient quantities it could harm a person. But I know that I have used oil of cloves on my baby's gums (decades ago) when they were teething to cut the pain.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jul 14, 2016 1:01 PM CST
Ok, that helps bunches, thank you so much! I did read somewhere where it said to dissolve it in really hot water first to mix it well. I guess it really is an oil and does not want to mix into the water well. Our oral surgeon sent some clove cream home w my daughter a few months ago after her wisdom teeth were removed. It did work really well. Probably something great to keep on hand actually.


springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jul 21, 2016 7:40 AM CST
Update!
I used a common minnow trap, and I cut the foot out of a pair of panty hose and put a spoon of goldfish pellet feed, like I always feed them and then secured it with a clothes pin and closed it in the trap. then I put the trap just barely in the water so it was all covered, anchored it and left. I came back 30 min later and had almost 20 1 inch goldfish. I did this for like 3 or 4 times and caught about 40 fish. (over the span of a week). I put the fish in a 5 gal bucket and just change out the water some everyday and feed them. Now that I have them out, I will euthanize them all at the same time using the clove oil. I did advertise them on here for free if there is anyone in the Springfield MO area that wants to come get them, otherwise they will go to the pond in the sky this wknd. Many of them are orange and I'd say half are just silvery colored, pretty in a tank, but don't show up much in the pond. Glad to have them out.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jul 23, 2016 8:40 PM CST
I put all of the fish in about a 1/2 gallon of water and added several drops of the clove oil and swirled it around good. Within 3-5 seconds they stopped moving. About 4 hours later I poured it out over the top of our brush pile to burn. I was really pleased with how fast it was and easy and inexpensive too. I have enough clove oil to off plenty of them for years to come as I need to thin them out. So my next question--

do they make birth control for goldfish ? Shrug!
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
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Oberon46
Jul 28, 2016 12:12 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)

Gypsi
Jul 28, 2016 7:02 PM CST
I run a pond service. chlorine kills happen all the time, so if I get a call with orphaned or surplus goldfish I pick them up and put them in whatever pond I have room in. I give them away to my customers who have lost fish, or others willing to come and get them.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jul 28, 2016 7:07 PM CST
um well how do you catch them Confused My pond is very large and about 3 ft deep, once they are too large to get in the minnow trap I will have no way of catching them. Besides, how can you kill fish with chlorine? I guess by topping off w city treated water, but why would someone do that? and then what would be the reason of giving them more fish to kill w chlorine... I assume the chlorine burns their gills and causes chem burns on their slime coating? Sad

Gypsi
Jul 28, 2016 8:26 PM CST
people don't kill them on purpose with city water, they start the garden hose, the phone rings and they forget to turn it off. Chlorine will kill your whole pond in 20 minutes. People generally don't do it twice. They are not happy to have killed their pond, especially if they have koi.

I go out and catch them but I charge a service charge if it is going to take too long. A local pond service or aquarium shop might even take in your orphans from the minnow trap.

Koi owners who want to put their fish on birth control generally stock a couple of catfish, they eat all the babies before they get too large. However if you only have goldfish they might eat too much, and catfish can get very large themselves. But catfish don't tend to reproduce in ponds.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jul 29, 2016 8:35 AM CST
oh, I see now. I would not care if the fish went to another pond, but I would not give them to a pet shop. They would basically be going from a huge pond to some kids 1/2 gallon bowl where it will be slowly killed.... not too keen on that. I would rather euthanize them quickly and be done w it. Basically goldfish are not aquarium fish and should only be kept in ponds where they have room to actually live. I did not know that about the catfish, but I think they do get large and then wouldn't they eat my goldfish? I guess they would do ok w the koi as they get larger of course. I have still counted about 20 small babies in my pond even after catching 40ish.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
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Oberon46
Jul 29, 2016 9:51 AM CST
Believe it or not the fish in my pond all came from Walmart and friends whose children were over the "I want a gold fish" phase. lol I have paid upwards of $200 for koi before but my pond was problematic early on. Getting them through winter was not successful. You would think I would have bought goldfish first not AFTER we figured out the successful formula for over wintering. My largest koi cost $5 at Walmart. This is his third summer after surviving two winters under the ice. He is about 14" long and very girthy. Also a few shubunkins and what looks to be some koi breeds. At least I assume so as they are black with various red, orange or pearl colors and I only had one black koi (who did not make it through his first winter.) Of course, 'somebody' could have been pregnant when purchased so who knows. They don't have whiskers so would seem not koi. Perhaps when a koi and goldfish breed they lose the whiskers?
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jul 29, 2016 10:00 AM CST
I thought koi only got whiskers as they matured, didn't think the little ones did? I just stick to cheap goldfish they are pretty enough and easy to care for. I got them at walmart. Started them out in a 10 gal tank for a couple months to make sure they were healthy and then tossed in the pond. Didn't see them again, assumed they died. 9 months later, showed up one day with tons of kid Hilarious! They are now 6 inches long, only put them in last year Blinking they must like the vittles in there...
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Jul 30, 2016 9:13 AM CST
I am going to try to cull my herd this fall. In only have about 20 fish, most only 5-6" but I see them chasing each other and have seen one very small (1") one that has to be a baby from last year maybe? But going by past experience the pond will have tons of babies very soon showing up. Easy to catch, larger ones not so much. Only going to cull the plain white ones or white with just a tiny splash of pale orange. Might even get rid of one or two of the black ones. Hard to see and they show no sign of developing color. Some have with some orange on their heads and some metallic in the body but only one or two. Still no sign of barbels but you can bet I will look closely at any going into the 'eternal sleep' for them.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)

Gypsi
Aug 4, 2016 11:02 PM CST
The easiest way to handle birth control on goldfish, for me anyway, is to not feed them. Then they eat their eggs and no babies to chase. We have enough mosquito larva the most I feed is a little bit 2 or 3 times a week.

purslanegarden
Aug 5, 2016 7:11 AM CST

I guess for me, there were so many more ways to use up extra fish than just killing them off. Well, let's say, even if I kill them off, they have more uses than just getting tossed in the trash (or even compost). At various times of the year, I have crayfish, turtles, ducks, etc for pets that would be just fine eating the extra fish! Hope you can find some ways like that for removing some fish from your pond.

A friend of mine told the same story about going on vacation and asking a friend to help top off his koi pond. The hose was left running longer than planned and all 20 of his koi fish died. Needless to say, he won't depend on that friend anymore for watching his pond on vacation.

Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Aug 5, 2016 9:25 AM CST
D and I were looking at our pond and trying to decide how best to cull the herd. Not babies but some of the smaller sized babies that grew into 3-6" non-descript fish. Our pond is not very big and with the one koi becoming Moby Dick and the others that have been in the pond for several years we need to be careful. Wintering over is a very touchy process and too many fish could tilt the number of survivors drastically. We made one foray at it and that was very unsuccessful. We hope that as fall progresses, well starts, they will slow down a bit. Unfortunately as we start shutting down the pond and removing the plants they all dive for the cave at the bottom and we don't see them til spring - at least the survivors. It appears that all 25 survived last winter. But I see one baby from either early spring this year or unnoticed (it is black) from last year. Maybe 2" long. And one or two babies from this year. I think the fish have done a good job lunching on the eggs to keep the newer population down. Since we got the algae under control they really depend on my feeding them also
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)

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