Vitakraft. With Love.
Vitakraft. With Love.
Vitakraft. With Love.
Buying & equipment
A fascinating underwater world
The watery ecosystem that springs up around a garden pond provides a unique point of interest in any garden.
After all, ponds are not just decorative features: they bring nature up close in a fascinating way. Every pond is a unique world full of interest: a whole range of plants, fish with intriguing behaviour in a range of different sizes, colours and shapes, and birds and other animals attracted by the water. Ponds also offer the ideal habitat for some of our rarer native animals and plants and make a valuable contribution toward preserving these species and the wider ecosystem.
Building a garden pond
There are a number of simple but attractive options for building a garden pond: most garden owners either use a pond liner to create their own design or simply install a preformed pond, which are now available in quite large sizes.
In addition to the pond itself, it is important to have the right equipment, especially if you are planning on keeping fish. If you are, the most essential requirement is a high-performance filter with sufficient capacity for the size of the pond and the number of fish. An aerator can provide additional oxygen in the pond if required. And various technical solutions are available for keeping at least part of the pond ice-free in winter, which makes it easier for your fish to survive the colder months.
When you have first set up your pond and put the plants in place, you should leave it a few weeks to reach a natural biological equilibrium. During this period, test the water values at regular intervals. Once the values have stabilised, you are ready to introduce your first fish.
Regular pond maintenance is required to support and stabilise the ecological balance created through the interactions of fish, plants, micro-organisms and water. You should restrict all maintenance and cleaning work to the minimum required and carry it out carefully.
Life in and around the pond is influenced by seasonal changes. As a result, the maintenance required will also change at different times of year.
Spring – the beginning of the pond season
Spring sees the pond awaken with new life. Pond plants begin to grow and fish become increasingly active.
- Test the water values and carry out a partial water change or other adjustments if required
- Clean and check the pond filter
- From March onwards, start to introduce new aquatic plants if desired
- Inhibit the first flush of algae growth by increasing the amount of shade, changing the water or introducing plants that absorb high levels of nutrients such as frogbit and water soldiers
Summer – your pond in full bloom
During the summer months, your pond will reveal its true splendour. Many aquatic plants will burst into bloom and your fish will begin to spawn.
- Cut back faded pond plants
- Remove duckweed from the water if you notice any
- Replace evaporated water with water that has been properly prepared and heated to pond temperature
- Clean the pond filter from time to time and check the water values on a regular basis
Autumn – preparing for the winter rest
During autumn, fish and plants start preparing for the upcoming winter months. The water beings to cool and the flowers on the pond plants die down.
- Remove fallen foliage and dead plant material from the water. It may be beneficial to place a net over the pond
- Switch off the pumps for waterfalls and fountains, then clean them and place them into storage
- Clean the pond filter
- Cut back plants
Winter – the pond at rest
The life in your garden pond takes a rest from November to March. Fish metabolism slows significantly: they live at the bottom of the pond and do not feed. You should keep pond maintenance to a minimum during winter to avoid disturbing your fish and other animals. A device for keeping part of the pond free of ice will maintain the vital exchange of gas between the water and the surrounding air.
In the wild, fish usually live in large bodies of water that contain an adequate amount of food. The food naturally available in the limited space of a garden pond is not, however, enough to meet their requirements. Pond fish therefore need to receive a high-quality food that provides all the required nutrients without polluting the water in the pond.
Species-appropriate food and its properties in water
Each species of pond fish lives in a certain region of the water, which is also where it eats its food. To reach all the fish in your pond, the food may therefore need to sink, float or remain suspended in the water. The scent of the food is also important as fish find it using their sensitive olfactory organs.
Food must preserve the ecological balance in your pond
A balanced diet is essential for ensuring your fish remain healthy and for maintaining the ecological balance in your pond. The food must not contaminate the water with superfluous nutrients as this would lead to an increase in algae formation, a deterioration in water values and, ultimately, make your fish more susceptible to diseases. You therefore require energy-controlled food that can be optimally digested by your fish. The diet provided must also account for the increased energy needs during spring and autumn.
The Vitakraft range contains nutrient-controlled whole foods for the period from spring to autumn. All food types contain our special multivitamin complex and stable vitamin C to boost natural defences.
Restore lost energy in spring
In spring, you can start to feed your fish using Vitakraft pond food once the risk of frost has passed and the water temperature has reached 9 °C. Start off with small amounts for the first few days, increasing gradually after this. During the harsh winter months, your fish will have been using their internal energy reserves to survive. It is therefore recommended to supplement your feeding with high-energy Vitakraft Pond Food Energy . This will enable your fish to stabilise their weakened immune systems and provides vital nutrients for the upcoming spawning season.
Nutrient-controlled food in summer
During summer, you should provide your fish with food that is low in nutrients as they have access to a relatively energy-rich supply of natural food. Food that is too high in nutrients could contaminate the water. Vitakraft pond fish food is nutrient-controlled and high in fibre to promote proper digestion. This ensures that nutrients are absorbed into your fish's bodies and prevents your pond from becoming contaminated.
Build up energy reserves in autumn
During autumn, life in and around the pond starts to slow down. Pond fish do not have much time remaining to "fatten up" with the energy reserves they will need for the harsh winter months ahead. As soon as the water temperature falls below 9 °C, fish stop eating. During the winter months, they enter a form of hibernation on the bottom of the pond and survive on their energy reserves. To ensure that your fish make it through this period, you should provide them with Vitakraft Pond Food Energy during autumn.
Carassius auratus auratus
Due to the many varieties that now exist, no general description applies to all. Some extreme versions of the goldfish, particularly the more valuable breeds, live only in aquariums. The common goldfish, however, is a popular pond fish. A slender fish, the common goldfish can grow to 30 cm in length. Common goldfish come in a variety of colours including red, orange/gold, white, black and yellow or 'lemon', and can also have dark or light spots.
The first purely ornamental fish were bred in China more than 1,000 years ago. The goldfish is one such fish. It is a domesticated version of a less colourful carp (the Prussian carp) native to Asia, which was then bred selectively. Today, goldfish breeds vary greatly in size, body shape, fin configuration and colouration.
An omnivore, the goldfish eats both plant and animal material.
It is a robust, cold water fish that is able to tolerate temperatures as low as 4 °C. For pond goldfish, therefore, you must ensure that a small area of the pond is kept ice-free over winter. In summer, it is important that the water temperature does not exceed 20 °C for any length of time.
Eurasian minnow or common minnow
A narrow, slender fish, the minnow can grow to 14 cm in length. With this species, the female is slightly larger than the male. The minnow is a dark grey-green with a lighter belly.
The minnow is ubiquitous throughout most of Europe and also parts of north Asia. In Germany, however, wild stocks are depleting and the minnow stands under protection, meaning that keeping and breeding it as a pond fish is very important.
In shallow waters, it eats small organisms from the bottom and also catches insects from the surface (or those flying just above it), which can provide much entertainment for the pond owner. The insects etc. that it finds in and around the pond are naturally not all the minnow requires in its diet.
During the spawning season, the male changes colour, becoming darker generally, and its belly changes to red with breeding tubercles on its gills.
The word koi comes from Japanese, simply meaning "carp". What are known as koi in English are referred to more specifically as nishikigoi in Japan (literally "brocaded carp").
As a member of the carp family, koi can grow to over a metre in length. Selective breeding, which today takes place largely in Japan, has created countless colour variations, including white, yellow, orange, red, silver and golden koi with a wide variety of markings and colour combinations. Each combination has its own evocative name, and some varieties, depending on their size and specific quality characteristics, can fetch incredibly high prices.
The first purely ornamental fish were bred in China more than 2,000 years ago. The Koi is arguably the most ancient of these. Koi are ornamental varieties of domesticated common carp (Cyprinus carpio), resulting from naturally occurring colour mutations.
Koi require high-quality food. Omnivorous fish, koi require a nutritionally balanced diet containing both plant and animal material in easily digestible form.
Koi are incredibly long living and known to develop a trusting relationship with their owner. Many koi can even be trained to take food from your hand. Due to the impressive size they can reach over the years, a sufficiently large pond is essential. The more expensive breeds in particular tend to be relatively sensitive and delicate, and require exceptional water quality. The water pH, hardness, nitrogen and oxygen levels should be measured at regular intervals The following are optimal: pH: 7 – 8, hardness: 10°–15° dGH, oxygen: at least 6 mg/l, ammonia: 0.2 mg/l max.
Species in the Cyprinidae (carp) family
The gudgeon has a long, rounded body. It has a number of brown spots on its back and caudal fin, and a short, high dorsal fin. Gudgeon can grow to a size of around 15 cm. There is a labial barbel (whisker-like tactile organ) at each corner of its mouth.
Gudgeon is a small fish that is widely distributed in the fresh-water streams and lakes across northern and central Europe. There is no difference between the species kept in ponds and those in the wild.
In the wild, the gudgeon feeds on small organisms, such as worms, insect larvae and crustaceans, which it finds along the stream bed. In a pond, therefore, this fish requires a protein-rich, sinking food.
Gudgeon like to keep themselves concealed so it is important that the pond has a number of suitable hiding places. You will still be able to keep an eye on them, however, as they will often seek out shallower areas in their search for food. Gudgeon are very adaptable fish. They favour sand or gravel bottoms and flowing water. A pond with a suitable substrate and pump that directs the flow of water along the pond floor therefore provide the ideal conditions for this fish.
Orfe or ide, blue orfe for the pale blue/white variant
The golden orfe is slender like a goldfish, but is almost twice as big and has a striking orange colour. Another colour variant is the blue orfe. The adult fish can grow to over 50 cm long.
The golden orfe is a colour variant of the ide, a member of the carp family found across central and eastern Europe. In the wild, it prefers oxygen-rich water and is found in larger rivers, ponds and lakes.
Golden orfes are omnivorous; Vitakraft pond food will provide a healthy, balanced diet for this fish. They consume differently sized food particles depending on their size and will also happily eat larger treats and animal-based food. From time to time, larger golden orfe may prey on smaller fish.
Although the golden orfe is quite timid, it is also a surface-dwelling fish. Its bright colours mean that it is easy to see in the pond, which has helped make it one of the most popular pond fish.