Chain Pickerel With Koi?

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gandalf1420

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So I live in New England and we have chain pickerel here and I just found about them! I'm also building a koi pond in the next year, hopefully. My question is, if I bought 3-4 inch koi from Petsmart (I'm not interested in showing or anything, just in cool fish) and put a baby pickerel in with them, maybe the same size-ish, would he bother the koi or would it work?
 

Demeter

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I would say it’s a bad idea. Chain pickerels are a species of pike so a carnivore by nature. They look remarkably like northern pike, a fish native to Michigan and a ravenous beast that loves to eat any and all fish species. As they are closely related species I expect the chain pickerel to behave similarly to a northern pike.

It may work for a little while but as they grow and if you decide to add new little koi or they breed I’d bet the pickerel would try eating them. Adult koi should be safe but little ones not so much.

Then there’s the question of what you would feed the pickerel. You might be able to pellet train or feed it fish fillets but that may be hard to do with a wild caught fish. You’d likely have to use live feeders and that would possibly introduce diseases into the pond as most feeder minnows are kept in terrible condition and riddled with disease.
 

jjohnwm

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Yep...you will be introducing a fish that will prevent your koi from successfully breeding...and which will require adding disease-ridden feeders on an ongoing basis...and which will quite possibly attack like-sized koi, causing the death of both predator (by choking) and prey.

To reward you for all this nonsense, they will be virtually invisible in a pond.

I've kept Grass Pickerel (same idea but smaller) in an aquarium and they are fascinating fish. Started with 5; two were eaten outright, #3 died lodged in the throat of #4 (also dead). As a pond fish...hard to imagine a worse choice.
 
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gandalf1420

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Oh well. Darn. I just saw them in a video and wasn't able to find much info so I came here. That kinda sucks. And it was a grass pickerel in the video jjohnwm. From what I was able to find (which tells you how much info I had) I thought chain and grass were the same pickerel.
Rats.
Are bass any better or no? Any recommendations for pond mates for koi? They would be the primary focus of the pond, but I want to be able to put other stuff in there. Debating letting my oscar go in the pond during the summer (I have a tank indoors as well but why not let him swim around while it's warm?)/putting in a heater/getting a big horse trough (my mom grew up in Montana and that's her idea) which would let me put exotics in.

Just to clarify the indoor tank is large enough, it just isn't thousands of gallons, either.
 

Truckjohn

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They will happily eat fish that are the same size as they are....

Also remember that goldfish are commonly used for fishing live bait for fish like bass and chain pickerel.... Most predatory fish find carp relatives delicious!

I think you could get it to work if the koi was about 3x the size of the pickerel....
 

CHJ

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Chain pickerel get to 2 feet, how large is the tank?

I remember as a kid camping in the boundary waters and on a hike I stopped to look in a shallow pool in the lake. There was a tiny pike eating a minnow that was the same size. So pike family fish will try eating fish that are equal in size to themselves.

I guess if you can heat a swimming pool you can heat a swimming pool sized pond (it will not have a layer of insulation that a hot tub and maybe pool might have). If you are up north I hate to think of the cost.

The rule we use is "If one fish can fit in another's mouth it will eventually end up there", bass also have very large mouths, so large some are named for it. In record size these can get to 22lbs and almost 30". Record size oscar 18".

Bass are also best viewed from the side (if you like looking at north american bass instead of peacocks) while koi are best viewed from the top. So Koi seem to be a better pond fish unless you are just looking for something that will eat big things.

In my plans for digging a koi pond in my backyard I'm looking at Koi for the top and high fin sharks for the bottom. I worry that the koi will out compete the high fins so I'm not set on this. Another drawback is High fins only look cool up to about 18" after that they change shape and look bland. Bland 4 foot fish you can't see without a snorkel. Worst job of suckering fish lovers since the tropheus duboisi. I'd consider weather loaches for the bottom but those are now banned here as invasive. I also planned to add mysis shrimp so the fish could amuse themselves (and as the most viable clean up crew). All of my selections will winter happily in the pond out in the great white north.

Stealth predators that hide still seems like a weird mix with big pretty showy fish not to mention mixing cold water with warm water fish.
 

scarface

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Besides goldfish, depending on location and size of your pond, maybe Sterlets. Golden tench and orfe could work too.
 
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gandalf1420

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Sterlets look cool. Pacus? I've seen those kept with koi. Then again most of my experience of pond fish is from Youtube and they try all kinds of stupid stuff.
I think I'll stick with koi and goldfish to start. Thanks for all your help!
 

Demeter

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Silver dollars or tin foil barbs might be cool but I’ve no idea on their temperature needs nor if they are cold hardy. I know they get to a decent size and I’ve seen them kept with koi and goldies in a large indoor pond.

Depending on the pond habitat, some good options may be native turtles (not snappers), native sunfish species or other carp species.

As always, do some researching before making your final decision.
 

saltwater60

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No just no. It will not work in anyway shape or form. Also maybe illegal in your state. It is in mine.
 

Jimmie93

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You can keep aggressive fish with large koi but I have fished these before and they are like bass and attack anything that moves if they are hungry or in hunting mode. From what I have seen if the fish can fit in a predators mouth they will eat it or try. Also chain pickerel get huge and will probably out grow your setup fast like gar.
 
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