Highway Goldfish: What to do?

Quiche

Member
Hello all!

A friend of a friend passes by a puddle/pond sort of thing by the side of a highway on their drive to work every day. Two months ago, they realized that someone had dumped their comet goldfish in it. My friend, nicknamed "Frittata" for the sake of this thread, told me about this. For a while, I wasn't too concerned. Frittata's friend was checking on them daily and said that the fish were doing fine in the puddle/pond. It's completely isolated, and definitely doesn't belong to anyone. So I asked Frittata a few questions (how many, how big are they, or GPS coords of the pond), which they relayed to their friend, but their friend wasn't able to give many answers. We're not entirely sure if they're still there, either- they could just be hiding in the plants, or maybe they got eaten by some lucky heron.

Well, it started getting cold around here, as it's been hovering around the 40's for the past few days. We're all growing concerned about the goldfish– I'd feel bad knowing that they froze to death or something, you know? So next Tuesday (Election Day), the three of us are heading out to try and catch them. I haven't seen the pond in person yet. Frittata's friend is going to be showing us where they are, and neither of them own fish, so I'm the one that's going to catch them and house them if they're still there. I'll admit, my plan is half-baked. I have no idea how large or deep the pond/puddle is, so I'm bringing a couple of buckets and hoping for them best. From the pictures, they look to be anywhere from 3-6in, but that's just a guess. I have two or three spare filters, 10gs, and tubs to hold them in until I can rehome them. I know these isn't ideal, so I'm planning on testing parameters religiously, frequent wc's, and spreading the fish out amongst my four spare tanks & tubs.

tldr; Someone abandoned their goldfish in a small body of water near a highway. I'm going to try to catch and temporarily house them.

So here I am. I'm really not sure if the fish are still even there, but if they are, I'd like to know what to do. Better be over-prepared than under, I suppose. Here's a list of questions:
- I don't know the size of the pond, but it looks small, so I'd guess that the water temp's already in the 40s. It might be too late- how cold can goldfish survive at? And any ideas on how should I acclimate them to the basement's 60º temperature to avoid temp shock? Should I drip acclimate?
- Is there anything special I need to know about goldfish specifically? I've never had them before. I have axolotls and tropical fish though, and from what I've read, their care coincidentally isn't that different from axolotls, except they're not amphibians. They're both coldwater, high ammonia producers, and fairly hardy.
- Can I feed them pre-soaked NLS pellets for now?
- Frittata and their friend are under the impression that I know how to catch them. I don't. This is a problem. How would I? I don't have nets large enough, so I'm working with buckets. I think I'll probably have to wade in too, because the pond looks wide and shallow. Fortunately, I assume the goldfish will be pretty slow due to the cold.
- What % water changes do goldfish tolerate? I regularly do 50-80 for my axolotls because their tank is bare bottom so any detritus is a huge eyesore, and they've never shown any adverse effects. Are goldfish the same? If they are, that'd be great, because ammonia will probably build up pretty fast in those small tanks.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


 

mimo91088

Member
Well I think step 1 is going to be: get a net. Catching them with a bucket is going to be a challenge. As far as the temps they'll probably handle it fine. I like the drip acclimation plan.
 

Mhamilton0911

Member
I would try to fashion a large net or try to buy one. Maybe even a kitchen strainer/colander might work. Buckets with no holes are hard to catch anything with. Any idea how many fish there are? Just one or multiple? Possibly bring food types, maybe the fish would congregate together while eating to be easier to catch?

I wouldn't worry about the temp matching, as long as you acclimate, rather than plop a and drop, you should be fine.
 

veggieshark

Member
I don't know where you are but they will survive in a pond as long as it doesn't completely freeze over during winter.

As for catching them, since you are willing to wade in, I would get a seine and wrap each end around a stick (from a cleaning tool, wood etc), so that you can hold it in front of you as wide as possible while you walk towards them to corner them at the edges of the pond (Like a gigantic dipnet that you can maneuver from both sides). Alternatively, there is this new type of umbrella traps that is capable of catching small and big fish (with multiple entries), if you have the time to camp around.
 
  • Thread Starter

Quiche

Member
Thank you all for your advice! Glad to know that temperature shock won't be too big of an issue.

General consensus seems to be that I need a net- mimo and Mhamilton are right, I didn't think about the difficulties of using a bucket. I just got dimensions of the pond, too- apparently it's more of a drainage ditch, around 13ft long, 5ft wide, and fluctuates between 2-3 feet in depth, which is incredibly convenient. See, I just dug up a chunk of 5'x2' gardening netting in the garage and I think I'll be able to do veggieshark's idea of using a seine by threading two poles through the ends.

Mhamilton, that's a good idea! I'll be sure to bring some food. Now that you brought it up, I wonder what they've been eating for the past few months? Also, will they recognize the pellets as food? My NLS pellets are for tropical community fish, so they're tiny, but I have these larger salmon pellets that I feed the axolotls, so perhaps I'll bring a bag of that too. I guess it can't hurt to try!

I'll keep posting updates as I get more information!
 

mimo91088

Member
They've probably been doing just fine finding food between bugs and vegetation. But if they aren't released super long ago they'll probably still recognize fish food. Goldfish are EXTREMELY food motivated lol. I think it's a good idea too.
 

NevermindIgnoreMe

Member
Seems about right. Agree with everything said, just wishing you the best of luck, any questions you have about goldfish we can probably answer so feel free to ask.
 

qldmick

Member
Looking forward to see how you go, I've caught a few wild goldfish too.
 

Evergreen2

Member
Following. It seems like you're set! Good luck!
 
  • Thread Starter

Quiche

Member
Thanks everyone! qldmick, I'd love to hear the story about your rescue goldfish
 

StarGirl

Member
Following to see if you can rescue these fish! This is crazy! How did they even find them?
 

qldmick

Member
Quiche said:
Thanks everyone! qldmick, I'd love to hear the story about your rescue goldfish
Ok so first off I was told about one in a pool of a creek a town away so I took a net up, I ended up catching it in a net and put it in a bucket, only his head fitted in the bucket as he was over 40cm and very fat. I had him in a 4ft tank for months and he never ate, I don't know but it was a bit sad.

Also when my local dam over flowed their were goldfish in the creek below mostly around 30cm, they hung out in schools at the top of the water, most were wild coloration (probably wild for a few generations) but a couple were bright orange, I hooked and orange one on a worm but when I pulled it out of the water the line broke, it must have been rotten or something. I did land a couple of wild colored ones trying to hook the orange ones.

I also used to catch shrimp and crays in the local river for fishing bait and have caught a dozen or two small wild colored goldfish over the years.

In the past farmers used to have goldfish in their dams and water troughs and would use these in the local rivers and dams as bait for an Australian angling fish called Murray cod. That and people releasing unwanted pets are the source of the wild goldfish around here.
 
  • Thread Starter

Quiche

Member
Update: Unfortunately, I drove there just now, poked around, and couldn't find them Also, the ditch apparently expands into this wider area of water blocked by a concrete overhang, so if they're in that body of water, there's no way to get them out. Ah well, we gave it our best shot! Thank you all for the advice, and sorry to disappoint :|
 

AcornTheBetta

Member
Quiche said:
Update: Unfortunately, I drove there just now, poked around, and couldn't find Also, the ditch apparently expands into this wider area of water blocked by a concrete overhang, so if they're in that body of water, there's no way to get them out. Ah well, we gave it our best shot! Thank you all for the advice, and sorry to disappoint :|
You could check back in a week or two and try again.
 

mattgirl

Member
Quiche said:
Update: Unfortunately, I drove there just now, poked around, and couldn't find Also, the ditch apparently expands into this wider area of water blocked by a concrete overhang, so if they're in that body of water, there's no way to get them out. Ah well, we gave it our best shot! Thank you all for the advice, and sorry to disappoint :|
Thank you for trying. Hopefully they will survive the coming winter. Many many years ago when my hubby was a young boy, huge goldfish lived in the pond behind his house. It was a huge pond and fairly deep for a farm pond. During the winter months the pond would freeze over. The fish somehow survived in these conditions for many years. Hopefully that will be the case for these fish.
 

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