Will Any Fish Reach Sellable Size In 1 Pond Season?

bitseriously

Well Known Member
Messages
1,745
Reaction score
1,312
Points
148
Experience
1 year
Are there any commonly available aquarium fish that can breed and the fry will grow to sellable size within 1 pond season, here in southern Ontario (zone 5)?
I would love to set up a 100 gallon or so container pond this summer in my backyard, and would love to put small fish in there that will breed (only one species), but when it comes time to shut it down for the winter, I would much rather collect all the young and unload them right away, than find space to accommodate them indoors.
I could easily extend the season by dropping in one or more 300W heaters, or even a stock tank heater. However, by the time that will be useful in terms of temperature, day length might be something of an issue (October?).
Suggestions welcome!!
 

nikm128

Fishlore VIP
Messages
7,059
Reaction score
3,372
Points
448
Experience
5 years
Well goldfish come to mind just because it'll be outside. Before I knew how big they got and such, I had 4 common goldfish grow from feeder size ~.5" to 3-4" in a few months. In a 10gal....
They definitely would've grown even faster if I had a bigger tank and fed them more protein, I also had the temp at 78
 

jjohnwm

Well Known Member
Messages
1,190
Reaction score
1,892
Points
198
Experience
More than 10 years
SW Ontario is where I grew up; zone 5 seems like the tropics compared to my current zone 3 up here north of Winterpeg.

I had terrific success in my pond here last summer with Medakas (Oryzias latipes). I got the gold-coloured morph, put them into the pond in spring and was still removing healthy happy young-of-the-year when the water had dropped into the low 60's in the fall. They were very visible, both because of their colouration and also the fact that they tend to hang out near the surface. My pond is completely natural, no filtration or anything else; it is also home to a plethora of carnivorous Diving Beetles, Water Scorpions, Backswimmers and other predaceous insects who I am certain trimmed down the number of fry considerably. This is a dug pond, lots of plants, and I almost never added any food; the fish found sufficient to eat on their own. I have quite literally never seen any mosquito wrigglers in there, although common sense says there must be some. There is also a healthy population of Daphnia that I assume were introduced when I filled the pond by pumping water from a nearby natural source. The only problem I experienced was removing the fish in the fall; I tried minnow traps without success, and eventually resorted to a long-handled dipnet to catch as many as I could. Many eluded capture and died during the winter.

In previous years I had great luck with Fathead Minnows; mine came from a bait store, but if you can get Rosy Reds in Ontario they are the same fish and look much nicer. Whereas the Medakas produced dozens of 1-inch fry at year's end (from an initial introduction of about a dozen adults), the Fatheads spawned thousands! Massive schools were visible all summer, and there were several different spawnings so many sizes were present, up to about an inch. These guys would easily survive in your pond if it's deep enough not to freeze solid to the bottom. When/if you want to remove some they are suckers for a minnow-trap baited with a bit of freeze-dried tubifex.

I had excellent luck also with Guppies and Mollies, which I had in Rubbermaid garbage cans. Filled to the top, these contain enough water to buffer temperature changes very effectively; they don't look great but as an experiment they were a resounding success.

Other species I haven't tried...yet...but which come highly recommended by others with experience with them include American Flag Fish (Jordanella floridae), Least Killifish (Heterandria formosa, a tiny but very cool little livebearer, and apparently the smallest livebearing vertebrate in the world), various Goodeid livebearers (I plan on trying some Ameca splendens this year if I dare to risk any of the few I have), and Paradise Fish (Macropodus opercularis).

If you are willing to wait to introduce fish a bit later in spring, and remove them a bit earlier in the fall, you could probably do almost any "tropical" fish in your zone. Good luck! Keep us updated, please; I look forward to hearing which direction you decide to go!
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #4

bitseriously

Well Known Member
Messages
1,745
Reaction score
1,312
Points
148
Experience
1 year
Thanks @nikm128 @jjohnwm
If I get this off the ground it will be very low budget (wife has horses, so hoping for a used stock trough), and the main goal will be to see if/how it works for me before maybe jumping in with more... commitment next year.
Many of the best fish candidates for this are not (or only rarely) available from the fish stores available to me.
Seems like a good way to go about it is to get the fish as adults or subadults, and keep them separate as male and female until they go out?
 

jjohnwm

Well Known Member
Messages
1,190
Reaction score
1,892
Points
198
Experience
More than 10 years
I hear you about availability; I looked for A.splendens for years before finally stumbling upon some. Same for the Heterandria; still haven't found any Flag Fish. But Paradise Fish are pretty easy to find, and unless Ontario has banned them the Rosy Reds should be available as well.

Getting something that will be visible in the pond, like Rosy Reds or gold Medakas, will make it infinitely more appealing. But anything you get will be so impressive, big and colourful in the fall when you scoop them out that you will be hooked!

Why keep the sexes separated? Keep them together, and even if they spawn before they go into the pond, you can place the fry in there as well. Just prepare yourself for the inevitable losses due to predation. Watching a 1.5-inch Dytiscus beetle, or perhaps a 2.5-inch Giant Water Bug, catching and eating a small fish (or an adult!) is disheartening if you expect each and every fry to grow to maturity. Once you adopt a "Yeah, well, what are you gonna do?" attitude, you are on the road to peace and tranquility.

Serenity now!!!
 

coralbandit

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,237
Reaction score
7,363
Points
608
Experience
More than 10 years
4 months is all that is needed to grow most fish from start to saleable .
Most fish ...
 

nikm128

Fishlore VIP
Messages
7,059
Reaction score
3,372
Points
448
Experience
5 years
I'd go with Endlers in that case, to my knowledge they're not quite as popular as the others so you should have less problems
 

coralbandit

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,237
Reaction score
7,363
Points
608
Experience
More than 10 years
What about swordtails? Guppies? Endlers? Just because these are so readily available.
Ask your LFS what they would like ..I know most can't sell fish with a good reputation but some fish are just wanted by stores more then others so they pay better then 5 cents .
I have always [before rams ] got $1 each store credit for swordtails ! I seriously would take in 250 swordtails some months ! The size of your haul will be related to how many fish you start with .100g stock tank could do 3 males and 10 females and you would probably have boat load of fish come fall. I would get the fish 1 month ahead of outdoors if you could keep them so they are rolling when placed outdoors .
You don't want give up a month to them getting rolling ?
 

jjohnwm

Well Known Member
Messages
1,190
Reaction score
1,892
Points
198
Experience
More than 10 years
Swordtails would do great in that pond. You might have to wait an extra week or two in the spring to put them in, and might need to move them back indoors a week or two earlier in fall than some of those more cool-tolerant fish, but so what? You're in Canada's Banana Belt...you have about 9 months of summer, right?

Guppies did great for me last summer. I put a bunch into the dug pond in the spring, and pulled out a huge haul in the fall...and never saw a live one the entire time in between! Where's the fun in that?

Personally, I'm not in the hobby to make money. Fish I produce can be used as feeders if they have insufficient monetary value, or they can be donated to a local aquarium club for one of their auctions. Getting rid of fry is never a problem when you don't insist on realizing a profit. As soon as this becomes a job...I'm out.
 

david1978

Fishlore Legend
Messages
13,398
Reaction score
9,674
Points
758
Experience
More than 10 years
I have seen fish being kept and bred in the stock troughs that the horses still use. Not sure how sanitary for the horses but its worth looking into.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #12

bitseriously

Well Known Member
Messages
1,745
Reaction score
1,312
Points
148
Experience
1 year
Swordtails would do great in that pond. You might have to wait an extra week or two in the spring to put them in, and might need to move them back indoors a week or two earlier in fall than some of those more cool-tolerant fish, but so what? You're in Canada's Banana Belt...you have about 9 months of summer, right?

Guppies did great for me last summer. I put a bunch into the dug pond in the spring, and pulled out a huge haul in the fall...and never saw a live one the entire time in between! Where's the fun in that?

Personally, I'm not in the hobby to make money. Fish I produce can be used as feeders if they have insufficient monetary value, or they can be donated to a local aquarium club for one of their auctions. Getting rid of fry is never a problem when you don't insist on realizing a profit. As soon as this becomes a job...I'm out.
Agree.
I don't know how to describe my stake in this. I'm definitely not in it for the money. Not trying to start up a side hustle or anything. But I'd like to feel like there is some kickback for my invested time and mental energy. In a perfect world I'd put a pair of brick swords in a container pond, love it and care for it through the summer, and when I tear the pond down I'd be able to take a few bags of fish to the store for credit. $100 would more than cover my invested time, and after a couple years also the container cost (I have all the other supplies I'd need on hand, except plants).

Ask your LFS what they would like ..I know most can't sell fish with a good reputation but some fish are just wanted by stores more then others so they pay better then 5 cents .
I have always [before rams ] got $1 each store credit for swordtails ! I seriously would take in 250 swordtails some months ! The size of your haul will be related to how many fish you start with .100g stock tank could do 3 males and 10 females and you would probably have boat load of fish come fall. I would get the fish 1 month ahead of outdoors if you could keep them so they are rolling when placed outdoors .
You don't want give up a month to them getting rolling ?
This is sensible, and doable. If I can get a tank.
What do you mean by "give up a month"? Do you mean house them indoors for a month to get the females producing, then put males, carrying females, and maybe some fry out when the weather allows it?


I have seen fish being kept and bred in the stock troughs that the horses still use. Not sure how sanitary for the horses but its worth looking into.
Wife has a couple horses boarded at a farm about 25 mins away, and I can believe that some of the hardier fish might survive in there, but it would certainly be a world of extremes (most troughs are out in the full sun). Also, the algae and plants that make these ponds so productive are frowned upon by the horse owners/keepers (at least the ones I know). If it were a natural or dug pond, I can totally see the fish being compatible.
 

nikm128

Fishlore VIP
Messages
7,059
Reaction score
3,372
Points
448
Experience
5 years
This is sensible, and doable. If I can get a tank.
What do you mean by "give up a month"? Do you mean house them indoors for a month to get the females producing, then put males, carrying females, and maybe some fry out when the weather allows it?
I think he means keep them inside in a tank for a month then put them outside. Then you'll definitely have all the females fertilized and may even a few fry already.
 

coralbandit

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,237
Reaction score
7,363
Points
608
Experience
More than 10 years
I think he means keep them inside in a tank for a month then put them outside. Then you'll definitely have all the females fertilized and may even a few fry already.
Yup !
They are not going to start producing the day you bring them home .
 

angelcraze

Fishlore VIP
Messages
4,549
Reaction score
2,903
Points
348
Experience
More than 10 years
My friend in Ottawa keeps his white cloud minnows in his pond and sells all the offpring in the fall. And yes there's tons of them. Just a PITA catching them all in the fall! He brings the adults back into his tanks for the winter.

I once saw these awesome minnows from India I think at Critter Jungle a couple years ago. Don't know if they are cooler water species or not tho. Maybe you could order something in.

Also wondering if CPD might be ok.
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom