Are Fish Self Regulating In A Small Pond?

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A question came in recently that I think is a good one.

A pond owner asked, “are fish self regulating in a small pond?”. Meaning will they quit growing at a certain point or stop breeding so as not to overwhelm the pond with fish?

The best answer I can give is no…and yes. Watch the video below to learn more and please leave your comments at the bottom of the page.

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12 thoughts on “Are Fish Self Regulating In A Small Pond?”

  1. Hello Mark I never got to see this video I waited 15 min. I think it has some control for there size but as far as there young they will eat them.PS let me know if Iam right or wrong thank you Rene

  2. loved the info, thank you. the hard part is parting with some of my fish, because I do think my small pond has a few too many.

  3. i have a 2500 gallon pool with large koi about 100 lbs with a 1700 gallon pool filled with water hyacinths(no fish)no filter with a very small pump constantly circulating water through this and emptying back into koi pool o ammonia and 0 nitrites and some fish exceed 15 lbs and still growing.the secret aeration 2 air pumps and 2 nine inch diffusers. so yes fish can be very crowded by my method which has been working for years, AERATION AND WATER HYACINTHS TO REMOVE UNWANTED CHEMICALS.I FEED A LARGE AMOUNT OF FLOATING GAME FISH FOOD PLUS A LARGE AMOUNT OF SMALL FLOATING PLANTS TWICE DAILY.

  4. I thought the video was very good. I have only been a pond owner for 2 years. I’m learning all the time, thanks for the info. Jim

  5. Hi Rene…with some fish I’m sure this may happen.

    Pat, I agree…this is the hardest part if it comes to the point where you have to move a few out.

    Roger, right on. Aeration and plants are powerful tools and I think folks sometimne underestimate both of them…there is a limit to everything but if your water quality is good and maintained that way, you can’t do better than that.

  6. Does the 10 gal. apply if you have a good pump for areation? Thanks for the information.

  7. Hi Sarah,
    This number can vary a good bit based on things like this, and as noted by Roger above, plants, filtration, etc. Many things can help with the holding capacity of a pond. Keep in mind that a lot of our work here is in regards to algae…so if a pond has algae, water quality issues, etc…fish are certainly one place to evaluate.

  8. Hi Mark,
    I thought this video was very helpful.
    since I recently set up a small pond, using a large blue hard plastic fish pool.
    and in the beginning, I did everything wrong and lost all my fish, then I found your website and followed your directions, so now, the fish are still living, I’ve only got 3, but I will be adding more soon, one at a time.
    thanks for all the great advice.
    Malibu, CA

  9. Mark,

    We have a 10,000 gal water feature that includes 4 ponds (2 to 3.5′ deep, 2 at 12″), 150′ of connecting streams, 1 waterfall at 4′ and a spillway at 4″.

    Two questions?: 1) you made a distinction between “gold fish” and “koi”… is that based on fish size, genetics, color, or what? Our fish are assorted colors from solid “gold” (red/orange), to white, to a creamy yellow, and some blotchy white and “gold”… So the question, do I have “gold fish” or “Koi” or both?

    2) you make a distinction between a small pond, and large ponds… which is ours?

    Thanks for all the helpful videos and comments.

  10. oops, forgot… our fish are between 3″ (this years babies) to 9″ or 10″ (several years old), and a colony of Rosy minnows (probably 6 or 7 dozen, depending on breeding and being eaten).


  11. Hi Steve,
    I don’t consider myself a fish expert by any means..I’m more into plants:) But there are slight differences between many of these species. Size is one factor although both goldies and koi can get big, genetics are different. I would do some searching online for both species and see what comes up in terms of photos and more specifics than I can give here…you’ll find many varieties of somewhat related species but they’re all interesting to have in a pond.

    In terms of your pond size, you would still, by my definition be a small pond…I view those as anything that might use mechanical filtration in some form and have circulating capability with the water for example.

    Hope this helps a bit.


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