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Why Are My Pond Fish Not Eating? (6 Common Causes)

Why Are My Pond Fish Not Eating? (6 Common Causes)

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You’ve just added some new pond fish to your garden pond, and after a few days, you notice that they’re not eating. So you’re asking: why are my pond fish not eating?

There are many reasons your pond fish might not be eating, from parasites to poor water quality. In most cases, the cause is easy to detect, and you can fix it relatively quickly.

In this article, we’ll look at the most common reasons pond fish stop eating and provide tips for getting them back on track.

Why Did My Pond Fish Stop Eating?

Fish stop eating for various reasons. That’s why it’s crucial to detect the cause and address it quickly to get them eating again.

Here are some of the most common reasons your pond fish might stop eating.

1 – Poor Water Quality

Low water quality is one of the most common reasons your pond fish aren’t eating. Your pond fish need clean and healthy water to survive.

Unfavorable conditions, like high or low temperatures, toxic chemicals, improper pH levels, and low oxygen, can make the water intolerable for your fish to the point that they stop eating.

Here are some things you can do to check the water quality and make sure it’s up to snuff:

1. Test the pH level. Make sure it’s in the ideal range of 6.5 to 7.5.

2. Check oxygen levels and ensure it’s above 6.0mg/L

3. Inspect the ammonia levels. It’s always better to have zero ammonia in pond water.

4. Test the nitrite level. Nitrite levels should also be zero.

5. Make sure the water is clear and has no strong odor.

If the water quality is not up to par, you might need to add a pond filter or treat the water with chemicals.

2 – Stress

Another common reason your pond fish aren’t eating is stress. Fish can get stressed for several reasons, from being chased by predators to changes in their environment.

For example, if you’ve been doing some repairs in your pond or have introduced new fish, your old fish might get stressed and stop eating.

When stressed, fish release a hormone called cortisol, suppressing their appetite. This can lead to weight loss and, in extreme cases, death.

Another thing to remember is that fish can get stressed when the water temperature changes too often or when there is too much sunlight. So it’s crucial to always check the pond water’s temperature and ensure it’s adequate.

3 – Changes in Temperature

Sometimes your pond fish stop eating when the weather gets colder.

Usually, this is normal. That’s because fish are cold-blooded animals, so when the temperature dips, their metabolic rate slows down, and they need less food.

4 – Overcrowded Pond

Overcrowding your pond is another reason your fish might stop eating. When too many fish are in a pond, they compete for food and space. As a result, some of them won’t be able to get enough food.

The good news is; it’s not a serious problem. There are a few things you can do to correct this:

  • Add more plants to the pond since these provide food and shelter for the fish.
  • Reduce the number of fish in your pond.
  • Separate the fish into different ponds.

5 – Food

Sometimes your fish may get bored with the type of food you’re feeding them, so they refuse to eat. You can try feeding them a varied diet that includes both live and frozen food.

Additionally, make sure there are plenty of places to hide since they like to eat in peace and privacy.

You shouldn’t neglect the food quality. Fish food contains a lot of oils that can go bad if you don’t store it properly.

That’s why it’s crucial to store the food properly and check its expiry date before feeding the fish.

6 – Illness or Injury

Your fish may stop eating because of an illness or injury. Fish are prone to parasites or protozoa infections that can highly affect their appetite and health.

Signs of illness include lesions or ulcers on the body, cloudy eyes, fins clamped against the body, and protruding scales.

If you think your fish may be unwell, you should get an aquatic vet to examine them. There are many different types of pond fish diseases, so getting the right treatment is essential.

Final Thoughts

Why are my pond fish not eating? There are a few reasons why this might be happening. Poor water quality, stress, and illness are common reasons. It’s important to get to the bottom of the issue and correct it as soon as possible. That’s because fish that aren’t eating can quickly become malnourished or die.

You can do a few things to try and get your fish to eat. One is to check the water conditions and ensure it’s clean, nitrate and ammonia free, and has suitable pH and oxygen levels.

Maybe try adding feeder fish or live food to the pond or changing the food formulation. If nothing seems to be working, it might be time to bring the fish in for a check-up.


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