Gary’s Tip of the Month
It is a fallacy that fish will only grow to the size of their pond. What growing bodies really need is a balanced array of vitamins and proteins with trace elements too, just like humans. Your Pygmy perch will greatly benefit from this ideal and rather inexpensive additional feeding program I have been using with great success…
No, not for you. For your Pygmy perch! Buy a few of the cheaper ones (raw), take off the head, shell and de-vein them, then wrap them individually in a small piece of cling wrap and freeze them. They will last up to 4 months or longer, so only buy a few at a time.
The good thing about raw food is it will last longer, fish will gain maximum growth from it and it is easy to handle and store in the freezer. I have about 30 or so Pygmy perch and only feed them once a week as a supplementary food to keep them strong. They will usually browse on the tiny pond life and what falls into it such as mosquito’s etc.
Feed your fish with prawns once a week and only one very thin slice of prawn per 10 fish. Cross cut a section of prawn as thick as a razor blade and then finely slice and dice this small piece – an ideal finished size is about as big as a pin head. It is not hard with some practise. Do not mash it. Then carefully scrape it off the cutting board into a cup with about 20mm of water in it and swish it around with a fork to separate any lumps.
Now, if you have water snails in your pond (best found near the surface at night), crush one up with two small stones left at the pond edge for this purpose and wash the mess off in the water and watch them rip that apart!
One snail a week and one prawn every 3 months is all it will cost you to keep them in top shape and they will gain full size very fast, but don’t overfeed them as it only makes them sick and fouls the water. Pygmy perch are rather a small fish reaching 60mm, so the bigger you get them the healthier they will grow and be easier to see.
Minerals are another good idea for healthy fish. Add one heaped tablespoon of natural rock salt - NEVER IODISED SALT - to your pond per 1000 litres once a year. If you only have a small pond a teaspoon is enough. It is rather vital that fish and frogs have sodium in their diet as it has been known to also keep other diseases from affecting your frogs, fish and pond life. Here, in Western Australia, our scheme water is rather soft and as I only add rain water from my tanks it is very much needed for my ponds.
One last thing – Before you tip the food mix into the water, tap gently with your finger nail on the side of the pond a few times then pour it in. Your fish will quickly learn that this sound means dinner. My fish are trained to come to the edge as soon as I pass by. When friends arrive you can show them the fish by tapping a few times and they will come over fast! Who wants to miss out on King Prawns!