inter in the UK has become increasingly harsh and, unless you
look after your fish meticulously, it is likely that they will
struggle. To counteract this, we have seen an increasing number
of fish keepers heating their ponds. There are, however, stumbling
blocks to this plan, but many of these can be counteracted.
A Heated Pond?
There are a number of reasons why installing a heated pond is
beneficial for both you and your fish. Heated ponds will:
• Avoid low temperatures which cause health problems for
• Cause less stress to your fish, making them stronger
• Limits immune system damage for the fish
• Allows the keeper to continue their hobby
What About The Costs?
Many of us see the cost of heating a pond as the main barrier
to installing one. In truth, there is no set running cost for
a heated pond, and you can make it as expensive or as inexpensive
as you like. The overall cost is dependent on a number of factors
such as size, ambient temperature and location. The amount you
pay is dependent on the heating method you choose, so make sure
you get estimates before you begin. It is possible to heat your
pond for as little as a couple of hundred pounds throughout
the entirety of winter. But, the more outlandish your plans
become, the more this price will spiral and, if you’re
not careful, rising gas and electric prices can make your vision
entirely unaffordable. After all, there’s no reason why
it should cost the earth, and the overall costs are well worth
the results and the enjoyment.
A Pond in your Conservatory?
This would probably be the best of two
evils as your conservatory will be heated anyway and might only
need a top up temperature wise with some aquarium heaters if
you find the water needs a little more heat in the winter months
for your chosen species. You could grow specialist water plants
which you would struggle in an outside pond and also terrestrial
varieties outside of the pond. With this method you could have
an overflow pipe which could run to a soakaway under the floor.
Can I Include, Catfish ?
Well, putting it simply, when filling your
pond, the world is your oyster. The best way to plan what you
would like in your home is to begin with the fish you would like
as the centrepiece.
The first catfish that you would think of as temperate/coldwater
would be the “Wels catfish” Silurus glanis.
It is the only European catfish and Europe's largest freshwater
fish and is only one of two catfish indigenous to Europe the other
from the same genus, Silurus aristotelis is from the
River Akelhoos in Greece. This species looks like the other wels,
but its dorsal fin is smaller, and it has just two pairs of barbels.
A pond for this large species would need to be at least 20ft x
10ft with a minimum depth of 5ft and a large pipe for it to fit
in for cover.
So there is a price to pay literally for keeping a wels in your
pond, heated or not. For those who don’t know, the Wels
catfish is now a prohibited species in this country, unless you
hold a licence to keep them.
glanis from the Ebro
River, Spain. © http://www.thecompleatebroangler.com
People often feel that it is impossible to keep fish like the
Synodontis of the Mochikidae family due to their specific
requirements. This, however, isn’t necessarily the case
and, although a challenge, it is one that is both doable and
very rewarding especially if it is an inside pond.
If you would like to keep any of the Synodontis species
flock of Lake Tanganyika you would need to keep the temperature
to the minimum of 25°c (77°f.) and be aware that they
will prefer water on the alkaline side of neutral. Other species
of Synodontis would need to be kept at least in the mid 70s
f. but you have a better choice when you come to the p.H. which
can range from 6.0 to 7.5 with no problems.
ocelifer © Danny
Blundell @ The Danny Blundell Photo Gallery (ScotCat.com)
The larger catfish of the Doradidae family
are another group of fish which could satisfy your needs for
a heated tropical pond and have been successfully kept in the
warmer climes in the south of England. Again you should read
up on your given species and the many forums and groups on the
internet are sometimes a good resource to bounce ideas of.
uranoscopus © Graham