Hornwort, (Ceratophyllum demersum) a close second best oxygenator of the submerged pond plants and a little about fish breeding.

Friendly goldfish in a holding tank, photo op

Friendly goldfish in a holding tank, photo op

Hornwort is an excellent oxygenating plants and actually has a slight advantage on anacharis when it comes to fish. The hornwort foliage is like a very soft evergreen in the water. If you have trouble with the large koi (usually well over a foot long) eating anacharis or other plants than hornwort may be your best choice. It is also winter tolerant and comes bunched in about the same handfull quantity as the anacharis. The price in the past few years has increased somewhat but is normally ten to twenty five cents more expensive than anacharis.

Hornwort pictured with sinking weight

Hornwort pictured with sinking weight

The hornwort can be added to the pond with the same calculations as other water garden oxygentors like anacharis. 1 bunch per 10 gallons of water will keep your pond free and clear of algae in a  balanced eco system pond. I am going to begin talking about a neutral pond in more upcoming posts. By neutral pond I mean a water garden with proper feeding of fish. Excess fish food and waste will lead to water issues and costly upkeep and unnessesary maintenence. A neutral pond has a balance of fish and plants and is basically an enviroment that will keep itself fed and clean.

 

Hornwort is excellent for fish spawning. Goldfish and koi eggs are sticky and will instantly attach themselves to this plant (though this is true with anything in the pond). On sunny morning in spring, right at sunrise you can sometimes catch fish darting around the pond at incredible speeds, usually one followed by one or more. These are the boys chasing the girl. She will dart around plants or rocks very quickly they will follow her running into her bdomen (not painfully – just tapping) and she will begin releasing the unfertilized eggs. As they follow, the boys will fertilize them. Goldfish eggs are not likely to be noticeable, large koi eggs from adults over 18 inches may be slightly noticeable.   Goldfish will end up looking just like their parents, orange, orange and white, or red and white depending upon the parents. Same for shubunkins the calico colored goldfish. They will be born brown and not get their color until they are big enough to not be eaten, then you will see the change between 1/2 inch long and about 4 inches long. Koi on the otherhand will be born brown and then most likely not be very pretty. In order to get good looking koi parents at fish hatcheries should be exclusively picked. An all yellow koi has 2 yellow parents. If you have one yellow koi and a black and orange koi, the babies will mostly be fairly brown with a little yellow or little orange. Yellow is not a dominant color gene. Koi are culled many times after breeding. This is a sad practice of throwing out the mostly ugly fish and keeping the fewer pretty ones. That is why goldfish are cheap and koi are expensive. Lets say you get 20,000 goldfish per breed and 20,000 koi. They will sell all 20,000 goldfish but they will cull the koi and keep maybe only 10-500 to sell depending upon the grade of koi. More about that on another post I want to keep to the plants.

The hornwort can be planted in gravel baskets at any level of the pond but we suggest the submersible plant weights used like on the anacharis. I failed to mention in the post about anacharis that lead weight are cut to a certain size to hold down a plant. I remember many people that used to buy 100 submerged bunches and 50 weights to save money (like $4 difference). One weight will not hold down two plants. Just a note for all you ordering the extra 50 weights and paying $9 shipping.

Hornwort close up pictured in fish aquarium

Hornwort close up pictured in fish aquarium

One other thing I should mention in the Anacharis post, I may got back and add this detail. If you introduce your anacharis or other submerged plant on a sunny daythey can get sunburned quickly if you leave them out of the pond or let them float foronly a short time. If you cannot get them to the bottom of the pond in a short amount of time do not panic. Lay them on the surface of the pond and cover them with some damp flat newspaper or shade cloth (most people will just have the paper available.     

Remember these submered plants in proper number keep water free and clear of all algae both string and filement algae (causing green water). Do not over feed fish, 1-2 times per week if at all and walla you have clean water. Remember also a pump for areation creates more oxygen for the pond in an hour than

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