The Wakin Goldfish

History: Where did the Wakin Goldfish originate?

The Wakin Goldfish can be most commonly found living in outdoor ponds rather than as part of an indoor aquarium. These pond fish have been bred since the 1500’s, making them one of the oldest goldfish species in the world. They are thought to have been the original goldfish creation, spawned from Carp in China and Japan. The Wakin Goldfish is a lovable addition to most outdoor ponds around the globe.

Physical Characteristics: How can I identify the Wakin Goldfish?

The Wakin Goldfish is very comparable to the Common Goldfish and Fantail Fancy Goldfish when it comes to their appearances. The Wakin has a long, slender body type, parallel to that of the Common Goldfish. The main difference between the two is the tail designs. The Common Goldfish has a single caudal fin (also known as the tail fin) whereas the Wakin Goldfish has a double caudal fin. In fact, if you were to glance at the Wakin’s tail fins you might think you were looking at the Fantail Fancy Goldfish. The Wakin also has a long dorsal fin that almost completely covers his back. These goldfish are incredibly skilled swimmers as a result of these physical traits. Their swimming abilities make the Wakin Goldfish a perfect pond mate for other agile swimmers (i.e. the Comet, the Common and the Shubunkin).

Care: Are Wakin Goldfish difficult to care for?

The Wakin Goldfish is probably one of the easiest goldfish breeds to care for. This is mainly due to the lack of aquarium maintenance and water changes. These goldfish would be happiest if given an outdoor pond or water garden to call home.

How to care for your outdoor goldfish:

Having goldfish in an outdoor pond or water garden creates an eye catching piece of art, but also a fully functioning ecosystem. Similar to keeping an indoor aquarium, the amount of inhabitants is critical to the health of the ecosystem.

Inhabitants and population:

You should control how many fish you have in your pond by only purchasing what your pond or water garden can handle. Overpopulating any tank, pond, or water garden could result in devastation for your inhabitants. Most specialists will explain that you should only have one goldfish per four square feet of surface area and only one Koi fish per ten square feet of surface area. Therefore, assuming you have a standard 100 square foot rectangular pond or water garden then you should only have approximately 30 goldfish or 10 Koi fish (not both).

If you wish to have an outdoor pond or water garden that hosts both goldfish and Koi fish, then you should consider only purchasing 15 goldfish and 5 Koi fish to keep the ecosystem in balance. Other specialists will recommend planning for 10 to 20-gallons of water per fish as a minimum. The bigger the pond (water garden or aquarium), the more goldfish you can have in it. However, your fish will be happier and healthier if you plan closer to 30 or 40-gallons of water per goldfish. This may seem disproportionate to some of you, however, take into consideration that most species of fish can continue to grow until they die. Therefore, the more room you provide your fish, the larger they will become, the healthier they will be and the more content you will be!

Filtration System:

You may believe that if you decide on an outdoor pond or water garden that you would not have to purchase aquarium products such as a filtration system. Unfortunately for you (fortunately for your fish) you are wrong. Your outdoor pond or water garden absolutely requires a filtration system! Filtration systems help maintain water quality as well as continuously circulate the water. Still pond water can tend to be the perfect condition for bacteria, fungus and parasites to develop. Filters also assist in maintaining oxygen levels, as well as ammonia and nitrate levels.

Please be aware that when you test your pond or water garden levels for ammonia and nitrate that the results should be zero! If they are anything else then it could be the result of overpopulation in the pond or water garden or, the filtration system you provided is not doing the job. They may be outdoor fish, but, your goldfish (and Koi) are counting on you to keep their lives happy and healthy.

Setup:

Do not install a pond or water garden that overwhelms the space you have. Many people will do this simply to have more inhabitants. However, if you create a water garden out of your entire back yard, you will have a harder time maintaining it, and controlling the population. Keep in mind that the more fish you put in a single area, the more predators are going to be lurking around, in hopes of catching themselves an easy meal.

Once you have decided on the appropriate size outdoor pond or water garden for the space you have, now it is time to install it. After the hole is dug and the pond is completely stabilized in the ground, now you can begin adding plants, décor and water. If you plan on using tap water for your pond (even if it is from your outdoor hose) you will need to treat the water with a water conditioner before you add the fish. Tap water is harmful to most species of fish including goldfish. After the water is treated, and the filtration system is circulating it, now you can perform your first water tests.

Goldfish enjoy cooler temperatures than other species of fish. However, they can quickly adapt to warmer temperatures. When testing your pond water temperature, you want to be sure to check it a few times per day. This will give you an indication of when your pond water becomes too cold, or too hot for your goldfish. Goldfish typically are happiest when the water temperature falls between 65º F and 75º F.

Another water test that you should perform is the pH test. This test should be done regularly and should be done around the same time of day each time. Goldfish require a pH level between 7 and 7.4.

Testing the pond water for ammonia and nitrate levels is critical to health of your inhabitants! Your pond water should always test zero for both ammonia and nitrate. If you perform these tests and the result is not zero then you should consider checking the following items:

  • The population of inhabitants in your pond or water garden. Have your fish begun breeding? Alternatively, have you purchased too many fish and overpopulated it yourself? Once you have established whether or not the population is the issue, then you should either remove excess fish (possibly creating another outdoor pond or beginning an indoor aquarium for them) or proceed to check other potential causes.
  • Check your filtration system! Is it working? Is it even plugged in? Is the water quality poor and uncirculated? Did you purchase a filtration system that is too small for the pond you installed? If any of these questions were true then your filtration system is likely the problem and you should take action in correcting it.

Feeding:

Feeding your outdoor goldfish can be quite exciting! Your goldfish will quickly catch on to your routine and begin greeting you at the surface when they know it is feeding time. You may even earn their trust enough for them to allow hand feeding.

Goldfish are omnivores and are happiest when they are provided a variety in their diet, rather than fish flakes day in and day out. They will welcome almost anything you have to offer them including:

  • Vegetables: Specifically, lettuce, broccoli, peas (not in the shell), and cabbage.
  • Fruits: Such as, blueberries, grapes (cut up) and chopped strawberries.
  • Creepy Crawlies: Including, ants, worms, brine shrimp, blood worms, and larvae (especially the mosquito variety).
  • Goldfish will also welcome plants and plant roots as a meal.

Before you go into your back yard and start scavenging for these items, you should discuss your options with a professional. There are some insects in your back yard that are not suitable as a meal choice for your goldfish. You may also accidentally choose something that is ill and therefore, make your goldfish ill. Also, keep in mind that by installing an outdoor pond or water garden that insects, plants and other items may end up on the surface on their own. Your goldfish will not turn down the opportunity for a snack and will likely consume these unintended meals. You should not rely on the great outdoors when it comes to feeding your goldfish and you should attempt to keep a feeding schedule.

It is vital that you only feed your goldfish what they can consume in a matter of minutes or less. Any uneaten food will go to waste and cause the water quality to decrease quickly. Finding the right amount of food to provide may take a little trial and error, but just know that you will have happy and healthy fish when you get it right!

Maintaining your outdoor pond or water garden:

Your newly installed pond or water garden may require a 10% to 15% water change every week or so for the first year. After the first year, your pond should have an established ecosystem and may no longer require the water changes. Perform water tests regularly including the pH test, temperature test as well as the ammonia and nitrate tests. It is recommended by specialists that you keep a log book of every test, date, time and result.

What to be aware of before starting a pond (or what to look out for if you already have one):

  • During the balmy months of the year, your pond water temperature may become much higher than the recommended temperature. If this happens, you should carefully remove your fish from the pond and place them in the backup indoor Alternatively, you could help prevent the temperature from becoming too warm by installing the pond near shade or even by providing shade yourself. Large beach umbrellas can help protect the pond from the sun. If you live in an environment that experiences cold winter months (i.e. snow etc.), you should be prepared to bring your goldfish inside before the first frost.
  • Be aware of how many fish you have living in a single pond or water garden. For example, did you purchase 15 Goldfish and 5 Koi fish? For your 100 square foot pond? Are all 20 fish still in the pond, alive and well each time you visit it? If you have noticed that there are less fish than you started with then you may have a predator (or two or three etc.) taking advantage of the buffet you have set up in your back yard. It is not uncommon for birds such as the Heron to wander into a back yard with an outdoor pond and take its pick of the naïve fish swimming around. Other potential predators include:
    • Turtles
    • Birds
    • Raccoons
    • Cats
    • Bears (depending on where you live)
  • It would be wise to notice not only if the number of fish in the pond decreases, but also if they increase! If your fish have begun breeding then the water quality may change, oxygen levels may decrease and other levels may increase. Any Fry goldfish (young goldfish) that have been bred in the pond should be removed and placed in an indoor aquarium or, you can install another outdoor pond.
  • When you wish to add a new fish to your functioning ecosystem it is suggested to choose goldfish that are either the same species or similar species (fast swimmers with fast swimmers and vice versa). It is also recommended to choose a fish that is of similar size to the current residents. Otherwise, you may have a bullying situation on your hands. This can happen even if goldfish are one of the most docile creatures on the planet. Observe the new member with the original members and take action if bullying occurs.

Wakin Goldfish: Conclusion

Wakin Goldfish are a sturdy goldfish, which is the reason many people choose them for their outdoor ponds or water gardens. Not only can you install a beautiful water garden in your back yard for appeal, but it can be the perfect home for Wakin Goldfish and a few Koi fish. However, do not be discouraged! You can indeed have a Wakin in your indoor aquarium. As long as it is a large aquarium with the proper filtration system, and you follow basic goldfish aquarium care and maintenance your Wakin should be just fine.