Which species of fish are suitable for a pond in Victoria?

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Which species of fish are suitable for a pond in Victoria?

Postby frog » Sat Jul 05, 2003 3:16 pm

Frogs and fish do not mix well.

For example, introduced trout have been identified as contributing to the decline of the Spotted Tree Frog (Litoria spenceri) due to predation on the tadpoles. In the case of this frog, the tadpole is unpalatable to native fish.

Smaller fish are generally better to keep in a frog pond as their mouths may not be large enough to swallow a tadpole beyond the very early stages.

Which species are best?

Audrey Falconer
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Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Postby Audrey Falconer » Sun Jul 06, 2003 7:02 am

30 years ago I had a fishpond with lots of large goldfish and Litoria raniformis. Adult frogs got along with the fish perfectly well.

We also had several other ponds which did not contain fish. Whenever we found frog spawn in the main pond we immediately removed it to a fish free pond and the tadpoles hatched and lived in that pond.

I can observe that goldfish think frogspawn is YUMMY, unfortunately, but moving the spawn in a kitchen sieve worked perfectly well.

Qualification: I was under 10 years old at this time!

Anyway, this is another option. When I get around to building my frog pond it will be a multiple pond system and the main pond will include goldfish.


Peter Hohaus
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Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Pygmy Perch & White Clouds

Postby Peter Hohaus » Mon Jul 07, 2003 5:30 pm

I'd put in a couple of Southern Pygmy Perch, that's all you need. Try Blackburn Aquarium, 294 Middleborough Rd Blackburn South 3130, (03) 98986222 ; they have them for about $10 each (I'm not connected to these folks) but they're a well-established, reliable aquarium.

If they don't need to be native fish, put in 4 white clouds, which are available from any aquarium in Melbourne http://www.nrtco.net/~digi/white_cloud_fish.htm
Last edited by Peter Hohaus on Thu Aug 14, 2003 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Lars Fields
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Fish native to Melbourne compatible with frog ponds

Postby Lars Fields » Tue Jul 08, 2003 11:54 am

Loss of habitat has not only affected frogs - there are several species of small fish indigenous to the Melbourne region that wouldn't mind sharing some of that wet patch in your yard. All of them will take care of mosquitos, though a few might also eat some of your tadpoles as well. Hypothetically, the fish and frogs that naturally share habitat should be compatible, but its always best to incorporate complex edging and refugia into the design of your pond to help limit excess predation and increase biodiversity. In general, fish will eat anything smaller than their mouths, but frog's fecundity can thwart even the hungriest fish population.

The smallest adult fish native to the Melbourne region (and north-eastern Tasmania) is the Dwarf galaxia or Eastern little galaxia (Galaxiella pusilla) with a size of 30-40mm. Adult males get beautiful orangy-red and black stripes down their sides. Formerly common, especially in temporary wetlands (it is thought to aestivate in mud during droughts), this species is now protected due to habitat loss, so you will not find it for sale in aquariums and its illegal to collect it from the wild. However, where it is found, it is still very common, as it is a prolific and sturdy little fish. If you want some of these fish in your frog pond, find somebody who has a private pond with them already established and try to get a few from them. It would be great if this fish were more commonly used for backyard ponds as it is probably the best fish for Melbourne frog ponds and hopefully we will give them some of their territory back.

Smelt(Retropinna seminii)are thin, translucent fish ubiquitous to southeastern australia that grow to about 60mm. They can be difficult to acquire since they are very delicate and often don't survive capture and translocation. They also prefer swimming in open water rather than the dense plant growth of smaller ponds. But once established they'll survive well and reproduce.

Southern pygmy perch (Nannoperca Australis) grow to about 60-80mm and also formerly ranged through Victoria and northeast Tasmania, though now much more fragmented. Often found sharing habitat with Eastern little galaxias. Being active predators, I think it likely that pygmy perch would eat quite a few tadpoles, but probably not all in a well-designed pond. A beautiful fish: adult breeding males acquire bright orange-red blotches and exhibit rapidly changing patterns during territory displays, so they make great aquarium fish as well. The closely related Yarra pygmy perch (N. obscura) and Ewen pygmy perch (N. variegata) are endangered and therefore not available.

The Murray or Crimsonspotted Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia fluviatilis) is not indigenous to the Melbourne region and is only patchily found in Victoria along tributaries of the Murray, so it is not really suitable for a Melbourne or coastal Victorian frogpond.

Dwarf Flathead Gudgeons and the larger Flathead gudgeons (philypnodon species) are common throughout most of Victoria. The dwarf versions only grow to about 40mm and the larger to about 80mm. While not a particularly active fish, mostly lying still near the pond bottom and ambushing prey, they seem to enjoy eating mosquitos and anything else that moves. I don't know of anybody who has tried this fish, but they probably would be compatible with frog ponds.

Most of the larger indigenous galaxias (G. maculatus, G. truttaceous, G. brevipinnis) need cold water, breed in estuaries and are not therefore likely to create self-maintaining populations in backyard ponds. They also tend to grow quite large (above 150mm). However, the mountain galaxias (Galaxias olidus) are small enough (Usually about 70 mm), will breed well in ponds, and might not eat all your tadpoles. They still like cooler water, so if you want them, make sure your pond has a cool, deep section to protect them in the summer.

There is a new (as of fall, 2003) aquarium shop near the Queen Vic Market (not far from the row of ATM's) which sells several victorian native fish, including juvenile pygmy perch and several galaxia species. I've also found pygmy perch and some galaxias in in the St. Kilda Aquarium and Pets Wonderland Aquarium in Prahran.

A search on the internet for any of these scientific names will supply more info and pictures.

Peter Hohaus
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References to Fish Discussed for Frog Ponds (Vic)

Postby Peter Hohaus » Wed Jul 09, 2003 7:41 pm

Here are some useful references for the fish which have been
discussed as suilable for Melbourne ponds.
They also make fine aquarium fish.

Mosquito fish are the BAD Guys: Gambusia Control Homepage
http://www.gambusia.net/ Never introduce these fish.

Dwarf Galaxias (Galaxiella pusilla)
http://www.ifc.tas.gov.au/fact_sheets/g ... silla.html

Southern Pygmy Perch
http://www.nativefish.asn.au/southern-pygmy-perch.html ... alis&hl=en

Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeon

Western Carp Gudgeon

Australia Smelt
http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/Species ... fm?ID=6511

Murray River Rainbow Fish

Spotted Galaxia

Climbing Galaxias

Common galaxias

Freshwater Mollusks (Snails and Clams)

Most of these varieties can be ordered from St Kilda Aquarium
148 Barkly Street, St Kilda and from Blackburn Aquarium,
294 Middleborough Road and many other reputable aquarium suppliers in Melbourne.

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Greg, Adelaide
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Postby Greg, Adelaide » Sun Jun 05, 2005 4:54 am

Rainbows will eat small tadpoles and frog spawn in an aquarium. I had some striped marsh frogs breed in a 1/2 water terrarium that I kept fluviatilus in.

The egg rafts were like nice little floating merangues for the 4 Murray Rver rainbows.. These weren't large rainbows either, none more than SL 6-10cm.

They ignored the eggs for a couple of days and then one must have learnt they were good to eat and after a few days there were only half the eggs and at least two rainbows with suspicious gut bulges :roll:
Ive certainly seen tadpoles (crinia) in shallower areas around reeds not far from where fluviatilis were caught on other occasions (in the River Torrens)

.. Flathead Gudgeons are guaranteed to eat anything that fits into their (oversized) mouths. Tadples that swim near the bottom do so at their own risk.

I guess the right habitat might provide cover for the spawn and tadpoles, but most ponds seem to be like large bowls of water.
Best to accept that a lot of tadpoles are going to end up as fish dinner and arent going to make it to frogs. Good thing they have so many!
There arent really enough insects around most ponds to feed a couple of thousand frogs

Plant some cover, pile some rocks in, and there should be enough survivors.

When I get hold of some frog spawn next we had decided to try this with some different species of native fish and see how it pans out.
The other of the desirable criteria for pond fish is that they also should control mosquito larvae.

To qualify what I have said, ANY local native fish would be better than Gambusia or "Water Cockroaches" as I like to call them.

Get Gambusia out of any backyard pond. They may have spread to just about every waterway but that doesnt mean we have to make it easier for them to get into the rest. :evil:

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Postby taniaaust1 » Tue Dec 02, 2014 10:29 am

Old thread and a good one and thou I think native fish in a pond are far better, I wanted to share my experience with Gambusia thou I dont recommend people get these for any kind of good choice thing as they are killing our native frogs but maybe an okay temporary thing while you are trying to establish your pond plants etc and looking for suitable native fish to get on well with frogs.. as long as they arent going to end up back in a native waterway.

Before I knew any better or knew what they were, I had collected 7? (it may of been more) Gambusia from a waterway, a horribly poluted looking drain run off area seemed to have no other life, completely silent of insect noise.. not even the mossies seemed to like this place (no insects to be observed, no frogs there). I was thinking they'd be maybe okay for the frog pond I was making being so small and observely I could see they were very hardy.

I put these 7-9 in the pond with 12 tabpoles (spotted marsh) I'd brought and I can say I didnt loose even one of the tabpoles ,, the tabpoles which didnt change to frogs that summer and over wintered the last ones are changing to frogs now, they spent 8mths with the Gambusia.

The smallest tabpoles thou at first were no smaller then half the size or a third of the size of the Gambusia and these together were put into a large bathtub pond. (I didnt have any hiding spots for the tabpoles at first but they still didnt get eatten).

Once I found out what they were (in that time the Gambusia had 3 babies which they ate within a few days..they live birth) and had my pond to the point I was hoping some local frogs would come and lay eggs there, I did take the Gambusia out, separating the males and females and keep the females now inside in a fish bowl and keep the males outside in a half wine barrel (no need to feed them outside, they seem to be able to look after themselves in just that small container and must get enough natural food dropping in along with the plant I have in there too).

Ive put 3 of these back into the pond (same sex as I wont allow them to breed) recently for a few days due to a mossie infestation around the pond area... pond was completely full of wigglers after no Gambusia there for 4 months. Putting them back out there for a few days, cleared up the mossie problem fast and once again they didnt bother my tabpoles at all. They must be able to eat a crazy amount to clear up mossie plague I had that quickly. The Gambusia are now back in their fish bowl inside.

Interestingly while in the pond for those few days, I did see a Gambusia with one of my pond worms in its mouth a 15cm pond worm, almost 3 times the the size of the Gambusia fish! (it could hardly get the end of this thick worm in its mouth!). So obviously they must be very bad for eatting the things frogs would feed on, so maybe they are affecting frogs so terribly due to the competition for food sources.

Im currently looking for a good native fish type for my pond so the Gambusia will be permantly inside in thier own small bowl but feel fine due to my previous experience with these to put them in the pond to deal with mossies if no frogs eggs are in the pond or extremely little tabpoles.

Otherwise in my experience they get on good with my tabpoles. When I had the 9 in the pond, some would hang out together as a school, they never thou chased any of my tabpoles a third or half their size.

It would be interesting to know what sized tabpoles they will eat, or maybe the Gambusia I got are more placid then normal but it didnt look that way when I saw the one with the massive worm!!.. obviously they like worms a lot more and maybe I have too many other good things for them to eat in my pond eg dragonfly larva, which was growing up in the pond too even thou the gambusia was there and some of those dragonfly larva (a little dragonfly varieity) ended up leaving the pond safely.

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