What species of fish can I keep for mozzy control?
I would like to keep fish in an outdoor fountain in London next summer to help deal with mosquitoes. The fountain is a 70 l/ 16 gal Corten steel fountain with water lilies, and I can add whatever else would make the fish happy. It is in a south-facing, sunny, wind-protected part of the garden.
I understand that fish such as guppies will only survive in warmer temperatures, and that they would need to be brought inside before frost and cold weather.
What sort of fish would you recommend, and what sort of aquarium do you suggest for housing these fish indoors once the weather turns colder? CHRISTINA CURRY, EMAIL
Jeremy replies: You could keep White Cloud Mountain minnows, Paradise fish or both outdoors from late spring until the autumn, as long as water temperatures are above 15°C. As well as those, I’ve kept Variatus platies outside, and Zebra danios should be okay as long as temperatures exceed 17°C. Rosy barbs would also be fine at this temperature, and Hillstream loaches would positively enjoy large, algae-covered surfaces with water movement from the fountain.
Be aware of any pump inlets on the fountain as obviously these things aren’t really intended to keep fish. Cover any holes or exposed pump inlets by forcing sponge into them, and you’ll need some sort of filter medium (which again could be a sponge inside a fountain pump cage), and mature it, and test water in the normal way.
As 70 l isn’t a huge volume of water I would opt for maybe five White Clouds, five Zebra danios and a pair of Paradise fish, and if you want them to be visible, opt for their gold or albino morphs.
You must bring the fish inside once the temperatures begin to fall. The above species are all classed as temperate but will not last even a ‘mild’ UK winter outside, especially when the fountain will heat and cool very quickly with its shape, build material and water jets. Devices are available to monitor ponds and aquariums, and they can warn you about temperature fluctuations.
For autumn and winter care, an indoor aquarium of the same volume would be fine. If you can, you could even move a mature filter sponge from the fountain to the aquarium to avoid any water quality blips.
Wcmm inhabit cold streams at altitude.
paradise fish are hugely adaptable.
Variatus platies are tolerant.