I have small fish (I don't know what kind they are) in a 500 gallon pond (around 2000 liters) that are very hardy. They survived their previous home (hundreds of fish in a 70 gallon / around 270 liters) pond with no water circulation at all, full of algae that you can't see anything deeper than an inch) and a 9 hour car ride in a plastic bag.

I'm looking to move some of them to a smaller water basin, packed with water plants. If possible, this will be a low maintenance feature.

Can they survive by eating the plants without me giving fish food?


2 Answers 2


I have a fairly large pond, with a meandering shape, over 6m long and minimum width 1m, with two large water filters. There's one fish that's been in there more than ten years, currently there are also eight fish that were born in there over the last three years. I don't add any feed to that pond and they get along fine.

I have rushes, a large growth of bacopa which is a good pond oxygenator and is where the fish born in the pond survive initially, water lilies, milfoil, thalia dealbata and iris. The water smells very clean and fresh.

The smaller fish are basically multicoloured comets, orange/light orange/yellow/white. Any that were born black, soon change colour to the above. The big old one, about 20cm long, is black and has more ornate fins. So, my experience is, that this type of fish survives well in a garden pond as described above without ever being fed.


Can you live in a house full of flowers without food?

Unless the plant's leaves or roots can be eaten by the fish, it is advisable to feed the fish no matter the circumstances. The plants won't give all the nutritional values the fish need to get to grow and be healthy. They may provide lots of vitamins, but what of the much needed proteins and carbohydrates?

The answer remains NO, they can live but won't live up to their full potential without proper feeding.

Oh the other hand, for those who may bump into this question, here is a link for you to read (source: homeaquaria.com).

  • 4
    Well, I cannot live in a house full of flowers, but a sheep can happily live in a field full of grass... it depends on the fish!
    – Layna
    Jan 12, 2017 at 7:10
  • 1
    In it's simplest form there are only two choices either a fish eats plants, or a fish eats other fish who eat plants. It is much more complex, but if plants alone could not sustain fish, there would not be any fish for the ones at the top of the food chain to eat. Jan 12, 2017 at 13:19
  • Not all plants are edible. Few animals will eat all theoretically edible plants. Don't confuse the general and specific cases.
    – keshlam
    Jan 15, 2017 at 3:26

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