The Pet Charity is a national charity which promotes the joy and health benefits of pet ownership. Pets benefit our lives in so many different ways, and The Pet Charity has at its heart the need to spread the word about the positive aspects of pet ownership. The Pet Charity seeks to run programmes that demonstrate the benefits of pet ownership alongside increasing awareness of the differing needs of pets.

The ideal pond should be at least 2ft (60cm) deep with as big a surface area as is practical.

Deep ponds will help the fish to survive hard winters whilst large ponds are more likely to achieve a natural balance of plant life, enabling the fish to survive and flourish with minimal attention. A large volume of water will better maintain temperature stability, which is beneficial to the fish. Plants help to provide cover, assist oxygenation and convert fish waste, which assists with their natural growth. Plants should be thinned out if the cover exceeds 30 per cent of the water surface.

Be careful not to overstock your pond or overfeed your fish. Feeding may be necessary only every other day, and less frequently in winter. Feed according to manufacturers’ instructions. During the summer there is likely to be natural food so take this into account. Provide suitable food for all species of fish in the pond. A good rule is to feed your fish the amount they are likely to eat within two minutes, to prevent uneaten food rotting at the bottom of the tank.

The Five Animal Welfare Needs

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 means all pet owners have a legal duty of care to their pets. Anyone who is cruel to an animal or is found not to be providing the five animal welfare needs, as listed below, can be fined and sent to prison.

Environment: Pets should be given the correct housing according to its size, this includes shelter, space to exercise. 

Diet: Pets should be offered the correct type and volume of food to cover all their nutritional needs alongside access to clean, fresh water and a secure, comfortable place to rest.

Behaviour: All pets should be allowed to exhibit normal behaviour patterns and should be provided with the facilities to do so.

Health: All animals should be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease, and given veterinary treatment if they become sick or injured.

Company: Some animals require the company of their own kind, whilst others should be kept on their own.

This information is supported by the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association. For more information and advice visit www.ornamentalfish.org