Rehoming Fish

What can I do if I need to rehome my fish

(Note: We do not rehome fish ourselves. Please do not contact us to ask.)

If you are a pond owner who has fish surplus to requirements, what are your options?

In some cases, there are other ways than disposal e.g.

  • Are you moving house but don't yet have a pond to move fish to?
  • Try to come to an agreement with your house purchaser. They may be willing to take the fish on. Otherwise, they might agree to temporarily care for them until you have a suitable pond to move them to. If so, make sure that any pumps and filters are left running, and that (outside the winter months) supplies of food are left, with instructions for feeding the fish. It might help to arrange for a suitable contractor to make periodic visits to check on the fish and equipment during this overlap period. If in doubt, get your legal advisor to note any such arrangements and time periods in the transfer documents. Another alternative is to use a temporary vat to house your fish safely on your new property until your new pond is ready.

  • You've had fish losses or poor water quality, and think it's due to too many fish?
  • Sometimes the pond isn't overstocked, but only needs some maintenance to remove excess sediments and debris, and some form of aeration. Adding a pump or an appropriately sized (and maintained) filter system could give big improvements to water quality and ensure that the fish are happy again.

In other cases moving fish on is unavoidable. What are your options then?

  • Have a word with the shop that supplied the original fish.
  • Occasionally they might be able to take in fish, though they have no legal duty to do so. Most suppliers have health/biosecurity measures that mean they can only take in fish from qualified sources, plus they may not have sufficient quarantine facilities to house them. Shops usually sell from batches of fish - all of the same size and type. If your fish are a wide range of sizes, they will find it difficult to deal with them.

  • Have a word with friends and neighbours who might want fish for their ponds
  • Consider advertising them on local networks
  • Websites where you can locally advertise fish to give away free:

    Websites where you can advertise your excess fish to sell, locally or wider afield:

    For particularly valuable fish, you may want to be cautious in giving out your address.

Some important things to consider:

  • As the owner of the fish, you have a legal duty of care towards them.
  • Never release fish into the wild
  • Never release fish into someone else's pond without full permission from the owner. e.g. School ponds may be mostly for wildlife, and adding your fish could upset that balance.
  • If you are giving/selling your fish to someone else, it is your responsibility to check that the new owner can take on their care. They need to have suitable facilities and knowledge of how to keep them. There is a legal requirement for them to be over 16 years old. © www.watergardensolutions.co.uk
  • Fish will need to be carefully caught, transported and transferred to their new home, and that often requires draining of the original pond. It is best to stop feeding fish for at least a couple of days beforehand so that they don't foul their transport water too much. Pondfish movement should ideally not be in very cold (below 8-10 degrees C) or very warm weather (over 30 degrees C). Your local aquatic outlet may be able to help with fish bags, advice, and inflating bags with oxygen for longer journeys.
  • It is a buyer's market. If potential purchasers don't need fish at this particular time, they will certainly not pay over the odds for them. If you are hoping to move an entire stock of fish, both the most attractive and the less choice ones, all at once, then it is more likely that you will have to give them away. Large koi do not always have the monetary value expected. Their value is not just in the size, but also in the quality of the patterns and shape, and the parentage. A specialist koi keeper may pay more for one particular fish, but is unlikely to want (or have room for) all the large koi in someone else’s pond.

Other useful links:

Information sheet on how to look after pondfish (from OATA)

* Releasing into the wild is also illegal         and you could be fined or sent to prison.

See more Frequently Asked Questions and Answers


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