As people, it’s nice to have a safe space where you can escape the daily stresses of life. Maybe it’s a quiet room in your house, a relaxing space outdoors, or just the inside of your car.
Having a safe space like this would be even more important if something was trying to eat you. Well, this is what makes fish caves such an essential addition to your pond if you have fish.
Keeping your fish safe
Fish caves are a great first line of defense in keeping your pond fish protected from predatory animals. It gives them a fighting chance to stay hidden from heron’s or other animals trying to make a quick lunch out of your beautiful pond pets.
Hiding from predators isn’t the only useful thing that these caves provide. They can also be great protectors from harsh weather conditions. If you live in an area that has cold winters, you are probably aware that your fish love to hang out at the bottom of the pond as the temperatures drop. This is because in cold weather, fish hibernate, and providing them a safe shelter during their hibernation period will increase the likelihood of their winter survival.
They are great for summer conditions as well. If you don’t have much plant vegetation covering your pond to provide shade then your fish may begin to cook on a harsh summer day. Those fish caves give your pond pets a cool shady place to escape from the boiling temperatures.
How to add one to your pond?
There are several ways to add a fish cave to your pond. It’s our opinion that the best way is to install it while you are having your pond built. This will create the most natural-looking shelter for your fish. There are different techniques when building your fish cave. You can use a flat slate of natural-looking irregular flagstone propped up using your pond's lower shelf. You could also use boulders or smaller stacked rock to support the flagstone cave. As long as you create a void that your fish can swim under they will utilize it.
Some builders also use 12-inch culvert pipe and hide them into the corners of your pond, using a combination of boulders and a small rock to camouflage them into your pond. You can use a few of these to create several caves for your fish.
Can you buy them and how much do they cost?
If your pond is already installed without a fish cave the easiest way to add one would be to purchase a fish shelter. There are many options so choosing one is all about your preference in look and cost. Below are some of the most popular options
Mesh underwater shelter
Other than DIY covers, a mesh underwater shelter is one of the most cost-efficient purchasing options for a fish cave. They come in a variety of sizes that range in prices between $50 and $80. They can be easily dropped into the bottom of your pond and if you don’t mind the look of them, they work perfectly for providing a pond shelter for your fish.
Mesh fish cave Link- https://amzn.to/3devLlu
Aquascape Faux Log
For a more natural-looking purchasing option, the Faux log fish cave sold by Aquascape is a great addition to your pond. They typically cost around $95 and are much more durable than most other options. They do however only come in one size. If you have several fish and want to provide enough space for them all to hide you may need to purchase more than one for your pond.
Faux log Link - https://amzn.to/3xTCPfg
Note: If you buy a fish cave online make sure you specify that it is meant for a pond and not an aquarium. Aquarium fish caves will likely be too small for your koi or other pond fish.
Keep in mind
Adding a fish cave is a great addition to your pond however it is not a foolproof way to keep your fish protected from predators. Other than completely hiding your pond under a net there's no way to absolutely assure your fish will be safe. The best thing you can do is provide ways for your fish to stay hidden when predators arrive and having a fish cave will help lower the risk of your fish becoming something else's snack.