November 15, 2004

Holy Heron Crap Batman...

Hi Friend,

Here is today's Pond Q&A, with some interesting readers comments
but first, I have a hair-raising story to tell you of my own.

This morning, around 11:30 AM (I'm known for getting up at the
crack of noon on weekends) I'm having breakfast with my
girlfriend and an old friend from out of town, when I see a big
white blur fly by one of my windows!

Not realizing what it was, but fearing the worst - I run over to
the windows ... and guess what I saw?

I giant White Heron had swooped in from the sky, and was quietly
stalking my prize koi collection - apparently looking for some
breakfast of his own.

Now for those of you not familiar with Herons (Great Blue Heron
and the Great White Heron), they are notorious predators of fish
and koi ponds. A heron can gobble down a 12"-14" koi in a matter
of seconds, and be gone before you know it.

I'll never forget the one time a customer of mine years ago,
returned to my store a week after buying up $1000 of my best
Imported Israeli KOI - and almost had tears in his eyes as he
recounted how he came out one day to see a Heron polishing off
the last of his new fish! Talk about an expensive sushi bill.

But back to my story...

Let's just say that you've never seen a white boy run so fast,
without a seconds delay, I ran outside clapping my hands and
shouting at this monstrous bird, letting him know he was 'NOT
WELCOME!' Not being terribly aggressive birds, he flew up
into the sky, as I stood there in almost disbelief at his
gigantic, almost pre-historic appearance and giant wingspan.

If I had not been at the right place at the right time - I might
just as easily come out to an empty pond...

I also couldn't help but glance over at my Heron decoy, with my
worst look of disgust at his lack of usefulness this morning...

So, to make a long story short, I finally broke out the Scarecrow
automatic sprinkler decoy I had conveniently boxed up inside, and
installed it without delay!

Here are some pictures of this very cool new product:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/my-scarecrow.shtml

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
To stop predators before they attack, check out The Scarecrow
motion activated sprinkler. Click here for more information:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/scarecrow
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Now on to our readers comments:

Question>

"Hi,

Our pond has been visited by a number of birds, egrets, blue
herons and the occasional raccoon. We keep it netted and have
not lost a fish.

Plus it keeps the leaves out. I also wanted to tell you how we
have been winterizing our pond. When it starts to get in the
30's I disconnect my filter, clean it and store it in the shed.

We run a hose from my pump to the side of the pond near the
surface of the water. This keeps part of the pond ice free. We
have not lost any fish doing this.

I really don't think it matters to the cold blooded fish that I
am circulating the water and maybe making the bottom of the pond
a few degrees colder."

Rich and Patti Grimes

===

Hi,

Thanks for the tips, use whatever works for you...

Sure, you can use netting, but in my opinion - it really takes
away from the appearance of the pond. I netted my pond once, but
couldn't stand how un-natural it looked, so I immediately pulled
it out and put in a decoy instead.

As far as circulating the water during winter, it won't directly
hurt the fish - but it will drop the temperatures vs. preserving
the thermal layers of the pond.

===

Question>

"I have a small pond (400 gallons), and because of the
surrounding vegetation, I get debris sinking to the bottom of the
pond. Putting your hand in the water to try to get it out only
disturbs it more, making it impossible to remove.

Any suggestions? Is there some sort of bottom vacuum I can
purchase
in order to alleviate the problem?"

Thanks,

Doug

===

Answer>

Hi Doug,

Try to remove as much debris and organic matter as you can, as it
will only start to decay during winter, giving of potentially
toxic gasses.

Net out what you can, and don't worry about stirring up the pond
- it will settle out again. For an ongoing solution, we like a
product called Microbe Lift very much. It adds live naturally
occurring beneficial bacteria that will start to dissolve and
digest any organic matter in the pond, from sludge to leaves to
fish waste..

Fore more information about Microbe Lift, and their line of
microbial products, please click here:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/microbe-lift

Sure, there are also various vacuum systems you can buy, but I've
found that most are difficult to use, clog easily, and waste a
lot of water.

However, here is an inexpensive hand operated (non-electrical)
pond-vac you can try:

Hozelock Cypri-Vac:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/Cypri_Vac.shtml

Hope this helps..

===

Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

Posted by bfogle at November 15, 2004 05:35 AM
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