June 09, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

In today's Pond Q&A, we have quesions from as far as Australia and New Zealand...

Question #1>

Hi Brett,

I'm from Sydney N.S.W., about 18month ago I built a pond 3mtrx1mtr.x 40cm deep,with submergeble pump and filter ,pump running 24hrs into a stream and back to the pond ,in the pond a placed some water lilies and other surface floating green just to protect the fish from preying birds.

when the pond was ready, I placed 8 fish (a mixture of carpand goldfish) and they seem to be very happy breeding (at the moment they have multiplied to 40)

The problem I'm facing is that the fish once they grow to about 20cm (8inch)long they seem to jump out of the water and land outside the pond and when I found them they dead . do you know what cause them to commit suicide?

Regards Mario

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Answer>

Hi Mario,

There are really to common causes for airborne escape attempts by your fish. The first, is that there is something in the water that they don't care for. Whether it be toxins, or elevated Ammonia / Nitrite levels... fish will sometimes try to 'escape' when their environment is too stressful or less than ideal. This could explain your problem, because if it only happens when the fish get larger (and pollute the water more), they might be over contaminating our small pond and producing too much toxic Ammonia or Nitrite. I'd suggest a good biological filter.

The other common cause for this, is if perpahs you have a return line in the pond, directing a strong current sideways in the pond. KOI often like to play in these currents, and sometimes act like Salmon swimming upstream. On occasion, they get carried away, and can leap out of the pond.

I lost my biggest and favorite koi (of course) just two months ago, when I had turned off my waterfall and instead directed the flow to my side return line. The fish loved to play in the current, and sometimes swam so hard into it - that they left the water. In this case, 'Big Red' as we called him, wound up leaping right out of the pond 'free-willy' style and we found him 15 feet away from the pond later that evening. Now he's buried on the island in the middle of the pond..

Nobody said KOI were the smartest creatures, they're just pretty to look at...

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Question #2>

Hi, A Q/A for you.

I'm from New Zealand, and we are going into our summer. I have a question about getting rid of aphids on lily pads in the fish pond. I am wanting to spray a very small amount of a systemic insecticide used for roses on the pad, but well away from the water. Would this work without causing harm to my fish?

Regards

Hugh

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Answer>

Welcome from New Zealand..

Be very careful when spraying ANY type of chemical insecticide on or near your pond. Pond fish are very sensitive to this, and even a small amount of Pyrethrin or Permethryn can be very toxic to fish. So when spraying roses or other plants nearby, always be mindful of the wind and/or potential run-off of chemicals into the pond.

In your case, I woulnd NOT recommend spraying the lily pad with insecticide if you plan on putting it back in the pond.

There are some products, like one called Bladerunner, which are all natural and are made up of ground up / powdered sea shells, and that you can spray directly onto the lily pad safely. The sea shell particles will actually cut open the exoskeleton of the aphids, and they will dry out and die. See if you can find this locally.

Hope this helps.

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Question #3>

Could you please help me answer this question.

Is dirty pond water a good fertiilzer for my roses and other plants? I figure that since my goldfish is always releasing body waste, my pond water would be excellent fertilizer for my roses and my other plants.

Is this correct?

I was going to use about 1/3 of my pond water every week to water my garden.

thanks,
stan

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Answer>

Stan - YES!!

Pond water, and particularly your 'waste' water, is Excellent fertilizer... Better than you can buy in your local garden center. If you doubt me, try watering your favorite tree or bush or shrub with pond water for one month, and see if it doesn't outgrow everything around it substantially.

So yes, it's true. Fish crap is actually good for something. Just don't share your 'secret' with anyone, they'll think you're nuts...

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Happy Pondkeeping!
Brett Fogle

Posted by bfogle at June 9, 2005 06:36 AM
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