September 22, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

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Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- WATER CANNAS - CAN THEY LIVE WITHOUT SOIL?

- OVERWINTERING GOLDFISH - LAST YEAR THEY WEREN'T SO LUCKY
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Question>

Do they have to be planted in soil or can they live in just
water? My plants are so large that they have busted out their
container and need a new one, I just wondered if they would grow
in my pond in a container with no dirt.

Thanks,

- Mary

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Answer>

They will do well in either a soilless mixture or pebbles, but
not with nothing to anchor them. They don't need soil. My bog
consists of sand with an overlay of medium sized smooth stones.
They loved it. I had a very difficult time removing them. They
were crowding out the lotus. But they need something to anchor
them or they will blow over, no?

- Carolyn

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Question>

Last year I left my goldfish in my pond which is 36" deep thru
the winter. The water never froze completely - they made it
through the winter fine, but when it started to get warm the
fish got a milky white cover over their bodies and then died. I
have no place to put them if I take them from the pond because
of their size - any ideas on what happened to the ones last year
so I may make every effort to keep it from happening to my fish
this year?

Thanks,

- Mary

==

Answer>

Sounds like the parasites woke up first. It is impossible to tell
for sure without doing a scraping of a live fish, before it dies,
but my guess is Ick. It can wreak havoc in a spring pond. Or, you
fed your fish on a sunny day not realizing it takes 4 days for
the fish to digest the food. Any undigested food will putrefy in
their system and kill them when they wake up.

In the case of parasites or disease, the fish will respond with
an increased slime coat to protect themselves. This too can
appear as a "film" on the fish. You already said you had plants
in the water and they were in dirt. This is fertile ground (no
pun intended) for overwintering parasites and bacteria. As I
mentioned in my response to your question about the water cannas,
removing any soil will help your fish. Soil borne pathogens are
difficult to deal with in a man-made pond.

This year, by having the pond very clean before the winter and
maintaining cleanliness throughout the winter will be the most
important thing you can do for the fish. Cover the pond to keep
out leaves. Remove any dead vegetation in and around the water.

Overwinter any potted plants elsewhere. (I.e.- Dig a 2' deep hole
next to the pond and drop them in there, pots and all, cover them
with leaves or mulch and repot them in the spring in a soilless
mixture before putting them back into the water.)

Try to put some kind of wind protection over the pond. [I
installed a partial cover, consisting of corrugated plastic
supported by 2x4's stretched across the pond. The plastic was
heavy duty and clear so it made a greenhouse environment in the
north side of the pond, keeping not only the wind off the pond
but increasing the heat from the sun. Worked great. The pond I
have now is almost 7' deep and this is no longer necessary.]
Sometimes all it takes is a wooden wind barrier beside the pond.
You want the sun on and the wind off the pond.

If you are able, use a de-icer on top of the pond for assurance
the water doesn't freeze entirely. We never know what kind of
winter we are in for. And don't feed at all after the water
temperature reaches 50F. No feeding again until the water
temperature is stable above 50F in the spring (probably April or
May.)

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

MacArthur Water Gardens
PO Box 3628
Alpharetta, GA 30023-3628

Posted by bfogle at September 22, 2005 06:27 PM
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