September 27, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:




Live in Idaho lower SW part near Boise, our climate for summer
can get rather hot for just a few days, average temp is 85 in
the summer. Question my pond lilyís look rather sick. I have a
6,000 gal pond, have cat tails, umbrella plants, creeping
jennyís, and various iris all of which are doing great but my
poor lilyís are to be desired.

This spring I did separate from 5 nice large plants to 10 new
plants which all are very sickly looking, holes in the leaves,
and very small. I did add fertilizer in the beginning, is it
too late in the year to add some more?

Our temp this past weekend dropped to 40 at night, so fall is in
the air and winter around the corner. I might add I have gold
fish and blue gill which are doing fine in the pond. Any help
would be appreciated.


- Gail McCormack

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Hi, Gail,

What I would suggest is to use Microbe-Lift/Ensure to help them
develop the root system. It can be used all year. It is too late
for fertilizer if the lilies are not going to be put in a
greenhouse. It seems there may have been some root damage in the
transplanting. At first I am sure it was shock which would
account for the small leaves. In the spring be sure to
fertilize early. Plants should be fertilized every two weeks
within the growing season, especially lilies as they are heavy
feeders. With the Ensure you won't have to do as much
fertilization. The Ensure works with enzymes to increase the
plants natural ability to utilize the nutrients that are
available in the water to develop the roots and build a stronger
plant. You will also get more consistent blooms.

I don't know what type of media you used to repot them, but I
use either clay or a soilless mix specifically made for water
plants. I can't say whether the holes in the leaves are from
insects or disease at this point. Hopefully it isn't anything
that has infected the crowns.

Clean up the plants and discard any yellow or infected-looking
leaves now. Use the Ensure, and see how it goes.

- Carolyn




I wonder how many notes like this you must have received over the

Iím near the point of giving up on koi, and pond keeping! Iíve
upgraded my pump, my filter system, and removed plants from the
pond. My water is crystal clear, with perfect readings. One fish
committed suicide by jumping out of the pond... This was a
youngish fish, less than one yr old, and it was only a few days
after adding him/her to the pond, so Iím not all that surprised.
I had another ulcer outbreak, with a death toll of one. This is
after cleaning up the water, improved, and using koi-zyme and
medicated food! Now, wks later I see another fish showing signs
of an ulcer forming! trying Proform C, and hoping for the best.

Over the week end I saw a heron flying VERY low across the back
yard. I donít know if it had actually been in the yard or not...
I had just returned home. GREAT!

Now Iím afraid I have a leak in the pond. Where? I HAVE NO IDEA!
I was hoping it was only evaporation causing the water loss, but
the temps have been much milder, even down to the 50s at night,
with highs around 70-75. We even had highs of only 65 over the
week end!! I estimate itís losing about 1/2, to one inch a day...
Give or take.

Granted, I had planned on removing the plant shelf from the pond,
either this autumn, or early spring... But now it looks as though
I may be replacing the whole liner! That of course means a lot
more work than just removing a shelf.

I realize I could be seeing my glass, or pond, as half full
rather than half empty... If Iím going to replace the liner, why
not dig the whole thing deeper... Remove shelf... Add bottom
drain... Upgrade to inline pump... Settle tank... Etc...

I may. At the moment though, Iím feeling this pond, and the
critters in it, are getting the better of me. Iím feeling a bit
defeated. I love my little pond. I love my koi mutts. Iím not
trying to raise show fish, just some pretty things to look at and
feed. I donít like the idea of filling in the hole. I could
always have a waterfall, and lily pond I guess. Then I wouldnít
have to worry about the fish??

Ok, so I know Iím whining. Iím sorry. I just needed to vent a
little. If you have any encouraging words, Iíd love to hear/read

I hope this finds you well, and again Iím sorry for whining.

- George St. Onge



Hi, George! Great to hear from you again. Whine away. Is that red
whine or white whine, .... maybe a nice cabernet??

Anyway, if you have a visiting heron, that would explain the
ulcers-- they are sores, not real ulcers. Sounds like you are
treating them exactly right.

As for the suicide koi, some fish just seem to want to be
somewhere else. I lost a lovely butterfly bekko in the 90's, very
sad. He jumped out several times and each time I found him before
too late, but alas, eventually if one is trying to end it all one
is bound to succeed in time. Once they are all dried out there is
no return.

The bigger the pond, and the deeper, the more stable the water
temps and the safer the fish will be. this is the answer. I too
have been at the threshold of filling in the pond and growing
grass, but so glad I never actually had to do it. That was the
time I made the decision that I was in this thing so far already,
why back out now? I took out a home equity loan and went for it!
Got the pond I have now. Never looked back.

This past weekend I was swearing up a blue streak when the
dratted skimmer wouldn't catch again. It always loses prime when
I clean out the prefilter basket. Takes me hours to get it going
again. One of these days I will get someone to put a stopcheck
valve on the line so maybe, just maybe, it won't happen again. My
hedges are overgrown because nobody has been available all summer
to help me trim them and they are about 10' tall. Way over my
head. I am learning patience and tolerance, and to be grateful
for what I do have.

The fish are healthy. I got rid of so many of the magoi (basic
black fish) and then they rewarded me by spawning! So there are
just as many as before, nothing gained.

I think rather than bore you further, just stop blaming yourself
for what is happening to your fish. Look at that heron-- string
some monofilament (clear) line back and forth across the pond at
different heights to baffle the bird a bit, maybe enough to make
him want to fish elsewhere. Provide some cover for the fish, and
give yourself a breather. Gotta stop beating yourself up. Dig the
new pond. Whatever you do, just start something, you will start
to feel better.

You are doing great. The water is clear and there is no ammonia,
nitrates or nitrites, right? WHAT AN ACCOMPLISHMENT!

Love you!

- Carolyn


Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens

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

Posted by bfogle at September 27, 2005 06:29 PM