July 20, 2011

Battling Heron / Water Quality Issues

Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- Battling Heron

- Water Quality Issues


Question #1>

Hi Carolyn,

We live in the Pacific Northwest where heron abound, along with
bald eagles. Anyway, the heron are wiping out our fish
populations, I've put in hiding places for the fish (black 8"
diameter PVC tubes & large rocks with room underneath) to no avail.

I used to use koi, now I only try goldfish and other less
expensive fish. Doesn't seem to matter, the heron eat them all.

Any suggestions (legal ones) for keeping heron away?

Poulsbo, WA


Answer #1>

Gee, Michael, That's awful!

The best way to deal with heron is to make the pond as difficult
for them to navigate as possible, so hopefully they will go
elsewhere to dine.

It's like the story of the two boys in Africa as they come upon a
lion. One takes off running and the other stops and puts on his
sneakers. The one says, what good is that? You can't outrun the
lion! He replied, I don't have to... I just have to outrun you.
Moral? Make your pond less friendly than the one next door.

That would be done by building it with straight vertical sides,
nowhere for them to get a good place to stand to fish, and
remembering how their legs are formed. The legs bend forward from
the knee, opposite what ours do. So, if you string clear
monofilament fishing line tightly back and forth across the pond,
around the edges, and back from the pond to about 3' from the edge,
at DIFFERENT HEIGHTS so they have difficulty bending and stepping
over the line, then you will have achieved your goal. Even fish
farms string line across their mud ponds to deflect the wings of
predatory birds in flight.

But nothing takes the place of good construction. Your pond has to
be at least 3-4' deep, straight sided, and like I said, nowhere for
the darned things to stand at the edge.

Then you can keep koi again.


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Question #2>

Hi Carolyn,

We have five koi in a pond about 7 ft x 9 ft and 2 ft deep.
Recently the water gets very cloudy very quickly; I have to change
it weekly despite 2 x daily filter cleaning and UV also.

I think the koi are larger now and are munching on the water lily
stems, resulting in them rotting and causing the problem.

Should I feed them more (2 x per day now) or is there something
else I can do?



Answer #2>

Hi, Russ,

It sounds like you have

1) not enough water for these 5 koi and

2) inadequate filtration on the pond.

The first thing I would do is to shop for a better filter. You
can't blame the lilies. And by feeding the koi more, you will
still be fouling the water with waste. The water changes are a
good thing and you should be doing 25% weekly anyway.

Is it time for a bigger pond?


========== @SK Carolyn =================
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Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens

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

Posted by bfogle at July 20, 2011 02:55 PM