January 31, 2015

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- HERONS - WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?

- SLUDGE - HOW CAN I KEEP MY POND CLEAN?
-----------------------------


Question>

I have a problem with a heron. It just started to come to my
pond within the last month. I didn't know it came till one day i
went out and about all my fish were gone. I raised these fish
for three years, they were a joy. He got all the big fish and a
few of my fancy ones. How can i keep him away? I have a net on
the pond, but he seems to get them anyway, several holes he made
in the net. Please help.

Thank you
- Shirley

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Answer>

Hi, Shirley,

The best heron-proofing is a baffle that makes it
more difficult to eat at Shirley's Place than down the road a
piece. What we have done is to stretch clear monofilament
fishing line tightly across the pond like a spider's web, at
different heights from 1' to 4' just to make him stretch his
legs trying to step over them. The pond's construction can be
either an attraction or deterrent. If the pond is shallow the
fish will be easy to catch. If deep, straight sided, it will be
much more difficult. Some people put in bog areas, but those
can act as "fish-round-up" corrals for herons and raccoons.

What you can also do is use floating islands for the fish to
hide beneath. They are not only beneficial and protective for
the fish, they are lovely to look at. In times of emergency, I
have resorted to floating styrofoam on the top of my pond to
make it safer for the fish and harder for the predatory birds to
catch them. Doesn't look too good, but keeps them alive.
Netting has to be high enough off the pond and strong enough to
keep a heron out of the area.

- Carolyn

==

Question>

I really enjoy reading your tips, and thanks! I've
learned a lot!But one thing continues to bother me, and that's
how clean I should keep the pond. We have a small pond, which
I built on our (reinforced) deck, where my handicapped husband
can enjoy it from the dining room table where he spends his
days. It's about 15 to 18 inches deep, and irregularly shaped
at perhaps 10 by 5 or 6 feet, and is home to four adult comets.

During the temperate months I keep two small fountains going,
both with filters, but because of algae bloom and other such
sludge, I find I have to vacuum the bottom (and nearly
completely change the water) about every week or two.
Otherwise, the filters will be totally overwhelmed with sludge.

Naturally I try to keep three or four lily plants going during
most of the year (East Tennessee has a mild climate). They
generally cover about 1/2 of the pond surface. I have to cover
the pond every night to keep feisty raccoons from punching holes
in the liner. The fish seem to tolerate the freshly changed
water fairly well, but there is little chance for babies to
develop, and frankly, it's a long, backbreaking chore for me.

Is there something I can do to cut down on algae? And if not,
and I have to keep vacuuming, is there some particular time of
year that fish spawn, when I could let the whole pond fester
(sans fountains, of course) while the babies grow enough to
survive?

- Nancy
Oak Ridge Tennessee

========== @SK Carolyn =============
Have a pond question? Just send it
in to: Carolyn@macarthurwatergardens.com
and our own in-house pond expert will
try and answer it for you! Write POND in the
subject line for quick response!
====================================

Answer>

Well, Nancy, I think I would recommend biological filtration to
help carry the load. With only a few fish and some plants I am
not sure how you are accumulating that much sludge, but the
filters you are using are definitely not doing the job. Are you
overfeeding those fish? That's the only thing I can think of
that might be adding to the bio-load. You can add the biological
filtration without that much trouble. I am a BIG advocate of
MICROBE-LIFT products, which are made for all size ponds, to
biodegrade sludge and waste from fish. But the positioning of
the pond, on the deck, and the size and depth make it very
desirable for raccoons. It's like a soup dish to them.

The best raccoon-proofing I ever saw was low-voltage fencing. You
can turn it on when you go in for the night and off in the
morning and will have no more nightly raids on your pond. They
are smart animals and learn fast. It won't do any damage to
them. But it's a great deterrent! A friend of mine suggested I
put the fence posts into flower pots so I can move them around
rather than permanently install a fence in my yard. I loved
that idea... Oh, and one more thing- don't feed the lilies in
the pond. They are there to remove the nutrients the fish give
off that would contribute to an algae bloom!

- Carolyn

==

Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2015

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- KOI ON ITS SIDE - IS IT GOING TO LIVE?

- ALGAE PROBLEMS IN WINTER POND
-----------------------------


Question>

I have a problem with one of my koi. He has been
lying on his side at the bottom of the pond for a couple of
months now. He does seem to move from place to place, but just
stays at the bottom. He doesn't seem to sick, no sores, etc.
The other fish seem to ignore him. We has this happen during
the summer with another koi and he seems to be fine now. Any
help would be appreciated.

Thanks
- Ann in Delaware

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Answer>

Hi, Ann,

That is really not much info to go on, and it doesn't
sound particularly good to me. In cold months, especially
periods of extended low water temperatures, the fish will suffer
and some will react in the way you describe as a reaction to
stress. However, it is not a good sign. As it is only one
fish, that is even worse.

Some of the causes for behavior such
as this could be (and are not restricted to) low temperature
intolerance, oxygen depletion (in certain areas of the pond
during winter), late season feeding, poor nutrition during the
previous season, parasite infestation and or internal bacterial
infection. None of these would necessarily show any outward
signs of disease but could easily lead to fish death. The best
treatment at this time of year would be to maintain a
stress-free environment in tolerable temperature ranges (39F or
above) and clean pond bottom (where fish are resting). You
might want to add pond salt (or non-iodized Kosher salt) at
2.5lbs per 100 gallons, a little at a time over the next three
days, mixed well with pond water before adding to the pond to
help reduce the osmotic pressure for the fish. The other fish
may be stressed but not showing signs as yet.

Also, if you are using a heater/deicer, make sure it is placed
directly above where the fish are. This will guarantee that
there is sufficient oxygenation and gas exchange in that area of
the pond.

Should the fish die, you can send it, packed in ice, as
directed by the www.koivet.com website to be examined and
diagnosed, should you choose.

- Carolyn

==

Question>

We had a Garter snake in our pond this fall. Garter snakes don't
hurt anybody, but my wife refused to mow the back yard with a
live snake in the pond!!! we just can't have a situation where
my wife can't help mow, so I snuck up behind the snake and tried
to stab him with a butcher knife!........I missed......and he
dove into the water. I could still see him among the rocks so I
preceded to stab at him untill...............I realized I could
be stabbing at the liner too :( In the end, the liner was
ok.......and the snake must have moved onto quieter
surroundings.

Now my question: we have had a mild winter here in
Omaha, Nebraska so I have left my waterfalls & filtration
running with no problems. ( I have removed the UV light though
as it was above the surface). I have started to see a marked
increase in string algea on the rocks etc. The water is crystal
clear still from "bloom algea" but I don't like too much of the
string growing. Is there a product that will keep that down
untill spring when the plants start growing again and starve
them out??? I know there are chemicals that will eleminate it,
but don't want to hurt the fish or dorment plants. My pond is
aprox 800gal......and have 13 fish (under 5 inches or less)

Scott
Omaha, Nebraska

========== @SK Carolyn =============
Have a pond question? Just send it
in to: Carolyn@macarthurwatergardens.com
and our own in-house pond expert will
try and answer it for you! Write POND in the
subject line for quick response!
====================================

Answer>

I wouldn't recommend using algaecide in the pond now. During
cold months, when we get them, the fish can survive on the algae
for sustenance. I would recommend shading the pond to prevent
further growth until the spring arrives and plants begin growing
again. You can remove the offensive string algae by hand, or by
stick, in the meantime. If you used algaecide now, you would
compromise the oxygen in the pond. Not a good idea.

==

Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 09:08 PM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2015

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- HIGH NITRATES - WHAT CAN BE DONE?

- SNAKES - HOW CAN I PROTECT MY FISH?
-----------------------------


Question>

Is there anything I can do to correct an extremely high nitrate
level in my pond? It has fish and a turtle in it.

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Answer>

The secret to nitrate removal is in the addition or increase of
plants in the pond. However, with the turtle it may be
difficult. Turtles are even more destructive to plants than koi
in a pond. Water changes would be helpful, but plants are the
key to removing nitrates. If you used Microbe-Lift you would be
less bothered by nitrate, nitrite and ammonia spikes in the
pond. You didn't say how much water or how many fish, but
please bear in mind too little water and or too many fish would
only complicate the nitrate removal. And turtles need much more
filtration than fish.

Is there anything I can do to correct an extremely high nitrate
level in my pond? It has fish and a turtle in it.

==

Question>

We had a large snake in our Galveston County, Texas pond for
several months. We would see him then he would disappear. My
husband saw him near the waterfall and shot him. Missed the
snake but put a nice hole in the liner. Warning - Do Not Shoot
the snake!

Next time he saw it the creature was up in the area at the edge
of the pond and under the slats of a wooden deck so we used a
pitch fork that barely fit into the crevice between two of the
deck boards. He was stabbed pretty good but just refused to die.
He slid back into the water. We did find him dead several hours
later near the edge.

At the time, we had dogs and cats in the yard and think he was
just too frightened to try to come out on his own because there
were plenty of places he could have used to crawl out if he had
wanted to. But maybe he stayed to eat the baby fish that were
spawning.

========== @SK Carolyn =============
Have a pond question? Just send it
in to: Carolyn@macarthurwatergardens.com
and our own in-house pond expert will
try and answer it for you! Write POND in the
subject line for quick response!
====================================

Answer>

As a rule snakes will eat rodents before going onto the larger
domestic animals or even the fish, although anything is fair
game if the snake is large enough. If he ate some of the young
fish, spawned in your pond without your say-so, I mean without
planning, and then you can be thankful because overcrowding is
one of the two biggest causes of fish deaths. The other is over
feeding.

==

Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2015

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- SNAKES - A WORD FROM AN EXPERT ON SAFELY DEALING
WITH SNAKES IN YOUR GARDEN OR POND!
-----------------------------


Question>

A question was recently sent in about keeping snakes from
stealing fish from a pond in Georgia. That was the first snake
question ever presented and it merited thought and more research.
Just how does one keep snakes out of the pond? And how does one
know which snakes are more harmful to oneself than to the koi?

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Answer>

I thought I would offer somehelp and advice concerning snakes in
the water garden. I have been doing ponds for almost 20 years now
and Iam a college educated naturalist/biologist. I live inNC in
Sampson County and we have many varieties ofsnakes. I keep
several ponds and I am currently building a large (20,000 gal)
pond that will be justyards away from a natural 1 acre pond. We
have manynon-poisonous snakes and all four poisonous varietiesin
our area, the water mocassin, several types of rattlesnakes, the
copperhead, and the coral snake.

Only two in our area are of concern to water gardenersand pond
keepers, the copperhead and water moccasin.First to help with
knowing what they look like - both have triangular shaped heads,
cat-like eyes, (verticalslits), and small pits (like an extra
nostril in frontand slightly below their eyes). There is a
prominent ridge over the eye as well. The water mocassin differs
from a close look alike the common water snakeonly slightly in
coloration but the head for the watersnake is shaped like a
teaspoon and the eyes pupilsare round with no ridge or pit
present. This snake is harmless.

When dealing with these it is best to not handle themespecially
the water moccasin (or cottonmouth) as thisis the most aggressive
viper in our area. They willnot only stand their ground, but are
known to attack and strike and bite many times. This is
especiallytrue in the spring when they are shedding their skinand
at other times when they shed during the year.The skin becomes
opaque (looking like a cataract) and they can't see. They strike
at every and anything.

As far as keeping them from your pond, there are acouple of
things to remember. One - keep densecluttered areas of low
foliage to a minimum, this iswhere they will hide, and what they
eat hides there as well. Second control what they eat, frogs
androdents. They will eat a fish but not large ones.They can
extend their jaws at the hinge and also thefront of each one
(upper and lower) and make theirmouth much larger than their head
but on average no more than three times their body size. They
areprimarily there looking for food and if none isreadily
available they move on. You may never knowthey were there. Also
any large flat stone or rockwill serve as a sunning area. The
moccasins will use this or any branch or pole that overhangs a
water surface. Copperheads don't linger in pond areas asmuch
preferring brush piles and other clutter, such asdiscarded sheet
tin and log or wood piles. Watermoccasins prefer still or slow
moving water, so acurrent in a pond does help deter them.Lastly
they don't like a lot of vibration so surfacenoise or a waterfall
tends to move them out.

The rest of the pearls are common sense, be careful when reaching
where you can't see. Be careful at duskand dawn, they are most
active then. If you areunsure what it is, keep a distance. If
you are bittensee a doctor immediately. A lot of snake bites are
defensive or "dry" bites, in that you have been bittenbut no
venom is injected. Snakes prefer to conservethat for food
acquisition. Also a young small snakeis very potent compared to
it's adult kin. Also learn what snakes are in your area and what
they look like.Many snakes are beneficial and help in rodent and
pestcontrol. Many snakes will try their best to steeerclear of
you. Many people are bitten trying to kill a snake. Also
something to remember - a snake's venomis still potent long after
it is dead, so use care in every event that you handle a
poisonous snake.I hope this is of some help to your readers. I
knowit is long but it covers most everything they need toknow.
Take care, have a great spring. Email if youhave further
questions. Carmine

========== @SK Carolyn =============
Have a pond question? Just send it
in to: Carolyn@macarthurwatergardens.com
and our own in-house pond expert will
try and answer it for you! Write POND in the
subject line for quick response!
====================================

==

Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2015

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- SKIN TUBERCULOSIS - INFECTION FROM HANDLING FISH BAREHANDED

- WHAT IS THE BEST WINTER PROTECTION?
-----------------------------


Question>

I would like to know if you have ever heard of fish tuberlious
that people get from ponds. I had three ponds last year and I
got a bad infection on my hand. I got it Feb.2005 and have had
several trip to the hosp. And too many Dr. I am on three medicine
and not able to get rid of it. Do you know of a infection like
this that a person has gotten. Can you please help me with info.
I am going to baylor hosp. in houston and they still
cannot get rid of it.

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Answer>

Yes, Anetta, it is not common to have problems just from coming
in contact with pond water, however we recommend using
protection (rubber gloves) when handling fish. What you are
describing is a dermatologic tuberculosis. Rather than infecting
the lungs, which is the tuberculosis we usually think of when we
hear the word, this one is a skin infection only. I have not
had it myself, but I have known about it. Thank you for sharing
this with readers so others can know the dangers of handling fish
without protection.

========== @SK Carolyn =============
Have a pond question? Just send it
in to: Carolyn@macarthurwatergardens.com
and our own in-house pond expert will
try and answer it for you! Write POND in the
subject line for quick response!
====================================

Question>

I just installed a pond this Fall & didn't put in any fish or
plants yet. Not until spring but, next winter what is the best &
most economical method of keeping the ice open . We are in NE PA.
We travel a lot for sometimes two weeks at a time in the winter.
Would it be a bubbler, heater, or to keep some water circulating
with a small pump ?

Answer>

In general it would be the de-icer that floats on the surface of
the pond. There are heater/de-icer models listed on our website
that are economic for all season use. I have not used a bubbler,
but heard from others who swear by it. If using a bubbler, be
sure not to have it set on the bottom of the pond. You don't
want to disturb the very bottom of the pond where the warmest
water will be.

Place it, or a circulating pump, about a foot below the surface
of the water (up to 1/2 way to the bottom of the pond depending
on how deep). It might be helpful to use some kind of non-toxic
material as wind protection also.

I have a de-icer on my quarantine pond and this works very well.
I don't need one on the large pond because the filter is always
circulating. Where it returns the water to the pond, the water
never freezes.

==

Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)