July 30, 2015

Today's Pond Q&A

Question #1, Part A:

Hi Carolyn,

First of all, I live in Eastern Idaho. When we moved into our new
house, it had already had a pond with gold fish. However, I took on
the role of taking care of the pond.

First I bought it an "Attraction" Water lily, which came all the
way from Tennessee. Then I bought other various plants. This year,
the attraction lily came back (surprisingly after a very harsh
winter) and is doing extremely well.

There's only one problem (If it is a problem) this year I started
to notice these creatures in the pond. They appear to be long clear
slimy worms that attach themselves to the rocks and the underside
of the lily leaves. I have never seen them swim. The clear little
worms (if they are worms) have white specks inside of them. I have
never seen them move. Even when I take them off the lilies, they
don't move. I have even cut them in half and set them out in the
sun. They don't move. And yet they seem to be appearing all over
the undersides of the lily pads. How they get there if they don't
move, I have no idea.

I would like to know what these are and if they are harmful to the
fish or the plants. I have sent an attachment of what they look
like. I have no idea what they are. I'm pretty sure they aren't
leeches since I'm familiar with what leeches look like and how they
act. If you could provide me with some information, it would be
greatly appreciated!

Answer #1, Part A:

Those aren't worms. Those are egg cases, but I'm not sure whose.
In reading, I thought perhaps snails, but these don't really look
like snails.

I would bring one inside, put in a jar, heat it up on a windowsill
for a couple of days and see what hatches.

The place to find more information is The Water Garden
Encyclopedia, by Greg & Sue Speichert. If you like, I will forward
your photos to Greg for identification. Right now, I am going to
forward it to my work email to see if I can find out more
information. But it is definitely an egg case. And the white
spots are eggs.
- Carolyn Weise

Question #1, Part B:

Thanks for the info! You know, the idea that they were eggs did
cross my mind at some point, but I had no idea, I just thought that
they were some strange pond animals. There's not a single lily that
doesn't have at least two attached to their undersides. So I
started to wonder.

This happened relatively fast I might note as well. A week ago, the
eggs were definitely not there. Every so often they would pop up
here and there attached to rocks and I just ignored them (this is
when I still thought they were some weird pond animal) it wasn't
until today that I noticed that my lily is infested with them.

Now that I think about it, snails do seem like a likely culprit.
Lately it seems as if the snail population has been growing. That's
not a good thing though. They clog the waterfall pump. The annoying
things keep getting caught in the pump and causing the waterfall to
slow down.

Anyway that would be awesome if you could forward those pictures and
have it identified. I just wanted to say now that you mention snails;
it suddenly makes sense that they could be the culprits. I will
definitely try the experiment you suggested. It will be an interesting
project undertake and see what they are!

I have one more question though: If they are snails, are snails
harmful to the lilies? I've always been under the impression that
snails are beneficial to a pond. However, maybe there are some
kinds that are harmful?

And if their population gets out of control, is that a bad thing?
Just a thought, I'm not the expert!

Thanks for your help!

Answer #1, Part B:

I only wish snails were the nice, helpful pond additives they are
supposed to be. Of course, in low numbers they would be, but they
are like algae, they proliferate rapidly and before you know it you
have millions and they are eating the healthy plants instead of
just the dead and dying vegetation.

The way to kill them is with copper (copper sulfate) but that would
kill fish too, so a better way of controlling, although definitely
more laborious (and slower) is to use cabbage leaves.

Spread the cabbage leaves on the pond before you go to bed and
gently collect them in the morning. They will be filled with
snails. If you have fish that like snails, then hopefully they
will be eaten to some degree, but once they are in the pond, you
will never entirely get rid of them.
- Carolyn Weise

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Question #2:  
Hi Carolyn,
I just read in your Q & A about a problem one of your readers has
and I have the same. So I have my Koi and Gold fish in a separate
container with a solution called Copper Safe that a local store
suggested I do, now I'm just wondering how long I have to keep them
in this tub.

The Koi has already jumped out but survived the ordeal. I feel
sorry for them being in such a small enclosure, is this OK?

The Koi has white spots on his head and I was afraid the Goldfish
would develop the same problem.

Does this mean my pond is contaminated now?

Answer #2:
I am not sure what white spots you are talking about. I guess it's
short term memory or something. But if the koi jumped out, it
isn't comfortable in there. And once a koi jumps out and lands on
the ground, if it didn't have parasites before, it definitely has

Parasites and disease do not kill our fish. Stress, rather extreme
stress, at strategic times is what opens them up to parasites and
disease. So, I have to ask what is going on in your pond that
might be creating stress to the fish?

The number one stress inducer is overcrowding followed by improper
feeding. An old friend of mine once said, "The solution to
pollution is dilution." So, if you can't reduce the bioload you
can think about enlarging the water supply. This can be done
through outside means, such as the filter areas, bogs, or the
addition of an upper pond.

If that isn't what is stressing the fish, perhaps you have
marauding raccoons during the night? Or the filter not performing
as needed? Improper diet is a big factor not to be overlooked.

By keeping goldfish with koi you are not doing either fish any
favors. They have different needs and one or the other is not
having their needs met.

During breeding time, male koi will also develop these white nubs
on their face. I hope you aren't treating these as a disease . . .
- Carolyn Weise

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Posted by bfogle at 03:27 AM | Comments (0)