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     Holy Heron Crap Batman...


Hi Friend,

Here is today's Pond Q&A, with some interesting readers comments but first, I have a hair-raising story to tell you of my own.

This morning, around 11:30 AM (I'm known for getting up at the crack of noon on weekends) I'm having breakfast with my girlfriend and an old friend from out of town, when I see a big white blur fly by one of my windows!

Not realizing what it was, but fearing the worst - I run over to the windows ... and guess what I saw?

I giant White Heron had swooped in from the sky, and was quietly stalking my prize koi collection - apparently looking for some breakfast of his own.

Now for those of you not familiar with Herons (Great Blue Heron and the Great White Heron), they are notorious predators of fish and koi ponds. A heron can gobble down a 12"-14" koi in a matter of seconds, and be gone before you know it.

I'll never forget the one time a customer of mine years ago, returned to my store a week after buying up $1000 of my best Imported Israeli KOI - and almost had tears in his eyes as he recounted how he came out one day to see a Heron polishing off the last of his new fish! Talk about an expensive sushi bill.

But back to my story...

Let's just say that you've never seen a white boy run so fast, without a seconds delay, I ran outside clapping my hands and shouting at this monstrous bird, letting him know he was 'NOT WELCOME!' Not being terribly aggressive birds, he flew up into the sky, as I stood there in almost disbelief at his gigantic, almost pre-historic appearance and giant wingspan.

If I had not been at the right place at the right time - I might just as easily come out to an empty pond...

I also couldn't help but glance over at my Heron decoy, with my worst look of disgust at his lack of usefulness this morning...

So, to make a long story short, I finally broke out the Scarecrow automatic sprinkler decoy I had conveniently boxed up inside, and installed it without delay!

Here are some pictures of this very cool new product: http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/my-scarecrow.shtml

===

Now on to our readers comments:

Question>

"Hi,

Our pond has been visited by a number of birds, egrets, blue herons and the occasional raccoon. We keep it netted and have not lost a fish.

Plus it keeps the leaves out. I also wanted to tell you how we have been winterizing our pond. When it starts to get in the 30's I disconnect my filter, clean it and store it in the shed.

We run a hose from my pump to the side of the pond near the surface of the water. This keeps part of the pond ice free. We have not lost any fish doing this.

I really don't think it matters to the cold blooded fish that I am circulating the water and maybe making the bottom of the pond a few degrees colder."

Rich and Patti Grimes

===

Hi,

Thanks for the tips, use whatever works for you...

Sure, you can use netting, but in my opinion - it really takes away from the appearance of the pond. I netted my pond once, but couldn't stand how un-natural it looked, so I immediately pulled it out and put in a decoy instead.

As far as circulating the water during winter, it won't directly hurt the fish - but it will drop the temperatures vs. preserving the thermal layers of the pond.

===

Question>

"I have a small pond (400 gallons), and because of the surrounding vegetation, I get debris sinking to the bottom of the pond. Putting your hand in the water to try to get it out only disturbs it more, making it impossible to remove.

Any suggestions? Is there some sort of bottom vacuum I can purchase in order to alleviate the problem?"

Thanks,

Doug

===

Answer>

Hi Doug,

Try to remove as much debris and organic matter as you can, as it will only start to decay during winter, giving of potentially toxic gasses.

Net out what you can, and don't worry about stirring up the pond - it will settle out again. For an ongoing solution, we like a product called Microbe Lift very much. It adds live naturally occurring beneficial bacteria that will start to dissolve and digest any organic matter in the pond, from sludge to leaves to fish waste..

Fore more information about Microbe Lift, and their line of microbial products, please click here:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/microbe-lift

Sure, there are also various vacuum systems you can buy, but I've found that most are difficult to use, clog easily, and waste a lot of water.

However, here is an inexpensive hand operated (non-electrical) pond-vac you can try:

Hozelock Cypri-Vac:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/Cypri_Vac.shtml

Hope this helps..

===

 
 
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