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Pond FAQs, Ask us a question: Crew@WetWebMedia.com
Updated 6/12/2018
To: Pond, Fountains & Water Feature Articles & FAQs Index
 Other Specialized Daily FAQs Blogs: General, Planted Tanks, Freshwater, Brackish, Last Few Days Accrued FAQs, Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: Darrel Barton, Neale Monks, Bob Fenner, are posted here. Moved about, re-organized daily Current Crew Bios., Not so current Crew Bios ____________________________________________________________
Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Effect of salt water on lake animals      6/12/18
We live with a fresh water canal behind our house which empties into a small lake owned by the homeowners ass. We are putting up an above the ground pool and will use a salt water system filter rather than chlorine to keep the water clean. When we have to empty the pool at the end of the
summer, if any of the salt water treated water gets into the canal, will it hurt the fish and turtles? We will be trying to empty it onto our land but wanted to be sure if some got into the canal what effect it would have on the wildlife in the water.
Thank you for your help
Judy Everett
<A matter of relative volumes here; but assuming the canal's is several times that of your pool, all should be fine. All life has a range of tolerance/use of salts (combinations of metals non-metals... I taught
chemistry, physics and life sciences). Some salt is fine. Bob Fenner>

Removing Old Glass Window from Pool (Human Aquarium)     6/6/18
Hello WWM Team -
I know you are mainly about aquariums and not swimming pools, so this is not a typical question. But not every pool has a window in it. I have to say I was inspired to put one in after seeing Harry's Underwater Bar in Hawaii (long since closed).
After reading your posts, it looks like you guys have the expertise to recommend a solution to my problem.
I've attached some photos of the pool window in question.
>Some?//// 28 megs of pix Matt? Why do we ask that folks limit pix to hundreds of Kbytes?<
The current window is approximately 2' x 6' and is comprised of four 1/4" sheets laminated together to made a 1" thick window. It doesn't leak, but there are stress cracks that started to form in the interior layers so I need to replace it. The window sits on a brass plate and rests against a large 2" x 2" solid brass frame with a significant amount of silicone sealing it to the frame (as you can see in the photos).
<Ah yes>
It is important to not damage the brass frame in removing the glass since we would want to use it to mount the replacement window.
<Yes; agreed>
We had the pool tiled after the window went in and you can see that they installed tile on the pool side to frame the window. We have removed the tile to see what we're working with. At this point there is nothing on the pool side of the window that holds it in. Just the silicone seal that runs the width of the brass frame - 2" wide and about 1/8" - 1/4" thick all the way around. Strong stuff to say the least.
What would you suggest I do to break, dissolve or otherwise remove that silicone seal? Heat doesn't seem to be an answer. It seems like an oil-based product would help loosen the seal on the glass side, but getting a sufficient amount worked into it appears to be near impossible.
<Mmm; no solvent will work, and no to heat. What you need, want are sturdy, sharp tools... AND careful use. There are "razor blade" tools that can, will cut the Silicone away from the glass AND brass AND surrounding area. Most all this needs to be cut away to remove the glass, THEN single edged
razorblades (in a holding tool) to remove most all the rest, THEN a solvent (Toluene is my favorite) to remove all the remainder of the olde Silastic>
FYI - Our plan is to replace the broken glass with 1" thick acrylic.
<Okay... 1.5" would be better, deform less... I'd put up a sign on the outside asking folks not to touch (scratch) the acrylic>
Looking forward to hearing back from you. Any help or suggestions are welcome including a company or someone in the Southern California area that may be able to remove it.
<Mmm, there are fabricators that could find you help here. Call Ridout Plastics (www.eplastics.com/‎)  in San Diego and ask them>
Matt B
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

From outside

No fish; pondfish gone       3/28/18
<Howdy Ken>
I wonder if you can help me.
<Hopefully :)>
I have a small pond at the bottom of my garden it is enclosed by trees and hedge.
<How many gallons?>
I have had goldfish that have reproduced so there are quite a few now.
<Goldfish get rather large, just be aware>
Everything has been fine they come up to the surface when I feed them and I put the pond filter with uv lamp on regularly. They survived cold weather but this last week there are no fish! I can't see them at the bottom and
they do not surface for food that is laying on the top not eaten. No dead fish and no half eaten or carcasses on the ground what do you think has happened could you shed some light on this for me.
Ken Jackson
<Ken, it sounds like a predator may have snatched them from the pond. My neighbor has had problems in the past with the eagles and hawks in our area taking fish from the pond. Are you positive that they aren't hiding
somewhere in the pond? They may still be sheltering because of the cold weather. When was the last time you saw them? If they truly are missing and not hiding or dead at the bottom, I would suspect an animal took them and ate them elsewhere since there are no half eaten carcasses as you said. Let us know if you find anything hiding! Cheers, Gabe Walsh>

Help for my Laguna filter      1/7/17
Dear Crew,
I have a 700 gallon stock tank for a few red eared sliders. I have the Laguna Pressure Flo 4000 filter and a Cal Pump T1200.
<Mmmm; yes... for all, here is the pertinent Users Manual:
See towards the end of page 3 and page 4>
I can't close the locking band around the top of my filter without help from a strong person. The top is hard to push down. Is there a trick or some other solution?
<There may be a few things working against you here. The most common are that the seat area on the filter body isn't absolutely clean, the second, "Before applying the lid clamp (O), the lid (G) must be pressed down until the gap between lid and filter case is eliminated. The lid clamp must be latched, with the safety metal lock (Z) inserted correctly inside the latch slot (Fig. 3). "
the last is that the filter body o-ring isn't clean and well lubricated (swimming pool/spa Silicone is best here)>
Also, do I need the UV light?

<It does help with improving water quality, particularly in reducing free-living (floating) algae>
If it just kills the bacteria I've added, can I just not replace it when it burns out?
<It should be replaced per the manufacturer per the number of hours service it has run. The UV lamp will "burn" (show light) when it is beyond its effective life.>
Thank you,
*Lou Anne*
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

You think it might be swim bladder disease?      12/27/17
Hello. I have a 765 gallon pond with 10 adult goldfish and 5 tiny fry in it. I am trying to determine if one of my fish has a swim bladder disease problem.
<I'm a skeptic with regard to "swim bladder disease". Let's be clear, it's a symptom, and not a specific disease. It's not like a healthy fish is swimming about one day, gets infected with some type of bacteria, and that bacteria zips its way straight to the swim bladder, puffing it up and causing the fish to die! When most aquarists mention "swim bladder disease" what they mean is "my fish was fine before, but now it's swollen and swimming upside-down" -- a much different thing! Assuming the fish was healthy before, there's two main reasons for fish being both swollen and swimming upside-down. The first is constipation. Let me direct you to some reading here:
This is rare in pond fish because these fish consume green foods and algae naturally, keeping their digestive tracts in good health. The second cause is a systemic bacteria infection, of the sort often called Dropsy.
Crucially, as well as looking bloated, the scales on the fish will tend become raised from body, causing a "pine-cone" appearance when viewed from above. Fish with Dropsy will often also be lethargic and off their food,
whereas fish with constipation will be swimming about normally and eating normally. Systemic bacterial infections are usually caused by some sort of environmental stress, such as poor water quality or chilling, though I suppose it's possible bad luck or bad genes can play a role too. Fancy Goldfish in particular are sensitive to water temperatures much below 15 C/59 F.>7
The fish is a white Oranda. It has always stood on its head when feeding.
Here is a photo of the fish doing that. Sorry about the fuzzy quality. Here is another photo of the same fish swimming normally just the other day. She was feeding normally when I was feeding during the fall. But today my
father found her swimming upside down. She righted herself and swam away alright. But I am wondering, if it is swim bladder disease, should I take it out of the pond? Or should I let it continue to live in the pond where it has more room to swim and companions?
<Systemic bacterial infections are best treated indoors in a tank, using some sort of antibiotic. While Goldfish are social, they're fine on their own for a few weeks. This time of year be careful about moving fish between
ponds and tanks -- sudden temperature changes of more than a couple of degrees will be stressful, so you really want to fill the tank with pond water, set it up somewhere cool like a garage, and then put the Goldfish in so that any temperature changes are slight and gradual. As always, remember water quality in the hospital tank needs to be good, and remove carbon from the filter (if you use carbon) while medicating.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease?      12/28/17
Thank you Neal. This is not my first time with swim bladder issues in my fish. I had one with genetic swim bladder disease years ago. She was fine, no dropsy, swam and ate normally. But when she would rest she would always turn upside down and float. She would right herself to eat and swim. But it was definitely not constipation.
<Genetic problems with swim bladders are very common in 'fancy' (i.e., inbred) varieties of fish. We sometimes call these fish "belly sliders" when they're newly hatched because they slide about the bottom of the tank on their bellies, rather than swimming normally like healthy fish fry. Ethical breeders will usually (humanely) destroy such fish, eliminating the faulty genes responsible from the gene pool, so that fewer fish in subsequent have the problem. Of course such fish can make perfectly serviceable pets, as yours seems to have done, but because these fish can't swim, feed, and interact socially in the normal ways, their long term wellbeing isn't assured.>
The disease eventually caused her to stop eating and she passed away. But she was a great and beautiful fancy goldfish while I had her. But I am wondering if my white Oranda might be developing it. It has always kind of stood on its head when feeding actively at the bottom of the pond. Do you think this head-standing is the start of a swim bladder disease problem?
<Possibly. As I say, genetic problems are usually obvious from birth. It's rather uncommon for genetics to explain how a fish can mature across, say, twelve months and go from being a perfectly healthy baby Goldfish into one that cannot swim at all. Of course it's not impossible, especially if some additional factor, such as vitamin deficiency or exposure to Mycobacteria are brought into the equation. Still, because fancy Goldfish have deformed swim bladders and spines, they are especially prone to swimming imbalances, not least of all when constipated (the solid mass of food shifts their centre of mass, so that they no longer balance as they should). That's why, by default, a 'floaty, Bloaty' Goldfish can be assumed to be constipated first, unless other obvious symptoms, such as bleeding sores on the skin and/or fins, imply something other than constipation.>
I can’t feed the afflicted fish right now and have not fed my fish in two weeks because the pond is in winter mode now and I am not supposed to feed them in winter.
<Quite right; hence, bringing Goldfish indoors for any treatment that requires feeding. I will observe that as a general rule fancy Goldfish are not well suited to overwintering outdoors where the water drops much below, say, 15 C/59 F, and I'd argue they're indoor fish unless you happen to live somewhere that winters happen to be mild (southern California, for example). Here in the UK, where ponds do ice over, it's generally considered safe enough leaving the hardy fancy varieties (such as Fantails) outside, but the more delicate varieties (like Pearlscales) are meant to be brought indoors for winter. Exposure to low temperatures causes a number of problems for fancy varieties of Goldfish, including a tendency towards bacterial infections once their immune systems become suppressed. Also, because fancy Goldfish have those deformed digestive tracts, if the gut hasn't been completely cleared out by the time it gets really wintery, there's a greater risk of undigested food 'sitting there' and causing problems when they're compared to their non-fancy cousins.>
So I don’t really think it is likely constipation related. And it’s definitely not dropsy related. Only conclusion I can make is that if it is swim bladder problems it might be genetic like my previous fish with swim bladder problems.
<As I say, possible, but if your Goldfish is 'floaty, Bloaty' completely out of the blue, I'd be thinking more about environment than genes.>
I just need some expert advice as I am not an expert.
<Let's see what Bob F has to say, he's the real fancy Goldfish guy around here!>
Thank you so much for your help.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease? (RMF, second opinion please!!!)      12/29/17
Thank you Neal. I have been forbidden from keeping fish inside the house or anywhere but the pond. But the fish has not had a repeat of its upside down incident yet. Thank goodness. Thank you for your help and advice.
<Most welcome, and good luck! Neale.>
<<I'd have you re-read Sabrina's piece on "floaty Bloaty" goldfish...
Treatments for this genetic and often nutrition/food related syndrome are best done in temperature controlled aquariums, but you can likely do good by stopping feeding altogether (See, as in READ re pondfish feeding on WWM); as the water temp. is likely too low to allow digestion this time of year.
IF you'd like to try administering Epsom Salt to the pond en toto this may aid recovery as well. Bob Fenner>>

Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease? (RMF, second opinion please!!!)   12/30/17
Thank you Bob.
Camron Buxton
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease? (RMF, second opinion please!!!)      12/31/17
He is doing his headstands again. He definitely seems to have a swim bladder problem. But how do I treat for the bacteria in my pond when I have no other real place to put them? Would the Epsom salt treat for the bacteria?
<Please re-re-read where you've been referred. B>

Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease?     1/1/18
Thank you Bob.
Camron Buxton
<What do you gain from understanding Sabrina's article? B>
Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease?      1/1/18

What do I gain? Well, understand what the problem is a bit better. But I am having a little trouble clarifying the treatment in regards to ponds. Should I use Epsom salt in my pond like I would in an aquarium?
<You could. MgSO4 is very safe... and effective for what it does>
I think I ought to mention my fish has had this head standing issue for longer than 6 months.
And he has done this ever since I got him. Only now he is losing more of his balance. And I did have a goldfish with a genetic swim bladder disease once before years ago. But I kept that one in a tank not a pond. My current fish is stuck in the pond. I have no where else to put him. This is why I am asking if I should treat the whole pond. What are your thoughts on what I should do?
<T'were it me/mine; I'd stop feeding period as I've mentioned, and possibly go the Epsom route. B>
Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease?      1/1/18

Cool. Thank you so much Bob. It is much appreciated.

Re: Me again on the Oranda with swim bladder problem     1/7/17
Thank you Neal! :) I will continue to try out the Epsom salt baths for a few weeks. Around perhaps 3 weeks sound good to you?
<Sure, but provided the fish shows signs of improvement, and it's able to swim and feed, I'd be prepared to go on as long as it takes.>
And I was definitely not referring to using Epsom salt to euthanize my fish. I was just asking if you thought I should euthanize him.
And you answered my question beautifully. Thank you so much for all the help both you and Bob have been giving me. And your patience has been a godsend. Thank you so much! I will let you know if he gets any better.
Thank you. :)
<Most welcome, and thank you for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

goldfish breeding...and breeding       11/5/17
I have an 8' by 12' by 4' deep pond. I stocked it with 3 pet store variety goldfish this past May and now I have approximately 50 fish!
Will goldfish breed to the volume the pond can bare or will I have 300 fish next Spring and so on and so on?
<Likely you will have more next season... the one after? Not so many more.
A bit of Malthusian experience coming your way. A useful lesson for humans>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re[2]: goldfish breeding...and breeding

Thanks for your prompt reply!
I thought that might be the case, along the lines of goldfish growing to the size of their environment.
<Ah yes>
<Welcome. BobF>

2 male koi found dead in pond in the AM the rest (6) are healthy    9/1/17
Can’t figure out the cause for 2 of my male Koi dying. One I have had for 25 years and weighed close to 6# and 2 ft long.. The other was a 4 year old about 10 inches long. All the fish were fine the night before. ( I did a 1/6 water exchange for my 2800 gal pond) I found them dead in the AM. All the rest (6 koi and 5 goldfish) are totally normal with no signs of stress. What could have happened?
Thanks for your time
Elaine Brown
<Can only speculate, but have seen occasional anomalous deaths (male and female) from no apparent cause. Have you inspected the bodies thoroughly? No predators at play here? Could be simple coincidence that you lost two (and males); differing sizes imply varying tolerances to such phenomena as dissolved oxygen... and sexual behavior? Doesn't really occur in the dark with these minnow fishes. Did the water change somehow induce some overwhelming stress here? Bob Fenner>
Re: 2 male koi found dead in pond in the AM the rest (6) are healthy    9/1/17

After eliminating several causes, I believe it was caused by them eating the roots of a Calla Lily plant that has been in the pond for years, but the roots were exposed when a large rock surrounding them fell in the pond a few days before, and when I added the water they were assessable to them. Thinking they were poisoned...
<Interesting. But not the other koi and goldfish? BobF>

Shubunkin    7/24/17
Good afternoon Crew!
I have a garden pond with two generations of Shubunkins in and I've today noticed that one of them has a 'sac' between it's anal fin and caudal fin - it looks like it's full of a creamy type pus with a few reddish streaks in it, a bit ghastly looking!! The fish itself is swimming and eating ok but I'm worried that it's suffering - do you know what this might be and what I can do for it please?
<Have seen these growths many times. Most are not debilitating, and though some folks treat, even attempt surgeries to remove/excise them, I would not. Often they disappear on their own>
Thank you for your help!
Kind regards,
Maria Maxworthy
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Ulcer on 2 inch koi    7/17/17
I have a baby koi in a fairly new pond who has an ulcer on him. I noticed the ulcer about 4 days ok. The only thing I was able to find locally was Melafix,
<Mmm; search WWM re this plant extract. Of no real use; may be detrimental to water quality>

so I immediately started treating with that while I waited on some Aqua Prazi to arrive.
<... Praziquantel? Do you suspect this is a worm involvement?>

I now have the Aqua Prazi after using the Melafix for 3 days. Can I use the Aqua Prazi now, or do I need to wait since I treated with Melafix?
<I wouldn't use either>

The ulcer is not getting better, and the baby koi is not as active as he was a couple days ago. I tested my water levels and they checked out fine.
<... need values, not opinions>
I will try and get a picture for you. I really appreciate your help. I have had koi for a couple years, but never have had any problems, so I am kind of lost. Thank you very much.
<Can you send along a well-resolved pic of the sore? Is it emarginated?
Your small Koi may have (had) a simple mechanical injury; the sore resultant from the trauma. Perhaps there is/are bacteria here as cause or result. Am asking you to read here:
and the Related FAQs file linked above. Does your fish's sore look like this?
Bob Fenner>

fiberglass on top of rubber liner for a pond?     7/8/17
Hello and HELP! We recently had a “pond” built in our back yard. I put pond in quotes because it is more of a reflecting pool than a pond (see photos).
<A very nice job>
It is 2 feet deep, no fish or plants, and has a rubber pond liner with 3 jets and 4 lights in the pond walls.
<Is it not to be biological? Id est, not have life in it?>
We are not happy with the rubber liner for a few reasons:
While not leaking or causing any problems, the rubber liner has wrinkles along the walls and in the corners and doesn’t have the sleek contemporary look we were told by the contractor that it would have once finished
<Mmm; this appearance is really difficult to achieve with liners, particularly the thicker butyl rubber>

We have black rocks in the bottom of the pond (to help hide the ugly rubber liner) but cleaning the pond is impossible with the many acorns, heavy tree/plant pollen, etc. sitting between and underneath the rocks.
<Ah yes... have to drain, remove the rock really to clean. Been there, did this for several years commercially>
Even when the pond is drained you have to hand pick out the acorns and small debris from between/under the rocks, which is no small/easy feat.
We’ve been told that fiberglass can be sprayed over the existing liner to give a smooth surface, but I haven’t found any information about that process online (much less identified anyone locally that could do it).
<Mmm; I wouldn't do this... the fiberglass will not last, and is toxic in the short term and a real mess to remove,
fix... IF you must have a smooth surface, DO look into having a "cement plaster coat" (much the same as swimming pools) applied, likely with some reinforcing mesh (chicken or stucco wire is what we used to use)... Dark color/oxide can be added to the "plaster", and it can be smooth troweled... >
We’ve considered just taking the rocks out of the bottom of the pond to make cleaning easier, but have been told that the rocks might be needed to help weigh the liner down or it could end up looking even messier/less formed without the rocks.
1. Can you “spray” fiberglass over the existing rubber liner of a pond and, if so, how likely is it that you will end up with a pond that has smooth surfaces and not look like a mess?
<There are free-standing (pre-fab) fiberglass ponds, and folks who have done "chop" and layered fiberglass (and resin) basins, and leak repair tries. Our company's had a good deal of experience with removing these>
2. Any other ideas on how to manage or change the liner to make it easier to keep clean and look smooth without completely rebuilding the pond?
<As stated above. See WWM (the Pond SubWeb) and/or my books on water features (avail. on Amazon) for much more>
3. Any other ideas for what to do about the bottom of the rubber liner other than rocks to make it easy to keep clean yet look good?
<You may not like this... but adding a dye to the water is about all the alternative I'd consider>
Thanks! Tony Meyer
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

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