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FAQs on Pond Pests & Predators

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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>

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>

Deer Vs, Water Lily     3/18/17
Greeting WetWebMedia Crew, I'm currently moving to a new property and am transporting a fairly water lily collection over. I've been told by previous owner they have a fair amount of axis deer moving thru property.
Do have any predictions on how the water lilies will fair. The house actually has 2 in-ground ponds and I'm moving some above ground stock tanks over. Do you think the deer will be very attracted to the water lilies or do they have a chance of co-existing without netting and/or fencing?
Thank You
<Mmm; Axis deer will eat water lilies. Whether yours are attractive to this particular bunch though remains to be seen. You'll definitely notice in both cases. Bob Fenner>
Re: Deer Vs, Water Lily      3/19/17
Thank you for reply Bob. I actually dropped off a few stock tanks with water lilies yesterday and wont be back for a few days. I'm hoping once my dogs move onto property they should keep the deer away but in the mean
time, I'm a bit worried. I'll keep you posted with any developments. Thanks for the great site.
<Am with you. Had the local deer eating my Avocado tree leaves... tried the wolf pee product, shiny ornaments... Finally fashioned four by welded wire (for driveways) around them. Then the price of water quadrupled!!! BobF>

Orfe; missing         8/15/15
We found 5 baby Orfe in pond we took them out and put them in there own box, we had a wire over the top but 4 of them disappeared and we don't know how, we have one left he is on his own and still going but this has us baffled, do you have any suggestions were they could have gone x
<Well; these fish can "jump" out.... and/or possibly an animal (cat?) has gotten to them. Bob Fenner>

Fish pond dilemma. Myst. koi pred.       5/13/15
Hi guys
I am writing to you for advise as I have no idea who else my have answers for me.
I live in Mallorca, Spain, not many people here keep fish so no real help at hand. I have had ponds n fish for many years and I have a problem I never witnessed before.
I moved to a new house with a new pond
<Whoa.... is the mode of construction, filtration... of import here?>
I have built approx 2 months ago. On Saturday morning, when I got up at 7am I noticed 2 dead koi in the middle of my lawn.
<Oh! Likely not>
Too far away to have jumped and also I noticed between the 2 fish blobs of bird poo.

My question is this, what other type of bird takes fish and doesn't eat them?
<Mmm; could be quite a few... Herons mostly... could be fished them out and could not fit down throat... perhaps whatever it was, was scared off during the act>
It's not a heron as this is not the time of year and I know herons don't leave fish behind?
<Not usually; no>
I thought seagull???
<How large were these koi?>
They are bandits maybe they can dive to take the fish but the fish were too big to take away or eat??
<Perhaps two-legged>
I got up early the next day, nothing happened , the same the next.
Today, I got up and found 2 more dead fish unmarked except for a bloody fin and another dead fish in the street!?
<Oh! Other animals... do you have skunks, other varmints thereabouts?>
What can you think of that takes fish out but leaves them?
I still am prone to think seagull? But we also have several birds of prey around.
Sadly, the pond is in the sun
<See WWM re... netting, wires above. READ: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdpestspreds.htm
and the linked files above>
and the water is very green
<And this too: Algae Control for Ponds>

so I am unable to see how many are missing. I need to ship in new parts to create better filtration and will also put a shade to resolve the green water.
<Ah yes>
Anyway, I am moving away from my question, pests that behave this way, definitely a bird, any thoughts ??
<The reading. Bob Fenner>
Best wishes
Re: Fish pond dilemma        5/14/15

Thanks for your thoughts. No other types of 4 legged things here that raid ponds.
<... not dogs, cats?>
Definitely some type of bird.
<Well; there are others... sea eagles, other raptors.... I'd be looking at ref. works for Espana... asking the "fish and game" there re>
It's happening after midnight and before 6.30am. Herons wouldn't normally leave the koi behind n they don't have any tell tale spear marks on them.
I have spent the afternoon draining my pond n had a headcount and no fish are missing.? So, I have 5 fish taken out my pond on 2 separate occasions n not eaten or taken away????
Koi are not huge , small enough for a heron to swallow in one go. 30-70cm long I guess most of them.
I am baffled.
It's a bird because of the Poo at the scene of the crime!
I will have to net it which seems crazy as here we have heron issue in winter but never now. Already it's very hot here 88 degrees today and the herons have an abundance of fish to eat away from residential areas. I net it always Jan n Feb. until mid March.
This house is more exposed so pond more visible I don't know what to think.
Now I just need to tackle the green water!!
<Your answers are archived on WWM re. BobF>

Pond Stocking Recommendation      10/27/14
Greetings Crew, I'm stocking a 3 million gallon reservoir with mosquito fish Gambusia affinis. How many fish would you recommend stocking?
Thank you so much for your help. Aloha Brandon
<Mmm... likely a few to several hundred "will do it" here; with good conditions providing for rapid live-bearing increase.
Do ask help from the D/BLNR or vector control... they likely have a ready stock for free.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond Stocking Recommendation      10/27/14
I forgot to mention, the surface area is 80,000sf and 6ft deep. Thanks again I do appreciate it.
<Well... a few thousand if you can get them cheap or free. Take care to not introduce unwanteds... Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond Stocking Recommendation      10/27/14

Thank you Bob you the quick reply. I do have another question. I have a fair amount of toad eggs. I've heard they are poisonous to fish and most fish learn to not eat them. Is there any fish or invertebrate that could
safely consume the eggs.
Thanks again.
<Mmm; you're in Hawaii right? DO contact the Bureau of Land and Natural Resources.
I don't want to get you in trouble. BobF>
Re: Pond Stocking Recommendation      10/27/14

Unfortunately, DLNR didn't have any suggestions on tadpole removal, except for manual removal. I'm a little confused as to how you could be getting me in trouble. I would not able to import fish/inverts that aren't conditionally approved. If you could shed some light on the subject, it would be appreciated. Thanks for your time.
<Mmm; well... our old service company (Aquatic Life Services) did lake management as well as ornamental basins, fountains... I was the qualifier for the Pest Control Adviser and Applicator licenses... First, my carte blanche suggestion: Just leave the tadpoles be... dealing with them biologically or chemically entails more problems than it's worth. B>
Re: Pond Stocking Recommendation      10/28/14

Thanks again Bob. I thought you had a secret biological control, you didn't want to reveal, haha.
<There is none as far as I'm aware>
I was considering stocking Dojos, to at least compete with tadpoles(these are marine toads) and limit numbers that way. I have heard reports through out the state of toad invasions, the dry weather maybe a factor. By the way this isn't my pond, I'm stocking it for some else. I can't thank you enough for all the info over the years. You have a lot of good karma coming your way. Best of luck. Brandon
<And you, B> 

What is this?       10/2/14
Found this in my pond today.
Photo below.
It was about 1/2 of an inch long. I know it is a larva of some kind. Looks like it could be dangerous to fish. Any idea what species it could be?
Thank you.
<An insect larva of some sort. See WWM re freshwater insects. Bob Fenner>

Re: What is this? #2       10/2/14
I did some research. It appears I have a diving beetle larva of some kind.
<Could well be. Need better pic/pix; esp. of the head region>
It had a head just like a diving beetle larva. We do have small diving beetle species here in Arizona. A newly hatched goldfish fry might have something to fear from them. But would an older 1 inch fry have anything to worry about?
<I don't think the beetle could damage or consume a fish of this size; but it might try if hungry. I'd remove the beetle larvae during regular maintenance>
Thank you.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: What is this? #2      2/3/14
I cannot get a better shot of it. I killed it out of fear it might harm my fish. Thank you for your advice. If I see anymore I will remove them as advised. :)
<Real good. B>

HELP NEEDED BADLY! Pond predation     10/1/14
I have a 1,000 gallon Koi pond in my back yard. I have had it for 8 years.
I have a fence surrounding my small property and all obvious entrances into the yard have been barred.
The last 2 years, I have been attacked by various critters and my fish eaten.
The first year, a mink took out 12 of my 15 fish. The second year, I bought 3 more fish. That same year, all 7 were taken. I now have no fish in my Koi pond.
I have tried many ways to keep the predators out. Paying big bucks for netting that was supposed to be predator proof, only to find out that they can easily rip holes in it and get in to feast.
I have installed night guard eyes that flash to help keep them at bay, but they don't work when the night time passes and mink or other predators don't care whether it's night or day.
I have put up whirly gigs to twirl and hopefully scare them. I have put down Coyote pee, I installed a have a heart trap and caught one mink, but now what ever else is out there won't go near the trap. They actually
chewed a hole in the net right next to the trap.
I am now not sure I want to go through the heartbreak again of stocking my Koi pond just to supply food for the local wild life.
Do you or any of your pond owners have any ideas for me before I take the whole thing out and plant flowers?
<Yes... an electrical fence and motion-activated lights.... Please read

and the linked FAQs file above>
Please try to get me some answers. Many thanks.
<Don't give up hope. Bob Fenner>
Re: HELP NEEDED BADLY!       10/2/14

I went there, but don't see a link to the electric fence? Help?
<Ahh; a short one strung about the pond... As here:
Re: HELP NEEDED BADLY!       10/2/14

Thanks I got it!
<There are a few possibilities... use your search tool on the Net with the string: Pond electrical fence

Help with Problem Bees at pond     7/24/14
We have a pond with a bee problem. They gather every day at our pond to drink. Stung a member of my family the other day. The problem here is we cannot spray with pesticide because of the fish living in the pond. Do you have any ideas on how i can drive them off?
<Best to place pans of water for the bees to use... near the limits of the property. Bob Fenner>
Bee repellants, smoke, water? Anything nontoxic that might help? Any help here would be appreciated. I also e-mailed a beekeeper, but they have no responded yet. Thank you.

Bird Bathers in My Pond     4/28/14
Would birds bathing in my pond stress my comet goldfish enough to prevent them from eating?
Would bathing birds harm my pond?
How do I keep birds out of my pond?
Thank you.
<Search WWM re Birds, Ponds>

Worm that is eating my water lily      8/14/12
Many thanks for considering this. My water lily is full of holes and, on inspection, I saw thin white worms (almost invisible) on both pad surfaces.
I also noticed them crawling around the edges of the pond close to the surface of my half-barrel pond. They appear to hide in the gaps between the boards of the barrel. They crawl surprisingly quickly.
<Mmm, insect larvae of some sort... are there any adults flying about?>
They are up to 1/4 cm in length. On closer inspection they have forked 'tails' that they appear to paddle with. They have dark heads (possibly red) and a pattern in the same colour on midsection of the upper surface of their white bodies.
I have attached a couple of photos.
I'm very curious to know what they are and what to do to protect my water lilies from being destroyed (over 2/3 of the pads have been eaten).
Many thanks
Mark Allen
<The safest approach is simply to rely on blasting them off early mornings with garden hose/water... and relying on fishes in your system to eat them (platies, American Flagfish, smaller goldfish, Koi)... Up from this are oil (only) sprays like Volck... Search WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Re: Worm that is eating my water lily      8/14/12
I have found it impossible to identify a curious floating entity on my pond. They float around the pond edge, at the base of my reed mace and around the edges of lily pads. They resemble miniature, grey curling leaves.
<Pupae cocoons... after the flies have flown>
On closer inspection they are segmented. When I looked into the pond last night with a torch I was surprised to find white ones floating on the pond (or were they reflecting the light? I'll have to check that one out).
<White ones are newer, still have larvae in them>
I have never seen them change. They crumble or break up if touched.
Perhaps they are clusters of eggs? There is nothing I can find online about these but I have lots of them.
Any ideas?
<Same resp. as last time. BobF>

Pond predator... not bird, snake or turtle... Mammal 12/21/11
I have an outdoor pond in South Florida (about 3,000 gallons) and recently I have been discovering dead fish laying outside of the pond with the head only eaten away.
This was no big deal because I had given up having "pricy" fish years ago because of the large bird population here; now only el-cheapo goldfish. But now my 8 year old gold fish "Tank" that was the lone survivor of hurricane Wilma was found this morning dead with his head missing. The thing of it is that Tank must have weighed in around 2+ pounds. I just can't get my head around a raccoon being able to swim into the pond, tackle a 2 pound fish, drag it about 10 yards away then dispose of it. Is this possible
<Oh yes>

or is there another predator that could be lurking in my yard?
<Could be other>
I have seen large possums, but I pose the same question here. THIS IS WAR!
<Electrical wire about the edge, perhaps a motion detector rigged to a barking dog recorder... Some of this gear can be found, purchased on-line>
I'm getting ready to completely re-construct my pond with all new equipment, so maybe this is the time to install some type of device that will keep the mystery predator out.
Thanks for your help.
Jane LeGette
<Welcome and sorry to realize your losses. Bob Fenner>

My new pond, predators 9/21/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I am new to having a Koi pond, and have been doing well, but something has started messing with it. A few days ago the pump was taken apart and not working. A today there were several large rocks that had been thrown into the middle. I retrieved the rocks using my skimmer to drag them to the side then lugging them out. My fish are (understandably) traumatized now, but none of them seem to be hurt or missing. Is it possible for raccoons to move rocks or would they pop open a pump and toss it back?
I'm very confused.
<Raccoons with very often drag things out of the pond while foraging, although taking a mechanical thing apart while it's humming and vibrating is certainly unusual. My first thought was to suggest something else, until you said rocks pushed INTO the pond which is very typically something raccoons will do.>
<You don't say how big your pond is, so I'm not able to offer any concrete suggestions. I have a small-ish turtle pond, which I simply cover with a chicken wire top in the evenings. My Koi pond is too large for that, so what I periodically do is set out a live animal (Have-a-hart) trap and catch whatever raccoon or possum has been foraging lately.>
<There are many other things that can be done. There are motion-detector sprinkler systems that can be implemented, noise makers, etc. If you go to our main page and to the Search Box at the bottom & type raccoon+pond you will find many articles with many suggestions. Here is one article:
www.wetwebmedia.com/pondsubwebindex/pdpestpredfaqs.htm >
Thanks very much. ~Phoebe

Injured Goldfish in my pond 8/8/11
Hi there. I hope you can help. I have a goldfish that is missing one eye.
I don't know if a bird got her or what, although there has been an over-abundance of bird traffic around our pond this summer (we're in Dallas, Texas and its been over 100 degrees everyday). Anyway, she's
hiding behind some rocks, but I noticed the other fish are attacking her.
Any suggestions on how to save her?
<A good idea to separate... Maybe even in a fish tank if you have a suitable one. If not available, perhaps a floating plastic perforated waste basket or laundry...>
I'm afraid they will kill her in the middle of the night while we're sleeping.
<Usually all such behavior ceases w/ sundown>
Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you in advance.
Re: Injured Goldfish in my pond 8/9/11
Thank you! We found some mesh wiring and cordoned off an area for her.
<Ah, good>
We will see how she does. Should I add some salt to speed up the healing process or just leave her alone? Thanks again!
<"Some" rock salt might be efficacious. Please review Neale's article here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
Bob Fenner
Re: Injured Goldfish in my pond 8/9/11
Thank you so much!
<Welcome! B>

fish cave idea /pondfish 7/16/11
Hi Bob:
<Howdy Marc>
I came across your great site when looking for some pond answers and got them.
I wanted to pass along a tip for providing shelter from birds and other predators. It may not be an original idea, but what I did was go to Fleet Farm (a Midwest chain of agricultural supplies and so much more) and bought a coupling for drain tile. Most people are familiar with the 3 inch or 4 inch flexible ribbed plastic pipe for drainage around a house. The coupling I bought is meant to join two sections of 24 inch drain tile used on farm fields!
<Ah yes; to provide drainage>
The coupling is like a 2 foot length of pipe, only joined on one edge by a hinge, and open on the other so it looks like a black cylindrical clam shell with open sides. I cut the hinge so I now had two half pipe pieces. I overlapped the ribs by about 10 inches, then drilled some holes so I could cable-tie the two sections together. I then used a larger drill bit to put a variety of holes for water to flow through (5/8" drill bit). Last, I sanded off any sharp edges. The weight of this Quonset hut means it doesn't need anything additional to keep it on the bottom. I put it in the deep end, and my fish love going through it. If a predator ever came, there is enough room for them, and as I add more fish, I can "expand" the hut. The best part is that it is black, and blends in with the bottom of the pond.
Just wanted to pass it along to you, because you seem to be a real helpful pond guy, and we need more of those.
Marc Daniloff
<Thank you for sharing your idea, reinforcing the need for protection of pond fishes from predators. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Goldfish attacked by birds 5/3/11
I have a large Comet which was taken out of my pond by a bird and dropped in dirt. I have put it back in the pond and it is moving around, but it has a lot of dirt stuck on it. Do I need to get the dirt off or will I do more damage?
<I would leave this fish be... the dirt will come off of its own accord.
Please read here:
Bob Fenner>

Unknown "growth" on Koi's back 2/24/11
Hi Bob,
<Hey Johnny!>
I was wondering if you can identify this growth on the back of this Koi (I don't know if you can make it out in the picture attached)?
<A goldfish actually, on its way to becoming a raptor meal it looks like>
I don't think it's Ich?
Just thought you would appreciate (not enjoy) this picture from today's paper. Poor guy (Koi) looks slightly bemused!
Best Regards,
<And you, BobF>

Pond predators... no marks... maybe not 8/11/10
Hi, I have a predator that is taking fish out of the pond, but not eating them. I have found two of my larger comets lying on the grass a foot or so from the pond's edge with no apparent damage from teeth, beaks or claws.
Are my fish jumping out on their own?
<Very likely so... tis the season for such exuberance ala reproductive behavior. I'd lower the water level several inches if you can, or put up a small perimeter fence to help them bounce back in. Bob Fenner>
Thanks Ron Norris, Litchfield IL

Bird predators, pond, reading 4/19/10
I have had an Egret and now a herons visit my pond several times a day.
Last year it was a white egret. Since the fall and through the winter I have had a heron visiting sometimes twice a day. What can I do to discourage them from returning?
Joanne Spatola
<Mmm, a few things. Read here:
and the linked article above. Bob Fenner>

Pond fish injured by a bird 3/11/10
Hi, I have a pond outside that is about 200gallons, I have one 2 year old goldfish and 4 others. The two year old is almost 8 inches long and has found a way to stay clear of great white heron attacks while others have perished.
<Must be fast, smart>
Today I went outside to feed then and saw the great white in the back yard. There were a number of scales scattered around and I saw the big fish still alive hiding under a rock inside the pond, I put my hand in the water and he moved around, clearly scared and injured. There are scales missing on both sides of his body as if the bird grabbed him and he got away. I was wondering if there was anything that I can put into the pond to help him heal and not get sicker.
<Perhaps a bit of salt. Please read here:
The other fish, although hiding, seem to be fine and come out when I open the screen door to bring them food.
This happened to one of the other fish abut 6 months ago, but not to this severity, and he is fine now. Do I do anything or just hope for the best and let nature run the course?
<I would do more than just let anything run its course here... There are screen mesh covers that can be devised to keep out predatory birds, and underwater supported covers that your fish can/will learn to hide under... if there's time. Please read here:
and the linked, Related FAQs file in series above>
I appreciate you taking the time to read this email.
Best Regards,
Dorrie Lussier
<Thank you for caring and sharing. Bob Fenner>

Leeches in my Pond -- 01/13/2010
Good Afternoon,
<Howdy from not so-sunny (today) S. Cal.>
I live in Maryland and have a 6000 gallon Koi pond. This fall when cleaning my pond, I found many small leaches under some of the plants and stuck to the liner. Is this something to be concerned about? If so, how should I treat the problem ?
Thank you,
<Mmm, maybe... Have you seen any of these on your fishes (or other animal life, e.g. turtles if you have them)? If not, I would not "go overboard" with treatment/eradication effort here. IF so, there are Anthelminthics that can be employed. Please read here re:
Bob Fenner>
Re: Leeches in my Pond -- 01/14/2010
Good Morning,
Thank you for your quick reply. I have not seen any of the leaches on my fish, but I thought it was strange that I found so many of them.
<Mmm, happens...>
They are about 1" long and attach and move like a leach.
<And have two "suckers?">
I had one stick to my hand.
I just pulled it back off. If it is OK to leave them in the pond, I would rather not add any chemicals. They do not seem to be bothering the fish yet.
Thanks again,
<Then this is what I would do. Please have a read here:
As all Hirudineans are parasitic... yours may prove to be problematic with time... Or just die out for lack of a suitable host.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Leaches in my Pond 1/15/10

Thank you again. I have read the article and am positive that they are leaches.
I will try and get rid of most of them. I do not want this to become a serious problem. I have read that you can place a small piece of red meat on a string in the pond for a few hours and then pull it out with the leaches still attached. Does this really work ?
<? Not usually, no. Simple chemical treatment is efficacious however>
I have one other question for you as well.
I live in Maryland and it is winter here. The daily temperatures are between 40F and 15F over the past month or so. On one day around December 22nd, I noticed a ripple and strong movement in my pond. I went outside and found that one of my Koi (2 or 3 years old and a little over 12" long) was swimming around and crashing into the sides of the pond and actually cracking the thin ice on top. I have had Koi for many years and have never had this happen. I watched it for quite a while and it went back under the ice and seemed to settle. No activity from the other 20 or so Koi. The next day, I found the Koi in the skimmer and thought it might die if put back into the pond. I brought it into my garage to try and warm it up some <Mmm, don't do this... best to leave any pond with ice on it, cold, as is>
and slowly bring it out of hibernation. I then brought it inside the house in a 50 gallon trash can. I have a small filter and a light on a timer and the wounds on the fish seem to be healing up. I have had the fish inside for over 2 weeks. The problem is, it does not seem interested in food.
<Can't likely "digest" any... takes weeks for the metabolic "machinery" to restore after cold season>
Do you think the trash can is too narrow for the fish to swim, so it is not happy and it will not eat? Do you think this crazy waking up may have been caused by the leaches?
Thanks again,
<I don't know what you can do with this fish now... other than keep it in whatever circumstances... till the outside warms up (water temp. at least 55 F. consistently), to replace it... Is not the leeches... B>

Koi injured by Heron (RMF, second opinion?) <<Return this fish to the main pond, stop w/ any of the stated chemical additions. Place a screen/net over the pond per WWM on pond pests, predators. RMF>> 12/1/09
<Hello Wendy,>
I'm hopeful you can help.
<Let's see!>
Yesterday morning my Husband noticed a Heron around our pond, he went outside to scare him away, as he approached the pond he noticed "Lippy" was laying motionless by the pond.
<Oh dear!>
My Husband called me out, I gently picked him up and held him in the pond moving him through the water. He eventually started to move after a few moments. I noticed he had several scales missing and lays on the bottom of
the pond on his side. Occasionally he'll thrash around then settle back at the bottom of the pond. Yesterday afternoon I moved him to the small pond (55gal) which was previously his home before we built our 1000 gal pond.
I added salt to the small pond along with Melafix and P.
<Don't know what "P" is, but Melafix is almost completely useless. Salt will have no impact at all, so I'd save your money there.>
He is still laying at the bottom of the pond on his side. I don't see any visible signs of damage to him other than the missing scales (lots). What are the chances "Lippy" will survive this ordeal.
<Actually, surprisingly good. Assuming there isn't any damage to the internal organs, and that any damage was primarily to the fins, scales, skin, and perhaps muscle blocks on the tail, Goldfish have an astonishing
track record in terms of recovery. A lot depends on water quality, but if this fish was brought inside, kept in a suitably large aquarium (say, 20 gallons upwards), with a filter (or at least daily water changes) he should recover. I recommend bringing him indoors because it's wintertime, and cold conditions will slow down the immune system. The flip side though is that once he's used to indoor temperatures, he won't be able to be returned to the garden pond until early spring, otherwise wintertime chilling might cause stress. This depends on how cold the climate is where you live; in England it's already far too cold to take indoor Goldfish and put them into a pond. The use of an antibiotic such as Maracyn would be helpful in preventing an infection such as Finrot, or failing that, a valid
anti-Finrot medication. Melafix is, at best, a preventative, and does little to cure established infections. Bob isn't wild about this product, and while I've never used Melafix, we do seem to get an awful lot of messages about fish that remain sick even after being treated with the product.>
I don't want to prolong his misery. It breaks my heart to consider having to euthanise him. Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Mik/crogeophagus... Blue! & Mutant, and pond dis. follow-up TBP 12/01/09
Hideous things, aren't they! Not my idea of beauty at all. But I can see that they'll sell in droves, even though this species rarely lasts long in "cold" (by its standards) tropical aquaria.
Your addition to today's Heron/Goldfish query was interesting. You're probably right to assume a mature pond provides much healthier water conditions than any aquarium,
<It certainly does and a comment re beyond. I have found that "pond fishes" are remarkably creatures of habit... That removing one, changing some aspect of their physical environment, routine, really has a large (mal-) effect on them, their social dynamic, health. MUCH better to either regularly disrupt their world, or do ones best to be very moderate in modifying>
but I do wonder if a cold winter would cause problems in terms of immune response.
<I do believe that like humans in comas, there are instances where more good than otherwise is done in keeping these and other organisms in a thermal-suspension-stupor>
Cheers, Neale
<And you my friend. BobF>

Bump on goldfish in backyard pond (with whitish discoloration) 11/8/09
I have a pond in my back yard with gold fish in it. It's been there for about 3 years and I have added no fish.
I now have a fish (white lips) that has a large discolored spot on his back with a bump the size of a pencil eraser sticking out about mid body.
Other than his white markings, he was solid gold. So any discoloration around the bump is new. Any ideas as to what this could be? (you can see the bump sticking out of the water on photo #2 and on #3)
thank you for your help.
<I have high confidence in my guess that this is the resultant repair site of a physical trauma (very common in outdoors pond fishes)... Most likely from a bird attack, though it could have resulted from a run in with
anything hard. No "cure" exists. Bob Fenner>

Re: bump on goldfish in backyard pond (with whitish discoloration) 11/9/09
thank you for your fast reply. So do you think it could be something that will heal itself and go away or possibly get worse?
I had wondered if something may of gotten to him.
thank you very much, I really appreciate the advice!
<I don't believe this is something that can/will heal or get worse... Summat like a "beauty mark" in humans. Likely not too debilitating to this individual... BobF>

Lily pad parasites 9/13/09
One of my fishponds has tiny grey, pin-head sized parasites on the leaves. The other pond is unaffected. I can scarcely see them with the naked eye. I brush them off the leaves and they float right back on. When they die, they are white.
Susan in downtown Phoenix
<Mmm, likely these are aphids or white flies... can be the Dickens to eradicate... IF this was a very large pond, I would suggest setting your sprinklers to come on a few minutes every early AM to wash them off (and hopefully have your fish eat them)... Commercially we used to spray them with Volck Oil and water... Please use the WWM search tool for info. re use. Bob Fenner>

Koi and Herons 7/26/2009
Could you please advise us how Koi would respond if they were visited by a heron. Would they try to hide somewhere in the pond? Thank you for your response.
<Unfortunately... not often quickly enough... Best to provide hiding space (some blocks perhaps with a cover over for the Koi to scoot under) in a hopefully deep enough system (3-4 plus feet in places)... Additionally, screen covers, "trip" wiring above and around the edge of the basin/s, and "plastic birds" (e.g. large owls, eagle...) may slow such predators down... A large barking dog, or recorded noise, even disco lights actuated by a light sensor around the perimeter may be tried... Ultimately, possibly even supplying these fish-eating animals with a pan of food so they leave your Nishikigoi be... Bob Fenner>
Re: Koi and Herons
We can't thank you enough for your quick and informative response! We will absolutely try your suggestions. Thanks again and have a nice day!
<Thank you Edward. BobF>

Small garden pond
Pest or friend? 7/12/09

Small (2-3" long) worm like, transparent things attached to the sides of my pond. Looks like a transparent caterpillar until fished out. When fished out they just look like jelly and don't do anything apart from slowly dry out.
Any ideas? I've done the search thing and come up nothing much. Leech in my book gives something close but segmented, however your website says the leech stays more or less attached and are usually black?
Many thanks
<Are these by any chance Snail egg clumps? These are jelly-like, sometimes soft, sometimes fairly stiff, and usually have multiple small specks inside them, the snail embryos. Or else Rat-tailed maggots? These look like soft maggots but have long breathing tubes. Both these options are harmless, and indeed natural parts of a pond biota. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Small garden pond, critter ID 07/13/09

Many, many thanks. That is exactly what it will be. We can fish them out or leave as wished without fear they will eat the few fish we have left.
<Glad to have helped. Almost without exception, stuff found in most ponds is harmless. Dragonfly larvae and the larger Water Beetles are about the only obvious danger, being well able to eat baby fish and things up to about the size of a minnow. Most leeches are harmless, so unless you see obvious three-toothed bite-marks on your Goldfish, you can ignore any small leeches you see. Most other parasites have a complex life cycle and can only come into the pond via new fish or occasionally things like water birds; so if those aren't issues, you can simply enjoy whatever turns up in your pond. Cheers, Neale.>

Whitefly Infestation 3-27-09
Hello crew,
<Good Evening! Merritt here today!>
This may be outside your area of expertise, but perhaps you can point me in the right direction. My outdoor water garden is home to two goldfish, plus a variety of plants.
<Sounds nice!>
The plants have developed a serious whitefly infestation. How can I treat them without harming the fish? Thank you for any advice you can provide.
<Here are some ways you can control them that I have heard of: 1. you can plant certain plants that naturally repel whiteflies like marigolds and basil 2. you can purchase predator bugs like green lacewings and lady beetles (problem is they won't stay around) 3. you can put large amount of sticky yellow tape near the leaves due to whiteflies being attracted to the color yellow, or 4. you can remove your fish from the pond and treat with a pesticide. All of my suggestions I have heard of working but never actually seen in action. Your best course of treatment will probably be pesticides due to them being resilient to other methods. Best of Luck!
Merritt A.> <<Mmmm, RMF suggests "blasting" them off with a stream of hose water... at least once a day... Eventually works.>>

Mosquito question 3/23/09
Hello WetWebMedia crew. My name is Russell. I once again need your help. I am wanting to build a outdoor turtle pond for the summer. I have all the supplies needed, but I have a problem. I live in Kentucky, a area know for its mosquito problems. So I was wondering how do I keep the mosquitoes out of the pond? Is there a product I can safely put in the water with the turtles to keep the bugs out? I am building the pond close to my house so I need to keep the pond mosquito free. Thanks you for your help.
<Hello Russell... yes to there being "things" you can and should do to discount these pesky skeeters... First, do arrange that whatever filter/pump mechanism you may employ does a good bit of surface agitation... as this disturbs biting flies using the water for reproduction and disrupts the young from respiring. And do check with your local vector control folks (see your property tax bill, or the gov't pages in your phone
directory book/s)... for what they use, suggest as a biological control.
Likely there are "mosquito fish" to be had (Gambusia, Heterandria... species) that will avoid being eaten by your turtles enough to keep the insect problem down. Bob Fenner>

Desperate in Wilmington Fish Disappearing from My Pond 07/24/08 My pond 8x6 is covered with bird netting. Yesterday I went out to feed my fish and 5 had lodged their selves in the nooks and crannies of rocks and died, 3 were floating on top of the water. <<Hmm>> But really has me stumped is about 15 others are missing. <<Aha clue here>> I went down in my pond today and found no fish!! Where are they? What could have gotten the rest of them with the bird netting over the pond for protection? <<I wonder how close is this netting to the waters surface and does it completely enclose/encase the pond?>> I have polled everyone at work, looked online and can't find the answer, please help. These were not just fish, but my pets. Kathleen p.s. there are no signs of fish parts outside of my pond <<Im sorry for your loss Kathleen. Even with the bird netting, I think it is very likely your fish fell prey to Herons. In our part of the country (Im in SC) the Green-Backed Heron (Butorides virescens) young are leaving the nest and being taught by the adults to fish. Just this last week I had three-at-a-time visiting my little 550-gallon pond on my deck (and if you've seen them once, they have probably been there a hundred times)and even after I put up the bird netting the little buggers still managed to get in/under to do their fishing (is nothing afraid of people anymore?). You wouldn't see any fish parts as they would be swallowed whole and the dead fish you witnessed were likely missed strikes by the birds through the netting that killed the fish. The best you can do is to make sure the netting totally encloses the pond and does not droop close enough to the waters surface to allow the birds to fish through the netting. Regards, EricR>>
Re: Desperate in Wilmington Fish Disappearing from My Pond 07/25/08
Eric, <<Hello Kat>> The netting encloses the entire pond. <<I see but if it hangs close enough to the waters surface; the Herons and other predators can still pluck fish through it>> :( I'm so depressed, if I only knew what the culprit was. Im a nurse and see death and pain everyday, coming home to my pond was a retreat from stress, now it's all gone. <<I am sorry to realize your loss>> So the net encloses the pond and drapes over the pump extension, kinda like a tent of mesh over the pond, I just don't get it. Well thanks for your quick response, :) Still puzzled. Kat <<Other than human involvement (i.e. someone stealing your fish happens), the disappearance of large numbers certainly would seem to indicate a predator is getting past the netting (aside from fishing birds it could be raccoons, possums, or even the neighbors cats). Another check of the netting to ensure ground-level entry is not possible (perhaps some bricks along the perimeter to hold the netting down) would be in order I think along with maybe the use of a motion-activated deterrent like that offered here (http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=14227). Regards, Eric Russell>>
R2: Desperate in Wilmington Fish Disappearing from My Pond 07/26/08
Eric, you're the greatest, <<Why thank you!>> I feel as though I have my very own consultant. <<I do hope I have been of some service>> What a great service you and your company provide. Kudos :) Kat <<We are very pleased you think so. And I do hope you resolve this issue (perhaps even with just the passing of time) and introduce new friends to your pond. Cheers, Eric Russell>>

Ridding pond of channel catfish 08/17/07 Sirs: Please excuse me for circumventing all the other paths on your web site; but, I'm really up against a problem, and have spent weeks now searching the web for an answer, to no avail. Then, by chance, I ran across your site. Three years ago, I stocked my pond with 25 channel catfish. At the time, they were fingerlings. Three of them died shortly after putting them in the pond. By the next summer, the others had grown to about 8". I should tell you that I was told by the fish farm where I bought the cats that they were all bulls...I didn't want them reproducing. Being a novice, I had no way of knowing whether they were or not. They weren't, and by the third spring, there must have been 300-500 baby cats in the pond. This summer, we fished out all the remaining original fish, and the ones from last summer will probably breed next spring. Short of draining the pond, how do I get rid of all the catfish so I can start over? There are no other species in the pond, and I don't need thousands of channel cats in a pond this size. The pond is a rounded oval shape, roughly 55 ft X 85 ft, and an average depth of 10-12 ft; very steep sides, no weeds to speak of, and very little algae. It is used primarily for swimming; and, as an emergency water source in the event of a neighborhood fire, since most home-use water in this area is trucked in. Some homeowners have wells, but the flow is very slow (avg 12 gph), and most have iron in them. Thanking you in advance for any advice you can offer. Paul F. Shagnot Ashtabula, Ohio <Unfortunately there are no specific Ictalurid poisons... though there are fish mostly types... I am hesitant to suggest their use however, due to the chance of poisoning other wildlife... and the uncertainty of the disposition of run off water here. My best advice is actually to drain AND lime AND dry this basin... and refill. Otherwise, I suggest you check with your State "fish and game" re their suggestions. Bob Fenner> Thanks! <Welcome! Please do write back re the outcome of your search, efforts. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ridding pond of channel catfish 8/18/07
I will. I had been told that straight household bleach ("Clorox") would do the trick, since it dissipates rather quickly (days); but, I can only imagine how much it would take. <Many, many gallons. Swimming pool sodium hypochlorite/bleach is about the same, but much more concentrated, cheaper... but this too would take many gallons... and mal-affect the mud/overburden...> Then again, somebody else told me to stick the two ends of an electric cord in the water, stun the fish, scoop them out, and relocate them. Not sure I like either............ <Electro fishing is not safe w/o careful training or likely to be totally effective. Bob Fenner>

Treating a snake bite; pond goldfish predators 7/31/07 Hello... We have recently created a really nice 500 gallon water garden in our backyard. We have 14 fish: 2 black moors, 3 calico fantails, 2 gold fantails, and 7 common goldfish, all about 3-4 inches long. <Do keep your eyes on the Comets... as they outstrip the fancy goldfish in growth/size they can become too much for the others to compete with food-wise> They have all adjusted nicely to their 275 gallon portion of the pond and we have grown quite fond of watching them every day. We thought we were home free from predators as all 14 have been just fine. A few days ago we were watching the pond and found a very small striped garter snake hanging out and going for an occasional swim. It was much too small to be a threat to any of the fish, but it raised our attention that this could become an issue should we see bigger snakes. Well, of course it happened. For the past few days we have seen a larger garter snake lurking about. It is about 2 feet long and the diameter of my finger. We wanted to create a wildlife habitat, but never thought that the size snakes we have here in North Dakota would ever be cause for worry. This particular snake was seen twice yesterday attacking my fish! First he went for my larger black moor while he was in the water. I was lucky to hear the splashing and jumped in and grabbed the snake. He let the fish go and I let him go by accident and he got lost in the rock pile. I couldn't believe he would try to go for such a large fish! <Oh yes> Then last night at dusk he was apparently waiting on the rocks near our waterfall. As one of my calico fantails came out of the little grotto behind the falls the snake struck and they both tumbled about in the water. Again I jumped into the pond and grabbed the snake, this time being sure not to let go. The fish appeared to be fine and I carted to snake off to be released away from the pond. My black moor seems to have some silvery patches near the base of his tail and on the other side of his belly, presumably where the snake must have gotten hold of him. My question is what should I do for him now? <Mmmm> He seems to be swimming and eating just fine but I don't want to be remiss in caring for any potential wounds. I have removed him from the pond and have him in a gallon sized fish bowl with an aerator. I have Stress Coat, Melafix, Tetracycline, and aquarium salt. Please let me know what I should do, and if any of these products will help. Many Thanks, Debbie <I would leave this fish be as it is in the pond itself. Very likely moving, exposing it to such materials is more trouble, damage than not... and it will probably heal just fine in the pond. You do need to address the snake issue however... as these... and likely other predators will be re-visiting the pond... and your goldfishes are easy prey... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdpestspreds.htm and the linked FAQs file above. Bob Fenner> Koi problem, pred. 7/15/07 Hello- I have a pond in Seattle that is several years old. My biggest, oldest fish (about 16 y.o and maybe 20" long is suddenly missing some scales. I noticed just two at first and now some more. Otherwise he is acting fine and eating normally. All the other fish are acting normal and none of them appear to have missing scales. BTW, I use a scarecrow water sprayer to deter blue heron and raccoons with good success. (After losing fish to both.) Any insight you have would greatly appreciated. T. Sullivan <I too greatly suspect some sort of predator... the potential list is long... perhaps a mammal here ('coon, large cat...) . Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdpestspreds.htm and the Related FAQs file linked above. Bob Fenner>

HELP!! Pond Frogs 7/10/07 One of my costumers <Heee!> has put in a bigger pond(12' dia. 18-24" deep) and a frog thought it would make a good home.? :~)? They, however, don't want the frog in the pond. <So?> Is there any way to get rid of unwanted frogs in a pond without hunting/trapping them? Thanks????? Aaron Tanks-A-Lot <There are some chemical treatments... but the death of a good deal of biomass here will likely be trouble... I'd leave them be. Bob Fenner, ribbit> Injured Koi carp 6/18/07 My boyfriend has noticed one of out smaller Koi fish swimming close to the top of our pond, when netted out we noticed a claw mark down its side, like a cat claw injury almost. <Might be... or a bird beak mark... or turtle, or possum, raccoon....> Is there anything we can do to help this Koi as are unsure what to do. Thank you Claire <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

1 Goldfish with white eyes and another with a wound, ponds... 03/09/07 I've looked through your FAQ's and couldn't see anything like my problem. I recently moved my pond goldfish into a larger pond. <With all new water? Better to wait on such moves till the overall weather is better... water temp. consistently 55 F. or warmer> One of them has developed white lumps over its eyes. It looks fine apart from these and is swimming around as usual (slow due to time of year but as much as expected). The stress of the move caused a couple of last years fry to die and so the pond was treated with Medifin and everything seems okay now except for this ones eyes. <Okay... there are other fishes, livestock not similarly afflicted> The other problem is a wound on my largest fish. A damn cat or something managed to get him out of the water. God knows how - he needs two hands to hold him. I found him on the ground beside my pond (which is partly built up above ground level). I put him back in the water and he is swimming around and everything but he does have a wound on the top of his body. This was all about a week ago. The wound is about the size of a UK penny. It doesn't seem to be causing him any trouble but it looks sort of yellowy so I wanted to know if there is anything I can do to aid healing. Appreciate all and any help with either query. Thanks. VivienneO.. <There are some "general tonic" sorts of approaches... but once again, with the water temperature being low, the fishes' immune systems being concomitantly depressed, I would not do much to further impugn them... Perhaps a bit of "aquarium salt" (sold at your stockist (UK term) as such)... a level teaspoon per twenty gallons or so... should do it. Goldfish are actually quite tough, and yours should recover, including the one with the marks above the eyes (likely due to a trauma in the net, swimming into the side...) with just time going by and your good maintenance. Bob Fenner>

Re: 1 pond Goldfish with white eyes and another with a wound 3/11/07 thanks for your advice. I didn't put all new water in, <Good> it was a mixture of the old pond's water, rainwater and tap water. I'll bear in mind not moving them when its cold. I thought it would be okay as it's been warmer (all the plants are budding) and they were moving around a bit more. If I have to move them again I'll wait until they start eating. <A very good idea> There hasn't been any improvement in the eyes but the others wound looks smaller, so hopefully everything will clear up. I'll get some aquarium salt and dose if it looks necessary. Thanks again. VivienneO.. <Such wounds take quite a while to repair... months usually. BobF>

Re: 1 Goldfish with white eyes and another with a wound - 03/12/07 ><Such wounds take quite a while to repair... months usually. BobF> Arh, I didn't realize that! Is it safe to assume that as he is still alive after nearly three weeks, and there is no sign of ulcers or anything, that he will survive his ordeal? <Mmm, is a good indication> I really don't want to lose him now that I can finally see him - he is very dark and i couldn't see him at all in the old pond. I was quite shocked by how big he'd got! Anyway, thanks for answering all my questions and queries, its helped me to stop stressing about it!! VivienneO.. <Have you read on WWM? Much ancillary information to relate, understand... water changes, keeping the system covered... Read. BobF>

Leeches? Nope 3/11/07 Hi, I have a small pond, approx.900 gallons, with Koi and goldfish. I noticed when I was cleaning the filter that there was small little reddish-brown "worms" but I don't think they are worms because they can hold onto the filter when I try to wash them off. I caught a couple of my goldfish to see if they had any attached and they didn't. I didn't try any Koi because I didn't want to stress them. Do you think they are leaches and if so are they harmful? Thank You Sarah <Not likely leeches... as these are obligate parasites (would be on their host/s...) and most often black in color... What you have found are likely a species of useful oligochaete segmented worm... I would leave these be. Bob Fenner>

Koi... health, predation 1/19/07 I have had established Koi/goldfish pond in the backyard for several years. Four Koi/5 goldfish plus two goldfish babies. Two of the Koi are losing scales and their fins look ratty. We are now down to only two goldfish as a blue heron is visiting despite our efforts to make him unwelcome. <Yikes... do string some stout line above, criss-crossing the pond area... and about the edge...> Would this cause stress to Koi and would they lose their scales because of stress. <Mmm... no, but from being jabbed by a predatory bird, yes> We have used pond salt and changed Ã'½ water to make sure its clean and healthy water. Help. Help... <Water quality test results? Bob Fenner>

Injured Koi, moving/jumping and a large bird predator 1/9/07 I just recently became a Koi pond keeper. My husband and I built our own pond last spring. It was at deck level close to pathway to our house and approx. 3000 gallons. We knew nothing about Koi keeping and asked as many questions as possible. We stocked our pond with approx 12 fish, a mixture of goldfish and Koi. We also added about a dozen snails. We used the aquatic plants recommended by the shop where we purchased everything else. I had no idea how much I would come to enjoy this pond. In a short period of time the fish were eating out of my hand. I absolutely loved it and enjoyed taking care of them. By the end of summer we noticed our population growing with tiny fish no more than an inch in size with beautiful vibrant colors. The fish seemed to really thrive an the only thing I ever really battled was the algae growth as the pond was located in quite a sunny area and the trees around the pond were just starting to grow. This spring (one year later) my husband and I sold our home and moved to a waterfront property on a freshwater lake. I refused to leave my fish behind as I had grown quite attached to them. We built two small ponds at our new house and prepared to transfer the fish over. We knew the new ponds were too small for permanent living but our move was quick so we only had time to construct something to house them until we could move in, plan our landscaping and larger pond and construct it. After a long day of stress (more so on me than the fish) we had successfully moved all of them over. To our surprise we had accumulated over 60 fish ranging in size from 1 in to 10 inches. I had no idea they would reproduce so rapidly. During the move we lost only one very small little guy and even that hurt my feelings. After we built our larger pond we moved the largest fish into (6 at 10 inches in size). I checked on them frequently and found three missing the following morning. I sadly assumed a predator had gotten them until I saw something laying in the leaves below the pond. I found 2 of the three missing fish. One of them was missing his pec fins and wouldn't swim. I worked with him for over an hour as he just kept falling to the bottom and laying on his side. He finally started swimming on his own and is still living and doing well. The guess was that the fish were jumping out. I could only assume that one of my dogs had found the fish and damaged the fins explaining the missing pecs. I moved the large fish back to the pond they seemed to enjoy and put some smaller fish in (about 10 at 5-6 inches in size) and then I covered the ponds with netting. Two days ago we had 70 degree weather and I decided to give my pond some attention. I removed the netting (it is hard to hand feed them with the netting) changed out some water, added some features for hiding places and decided not to re-cover them. My determination was... the smaller ones don't appear to try to jump. I came home today to a huge egret standing in my yard. <Yikes...> He flew away when I startled him but not before consuming what appears to be about 10 of my fish. The water was a mess. It looks like he got in. I have one fish that I found at the bottom, he appears to be breathing ( he moves his mouth) but does not swim at all. I moved him through the water trying to see what kind of injuries he has and can only find some scratches on his back and one red spot (almost like a puncture) Its been 4 hours and he is still on his side on the bottom. Is there anything I can do or should we go ahead and euthanize. <Mmm, I would not give up hope here...> I was hoping to save him but I am just not experienced enough and I am afraid of doing more harm than good. Thank u so much in advance for your advice. (and I have put the nets back on) <Do raise the netting up a good foot or two, over-draping the edge... Perhaps a support made of PVC piping and fittings... Bob Fenner>
Re: Injured Koi 1/26/07
Hi Robert, I just wanted to touch base and see if you have any other ideas that may help me. I still have that injured Koi in my pond. He's still at the bottom (on his side) and refuses to swim. <Mmm, these issues really take a while (months) during cold/er weather> I take him up at least once a day. The only difference I see now is that he now is trying to move in my hand. <Better> In the beginning he didn't move at all. Once I let him go he just floats back down. I have managed to get a little food in him but they aren't eating much now anyway. I don't know what to do. I hate to just leave him like that. Any ideas? Thanks Donna <Really only time going by... patience. Bob Fenner>
Re: injured Koi
1/27/07 Thank you for your response, I'll keep waiting! Also, very kind of you to take your time to help people like you do. I appreciate it very much! Donna <Welcome my friend. BobF>

New pond... design/iatrogenic problems 12/3/06 Hi, <Hello there> I've done a bit of research but have not found the answer to these questions. We've recently installed a small pond between 2 patios in our back yard in the Pacific Northwest. It measures approximately 8' x 12' and is 20 inches deep <Mmm, too shallow... will be too variable in temperature to be stable... hard on livestock> with a thin layer of small gravel in the bottom. <Is this intended to be a biological system? You don't want gravel at the bottom... as you will learn> It also has a small waterfall for circulation. We've added pots of water plants, lily pads, floating lettuce and hyacinth and some others. We bought 12 goldfish and they seem to be enjoying the pond immensely. <You will need to bring all this life "in-doors" during the winter months...> My first question is about feeding. The pet store clerk and the water pond clerk both said that they don't feed their fish. <See WWM re... no feeding during times when temperatures dip/stay below about 55 F.> It increases the nitrate levels in the pond, plus the stores sell them really fast. <...> So-do we need to feed them or will they feed on the plant material and what ever algae grows in the pond? <See WWM...> My second question involves our new pond inhabitant. A rather large bull frog just appeared yesterday. He seems to enjoy the pond too. <And your fish> Because it is the end of September, I'm wondering if he plans to hibernate here. As I mentioned, the pond is only 20 inches deep with a little gravel. Is that enough depth? <Not enough...> Plus there is no mud for him to burrow into. I hope he's had his fill for the year, because I don't want him eating my fish. Should we "encourage" him to leave? <I would, yes> Any help you can give is much appreciated. We're new to water features and want to do it right. I suppose we need to figure out about testing the water too. What is the correct ph balance we should try to maintain? Thanks for your help. Sandy <I strongly encourage your reading of what is posted on ponds on our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm From the top down... including pond design... Yours will be problematical due to its size, shape, the gravel... Bob Fenner>

Attacked By Raccoon - 09/07/06 The background: I have a 35 gallon barrel pond that's home to four mega store-bought "feeder" fish, who have been quite happy for months. The barrel is stocked with a variety of plants, including Anacharis, water hyacinth, and others. I don't feed them much, a few pellets now and again. There's a filter in the barrel, water chemistry is consistently good (once I learned from your site what that means) and I keep up with water changes. The problem: Sadly, twice in the past 10 days my barrel pond has been attacked by raccoons. One fish was eaten but the others escaped. The latest attack was over the weekend while I was out of town. I put their house back in order and screwed mesh over the top to protect the fish. Ugly but effective. The remaining three fish seemed to be doing OK. The biggest seemed the worst off, swimming very slowly and staying near the bottom. Not eating. This morning I went out and he is floating at the top, barely moving his fins now and again. He does seem to be bloated, though not as ballooned out as some of the photos on the site. I can see there are several missing scales on his side, presumably injuries from trying to escape the raccoon. He will occasionally right himself for a few moments, but the rest of the time he floats at the surface. I read over your FAQs about floaty goldfish. I removed him from the tank and placed him in a container with some Doc Wellfish aquarium salt, at the ratio of 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons (his container is just one gallon, though). I don't have a quarantine tank. The FAQs indicted that Epsom salt was the thing to use; I happened to have the aquarium salt on hand for immediate action. Should I redo the solution using Epsom salt? I placed a cooked, shelled pea, cut into quarters in the container with him but he doesn't seem interested. Is there anything further I can do to try to help the fish to recover? He looks pretty bad, so any advice is most welcome. Thank you for your help. Linda < The raccoon may have damaged the internal vital organs and there really isn't too much you can do about that. If the organs are OK, then the stress of the raccoon attack may be the problem. Stress causes problems like internal infections. Treat for bloat with Nitrofuranace and Metronidazole, or Clout. Keep the water clean and see if he starts to eat in a few days. That will be your signal that he is getting better.-Chuck>

Pond Is For The Birds 9/11/06 Hi Bob, We have a large out door pond with filters and water falls . We have four Koi and 4 goldfish . About a month ago we added 3 fan tails . One disappeared . Two weeks ago one of the others started swimming funny . Almost like her back side is partially paralyzed . She is staying in a more shallow end of the pond because when the other fish bump into her she can not move around well and may start to roll backwards . It seems healthy and alert in all other ways .We also have noticed for the first time that we have 3 babies about an inch and 1/2 long . No idea where they came from . We live in CT and it is starting to get a little cooler . Not that that means anything . Any help you can give in regards to the fan tail would be appreciated .Thank you , Diana <You could have had a visit by a stork or egret. One fish disappeared because he didn't know where to hide and was eaten. The other fish was attacked by the bird but suffered a spinal injury by the beak and got away. Look for a scare on the back of the injured fish. Look for large white bird droppings to confirm a visit. Not many diseases cause this kind of problem.-Chuck>

Re: Fish With Injured Back 9/12/06 Is there anything I can do to help the injured fish ? The fish did not get hurt the same time the other one disappeared .I do not see any droppings but we have a lot of white stones around the bed . < Here is what I am thinking. The first fish was caught by a bird and eaten. The other fish swam away fearing that they would be next. The bird came back sometime later after the fish calmed down and tried to get another fish. If it is an injury to the back then only time will tell if he will get better.-Chuck>

Turtles/Raccoons 8/8/06 Would a raccoon(s) eat a red ear slider turtle that is approx 8" in size and that was in a pond? <Yes, is possible> This morning my turtle was gone, and some items on both sides of the pond were knocked over, and a paver stone in the pond was moved. The pond is one of those precast, black heavy duty plastic, that is approx 8" deep on the first level, which turtle used for sunning himself. He would stay in the water in deeper part of pond which was approx another 8" deep. I kept the water about 2 " below that level and used paving stones piled together so he could climb up to eat his food on a dry area and for him to access the first level for bask in the sunshine. I know he did not climb out of there, walls are too steep for him to do so. I have known that there are a couple of raccoons in the neighborhood. We live in a very suburban area, but there are older trees and I'm sure some hiding spots around sheds and such for them to hide/den in. We don't see or hear them often but I did see an adult and young about 2 months ago crossing street in front of my house. <Are largely nocturnal> Unless someone came into our locked backyard last night, I feel the raccoons could responsible for his disappearance. Is this possible? <Unfortunately, yes> Thank you very much for any information you can provide. It's very upsetting to think he was eaten. <Very sorry for your loss... The planet is indeed "crowded"... and thankfully so... I do not want to live in a world w/o wildlife... I just wish they wouldn't eat our pets, so much of my garden... Bob Fenner>
Re: Turtles/Raccoons 8/8/06
Thank you, it's not the response I wanted to hear but understandable. We were foolish to think that that those animals didn't have enough to eat and hence would take a large turtle. <Suspect you mean/t the opposite... that the Raccoons had enough to eat and therefore would not go after the turtle. A sad loss just the same. Cheers, Bob Fenner, hoping to squeeze some time out to go "fight the squirrels" in their garden out back later.>
Re: Turtles/Raccoons 8/11/06
Mr. Fenner, <Maria> Sorry to bother you again, but if indeed a raccoon got our turtle, shouldn't have there been some sort of sign of a struggle? <Mmm, not necessarily. Your turtle might have left of its own accord... the evidence you mention might be from something else... but raccoons will carry off turtles...> There is no evidence in the pond, nor in/around it, and I haven't found the shell, so far anyway. Of course, I don't know the eating habits of the coons, but since a 6 ft fence surrounds our yard and there is no way for them to crawl underneath, <Can indeed climb over> I'm hoping that if they are behind the turtle being out of the pond, he may have gotten away and burrowed somewhere in our yard. Again, he was at least 8" round and estimate his being 5-6 lbs. <Wow!> We found him a month ago crawling from the curb onto the grass in the front property. We believe he may have been dropped off by the people behind us who moved on 7/1, as they had a large pond for several years. Since the new people did not move into the property until last week, we think that the former owners-knowing we have a pond, although smaller - may have dropped him off, otherwise we have no idea where a turtle that size came from in our area. Our neighbors on both sides of us do not have ponds. Again, I thank you for any information you can provide. <I do hope your turtle is alive, healthy and happy somewhere. Bob Fenner>

Pond Goldfish behaviour, post Bird predator injury, trauma 7/13/06 Hi, I've kept fish for many years and have a 100g pond (soon to be much much larger!). <Yay!> This year we had about 4 fish taken by the heron we was left with one distort Shubunkin with a now massive scar down one side we were lucky he survived, we still had a few fish left but small ones and they hid so he was mostly on his own as he was one of the largest, we've sorted the heron problem but the Shubunkin (Nemo) seems to be acting a bit odd. We replaced the fish we lost with some smaller ones which he gets on with well. One of the fish we lost to the heron the Shubunkin (Nemo) was actually mating with so I don't know if this caused stress. <...? Pretty traumatic...> He's settled down a bit now but still goes into fazes, the other day he darted real fast across the pond and smacked his side on the bottom of the pond and kicked up silt!! He's also tried going up the waterfall which I know is natural, but none of the other fish are doing this. All the water is ok, I did think parasites but cant find any, there is no excessive levels in the water, so what's going on? Thanks very much Vicky <This fish should be fine, improve in its new quarters. Bob Fenner>

Pond fish disappear - 05/29/06 We have a pond about 90 feet by 40 feet with depth of 3-5 feet, natural overflow to a wet weather pond keeps the depth pretty even. We have lived here a year and during this time have counted around 100 "goldfish", also some Koi and a couple of rainbow trout. Numbers of fish have varied slightly but made it through the winter here in Oregon with no problem. Last time we saw the fish was 3 days ago. Wandered by the pond today and all of the fish are gone! The newts that live in the pond are still there, but no fish! None and no floaters! We live in the country on a dead end road so don't think humans had anything to do with this. <Me neither... aren't so thorough...> In the entire year we saw a heron once and it moved on quickly, I am assuming because the pond is rather deep. <Not likely this either... if a bird, birds, a diving type...> The pond looks the same as always and we have not done anything we can think of that might have changed the pond environment. Would this many fish just be on the bottom for an entire day? <Could be> We have checked the pond about ten times today and yet to see a single fish. This is making us crazy! We really like these fish! Any ideas? <Some other predator likely, but as you state, could be hiding... I'd be looking for tracks around the edge, evidence of eating, defecation. Bob Fenner>

What's eating our pond fish now? 4/18/06 I hope you can help. We live in Georgia and have a garden pond about 16 feet square and 3 feet at it's deepest. We lost many of our first batch of fish (5 Koi and 25 goldfish) to a Heron during the late fall (we saw it in the pond). <A common predator...> We retuned 11 fish that we saved when it got warmer but within a week they were all gone. <Mmm, perhaps some underwater cover (a sinking plank supported by block... to hide under... Or fish lines, netting tied up above the pond... Works> Now the weather is hot (70-80's) we brought 30 small goldfish and 6 bigger goldfish (4/5 inches). We lost 34 in the first 24 hours, one we found dead (two marks on it's side but did not cut the flesh) and I saw one small goldfish dart away. The Heron has not returned. Don't see them in the summer. We have never had raccoons. What could have eaten so many so quickly? <Mmm, snakes, turtles, frogs...> We thought toad/frog. I've seen a couple of small frogs and we hear a very load croak but have never seen who makes it. Could a toad eat that much? <Yes... or toads> After we put the last batch in yesterday I only saw around 10 small goldfish and a couple of larger ones this morning and by afternoon they were gone. So this is not a night creature and I was home most of the day and saw nothing. Thank you for your time in this strange matter. Hope you can shed some light. Joanne Cork <There are electrical wires that can be rigged up at low elevation around the pond edge... quite unobtrusive. Bob Fenner>

Aphids on my water lilies 3/31/06 Hello, <Hi there> I have a man made 25,000 gallon pond in my back yard. I live in Wisconsin, so I mainly use hardy water lilies and have about 50 Koi and several types of frogs. <Understood> I continue to have problems with aphids showing up on my water lilies and Lotus leaves starting about the end of July. As soon as I see them, I discard any bad leaves, but they just seem to over run my plants. <Yes... there are other means...> I'm afraid to use chemicals as they may harm my fish or frogs. Do you have any solution to this problem? Thanks for any advice you can give me. <Yes... I would do a few things... There are insecticides (not safe used illiberally) that can be sprayed with a spreader-sticker onto your surrounding trees in two applications (Spring and Fall, early and late)... that are aphid specific that will greatly reduce the number of "fly downs" that eventually infest your lilies... and I would use Volck (actual product name) spray on the pads themselves (read instructions), which is very safe, effective... and I would arrange your sprinklers to shoot onto your lily pad leaves during the day, to wash off the aphids... there are some smaller "dither fish" that you might add that would consume such incidentals... And I would avail myself of a local (State certified) Pest Control Advisor or Applicator if you can't locate the former (see your Yellow Gov't Pages)... re the use of these methods, their suggestions> Best Regards, Jerome Orsted <Bob Fenner, former licensee in CA>

Protecting Koi from G.B. Heron 1/13/06 Hi <Hello there> My husband and I have a 3,600 gallon Koi pond in backyard. We have recently lost two of our Koi to the Great Blue Heron and he injured one that we are trying to save. We have three very large Koi left...about 12-14 inches. We were told that placing large pieces of slate raised on cinder blocks will give fish a place to hide and protect them from this predator. <One approach...> We purchased two large pieces and have set them in the deepest section of the pond which the spot the fish seem to favor most during the day. We live in North Carolina near Durham. Is that a good solution? <I would string some fishing line filament in cross links above the water as well... Do you have companion animals? There are motion detector devices that can be wired to strobe lights, horns... last, but not the end, there are depredation permits... Bob Fenner> Thank you Liz

Goldfish Snacks - And Not The Crackers! - 08/07/2005 Hiya <Ahoy thar.> could you help with a problem we have, we have about 10 goldfish in a 300 gallon pond, in the last month we have noticed that several of the fish have bite marks on them, one in particular looks like it has no mouth left, <WOW.> is it disease, is it a predator, we have no idea. <More than likely a predator. Without more detailed descriptions of the wounds, though, no way to know. A predator is highly likely, though.> As an extra note we have two very large frogs/toads that have just moved in. <Some frogs will eat small fish - but I've never heard of them leaving bite wounds. Look to the skies, and neighborhood cats or "vermin" (wildcats, raccoons, etc.), for your predators. You might want to consider purchasing a motion-activated sprinkler for scaring away birds and kitties with the munchies.> Help please. <I hope that does. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Koi fish hiding Hi, my name is Sherrie, I have about a 300gal pound in my back yard. I have four Koi fish and I have 7 gold fish. I have had them since April of this year. I live in Florida. about a week ago my fish stopped coming to the top of the water to eat, all of them. and they stay hidden in the homes I have in the pond for them. they won't come out at all not even to eat. could it be weather change, or breeding? <Not breeding... this occurs mainly in the warming months of Spring, occasionally in Summers... but yes to the possibility of cooling weather, water... and another idea: You might have a predator about that is scaring your fishes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdpestspreds.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top)> I put a little of food in the mornings just in case they do get hungry. I have two pumps with filters, aeration, that I clean every two weeks. help. thank you <Do read about adding some cover... perhaps a piece of corrugated fiberglass supported by a couple of blocks... for your fishes to hide under, feel more secure. Bob Fenner>

Leech problem in pond Hello my name is Tyler Dunlap. I got your email off a web site for wet web media. I have a 2 acre pond with an average depth of around 9 ft. with a fish population of bass, blue gill, and cat fish. I was wondering what would be the best solution to treat our pond for our leech problem because the pond gets swam in quite often and they have become a problem. Thank you Tyler Dunlap <Mmm, more to this than "pour so much of A per gallon"... need to know the physical, chemical make-up of your water, if water goes elsewhere... I would check with your local "Fish and Game" or Ag service agency at the State level here... there are more specific Anthelminthics that can be used... are a bit expensive... if allowed. Bob Fenner>

Pond plants, turtle fodder Hello, <Hi there> Could you please offer some advice about how to get plant life to grow in a pond and get ahead of the turtle population? In an effort to commune with nature, it appears we need an all out battle. <Mmm, I do have a plan... to discourage those rambunctious turtles rather than deter them from eating, breaking your plants, I encourage you to consider putting up a short (temporary) fence around the water feature... after a few weeks (to months...) they will "learn" there is no pond there... go elsewhere> We apparently need fast growing plants, but want to be careful of noxious weed which will take over our pond and the surrounding creeks. <Yes!> (Our pond connects with a large creek; care to not create an environmental nightmare is a concern also). <A HUGE one> We have a man made pond of almost an acre. The outside edge is walled (cement) and in the center is an island of trees (junk trees mostly, the beavers have taken the good ones). The water ranges from 3 feet at the wall to 9 feet then up to the island. We know there are turtles - red bellies, occasional snapper and whatever - along with various fish. Oh, there are muskrats too. We use a fountain for aeration. There is little if any vegetation currently except for some grass and weeds on the island. The island is primarily tree roots at this point. (We can't figure out what the turtles live on now). <... such a large, natural system... is a "horse of a different hue"...> I tried to put lilies into the pond (tropical). Started with 5. We caged them best we could (irregular bottom) hoping to deter turtles and fish until they could get growing. First day - one entire lily was gone. By the third day, doubling up on the wire leaves two lilies left. They too are doomed as we can't keep them caged forever. <Yes... Mmm, the cooler water varieties are tougher here... but still almost irresistible to the animals you list...> Is there a way to get ahead of the turtles? It would be nice to build a habitat that is conducive for them and frogs. But, it appears they don't want to give us a chance. Can you help with ideas and/or advice? <Am fresh out on this matter... but do know where I would look for info. next... your State "Fish and Game", then next, the local colleges if they have Ag. and Zoology departments> Desperate in NJ, Thyra <Ah, my in-laws live in Belmar, Garfield, Kennelon... Bob Fenner>

Koi problem dear Sir, I am at present looking after my sister-in-laws Koi. One of them seems to be staying on the bottom most of the time. It also keeps going over onto its side but rights itself. I would appreciate any advice you can give me. Kind regards. Kevin Healy. <It may be that this fish has swallowed something (like a bug), or has somehow damaged itself. Do keep an eye on it for signs of missing scales, bruising... Otherwise, I would not remove it or treat the system in any way at this point. Much more potential damage from "trying to do something" at this juncture. Bob Fenner>
Re: Koi problem
Many thanks for getting back to me Bob, I have built a pond in my own garden and intend to keep Koi. Your site is very helpful to those of us that know very little about this subject. <Good> It is nice to know that if I have a problem I can e-mail you and get a quick response. I note that you say keep an eye open for missing scales. I have seen about 8 scales floating on the pond but not sure which fish they have come from. <Ah ha! Do look about for further signs of a "visitor"... I now suspect further that your one fish is in a funk due to a predator... there is an article and FAQs file posted on WWM re these, and their prevention.> I suppose it is very likely that they have come from this fish. Once again, many thanks for your help. Regards. Kevin <Good luck, life to you Kevin. Bob Fenner>
Re: Indoor Koi Pond Question/Problem
Thanks for the quick response Bob. Your website was the only one I could find where there were actual people on the job and could contact someone with my question. Way to go! If I could ask you, would freshwater sponges be harmful to the pond, if in fact that is what they are, or would it be wise to try and get rid of them, and if so, how would I do that? <These very interesting organisms are not a problem in any sense as far as I'm aware... I once spent a day with a friend in the service side of our industry, in a cold pond stream... under a bridge, trying to get some decent pix of these... they "come and go"... Bob Fenner>

Koi behavior after a fellow Koi dies We purchased a house with an existing Koi pond (obviously we know little about them other than the basics-pond care, feeding etc.). Last week the largest Koi-approximately 3 inches, was found deceased laying about two feet from the pond. We didn't find any visible signs of disease or attack from a predator. The death remains a mystery to us, but also a mystery, is the behavior of the remaining Koi. They have resorted to hiding and not eating as if they are traumatized by something. Does this happen? What can be done? Thanks for any tips! J. Griffiths <It may be that "something" scared the "missing" Koi to jumping out of your pond (this happens), but do know that these fish are keenly aware of their "social dynamic" and do react as you observe/report with the loss or change in behavior of one of their kind. I would not be overly concerned at the one loss if as you state the others show no sign of disease. Do give a quick read through our "Pond Index": http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm re Koi/pondfish disease, overall pond maintenance... to see if there is something we're not as yet aware of in your consciousness re this system. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish pond concerns, predators, owees Yesterday I noticed something white hanging at the base of the fin on the back of one of my gold fish. Without taking the fish out of the water, it appears as though something has sliced into his flesh and it is still attached and floats along with him when he swims. I had 10 gold fish and added 2 Koi the middle of June and on the 20th of June my daughter gave her dad some kind of a fish that creeps along the bottom of the pond and eats the algae and 3 or 4 large snails that are also supposed to be algae eaters. I have had a couple of fish disappear on me as I never find them floating but for the life of me I don't know where they are. I have not seen anything other than a frog which is now gone so it's a real mystery what is happening to them. One day I thought they'd all disappeared but slowly them came out from under the rock. We have a nice sized pond about 12 ft long and 8 ft at the widest. There is a waterfall at one end of the pond and the pond is stepped. The deepest part under the falls is 3 ft and then it steps up to 2 ft and then 1 ft around the outer perimeter. Is there anything I can do for this fish that is maimed. He's eating and swimming. Would appreciate any info you can pass on. Thanks. Dorothy < You have a bird problem. Years ago while I was in Florida I was fortunate enough to stay with a very knowledgeable fish farmer who had all of his ponds covered in sun screen to keep fish eating birds away. He knew that birds such as egrets and herons had been after his fish because the larger fish had these "saddles" across their backs where the birds beaks had tried to pluck them from the water but left damaging scars on their backs. If the birds are allowed to return then the damaged fish will be the most likely target. Try to discourage the birds to keep your fish in the pond. There are many things you could try, plastic owls, scarecrows or strips of aluminum on strings are all worth a try. They would try and eat rubber snakes. Your local hardware store or nursery may have some ideas on how to prevent the birds from returning. As long as the water stays clean the wounds should heal. If it looks like it is getting worse then remove the fish and put him in an aerated tub and treat with Furanace.-Chuck>

New pond, missing fish I added 7 fish (3 Koi and 4 goldfish) to our new pond a week ago and have only seen two of them for about 30 seconds. They seem to be hiding. I don't know if they are eating. None have floated to the top so I guess they aren't dead. Being new to this, I don't know if they are in there or not. Thanks for your help. <Mmm, either these new fishes are hiding largely from being new, or something... like a predator is scaring them. Do you have habitat for them to hide under? Perhaps they've been consumed by... Bob Fenner>
Re: New pond, missing fish
First of all, thank you so much for answering so quickly. I appreciate it and enjoy reading the FAQ's. Lots of info that I can use. Secondly, a friend gave us two very large "trained" Koi from his pond. After a day or so, we started seeing the other fish! <Ah, good> They are still staying low in the pond but they are beginning to come out. I guess they figure if the big guys get to eat, its ok for them to venture out. Again, thanks for your help and a great web site. jb <Glad to hear all is okay in/with your pondfish. Bob Fenner>

"Odd" goldfish behaviour I have a garden pond with four goldfish and three Shubunkins and this summer they produced millions of babies. The older fish became quite tame, coming right up to me for feeding and all the fish would feed quite calmly. <Neat> However I have been seeing less and less of the bigger fish over the past 3 or 4 weeks and the feeding behaviour of all the fish has changed dramatically. They rush up to the surface to snatch at the food and quickly disappear. I haven't seen any of the larger fish for a few days now. I don't know if they've been snatched by the heron that has been known to visit or if they've disappeared to the bottom of the deeper part of the pond, or are hiding under the water lilies - what do you think?? <I'd look about> Is this normal? Are they just hibernating at the bottom? <All sizes will "hibernate" when the weather is cooler...> If you think it's likely to be the heron how can I protect the babies that are left?? I'd be very grateful if someone could let me know. Thanks a lot. Katie <Mmm, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdpestspreds.htm Bob Fenner>

A duck and goose = dirty pond I initially got a 175 gallon flexible liner pond for water plants (lily's) and maybe small guppies. However in the meantime acquired a duck and a goose, both about two months old. Well guess who is in the pond everyday? <Bad visual> I have to replace the water every day or two. I want to keep duckweed in another receptacle to feed them because they'll eat it up before it can clear the pond. What other filtration system can I use on a pond this small-or do I have to build them a lake!? <More likely the latter. The 175 gallon volume is way too little to even try to filter, keep one waterfowl/foul... I would keep changing the water. Bob Fenner> Rita De Ferrary St. Thomas, VI

Magnus Feels Froggy - Gone Fishin' Hello, <Hi there Magnus on call to help.> If you can give me any advice on he following I would be really grateful as I am extremely upset at the moment. I have had a pond for 5 years. I had 10 six year old large common goldfish, 3 three year old golden Orfe 3 three year old ghosts 4 three year old Shubunkins 6 four year old Koi carp (one very large compared to the others) 20 assorted various aged off-spring from the above 2 4 year old tench Numerous frogs of all ages <sounds like you had a really nice collection of fish in your pond.> I have never had any problems with my pond or fish, and the fish showed no fear of anything as they have been left do what they do with no interference. They always came out to get food when they saw me, and had no fear of the net when I skimmed dead leaves off the top of the water. I went away for four days this week. When I returned, I found the pond greatly disturbed, sediment floating on the top, no fish to be seen. <YIKES!> My immediate reaction was that someone had broken into my garden and had fished the lot out. <This is not a unusual idea, My Aunt had someone stealing Koi from her pond and selling them to Koi dealers. Eventually the person was caught, but she had lost thousands of dollars from the few stolen.> But, there was no evidence of this. Eventually I saw two or three fish at the bottom of the pond, and to my horror, two large goldfish with what looked like scratch wounds down their sides and part of their tails missing. Being really upset, I took the decision to empty the pond, take an inventory and now the fish are safe I am considering re-locating the fish to a relative's pond. I was shocked to find that I only had the following fish left. 2 six year old large common goldfish one really damaged ( eight missing) 3 golden Orfe (none missing) 1 three year old ghost ( two missing) 4 three year old Shubunkins (none missing) 2 four year old Koi carp (one very damaged) (4 missing including the largest) 12 assorted various aged off-spring (8 missing) 2 tench (none missing) still numerous frogs, none damaged <OH MY... I'm So sorry to hear of your loss! that is very upsetting, from one goldfish/Koi friend to another I feel your pain.> I just want to know what would have taken all these fish in such a short space of time, could cats have done this, the water level is quite a bit lower than the outside pond wall, how would they have taken so many?, and there was a lot of floating sediment as though the water had really been dredged about. <There are many animals that can do this to a pond. You hadn't mentioned where you are living, but some areas have some really bother some wildlife. A Florida friend of mine lost his goldfish and Koi to an alligator! while I'm not suggesting this is the case here I would sooner think that this is because of an animal than a person. The sediment could be there because of what ever had been attacking the fish scared them to the deepest areas of the pond and they themselves had stirred up the sediment.> I know herons attack fish, but would they have left what looks like scratch marks on the survivors, and would they have landed in the water (about 3' deep) and taken so many, all the largest? <The four culprits that typically are the dreaded enemies of the goldfish pond are Herons (any fishing bird really), Raccoons, Foxes and cats. (foxes are the least concern really, but I have seen them steal fish out of shallow ponds.) Herons are the worst. They can get into anywhere and will literally fish a pond empty in a short while. They won't leave a pond until they have either emptied it, can no longer catch them, or the other fish are to large to swallow. A heron will try to get any fish into their mouth, and with big fish you can see the scrapes and the scars on their body where the bird had tried to eat the fish but either couldn't get it out of the water, or couldn't swallow it. Raccoons, cats and foxes are bad, Raccoons will wade out to get goldfish, check your fences or garbage cans to see if anything else is disturbed that will show you if you had a raccoon in your pond. These animals will scrape up a fish if they can't catch and hold on to it.> I found no fish bodies anywhere in the garden (but I do have foxes who may have taken them), no dead fish in the water. <if there aren't any bodies in the garden then most likely it was a heron. Fish dead in the water might have been eaten by the other goldfish.> But the remaining fish were extremely timid. I was very attached to all my fish, and this experience has put me off stocking a pond with fish again. Does this sound familiar to you. I really need advice so that I can decide what to do in the future. <Sadly this does sound very typical. My other aunt lost over 5 thousand dollars in goldfish and Koi from her pond by ONE heron in a few weeks time... They repeatedly scared the bird off before it could eat, but it managed to snag a couple fish here and there. They are fast birds and will do damage to the pond fast. Keep an eye out if it was a heron than your culprit will most likely return to the seen of the crime. There are measure you can take to protect your fish, by putting on alarms or sprinklers to scare away the birds. Also you can string fishing line around the pond so that the birds are incapable of flying into or getting to the pond. I would look online at other goldfish/Koi pond owners (preferably local one) and see what measure they have taken.> Thank you in advance of any advice you can give me. Best Wishes Julie Peek <Julie, I'm sorry to hear of your loss, and I do wish you the best of luck in the future. Try not to give up hope. -Magnus.

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
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