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August 2004 Newsletter
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Thursday, August 12th, 2004
488 W 33rd Avenue
Sue has a pond that runs under her front sidewalk. She is a new member and has had some problems with it’s construction (professional) and she would love to have us all come out and help her do some problem solving.
From I-380 take the County Home Road exit and travel east to the Alburnett road (W58). Turn south into Marion and W. 33rd Avenue will be on your left just after the road zigzags. From CR catch Alburnett road off of Boyson at the east end of Bowman woods. (Note: this is off Alburnett Road not 10th street in Marion)
Saturday, August 28th, 2004
Kacy & Quinn Novak
601 Wilder DR SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Take Highway 13 on the east edge of Cedar Rapids. Come into town on Mt Vernon Road. Turn right onto Wilder just past Indian Creek.
Catch Mt. Vernon Road in south east Cedar Rapids near Mercy Hospital. (8th Avenue & 10th Street & Mt. Vernon Road) Continue out to Wilder on the left before the bridge.
Sandy Hunter was our gracious hostess for the Thursday, July 8th meeting. This, being the previous meeting before the pond tour, is the time when the club does our pre-tour so that volunteers and other pond host have an opportunity to see the other ponds on the tour.
President, Kacy Novak, began the meeting by asking Sandy to talk briefly about her multiple ponds, (3-4 in all) tucked out in the country. Sandy’s ponds are surrounded by many beautiful flowers and were featured in this year’s tour.
A treasurer’s report was given and then the meeting was basically handed over to Joe Olsen, our tour chairman, as there were many details to be explained. Tour hosts were introduced to their club volunteers. Tickets, signs, and the plant sale were all explained and gone over.
Following Joe’s pep talk, we munched on “lily pad cookies” and drew for door prizes. Kacy Novak, Sharon Weiss, and Judy Olsen all were the lucky winners of fish food or Pond Clear.
The meeting started at 6:30 so that we could have plenty of time to all jump in our cars and make mad dashes to all of the ponds on this year’s tour. Speaking for ourselves, it was plenty dark by the time we rolled into Joe’s, the final stop on the tour. (And we skipped one pond, knew where we were going for the most part, and pretty much dashed in and out of every yard!) It was very difficult to leave each pond in a timely manner, as there was always beautiful flowers, fish, and people to visit with. Every pond and garden was unique in it’s own way.
Respectfully submitted, Jackie Allsup
Saturday, July 24th. Harry and I were happy to host this meeting. We kind of wanted to treat the club members to a BBQ and tried to lengthen the meeting to provide more time for socializing and just plain relaxing. Harry, with the help of kind friends, grilled up some mighty tasty pork loin, cabbage and veggies, garlic bread, cheesy potatoes, and fresh corn on the cob. Hope everybody got full and enjoyed the premeeting time to visit. I also want to thank those of you that brought appetizers or desserts. All tasted wonderful!
Following our meal, President, Kacy Novak, started the meeting by first asking me to talk a little about our ponds. We have 2 ponds basically for koi and another smaller one for gold fish. The pond experience started for us some 8-10 years ago and has been evolving ever since. We made the mistake of redesigning our trickle tower filtration right before our meeting, so the water was a little stirred up. Of course, now that the meeting is over it has returned to crystal clear. I wanted people to take a peek at our quarantine tanks, so they could realize how easily one can be set up. My perennial gardens are starting to mature. Maybe you saw a plant that you were kind enough to share with me? Many of them came from previous club plant swaps.
There was no treasure’s report in Nancy’s absence. Joe Olsen, gave us a run down on the pond tour results. We had a short round robin of ideas for future tours, pros and cons. If you see Joe, be sure to thank him for his hard work. Although numbers were maybe down from previous years, (it rained, if you recall) the tour has to be considered a great success. It featured many unique pond styles and gardens and we thank every one of you that opened your yards to the public and then stood out in the rain to talk to people!! Thank you, thank you.
There were a couple new faces at this meeting and Kacy asked that they introduce themselves and talk a little about their ponds. Both couples, mentioned that they had attended our pond tours and encouraged the club to continue with them. One of them told us the story of how a person dumped 2 cycle oil into his pond and how he frantically searched for help on how to handle the situation. After several calls to the DNR and local pet stores, he finally removed the fish and completely scrubbed down the pond AND fish! A regular oil spill cleanup. What a mess! We felt his pain! The correct answer would of been to simply run the pond over to allow the floating oil to run off as draining the pond only let the oil cover everything. Now here’s a man in need of a pond club and support system! Or maybe just a possee to go get the culprit!
After much discussion, I gave a presentation on fish health. We talked about the 6 main water quality problems that go on to cause fish fatalities and other problems. (preventative maintenance) I spoke about the different common parasites, bacterial infections, fungus, viral, and other common injuries that can cause problems. We then went down a list of secondary symptoms and possible causes and treatments for each. It was perhaps pretty in depth for the beginner, but I wanted people to learn to observe their fish, so problems could be treated early. I also hope I didn’t scare people off when it comes to buying koi. That was not my intention at all. Fish in our ponds are perhaps the best part! The best thing we can do to maintain healthy fish populations is to do weekly small water change outs and keep our populations in check. Healthy fish can ward off a lot of problems, so preventative maintenance to our ponds and quarantining new fish is key to good fish health.
We closed by drawing for door prizes. A few members brought samples of their pond water for me to test. Most were good, but we found a couple samples that needed pond owner attention. All in all, I had a great time and I hope everyone else did to.
Ok, are we getting overdosed with fish keeping and water quality? I know, I know. It is important to know but we will ease up in future issues. We just wanted to help the Koi and Goldfish keepers who have been having problems this summer. Next month we move on to water plants.
Please check the meeting locations for this month. They have been changed from the original schedule due to visiting relatives and other unexpected issues.
Just a reminder as the summer ponding season moves along. Elections will be coming up at the November meeting and with that a change in committees members. Please consider volunteering for a committee. And may I encourage you towards the program committee and the writing committee. These are our education, information distributing committees and we could really use an influx of ideas. I’m just scattering seeds here. Think about it.
I want to thank my writing committee, haven’t they been doing a great job. And I am thinking they are really enjoying themselves. Especially Tim Nolan who has been digging through the library and highlighting the goodies that are in there. What fun, being a ponder and reading about ponds!!
And as always, I am always looking for articles and PICTURES. You don’t have to be on the writing committee to submit items… just get things to me, either by e-mail or hard copy at a meeting. Sorry the newsletter is printed in black and white but pictures will be on the web site in color…… Now I am reflecting that if I had my act together I would carry my digital camera to meetings and gather pictures too. Duh.!
I was just out wondering around the yard, looking to see how the pond looked from other parts of the yard, and noticed, those Water Forget-me-nots are really go getters… they are still blooming. And are so cute. And they spread! And compete real well with the cat tails. Tough little wonders.
~Hwy 20 Corridor ~
Pond Tour 2004
By the Eastern Iowa Pond Society
Pond tour 2004,
In spite of severe weather warnings, lightening for awhile followed by about an hour of rain, 160 folks took part in the 2004 Highway 20 corridor pond tour. Ponder enthusiasts from all over northeast Iowa (Decorah, Waverly, Waukon, Amanas to name a few) ventured out in the storm to check out a very interesting variety of water features and gardens. We had many compliments about the gracious hosts and the helpfulness of the volunteers at each site. We tried to answer all the questions about fish, plants , plumbing, lighting and design. Of course my lotus went into full bloom the day after the tour but other than that the tour was a big hit. We made $710 dollars in tickets and well over $200 on the plant sale. Pizza and beverages followed at the Olsen house where we shared stories of the day. Nine large pizzas disappeared in a flash.
A BIG thank you to all that helped before, during and after the tour and a special thanks to club members who were willing to open their yards for viewing on the tour.
Tour planning is a work in progress and sometimes we forget the "i wish we had done.........". So if you have suggestions for improvements for 2005, please get them to Joe Olsen (email@example.com) to put in the final report. Also remember that proceeds go back to communities for beautification projects so if you know of an organization needing funds to complete a project please tell them to contact EIPS.
At my recent pond meeting, we discussed some of these most common fish ailments. They are common enough that I have probably seen 95% of them. Perhaps this abbreviated list and POSSIBLE causes may help you self diagnose a problem, should one occur. If you would like to discuss any of these symptoms in further length, please call me........Jackie Allsup 319-934-3665
COMMON SECONDARY SYMPTOMS:
(CAUSED FROM A GREATER PROBLEM)
Preventative maintenance is the real cure!
Pale Gills: Flukes damage the gills to the point where the fish is basically bleeding to death through micro-hemorrhages in the gills. Other causes include costia and bacterial gill disease.
Gills swollen open: Almost always flukes- can be bacterial gill disease.
Entire gill is pale, hamburger-like and greenish: worst presentation of bacterial gill disease, highly morbid (widespread in the pond) Usually springtime, usually warmer water, Lots of fish dying. Injections needed for all valuable fish, dips and medicated food are helpful.
White strands amongst the normal gill filaments. Fish dying in dribbles and drabs. Form of bacterial gill disease usually associated with parasitism. Usually, caused by flukes or gill parasite. Use combination of salt and SupraVerm.
Outer rim or edge of gill seems pale or frayed or white: Something has burned the gills. Potassium dips, formalin dips, ammonia burns and nitrite accumulations can cause this. Usually no fish die, just need water cleaned up.
Mouth rotting off: It’s real important, that water quality is superb. Bottom of pond needs to be clean, since Koi are bottom feeders. Usually a parasite caused the initial lesions. Usually flukes. Injections or dips are best if caught early. Might swab the wound once.
Very red fins. Fins with dilated red vessels or reddish tinge to them can be several things. Stress, Nitrate poisoning, Ammonia or Nitrite accumulation, Parasitism, Bacterial systemic infection. Test you water quality, if ok, still do a major water change or salt the system.
Clamped fins. Parasitism or water quality is cause. Try salt, if doesn’t work, treat for flukes.
Fins are rotting= Can be a sequel to transport damage to fins. Ammonia build up can burn the tips. Later the damaged skin starts to die back. Can happen to gills also. Test your water. Do major water changes. Feed medicated food.
Bulging Eyes= usually related to Dropsy – or water accumulation in the body. If condition is transient you can put in salt water to help. Bulging Eyes PLUS Dropsy is terminal. Another cause for bulging eyes is trauma to the eye. This usually goes down in a week or so. Nets can cause this. Better to bowl fish instead of netting to lift fish out of water. Use of clear plastic bags is a great way to remove fish from net. They allow you to see the fish from all angles.
A WORD on Salt = A Fish’s body is .9% salinity. If water is brought up to 1.0% the salinity which uses osmosis will go from lowest salinity point (fish’s body) to highest point (water) Theory which makes fish loose fluid.
White eye = Can be from some type of trauma, only time will fix. Can be caused from a caustic trauma, like an overdose of formalin or ammonia. Stress coat, salt or injections.
Spitting out food, eats but doesn’t swallow, getting thinner. Almost always Flukes, but should net and check mouth for sores inside or outside of mouth. Look for swelling, check gills, any kind of foreign body like a piece of pine straw in the arches or a stone in the mouth.
RED BELLY -Red belly is an advanced bacterial infection where it has invaded the internal organs. Injectables for all fish in pond may help if caught early.
Milky skin, usually excess mucus production. In “no new fish” ponds it usually indicated pH plunges. If fish have been recently added you should expect parasites.
White spots= Usually Ich. Little white spots, not blobs. Pinhead spots. Can be treated with salt.
ULCERS-Sores caused by bacterial infection. Water Q must be perfect. Salt pond. Usually parasites open the skin and bacteria invade. Treat for parasites, a round of injections or dips.
WORMS UNDER SCALES = These are anchor worms. Treat with Dimilin. It is dosed once and remains in water for months.
WHITE COTTONY MATERIAL ON SKIN. Can be hard to diagnose. Fungus, Epistylis, and Cotton Wool disease (bacterial columnaris) all look like this. You must identify which you have and treat accordingly,
* Fungus looks like hair – Peroxide/Potassium
* Epistylis, looks like small goblets – Salt
* Columnaris = Must be stained to identify, requires injections or water treatments.
RAISED SCALES = Small areas, is often costia. Parasites have broken the skin and bacteria are starting to infect the areas. Treat parasite, Salt, inject or dip.
SCALES STANDING OUT ON PART OF BODY= breeding activity or parasites have broken the skin and bacteria are starting to infect the areas. Check for parasites, Salt, inject or dip till open sores have healed.
SCALES STANDING OUT ALL OVER THE BODY= This is Dropsy, its terminal. Kidneys have been infected with bacteria threw the blood system.
ROLLING/TORPEDO/FEARLESSNESS= Hydrogen sulfide, Organophosphate poisoning, copper poisoning. Do massive water changes.
ABDOMEN SWOLLEN AND DEFORMED, NO RAISED SCALES Deformed, usually always a cancer of some kind.
FLASHING/ SCRATCHING = usually parasites. Can be from slightly higher or lower ph. Residual chlorine or other metals in new water can cause flashing. As it irritates the fish.
GASPING AT THE SURFACE = might mean low o2 in the water, can be caused from you killing off a bunch of algae or snails. Formalin consumes oxygen and is in a lot of medications (formaldehyde) also; consider some toxic trauma to the gills. pH crash, parasites, over treatment with medicines. These traumas may be decreasing oxygen transfer. Cool water if over 80 degrees, Salt. Check all water parameters.
HEAD DOWN, TAIL NEAR SURFACE = symptom of bacterial infection. You will loose the head-down fish within a week to ten days and then other fish will die if you do not intercept the parasites and bacteria. Salt, inject, and dip
JUMPING= suggest parasites or their water. Ph is dropping or some other irritant is accumulating in the water like Ammonia. Test water, consider parasites.
LAYING ON THE BOTTOM OF THE POND = sinkers, that struggle to swim. Swim bladder problem. Can be cause from electricity. Swim bladder problems can be bacterial, defects in the air bladder filling, or water in the air sac. Sinkers which swim fine when disturb, usually feature a massive fluke burden. Treat for parasites.
LAYING OVER OR sleeping sickness is usually bacterial infection brought about by parasites chewing on the gills or skin. Salt, treat for parasites.
By Anchor Sarslow. Reprinted from Aqua News, Newsletter of the Minnesota Aquarium Society.
(Explaining some things in simple and often un-elegant terms)
(Editor’s note: Dennis and Carol Sindelar found this article in one of their favorite fish keeping journals and felt it applied so to pond keeping that it was worth a reprint. I have inserted pond related words, in parentheses to help the reader see that being new in the pond keeping hobby is just like keeping an aquarium. The same information is relevant. Our thanks to Anchor Sarslow for bring direct and to the point. Enjoy)
The subject of being new to fish (pond) keeping has come up with enough frequency I felt it was my turn to address this issue. We were all beginners at one time or another and this is nothing to be afraid of or shameful over with the mistakes we make as beginners. Many of these same mistakes made as a neophyte we somehow still make when we come to be called “experts”. I personally feel there is no such thing as experts, well informed maybe, but never expert.
In thinking about what kinds of things a beginning fish (pond) keeper should know, I began by making a list and pared that down to a few basics. These 6 points are not all encompassing but should help to prepare you with good questions and thoughtfulness for the creatures you are about to keep.
1. Know and understand what the nitrogen cycle is and how to tame/control it.
2. Be prepared and eager to read books, literature, web pages, whatever it may take to gain more information. Just reading this article might save you a lot of headaches.
3. Complications and setbacks WILL happen.
4. Understand fish requirements before you start.
5. Be enthusiastically patient.
6. Understand that keeping fish and/or aquatic plants is not just a decoration, even if that is what you want it to be.
OK, so we have a list. What am I talking about? Well I could take it part by part and then summarize but that wouldn’t be much fun to read. I will try this through relating some things and then just imparting my meager wisdom into it all... Still with me?
Well the most important thing on this list is being well informed. I would first suggest a good general book. Even the smallest of books usually has good basic information. A good basic book will tell you about the nitrogen cycle (which I will address a bit later), and should have some selection of pictures and descriptions of a few “basic” fish. It might also tell you about some plants, water chemistry, diseases, etc. Much of this stuff can be well summed up in a book with as few pages as maybe 50 pages. Read as much of this book as you can tolerate. It is very possible you may not understand all of it but at least you have a start. Now read over the same material at least one more time. The point I want to make with this is to read and reread as much as you can. It not only helps you gain a handle on what you are about to try to start doing but also helps build that enthusiasm for it. Contemplate that favorite fish (Koi or Goldfish) of yours flowing back and forth at the front of the tank (pond). Maybe it is a school of small (goldfish) fish blending their form and color as a group among that big (lotus) plant in the middle of your tank (pond).
The next thing you want to do it to consider what kind of fish you want to keep. Maybe it is a basic community tank? Maybe you want a luxuriously lush, freshwater plant tank (pond)? Perhaps you would rally love to keep a saltwater aquarium be it fish or reef style? (OK pond people, delete that last sentence) All of these CAN be kept by you, the beginner, if you are properly informed before you start. What you need to know about those fish is how big does it get? What do I have to feed it? How much room will it need? What will this all cost me? These are all very important for you to consider BEFORE you start. There is nothing worse than going out and spending a couple of hundred dollars on a system (pond), not knowing how to set it up and once you do get that far, you go out and plop in that favorite fish only to find out that your tank (pond) is too small (or shallow), it is freshwater and the (number of ) fish you bought fills the tank and just happens to be a saltwater fish. It DOES happen, I had a customer do just that thing and then complain I did not explain things to them. My response (mentally of course) was – You should have known, I cannot follow you home to see you are doing it right and you did not ask. (Again the reference to saltwater does not relate to the pond but the idea is the same, the fish and the pond do not match. But you have to know this, or ask about compatibility. The dealer is not a mind reader).
OK #1 BE INFORMED. Read, understand and ask questions.
Next on the list of things to understand it the Nitrogen cycle. Once you get started, this is more important to the success of the tank (pond) than pretty much anything, so here goes.
The aquarium (pond) you are keeping is a confined environment. It has limitations in that it has to artificially be controlled by you and is not a complete environment. (yes, this is true even though the pond is outside) It is substantially smaller than the real thing, well in most cases it is. We won’t talk about those fish that can and do live in puddles the size of your footprint in the mud. Also keep in mind, as with most things, there are exceptions to almost anything said or done in the aquarium (pond) hobby.
Un-elegant explanation – NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. A bear can drop a load anywhere in the woods and then walk away. The load breaks down normally without affecting the entire woods. A dog in a kennel is confined. If you don’t go clean it up, it will not only become offensive to the dog but the neighbors might have a problem with how it affects their sense of smell. Your fish tank (pond), like the kennel, needs some way to get clean too. Now, as gross as this may sound, think if you never flushed your own toilet.
Anyway, the nitrogen cycle is your aquarium’s ability to deal with waste and other pollutants in that system. The size of the system and the methods of handling that waste vary a bit but most of the methods are similar even when they look different. The nitrogen cycle refers to your aquariums (ponds) ability to handle and break down NITROGEN into less toxic chemical compounds.
Nitrogen comes from many sources. It usually is found in fish waste, rotting food, dead fish hidden in the corner, and your city likely uses a form of ammonia (which has nitrogen in it) to treat your water. In fact, as the natural waste products in your tank breaks down, one of the first things it makes is some form of ammonia compound. Ammonia is toxic to fish. So your system needs a way to change this to something less toxic. When that occurs naturally, it then changes into another nitrogen compound that is called NITRITE. This is also toxic to your fish. When the nitrite breaks down, it usually forms a compound called NITRATE. This, if left to build up, can also be toxic but in small amounts usually is not. How does all this happen? BACTERIA! Good bacteria. The nitrogen cycle is essentially the breakdown of ammonia (Nitrogen) into less toxic compounds by bacteria. There are bacteria that eat ammonia and leave behind nitrite. Then another bacteria eats the nitrite and leaves behind nitrate. You get to handle the nitrate in most cases by doing WATER CHANGES to remove excess nitrite. Water changes are something referred to as VACCUUMING THE GRAVEL. (siphoning the scum off the bottom of the pond) What this entails is that you have a special siphon hose that you can start siphoning water out of your tank (pond) and then sticking the end in the gravel (muck). What this usually does is lift the gravel and some of the ammonia producing waste trapped in it up into the tube. The gravel is too heavy to be lifted out but the water and that oh so polluting waste is pulled away into your bucket below (out into the yard). You then refill your aquarium (pond) with some new water. What you have just done is remove waste that can form more toxic compounds and also removed some of the end product of the nitrogen cycle, nitrate, from the tank (pond). If done once a week or so in small amounts (maybe 15 minutes to half an hour a week) you can maintain a tank (pond) for a year or more depending on the size. This is your way of flushing your fish’s toilet and taking out the garbage. Taking a fish tank (pond) apart, thoroughly cleaning it, setting it back up and returning all the fish to it is usually a very BAD activity.
Filtration, tank (pond) cycling and a few other terms to ponder—Taming and controlling the nitrogen cycle. There are basically 3 types or ways to filter your aquarium (pond). Biological, chemical and mechanical filtration; of these the only one that is essential is biological. The process I talked about for the nitrogen cycle requires the presence of biological filtration of some kind. A biological filter can be an undergravel filter, a box filter, a sponge filter, a canister filter, an overflow filter or a trickle filter to name a few. All of these can or are set up to do one thing. Biological filters set up a place for bacteria to live and grow that allows the polluted water to pass by them with chemicals (nitrogen in this case) to eat. The most commonly used is the undergravel filter. It basically is a plate set under your gravel that pulls water through the gravel where the bacteria are living and then sends that water back up into the aquarium through a lift tube. I won’t go into the details of these different biological filters. This is something for you to enthusiastically find out for yourself as to which one to choose. But essentially, you will need one.
Mechanical filtration is very often found in conjunction with your biological filter. It is a filter that contains some way to remove the larger and more solid pieces of waste in the aquarium (pond). It is not always combined though. But when it is, you will have to maintain this filter more often as it does tend to get plugged up with stuff. During this maintenance, be sure not to overly disturb the biological filtration part you may have in it. Most frequently used mechanical filters that are noted for being one are overflow and canister filters (skimmer boxes). They usually have some kind of sponge and or fibrous material in them to mechanically or physically block the waste from returning into the main portion of our tank. Now, why worry about disturbing the biological portion of a filter? Good Question.
Bacteria are living things. You can easily kill them in many cases. By doing things like tearing down and cleaning your aquarium (pond) you will kill a lot or even all of these beneficial bacteria. Why is that important? Well, to be honest, creating the environment for these bacteria takes time. Though there are a few ways around it, TANK (pond) CYCLING usually takes 4 to 8 weeks. What is tank (pond) cycling? It is the process of growing new bacteria in your biological filter. Bacteria don’t magically appear in numbers great enough to handle the load of a fully stocked tank (pond) in an instant. This takes time. By allowing the cycle (the nitrogen cycle) to occur naturally means the bacteria that eat ammonia need to grow in adequate numbers to eat all the ammonia. And the nitrite comes next and the proper bacteria to eat them. This process takes about 4 to 8 weeks. If you put a lot of fish into a tank (pond) without the proper bacteria to eat the waste you are going to have toxic levels of nitrogen compounds present long enough to kill your fish. To put it un-elegantly, how long do you think you could breath only the air present in the basement of an outhouse? If a tank (pond) is up and running and you thoroughly clean it, you are pretty much putting your fish into a festering outhouse basement. To restate it; tank (pond) cycling is the process of putting your tank (pond) through the nitrogen cycle, to create an adequate number of bacteria in your biological filter for your tank (pond) and fish and it takes 4 to 8 weeks. I will leave it up to you to find out how this is done.
Chemical filtration is basically a “quick fix” type of filtration. It is most often used as a fix for errors made by us aquarists (ponders). It does have other uses on a continuous basis but the – fix – is one of its better uses. This is done by passing your water over a chemically reactive thing. Like carbon or some chemically reactive pads. They can be used to remove undesired or unexpected things, like yellow water gets clearer when run through a carbon filter. Carbon is one of the most common chemical filters we use with both the aquarium (pond) and our drinking water.
Your fish environment - Here are a few simple things to remember and all have some logic and experience behind them.
The bigger your aquarium (pond), the less work it will be. This has a couple reasons behind it. A larger tank (pond) can handle a bigger bio load. A bigger tank (pond) usually has a larger biological filter with it. Bad chemicals build up much slower when it has a lot more water it has to pollute before becoming toxic and is more able to handle our mistakes. Smaller tanks (ponds) need more attention, as less water needs more work to stay healthy. For instance, which can you pollute faster, a pond or say Lake Superior or even maybe the Atlantic Ocean? So the statement is – Get the biggest tank (pond) you can afford and have room for.
Rushing into things spells disaster. There are times when I have seen a fish I had to have. Took it home knowing I didn’t have a proper place for it. What usually happens is, the tank (pond) could not handle the addition of these fish or someone got eaten or Jump Fishy Jump! You get the idea? Plan ahead. Be patient.
The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men Often Go Astray or Does anyone recall Murphy’s Laws? - To put it bluntly, expect the unexpected, setbacks will happen.
Know your fish BEFORE you buy them.
READ, READ, READ! Information is your friend. Hear are a few tid-bits and/or misconceptions I have heard over the past years that many beginners do not know or understand.
1. I cannot think of a single fish that eats its own or any other fish’s waste products. Cleaners or catfish eat food – that food may be laying on the bottom, which gives the thought that it is eating fish waste, it is not... It is eating or looking for whatever edible thing has fallen to the bottom.
2. Some fish eat algae and when no algae are present they need to eat something else. Flake food or some kind of vegetable pellet or the like.
3. Live aquatic (pond) plants usually need more care than many fish to prosper. Physically, they need good light and some form of plant food. Yes, plants need food too.
4. Not everyone that works in the fish department (garden center) knows everything there is to know about fish and keeping fish. It has taken me close to 30 years of fish keeping to feel comfortable enough to write this article and feel secure in the information.
5. When first starting out, one to a couple fish is all you should put in your tank (pond) until it is cycled. Do not replace dead fish during the cycling period unless it was the only one in the tank (pond).
6. At some point in time you will have put too many fish into your aquarium (pond).
7. At some point in time you will put the wrong kind/size of fish in your aquarium (pond).
8. Neglect=death. Unlike a cat or dog, a fish cannot bark or meow to get attention. Pay attention to your pet.
Here is what I see as a minimum to keep fish:
1. A container to keep the fish in.
2. Clean water.
3. A biological filter
4. Fish food
5. A way to do water changes
This is very simplified. Some parts are more involved than the simple statements I have laid out here.
Lastly, understand you are creating and maintaining a living environment. Putting together an aquarium (a pond) without knowing what to do with it will only spell disaster and disappointment. It will lessen what could and should be a very enjoyable experience. An aquarium (a pond) can be a beautiful thing, very decorative, relaxing and inspiring, but must be understood. Bubbly water and cute pink castles (water lilies) may be pleasant to you but realize your living environment should not be met with cruelty to its inhabitants. Respect them and know them as the living animal they are.
* You have actually spent the entire day in the water without doing a single stroke or kick.
* You keep better track of your pond’s water quality than you do your check book.
* You cringe when you see fishing poles.
* You feel folks asking “how do you cook them? What do they taste like?” is not funny.
* You have ever added up every watt that connects to your circuit breaker to see if you can put on just one more light.
* You spend more money on treats for the Koi, than you do on treats for the kids.
* The only reason you go to other parts of your yard is to see how your pond looks from there.
floating in the library with Tim Nolan
One of the neat little “how to” books in our library is Ortho’s “All About Garden Pools and Fountains”. Written by Veronica Lorson Fowler and Jamie Beyer, this nice 8x11 inch book of 96 pages, offers a great overview of the basic pond building issues. It is a great pre planning tool, with many wonderful color photographs and clean colorful illustrations to help you visualize the many possibilities for your pond.
Topics covered include the following:
Feasibility, costs and calculations.
Which style for you?
Pools for wildlife.
Materials and Supplies
Figuring the volume of five different pool shapes!
Comparing a dozen different fountain heads.
Pipes, valves and fittings.
Filters and liners as well as various types of edging.
Building A Garden Pool
Starter Gardens/ Container Gardens.
Positioning: Environmental and Design Considerations
Depth, Electrical, Digging, installing flexible and preformed liners.
Above Ground Pools and Bog Gardens.
Fountains, planning and installing.
Streams and Waterfalls: Eight pages of how to do it!
Planting, Stocking, and Caring for your garden pool.
Encyclopedia of Water Plants: Descriptions and color photos of 22 dif ferent plants!
Maintaining Your Garden Pool
And to round it out....a USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map of North America, AND a Metric Conversion Chart!
This is a terrific reference book for those who want to do some serious planning before they actually start the project, and thus avoid a lot of common mistakes. Easy and fun to read, with quality illustrations throughout. Ask Ron Rife our club librarian, to show you this book!
More …… From The Floating Library:
Our club collection of video tapes includes 3 tapes from the Easy Ponding Series. Although we have endured a rainy start to the ponding season, this might be the time to take a look at starting that new pond improvement project!
A. “Waterfalls, Streams, And Other Attractions” is a 40 minute video primarily for people who already have ponds, but are thinking of expanding or improving their current arrangement, or for those looking to build a bit more than a basic pool.
B. Adding A Natural Looking Stream
1. Considering Stream Sources
a. Hillside spring
b. Hidden source
c. Small pool source in limited space, doubles as a biological filter.
2. Stream Lengths
a. Short run considerations
b. Long runs with falls steps.
c. Preventing run off and water loss.
d. Removing sod and laying out the design.
3. Digging A Header Pool & Collection Pools
a. Shaping banks.
c. Angles for stone bedding.
d. Reinforcing waterfall steps.
e. Rock placement before liner installation.
f. Using sealant with rocks.
4. Building A Weeping Wall
5. Finishing The Stream
C. Using A Skimmer & Bio- Falls...The Mechanical & Biological Combo!
1.How The Skimmer Functions
a. When to clean it.
2. How The Bio-Falls Functions
a. How to clean it.
3. Sizing the skimmer and pump for the pond.
D. INSTALLING A Skimmer.
1. Working with an existing, operating pond.
2. Fitting the skimmer to the liner.
3. Plumbing the skimmer.
E. INSTALLING The Bio- Falls Above A Stream
1. Plumbing the falls.
2. Fitting the falls to the liner.
F. Pump Selection For Waterfalls
1. Choosing the gallons per hour based on weir size.
2. Pipe size flow comparisons.
3. Pump head height demonstration.
This tape seems to be the most fun of the three tapes in the series. It includes a demonstration of skimmer and falls equipment combos, by Gary Wittstock, one of the innovators of the bio-falls & skimmer combos that have become so popular in pond building these days.
There is an amazing demonstration of the installation of a skimmer in an existing pond that is full of water! Go ahead...try this at home!!
For those of you wondering about whether or not to build your pond with a bio-falls and skimmer combo, this tape will show you exactly how all this hardware comes together.
I want to tell you all about our upcoming day at Brucemore in Cedar Rapids. August 28 is the Eastern Iowa Garden and Landscape show at The Brucemore Mansion, 2160 Linden Drive (or the back driveway is in the 1900 block of 1st Avenue NE), Cedar Rapids and EIPS is again having a booth. Last year we set up a “pond” in a punch bowl on our table with live plants and Koi. Our Volunteers spent the day handing out EIPS brochures, answering questions and just talking ponds with the public. Although the volunteers were scheduled for 2 hour segments, many of them just spent the whole day there. They had a great time as it is a great event.
If you are interested in manning the booth or have some ideas as to what will make our booth interesting, contact me As-Soon-As-Possible. Calling is better than waiting to volunteer at the August 12th meeting.
August 28th is also the date of our Saturday meeting and we have scheduled it in the Cedar Rapids area to accommodate the volunteers making it to the meeting.
Kacy Novak 319-362-0487
Reminder: If you have not paid your dues for the year, this will be the last newsletter you will be receiving.
Eastern Iowa Pond Society Membership Application
Thursday 9th... Deb Frese & Kevin Dolan - CR
Saturday, 25... Roger and Margie Thompson – Springville
Sat/Sun... Sharon Weiss - Vinton
Sat/Sun... TBA Recognition & elections
All locations and topics are subject to change.
EIPS Newsletter Archives