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Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls
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Volume 1. Design & Construction
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Here's a weird question for you! Truck bed liner pond
Haven't been in touch for a while so, of course, I had to
come up with the weirdest question possible to say hello!
The question is, can I safely use a preformed drop-in rigid pick-up truck bed
liner as a liner for a fish pond? I mean, do you know if that
would be safe for fish or how I might find out if it is safe for fish?
<Several years ago, I did this to build a customer’s garden pond, and we didn’t
have any issues with the truck liner, it appears that the plastic used in it is
inert and don’t affect fish since it doesn’t release any toxic substances; I
remember though using a pond liner as an extra backup but this was only to keep
the water from leaking. I’d say that you can give it a try. Greetings. Wil.>
Sick Shubunkin please help 2/11/19
I have a Shubunkin, Negan, who is about 3 years old that we brought in from our
pond this past fall. (Last year he overwintered in the pond and did fine.) Negan
did great for about 8 weeks in a tank, though it was a bit small (10g
and he’s about 9” long).
<Mmm; this won't work... Poisoned by its own wastes>
Before I could get him in to a larger tank, he started showing signs of what I
thought might be swim bladder disease; listing to one side, lethargic, bloated.
(Looking back, we probably did overfeed him.) So I stopped feeding him all
flakes and pellets, changed out 1/2 his tank water and replaced the filter, and
tried to get him to eat peas (no skin). He wouldn’t eat them. And despite doing
1/3 tank changes every other day, the ammonia and nitrates stayed elevated,
and the filter was covered in a reddish slime. This went on for 6 days until I
was able to move him in to a bigger (40g), clean tank. I noticed then that his
anus was red and very open.
He pooped a big “tube” that had very little waste in it. I thought maybe that
was a sign that he was getting past the constipation. But that was 2 days ago.
He’s still not eating (not even blood worms) and there are several of these
empty tubes in the tank (very long and milky colored, no waste whatsoever in
them). He’s staying at the bottom, and when I nudged him to the top today to try
hand feeding, he expelled a white discharge, though it looked like it came from
a lesion on his right side where he’s also red and swollen (photos attached.)
His smaller tank also has smaller aquarium gravel which he would occasionally
suck up and spit out. It is possible he swallowed one and now it’s lodged in his
I just checked the water...it’s where it should be, though the ph is a little
<Actual readings... please>
so I’ve added a ph neutralizer. I sure hope you can help. I don’t want to see
him suffer and don’t know how to help him at this point. Thank you for any
<Really... just good care at this point. Optimized, stable water conditions...
NO ammonia, nitrite. I would NOT medicate this fish... likely just more stress.
Re: Sick Shubunkin please help 2/11/19
Additional info...I noticed too that now when he does swim he shakes quite a
bit, starting with his head, then his whole body. He’s not flashing...he does
this in the open water. Here are a few other photos of better quality to show
the inflamed areas.
<Trouble... environmental... BobF>
Help to identify worm in pond 2/8/19
Attached are pictures I took of a worm? I found in my pond. I have found these
in pond for over a year. They do not bother the fish, stay at the bottom of the
pond, and do not damage the fish in any way. I have tried unsuccessfully
contacting various sources, but no one can tell me what these are, how they came
to be in the pond, and how to get rid of them. . Today, I found about ten small
ones in the bottom of the water. I remove them with a net and discard them. The
next day I look into the water, and there are several more. The pond is about
2000 gal, with a waterfall with two aerators. The water is crystal clear. I have
never had any type of worms like this in the 10 years the pond has been in
existence. I have only experienced small blood worms in my filter in the summer.
The attached picture of the worm? is about 2 ½ inches long. In the past they
have ranged from ½ to 4 inches.. I researched all worms on the website, and they
don’t seem to match any of them. The pond is all rocks and no dirt. It does not
appear to be an anchor worm, horsehair worm or round worm, just an aquatic worm
of some kind. Don’t know where they came from but I want to totally eliminate
them from the pond in the future but do not know what to use.
I need your help to let me know what it is and what I can purchase from a
company to eliminate any future ones in my pond. I live in Las Vegas and my tel.
no is 702-453-XXXX. E-mail address is XXXX@cox.net.
Thank you for any assistance you can give me.
<Mmm; do these objects move? What life is there in the pond that you know of?
What plantings in and around the basin? Bob Fenner>
Hi dee ho?
Re: Help to identify worm in pond
They appear to just stay in one place - I don't see any movement until I move
them with the net. They then float upward and I can retrieve with the net for
discard. Sometimes when I retrieve them with the net, they become split apart in
segments. They are always on the floor of the pond and the Koi swim above them.
I have 10 large Koi in the pond, approx 20 lbs each, and these worms? don't
appear to bother them in any way. There are no plants surrounding the pond, only
flagstone. There are some plants above the pond surrounding the waterfall that
goes into the pond. These have been there for approx 10 years.
<I suspect these are not worms; but likely fecal material... from...? Perhaps
migrant birds... DO cut one up with a sharp knife and tell me if you can discern
any internal structure. BobF>
Re: Help to identify worm in pond
When lifted from the pond on the net they flatten out so cannot cut up and some
of them turn mushy.
<... not worms>
Also, if they are in fact fecal matter, which I believe is typically a dark
color or green, why do some of them have something that looks like two pinchers
on one end and are all a pink color?
<Need a better resolved, close up photo. Fecal material occurs in many colors;
mostly dependent on what the animal's been eating. Have encountered this sort of
thing many times in doing pond maintenance. BobF>
Pond worms? Or whatever they are 2/9/19
You requested close-up pictures of what is in the pond. Attached are pictures of
several of them I removed this A.M.
Hope this helps to ID them.
Thank you for your help.
Pond worms? Or whatever they are
Just some additional info. Gathered about 7 of the unidentified worms? from the
pond this A.M. All were about 5 inches long and about ¼ inch wide. I put Prazi
in the pond hoping this might stop them from multiplying.
<.... stop sending nonsense. B>
Re: Pond worms? Or whatever they are
You requested info and I sent it. Sorry you consider factual info "nonsense".
<... how many times does one have to respond, ask for gross dissection
No further e-mails will be sent to you requesting assistance.
<Faeces, feces, heigh dee ho! Thank you, B>
Swim bladder problem 12/11/18
I have a problem with a goldfish in my pond �� See he has a
swim bladder problem. He has been floating upside down now for a while. He
lives in an outdoor pond with other goldfish he is an Oranda
<Will make a statement here that "fancy"; okay fancier goldfish (other than
comets, Shubunkins...) do have more problems in outdoor ponds>
There are other Oranda goldfish in the pond too and they are doing fine.
This particular goldfish got attacked by birds during the summer. He was
rescued quickly. But I worry that he could have gotten a swim bladder
problem from that.
<Could be. You may know that fishes (that have gas bladders; some don't)
come in two basic formats, physostomous and physoclistous... with openings
to the throat/buccal cavity and not. Goldfish do have such an opening and
are able to "burp" out extra air. My point is that what folks label as "swim
bladder" issues are often "fatty degeneration"... "Roundish" goldfish
varieties do have more trouble w/ three dimensional orientation due to their
shapes... and higher protein food/s, esp. flake foods are often a major
He has not eaten anything for many weeks now as it is winter and too cold
for him to digest food now.
<Below about 55F folks should give up on feeding pondfish... as foods become
hard to process. Have you read Sabrina's expose on floaty, bloaty GF?:
So fasting has obviously not helped. I tried an Epsom salt bath for 3 days.
This treatment worked for another Oranda I have that had swim bladder
problems too. But this treatment has not worked for David, the fish in
Now he has developed septicemia in his fins because of his floating upside
down. They say that when goldfish with swim bladder problems that do not
respond to treatment get this way it might be kinder to let them go. What do
you think I ought to do?
<Well, I am on the side of the scale that hates to give up on life; holding
out hope for recovery. I myself would likely wait and hope. The Epsom is a
good idea... As might be moving the fish into a steady temp. setting like a
garaged aquarium w/ filtration. IF you decide to go the euthanasia route,
please do read over Neale's piece here:
Re: Swim bladder problem
Thank you Bob. I put David down. There is no way I can get an aquarium set
up in the house for him. But thank you for your help. I was hoping he would
get better, but he just didn’t. Thank you so much Bob.
<Welcome Cam. BobF>
Peacock guppy question to Bob (copy/paste from fb); pond use 10/25/18
Hey, bob, thanks again for helping like always. I miss San Diego and the reef
<Come on back... at least visit!>
ok...last time I asked about what I can put in my dad's koi pond and you guys
suggested the platies. I asked one of the local fish store here in Taiwan. He
doesn't think Platies will cut it.
<Mmm; why? They are tougher than Poecilia spp. for sure. Wider tolerance to
cold, water quality range...>
He says Koi will eat them and only reason guppies is ok is that they are meaner.
Any truth to that?
I am pretty sure I was pointed at the platies when I ask the question.
<Am a giant fan of Platies... for their hardiness, beauty, utility in ponds...
otherwise for mosquito abatement et al. Heterandria formosa (I raise), Gambusia
species... will work in many pond settings>
so will platies like the peacock fancy guppies loose their color as they breed
among them self?
<Very slowly; several generations... and one can always add a bit more genotype
I can't find at this moment but I know you told me in one of the msg about
having more female fishes??
what's the female/male ratio? half half....or as long as more females then
<More females are better, unless the pond is VERY large (thousands of gallons)>
thanks again Bob.
<Welcome George. Bob Fenner>
Re: peacock guppy question to Bob( copy/paste from fb)
Thanks again Bob. I have no idea the exact amount of total water amount,
including the water in the filter.
But I am pretty sure, the little pond at my parent's place definitely have at
least 1,000 gallon....at least 800 gallons for sure.
<I see; would add a dozen or so; rely on reproduction to increase the
anyway...one corner have a pile of rocks that they can hide. I guess I can take
a picture or two to show you in the morning.
oh...speaking of mosquitoes.....sometime we catch some out and put in containers
we use for plants that roots can sit in water to eat mosquitoes eggs or at least
before they get out of the water and become blood suckers.
<I used to raise them when much younger... blending in a few teaspoons of milk
OK.....not sure why that pet store guy says that...maybe he didn't feed the koi?
hahaha I will give platies a try and see what happen and I will make sure there
are more females then males...and see what happen
thanks again....well things sure gets interesting between USA and China...Taiwan
kind stuck in the middle between 2 giants.
take care, Bob.
<Thank you George. Neighbors are from the R.O.C.... and my olde grad. advisor.
Interesting times for sure. B>
Re: peacock guppy question to Bob( copy/paste from fb)
Thanks again, Bob. Milk to attract what? Mosquitos?
<Ah yes; sour milk/water attracts them to lay eggs>
for fish to eat?
<Yes the larvae>
I think I heard someone says soapy water works too, because the fragrance or
something...don't remember if there are other stuff was added with it...but of
course we don't want to feed the fish dish soap.
<Never heard, read re soap use>
But that recipe was more for get rid of the mosquito within the room, so they
don't bite you. But for those mosquitoes one can see....I do use the zapper
power by rechargeable battery shape like tennis/badminton racquet to go after
those in the room, or when they fly near by trying to find a sweet spot to stick
their needle in.
well there are plenty mosquitoes want my blood when I go out to the little back
yard. Whenever I am in the backyard and kill mosquito when I found them land on
me, I always try to drop the corpse in the pond or the tank (because due to its
age, water can't fill all the way to the top...will leak) we have on the
patio...anyway ..so the guppies can eat the dead mosquito. They seem to enjoy
the occasional treat....but hopefully they don't enjoy my blood came with the
mosquito too much...hahaha
Re: Please help... GF hlth, no data 10/3/18
Could you please tell me he still have chance.
His tail suddenly gone bend
<... something/s wrong w/ this fish's world. What re water quality (tests) and
Is Flex Seal safe for fish? 10/3/18
I've purchased an 8 ft. round galvanized steel stock tank to use as a fish
pond. I want to coat the inside of the tank. Is it safe for fish to use Flex
Seal rubberized paint? The product description says for use in ponds and
fountains, but doesn't say whether it's safe for fish!
<Mmm; they state so on their site:
But I would make sure it's well-cured and try a few test fish for a couple
I had originally planned to spray the inside with Rust-Oleum, but it says
that it's not for use on galvanized metal. Would another paint be better
than Flex Seal? Maybe Krylon?
<Don't think Krylon would hold up... there are other CR paints,
applications, but the Flex Seal looks to be the real thing>
Thanks for your help! I really enjoy this website.
<Ahh, thank you Sue. Bob Fenner>
Please help. GF trauma 10/2/18
Can you tell me whether this is caused by disease or attacked by a heron?
My finned friend was fine and found him died suddenly.
<Mmm; appears to be a trauma caused by something... Perhaps a predatory bird or
mammal. See WWM re guarding against such losses. Bob Fenner>
Peacock guppy question to Bob (copy/paste from fb) for ponds
Hello, Bob, hope things are well. Hopefully the storm doesn't make too
much mess in Hawaii. I got question for you. I was hopping to find some
colorful little fresh water fish to add to a little koi pond and a fish
tank. I was thinking ...forgot the name... peacock guppy fish?? not sure
if that's the name, haven't had fresh water fish for so long. The pond
is locate in Taiwan.
<Mmm; could be guppies (Poecilia reticulata), maybe Endler's; Poecilia
wingei... but not my first choice. I'd go with platies of whatever
hybrid; Xiphophorus maculatus. Hardier, more cold-tolerant, and great at
picking on hair algae>
anyway...they are about same size as the normal guppy.....but just have
fancy color/pattern on their body and bigger tail I think.
anyway...I thought they might be cool addition....not too expensive, but
But I was told this type fish been kept before in the tank long time
ago, but due to inbreeding(assuming because of it) they eventually lost
their fancy color and I guess become regular guppies??
<Well; the "regular" guppy strains are a mess due to such inbreeding,
and some Endler's strains are heading that way>
So is that what happen when they breed within family/relatives?
<Most all such crosses are sterile>
how can I ensure they stay beautiful?
<Hmmm; good feeding/nutrition, periodic (seasonal, warm months)
harvesting, thinning of the herd>
I kept them before long before the salt water days in San Diego....but
originally I just thought they just going to get new mix of
color/pattern as they breed. But back then they never had any babies
when I kept them...and I guess I didn't kept them long enough to know
what might happen to their color due to inbreeding.
anyway...we do already have regular guppies in the pond and tank, but do
to their not so bright colors, is harder to see them with the sides of
pond have a layer of dark green color algae. That's why I am thinking
maybe add little bright color fishes that can live outside in group.
they doing just fine with the koi and among them self. so I imagine the
peacock guppy should be fine too.
what do you think about keeping them? how should I keep them with the
normal guppy, or should I just keep them by them self?
<Not my first choice>
how I can have them reproduce and still keep their
color/pattern....better yet have babies with new color/pattern mix
or perhaps do you have any suggestion for me that what I can keep with
<And you George. Hope to see you at MACNA! Bob Fenner>
Re: re: peacock guppy question to Bob (copy/paste from fb)
Hi, Bob, thanks for quick response. I will find a time to check out the
platies in the local store see if they have any good color ones.
<Ahh! Or they can/could be ordered on-line. I've recently purchased
livestock from/through LiveAquaria.com w/ confidence. Ask your LFS...
there are a bunch of colorful and variously finned platy varieties.>
Didn't know platies eat algae.
<Oh yes mate. Are fantastic at tough filamentous control>
Anyway....the koi pond is just a rectangular cement hole in the ground
with ...I guess I would call it short hair algae....is nothing like some
of those one might find choking up water plants in fish tanks....perhaps
maybe koi keep them in check...not sure....but I do know koi do like
some fiber from time to time...
Pond construction 8/29/18
We are going with a kidney shape that is more bone shaped (by this I mean
thinner and longer in the middle than a typical kidney shape).
<Yeah, looks more like a "dumb bell" shape>
See attached rough dimensional diagram. We are using a 25' x 40' epdm 45 mil
liner and geo underlayment.
We are going 5' deep.
We have heavy clay with a somewhat high water table, and on our existing
pond, although only 2' deep the rocks at the top edge of the dirt/pond fell in,
but I believe it's because we didn't keep it full of water, and we have nothing
but a thin liner with large rocks on the perimeter for support.
My husband, due to this situation with our current pond, thinks we should
reinforce all interior walls by putting in wood wall bracing all around with
flexible Luan board that's 1/8" thick and attaches to wood posts so that the
Luan board would look like interior paneling and the liner would go over that.
Not sure what his plan for the top perimeter would be, probably wood as well.
<I see; well; the wood won't last long (years) in an outside setting>
I want to pour a 6" deep collar 20" wide around the perimeter with the surface
level with the ground.
<Oh! I like your plan much more>
The liner will go up over the collar, and then large rocks will cover the entire
collar. Inside we'll have vertical walls with a plant shelf about 16" to 18"
down from the collar. I believe this will be strong enough with the liner full
of water to support the pond walls and perimeter.
<Yes; it should>
Do we need the wood wall bracing under the liners and the collar, just the
collar or just the wood? Or is there a better solution we are unaware of after
countless hours of searching and browsing the internet?
<Mmm; well; I am a fan... oh, I see you've read my posted pieces on WWM>
I read Bob's article on construction liner only in sandy soil, but I'm confused
what a Berm is and exactly what those instructions meant.
<A berm is a concrete perimeter construct that is reinforced w/ at least
chicken/stucco wire; better with re-bar for upright and lateral support>
Carpet over plywood with cement at the bottom and a cap (is that the same as
what I call a collar)?
<Mmm; don't know>
and this necessary in our application?
<Necessary? I WOULD do something in the way of shoring up the perimeter here;
due to your high water table and the fact that the present pool's edge has
fallen in. BEST IMO/E would be to make a concrete/shotcrete (small crushed rock)
coating of ALL the basin and edges as gone over here:
Less sturdy and long term would be to make just the edge/berm of solid material,
draping the liner higher than ground level, over a re-bar support.
Less would be the wood panel and wood support plan.>
<Welcome, Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond build 8/29/18
Thank you Bob! I appreciate your input as always. Long time fan!!
will do, thanks again
<Certainly welcome Jenny. Do write back if anything is not clear; oh, and pix of
your project! BobF>
Please help. GF dis., pond 8/16/18
Dear WWM Crew
Can you please help me? I rescued 60 goldfishes 2 weeks ago at the time of
rescuing they suffered extremely bad stress then I just got one day to set
up the new pond.
<Mmm; how was the water, filter "conditioned"?>
Now all fine but one poorly sick, it sinks at the bottom of the pond, I
quarantined it indoor, used Interpet First Aid salt and API Pimafix, the
black border alongside the body faded after 7 days treatment so I placed it
back to the pond then next day the black border comes back again and it
seems has new wound. I tested the water it shows medium high NO2 and
NO3 which I immediately change 50% water, bought it down to normal level now
but the question is SHOULD I USE THE SAME MEDICINE AGAIN or should I try
<Mmm; actually, no medication needed or advised, BUT you need to step up the
biological filtration here. Let me have you read here:
STOP feeding period; the fish won't starve, but driving the nitrite up
higher may well kill all.
DO look for Dr. Tim's products: GET "One & Only Live Nitrifying
Hopefully not viremia, pox, or furunculosis...
Leaking pond (converted metal stock tank)
I have a nice 750 gal. pond with fountain. It was made by burying an 8 ft.
galvanized metal stock tank 12 inches deep on a 2” sand base over clay, then
camouflaging the sides with concrete pavers. We coated the inside of the stock
tank with two coats of rubberized paint before installing, and then later put in
a concrete fountain and added goldfish. Things have gone well for nearly 15
years; I’ve drained and cleaned it several times. We did not drill any holes
into the tank for any reason.
<Sounds good thus far>
However, last week we drained the pond after a 4 year break. There was a lot of
mud; I had to shovel it out manually, then use a shop vac to get the last of the
wet mud and gunk. Nothing appeared to be wrong or weak, so I refilled the pond
without scrubbing either floor or sides.
Things went well for about a week; the water level stayed at the filled level
with no drop.
Suddenly, 6 days later, the pond has lost about 200 gallons overnight, and
another 100 or so in the hours since I checked. I’ll soon fish out the pet
goldfish into a holding tank until things get stable.
My question; what product or products can I use to stop the leaks in a metal
pond? Would Thoroseal work in this case? What are my options?
<Mmm; not Thoroseal or any of their other fine products as far as I'm aware. You
need/want something that's elastomeric; has a bit of stretch. I see that Liquid
Rubber Waterproof Sealant/Coating has a decent priced 5 gal. size. I would go
the extra expense and buy/use their Seam Tape or GeoTextile at the bottom seam
and vertical joint/s. DO clean the basin as well as you can. SEE and adhere to
WWM's outline on acid/bleach washing to prep. the surface. It MUST be clean and
dry ahead of application>
Thanks for any help you can give me! I just don’t want to hear that I need to
replace the stock pond. I’m in Santa Barbara.
<Cheers Sue. Please send along your impressions, perhaps a pic or two of the
project. Bob Fenner>
Re: Leaking pond (converted metal stock tank)
Hi there! Thanks for your quick response!
We seem to be lucky ... the tank leak stopped abruptly at about the 2/3
full level, so not as critical as we thought. I think we're going to
eventually just replace the
stock tank with a new one, or else get a liner to cover the metal tank.
Still negotiating with the hubby on that, although that would be the
quickest and cheapest alternative, if we can't find the hole to patch.
<Mmm; after "being at this" for decades; writing "pond books"; giving
presentations to koi, pond societies for ages, I strongly encourage you
to do the cleaning and repair mentioned previously. IF this stock tank
is leaking to a degree, chances are very good that it will either
continue, or possibly fail entirely>
Thanks again for your suggestions.
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>
Effect of salt water on lake animals
We live with a fresh water canal behind our house which empties into a small
lake owned by the homeowners ass. We are putting up an above the ground pool and
will use a salt water system filter rather than chlorine to keep the water
clean. When we have to empty the pool at the end of the
summer, if any of the salt water treated water gets into the canal, will it hurt
the fish and turtles? We will be trying to empty it onto our land but wanted to
be sure if some got into the canal what effect it would have on the wildlife in
Thank you for your help
<A matter of relative volumes here; but assuming the canal's is several times
that of your pool, all should be fine. All life has a range of tolerance/use of
salts (combinations of metals non-metals... I taught
chemistry, physics and life sciences). Some salt is fine. Bob Fenner>
Removing Old Glass Window from Pool (Human Aquarium)
Hello WWM Team -
I know you are mainly about aquariums and not swimming pools, so this is not a
typical question. But not every pool has a window in it. I have to say I was
inspired to put one in after seeing Harry's Underwater Bar in Hawaii (long since
After reading your posts, it looks like you guys have the expertise to recommend
a solution to my problem.
I've attached some photos of the pool window in question.
>Some?//// 28 megs of pix Matt? Why do we ask that folks limit pix to hundreds
The current window is approximately 2' x 6' and is comprised of four 1/4" sheets
laminated together to made a 1" thick window. It doesn't leak, but there are
stress cracks that started to form in the interior layers so I need to replace
it. The window sits on a brass plate and rests against a large 2" x 2" solid
brass frame with a significant amount of silicone sealing it to the frame (as
you can see in the photos).
It is important to not damage the brass frame in removing the glass since we
would want to use it to mount the replacement window.
We had the pool tiled after the window went in and you can see that they
installed tile on the pool side to frame the window. We have removed the tile to
see what we're working with. At this point there is nothing on the pool side of
the window that holds it in. Just the silicone seal that runs the width of the
brass frame - 2" wide and about 1/8" - 1/4" thick all the way around. Strong
stuff to say the least.
What would you suggest I do to break, dissolve or otherwise remove that silicone
seal? Heat doesn't seem to be an answer. It seems like an oil-based product
would help loosen the seal on the glass side, but getting a sufficient amount
worked into it appears to be near impossible.
<Mmm; no solvent will work, and no to heat. What you need, want are sturdy,
sharp tools... AND careful use. There are "razor blade" tools that can, will cut
the Silicone away from the glass AND brass AND surrounding area. Most all this
needs to be cut away to remove the glass, THEN single edged
razorblades (in a holding tool) to remove most all the rest, THEN a solvent
(Toluene is my favorite) to remove all the remainder of the olde Silastic>
FYI - Our plan is to replace the broken glass with 1" thick acrylic.
<Okay... 1.5" would be better, deform less... I'd put up a sign on the outside
asking folks not to touch (scratch) the acrylic>
Looking forward to hearing back from you. Any help or suggestions are welcome
including a company or someone in the Southern California area that may be able
to remove it.
<Mmm, there are fabricators that could find you help here. Call Ridout Plastics
in San Diego and ask them>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
No fish; pondfish gone 3/28/18
I wonder if you can help me.
I have a small pond at the bottom of my garden it is enclosed by trees and
<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, it sounds like a predator may have snatched them from the pond. My
neighbor has had problems in the past with the eagles and hawks in our area
taking fish from the pond. Are you positive that they aren't hiding
somewhere in the pond? They may still be sheltering because of the cold weather.
When was the last time you saw them? If they truly are missing and not hiding or
dead at the bottom, I would suspect an animal took them and ate them elsewhere
since there are no half eaten carcasses as you said. Let us know if you find
anything hiding! Cheers, Gabe Walsh>
Help for my Laguna filter
I have a 700 gallon stock tank for a few red eared sliders. I have the
Laguna Pressure Flo 4000 filter and a Cal Pump T1200.
<Mmmm; yes... for all, here is the pertinent Users Manual:
See towards the end of page 3 and page 4>
I can't close the locking band around the top of my filter without help
from a strong person. The top is hard to push down. Is there a trick or
some other solution?
<There may be a few things working against you here. The most common are
that the seat area on the filter body isn't absolutely clean, the
second, "Before applying the lid clamp (O), the lid (G) must be pressed
down until the gap between lid and filter case is eliminated. The lid
clamp must be latched, with the safety metal lock (Z) inserted correctly
inside the latch slot (Fig. 3). "
the last is that the filter body o-ring isn't clean and well lubricated
(swimming pool/spa Silicone is best here)>
Also, do I need the UV light?
<It does help with improving water quality, particularly in reducing
free-living (floating) algae>
If it just kills the bacteria I've added, can I just not replace it when
it burns out?
<It should be replaced per the manufacturer per the number of hours
service it has run. The UV lamp will "burn" (show light) when it is
beyond its effective life.>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
You think it might be swim bladder disease?
Hello. I have a 765 gallon pond with 10 adult goldfish and 5 tiny fry in it.
I am trying to determine if one of my fish has a swim bladder disease
<I'm a skeptic with regard to "swim bladder disease". Let's be clear, it's a
symptom, and not a specific disease. It's not like a healthy fish is
swimming about one day, gets infected with some type of bacteria, and that
bacteria zips its way straight to the swim bladder, puffing it up and
causing the fish to die! When most aquarists mention "swim bladder disease"
what they mean is "my fish was fine before, but now it's swollen and
swimming upside-down" -- a much different thing! Assuming the fish was
healthy before, there's two main reasons for fish being both swollen and
swimming upside-down. The first is constipation. Let me direct you to some
This is rare in pond fish because these fish consume green foods and algae
naturally, keeping their digestive tracts in good health. The second cause
is a systemic bacteria infection, of the sort often called Dropsy.
Crucially, as well as looking bloated, the scales on the fish will tend
become raised from body, causing a "pine-cone" appearance when viewed from
above. Fish with Dropsy will often also be lethargic and off their food,
whereas fish with constipation will be swimming about normally and eating
normally. Systemic bacterial infections are usually caused by some sort of
environmental stress, such as poor water quality or chilling, though I
suppose it's possible bad luck or bad genes can play a role too. Fancy
Goldfish in particular are sensitive to water temperatures much below 15
The fish is a white Oranda. It has always stood on its head when feeding.
Here is a photo of the fish doing that. Sorry about the fuzzy quality. Here
is another photo of the same fish swimming normally just the other day. She
was feeding normally when I was feeding during the fall. But today my
father found her swimming upside down. She righted herself and swam away
alright. But I am wondering, if it is swim bladder disease, should I take it
out of the pond? Or should I let it continue to live in the pond where it
has more room to swim and companions?
<Systemic bacterial infections are best treated indoors in a tank, using
some sort of antibiotic. While Goldfish are social, they're fine on their
own for a few weeks. This time of year be careful about moving fish between
ponds and tanks -- sudden temperature changes of more than a couple of
degrees will be stressful, so you really want to fill the tank with pond
water, set it up somewhere cool like a garage, and then put the Goldfish in
so that any temperature changes are slight and gradual. As always, remember
water quality in the hospital tank needs to be good, and remove carbon from
the filter (if you use carbon) while medicating.>
Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease?
Thank you Neal. This is not my first time with swim bladder issues in my fish. I
had one with genetic swim bladder disease years ago. She was fine, no dropsy,
swam and ate normally. But when she would rest she would always turn upside down
and float. She would right herself to eat and swim. But it was definitely not
<Genetic problems with swim bladders are very common in 'fancy' (i.e., inbred)
varieties of fish. We sometimes call these fish "belly sliders" when they're
newly hatched because they slide about the bottom of the tank on their bellies,
rather than swimming normally like healthy fish fry. Ethical breeders will
usually (humanely) destroy such fish, eliminating the faulty genes responsible
from the gene pool, so that fewer fish in subsequent have the problem. Of course
such fish can make perfectly serviceable pets, as yours seems to have done, but
because these fish can't swim, feed, and interact socially in the normal ways,
their long term wellbeing isn't assured.>
The disease eventually caused her to stop eating and she passed away. But she
was a great and beautiful fancy goldfish while I had her. But I am wondering if
my white Oranda might be developing it. It has always kind of stood on its head
when feeding actively at the bottom of the pond. Do you think this head-standing
is the start of a swim bladder disease problem?
<Possibly. As I say, genetic problems are usually obvious from birth. It's
rather uncommon for genetics to explain how a fish can mature across, say,
twelve months and go from being a perfectly healthy baby Goldfish into one that
cannot swim at all. Of course it's not impossible, especially if some additional
factor, such as vitamin deficiency or exposure to Mycobacteria are brought into
the equation. Still, because fancy Goldfish have deformed swim bladders and
spines, they are especially prone to swimming imbalances, not least of all when
constipated (the solid mass of food shifts their centre of mass, so that they no
longer balance as they should). That's why, by default, a 'floaty, Bloaty'
Goldfish can be assumed to be constipated first, unless other obvious symptoms,
such as bleeding sores on the skin and/or fins, imply something other than
I can’t feed the afflicted fish right now and have not fed my fish in two weeks
because the pond is in winter mode now and I am not supposed to feed them in
<Quite right; hence, bringing Goldfish indoors for any treatment that requires
feeding. I will observe that as a general rule fancy Goldfish are not well
suited to overwintering outdoors where the water drops much below, say, 15 C/59
F, and I'd argue they're indoor fish unless you happen to live somewhere that
winters happen to be mild (southern California, for example). Here in the UK,
where ponds do ice over, it's generally considered safe enough leaving the hardy
fancy varieties (such as Fantails) outside, but the more delicate varieties
(like Pearlscales) are meant to be brought indoors for winter. Exposure to low
temperatures causes a number of problems for fancy varieties of Goldfish,
including a tendency towards bacterial infections once their immune systems
become suppressed. Also, because fancy Goldfish have those deformed digestive
tracts, if the gut hasn't been completely cleared out by the time it gets really
wintery, there's a greater risk of undigested food 'sitting there' and causing
problems when they're compared to their non-fancy cousins.>
So I don’t really think it is likely constipation related. And it’s definitely
not dropsy related. Only conclusion I can make is that if it is swim bladder
problems it might be genetic like my previous fish with swim bladder problems.
<As I say, possible, but if your Goldfish is 'floaty, Bloaty' completely out of
the blue, I'd be thinking more about environment than genes.>
I just need some expert advice as I am not an expert.
<Let's see what Bob F has to say, he's the real fancy Goldfish guy around here!>
Thank you so much for your help.
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease?
(RMF, second opinion please!!!) 12/29/17
Thank you Neal. I have been forbidden from keeping fish inside the house or
anywhere but the pond. But the fish has not had a repeat of its upside down
incident yet. Thank goodness. Thank you for your help and advice.
<Most welcome, and good luck! Neale.>
<<I'd have you re-read Sabrina's piece on "floaty Bloaty" goldfish...
Treatments for this genetic and often nutrition/food related syndrome are
best done in temperature controlled aquariums, but you can likely do good by
stopping feeding altogether (See, as in READ re pondfish feeding on
WWM); as the water temp. is likely too low to allow digestion this time of
year. IF you'd like to try administering Epsom Salt to the pond en toto this
may aid recovery as well. Bob Fenner>>
Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease? (RMF, second
opinion please!!!) 12/30/17
Thank you Bob.
Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease? (RMF, second
opinion please!!!) 12/31/17
He is doing his headstands again. He definitely seems to have a swim bladder
problem. But how do I treat for the bacteria in my pond when I have no other
real place to put them? Would the Epsom salt treat for the bacteria?
<Please re-re-read where you've been referred. B>
Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease?
Thank you Bob.
<What do you gain from understanding Sabrina's article? B>
Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease?
What do I gain? Well, understand what the problem is a bit better. But I am
having a little trouble clarifying the treatment in regards to ponds. Should
I use Epsom salt in my pond like I would in an aquarium?
<You could. MgSO4 is very safe... and effective for what it does>
I think I ought to mention my fish has had this head standing issue for
longer than 6 months.
And he has done this ever since I got him. Only now he is losing more of his
balance. And I did have a goldfish with a genetic swim bladder disease once
before years ago. But I kept that one in a tank not a pond. My current fish
is stuck in the pond. I have no where else to put him. This is why I am
asking if I should treat the whole pond. What are your thoughts on what I
<T'were it me/mine; I'd stop feeding period as I've mentioned, and possibly
go the Epsom route. B>
Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease?
Cool. Thank you so much Bob. It is much appreciated.
Re: Me again on the Oranda with swim bladder problem
Thank you Neal! :) I will continue to try out the Epsom salt baths for a few
weeks. Around perhaps 3 weeks sound good to you?
<Sure, but provided the fish shows signs of improvement, and it's able to
swim and feed, I'd be prepared to go on as long as it takes.>
And I was definitely not referring to using Epsom salt to euthanize my fish.
I was just asking if you thought I should euthanize him.
And you answered my question beautifully. Thank you so much for all the help
both you and Bob have been giving me. And your patience has been a godsend.
Thank you so much! I will let you know if he gets any better.
Thank you. :)
<Most welcome, and thank you for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>
goldfish breeding...and breeding
I have an 8' by 12' by 4' deep pond. I stocked it with 3 pet store variety
goldfish this past May and now I have approximately 50 fish!
Will goldfish breed to the volume the pond can bare or will I have 300 fish next
Spring and so on and so on?
<Likely you will have more next season... the one after? Not so many more.
A bit of Malthusian experience coming your way. A useful lesson for humans>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: goldfish breeding...and breeding
Thanks for your prompt reply!
I thought that might be the case, along the lines of goldfish growing to the
size of their environment.
2 male koi found dead in pond in the AM the rest (6) are healthy
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
Thanks for your time
<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
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
<Interesting. But not the other koi and goldfish? BobF>
Good afternoon Crew!
I have a garden pond with two generations of Shubunkins in and I've today
noticed that one of them has a 'sac' between it's anal fin and
caudal fin - it looks like it's full of a creamy type pus with a
few reddish streaks in it, a bit ghastly looking!! The fish itself is
swimming and eating ok but I'm worried that it's suffering - do you know
what this might be and what I can do for it please?
<Have seen these growths many times. Most are not debilitating, and though
some folks treat, even attempt surgeries to remove/excise them, I would not.
Often they disappear on their own>
Thank you for your help!
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Ulcer on 2 inch koi 7/17/17
I have a baby koi in a fairly new pond who has an ulcer on him. I noticed the
ulcer about 4 days ok. The only thing I was able to find locally was
<Mmm; search WWM re this plant extract. Of no real use; may be detrimental to
so I immediately started treating with that while I waited on some Aqua
Prazi to arrive.
<... Praziquantel? Do you suspect this is a worm involvement?>
I now have the Aqua Prazi after using the Melafix for 3 days. Can I use the Aqua
Prazi now, or do I need to wait since I treated with Melafix?
<I wouldn't use either>
The ulcer is not getting better, and the baby koi is not as active as he was a
couple days ago. I tested my water levels and they checked out fine.
<... need values, not opinions>
I will try and get a picture for you. I really appreciate your help. I have had
koi for a couple years, but never have had any problems, so I am kind of lost.
Thank you very much.
<Can you send along a well-resolved pic of the sore? Is it emarginated?
Your small Koi may have (had) a simple mechanical injury; the sore resultant
from the trauma. Perhaps there is/are bacteria here as cause or result. Am
asking you to read here:
and the Related FAQs file linked above. Does your fish's sore look like this?
fiberglass on top of rubber liner for a pond?
Hello and HELP! We recently had a “pond” built in our back yard. I put pond in
quotes because it is more of a reflecting pool than a pond (see photos).
<A very nice job>
It is 2 feet deep, no fish or plants, and has a rubber pond liner with 3 jets
and 4 lights in the pond walls.
<Is it not to be biological? Id est, not have life in it?>
We are not happy with the rubber liner for a few reasons:
While not leaking or causing any problems, the rubber liner has wrinkles along
the walls and in the corners and doesn’t have the sleek contemporary look we
were told by the contractor that it would have once finished
<Mmm; this appearance is really difficult to achieve with liners, particularly
the thicker butyl rubber>
We have black rocks in the bottom of the pond (to help hide the ugly rubber
liner) but cleaning the pond is impossible with the many acorns, heavy
tree/plant pollen, etc. sitting between and underneath the rocks.
<Ah yes... have to drain, remove the rock really to clean. Been there, did this
for several years commercially>
Even when the pond is drained you have to hand pick out the acorns and small
debris from between/under the rocks, which is no small/easy feat.
We’ve been told that fiberglass can be sprayed over the existing liner
to give a smooth surface, but I haven’t found any information about
that process online (much less identified anyone locally that could do it).
<Mmm; I wouldn't do this... the fiberglass will not last, and is toxic in the
short term and a real mess to remove, fix... IF you must have a smooth
surface, DO look into having a "cement plaster coat" (much the same as swimming
pools) applied, likely with some reinforcing mesh (chicken or stucco wire is
what we used to use)... Dark color/oxide can be added to the "plaster", and it
can be smooth troweled... >
We’ve considered just taking the rocks out of the bottom of the pond to make
cleaning easier, but have been told that the rocks might be needed to help weigh
the liner down or it could end up looking even messier/less formed without the
1. Can you “spray” fiberglass over the existing rubber liner of a pond and, if
so, how likely is it that you will end up with a pond that has smooth surfaces
and not look like a mess?
<There are free-standing (pre-fab) fiberglass ponds, and folks who have done
"chop" and layered fiberglass (and resin) basins, and leak repair tries. Our
company's had a good deal of experience with removing these>
2. Any other ideas on how to manage or change the liner to make it easier to
keep clean and look smooth without completely rebuilding the pond?
<As stated above. See WWM (the Pond SubWeb) and/or my books on water features
(avail. on Amazon) for much more>
3. Any other ideas for what to do about the bottom of the rubber liner other
than rocks to make it easy to keep clean yet look good?
<You may not like this... but adding a dye to the water is about all the
alternative I'd consider>
Thanks! Tony Meyer
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>