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Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls
eBook on Amazon
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
I Love Your Website! Link/ pond const.
My name is Anne and I run the expertaquarist.com blog.
<I have seen this>
I saw that you have a bunch of great resources on wetwebmedia.com
I was wondering if you would be interested in sharing one of my resources
that is relevant to you?
We talk mostly about fishkeeping in aquariums or ponds, aquascaping and reef
keeping. If you feel like sharing it, here is the URL -
<I will gladly add the link to this article on the pertinent parts of WWM>
BTW, whether you add it or not, I’d be happy to give you:
- A shout out from my pinterest account (having 300K+ reach per month)
- A shout out from my tweeter account
Please let me know if there is anything of YOURS that I can promote for you.
<Mmm; if you find, feel there are items of interest to your perusers, please
link them in turn>
I just followed you on twitter so I can stay updated.
<We/I don't "do" twitter. Bob Fenner>
Raccoon attack 11/13/19
We had a raccoon massacre last week and lost 5 large (about 7 - 8 inches)
goldfish from our backyard pond.
<Ah yes; successful aquatic predators. Have only found electric fencing to
We're familiar with such attacks and know that's what happened. One of the
had it's mouth bitten off along with other scrapes. He's still hanging on,
and seems hungry when it's feeding time, but loses interest when he can't
eat. Is there anything we can do to help him, or is he mortally wounded?
<The latter unfortunately>
I appreciate any help or advice you could give me.
<I would humanely euthanize this animal. Please read Neale's piece here re:
Hi; in search of missing pond plumbing
We have a pond with a rock waterfall. Apparently, while we were away, Some
kids took the hose from out waterfall and now I am having a hell of a time
finding the passageway for the hose through the rock waterfall. Any
suggestions? I cannot find where it goes through the lining into the rock
Thanks so much!!!!!
<I'd get a piece/length of white/schedule 40 PVC pipe, and use this to poke
about under the rock berm and water fall... somewhere twixt the rock and
water there is a gap or through put to accommodate the discharge line. Push
about, maybe have someone help, hold a flashlight, and you'll likely find
it. Oh, do wear old tennis shoes while walking in a (liner only) pond... to
prevent slipping as well as tearing the liner. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hi 8/11/19
Thank you, I will give it a try!
<Cheers John. Oh... have done this a few times myself! BobF>
Liner Bubbling 7/26/19
I was concerned that I had a slow leak in my 500-gallon pond. It is formed with
a liner. I could not find a leak, but out of an abundance of caution, I drained
it and just placed a new liner over the top of the old one.
<What made you think it was leaking?>
Then I refilled and turned on the water feature, overnight several whales <?>
developed in the liner. Seems clear enough that the water feature <?>
is getting water under the new liner and causing the bubbling. Tearing apart my
waterfall will not be fun. I have procrastinated for several weeks, but have
noticed the whales are not dissipating. That leads me to believe my original
liner may not have had much, if any, leaking problem at all.
So, here is my question. Is one possible solution here to poke a few holes in
the new liner at the whale points? Wouldn't that even out the water pressure all
allow the whales to be settled permanently with rocks?
<More likely, the liner below could end up broken too>
I envision rocking the bottom of the pond to hold the liner in place and cover
the bottom of the pond. Bad idea? Good idea?
<Mmm... I would drain the whole pond. I know is not the easiest solution but
certainly the safest, make sure the floor/foundation is even, then place one or
both liners perfectly stretched and aligned. Regards. Wil.>
WWM Plants Safe for Koi Ponds Broken Links, and a new link to
I wanted to reach out on behalf of your pond links page
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pondlinks.htm Over the
winter and spring I studied and worked extremely hard to build and
maintain a koi pond. My backyard is now my favorite place to be, and I
love my fish. They have gotten so big and the flowers around it are
blooming just right.
A few weeks ago, when I stumbled onto your page and bookmarked it
because I wanted to find plants that could actually go in my pond.
(Something other than lily pads.) So thank you for having all that
information! It was the perfect start for me, and I appreciate it a ton!
Although, I did want to let you know that I found a broken page,
it's labeled "Koi Net." It's right at the top of the page.
While I was searching, I ended up coming across another page that goes
in-depth on the benefits of pond plants, I never really put two and two
together, but the shade from the plants reduces the grow rate of algae,
which is awesome!
<Will look... links pages are a bane of websites; requiring a good deal
I ended up digging out a small plant shelf and once I got the plants
into the pond, I could tell my koi were interested. They started
swimming all around and on top of the different plants, they look
gorgeous! The page also gave a great list of plants, but more focuses on
getting them into your pond. (Which I didn't have one plant die.) I
thought because both pages were beyond beneficial to me, that your users
might like the one I found, It's
http://www.avasflowers.net/plants-for-koi-ponds and I think it'll
make a great addition to your page, if you wanted to add it. My pond and
garden is now my backyard oasis and I couldn't be happier.
<Ahh, thank you for this; will add>
Thank you again for all the help!
<Again; thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Educational Fun Goldfish Event in San Jose CA
Hello Bob and Crew!
If you would not mind terribly I would appreciate it if you could help get the
word out about West Coast Goldfish Palooza III. It is an educational event put
on by The Goldfish Council, a non profit dedicated to keeping, sharing,
learning, and educating about goldfish (lord knows the humble goldfish needs all
the help it can get). Lectures, goldfish show, auction, raffle, the whole nine.
6/22 - 6/23 at Genki Koi in San Jose
Address: 1850 S 10th St, Ste 14, San Jose, CA 95112
$10 admission - proceeds go to putting on the show
Your humble servant and WWM Crew alumni,
<Glad to share. BobF>
Re: Educational Fun Goldfish Event in San Jose CA
<Ah my friend; excelsior! B>
Goldfish pond, GF gasping
I have a garden pond app 6m x2m graded app1.5m to 25cm lightly stocked with
marginal plants and only 10 gold fish, they feed well and are generally active
but once or twice a day spend 15 to 20 minutes in a group in the turbulent water
under the waterfall? WHY?
kind regards Steve M
<Most likely this is evidence of a lack of oxygen. There are tests for such if
you're interested; perhaps an O2 meter you can borrow from a shop, or pond/koi
club. I'd increase surface agitation; either by re-directing a pump/discharge to
the surface, adding a "fountain" feature, or a mechanical airstone and pump
(really like Tetra's "Luft" series here). Goldfish can live in pretty low/anoxic
conditions but the stress isn't good for them.
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.>
Can I keep a Pangasius shark with Koi? 3/8/19
<Theoretically, yes. But in practice it will be very difficult.
Pangasius Shark get to over 100 cm in length. They are truly massive
fish. So you'd need a huge aquarium (thousands of litres) and more
likely, a pond. You would also want to keep temperatures moderate,
around 22-24 degrees C suiting both the Pangasius and the Koi. In the
tropics it would be possible to keep specimens of similar size together
in a pond. But big Pangasius would view smaller Koi as food, and you
also have to work around their very
different diets, Koi being herbivores and Pangasius more omnivores,
though both should thrive on good quality floating pellets. Finally,
Pangasius are nervous, highly active, even migratory fish that normally
live in groups that swim up and down rivers. It's very hard to keep a
singleton happy for any length of time, and they usually end up damaging
themselves (often their eyes) when they panic. Again, a large, circular
pond would be ideal for a group of both species, but it's hard to
justify keeping a single
Pangasius in an aquarium or small pond.>
<You're welcome. Neale.>
Tropical Water Lily
I have a 200 gallon pond with one flowering tropical water lily. This
week I added a filter with a heavy water spout. Is it true lilies cannot
have moving water?
<Yes, this is correct. Lilies are adapted to ponds with no water
current, or else very sluggish water bodies, such as canals and ditches.
If their stems are pulled too hard, the plants are simply snapped or
uprooted. If the current is not that strong, but still brisk, then what
happens is the stems of the leaves and flowers get twisted up and
tangled, resulting in the leaves and flowers dying. Another problem is
if water droplets splash on the leaves. These cause some sort of
'burning' that damages the leaves, leading to rot. So by all means have
a filter, fountain or waterfall in your pond, but plant the Water Lilies
well away from them, in a spot with little current and no risk of
splashing. This might be in a shallow edge away from the waterfall for
example, protected by rocks that diminish the water current.>
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
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...