Scared fish, string algae and thank you for moderating

Discussion in 'Pond Archive' started by RG, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. RG

    RG Guest

    Aaah, what a pleasure to get rec.ponds again without the disturbed
    commentary. Many thanks to those who pulled it off.

    Our pond is 3 years old, 400 gallons, >30" deep, partly shady, 6
    goldfish and 3 koi who are ~6" long. We're in San Francisco, moderate

    Some perplexing new changes lately: 1) Fish seem scared. 2) String
    algae has arrived.

    1) In the last 3 weeks the fish have been hovering near the bottom,
    seemingly scared. This was never the case; they'd always swim around
    the top, especially during feeding. Now they won't come up at all.
    Of course they could be terrified of the Great Blue Heron we saw on
    the neighbor's roof 2 weeks ago (said bird then flew over to the
    flimsy tree above the pond, though the bird never went down to the
    pond as we watched). The heron could be visiting when nobody's
    watching, but no fish are missing. It's a small, enclosed yard; I
    doubt the heron's visiting that much. Could something else be the
    problem? I water tested last week and everything's normal. Not only
    do they hover near the bottom, I've seen them so low sometimes they've
    got dirt/mud on their backs. Any ideas? Is this some weird spring
    ritual? Or, is it related to...

    2) String algae. We never had it before. Crystal clear water, in
    fact. No big change in amount of sun. What causes this stuff. Maybe
    I should leave it so baby fish & frogs can hide in it. Does it bother
    fish? Can they get caught in it? Do they like it? Can I get a kind
    of fish that eats it? I've got alot of elodea growing in there.
    Thanks for any help.
    RG, Apr 13, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  2. RG

    Nick Cramer Guest

    Cover the pond with bird netting. That solved my Blue Heron problem.
    Check out Home Depot or
    Nick Cramer, Apr 13, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  3. Jim and I join you in loving the new group! It is really nice to have
    friendly chat without the conflictual stuff.

    Jim's grandfather lived in Berkeley. They had coons that visited the
    fishpond at night. That scared the fish.

    I think Nick is probably on target with his net remark.

    Our koi think blanketweed (string algae) is a treat, so we don't get
    and established in the main pond. Our berm ponds do get it. When the
    plants are really up and running, the problem goes away. Maybe yours
    will fade if your other plants give lots of cover and grow well.

    Good luck.

    Phyllis and Jim, Apr 13, 2007
  4. I would think it was the heron. Our pond is also in a small fenced-in yard,
    in a corner, with a large tree branching over it. Never thought we would
    ever see a heron in our yard. But one morning I woke up and looked out the
    window, and one was sitting by the pond. I just yelled, "NOOOOO!!!!". Went
    out to check if any fish were missing. Didn't see a single one! I was
    freaking out!! But fish aren't as dumb as you might think. They ALL turned
    up a few days later, not one missing! So they were smart enough to find a
    good place to hide :))
    But that heron scared the heck out of both of us!

    "RG" wrote in message
    Henry & Carolyn, Apr 13, 2007
  5. RG

    Chris Barnes Guest

    Are you the same Jim & Phillis that have retrievers in San Diego?
    If so, it's so cool to meet people on one group then run into them on
    another one!
    Chris Barnes, Apr 13, 2007
  6. RG

    ~ jan Guest

    If you've never had string algae before... it could be because you have
    more nutrients, bigger fish now. 9 carp type fish in 400 gallons is quite a
    bit of poo. ;-) What kind of filter do you have on there?

    Since you've seen a heron, if you don't have something to prevent him from
    flying down, very likely he's managed it. I'm not a net person, I use a
    motion sprinkler, so far so good. Works on both heron & raccoons. to see a picture... you may find it cheaper by searching
    the web. ~ jan
    ~ jan, Apr 13, 2007
  7. Sadly, we are not. Jim's family used to live in Piedmont (inside
    Oakland). We live in Jackson, MS.

    Nice to meet you here, however.

    Phyllis and Jim, Apr 13, 2007
  8. RG

    RG Guest

    Thanks everyone for the replies. Much appreciated.
    I'll pass on the net idea. I have doubts about a sprinkler because
    the pond, which is sort of a strangled-curved-kidney shape with many
    plants around it, won't be 'served' by just one sprinkler. Also,
    won't the sprinkler sprinkle me, and my cat and wife and daughter?
    How does it discern? I'm not too worried about raccoons. I know
    they've been at the pond since I put it up (seen pawprints, seen
    them). I'm still not sure the frightened fish are caused by the heron
    either, since we've seen a heron last year, and an egret the year
    before that. I did add a new koi a month ago, shortly before the fear
    behavior began. Could it be weird grouping psychology.
    No, Jan, I never had string algae before. I have an Oase Filtoclear
    800 pressurized filter with an Oase Aquamax 1000 pump (great pump;
    only draws 9 watts). The filter has a handle/backflush system to
    rinse out the gunked-up sponges inside. I've been backflushing it
    every 2 weeks or so.
    With alot of this string algae, is it possible to stop feeding the
    fellows? (I've only been feeding them a tablespoon of tiny koi
    pellets every 3 days or so.)
    By the way, here's another oddity: I've got tadpoles in the pond that
    have remained tadpoles for 3 years. Only one turned into a frog last

    RG, Apr 13, 2007
  9. RG

    Reel McKoi Guest

    "Henry & Carolyn" wrote in message
    You caught the heron in time. Before we netted our ponds our fish were
    disappearing constantly. Replacing the koi was becoming a real expense.
    Herons will keep coming back and coming back until all the fish are gone.
    Our fish were so freaked out they hid most of the time - and still vanished
    from both ponds. The herons will stand like statues until the fish come
    back out - then attack! They're pros at it.

    Along with the herons we also had fish eating snakes, turtles and bullfrogs.
    The nets keep most preditors out and we get to see and enjoy our fish.

    Frugal ponding since 1995.
    rec.ponder since late 1996.
    My Pond & Aquarium Pages:
    Zone 6. Middle TN USA
    ~~~~ } ~~~ }
    Reel McKoi, Apr 13, 2007
  10. What? No retrievers? Maybe you should get some.
    Derek Broughton, Apr 13, 2007
  11. RG

    kthirtya Guest

    Tadpoles that stick around that long are
    usually bullfrogs or greenfrogs.

    Another pesky predator is the kingfisher.
    But you'll hear him. He's a noisy fellow who
    wants everyone to know that he's shown up
    in the neighborhood.

    k :)
    kthirtya, Apr 13, 2007
  12. RG

    ~ jan Guest

    I'm not sure what you mean, but if 400 gallons was the correct size, a
    motion sprinkler would cover it. Mine covers a quarter pie shaped area of
    approximately 40X40 feet.
    I have mine right at the edge of the patio. All of the above will learn how
    to avoid it. The humans will turn the dial to off, the cat will just avoid
    the area when you're not out there. Since it has a sensitive dial, you can
    make it so it doesn't sense something the size of your cat.
    Could be, or could be sickness if you didn't run that koi thru quarantine.
    You've added another fish, and the others have grown since last year, more
    nutrients, is why you could now have SA, when you never had it before. Yes,
    you can stop feeding. Though a tablespoon every 3rd day isn't much to cut
    back on. :) ~ jan
    ~ jan, Apr 13, 2007
  13. RG

    Kurt Guest

    Nick, you have Blue Heron problem in Burbank? Never saw one in 15 years
    in Valley.
    Kurt, Apr 14, 2007
  14. RG

    drsolo Guest

    when fish are on the bottom, there is a predator. However, Jan is correct,
    a new fish bringing in disease can make all the fish sick and particularily
    ich sends fish to the bottom. If you dont do something to protect fish from
    predators then dont encourage them to the surface with food either. Ingrid
    drsolo, Apr 14, 2007
  15. RG

    RG Guest

    Think I should use Koi food that sinks (if so, brand suggestion?) or
    can I just not feed them and let them eat all that algae?
    RG, Apr 16, 2007
  16. RG

    drsolo Guest

    It is better to use floating food for koi. And koi are hot herbivores.
    They mostly need protein and fats supplied by the little critters that feed
    on the algae. If the pond isnt big enough there wont be enough. Ingrid

    "RG" wrote in message
    drsolo, Apr 16, 2007
  17. RG

    chereena Guest

    My fish have been hiding and bottom-swimming. I have had what I
    thought was an "ich" problem and have been treating the water for
    three days. One of the adults had a white spot near his eye.

    This morning I got up and my pond has been ravaged. There was a net
    covering the deepest half which the two adults were very accustomed
    to. I had just added 4 "babies" that were about 5" each. They were co-
    habiting fine except the big ones didn't let the little ones eat. The
    little ones have stayed around one pot and hid in a separate corner.

    Anyway, this morning all pots over turned. The one plant that had
    really taken hold has literally been sheared at the roots - almost
    ripped out. I can only imagine whatever it was pulled it out trying
    to get at the fish. I see the two adults but do not see the babies.
    I am hoping they managed to hide under the debris.

    I have called the city to get some advice but would love any thoughts
    from the group.
    chereena, May 2, 2007
  18. RG

    kthirtya Guest

    Looks like a raccoon visit to me.
    Raccoons will mess with plants while looking for
    snails, insect larva and crawdads (something they will find in
    natural ponds and they don't know yours is not
    natural). Raccoons will eat just about anything they
    can get their paws which is why they've adapted so
    wonderfully to suburban life.

    Stuff that will work to deter them ~

    - rent a humane trap from animal control and follow
    their directives.

    - put in an electric shock 'Fido Fence'.

    - set up a motion activated sprinkler.

    - netting the pond.

    All these methods will work, depending on the set
    up of your pond and your particular predator. Sometimes
    you have to try a few, unfortunately, and that can add up.

    Around here our two visiting raccoons ran smack into
    two indignant labradors and spent the balance of their
    visit up in a tree.

    k :)
    kthirtya, May 2, 2007
  19. RG

    ~ jan Guest

    I agree with raccoon. I had similar happen here. I put a Scarecrow Motion
    sprinkler on both my ponds and that took care of the problem:
    Do google for best price.
    ~ jan
    ~ jan, May 3, 2007
  20. RG

    Koilady Water Garden Consultant

    Feb 27, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Years ago we had the same trouble with a Heron. We had a large pond which housed about sixty Koi ranging in size from about 6 inches to 2 feet. One day I went out to the pond and noticed that all of my fish were resting at the bottom of the pond. This was not like them at all. After a couple of hours, they started to come up to eat food that I had put into the pond. I noticed that one Koi was lying at the bottom of the pond. I got a net to take the Koi out and I noticed a funny mark on it's head. The pond was about 5 feet deep and the sides were straight up and down so other than a mink or muskrat, nothing would be able to get the fish except for a Heron. When I checked the Koi out I noticed that it had a funny make on the back of his head, like puncture wounds. Right away, Hubby and I put up a large net around the pond to keep the herons out. I have another story about herons if anyone is interested.
    Koilady, Oct 3, 2016
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.