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Posts posted by gardengirl

  1. I'll have to try to get pics this spring. They are all black and my pond liner is all black, so it's very hard to get pics of them.

    This summer I'm hoping to breed the blacks to the white and orange goldfish and try to get tri-color goldfish babies.

  2. 5 harlequins to start with, and then maybe 2 or 3 corys, maybe dwarf ones, at a later date, if I think the tank can cope?

    How does that sound?

    Sorry for all the questions but I would rather not make a big mistake.

    That sounds like a good plan. Start with the harlequins and keep on top of your water changes. Monitor the water parameters to be sure that ammonia isn't spiking. After a few weeks, add the pygmy cories. You should go with at least three of them as they like to shoal together.

    Remember, with that many fish, you want to stay on top of the water changes -- 30-50% should be changed every week.....

    What kind of filter is on the tank? Are you going with live plants? Freshwater tropicals are wonderful!

  3. There is something about those Thai ranchu that keeps their color longer. Gunn is a great man, and very fond of his goldfish. I have known him for years, him and his family, and he sells very nice ranchu and orandas. I just wonder whats different about the Thai ranchu - I had a black ranchu from him for years, staying black. And it took him almost 2 1/2 years to turn orange, and he still has a few specks of black around. The black really was very stubborn in disappearing, which of course is a good thing.

    I think it must be genetics. I have a few all-black comets in the pond. They are several years old and have not turned orange. They are as black as ink.

  4. If you're pumping in fresh water you should be using a dechlorinator like PRIME. It's easy to use and will detoxify the fresh water you use to top off the pond....

    Sending you a PM on the pond pump question.....

  5. Use a big net to get anything at the bottom of the pond, then drain the water -- a Python will actually work, but you can bale with buckets, use a wet/dry vacuum, or pump the water out with a pump.... Get as much debris off the bottom, INCLUDING ANY MUCK OR MULM (black, dark, stinky, muddy stuff). Removing the mulm is of the utmost importance as it harbors the most nasty stuff.... Do not scrape the algae off the sides and do not leave the pond empty as the algae will die off.

    Refill the pond, add dechlor and throw in several bunches of submerged plants like anacharis from the local fish shop. You can rubberband the anacharis around a rock and toss it in the pond.... or plant it in a bucket or pot in aquarium gravel.... The submersed plants provide a safe place for the fish and they will feel much more secure with it in the pond. It will also do a lot to balance the water, lower nitrates, provide vegetative matter for the fish to feed on, provide safe harbor from predators, and harbor fry after a spawn. Buy several bunches, and be ready to trim it once summer comes..... It can grow an inch a day in the heat, but don't let that deter you. Get it -- the fish need it.

    Okay, once the water is in the pond, wait a day to let the water temp stabilize. I recommend that you hold off putting fish in the pond until water temps get above 65 degrees consistenetly. The fish will do much better in warmer water in the late spring than starting them off in the middle of winter, if it's cold in your area. Fish need to be conditioned with lots of rich protein food to get through a winter without much food, so hold off.

    BTW, in answer to an earlier question about beneficial bacteria, the bacteria needs something to feed off of. Taking the fish out of the pond lessened the ammonia, but if there's rotting bugs and vegetation in there then there's bacteria. Doing a 100 percent water change will not harm the bacteria, but do not allow the pond to completely dry out. Do not leave in the middle of the job. Try to get it done in one day.

    Also, have a covered bucket nearby to put any frogs in. Winter ponds have frogs usually, so be prepared for them. Since it's cold, they may be sluggish. Once the pond is filled and the water is a good temp you can put them back in. Don't forget the dechlor!

    After the pond is filled, it will be time to turn on the pump and try to see if you can get the water to recirculate.... FIRST, WITH THE PUMP UNPLUGGED, CHECK THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE CORD FOR ANY CHEWED SPOTS OR RAW WIRE STICKING OUT!!!!! If the cord is damaged, get another pump. Do not try to work with a damaged electrical cord. Squirrels and other rodents LOVE to chew on cords, so check it carefully if it's been outdoors for awhile. I check mine twice a year when we are changing over components on the pond (winter to spring, and fall to winter).

    If the pump has been in that mucky pond, you should take it out, take it apart and clean the impeller and magnet. Awful slime and junk can clog a pump and interfere with an impeller and impede the function of the pump. A good thorough cleaning is usually all it takes to get a pump back up and running.

    If you have a filter, hook it up to the pump and then turn on the system.... Even an airstone on a smallish air pump will begin to move the water if you do not have a pump ready. Circulating water is important as it will not sit and stagnate. Check the waterfall to be sure water is flowing over the rock and not leaking from the pond. A spray from a waterfall can quickly empty a pond, so watch to be sure the water is going where it is supposed to go. Check for the rate of the water at the fall. If it's flowing too fast you may be able to adjust the pump.

    If you can, add some marginal plants at the side of the pond in a bucket in the water. Japanese water iris or pickeral weed is very pretty and will not grow out of hand quickly, like some others. Goldfish LOVE marginal plants. During mating season they will chase each other through the reeds and spawn. It's really something to witness. Also, if you can, invest in a dwarf water lily. Plant it in a bucket and put it in the middle of the pond. The water lily pads will shelter the fish and when they cover more than half of the pond surface any green water or excessive algae will go away. Water plants are a very good thing in any goldfish pond. If you need ideas on how to plant the marginals and water lilies, post a separate thread and I'll tell you how. It's totally easy -- messy, but easy, LOL...

    Okay, once the water is above 65 degrees and you're sure your pump is functioning and the filter is filtering (it will filter debris even with no fish in the pond, so rinse the media regularly), you'll be ready to add fish. I would start off slow. I added SIX very small feeder goldfish to a 2000 gallon pond when I started.... So for your small pond, you may want to add two fish and see how things go. I'd still like to know how many gallons your pond is.... Do not overstock the pond. Try for one fish for every 40 gallons.... So if you've got an 80 gallon pond, you'll stock two fish, tops.... Remember goldfish breed like rabbits, so understock..... After a few years my six original fish numbered at more than a hundred!

    Finally, if you're concerned about predation, cover the pond.... I check my pond at least twice a day in warm weather -- once a day in winter. And in the summer I'm usually out there working in the garden a lot too.... You should check the condition of the fish, keep an eye on the water level and top off if necessary, do water changes (DECHLOR!) trim plants. feed fish, and rinse filter media when needed..... And don't forget to take time out to just sit and stare at the fish! It's so relaxing and wonderful! Nothing is like a pond, really..... It's the one thing in my garden that is really worth all the work. :)

  6. Gunn Chusakal, the owner of Fish-Corner told me that fish in a higher pH typically hold onto their black longer. I have a black Ranchu that I bought from him at the last Koi America Convention and that fish has not turned orange in our hard, high pH water..... The Ranchu is doing wonderfully, btw.... We even named it "Gunn" after Mr. Chusakal, since he was so kind to us and so incredibly knowledgable. Now the little oranda that I got from the local pet warehouse had black tipped fins and they went away with his growth spurt..... That fish is all orange with white tips on fins now....

    It's probably genetics, but water could also play into it as well. I wonder how old that fish in the pics is???

  7. I was at the LFS this evening, picking up the three Bolivian Rams I ordered for a new tank when this guy walked in with his little girl. She was in her leotard and sparkly slippers, fresh out of dance school..... so cute.

    Anyway, he mentions to the sales guy that his fish are over the ick, but he needed something for the irritation on their "skin". The sales guy is very knowledgeable and a good fish keeper. I've known him for a very long time. He gave the man Melafix with instructions on how to use it. Now I probably would not have done the same thing. I would have recommended salt and frequent water changes, BUT hey, this was a chance to sell a more expensive product and sales are what keep these small places in business.

    SO, the Man says to the guy, "I'm going to take her in the back to pick out another goldfish." I looked up then and the salesguy said, "Well you just had a case of ick in your tank. You probably don't want to be putting a new fish in the tank until the problems are cleared up." The man said, "Well, the other fish died." And the salesguy said, "How big is your tanks again?" The guy says this:

    "It's five gallons"

    I immediately stopped looking in the book I was referencing and looked at the man. The man admitted that he had two goldfish in a FIVE GALLON TANK, and that a THIRD had recently died. The salesguy repeated his bit about not putting another fish in the tank, but the man said, "I hear what you're saying but we're going to get another fish anyway." So he went to the back with his kid, picked out another fish (or should I say "victim"), paid for the medicine and turned to leave.

    I casually said to the little girl, "If you really get into keeping fish, you'll have to get your dad to dig you a pond this spring." I was trying to be bright and pleasant without resorting to physical hard of the kid's father (LOL), but her dad was a real dour man. He said, "Oh there's no way we're having a mosquito cesspool in the yard." He then took the little girl and left.

    The sales guy turned to me and said, "You see, I tried." and I acknowledged that he had, but I said I would have suggested a bunch of water changes in addition to the Melafix..... And of course, I would have tried to sell them a much bigger tank....and if he didn't want to buy a bigger tank, I'd suggest he buy a small heater for the 5 gallon, and get a bunch of plants and a betta for the little girl and return the two goldfish. The salesguy said that man comes in all the time, doesn't take any of their advice and just buys fish that get sick and die.... (sigh)

    It was really sad. The man was just trying to amuse his kid with a dollar goldfish. He'll take it home, dump it in with the rest and it will probably die.... they all will. And she'll get tired of it and the tank will get put away, and there will go another person that could have been brought into the hobby.....

  8. Oliver, predation is a normal thing in many ponds. You get used to it. I've learned not to get too attached to my goldfish outside. The deep water and straight sides on your pool are a good thing. Heron's like to wade in and it they can't it forces them to fish from above -- not a good position and they will go somewhere where the fishing is easier.

    I've had snakes swim in the pond, but have never lost fish to them. We get garter snakes and black rat snakes here -- no problem there. We also have racoons, but not having an entry point for them has foiled their attempts. They like to wade and if the sides go straight down, they can't do that....

    No problem with squirrels. They visit my pond, drink the water, and get chased out of the yard by the dog, LOL. One squirrel likes to eat water lily leaves in the summer and can make quite a mess, but I net the debris out every day anyway and he does a rather good job of trimming. :) I've had my share of opossums, but they do nothing with the pond. Wild cats like to hang out here, but again, they get chased by the dog and do little to hurt the pond.

    One thing I do have problems with is box turtles falling into the pond. I do a "turtle inspection" a couple of times a day and take them out. They will eventually drown if you don't save them, but they float like corks and are easy to net out or grab and relocate......

    Another predator we get is the local hawk and owl.... They hang around here and try to figure out a way to take the fish, but it's rare that they do. Other pond keepers with shallower ponds around here have more of a problem.....

    I really hope that filter works for you this spring.... You'll have to let us know how it goes.

  9. Dwarf Gourami's are one of the more aggressive of the gouramis, so you'll want to be careful with them -- Just watch to be sure they are not picking the other fish.... The on-line tropical fish guide that I refer to says that rasboras do well in a community tank ONLY with small or peaceful fish, so this may not be a good pairing. (http://www.popular-freshwater-tropical-fish.com/fish/rasbora_heteromorpha.htm)

    Why not just do a school of five rasboras in your ten gallon tank. Add a whole bunch of green plants to make their colors pop out on the green and it will be so pretty! OR you could do a dwarf male gourami (and a female if you want) and three albino cories. There are adorable pygmy corie catfish that are really nice. They stay under an inch and you could have like five of them in a ten gallon tank with a pair of gouramis. Put in a couple of pieces of driftwood and they'll be very happy.

    I wouldn't recommend the danios in a ten gallon tank. They are very fast and zippy and almost go crazy in a small tank. I had three of them in a 12 gallon tank for YEARS and felt sorry for them. They really do need larger water and bigger schools.....

    Tropical Fish Hobbiest has a great article on what to put in a ten gallon tank this month. You can read it here:


  10. A lot of Florida fish people have fish shacks..... That's always been a dream of mine if I retire and move south someday. :) Nice fish house. I just know you're going to love hanging out in there and tricking it out..... I love that tub by the way......

  11. There won't be an ammonia reading because there are no fish in the pond. There's nothing in the pond producing ammonia, so no beneficial bacteria to eat the ammonia..... Once you add the fish you'll have ammonia production. Now, if you have a very small fish load (two fish) in a big pond, you may not have any problems..... Also, go out and buy a few bunches of anacharis or some kind of submerged aquarium plant. Pot it up in a container of stones and set that in the pond. Live plants do a lot for the cycle...... You can also detoxify any spikes in ammonia or nitrate with PRIME, so keep some on hand for dechlorinating the water and protection in case of a spike. Water changes are good too, but test your tap water to be sure it's not high in nitrates to begin with......

    You could use the plastic pipe to fashion a tent and put the hardware cloth (the metal rabbit cage mesh) over it and set it up in tent fashion over the pond. Use zip ties and you can just lift it up and move it when you service the pond.

    I'm looking at those pictures carefully and figure you've got about 150-180 gallons there, maybe a little smaller. I'd need dimensions and depth to be sure. Also, the moss covered rock looks to be a waterfall of sorts. The pipe comes out there and the moss indicates that water flowed over it at one point. I'm guessing there's a pump in there somewhere.

    Gosh, I'd be out there tomorrow draining that thing and cleaning it up, LOL...... But I'm a crazy pond fanatic. :blink:

    If you've got 30 gallons per fish or more, you'll be fine with two fish in there. It's a good thing to cover the pond -- good move. A pond like that will attract a lot of predators, so you want to be careful.....

    I'm so happy for you. :) Your fish will love that pond!!!!! :heart:heart :heart :heart:heart

  12. I just went back to look at it. I was a little concerned about this: "this plant is very hardy and will spread throughout your water garden." That usually means it will take over the whole pond, LOL.

    I'm a bit of a water lily lover, and water iris, and cannas, and sweet flag and pickeral weed, LOL...... :rolleyes::unsure:

  13. What is the brand name of your water conditioner? Did you follow the directions for your tank? Different products require different dosing... A tank shouldn't get cloudy from dechlor unless there's a problem.....

    Did the cloudiness go after after you did the water change?

    Young goldfish typically have black on their fins. He may lose the black coloration in time. They just do that as they grow up. The other fish may have already lost his black coloration, or may have never had it to begin with. Each goldfish is different for color as a youngster.

    Now -- the bad news --- you're already overstocked in your ten gallon tank. Ideally you need at least 20 gallons PER goldfish if it is a common variety. If it is a fancy tailed variety, you can get away with a minimum of ten gallons PER fish, but you'll have to be on top of the weekly water changes.

    I like to see a lot more space for common goldfish as they are very swift swimmers and they like to cover a lot of room in a zip. Two young fish in a ten gallon will quickly overwhelm the filter, crash the tank and hurt the fish. You need to upgrade to a bigger tank and better filtration, and soon.....

    Can you upgrade?

  14. Also, keeping a pump running year round keeps the top from freezing solid if it does not get too cold.

    The problem with this is that moving water within the pond can supercool. The water never gets the chance to settle into layers in the winter. Moving water is continually exposed to the super cold surface and supercools the pond. It actually produces colder water for the fish.

    The best thing is to install a good pond de-icer with a thermostat to keep a SINGLE hole open in the ice for oxygen exchange. Ice on the surface will actually act as insulator for the pond and keep the water a little warmer. Disconnect the pump and stop feeding until spring when temps get to 50 degrees. With no food in the system there will be no waste production or need for moving water.

  15. That pond is so small that a 100 percent water change will not be a bad thing. Especially if you leave the algae on the sides of the pond. In fact, the leaves have probably leached tannic acid into the water and have rotted in there. I'd do a 100 water change on it, start with fresh dechlorinated water and throw several bunches of submerged plants for the fish to hide in and help establish the pond. Plants are great for that.

    As for the screen. You can do that a couple of ways..... You can get plastic pipe and fittings from the hardware store and make a frame to go over the pond. Sew fiberglass screen to it instead of metal screening. OR you could go to the fabric store and buy black bridal tulle (it looks like netting) and sew that to the frame. Another option is to take bamboo plant stakes/poles and stick them in the ground around the pond in an A-frame then drape netting over that. I do that with my pond and it keeps leaves and critters out.

    Here's a pic to give you an idea:


    I definitely would not use metal screen on the pond. It could rust or leach into the water.

    I'm betting that you have a pump somewhere in the pond and that it pumps from the pond up to a waterfall -- hence the pipe.....

    How deep is that pond?

  16. My poodle, Buddy, LOVES the fish tanks! He thinks the fish are his. He also likes to "hunt" the bubbles in the Python siphon hose when I'm cleaning tanks, LOL. Silly Dog.

    This is him with "his" goldfish:


    He likes to drink out of the lower tanks in the fish room, but doesn't harm any of the fish. The worst he's ever been is when he tried to swim in the pond when he was a puppy. Silly pup could not keep from stalking frogs. He'd hunt them but spit them out if he caught one. It was hysterical. :D

  17. Wow, I love the dot on her tail.... It's almost a perfect circle! :) I've found that fancy tails do not last very long in my pond here in Virginia. The commons and comets are hard on them, and so are the cold winters. My fancies stay in the house now, unless I can summer them in their own tank outside, but then they get moved back inside for the winter......

  18. A lot depends on the water conditioner. Some like PRIME can be double or triple dosed if you are having problems with ammonia or nitrates. The additional dosing detoxifies the harmful ammonia, nitrates, etc. so the fish are not stressed out. Other water conditioners like Stress Coat are tricky in that they can actually add additional slime to the fish coat and must be used with care. Too much of a slime coat can be harmful to the fish. In the case of a product like Amquel, an overdose of it can actually harmfully alter your water's chemistry if the water is not stable enough to tolerate the additional amount of dechlor.

    Read the instructions very carefully and do not overdose unless the instructions say you can to detoxify harmful agents in the tank.

    Good luck and welcome to the site!

  19. I'll still say that 78-80 degrees is too high for goldfish. I only put my heaters that high when I'm treating for disease or doing a salt treatment for new fish in the quarentine tank, and then it's only for a few days.

    I agree with bigger amounts of water changes. I regularly pull off 50 percent of the tank water weekly for the goldfish..... sometimes more if the have been eating messy foods or tearing up plants.

  20. Today, I did the towel thing like you said, Sherri, and it worked, no splashes! I also hung it up in the sunroom to dry afterwards.

    Great Nickie. I'm so glad it worked for you. I used to hate when the faucet sprayed all over the furnace room. It's just the furnace room, but what a mess! One day I just saw a towel hanging next to the sink and threw it over the faucet. No more splashes! :)

  21. I always throw a towel over the top of the faucet and let it hang down into the sink a little ways. The water occasionally splashes out when I'm using the Python, but the towel gets wet and the water flows into the sink and doesn't splash all over the place. Problem solved!

    After I fill the tank, I reverse the Python again to get as much water out of the hose as possible. I detach it from the faucet (I have the brass snap-on connectors) and hang it up in the furnace room. It usually dries over night. I have the 75 foot Python and the 25 footers.

  22. I guess I'll have to be diligent about twice or three-times-a-week water changes then..... UGH. My fault for putting three fish in there I guess. I can only see the problem getting worse as they grow. I see a move to a bigger tank down in the fish room ( or a pond in the garden) in their future!

    Thanks all.

  23. The Nitrates are rising in the show tank again. I think it's because the baby Oranda isn't such a baby anymore.... He's really grown and threatens to outgrow the other two fancy tails very soon.

    Anyway, the nitrates are creeping up. They were 10 ppm when I tested today, after a water change two days ago. Ugh. I did another 50% water change today and will keep an eye on it, but what can be done???

    I really want to keep these three fish in the 37 gallon show tank. I guess I could install a different filter. Right now I have an Eclipse top on the tank. I could get glass, a separate light and a BIG Marineland Biofilter with two biowheels and try that. OR, I could supplement the filtration on the existing Eclipse with a canister filter. There's a little punchout area of the Eclipse top that I could cut for the intake and outflow pipes to an external canister filter....

    I've been triple dosing with PRIME with each water change to keep the toxicity of the nitrates down, but I'd like to eliminate the problem, not treat it.... Any ideas on what I should do????

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