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I think my pond is dead!

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Yvonne G

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I have a pond, appx. 20' x 15' only an odd-ball shape. Its just a big hole dug out by a backhoe and filled with water. The water is murky because of the mud. No filter. I populated the pond with 10 for a dollar feeder goldfish that grew to be about a foot long and have spawned the past three summers. I also had loads of mosquito fish in there. You couldn't see a blank space in the water without seeing mosquito fish. I also have several female RES, three very large Florida softshells, a phrynops hillari and several actinemy marmorata. I figured the turtles are dug into the mud bottom and hibernating, but now I think they might be dead.

A couple days ago I was weeding around the pond and noticed that I couldn't see any fish. Because of no activity in the water, it was fairly clear and I could see the bottom all over the whole pond. No fish! Not a one!

I was thinking that I would go to the mosquito abatement district and pick up a bucket of fish and see if they die because the water's poisoned or no oxygen, or if they live.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Yvonne
 

egyptiandan

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Do you have any plants in the pond Yvonne?

Danny
 

Yvonne G

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There are several clumps of water iris, papyrus and water canna. And come to think of it, the papyrus is frozen and brown, but the canna and iris are still green. I guess that means that the water isn't dead after all. Do you think herons or water birds could have eaten all the fish? There were millions of mosquito fish. I see egrets and heron all the time.

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egyptiandan

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It could very well have been the herons and egrets. With the water cooler they'd have an easier time catching the fish.

Danny
 
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Maggie Cummings

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That would be just awful. She has the most hugest ginormus beautifulest phrynops hillari you ever saw and soft shells big as car tires...It's a great pond with a covered swing, very nice to sit there...
 

Yvonne G

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So its pretty hopeful that the turtles are still there and hibernating. I have never seen a dead fish body, and if the water died through poisoning or lack of oxygen (I'm in the country and across the street from an almond orchard. I've seen spraying a couple times a year, but the wind blows from my property towards the almonds), I would have seen a dead body you'd think. I have to walk by the pond twice a day to open and close up the Aldabrans, so I'm pretty sure I would have noticed a dead fish body. Its got me pretty worried. There were a couple of "pet" turtles in that pond!

Yvonne
 

Millerlite

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yeah the only strange part is there were no dead fish bodies. If the water was bad and killed the fish i'm sure you would notice the bodies before they fully decade. I Think the bird theory is what happened.

As for the turtles hopefully they are on the bottom but if the turtles did die, wouldnt you find some sign they died of the water, not just a disappearances.

Keep up updated, let us know about the turtles.
 

Isa

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Yvonne,
It is very sad for the fish, I keep my fingers crossed that all the turtles in the pond are hibernating. The way you and Maggie talk about it, it seems like an amazing pond. Do you have any pictures?
 

Yvonne G

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Isa said:
Yvonne,
It is very sad for the fish, I keep my fingers crossed that all the turtles in the pond are hibernating. The way you and Maggie talk about it, it seems like an amazing pond. Do you have any pictures?
Its really not much to look at, but with the turtles all begging and the fish swimming around, its peaceful during the warm weather to sit there and vegetate! I'll take some pictures later today.

Yvonne
 

jpeck425

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emysemys said:
Isa said:
Yvonne,
It is very sad for the fish, I keep my fingers crossed that all the turtles in the pond are hibernating. The way you and Maggie talk about it, it seems like an amazing pond. Do you have any pictures?
Its really not much to look at, but with the turtles all begging and the fish swimming around, its peaceful during the warm weather to sit there and vegetate! I'll take some pictures later today.

Yvonne
Hi Yvonne,
I had the same misfortune with my pond last spring(without the turtles). A Blue Heron decided check-out our small 5'x10' pond, right next to our family room window. He decimated my Koi within an hour. I had raised these fish from little ones to some decent sized sub-adults and they were finally starting to really show their personalities. Fortunately the koi spawned before they were eaten and I was able to save a couple dozen of their fry. I brought them in for the winter.

If your pond was as full as it sounds, there really isn't a way to have a mass die off without seeing any corpes. There might still be some of the smaller fish in there hiding amongst the plant bases and the water's edge. They are pretty adept at concealing themselves when small. Your turtles are most likely buried during the coolness. Herons don't usually go for adult turtles and the turtles can withstand far more severe water conditions than fish.

Herons can be a pain. A couple of things that might help next season is increasing the floating or surface covering plants. If you can achieve more coverage, it is harder for the Herons to target movement. More plants also provide more cycling of your pond with the absence of a filter, reduce algae and help provide shade and coolness during the warmer months. Herons are territorial and Blue Herons, the main culprits, usually avoid landing at pre-occupied ponds. You can purchase an artificial Heron and place it at your pond's edge to keep real ones from landing.

Hope this helps
 

Yvonne G

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The heron I saw was a big blue bird. Thanks for the tip. I have a small pair of heron stautes, but I guess they don't look real enough to the "real thing". I have tried various water plants, but the turtles decimate them in a few days and the plants don't have a chance. I had a nice pot of orange flowered water canna that died off last winter, then started sprouting in the spring. The turtles ate the sprouts before they could even grow into a stem. Now that pot of plant is gone! I'll do some shopping and see if I can't come up with a more natural-looking bird statue. I don't want to put a net over the pond, but will if I have to!

Yvonne
 

Itort

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You can find heron decoys at a store that sells duck decoys (it's called a confidence decoy) or online from a company like Cabella's.
 

Yvonne G

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Here are some pictures of my pond. Its really nothing to write home about, but its very peaceful sitting in the swing and watching the turtles. This first shot is a long shot from the driveway. It shows the Aldabs in the foreground with the pond and swing in the background, past the Aldab's fence:



This shot shows you the empty water. Even though its murky, you can see through the water and there are NO visible fish:



And another shot of the water:



Yvonne
 
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Maggie Cummings

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I have spent many an hor at Yvonne's house and so I am seriously familiar with all of her stuff...but I just have to say that the long view with the Aldabs is a really pretty picture...
 

Isa

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Really nice ponds Yvonne,
I imagine it on a sunny day with some tortoises and fish inside, wow.
The pic with the alabs is amazing.
Thanks for sharing
 

dmmj

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No fish bodies? seems like the turtles have eaten them all. I hope I am understanding the problem corectly. You have no more fish right? and no bodies? the turtles are the culprits. turtles eat fish even large ones. Mine have eaten fish many times their size by mass attack. If i have misunderstood the problem then my apoligies. but it seems to me the reason is clear. no fish= full and happy turtles.
 

Yvonne G

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No, David, the turtles aren't the problem, as they are all hibernating. They don't eat during the winter months. Some of my "pet" goldfish were about 12" long and had spawned for the past several years. There were about 25 or 30 very large gold fish, and hundreds of mosquito fish.

Update: I was pulling weeds around the pond this a.m. First sunny day we've had in over 3 weeks...man did that feel good...but I digress. So I glanced at the water and saw a small mosquito fish darting about then he wiggled himself down into the sludge in the bottom of the pond. So my educated guess is that the birds have been fishing, and the fish are so scared of that, that when they see my big shadow they all hide. It wouldn't surprise me to know that ALL of the goldfish are gone, but I just can't imagine such a large bird being able to catch ALL of the small mosquito fish!

The sun was shining so brightly that I could see the back of one of my very large soft shell turtles down in the sludge! Then later when I looked again, it wasn't visible. That means that the turtles ARE ALIVE!!

Oh for spring!

Yvonne
 

Yvonne G

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Good news!

I bought a dozen feeder gold fish a couple weeks ago because I thought all my pan-sized feeders had been eaten by the Heron. Well, guess what? There are still quite a few of them in there!! I SWEAR that there were NO fish in that pond. The water was clear and I could see all over the whole bottom of the pond and there were NO FISH!! But then a couple weeks later I started to see mosquito fish and pretty soon it was teeming with them again. And today I saw about 6 foot long gold fish! I don't know where they were hiding, but they're back now. Isn't nature amazing? How did they know that they had to hide from the heron?

Yvonne
 

jdub

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Yvonne,

Those tortoise's in that picture are enormous and i cant wait till mine get that large =)! To my knowledge of having a pond for several years now, its very hard to maintain a pond with plants. The fish actually love to nibble on the roots and eventually cause the roots to rot. Running a filter with a small uv light could better improve the condition of the pond. The filter is simple to make and can be constructed with a sweater box from wal mart. The uv light would kill any germs that can be caused from vegetation rot. Overall moving water will improve the overall health quality of the pond which would mean more happy fish! =) If you need any help with ponds or pond filters just let me know. I'll be glad to help you out.

Thanks,
Jason
 

Itort

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With a six foot goldfish the herons should start disappearing. LOL
 
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