Trouble in paradise  

ByteChaser2 52M
2834 posts
3/14/2006 8:07 am

Last Read:
5/31/2006 12:32 pm

Trouble in paradise

Oh relax... the heavens aren't collapsing, society is safe - for now... We just had a few deaths in the koi pond.

3 of our Plecostomus catfish died over night, along with about 20 aquatic snails. I'd initially thought we had a sudden and deadly disease in the pond and did a thorough cleanup. Took a couple days to complete...

All the koi appear fine. Very active, eating fine and no signs of disease.

The cause is unknown but I suspect that either it got too cold for too long (the water temp has been in the low 50's for a few days now) or quite possibly some Pyrethrum (the natural insecticide our exterminator uses) got into the pond in the rain run-off.

So... I gave a call to dad who related to me an amusing and quiticentially "dad" story. Some 4 years ago, pops had hired on some summer workers in his nursery. He had to go through a series of OSHA and environmental impact inspections because of these new workers.

Anyway, dad used Pyrethrum to control the insects in the nursery - specifically because it's completely non-toxic to all warm blooded animals (he had a dog and a couple cats that he dearly loved). See the stuff is made from the oil extracted from daisies. You could literally drink the stuff with dinner and aside from the taste, it'd have absolutely no effect on you.

The inspectors showed up one day and sited dad for not having all manner of protective clothing and respirators because he used an insecticide. So... pops, being the hard headed and argumentative soul he is, literally sprayed the stuff into his mouth and swallowed, just to prove to the guy that it was completely harmless.

He doesn't hire on help anymore...

I say this only to illustrate how safe the stuff is. The downside though is that it's deadly to many cold blooded animals. Insects, reptiles and yep... fish. So hey, if you got an insect problem in your garden, plant some daisies or even better, grind up a bunch of dasies and sow them into the soil. just keep em away from the ponds...

So over the next few days, I'll be swapping out the pond water and building up the sides of the pond. We should be able to restock the snails and plecos in a month or so.

Oh... and I got this fantastic lead on some small, freshwater Amazon stingrays

pinkzplaytoyz 49F

3/14/2006 8:58 am

and here I thought cold water fish had it made...
(being an ex-saltwater-aquarium enthusiast)
...its all so depressing, I think I'll just go hide under a rock and hope no one sprays me...

ByteChaser2 52M

3/14/2006 10:39 am

It's all lessons learned pinkz... For instance, I just read that the Ph in my pond may not be as suitable for the cats. They like it between 5.0 and 7.0. Mine is about 7.4 - on the base end and great for koi. They like it between 6.8 and 7.8.

Then there's temperature... Koi are basically carp and can survive well in freezing water. Koi do best at about 70F but survive well from 35-85F. Plecos love about 70F but will die as soon as the water goes below 55F. Not 56... 55. It's like a light switch.

So I guess I'll have to acidify the water a little and bring the cats indoors through the cold spells. That or get a couple heaters...

ByteChaser2 52M

3/14/2006 1:09 pm

You got it Katey!

pinkzplaytoyz 49F

3/14/2006 2:19 pm

So do you have to add stuff to level the ph in the pond as well, same as saltwater? And do you have to do water changes also?

ByteChaser2 52M

3/14/2006 3:15 pm

Oh man pinkz... is there ever... I have a huge jug of this stuff called "pH down" and another one to "break the chlorimine bond" and 2 more for fungus and bacteria and yet ANOTHER bottle of aleacide... I swear it's a regular highschool chem lab in there

Been doing water transfusions the last couple days now. I drain off about half the water, replace the mechanical filter elements and refill it - every day now since Sunday... Gawd... it's a 300 gallon pond. Gonna be a monster water bill this month

rm_xxxtheline 53M

3/15/2006 2:36 am

When it comes to plecostamus and snails it a hopeless cause.
Plecostamus can't handle the colder temperatures.
Snails like the large Goldens too can't handle the cold.
The little black snails do well but the koi love to eat them.

If your into sadistic entertainment try adding fancy guppies or tadpoles. Warning!! don't let the kids watch if their squimish.

ByteChaser2 52M

3/15/2006 7:01 am

theline - oddly, most of the ramshorn snails survived fine. It was the little black ones that all started floating the other day... Then again, their outlook doesn't look too optimistic either. They all have their doors clamped shut.

We'll see how that pans out when it warms up some.

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