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Fishpondinfo Newsletter Winter 2010

Last Updated: 12/4/10

Issue 106


Happenings

Happy Holidays! Hopefully they will be better this year here since last year I was too busy dying and missed/ruined Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.

My rabbit, Sweetie, died on 11/21/10. She was nine years old.

My cat, Doodally, has been diagnosed with feline hyperthyrodism. It will slowly kill her despite daily pills and cost about $1000 a year in medical bills. ;-(

Doodally, at 14, is my second oldest living animal. My oldest is actually Plecy, my common plecostomus who I bought almost 16 years ago. The oldest animals I have ever had were Blackie (dog) and Tootsy (cat) who lived to 18 years and 17 years and 3 months old respectively.


New Pages on Fishpondinfo and Pond Showcase

September 2010 Pond Blog

October 2010 Pond Blog

November 2010 Pond Blog

Asian Stink Bugs

Daniel's Garden Pond

Lew and Linda's Pond


Web Sites of Interest

Are there any?


Animals

My clam is sticking his tongue at you! I bought seven saltwater "snails" on 9/26/10, and one of them turned out to be this little clam. He can climb the glass with his tongue or use it to anchor in to the substrate as he is doing here. He does not do much. The pink in front of his is pink coralline algae on the glass. More information.

Ahhh!!!! What the heck is that? No, it's not your Halloween treat! For the first time, I saw and took photos of one of my female six spotted roaches laying her egg case on 10/10/10 (lucky date I guess!). They are "live bearers" which, in this case, means that as soon as that case hits the ground, the little roaches start popping out of it, all ready for the world. I had 140 roaches at the last cleaning! More information.


Plants

Tropical pink pickerel rush flowers in my 50 gallon basement tub pond on 11/4/10.

Someone asked if a healthy pond needs all three types of pond plants to keep it clean (I will assume they mean healthy). There are three main types of pond plants: marginals or emergent plants (often called bog plants although bog plants are specifically marginals that live in acidic bogs), floating plants, and submerged plants. Water lilies and snowflakes are part marginal and part floating plants. Each type of plant has a slightly different job to do in a pond. The marginals have their roots in the water but most of their growth is out of the water. They provide the most enjoyment for people because they are out of the pond, can be photographed and smelled, and have the most variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. An example is the beautiful photo above. In the water, the marginals' pots (with dirt and gravel in most cases) and roots provide home to microorganisms and smaller animals like snails, worms, and fish fry. Above the water, amongst the marginals, pond insects like dragonflies can alight, spiders can hunt, and wildlife like frogs can find refuge. Floating plants provide three important things to the pond: shade, refuge, and filtration. Shade reduces algae. Refuge allows places for animals including fry to hide. Since their roots are hanging in the water, floating plants provide excellent filtration of the pond water, removing nutrients (fish waste). Finally, submerged plants are entirely under water. They produce oxygen during the day (but use it at night) so they are often called oxygenating plants. That is their specialty but they also provide shade and cover, and let us not forget food. The main problem I have with submerged plants is that the fish keep eating them! Water lilies are marginals but their leaves float so they are sometimes put in their own group. Lotuses are marginals with both floating leaves (the first ones of the year) and aerial leaves. So, while a pond certainly does not have all three types of plants, it will be healthier and more balanced with marginals, floating plants, and submerged plants.

More information

What plants do you want me to talk about?

Equipment

One of the mainstays of simple tanks for new fish keepers is the under gravel filter. Like most filters and many aspects of fish keeping, there are pros and cons. The under gravel filter consists of one or two plates on the bottom of the tank under the substrate, which is normally small gravel, as well as one or two uplift tubes at the corner of the tank with air stones down in them. An air pump creates bubbles at the bottom of the tubes. This creates a mild suction which pulls water from under the under gravel filter. More water then comes in from above, pulling water from the tank down through the gravel and thus creating circulation. The air stones add oxygen which good bacteria need to grow. The entire gravel area thus becomes a biological filter assuming that there is not any clogging of the gravel from excess waste and so on. That is all good. Because water is pulled through the gravel, any solid wastes are trapped in the gravel. The gravel needs to be gravel vacuumed on a regular basis or that solid waste will just rot which worsens water quality. That is the main thing against under gravel filters. I suggest, with the exception of very small tanks under 10 gallons, if you're going to use an under gravel filter, also use a separate mechanical filter such as a hang on-tank filter. The main reasons I stopped using under gravel filters are that they are hard to clean, and lots of fry would get sucked in to the gravel and even live under the filter. So, I do not suggest them if your fish are breeding.

What equipment do you want me to talk about?


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