Posts Tagged ‘pond fish’

The “OTHER” Butterfly in the Water Garden. . .

March 27, 2009
Butterfly Koi Feeding

Butterfly Koi Feeding

Butterfly Koi by Nancy G. deGarmeaux

     Some of the most beautiful fish you can add to your pond are butterfly koi.  Years ago, koi were crossed with Indonesian long finned carp, Kohaku and Showa, in Niigata, Japan. 

Metallic Butterfly Koi

Metallic Butterfly Koi

They were crossed to improve body shape.  Some of the offspring were unusual but not really desirable.  They stopped producing in 1993 due to unreliable results and poor reception in the marketplace.  Once the market was developed, they resumed production. 

     If you should purchase  butterfly koi for your pond, there are some key elements to remember.  The better the conditions in your pond, the better your fish will do.  Always feed your butterfly koi high quality food with little or no fillers.  You need a great filtration system for your pond. 

Red / Orange

Red / Orange

Bacteria and parasites are free-floating at some point in their life cycle and you will want a UV filter to kill these, as they are the culprits for fish kill in your pond.   

      Depending on the size of the butterfly koi you purchase and the size of your pond, your koi should reach  14″ to 15″ in length.  Under ideal conditions, 30″ to 36″ inches in length.  To reach jumbo size, all conditions must be ideal. 

The life span of your koi will depend on the conditions, ie feeding, filtration, pond size,  water quality,etc.  The oldest koi recorded were 70+ years.   A normal life span for your butterfly koi is 20+ years. 

     Butterfly koi are among the most beautiful fish you can add to your pond.   The colors are the same as regular koi but their tails and fins can really be unusual.  They gracefully swim in your pond and are beautiful to watch from any angle.  Blue Butterfly Koi

Your butterfly koi will look forward to being fed and they will watch for you and come  to the area of the pond you are feeding in giving you a front row seat to observe their coloration and “butterfly” fins and tails. 

     If you buy a $20.00 butterfly koi, it will be worth $200 a few years later! Enjoy!

Small Butterfly Fry

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Bird Lovers can’t be Koi Lovers…I explain

January 16, 2009

This post will definitely go under “off topic” though it dose pertain to water gardens.  

Last thing you want to see in your pond!

Last thing you want to see in your pond!

      I would assume many gardeners are bird lovers and outdoor lovers  as well.  And if you are a brand new water gardener,  then you may not know that the arch nemesis of a water garden with goldfish or koi, throughout most of the USA, is the Heron. This is one birdyou never want to catch in your  fishpond, they have only come for one reason, your backyard buffet.

Small & very pretty green heron, Still gonna eat your fish!

Small & very pretty green heron, Still gonna eat your fish!

In much of the country people don’t even know herons are in their area, they seem like large birds you may only find in th southern swamps. They are usually a protected species, some a foot tall, some four feet tall with a six foot wingspan. Found commonly hanging out next to water gardens in the early morning around sunrise or wading in the shallow end of a pond, a heron can swallow a 24″ fish and take off quickly. They love backyard ponds, as they are small, shallow, and the fish are usually bright colors, could we make it any easier for these birds? I don’t think so. . .  .

The Scarecrow I talk about, cost about $65-$79 as of 2008

The Scarecrow I talk about, cost about $65-$79 as of 2008

Now winter is a very common time to find these birds in your yard. For fish to live, we generally keep a hole in the ice here in the north, with a pump or trough deicer.  These birds have less and less open water to hunt  and they easily see our water gardens open water reflect like a mirror in the sky. Lakes and streams with fish are iced over but we provide a tiny open space of open water, on top of that, the fish are bright orange and red or white or yellow. These birds will come back until the pond is empty, however we can keep them away pretty easy. A scarecrow, battery operated device is sold almost everywhere & works on all animals, it one in has a motion detector and shoots a stream of chilly water at animals that come by the pond. You can set one in the area in which it protects so that you can come up behind it without getting sprayed. Most people, myself included, forget about the device and normally walk right by it, and you  may get a little spray of water at your butt.   It protects the pond and after a few squirts the bird will stop coming around for good. 

Another option is a decoy heron, these birds are territorial, move the plastic decoy from one side of the pond to the other every 7 days as birds are smart and flyover birds will notice the decoy never moves, after a while. Make sure you have plenty of submerged plants, as fish can hide from the birds in submerged grasses like anacharis or hornwort.

Last of all, a small line of fishing line around the pond ,about 14 inches high, is invisible to the heron and they only way they can get to the pond is to walk in, when they reach your fishing line fence, they cannot move any closer to the pond and don’t know what is in the way, they will then fly off. The fishing line is not unattractive, is inexpensive and easy to put up .Once the heron is gone, you can take it down.

 E-mail me if you need help finding anything.

Vallisneria, Jungle Vallisneria (Vallisneria Americana).. not sea weed

December 16, 2008

This plant will remind you of sea weed.  It is a freshwater submerged pond plant. One of the few submerged oxygenating pond plants that does not come banded and bunched as each is an individual plant. It begins with a root and small bulb underneath the stem, the leaves grow tall toward the surface. You can still use lead weights on the vallisneria to anchor each plant. Fish like the plant to hide around and most of them will leave the plant alone. It may not be as easy for baby fish to hide in as hornwort or anacharis but its a great plant and looks great under the water. It will overwinter in the bottom of ponds.

Two vallisneria plants. About 12" tall can grow to 36"+ depending on depth.

Two vallisneria plants. About 12" tall can grow to 36"+ depending on depth.

I am writing about the underwater plants so that all the less exciting plants are out of the way for the spring and summer.  Next we will have some newer varieties of submerged plants to the water garden industry. Rotala, Bacopa Lemon, and Red Star Ludwigia.