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Karen, 
Sounds like the frog question has been answered. Just want to pipe in that barley straw IS fabulous for keeping algae growth down. Our pond is a quarter acre, 10 feet at the deepest, and barley straw beats the heck out of raking algae. It also provides a haven for tadpoles. 
Gretchen

On Thursday, May 21, 2015, Linda Feltner <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Sweet! I like the tunnel you gave the fish, very clever! 
We had Gambusia in Seattle, the water temps got cold in winter, and they flourished. Well, at 5000 feet, we can get darned cold where we are now in AZ. So cold in both places one doesn't dare feed the fish in winter, they will bloat and die, their metabolism is so slowed. We've cracked ice off the pond many times.  But the winters where Karen lives could certainly be colder.

Ponds are fantastic! I can stare into them for hours. Watch the dragonflies and damselflies lay their eggs, birds galore, and also Southwestern Woodhouse toads, Sonoran Whipsnakes, and loads of lizards. Like someone mentioned, I am working on a better "bridge" that will allow them to reach the water and get out in case they topple in. Love the Pond!

Thanks!
Linda
_____________________
Linda M. Feltner Artist, LLC
P.O. Box 325
Hereford, AZ 85615
(520) 803-0538







On May 21, 2015, at 9:08 AM, Suzanne Frechette wrote:

Back when we had a koi pond in RI, we bought a black plastic mailbox, removed the door, cut off the back, strapped it to a paver and submerged it in a deep area of the pond that we built. The fish enjoyed swimming through it—sometimes they played follow the leader--and used it for safety as well. 

Gambusia (mosquito fish) are a perfect solution in warm climates. They’re native tropicals in FL and are fabulous consumers of mosquito larvae. In fact, they’re being raised and distributed for use in ponds and even road side ditches—an environmentally sensitive and sensible alternative to chemicals. I don’t know their cold temperature tolerance but guess that they would die out when water temperature drops below 50 or so.

In RI, I used mosquito dunks—little donut shaped, non toxic foaters. I also use them in my micro pond in Narragansett, RI during the summer. Frogs and a snake or two love the little pond and birds stop by for a splash bath in the stone filled section. 

-Suzanne


On May 21, 2015, at 10:43 AM, Linda Feltner <[log in to unmask]');" target="_blank">[log in to unmask]> wrote:

I'm replying late here, I've been out of town. 

We've built several ponds with assorted filters. Frogs, toads. I think the other responses summed it up with the temperature issues.

We do put fish in our pond, tiny "mosquito fish", or Gambusia. We have also put in  inexpensive goldfish, tiny ones, and they grow up. When the goldfish get larger, and more attractive to herons and raccoons, I put a black plastic pot in the bottom, on it's side with the bottom cut out. The fish then have a place to harbor when they are threatened. A cinder block on its side works too, the raccoons can't toss it over easily. The tiny mosquito fish seem to always be in great numbers, so they probably aren't as vulnerable as bright, large fish. We've even given them away to other folks with ponds. They breed easily even in a small pond. 

As far as a filter, a prefilter will really save the pump. They only last from 1-4 years anyway. We've had biofilters: one 50-gal barrel off to the side, behind a dense bush, and another (current) one that is a black plastic bowl/tub (supposed to fit in a half-wine barrel) with a spillway that allows the water to fall into the waterfall.  We are currently taking out the waterfall, it wasn't built like we wanted and has leaked for years. So I am now setting up a waterfall within the large pond liner, so all the water will be contained within it. That means of course that we eliminate the tub-like biofilter. We have always benefited by the biofilter. not only will fish make the water cloudy, but so do the plant and bug debris.  I recently cleaned out a huge mat of "gunk" and plant roots, and am REALLY hoping we can get away with smaller plant root mass and no biofilter, but in my heart I think we will ahve to 
eventually incorporate it back into the system. There are a couple of ways to do it with our new setup, but I will save that project for another weekend. 

If  you do anything, I'd get some Gambusia. 

Best,
Linda
_____________________
Linda M. Feltner Artist, LLC
P.O. Box 325
Hereford, AZ 85615
(520) 803-0538







On May 11, 2015, at 5:47 PM, Karen Ackoff wrote:

I'm new to country living, and my house has a small pond in the garden, or more accurately a "water feature". I figure the pond is about 100 gallons, and there is a little waterfall. Up until this year, I just let it be, and frogs happily inhabited it. So did algae and mosquito larvae.

Clearly I don't want mosquito larvae breeding in it, so I cleaned it up and hooked up the pump that came with the house. Pump is working and includes a "pre-filter" which filters out large things like leaves and such. So the water is moving and mosquitos won't breed in it.

I've been hoping frogs would find it and so, one did. We've had about 2 weeks of rain, so I went to remove some water from the pond so it won't overflow. And in it was a frog, floating just under the surface of the water, still and vertical, looking dead. I scooped it out and was planning to toss it into the woods. But when I looked in the bucket, it was swimming. OK, so I put it back in the pond. It looked dead.

So I pulled it out of the pond and sat it on a rock nearby. He is sitting there now (it's been about 4 hours). He has shade and lots of places to hide. I sprinkled water on him a couple of times. His throat is moving in and out, and he is sitting and alert, but doesn't move if I touch him (toads don't move when touched either, so maybe this is an amphibian "thing"). I just checked on him and he is sitting under a spider web (smart frog!).

Is there anything I can do? Or should I just leave him be?

I did pile some rocks to provide better egress from the pond, and I'm planning on adding some pond plants as well. A few lily pads and whatever else looks interesting. Will probably put some barley straw in, as I hear it helps prevent algae build-up.

Any advice? Thoughts? Ideas?

I do not want to put fish in it - I would just be feeding wildlife around here. And I'd have to filter the water then (with more than a pre-filter). Meanwhile, every week or 2 I pull a few buckets of water out, and put a few fresh buckets of water in. I have well water, so there is no chlorine.

Thanks!

K

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Gretchen Halpert
Illustrator/educator
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