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Old 04-17-2009, 09:29 PM   #1
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Default Fish in a wildlife pond

About 2 months ago I stocked my 27,000 gallon in-ground swimming pool with goldfish & rosy red minnows because we couldn't keep it up, and mosquitoes were breeding in it. I would have stocked with native minnows, but I have no local source for them.

I would like to let frogs & dragonflies breed there. Didn't realize goldfish ate tadpoles ate tadpoles & frog eggs - stupid of me. I assumed they might eat a few, but now, after research, I understand they eat a lot. (I'd been told they don't even eat mosquitoes either, but I did know better than that.) There is a bit of debris on the bottom, but not much - not enough to shelter bunches of tadpoles & dragonfly nymphs.

If I were to drop some chlorine in to kill off the goldfish & rosy reds, then I would have to restock it with minnows, if I could find them. (Mosquito dunks are too expensive.) Would minnows be any easier on the tadpoles & frog eggs than goldfish & rosy reds?
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Old 04-17-2009, 10:02 PM   #2
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Amphibians breed best in fishless ponds. Skeeters breed best in slow moving water. Adding a water feature should help along with the selective use of Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis products only when you see the "wigglers" around the pond edges to help reduce the costs. You might want to see if your local DNR has any ideas on cheaper sources. Some of the other surface applicants do not sound safe for amphibian larva to me, I would inquire if this use have been tested before considering them. You might also want to erect some bat houses, who knows if it will make a noticible difference but they are cool anyway and they will definitely eat some flyers lol Salamander larva will eat skeeters but they will also eat some of the frog eggs/tads too. Intentionally introducing amphibians from other areas may also spread disease. I'm not certain if there is a fish species that will bother the skeets but leave the larva alone. You may want to find a herpetologist employed by the conservation department or a state university and inquire.
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Old 04-17-2009, 10:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by midwesternerr View Post
... only when you see the "wigglers" around the pond edges
That would be 367 days a year around here (south Louisiana). As much as the year-round aerial spraying upsets me by killing off butterflies and other insects, I'm not about to become a contributor to the problem.

Thanks for your suggestions, Midwesternerr - I will check into the Bacillus. Maybe it would be affordable for a smaller pond. I do want to put up a bat house. Tried building one ... I am not anything resembling a carpenter. You've given me some ideas - I appreciate them!
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Old 04-17-2009, 10:25 PM   #4
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Mosquito Dunks = Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis = BTi

If you want to get rid of the fish did you ever think about netting them and destroying them by freezing them rather than trying to kill them off by dumping bleach in the water? After they are dead you could put them in a composter if you have one.
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:18 PM   #5
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I don't like the idea of killing them at all. I would love to net them. But the pool is about 15'x25' and 4' to 10' deep. It's not going to happen. It's not a drainable pool. They were just 10-cent feeder fish, but I like the little guys. (I love watching fish.)

The mosquito dunks/bacillus (thanks) are too expensive for this volume. I may need to keep the fish, to handle the mosquitoes.
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:34 PM   #6
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I would condition them to surface to be fed before I would try to bleach them to death.
Quote:
Amphibians breed best in fishless ponds. Skeeters breed best in slow moving water.
You can't turn on the filtration systems to get the water moving? Your goldfish and rosy reds will eat any dragonfly larva in your pond. They will eat the tads too.
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Old 04-18-2009, 12:10 AM   #7
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If you like the fish why get rid of them? I don't think the tadpoles would survive even without the fish in a swimming pool. Don't they need a shallow area to lay in? They are air gulpers and if it's too deep they weaken and drown. What about trying a skimmer for the mosquito larvae problems or more fish. That should take care of it. I have lots of fish, no skeeters and still enjoy BIG tadpoles (that I bought) and eventually frogs. Add some waterplants for them to rest upon. If you still want the fish out can't you rent a pump to empty the pond?
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Old 04-18-2009, 07:34 AM   #8
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Depending on how large your fish are, you can get many of them out with a minnow trap!

Effective bait for goldfish seems to be beef liver, or cat food, though my kids seem to think jelly beans would work (which I suspect is a trick to get me to buy them junk food!). Children are willing to spend long periods of time netting them out and checking minnow traps, so if you don't have children in your own household to recruit, see if any neighbors' kids are interested. . .

If they are small, you should check your trap often and empty into some other container, then Freecycle them (that's the fish, not the kids)! That's what I did with ours last year, and I didn't ask anyone who took them if they wanted them as feeder fish, pets or for their water gardens--I didn't want to know!
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Old 05-16-2009, 01:28 AM   #9
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A month has passed since my last post. I now have what appear to be bullfrog, leopard frog, and American toad tadpoles in the pool. They seem to be coexisting well with the goldfish; some of the smaller toad tadpoles get eaten, but it doesn't seem to make much of a dent. (I'm feeding the fish, so they're not starving.) I also have young frogs. I've draped several branches into the pool for shallow resting places & climbing-out areas, and they are being used. Also, to my great relief, there have been no more drowned squirrels!

Although swimming would be awesome now (it is HOT out there), I am enjoying the pool as a pond. There's a definite fascination to watching the creatures, including the owl that was hanging out on the slide the other day, apparently looking for frogs. There are lots of water bugs, too. I saw a long skinny one zooming around this afternoon.
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:29 AM   #10
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See -------all is well after all. How wonderfull for you! Glad to hear you have provided and escape route for the squirrels.
I had a few schrews and toads drown myself so I added driftwood for their safety.
How big are your goldfish? You will come to love them as well as the wildlife you are drawing. If you splash the water,stomp your foot once or tap the edge each time BEFORE you feed them they will come to know you and come when you call. You can tell your friends all about your trained fish. I have lots of fun with mine. One even eats out of my hands!!!
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