|Sushi, Bob, Bubbles & Sid|
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Sushi, Bob, Bubbles and Sid.
Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "who puts koi in an aquarium?" Well, I'll tell ya, a woman fed up with the neighborhood raccoons, that's who. See, I built this pond, and it was a nice pond. It had 3 fish in it, Hope, Joy & Sushi. They were cool fish! Hope and Joy would come and swim around my feet very fast when I changed the filter or cleaned the fountain, and they were really interested in the food I brought. Sushi was a little more shy. Then one day the raccoons came. Now Hope and Joy are dead, and all that was left was Sushi.
OK, my blonde! Too bad Hope and Joy had to pay with their lives, but I'll just put the pond back together and install netting over it. Wait a week and no problems so I go out and get more fish -- Luck, Mist, Implore & Bob. I also got some "fish furniture" for them to hid under. Never saw any of 'em, myself, but the raccoons sure did. They also got the snails -- apparently they're French raccoons, 'cause they made short work of the escargot.
Ducky. Now Sushi is a 2-time raccoon survivor and Bob is also alive, but the others are gone. Apparently the key to surviving this pond is to have the silly name. (sigh) So the raccoons are still at large and Sushi and Bob are nervous. Fine, whatever -- what's the largest aquarium that will fit in my car? 55 gallons. OK, so koi get to be ~10-12 inches unless they're in a huge pond for 80 years, so at 1 inch of fish per gallon -- that should be fine. So I set up the aquarium and I'm supposed to let it run for 24 hours before I put fish in it. The problem is I have two 6-inch koi that are in a 5-gallon bucket and Bob keeps jumping out and landing on the carpet. Hmmm. OK, "too new" an aquarium is probably healthier than the carpet (and the dogs), so in they go.
Everything was great for about 2 days -- the fish lived, they looked happy, they swam, they frolicked.... they got Tinkerbell's attention (sigh -- again) Tinkerbell wanted those fish in a bad way. She was sitting there with her wet little nose pressed against the glass in her own furry imitation of a Mervyn's commercial (open, open, open), and SMACKING her face against the glass every time someone swam by. She eventually got over it, but it was too late -- Sushi and Bob were under the "tree stump" and they weren't coming out.
Fine. So I went to Masers and I got 3 teeny tiny Koi (less than 1 inch long) -- Sid, Zzzap and Bubbles. I figured it'd take them a while to grow, and they may or may not live, so it wouldn't be too many fish. Wrong. Sushi and Bob are now about pan-fryable, Bubbles is ~6 inches, Sid is ~5 inches and (a moment of silence please) Zzzap didn't make it; he was flushed in a private ceremony shortly after his passing. It worked, once the three little ones didn't get eaten, Sushi and Bob came out of hiding and Tinkerbell's mostly over them, now. I've finally gotten the water chemicals balanced, but I have too much fish in too small an aquarium for koi and so I do water changes rather more often than I'd like. Oh, and I switched to a food that's supposed to produce less waste, which would be nifty, but the water's gone all cloudy so I'll be switching back.
I'd like to build another pond, something raccoon proof, but I already built the first in the best pond place in the yard, so I'm not completely sure where to build the next one and still be able to get power to it for the filter. Part of me just keeps thinking "Grandma's pond never had a pump". And then, of course the other part of me says, "Grandma didn't have a black thumb and she could keep enough plants alive to filter the water that way." Of course, I'm right -- I'll just figure it out!
The Pond Mark II
Well, time marches on, and the koi, it seems, are not fated to be happy, healthy and safe. Sid and Bubbles passed, apparently of diseases related to crappy water quality and incredibly frequent and aggressive water changes. I'm not surprised, just rather sad. Sushi and Bob are still with us, but Sushi has something on his tail fin that worries me and I swear they're both more than a foot long at this point.
To that end, I've decided to build a new pond. Starbreaker and Tinkerbell have been very helpful in digging the hole, and to see the progress, please visit their picture pages. Here's the 'finished' hole as it stands today:
There are 3 main "sections" to the new pond. The shallowest part is really a mini "bog" in which I plan to plant some mini cattails and flags. The plants will process the fish waste as food, and help keep the water clean. I've put them kinda up in the air and over a ledge to keep the fish from eating them or using them as footballs, as they are so wont to do. The middle area is the deepest, and is the primary area for fish activities. The medium depth area near the house is still deep enough that I think the fish would be mostly safe, but primarily it's for a little fountain. The little hilly lump by the board is where the spitting gargoyle water fountain Mattman gave me for Christmas will go. I think it's going to be teh awesome! :-) All I have to do at this point, is finish leveling out the ground, and install the liner and surrounding rocks, then get power to it. I think this time I'm going to tile the edges with leftover tile from my house project. It'll save on rocks, at least, since I have none.
Sushi and Bob are fine for the time being, but the sooner I get the pond done, the better. I think they'll be safe in this back yard, protected by the dogs, and also with such a deep pond in which to hide. The sooner I get it done, the better, IMO.