Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   water lily monster - help! (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/ponds-waterfalls/water-lily-monster-help-18195/)

Aquarius Keeper 09-28-2008 07:08 PM

water lily monster - help!
 
... so I started trying to clean out the gunked up pond in my parent's yard today. It was even more disgusting and difficult than I had imagined. Within five minutes of digging the whole thing smelled like a sewer (I've probably just released enough buried ammonia to kill everything in the pond...)

But I figured, well, whats done is done, might as well keep going.

The main problem I'm having is that I can barely get at the gunk because the overgrown water lilies have formed a jellyfish like tangle of monster roots (skin looks sort of like a long pineapple or pinecone) which is now taking up most of the water and trapping all sorts of crud beneath and around itself. I felt like I was wrestling with an octopus and it was winning.

I've never seen anything like it, really and I'm not sure what to do - when I tug on it, it pulls every water lily along with it. I tried hacking at it with a shovel but I can't really see what I'm doing through the murk, and I'm not strong enough to pull it out of the water (it must eight a couple hundred pounds)

Anybody have any advice? I mean, I don't want to kill it but I have no idea how to tame it. Can I cut it in half and have the other half survive?

And by the way - I'M not at risk for ammonia poisoning while doing this sort of work, am I??

Thanks!

Jonathan

Aquarius Keeper 09-28-2008 10:20 PM

I mean, it must "weigh" a couple hundred pounds, not "eight":)

So is this normal for water lilies and I'm just being a wimp?

onefish2fish 09-29-2008 12:21 AM

drain the pond- get out the chainsaw.

Aquarius Keeper 09-29-2008 12:25 AM

so... I felt guilty about the whole flooding the pond with buried toxins thing, and decided I should rescue that one goldfish that had somehow survived out there for over a year.

I brought a 500 watt worklight outside and shined it through the murk until I saw a dull orange shape swaying slowly near the bottom. Now, when I've seen this fish in the past, it has always darted like lightening for cover - now it practically fell into my hand. I put it in a pitcher and placed the pitcher in a 26 gallon tub of dechlorinated water, and slowly started mixing in the new clean water into the old scummy pond water. the fish revivded pretty quickly after that and is now darting about the tub trying to understand what the heck just happened. I put in some spare aquarium decorations and some lily pads from the pond. Interestingly enough, I just happened to stumble upon an old (20 years) box of fish-stuff in the garage last week, including an old filter - I hooked it up and - whadayaknow! with a little finagling, it started pumping water. So at least the water is getting oxygenated. there was also some decades old fish food (which actually looked and smelled fine) but I'll pick up some fresh food tomorrow all the same -

which brings me to my major concern - this fish has survived in an unmaintained "wild" environment with no human care for over a year - I don't really know how to give it what it needs. I hope I didn't jump the gun removing it - all I know is that after 15 minutes of working with the pond, I felt sick and light headed - I can only assume it was worse for the fish.

I know this is more of a tropical fish site, but if anyone has any words of wisdom for caring for this fish during what will certainly be a long time away form home, please chime in.

Thanks,

Jonathan

PS - yes, I know it's just a comet, but it's also a survivor, I'd hate to be the thing that undid it.

Aquarius Keeper 09-29-2008 01:10 AM

There are two of them, but boy, that second fish did not want to be caught!

1077 09-29-2008 02:06 AM

The water lilys no doubt supplied cover for the fish in the pond or protection from pedators such as birds , raccoons, etc. They also provide oxygen to the water and use the waste created by the fish for food. Outdoor ponds are capable of supporting all kinds of life from the tiniest organisims to freshwater shrimp,snails, crusteaceans,leaches, insect larvae etc. that is why the fish have surrvived without human intervention. I would possibly thin the lilys out a little but other than that I would be hesitant to disturb the fishes enviornment too much. All of the afore mentioned have a roll in their enviornment and changes to that enviornment have a rippling affect . Goldfish in general are a members of the carp family and do much better on foods that contain vegeatable matter as opposed to foods rich in protein or animal matter. Were it me I would probably put a pump designed for the size pond to be aerated and thin the lilys a little. Other than that I would try not to disturb an ecosystem that has been working pretty well up to now.

Aquarius Keeper 09-29-2008 09:21 AM

thanks 1077 - I understand what your saying.

Calling it a healthy ecosystem might be a little bit of a stretch though - it is only 18 inches deep and has about 20 years of rotten debris piling up almost to the surface, and the lily had been gorging itself on that debris and are fat and swollen - there's barely any room for the fish to swim Definitely a healthy ecosystem for water bigs, bacteria, and the momster lily, but my goal in this is to give the fish some room.

I think I'm going to cut it in half...

willow 09-29-2008 01:07 PM

hi
well looks like you have a fun job on your hands :)
where's the pictures ? lol :jk:
because you are interfearing with what has survived for so long,
you may find you will need to aid in mechanical help after too.
it's basically been filtering it's self in it's own way.
taking all the sedament away will be like cleaning your filter out
of all the good bacteria,and starting from scratch.you could
pot the lillys in pond compost to try and contain them a little more,
split them carefully and you will probably be able to get a number of plants from the one said monster one.

Aquarius Keeper 09-29-2008 01:43 PM

Yeah, I totally agree with you Willow - I'm not planning on removing all the sediment - or all the lilies - not by a long shot - that's what's going to keep the pond healthy once I'm done.

It's just that at the moment, it's a 320 gallon pond with maybe 50 gallons of swimmable water - the rest is gunk and the lily-monster, so I think it's pretty out of balance in the other direction - I'd rather reverse that ratio - have 50 gallons taken up with substrate and lily mass, and leave 270 gallon of swimming space for the fish.

willow 09-29-2008 01:56 PM

it going to be so nice for the fish, :)


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