Time to time musings about backyard garden pond building, keeping, troubleshooting. Questions and answers from pond keepers and builders. Occasional excerpts from the pondlady's book, "A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond."
I live in Orlando, florida and have recently installed a pond on my patio. It is a 25 gal. above the ground barrel pond with 3 anacharis and 2 hardy water lilies. I have a fountain and a filter as I have a few fish in the pond. I also have a snail and a plecostamus for cleaning. the filter is rated for 50 gal. My question is how can I stop the goldfish (4 of them) from eating the water lilies? At one time I had 14 lily pads and now I am down to just 8. the lilies are still putting out new growth but they seem to only last about 1-2 weeks before they turn black and die. The snail and pleco take care of the remains. I feed the goldfish about 2 times a day as they are constantly at the water surface. Is there something I can do? Or am I just missing something? The patio is screened in so there is no chance of outside invasion. Thanks,
Pondlady sez: I think I am hearing several problems here. 1) Your fish are eating your water lilies 2) Your lilies are turning black and dying. 3) a combination of the two
I have a question for you.....is it the lily pads or the lily blooms that are turning black and dying. If it is the blooms, they open and close for about 3 days and then die. You must cut them off at the base of the plant, remove them and not let them foul the pond water. If it is the lily pads, you have some sort of lily disease, probably aphids.
Mix up a solution of a quart of water, a tsp of vegetable oil and a few drops of dishwashing liquid and spray the lily pads. Remove all the black ones before you do that.
If it is your fish eating your lilies, you have too many fish. You may have one linear foot of fish per 25 square foot of pond surface.
If you are feeding your fish, they are getting too big for your small pond. They should eat the anacharis and the anacharis grows faster than the fish can eat it. So, trim back your fish population, buy a few more bunches of anacharis so you have 1 bunch per sf of pond surface, stop feeding the fish and you should be OK.
Oh, and you really don't have enough room for 1 water lily let alone two. So give one away to a friend and keep yours trimmed back. Trim the outer ring of pads whenever a new ring forms. They may be turning black because they can't be in the water.
Read about problems like this one and more in my new book. YOu can download it here.
If you have pond questions, you can get answers at my website, pondlady.com