Feed on

As a pond owner, expect to have much more company than that of your pet fish. There’s an entire eco-system of amphibians, reptiles and birds, many of which may visit your pond-some welcome and some not so much.

Due to the growth of urbanization and increase of pollution in natural ponds, amphibians in the recent years have needed to leave their natural habitats and search for new homes, your backyard possibly being one. Although some ponds may serve as a bed and breakfast without the necessity to do so, some ponds still require a little help in creating a community for amphibians.

Introducing adult frogs or toads into your pond is not a wise idea. Because frogs/toads become accustomed with their “home” pond, they will generally leave in search of the place in which they came from. However, if you have a large backyard oasis, you have a better luck of the frog/toad to stick around. The best way to introduce frogs/toads into your pond is to obtain tadpoles or baby frogs so that they will associate themselves with your pond as home base.

Like frogs, introducing newts into your pond while they’re still very young is an effective way to keep them around. However, newts don’t have quite the urge to leave as frogs do. Because frogs don’t have the itch to leave, it’s just as effective to introduce a small number of adult newts to the pond in the early spring. Newts have a long breeding season and will stay under water for many weeks. After the breeding season is over, the newts will have been acclimated with your pond and will feel a lesser need to leave.

Salamanders, which are mostly land walkers, are much harder to keep around. The best way to establish a salamander colony is to introduce either spawn or larvae to your pond and allow them to mature in and around your water garden after they leave the water.

Adult frogs, salamanders and newts all eventually spend a little or much of their time outside of the water. It is important to create places of shade and shelter for them out and around your pond.

During the time in which they’re under water, frog/toad tadpoles, newt larvae and young salamanders usually have adequate food available to them in a well-kept pond. However, if you suspect there will be a shortage of nourishment, flaked or pellet fish food and ideally a supply of live critters such as water fleas is a good idea in order to keep your new colony growing.

While birds can be very enjoyable in your backyard, they can also be pests to you and definitely a worry for your fish and other various visitors. Herons will generally wait on dry land or in shallow water very still until they can snatch up their victim. Kingfishers on the other hand, will find a perch where they can watch over your pond until they find a suitable time to dive and, if successful, catch lunch. Ducks are not going to prey on your fish but they will most definitely stir up sediment and use your pond as their personal bathroom, and often.

There are no fool-proof ways of protecting your fish from ever being in danger of birds but there are some things you can do. Standing bird decoys in the shape of a heron or owl for example, can be placed near your pond to discourage other birds from landing in your yard. Sensor-alarms can also be set up, but be aware of your surroundings and make sure to consider your neighbors or consider a timer in which the alarm can be controlled by so as to avoid any other unnecessary problems. Placing a full-sized pond net over your pond at night, each night, will annoy predators and if done daily, will eventually discourage birds from returning to your site.

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