It can be frustrating when your fish disappear from your pond, but with a little work, you can minimize these losses.
Fish often go missing because they have been startled by something and are hiding in your pond, or because they have been eaten by a predator, such as birds, frogs, or even household pets. There are a few different steps you can take to prevent these losses.
Everyone wants to be able to enjoy the fish in their pond, so whether they’re hiding or being eaten, here are some tips to help keep your fish safe.
Keeping Predators at Bay
While there are many reasons why your fish may appear to be disappearing, the most common are predators. Not only do they hunt and eat your fish, but they also scare your fish into hiding where they cannot be seen, making it appear as if they have disappeared altogether.
The first culprit you’ll want to check for is herons. These opportunistic birds recognize the treasure trove that is your pond and can decimate your fish population quickly. To prevent this from happening, there are several things you can do to deter herons from feasting on your gilled friends.
YouTuber Brad from “Brads Greenhouse & Gardening,” has worked with koi ponds for several years. With years of experience under his belt, he has become quite experienced with deterring herons and has a few tips to offer that you can check out in this video.
1. Heron Figurines
Herons are territorial birds, so if they see what appears to be another heron at the pond, it may be choose to look elsewhere for its next meal, not wanting to share with another bird. However, some pond owners have commented that after some time, the herons realize that the heron is not real and will ignore the statue. Some recommend moving the figurine periodically to leave the impression that it is a living bird.
If the birds are already coming to your pond, another option available to you is to string up a net over your pond. If you choose to go with this route, make sure to keep it high up enough above the pond that the herons will not be able to stab through it.
3. Fencing and Other Barriers
Putting up fencing immediately around the pond makes it difficult for herons to come up to the water’s edge, thus lowering the risk of them eating your precious fish. Putting large plants or furniture close to the water’s edge also adds another layer of defense against these sorts of attacks.
4. Reflective Surfaces
Herons can be easily spooked by movement, and by seeing themselves in something reflective like a mirror or a decorative bauble, they may be startled away when they come in for a snack.
5. Motion Sensor Sprinklers
Another way to scare off these pesky birds is to make sure that every time they try to come close, they get a spray of water. Motion sensored sprinklers can be found on Amazon and other internet retailers, and are an easy way to keep not only birds but other animals away.
While it may seem surprising, frogs can prey on your fish, even if they seem far too large for a frog to attack. Your pond is an ideal place for a frog to live, so here are a few ideas of how you can discourage frogs from taking up a lily pad and calling your pond home.
Waterfalls and fountains disturb the peaceful water, discouraging frogs from laying their eggs in the waters. As an added bonus, the moving water will discourage mosquitos, a common food source for frogs.
As with herons, fencing is a good way to keep away frogs. You’ll want them to be at least 2 feet high as well as buried at least a foot deep. This makes it more difficult for these amphibians from entering your pond.
3. Remove Tall Grass and Weeds
Grass and weeds are an ideal hiding spot for frogs, who prefer to not be exposed out in the open.
Sometimes, the predetors to our fish are our beloved cats and dogs. While we don’t want to choose one over the other, there are measures you can take to prevent your precious feline from attempting to go fishing.
Just as in herons, netting or other pond covers can be a great way to protect you fish from your animals. They make it virtually impossible to reach your fish and can be removed when it’s time to fee your fish.
2. Provide Hiding Spots for Your Fish
Adding water plants or large rocks will help provide places for you fish to hide, making it more difficult for your fish to be seen by a predator who’s looking for a nice snack.
3. Cat Deterrants
Cats dislike various smells, and by sprinkling some black and cayenne pepper around the perimeter, or by leaving out the peels of citrus fruits, your feline friend is more likely to stay clear of the area.
4. Motion Sensored Sprinklers
Like herons, a motion sensor sprinkler is a great way to keep your pets away from your pond. Even animals who enjoy being in water can be startled by a sudden burst of water coming at them and may think twice before getting closer.
You probably either love or hate these animals, and if you are finding that they are eating your fish, you definitely want to find a way to keep them out of your pond.
As with frogs, snakes prefer still waters over disturbed waters. Waterfalls, fountains, and others means of stirring up the waters are a great deterent to snakes.
2. Fox Urine
Foxes are among those that prey on snakes, and mixing their urine within the soil around a pond may keep snakes at bay. You can also try using cinnamon oil or clove oil as a deterrent.
3. Clean Up Around the Pond
Long grasses and piles of leaves or mulch are great places to hide and live for snakes. Keeping your yard clean of these sort of hiding places is a good preventive measure againt snakes.