I love our pets but they do make a lot of extra work. We have a big backyard for our German Shepherd Tsar and a courtyard with a goldfish pond, and a blue eyed cat called Misty who goes where he pleases. You can see pictures of them all below. Tsar often crosses his front paws like this, which I think makes him look very elegant. Misty was a pure white kitten when he was born, a throwback burmese, the only white kitten in a litter of otherwise grey domestic shorthairs. His pale blue eyes and white chest are all that is left now he has grown up.

Fixing Pond Leaks

At the start of Spring our pond sprung a leak which required us to drain the pond, reseal it – fixing the pond leaks, replanting the waterlily and introducing new goldfish. Our pond has a lightly concrete rendered base and rendered brick walls which were sealed with bitumen and then painted with pond sealer. The waterlily roots gradually penetrate the paint and eventually caused a slow leak. If I’d been on top of it, I would have pulled the waterlilies out and repotted them sooner, so it didn’t happen, but life goes on and maintenance isn’t always thought of in time.

There was only one fish in the outside pond when this happened. We brought him inside to the other pond and introduced him to our other two goldfish there who are over 15 years old. As these two old Goldfish are twice his size we thought it might be a problem for him, but he was so fast that it was he who seemed to bother the two old slow coaches, chasing them around and nudging them to move all the time. He has settled in well now and seems quite content in his new home.

(Click on any image to see a larger version of it and arrow through the others as a slideshow – click esc to close)

The pond with the leak now continued to lose water faster, until it reached a point where I could start scooping out the 3-4 inches of muck, sand and debris from the bottom, but before that happened the waterlily in the pond threw out one glorious golden flower through the mud, it was just beautiful. It’s a hard job on the back, scooping out mud and stones and it took a few days. I put the waterlily in pond water in an old esky to keep it healthy and the floating green, whose plant name I don’t know, floated in another big plastic bowl.

Once down to the paint on the bottom of the pond, I could easily see how far the waterlily roots had burrowed under the blue paint and its a wonder that the slow leak hadn’t been much faster sooner, the roots growing under the paint were so extensive. Much of that bottom paint layer had to be be pulled off . The walls were still fine, only the bottom of the pond was affected. Once down to the hard surfaces we cleaned off any remaining dirt and sand and let it dry for a few days.

A small tin of black bitumen paint is good for fixing pond leaks and resealed the bottom of our pond. A small tin of “sandstone” coloured pond paint, added an extra seal on the pond walls and over the bitumen paint on the pond bottom. We waited a week for the paints to “go off” and then refilled the pond with water. Waited another week for the chlorine in the water to evaporate and then repotted the waterlily, added some rocks for the fish to hide under and re introduced the floating green plants.

English: Goldfish (Carassius auratus) spawning...

English: Goldfish (Carassius auratus) in a pond ( Wikipedia)

This is the hardest time as we now have a huge mosquito breeding area in the courtyard but the water isn’t quite ready for goldfish yet. We started by introducing 3 small goldfish, one struggled immediately. It swam around for about five minutes and then settled on the bottom and barely moved. Maybe the water was too cold for it yet, maybe it was just the shock of change, but it died a day later. After two weeks the other two were still fine, so just before Christmas we bought 11 new goldfish and introduced them to the pond.

We had some very very hot days in January, over 40 degrees,  some of the fish died. Green algae started to grow in the pond. The floating green was growing rapidly but wasn’t yet enough to shade the pool from the sun. On the fierce hotter days I put a big piece of cement board over the pond to shade it. I also added bicarb of soda to the water twice to buffer the acidity. We still lost far too many of the fish in January, half of them, before the pond finally stabilised.

Now we only have seven beautiful new goldfish left but they are growing rapidly and are beautiful, friendly and healthy. The pond ecosystem is fine now, the waterlily has established itself and the floating green now covers two thirds of the pond surface as it should.

In fact I know we are fine now as we had a visit from a tiny little frog!

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