Living pond - Frog & sarasa comet pond


We’re currently making a fish and frog pond (and by "we" I mean Julian is working on it).  It will house an array of water plants, tadpoles, frogs and fish that won't need fancy air filtration devices...  It’ll be our little mock Koi poind.  Right now the pond is filled with Sarasa Comets.  Comets are the most common variety of fancy gold fish in the US.  In optimum conditions they can grow tails up to 12” in length!  These goldfish are easily recognizable by their long flowing fins and their red and white coloration which is very similar to that of Koi’s.  They’re quite beautiful and I’m amazed that many of these are sold as simple “feeder” goldfish (gold fish sold as bait for predator fishes or for fishing bait).  I’ve been rescuing quite a few of them since they normally have short lives between their overcrowded tanks and being sold as feeders.







 Building of the Frog pond:



  
The below Information for this post was taken from the following websites, more information can also be found at the following sites on how to build and maintain a frog pond:  


Identifying local frogs: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/82722.html

About plants:
Plants should cover about 50-70% of the pond surface.  Algae is also super important for tadpoles meals. When you first set up your pond you may experience a lot of algae, resist the temptations to clean it out.  It is a natural phase for the pond.  Once the nutrients in the pond become balanced, the algae will reach an acceptable level appropriate for the plants and animals present. Algae thrive on light and excessive nutrients.  To decrease light you can add more plants, and the algae will compete for the nutrients and become less pervasive.

All ponds need time to develop into good amphibian habitat. The quality of the habitat improves when plants and algae are established, and when decomposed plant and animal matter has settled to the bottom, forming a source of nutrients for tadpoles and aquatic life.  Plants provide sources of food and shelter for a large number of animal species. Plants must suit the soil type, water levels, and the amount of available sunlight. 

A pond with lots of hiding and feeding cover will attract frogs and keep tadpoles safe from fish. 
Let the pond sit for a few days before adding plants. This allows chlorine to evaporate from the water. Chemicals are also available that will quickly neutralize chlorine and other harmful compounds.
For the pond, consider a mix of emergent, submergent, and floating species. Emergent plants, those that have their roots in the water but their shoots above water, can be added to the margins of pools. Some examples are cattails (Typha spp.), arrowhead (Sagittaria spp.), and water lilies (Nymphaea spp.). Submergent species, or those that remain underwater, are often used as oxygenators. These are plants that remove carbon dioxide from the water and add oxygen. These plants are essential in most ponds to keep the water clear. Floating species or those that are not anchored at all in the pond include plants such as duckweed (Lemna minor), water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), and water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes). While attractive, water hyacinth and water lettuce can be serious weed problems in the South. Since they are not winter hardy, there is no problem with them spreading in northern climates. While not as effective as oxygenators, these plants help keep the water clear by limiting the amount of sunlight that algae receive
Place the plants at various depths. Emergent and submergent plants should be planted into pots. Fill the container about half full with a mixture of good garden topsoil. Do not use potting mixes or peat moss. These are too light and will float out of the pot. Place the plant on top of the soil and fill the container with topsoil within one inch of the top.
When planting water lily rhizomes, make a mound of soil in the middle of the pot. Place the rhizome at a 45 degree angle. The crown of the rhizome should be toward the center of the pot. Cover the roots with soil, but not the crown.
In all cases, add a layer of gravel to the top of the pot. This will help keep the soil from floating out and prevent fish from digging in the soil. Slowly place the pots in the pool to keep soil from floating out. Place pots on bricks to get the desired height. Floating species can be placed directly into the pond with no other care needed. Plants should cover 50 to 70 percent of the water surface.

About breeding:
Pond-breeding amphibians are particular about where they lay their eggs. Those that lay their eggs in wetlands need very slow-moving or stagnant water, and a water level that doesn’t drop much during the spring breeding season (February through May). These amphibians need shallow areas between 1/2 foot and 3 feet deep. They usually attach their egg masses to or among plants, so they need small plants with thin, flexible stems between 1-4 mm in diameter.
Even amphibians that lay eggs in ponds live part of their adult life on dry land. For this, their habitat should include trees and shrubs for protection from predators. They also need leaves and fallen logs to hide in during cold weather. Protected corridors connected to other wetlands prevent too much inbreeding, and provide pathways for new amphibians to recolonize in case a drought, flood, water quality problem, or some other stochastic event wipes out a local population.

Pond-breeding amphibians are particular about where they lay their eggs. Those that lay their eggs in wetlands need very slow-moving or stagnant water, and a water level that doesn’t drop much during the spring breeding season (February through May). These amphibians need shallow areas between 1/2 foot and 3 feet deep. They usually attach their egg masses to or among plants, so they need small plants with thin, flexible stems between 1-4 mm in diameter.
There needs to be enough bacteria and algae on rocks and the bottom to feed tadpoles, and sufficient aquatic insect production to feed the adult frogs or toads.

Attract Frogs with Surrounding Pond Habitat
To improve the area around the pond, place native emergent plants around the edge to provide cover for adults and emerging toadlets and froglets. Trees should be planted some distance from the edge of the pond, because excessive shading reduces wildlife diversity and productivity. Any dead timber should be left standing or can be added to provides habitat for species such as beetles and woodpeckers.
A few rock piles and logs arranged around the pond will provide shelter and refuges from predators. You can provide moisture by having shady areas where dew collects, moist patches of soil, and rotting vegetation. Rocky retreats for toads can be made by placing stones to form a rocky burrow about 4 inches high with a sandy floor where toads can dig. You can use pieces of broken concrete blocks to allow access to the toad chamber and plant ferns to shade the area.
Some nurseries now sell toad sheltersDescription: http://ad.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/show?id=iiP0eXEDFnA&bids=51252&type=2&subid=0, or you can make one yourself out of a large clay flower pot. Simply drill a series of holes for a toad size opening, and chip out the drilled section with a hammer. Place one or two of these upturned flower pots in shady locations in your garden. Adding a toad lightDescription: http://ad.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/show?id=iiP0eXEDFnA&bids=51252&type=2&subid=0between the rock garden and a lawn area will attract insects for the toads.

Provide Extra Shelter. Place a couple of clay plant pots, on their side and partly buried, to provide extra shelter and shade. Remember frogs like it damp and cool, and also need places to hide from predators.


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