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  • mysterious predator

    I need some help. I covered my pond last fall, earlier than usual because my koi stock was depleting. Even though the pond was completey covered, I lost all my fish. I went to rubber coated "lobster trap" wire. Completey covered the pond with brick about a foot apart all around to weight it down. Now that the weather is getting better I introduced more fish to my pond. They were fine for about a week and now either they are hiding or gone. The frustrating thing is there isnt a trace of them, no disturbance of the ground and wire, and no paw prints or foot prints for that matter. I live in Massachusetts and we had a very cold winter. I thought maybe a snapping turtle had found my pond but some of my missing koi were 12" long and I dont know if a turtle could devour a large koi. Plus I think they go into a semi hibernated state and I would see it. If anyone can help me I would appreciate it..please. Thank you.
    HC
  • #2

    Is your pond a natural one (mud)? How large and how deep?

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    • #3

      Turtles are very temperature/metabolism motivated. Like koi. It's been too cold.
      An otter will kill koi for the sheer joy of it but usually will leave lots of sign. I have seen racoons carry off 28 inch koi and never leave a scale. But it has to be something that can get under your screen. A mink could do it. I'm thinking an
      electronic wire fence for shocking might be the ticket. Also a motion detector might tip you off to intruders and you could get a look and then once you know what your up against make your defense against it.
      Dick Benbow

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      • #4

        No mention of size...or did i miss it?
        if they are all under 8 inches you can't rule out a snake(s)...
        How many fish were being eaten in a week? What size?

        if you think it is a four-footed predator, get a flour sifter...when they go in they won't leave you much to read but on the way out they'll make a mess.

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        • #5

          I have no doubt that it is a mink. Here is the mink's modus operandi: Freequents bodys of water. Eats fish. Can get thru small spaces down to 2-1/2" in radius and will carry its prey a fair distance to be consumed later. This is more than an educated guess... I raise koi and mink on the same farm and they are quite fond of koi and the neighbors chickens. The solution is to bait and set a live trap near the pond. Good hunting.

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          • #6

            Originally posted by MikeM
            Is your pond a natural one (mud)? How large and how deep?
            My pond has a liner. At the deepest it is 30". I would say about 1000 gallons an

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            • #7

              i dont want to point you toward a snapping turtle either but outa interest i saw a show on them only last week and they can take out a fish of 1 kilo easy, i saw one ripping a large fish apart, maybe the camera crew baited it with that, i dont know but theyre certainly strong enough for the job.
              i wouldnt rule out a winged creature that can get between the mesh, stand on the side and pick them off. then again i assume that rubber coated lobster wire is small mesh and your fish mightnt pull back through.
              we have water rats that could do it. we'd find scales or backbones though, if you have something thats feeding young then thats why theres no evidence.

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              • #8

                Hlobsta: I cannot come up with an idea that makes much sense. How large are the openings in the mesh? Are you close to a lake or woods? Do the disappearances occur overnight, or during the day?

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                • #9

                  I had never thought of MINK, interesting..... I did awaken one morning to a four foot heron UNDER the net I covered the pond with, but after I secured the edges it never happened again.
                  ChrisC

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                  • #10

                    Chris, that's the beauty of having a pond in a greenhouse. Keeps lots of trouble outside!
                    Dick Benbow

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                    • #11

                      Dick--can't wait!!
                      ChrisC

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                      • #12

                        Originally posted by dick benbow
                        Chris, that's the beauty of having a pond in a greenhouse. Keeps lots of trouble outside!
                        The quote on another thread about "state of the art" greenhouses got my attention. Other than nebulous web sites on the internet, how do I get information to make this really happen in Northeastern Florida? How does one approach the local zoning board to get the OK to do this in a relatively small back yard? Any information about where to start, and potential pitfalls, would be appreciated.

                        Shirley

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                        • #13

                          Originally posted by dick benbow
                          Chris, that's the beauty of having a pond in a greenhouse. Keeps lots of trouble outside!
                          Thats what I'm talking about! Koi House! Every hobbiest dream come true. Hahaha.

                          To answer your questions...
                          How do I get information to make this really happen in Northeastern Florida?
                          Every city or country will have their own set of Land Use Ordinances (LUO) in conjunction with building codes. Each property will have minimum setback requirements for structures on the property. Most LUO's will treat structures the same way as a house setback. If you have a large property, you shouldn't have a problem unless you pond is right up against your property line. In that case, relocation of pond may be the answer. Get in contact with a local architect and I'm sure he can lead you down the correct path.

                          How does one approach the local zoning board to get the OK to do this in a relatively small back yard?
                          It all starts with a proposed plan. However, if your plan does not meet the minimum LUO requirements, you may have to apply for a variance to the LUO. Warning, it has been my experience that they will not give you a variance for a new structure. Somehow, you must show hardship that limits you from utilizing your property. Unforetunately, koi protection is not construde as a hardship.

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                          • #14

                            Shirley: I would not think you would need that level of protection in NE Florida. I'd guess your winter water temps are rarely below 50F.

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                            • #15

                              Hi Shirley,
                              Thanks for posting! i hope we see lots of other questions coming our way. In the coupla years I've been on this board it's been fun to watch people start, build some experience and knowledge and start helping others that are new to a greenhouse, type of filter or what have you. You can become our resident expert on small backyard greenhouses!
                              Dick Benbow

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