Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Goldfish and Bullfrogs

This year, I’m trying some different forms of mosquito control in the pond. Last year, I used guppies. They seemed effective and they multiplied, but they weren’t very visible. I want fish that will entertain me, as well eat mosquito larvae.

Although the goldfish died last year, I was swayed by the 12 cent price to try them again. Mike wanted to buy 100 goldfish, so that our pond would be reminiscent of the koi ponds in Okinawa: so thick with fish it looks as if you could walk on their backs. Although I’m coldhearted, consigning 100 fish to death by overcrowding is even too cruel for me. We bought 10, for $1.20, which seemed still seemed like a bit of an overkill. In the end, I’m glad we bought so many, because we now have only four or five hardy survivors. They seem to be doing well enough, despite any filtration or mechanical oxygenation in the pond. Nature must be keeping them be well fed because they show little interest in the flakes I occasionally sprinkle on the water’s surface in the evenings.

I went to buy water lettuce for the pond, to add some shade and cover for the fish, and saw that the Monfort Aquarium had tadpoles for sale. When I asked the price, I was astounded to learn that they were $2 each or 3 for $5. That’s a lot of goldfish. I took one look, and I realized why the large pricetag. They are bullfrog tadpoles and ENORMOUS. They are also hideously ugly. They eat both underwater insects (like, I’m hoping, mosquito larvae) and plant material. I’m also hoping they’ll help with my algae problem.

According to the man at the fish store, the tadpoles will not eat my goldfish. Although the adult frog will eat fish (and even bats!), they should take a few years to reach goldfish eating size. By then, if they survive, the goldfish should be too big to eat. If not (or if I have to replace the fish each year), I don’t think feeding bullfrogs 12 cent fish is going to bankrupt me anytime soon. If it gets too expensive, I guess we’ll be having frog legs for dinner.

I’m having fun with the pond this year. Both the cats and I enjoy watching the little aquatic world in the backyard. Next year, I may even try water lilies!

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Anonymous Doug Green said...

Rosy barbs make an excellent fish control as well. And those bullfrog tadpoles are mouths in disguise. :-)

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we use goldfish for mosquito patrol (what with all the sitting water around here) it works pretty well. your yard looks great!

9:37 AM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

This will be an interesting experiment Kasmira - I wonder how loud it will be at the Cape Cod garden when the bullfrogs start calling.

This is a great line:
I want fish that will entertain me, as well eat mosquito larvae ...so appropriate for an actress ;-)

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

6:19 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

There's nothing quite like goldfish in a pond. I love watching them swimming about - I discovered quite by accident that some tadpoles come to the pond and visit ... I almost stepped on one and then saw two hopping off.

Your fish are way cheaper than they are here!!! I hope they survive and you can over-winter them ...depending on how big your pond is, the fish can grow a lot in a few months.

9:16 PM  
Blogger jessica said...

I was going to rescue a giant bullfrog from my local Chinese grocery store for the very purpose of eating mosquitos. How's it working out? I don't have a pond, I'd have to give him a tub. I figure he's better off with us than being eaten!

8:41 PM  

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