Help wanted! Does anybody know what this is?

  • In reply to Robbo:

    Something that occurred to me earlier today was that in all my years, I've never had any drowned slugs in my ponds. I've had a few slugs and snails drowned in rainwater collection bowls/buckets.

    Wildlife ponds need to have shallow sides to allow anything that enters the water that can't fly, to climb out again when they're ready to leave the pond. Some animals enter the pond by mistake. I have had a fox in one once. Amphibians and mammals, and young birds, may end up drowning with the slugs if there are inadequate shallow sides.  

  • In reply to Robbo:

    Canadian pondweed is a big no-no, as it's an invasive introduced species. There are lots of native plants which are good alternatives - The Freshwater Habitats Trust (formerly Pond Conservation) has a really nice PDF guide to creating ponds.

    If you buy plants (or beg/borrow from friends/family), make sure they're not contaminated with alien species which might cause you problems down the line.

    I don't think that seeing rat-tailed maggots is a bad sign, necessarily - it's just that they're not fussy about the water they live in. Often it's things like mosquitos and midges that find a pond first, just because they're most numerous. Hopefully some bigger creatures will be along shortly after to eat them!

    I've always seen fluctuating levels of algae and other stuff in the ponds I've had - it'll probably sort itself out as it gets established. Be cautious about adding more water unless you have some rainwater you can use, or you'll risk adding more nutrients which will help the algae grow even more.

    (I have also seen drowned slugs before, and earthworms that have found their way in somehow, and once a greenfinch, but even with sloping pond sides, a shallow end, sticks, lots of plants etc, sometimes you just can't help 'em!)

  • In reply to Katie Fuller:

    Oh dear. Looks like I am going to be disagreeing with someone again.

    Katie Fuller said:

    Canadian pondweed is a big no-no, as it's an invasive introduced species. There are lots of native plants which are good alternatives.

    If you buy plants (or beg/borrow from friends/family), make sure they're not contaminated with alien species which might cause you problems down the line.

    I don't think that seeing rat-tailed maggots is a bad sign, necessarily - it's just that they're not fussy about the water they live in. Often it's things like mosquitos and midges that find a pond first, just because they're most numerous. Hopefully some bigger creatures will be along shortly after to eat them!

    I've always seen fluctuating levels of algae and other stuff in the ponds I've had - it'll probably sort itself out as it gets established. Be cautious about adding more water unless you have some rainwater you can use, or you'll risk adding more nutrients which will help the algae grow even more.

    (I have also seen drowned slugs before, and earthworms that have found their way in somehow, and once a greenfinch, but even with sloping pond sides, a shallow end, sticks, lots of plants etc, sometimes you just can't help 'em!)

    Yes, as I mentioned, there are some good alternatives and I included hornwart as an example. I also said a proviso re Canadian pond weed. To state it is a 'no no' is not right though. It is a no no to release it. In a confined space, it will get nowhere. I used it in the previous garden as a good water filter, and when it needed thinning, it was good for the compost and a mulch (once I left it at the side of the pond for creatures to crawl back to the water). It can grow quickly (though even it would struggle if the water really is in need of changing). If the imbalance is big, something drastic needs doing early on. People will give up if they have to keep messing about with dainty options that are less likely to work in difficult conditions. A pond with a non-native is better than no pond (unless non-native plants are then removed from pond and dropped into water courses!). If a neighbour or friend has some spare, it would be silly to not at least make use of it until water conditions settle down.

    You don't mention water hyacinth in your reply, yet that is a definite no no as it adds nothing but trouble.

    You are right that mosquitos and midges are often the first to find a pond....but there aren't any in this example. That is one reason why it's clear the water isn't good enough quality. It is a bad sign that the only life is rat tailed maggots.

    I agree re rain water and said about waiting for a wet forecast on 17th June. I therefore agree re not adding tape water unless unavoidable.

    I too have had worms drowning in the ponds. I find that slugs get as far as touching the water before knowing danger.....sides are shallow enough for them to turn around, or at least skirt around. Yes, re birds drowning. The greenfinch could well have been sick, as many of them have been in recent years. It's very much the exception though.

    I am surprised that you are undermining sloping sides as being essential in a wildlife pond.

    I have to again say if all that's in the pond is dead slugs and rat tailed maggots, plus there are no submerged plants, and the water visibility is poor, my responses are valid. 

  • In reply to Laura M:

    I think its a lavae that uses the "tail" as a breathing tube. If you have only just made your pond it may be low in oxygen - try adding some oxygenating plants and it should sort itself out

    sharon fuller