White Cloud warning

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Leah
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White Cloud warning

Postby Leah » Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:47 am

I built my pond two months ago so it would be established when the Wet started, and put in 10 white clouds, Tanicthys albonubes.

I'd read on this forum and elsewhere on the internet that white clouds a) eat mosquito larvae and b) leave frogspawn alone. I heard the same from the aquarium where I bought mine.

A few days later I was checking on my pond and saw mosquito larvae, which sent me into a panic. Since I'm in a dengue/ross river virus area, that's all my landlords need to make me get rid of the pond.

Closer inspection showed the larvae were tiny white clouds. I was enchanted.

The little blighters have been breeding like crazy ever since. :lol:

I do a bale-and-replace every afternoon and to start with I kept seeing larval mozzies with their heads bitten off. I was well impressed. Good work, white clouds!

As their number increased, pretty soon there were no mozzies to be seen, decapitated or otherwise. The jugfuls I pulled out were far more likely to contain a fish or two.

This week, a wonderful overnight downpour and the happy sound of frogs making merry outside my bedroom window. In the morning, two bubblewrap parcels of ornate burrowing frogspawn in the pond. Oh, how honoured I felt that the frogs were using it!

But what's this I see? White clouds systematically chomping at the spawn!

I got the spawn into a bucket and kept it there until it all hatched and the wee taddies were either hanging off the sides or clinging to what was left of the jelly. Okay, this is it, you're all going back in.

I had a feeling the fish were going to be smacking their lips, but I figured I'd done all I could by making sure the taddies weren't sitting targets, like quail eggs in aspic.

First I sprinkled some fish food where I always feed the white clouds, then I tipped the taddies in at the far end. Sure enough, within seconds there were white clouds snapping up something I couldn't even see any more. The food flakes were still floating on the surface an hour later.

There were several batches of GTF spawn in the pond yesterday morning. Didn't seem much point taking them out for 'head-starting'.

I have to say I'm very disappointed. I'm aware that if the white clouds left any of the GTF spawn it will have sunk to the bottom, and that there are probably a few OBF taddies hiding in algae on the sides of the pond. Still, I feel I've been had, and I can't help wondering how this myth ever started. White clouds undoubtedly do eat both spawn and tadpoles; in fact from what I've seen they relish it above commercial fish flakes and algae.

What a shame I can't take these white clouds back to the aquarium. With the phenomenal increase in their number, if I recouped full price for all of them I could have a world trip on the proceeds!

Don't know what to do now. Obviously I've got way too many of them. As someone else said on this forum, I can't bring myself to kill them. I like them, despite their bad manners. Nor can I take a bucketful to the nearest natural body of water. That's got to be illegal, right?

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White clouds of death

Postby Gulper » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:07 pm

Please don't even THINK about putting such things in a natural water body!! As much as you like them (they probably like you too, after all the food you've given them) they sound like an ecological disaster waiting to happen. I am sorry to hear that you have been misinformed, but whatever you do you have to contain these fish and curb their breeding.. It sounds as if your frog pond is a write-off as long as they are there..

As a human being and a representative of the most powerful, purportedly intelligent species on the planet, you have a responsibility to contain the damage. This may mean sending your fish to that big pond in the sky, or introducing a native fish predator that will enjoy them,but which won't contribute to the further demise of our long-suffering frogs.

Please ensure they don't get into the environment..

Cheers,

Alex.

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Postby Leah » Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:52 am

I'm wondering if this thread should be made a sticky somewhere. White clouds are recommended all over this forum, and I can't be the only person who's been taken in.

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Postby Nick Thorne » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:14 am

How big is your pond? This will determine how many fish to use.

I would recommend one of your locally native rainbowfish for mozzie control. They have very small mouths and mostly eat small terrestrial insects like ants etc that fall on the water surface, small aquatic insects like mozzies and some algae. (Do not think of them as being useful for algae control, the amount they eat is negligble in any practicle sense.) The other species that would be appropriate in your area is the Pacific blue-eye, but really I would go for the rainbowfish. The most approprite species for your are would be the Eastern rainbowfish Melanotaenia splendida splendida, these should be available through the aquarium trade.

I have a pond about 3.5 m x 2.5 m x 0.5 m and have two male rainbowfish (Murray rainbowfish in my case as I live in Melbourne) and these provide complete control of mosquitoes and I have never had to provide supplementary feeding. I have never seen a mozzie in there since a few days after I added the fish about 4-5 years ago. There a plenty of tadpoles, so if the fish take a few it's not significant.

I would suggest that part of your problem is due to population pressure. If allowed to breed uncotrolled then the population will rise until eventually the water reaches its carrying capacity. Strong selection pressure will provide advantages to those (perhaps initially very few) fish that will eat frog spawn and given this as an available food source, pretty soon only those eating spawn will survive as other food sources are depleted. Eventually the population will crash as all the food supply is exhausted.

I suspect you may be best advised to start again. This would involve draining the pond to remove all fish - I would not try to add a predatory fish to eat the white clouds as this is likely to be another species that eats frog spawn and tadpoles. When you restock with fish, choose fish of all the same sex so there will be no population explosion the second time. This way, if the number of fish is appropriate, you achieve good mozzie control without other problems such as you have experienced already, plus you avoid future water quality problems that would otherwise be almost inevitiable if you find yourself needing to provide supplementary food for the fish. Remember that all such inputs add nutrients to the water and will eventually cause you algae problems amongst other things.

Once again, lt me knowhow big your pond is and I can advise you of how many fish to get.

Cheers,

Nick

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Postby Leah » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:44 pm

Thanks, Nick. My pond is very small, about 1.5m x 1.3m, and only about 25cm at its deepest point.

I'm sure you're right about population pressure but how does one control fish breeding? The aquarium people couldn't tell me what gender my original 10 were.

As far as I can tell I'm going to have to kill all my fish. If anyone can think of alternatives, please let me know! I'm happy to spend a day ringing around pet shops, primary schools or whatever, but I have a feeling I'm going to be told: "We're not a dumping ground for unwanted pets." I hate the feeling that I've been irresponsible.

Failing that, humane ideas for the mass execution, please.

After that I think I will abandon my pond. I'm very distressed about this.

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White clouds of death

Postby Gulper » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:29 pm

I am really sad to be part of this story- for those of us who understand the connectedness of all things killing any animal is difficult, especially when we are in some ways responsible for the problem. Unfortunately, it is one of the less pleasant things about being human- we understand responsibility and it is as much a gift as a curse. I am no expert on fish or how to humanely and responsibly euthanase them and for that i am sorry. I will see if I can find out anything.

Best wishes,

Alex.

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Postby Nick Thorne » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:26 am

Hi Leah, You might be surprised - aquarium shops do often buy fish from people. Obviously, they are not likely to pay very much and if you don't want money for them, then I would be surprised if have any trouble getting rid of them. In the end though, it is likely to be almost impossible to remove all the fish as there will be some that you just can't quite manage to catch, but if you can give away/sell the majority, then perhaps despatching the remainder will be not so unpalatable.

With a pond of that size, I would use just a single rainbowfish (or no more than two - but one will really be enough). Unlike white clouds, rainbowfish exhibit sexual dimorphism and are thus easily sexed. So if you get more than one, just get two of the same sex (but really, you only need one). I always get males because they are more attractive, but OTOH, in a pond you will usually not see them any way because of their colouration. The way to sex rainbowfishes is that males are generaaly "taller" then females and have more distinct markings, especially with dark bands along the edges of their dorsal fins which are also larger than in females. Most photographs you will see of rainbowfish are of males. But since you will only begetting one (get the hint?) it doesn't matter what sex it is.

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Postby Leah » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:22 am

Thanks for your posts, Alex and Nick.

I had my first cuppa of the day on the bench beside my pond, started crying and had to come back inside.

I will call the pet shops and see how that goes. It never occurred to me to ask for money for them! I'll be grateful if people just take them.

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Postby Nick Thorne » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:58 pm

Leah, something that occurs to me - you might be able to do a swap of an eastern rainbowfish for all your white clouds. It certainly wouldn't hurt to ask.

Nick

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Oh joy!

Postby Leah » Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:27 pm

Hey Nick, you were right! I found a pet shop willing to take all my fish.

I now have about 30 of them in an indoor tank where I can admire them until they go, and it looks like I'll be spending most of tomorrow catching the rest. So far it's involved lots of baling and continually rolling up the sides of the pond to corral them into the deepest corner. I had to stop because I ran out of daylight.

Until I got stuck in I didn't realise how algaefied the pond was. I've been a bit traumatised by this so I'm just going to get rid of this pond altogether and rethink the situation.

When I googled 'breeding white clouds' I found several forums with all sorts of advice about particular kinds of filter, what to feed them to increase fertility, water temperature etc. Well thanks, but actually I was hoping to find out how to make them stop. :lol: I'm guessing those people live a long way from north Queensland!

Thanks for your help.

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White clouds of death

Postby Gulper » Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:30 pm

I wrote to a mate of mine in the Top End (Dave Wilson) about this issue. Dave is one of Australia's fish breeding experts and knows a lot about fish ecology and he sent me the following information:

Hello Alex,

I have been trying to get info thru to frog pond people from down south that they need to use a local native species of fish. White Cloud Minnows are from colder parts of China and are in some circumstances suitable as a mozzie control in a frog pond are not an environmentally sensible choice to use. An open pond that is in an area where a small flood or other storm event has a good chance of putting them into a local creek or river is a threat to the local ecosystem. These fish will probably not do much harm themselves but as they come from an aquarium shop are most likely to carry an array of pet shop fish disease. Bacterial and protozoan infections are common.

A better way to proceed is to select a local species of fish endemic to the area obtained from non aquarium shop sources for disease reasons only, nothing against Aquarium Shops. Suggest the frog people contact the local state ANGFA members and get directed to a source of fish suitable for frog pond mosquito control.

Here in the Top End of the NT the Frogwatch group promote the local endemic species Delicate Blue-eye. You can post this image on the forum, it is a delicate blue-eye from NT. I wont get on that forum but you are obviously watching it.

To remove fish from a body of water I use rotenone, you will need a permit to use it in a natural body of water. Most insecticides will rid a pond of fish. Netting them out or physical removal usually does not work. The most environmentally friendly way to remove fish from a garden pond is to take all the water out. If the people with the problem want to remove the fish and not the tadpoles they can use a small aquarium dip net and a strong torch light to spot them at night.

Hope this helps a little. You can direct enquiries to me if you like.

Cheers
Dave
[/quote]

Just so Dave doesn't get spammed if people want his email address pm me and I'll give it to you..

I hope this helps,

Cheers,

Alex.
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Re: White clouds of death

Postby Leah » Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:42 pm

Dave Wilson wrote:The most environmentally friendly way to remove fish from a garden pond is to take all the water out.
Yep, that's what I'm doing. And I intend to get every last one if it takes me all day!

Thanks, Alex.

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Postby Nick Thorne » Thu Nov 18, 2010 7:48 am

Leah, you should not feel so bad about this, it is not your fault that you were badly advised. Unfortunately the people who work in aquarium shops, where most people obtain their fish, often know surprisingly little about fish and Australian native fish in particular. I have been told all sorts of untuths over the years about what fish are natives, at various times I have been told that white clouds are native, that gold medakas are, even zebra danios. One time I was at a camping and fishing show working at the Native Fish Australia stand, wearing my Native Fish Australia hat and polo shirt, standing under an enormous Native Fish Australia banner and had an argument with one person who was trying to tell me that redfin (English perch) are native fish. The point is, the level of ignoracne about native fish is pretty general so when someone tries to do the right thing they have an excellent chance of getting the wrong information.

I understand that you are upset about this, but really, the pleasure to be had by providing a haven for some local frogs to use is hard to explain, but it is real. Once you have cleaned out all the white clouds, set up your pond again, put some plants in there and add a single eastern rainbowfish. Soon enough the frogs will find it again and this time you will see tadpoles develop. The rainbowfish will take care of the mozzies and by not having to provide supplimental feed you reduce the liklihood of a major algae infestation.

Good luck with it, and please, don't let this unfortunate experience keep you from having a pond. Try to remember why you built the pond in the first place, those reasons still apply.

Nick

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Postby Leah » Sat Nov 20, 2010 3:44 pm

people who work in aquarium shops, where most people obtain their fish, often know surprisingly little about fish and Australian native fish in particular
I was chiefly swayed by recommendations on this forum, which is why I still think this thread should be made into a sticky.

the pleasure to be had by providing a haven for some local frogs to use is hard to explain, but it is real ... please, don't let this unfortunate experience keep you from having a pond. Try to remember why you built the pond in the first place, those reasons still apply.
I believe you, and I look forward to having a big, natural-looking pond some day with at least one lamp near it for frogs to sit under and catch insects. I will remember the rainbowfish; it sounds lovely!

Due to the global financial crisis I had to sell my home in May and am in a rented place, where a major structural change is out of the question. These are called reduced circumstances, so when my circumstances increase I'll get back to you!

I took the fish to that pet shop yesterday and they looked spectacular under an aquarium light. The manager said I was the first person to bring him white clouds and that I'd "done a good job" on them; he also gave me $25 I wasn't expecting, but he'll make a good profit selling the 200 or so I got from my original 10 in two months.

It was your post starting "Hi Leah, You might be surprised - aquarium shops do often buy fish from people" that prevented me despatching the lot. Thank you very much, Nick, for your support through this 'interesting' time.

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Postby Janie » Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:00 pm

Hello...sigh....I got the info about Whiteclouds from here :
http://www.environment.gov.au/education ... gpond.html

darn !! Had my whole backyard landscaped and purpose built a frog-friendly pond :x to support indigenous frogs in Werribee Vic.
Recently a friend who lives quite close to me gave me 20 frogs rescued from his mates salt-water swimming pool, and I was so excited.
Now with dismay I look at the pond with all those breeding Whiteclouds (about which I was initially very excited) .
And at night I dont hear them singing...maybe the frogs know ?? lol
I contacted the above GOVERNMENT site to let them know they are wrong.
I'm going to sit with this for a while as my pond is 3.5 m !!, so a big pond to try and catch all the fish fry :-(
I considered Clove Oil in the pond but I dont know if it stays in the water or evapourates .
Pond is about 1500 Litres of rain water, from my tanks.
Dismayed.....Janie *_*

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Postby Nick Thorne » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:27 pm

Hi Janie,

Check you PMs


Nick

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Postby wenji » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:57 pm

Sigh...new member here and my first post is about 3hrs too late. :oops:

Just went to the local fish shop and asked for some great natives I can keep in my FROG pond.

Was recommended White Clouds and Pacific Blue Eye, although I read Pacific blue eye were best, I went for the cheaper option and mostly because I was told they were quite hardy, White Clouds....now I am going to fish them out of my pond and return them tomorrow. Before they breed!

Unfortunately, my tadpole population was eaten by some gold fish (who have all been relocated to a glass gaol :lol: ) and I lost about 2 -3 hundred tadpoles. I am lucky to have 50 left.

I started digging out my pond about 9months ago when I was 5 months pregnant. Got to the stage I was too big to keep going and just left the hole in the ground. With all the rain we have had recently, the "pond" was created and some froggies bred. I painstakingly netted each tadpole, almost one by one out of the makeshift pond to relocate them until I could build a proper pond. Much to my husband's annoyance. (He had to finish digging hole)This was completed a few weeks ago. I researched the best native plants to surround it but failed in the research of what fish to add to it. (Funnily enough, fish have always been my thing!!! Ok, not so funny for the few hundred tadpoles now destroyed by the gold fish)

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Postby Janie » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:15 pm

Hey Nick....my frogs have started to sing \0/ lol..so excited :-) I have sourced some Murray River Rainbows...they will be very young so I plan to put them in the big ceramic pond I have on the Patio....and let them grow so I can identify the males.Any idea what PH they prefer ? I want to get this right (after I have cleaned the big outdoor pond!) and then transfer them outside once I'm sure.
Thanks so much for your help Mate.
Janie *_*

Image

Image
Not sure what kind of frog this is.

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Postby anastasia courtney » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:43 pm

Wow your pond looks wonderful :)

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Postby Marshie Man » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:02 pm

That frog looks a lot like a spotted marsh frog and nice work on the pond :D

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Postby Nick Thorne » Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:09 pm

Murray rainbows prefer a pH around 7, but 6.5 to 7.5 is OK. For best results they like a bit of salt in the water, around 1/2 to 1 gram per litre of water. (If using salt, make sure it is plain cooking salt NOT iodised - that will kill the fish - and preferably with no free-flow agent) Another good idea is some granular calcium carbonate which acts as a pH buffer preventing the pH from going too low. This works well in the pond too. If you cannot get granular calcium carbonate, shell grit is a suitable alternative but don't use the powdered form of calcium carbonate.. Just sprinkle a couple of handfuls into the pond.

Very small granular food is a good idea for the grow out phase of your project, try to get a good quality food with no artificial food colouring, also flake food should be avoided as it is not very nutitious. Other good foods that you can purchase from an aquarium shop are live brine shrimp and tubifex worms - you can get these frozen but they are not as good.

Also you can cultivate mosquito larvae (without the risk of adult mossies) by using buckets of water. Buy 7 or 8 cheap plastic buckets. Fill one bucket with water, place some gum leaves in it and stand it outside. The next day fill the second bucket and so on untill you have filled them all, then the day after you have filled the last bucket, strain the water from the first bucket through a fine net to catch all the mossie larvae, replace the leaves in the bucket and re fill with water. This can keep you with a continuous supply of mossie larvae indefinitely so long as the temperature is warm enough for mossie to be about.

OK, now about the ceramic holdong pond, how big is it? I ask because we need to manage the water quality for the fish. If it is big enough the problem won;t be too bad, but the less water in it, the more likely you are to have problems. The big issue is amonia. fish exctrete ammonia through their gills as a by product of digesting protein. This is highly toxic to fish and levels need to be controlled. In an aquarium a biological filter of one sort or another is the way to go, butin a temporary situation like this I would suggestyou perform regular water changes, perhaps 25% per week until the fish are big enough to go into the pond.

In all cases, before adding tap water to the holding pond, or indeed before adding the fish the to it in the first place, make sure you use a good quality anti chlorine water conditioner. This is readily available from aquarium shops. Alternatively use rain water from a water tank,so long as your roof is either metal, or terra-cotta tiles - IOW, the water is ostensibly potable for human consumption. Water off concrete tiled rooves is not considered safe for human consumption and should not be used for fish either.

Well, enough for now.

BTW, I like your pond!

Janie
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Postby Janie » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:49 pm

Thanks peeps :D

Nick : The ceramic pond is about 40 litres. I use A.C.E blocks to neutralise the ammonia and chloramine. I use rainwater from my tanks....some runs off my house roof which is concrete tiles :-( (The Whiteclouds dont seem to mind at all :P )
I have water conditioner(Biowish) , pellet food and brine shrimp. I have uniodised salt...its going to take a lot for the 1500 litre pond !! I understand this is to help stop their scales from getting slimey.....Ah..its to Help their scales be slimey ...ok :-)
Thanks again Mate \0/

Janie *_*
Last edited by Janie on Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Nick Thorne » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:38 pm

OK Janie, sounds like you've got that covered. If the white clouds were OK then the rainbows should be too. In the pond, I would not worry too much about the salt, just make sure you use some calcium carbonate or shell grit, it will both buffer the pH and add some water hardness.

The salt is useful to reduce stress. The main effect is that it reduces osmotic pressure on the fish. I have seen very agitated small fish calm down almost instantly when having a little salt added to the water. Generally aquarists avoid salt, this is mainly because a lot of tropical aquarium fish come from the Amazon and do not naturally tolerate salt at well. Aussie fish OTOH, are used to living in an environment that can become very saline during times of drought and then freshen up enormously when the rains come. They have adapted. For example golden perch can withstand water that is about 50% the salinity of sea water and spotted galaxias can withstand direct transfer from sea water to fresh water and vice versa without ill effect. When keeping native fish it is common practice to use a bit of salt in the water (0.5-1.0 g/l) as a general tonic and when the fish are ill for some reason, the salinity is often bumped up quite a bit, in some cases to around 8-10 grams per litre.

Slime is a fish's natural protective coating and many fish get skin infections or fungal attacks when it is damaged. It also acts to modify the friction of the water along the surface, thus improving the swimming efficiency.

Keep up the good work!

Nick

edit: fix typos
Last edited by Nick Thorne on Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Janie » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:43 pm

Hi Nick....I bought 2 boxes of BIOwish...100g ea. (its all they had ) Its powder not tablets. Any idea how much powder I shld add for 1500 litres of water?
I had trouble interpreting the amounts suggested on the box (I'm hopeless at converting oz/grams/gallons/litres :-( ) so I put "some" in ...lol. The string algae has clumped so I guess I have to wade in and scoop it all up.... again.....
I read the Biowish web site and got the impression that Biowish would destroy it all naturally (wishfull thinking ? )
Again thanks so much for your guidance .
Cheers Janie *_*

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white cloud

Postby neetz » Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:09 pm

I think you should start selling the white cloud off on sites like gumtree or even through facebook on pages like Australian livestock notice board link follows https://www.facebook.com/groups/251479734876609/ at just below the current retail price...... and watch them go and that way you make your money back and reduce the numbers without having to kill them...... I personally would
:) it great work on finally getting frogs I myself am still waiting for them and also still adding habitat bits around the pond


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