Pon­der­ing mat­ter

French Property News - - Joie De Vivre -

Our na­ture-mad 10-year-old son has made him­self a wildlife pond out of a large pa­tio pot. He’s put peb­bles in the bot­tom, added oxy­genat­ing weeds and a cou­ple of wa­ter-mar­gin plants bought with his pocket money from our lo­cal jar­dinerie. The ‘pond’ al­ready con­tains at least two va­ri­eties of al­gae-eat­ing wa­ter snails and it’s reg­u­larly vis­ited by dragon­flies. He now wants to add a cou­ple of fish but his fa­ther and I don’t think the pond is big enough – it’s roughly 56cm (22in) wide by 46cm (18in) deep. Kit Bur­rows

Far be it from me to dampen any child’s en­thu­si­asm for na­ture but I think on this oc­ca­sion, I have to side with you and your hus­band.

De­spite there al­ready be­ing oxy­genat­ing plants in­cluded in your son’s pond – and th­ese, plus the snails, will keep the wa­ter as clear as it is now – the in­clu­sion of even a cou­ple of cold-wa­ter fish will al­ter the dy­nam­ics. Fish are sur­pris­ingly co­pi­ous with their ex­cre­ment and in a very small area of wa­ter that has no flow or move­ment, its residue will cause the wa­ter to be­come at best cloudy and at worst green.

You could per­haps, add a small pump and wa­ter-cir­cu­lat­ing sys­tem but then you might pos­si­bly be seen as ‘in­ter­fer­ing’ by your son… and he’s done ex­tremely well by his own ef­forts up to now. You might, though, sug­gest that he adds a rock or length of drift­wood (weighted at one end) that will act as a ‘lad­der’ out of the pond and then, in the spring, take him on a frog-spawn hunt­ing ex­pe­di­tion. Only bring home a min­i­mal amount. His pond will act as a ‘nurs­ery’ for the re­sul­tant tad­poles which, as they ma­ture, will then be able to climb out and be­gin a new life in the wild. We have a res­cue dog and all sum­mer long we had bother with her chew­ing wood out in the gar­den. That wouldn’t be so bad if

Too small for fish but good for wild­ife

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