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Will my newts return to breed?

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martin g View Drop Down
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    Posted: 19 Sep 2006 at 5:49am

Hi All

I recently moved house, my new home came with a very well established garden pond, its is varying depth and is full of hide holes and vegetation.  This spring I had plenty of frog spawn and plenty of Palmate newts visit to breed, huge dargonflies emerged and returned to lay also.  But..my dear son (bless him) has introduced native fish to the pond, not a bad idea of a natural pond was my first thought. These  inlclude Rudd and 'Perch' there are just 3 perch up to half a pound or so, they are kept bellies full but it leads me to my question.

I read somewhere that the amphibians can 'sense' the presence of the predatory fish and may refuse to breed or even enter the pond now.  Is this true? will my Phibs return? will the Perch have to go? Perch are really good to keep as they quickly become tame and seem quite intelligent (for a fish) and like to be fed by hand, so much more interesting than Koi, so I dont want rid of them, but its them or the amphibians, who were there first.

 

Help?

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Suzi View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2006 at 6:10pm
I guess it depends whether you like the fish or want a pond that is helping out frogs and newts. Perch and rudd are not having a hard time of it with places to live but garden ponds have become important as havens for frogs in particular as so many rural ponds have been lost.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2006 at 3:16am

 

Well if you want to make sure that young newts are predated effectively then Perch are the fish for the job - it is only natural - I dont think that any research has been undertaken into whether palmate newts will avoid ponds with fish - the research was using sticklebacks and crested newts and it seems the evidence suggested that cresties will avoid ponds with fish

Likewise your frog population will potentially decrease in number as they may also avoid predatory fish - I know it has been suggested that they will avoid crested newt ponds

So you will have to wait and see next spring

I know of a pond in Essex where a small population of rudd live with palmate newts - hundreds of them - I suspect that the larva of the newts are not as vulnerable to fish predation as the crested newt larva -

Also be careful about admitting moving native fish around the UK - you cannot do this I believe without a license from EA - unless you bought them - if the fish came from a private fishing lake then this can be considered as 'theft'

so it would be best to leave the fish in the pond - i.e. do not move them back to where they came from

Anyway I really like Perch they are great fish

what do you feed them on?

 

Jon

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote martin g Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2006 at 3:44am

Thanks Guys

 

Jon, I will have to live with the law now I guess, the perch came from a farm pond with permission, but if that is illegal, I am happy to face the consequences, as a British citizen I am accunstomed to being 'nicked' for something slight whilst I watch the crims run free :). I did do a quick search and from what I understood, the common Perch is the only member of the Perch family in Britian that does not require a license, I could be wrong of course, I am an Engineer who only dabbles with mother nature. Though I am becoming a little known refernence on the Perch, as many an Angler stops me at the shop where I get some food for them wanting to know when, where and the fish eat etc. Word has got around I guess.

The Perch are fantastic to keep in the pond, I keep the water quality very well and its crystal clear most of the time so as a mini observatory it is very good.  The Perch have become quite tame, as I approach the pond edge at dusk they come to greet me, by hanging vertically with mouth just millimeters from the surface.  They will take  offerings from my fingers, not gently of course, that isnt in thier nature, but I am never bitten, not that it would be uncomfortable if i was.  

 As for food, well, mainly frozen prawns supplimented with frozen mussels (both defrosted of course) maggots and worms are added to vary the intake as and when they are available.  Interestingly, the Rudd spawned this year and a shoal of up to two inch fish occupy the surface but the Perch do not bother them, I assume this is because thier bellies are full.  In all very interseting animals to watch, to see them stalk the other fish is wonderfull.  In my opinion it is Britains most interesting fish, both in its habits and its appearance.

Martin 

 



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Suzi View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2006 at 5:20am
Perch remind me of my childhood by Lake Windermere. As spring moved on to summer they would arrive in the shallow bays and we would fish for them with worms or minnows from the shore or boat. They were much of a size - about 6-8 oz. I think. During the war the lake's perch were canned for food like sardines and I understand that the average size then was not much bigger than a sardine but the extraction of thousands allowed the average size to increase as less fish after the available food. If we dragged anchor on the boat the perch went into a feeding frenzy on whatever was stirred up and we used to hang over the boat sides watching them in the clear water. We used to eat them as we did anything we caught - eels, pike, trout, sea trout (not from the lake), flukes (estuaries) and salmon.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2006 at 9:38am

 

Hi Martin

I am sure that a license would probably be required - as any movement of any fish needs to be licensed by the EA - but hey what is done is done I suppose or maybe garden ponds arent covered.

I am intending to build a new pond myself and I am tempted to make an extra big one so I could maintain a few perch.

Perch are also very good to eat - as good as trout some people say so maybe I could put a few on the bar bie when they are big enough though I probably wouldnt be able to do that to them once I get attached to them

Jon

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote martin g Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2006 at 5:07pm

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c207/martingillman/IMG_096 5.jpg

 

the beasties concerned. Hope you like it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote martin g Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2006 at 11:50am
Well the solution has been to take the advice to dig a small 'refuge' pool next to the main pond.  I got a small liner and made a small pool about 1m x 0.5m and 100mm deep in the middle.  I should have plenty of time to settle before the spring.  I think I may need to cover it with a net as it being so shallow it a very tempting deli for any hungry birds.  I will try to post a pic.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote martin g Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2007 at 10:54am

HI

 

Well there is some news on this, I am very much the layman, but I think there is something to report.  The newts have yet to show but, the frogs have avoided the main pond and only spawned in the seperate 'spawning pool'.  Now this was only dug in the winter, and last season the frogs spawned in the main pond.  The preditory fish were not present last year either, so this leads me to believe that the amphibians so far have spawned outside the main pond for either one or a combination of the two differneces.

Either they can sense the presence of preditory fish and have refused to spawn in the pond, or they simply prefer the small pool.  Now the small pool is equal depth to the shallow end of the pond so I dont think that depth is the attraction, so my hunch is the presence of the Perch has been detected and the frogs have made a choice.  It will be interesting to see what the newts do later on.  The frogs have been very active in teh pond, including courting, but, decided to lay in the pool.

 

Any theories????

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2007 at 4:56pm

 

Hi Martin

Your right on both counts - the shallow water is attractive to the frogs - i.e. the water is warmer. The presence of fish is probably also detected by the frogs - similar to crested newts which also detect the presence of sticklebacks in recent studies.

The newts may also decide to use the smaller pond more often than the larger pond - though I am not sure whether palmate newts have been shown to detect the presence of predatory fish though there is evidence (such as your possible observations) which may point to this.

JC

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