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Member Spotlight on Gremlin

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Hello, my name is Gremlin (heather). I live in Phoenix, Arizona. My parents are the original owners of our house and when they bought it, it was outside the city limits in the county. Now, we are considered Central Phoenix. My Dad passed away several years ago. I still live at home with my Mom (who recently celebrated her 80th birthday). I am number 8 of nine children. There are three boys and six of us girls. A couple of my nephews live out of state (one back east and one in Utah), but pretty much everyone else is still here in the valley. It makes for great family parties at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Mom's birthday. I am on disability due to physical damage done by a) brown recluse spider bite and b) ruptured intestine resulting in a 9 month hospital stay and permanent nerve damage in both legs/feet. It is nice that I can stay home and be here to take care of Mom, but it is frustrating because I can no longer do a lot of the things that I used to do. Fortunately, I can still keep fish!

I currently have one goldfish pond outside (approximately 185 gallons), and one temporary inside tank (40 gallon breeder) holding my cleanup crew until the pond water warms up. My parents built a pond on the front of the house before I was even born, so I have been around ponds for my whole life. We would occasionally have a tank inside with different types of fish, but always went back to the outside pond. It was easier to keep clean and Mom didn't like the smell of dirty fish tanks in the house. I have kept various tetras, danios, mollies, guppies, swordtails, and goldfish over the years. We had red tailed sharks in our pond for a while. That pond was cement and it cracked and started leaking into the house so it got turned into a flower bed. I missed the sound of the waterfall, so I got me a preformed pond and set it up on our front porch. That one sprung a leak when I dropped a rock on one of the shelves (making a hole big enough to put a pencil through). Since it was already almost 20 years old, I started looking for a new liner. A friend of mine was moving to Utah and had recently bought a liner. She didn't want to take it with her, so she sold it to me. That is the one I now have. I was glad because it is almost twice the size of my old one (which was only 100 gallons) and it is a newer plastic instead of the fiberglass that my old one was made of.

Once it was all set up, my Mom and I decided we wanted to build a wall around it and have plants around it. My oldest brother spends a lot of time driving around in the desert looking for old mines. He brought me back a bunch of interesting rock. I would come home from work and while I was changing my clothes, Mom would mix the mortar. Then I would lay a layer of rock along the wall. Mom put the block along the front for a sitting wall. Once it was all built up, we filled it with dirt and planted it. We tried lots of different plants, but the only one that really stays nice is the dichondra (a type of grass). I like it because the round leaves are similar to the round leaves of the lilies. I also liked the different types of thyme, but they don't do very well over the summer here. There is a rosemary plant behind the waterfall on the left that has been there forever. I recently put in a couple of new rosemary plants to see if I can get them to grow up the front of the waterfalls to hide the containers. I have an external pressure filter that is split to the two waterfalls. Other than that, the waterfalls themselves act as a filter also. Sludge collects in the bottom of them and I can take them to the garden to rinse them out. Our plants do very well with all that nice organic fertilizer! Here are some pics of my pond and the rock wall that my Mom and I built around it.

Pond Pond
Pond Pond

I have mainly goldfish in the pond. And, of course, mosquito fish. My clean up crew currently consists of two sailfin plecos and three Chinese algae eaters. This was the first winter I overwintered my cleaning crew inside. Always before, I only had one pleco or one or two cae's and when it got too cold, I would give them away. I've only had to worry about algae in the pond in the last 3-4 years. Before that, the pond was up on the front porch and got no sun, so no plants or algae. Now it gets full sun for several hours every morning, so I now have lots of algae - and my lilies grow. But I also needed algae eaters in my pond. I was amazed at how well my most recent clean up crew got rid of the moss, so I decided to keep them around for this summer. The two plecos were less than an inch long when I bought them, and by the end of the summer, they passed the 8 inch mark. The cae's also grew like the proverbial weed. All three of them were less than a half inch long, and the normal coloring. By the end of summer, they had all passed the 2 inch mark and the largest had decided it wanted to be yellow. Every once in awhile, a few greenish scales will show up in patches on its sides, but it stays mostly yellow now. Here are a couple pics of my plecos - the first is the day I brought them home. The round leaf on the far left of the picture is a dichondra leaf that is only about a half inch across. The dish they are in is only about 4 inches across so you can get an idea of how small they were when I bought them June 18th. The second picture was when I brought them in for the winter on October 16th - they didn't want to lay next to the ruler. I couldn't believe how much they grew in just four months.

Plecos Pleco

The Chinese Algae Eaters grew too. I didn't take pictures when I bought them in March, the first pic was taken in June (because the normal colored cae had changed to all yellow). The second pic was taken in October when I brought them in for the winter. One is hiding in the log and one of the normal colored ones is right in front.

Chinese Algae Eater Chinese Algae Eater

My Mosquito fish are direct descendents of the ones my parents got from the extension service when they first built a pond. When my sisters moved out and had homes of their own and built ponds, they took some of our mosquito fish with them. Then, as they multiplied, they got passed around and back and forth among our different ponds. So, mine are descended from the originals. As you can see from the first pic, they are continuing to multiply.

Mosquito Fish Mosquito Fish

Of course, there are the stars of my pond, the goldfish. The majority of which started out as feeder goldfish from WalMart or PetSmart. I do have one female Shubunkin, but the rest are common (or comet) goldfish. My favorite is the black/copper male. It took me forever to find one that would stay black. All goldfish are born black and lose the black coloring as they grow. I kept picking ones that looked more coppery than plain black, hoping that one would keep the copper color. Here are some pics of my copper male.

Copper Goldfish Another view of copper goldfish

And here are some pics of some of my other goldfish. Two of my males,

Male Goldfish Male goldfish

And two of my females.

Male Goldfish Male goldfish

An orange male and an orange and white female - and a pic of my female shubunkin.

Female Shubunkin Goldfish Goldfish

Here is me feeding my mosquito fish. They like freeze dried tubifex worms.

Feeding Mosquito fish Feeding Goldfish

Then, here are some of all of them at feeding time.

Feeding Pond fish

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