The Clown Botia hiding in my pond


Clive Walford (ex member of Mid-Herts A.S)

A few months ago I decided to have a pond built in my front garden (the rear garden is only a small yard). A good neighbour suggested a pond builder and he were duly called upon.

He rode up to the house, tied his horse to the gate, removed his Stetson and six guns and started on the construction of the pond saying he guaranteed it would not leak but if it did he would put it right.
It was not easy to get him to do what I wanted even to the choice of coloured paint to be used! He completed the job complaining that I was far too fussy and he knew what he was doing. After a couple of test fills it was found to be losing water. After I referred to his guarantee he wanted more money to carry out remedial work!! I won't go into details of my reply! He piddled about on the waterfall and then rode off into the sunset, never to be seen again, (I will refer to leakage later on). I was told later he had overcharged me so it is just as well he never reappeared!

The pond is only a small one constructed of brick and concrete 'carved' and painted to look like natural stone, (I leave you to be the judge of that.) with a small waterfall. He charged me £120 including a pump.
I purchased a filter (uv included) and a bigger pump for another £100. The pond is 3 to 4 square metres surface area and about 45 to 50cms deep. A very thin layer of gravel was spread over the bottom.
A few water plants were added and it was time to add some fish.

8 fish were donated by my father-in-law from his pond (how could I refuse?) he had caught some from his local river.
Two salmon pink fish, variety unknown (4 inch) and six basically grey of various sizes (2 to 5 ins.). After 10 hours travel they settled in happily.

A visit to the local pet fish shop with my wife increased the occupants of the pond by 2- 6inch Golden Orfe (I think) 4 red/white 4 inch Koi,
2 black/white 4 inch Koi (probably wrongly named as I know nothing about pond fish (OK, I don't know much about tropical fish either!),
4 very small Platies, 2 weedy looking Swordtails and 2 Angelfish.
Also a couple of 'cleaners', Common Plec or similar (later 3 more were added).

The Angelfish only lasted a couple of days and I was not surprised to see at the local shop that the tank holding a large number of Angelfish from which mine came, was empty! I am sure he had not sold them all!

A few weeks later we added three male blue Guppies - two disappeared after three days. Three more red Guppies were added (survived) and three Clown Botias.

The Botias, after a mad dash around the pond, disappeared into the 'caves' and were not seen again for a week or so. 45 minutes after sending a desperate email to Dick Mills on the FBAS website requesting help on how to induce the little b-----s to show them selves, 2 appeared in the early evening for a minute and later a single one had a little look round the pond. Since then they have appeared for a short time each day for a few minutes! On just one occasion did we see all 3 out together. One is a loner but the other two do stick together most of the time. Lesson learned!
Don't put Botia in a pond with big caves!

A few other odds and ends were added but the pond does not look over crowded. The Guppies are 'lost' in the pond and the Angelfish seem a little intimidated by the big boys and do spend some time in hiding. These will be transferred to the aquarium when I do get round to installing one!

We were away for a week and on our return found a good number of baby Platys and one of the local river fish had a mouthful of babies as well.
A mouthbreeder no less! She looked after them well and I suppose altogether we must have about 70 to 80 babies. None of the other fish seem interested in turning them into lunch!

Oh, I forgot to mention to you disbelievers of Botia in a pond, that I now live in Bali Indonesia and the lowest temperature measured in the pond so far is 25oC!

Pump and filter keep the water very clear and the leak reduces the water by 2 to 3 cms every day (if any of you are experts in hydraulics you can calculate the likely loss by evaporation where the temperature is mostly in the 28o to 33o range!!). So every day I top it up, which I consider is a good thing as I know in the aquarium, particularly for the Botia, 25% water change a week is recommended!

The aquarist is not well catered for here. I have only found 2 shops that sell fish and one pet market where birds, fish, owls, monkeys are sold.
It is not a pretty sight. Animal rights don't exist here and the conditions the birds are kept in are very bad. There are a number of fish shops in the market but the selection of fish is very limited and their conditions would make you cry.

The local shop is very small and crammed with tanks, mostly over populated, and a few vats for the pond fish. Again the variety is a bit limited! I asked the assistant to pick me out a pair of Platies but he did not know the difference between male and female (huh, even I know that one). The fish are netted and then handled (not too gently) in being transferred to the plastic bag. You can't buy female Guppies here! The males are imported from Singapore. So if any one is visiting Bali please put a couple of good females (Guppies that is!) in your pocket for me!!

The third shop is much better and has a good selection of Koi but not much for the aquarium. There are not many plants available for the aquarium and those I tried in the pond make good eating for the fish.

It is very pleasant now as I can sit by the pond (keeping a good look out for Botia!) eating my breakfast, drinking my coffee and feeding the fish, just in my shorts all the year round!

Here is a good advert for Tetramin! I start feeding medium and small pellets for the bigger fish first and then feed crushed Tetramin to the babies in another part of the pond. Within seconds the other fish raid the babies feed. Quality counts!

It's too hot to sit there during the day even with a sun umbrella up.
The sun sets the same time (6:30 ish) more or less all the year round so I am waiting for the electrician to put in some more sockets to enable me to have some illumination around and in the pond. Then in the cool (well around 28oC) of the evening I can sit with a nice cold beer and relax after a hard day doing nothing!

Well that my pond story. If you want to comment my email address is below. If you can give a name to the salmon pink fish and the bigger greyish one I would be pleased to hear. Sorry no prizes given!


Last updated August 2007

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