Allotment Articles 2.
The Dangers Of A
Fishponds attract animals of all kinds; some to drink from it and some such as cats are attracted by the fish. If the sides are vertical most will have difficulty in getting out, so the sides should be shelved, or better still sloped. Hedgehogs are one of the biggest victims of fish ponds because the more difficulty they have in getting out, the longer they are in the water and more likely they are to get hypothermia. So special care should be taken in construction of the pond if you think you have hedgehogs in your garden.
Perhaps the most serious danger is to very young children. The water is a great fascination to them but sadly every year a small number are reported drowned in fishponds. It is no good making the pond only a few inches deep for plants and frogs because a child can drown in 6 inches, or 15 cm of water. You may think that your children are grown up enough to be safe, but there are always grandchildren, or the children of friends and neighbors. A small fence around the pond may give a little peace of mind, or a raised pond may be the answer. But remember a raised pond must be a little deeper than the traditional sunken one, because it will freeze harder and deeper. Insulation material around the sides may help matters.
A far safer solution is to install a pond the size of a bucket and make a feature out of the waterfall. The tiny pond will be big enough to hold the pump for the waterfall, but will be so small as not to prove much of a risk. Then, when the child is a little older, a bigger pool can be added to the set up.
If you want the sound of running water, but are worried about the dangers of a pool then there are other features available such as self-contained fountains. These have the pump and water reservoir built into the fountain and donít need a pool at all. They can be very expensive, but other features such as millstones and water barrels are available. You can even make your own water feature using a small liner, several bags of cobbles and a small pump. You dig a shallow impression out with a bucket-sized hole in the middle and place the liner in it. Then put your pump in the deeper hole and fill the whole thing with cobbles. The 'pool' will only hold a couple of buckets of water and as itís filled with cobbles will be absolutely safe but will enable you to have a fountain. Apart from the risks of drowning the next serious risk from a fishpond is that of electrocution.
Mixing water and electricity is a recipe for disaster, so extreme care must be taken when installing electrical appliances. Low voltage pumps and lights are available which are very safe, but unfortunately there is only a poor selection of low voltage pumps. If dogs chew through a cable, or the cable perishes then there will be a direct short to earth and the only thing that will save you is an earth leakage trip switch that will cut the power. Most modern houses have them, but it is always safer to check and they donít cost a lot to install. Another point to be aware of is that proper waterproof connectors should always be used. They are a little more expensive, but are far safer in damp conditions outside.
The cable to the pump should be buried 2 foot, or 60 cm down in conduit to prevent accidentally cutting it with a spade, or fork. If in doubt about installing electricity in the garden then always consult an electrician.
There are other, more minor dangers associated with having a fishpond, besides these obvious ones.
When treating fish with medicines it is often a good idea to wear rubber gloves, because a lot of them will stain your hands blue if you get it on them and one or two are actually poisonous in their concentrated form straight from the bottle. Leeches are another reason for wearing gloves when dealing with the fishpond. They will do no great harm if you get them on you, but can be difficult to get off. A simple treatment can be bought for ridding your pond of them.
There are a couple of diseases that can be contracted from having a fishpond, one of which is very serious, but thankfully quite rare. These diseases that can be passed on from animals to humans are called Zoo-noses. The most serious one is ďWiels disease,Ē that is passed from rats living in and around water. Medical treatment is needed urgently if this rare disease is caught. One disease that can be caught from fish is coldwater T. B. This is very rare and not serious in the least as all it produces on humans is a rash like infection on the hands, or arms which will be readily treated with antibiotics. There is one bizarre case of a patient developing an infection on his arm and his doctor told him it was fin rot that he caught off his infected fish. But probably this was simply a case of his doctor having a little joke at the patientís expense.
All of the afore mentioned dangers can be avoided with a little care and a little advice from your local aquatic store may be helpful.