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My pond was destroyed and all my plants are gone


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So a few nights ago something got into my pond it tore up my sweet flag and my lily pads and some floaters but didn't seem to get any fish. I cleaned up and decided I should make a cover my next day off. The next morning the same thing happened so I improvised a cover for until Friday when I can make a better one.

Last night I forgot to put it back on after I fed the fish and this morning I awoke to absolute destruction. My sweet flag was torn out of the pot again. My lily was chewed up all the way to the bulb. Most of my floaters are gone and so are all my stems and crypts. I found 2 crypt undulata red and one stem of rotala. I probably had at least a dozen undulata and one flamingo. Several dozen stems of rotala, half a dozen alternanthera rosanervig and a ton of Christmas moss. 5 of my original females are gone as well as my dumbo mosaic male. 

Luckily I've got at least a dozen young adults left that I think are just reaching breeding age and a few dozen juveniles and fry so while the fish losses are upsetting my colony should be fine. The plant losses are even more upsetting though. The rosanervig I only had in the pond because I started with one stem and was using the pond to propagate it. 

I don't even understand what animal would go after plants at the bottom of over a foot and a half of green water. 

Tomorrow's my day off so I'm gonna pick up some twinwall polycarbonate and I guess shop for some plants. 

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On 7/15/2021 at 1:10 PM, ChefConfit said:

I'm in New Jersey. My first thought was my neighbors cat but I've never seen it on my deck where the pond is and I doubt it would go for the plants on the bottom of the pond. Now I'm thinking racoon. 

Probably a raccoon, but depending on the part of New Jersey we do have coyotes around...

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Yep, welcome to the literal only downside of outdoor fishkeeping. those darn visitors. Racoons are particularly annoying because they can get pretty smart and are dexterous, if those poly lids you make are loose fitting they will probably figure it out might want to devise some kind of locking mechanism. a motion security light might keep them away for a while too 

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I'll add my voice to the chorus of "Raccoons".  They're vicious little gangsters- easily initially scared or perplexed by something, but they're quick studies and determine real threats from decoys in minutes.  The two things that I've had success with are 1) Motion triggered sprinklers.  Not sure if you can get one close enough to cover the approach to or the area of your pool (be careful about treated water ending up in your pool) .  They're not bothered by the actual water- the noise and movement seems to be enough distraction that it creates worry in them about getting snuck up on by other predators.  2) Cayenne pepper powder- hard to deploy if it's damp at night and you probably don't want it ending up in your pool as well,  but if you can dust the route that they're using to get to the pool,  the smell and contact can be an effective deterrent.  

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@DSH OUTDOORS's answer: muskrat is sort of overlooked here. Racoons yes can be quite the terror on ponds, but MUSKRATS are semi aquatic well, rats, that eat ALL of the things you mentioned (plants included) and are much more dexterous underwater than a racoon. They also eat living and dead things from bugs, to fish, to frogs EVEN raccoons. Don't underestimate that possibility. I googled it, they can be found in New Jersey. 

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On 7/16/2021 at 5:04 PM, Streetwise said:

I feel like we need a thread on trail cameras and security cameras for monitoring outdoor tubs now!

Yea we thought about setting up a camera to see what we are dealing with but didn't have anything that will work. 

I wasn't able to get to Lowes today to buy the polycarbonate but I did get the pond cleaned up and found something to use as a lid that's way to heavy for any of the suspected animals to move. 

I also borrowed a trap from my dad and set it up next to the pond. 

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After 3 75% water changes the water was clear enough to get a full assessment of the damage. I was wrong about the last of my original females being gone. Of my original 8 females there are 3 left and of my 4 males there are 3. 

Currently the plan is to replant the pond with trimmings from my other tank in a few weeks when they need a trim again. That is assuming I've dealt with the culprit by then. 

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It was a racoon!!! So I got home from work late tonight and when I went out on the deck to feed the fish/cover the pond there was a rather large racoon in the pond. I started yelling to scare it off and it ran at me. I kicked it since I had no other way to defend myself at the moment (I hope I didn't actually injure it) and it his in my daughter's play house next to the pond. I grabbed the garden hose and chased it out of my yard with the water. I thew the cover on the pond and I'll check the damage in the morning. 

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