Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Animal Blogging

Swim Team edition.

Okay, I'm a little late on this, but I've got massive amounts of animals that haven't been blogged.

First and foremost is the Swim Team. When I bought my new house, the previous owners had dug a pond (pretentiously: Water Garden) in the back yard, though it was covered and disused. The previous owners were people who apparently cared greatly about their house, until they mysteriously became dead-beats and lost it all; the HOA later covered up the pond to keep mosquitoes from breeding. So I had no idea what was going to be under those plywood planks. Luckily, there was a nice little pond that had great potential, and with the help of my parents who were visiting at the time, I was able to turn it into a great koi pond.

Koi, a domesticated vareity of Cyprinus carpio, are very hearty fish and make for excellent pond specimens. I stocked my pond (which is I'm guessing about 700 gallons) with four small fish for starters, figuring that this would be safely within the limits of what the pond could handle. I named them Otter, Pinto, Flounder, and Boon (bonus points for guessing where the names come from), and set them loose. Sadly, Otter, who was the boldest of the four, mysteriously disappeared, perhaps killed by a cat or a bird. The other three remain however, and they've probably tripled in size over the 2.5 months I've had them. Here is their home:

And here's a close-up of the waterfall, which they love:

Note that there are a couple of water hyacinths there. The hyacinths, along with the water lettuce, have since exploded all over the pond, which the fish really like, since they frolic among them. It's a sign of a healthy pond. And here is the Team:

Pictured clockwise from upper left are Pinto, Boon, and Flounder. Flounder, like his namesake, is the fat one. He always the first to the dinner table. Boon is a butterfly koi, which means he has long, flowing fins (not readily visible in this picture). Here they are again:

These pictures are a few weeks old; the fish have grown remarkably since then. They eat a lot. I feed them a couple of small handfuls of high protein koi food everyday, and when they're not eating that, they're nibbling on algae and plants and anything unfortunate enough to fall in the pond. Here they are at feeding time:

In the second picture, you can see the pump that powers the waterfall, which normally can't be seen thanks to the bridge and a lack of camera flash.

I'll post more pictures of the Swim Team once the members are big enough to swallow Coors Field. It shouldn't take long at this rate.