The sad, sad saga of a garden pond and its 2000 visitors

This is the next episode of the sad, sad tale of my garden pond. When you left this story – the few hapless fish I had left, gasping for air at the bottom of my leaking empty pond, were now happily living in our bath.

One of the fish has gone slightly mad from the shift to his new accommodation and dashes so fast from one end of the bath that he backflips off the smooth bath end and hurtles towards the other end of the bath for the next back flip. He just keeps hurtling and back flipping like he thinks he’s a seal doing tricks.

My pond went back to the seller, a very nice seller called Limberlost Nursery – where they happily offered to reseal my pond. This took some time.

But as a belated Christmas present the pond returned and I built Pond Mark VI.

I made sure to spend time and sweat and swearing getting the base even by putting down pavers. Finally I put the pond on its stand of concrete blocks and filled it with water and then I left it to test for leaks. A couple of days later the pond was still filled with water.


But it was also filled with I would say give or take, 2000 Green Tree Frog tadpoles.

Now I love Green Tree Frogs. They are native. They are indigenous. They are endangered. When I see them I feel all gooey like watching an ad with babies and nappies all in soft focus.

I work with an elderly lady, named Ethel, one of the sweetest old ladies I know, she’s had a really rough life and is tough as nails and she is afraid of nothing other than being absolutely petrified of Green Tree Frogs.

One day I saw Ethel pull an apron off a hook and a green tree frog jumped out of the apron and splayed itself across Ethel’s face. Ethel screamed, so the frog, frightened by the racket, clung onto her face even tighter.

All you could see of Ethel was her huge brown frightened eyes; the rest of her face was covered by the poor scared frog clinging on for dear life.

They were both saved when I carefully pulled the trembling frog off her face and carried it outside.

I am thrilled the frogs have invaded my pond. I rang up Frog Safe and got friendly advice on how to look after them. I got Paw Paw leaves and put them in the food  processor and mushed them up and froze them to feed to my 2000 babies.

But because we live in a dengue area it is illegal to have a body of water without fish to eat the mosquito wrigglers. So I put one of our fish into the pond and it immediately started gobbling up tadpoles.  It only stopped to give me a big smile and thank me for taking it to Fish Smorgasbord.

I had to stop this senseless slaughter – so out it came and back into the bath.

So I painstakingly researched Australian fish that don’t eat frog tadpoles and purchased the recommended Pacific Blue Fish and Deep Water Creek Rainbow Fish and introduced them to the pond and my frog family. I watched for half an hour and the fish showed no interest in the tadpoles.


I was pretty happy about this and excited because some of the tadpoles are nearly frogs. I went to bed a satisfied woman – all my empty nesting urges sated.

The next morning I went out to check on my tadpoles.

But the pond is empty of tadpoles and all that remains are 16 very fat fish that have all signed up for weight watchers.

Letters to Daughters and Sons – beware of fish – they will work their way inside

One day, a long time ago, last May actually. We bought our dream home in tropical Cairns.  The home was a Queenslander and we could see ourselves sitting on the back verandah sipping gin and tonic as we enjoyed the bubbling water in the back yard fish pond that we inherited with the house.

I’d never had fish before and thought I’d add a few extra inhabitants to the pond and chose some fat round friendly looking gold fish from the pet shop and lo and behold the fish already in the pond immediately attacked the poor hapless gold fish and bit off their fins killing them within an hour. I would have rescued the poor things except that I misjudged the nudging and nibbling of the other fish as fishy gestures of welcome.

But the dead fish got me suspicious about the alive ones. So I took a jar of the pond fish into the pet shop.

“Oh they’re native guppies,” said the sales guy, like he knew all there was to know about fish. I believed him.

So I googled native guppies to find out how to carefully look after them, seeing as they were native and found there is no such thing as native guppies. They are also called Mosquito fish but their real name is Gambusia and they are the rabbit of the rivers. I sent a picture of the fish off to Fisheries and Wildlife and they sent it off to a Gambusia Professor expert person who said, ‘Yes they are definitely Gambusia. Oh and by the way there is a nice little $10,000 fine if you keep them or give them to anyone.’

So I disposed of the Gambusia as instructed very sternly by Fisheries and Wildlife, by cleaning out the pond, which was black and obviously hadn’t been cleaned out since the Big Bang. I stood knee deep in mucky gooey – what I can only imagine was years of fish poo – handing buckets of murky smelly water to the kids to tip on the garden.

Finally the pond was sparkling clean.

In went new fish.

In went a brand spanking new bubble maker thingy to keep it sparkly and clean.

In went the Cane Toads (the rabbits of Northern Australia) that night whilst I was sleeping.

In the morning the water was green, due I am told to the high nitrate content of the Cane Toads wee and poo.

And the pond was filled with millions of Cane Toad eggs.

On the weekend, I stood in the murky Cane Toady water and handed buckets of it to the kids.

I filled the pond in with sand and dirt and stones.

I built a pedestal with bricks and concrete slabs 2 feet high so the Cane Toads couldn’t get in.

I bought a fibre glass pond and stuck it on the pedestal.

I bought new fish. The Cane Toads had eaten some of the others (I assume that’s why they were missing and not because they had left me for being a bad fish carer).

The new fibre glass pond cost me a fortune.

I bought pretty lilies to give the fishies shade.

I hung up a mosquito net to stop the fishies from being drowned in falling leaves

I put up an umbrella to shade them from the afternoon sun.

I began to love my fish.

The pond leaked.

It leaked everywhere and created a new pond around the base of the pedestal which immediately filled with copulating Cane Toads and their eggs.

So now the fishies are in our bath.

Pete (my hubby) says now that they have been spoilt and allowed inside – we’ll never get them back out again.

I am sorry this story has no meaning or words hopeful of wisdom. it is just frivolous story about how the fish ended up living in our bath.

the fishies that lived in the bath
the fishies that lived in the bath