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RE: Patio pool visitors
Beverly Erlebacher, in a recent post gave me a good laugh, when she
describes her experience with aquatic plants outside in a patio pool...
> The other problem I have is with raccoons, who seem to believe that any
> container full of water and water plants has got to have something tasty
> in it. If they don't knock the bucket over, they will dig around, ripping
> plants out and tossing them over their shoulders, looking for the good
> stuff. Aponogeton bulbs are definitely classed as good stuff.
> This behaviour
> has got to be instinctive, because I live in downtown Toronto where the
> urbanized raccoons have never seen a natural body of water close up.
Well Beverly, I live in Toronto as well, but not at ground level. Last
month, in response to the absolutely wonderful May weather we had, I placed
a 29 Gallon cube tank out on my balcony (it's 19" on a side). I placed some
plants in it (in individual pots) and a few pairs of Melanotaenia boesemani
went in as well (the tank is heated). To prevent the fish from taking a
flying leap from my 22nd floor balcony into the Don Valley below, I've
placed a heavy (1/4" plate glass) cover on top. This also serves to keep out
dust and airborne "stuff" which seems to be everywhere here. I live on the
North side of the building, so the only sun my balcony sees is for about two
hours in the morning at this time of year and then during late afternoon
until sunsnet. Nevertheless, there was enough light (and I guess nutrients
in the water, leaching out of the soil in the pots) to give me a green algae
bloom so thick I was thinking of marketing the stuff as pea soup. It is
subsiding a bit, but still fairly thick.
But when I got up this morning, I discovered that I had a visitor. One who
was VERY interested in what was going on inside of the tank, even though you
can only see the fish when they swim very close to the glass. The Don Valley
is the hunting ground of quite a few hawks, of various species. One of these
sharp eyed predators must have caught the reflection of the morning sun
glinting off of the glass cover of the tank and he decided to drop down and
investigate. There he was, sitting on the balcony railing, peering intently
at the tank, and I swear I could see him salivating each time one of the
rainbow fish came close to the glass. Because of the weight of the glass
cover, he couldn't get near the fish, but it was an amazing sight none the
less. Unfortunately, my camera (which I always keep loaded with a fresh roll
of film to be able to photograph things in the Valley) was on the other side
of the room out of reach.
So raccoons aren't the ONLY thing you have to look out for in Toronto.