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If you don’t want to be pulling drowned critters out of your water feature, it’s probably a good idea to think about the nature of the edges and whether or not they can climb out. I’ve known people who have had issues with this, and apparently pulling out the half-drowned skunk was particularly unpleasant.

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Good idea, sharoncalv: On the ranch, I use to pull out many a dead squirrel, once in a while a skunk. I have 6 water tanks ranging from 75 to 100 gallons.

There are two things I use - one, I put in a rectangular board. The board is easy for a critter to hang onto until it reaches an edge for it to jump out. I do have to clean if off every now and then and to let it dry out so it will float.

The second method is use of a marine rope which won't get algae, nor soggy with water as many household ropes do. I fashion a type of a 'ladder' with knots (macrame) and hang it with a couple hooks over the edge of the tank. I make it long enough to reach the bottom. This way if the water is low and the critter can't jump from the board platform, it can swim to the rope 'ladder' and easily climb out.

Since I've begun doing that years ago, it's rare I have to pull out a dead mammal. BTW, if there is a dead animal in a tank, I make sure I clean the tank thoroughly for potential harmful microbes from a dead animal. Then I fill it with clean water for the livestock to drink.

These methods will work for any think that may be large or smaller. If you have a pond for koi or goldfish, you can also use stones and build steps from the bottom to the top which not only give more features but also provide hideouts for fingerlings.

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Algae: I'd like to touch a bit on this subject since most people write about its negativity. Algae isn't harmful to a pond, lake or water feature. It really does have an important place in the wetlands/water/ecosystem. Algae is a plant like other plants - it's job is to absorb nitrates. Nitrates are left from beneficial bacteria once that bacteria degrades/consumes fish and plant waste. Nitrates are food for plant life such as lily pads and aquatic milkweed and other pond plants. Algae releases oxygen and use carbon dioxide - both are a good thang in any water area whether wetlands, pond, lake or water feature. It's a great beneficial

Algae make their own food from sunlight. So, shallow ponds/features are prone to algae problems since sunlight penetrates into the shallow waters - sometimes all the way to the bottoms. If that is your problem, reduce the sunlight by providing shade such as trees, shrubs, milkweeds (and help the monarch at the same time) and some non-invasive lilies and other water plants.

Know the type of algae you have. There are two types - suspended and string. Fill a clear glass of pond water and hold it against something white. If the water is green, it's suspended algae. If it's clear - you still may have string algae which basically grows on ledges, rocks, and moving water. The moving water can be an area of hyper-oxygenation which string algae loves. You can pull it off rocks and ledges to a degree. It will spool around your hand/fingers.

It's easier to correct the balance of your pond/lake/water feature naturally than add chemicals which can cause problems in themselves. It's also expensive, time consuming and must be done frequently and correctly to have any long term effect - at least for a while until you correct the balance of the ecosystem. It could also be that you have too many fish in your backyard koi/goldfish pond.

If you have an unbalanced system, you have to figure out the why then correct it using nature as your guide. It's a lot cheaper and has a longer lasting effect than chemicals. Nature cleans all lakes and ponds. Learn how nature handles overloads then apply it to your own water feature or pond or lake.

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