Let's hear it for Blue Eyes!

The fish pictured is a specimen of Pseudomugil signifer aka the Pacific Blue-eye(pictured LEFT). I draw your attention to this delightful creature because it is a native Australian fish which I now have in one of my domestic ponds. These are small ponds and I was seeking a 'mosquito fish' that won't chew into the local frog population by consuming tadpoles or the frogs' eggs.But I didn't expect them to be so much fun.

I've often had fish ponds and I can't tolerate a garden without them as they are so ecologically interesting. I had been a goldfish breeder but goldfish are really quite boring and the monster carp that have taken over the Murray Darling system have put me off that species big time. These Blue-eyes in comparison are active inhabitants of the small ponds I've put in.

Blue-eye would have been key local fauna as this area I now inhabit was known in its pristine state as Nundah -- which in Turrubal is supposed to mean "chain of waterholes". The extent of this old hydrology can still be seen on town plan maps. [For more background, visit Cannery Creek Keepers]

I prefer small ponds because here in Brisbane any permanent water hole will attract cane toads and when the pond is small they are easier to locate and catch (With a flashlight in one hand at night, shining into the pond,I use a plastic bag over my other hand to grab them , then invert the bag over the toad as I place the creature in the freezer... where they die.)

Anyway, toads aside -- Pacific Blue-eyes are a joy to feed as they attack the food like a pack of sharks.

In my other pond I have creek guppies (much to my disappointment!) I'm not interested in keeping guppies but I caught my population from the local tidal creek where they are profuse. The creek should be the province of Blue-eyes; but of course the guppy, an fish introduced from Central America,has displaced a lot of the native species-- including this brackish niche once occupied, no doubt, by the Pacific Blue-eye. The irony is that while the guppy(pictured RIGHT) has often been introduced for mosquito control they have little impact on mosquito populations -- unlike the voracious Blue-eye.

My interest in Blue-eyes has been tweaked such that I'm going to create another couple of ponds to house them. What better way to create efficient mosquito traps!

The guppies are only occupying a pond while I breed up my present Blue-eye population. And, besides, the guppy is such a boring fish.

I used to create ponds out of black plastic -- You dig a hole and cover the shape of it with the plastic then fill it with water and plants. Instant fish pond! -- But now I prefer large plastic containers -- storage containers, preferably recycled ones, which I simply embed in the earth then decorate with plants and the like. I need only imagine what it will be like trying to catch a cane toad in these ponds as that, rather than anything else, will determine their size. So instead don one pond I go for several -- thats' the grand plan -- and each pond generates its own sort of micro-culture.

Here too it is worthwhile to introduce rocks or bricks or cement around and near the ponds as hidey holes and a source of heat for lizards. I like to coexist with Blue Tongue Lizards and Water Dragons (pictured LEFT). I'm very proud that I do... and these delights have decided to move in with me.
Pacific Blue-eye:These attractive little fish are recognised as voracious mosquito predators and are native to the east coast from North Queensland to as far south as Narooma. Being a small fish, the Pacific Blue-eye is able to approach the margins of the water and feed on mosquito larvae.The Pacific Blue-eye has a semi-transparent body that can vary in colour from pale olive, yellow to bluish. As the common name suggests, the iris of the Pacific Blue-eye is blue. The operculum and belly region are silvery. There is often a series of pearly spots along the side of the body.

The Pacific Blue-eye lives in clear, fast flowing streams and also in mangrove regions of estuaries.More information on Pacific Blue-eye