More UK native fish species. Pike by Terri Betts. Fish in art. Crucians. Tench.

Terri surprises AES Europe Ltd!

Talented artist Terri Betts has indeed created a pike as a follow up to our blog about her lovely owl.

AES Europe Ltd admires Pike by Terri Betts

Terri’s Pike

All of Terri’s work is for sale at

Meanwhile we have UK native fish species for sale.  If you are stocking your lake at the moment call Lewis on 01536 204335 and get prices – we have some great tench and crucians.

Next blog will be about crucians … looking out some photos and checking the latest research on hybrids!






Argulus species – fish lice, parasites

I mentioned Argulus (fish lice) in the last blog, I thought I would pick that up and discuss it further as I have heard anglers say they have never seen them on the fish they catch.  Shoulda gone to Specsavers mate!

Dan Jones posted this photo in his Carp Coarse and Swansea blog.  Its a great photo as it clearly shows the louse without a lot of mucus “blur”.  Most often an angler might only notice a blobby, dark bubble mark on a fin or on the body of the fish and possibly not realise that it’s a parasite eating away at the fish.  Look closely around the head and operculum, round the fins or on the tail.  Even when firmly anchored to the fish the “legs” continually paddle in the swimming motion that moves it when it is floating freely in the water.

AES Europe discuss Dan Jones' photo of argulus on fish

Argulus sp.

Fish lice species vary in size from just a few millimetres to over 30 millimetres (1.2 in) long, with females usually somewhat larger than the males.  There are many species and they are present throughout the world, some having been introduced to the west from Asia with consignments of fancy fish in the early 20th century.

Almost all species in the family are external parasites of fish, with a few species that parasitise on invertebrates or amphibians.  They have a wide flattened, oval body, almost entirely covered by a carapace. Their compound eyes are prominent, and the mouth and the first pair of antennae are modified to form a hooked, spiny proboscis (stylet) equipped with suckers, as an adaptation to parasitic life. They have four pairs of thoracic appendages, which are used to swim when they release from the fish.  They leave the host for up to three weeks in order to mate and lay eggs. The eggs are laid in strings and patches of jelly on stones and  hatch into parasitic larvae.

Affected fish have patches of hemorrhagic and oedematous (swollen) affected skin, gills or fins. The parasite causes these injuries by attaching to the fish, usually behind the operculum, with its curved hooks and suckers. Its feeding further injures the host fish when it inserts the stylet into the epidermis and underlying tissue causing hemorrhage. Argulus feed on the host’s blood and body fluids. The feeding apparatus also releases digestive enzymes which can cause systemic illness in the host fish.

 A really dense infestation of argulus will lead to the death of the fish.  The wounds caused by feeding leave openings for opportunistic secondary bacterial or fungal infections which can also be life-threatening.  

Aquarists watching their tropical freshwater or brackish fish are obviously best placed for noticing fish lice, and for observing the behaviours that indicate a fish has an irritation that it tries to rub off on a stone or tank decoration.  They also have tried the massive range of remedies to solve the fish lice problem.  Obviously they can quarantine  fish for medication, while sterlising the contents of the tank and so prevent a mass hatching of fish lice.  Not so easy with a lake full of fish.  From our point of view, if we are doing a fish survey and taking a scale test too, we always have a spray bottle of antiseptic there at hand.  If we knock off parasites we spray the affected area.  Its not a lot but it must help prevent infection.

Fish lice become a particular problem where there is overstocking and, consequently, conditions aren’t great.  The newly hatched lice can exist on the yolk sack for a few days but it must then attach to a fish or it will die.  The adult female having laid her eggs will only be able to survive for a couple of days or so if she cannot attach to another fish.     In a carefully stocked lake fish lice may struggle to attach to a fish in the given time.  Where there is overcrowding its just a matter of waiting for the next fish to swim past.

AES Europe Ltd admires Kan Bart's Photo

Agulus under microscope

The above photo is by Ken Bart, among a multitude of scary critters.

UK Native Fish in Art

I thought I would follow the Terri Betts owl picture with some more art depicting UK native fish … hopefully there will be lots and I can develop a theme to return to as interesting items turn up.

So I went to Google to find “British fish in art” and found this stunning Harriet Mead fabrication that’s not even a fish but is far too good to pass by.  Entirely made out of tool shed treasures.  Utterly remarkable.  Ms Mead’s work is exhibited but for ease of contact here is her web address –

AES Europe Ltd admires artwork

Steampunk Crab!

Think we will have to investigate the Cromer area to see if we can do some work locally and hang around the beach eating crab and drinking a local real ale.  Sounds like a plan for next summer!

 To get back to UK native fish – real ones – I was looking at David Miller’s work, he does a considerable amount of diving and that seems to shine through in his work; there seems to be a sensation of being a caddis fly on the wall.

AES Europe Ltd admires David Miller's pictures

River Roach by David Miller  is a great web site with smashing pictures of a wonderful range of UK native fish and also some carp.

Roach are delightful and most angler’s first catch, found in most habitats and common across the country.  I saw some rather pretty ones near Bristol a few weeks back when we were doing a fish survey and doing some scale sampling with the EA and showing local anglers what we do and what to watch out for by way of argulus – fish lice.

I shall be looking for a grand pike picture…



Native Wildlife, UK animals and birds

AES Europe Ltd admire wildlife art

UK wildlife sewn up

At AES Europe Ltd we don’t just notice the fish… sometimes flying critters catch our attention.  We watch out particularly for Red Kites and Buzzards, but we are always impressed when we happen to spot an owl.  The UK has wonderful native wildlife and a dull day can be much improved by spotting a hare or a toad or a handsome bream.

Northamptonshire artist Terri Betts has created this amazing embroidery of an owl.  Her work is hand drawn and hand sewn.  We particularly love this; sadly its already sold. Hoping to see a pike or a lovely trout soon… will show you as soon as it happens!

Terri can be found at:




Fly tipping affecting leisure facilities, water quality and utility; aquatic environment affected

Furtive Fly Tippers Block Brooks

This little girl is doing what hundreds of thousands of kids and adults do every year; she’s visiting a local lake and watching the birds (hopefully she isn’t throwing in lumps of stale bread).  Water has attracted and enthralled people for millions of years, apart from being essential for life it is beautiful and calming.

AES Europe Ltd  fly tipping affects aquatic environment

Goldilocks and the big geese

To get the best possible experience from a lake or pond the water should be in great shape to support a variety of invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and, naturally, the plants that create the habitat – floating, emersed and marginals.

What the little girl isn’t aware of is the brook that leads into this particular lake.  It is channeled through an urban area – not a city, just a small town.  And the behaviour of the local residents affects the water that flows into the lake.  They regularly fly-tip.   The following photos aren’t particularly unusual for any part of the country.

AES Europe Ltd bike in a brook, fly tipping

Not the Tour de France!

This bike has obviously been here a fair while.  Mud has been deposited during high water levels.

AES Europe Ltd

Drowned scooter

 Although the water has a cloudy appearance its perfectly possible to pick out metal debris in the layers of silt; so the scooter is just the latest in a a succession of discarded items fly-tipped into the brook.

While items like bikes and scooters are reasonably inert in the short term, the anonymous contents of the ubiquitous black bag can be highly toxic or otherwise damaging.  Paint, household chemicals, food waste, disposable nappies… you name it, it all ends up in streams and brooks.  If nothing else it blocks the water flow and risks flooding the area.

Meanwhile downstream at the lake the chemicals and bacteria carried along from the rubbish have a noticeable effect on the water quality.  Anything that enriches the fertility of the water will cause plants to overgrow and promote algal blooms.  Algae affects the dissolved oxygen contained in the water, too little and the fish will be gasping at the surface, too much and the fish will develop gas bubbles in their gills and die.

And thinking of food waste… rats!  I know we are never far away form a rat but its stupid to encourage them and offer them rich pickings in an area where they cannot be controlled.  They breed freely and every rat can potentially transmit Weil’s disease – leptospirosis – to people.

Waterfowl are not particularly discriminating about what they eat nor are they capable of freeing themselves from string or wire when they get entangled.  With dumped rubbish they can be exposed to all sorts of nuisance substances and items.  They become a problem to the manager of the lake or pond and need rescue and treatment.  Dead birds become an additional danger to the water quality of the lake, producing vast amounts of bacteria which are ingested by other birds and other species.


\Wheels graveyard

At some point a grating has been installed to prevent objects heading downstream towards the lake… branches and so forth.  But there are wheels either side of the grating and assorted black bags, cartons and tat left behind by a feckless fly-tipper.    The fine for fly-tipping in this locality is £2,000, it would be nice to think the offenders were identified and fined.


Siltex application at village ponds


With very rare exceptions (usually due to water quality concerns) AES Europe Ltd recommends the use of Siltex as a general water conditioner and tool in the management of organic silt build-up.  Whilst not a substitute for a mechanical de-silting in grossly neglected waters, Siltex gives useful benefits, in varying degrees, of silt depth reduction, whilst generally assisting in the processing of newly-accumulated organic detritus such as waterfowl faeces and deciduous leaf-litter.

Siltex helps to:

  • Stimulate bacterial oxidation of organic waste
  • Enrich the water above the problem silt with calcium, improving the conditions for detritivorous invertebrates

Siltex MAY help to:

  • Flocculate suspended solids, including unicellular algae (but this will only be temporary) and colloidal clay particles
  • Smother and thereby inhibit growth of filamentous algae

Siltex is an entirely natural and safe product, which is not chemically-synthesised in any way.  We will help you to calculate the quantities required, advise on dosing regimes (including reducing the input and therefore, costs at the earliest possible stages).  Also, whilst the application of Siltex is not a complicated task, it is extremely messy: we are well-and-truly accustomed to being covered head to toe in Siltex and so we are happy to apply the product if requested – we bring our own boat!

To show our capabilities here are some previous projects completed by our consultants:

  • Siltex applications on a Cornish lake to remove accumulate organic silt; this has been achieved across much of the lake where the original gravel is now visible
  • Siltex application on a London lake to reduce silt depth and mitigate the effects of waterfowl waste and deposited bread; this lake had a suspected botulism outbreak prior to Siltex being applied
AES Europe Ltd

Applying the Siltex

On a calm day its quite pleasant applying Siltex on a small pond.  You can row along methodically applying a portion every metre.   And, as above, concentrating where leaf litter falls and lies deteriorating.  Willows look so lovely adjacent to water,  sadly they are a vile nuisance shedding tonnes of organic silt producing leaves every autumn and dropping branches in to the water risking perforation of the pond bottom and loss of water.

AES Europe Ltd - Siltex application

Captain Joe in a time long ago!

On a bigger lake we utilise more staff.  It can take many hours to complete the application, the dust lying on the surface disappears within minutes; the cloudy white appearance within the water clears over a few days depending on the constituents of the water already in suspension.

Siltex should be, in our opinion, part of the ongoing management schedule for all ponds and lakes (depending on water quality).



Bank stabilisation work at Ham Common.

 Early this year we were approached by a group of residents at Ham Common who had managed to raise some money to do some bank stabilisation work to the island in the pond on the common.

 The island in the pond has an interesting history… 150 years ago the pond was enlarged and the island was removed to use to fill in another local pond. In 2000 work was carried out to stabilise the pond banks and a new island created. The new island was very successful in attracting birds; however they ate and trampled the plants which were never able to get established and form the dense root mass that should have stabilised the soil.  In 2010/11 a bulk mass of clay soil and stones was added.

AES Europe Ltd - before work

Before work started in July 2012

 The residents consulted us about making the perimeter stable and arranging for planting UK native plants and protecting them while they grow.

AES Europe Ltd - Ham Common

1 – 2- 3 SMACK!

Knowing there was a very tight budget and no wriggle room we planned the operation with military precision to happen in one LONG summer day.  Coir rolls were laid round the margin of the island giving a slightly larger footprint.  Posts were knocked in to hold them.  Gravel was backfilled in to achieve a level and then coir pallets laid on top to form a biodegrable mat to grow a dense mass of plants.  Then cages were built to cover the new plants and prevent the birds trampling and munching them.  The cages can stay on for a couple of seasons while the plants mature and the roots extend down through the coir into the gravel.

AES EUrope Ltd coir

Plants safe under the cages

AES Europe Ltd

All done and lovely weather

In due course the island will be a lush mass of plants; this will provide a wonderful habitat for wildlife – invertebrates, birds, mammals and reptiles will find homes.