my uncle just bought a new house with what is advertised as koi pond in the backyard. being the resident fish lover of the family, ive been enlisted to make it presentable. im terrible at judging water volume so i dont know how many gallons it is. here is the only picture i have of the pond:
its a little bit longer to the left and its really deep on the left side. The pond looks nothing like this now, its filled with leaves and is disgusting. The previous owners say that there is 1 koi in there but we have yet to see him. How do i go about cleaning the pond without hurting a fish that may or may not be in there? also is the pond big enough to do koi or should i just do another kind of goldfish?
It's really hard to judge scale on these kinds of things, but I can tell you it doesn't look large enough for koi. They need 500+ gal ponds and lots of swimming room. Three or more feet deep at the least. But it looks great for goldfish if they want some color in there. If they don't care about seeing the fish and just want it for the water noise, then natives will do just fine. Mosquitofish or killifish are my favorites for a pond like this.
To get it whipped into shape, you have a LOT of work ahead of you. Getting out the leaves (and keeping them out come fall) is your biggest priority. You'll need a large net on a long handle and a willingness to be muddy and tired. Scoop the leaves out until you can see the bottom. This alone will take a couple of days if it's as nasty as you say. If you have one, a shop vac would be helpful, but it will also drain the pond.
Next is going to be getting the filtration system in check. Find out what kind you have, and see if it needs to be cleaned. (It most likely does.) You'll probably want to turn it off and clean it. The filter in ponds is mostly for water movement, so you don't have to worry about the beneficial bacteria as much as you do with aquariums.
Finally, you'll want to start looking at plants. Floating plants like lilies and water lettuce are best. Water hyacinth is my favorite, but it's illegal in NC. Floating plants will help take nutrients from the water as well as prevent algae from growing deeper in the pond. You might also want to look at marginal pond plants like iris. Finding a local nursery that sells these plants is a good idea.
But the good news is that this is the start of pond season, and you have the whole summer ahead of you to get this pond into shape. I just spent the entire day working out in my pond trying to get it ready for the summer. It's a lot of work, but so worth it at the end of the day. I'm actually just north of NC. I can see the border from my house lol! If you need any tips specific to this part of the country, feel free to ask! I love ponds, and I love helping people enjoy them. No two are alike!!
yeah, i always thought it wouldnt be big enough for koi, but apparently there was one in there just a few days ago, but we drained the pond yesterday and found nothing(those pesky herons!). but i was thinking about doing comets in there but i was wondering how big they had to be to survive in the pond. I love the idea of buying the little 25cent ones and raising them until they're big enough, but im going to college in the fall and i dont think ill have time. but the lps has some larger comets and petco and petsmart have some that are about 5-7in.
but we'll start working on all the grossness on the bottom and in the filter right now and then we'll take a trip over to the nursery and check out plants. but we got a long way to go!
There is no size too small to put a goldfish in the pond, but if you want to see them at all, they'll need to be at least 3 or so inches long. It would be a fun summer project to grow some of the little feeder goldfish out in a tank and then release them at the end of summer and before the fall really sets in.
As for being at college, that doesn't limit you as much as you would think. I built my koi pond a year before I went away to college and it survived just fine. Mother nature helps you out with a lot of the work, and really all you need is a relative to feed the fish every so often. Water changes are done by the rain; when it rains, the pond fills and overflows, sending out the old water. And a lot of the filtering is done by the plants and sunlight.
awesome! i think thats what ill do! i mean i already have a hamster, 2 cats, a dog, and 3 horses that im going to miss terribly when i go off to college so why not add some goldfish into the mix?
we drained the pond 2 days ago and didnt find any fish but since NC has such beautiful spring weather, the sleet/rain we got yesterday probably filled it somewhat.
How many fish could i put in without overstocking?
we estimated measurements when we drained the pond and said it was about 10ft long, 5ft wide, and on the deep side its probably about 18in-2ft deep.
Based on those measurements, your pond is about 450 gallons. Not a bad goldfish pond. If you wanted to start off light, five or six goldfish would be good. They are very social and when they are small, being in a school helps them feel more comfortable. In a lightly stocked pond you could get them up to a foot long.
I got that same sleet/wintry mix yesterday... Early spring, my butt...
Oh totally forgot to mention. If you are anywhere near them, Nature's Emporium in Burlington is a great place for pond plants. I bought most of my koi from them, and they have a nice selection of pond goldfish, too.
im about 30-45min from burlington, so not too bad.
but while draining the pond today, we found one hardy koi. hes pretty big, probably about a foot or so long. so we filled the pond back up a little just until we can get something large enough to put him in so we can clean the rest of the pond.