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Old 11-15-2011, 12:32 AM   #1 
Bombalurina
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Pond thread

Hello peoples

I am about to build a pond, and I know certain other members are planning something similar. I think it would be wonderful to have a thread where we could discuss our pond projets and (hopefully!) get some input from experienced pond poeople.

On that note:
My pond is going to be 740 litres, preformed, which is roughly 195 US gallons. It's going to be 2ft deep, which will hopefully protect the fish from the winter temperatures. I'll be adding them during the height of the Australian summer, so they'll have plenty of time to adjust.
It will hopefully be the new home for my sister's comet (currently in a 23 gallon), along with a comet of my own and a shubunkin. If possible, I will persuade a friend and student to part with her two comets (currently in an unfiltered, neglected 5 gallon with a fantail, despite the fact that I bought her Prime, Stability and a decent filter for Easter). It won't help the fantail, but at least it will be better than all 3 goldies in one tank. If possible, I may be able to rehome the fantail, but none of my tanks are suitable as a long term home for it. But maybe I can heat the pond so it can live there?
Anyway, that's a ramble.
I will have to buy my own pump (roughly $250+ AUD), so I want to build my own filter. I have a 12 litre bucket that I'm going to pack full of cycled filter media - I plan on lots of wool, lots of ceramic noodles...any other suggestions? I don't think I want carbon (so expensive) but if people think it is best I will. I was going to put gravel of various grain sizes in there too.

For the bottom of the pond, we have a nice bag of large river rocks. I want to attach some pots to the side (somehow) and grow some semi-aquatics, like mondo grass and violet. For inside the pond I'd like some good pond plants - maybe rush? - and maybe a rock structure for them to hide in.

So, that's my plans. I would love to hear suggestions and/or criticisms, and plans from other people for their ponds! :) Also, if anyone could tell me how much maintenance this pond would need in terms of water changes, that would be great. :)

Bomba
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Old 11-15-2011, 01:25 AM   #2 
Kytkattin
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I am many years off from ever having a pond. My parents were going to build one for the koi, but just bought a 240 gallon tank instead. We are well aware that the koi will outgrow it one day (we only have one koi), but for now it works.

Just as an FYI, ponds should be as deep as you can make them. My neighbor has a pond that is only 3ft in the middle, and he has huge problems with predators coming in an eating his $500+ koi. At the very least, go deep without slanted edged, that is, make it s steep drop off so you don't have predators that can wade in. He had to put in an elaborate motion activated sprinkler system because he was frequently visited by blue herons (which were a blast for me to see, but horrible that they were having such an expensive dinner!). Raccoons are also a huge problem, having eaten some of his fish as well. Not sure what predators you have in your part of the world, but def try to talk to others in your area that have ponds and try to figure out what you are up against. You are literally putting your fish out in nature, and nature wants to eat them!

I can't wait to see pictures of your pond!
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Old 11-15-2011, 02:19 AM   #3 
Bombalurina
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Ours will be a drop sided one and we are going to cover it with heavy mesh/netting to keep cats out. They are the only worry around here - magpies and currawongs may get curious, but I can't see a magpie being able to lift a ten inch goldfish. We might sometimes get eagles, but they tend to stay near the mountains and not really venture into suburban gardens.
Of course, if the local cats try to steal the fish, I can complain to the owners that their pets are a hazard to mine and should be contained. That would make me happy. I love cats, but I don't like them free-ranging in my garden, eyeing up my ratties and scaring off the native wildlife we want to encourage. :(

Sadly, 2ft is the deepest pre-formed pond we can find, and we can't just use a liner because the ground is too hard to dig more than a foot down.
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:57 AM   #4 
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I would be worried about temp fluctuations in something that shallow- too warm in summer, too cold in winter.. but it's a shame you can't find/order anything deeper :(
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Old 11-15-2011, 02:50 PM   #5 
thekoimaiden
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I actually have a koi pond (I have some pictures under my aquariums) and hope I can help you with some of your questions. But I'd like to know a little more about your local climate. How hot does it get in the summer? How cold in the winter? How much shade will the pond have? How close are trees to your pond?

Generally the rule I've seen with ponds is larger the better. As long as you don't plan to put any koi in the pond, it should be great for a few goldfish.

As far as filtration, I only have biological (these things called bio-balls). I have no carbon filters in my pond. I use a bog/snorkle system. I have never done a water change. Having enough plants in there takes care of the nitrates. But I do have something called an autofill system. It basically adds small amounts of water when the level gets too low to prevent the pump from running dry.

For pond plants I have iris, pitcher plant, ferns, bunch of local stuff that found its way in, and some other things (plants aren't really my thing; Mom has the green thumb, I have the blue thumb). If your pond will get a lot of sun you could try lilies. They provide shade and cover for fish.

Feel free to pick my brain if you like. I always love to see pictures of other peoples' ponds. Every one if different. Can't wait to get some of yours!
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Old 11-15-2011, 03:27 PM   #6 
Bombalurina
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I will indeed pick your brain, I need a pond expert! :) It does get pretty warm here in summer; usually between 30C/86F and 35C/95F, but we do get days as warm as 38C/100F. In winter it can get below freezing overnight, but it generally gets up to about 9C/48F during the middle of the day.
The previous owners of this house had about 8 goldfish in the pond (unfiltered, about a foot deep and much smaller than ours) and they survived a couple of years. Stunted, because the pond was overstocked, but the temperatures didn't seem to bother them.

There is a tree above the pond that means it is in shade for most of the day, though it does get sun for an hour or two. We want to dig it out and replace it with something less dense, though, because it sheds a lot and we end up with decomposing leaves in the pond.

Your pond is beautiful! Massively jealous. I wish we could have a koi pond, but a full grown koi couldn't even turn around in mine.
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:59 PM   #7 
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I'm no expert, but I know my way around the ropes. I actually hired someone to build the pond (after some friends helped me put a gaping hole in my backyard and I realized I'm clueless with construction). That's another recommendation I have; the difference between a hole in the ground and a water feature in your backyard is a professional landscaper. A local koi club or pond club might have a good recommendation for you. We can just give you tips, but they can walk around your land and give you a much better idea of what you can do.

Your temperature fluctuations actually sound very close to what I have. It is great that your pond will have shade most of the day; it will really help on those days that get above 100F. But that tree also means you will have to put a net over the pond come autumn. I just put mine up about 2 weeks ago, and it's covered with leaves already; it's a really wise investment of time. You might also want to consider building some supports out of PVC because wet leaves are heavier than you think and have a tendency to droop the net into the pond. I can get a picture of what I have over my pond for an example. Point being: temperature wise, you should be great. Also another temp hint: don't feed your fish when the water temp drops below 50F; it can kill them.

How do you plan to return the water to the pond once it is filtered?
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:15 PM   #8 
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I am getting a pond soon. It will be 200-300 gallons. Maybe more.

Stocking plans are-

Echo my Pleco, Beau my common goldfish, an Oranda, and a Ranchu if it is 200.

If it is 300 it will be Echo, Beau, an Oranda, a Ranchu, a Moor, a Fantail, a Ryukin (Calico hopefully) and I am still kind of deciding. I kind of want a bubble eye... Lol.

Will have a heater.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:24 PM   #9 
Bombalurina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekoimaiden View Post
I'm no expert, but I know my way around the ropes. I actually hired someone to build the pond (after some friends helped me put a gaping hole in my backyard and I realized I'm clueless with construction). That's another recommendation I have; the difference between a hole in the ground and a water feature in your backyard is a professional landscaper. A local koi club or pond club might have a good recommendation for you. We can just give you tips, but they can walk around your land and give you a much better idea of what you can do.

Your temperature fluctuations actually sound very close to what I have. It is great that your pond will have shade most of the day; it will really help on those days that get above 100F. But that tree also means you will have to put a net over the pond come autumn. I just put mine up about 2 weeks ago, and it's covered with leaves already; it's a really wise investment of time. You might also want to consider building some supports out of PVC because wet leaves are heavier than you think and have a tendency to droop the net into the pond. I can get a picture of what I have over my pond for an example. Point being: temperature wise, you should be great. Also another temp hint: don't feed your fish when the water temp drops below 50F; it can kill them.

How do you plan to return the water to the pond once it is filtered?
Alas, I don't think we have a pond club, and we certainly can't afford a landscaper, though I know my mum would love that.
A net over the pond is definitely already in the plans - if possible, we are trying to get a solid grid made out of something like our front door screen - it can withstand a kicking from a grown man, so it should do well for the leaves! :)


I'm glad you told me that about the feeding. Why is it so dangerous?

The filter will have a hole in the top that the pond will feed the water into, then gravity will take the water down through the filter and out of a spout in the bottom. I'm unsure whether or not to use a second hose to direct it into the pond and not have the surface disturbance.

Miah, I'm really looking forward to seeing your pond! Beau is a beautiful fish and I have no doubt he will love it. :)
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:20 PM   #10 
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Miah, you might want to rethink your stocking plans. Plecos and goldfish have very different temperature requirements. Plecos aren't going to like the cold temps that a pond will get to. Even with a heater, ponds go below 50F. Heaters in ponds are just used to keep the surface from freezing in the winter. Also common goldfish shouldn't be kept with the fancy varieties like orandas and moors (which shouldn't even be kept in ponds anyways). Bubble eyes and ranchus are also considered waaaay too delicate for ponds. Fantails and ryukins can sometimes be housed in ponds in warmer climates, but you still need to be careful when they are kept with common goldfish. I tried to keep a common with my ryukin and fantail; all he did was snatch up all the food faster and nibble at my fantail's flowing fins. I had to rehome him to a friend's goldfish pond. While common goldfish are more of a pond fish than an aquarium fish, the fancy varieties are with a doubt aquarium fish.

------

Bomba, that mesh idea is a great idea! My nets takes hours to put up. You can just slap that sucker over the pond and be done with. Mine is a bit too large to configure up something like that, tho.

I would go for the surface disturbance. It will add oxygen to the pond and help keep it from freezing over in the winter. It will also add the pleasant sound of a little waterfall. You'd be surprised how much noise a little bit of water can make. When I am right next to my waterfall I can't here someone call my name unless they are a few feet away from me.

Glad I told you about the 50F rule! I actually have a few temp-feeding charts I printed up to help me remember when and what to feed my koi. The metabolisms of goldfish and koi go dormant around 50F. However, they will still eat food if offered to them. The food will stay in their digestive tract and rot causing all kinds of disease. This isn't something we deal with on a regular basis because our normal tropical (and goldfish!) tanks never get this low in the house.
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