1/4-1/3 acre neglected pond- help restoring short term and long term?


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New pond owner here. Just bought a new house with a 1/4 - 1/3 acre pond, completely neglected. Previous owner says it gets as deep as 10ft. No fish as far as I can tell. Seen some frogs and I've heard a snapper turtle called it home last year though I think it moved on. Lots of wild ducks are here every day, including some pet ducks owned by the neighbor. There's also a stream that runs behind the pond (you can see a concrete spillway toward the back in the picture). I'm in Michigan so I have to consider the seasons. I'd like to get it cleaned up by looking at it from a short term and long term approach, though I have questions on both. I'd greatly appreciate feedback on these approaches below. Thanks!!

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Short term approach- year 1
Right now, the goal is cleanup and to make it less of an eyesore, and on a tight budget. It's important that the cleanup is safe for the wildlife
  • Get waders and clean out the large sunken or floating debris
  • Get a pond rake and elbow grease
  • Add pond dye
  • Add PondClear (or something similar)
  • Add a surface mounted fountain to start aerating the water
  • There is muck in the pond. Should I add muck remover / good bacteria? Is there an economical option since that stuff is very expensive?
  • Should I switch from a surface mounted fountain to a submerged aeration bubbler?
  • Is there anything I can add to the water to help filter all the nitrate-rich poop from the water? Or is that not a concern?
Long term approach- year 2+
I've read everywhere that the best approach is to build a bog filter. However, it's unclear on how to do this with a pond this large. I've watched the video from Aquascape but that doesn't provide the detail I need. The pond is oval in shape, ~140 ft x ~50 ft x 6ft avg depth. That comes out to ~250,000 gallons. My plan is to excavate an area next to the pond that's above the surface level, so that I can pump into it and have it waterfall down back into the pond for aeration.
  • Because of the duck presence and their rich nitrate feces, the bog filter should be larger. Is ~40% of the surface area of the pond appropriate?
  • I've read that you want either 10 minutes of dwell time, or a full pond turnover every 2 hours. For a 250,000 gallon pond, that's a pump rate of 125,000 gallons per hour. That's just not feasible unless I have a ton of pumps. What would an appropriate pump rate be for a pond this large?
  • For a pond this large, is the PVC pipe system appropriate or should I be looking at a centipede + snorkel approach? If so, how do I know how many centipedes I need to cover the required surface area?
  • Is there a more economical approach separate from a bog filter that I should be considering?
Here's my proposed bog filter location
pond.PNG
 
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Mmathis

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Hello and welcome! Nice!

Personally, I wouldn’t add any chemicals. Instead, do as much clean-out as you can, add a pump and fountain (to help with aeration and add oxygen), then add plants that will have roots under the water. Your long term plans will evolve with time.

Beyond that, my input will be useless.
 

TheFishGuy

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Welcome! I don't think that pond looks to neglected, but it could use a little work. I would stay away from all chemicals. No pond dye, no pond clear, no muck remover. The less chemicals the better. In the short term I would simply remove some muck and add a large floating fountain. That will add some interest and move the water around a bit.

As for the bog filter, in a pond that large I would go with a bog filter about 20% the size of the pond just to keep it reasonable. It may not keep the water crystal clear but it will at least keep the water healthy. ovbiously 125,000 gph is unreasonable. I will let other suggest a better pump size, but possible in the realm of 10,000-20,000 gph would be more reasonable.
 
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Thanks for all of the replies. For now, all I should do is use a pond rake and add a fountain? What can I do to make the water clearer?

I've been watching a ton of pond videos and from what I can tell, this is a bigger project than I anticipated. My wife has always wanted a pool, and I hadn't considered it before but if I did this right, it could be perfectly swimmable. I'm okay with having a larger section of a bog filter to compensate, which means I'm looking at likely 30-40% of the surface area as bog filter. From what I saw from this guy at Aquascape, the flow rate per centipede should be 1500-2000gph. If I have four centipedes, I'm looking at likely two pumps of 4000gph, or ~$600 per year if they're running 24/365 (though can it continue to run during the winter?)
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Also trying to figure out a cheaper way to build it using the techniques from OzPonds. Tons of great stuff there.
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TheFishGuy

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Thanks for all of the replies. For now, all I should do is use a pond rake and add a fountain? What can I do to make the water clearer?

I've been watching a ton of pond videos and from what I can tell, this is a bigger project than I anticipated. My wife has always wanted a pool, and I hadn't considered it before but if I did this right, it could be perfectly swimmable. I'm okay with having a larger section of a bog filter to compensate, which means I'm looking at likely 30-40% of the surface area as bog filter. From what I saw from this guy at Aquascape, the flow rate per centipede should be 1500-2000gph. If I have four centipedes, I'm looking at likely two pumps of 4000gph, or ~$600 per year if they're running 24/365 (though can it continue to run during the winter?)
(
)

Also trying to figure out a cheaper way to build it using the techniques from OzPonds. Tons of great stuff there.
(
)
it is a massive undertaking! Unless you would like to get working on the bog very soon or install an extremly large UV filter I dont think you will reasonably be able to keep the water clear.
 
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When you get this figured out, I would love to know your solution. We also have a large pond in just about the same condition, except we have 3 koi (had 11 but the herons and a river otter got 8 of them), turtles, frogs, and other fish, so the pond is healthy, just not clear. We have tried all kinds of things to clear our water, including some of the things you mentioned--Pond Clear, muck remover, etc, and nothing has worked. Our water level changes drastically throughout the year and the pond edges are pretty vertical, so I haven't been able to figure out any plants for it. We have aerators at the bottom of the pond, but there has been so much silting over the years, I think all they do is stir up the bottom. Additionally, our back neighbor has a commercial olive business with some olive trees on the downside of the ridge, so we get fertilizer etc draining into our pond. I am afraid our situation is a bit hopeless. We did call in a commercial waterscape consultant, and he said it would cost $100,000 to install a bog, so that's a no-go, obviously (at least not through them). I will be watching this thread closely to see if any solutions are proposed.
 

Mmathis

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@xspartanzx I’m not sure you can make it absolutely clear, especially if it’s a natural bottom pond. Adding aeration will help, and adding plants that will compete with the algae for nutrients will help, but it will take time and patience.
 
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addy1

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Welcome to the forum!

What a neat HUGE project. Please keep us updated as you go.
 

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