Basic needs for small pond

Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
99
Reaction score
41
Location
British Columbia (gulf island)
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
Canada
I live in the southwestern corner of Canada (similar weather to Seattle). My pond is kidney-shaped 56" x 30". It has 8" deep shelves on each end and is 18" in the middle. Sadly, there are virtually no plants in it at the moment. I have four goldfish, 4-5" long. I put a chimney tile in the bottom so they could hide especially in case of a raccoon raid, and they seem to like that. This past season, until we had a frost recently there was a submersible pump going with a fountain. The pond has been mostly quite successful for the past 15 years till this summer. The water had gotten so it had a lot of fine suspended matter in it. I'd had no pump up until then. At that point, I mostly emptied the pond, filtering the water through cloth, returned the water and got a pump and fountain.
My goal is to have a small balanced pond with a small waterlily and some other plants, a few goldfish to eat mosquitoes and because they are pretty. I want there to be hiding places so I don't have to put a mesh cover on to keep them relatively safe from raccoons who occasionally come by at night. With the pond as it is now, it doesn't seem big enough for what I want. The tile works well, but along with the pump, doesn't leave a lot of room for a water lily pot, let alone the fish. It seems like even my four fish should have more space. I rather wish the shelves weren't there. So my questions are:

- Is the pond big enough and deep enough for what I am wanting?
- Do I need a biofilter with such a small number of fish? (I'm hoping not)
- I tried buying oxygenating plants in the summer, and went all over the place to nurseries and fish stores and found one single bunch. Where does one normally get plants for a pond? I realize it would have been easier in the spring.
- Is there anything I'm missing?
I'll try attaching some photos.
What it looks like now (except there is ice on at the moment):
P1020396.jpeg

With the cover to keep coons out:

P1020397.jpeg


Earlier in the summer:
P1020178.jpeg

Thank you for any advice you can offer!
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2012
Messages
6,275
Reaction score
2,818
Location
Plymouth
Hardiness Zone
7a
Country
United Kingdom
If your planning on getting rid of this pond for a larger one then may I suggest you plan out what you want for the pond how large , its filters , its depth, amount of fish load etc .
Only this way we can help

Dave
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
99
Reaction score
41
Location
British Columbia (gulf island)
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
Canada
Thanks, Dave. I'm trying to figure out if I need a bigger pond in order to keep a few goldfish (4-5) healthy and happy (the four I have now are 4"-5" long), plus some plants and a fountain to attract birds. I don't particularly want a larger pond if I don't need one for this, but am prepared to replace this if need be. The scale of the pond fits nicely into the garden - my concern is the fish and their needs. So it's not how deep I want it, but how deep it needs to be in order to keep the fish and plants happy. With those shelves at each end, the fish don't seem to have a lot of room once the tile and pump are in there, let alone plants. And I'm thinking if it were deeper, they would be less vulnerable to raccoons?
I do know I would prefer a pump that is submersible (that's what I have now) because I understand they are quieter than external pumps - quiet is important to me. If I need a filter, I'd like it to be as inconspicuous as possible. I don't really know anything about pumps and filters, which is why I joined the forum! :)
I hope that helps clarify my situation.
 

j.w

I Love my Goldies
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
33,055
Reaction score
20,332
Location
Arlington, Washington
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
USDA 8a
Country
United States
Dave
I think your pond is big enough for awhile for the 4 fish you have in there now but they will grow big and then you might have water quality problems and no room for them to swim. I have just a double pre-filter in my 2400gal pond but that filter would take up too much room in your pond. You could use one on a smaller scale tho. You could make it yourself by just getting a submersible pump w/tubing attached and then wrap filter media around the end of the tube. Matala is what the media is called and comes in different densities.
Here is what I have: This is two stuck together but like I said you could make one pretty easy for the end of your tubing to suck up the muck.
IMG_5385.JPG

Here is mine laying on the bottom doing it's job:
IMG_5816.JPG

Here is a diagram of what one looks like hooked to a pump and then going to another filter. I don't have mine going to another filter. Mine just goes to my waterfall but you can just route yours to flow back into the pond anywhere either down underwater or just flowing at the surface back into the pond.
Prefilter diagram.jpg
 

addy1

water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins
Moderator
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
44,400
Reaction score
29,176
Location
Frederick, Maryland
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
6b
Country
United States
welcome_7.gif
to our group!

You could remove the preform and dig the pond deeper without shelves, put in a liner. That way your pond/garden set up would stay the same in size. Straight sides would help save them from the raccoons. We have raccoons, they have never bothered my fish, that I am aware of. But my fish have water room to get away and a deep end to run to.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2012
Messages
6,275
Reaction score
2,818
Location
Plymouth
Hardiness Zone
7a
Country
United Kingdom
Thanks, Dave. I'm trying to figure out if I need a bigger pond in order to keep a few goldfish (4-5) healthy and happy (the four I have now are 4"-5" long), plus some plants and a fountain to attract birds. I don't particularly want a larger pond if I don't need one for this, but am prepared to replace this if need be. The scale of the pond fits nicely into the garden - my concern is the fish and their needs. So it's not how deep I want it, but how deep it needs to be in order to keep the fish and plants happy. With those shelves at each end, the fish don't seem to have a lot of room once the tile and pump are in there, let alone plants. And I'm thinking if it were deeper, they would be less vulnerable to raccoons?
I do know I would prefer a pump that is submersible (that's what I have now) because I understand they are quieter than external pumps - quiet is important to me. If I need a filter, I'd like it to be as inconspicuous as possible. I don't really know anything about pumps and filters, which is why I joined the forum! :)
I hope that helps clarify my situation.
The depth of pond is required for those really deep freezes you get in Canada you dont want the pond to freeze to a depth of where your goldfish are in your current pond otherwise it would kill them , I've seen 2ft of ice on my friends pond in St Johns British Columbia and she now brings her koi indoors to ride out the -24c to windchill factors of -54c that they get .
Interestingly since her move indoors she has never lost another koi , they then go back outside for late spring smmer through to fall .

Dave
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
99
Reaction score
41
Location
British Columbia (gulf island)
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
Canada
Hey, Dave, not all of Canada is like Fort St. John! It's about 1200 km. north of here and away from the coast. You have to be tough to live there! We're wimps down here and complain if it goes below freezing. There's been a real cold spell the past week - it got down to -6C (21F) at night. Thankfully it is back up to normal.
JW, I was very heartened by your situation! Thank you for telling me about it! I forgot to mention that I have a prefilter (I tend to think of it just as part of the pump):
P1020395.jpeg

I remove the prefilter and rinse if out once a week.
Addy, your suggestions of digging a deeper pond without shelves and straightish sides sounds like an excellent plan. I could make it a little longer too. Hopefully won't run into too much hardpan. I could do that and with the pump and prefilter see if I get on as well as JW does. And last night I spent about an hour looking at your posts and pictures of your extensive water garden. I so enjoyed reading about it! You've got a passion, that's for sure!

I was also wondering if a pond with a pump, prefilter, a fountain and plants could be balanced without fish. Would the fountain be enough to discourage mosquitoes? This forum is a grand place to learn and be inspired. Thank you all for taking the time to respond.
 

j.w

I Love my Goldies
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
33,055
Reaction score
20,332
Location
Arlington, Washington
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
USDA 8a
Country
United States
He said his weather was similar to Seattle as he is living on the south west coast of Canada prolly around the Vancouver area. I live 50 or so miles north of Seattle and we don't get frozen deep pond water. Only get an inch or so at the most for a few days in some years. So he can get away w/ a shallow pond.
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
99
Reaction score
41
Location
British Columbia (gulf island)
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
Canada
JW, I was just looking again at the photos you kindly attached and was noting that you have the prefilter right on the bottom of the pond. Hmmmph. That's interesting! Do you have to clean it very often? It must be pulling quite a bit of the "muck" into the filter, more than if it were attached to the pump itself and off the bottom. Is that part of your reason for placing it there? All of this stuff is new to me.
 

j.w

I Love my Goldies
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
33,055
Reaction score
20,332
Location
Arlington, Washington
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
USDA 8a
Country
United States
Oops I was typing and then whamo your post was there Dave,lol! That prefilter that comes w/ those pumps is not of much use. You need the matala kind like I have for efficient and longer lasting cleanings.

Oops there you just posted again while I was writing this.............anyways the prefilter I have attached has a finer inner core so it traps lots of muck and doesn't go through the pump.
I have to clean it about once per month in the Summer. In fall right before winter I take the inner core out and just leave the outer sparser media attached as the prefilter so water can flow through easier and that way I don't have to clean it at all in winter. Not much gunk in my water in winter as fish don't get fed and no leaves in pond.

IMG_6267.JPG
 

j.w

I Love my Goldies
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
33,055
Reaction score
20,332
Location
Arlington, Washington
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
USDA 8a
Country
United States
Oh and yes I place it on the bottom as it collects more gunk that way. Some like to keep their pumps off the bottom a foot or so in case something goes wrong w/ their hose attached to the pump and going up to the falls. If the hose should break it then would leave some water on the pond bottom for fish to survive. I guess I choose to live dangerously. So far so good.
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
99
Reaction score
41
Location
British Columbia (gulf island)
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
Canada
Ah! Actually my name's April, not Dave. Dave responded to my initial inquiry. :)
Thank you for pointing out the difference. The one I have is denser and larger than the one that came with the pump, but it is still foam. Now I know what to look for.
 

tbendl

T
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
4,393
Reaction score
4,220
Location
Gulf Coast-Mississippi 8b
Showcase(s):
1
And Huckleberry, yes you can have a pond without fish. There are a few of us with nature ponds on here. I have a new pond that I hope to eventually be filtered solely through my bog. I have had no issues with mosquitoes. Hope you'll keep us updated with pictures.
 

j.w

I Love my Goldies
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
33,055
Reaction score
20,332
Location
Arlington, Washington
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
USDA 8a
Country
United States
Sorry April..............why in the heck did I call you Dave. I know who Dave is............my mind must have went where those lost socks sometimes go :LOL:

Yep those foam deals are a pain in the kazootsky!
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Threads
30,867
Messages
509,568
Members
13,096
Latest member
bikmann

Latest Threads

Top