Basic pond questions

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I recently cleaned out a pond, it is my first time since owning the property that came with this pond so I didn't know what to expect, hopefully I can get some advice here on how best to proceed.

All around the pond, just below the water level, is a coat of string algae. I saw the goldfish digging into it a lot, I assume they were eating it. Should I clean out these string algae? Are those algae dead if left alone or will they come back after I refill the pond? Here is an image showing the algae after the pond was drained.

IMG-20221010-182330.jpg


Next question is about the pond water level. Even when it rained a lot, the pond does not rise above a certain level. I thought the pond has a hidden or buried outlet somewhere, but after draining the pond, I found that there is an area under a wood bridge (bridge was removed and I am building a new one now) that the water was spilling into. See the image below.

IMG-20221011-142655.jpg


Is this normal that water just rises high and spill into the ground? If not what is a better way to do it? Also in the same picture to the left, there is a hole about five to six inches in diameter that goes deep. I am pretty sure crabs enter and exit the pond from here. After I drained the pond I found two crabs, I left them alone, the next day I found the crabs dismembered...probably raccoons. Should I close off this hole by filling it with dirt or sand?

Finally, the perimeter of the pond are faux rocks and boulders. Some are very large the size of a refrigerator. See images below.

IMG-20221009-141745.jpg


IMG-20221009-141852.jpg


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I would like to modify some of these rocks, to add some features and to raise one side higher. I am pretty handy but I tried to use some mortar to create some rocks myself as a test and the result does not look good...they look like concrete, not rock. I think to do this requires someone who has experience, skills and tools to create the color, shape, and texture close to natural rocks. I don't think this is what a regular mason who lay bricks and blocks do either. What is the name of the trade for a professional that does this for a living? I probably need to hire this out instead of DIY.

Thank you!
 
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Is this normal that water just rises high and spill into the ground?

Pretty normal. Nothing wrong with it as long as the high water line is where you want it and not damaging anything when it overflows.

Should I close off this hole by filling it with dirt or sand?

What's on the other end of the hole?

What is the name of the trade for a professional that does this for a living?

Good question. I've seen masons and companies who do it, but I don't know exactly how they identify themselves. I've heard the the term "simulated environments" before. I'd probably start by talking to stone masons in the area or searching for concrete artists.
 
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I wouldn't worry about the string algae and yes fish will eat it and the microscopic creatures who live in it. If it becomes too long you can easily remove it .....you can just pull it out, use a toilet brush to twirl around it etc.

When you say crabs, are you referring to cray fish...or actual crabs? What climate to you live in?

Can you tell us a little more about your pond?
 
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I wouldn't worry about the string algae and yes fish will eat it and the microscopic creatures who live in it. If it becomes too long you can easily remove it .....you can just pull it out, use a toilet brush to twirl around it etc.

When you say crabs, are you referring to cray fish...or actual crabs? What climate to you live in?

Can you tell us a little more about your pond?

I am located in Fort Lauderdale, FL so it's hot, humid and rains a lot.

The pond is about 1000 gallons (my guess), was built in 1992. I bought this property with the pond, and I am a novice. I didn't even know if this pond has a liner or not, or the concrete is it...when I bought it, the pond had no pump, no filter, with 3 goldfish. The previous owner said they never did anything to the pond and the fish lives on what's in the pond. I have seen crabs, frogs, toads, thousands of tadpoles, occasional iguanas, I have chased raccoons out of the pond a few times.

When I said crabs I mean crabs. This is a picture I took of one. They go in and out of the pond, often at the underside of my bridge. Now I know why because there is a big hole hidden under the bridge where they enter and exit the pond and go outside to a nearby river.

IMG_20200529_172546.jpg


There is a pump, but broken. I fixed it last year and restored the waterfall feature flowing down one of the boulders. But then I had a tree trimmed, the tree trimmer fell a large branch from 40 feet above come crashing down the pond, broke the PVC intake line. Since then I had no pump...and the fish multiplied from 3 to 10 to 25 to over 30 in two years. But back in August they all died overnight, probably low oxygen level. That kind of prompted the cleanout so I can remove the bottom 6" of black muck from years of leaves fruits and whatever settling in it, to fix the PVC intake line, and to replace the badly rotten bridge.

This is a picture before I did the pond cleaning. If you look at the upper left side of the picture that area is low and the same level as ground. When it rains heavily dirt will run into the pond. I need to regrade that area better, but I also want to build up the edge a little to prevent the erosion. That's why I was asking about making faked concrete rocks.

IMAG2042.jpg
 
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You sure did mean crabs - very cool !!

I wonder if a reputable pool builder ( especially in your area ) would have the type of skills you're looking for? I think they would also have contacts with concrete companies.
 

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