Buy new liner?

Re-dig or buy new liner or both

  • Re-dig slightly smaller, but also a bit deeper.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Buy big liner for big $. (What do I do with the old one?)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Both

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    0

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Hi guys!

I just made my mom a koi pond last summer. It looks good and has held the water well, but I have some problems. I didn’t do enough research and made the mistake of watching youtuber Paul Cuffaro make a pond in Florida while I live in Iowa. I have no fish in it anymore (as they died) after the winter but they weren’t doing well before. My pond is 20in deep at the deepest part. It is at its widest 6 feet and about 10 feet long. The overlap is only about 2in at places. The fish could have died because I didn’t know how to care for them and all were reasonably new before the winter hit. Currently I’m debating if I should make the pond a little smaller or buy a new liner. Please save me.

Thank you ahead of time,
Isaac.
 
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The bigger the pond the less problems {within reason} 20 inches deep in Iowa or Florida is not in my eyes a good idea for both areas. in Iowa the ice can get dangerously close to icing solid the entire pond . And Florida i would think at 20" the pond and fish would boil. He just built / or aquascapes just built him his first pond not long ago.
 

addy1

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Welcome to our forum!

Did you put koi in that pond? Koi demand a lot of water and great filtration. Goldfish are a better choice. Shubunkins are great looking colorful fish. Did you keep a area open during the winter for gas exchange? Did your fish die over winter or before?

Deeper would be better. If you dig deeper bigger and need a new liner, use the old one to make a nice bog to filter the pond.
 
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What do you mean by overlap?

I agree what others have stated. Your fish could have died if you didn't provide gas exchange while it was frozen or possibly it completely froze through.

Fish, for the most part, don't really require a whole lot of attention. They can feed off of plants, bugs, algae, etc. Some people don't feed their fish at all.
 

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@Isaac Lo
Your pond is way too small for koi. Just get some nice Shubunkin's or other types of pretty goldfish. I think a deeper pond is needed where you live also no matter what type of fish you get. Unless you plan on bringing them all inside for the winter.
 
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Welcome to our forum!

Did you put koi in that pond? Koi demand a lot of water and great filtration. Goldfish are a better choice. Shubunkins are great looking colorful fish. Did you keep a area open during the winter for gas exchange? Did your fish die over winter or before?

Deeper would be better. If you dig deeper bigger and need a new liner, use the old one to make a nice bog to filter the pond.
Thank you!

I did have a koi and two big oscars that were given as a gift before it froze. Thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely try to get some Shubunkins instead. I did try to keep a breathing whole, but it frosted over when I was gone. When I got back I broke a hopein the ice but it was really thick by that time. I’m not really sure if the koi died in the winter, but I’m sure the Oscar were alive going into the winter. The problem was my pond wall fell in under the weight of a big rock before winter. This made the water really mucky and I couldn’t see the little koi.

I think I’ll try to make it deeper then. I’m not an expert on bogs. Do bogs take up a lot of space?Thank you for the idea, I want to use the old pond liner for something.

On a side note what liner do you think is the best? PVC seems to be a bit cheaper, but I want to make sure it lasts.

Thank you again for the warm welcome and advise!
 
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What do you mean by overlap?

I agree what others have stated. Your fish could have died if you didn't provide gas exchange while it was frozen or possibly it completely froze through.

Fish, for the most part, don't really require a whole lot of attention. They can feed off of plants, bugs, algae, etc. Some people don't feed their fish at all.
Thank you for the advice!

It could have been the ice that did it or the water cleanliness. That’s kind of one of my problems, I don’t really know.

I mean the length of extra pond liner from the walls of the pond. I read from multiple sources that you need a foot extra of liner, but I only have a few inches. It has held up well without it though.
 

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Your liner is the most important part of your pond. Don't waste your money on a cheap liner, 45Epdm is what most people use. 1 foot overlap gives you room to work. Once you fill the pond, the died will compact and it will settle. Better to have extra liner around edgevthan a low spot where water can leak out.
 
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Yep, absolutely do not use a PVC liner. I know the cheaper price is tempting, but the liner is the very base of your build and if there's a tear or a hole it's really difficult to locate and repair. When I first started out I bought a PVC liner. What a mistake. PVC liners become brittle in a matter of a few months. Mine sprung a leak in the dead of winter. I couldn't replace it until the Spring, so every week I had to add 300 gallons until Spring came. I changed it out with EPDM.

As stated, most prefer EPDM. I'm in the middle of adding a bog and I opted for a HDRPE liner this time. I thought I would give that a try. It's quite stiff compared to EPDM. I hope it lasts as long.
 
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Welcome @Isaac Lo ! That's really sweet that you built your mom a pond. Do you mind if I ask how old you are?

Paul Cuffaro is fun to watch on YouTube. If you've watched a good number of his videos, you'll see that his ponds have evolved over the years. His first pond was very rudimentary, but then he caught the attention of Aquascape and they worked together to build some really nice ponds both at his parent's house and his house. And he's had a few hard lessons of his own along the way. Being that he is in Florida he can get away with shallower ponds or different types of fish, but the basic rules still apply - you can't have too many (or too large) fish for the size of your pond. And it does make me sad that someone gave you oscars for your pond - they are beautiful fish, but definitely not for an Iowa pond!

In your zone, your pond doesn't need to be a whole lot deeper - here in Chicago many ponds are 24 inches deep and fish do great in them year round. The bigger issues are 1. plenty of water volume 2. plenty of surface area 3. a way for the gasses that build up to escape from the pond when it gets iced over. But you can have two of the three and still have problems. Good planning will serve you and your fish well.

I'd suggest you keep reading and researching basic pond building before you proceed. Here's a good resource for DIY pond building. It will take you a few hours to watch the whole series, but it will be well worth your time.

 
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Hello and welcome!

Do you have any pictures of the pond so we have an idea of what you are working with?

Definitely agree that EPDM is the way to go. Your liner is the most important part of the pond, so don’t skimp here.
 

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Agree with all above don't go with PVC, get a better liner. I have used EPDM and ppl36 (bend tarp and liner)
 
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Welcome @Isaac Lo ! That's really sweet that you built your mom a pond. Do you mind if I ask how old you are?

Paul Cuffaro is fun to watch on YouTube. If you've watched a good number of his videos, you'll see that his ponds have evolved over the years. His first pond was very rudimentary, but then he caught the attention of Aquascape and they worked together to build some really nice ponds both at his parent's house and his house. And he's had a few hard lessons of his own along the way. Being that he is in Florida he can get away with shallower ponds or different types of fish, but the basic rules still apply - you can't have too many (or too large) fish for the size of your pond. And it does make me sad that someone gave you oscars for your pond - they are beautiful fish, but definitely not for an Iowa pond!

In your zone, your pond doesn't need to be a whole lot deeper - here in Chicago many ponds are 24 inches deep and fish do great in them year round. The bigger issues are 1. plenty of water volume 2. plenty of surface area 3. a way for the gasses that build up to escape from the pond when it gets iced over. But you can have two of the three and still have problems. Good planning will serve you and your fish well.

I'd suggest you keep reading and researching basic pond building before you proceed. Here's a good resource for DIY pond building. It will take you a few hours to watch the whole series, but it will be well worth your time.

Thank you so much! I’m still in high school. I really like Paul. He is very interesting to watch. I’m really sorry about the fish too.

Thank you for the information about Chicago! I think I have a good rubber liner right now, and I don’t want to waste it. It nearly fits, albeit without a large overlap. One of the replies told me to use it for a big but I don’t know if I’d really like/need one. It’s a rather small pond and I hope I can somehow re-dig it a little smaller to accommodate more overlap. Does that sound like a good plan? I think water quality is an issue also and I read that UV purifiers would work well in addition to my filter and pump.

I think #3 was a big problem for me! I might buy a pond spot de-icer.

Thank you for your time and the video!
 
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Hello and welcome!

Do you have any pictures of the pond so we have an idea of what you are working with?

Definitely agree that EPDM is the way to go. Your liner is the most important part of the pond, so don’t skimp here.
Thank you! My profile picture is my pond! Thanks for the information. I have a nice liner that I think is EPDM, so I don’t want to waste it.
 
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Yep, absolutely do not use a PVC liner. I know the cheaper price is tempting, but the liner is the very base of your build and if there's a tear or a hole it's really difficult to locate and repair. When I first started out I bought a PVC liner. What a mistake. PVC liners become brittle in a matter of a few months. Mine sprung a leak in the dead of winter. I couldn't replace it until the Spring, so every week I had to add 300 gallons until Spring came. I changed it out with EPDM.

As stated, most prefer EPDM. I'm in the middle of adding a bog and I opted for a HDRPE liner this time. I thought I would give that a try. It's quite stiff compared to EPDM. I hope it lasts as long.
Thank you! You saved me a lot of trouble. That sounds horrible.

I hope your big works well. I got a reply telling me that I should make one, but I don’t think I’m ready too.
 
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I think water quality is an issue
When you think of water quality, you want to start with bioload. Too many/too big of fish are the most likely cause of poor water quality. Keep your pond UNDER stocked and your water quality will be fine. You said you built a "koi pond" - I think your pond is more likely a goldfish pond. My pond is around 4000 gallons and, after having (and losing) about a dozen big koi, we have chosen to keep our pond goldfish only. The are simply easier to keep in a garden pond as the biomass is much less and therefore filtration needs are greatly reduced. I would feel perfectly OK if our pump went out for some reason with just goldfish in the pond. With koi, that quickly becomes a problem.

I completely understand wanting to re-use the liner you already have. If you feel good about reducing the size of your pond, that's your choice. Most people want to go bigger! How big would you estimate your current pond is? "Digging smaller" can be an issue, as you need to backfill and make sure you compact, compact, compact the soil you return to the hole. You don't want the edges around the pond to start to sink or settle which is what will happen if you don't make sure to they are firmly packed. I would even suggest you compact the soil and then wet it down and compact it some more.
 
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Your liner is the most important part of your pond. Don't waste your money on a cheap liner, 45Epdm is what most people use. 1 foot overlap gives you room to work. Once you fill the pond, the died will compact and it will settle. Better to have extra liner around edgevthan a low spot where water can leak out.
Thank you for the advice! Is a foot overlap required or just advised? The liner I have almost fits.
 
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When you think of water quality, you want to start with bioload. Too many/too big of fish are the most likely cause of poor water quality. Keep your pond UNDER stocked and your water quality will be fine. You said you built a "koi pond" - I think your pond is more likely a goldfish pond. My pond is around 4000 gallons and, after having (and losing) about a dozen big koi, we have chosen to keep our pond goldfish only. The are simply easier to keep in a garden pond as the biomass is much less and therefore filtration needs are greatly reduced. I would feel perfectly OK if our pump went out for some reason with just goldfish in the pond. With koi, that quickly becomes a problem.

I completely understand wanting to re-use the liner you already have. If you feel good about reducing the size of your pond, that's your choice. Most people want to go bigger! How big would you estimate your current pond is? "Digging smaller" can be an issue, as you need to backfill and make sure you compact, compact, compact the soil you return to the hole. You don't want the edges around the pond to start to sink or settle which is what will happen if you don't make sure to they are firmly packed. I would even suggest you compact the soil and then wet it down and compact it some more.
Okay I understand. I don’t think that was the issue. There was a rather green color to my pond (I assume from the algae). And it was murky with dirt that spilled into it. I understand now that koi’s are for bigger ponds but my mom really loves them. I hope I can get at least one or two little koi’s and the rest goldfish. As a side not I heard you have to prep the water using beneficial bacteria. Is this true?

I would really like to go bigger too! I’m just not sure I can justify it. I don’t want to waste liner because my calculations were incorrect, but I’ll do it if I have to! I would guess a little less than 1,000 gallons. Thank you for the advice about the “undigging ”! The soil not being compacted actually happened to me because I was making a wall flatter and the wall fell in! ( that’s how the dirt got in the pond )
 
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little koi’s
There's literally no such thing as "little koi". They start out the size of an eyelash and grow VERY FAST. Have your mom look at shubunkin goldfish. They have all the lovely colors of koi and are the perfect size for your pond.

If by "overlap" you mean the amount that you have around the edge, a foot is fine. If you do want to go bigger AND use your old liner, check out the post by @GBBUDD on seaming two pieces of liner together. He did it in an existing pond - far easier to do if you can lay the two pieces of liner flat to create the perfect seam.
 

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