CW's Back Yard Water Garden Begins!


Joined
Sep 18, 2020
Messages
58
Reaction score
26
Location
Pacific NW
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
The big dig begins today. That is, assuming the excavator I hired gets through the remaining concrete demolition quickly this morning. And then it's on to the digging.

Here's a video I posted for my friends a couple weeks ago talking through the whole project:


I estimate the size of the pond will be about 7,500 gallons with dimensions of roughly 40' x 18' x 3'. Only filter will be a bog filter / constructed wetland. No plan for fish at this time.

All subject to change at my whim as we start digging today!

I'm the type of person who likes to plan down to the last detail from the very beginning. That usually gets in the way of my productivity moreso than it eliminates problems, so I'm trying my hand at breaking ground without everything figured out ahead of time. It's an uncomfortable process, but I think it's good for me. Hopefully, I've planned enough to avoid the biggest issues, and I trust I'll figure out the smaller ones as they arise.

I also typically do my own labor on these kinds of big projects, but am challenging myself to be the manager—and not the laborer—for the biggest pieces of the project, which will include the initial dig and setting boulders when the time comes. I am a little sad I won't get to play with the excavator, though.

Wish me luck!
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Oct 28, 2013
Messages
9,965
Reaction score
10,444
Location
Northern IL
Showcase(s):
1
Do you mean you don't plan to have fish? Or you just haven't planned what kind of fish?

I will tell you - your bog (and any pond plants) will struggle with no fish. There are three elements to an eco pond - water+plants+fish=balanced pond. Remove one from the equation, and the equation is unbalanced. (Well, remove water and it's not even a pond... haha!)

You can, of course, fertilize your plants - buy why? Let the fish do it for you! Honestly with no fish, there's no reason to even have a bog - no need for biological filtration.
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2020
Messages
58
Reaction score
26
Location
Pacific NW
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
@Lisa K: I would love to have a few fish. Problem is that I don't know how to only have a few fish. The little research I've done on it says that a few fish turn into a lot of fish without active "management." I'm probably too lazy to try to rehome fish on the regular, and we'd prefer not to have to euthanize any.

My wife also wants to use this as a little rec pond during the summers and would prefer not to swim with fish (though I think it would be cool).

I admit I'm pretty uneducated about keeping fish, though, so if you know how to keep a light fish load without a lot of active management, I'm sure open to learning.
 

TheFishGuy

( Insert something funny )
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
568
Reaction score
291
Location
Colorado
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
4b or 5a
Country
United States
@Lisa K: I would love to have a few fish. Problem is that I don't know how to only have a few fish. The little research I've done on it says that a few fish turn into a lot of fish without active "management." I'm probably too lazy to try to rehome fish on the regular, and we'd prefer not to have to euthanize any.

My wife also wants to use this as a little rec pond during the summers and would prefer not to swim with fish (though I think it would be cool).

I admit I'm pretty uneducated about keeping fish, though, so if you know how to keep a light fish load without a lot of active management, I'm sure open to learning.
What about a small pond near the bog or something with a few goldfish, it could just spill into the main pond. that would get you the nutrients and some of the joy of fish, but be able to swim in the main pond without them little fluffy fishes.
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2020
Messages
58
Reaction score
26
Location
Pacific NW
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
What about a small pond near the bog or something with a few goldfish, it could just spill into the main pond. that would get you the nutrients and some of the joy of fish, but be able to swim in the main pond without them little fluffy fishes.
You know, the pond area is on a very gradual slope. About 4" grade change from one side to the other. I briefly thought about breaking it up into two ponds—an upper and a lower— with a very short and wide waterfall from one to the other. I kind of wrote it off, though, as I figured it would really reduce overall pond volume (more = better?) and really increase the amount of rock needed since we'll be rocking the whole thing.

Maybe I should give it another thought. Really, though, I just need to convince my wife it's no big deal. And I need to figure out how to manage population without a lot of work...
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
3,147
Reaction score
3,009
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
5b
Country
United States
Maybe I should give it another thought. Really, though, I just need to convince my wife it's no big deal. And I need to figure out how to manage population without a lot of work...
Hi, your pond design sounds great!
I understand your wife doesn't want to swim with fish, but how does she feel about swimming with frogs, snakes, bugs etc?
I would plan for fish, just in case she changes her mind.
I used to manage the number of fish in my pond, by only keeping males

Good luck!
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2020
Messages
58
Reaction score
26
Location
Pacific NW
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
I understand your wife doesn't want to swim with fish, but how does she feel about swimming with frogs, snakes, bugs etc?
Ha. Good question! I think she just doesn't like cloudy water, and associates fish with cloudy water. I am definitely planning for a light fish load so that we can support it when the time comes. I think she just needs to see it all come together first and then she'll come around.


I used to manage the number of fish in my pond, by only keeping males
What did you do with your females? And why did you stop managing it?
 

Jhn

Joined
Jul 3, 2017
Messages
1,159
Reaction score
1,065
Location
Maryland
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
7b
Country
United States
Around where I am the heron is population control in my pond and did a great job at it. If you don’t put koi in there and stick with goldfish you shouldn’t have too much issues with overwhelming your ponds filter system, it takes a lot to overwhelm a wetland filter.

I Ended up netting my pond last year high above it to mainly keep hawks out that started to snag the terrapins out of the pond. Now nothing gets at the fish, so probably will enlarge the pond in the near future seaming the Existing liner to a new one doubling the size of the pond. Pond is 10,000 gallons currently but has a ton of fish in it, and the lazy channel cats are slackers and not eating any of the young fish.

Your going to let some one else set rocks and dig that is the fun part.....
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2020
Messages
58
Reaction score
26
Location
Pacific NW
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
Around where I am the heron is population control in my pond and did a great job at it. If you don’t put koi in there and stick with goldfish you shouldn’t have too much issues with overwhelming your ponds filter system, it takes a lot to overwhelm a wetland filter.

I Ended up netting my pond last year high above it to mainly keep hawks out that started to snag the terrapins out of the pond. Now nothing gets at the fish, so probably will enlarge the pond in the near future seaming the Existing liner to a new one doubling the size of the pond. Pond is 10,000 gallons currently but has a ton of fish in it, and the lazy channel cats are slackers and not eating any of the young fish.

Your going to let some one else set rocks and dig that is the fun part.....
Ok, there's an idea. We have about a 100 acre wetland less than a mile from our house, and I see herons and egrets fishing in there constantly. Also lots of hawks and eagles flying around the neighborhood. Maybe they'll all come over for dinner. That would be good population control!

I'll probably set most of the rocks myself, but some of the really big ones will require an excavator, and I "have a guy" that gives me a decent rate to do excavation work. And I have a 1 year old, a few other projects to work on, and impending winter. Seemed easier to hire someone who knows what they're doing than try to organize a rental and spend half my time trying to figure out how to use the machine efficiently.
 

brokensword

Not all those who wander are lost
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
982
Reaction score
792
Location
Michigan
Hardiness Zone
5b
Country
United States
I'd also consider how your daughter is going to attach to any (one) fish you end up acquiring. You'll probably be the one having to explain how 'Nemo' went on a one way ride with the heron. I know my kids would have been devastated.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Sep 18, 2020
Messages
58
Reaction score
26
Location
Pacific NW
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
I'd also consider how your daughter is going to attach to any (one) fish you end up acquiring. You'll probably be the one having to explain how 'Nemo' went on a one way ride with the heron. I know my kids would have been devastated.
Easy. We'll just name the heron and then we'll root for the heron to get the fish instead. :p

Maybe if/when we do fish, we'll just buy a few big ones to start and she can get attached to those. I think herons are less likely to try to make off with big fish, right? I think they mostly target the little ones?
 

TheFishGuy

( Insert something funny )
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
568
Reaction score
291
Location
Colorado
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
4b or 5a
Country
United States
Easy. We'll just name the heron and then we'll root for the heron to get the fish instead. :p

Maybe if/when we do fish, we'll just buy a few big ones to start and she can get attached to those. I think herons are less likely to try to make off with big fish, right? I think they mostly target the little ones?
think of it this way...

would you rather have a

20lb steak that you can just walk to the grocery store and get ( free )

or a 01lb steak with lots of bones and not a lot of meat that you have to run around your town chasing.

the bigger fish are easier targets because they are slower, and also have more nom noms packed into them :)
 

brokensword

Not all those who wander are lost
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
982
Reaction score
792
Location
Michigan
Hardiness Zone
5b
Country
United States
ah, I agree with FG; a heron can put away a pretty large fish. Take a look at the size of a blue heron's beak.

 
  • Wow
Reactions: cas
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
37
Reaction score
14
Location
Buzzards Bay, MA
Hardiness Zone
6b
Country
United States
And I need to figure out how to manage population without a lot of work...
When I was keeping platy fish in my indoor aquarium, I was getting lots of babies. I would occasionally round them up and take them to a local pet store which happily accepted them. It was a little bit of a hassle, but not too bad.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Oct 28, 2013
Messages
9,965
Reaction score
10,444
Location
Northern IL
Showcase(s):
1
Our local hometown pet store will take donations of fish, too. Not so much the PetSmart types.

Herons will go for the big fish - and often they won't even eat them if they're too big. Just stab them and toss them on the ground to die.

I know there are some here who do yearly round ups of all the pond babies they get, but we've never had to worry about it. When we had koi, we never got a single baby, even though they spawned on the regular. Our goldfish do successfully breed, but it's generally a couple of babies that survive a year. I'd worry about that bridge when you come to it... because it may never happen. Watch for spawning, stop feeding, and let nature take it's course. You might be fine.

As for the predators - build some hiding spots in the pond, get lots of plant cover going, run some aerators to provide a "bubble curtain" and give your fish at least a fighting chance. The birds can't catch what they can't see. We are surrounded by natural water and have herons and egrets flying overhead many times per day - never had a problem. Although our backyard is pretty tight with fence, trees, house, all pretty close to the pond - I don't think they like to land where they don't have an easy escape route.
 
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
37
Reaction score
14
Location
Buzzards Bay, MA
Hardiness Zone
6b
Country
United States
Our local hometown pet store will take donations of fish, too. Not so much the PetSmart types.
Yes, should have been more specific about that. It's the small mom & pop, independent stores that have taken fish off my hands. PetCo and PetSmart will not accept them. There must be some kind of company policy that prevents it.
 

addy1

water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins
Moderator
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
38,594
Reaction score
22,931
Location
Frederick, Maryland
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
6b
Country
United States
few fish turn into a lot of fish without active "management."
Fantails breed slow stay small might be something you would want. But they are slow and herons do love them. I lost all in my hot tub pond when I forgot to net it last January before I had to go to Florida to deal with a deceased tenant. The heron had a very nice sushi bar
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
1,508
Reaction score
1,656
Hardiness Zone
7b
I have always been amazed at how nature keeps my pond population under control. I just have goldfish. I don't feed them (except now and again to keep them social) and they seem to gobble up most of the eggs. Each year, a few survive to be adults - but each year, a few are lost to predators or the stress of spawning. I net the pond in the fall because of leaves. But If I didn't, I think I'd have even more visiting predators through the fall and winter. As an aside -- when I get in my pond to do a bigger clean up, it is hysterically funny to have the fish nibbling at my toes. Your daughter might get a big kick out of it!
 

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

Top