Darksaber Pond - My Next Adventure


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Jhn

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Thanks, I hadn't considered the first thought that multiple feedings might make them easy targets, yes I was thinking to fatten them up in the first couple of years.

Do the fish generally find deeper areas when they are around? I have no idea if I'm going to have issues but the water for most of the pond is 4 foot and there will be some fish caves, there are some shallower areas near either side and the back.
Yes they will hide in deeper areas or in the fish caves when predators come around. Only issue is they usually don’t do this until after at least one of them was eaten or attacked.
 
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So today's question for those of us new to this... I was washing down the rocks (I actually asked if I could do some of it this weekend).

Anyway, it got me thinking, I used weathered limestone because I think it looks awesome and I love the moss and it looks so much better than the TN/VA boulders that they usually use. As I was washing I noticed a lot of organic material, dirt, moss, grasses, etc... that will be underwater completely. Is it correct to assume that will die off, decay, and fuel its own cycle? I'm planning on adding some cold water bacteria as a starter then we will probably have 2+ months before we even get close to being able to add fish, but wondering if I'll need to plan for later than that while it all cycles through? I know I'll need to test for ammonia and nitrite before adding anything, so this is more of a planning question.

Additionally what test kits do people use?
 

brokensword

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So today's question for those of us new to this... I was washing down the rocks (I actually asked if I could do some of it this weekend).

Anyway, it got me thinking, I used weathered limestone because I think it looks awesome and I love the moss and it looks so much better than the TN/VA boulders that they usually use. As I was washing I noticed a lot of organic material, dirt, moss, grasses, etc... that will be underwater completely. Is it correct to assume that will die off, decay, and fuel its own cycle? I'm planning on adding some cold water bacteria as a starter then we will probably have 2+ months before we even get close to being able to add fish, but wondering if I'll need to plan for later than that while it all cycles through? I know I'll need to test for ammonia and nitrite before adding anything, so this is more of a planning question.

Additionally what test kits do people use?
The debris on your rocks will help start the cycle; no need for any added chems. There's bacteria everywhere and it'll get (already is to a small extent) in your pond. Look up fishless-cycling; you add some liquid ammonia and let nature have at it. Without fish though, you'll not have any nutrients for vegetation, so once the cycling is done, add some. To help diminish algae blooms, try and cover your pond with floating plants (60% coverage) and good aeration.

If you're going to test, use the liquid type from API. It helps to also know your Gh and Kh. Don't worry re pH raising/lowering; just keep whatever you have constant. Over time with vegetation, if pH is high, it'll level out some.
 
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The debris on your rocks will help start the cycle; no need for any added chems. There's bacteria everywhere and it'll get (already is to a small extent) in your pond. Look up fishless-cycling; you add some liquid ammonia and let nature have at it. Without fish though, you'll not have any nutrients for vegetation, so once the cycling is done, add some. To help diminish algae blooms, try and cover your pond with floating plants (60% coverage) and good aeration.

If you're going to test, use the liquid type from API. It helps to also know your Gh and Kh. Don't worry re pH raising/lowering; just keep whatever you have constant. Over time with vegetation, if pH is high, it'll level out some.
Thanks, I'm pretty familiar with fishless cycles from the saltwater side, I guess what I'm wondering is on this scale will that much organic material be enough so I don't need to add the ammonia as a source? There's probably no way to know without actual testing so just looking for some guesses or any prior experience with the uncleaned weathered limestone.
 

Jhn

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Personally, I’ve never cycled my ponds per se like an aquarium. I build the pond and the bog/wetland filter, plant the hell out of the pond and bog. Usually, with in a few weeks or so I add some fish, and have never lost any fish doing it this way Or fish even show any signs of distress. I will say I don’t add any large fish when the pond is new. My thoughts are the plants being in there first will consume ammonia, as well as nitrate lessening the severity of any cycling that does happen in the pond.

Also, being on well water in my area there are plenty of nutrients in my source water to feed the initial plantings until I start adding fish.
 
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Herons are beyond skillful hunters . when stealth doesn't work i have seen them drag a foot across the bottom and i'm betting they know just like when i disturb the pond bottom the fish come running like throwing a rock in a pond . The fish swim over and look to see what fell in and if it is food. and when they do it's game over. The ONLY way to insure no herons is a pond 36" to 40" deep at the shallowest and the sides of the pond need to be about a 30 inch drop down to the water level from outside the pond . Place a full net over the pond. or remove there flight path the latter still being risky
 

brokensword

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Personally, I’ve never cycled my ponds per se like an aquarium. I build the pond and the bog/wetland filter, plant the hell out of the pond and bog. Usually, with in a few weeks or so I add some fish, and have never lost any fish doing it this way Or fish even show any signs of distress. I will say I don’t add any large fish when the pond is new. My thoughts are the plants being in there first will consume ammonia, as well as nitrate lessening the severity of any cycling that does happen in the pond.

Also, being on well water in my area there are plenty of nutrients in my source water to feed the initial plantings until I start adding fish.
same here; didn't really worry much as the plants and fish, when I first started ponding, were all small and few. Then the fish got larger and I added koi. That's when I started seeing some issues and expanded, so I've tried to stay ahead. Most would say my pond is over stocked (100+ gf and 20 immature koi, + 4 mid size turtles) but both fish and plants are still doing well. Keep the initial load low and have plants and you're fine, imo. Water movement (areation, wfall) will help stall a lot of potential problems and promotes a better environment.
 
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Yes they will hide in deeper areas or in the fish caves when predators come around. Only issue is they usually don’t do this until after at least one of them was eaten or attacked.
Exactly. And sometimes they will hide for a looooooong time. I had one guy tell me about his koi that he saw get speared by a heron, he startled the bird and it took off with the fish and then dropped it back into the pond as it flew over. He searched for the fish for days and never saw it so he assumed it was dead in the pond somewhere. The fish suddenly reappeared 9 months later.

Other times, they will hide until they think it's safe - but the heron is a patient hunter. They will stand stock still for hours, just waiting. The "less astute" fish will forget about the bird eventually and venture out and become dinner.

I think most have found that a net is the only 100% reliable way to keep herons out of the pond, but like @GBBUDD suggested, if you view your pond from the point of view of a heron - they like a safe, fast way in and out. Create barriers to an easy flight path with landscaping or structures and they are less likely to be willing to take the chance. We see lots of herons daily fly over our house, but because we are surrounded by natural ponds that are loaded with fish, they have left us alone so far. We had one land in our yard one time and I thought "oh boy. Here we go." but it only stayed a minute and, as far as we know, never came back. We have a small, fenced, heavily landscaped backyard - not the best option in the 'hood!
 
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Thanks all, I have no idea of the risk of herons in the area, just trying to anticipate things. As it's also going to be a swim pond it's not really practical to do a net so we'll have to see how it goes. We do plan on heavily landscaping things after the pond is done.
 
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For initial stocking do any of you recommend getting the plants established in the spring before adding fish? I plan to go really slow with fish (relative to size of the pond). Just wondering if I should plant the wetland then give it a bit of time before adding the first fish, or just do it all as soon as it warms up enough.
 
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brokensword

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For initial stocking do any of you recommend getting the plants established in the spring before adding fish? I plan to go really slow with fish (relative to size of the pond). Just wondering if I should plant the wetland then give it a bit of time before adding the first fish, or just do it all as soon as it warms up enough.
the fish are part of the cycle/equilibrium as without them, your plants won't have anything upon which to grow. That said, more plants helps diminish any algae blooms. Do both at the same time, imo.

And you're going to find if you really want fish, you'll probably have to protect them. @addy1 has her net strung high over head and draped down the sides. If you look at her pics, you can hardly see it.

And judging by your pics, a heron isn't going to have problems finiding and getting to your pond. Herons don't like obstructed flight paths, true, but once again, @addy1 will tell you how she had a heron walk in under her net after landing on the outskirts of her pond.

jmho
 
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I went the complete reverse i over stocked the pond and fed them well. I planted the pond bogs and stream heavily but as new plants even heavily planted if i took ALL the roots from every plant that fist year and added them up they would not have added up to a single well growing plant the second year the root mass the second and third year can become crazy , @Lisak1 use to say she was always amazed my plants the first year did so well. I may have gone a little overboard but it seemed to work out just fine.
 
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use to say she was always amazed my plants the first year did so well.
I'm still amazed at how fast your pond looked fully matured! And I agree - all those plants with no fish would have languished. You kind of have to walk that fine balance the first few years.
 
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I'm still amazed at how fast your pond looked fully matured! And I agree - all those plants with no fish would have languished. You kind of have to walk that fine balance the first few years.
I think the large and small tree stumps, moss, large boulders and lack of a defined shape helped in that regard
 
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I think the large and small tree stumps, moss, large boulders and lack of a defined shape helped in that regard
Definitely. I think you can always tell when someone has spent time in nature, observing how ponds and streams and things look when they are developed naturally. Add the eye of an artist and you get a beautiful pond!
 
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Your to kind
Thank you

I hope to build an other
 
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Wow this has been fun watching the build videos. We had a large pond built for us this past summer. Never thought about doing a time lapse. Your videos bring back those memories. My pond is just under 10,000 gal and now looks small in comparison to yours. Can’t wait to see the finished project... bet you are really enjoying the process as I did, so I won’t ask you to hurry.
 

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