Elementary School Pond Newbie


AndyZoner

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This 700-800 gallon pond has been languishing for 3 years now (original caretaker passed away and no one took up the reins). I decided to make it a project and, oh my gosh, this is fun! The wealth of information in this forum has been invaluable in my journey to pond mastery (I like to think I'll get there, but I'll settle for bumbling caretaker). I'm just a PTSA mom, after all.

This pond is 8' wide x 10' long and 24" at its deepest - granted that 24" is only one square foot in the middle. The true bottom is 18" deep and the first shelf is 8" to the left of the waterfall and 6" to the right. We've got a skimmer/filter/pump at one end and a waterfall box with 2 layers of filter pads and a mesh bag filled with plastic ribbons for bio media. I'm adding plants as fast as I can and using a Pondmaster UV light behind the skimmer. Someday the water will clear...I hope.

Despite the green water, our principal told me the other day that he enjoys relaxing by the pond in the morning before classes start. Yahoo!
 

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AndyZoner

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Oh, and we have 9 goldfish (1 is named Goldy and I swear she is older than me). We had about 40 in there until 3 weeks ago when I called in a fish rescue. 4 are under 3", 4 are about 3-4" and Goldy is at least 6".
 

JRS

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Welcome to the forum! Good job on being proactive and reducing the fish population. Looks like you are on the right track. Friends in high places never hurt either.
 
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What a fun project and I agree with @JRS about being proactive on the fish population. It's so hard to rehome fish, but it's in their best interest.
 
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For an elementary school there's no better teacher" no offense " then there is with mother nature. A bog is where the schools money should go not to uv bills. Uv don't teach the kids much but a bog will show your kids how wetlands take dirty waters and the plants filter out the impurities and wastes. A bog will give you clear waters where the kids can watch the fish be fish munching on the algae on the rocks in the pond. With the plants grow in soils tgat is nothing but rock and fish waste. Frogs will move in dragon flies plants thriving growing and multiplying
 
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Welcome AndyZoner! This school project is absolutely fantastic. It presents a golden opportunity for the children. Which grades? You might ask the principal to set up a meeting with the science teachers to give them a chance to integrate this pond into the curriculum. Hold the meeting at the pond's edge. Also, consider starting a school pond club that includes parent sponsorship. The Atlanta Koi Club might be able/willing to provide expertise. You get an A+ for taking on this project, mom!
 
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Mmathis

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That’s awesome! Thank you for stepping up! Being at an elementary school, are there any safety concerns, or is it fenced....? Just curious.
 

AndyZoner

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That’s awesome! Thank you for stepping up! Being at an elementary school, are there any safety concerns, or is it fenced....? Just curious.
The pond has been there for over a decade and it's not fenced. The kindergarten classes are on the opposite side of the school. No one's been hurt yet.
 

AndyZoner

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Welcome AndyZoner! This school project is absolutely fantastic. It presents a golden opportunity for the children. Which grades? You might ask the principal to set up a meeting with the science teachers to give them a chance to integrate this pond into the curriculum. Hold the meeting at the pond's edge. Also, consider starting a school pond club that includes parent sponsorship. The Atlanta Koi Club might be able/willing to provide expertise. You get an A+ for taking on this project, mom!
Our science teacher mainly uses the pond as a frog breeding ground. She and a few other teachers scoop out the floating bunches of frog eggs and have the kids raise them in their classrooms. I've put in floating baskets filled with gravel and they have been awesome as the tadpoles use them as refuge from the goldfish - which means that when the 5th grade classes come out for a break, they can easily watch the tadpoles swimming around.

I need to contact the Atlanta Koi Club - I was worried since we've just got goldfish that they wouldn't help, but that's just silly. Thanks for lighting a fire under my butt!
 

AndyZoner

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For an elementary school there's no better teacher" no offense " then there is with mother nature. A bog is where the schools money should go not to uv bills. Uv don't teach the kids much but a bog will show your kids how wetlands take dirty waters and the plants filter out the impurities and wastes. A bog will give you clear waters where the kids can watch the fish be fish munching on the algae on the rocks in the pond. With the plants grow in soils tgat is nothing but rock and fish waste. Frogs will move in dragon flies plants thriving growing and multiplying
I hear ya on the bog. Right now, I'm using my shoestring budget (supplied by the PTSA) for plants, barley extract and beneficial bacteria. Next year, I hope to convince the PTSA to finance a bog build (the waterfall box is 38G, which is only 5% of the pond volume). Our school is low income, so there's not a lot of extra money (even if the project will be educational). Hopefully, next year, we'll be able to do clubs at the school (everything has been cancelled this year due to COVID) - a pond club would be awesome!
 
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Start a eco fund for the pond use the green addenda of today to your advantage. Some nut like myself may see it having the extra pipe gravel and rubber to do the job . But alas I'm up north. We did not have a nature pond . We had a courtyard and a pond alright but no one ever gave it a second look it was just there.
 
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addy1

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I'm using my shoestring budget (supplied by the PTSA) for plants, barley extract and beneficial bacteria.
skip the barley extract, the bene bacteria, save the funds for the bog build. Add plants that other stuff does no do much.
Welcome to our forum!
 

JBtheExplorer

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I agree with the others. If a bog is at all possible, either now or potentially in the future, definitely go that route.

I have a small bog (4' by 5') that keeps my pond clean and clear all season long. I use native wetland plant species like Great Blue Lobelia and Cardinal flower, which has the added benefit of attracting lots of hummingbirds.

IMG_6834 copy.jpg
 

AndyZoner

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skip the barley extract, the bene bacteria, save the funds for the bog build. Add plants that other stuff does no do much.
Welcome to our forum!
The instructions left by the last pond caretaker said to do a "deep clean" in the spring. Basically, empty the pond completely, scrub the sides clean, and blast out the bio filters and skimmer filter. Well, we did the deep clean when the fish rescue came and BAM pea soup. When the UV didn't clear the water, I found this forum and realized I was doing it all wrong.

So the return line from the pump in the skimmer box goes into the bottom of the waterfall box above the water level of the pond. If I wanted to put in a bog, would I need to rip out the waterfall box and dedicate that area+the large empty area to the right of the pond for the bog? Or could I somehow incorporate the waterfall box?

Next school year, I'll have $100 to play with from the PTSA budget. I'll put feelers out about possible help from the community - maybe I can get a sponsor or one of our Partners in Education to help out.
 

addy1

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last pond caretaker said to do a "deep clean" in the spring.
NEVER!

With a bog you can also dump the uv light

With thought you could incorporate the waterfall box, but also the bog would be a waterfall back into the pond
 
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Welcome to the group. I'm a newbie, too, and enjoying the different opinions on the Best Way to do a Pond.
 

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