Fish pond NOOB!

Discussion in 'Newbies to Garden Ponds' started by firebird1999us, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. firebird1999us

    firebird1999us

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    So I'm planing on having my whole back yard redone and have picked out a spot for a small, simple, 4-5'x6-7' fish pond. It would be 2 ft deep...and based on those dimensions I would be running about 450-500 gallons max.

    It would be out of direct sunlight most of the day thanks to a UV covering I plan on using directly overtop of the whole patio area I'm digging the pond out at. I'll be using 6"x6" pavers for the patio surface around the pond...although I don't think that's terribly relevant.

    So given that this whole project is kind of in its infancy I'm trying to get an idea of everything I would need to have a clean pond, what type of lining I would need (preformed plastic vs. a flexable, formable liner?), what type of filtration system you guys would suggest, and, asthetically, how I can use things like pebbles, stacked stones, etc...to hide the liner in the pond -- basically to make it look as natural as possible.

    And go!
     
    firebird1999us, Jul 13, 2009
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  2. firebird1999us

    koikeepr

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    You don't mention what you will have in the pond in terms of plant life and fish. If you're going with koi, 2 feet is not deep enough and you will need to go at least 4 feet. If you are just going with some comet goldfish, they you should be okay...tho I would say you should still do down to a least 3 feet if you are able. Shallow ponds are a problem in that they give predators (like racoons/herons/etc), an easy way to attack your fish; and secondly, it will increase your temperature flucuations.

    Also, since you are building from scratch do not forget a bottom drain. Use at least a 3" one, please. You will not regret having put one in and it will make your life much easier in terms of maintenance. Just make the pond floor gently slope down to the center of the pond to guide it toward the bottom drain. Also, don't build any ledges in your pond either (again, you give predators easy access and they just collect muck.)

    You don't mention if you are a handy person with even basic DIY skills. If you are, I would recommend building a 55 gallon barrel filter. You will find plans for building one here on the this site, and can google it as well. It will certainly be cheaper than a store bought one and likely work better.

    But if you give us more info, we can help you out better.
     
    koikeepr, Jul 13, 2009
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  3. firebird1999us

    aviator79

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    I dont see why you would need this a must have. I am not going to do one. I dont see how I would do it or how it and how it would be usefull to me. My pomps will be at the bottom and hopefully they collect all the muck and send it up to my 100gal filter.

    Again I dont agree. I may be noob to, but people like ledges for plants and stuff. Ya maybe not needed on a 2' deep pond, but if it were 4' deep I think it is ok and maybe even desireable.
     
    aviator79, Jul 13, 2009
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  4. firebird1999us

    koikeepr

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    Hi aviator.

    In my description I was considering an external pump for firebird. If you have an internal pump, then you can't use a bottom drain--so that's a non-issue for you.

    Also, as you will soon find out, when you have your pumps on the bottom of the pond floor (and hopefully, you'll end up putting your pump on a few bricks to minimize this), that it will quickly clog with all the debris and you will be forever pulling the darned thing out of the water to clear it of the muck. A pump is meant to move water freely from the pond to the filter, it is not a muck collection device as you have described. Not only will your pump clog, but you will be shortening it's life and decreasing it's ability to do what it is designed to do--just move water.

    And internal pump is never a superior choice over an external pump in terms of maintenance, power, and energy consumption. Of course, if you've got a small pond a submersible pump may do you just fine. I'm making the suggestions to firebird because he is starting a new pond build. And if he was going to do the "ideal" pond situation, most non-noobs would say to include a BD. It's not necessary, but it sure makes life way easier.

    Again, to your comment about the ledges. Most experienced ponders will tell you not to put in ledges for the reasons I have described. I have plants, and I simply have them in pots raised up on a couple of bricks on the pond floor. You don't even see the bricks under the water, and I avoid a place for predators to use my ledges as an easy fishing pier and the inevitable muck that gets trapped on the ledge.

    To each his own and you have a right to build your pond any way you like. All I know is that I have had ponds with ledges and those without, and the ones without ledges are easier to maintain. Also given the 4-6 foot dimensions firebird mentions, I don't really think he's got room for ledges--and certainly not if he only goes 2 feet deep.

    I also started out ponding with submersible pumps years ago, and it's way easier to work with an external pump now. So I will never recommend a submersible over an external or even an inline (can go in or out of water, pondmaster makes decent ones) pump.

    Just my humble opinion after 20 years of fish keeping.
     
    koikeepr, Jul 13, 2009
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  5. firebird1999us

    aviator79

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    Good info and I appreciate your response as now I do understand better. I got submersables becasue my pond is 10 feet from my house and I didnt want the noise, plus I am only running tetra 1200gph and 325gph pumps. I am going to use prefilters on the pumps and will just have to keep them clean. I hope that will work as the prefilters are on an extension and I will likely tie a string to them and hook them to something aboe the pond to keep them off the bottom and make them easty to pull up to clean. If I had a real jackhammer I may have been able to get rid oc my ledges, but I think I will like having them to give come controur to the pond. I am not worried about preditors with my design, but we will see I guess. I will just have to clean them with the shop vac as needed.
     
    aviator79, Jul 13, 2009
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  6. firebird1999us

    koikeepr

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    External pumps are very quiet. I have a Sequence 750 and I don't hear it at all. You could have easily gotten a small external to cover both the 1200 and 325 and prob used less power. Externals don't have to be big, there are some that can push smaller gph's such as you describe. And with externals, I don't have to go fishing in my pond to get 'em out to clean 'em. When it comes to electricity, I just don't like to be dealing with water at the same time, either. I've heard enough stories of both the person and/or the fish getting zapped. I just go over pluck the cover off of my exgternal leaf trap basket and dump it and I've stayed dry the whole time.

    The thing about submersibles is that they they are far easier to use. You just throw it in the water and plug it in. Externals require a bit more thought in terms of placement and piping, but on the back end they can be way easier.

    Again, as you gain experience in this hobby you will see what works and doesn't work and you will make corrections to your pond, filtration and even the fish themselves. That's what they say about ponding: the pond is never quite completed....
     
    koikeepr, Jul 13, 2009
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  7. firebird1999us

    koiguy1969 GIGGETY-GIGGETY!!

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    i use submersable pumps also... they have come along way, but i use prefilters (2 to be exact) plumbed on flexable hose to different spots in my pond, this helps eliminate dead spots. and i have them tied to black nylon string so i can easily pull them up to clean. but i took out the matala media so they never have clogged on me anyways. if leaves build up on the outside i wipe them off and im done.
     
    koiguy1969, Jul 13, 2009
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  8. firebird1999us

    stroppy stroppy

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    ive just got to ask about these prefilters i dont qwite understand how they work .. you fix them to a pump yes ? both on one pump with hose ?... what kind of pump can these go onto ... i cant get my head round how it can be done ... well i have a titan pump and i just cant work out how it would work ... i keep seeing posts about adding prefilters and it sounds like my pond would benifit from them .... any chance of pictures or drawings so maybe i can get the right idea .. sorry to be a pain
     
    stroppy, Jul 13, 2009
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  9. firebird1999us

    BBK

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  10. firebird1999us

    koikeepr

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    typically a prefilter is simply a small sponge that goes on the intake pipe of your pump. They are supposed to grab debris before it enters the pump. So everything sticks to 'em.

    There are also filter socks, which is basically a net bag that you can fully stick your pump into that is surrounded by a huge sponge that encases your pump as well. I prefer this idea rather than the one on the intake pipe.

    Nonetheless, they all get clogged or accumulate debris. That's the downside of a submersible.

    I had a laguna max pump that was encased in a cage with little holes, so the pump was fully protected (similar idea to the sock). I think this is the best idea. If your pump doesn't have a cage, you can make one very easily. For example, I've seen folks put two colanders and tie them together to form a cage. This is the best idea for a pre-filter, IMHO.
     
    koikeepr, Jul 13, 2009
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  11. firebird1999us

    koiguy1969 GIGGETY-GIGGETY!!

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    yes they hook up to your pump..to the inlet, they allow larger debris to be kept out of your pump. they actually come with bio media in them but i remove mine for the outside pond. you must have a removable inlet guard and a threaded inlet for a hose adapter like the outlet. they allow you to draw water from one or multiple areas of the pond. and your pump will never clog. NO SPONGE PREFILTERS!!! these prefilters are about 12" long 8" round and come with a corse matala insert
    i hope this explains it enough.
     

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    koiguy1969, Jul 13, 2009
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  12. firebird1999us

    koikeepr

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    I confess, koiguy, that I'm digging your little drawings today. LOL!
     
    koikeepr, Jul 14, 2009
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  13. firebird1999us

    DrCase Moderator Moderator

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    I have a titan and a laguna pump,, both have a cage around the pump, the laguna will chew up 3/8" solids and send it to my filter,,never use a pre filter, in the fall if some leaves do collect on the pump, i turn it off and the head water we flush them off and i can net them up easy ,,,,,turn the pump back on and away i go again
     
    DrCase, Jul 14, 2009
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  14. firebird1999us

    koiguy1969 GIGGETY-GIGGETY!!

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    the cages act as prefilters, mine are just remote, and there is 2 that i can move around at my leisure.
     
    koiguy1969, Jul 14, 2009
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  15. firebird1999us

    stroppy stroppy

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    great at last i get it ... thanks everyone and thanks for the drawing koiguy .. i do have a cage round my titan pump but wanted to get a smaller one and a couple of prefilters for my little bioforce filter at the other end of pond and these prefilters would fit on the shelves and help keep the muck from staying there
     
    stroppy, Jul 14, 2009
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  16. firebird1999us

    MassKoi

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    MassKoi, Jul 14, 2009
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  17. firebird1999us

    koikeepr

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    yep, that's exactly what i was talking about. these are great.
     
    koikeepr, Jul 14, 2009
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  18. firebird1999us

    kirscp

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    My first pond had an internal pump, lets just say that my second does NOT. Internal pumps can be BAD news! Nothing worse then coming home and hearing your pump sucking air ... and noticing no water in your pond. If it is going to be internal, make sure you have the pump inlet high enough so you don't end up draining your pond if your plumbing breaks, or a filter gets clogged.

    I think I can speak for a lot of ponders here. The advice given is all from experience. I'd never build a pond without a bottom drain, preferably running into a settling chamber. A skimmer and a decent sized bio filter is also a must.

    My pond is almost completely maintenance free with crystal free water. I haven't touched my bio filter since I built my pond 2 years ago. The bottom drain gets the leaves and anything else that sinks before the skimmer gets it and it ends up settling in my settling chamber. I don't have any filter media to change or clean.

    My old pond had a filtered bio filter. I'd have to clean the media once a week, if not more often. The setup I had was just too much work for me. Too much maintenance and the pond just isn't enjoyable anymore.

    Either way you go, you'll enjoy your pond.
     
    kirscp, Jul 15, 2009
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  19. firebird1999us

    koikeepr

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    Clap! Clap! Clap! Brava! Great reasons to do what you've done. The WORK is reduced to nearly nothing in a proper bio system!
     
    koikeepr, Jul 15, 2009
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  20. firebird1999us

    Binary

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    Ouch :( I was not keen on this very outcome but wanted the pump on the bottom so made up a float switch that is submerged (and hidden) to a level to stop the pump very early in case of a plumbing leak before a lot of water is lost.

    Looking at those pond socks I would have thought they would require a bit of maintenance cleaning? I went for a pump that could pump 8mm solids so I wouldn't have to worry about cleaning it :)
     
    Binary, Jul 16, 2009
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