Going from natural pond to concrete "water feature" questions


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At my old house I created and maintained a 300 gallon naturalistic pond that included fish, many plants, a section at one end that acted as a biofilter (lots of water hyacinths and iris) and a pump that took that water to the other end which had a waterfall. I changed about 10-20% of the water maybe 2x/month and cleaned out the filter occasionally. The water quality was great for years.

At a new house now and have this concrete water feature, 7.5' x 3.5' x 1.25', ~200 gallons. There is a screen about 10" from the top on the water that holds the rocks, then an additional 6-7" below that which holds an Aquascape Ultra 800 pump (790 gph with no rise). This is set in the center bottom, pushing the water through to the top surface, disturbing it enough to stop mosquitoes. The water is being pulled through an Aquascape filter that is set to one side. My plan this year is to let water lettuce populate the surface and see how the water quality is. Maybe in the future there will be a single (small) hardy water lily, lotus or other similar plant. There are no fish and will never be any. The feature was filled 48 hours ago and is in full sun from 7:30 - 4:00.

I know from experience that I want some of the surface covered to help with algae, that the algae that forms on the sides and bottom is beneficial, and that as many plants as possible to suck up nutrients is good. But I've also had a fish load in the past to deal with and here I won't.

My first question: the filter is off to the left and is shooting up through the center. Is this enough water circulation or should I add a t-connector so that the water circulates to the other side as well as straight up? There's plenty of power in the pump to do this. I currently have the valve on the output turned down a bit so that the water doesn't shoot out the surface quite so forcefully.

Then in terms of plants, coverage: the water lettuce is already doing well and will populate well. Do I need plants like Anacharis in this setting like I did before to balance oxygen and nutrients? Or is a floater like the water lettuce fine? Thanks!
 
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Welcome @MikeMChicago ! I'm north of Chicago, so we're practically neighbors!

Here's the thing - the rules for an eco-system pond apply when all the elements are in place: water, fish and plants. You have water and plants, but you're missing fish. There won't be anything in the pond to feed the plants so they will struggle unless you fertilize them. And the algae that grows won't really be "beneficial" in the sense that you won't have fish that need the water parameters to be maintained.

Does that make sense?
 

addy1

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Welcome to our group! You will need to feed the plants, the fish poo is my fertilizer for plants
 
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Welcome @MikeMChicago ! I'm north of Chicago, so we're practically neighbors!

Here's the thing - the rules for an eco-system pond apply when all the elements are in place: water, fish and plants. You have water and plants, but you're missing fish. There won't be anything in the pond to feed the plants so they will struggle unless you fertilize them. And the algae that grows won't really be "beneficial" in the sense that you won't have fish that need the water parameters to be maintained.

Does that make sense?
Yes, I hear you. Your pond looks very much like my old one, but much larger. I'm worried about fish load, which is why I have none. There are plenty of "water features" that have no fish (or plants) in them - how are these maintained in an ecological way? Or did I just answer my own question, that is, maybe they're not?
 
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Welcome to our group! You will need to feed the plants, the fish poo is my fertilizer for plants
Your pond is awesome. Wow. So at the size I have and with no biofilter, would one goldfish be adequate?
 
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A lot of surface cover would hide the nice pebbles. I would go with lotus. Alternatively, what about some iris or calla lilies at the corner?
 
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Or did I just answer my own question, that is, maybe they're not?
I think you did. Most water features without any plants or fish are chemically treated to remain clear. And if they have plants, they would need to be fertilized.

I don't know that I would add fish to your current set up - that water over the rocks looks pretty shallow.
 
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addy1

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I don't know that I would add fish to your current set up - that water over the rocks looks pretty shallow.
1.25 feet, the fish would need to come in for the winter. The name says Chicago, which is darn cold
 
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A lot of surface cover would hide the nice pebbles. I would go with lotus. Alternatively, what about some iris or calla lilies at the corner?
That is exactly what I was thinking! Without fish fertilizing it would they perform well. I guess I can only find out.
 
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I think you did. Most water features without any plants or fish are chemically treated to remain clear. And if they have plants, they would need to be fertilized.

I don't know that I would add fish to your current set up - that water over the rocks looks pretty shallow.
Thanks. Yes, the pond is about 17" deep. That was my concern as well.
 
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Lotuses would be pretty! They do need fertilizing, but you can buy tablets that are easy to use.
 
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addy1

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Lotuses would be pretty! They do need fertilizing, but you can buy tablets that are easy to use.
The lotus tubers might not survive the winter, with the water that shallow it might freeze solid in the winter. The tuber could be brought in for the winter.
 

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