Hello from San Diego

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Hello all!

My name is Robin and I have been following this forum for some time and your advice has helped several of my pond builds. Although I enjoy all ponds and love tinkering with my father in laws Koi pond, I have 5 pet ducks and I have been working for years to find the correct combination of capacity and filtration to build them a pond that can be filtered and kept nice. I know a lot of you have beautiful Koi ponds, but I thought I would talk about my duck pond since this forum has been so helpful to my builds and I would like to join a community to talk about ponds. My wife………does not want to hear about ponds anymore.

My latest build, which incorporates much trial and error as well as MANY lessons learned is this:





It is a 8x7x4 (~1600 Gallon) square above ground pond built from 3 sides of Cinder blocks and a gentle dirt slope on the fourth side. I used a firestone EPDM liner and several layers of underlayment. I have a closed loop UV filter and pump and a three-stage filter system which I am in the process of building a fourth TT stage.

The problem with ducks is the prolific pooping and the dirt that they love to bring into the pond so they can dabble with their Bills. Before I could even think about water quality and clarity I had to get rid of all that solid matter. Fortunately, most of this sludge sinks to the bottom, so I mounted a solid handling pump to the bottom to suck all the sludge to the filter system.

The first filter is a 55-gallon settling tank. The dirt tends to settle on the bottom while the duck poop is pumped into the second stage. The second stage is essentially a swirl filter that deposits the poop on the bottom and the water flows through two Matala medium filters and catches any matter that didn’t settle.

The remaining water and poop is sent to the third stage which is identical to the second stage except the filter media is finer and there is a layer of Bio Balls the water goes through after the media. After that, all the solid matter has been screened and the water returns to the pond. However, I am in the process of adding a TT after the third stage and moving the bio balls from the third stage to a dedicated fourth stage TT of bio balls which will then feed the (future) waterfall.

The OTHER problem with ducks is they are waddling garbage disposers and they LOVE plants. I planted several IRIS’s last night and there was a feeding frenzy that would make a school of piranha’s nervous. It took 2 minutes for them to chomp every IRIS into little bits and swallow them. Oh well, another challenge to overcome!

The good thing about ducks is the water quality does not have to be perfect as it is recreation for them, so I have lots of time to get this right and experiment. I am currently waiting for the new pond to hit equilibrium so I can see what needs to be adjusted. However, with regular maintenance on the filters, my last pond was able to achieve good water quality with pretty good clarity and this one will too.

I have much work to do and I know it doesn't look like much yet, but it is an ongoing project.

Thanks for letting me share and I look forward to hearing your feedback and talking to you all soon!
 
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Mmathis

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Hello and welcome! Don't feel like you're all alone.....my pond started out as a way to offer a clean, fresh water source for my box turtles. Boxies aren't aquatic, but they do require fresh water to soak in. But I was getting tired of constantly having to empty and refill their water trays. So, I now have a pond [full of goldfish] that feeds a bog inside the turtle habitat -- best of both worlds!

Oh, and like ducks -- though not nearly as bad! -- turtles poop in their water, so filtration was imperative for their health.
 
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Thanks! I would love to add an aquatic turtle or two at some point. I want to enclose everything with IVY and have a tropical paradise out there! I have put goldfish and minnows in the previous ponds but.......like the plants they don't last long :whistle:
 

peter hillman

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Perhaps a welcome mat for the ducks, have them wipe before entering... But seriously we raised ducks some years ago they just weren't happy with clean water, so messy when they eat in the water.
 

cas

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Thanks for sharing your picture and experience. Keep use updated.
 
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Welcome!

Yes, I'm building my duck pond at the moment :)

Mine will also be for 5 Ancona ducks, which right now are only 2 weeks old and already love my fish pond/stream (Picture here https://www.gardenpondforum.com/threads/what-does-your-pond-look-like-today.13806/page-214#post-336964)

I love how big yours is, wish I have more space to make mine bigger. Also love your slope! I think mine will only be a step for them. How long do you go without water change or clean the filter?

My husband kept saying why do you need pump for duck pond and all the stuff I'm going to build, I just told him I do not want to have to clean / empty / refill the water every day for them if I have a kiddie pool and the area will be a mud bath.

Mine will only be about 8x5x2 with part of it will be a bog. That will be my filter. I'll pump the water to the bottom of the bog fills with gravel and plants and the water will return back to the pond. My bog will be only about 2 or 3x5x2 which is pretty small but I think it'll be sufficient. Plant like rushes and grass and cattail are good at taking nutrient out and grow quickly too. My pump will be just a bit above the ground so that the dirt can stay in the bottom and I'm planning on planting some wild water grass on those dirt/poop/sludge :) or even just use pond pump to clean it once in a while. I dont mind algae... it'll be vitamin for the duck.. I have a month to cycle this pond before the duck is ready to use it so I should have at least the biological filter started.

And...
My husband………does not want to hear about (duck or fish) ponds anymore too, especially when it involves buying things...
 
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So that just means you buy it and not discuss.
1st rule of pond building, we don't talk about pond building....
lol. I never told him how much my fish cost :oops: or how much I spent on plants for my bog!!!
 
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My husband considers himself lucky that he's married to a girl who loves the rocks that go in ponds and not the kind you buy at the jewelry store! haha!

Love the ducks! Look forward to seeing how it goes from here!
 
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Welcome!

Yes, I'm building my duck pond at the moment :)

Mine will also be for 5 Ancona ducks, which right now are only 2 weeks old and already love my fish pond/stream (Picture here https://www.gardenpondforum.com/threads/what-does-your-pond-look-like-today.13806/page-214#post-336964)

I love how big yours is, wish I have more space to make mine bigger. Also love your slope! I think mine will only be a step for them. How long do you go without water change or clean the filter?

My husband kept saying why do you need pump for duck pond and all the stuff I'm going to build, I just told him I do not want to have to clean / empty / refill the water every day for them if I have a kiddie pool and the area will be a mud bath.

Mine will only be about 8x5x2 with part of it will be a bog. That will be my filter. I'll pump the water to the bottom of the bog fills with gravel and plants and the water will return back to the pond. My bog will be only about 2 or 3x5x2 which is pretty small but I think it'll be sufficient. Plant like rushes and grass and cattail are good at taking nutrient out and grow quickly too. My pump will be just a bit above the ground so that the dirt can stay in the bottom and I'm planning on planting some wild water grass on those dirt/poop/sludge :) or even just use pond pump to clean it once in a while. I dont mind algae... it'll be vitamin for the duck.. I have a month to cycle this pond before the duck is ready to use it so I should have at least the biological filter started.

And...
My husband………does not want to hear about (duck or fish) ponds anymore too, especially when it involves buying things...
Hi Nepen! Your duckies are cuties!! ;)

My Khacki (not in the picture) has a permanently injured leg, so the slope was mostly for her. But as it turns out, the ducks love to sit there and dabble and preen all day lol.

I clean the filters weekly, and while i am cleaning them i let the pump run into the garden. The two most critical things when dealing with duck ponds are water changes and mechanical filtration. I do about a 5-10% water change weekly, though admittedly sometimes I just clean the filters. I am guessing with the new pond capacity, I will do water changes bi-weekly, but will always clean the filters weekly, that duck poop HAS to come out of the pond or its a disaster. What you told your husband is 100% correct, 5 ducks will ruin a pond in short order. My mallards rarely get out of the water.

I think your design is pretty good overall, though i am concerned that if your ducks use the pond constantly it may overwhelm your ecosystem as ducks are awesome poopers. ill be curious to see how it goes but I like it! The plants are a great GREAT idea for helping with that problem though. I am struggling with that as my duckies eat every piece of foliage that goes near or in the pond :wtf:

Let me know how it goes!!
 
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Thank you all for the warm welcome. I am going camping with my scouts this weekend but there are many changes coming in the weeks ahead. But for now here are two updates:

My UV pump started to falter and the water started turning green. I tore down the UV pump and found that some leaves had gotten around the impeller. Once I cleaned that out, the UV system killed that green water most expeditiously.

The output from the filter system had dwindled over the last few days so I had to clean the filters early. There was a fair amount of dirt on the pads, so I may need to raise the pump a bit so its not resting on the bottom, or build bigger filters or both. Once I cleaned the filters the output was back to normal. It is such a different dynamic dealing with a bigger (to me) pond.

Next week I will be redoing the electrical and water supply for the pumps and pond to make things more efficient and to install outdoor switches for everything. I will take pictures and post if anyone is interested.
 

sissy

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I must be the unusual then hubby know every thing about the pond stuff I purchase and anything I buy for the house or myself .I tell him and he just says you want it buy it you have money and the credit card .Just like the new car you want it and he went to the bank and got a cashiers check and gave it to the dealer .I guess I just never thought about keeping anything secret from him .I guess after 44 years whats the sense ;):)
 

tbendl

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I must be the unusual then hubby know every thing about the pond stuff I purchase and anything I buy for the house or myself .I tell him and he just says you want it buy it you have money and the credit card .Just like the new car you want it and he went to the bank and got a cashiers check and gave it to the dealer .I guess I just never thought about keeping anything secret from him .I guess after 44 years whats the sense ;):)
Oh don't misunderstand, it's not a secret so much as he doesn't care. Lol
 
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