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Hi everyone! I'm planning my (for my "parents"--on their property;) second pond/stream/ falls addition to my current 600 gallon pond this spring. I have a few questions i can't seem to find answers to.

1) What digging Equipment!? : for a 12'x17'x3' pond (3,000g), plus 30' stream and falls-- what's the most economical machinery to dig this? The soil is solid clay (like you cold make pottery out of it!) I could barely handle my 2'deep 9x6 pond, so i know i need equipment, just not sure about mini excavator, reg excavator, backhoe, hammer drill? I've heard all sorts of things.... I also need the equipment to haul, lift, or drag about 10 tons of stones to the backyard.... Can I dig out this amount of dirt in one day or are we looking at a week long rental....

2) Bottom Drain? : Everywhere i read (except on a few places) people say i NEED a bottom drain...which obviously i don't since I've had my 600 gallon pond for over 5years and never needed a drain- and that with now 30 6" goldfish-- they keep breeding like crazy! I'm concerned using a bottom drain will take out all the sludge which is an excellent biofilter and also provides hibernation habitat for frogs and other amphibians. Where will my frogs hibernate?! Of course, i want it to be as maintenance-free as possible. I'll have a 100gallon filter falls and a surface skimmer and a 4200 gph laguna max pump. Other then washing those out 3-4x per year (and emptying skimmer as needed). The smaller pond's been fine with their lackadaisical maintenance, and the larger pond will have much better equipment and filtration, so I'm not expecting any problems...do you see any? My goal would be for this to be a water garden moderate -heavy on aquatic plants, and home to 15-30 goldfish (comets up to 15" max length) and 1 -3 koi.

3) Stones: Looking around at various formula and experiences, It seems this amount of stone will be sufficient:

2t pea gravel
1t 1-2"
3t 3-8"
2t 9-14"
2 t 14-24"
=10 tons total

anyone think this is an excessive (or inadequate) amt of stone? (in addition to new work, also needs to go around my existing pond). How do you guys feel about sand/gravel pond bottoms vs bare?

That's me an my project, any advice or direction to forum links appreciated!
 

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addy1

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Welcome to our group!

Digging: I used my kubota back hoe front end loader, a small home owner unit, worked great, but would not dig out a pond that size in one day.

Bottom Drain: some swear by them, others don't use them. Most koi keepers want a bottom drain due to the waste the koi produce. I don't have one, also have no koi, mine is a water garden (plants frogs fish and whatever else wants to live in it) type pond.

Bare Bottom: keep it bare, easier to net up or sweep falling leaves etc out of your pond.


The amount of stone? I just kept getting stone, by the pallets, truck loads, picked up until I didn't need anymore. Not sure how to tell you how to figure that out.
we used 28000 lbs of pea gravel and approx 15 tons of rock, and three or so loads of river rock.
 
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thanks. I looked at your pond build thread- cool! I guess i'll have to fork over double or triple the money for a few days with the backhoe...sigh. They're $200/ day! Did you use the backhoe to carry stone to the location from the drop off point or did you (gasp) wheelbarrow it all back!?
 

addy1

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thanks. I looked at your pond build thread- cool! I guess i'll have to fork over double or triple the money for a few days with the backhoe...sigh. They're $200/ day! Did you use the backhoe to carry stone to the location from the drop off point or did you (gasp) wheelbarrow it all back!?
The bucket on my back hoe is not real big, about 16 inches, with a larger backhoe you would be able to move more dirt. I ended up using the frontend loader to haul a lot of the dirt out of the hole, the backhoe to break up the rocks so it could be hauled out.

With our slope it is hard for me to pull an empty wagon up the hill. I used my kubota to haul all the rocks as far up as possible. Than hand carried them up the slope. All of the rocks involved with the stream build, had to be hand carried, I look at them and can't believe I did that lol I was putting in plants as I built, not thinking it would make it impossible to tractor up the hill with rocks. Also with that slope I won't side hill it with the tractor, it is too steep.
 

sissy

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Welcome to our humble home of ponds .I never had a bottom drain.To many problems with leaking if not done right and can suck in baby fish
 

j.w

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ecogirl22

Nice to meet you.

Dug mine w/ a shovel but we have really sandy soil here.
No bottom drain for me.......like to keep it simple.
Clear bottom pond makes for easy clean out of leaves and muck w/ long handled net.
 

sissy

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I have koi but no bottom drain and just net the bottom like everyone else does and it has worked for me for as long as i have had my pond .Bottom drains not done right can leak .
 

taherrmann4

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thanks. I looked at your pond build thread- cool! I guess i'll have to fork over double or triple the money for a few days with the backhoe...sigh. They're $200/ day! Did you use the backhoe to carry stone to the location from the drop off point or did you (gasp) wheelbarrow it all back!?
I rented an excavator with a 12" bucket on saturday and did not have to return it till monday morning and only paid for one day since they are closed on sunday. I dug mine out in a few hours and then played with it the rest of the weekend. :razz: They are quite easy to use after about 30 minutes of figuring out all the levers and you may even be able to dig your pond out in several hours.
 

taherrmann4

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Hi everyone! I'm planning my (for my "parents"--on their property;) second pond/stream/ falls addition to my current 600 gallon pond this spring. I have a few questions i can't seem to find answers to.

1) What digging Equipment!? : for a 12'x17'x3' pond (3,000g), plus 30' stream and falls-- what's the most economical machinery to dig this? The soil is solid clay (like you cold make pottery out of it!) I could barely handle my 2'deep 9x6 pond, so i know i need equipment, just not sure about mini excavator, reg excavator, backhoe, hammer drill? I've heard all sorts of things.... I also need the equipment to haul, lift, or drag about 10 tons of stones to the backyard.... Can I dig out this amount of dirt in one day or are we looking at a week long rental....

2) Bottom Drain? : Everywhere i read (except on a few places) people say i NEED a bottom drain...which obviously i don't since I've had my 600 gallon pond for over 5years and never needed a drain- and that with now 30 6" goldfish-- they keep breeding like crazy! I'm concerned using a bottom drain will take out all the sludge which is an excellent biofilter and also provides hibernation habitat for frogs and other amphibians. Where will my frogs hibernate?! Of course, i want it to be as maintenance-free as possible. I'll have a 100gallon filter falls and a surface skimmer and a 4200 gph laguna max pump. Other then washing those out 3-4x per year (and emptying skimmer as needed). The smaller pond's been fine with their lackadaisical maintenance, and the larger pond will have much better equipment and filtration, so I'm not expecting any problems...do you see any? My goal would be for this to be a water garden moderate -heavy on aquatic plants, and home to 15-30 goldfish (comets up to 15" max length) and 1 -3 koi.

3) Stones: Looking around at various formula and experiences, It seems this amount of stone will be sufficient:

2t pea gravel
1t 1-2"
3t 3-8"
2t 9-14"
2 t 14-24"
=10 tons total

anyone think this is an excessive (or inadequate) amt of stone? (in addition to new work, also needs to go around my existing pond). How do you guys feel about sand/gravel pond bottoms vs bare?

That's me an my project, any advice or direction to forum links appreciated!
I would use a skimmer and Bottom drain (bd) next time, I am pushing my skimmer to the limits with the volume of water I am pushing through it. My pond is 3000 gallons and my pump is 7200 gph so you can see that I am turning over my pond about every 30 minutes. I would definitely do a skimmer as I get tons of leaves and debris and it does a great job of catching them.

For the stones; it seems like you have a lot of them. Why the smaller stones? I used all large rock that I found in my neighborhood and smaller rocks about 4"-6" in size and flat for my creek. My creek is about 25 feet and my waterfall is 15 feet and for that I used more rocks that I found in the neighborhood. No idea how many tons I have but it is a lot! I would not put rocks in the bottom of the pond or any smaller pea gravel size in your creek. I get so much algae in my creek that every spring I have to pull out all the flat rocks in the bottom and clean all the muck out of the creek. Takes about an hour and then I just lay them back in.
 

Becky

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Welcome to the forums! Sounds like a good project, and I love your photos! :)
 
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I would use a skimmer and Bottom drain (bd) next time, I am pushing my skimmer to the limits with the volume of water I am pushing through it. My pond is 3000 gallons and my pump is 7200 gph so you can see that I am turning over my pond about every 30 minutes. I would definitely do a skimmer as I get tons of leaves and debris and it does a great job of catching them.

For the stones; it seems like you have a lot of them. Why the smaller stones? I used all large rock that I found in my neighborhood and smaller rocks about 4"-6" in size and flat for my creek. My creek is about 25 feet and my waterfall is 15 feet and for that I used more rocks that I found in the neighborhood. No idea how many tons I have but it is a lot! I would not put rocks in the bottom of the pond or any smaller pea gravel size in your creek. I get so much algae in my creek that every spring I have to pull out all the flat rocks in the bottom and clean all the muck out of the creek. Takes about an hour and then I just lay them back in.
The pea gravel is for the creek/and waterfall beds..over 30' of them. Plus i'll want some to fill in around the exterior of the pond. I like a mix of stone sizes to look more natural. And its only $4/ton!!!!! that's right, about the cost of 2 bags for an entire ton. I'm also getting the 3-8" stone for $12/ton:) my mom has a half acre of landscaping so any i don't use i figure i'll dump and make another "desert garden";) I've never had algae problems in my 600 gallon pond, after it was cycled and balanced out (after a year;) besides, usually 95% of the water surface is covered with water lilies, so not that much light gets to the bottom.

Everyone has sold me on not putting stone down on the bottom of the pond. JUST IN CASE i ever want to muck it out:)

Do any of you guys uses submerged oxyenator plants? they'd need that "muck " on the bottom to root in, I'm so confused why everyone dredges it out!
 
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and thanks for the input on BD's and excavating. I'm leaning towards not doing i now that i've heard from some people that don't do it. I'm really hopeful i can get the excavation done in one day b/c all the equip rental places in my area are open sundays!-- so no free day for me:(
 

taherrmann4

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I never have any algae issues in the pond but my creeks tend to get the string algae that I have to scoop out and put in the mulch pile. I used some small river rocks around the larger stones on the edges of my pond and creeks. The stone will go a long way.
 

sissy

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hmmm stone goes a long way I picked up 6 of them and still have them in my pocket .I found what looks like green quartz in my yard when i was working today and going to put them to soak and see how green they really are .We get white with gold speckling but never green .When you are digging ecogirl you may want to keep your eye out as you never know what you might dig up ,hopefully not a body though
 
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I found another use for stone.... a bog filter! I'm planning on one 6'x11' x12" deep. That's about 30% surface coverage. I've read 1/2 volume cir per house = 1500 gph, think a 900gph pump is ok? the filter is way oversized so even at half pump volume, it'd still be plenty, flaw in my thinking?

It seems 1 cubic yard pea gravel is about 1.3 tons so I'm thinking i'll need 4 tons of pea gravel for the filter alone. I've ready some places say you need ONLY 3/8" pea...anyone use mixed size pea gravel 1/4" to 1" ? thoughts?
 

addy1

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I found another use for stone.... a bog filter! I'm planning on one 6'x11' x12" deep. That's about 30% surface coverage. I've read 1/2 volume cir per house = 1500 gph, think a 900gph pump is ok? the filter is way oversized so even at half pump volume, it'd still be plenty, flaw in my thinking?

It seems 1 cubic yard pea gravel is about 1.3 tons so I'm thinking i'll need 4 tons of pea gravel for the filter alone. I've ready some places say you need ONLY 3/8" pea...anyone use mixed size pea gravel 1/4" to 1" ? thoughts?
I run my approx 10k pond with a 4200 gph pump through our bog filter. I used the small pea gravel, you want a lot of surface area. Ours took around 28000 lbs, a nice big truck load.

Check out this thread to help with the bog build.

https://www.gardenpondforum.com/topic/6894-bog-building/
 
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thanks for the thread, makes me feel more confident about doing it. Seems like i'm about right since mine is 1/3 the size of yours and i have 1/4-1/3 the tons of pea gravel! yeah! I love when the calculations add up to real world experience.
 

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