Inherited Pond - Clueless!


brokensword

Not all those who wander are lost
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
1,588
Reaction score
1,253
Location
Michigan
Hardiness Zone
5b
Country
United States
That is interesting. I didn't realize that aerating plants are a misnomer. I'm happy we have the waterfall to provide the aeration, then. However, I keep getting confused about this issue because this guy seems to think you don't need a pump to have a healthy pond. https://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/garden-and-yard/backyard-pond-zm0z15onzmar That being said, the pond he built is significantly larger than mine, so maybe that plays into being able to have enough plants to do the work and his specific design...

Regarding the overgrown waterlily. I had no idea that it was overgrown. Can you tell just by looking at it? I'm also confused about this because I was under the assumption that plant life is good since it takes in the extra nutrients. Wouldn't cutting it down reduce this?
It's not a misnomer as much as not totally defined. The underwater plants DO oxygenate, but also take in oxygen at night. If you have a lot of underwater oxygenators and a decent fish load, what can happen, especially on hot summer nights, is they take up so much oxygen that the fish can asphyxiate. So if you have oxygenators, I'd keep them to less than a third of your pond bottom surface area.

And this oxygenation is not to the same extent as surface agitation. If you have a very large surface area, the pond gets aerated via the wind and water mixing. But it takes a wide area to offset the no pump. Most of us have garden ponds, not ponds proper and our surface area isn't anything close to enough (unless you deliberately understock, which is a good way to keep your pond healthy but most of us love fish, so...!).

Your waterlily being overgrown isn't a problem, you're just being alerted to the fact it may jump its pot and get loose in your pond. You can bring up your water lily and divide it into more units and repot. So then your one overgrown lily is now maybe 3 lilies. The reason we approach it this way is because there are horror stories of trying to thin/eradicate water lilies after a bout of long freedom. Best to keep them under control, hence pots. Water lilies aren't the best re water filtration but the shade they give and the esthtics as well as beauty re flowers, is worth it.
 
Ad

Advertisements

addy1

water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins
Moderator
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
39,752
Reaction score
23,897
Location
Frederick, Maryland
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
6b
Country
United States
lol I turned some lilies loose in my 1000 gallon stock tank, an experiment. At least if they get too full I have only that pond to clean them out...............
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Country
United States
First, it would be good to know; is this a liner pond or preformed? From one pic, it seems like a preform. When you listed the depth at 1', that's alarming in that the pond must freeze up pretty deep in Pa. A good person to also ask would be @poconojoe as he's a neighbor of yours. Typical ponds are more like 18" to a more workable 3-4'. You'll have to watch that it doesn't freeze all the way down. Since you say the previous owner didn't do anything, he probably didn't tell you if the pond ever froze solid. Goldfish are tough and can survive being frozen (not ideal and certainly not 100% proof of survivability).

First thing I'd do is get yourself a kiddie pool large enough to hold enough water and get the goldfish out. This will make taking all the muck out a lot easier. Normally we advise to just run a net slowly along the bottom and fish it out but in your case, I'd just remove the fish and then clean the muck. Seems a lot easier and quicker. I'd fill the kiddie pool with the top layer of your pond water--you want this as the water has cycled.

Now realize, the sides and bottom of your pond have bacteria on them that is valuable--it'll help re-start the nitrogen cycle which may keep you from getting an algae bloom. If you can lift the fish, siphon out the water, clean the muck and then refill in a timely fashion, you can hopefully keep the situation from magnifying. Put the fish in buckets and float them in the new water (which also has the kiddie pool water put back in) and acclimate the fish relative to temp. If you're filling using city water, don't forget the dechlorinator as fish can't handle the chlorine/chloramine that's in municipal water). I'd float for 30 minutes or so. If you're lucky, your new water will be close in temp to the kiddie pool water and you'll not stress them much. Again, goldfish are tough.

With all that said;, ideally you want more depth and can consider replacing the preform with a liner pond in which you'd dig deeper to a better depth. That's one option and the one I'd consider as 12" is just too shallow, imo. It'll work, but there's lots of limitations.

Now, once that is initialized, we can talk filtration. Without even knowing what you have, and it won't matter unless you already have my suggestion, consider creating a bog filter. This can be done before you even do the cleaning described above. A bog, more appropriately called 'upflow wetland filtration', is a structure (or side pond, if you want to dig) that houses at least 12" of gravel (pea gravel; round edged stone) and has pipe buried on the bottom whose supply comes from a pump located in your pond. You could also get an external; just more plumbing. I like the submersibles.

This piping from the pond via the pump sends water to the bottom of your bog where it'll rise up through the gravel and pour back into the pond. This creates a waterfall for aeration (something you want to battle algae and help the fish thrive) and allows all the bacteria colonizing your new bog pea stone to break down the bad elements in your pond water. You'll put plants on top and they take out the third bad element; nitrates. Get yourself some floating plants to place in the pond to go along with what looks like your water lily and you'll be set.

With what looks like your waterfall, you'll have a pump that supplies water to it; it may or many not be strong enough to Y off of so you get that bog feed. If not, get another pump or buy a larger one that will feed both.

With all that said, once you clear the pond of the muck, change out the water, provide excellent filtration (once built, you'll not have to do anything again except thin plants now and then in the top of your bog) as it'll give you water clear enough that now the predators can more easily see your fish. You'll consider a net now as this is the only real way to protect them. Or not; it's your pond but once a heron finds it, the fish won't last.

Okay, lots of info. Any questions, fire away as there's lots of good knowledgeable people here to help. And don't let the above scare you; it seems like a lot but you can knock most of this out in a weekend and you'll reap many years of benefits. Do a search re 'bogs' here and you'll find a lot more info to help you learn about such filtration and if such is something you're interested in.

Welcome to GPF!
We’re getting ready to do a clean out of the muck this weekend as you described, but I don’t think we’re going to be able to do it in one day. I’m concerned the fish won’t be ok for the weekend in the baby pool without aerated water. Would you suggest using one of those airstones people mentioned? Also, is there a good tool to use to remove the muck on the bottom? I don’t think we can use a shovel because it will pierce the liner. And, do we scrub the algae off the sides & bottom or just leave it?
 

brokensword

Not all those who wander are lost
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
1,588
Reaction score
1,253
Location
Michigan
Hardiness Zone
5b
Country
United States
We’re getting ready to do a clean out of the muck this weekend as you described, but I don’t think we’re going to be able to do it in one day. I’m concerned the fish won’t be ok for the weekend in the baby pool without aerated water. Would you suggest using one of those airstones people mentioned? Also, is there a good tool to use to remove the muck on the bottom? I don’t think we can use a shovel because it will pierce the liner. And, do we scrub the algae off the sides & bottom or just leave it?
if you don't have an aerator now, I'd get one. It'll be useful for your cleanout and you can use it in the pond proper thereafter. Unless the muck is hardened, I don't think it will take as long as you think; try digging clay that has been soaked with summer heat; now, that's some hard digging.

you might use a hoe, but I'd make sure the edge was dull and not pointed on the ends. You can grind them down if the are. And I'd gently pull it through to loosen, I wouldn't hack down or dig per se. The idea is to loosen so you can just scoop with a bucket or something similar. With the fish out, you have a lot more leeway and if your pond is shallow, you can get in with some boots and work better, if you have to.

Don't scrub the liner/sides/bottom; there's a biofilm there that might survive if you don't let it dry out too long while you work. This will help your pond cycle once you refill it. And it's not even necessary; you're trying to get the bottom clean, not the whole pond. You will have some debris left over but that's what your filtration is for. You might even get out as much as you can, take the hose and put more water in to continue the softening of the much, and once you have the solids out, could set up a siphon and get the fines floating in the refill out that way.

Good luck!
 
Ad

Advertisements


Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Similar Threads


Top