New to Ponds! Just saying HI, have a few questions, and looking forward to learning lots!

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by MichaelR, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. MichaelR

    MichaelR

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    Hello! My name is Michael and my wife and I are new to the "pond world". We wanted a log home and searched for over 2 years - we finally purchased our dream log home on 10 wooded acres in June :) A "bonus" was that the home had a pond already set up. I had no previous desire to have a pond; however I have found that the pond is my favorite place of the property! It is a place where I can go and relax, forget about all the negative things and recenter myself after a long day. As a result I want to ensure that I am doing all of the necessary things to ensure the longevity and health of the pond, plants, and fish. Due to my little knowledge I have signed up for this forum to expand my knowledge, so to all I say Hello and I look forward to future conversations :)

    Pond Details: Location is South-Central Pennsylvania. 1500-1800 Gallon Pond. There are Lilly pads, some plant that is long and stringy (can you help identify?), and stocked with fish and frogs. I originally thought some of the fish were small baby Koi - but after research I think that they are all Goldfish of some variety ... what are your thoughts? (I can't notice any barbels on them). The pond runs on a Savio Compact Skimmer, 18w Savio UVineX Light, a waterfall of some sort, and has a Savio pump. The pond has large trees (50+ feet) within a 20 foot radius - mostly balck walnuts.. the pond gets great sunlight but also a lot of shade. Additionally there was a TON of brush around the pond which I have started to cut back (as shown in the one picture).

    Some Initial Questions:
    1. Savio Skimmer Filters Missing: I noticed that the filters and filter cages are missing in the Savio Skimmer. I assume that I should replace these ... would there be any reason why these were intentionally removed?
      1. I noticed that the pads in the waterfall become extremely dirty very quick with green sludge and I have been washing them out every 4 or 5 days. I have since read that could be bad and remove beneficial bacteria ... I am hoping that adding the filters in the skimmer will help reduce the rate at which the pads in the waterfall become dirty.
    2. Savio Skimmer Mid Water Intake: I noticed a pipe/filter looking item under a rock about 2 feet from the skimmer. I think it is a Savio Mid Water Intake. What exactly does this do and do I have to do anything with it such as turning it on, cleaning it out, etc?
    3. Algae "Problem": I notice an abundance (or what I at least feel as an abundance) of Algae. The water is actually very clear in the AM but when the fish become active the water becomes cloudy. There is a lot of algae on the rocks and liner - is this bad and should this be taken care of? I have been using Barley extract that I think helped the water clarity but the stuff on the rocks doesn't seem to dissipate. I clean the skimmer daily and wipe the UV light every few weeks ... as noted above I also clean the pads in the waterfall every few days as they are caked in green sludge. I am also going to add bioballs into the waterfall as nothing is there now except the pads. I just want to ensure that if this is bad I address it, on the inverse if this is beneficial to the pond ecosystem them I don't want to disturb it. Any thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.
    4. What Are My Fish: :) As noted above, are these all Goldfish?! I thought the blue/red one was at least a Koi but now I have no idea.
    5. Is There Anything Else I Should Be Doing or Should Buy? Any other general thoughts or suggestions around process, best practices, and equipment would be appreciated - especially as we move into fall.
    Well I greatly appreciate your time. I have attached a few pictures and thank you in advance for any help. I look forward to learning more and many years of enjoying our pond :)

    - Michael


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    My One Husky Enjoying The Pond

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    Brush Before Above / Brush Removal Below
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    Random Pictures Of Home
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    MichaelR, Sep 2, 2016
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  2. MichaelR

    Becky Administrator

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    Welcome aboard! Your home and grounds are idyllic :)
     
    Becky, Sep 2, 2016
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  3. MichaelR

    MichaelR

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    Thank you :) I noticed you are from Manchester! I am actually from Bolton; lived there from 1-7 years old! My entire mother's side still lives there (well Farnworth which is right outside Bolton). Small World!!! I appreciate the welcome.
     
    MichaelR, Sep 2, 2016
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  4. MichaelR

    sissy sissy

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    love the pond love the house and love the porch and love the deck and love the deer and love the confused dog .Well lets say this love everything .Shame the pond was not closer to the house and bad that is bad spot down hill .Runoff may be bad for the pond .The fish are goldies but the black one not sure .String algae needs to have a little of it removed and fish will eat the rest .Do you know how the other owners prepared the pond for winter .Meaning a heater or something.oh darn and welcome to our world
     
    sissy, Sep 2, 2016
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  5. MichaelR

    tbendl T

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    Welcome! It's beautiful and the tiny trees floating are called parrots feather and I believe you are the proud owner of some beautiful shubunkins I think, only because they look a lot like mine. We have some resident fish experts who will weigh in I'm sure.
     
    tbendl, Sep 2, 2016
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  6. MichaelR

    MichaelR

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    Thank you so much! I love the place as well - it was well worth the wait to find it. Truly am lucky to live here - the wildlife, seclusion, and everything is more than I could have hoped.

    Great call about the runoff; so far I haven't had issues but I will certainly keep an eye on it.

    They said they left it 'open'. They indicated that they left the pump and waterfall running and had a 5 Gal Bucket with a light in it that floats upside down. They said the light keeps the pond from freezing at that section, letting the gases out. They did leave the bucket for me to use.

    I am probably going to do what they did ... but I am still researching what would be best so any suggestions would be great!

    Also the owner never did any water changes. Should I look into this?
     
    MichaelR, Sep 2, 2016
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  7. MichaelR

    tbendl T

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    You should get a water test kit before doing anything and also any pictures of the filter would be useful.
     
    tbendl, Sep 2, 2016
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  8. MichaelR

    MichaelR

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    Ah fantastic, thank you for the identification!

    Do the parrot feathers need trimmed? They are growing out pretty far so I have been cutting some back and thinning it out - hopefully that hasn't caused any issues!

    I thought they may be shubunkins, or comets. Good to know now :) Thank you!
     
    MichaelR, Sep 2, 2016
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  9. MichaelR

    sissy sissy

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    They have one for sale here that friends from PA are looking at 30 acre and a log home for 119 thousand .I am from PA ,Berwick and Benton area
     
    sissy, Sep 2, 2016
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  10. MichaelR

    MichaelR

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    I have some test strips for the pool - I did a few of those and nothing stood out as an issue but I do have on my list of things to buy a pond specific kit.

    I attached a picture... it is hard to see but this is what it looks like at the moment. The waterfall has two pads about 3/4in thick - I just cleaned them 3 days ago so all of that sludge is from past 2 days really. And it will just get worse and worse. Thoughts?
     

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    MichaelR, Sep 2, 2016
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  11. MichaelR

    MichaelR

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    That is a phenomenal price! We couldn't find a single log home in our area less than 200k even on just 1 acre - so I would snag that up if I was them! I am between Gettysburg and Harrisburg.
     
    MichaelR, Sep 2, 2016
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  12. MichaelR

    sissy sissy

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    Get a swimming pool net to help get stuff out .You may have to remove some of the stuff with your hands to keep your filters cleaner and you may have to at first clean the filter pads several times a day .You can use peroxide and water mixed to clean them a little better but you don't want to clean them to well because they have good bacteria in them .
     
    sissy, Sep 2, 2016
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  13. MichaelR

    tbendl T

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    The test strips aren't very accurate. And sadly you will probably need 2 kits. Most people get the Pondcare master Kit and an additional test for nitrate. We don't know why they don't make a test kit that has both. I still don't understand the hot dog to hot dog bun ratio either... But I digress.
    Is that a picture of your filter? I think @RobAmy have Savio skimmers so they may be able to help a bit more.
    As far as the parrots feather, I pull it when it starts to take over. It's kind of a personal choice as far as how much you like to keep.
     
    tbendl, Sep 2, 2016
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  14. MichaelR

    sissy sissy

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    They have lots of log homes down here in Virginia .Pat and her hubby want out of the cold and what they will do with all that land ,Iam not sure .They have 12 of them to look at so far they have only seen the ones I emailed to them
     
    sissy, Sep 2, 2016
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  15. MichaelR

    MichaelR

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    The hot dog to bun ratio will go unresolved for all of mankind - I have accepted this in my life.

    I was going for the Pondcare Master Kit - thank you so much for the information on the Nitrate kit. I will purchase both this weekend.

    That picture was on the filter pads within the waterfall itself. The Savio Compact Skimmer actually has no pads in it at the moment. For some reason the previous owner took the filter cages and pads out. I am not sure why they did that but I plan to also purchase those this weekend as well (I have a long list of items :))
     
    MichaelR, Sep 2, 2016
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  16. MichaelR

    tbendl T

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    It sounds like you are off to the races then. Once you get the water test results, post them here and the resident experts will weigh in.
    I love the house. My mother wanted to build a log cabin so when I was younger we lived in Canada for a year while she went to Log Cabin Building school. It's a thing.
    She never built one but is pretty content living in Hawaii so all worked out.
    Anyway welcome again. :)
     
    tbendl, Sep 2, 2016
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  17. MichaelR

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    Well, Michael, it looks like you HAVE found your dream home! So, hello and welcome to our forum. You are fortunate that the previous owners obviously maintained the pond. You wouldn't believe the condition of most "property transfer" ponds based on what we see posted by our members.

    I can address a few of your questions, but someone else will have to answer the technical/equipment related ones.
    1. The algae you are seeing is what we call "good algae" or blanket algae. That's desirable as it not only gives the fish something to munch on, but contributes to your ponds bio-filter and overall ecology. If you ever have to drain your pond [for whatever reason], don't think that you have to "clean" this off the liner. The only cleaning you should ever need to do is getting muck off the bottom of the pond and cleaning the filters.
    2. Those look like goldfish, and it looks like they've been having babies for a while, LOL!
    3. The plant growing with the lily is [I think] pickerel rush. And the little poofy ones along the edge are parrots feather. We have many other members here who are better with plants than I am, so you'll get lots of help. @addy1
    Do you know how deep it is? Just wondering about winter....

    I only see a few things to mention,
    • and one is where the pond is located downhill. Runoff from the lawn could be a problem. Have you had any hard rains since you moved in to give an idea what happens?
    • Another is, you mentioned Black Walnuts. I want to say I've heard bad things associated with ponds, but I'll let someone else go there as I don't remember -- If it's not something I personally have to deal with, I don't file it in the brain.
    • I love the wildlife! But beware that they can be a danger to a pond -- and to themselves! Some might try to catch & eat the fish. Some, like the deer, might fall in trying to get a drink and they can tear the liner.
    • And with all the trees, you might want to look at a netting to cover and keep leaves out. Again, with the wildlife, it takes some planning to have netting that is also "critter safe." IOW, you want frogs to be able to get in and out without getting caught/trapped in the netting etc, etc.
    If you haven't already done so, you need to get a water test kit. Most of us use the API Freshwater Master Kit which tests for pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Then 2 add-on tests are for KH and GH. Are you on well water?
     
    Mmathis, Sep 2, 2016
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  18. MichaelR

    Nepen

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    Beautiful house / land / pond / dog / deer/ fish ... well, everything! PS, I have black walnuts too... they are hard to landscape around!)

    Your fish are common goldfish (the shubunkin goldfish are calico and yours's only red or red/white)

    I have a feeling that with the amount of fish (and how big they are), they are too many for your pond. that's why you got lots of muck. But seeme like your biofilteration are doing fine with your fish load so I'd leave that be if you are fine with cleaning the pads out like you are doing. If not, reduce the fish.

    The good bacteria that help you convert all the waste fish/environment created lives everywhere under the water (pond liner, rocks, plants, etc, so cleaning the pads out wont hurt them much.

    Reduce your feeding or stop the feeding all together and the fish will eats the algae on the side of the pond. No need to get rid of them since they are also help with taking nutrient from the water making water safe for fish. Unless you think it's unsightly you can leave the algae alone. But if you want to remove them, you can use toilet brush to scrape them off. But the algae in my pond comes and goes... I just leave them be.

    You can also plants some more plants around the edge (flag irises come to mind) to help take the nutrient from the water, that will help compete the nutrient with algae and help you reduce some.

    The amount of fish and the amount of feeding are the reason for your algae growth :)

    You can do water change once in a while to reduce the nutrient in the water. If you do a water change, test the pH of the water first to make sure it's match or similar to your pond. If you use city water, make sure to de-chlorine it too.

    make sure not to spray anything that can be toxic to fish up hill so when the rain comes, the run off wont kill the fish. If you put fertilizer for the grass, make sure it's not toxic. If it gets in the water, it can create algae bloom though.

    cant help with the filter/pump ;) sorry.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
    Nepen, Sep 2, 2016
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  19. MichaelR

    Nepen

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    As TM mentioned black walnut. I only know that the juglong that's in every part of black walnut tree is toxic to fish in large quantity. Make sure the fruits dont fall into the water (or get pick up quickly if it did).
     
    Nepen, Sep 2, 2016
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  20. MichaelR

    cas

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    What a beautiful place you have! And a very nice pond!

    I believe you have a set up similar to mine. The skimmer has a net and filter mat in it before the pump and this is the mechanical filter. I clean this every couple of days (daily in the spring). The water is pumped up to a waterfall box that also has filters. This is the bio filter and I only clean it when I shut down the pond for the winter.
     
    cas, Sep 2, 2016
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