New user, new small-ponder, lots to ponder

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Skeletor916, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. Skeletor916

    Skeletor916

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    Hey everyone. New user with a brand new pond (don't even have water in yet). I've been poking around the internet for weeks now, reading about ponds until the wee hours in the morning. Just now realized that my brain is overloaded with information about submerged this, marginal that, oxygenators, bio filters, algae blooms, cycling, etc etc etc. Figured I'd sign up and say hello.

    So this is my "pond"
    Made from a Tuff Stuff 110 gallon stock tank from Tractor Supply Co, cedar fence boards, and deck screws. The tank is 20" deep, about 36" wide and I think it said 53" long.
    I uhhh... rescued some rocks from local spots around Sacramento to put on the bottom and around the lip there. The maple bonsai is my girlfriend's, looks like it's dying.

    I've been scouring local plant shops for decent and cheap water plants, haven't found much yet. My ideal vision is to fill the pond with a variety of plants and a couple of small fish and to do it in such a way that it won't require electric filtration or pumps, but that's probably going to be a tall order for me being new at this. I'll be posting some noob questions in the relatively near future, just wanted to say hello.
     

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    Skeletor916, Jul 10, 2015
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  2. Skeletor916

    Big Lou

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    Welcome to the forum. Really nice little pond. I believe you will need a pump and filter. Especially given you are going to have fish. Great woodwork.
     
    Big Lou, Jul 10, 2015
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    sissy sissy

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    Welcome and nice looking pond and I did a stock tank with a surround of metal roofing .Only thing about cedar is that it can leach tannins .I think it may have been turtle mommy (not sure ) that had a problem with a cedar fence .Plants can be anything that like wet feet .Elephant ears in the mini version or canna's .Mini cattails also .Ask at your garden center and they will steer you in the right direction
     
    sissy, Jul 10, 2015
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    michey1st

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    Welcome! You are off to a GREAT start! I love the box you've built -- Cedar really adds the wow factor!
     
    michey1st, Jul 10, 2015
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    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    Hello and welcome! I have to compliment you on 2 things: 1) you have done a good job -- looks very nice and will look even better once it's up & running! and 2) and maybe most important, you have been doing your homework and prep work BEFORE jumping in! No pun intended! We all know how confusing everything is, especially in the beginning [and you never stop learning, BTW]. The trick is to do your homework, read, read, read, ask questions, THINK about the what's & why's, and take it in baby steps. Oh, and learn to be patient....very patient :)

    I think one of the biggest frustrations we all face here [as well as others on other boards], is the person who digs a hole one weekend, throws in a bunch of fish. They usually haven't done anything to educate themselves, so their ponds aren't cycled, are overstocked, under filtered, and fish are over fed -- then they start posting because they don't understand why all their fish are suddenly dying! :banghead:

    One, well 2 comments -- you really don't need the rocks on the bottom. They look nice, but serve no practical purpose. And as to the cedar, as Sissy mentioned. If there is a chance that water will run off the boards into the tank, you probably will have to deal with tea or cola-colored water due to the tannins in the wood leeching out. Some people claim it to be harmful to the fish, but I've read 2 schools on that, and the only problem I've encountered is the inconvenience of the ugly water! Then you have to run your water through activated carbon to remove the tannins -- until next time it happens....... Just something to consider.

    So, as you plod along the learning curve of pond-keeping, don't hesitate to ask questions. No question is too small and we've ALL been there & done that, so........ And you might want to beware that this is an addictive hobby. You won't be able to stop with a 110 gal. pond -- just warning you!(y)
     
    Mmathis, Jul 10, 2015
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    MitchM

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    Welcome.
    Your vision will be a tall order, but there is an approach to accomplish it.
    The temptation will be to put too many fish and not enough plants in there.
    Download this book and have a read through it. You may want to reconsider not using any filtration or pumps.
    http://www.amazon.com/Ecology-Planted-Aquarium-Diana-Walstad/dp/0967377366

    You did not state where you are located. That will make a difference for winter preparation.

    .
     
    MitchM, Jul 10, 2015
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    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    @MitchM Sacramento, so I assume CA?
     
    Mmathis, Jul 10, 2015
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  8. Skeletor916

    MitchM

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    Thanks TM, missed that.
     
    MitchM, Jul 10, 2015
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  9. Skeletor916

    Skeletor916

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    Hey again everyone, thanks for all of the words/advice.

    I can't believe I didn't think about the leeching DOWN from the cedar boards into the pond. I was just thinking leeching sideways…. The good news is I could just remove those four boards and replace them with something that isn't cedar.

    As far as thinking about things and reading/researching before setting things up goes… I figured that taking a fish life into my hands without the preparation would be mean. The thinking part is what got me stuck on a filter and pump-free pond. My internal dialog said THERE ARE NO PUMPS IN NATURE, just natural filters.

    Thinking about it now, with me being so new to this maybe it'd be best for me to start with a pump and a filter while learning the ways of the watery ecosystem and then move to pump/filter free later. I certainly was thinking small in terms of fish (one or two small ones specifically to eat any mosquitos and/or larva that pop up) and large in terms of the plants (at least 50% surface coverage with lilies/lettuce/hyacinth and probably at least 6 potted bunches of oxygenating plants).

    Next question, my pond being the way/size it is…. and if I wanted to get a small pump and filter, are things like this sufficient? Forgive this question, as until today I haven't considered a pump, filter, or fountain, so I haven't really done any research in this regard.
    http://www.amazon.com/TetraPond-FK5-Filtration-Fountain-Kits/dp/B0024EE8US
    http://www.amazon.com/Pondmaster-PMK190-190gph-Filter-Fountain/dp/B0002564VM
    I don't want to do a waterfall yet and I rather like the simple look of spewing fountains.

    And indeed, I live in Sacramento, CA. I spent the bulk of the day going and seeking out my "local" (25 miles away) pond supply companies to get an idea of what they have when/if I need anything local or quickly. Found some interesting (and still overpriced) plants.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
    Skeletor916, Jul 11, 2015
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  10. Skeletor916

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    @Skeletor916 Any wood is capable of leeching. Maybe (before you add water) you could raise the tank an inch or so above the level of the surround..... It wouldn't take much to get it high enough to keep water from flowing in.
     
    Mmathis, Jul 11, 2015
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    cas

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    @rodsboys don't you have a similar pond with a wood surround? Do you have any problems with water running off the wood into the pond?
     
    cas, Jul 11, 2015
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  12. Skeletor916

    johan

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    I don't think the wood is a problem, it's a decorative lip rather than being in the water, can't see that affecting the pond in a huge way. Your Acer needs a bigger pot - they love water and small pots dry out very quickly. Bigger pot = more water retention = happy plant! The filter/fountain units you listed look fine except you need to make sure the waterfall spray doesn't go beyond the edges of the pond, otherwise you'll be emptying it. By fish I assume you mean a handfall of small fish and I'm sure you'll be fine with that. Get lots of plants and oxygenators, make a few marginal shelves (ie upside down milk crate), plant them up and all will be good.
     
    johan, Jul 11, 2015
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  13. Skeletor916

    MitchM

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    MitchM, Jul 11, 2015
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  14. Skeletor916

    Skeletor916

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    Thanks again for the replies everyone.

    Johan: I'll let my girlfriend know about your advice for her plant. Had to look up acer and turned out it wasn't a typo :)

    And by fish I meant under a handful, probably a red minnow or two and maybe another small fish.

    MitchM: that's basically what I was aiming for, yeah. But instead of the aerator that was mentioned there, just using an abundance of oxygenating plants and an abundance of plants in general. The big ideas were/are:
    1- Lots of growing plants in the water to keep algae at bay by covering the surface and having the plants use the nutrients in the water before any algae can take hold.
    2- Small, naturally-fed (no fish food) fish population to control unneeded fish waste. Fish waste would then feed the growing plants.
    3- Rocks at the bottom (in lieu of a filter) providing extra surface area for for beneficial bacteria/micro-organisms/microbes that will help eat degrading or decaying matter. Basically a relatively icky biological filter at the bottom
    4- Lots of oxygenating plants (in lieu of a pump) to.... oxygenate the water and do everything else mentioned in number one. All of the plants also giving fish their food, hiding places from any ill-willed wildlife, etc.

    Back to what Johan was saying, I have a bunch of extra milk crates from my first full year of teaching (last year) that I used to make my own wheeled storage for my table groups. I was going to use them as marginal shelves, but I'm thinking it might be unsafe if the fish are growing as they could get caught in the rhombus-shaped holes (a diamond is a gem, not a shape, as I used to tell my kindergarteners). Plus they're so big it feels like a waste of a lot of surface area on the bottom. Maybe I'll try to figure something else out.

    So I bought that TetraPond filter, pump, and fountain kit and it's going to arrive on Sunday but I'm torn between the two ideas. The first idea being the one outlined up there with the natural pump, filter, and ecosystem, and the other idea being a more traditional electronic pump and filter. If I went electrical I'd think it wise to get rid of the rocks to not give the micro-organisms a home. It also seems that the pump would pump and circulate their smell and goo to the surface if the rocks were there.

    Like I said, lots to ponder. Any thoughts are appreciated.
     
    Skeletor916, Jul 11, 2015
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  15. Skeletor916

    MitchM

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    The rocks will provide some extra surface area for the biofilm, but the crevices will also provide an area for detritus to accumulate. I think the detritus accumulation will overpower the added biofilm.
    Oxygenating plants require their leaves to be under water, but then you will also need a substrate for their roots.
    Floating plants will also reduce water gas exchange, but with the right floating plants, will help process excess ammonia plus provide food for the fish.
    It's a question of balance.
     
    MitchM, Jul 11, 2015
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  16. Skeletor916

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    @johan The ledge of the surround is above the level of the tub and right up to the edge, so I could see rainwater draining off into the container water. Granted, not a lot, but since this is a smallish container [in my experience] it wouldn't take much leeching (or is it leaching? -- sorry, it's "leaching" -- just looked it up) of the wood to affect the water color. So, @Skeletor916, just something to keep in mind.
     
    Mmathis, Jul 11, 2015
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  17. Skeletor916

    MitchM

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    Skeletor, also remember to purchase some water quality test kits.
    The API master kit would be a good start.
     
    MitchM, Jul 11, 2015
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    sissy sissy

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    Remember plants give off oxygen during the day but they use it up at night
     
    sissy, Jul 11, 2015
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    rodsboys

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    My pond is actually wood structure, not just a surround. I do have my top "rails" exposed and water can easily run into the pond from them during rain or an overfill. Mine a pine though and I have not experienced any issues with chemicals or tannins leaking in. I plan to some day change out the pine for either cedar or composite decking.
     
    rodsboys, Jul 11, 2015
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