Newb bought house with 60,000 gallon koi pond.

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Jperkin, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. Jperkin

    Jperkin

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    Ok, so we bought an amazing house with a pool hot tub, 6 fountain "pools" and a modest 60,000 gallon koi pond. The pond was put built in the mid1980s.

    Previous owner said they left it "natural" meaning they never put in food, would add fish they caught in a nearby creek, any snakes they caught and killed would be tossed in as food for the fish, and they would throw their Christmas tree into one end of the pond to provide a safe place for all the fish babies to hide and grow. To control the fish population they would throw more in to have more fish and less for less. They said that every couple of years they would use a long handled rake to scrape muck out.

    It is basically a "Q" shape with an island in the middle. More or less 60' per side with the tail of the Q adding another 20-30 foot length. It averages around 15' wide. There are 2 water falls that pull water from the base of the fall, so it cycles about 3-4'. But they do have it attached to the irrigation system so "fresh" city tap water is added nightly. It is a lovely split pea soup color and you can see about 1-2" into the water. The only life you can see is a 1 1/2-2 ft koi and a water turtle of the same size. Oh, and lots of algae. Standard green in the water, large foamy clumps and vast sheets of string algae.

    It is gunnite and I have heard that it is about 4' deep with the bottom 3 being muck. It has large trees
    Around which occasionally drop large branches (15' one the other day, which I removed) as well as leaves etc into the water.

    So the previous owners apparently did everything contrary to how it should be. I have a lot of work to do, and most of what I have found deals with ponds that are about 1% of what I am dealing with. So the $15 container of whatever to deal with a chemical condition means buying 100 containers.

    I was going to try algaecide, but with poor water aeration and 100-110 degree days have decided that fixing the water aeration/oxygenation should take priority. Dealing with chlorine and ph from nightly dumping of tap water might be second and algae control third.

    The stated rule of thumb seems to be cycling the pond hourly, which seems to mean a half dozen big pumps to cycle water. Is this correct on a pond of this size? Any thoughts on steps to take to make maintenance on the pond easier? Also the pond is devoid of plants (well I added a few plants but they spent a week with no light before going in, so likely won't survive. I'm willing to put some money into it to correct it. Ideally I would like to stay under $10,000 but given the size that might be unrealistic. Really, ideally it would cost zero to fix and it would just be maintenance, but it is what it is.

    I am a complete newb. So I really know nothing, so if you suggest something, if at all possible give specific brands or specs, as the size of the pond seems to take me out of the realm for normal stuff.

    Oh, and the nearest pond store is 2 hours away... As is the closest city large enough to have any real specialty shops, so anything that would be trial and error might mean 2-6 weeks between trips to a shop (Internet deliveries work just fine though).

    Just a bit overwhelmed.
     
    Jperkin, Sep 1, 2013
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  2. Jperkin

    JohnHuff Friends call me Dr. Sir John Huff

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    Your "pond" boggles the mind. Can you upload some pics? Because of the size, I'm thinking you need to treat this like a natural lake rather than a fish pond. That means no additives and only natural measures.
     
    JohnHuff, Sep 1, 2013
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  3. Jperkin

    Dave 54

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    60,000 gallons US oh my thats 59,000 more than ours lol, ok so your a newbie to koi keeping yes ?
    May I suggest buying some good books on koi keeping and koi health matters so that if anything does go wrong at least you have a grasp of the problems you may face .......
    Keeping everything maintained and water changes would do a pond my size unfortunately your pond is mega huge compared to ours so I think the best thing we can suggest is to study into our hobby as soon as you possibly can .
    In saying this the internet is a minefield of good and bad information so your best bet would be to stick to books
    Thankfully Val and I have a huge library of koi/fish/koi health books which we started a thread about , your moe than welcome to use it , you'll find Book Names Their Author's Names and in most cases those ever important ISBN numbers you'll need .
    Amazon is a very good place to buy books I'd say a good 20 of our books have been bought from there over the years the rest being either presents or bought at koi club auctions :-

    https://www.gardenpondforum.com/topic/10498-our-fishkoi-health-library-with-reviews-of-each-book/

    I hope some of these can help you get a full grasp of our beautiful hobby because there is nothing worse than watching everything sicken then die and there is a hell of alot to learn and your going to have a very steep learning curve .
    Test your water weekly to keep an eye on your water perameters , do you have a Quarentine pond ?
    May I also suggest you see if there is a koi club in your area, as its nice to have folks on the ground ready to help if you do get a problem .
    I kid you not there are alot of thngs that can befall a koi heath wise in the form of Disease, Bacteria, Parasites and viruses that you'll need to get a working knowledge of.
    Best of Luck anyquestions dont be affraid to ask as we dont bite


    rgrds

    Dave
     
    Dave 54, Sep 1, 2013
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  4. Jperkin

    DrCase Moderator Moderator

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    Welcome to the Forum
    When it gets cooler draining it down and getting all the muck out would be where I would start
     
    DrCase, Sep 1, 2013
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  5. Jperkin

    sissy sissy

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    welcome you say koi pond but you must be generalizing that as you say they added local fish they caught are there any actual koi in it .I know that here tractor supple sells what they call a bio sphere and they range from ponds 5 thousand gallons up to over 100 thousand gallons and those ponds are clear .You do not mention gph of pumps and if there is some type of filter set up .First will be SLOWLY cleaning out the muck if there are fish you don't want to harm them .You can also buy bio spheres online just google them and find info and find the lowest price .Pond stores you have to watch they are out there to make money and not care ,they just sell you stuff .Need one that is honest .
     
    sissy, Sep 1, 2013
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  6. Jperkin

    dieselplower

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    Sounds awesome. How about a picture? Best advice I can give you on a pond that big is don't buy anything from a pond store or anything like it. Order everything online or find it at tractor supply or harbor freight. Pond store will charge triple for everything How bout a picture of the whole area?
     
    dieselplower, Sep 1, 2013
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  7. Jperkin

    callingcolleen1 mad hatter

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    If the pond is that large, my guess is the muck is clay mud to help prevent pond from losing too much water, as a pond that large would need clay to support it better in the long run. Keep it as natural as possible and avoid using chemicals as they will kill off any natural plants that may be well estsblished. Get a pump going and see how things look after that...
     
    callingcolleen1, Sep 1, 2013
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  8. Jperkin

    Mucky_Waters

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    You pond is far too large for the standard backyard pond treatments and equipment to apply. Trying to treat it with algaecide would be a losing battle, trying to circulate the pond hourly would cost you a fortune, even standard pond filters would have little or no impact on such a large volume of water. With natural ponds of that size establishing lots of plants and providing some sort of aeration would be about the best thing you could do. For aeration you could install a large fountain or aeration system (bubbler).
    How about uploading some pictures?
     
    Mucky_Waters, Sep 1, 2013
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  9. Jperkin

    JBtheExplorer Native Gardener

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    They would throw in dead snakes and christmas trees?

    That's just... weird. and a shame they killed snakes. Too many people think snakes are evil monsters when in reality they want nothing to do with people..

    As for the pond, I have no advice. Your pond is 59,600 gallons more than mine. It sounds like a natural pond, so I'm not sure what you can do with it other than let it be natural.
     
    JBtheExplorer, Sep 1, 2013
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  10. Jperkin

    Mucky_Waters

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    I guess if they couldn't find enough snakes to feed the fish I suppose they'd find some road kill to put in there for fish food.
    And if the christmas tree wasn't enough shelter for the baby fry they could drive an old Studabaker in there for the fry to hide in. Kind of like how they sink ships to build coral reefs.
    [​IMG]
     
    Mucky_Waters, Sep 1, 2013
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  11. Jperkin

    Waterbug

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    You should consider making one decision before all others...what kind of pond do you want?

    There are many kinds of ponds. If you ask anyone in the Koi hobby you are likely to hear a long list of things you "must" do. If you ask someone in the Water Garden hobby you will also get a long list, but a completely different, and often contradictory, items. If you ask someone into Wildlife Ponds you get a different list. And if you ask someone into game fish you get another list. And all of these people often seem to be completely obvious to these other ponds. To them there is only one way to keep a pond...their way.

    So info you run into will seem very confusing and contradictory because you and they all think they're talking about the same thing...a pond.

    It is common for people new to any kind of pond to call any backyard pond a Koi pond. But a Koi Pond is a specific type of pond which surprise only has Koi. No Goldfish or plants. Unfortunately there aren't any standard definitions and many ponds are someplace in between, and some ponds are just in their own class. But I think if you stick to classic examples what people say could make more sense. For example, most Koi Pond owners consider plants to be evil and should never be in a pond while Water Garden owners consider plants to be one of the primary required elements. Completely opposite views and both 100% correct. Because each has different goals and each has different ways of reaching those goals.

    Game fish pond...
    I would say the pond is currently a game fish pond. Normally these are just dirt, not gunite. I say this because you said they stocked the pond with fish caught from a near by stream. Not feeding game fish is fairly normal. These generally have to be large because you try to grow the food for the game fish in the pond...minnows, bluegill, whatever. So 60K gals would be reasonable for a game fish pond. Tossing Christmas trees into the pond is also a common technique with game fish ponds that don't have structure. The idea is to add a place for small fish to hide so the game fish don't eat them all the first day. The structure also is a place for bugs and algae to grow which feed the forge fish that will feed the game fish.

    Not having pumps and filters of any kind is standard practice for a game fish pond.

    The goal of most game fish ponds is to grow large game fish that the owner can then catch on a fishing pole. Normally not to eat, just catch and release.

    Closely related would be a Fish Farm pond where the goal is to eat the fish. These ponds are kept very differently. Might be the same species of fish, but different goals and methods to reach those goals.

    Koi Pond...
    If you want a classic Koi Pond...clear water and lots of big beautiful Koi...assuming there's only a gunite pond currently...you'd need a budget of at least $30k to even have a chance. $50-75K would be more realist.

    Game Fish pond...
    You can keep it a game fish pond, or actually I think it would be a Wildlife Pond since you would no longer be promoting the growth of game fish. There are lots of web sites and books on Wildlife Ponds. Basically you just let nature do whatever it wants. Normally that means lots of algae, green water, which fish and bugs love. Algae is the food chain base.

    It sounds like you want clear water...you could add a UV filter for about $3500 plus a couple of pumps for about $2000. So $5500 for equipment and maybe $500-2000 for installation. Installing a UV is pretty easy, the pumps could be an issue, but I'd have to bet whoever built the pond at least made adding pumps possible. But even if not $2000 max should handle it. So $6000 to $7500 for equipment.

    Also about 4500-5000 watts of power, so about $400-500 per month for electric.

    Chemical treatment...
    It certainly is possible to chemically treat large ponds. Our local Japanese Friendship Garden Koi pond is about 5/8 acre and is chemically treated for algae. All of these chemicals are harmful to fish and deadly if too much is used. So in generally you would need even more pumps than UV to use chemicals and keep fish. It also takes great care and testing to make sure not too much is added.

    Water feature...
    If you don't care about fish you could make this into just a water feature. Very much like a swimming pool, but different, cheaper, chemicals are used. The required pumping can be reduced and pumps don't have to run 24/7. You still need to mix the chemical around the pond so some pumping is required.

    Water Garden
    If you want a natural looking pond with lots of plants you can dump pea gravel into the pond to reduce its depth and add plants. That would reduce water volume which would reduce the size and cost of UV and pumps. You could add streams/waterfall within the pond itself for not much money and that might keep the water clear without UV, but some pumping would still be needed.

    Lots of options. All depends on what you want and your budget.
     
    Waterbug, Sep 1, 2013
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  12. Jperkin

    VanDiesil

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    A pond/lake that size would be heaven for me!!!! I would turn it in to my own private carp fishery rather than keep koi in it. There would be too much water for them to hide in so you wouldn't get the pleasure of seeing them. As you also mention, the filtration for it to keep the water clear would need to be huge!
     
    VanDiesil, Sep 1, 2013
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  13. Jperkin

    JohnHuff Friends call me Dr. Sir John Huff

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    Since the OP hasn't replied, I think I've found a picture of her 60000g koi pond on the internet:
    [​IMG]
     
    JohnHuff, Sep 1, 2013
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  14. Jperkin

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    Welcome! And please, do post some pictures!

    Yuck! I can't imagine what that pond must be like! Dead snakes for food....?
     
    Mmathis, Sep 2, 2013
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  15. Jperkin

    Becky Administrator

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    Welcome aboard! Can't wait to see some photos :wave:
     
    Becky, Sep 2, 2013
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  16. Jperkin

    Jperkin

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    Hey, sorry, traveling at the moment. I will post some pictures when I get back (probably tomorrow).

    This gives me a lot to think about.
     
    Jperkin, Sep 2, 2013
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  17. Jperkin

    Litzi1964

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    I agree with Waterbug re; first, think about what kind of pond you want, and what you can afford and manage. The next step would be see just what's living in that pond, and of that, what would you want to keep? If there are any native species, you may want to contact your state dept. of wildlife for guidance re what to do with them. I live in Illinois, and here it's illegal to keep any native species as a pet or in captivity unless you have some special permit.

    If you're a newbie, I suggest you start small.
     
    Litzi1964, Sep 4, 2013
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  18. Jperkin

    Waterbug

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    It is against the law in most states to even transport live game fish, or of course keep them in a pond...unless you have a permit.

    In AZ the permit is free, in CA it's about $60. Not sure about other states. Interestingly AZ's regulation doesn't specify the type of fish at all, or even limit to just fish for that matter. So in theory a permit would be required for a Water Garden here.
     
    Waterbug, Sep 5, 2013
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  19. Jperkin

    Donna Saverino MI My first Grandchild

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    It would be great to see what it looks like today and then when it's all done to compare. LOL sounds like I might be in a nursing home by then so work fast. I wish you lots of luck. Your pond is 59,938 gallons bigger than my dinky one. How many acres do you have?
     
    Donna Saverino MI, Aug 18, 2018
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  20. Jperkin

    mrsclem mrsclem

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    5 year old thread
     
    mrsclem, Aug 18, 2018
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