Progress on my first fish pond - to Koi or not

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i have been researching away while I am not digging and progress has been slow. The basic shape is dug and the first row of concrete retaining wall rocks are tentatively placed. Tomorrow the aquascape small pond kit arrives so I will be setting the skimmer and bio falls next. At this point I have one question. I will be finishing the pond, waterfall and bog filter sometime in late September, I am wondering if there are any issues I should be aware of if I just run the pumps all winter without stocking fish or plants. Or should I stock in early October. We live in Northern Alabama but do get cold winter weather, show and the lakes sometimes freeze over.

My pond is sort of kidney shaped [8x11), no shelves, 30 inches deep, with a 6x1.5x 12” deep bog. One aquasurge 3000 pump in skimmer feeds the water fall and a second pump not yet identified to feed bog.

And of course a heron visited early this morning and looked in on the 2” of water that has accumulated in pond. Already getting ready to steal my fish :-(

This is my first pond but I have been a avid aquarist for many years, 150 gallon tanks both salt water and fresh.
 
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You will be around 1650 gallons in the pond. Most recommend 1000 gallons per Koi. You may be fine with 1 or 2 but that is about it as they get fairly big. You can overstock a bit but it depends on how well the bog handles your needs. There are some amazing looking goldfish out there too. I have both in my pond and honestly I would be happy with either or. Good luck on finishing your project.
 
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Thanks for input.
I am strongly leaning to some shubunkin gold fish. Realizing my pond is to small for the eventual size of koi.

My main purpose for the pond is for the waterfall effect and the plants in the bog and some lillie pads in the pond. Wondering what size pump to get for the bog. I read that having the water move slowly through the bog is the preferred way so was thinking of putting a UV filter between the pump and the bog filter and getting a small in pond pump that feeds the bog filter.
 
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I think one of your questions was whether it would be OK to run the pond all winter without fish or plants - the answer is yes. No reason why not. Or go ahead and put fish in - they'll have time to acclimate before the "cold" hits. (I'm in Chicago, so I can scoff at your "cold" weather!) And goldfish are all hardy little creatures - they adapt quickly.
 
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Thanks Liska, do you keep your bog filter running or do fish slow down so much filtration is not a serious issue?
 

Mmathis

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(I'm in Chicago, so I can scoff at your "cold" weather!)
Scoff away! What is this thing you call winter! Ha! (Actually, I’m jealous.....I would love to have 4 — or I’d even settle for just 3 — distinct seasons!).

@MajorDan You are in zone 7b? I’m in 8-ish (they change the “map” so sometimes I’m listed for 8a or 8b). “Winter” is never an issue here, but you will probably be colder where you are in AL. I leave my everything running year-round. Maybe some of our other members from your zone will join in to give you an idea what to expect. It’s funny, but I was on GPF during my 1st winter. I read so many members talking about “winterizing,” that I honestly thought my pond was going to freeze solid!
 
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@MajorDan - We're 100 miles north of you and at elevation, but even up here our winters are mild. I ran the pond at our previous house (in the valley) year round, and intend to do it here as well. Of course, I've always had pumps submerged directly in the ponds, not inside a skimmer... So I suppose during the cold snaps you'd just want to keep checking to make sure there's free flowing water in the skimmer so as to not wreck the pump.

As for adding plants and fish right away.... There may not be much available in the way of plants during that time of year, not even by mail order. For the fish...patience is a virtue. You'll want to introduce them when you know your pond is ready to handle them, without too much stress.

I'm in agreement with RobAmy as far as koi are concerned in that size pond. Comets and Shubunkins might be your best bet; they are just as pretty and enjoyable as koi. And since you mentioned wanting plants, the goldfish won't be near as destructive.

Can't wait to see your completed pond! Enjoy it!
 
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Hahaha TM, thanks for heads up. I was already deep into reading about winterization. Now I can think about other things instead........thanks mucho.
 

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Hahaha TM, thanks for heads up. I was already deep into reading about winterization. Now I can think about other things instead........thanks mucho.
Always like to share! Yes, I wish someone had taken a picture of my face......the moment that lightbulb went off! Or the time I told my hubby that we would be spending a lot less on our summer water bill......because we now had less LAWN to water......
 
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Thanks Liska, do you keep your bog filter running or do fish slow down so much filtration is not a serious issue?
We keep our pond running all winter long. The first year we shut it down and in the spring I just felt kind of weird about starting it up and letting that bog water flow into the pond after it had been sitting stagnant for many months. It didn't seem to hurt anything, but I just didn't like the idea. Keeping things running, even though the pond freezes over and the plants all die back, seems more natural to me. Obviously we're getting less filtration help from the plants, but as you said, the fish slow down so we actually need less filtration. It all works beautifully!
 
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Your plans sound lovely and you'll enjoy the sound of running water and beautiful plants. I agree with others about shubunkins, they're really very pretty. My pond is only 1700 gallons and I have 4 koi......but three of them I've had for about 13 years. I wish they had more room, but I'm committed to limiting myself to just those 4 koi.

I would think in your area you could certainly leave your pond running all year round.

Look into local pond / water garden societies in your region.......often they have events where they sell pond plants, or may have some to share. I also see lots of pond / bog plants on Craigslist in our area. It would be nice if you could get some plants established this year. Personally I'd concentrate on the plants and introduce fish in 2019 .
 

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always prepare for the worst winter so it is not so scary .Last winter was really weird and then spring was worse
 
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