putting in a 50+gal. pond. Opinions needed

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I've wanted to put in a nice water feature in the front garden of my house for a while now and have finally decided to just jump in.

So here's my game plan:

First we have the size of the feature. My plan is to have a small one. Probably about 50+ gallons? Pros and cons of this size?

I have a question about liners,too. What works and what doesn't? I have Pond liner on order, but are there any alternatives?

I want it to be as natural as possible. I have a lot of river rock in various sizes and some plants at my disposal that are all native plants and thrive in my area. What are some pros and cons to a natural look? What about a sand substrate?

I have a couple of extra filters that came out of an old fish tank. Tetra Wispers one 10gal, one 15gal I believe. I had an idea to use these for the waterfall effect, since that is basically what they do anyway in a tank. If I fit a piece of rubber tubing over the intakes and run the tubing into the water below I'm wondering how much power they'd have. What do you think, good idea or bad? I also have a 120gph pump and filter. Adequate if I don't overstock?

The waterfall(s) would be small ones. Probably about a fooot long with a small slope down to the pond itself. This is what the tetra filters would have to do. I will shut everything down when it is supposed to freeze and use an aerator pump.

Around the feature I want to plant a few things. There is natural native plants surrounding this area, so I'll be integrating these.

As for fish. They'd be small ones of course. I could also use some Mosquito Fish or a similar species that is fairly small and easily maintained. Perhaps a native crayfish if I don't go with fish. I was also thinking about red cherry shrimp, since they are very cold hardy shrimp and would do well in a pond this size.

What are your thoughts on a heater and some tropicals, like guppies in a pond this size? I've heard of them in my area and my neighbor does this.

The temp. never drops below 10*F in the winter and it rarely gets below freezing. It an 18" depth tapered to 6" adequate? Advantages/ disadvantages to this depth?

Any tips or advice to make this work? Anything you'd do differently or you think won't work at all?

I look forward your advice.
 
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First we have the size of the feature. My plan is to have a small one. Probably about 50+ gallons? Pros and cons of this size?
My smallest water garden was a bird bath. The pros and cons only have to do with your goals. Keeping Koi in a bird bath...lots of cons.
birdbath_pond.jpg


I have a question about liners,too. What works and what doesn't? I have Pond liner on order, but are there any alternatives?
In the 50 gal range the alternatives are endless...any water holding container.

I want it to be as natural as possible. I have a lot of river rock in various sizes and some plants at my disposal that are all native plants and thrive in my area. What are some pros and cons to a natural look? What about a sand substrate?
No serious cons I can think of.

I have a couple of extra filters that came out of an old fish tank. Tetra Wispers one 10gal, one 15gal I believe. I had an idea to use these for the waterfall effect, since that is basically what they do anyway in a tank. If I fit a piece of rubber tubing over the intakes and run the tubing into the water below I'm wondering how much power they'd have. What do you think, good idea or bad? I also have a 120gph pump and filter. Adequate if I don't overstock?
Forget about filters. Not needed what so ever for what you've described. They would detract from the appearance and just make your life needlessly complicated.

As for fish. They'd be small ones of course. I could also use some Mosquito Fish or a similar species that is fairly small and easily maintained. Perhaps a native crayfish if I don't go with fish. I was also thinking about red cherry shrimp, since they are very cold hardy shrimp and would do well in a pond this size.
Mosquitofish probably wouldn't make it through the winter. You could replace each year or try a local native minnow. Crayfish and shrimp wouldn't do much against mosquitoes.

What are your thoughts on a heater and some tropicals, like guppies in a pond this size? I've heard of them in my area and my neighbor does this.
I'd insulate the container.

The temp. never drops below 10*F in the winter and it rarely gets below freezing. It an 18" depth tapered to 6" adequate? Advantages/ disadvantages to this depth?
All depends on the type of pond you what. For what you've described it sounds good.

Any tips or advice to make this work? Anything you'd do differently or you think won't work at all?
Have fun. Ponds this small are easy to tweak, clean, etc. Try anything you like. Forget the "rules".
 
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I like the Forget the Rules attitude! It sounds so much better and more open. I liike that i won't need a filter. It frees up that for later projects.

I was thinking gold fish, but I'm not sure Its big enough for when they grow out more. They can potentially reach 8" in length. I always hate to see them in those little micro ponds when people put like 50 of them in it.

I mainly just want somthing living that will give it some movement. I have a tank indoors for wintering the mosquito fish if I get them.
 
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Many goldfish spend their lives in tiny fish bowls. Goldfish can grow large but most, even in large ponds, don't get very big due to poor conditions. It's their lot in life. It's best imo to not think too much about the morals of keeping fish, there is no upside for the fish. These are not good conditions for mosquitofish either. But on the other hand natural conditions for fish aren't normally very good either. If you look at it from a species perspective however humans keeping fish is a good thing even if individuals pay a price. Morals are tricky. For me I consider humans, and therefore myself, as just another animal on the planet and one thing we do is keep other animals for our own use and pleasure. It's our nature. Cruel yes, but no more so than other animals.
 
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The morals of fish care, there's a subject for a whole thread right there.
It seems for the most part humans as a whole don't give much more though to the suffering of fish then they do with insects. Oh sure there's a few "fanatics" like us out there who have ponds or aquariums who baby their fish and are sincerely concerned about their welfare, and there are environmentalism who try to protect whole species from over fishing or loss of habitat, but when it comes down to the pain and suffering of the actual fish it seems humans are for the most part pretty indifferent. I guess it's because fish don't cry or scream when they are in pain like a most mammals do, so when we see or put fish in conditions where they might be in obvious life threatening conditions we tend to interpret their silence as acceptance on their part of whatever they are going through.

Humans are such fickle creatures, how we treat other species has always intrigued me, when ever the subject comes up I always think of one of Jack Handey's "deep thought" quotes.... " If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason. "
 
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Many humans are sincerely concerned about the welfare of animals...but it is sometimes hard to understand when said with a mouth full of fish taco. Hypocrisy is unique to the human animal, and the one thing that stops us from ever becoming less cruel.
 

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