Starting over - almost - ugh


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My pond is almost 10 years old. It was all trial and error from the beginning - we dug the hole before I knew what I was doing. LOL.

But I have learned a lot and had gotten to a pretty good place. This year I moved my waterfall - combining 2 into 1 3-tier. The plants are growing, filling in the edges nicely.

Last weekend I was patching a few little leaks on the waterfall and trying to scoop some leaves and gunk from the bottom when disaster struck. It's like something is under the pond sucking out the water.

I originally lined the bottom with just a tarp. At the time I could not afford a liner large enough and the tarp was a "good enough" substitute. I knew that it was leaking. I would lose 3-4 inches every 2-4 weeks in the beginning. In order to keep the water level up, I installed a float regulator attached to a garden hose turned down very low, and that worked fine.

But then, apparently I poked a hole in the old tarp or something this weekend, because now I'm losing 3-4 inches in less than a day. I had to turn the water flow up a lot just to keep up and try to keep the fish alive.

So I have no choice but to fix this quick. I ordered a new liner. They are so expensive. The 50 mil 20x30 is $500 or more. I found a thin one for $200. I know that's risky, but I can't drop $500+ on the pond right now.

My plan is to drain the water, remove the plants and fish and the pumps, etc. I'll try to remove anything that is an obvious puncture hazard. Then I will just lay the new liner over what's there. I know that's not ideal, but I'm old. My brother will be around to help, but he's older than me! There may or may not be other family around to help. But they are busy with jobs and families and I can't wait for them. I just don't have the energy to clean it like I should.
Bottom line, my pond that I am in love with has gone from this:

20210526_182719.jpg
20210526_182812.jpg
20210515_123646.jpg


to this:

20210609_112558.jpg
20210609_112500.jpg


and I feel like I'm starting over. It's my baby and I have loved the time I spend working on it, but It's getting more difficult for me to do the hard work and I wasn't counting on this.

I appreciate any advice anyone might have on this, but more than anything I just needed to vent.
 
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Sorry to be blunt:

Please find a place to re-home your fish until you can afford to install a 45 mil epdm liner or a 30 mil or better RPE liner. If you can't afford it and you're feeling too old to do this work now, you will be in a much worse place with even less money in a few years when you're in the same spot again after going cheap on your liner again.
 

addy1

water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins
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Beautiful pond, I agree get the right liner ow you will be replacing it again.
 
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@combatwombat is correct. The liner is the very basic and most important part of your pond.
Use the right material and it will last decades, without question. Use the wrong material (PVC), who knows? It could be only a matter of months and you'll have all this work to do again. That's what happened to me years ago.

Whichever liner material you use, pop a bunch of holes in your old liner before you lay the new one over it. You don't want any water to accumulate and get trapped between the liners.

Save as much of the existing water that you can. That stuff is like gold. Someone on this forum once called it that and it's so true.
Pump the water into large containers, like kiddie pools, clean garbage cans, totes, stock tanks, whatever you can scrounge up or borrow.
Your fish can stay in those if you provide a bit of aeration. Even water splashing the surface will help with oxygenation.

I used the standard 45 mil EPDM liner for my pond.
When I added on the bog, I used HDRPE. the "R" is for reinforced as verses plain HDPE. It was much cheaper and easier to handle because it was lighter in weight than EPDM. I bought a 20 ft. X 15 ft. piece online from American Talapia. If I remember correctly, it was around $140 (U.S.) and shipping was free.

HDRPE is a bit stiffer to work with, but it's only a matter of mastering the folds. If you can gift wrap, you should be able to deal with it. It's just on a larger scale.
 
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I knew that's what ya'll would say.
The one I ordered is HDPE. I need one that is at least 25' long. That seemed to bump up to a higher cost bracket or something.
It isn't done yet - I need to think this out, but I have to do something soon or bye-bye fish. I can't keep the water running.
 
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I knew that's what ya'll would say.
The one I ordered is HDPE. I need one that is at least 25' long. That seemed to bump up to a higher cost bracket or something.
It isn't done yet - I need to think this out, but I have to do something soon or bye-bye fish. I can't keep the water running.
How old are you? If you keep the portion of liner above and just below water covered from sun exposure, HDPE might last longer than you. Can last 100+ years totally buried. Maybe 10 or less if exposed to sun.
 
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@combatwombat is correct. The liner is the very basic and most important part of your pond.
Use the right material and it will last decades, without question. Use the wrong material (PVC), who knows? It could be only a matter of months and you'll have all this work to do again. That's what happened to me years ago.

Whichever liner material you use, pop a bunch of holes in your old liner before you lay the new one over it. You don't want any water to accumulate and get trapped between the liners.

Save as much of the existing water that you can. That stuff is like gold. Someone on this forum once called it that and it's so true.
Pump the water into large containers, like kiddie pools, clean garbage cans, totes, stock tanks, whatever you can scrounge up or borrow.
Your fish can stay in those if you provide a bit of aeration. Even water splashing the surface will help with oxygenation.

I used the standard 45 mil EPDM liner for my pond.
When I added on the bog, I used HDRPE. the "R" is for reinforced as verses plain HDPE. It was much cheaper and easier to handle because it was lighter in weight than EPDM. I bought a 20 ft. X 15 ft. piece online from American Talapia. If I remember correctly, it was around $140 (U.S.) and shipping was free.

HDRPE is a bit stiffer to work with, but it's only a matter of mastering the folds. If you can gift wrap, you should be able to deal with it. It's just on a larger scale.

So PVC is bad? Glad to know that. I was looking at some on ebay wondering what the difference was.
 
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How old are you? If you keep the portion of liner above and just below water covered from sun exposure, HDPE might last longer than you. Can last 100+ years totally buried. Maybe 10 or less if exposed to sun.

I can do that. So, if I can keep holes out then I should be OK. My concern was that it is thin - 0.3mm I think - which someone in the product comments said is ~15mils. The more expensive ones are 40-45 mils.
 
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I knew that's what ya'll would say.
The one I ordered is HDPE. I need one that is at least 25' long. That seemed to bump up to a higher cost bracket or something.
It isn't done yet - I need to think this out, but I have to do something soon or bye-bye fish. I can't keep the water running.
I would have hoped you got HDRPE instead of just plain HDPE. The R is for reinforced. You will be able to see the reinforcement lines in it.
Even if it's plain HDPE, it's still far superior than a PVC liner. You should be good.
 
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My pond is almost 10 years old. It was all trial and error from the beginning - we dug the hole before I knew what I was doing. LOL.

But I have learned a lot and had gotten to a pretty good place. This year I moved my waterfall - combining 2 into 1 3-tier. The plants are growing, filling in the edges nicely.

Last weekend I was patching a few little leaks on the waterfall and trying to scoop some leaves and gunk from the bottom when disaster struck. It's like something is under the pond sucking out the water.

I originally lined the bottom with just a tarp. At the time I could not afford a liner large enough and the tarp was a "good enough" substitute. I knew that it was leaking. I would lose 3-4 inches every 2-4 weeks in the beginning. In order to keep the water level up, I installed a float regulator attached to a garden hose turned down very low, and that worked fine.

But then, apparently I poked a hole in the old tarp or something this weekend, because now I'm losing 3-4 inches in less than a day. I had to turn the water flow up a lot just to keep up and try to keep the fish alive.

So I have no choice but to fix this quick. I ordered a new liner. They are so expensive. The 50 mil 20x30 is $500 or more. I found a thin one for $200. I know that's risky, but I can't drop $500+ on the pond right now.

My plan is to drain the water, remove the plants and fish and the pumps, etc. I'll try to remove anything that is an obvious puncture hazard. Then I will just lay the new liner over what's there. I know that's not ideal, but I'm old. My brother will be around to help, but he's older than me! There may or may not be other family around to help. But they are busy with jobs and families and I can't wait for them. I just don't have the energy to clean it like I should.
Bottom line, my pond that I am in love with has gone from this:

View attachment 139905 View attachment 139907 View attachment 139910

to this:

View attachment 139908 View attachment 139909

and I feel like I'm starting over. It's my baby and I have loved the time I spend working on it, but It's getting more difficult for me to do the hard work and I wasn't counting on this.

I appreciate any advice anyone might have on this, but more than anything I just needed to vent.
I am assuming that your hose water does not contain any chlorine/chloramine, etc and does not need to be treated prior to pumping into the pond?
 
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