Temporary artificial surface shade?


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Hello experts!

The pond has been going for about a month now. I have a few small marginals planted (pass alongs from another pond) and some lilies in pots, waiting for some summer warmth to get growing. The lilies have tiny leaves and stumpy stems. They are growing, but have a looooonnnggg way to go before they can create any shade on the surface.

I've added a total of four goldfish (1 1/2 inches long) to the pond, which is 9 x 12 x 3 feet deep. There is also a 2 foot long cave in it as a hiding place from predators. Each time I add fish, they seem overjoyed by the pond. They were added in pairs. Initially, they explore the pond together, then get more confident and separate. Unfortunately, once the thrill of the new digs is gone, the fish realize how exposed they are and go into perpetual hiding. (This is my assumption, at least. I can't see them and there have been no bodies to suggest they died.) I think they are all in the cave. I have seen one from time to time, hanging around and cruising the depths.

I think part of this problem is a lack of plants on the surface. Our stores won't get aquatic plants until mid April. Even when I am able to get some, they will need time to multiply and spread out. I think the lilies will take a good long while to do their thing.

Have any of you ever used something artificial - floating on the surface - to create temporary shade and shelter? I don't really know what that would be... I'm imagining a bunch of plastic plates tied together with fishing line and tethered to an edge rock. I don't know if the plastic would be harmful or not? And would they even float?

I'm just thinking the fish would appreciate it. It would also help make some shade to control the crazy amount of algae I have right now.

Thoughts? Have any of you done anything similar? I tried to bribe my husband yesterday to put on a swim mask and go down and look for fish in the cave -- but he didn't go for it. :)
 
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MoonShadows

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You could even lay a couple of pipes over a section and cover it with some kind of porous cloth like burlap or shade cloth if it's just a temporary thing until the plants get growing. A small flat inexpensive pool toy/float from Walmart could be tethered.
 
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@Mmathis made some floating discs to help shade her pond. I don't remember exactly what she used but you can do a search on the forum.

You can also buy a shade sail to put up over the pond temporarily (Home Depot or Lowe's sell them)
I'm really thinking of something to put directly on the surface of the water -- so the fish won't be such scaredy-cats. (Scaredy-fish!) I will look for the thread about the floating disks! Thanks!
 
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I saw a DIY island I'm planning on making this year. You cut 2 inch insulation foam , into the shape you want ( I'm going to go for a kidney bean shape ) and cover it with landscape fabric. The post I saw, used plastic drywall screws to fix the fabric to the insulation...just nothing sharp to hurt the fish. Then cut holes that will allow the basket ( I'm using water baskets ) to slip into the hole and be supported by the lip of the basket.

When you're ready to grow plants, I'm going to use lava rocks as the plant medium. The post I saw had theirs in for three years now and it's held up well.

A note of caution, @addy1 , had an experience with a heron fishing from her island....something to consider. My pond is currently netted, fenced and has a shade sail over it.
 
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YOU GUYS!!!!!! I just got crafty!
I thought of something temporary and FREE, which is important right at the moment.
I took blue and green pool noodles and used a serrated bread knife to cut them into little donuts. I used a big doll-making needle and monofilament (fishing line) to string them side to side. (Like a row of flat donuts.) I spiralled up the chain, kind of like the way our grandmothers used to make braided rag rugs. I sewed them together with more fishing line to make a flat mat. It looks like a bunch of Froot Loops floating in a cereal bowl. I made a loop of fishing line to act as a leash and now have two floating mats. They certainly do NOT look natural, but for the moment, they will serve their purpose.
By the way, I know there is at least one fish alive in there. I saw him peek out of the cave when I put the mats in!
 
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I love the floating islands with plants in them. Lots of ways to make them including spray foam which can look more rock like, irregular. Has to be one OK with water like polyurethane and has to be painted to protect against UV.

Unfortunately this type of stuff is just another place for fish to hide. The more fish there are the more brave, so you could add more for that size pond, or wait for current owners to provide more. Also, they can be trained to come to you using food. They'll follow you most of the time whenever you're near the pond, or the hear a certain door open, etc...
 
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I saw a DIY island I'm planning on making this year. You cut 2 inch insulation foam , into the shape you want ( I'm going to go for a kidney bean shape ) and cover it with landscape fabric. The post I saw, used plastic drywall screws to fix the fabric to the insulation...just nothing sharp to hurt the fish. Then cut holes that will allow the basket ( I'm using water baskets ) to slip into the hole and be supported by the lip of the basket.

When you're ready to grow plants, I'm going to use lava rocks as the plant medium. The post I saw had theirs in for three years now and it's held up well.

A note of caution, @addy1 , had an experience with a heron fishing from her island....something to consider. My pond is currently netted, fenced and has a shade sail over it.
This sounds really nice!!!!!!!!
 
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I love the floating islands with plants in them. Lots of ways to make them including spray foam which can look more rock like, irregular. Has to be one OK with water like polyurethane and has to be painted to protect against UV.

Unfortunately this type of stuff is just another place for fish to hide. The more fish there are the more brave, so you could add more for that size pond, or wait for current owners to provide more. Also, they can be trained to come to you using food. They'll follow you most of the time whenever you're near the pond, or the hear a certain door open, etc...
Hmmm -- spray foam. Could I use waterfall foam? It is certainly waterproof and already rock-colored. That might be fun to try.
I am the current owner. ;) And the builder. And the maintenance lady and gardener! Actually, I have more fish to come. I ordered a pond chemistry test kit to be sure things are looking ok in there with Ph and whatnot.
Assuming all is good, a friend of mine says her mother in law has a pond with too many finny residents. She is excited to re-locate a couple to my pond! I will get to go fish shopping (for free) at her pond on Wednesday! I'm excited!!!!! I'm thinking like what you said -- that the fish will be a little less shy when they have a gang. Safety in numbers... :)
 
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I have the same problem, my fish hide all the time. I would like to get some fake plastic lily pads I've seen somewhere online to put in my pond until the plants start growing up. It would look somewhat more natural than pool noodles. lol
Also, you who have floating islands, do you tether them out in the middle so they don't just sit at the side of the the pond? And if so, how? Thanks!
 
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Waterfall foam would work. It's the same stuff just colored. Both should be painted imo for UV protection. Poly breaks down really fast in UV.
 
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Here is what I have done to create a floating island
From big box store purchase the blue furnace filters and a can of spray foam
Cut 2 identical sections to the shape you want your island
Take one of the sections and cut holes where you want your plants. Think small because only the roots will go into the holes This is your top.
Place a small amount of foam along the edges of the bottom cut out being careful not to get foam where the holes from the top piece will line up.
Place the top piece on the foam and let it cure. You can easily trim the excess.
Now place plants in bare root
You now have a floating island and maybe a hitch hiker

_DSC0610.JPG
IMG_0256.JPG

Initially the blue will be exposed but in short time you will only see floating plants. The roots will grow thru the furnace pad giving fry and small critters a place to hide
 
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Pond iris are buoyant and very hardy, set a bunch within a floating ring to mesh together and they will form an all year round floating island. The fish particularly like the long submerse roots, to loiter among...
 
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Here's what I ended up doing temporarily -- just till the plants get growing!
I will probably make another one.
Things are starting to come together, but slowly. Need to get everything planted up and do edge treatments and stuff. It's still looking rough with all the exposed red clay and landscape fabric and liner. I have to be patient and do it slowly though, since I can't run out and buy everything all at once. Slow and steady wins the race.

IMG_1489.jpg
 

addy1

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By summer my pond is almost 75% covered with lilies so I have given up on floating islands, I like a bit of open water!

The insulation foam sheets from lowes hd, work great. I used the skinny sheet, 1/2 or 3/4 inch, can't recall exactly. It looked great, grew great, but like I said gone when the heron decided to land and fish off of it. The heron landed on the net, took it right down onto the island.
 
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By summer my pond is almost 75% covered with lilies so I have given up on floating islands, I like a bit of open water!

The insulation foam sheets from lowes hd, work great. I used the skinny sheet, 1/2 or 3/4 inch, can't recall exactly. It looked great, grew great, but like I said gone when the heron decided to land and fish off of it. The heron landed on the net, took it right down onto the island.
I'm hoping I have the same kind of luck with my plants! The lilies have little leaves and short stems! Yay!
My blue and green froot loop floaters are just to help keep some of the crazy algae growth in check -- and to hopefully make the fish feel a little more secure till the plants grow!
 
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Here is what I have done to create a floating island
From big box store purchase the blue furnace filters and a can of spray foam
Cut 2 identical sections to the shape you want your island
Take one of the sections and cut holes where you want your plants. Think small because only the roots will go into the holes This is your top.
Place a small amount of foam along the edges of the bottom cut out being careful not to get foam where the holes from the top piece will line up.
Place the top piece on the foam and let it cure. You can easily trim the excess.
Now place plants in bare root
You now have a floating island and maybe a hitch hiker
Initially the blue will be exposed but in short time you will only see floating plants. The roots will grow thru the furnace pad giving fry and small critters a place to hide

I really like your idea, Gordo33! Are those coleus in your picture? What other kinds of plants do you have in your "island" that will do well with wet feet and ok for fish?
 
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