THinking about starting a new pond in NJ, have a few questions

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Hi,

I live in Central NJ, and I am thinking about putting a small to medium sized pond in. I would like to have a few koi fish (or large goldfish) and maybe a few turtles. I would also like to have a fountain or waterfall.

I would preferably like to buy some of the items via Craigslist to save some money. But I have a few questions

1) What equipment do I need?
2) How deep/big of a pond do I need in order to have 5 - 10 fish and a few turtles
3) What happens in the winter
4) What start up cost would I be looking at (for things new)
5) What monthly/annually maintenance costs am I looking at?
6) What daily/weekly/monthly/annually maintenance activities am I looking at?

Is there a good to read getting started guide?

Thanks
 
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sissy

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I lived in Edison NJ and electric rates are not cheap liner will be most expensive part and pump next .i would go at least 3 ft and probably go 4 ft deep .I bought laguna 2900 gph pump from webbs on ebay 4 year warranty and right now it hit it's sweet spot at 95 watts .At first lots of work until you get bacteria growing in filter .I use lava rock in my filters about 4 dollars a bag ( people seem to not like lava rock they say it is old fashioned ) I don;t fix what works for me .Water test kit around 30 for api ( may be able to get it cheaper )iquid bacteria ,depends on what brand shop around .Liner and pump depends on how big you want pond
 
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1) What equipment do I need?
Liner, water, fish...that's all you need. Probably more ponds in the world are kept this way. But these people don't generally post in forums or write web pages. So reading forums and web pages can lead you to think most ponds have lots of equipment or need these things.

The real questions are things you may not yet know to ask. Like how do you feel about green water? Plants? How much maintenance? Stuff like that is where adding equipment can help...or hurt.

2) How deep/big of a pond do I need in order to have 5 - 10 fish and a few turtles
That's kind of an owner choice. 25-50 gals can be enough to keep 5-10 feeder size goldfish over summer and a turtle would probably be OK with that if it also had a proper out of pond area. Fish die in the the winter and are replaced in the spring. People do this, I don't want to get into judging people.

5-10 feeder goldfish can grow into large fish, like 10-12". A single 12" fish is about the same as say 30-50 feeder size goldfish. So the pond size kind of has more to do with your longer term goals.
3) What happens in the winter
To over winter fish the bigger (volume) and deeper the pond the less risk to the fish. Cleaning the pond in fall also reduces risk. It's not really possible to say size X for N fish is right. It's a risk thing. I'd bet 25-50 in NJ probably won't allow the turtle or fish to survive. I'd be thinking more in the 1000 gal range, maybe 500 gal depending on different things. Min of 3' deep but deeper reduces risk more. More volume means it can hold more O2 and dilute harmful gases more. Deeper water is warmer water since 39F water is heaviest.

Like I said there are options.

1. Replacing feeder goldfish in the spring is by far the easiest and cheapest. Many people would consider that harsh but once you understand 99% of Goldfish are killed to support our hobby it becomes harder to start throwing stones.

2. Bring the fish into the house for the winter, build a small tank in the garage and heat. Many people add pond heaters and things to keep holes in the ice but these things have big draw backs that are rarely considered. Things like water temp.

3. Learn a lot about the hobby and build a pond best you can to over winter the animals.

4) What start up cost would I be looking at (for things new)
You can get a new PVC liner for say $75. Feeder Goldfish are something like 10 for $1. Water. It's the optional stuff that starts to cost.

5) What monthly/annually maintenance costs am I looking at?
Water cost is pretty low. Electric depends on the toys and how long you run them.

6) What daily/weekly/monthly/annually maintenance activities am I looking at?
Depends on the pond size and how you want to keep it. For a small pond a simple minnow net (those green deals in the pet store) work great.

Is there a good to read getting started guide?
There are a lot of web pages and some books, but I personally consider them pretty poor. Most just repeat myths. The other issue is there are many kinds of ponds. The same feature can be perfect in one kind and the worst thing you can do in the other. Most web pages and all books look at all ponds as being the same kind. That makes it very confusing for people.

The best thing you can do is consider what kind of pond people are talking about when giving advice. Almost always they will be talking about their pond type.

To give you an idea on the differences. Here's a small pond I kept: 30 gal, 6' x 3', 10-12" deep, 25 watt pump (but ran with no pump for long periods. I kept mosquitofish in there, Goldfish would have been tough.

That was in San Jose CA. That size would freeze solid in NJ.
 

JBtheExplorer

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I would like to have a few koi fish (or large goldfish)
If you're set on Koi that is ok but large goldfish like Shubunkins and Comets would be a better option in my opinion. You wouldn't need nearly as large of a pond for them compared to at least 1000g for Koi. Plus they cost less money and never go after pond plants.
 

sissy

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I raised gold fish in a large fountain I had in my front yard in Edison and it was only 2 ft deep .Large base about 10 ft around and all cement above ground and they were fish my son won at the fair .I gave them away before I moved to VA and they lived through 6 winters in that thing .Just a small fish tank air pump in the winter started with 3 but had 30 something when i gave them away slowly but surely over the last year of living up there .Fountain had 3 tiers to it and no filter .I never even treated my city water but I also had a whole house filter so guessing that helped .Filter you can build your self easy a tote and a tank adapter and your done
 
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I'm in South Jersey and just built a 400-500 gallon pond last year. I have comets and a shubunken that all survived this terrible winter. Mine has two levels, the deep end (3 ft.) and shallow end (2.5 ft.). I went with comets, since koi are supposed to be harder and grow much larger. The majority of the comets are sarasa (white/red) for more pattern. The water was crystal clear for the 1st month, then the visibility dropped to around 6". I've added a container bog to it this year, so hopefully that helps it clear up, we'll see if it works and how it handles next winter.

I'm using a Mag-Drive 18 for the main pump and a Mag-Drive 7 for a fountain. I had the pumps already and was given the liner. So, my cost was minimal in the beginning. I started with an Laguna submersible filter, but it was a pain to pull and clean (which should have been done weekly to bi-weekly). The reason I switched to a bog for less maintenance, I hope. I find that I have to skim the surface every couple days to get any floating leaves. Not sure how much electricity it's using. Here's what mine looked like in the beginning and the bog filter now:


 
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Hi there, I'm a beginner too. I built a shallow birdbath with a waterfall last year, popped some feeder goldfish in it and now I'm crazy about fish. They all made it through the winter, and have grown from about 1" to maybe 4 or 5" each.

We are in the process of digging a deeper pond and adding a bog for filtration.

One question you should get answered before digging is if there are any ordinances in your area regarding the depth you can dig without having a fence surrounding your pond or property. Our ordinance requires anything deeper than 24" must be fenced. So we're sticking with that.

I've estimated that our pond will end up about 300-400 gallons, not including the bog. I bought a pond kit last year that included everything we needed to get started, and we're using it all, plus a new liner for this new pond. Shipping cost for the liner was a killer. I'd buy that locally the next time.
 

sissy

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plants always clean the water better than any thing out there .You just need to make sure you have enough air in the pond at night because the plants will use up the oxygen in the water
 
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If you're set on Koi that is ok but large goldfish like Shubunkins and Comets would be a better option in my opinion. You wouldn't need nearly as large of a pond for them compared to at least 1000g for Koi. Plus they cost less money and never go after pond plants.
Do you want to come over to the UK and tell the Shubunkin's, Comets & goldfish in my pond that they are never to go after the plants???? They tear more leaves off the plants & try to move the stones out of the pots to dig than the Koi & King Carp do!!!! LOL
 
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Weird. None of mine have ever gone after the plants.
I have watched Carassio (non-ornamental goldfish) & F1 hybrids (cross between a Carassio & Crucian or King Carp) digging up plants in the wild (not in ornamental ponds) as well. A lot of it depends on how much they get fed I suppose or if there are insects, bugs or larvae on the underside of the leaves or in the substrate. I do know that the Shubs, goldfish, golden tench and comets in my pond struggle to get a look in when food is put in as the carp bully them out of the way. Have managed to alleviate a lot of the problems by feeding the carp on sinking food at one area of the pond and floating food at another so all the fish get their fair share now. All the fish in the pond love to pull leaves off the Water Mint that are in the water. Maybe they use that to freshen their breath? LOL
 
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