We're gonna need a bigger pond...


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Hello ponderers!

I’ve had a small pond (250 liters / 55 gallons) in my garden for about 2 years now.
It’s been a home for 8 regular goldfish along with 2 varieties of water lily and some oxygenating plants.

During the spring and early summer of 2017 a heron visited my pond a number of times and thanked me for neglecting to put in place protection.
I thought it ate all 8 goldfish and I somewhat angrily left the pond for what it was. Switched off the pump/filter system and let mother nature take over.

When winter had passed I wanted to give it another go. I pumped out the water (or sludge…) and to my surprise there were 2 goldfish at the bottom. They’d grown considerably too!

Feeling like a bit of an idiot for not seeing them before, I set off to rejuvenate the pond.
Long story short; fresh water, new plants and of course a few new fish.
It took a few weeks for the fish to get comfortable, especially the two survivors, but eventually they got used to me and would swim towards me whenever I was near.

Since then (spring 2018) I’ve been thinking about building a larger pond. The 55 gallon puddle just wasn’t going to cut it. Not with 8 ravenous goldfish that would grow and possibly multiply…

I planned to start somewhere in the spring of 2019. But you know plans… They change!
My best friend had heard me talking for quite some time about building a pond myself instead of having another one of those preformed plastic tubs.

About 3 weeks ago we were shopping at a gardening store for something totally unrelated to ponds, ended up in the pond department anyway, as we usually do, and I asked a staff member about building a pond with EPDM pond liner.
He did some quick calculations, gave me a number and I thought hmm, that’s less expensive than I thought it would be...
Naturally, my friend in all her impulsiveness says to me, you may as well buy it now. Just keep it in the shed and start digging when you feel up to it.

And so we came home with a large sheet of rubber and some protective sheet. And a cartload full of plants and flowers, as it happens when the two of us go to the gardening place to buy one or two specific items...

As you may have guessed, the pond liner wasn’t placed in the shed to wait for spring next year.
No. I’m just as impulsive as my friend is, if not more so.
We started digging the very next day. Just half a meter away from the old puddle pond.

By the end of the day there was a new pond measuring approximately 180x120x80cm (~ 70x47x31,5”) which holds a guesstimated 1200-1400 liters (263-307 gallons) of water. Quite a leap from the 250 liter gnomish bathtub, I thought!

I know new ponds need to settle in for at least a few weeks. Get some plants in there, get the nitrogen cycle going and then start thinking about fish.
Well, I’m impulsive. And impatient. Always on the lookout for instant gratification. Not one to wait and see. A bit of an idiot and prone to taking a risk if there’s half a chance it will pay out...

I gave it 2 days and then started relocating plants from the old pond to the new one. I transferred about ½ of the water from the old pond to the new one to kick start the biological processes that would otherwise take weeks or months to establish. Sat and looked at it for a day and then got restless again.
I drained the old tub, meanwhile gently netting the fish and releasing them a mere 30cm to my other side again.
So far so good. I looked at it for a few days and all was well.
Plants looked good, the fish seemed delighted with their newly dug home and took full advantage of the extra space they now had. They’d all swim towards me begging for food as they had done before.

So my friend who put me up to all this suggested that we get a few more fish.
It was her idea to get a few different varieties of goldfish in the first place. I just needed a bigger pond! And I suspect she likes seeing me covered in sweat and dirt…

Back at our favorite gardening store once more, she picked out 5 Shubunkins and 5 Sarasas for me, all ranging from 0.5 to 2 inches long.

Strange as it may seem, it took them a mere 4 to 6 days to get used to me. I thought that for a couple of weeks at least, they’d be hesitant and distant upon seeing a large creature such as myself approaching the pond.
But no. The older fish as well as the new Shubunkins and Sarasas all pile up in whichever direction I approach, mouthing at the water’s surface to inform me it’s time to feed. Such a joy to see!
When not given the food they so desire (they’re goldfish… they never stop eating...) they try to get my attention by breaking the water’s surface with their tails and creating a splashing sound, making plopping noises or erratically swimming as near as they can to where I’m standing or sitting.

I love the little buggers! :)

To keep them all safe I fabricated something similar to what covered the tiny old pond. It’s a quick fix and a rather cumbersome one to put in place and remove.
Keeping it over the pond permanently will obstruct the view and certainly not make it more attractive, so in the next few weeks I’ll try to conjure up a more convenient method to move this heron deterring contraption of mine around.
Perhaps something with a pair of hinges to the far right of the cover, a pulley system and some rope.
That way it could just lean against the shed when not covering the pond.
Not sure yet, but I like tinkering.

Anyway… I apologize for the slightly longer than anticipated introductory text.
I really just meant to say hi and then get on with exploring the rest of the forum.

Looking forward to learning from you guys and sharing my progress.
Time to get some pictures online.
The whole thing is still very rough and obviously there’s a whole lot of work to be done to make it look attractive. I’ll be prowling the forums for inspiration.
 
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Welcome @Captain Audio ! Sounds very lovely! (Hint hint!) In other words, WE LOVE PICTURES!

And tell us a bit more - have you got any filtration on this new pond? And I'm afraid to say you're already fully stocked - in fact, probably overstocked - with fish. Those 10 or 12 will soon be LEGION. Either you need to start digging again, or find someone who needs some fish!
 
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Welcome @Captain Audio ! Sounds very lovely! (Hint hint!) In other words, WE LOVE PICTURES!

And tell us a bit more - have you got any filtration on this new pond? And I'm afraid to say you're already fully stocked - in fact, probably overstocked - with fish. Those 10 or 12 will soon be LEGION. Either you need to start digging again, or find someone who needs some fish!
Thank you!
And thank you @j.w as well.

Filtration at the moment is a submerged pump and filter in one solution. I don't know much about it as it was given to me by someone who used it in their old pond. My dad actually. I'm sure he doesn't have a clue either since he picked it up for free somewhere...
All I can say is it seemed a little much for the small pond that I had, and from what little I can tell in 3 weeks time it seems to work OK in the current situation.

The pump itself has a case around it which contains removable filter material. Basically 6 or so round plastic thingies, about the size of a golf ball, with various perforations in them. Below and on top of these are 2 sponges.

In between the removable filter material and the pump's exit there's room for a UV lamp, which I replaced last year.
Attached to the pump's exit is a length of garden hose. It came with a fountain type thing but the constant clattering of water drove me nuts. :-p
Instead I opted for the silent option. Pump's down in the deepest part and the attached bit of hose feeds back into a shallower area on the opposite side of the pond. The fish appear to enjoy the current it provides, plus it makes them chase after the bits of food that float on the water's surface. :smuggrin:

As for the current population... I'll wait and see. Of course the fish that were in the old pond weren't old enough to reproduce yet, so I never saw any offspring. Not for lack of trying, I should add. They did show the typical spawning behavior on a few occasions over the span of 3 months.
I'm not worried just yet. :) If I'm not mistaken, goldfish will eat just about anything they can fit in their mouths, including fish eggs. Maybe that will keep the population in check.

For now there's room to grow. If and when the need arises I'll be happy to pick up a shovel again! :D
 
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I'd think about turning that old preformed into a small bog filter.
oh yeah and welcome to the forum
a picture is worth a thousand words 10 pictures are worth 10.,000 words and 20 minutes less that I have to read. hint hint.
lol says the guy that can definitely ramble on . ME
 
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Here's a few pictures.

Before you say anything, I know what it looks like. :unsure:
It's a work in progress.

Could have been digging my own grave there...
Something resembling a pond. sort of.
A few days later
The shrub had to go! :rolleyes:
Raised the edge just a little, pumped in some more water.
There used to be a lawn, albeit a small one. Will have to reseed it some time...
"The thing that will (hopefully) keep herons out" is what I shall call this contraption.
Kimi standing guard, ready to pounce should any heron get near. Or...? :cautious:
 
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Looks like kitty maybe your biggest issue.

I would definite repurpose the 250 gallon into a waterfall or a bog. my call would be watefall
 
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I'd think about turning that old preformed into a small bog filter.
oh yeah and welcome to the forum
a picture is worth a thousand words 10 pictures are worth 10.,000 words and 20 minutes less that I have to read. hint hint.
lol says the guy that can definitely ramble on . ME
Funny you should say that. One of the first things I thought of using it for. :)

And thank you!
Welcome, pictures are always good to see.
Thanks! And as requested, a few pictures to give you guys an impression.

First thing that needs to be done now is getting a border that's not stomach churning to look at.
I realized the other day that I may have dived into this project head first without considering the implications and added costs.

The pond liner wasn't too bad. But of course I had to move the soil somewhere, so there goes the lawn.
Pond needs a border to make it look a little nicer.
May need a new/more effective filtration system.
Could do with a few more (oxygenating) plants on the various plateaus.
"The thing that will (hopefully) keep herons out" cost a few euros as well.
I'm sure there's a thing or two that hasn't even crossed my mind.

Starting to wonder if the hole I dug actually will be my own grave. :woot:
 
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Looks like kitty maybe your biggest issue.

I would definite repurpose the 250 gallon into a waterfall or a bog. my call would be watefall
A bog filter seems a bit less work and, correct me if I'm wrong, more beneficial than a waterfall.
Though I must confess a waterfall sounds appealing...

Any suggestions on how one would go about turning that plastic bucket into proposed waterfall?

Btw, it's a 250 liter or 55 gallon preformed. Sorry.
I'll try to mention both imperial and metric measurements. (did I say that correct? 3:50 am, should've been sleeping for hours, heheh...)

Kitty has so far left the fish alone btw. Wish I could say the same for some of the other things in my home. :X3:
 
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build that plastic tub up as high as you would like with soil, rocks , milk crates what ever floats your boat. yuck yuck. I'd look at the waste liner you have around the pond place that in the pond run it up your build for the falls and run it under the fall and up the back side so the water will run back into the pond. i'd do both make that into your bog and have the water spill out creating a waterfall
 
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build that plastic tub up as high as you would like with soil, rocks , milk crates what ever floats your boat. yuck yuck. I'd look at the waste liner you have around the pond place that in the pond run it up your build for the falls and run it under the fall and up the back side so the water will run back into the pond. i'd do both make that into your bog and have the water spill out creating a waterfall
Thanks for the suggestion/advise. :)

Sounds doable. I will however save that project for later.
For now I'll focus on keeping the fish healthy and happy, try to figure out what to do with the pond edge and clean up my yard.

Thank you guys for the warm welcome and quick feedback. (y)
 
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Great to have you here @Captain Audio! :)
Thank you both. :)

Here's 3 more photos, taken about 45 minutes ago.

Turns out it's a little harder to focus on objects or animals under water than it is on land. o_O
I guess the reflections confuse the camera's AF system. As good a reason as any to practice a bit more!

Plants aren't all that great at adding oxygen to the pond, but they are great at helping to filter the water - so definitely a good thing to add!
Really? A lot of what I read about keeping fish in a pond put a fairly big emphasis on oxygenating plants. Gardening stores here sell specific plants just for that purpose.
Made sense to me at least. I mean, terrestrial plants take co2 from the atmosphere and pump out oxygen, why would aquatic plants be any different?

Always happy to learn a little more so I'll keep on reading. :)
 
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addy1

water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins
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Welcome to our group!

Like said above, take your old preform, fill with pea gravel and plants water fall back into the pond. The plants will help keep your pond very nice.
 
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Made sense to me at least. I mean, terrestrial plants take co2 from the atmosphere and pump out oxygen, why would aquatic plants be any different?
They do - they also reverse the process at night and consume oxygen, just like all plants.

Also - no need to choose between a bog filter and a waterfall - our bog filter feeds our waterfall.
 

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