Yet Another Hello From New Jersey

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by rally, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. rally

    rally

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    Hello To All,

    Have been learning so much from these forums. And looking with no small envy at the beautiful ponds and landscaping photos that you all are so generous to share. So I decided to finally create an account and make my own small contribution to this fascinating hobby and help myself learn more about it.

    We moved to our new home in Southern New Jersey in Aug 2011. In the back yard there is a small pond, approximately 4 X 9. The depths are very uneven and I have been too lazy to do the math to figure out the real square footage, have been (perhaps foolishly) working with the ball park figure of 300 to 350 gallons.

    Not exactly sure how old this pond and/or liner really is, the previous owner does not speak english very well and I was not able to derive much detail about the history of the pond. However some things were pretty self evident. When we moved in the pond was nothing more than a mosquito-egg ridden mudhole with apples floating in it:

    Mosquitoes were eating us alive so I thought (naively) -- why not add some fish to help with that? So I bought about 15 "feeders" and gave them a new home. That was all well and good but having somewhat of a conscious I decided I should do something about the conditions in the pond for the fish sake.

    So i bought a little submersible pump/filter combo and set it to work. After a few weeks the water appeared to clear up some but still was rather cloudy. Through research on the internet I came across two ideas that helped clear things up pretty well. The first was a change to my aeration method. The filter/pump includes a small water fountain and initially I had the shape of the fountain configured in a perfect bell pattern. It looked nice but I realized it was not doing that great a job at aerating and next to nothing for beneficial water agitation. So I adjusted the bell so that sides are slightly upturned and water droplets fall to the surface from a height of about 14 inches. Now you see that no surface area of the pond is motionless, which I understand is a good thing. The second change I made was to introduce some good bacteria to the water. In the next couple weeks the water clarity improved dramatically. Now i could finally see all the various things (rocks, stones, a pair of scissors, a couple shoelaces, many many leaves and other foreign debris) sitting at the bottom. Using a pond net i retrieved all of this offal.

    The last thing I did was add some anacharis and hornworts. Since by now it was early November I couldn't expect any other plants to survive the Northeast climate but I wanted to introduce the benefits of plants from at least the underwater variety. The hornworts would seem to be thriving but the anacharis were made short work of by the goldies. Seemed like each day i would find what looked like an eaten-to-the-bone miniature green corn cob floating on the surface.

    Now that winter is in full swing I put in a deicer to keep a hole when it freezes and it has worked fine. I feel bad for the goldies kind of huddled all together shivering at the pond bottom amongst the hornworts. Can't wait for spring when I can start feeding them again and watch them keep growing.

    If i could start over there is much i would do differently (like clean the pond BEFORE i put the fish in) but I'm learning as I go along. Am very grateful there are knowledgeable and friendly people on this forum willing to share their advice and wisdom. There are many more questions I have about many things concerning all of my plans for the spring and hope I may impose on you from time to time.

    If i knew how I would post a couple pics (any quick advice?)

    thanks for reading my little story and permitting me to say hello.

    rally in NJ
     
    rally, Feb 10, 2012
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  2. rally

    DrCase Moderator Moderator

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    Welcome to the Forum !!
     
    DrCase, Feb 10, 2012
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  3. rally

    rally

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    thank you DrCase

    I added a couple of photos here to show the pond progress, going from early Sept, end of Oct, and the last is mid Dec.

    I know this is no great shakes but I have to admit I really love taking care of the little thing and am getting a kick out of it.


    2011-09-02 19.33.20.jpg

    Early Sept

    2011-10-30 15.50.16.jpg

    End of Oct - i experimented with some water hyacinth before it got too cold

    2011-12-11 12.01.29.jpg

    Mid December
     
    rally, Feb 10, 2012
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  4. rally

    taherrmann4 Tmann

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    Welcome to the forum.
     
    taherrmann4, Feb 10, 2012
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  5. rally

    j.w I Love my Goldies

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    [​IMG] rally.
    Looks like a cute little pond and fish are still in there swimming around so the conditions must not have been too bad for them to survive. You'll learn a lot here and make sure you ask questions and search around for ideas on how you can make your pond the best that you can. Spring will be here before ya know it and you'll be able to get out and do the things that need to be done to keep it running smoothly!Thanks for joining us :goldfish:
     
    j.w, Feb 11, 2012
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  6. rally

    sissy sissy

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    Welcome and I know you said the pump you put in has a filter in it ,but have you cleaned the foam filter .They need cleaned a lot .I remove mine and just let it go to the outside filter .Thats a nice pond you got and you can also use mosquito dunks in there as they don't harm the fish .I use them in my rain water collection tanks and in my pond some of the times .I use the fountain head also but use a frothy one at least thats what the harbor freight pump said it was and it really makes the water bubbly .
     
    sissy, Feb 11, 2012
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  7. rally

    rally

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    hello sissy, yes i clean the foam filter weekly. have been wondering though if its okay to clean with tap water or should i stick to using pond water. using a garden hose i can clean up the filter pretty thoroughly, but with pond water it doesn't come quite as clean. i realize the chlorine in the tap water will kill any beneficial bacteria that is in the foam -- is it worth the extra effort to use the pond water to clean it? my wife thinks i'm crazy agonizing over every detail of the pond.
     
    rally, Feb 11, 2012
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  8. rally

    sissy sissy

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    Do you have well water as city water should not be added to a pond without treating it .You are better washing your foam filter out every 2 or 3 days and washing it with pond water is better and you could use some peroxide in the water to clean it really good .A foam filter in the pond is not as good as a out of water filter .I would think the bacteria you build up in it would not be worth as much as an out of pond biological filter would be
     
    sissy, Feb 11, 2012
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  9. rally

    rally

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    its city water. i wish i could clean the filter every 2 or 3 days but this time of year the only daylight hours i have at home are on the weekend. for the first couple of months the filter was collecting a lot of material basically brown in color, i assumed it was sediment, leaves, soil runoff, etc that had all collected in the pond while it was unattended. but for the last several weeks the foam and the insides of the filter itself are basically rich green in color, mostly looks like plant matter. have noticed the hornworts sort of "shed" matter sometimes when they are disturbed. there's also the sulfur-green silt layer that pretty much covers the surface of the liner. that stuff gets kicked up by the frogs who live in there, see their little claw marks around the edges in many places. and also when i add water to compensate for dehydration (and a probable leak somewhere near the top of the liner edge somewhere) that stirs it up some too.

    an external filter is in my upgrade plans. there was actually one in use previous to me but trying to figure out how in the world he had it setup has me a bit frustrated. in my first photo, where all of that english ivy creeps over, there is a piece of pvc pipe that juts out about 2 inches above the water surface. about 3 feet behind all of that ivy is a little faux water well that was used to house the external pump. he even installed (but not too expertly) a power outlet in this containment. but i keep thinking somewhere back there has to be the other end of that pvc but i cannot find it or any hoses connected to the old pump. also, almost directly in the middle of all of that ivy is an stone waterfall course. am hoping to make use of that in the future also. doesn't seem like i will be able to make much sense of the previous arrangement for the pump/filter setup so will likely have to do something new.

    sorry if im running on too long about this stuff, as you can see i have been somewhat starved to have someone to discuss these things :razz:
     
    rally, Feb 11, 2012
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  10. rally

    sissy sissy

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    You will need a test kit also to show you the water quality and you can get them for around 20 dollars at pet mountain.com or from some pet stores for around 25 dollars like petco or petsmart .You want the liquid test kit ,strips are not as good .You have to pretreat city water as chlorine is no good for fish .Peroxide you can get at walmart or dollar stores .The brown is gunk from the bottom and you may have to net it to get all the gunk out .You will have to go slow at it or you could really stir up na lot of bad stuff .I guess once the weather gets nicer it will be easier for you to see whats going on .But all that bad stuff in the could cause a big algae bloom and pea green water .
     
    sissy, Feb 11, 2012
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  11. rally

    rally

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    i am with you there sissy. i got a liquid test kit a couple months ago. ph is steady around 8. my first ammonia test was at 0.25, maybe on the high side of that. is that too high? what i read somewhere suggested that the danger of high ammonia is relative to ph, is that correct? Not taking any chances i did two 50% water changes a week apart. i bought some water treatment stuff for the tap water i was putting back in, the guy at the local pond store told me to be wary of stressing the fish doing this water change in late december. but it did get the ammonia down to 0.0. tested last weekend and it was still 0.0. are there any factors besides the fish waste turnover cycle that produces ammonia?
     
    rally, Feb 11, 2012
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  12. rally

    koiguy1969 GIGGETY-GIGGETY!!

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    FREQUENT SMALL WATER CHANGES ARE FAR EASIER ON THE FISH, THE PLANTS, AND THE CHEMICAL MAKE UP OF THE POND ENVIROMENT... LARGE WATER CHANGES SHOULD BE FOR EMERGENCY USE ONLY.....ANY MAJOR SWINGS IN THE PH ESPECIALLY CAN REALLY STRESS AND HARM THE FISH. A PH THATS A LITTLE HIGH OR LOW, BUT STABLE IS BETTER THAN A PH SWINGING UP AND DOWN
     
    koiguy1969, Feb 11, 2012
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  13. rally

    sissy sissy

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    Ammonia no no other factors but ph nitrites, nitrates yes .The fish load you have is a little large for that size pond .I would only do a 10 percent in the winter but a 20 percent water change in the spring and summer . Your PH is fine as I keep mine at 8 and I have koi also .Come spring you will need to really look at a filter set up once you figure out the plumbing .I would just add new plumbing anyway ,you never know if the other plumbing is in good shape or has leaks .You can do a diy filter as it is much cheaper and easier on the budget .
     
    sissy, Feb 11, 2012
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  14. rally

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    Welcome to our group! glad you joined, you will get a lot of advice and help from the pond lovers on this site.
     
    addy1, Feb 11, 2012
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  15. rally

    Becky Administrator

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    Hello from me too :wave:
     
    Becky, Feb 13, 2012
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