Do you have wooden railings? Are they ever in need of painting or oiling or other maintenance? Are they splitting? Are they splintering? Are they ever too hot to use?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to look at VinylHandrailCovers.com . Vinyl Handrail Covers make the answers to ALL those questions "NO" forevermore. Vinyl Handrail Covers have a Lifetime Guarantee.

Letters from Ponders (c)


Following are notes I have received from visitors to "Building a Pond". There are a few tips here as well.

(Note - My replies and comments are in Blue)

I've tried to set it up so you can stop back from time to time (Bookmark it) to see what's new without it being too cumbersome for you. If you have discovered any tips or shortcuts yourself, pass them along. We ALL need all the help we can get {grin}.
As of September 29, 1997


...And in the beginning .......

Making a big Puddle into a Pond --- A Liner Supplier --- Pond Info Sources --- Waterfalls --- Drain Line Freeze Prevention --- Saint Louis Ponders --- A Florida Ponder --- Where to locate your Barrel Filter --- Biological filters will not do away with algae and UV light. --- How do you cut the holes? --- River Rock instead of Lava Rock --- Clay bottom pond --- How to install Rubber Roofing Liner --- A Sink Filter --- First Fish --- A Waterfall Base --- A Golf Course Pond --- Lava Rock Works --- A Cement Liner --- Swimming Pool to Pond --- More Waterfall info --- An Inside Hallway Pond --- Hydro Interruptus --- Cheap Custom Landfill Liners --- Spray Foam Stream Bottom --- Wine Barrel Filters --- Mesh PreFilters (a no no) --- Under Gravel details --- Pump Location --- The Two Dollar Duck Pond --- Roofing Liner Locater --- Empty Little Pond --- He likes my style --- Attaching Power Heads --- Denver Koi Pond ---
Starting June 1, 1997
Uptight Watertight --- MicroBiologist and Mail Order --- Runoff problems --- Home Depot & Lava Rock --- Gooky Lava Rock --- Pond up against the Deck --- Aquarium Power Head --- Yellow Leaves ---
Starting July 1, 1997
Red Water --- Small Filter --- Fish Food for Sunnies, etc. --- A Death Valley Pond --- Bubble Bead Filter --- Will mortar affect the water --- Cleaning the Filter --- Push or Pull Pumps --- Flow Up or Down --- Yet More on UG's --- Plastic Replacement for Lava Rock --- Sea Salt --- ***Reasonable*** Pond Liner Supplier --- Water was clean, now murky --- That damn Italian again --- Where to get the Big League stuff --- Filthy Lava Rock --- Haunted Pond --- Joining Ponds --- Fish Changing Color --- Natural Pond --- Plant Filtration ---
September 1997
Algae growth on Rocks & Winterization --- Hiding Places for the fish, Sturgeons & Herons --- Help, sick fish --- Plant Protection Plan --- Fish Food ---
January 1998
A Report from Sacramento --- A Report from Tillamook --- Julie from Juno --- Charcoal as Filter material --- 15 Acre Pond --- Different Filter Questions ---
From: CLloyd6615@aol.com Date: Mon, 7 Oct 1996 08:11:18 -0400

Excellent page!! Built my first pond in July. Used a plastic form. Already planning my next, bigger pond. Want to make sure I know what I'm doing first. Appreciate your page's help.
Hope to talk to you later.


From: "Darrell & Dianne Fichtl" {realty4u@newportnet.com}
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 1996 08:02:45 -0700

Thanks for the article. My wife and I are thinking of adding a pond to the backyard in the spring. Any suggestions as to liner material PVC over rubber and how thick.. Also we have PLENTY of raccoons here in Depoe Bay, OR

Darrell Fichtl

Great, you'll never be sorry, frustrated maybe but not sorry. {grin}

As to a liner I had a "store bought" liner in my back yard for 8 years. This spring we did a major overhaul of the pond and replaced it. As I've said my son now has it in his front yard.

I replaced it with 60 mil rubber roofing and so far it's been fine, but we haven't gone through a winter yet. I'm sure it'll be fine. I believe I covered pros and cons of each as I perceived then in the "Building" paper. If you have further questions, I'll be happy to respond.

Raccoons - I read somewhere that to discourage them you need a straight sided pond. We do have coons around here but seldom see them. My yard is fenced in and I always have had a large dog that spends a lot of time in it so it would discourage any other animals. If you do have an intruder problem your fish will become "hiders". They get traumatized and seek to hide, especially whenever a shadow crosses the surface. One friend had visits from a great heron (on the endangered list) that scared the hell out of his fish (the ones it didn't eat). He ended up letting it have it with buckshot. Nothing else worked.

Good luck to you. BTW do you have any criticisms of "Building" How to make it better, etc.

Gösta....

Go back To Index

From: "J. Rene Barrios"
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 1996 14:42:13 -0700
Subject: From Puddle to Pond

I have a large puddle (20'x30'x3') which is formed by drainage. It is muddy and has a lot of aquatic vegetation. It does not have an outlet except when it overflows. It is located 150' from a creek in my property which I could connect the 'pond' to. I'd like very much to convert this puddle into a pond, but I don't know how to go about it. Any suggestions?, books?, anything?

Thank you for any attention you should devote to this matter.

>I have a large puddle (20'x30'x3') which is formed by drainage.

Some "puddle"! Would that I had as much room. My lot is a 50' x100' and has two houses on it.

>It is muddy ........

If it is formed by drainage, no wonder it's muddy.

  1. If the drainage feeding it is diverted, will the puddle disappear? In other words will the ground hold the water like a lake or natural pond; or does the water seep into the ground and disappear? (Other than evaporation of course).

  2. If the ground does hold the water then you would have to divert the drainage away from it to keep the water from getting too muddy or otherwise contaminated. Maybe build a "levee" around the puddle. Then just toss some feeder goldfish and/or guppies in and see how they do. You can always wade in and pull whatever vegetation out that doesn't look good and put in some of your own. I wouldn't add water hyacinth or "water cabbage". These are such prolific reproducers they would soon choke a large pond like yours (they are much easier to "prune" in a small pond). In some areas of the world they are considered noxious weeds. Anacharis is good, It will multiply and survive for years, provide cover for baby guppies, and the goldfish will feed on it as well. (Talking about plants is getting ahead of the problem though).

  3. If the water does seep into the ground then wait until it is low/dry and put a liner on the bottom. For as large a pond as yours, I would suggest using the 60mil roofing rubber for a liner (as talked about in "Building"). I *think* it comes in rolls as wide 20'. If it does, then you could do the job with only having to glue one seam. Gluing is not difficult but you must be fastidious. My son glued ours (it was only 10' wide) with a 12" overlap to reduce the chance of a leak and it worked fine.

  4. When diverting the drainage I would be careful to not let it run directly into your creek if possible. It may make the creek muddy as well. Your puddle is probably acting like a settlement basin for the creek now.

  5. Perhaps you could build a multi-pond system where the 1st pond gets the drainage initially and acts like a settlement basin for the second pond joined by a manufactured (by you) bubbling brook, etc. flowing into your third pond ....... Getting complicated but like I said .... you are only limited by your imagination {grin}.

    >how to go about it. Any suggestions?, books?, anything?

    You could check out some of the links at the end of "Building a Pond". The only problem I find with books is that they get too darned technical. It ain't brain surgery after all though some books would have one believe otherwise. Pretty much common sense is all it takes.

    Hope this helps.

    Good luck to you. Gösta........

    Go back To Index

    From: "Darrell & Dianne Fichtl" {realty4u@newportnet.com}
    Date: Sun, 27 Oct 1996 08:02:45 -0700

    Hi again:

    I ran into a new product from Bend Tarp and Liner in Bend, OR. there home page is http://www.empnet.com\bendtarp

    They say that their 24mil REINFORCED tarps are better than any 45 mil rubber or PVC. Have you ever heard of them and what's your opinion if you have one.

    I really have no idea.When I get a chance I'll check out their home page but your guess would be as good as mine {smile}. BTW we used 60 mil rubber roofing here the last time.

    Gösta..................

    Go back To Index

    FROM: chrisgerb@juno.com

    Pond,Excellent
    Pond Comments,Thanks for the info! I am an aquatic scciences student at college in NY planning to start my own garden pond comp. after graduation (thats the dream). Any and all information sources you could point me toward would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time and efforts.

    Chris Gerbig

    Thanks again

    Thanks your kind note. Any of the links I show at the end of Pond would be a good place to start. The KOI USA reference has a wealth of technical info. The Environmental Organization .... reference is another good place to look around. Assuming you're looking for technical info that is. At any rate they will have links to other places as well.

    Good Luck

    Go back To Index

    Pond,Pretty Good
    Pond Comments,I am interested in designing and building decorative low-maintainance waterfalls. Do you have any suggestions for me? I would be interested in any information that you could provide please e-mail me at Lslivin877@aol.com. Thanks.

    Lee.

    Thanks your comments on "Building a Pond". Sorry I can't offer any more suggestions re waterfalls. Just look around and get some ideas from what you see at pond stores, shows, etc. is all I can suggest.

    Go back To Index

    Pond,Excellent
    Pond Comments,Excellent: Do you have any problems with filter drain line freezing up with valve or hooking to the top of the barrel? I would think lack of cirulation would cause this to freeze.

    I shut the barrel filter and waterfall down when it starts to freeze (usually in Dec or Jan in NJ shore). Just 1) lift the pump out of the pond; 2) drop the drain hose; and voila - all done. {grin}

    Thanks your reply.

    Go back To Index

    Pond,Excellent
    Pond Comments,Thanks for the filter in the barrel idea. I have been toying around with some ideas but this is the best one yet.

    I am a new ponder and will be installing my first pond this spring. I am looking for all the "cheap" ideas that I can get.

    I live in the St. Louis area and would love to hear from other ponders in this area. My e-mail address is: lmeeks@stlmo.com

    Sorry I can't help you there. Maybe if you post on one of the sites whose links are provided at the bottom of my Pond Page you can find some local ponders there.

    Thx your reply..........Gösta

    Go back To Index

    I enjoyed reading your web page about ponds. I am planning to move to a home in a "country" type area of South Florida. I have never had a pond but have always wanted one. Your information was appreciated and has led me to ponder many more questions than what I have previously.

    Ed,

    Have at it Ed, it's a great pasttime. Gee, Florida. Makes me jealous. You'll be able to keep tropicals (Angels, mollies, etc.). Been as low as 15 degrees here this winter so my upper pond is frozen over with snow on top. Before the snow I was able to see a couple minnows and a gold fish still swimming. The bottom pond just started to freeze (it still has the small power heads pumping which keeps the surface water moving so it hasn't frozen yet) and all fish are healthy in it. Lost one small goldie is all.

    God luck to you. If you have any questions when you're ready to start your pond in Fla, I'll be happy to answer what I can.

    Go back To Index

    Pond,Excellent
    Pond Comments,Not sure that I understood where to locate the 55 gal drum?
    My E-Mail is ssteele@mail.gorilla.net
    My name is Skip and I'm in the planning stages.
    All suggestions are welcome.... Loved your article

    Skip,

    Dunno about any more suggestions other than to make sure you make it as big as you can, especially the filters.

    The barrel can go anywhere. Hide it behind a tree, shed or anything if you want. All you need to do is have long enough hoses. Plastic pool hoses are pretty cheap and can be cut to any length. Just make sure they are big enough so you don't cut down the capacity of the pump.

    Thanks your note.

    Go back To Index

    I saw your article about your biological filter using lava rock. I am going to try this so that I increase the size of my bio-filter. I bought a Pondmaster 1200 gal. per hr. pump to increase the gpm flow. Are you saying in your article that you have no trouble with algae problem because of your bio-filter? I had algae problems all last summer and am going to try your method of ridding algae by the use of your bio-filter. A salesman a the store I purchased the new pump from says that biological filters will not do away with algae problems.

    Please respond about this filter.

    All I can tell you is: MY WATER STAYS CRYSTAL CLEAR (except for detrius from a neaby pine tree and petals from the hanging impatiens). For the spring and summer months it gets effectively full sun. That it's due to the lava filter is beyond question in my mind. Algae WILL GROW on surfaces and is actually a healthy thing.

    The salesman may want to sell you an ultra violet light claiming that will do the same thing and it may well (as long as you change the bulb every 9 months to a year).

    One secret is having a sufficient volume of water passing through the lava. As I said I have the equivalent of at least one pond volume per hour going through mine.

    Good luck and let me know how you make out.

    Go back To Index

    Could I trouble you for some information on your filtration system? I have been unable to find anyone who can tell me how to cut a hole in a plastic containter (ie, your plastic drum you use for your filtration for your pond) and then have a water-tight fitting applied.

    I have asked several people and none of their answers were satisfactory (ie, "just cut a hole and run a pipe through it with a lot of silicone around it", etc.)

    Okay. I used a "hole attachment" on my electric drill. A hole attachment allows you to cut various size holes in wood. There are expensive ones that electricians use, but I just have a cheap one (probably under $10) that has various hole size blades. You oughtta be able to get on in a hardware store or a Rickels. You wouldn;t wanna be doing production work with one, but it's okay for light plywood and plastic. It looks like a bunch of concentric circles stuck in grooves in a plate. The back side of the plate has a 1/4" shaft that goes in the grill. Just put the circle size you wanna make in the plate and you're in business.

    What kinds of fittings did you use, how did you cut the hole and where did you get the fittings?

    I got my fittings at a marine supply store. They are called "thru-hull" fittings. If you can find then at a plumbing store they should be cheaper. Mine (3) cost me in the 12-15$ range, which is way too much but I wasn't in the mood to shop around. I've seen them for about 1/2 that since.

    For my input from the pump I have a 1" id and 2 1" id for the discharge at the top. For the drain on the bottom, I have a 1 1/4" id. (Don't use smaller, you'll be sorry.)

    After you match up the pipe size with your cutting blade, you're in business. After the hole is cut, *LIBERALLY* put silicone on both sides of the fitting before tightening it up. (It will be threaded and have a nut to clamp it to the barrel.

    How big's your pond? And what are you using now?

    Anything more I can do, just holler.

    Go back To Index

    Gosta,

    I used a door knob hole cutter (about the same thing as you discribed) to cut the hole. None of the plumbing places around here acted like they knew anything about a fitting to go in a hole in plastic (or anything else) that would sort of seal around the hole, other than to just run my 2" pipe through the hole and put silicone on both sides of it (which is what I ended up doing).

    I have a 15 gal. Rubbermaid type container which sits (completely submerged) in the top pool of my waterfall. I ran the 2" pipe from the submersed pump up to the top of the waterfall and down to the bottom of the filter, through the wall of the filter and across the bottom with 1/2" holes drilled in the piping running across the bottom of the filter. I have plastic 1/2 inch hardware cloth over the pipe, then lava rock and some river rock pretty much filling the filter with a piece of synthetic fiter padding clamped to the top of the filter.

    Occasionally, I take the synthetic filter mat out and hose it clean, then clamp it back on to the top of the filter. The water fills the top of the waterfall, and falls 3 times to get back into the pond. I'm not at all satisfied with my silicone seal job, as I know that the silicone hasn't really done anything (water is coming out of filter around the pipe). As the leak is in the water, it isn't really causing any major problems, but I think I probably need a better system. I've been reading about out of pond systems, and am considering trying that, but I have to perfect the connections first.

    My pond is 10' x 14' with a 3 1/2' waterfall at one end and is about 2' deep over most of the bottom with 1' deep shelves around part of the perimeter for plants.

    Since I also live near the ocean, I should be able to find the fittings at a marine supply store, if I can't find them cheaper somewhere else.

    We had some serious problems with hurricanes Bertha and Fran this past summer, so any free time was spent trying to clean the yard up from the fallen trees, etc, and getting most of the debris out of the pond. It's amazing how much stuff ends up in the pond when the winds blow! Especially when there are whole trees down all over the place! :-)

    Is your filter out of the pond? What is it in? Now, an obvious question to me is, if your filter has a bottom drain that drains with gravity, that means that your filter is elevated on something, right? Something like a few bricks, or cinder blocks or what? How high does it have to be? Or am I way off base?

    . Thanks for your help. :-)
    Bambi
    cantrell@onslowonline.net

    Bambi,

    >I used a door knob hole cutter (about the same thing as you discribed) >to cut the hole.

    Yeah the only difference being you must fit the thru-hull fitting to the hole rather than the other way around. Another name for the fittings is "Bulkhead" fitting.

    None of the plumbing places around here acted like they knew anything about a fitting to go in a hole in plastic (or anything else) that would sort of seal around the hole

    I'm guessing there is "no meeting of the minds" and/or you're both speaking different languages. Another place to try would be a swimming pool supply place. If all else fails, call 800-733-3829 (That Fish Place in PA) and ask for an Aquarium Catalog. I buy lotsa stuff there for my salt water setup.

    I have a 15 gal. Rubbermaid type container which sits (completely submerged) in the top pool of my waterfall. I ran the 2" pipe from the submersed pump up to the top of the waterfall and down to the bottom of the filter, through the wall of the filter and across the bottom with 1/2" holes drilled in the piping running across the bottom of the filter. I have plastic 1/2 inch hardware cloth over the pipe, then lava rock and some river rock pretty much filling the filter with a piece of synthetic fiter padding clamped to the top of the filter.

    For the size of your pool, 15 gal seems pretty small. If it keeps the water crystal clear, fine. But I'm betting you have occasional algae problems (murky water). Further your setup has no mechanism for draining or flushing the internal rock. I'll bet if you take the rock out, you'll find it packed with mud (floc) and the water that does get through is coming up through "channels" with little overall contact with the rock. The object it to keep the lava clear so that moving water comes into contact with it continually.

    Why would you use river rock instead of lava (assuming you had plenty lava) for filtering purposes? It has nowhere near the surface area for the bacteria to grow. You are cutting down your filter capacity major league.

    Occasionally, I take the synthetic filter mat out and hose it clean, then clamp it back on to the top of the filter. The water fills the top of the waterfall, and falls 3 times to get back into the pond. I'm not at all satisfied with my silicone seal job, as I know that the silicone hasn't really done anything (water is coming out of filter around the pipe). As the leak is in the water, it isn't really causing any major problems, but I think I probably need a better system. I've been reading about out of pond systems, and am considering trying that, but I have to perfect the connections first.

    My pond is 10' x 14' with a 3 1/2' waterfall at one end and is about 2' deep over most of the bottom with 1' deep shelves around part of the perimeter for plants.

    The bottom line is, if your water is clean and you're satisfied with it., then don't fix what ain't broke. The waterfall is a BIG help in filtration (oxygenation plus any grass that grows acts as a further filter - taking nutrients out of the water, etc.)

    As far as washing the mat on top, if it's not plugged then you are washing away bacteria that has grown there. If it is plugged, then imagine what the inside of your barrel looks like.

    > Is your filter out of the pond?

    Yes. It sits alongside, and dumps into, a raised "settling" pond behind the waterfall.

    >What is it in?

    Dunno what you mean by that, It's a plastic 55 gallon drum exactly as depicted on the Pond Page. It has 4 or 5 cubic feet of lava rock in it.

    Now, an obvious question to me is, if your filter has a bottom drain that drains with gravity, that means that your filter is elevated on something, right? Something like a few bricks, or cinder blocks or what?

    Exactly.

    >How high does it have to be?

    High enough so that the top can flow into the upper pond.

    I suggest you log onto my Pond Page again and print it out so you have something to refer to when talking to your plumbers, etc.

    Good luck.

    Go back To Index

    From: PinkieB@aol.com
    Date: Sat, 22 Feb 1997 10:12:49 -0500 (EST)

    . Hi-enjoyed your page. Thanks. We have two small ponds-the larger about 8'x8'x15"...obviously too shallow, even though our goldfish overwintered. We would like to make it deeper and I would love to have waterlilies grow in the bottom. I have been trying to find information on setting up a pond without a rubber liner-ie-a dirt bottom. We have mostly clay and it hold water fairly well but is coffee colored. Any thoughts? Or should I just toss this idea out...?

    Thanks for any advice.

    >Hi-enjoyed your page. Thanks. Thanks your reply.

    >We have two small ponds-the larger about 8'x8'x15"...obviously too shallow, even though our goldfish overwintered.

    If your fish survived okay, I would say it's deep enough. That was about the depth of mine for 8 years before we rebuilt it and I never had any problem losing fish but to cold weather. It froze every winter.

    I would love to have waterlilies grow in the bottom.

    I think you'll have better luck with the water lilies if you put them in large pots and keep them just a few inches below the surface. They may do all right at 15" but I have better luck in shallower water.

    I have been trying to find information on setting up a pond without a rubber liner-ie-a dirt bottom. We have mostly clay and it hold water fairly well but is coffee colored.

    If it holds the water ok, nothing wrong with that. If the brown color is from runoff into it there's not much you can do short of diverting the runoff away from the pond. If the color is from algae growth you can almost certainly clear it up using a lava filter and a large enough pump (as I described on the Pond page).

    Good luck.

    Go back To Index

    From: SSgt Curt Miner
    Subject: rubber roofing material in ponds

    Allright, this may be the 3rd message you're getting from me, or the 1st. The first two didn't seem to work right. So, if this is the first, my name is Curt Miner, and I read your article about building a pond. What interested me most was about cutting and gluing rubber roofing material. Since I'm kinda new at this, can you tell me exactly what you're talking about, what it's called, and where to get it?

    Thank you, Curt Miner

    Hi Curt,

    >Allright, this may be the 3rd message you're getting from me, or the 1st. The first two didn't seem to work right. So, if this is the >first, my name is Curt Miner, and I read your article about building a pond.

    This is, I'm sure, the first. You may have left msgs in the "Comment" area and If you didn;t include you email address, I wouldn''t have been able to reply as it is anonymous.

    >What interested me most was about cutting and gluing rubber roofing material. Since I'm kinda new at this, can you tell me exactly what you're talking about, what it's called, and where to get it?

    Well when we (my son) did it here's how:

    1. We got it from a regular roofing company. I expect you could purchase from anyone who specializes in putting on shingles - or at least he could steer you in the right direction. I think it comes in various widths. We used a 10' width but I wish now we had spent a little extra and gone for the 20' width (less or no seams) but we didn't. Next time I will. BTW you'll may have to buy a whole roll which could be as much as a 100' long but it will still be probably a lot cheaper than buying the vinyl pond sheets the aquarium stores sell.

    2. Cutting is easy - sharp scissors or a sheetrock knife. No big deal here.

    3. He laid out the 2 pieces on a flat surface making sure it was hard and level under the joint area (you can stick plywood under if you have to do it on the ground.

    4. Gluing gets a little harder. What Kevin (my son) did is figure a 12" overlap for the seam (we only needed one). You'll get a cleaner solution to wash where the glue is applied. Clear Instructions will be on the cans.

    5. We gave it 24 hours to dry, then dragged the rubber over the pond hole, and let it settle in. You'll have to get in and fold the corners so the overlap doesn't bulge too bad. We didn't worry about cuttin and gluing the corner (more work and potential leaks) and to tell you the truth, you don't even notice the folds after the water is in it. Of course a career military man probably would but no one has ever remarked on it.

      Now I'm sure you don't need a 12" overlap (They probably only use a 2 or 3" on a roof) but Kevin felt better safe than sorry.

    Hope that helps. Any more question, just ask and I'll do the best I can.

    Go back To Index

    >Pond,Excellent
    >Pond Comments,I have been planning on setting up a pond for most of the winter and this site is exactly what I have been looking for. Ever consider an inexpensive plastic sink for the filter container? It comes pre plumbed with a drain. I will set the sink at the top of the water fall so it can double as my "small reservoir" at the top of the falls.

    Absolutely EXCELLENT suggestion, I'll add it to my next pond update. Bout due for one anyway now the winter's near over. Survivor report and all that. Lost my Ryuakin, and 1 small goldfish. Not bad for 150+ fish but hated to lose the Ryukin. Nice looking fish. (Note - The Ryukin didn't die. He was just laying in the bottom of the pond and I thought he was dead but whenever I went to take him out, a fin flickered, so I left him in. Presto, the water warmed up and he's as active as ever. Hmmmmm... Makes me wonder how many others I prematurely sent to the BIG POND in the sky over the years.)


    Go back To Index

    >Pond,Excellent
    >Pond Comments,Great page--lots of info & I found the Fe bit humorous, though I'm not really sure what that says about me.

    Thinking of a pond this year & your info helps. I have an established pond & want to put fish in it. (sounds simpler than it will be, I'm sure) Susannah sjw@westol.com

    Thanks your comments. Re putting fish in pond, no big deal. Go buy a couple bucks worth of feeder guppies and goldfish and toss 'em in. Course if you wanna see 'em you'll probab;y have to filter the water {grin}

    Go back To Index

    HI. I just sent a question about building a waterfall and here's my e-mail address.

    Dan,

    You sent:

    Pond,Excellent
    Pond Comments,Great Page. I have a small pond on my patio and am installing another larger and deeper pre-formed pond in the backyard. I'd like to use your waaterfall idea but I'm wondering since this is all above ground by 2-3 feet, what should I use as a base to build my rock waterfall on?

    My waterfall starts 12-15" off the ground. My son built a sturdy base out of wood (mostly scrap pieces) using a 2x12" 6 or 8 feet long on the ground then built up solid "legs" out of short pieces of 2x12" or whatever we had around. Sortta like this:

                   R O C K S
    *********************************
      X            X              X
      X            X              X
      X            X              X
      X            X              X
    *********************************
         G R O U N D
    Not a good drawing but you get the idea.

    Good luck to you. BTW, I left my two small "undergravel" pumps on all winter after shutting down the waterfall (ice dontcha know) and the water stayed crystal clear. Course the fish are inactive but the upper pond (waterfall feeder) is pretty green. Be another few weeks before I start the wf back up.

    You might wanna consider setting one up when you build your new one. Pumps only draw 30 watts each.

    Good Luck

    Go back To Index

    At 06:02 PM 3/23/97 -0800, you wrote:

    I'm currently building a 3 hole golf course on a small farm. Actually 4 greens, no tees and 1 fairway. Anyway, the owners have requested I also build them a pond. There is a natural valley in a field near there house I am thinking of developing. The pond would be about 4 feet deep and 60 feet in diameter, it would be in ground on one side and above ground on the lower side. The irrigation system for the golf course is supplied by a 1 hp well on the property. I am planning to use this for the pond as well. I'm wondering if a pond liner is necessary? I'm sure there are a number of different products in pond liners but what would be a ballpark figure for a liner this size? Also runoff downstream of the pond is not a problem. Any help you can give me would be very appreaciated.

    Thanks,
    C. mark Schmid
    ed1@erols.com

    Mark,

    Dunno that I can be much help here. That's WAY BIGGER than my experience. {grin}.

    I'll give you my best guesses though:

    I'm wondering if a pond liner is necessary?

    If the ground doesn't have a clay base the water will just seep back into the ground. You'll just have to try it and see.

    As far as liners go, I would investigate using rubber roofing. Don't really know but would guess you could glue roofing together for about $1500-$2000. Big job though. My son used a 12" overlap (we had no leaks) and lotsa glue.

    After putting the liner down, I'd put 12" or so of topsoil in a section and 12" gravel in another. 12" is not a hard number, just a guess. Between the topsoil and the gravel you will have a varying bottom for stuff (water lilies, cattails, etc.) to grow in. The topsoil (mud) will provide a place for the frogs and turtles to winter over

    I'd lay some "holey" pipes under the gravel with elbows on one end and pipes sticking up. That way later on you could add a couple *small* pumps to them to draw water through the gravel for biological filtration (See the UG filter on my Pond page)

    In the center (or one end), I'd build a mound of rocks with a large submersible pump in the center pumping water up over the rocks. Lotsa aeration to keep the water healthy. Any kind of waterfall really with as big a volume as is practical.

    Stick in lotsa feeder goldfish. There'll be a temptation to put in wild fish (Bass, sunnies, etc) but they are natural "hiders" and they'll be seldom seen.

    Dunno how much more I can add. Good luck to you.

    (A few weeks later) Hi Mark,

    I JUST got a catalog from Aquatic-Ecosystems that will be right up your alley for what you want to do. call 800-422-3939 and ask for a catalog. It's free and will answer MANY questions for you.

    Gösta

    Go back To Index

    At 08:22 PM 3/23/97 -0500, you wrote:

    I went out today and bought a large bag of 1/2" Lava rock and went to work making two filters.(The Ice has just melted.) I made two in pond Filters,what I did was use a 4 gal plastic bucket, placed the sump pump on the bottom of the bucket and filled it around the pump and to the top of the bucket with lava rock, with the hose comming out the top of the filter, hooked the hose to the water fall, plugged it in and bingo it is working fine and within 2 or 3 hours the ponds were clear.

    The true test will be this summer, I hope it will not clog as often I will up date you this summer

    > Dale Laughlin
    dalel@westol.com

    Dale,

    If it's big enough, it should work fine. It will take several weeks of warm weather for the bacteria to grow. What you likely had was particulate matter in the water.

    As you said the true test will come when the water warms up. Don't know for sure but I don't think algae will grow much when the water's under 50 degrees (although I do have a little in my shallow upper pond where the lava filter has been off since sept.) Still cold here (below freezing often at night) yet, we have had a few warm days where it got near 70 and I expect that's when the algae grew.

    Good Luck and let me know how things are working out in August.

    Go back To Index

    From: Julia Parker

    Hey, cool page. Anyways, I'm starting a pond in my backyard, and I want to make it out of cement, but here's my question. How to I stop the cement from falling off the vertical sides? you know, I don't want it all to droop down before it dries, so how to I keep it in place? oh and what can I put under the cement to prevent roots and stuff coming up? is newspaper good enough for that?

    Julia,

    Really am not all that familiar with cement. I believe what you have to do is make a side framework out of chicken wire or something like that. Probably oughtta have it in the bottom too to prevent cracks. Mix the cement thick enough so it doesn't run easily.

    You may want to get an estimate on having it done professionally as it is not as simple a process as it appears to be.

    oh and what can I put under the cement to prevent roots and stuff coming up? is newspaper good enough for that?

    A layer of newspaper several inches thick should take care of that.

    Good Luck to you. Let me know how you make out.

    Go back To Index

    At 11:07 PM 4/3/97 -0600, you wrote:

    I haven"t read in detail yet on your filter, but found it interesting. I readd an article by Norm at Koi Usa on horizontal flow filtration as well. My pond at home will hold 18,500 gallons since I am putting in an edpm liner from Tetra in the remaining fiberglass structure of my old in ground swimming pool. I was going to put the old filtration system back in with a sand filter instead of a DE-but need a good biological filter. I wonder how big it would need to be and I wanted to build it out of rubbermaid stock waterers. If you have time and any comments would really like to hear from you. Thank you

    Judy Gray
    jgray@ezl.com

    Judy,

    I don't really have any more details to offer other than what's on my Pond Page. Wow, 18,000 gals is probably 10 times as big as my pond. I'm sure you won't "pack" it as much with fish (I have close to 200) though.

    If I were you I think I would probably build a barrel filter (with an eye to maybe adding another one later) feeding into as large a "settling pond" (SP) as I could make (space limitations) with a gravel bottom as described. If you can raise the SP (build it on legs) several feet above the pool so the overflow falls into the pool it will give good aeration. Coming down a rock wall face would be very attractive I should think. The SP wouldn't have to be very deep, 6 to 12 inches should be plenty. If you make the top about 4' high with a 6-12" lip around it, it makes a nice place to put some potted plants and is a *GREAT* spot to just lean on and daydream.

    The barrel filter will easily accomodate a 1/2 horse pool pump. I know because I had one hooked up to mine just to try it out. (Have one from a previous pond experiment . The sand filter plugged up very quickly though (within a few days)).

    I'd put several inches of *white* gravel on the bottom of the pool just for visibility purposes if nothing else. Make sure you WASH the gravel first though. It's covered with a fine dust that'll plug the fish gills otherwise (I lost a bunch of nice 4 year old goldfish that way).

    And before I put the gravel on the bottom I'd *surely* put several (at least 6) long PVC pipes drilled full of holes down on the bottom first each with an elbow and a pipe coming up the side of the pool. I'd cover the holed pipes with a coarse fiber matting (to keep the gravel from plugging the holes). That way I could put a small "power head" (they're cheap and burn almost no electricity) on top of each each pipe. They'll give a top-to-bottom circulation plus excellent biological filtration through the gravel. They shouldn't plug up as they pump *relatively* little water for the *large* size of their intakes. I let mine go all winter (shut the barrel filter and waterfall down in December) and the water stayed crystal clear (there's very little biological activity either with the water or the fish when the water gets below 50 degrees).

    Good luck. I envy you having this opportunity. Be sure to let me know how you make out.

    Go back To Index

    Pond,Excellent
    Pond Comments,Great information about the waterfall. I only wish you >would have gone into depth about it a little bit more. :-)

    THanks your evaluation. I'll see if I can't make it a lilltle more clear for you.{grin}

    And I was glad to find out that you used Flag Stone Rock, right? Since you said it was flat, so I just assume you did. :-)

    I don't know if it is called FlagStone Rock. I don't think so. It's my impression that flagstone is *roughly* uniform in thickness (around 1") and often in size (around 1 sq foot). The rocks I used are called "fieldstone" (around here) and is used for lanscaping decorations.

    But when you used cement to connect it, would have hurt the pH balance? or something?

    No I didn't use cement. THey are just placed one on top of another to a height of about 4 feet. Cement MAY cause PH problems (I honestly don't know) but I shouldn't think it would be a large factor in a waterfall, nor for very long if it is. I have seen some very nice waterfalls (and pools) where cement was used extensively. You may be able to get an inert type, or plastic based if you think it will be a problem.

    Oh, another thing what do you put under the flag stone rocks and the liner to get it 4 feet high? Dirt or all rocks? I very lost on this waterfall creation thing and I'm almost done with my pond. But I don't know what to do about starting a waterfall. :-( So any help on any other web sites or books or your advise will greatly help me to the right track.

    Okay what we did here is (and I'll try to "sketch" it for you) build a wall out of plywood down from the upper pond to the edge of the lower one. Sortta like this.

         Upper Pond    
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                                         
      UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU P L W ~
                        P L WWW ~
                        P L WWWW ~
                        P L WWWW ~
                        P L WWWWW ~
                        P L WWWWW ~
                        P LLLL WWW ~
         Ground         BBBB L WWW ~         
    GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG L WWW ~  Lower pond
    GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG L WWW ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG   WWW ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG
    

    The upper pond (UUUUU) has supports holding it up (not shown here).

    The Plywood (Represented by the vertical P's) is nailed to those supports.

    The base (BBB) sits on the ground (GGG).

    A six foot piece of Liner (L's) runs from inside the Upperpond, down the face of the Plywood, on top of the Base and down into the Lower pond.

    The rocks (WWWW) are stacked on top of the base (and on top of the liner piece). ((Note - See "A Waterfall Base")

    Any water that gets behind the rock wall just runs down the liner and back into the lower pond.

    At the top of the wall there will be a gap between the rocks and the wall the water will fall into. We solved that problem by laying another piece of scrap liner about a foot wide on top of the rocks and down into the Upper Pond. We then laid rocks on top of that to hide it.

    It's your business Keith but I think I would try this method (using no cement) first and then if I wasn't satisfied then go to cement. Nothing is permanent here, although there are distinct advantages to using cement.

    Good Luck to you and write back and let me know how you are doing.

    Gösta

    Go back To Index

    i've been searching around the net from some specific info and it's a little hard to find...

    i'm buying a house with a koi pond in the entry. it's a figure 8 about 6 feet by 3 feet and maybe 12-18 in deep. there are 4 mature fish, each about 8-10 inches.

    there's an electric filter and pump with a little fountain spurting out which i know is good for oxygen. the filter is about 1 ft square with a piece of something in it -- white material about an inch thick.

    my questions (i've read all kinds of stuff and can't tell) -- is that enough space/water for four fish? there used to be five and one jumped out -- it was awful. are they too crowded? how do i know if they're "unhappy"? i'd hate them to be living in a little hell or something. if it is too small, what are my alternatives. i've heard they'll die if they're moved somewhere else.

    oh -- i'm in sausalito, california. no freezing weather. occasional 90s in the summer. how cold is too cold and how hot is too hot?

    THANKS!


    Hi Rebecca, At 06:09 PM 4/20/97 -0700, you wrote:

    i've been searching around the net from some specific info and it's a little hard to find...

    Not so hard, you found me . Dunno ho much help I'll be.

    i'm buying a house with a koi pond in the entry. it's a figure 8 about 6 feet by 3 feet and maybe 12-18 in deep. there are 4 mature fish, each about 8-10 inches. ...... there's an electric filter and pump with a little fountain spurting out which i know is good for oxygen. the filter is about 1 ft square with a piece of something in it -- white material about an inch thick.

    You can't have too much oxygenation, the stuff of life you know. The white material probably provides both bacterial and mechanical infiltration.

    my questions (i've read all kinds of stuff and can't tell) -- is that enough space/water for four fish?

    From what you described above there should be PLENTY water for 4 fish, even 40 fish with decent filtration.

    there used to be five and one jumped out -- it was awful. are they too crowded?

    Absolutely not. If a fish jumped out, well .... no one ever said fish had any sense.

    how do i know if they're "unhappy"? i'd hate them to be living in a little hell or something.

    If the water is clean that's about all you can do for them. You might want to set up an additional gravel filter on the bottom, if practical, for bacterialogical filtration and circulation for oxygen exchange. Cost maybe $35 all together. Be a good base to plant stuff in as well. If interested I'll send details.

    if it is too small, what are my alternatives. i've heard they'll die if they're moved somewhere else.

    It sounds to me just fine. And if you do have to move them, as long as reasonable care is taken they should also be fine then as well.

    oh -- i'm in sausalito, california. no freezing weather. occasional 90s in the summer. how cold is too cold

    My ponds freeze over every winter and my fish are fine.

    and how hot is too hot?

    I've seen my water reach 90+ (rarely) and the fish are fine as well. The key to warm water is sufficient oxygen. If you have a fountain that should be more than adequate.

    Go to a fish (aquarium) store and buy some plants. Anacharis (a floater) is very good. Fish will nibble on it and it will act as a filter as well (using fish waste to grow).

    THANKS!

    Relax. Sounds like you have a neat setup. Kick back and enjoy it. Consider the gravel filter as I said above. They work really well.

    Good luck and good fishing.

    Go back To Index

    From: Jones kjones@aztec-net.com
    Subject: lava rock filter
    Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 02:23:25

    I found your web site while surfing, and read your page for lava rock filters. I became very interested and built one the very next day. It has already cleared the pond in just a half day running.Just one thing I thought you might be interested in, we have hydro interuption in our area often therefore when the pump is shut down the filter empties back into the pond through the pump line. A small check valve or foot valve or a pcv valve from your automobile in the line would prevent this from happening. (Just something to think about)

    Awaiting your reply
    Alf Jones
    (Watergarden Crafts Acton, Ontario, Canada.)

    Hi Alf,

    Glad it's working out for you. My guess is the initial filtering has been mechanical (solids) so make sure to flush it often (maybe once or twice day for a couple days). Other wise the solids may begin to block passages in your lava rock, reducing its effectiveness. It takes several weeks for the bacteria to start up, maybe longer depending on water temperature.

    Understand what you mean by water backing up. I don't care if it does that because nothing is harmed by it. Maybe a little dirt from the filter washing back. A check valve is just one more potential trouble spot with no advantage in my system using a submersible pump.

    Thanks your note and good luck.

    Go back To Index

    Just wanted to tell you about the bio filter I recently made for my approximately 1100 gallon back yard pond. I built the pond in FEB 96 with not much information except one book on ponds and plants I bought at Home Depot.

    I bought my liner from an outfit called Reef industries in Texas which is in the business of making large liners for landfills and such, but they will gladly sell you any size you order, about 50 cents a square foot.

    Anyway, over the past year we built up a pretty nice inventory of mostly fancy tailed goldfish, some are approaching 18 inches long, and assorted lilies, cattails, and other plants.

    The only problem was the green water. My wife discovered that frequent water changes, we have a good shallow well, helped some but the green water persisted. I recently found out that the water changes are not good for the fish or the pond.

    I saw your pond page and read about your lava rock filter, and using that as a basis I designed my own filer. I used a 30 gallon plastic drum which contains 3 cubic feet of rock. I brought my inlet pipe over the top and down to a pvc manifold at the bottom, just above the crate top.

    I am using the same 25 cubic foot mechanical filter and pump that I have been using the past year in a losing battle which flows about 8 gpm through the bio filter. I kicked off this system 2 weeks ago and after about 3 days I could begin to see the water start to clear.

    At this time it is perfectly crystal clear and I can hardly believe it. About once a day I clean the mechanical pre filter which takes about 2 minutes, but it is now to the point where there is not much left to filter out. I haven't flushed out the bio filter yet and do not plan to do so unless the flow decreases or the water starts to cloud up.

    Again, your page started me on the right path. I was afraid that a that a 30 gallon filter would not be large enough to do much good, but I couldn't be more pleased.

    Thanks a lot.

    Enjoying the fish in Florida.

    Am tickled pink by your letter.

    At 08:36 PM 5/6/97 -0400, you wrote:

    ............I bought my liner from an outfit called Reef industries in Texas which is in the business of making large liners for landfills and such, but they will gladly sell you any size you order, about 50 cents a square foot. Anyway, over the past year we built up a pretty

    If you would send the address for Reef Industries I'll post it on the Pond page. Am sure many would be interested in it.

    nice inventory of mostly fancy tailed goldfish, some are approaching 18 inches long, and assorted lilies, cattails, and other plants. The only

    18", wow, I'm impresssed. My largest fish (koi) is not much over 12". We have a MUCH shorter growing season (water over 60-70 degrees). *Must* be the reason {grin}.

    problem was the green water. My wife discovered that frequent water changes,.............. I kicked off this system 2 weeks ago and after about 3 days I could begin to see the water start to clear. At this time it is perfectly crystal clear and I can hardly believe it. About once a day I clean the mechanical pre filter which

    Absolutely amazing ain't it? One of those thing you have to see for yourself to believe.

    takes about 2 minutes, but it is now to the point where there is not much left to filter out. I haven't flushed out the bio filter yet and do not plan to do so unless the flow decreases or the water starts to cloud up.

    Think you're making a mistake here. The bacteria produce floc (a byproduct akin to feces) and it may begin to plug the lava rock. What I do is flush mine each time I have to clean the prefilter (once, twice a week - two minute job too) . If you wait until the flow slows down (as long as the prefilter is not what's slowing it down) it means that pressure will have built up inside the filter forcing the floc into the pores of the rock. Then you will have a nasty cleaning job (been there, done that). That's why I *emphasized* the large drain on the bottom of the filter. Keeps the floc, mud particles, etc. flushed out.

    Again, your page started me on the right path. I was afraid that a that a 30 gallon filter would not be large enough to do much good, but I couldn't be more pleased. Thanks a lot. Enjoying the fish in Florida.

    Tickled pink for you. Stay in touch. Hmmm... 18" goldfish. Damn, you're gonna make me nuts. Probably gonna have to build some sort of solar greenhouse heating affair now. Think you might have just raised me out of the game. {grin}

    Go back To Index

    At 11:23 AM 5/7/97 -0600, you wrote:

    Am in the process of reconstructing a small stream, top basin with ladder step falls using flat rock. Concrete did not hold. Must be this dang cold climate here in Northwest Montana. Suggestions from the Northern pond society were to try spray foam. Question? How does one cover that stuff up, is there a special paint or what?

    If climate is too cold for concrete, it almost certainly too cold for decent adhesion of foam would be my guess (Not an expert on either concrete or foam but have used both for other than pond stuff). I just got an email from a fella in Florida:

    " I bought my liner from an outfit called Reef industries in Texas which is in the business of making large liners for landfills and such, but they will gladly sell you any size you order, about 50 cents a square foot. "

    All the info (address, phone, etc) I have on this at this time.

    If at all practical, I would look into laying down rubber roofing for stream bottom and rocks on top. I think rubber roof comes in lengths up to 100' long X 10' (maybe even 20' ) wide. Stuff is pretty easy to work with in even cold weather. Probably be a lot cheaper than other liners, esp if you didn;t have to glue it.

    Good luck

    Go back To Index

    By the way, I started building my ponds, I dug a 5'x7' and a 10'x12'holes, placed a protective barrier, aligned the liner, positioned rocks around the inside and outside edges, and back- filled. My wife located three rustic beer or wine barrels. We're thinking about stacking one of the barrels on top of the other two barrels. The top barrel will be converted to your filtering system. The water will be pumped up into the lower portion of the top barrel. The water will then pass throught the lava rocks and out of two openings at the top of the barrel. The water will then fall into the two lower barrels and then into the smaller pond. From the smaller pond, the water will gradually cascade down 8 feet to the larger pond.

    I found a 3200 gal/hr Cal pump, I bought a ball valve, 1-1/2" hose, a fountain with 1/2" fitting, 1/2" hose, a T-Connection, and the odds and ends to put it together. I'm planning to pump the water through the pump from the larger pond through the T-connection. At the T-connection, the water will go one way through the 1/2" hose to the fountain, located in the middle of the larger pond, and the other way through the 1-1/2" hose to the ball valve. At the ball valve, I'm planning to regulate the water flow to allow enough back pressure to work the fountain. After passing through the ball valve, the water will be forced into the lower part of the top barrel, as described above.

    Do you have any suggestions or concerns about this design? Please let me know, and thanks again.

    Sincerely Yours,
    Rob Carrier

    Sounds like it will work just fine. The only reservation I have is whether the pump will pump enough pressure to go up the 10-12' and still do the fountain. Many large volume pumps lose capacity rapidly as they try to push/lift water. All depends on impellor type, etc. You'll find out soon enough.

    Do you have any suggestions or concerns about this design? Please let me know, and thanks again.

    Just Make SURE you have an easy flushing system for the lava filter. If you can filter the water (through a mesh or matting or something) before the pump, it will help a lot too. Easy enough to lift the matting out and flush it with a garden hose.

    The other thing I strongly recommend is undergravel setup in the pond itself with a *small* pump(s) drawing through. Just finishing up the first year with my two (they ran all winter while lava filter/waterfall was shut down) and am very pleased. Water stayed crystal clear and only lost one small goldfish (out of 100-150 total). THe reason to use small pumps is so as not to try to draw too much water through gravel and clog it up with dirt etc. Cheap to install & cheap to run (30 watts per pump). Certainly not big enough to carry during warm weather (lots more activity) but fine auxillary.

    Sounds like you're going to have a dandy setup. Good Luck. I hope you'll vote early and often {grin}.

    Go back To Index


    Thank you for your reply. However, what material do you recommend for the mesh and how do you secure it to the pump?

    What I have done is put my pump in a bucket and covered it with a "mesh" filter. I cut the filter out of a commercial floor waxing pad. You can use almost anything that's pretty porous.

    (Note- I have abandoned the mesh in favor of a coarse grate covered with small stone (at least 1" around). I found as the mesh plugged, it created a strong suction in umplugged areas around the edges and was sucking fish in. Lost Tiger Jone (my ryukin) that way.)

    Also, I'm not clear about the under gravel filter system. Can you give me more details on this?

    I don't know if I can explain it any better here than I did on the Pond page. I suggest you print the page so you can study it better. Essentially what I did was lay 1 1/4" PVC pipes drilled full of holes on the bottom and covered them with a porous matting and then a couple or three inches of white gravel. At the end of each pipe is an elbow with a short piece of pipe cut just long enough to be a few inches below the surface.

    Go Back

    Just use a small 300gph power head for a pump (aquarium store around $20) As long as you don't try to pull a big volume through the gravel, it should never plug up

    Hope that clears it up for you.

    Go back To Index


    From: Rob Carrier
    Date: Thu, 8 May 1997 07:57:05 -0600

    Mr. Gosta,

    Thanks again for responding to my questions. There are, however, a couple more questions I need to ask you. How often do you clean the under the gravel filter, did you drill holes just on the top side of the 1-1/4" pipe, how far apart did you drill the holes, is the other end of the 1-1/4" pipe capped off, did you cover the entire bottom of the pond with the filtered mesh, what did you use to keep the power head standing vertical, do you do any additional cleaning besides cleaning your filters, and if you do additional cleaning, what do you use? Remember, my largestest pond is only a 10'x12' big. I hope these are all the questions I need to have answered. I appreciate your help.

    Sincerely Yours,
    Rob.

    Rob,

    >Thanks again for responding to my questions. There are, however, a couple more questions I need to ask you. How often do you clean the under the gravel filter

    THe baffle gravel filter on my top pond (4' high off the ground) that feeds the waterfall had to be cleaned once last summer. To clean it I shut the water off, took a flat board and stirred the gravel up and all the dirt came to the top as the gravel settled. Then I took a piece of pool hose and siphoned the water and dirt out. Rinsed the gravel with a garden hose and siphoned out again. NOt a lot of work but a pita though.

    did you drill holes just on the top side of the >1-1/4" pipe, how far apart did you drill the holes,

    All around the pipe. Drill till your arm gets tired. Can only have too few holes.

    is the other end of the 1-1/4" pipe capped off,

    Yes.

    did you cover the entire bottom of the pond with the filtered mesh,

    No I just covered the two 10' pipes - for two reasons: 1) to keep the gravel from plugging the pipes & 2) The matting further disperses the "drawing" area of the water.

    what did you use to keep the power head standing vertical,

    Nothing. they are very small and just sit on top of the pipes. What I had to do with one is extend the suction by slipping a short 8" piece of 1" plastic pipe over it so it wouldn't fall out of the 1 1/4" pipe. Other one seems fine.

    As long as you use *small* pump(s) on the gravel filter on the bottom of the pond, the gravel should never get clogged. The object is the suction area (10' long pipes covered with the matting) is so vast (10-20 square feet) relative to the amount of water being pumped, there should never be enough pressure (suction) to cause plugging.

    do you do any additional cleaning besides cleaning your filters, and if you do additional cleaning, what do you use?

    No, other than to scoop leaves etc, off the top.

    I hope these are all the questions I need to have answered. I appreciate your help.

    You'll do fine. Just get started and remember no matter what you do you'll wish you had done it differently when you're finished .

    TTL............................Gösta

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    At 04:16 PM 5/16/97 -0400, you wrote:
    From: fuentes@gene.com
    Pond,Excellent
    Pond Comments,Very good info.
    Could you please add the locations of the pumps?

    I have two small (30 watt 300 GPH "power heads") drawing through the pvc pipes under the gravel. Mine are located under the waterfall but their positioning is not critical.

    The main pump that feeds the lava filter (2,000 GPH) and the waterfall is located at the opposite end of the pond from the waterfall to maximize circulation and is connected to the Lava Filter with a plastic pool hose.

    Hope that helps.

    Thanks your comments.

    Go back To Index


    From: MOssum@aol.com
    Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 15:07:16 -0400 (EDT)

    See - I told you I'd send you an e-mail!

    My hubby and I have read your pond info with much attention to your descriptions and detail. We are about to embark on our first pond-creating-experience and find it to be almost more intimidating than the birth of our first son. It all started (the pond; not the son) when my husband (aka Dimmy03@aol.com) decided we HAD to have a duck. He assured me it was only a couple of bucks at the local feed store, a couple more bucks for starter food, a couple more bucks for a kiddie pool for the thing to paddle around in, and *voila* we would have natural snail control for our garden. So here we are, not two weeks later, contemplating lava rocks, 50 gallon drums, waterfalls, etc. It's all too much for me!!!!!

    I am very much into using used stuff and liked your ideas about using the scrap sink and/or the kiddie pool - especially since we already have that. I'll try to keep in touch with you as things move along and let you know if we uncover any new tricks, which of your tricks we use and how we like them, and whether or not I can avoid prison for the murder of my husband who has managed to turn a $2 duck into a $bazillion pond project!

    Talk at you again soon. Consider yourself warned!

    Mimi

    Oh Mimi,

    >See - I told you I'd send you an e-mail!

    Yes and I've been waiting with *baited*breath.

    >My hubby and I have read your pond info with much attention to your .............me

    it was only a couple of bucks at the local feed store, a couple more bucks ........... gallon drums, waterfalls, etc. It's all too much for me!!!!!

    I am very much into using used stuff and liked your ideas about using the ................ and whether or not I can avoid prison for the murder of my husband who has managed to turn a $2 duck into a $bazillion pond project!

    Should you look around my site (Warning- Not for kids), you'll find I am/was a commercial fisherman. My favorite is the burned out light bulb.

    • The bulb is covered with a heavy glass protector which in turn is covered by a metal screen to keep it from getting broken.
    • The metal protector is rusty so you have to use a chisel to get it free.
    • Which breaks the glass protector.
    • When you get to the bulb, the socket is all corroded.
    • While replacing the socket, you find the wires corroded.
    • When replacing the wires you break the corroded switch.
    • So while replacing the switch, you find even more corrosion.
    • Which takes you back to the batteries where (you guessed it).

    So Mimi, your 2 buck duck was pretty cheap after all. {grin}

    Tell your hubby to pay particular attention to the homemade undergravel filter I described. It has worked out GREAT in my pond. Cheap to build, cheaper to run.

    Thanks your comments.

    Good luck to you and let me know how your pond makes out.

    Gösta

    Go back To Index


    At 05:33 PM 5/23/97 -0400, you wrote:
    Pond,Excellent
    Pond Comments,great page..

    can you help.? where did you find the 60 mil rubber liners... i live in colorado and ahd the address of a place in Oklahoma but lost it

    thanks for your help

    bigbob@gj.net

    Hi Big Bob,

    Only thing I can suggest is to call roofing contractors (get out the yellow pages). You should be able to find it there (if you call enough). Suggest you find several. You might just get *lucky* and find one who has surplus left over from a big job and get it for a steal. Otherwise you're liable to be up around $1 a sqaure foot (one time customer and all that). BTW when you DO build your pond (no matter the size) make sure you put in the gravel filters I described. They are working out GREAT for me. Cheap to build and cheap to run. Not even sure I need the lava filter any more. Got a leak in my waterfall (yet again) and until Kevin gets the time to fix it I keep it turned off for days/weeks at a time (including all winter) but water stays crystal clear even with 200+ fish and full sun.

    You might look for landfill contractors too. They make/use HUGE liners. Worth a shot (few phone calls).

    Thanks your comments.

    Good luck to you and let me know how your pond makes out.

    Gösta

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    At 04:45 PM 5/29/97 -0400, you wrote:
    Pond,Excellent
    Pond Comments,Great page. We just bought a house that has an empty little pond. The pump is burnt out because the former owners just left if going until the pond emptied. The motor is locked. I know next to nothing about ponding, but after getting this house and empty pond, something tells me it is time to learn. Your page is the first one I found that was useful in helping me get some idea of what the heck to do. I think I need to read more and more before I do, but I was so enthusiastic after reading your page, that I plan to move faster in educating myself. Thanks for the enjoyable and useful read.

    MA Hayward

    malmike@olg.com

    Nah, you read enough. Just go ahead and learn while you go. Make Sure to put in the undergravel filters though. Other stuff can come later.

    Good luck and let me know how you make out.

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    At 12:50 PM 5/30/97 -0400, you wrote:
    Pond,Excellent
    Pond Comments,I enjoy very much your style. I don't agree with all your points of view, but I do admire your style and respect your position. It's nice to see people with ideals.

    rickfalcon@aol.com

    My lands, how can you NOT agree with me {grin}?

    Thanks your note.

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    At 09:24 PM 5/31/97 -0400, you wrote:
    Pond,Excellent
    Pond Comments,I really like your filteration ideas. I will soon be building my lava-barrel filter and will be using your ideas. I am not sure however about how you attach your small "power heads" to the underwater pvc pipes. Would appreciate more info.

    lmeeks@stlmo.com

    THanks your comments. The power heads are small and will fit inside of (and on top of) 1" & 1 1/4" pipes. They do a great job of biological filtration. Still need something to remove detritus though.

    Go back To Index


    At 06:18 PM 6/1/97 -0400, you wrote:
    Pond,Excellent
    Pond Comments,I am currently looking at building a KOI pond. In short, always wanted one, recent relocation to Denver allows me the chance to do it. There is a space in my back yard that is has circle with about a 15 foot radius, should be big enough.

    Sounds plenty big enough. I know of no rules on sizes.

    I am consenced about wintering, I have heard of others having success leaving fish in the pond, and others not, since I want to see this fish readliy/easily, my depth most likely will not exceed 40 inches - Will freeze in Denver)

    I don't have any trouble here and my pond freezes every winter though last winter (fairly mild) I kept my 2 UG filters going all winter. Still got cold enough to freeze over moving water but woiuld thaw quickly if a few warmer days.

    As far as the need for filtration, I think I have a good understanding of that - had a reef tank for 4 yrs before the relocation.

    Tell me about it. Tried a reef but was just too much work/expense. Just got it *right* (after 7-8 months of tinkering) and had a disaster. Happened twice. So I just keep a fish only Salt Water tank (110 gal).

    One big ? - I heard roofing liners were toxicx to the fish, did you do anything special to pretreat it?

    Don't know about toxic liner. Just put mine down. Nothing special other than washing it off good.

    Excellent Web Site!

    Go back To Index


    At 02:45 AM 6/6/97 -0400, you wrote:
    Pond,Excellent
    Pond Comments,I really enjoyed your pond page. I have been looking for info on building my own biofilter and I like your's. I would like to know what type of fittings you used on the barrel to make your connections water-tight.

    Thanks your comments. I used "bulkhead" fitting I got at a marine store. You should be able to find them at Rickles or Home Depot type places as well. At any rate be generous with silicon caulking and you won't have any problems. Not operating under any great pressure you know.

    Go back To Index


    From: biohzrd@ix.netcom.com
    Date: Mon, 09 Jun 1997 21:22:23 -0700

    Hello,

    My name is Bryan and I plan on building a pond (or two) over the summer before I start my graduate work (I'm a microbiologist) since this may be my last chance in quite some time. Unfortunately, I'm having trouble locating equipment such as pumps, filters,etc. If you could lead me in the direction of a couple good mail order firms I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you in advance,

    Bryan

    As good (cheap) a place as any is That Fish Place in PA. You can get the number from 1-800-555-1212 (800 information). But hey, why would you buy retail when you can build your own a lot cheaper, not much more time, and a lot more fun.

    Go back To Index


    Pond,Excellent
    Pond Comments, thanx for providing such a vast aray of information. i'm currently considering building a pond of my own. and found some really great tips on your page. however i'm worried about possaible run off(if thats the correct word) or drainage. as in where does it go?

    perhaps i'm missing something here? however if you find the time to humor such a stoopid question you could shoot me a e-mail @ wuyang@3n.net I wish i could explain my question better.

    Either way thanx for the info.
    peace&blessings...
    wuyang

    wuyang,

    Thanks your nice note. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "runoff or drainage". If you mean from rain, then it would go wherever it is going now. If the runoff is "natural" (doesn't contain too many herbacides or pesticides that would kill the fish or plants) then let it go in the pond. It shouldn't hurt anything. If you find the runoff is too muddy, then divert it around the pond.

    Go back To Index


    Date: Thu, 19 Jun 1997 21:19:01 -0700
    From: drew coleman

    Hello my friend,

    Thank you so much for your expertise and all the great information on your pond web site. Im in the process of building a 13' X 10' pond.

    The excavation is 3' on one end and 2' on the other. The liner is a beckett 20 mil pvc(should have used edpm 40mil) and I used plenty of good carpeting in the hole as backing.

    The pump is a 1250 GPH and I am currently building the SWEDE bio filter. Instead of a milk crate I used a 5 gallon bucketturned upside down with lots of 1/2 inch holes drilled in it. It inserts into a 55 gallon plastic drum.

    You mentioned that the line from the pump to the intake is ok for 1" diameter tubing. Im running 1.5" pvc and the flow rate seems ok. You were right about the outlet needing more than one opening. I used 1.5" pvc and it couldnt keep up. Ill try another line and this way I can have more than one waterfall etc.

    The lava rocks were the damndest thing to find in bulk. I ended up going to home depot and bought 13 bags of 8 lbs each@ $4.00 per bag. Im sure ill need another 10 bags. Oh well, youve convinced me that its worth it.

    I was a little concerned though that even though you swear by the lava rock biofilter, you still employ a few other devices such as undergravel etc. For my size pond, will the 55 gallon Swede model suffice or do I need additional devices. The pump will be in a 5 gallon pail swaddled in a synthetic fiber filter as a pre filter.

    Thanks again for the information.

    Drew Coleman age 41 Ct.

    Hi Drew,

    At 09:19 PM 6/19/97 -0700, you wrote:

    Im in the process of building a 13' X 10' pond. >The excavation is 3' on one end and 2' on the other. The liner is a beckett 20 mil pvc(should have used edpm 40mil) and I used plenty of good carpeting in the hole as backing.

    Sounds like a very nice setup. Not familiar with Beckett 20 mil but it will probably be okay. Reason I used 60 mil rather than 40 or something light was because price dif between 40 & 60 was not significant. Think my first liner (a "regular" fish liner) might have been like you describe but don't really know other than it is significantly lighterr ten my current one. It's still in use in my son's yard so that makes it 9 or 10 years old. You'll probably be fine.

    The carpet sounds like a good idea, probably better than newspaper.

    >The pump is a 1250 GPH and I am currently building the SWEDE bio filter. Instead of a milk crate I used a 5 gallon bucketturned upside down with lots of 1/2 inch holes drilled in it. It inserts into a 55 gallon plastic drum. You mentioned that the line from the pump to the intake is ok for 1" diameter tubing.

    No, not exactly. What I said was that it was a 1" *input fitting* on the barrel. Actually it was a 20' length of pool hose (1.25" id). I replaced the hose with 1.25" PVC pipe this spring but saw little difference (less than 10%) in flow rate increase.

    >Im running 1.5" pvc and the flow rate seems ok. You were right about the outlet needing more than one opening. I used 1.5" pvc and it couldnt keep up. Ill try another line and this way I can have more than one waterfall etc.

    The lava rocks were the damndest thing to find in bulk. I ended up going to home depot and bought 13 bags of 8 lbs each@ $4.00 per bag. Im sure ill need another 10 bags. Oh well, youve convinced me that its worth it.

    Boy, you really took a hit there. I'm guessing they are for barbecues. I think (but don't know) they'll be okay. If they were very light (indicating a great porousness) they'll probably be fine. It's the *surface area* available to the bacteria that's important, not the type of rock.

    > I was a little concerned though that even though you swear by the lava rock biofilter, you still employ a few other devices such as undergravel etc. For my size pond, will the 55 gallon Swede model suffice or do I need additional devices.

    I'm sure it will be fine. I'm a filter nut and of the opinion that as long as I can put one in at little cost or detriment to the system, I'm gonna do it. As I said in "Building" I am WELL pleased with my UnderGravel filter for biological filtration. (If you read Building a while ago, it may pay you to revisit as I have updated it recently after one year's experience with the new pond.)

    >The pump will be in a 5 gallon pail swaddled in a synthetic fiber filter as a pre filter.

    You may experience a problem here. As the media gets dirty it creates "channels" with great suction that can trap fish. I just yesterday lost my favorite fish, a 1 year old Ryukin that way. Am now using a grate with larger stones (1-2" across) on top so it doesn't happen again.

    Thanks again for the information.

    Drew Coleman age 41 Ct.

    41 huh? Best years of my life 35 to 45.

    Go back To Index


    Date: Tue, 24 Jun 1997 14:51:32 -0400
    From: "R. Musto"
    Subject: filters

    Hi,

    I found your information to be very helpful. I have a few questions. We have a 3000 gallon liner pond with a waterfall. Our filter is a 100 gallon tub which is similar, but not entirely to yours. We use netting and foam along with lava rock. Our rock gets really full of gook, probably because we don't have a sediment area. Some simple changes can alleviate this. However, I've been told that we shouldn't rinse our lava rock because we will lose out benefical bacteria by doing so. What is your oppinion?

    Also, you say that you put white gravel on the bottom of your pond. Don't you find that that causes a problem when you try to net out leaves or debris?

    Thank you for your help.

    Rose

    >Pond,Excellent

    Thank you.

    >Pond Comments,We have about a 3000 gallon liner pond with a waterfall. We also live in NJ and right now the pond is going through the "green stage".

    Nice size. What dimensions? How old is your pond. If it's more than a month or two, you shouldn't have a "green stage", at least with adequate bacteriological (?) filtering. As you may have gathered, I'm a nut on filters.

    >We have a 100 gallon filter which has netting and foam along with lava rock. If it's one of those with the lr inside a fine mesh bag, well .... good luck.

    Is it "home made" or store bought. I don't have much faith in the store boughts though some of them seem to work fine and are generally more professional looking. <

    >I'm going to try to make some changes to make it more similar to yours. However, don't you lose your beneficial bacteria when you flush your filter? I've been told we should not wash out our lava rocks.

    Bulldinky. You *may* lose the bacteria on the *outside* of the lava rock but *certainly* not on the interior. If the bacteria get washed off when flushing the lava, what keeps the B in place when the pond water is going through it? Just a thought. At any rate never been a problem I've noticed.

    Also, you say you put white gravel at the bottom of your pond. Don't you find that makes it more difficult to net out leaves and debris which fall to the bottom?

    Have no problems that way. Most gets pulled into prefilter and what doesn't I just rake out. I have a child's plastic rake attached to about a 5' handle. I *may* have to rake once a day but it's just something I do when gazing and daydreaming or feeding the fish (which I do often).

    > I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks, Rose. My email adress is mustof@worldnet.att.net

    Anytime. Where in NJ are you? I'm in Lavallette (on the ocean 10 m below Point Pleasant Beach).

    Go back To Index

    Date: Tue, 24 Jun 1997 20:30:38 -0700
    From: "Earle B. Evernham"
    Reply-To: kelcy@earthlink.net
    Subject: My Pond ??

    My daughter and I wanted to build a pond in our backyard by the "L" shaped conner of our deck. I was afraid of the winter weather and then I read your "down to earth" article on pond building and noticed that you also live at the Jersey Shore. I live in Ocean Township and I guess the winters are not to bad for ponds. My other concern was that if I put the pond next to the deck, which is two levels at that point (3 foot and 5 foot high) will the rain run off from the treated deck hurt the fish and plants. Under the deck would be a great place to put my pump and filters and if I put them high I could have a waterfall come out from under the deck thru pipe and rocks. I noticed in pictures I have found on the web that a lot of ponders have decks over one end of their ponds. your pictures were great!!! nice scans. Thanks for any help you can give me on this and again for the pages of ideas.

    Earle B. Evernham
    kelcy@earthlink.net

    Hi Earle,

    >My daughter and I wanted to build a pond in our backyard by the "L" >shaped conner of our deck. I was afraid of the winter weather and then I >read your "down to earth" article on pond building and noticed that you >also live at the Jersey Shore. I live in Ocean Township and I guess the >winters are not to bad for ponds.

    No problems at all. I live in Lavallette so we're not all that far apart. Ponds in Canada even do fine.

    >My other concern was that if I put the pond next to the deck, which is two levels at that point (3 foot and 5 foot high) will the rain run off from the treated deck hurt the fish and plants.

    I would really doubt it, especially if your deck is weathered a little. Even if you find it does (which I think unlikely), you could always put in gutters (maybe hide them in flower boxes) if you HAD too.

    >Under the deck would be a great place to put my pump and filters and if I put them high I could have a waterfall come out from under the deck thru pipe and rocks. I noticed in pictures I have found on the web that a lot of ponders have decks over one end of their ponds. your pictures were great!!! nice scans.

    Glad you liked them. Haven't put any up for this year yet. A few more weeks, want to let the flowers I planted bordering the pond get into bloom. {grin}

    >Thanks for any help you can give me on this and again for the pages of ideas.

    Glad you found it helpful. Any questions when building your pond, just ask.

    Go back To Index


    At 06:05 PM 6/26/97 -0500, you wrote: Was reading your pond page for info. I'm planning to put one in soon. I'm curious about the "power head" on your pipe filters. Is this a small submersible pump?

    Exactly. They're used in aquariums.

    Go back To Index



    (Note this is a reply to my request for help)

    From: vjo@ix.netcom.com
    Date: Sun, 29 Jun 1997 10:51:49 -0500 (CDT)
    To: Gösta
    Subject: Re: Yellow leaves

    On 06/28/97 18:30:33 Gösta wrote:

    >Hi,

    >I have a pond and last year and so far this year, my plants haven't been doing well. The parrot feathers and lilies have mostly yellow or very pale color leaves, not that rich dark green I used to have.

    >Do you have any ideas? My guess is a nutrient lack and I have added fertilozer but maybe not enough. Have a high goldfish population too with super filtration systems (mostly biological)

    >Thanks.

    Sounds like a lack a nitrogen. Try a ferti tablet with the lilies or add some ironite to the water.

    Date: Wed, 02 Jul 1997 01:56:21 -0500
    From: julie ann quinn paquet
    To: gosta@exit109.com
    Subject: yellow leaves

    hi!

    i don't know if i can relly help you, but one thing you should check for is the iron level in the water (test for Fe) i don't have any experience in ponds, but you should also see if your plants have too much sunlight burning the leaves.. this is all the info i can give you, and i think you should also look elswhere on the web.. i'm not a pond expert... but if your iron level is low, this means that you have to add more vitamins in the water.. i know that Sera florenette T is a great one!! i hope i helped in some way!!

    julie ann (pictus)

    (Note- I did add some nitrogen rich fertilizer sticks (JOBES) and the color is coming back)

    Go back To Index


    At 01:20 AM 7/3/97 -0400, you wrote:

    >i built your lava rock pond filter the other day and i was wondering if it was okay for the water to be a red color...... and how could i make the water clear....

    I'm guessing the red color is dust from the lava rock. If you had washed it first you would wouldn't have had a problem. Little matter though. It should settle out in a day or two if not sooner.

    From: WSAsianBoy@aol.com
    Date: Sat, 5 Jul 1997 16:19:10 -0400 (EDT)
    To: gosta@exit109.com
    Subject: Re: Red Water

    Thank for emailing me back the filter is work very well now and the red colored water has go away..

    Go back To Index


    From: "coda"
    To:
    Subject: filters
    Date: Tue, 1 Jul 1997 06:47:58 -0400

    hi, i caught your web site via pams puddle.... can you reccomend some type of smaller filtration? ive got a 350 gal pond with a 450 gph pump and a large little giant filter box... unless its cool out, my water is always cloudy. i get real tired of cleaning out the filter every 2 to 3 days.. i like the idea of the undgravel filter.. ive also got a salt tank using only the undergravel filter and a protein skimmer, ive havent done a water change since last november '96. this was an expierement i tried after talking to the salt guy at the local fish store.... i was really tired of buying and cleaning filters for the tank, it seems to work and the water quality is great.... salt tanks can be tricky and alot more complicated than ponds... so why are ponds so much more difficult in the filter department?

    isnt there some kind of filter system you can use thats not a time consuming area? my pond is 4x6 and the water quality is always normal, ie: ph, ammonia, etc..... thank you for your time and help.

    sidney

    Sidney,

    At 06:47 AM 7/1/97 -0400, you wrote:

    >hi, i caught your web site via pams puddle.... can you reccomend some type >of smaller filtration? ive got a 350 gal pond with a 450 gph pump and a >large little giant filter box... unless its cool out, my water is always >cloudy. i get real tired of cleaning out the filter every 2 to 3 days..

    The ONLY way to not have to clean every two days is to have one with a large capacity. Cleaning every 2 days can be bearable if cleaning is easy. What you might try is a scaled down version of my lava filter. For example you could make one out of a 5 or 10 gallon capacity trash container. My son has a pond *roughly* your size and what he uses is a "tote" box (3' long X 18" wide X 14" deep) with the water piped to a "holey" pipe on the bottom and the water just overflows on one side (he has it tipped). Works for him. His pond is in mostly shade though and few fish. He uses a 1200 gph sump pump though.

    >like the idea of the undgravel filter..

    Cats pajamas for biological filtration. The *secrets* are *not* to try to draw too much water through it and to have a *large* draw area. That way is shouldn't plug up.

    >ive also got a salt tank using only the undergravel filter and a protein skimmer, ive havent done a water change since last november '96. this was an expierement i tried after talking to the salt guy at the local fish store.... i was really tired of buying and cleaning filters for the tank, it seems to work and the water quality is great.... salt tanks can be tricky and alot more complicated than ponds...

    I have a 110 SW (3 tangs (two over 5 yrs old), 3 clowns, 2 angels) and haven't changed water in more than 2 years but I only add RO water. Interesting you are able to get by with just a UG. The protein skimmer must be a big help. We tried a 30 gal SW with UG only in my wife's classroom but the fish died after a few months. MY SW fish store guy discouraged me but I tried it anyway.

    >so why are ponds so much more difficult in the filter >department? isnt there some kind of filter system you can use thats not a time consuming area? my pond is 4x6 and the water quality is always normal, ie: ph, ammonia, etc..... thank you for your time and help.

    You *might* try building a rock pile of lava rock (It comes in all sizes) in your pond, or spreading a slug of it across the bottom. It *might* work, you never know.

    Go back To Index


    Reply-To:
    From: "Kelly Rose Olin"
    To:
    Subject: question
    Date: Thu, 3 Jul 1997 19:55:21 -0000

    hi we just picked a couple of sunnies and minnows for our tank, but we don't know what to feed them and how much they eat, please help!

    thanks Kelly

    Hi Kelly,

    If your tank is outside, try some pond sticks, avl at pet stores. You may not be very happy with the sunnies. I had 3 for a year and they ate all but the largest goldfish. As wild fish they are natural hiders so I didn't often get to see them much. I finally paid a neighbor kid $10 to catch them and release them into a lake.

    Go back To Index


    Date: Fri, 04 Jul 1997 01:53:57 +0000
    From: "P. Bainbridge"
    Reply-To: bainbridge@ndti.net
    Subject: HAPPY 4TH!
    Dear Gösta,

    I finally did it! Got the lava rock filter done for my ponds. Bet my fish are happy tonite.

    Since I live in the high desert of the Indian Wells Valley (the gateway to Death Valley), I REALLY needed a good filtering system and what's more natural for this area than lava rock - it's everywhere! Although to tell the truth, I didn't go out and gather it myself. A friend was moving and she gave me a big pile (all it took was my husband and son to haul it:o)

    The last couple of months before the filter and waterfalls were done, I just put some lava rock in a 10 gal bucket, stuck the hose in and tipped the bucket a little towards the upper pond letting the water spill over the edge into the pond. Did the job pretty good until the themometer reached upward to 100 degrees.

    Before that I tried several different things. All from my own imagination and from stuff just lying around or "borrowed" from my husband's stockpile of treasures. The ponds hold approximately 2,000 gal of water.

    I did something all the pond people told me not to do - that is, I built my ponds under trees. Elms. Yes, they are messy! But, I wanted to be able to sit by them and there is no way I can do that in our 100+ degree summers without shade. So I spend a lot of time fishing for leaves - well, it's worth it to me. Actually, it is not as much work as I was led to believe and my water is balanced. Silt does not seem to build up much at all especially since the ponds are well established.

    My biggest problem is the wind. It blows so much that it has a name here - Termination Winds. Meaning, in the early days before paved roads abounded, the winds drove many to the point they walked off their jobs and left the area. Sand was in everything. Now a lot seems to land in my ponds.

    So after windy days, I make sure I net the junk in the ponds. Not too bad a joy. The rewards of having the ponds more than make up for the troubles.

    I came from Oregon and I was hungry for the sound and sight of water. I now have a little bit of Oregon in my back yard and I love it. I built my first pond four years ago and the other one the following year. I am in the process of adding a third pond. It will have only water hyicents in it. (Have you discovered yet I can't spell?)

    From the results of only the 10 gallon bucket "filter", I espect to be very pleased with the real filter.

    Have a Happy 4th of July!

    Your friend, Polly

    Hi Polly, At 01:53 AM 7/4/97 +0000, you wrote:

    >Dear Gösta,

    > I finally did it! Got the lava rock filter done for my ponds. Bet my fish are happy tonite.

    > Since I live in the high desert of the Indian Wells Valley (the gateway to Death Valley), I REALLY needed a good filtering system and what's more natural for this area than lava rock - it's everywhere! Although to tell the truth, I didn't go out and gather it myself. A friend was moving and she gave me a big pile (all it took was my husband and son to >haul it:o)

    Best kind of labor {grin}.

    > The last couple of months before the filter and waterfalls were done, I just put some lava rock in a 10 gal bucket, stuck the hose in and tipped the bucket a little towards the upper pond letting the water spill over the edge into the pond. Did the job pretty good until the themometer reached upward to 100 degrees.

    100 degrees. Wow, how hot does your water get? I've seen mine go over 90. With a shallow upper pond and a waterfall there is a high (and rapid) heat transfer. With the kind of temperature you normally get you need a *lot* of aeration. Warm water holds little oxygen so there isn't as much as for the fish, etc.

    >Before that I tried several different things. All from my own imagination and from stuff just lying around or "borrowed" from my husband's stockpile of treasures. The ponds hold approximately 2,000 gal of water. I did something all the pond people told me not to do - that is, I built my ponds under trees.

    In your location the shade is no doubt needed, especially for *viewing* {grin}. (Besides nice thing about ponds, you make your own rules)

    >Elms. Yes, they are messy! But, I wanted to be able to sit by them and there is no way I can do that in our 100+ degree summers without shade. So I spend a lot of time fishing for leaves - well, it's worth it to me.

    I find it's just part of the viewng process. Don't consider it work at all. Not like a barren old swimming pool where there's nothing to look at while doing it.

    >Actually, it is not as much work as I was led to believe and my water is balanced. Silt does not seem to............. The rewards of having the ponds more than make up for the troubles.

    So most of us have found.

    > I came from Oregon and I was hungry for the sound and sight of water. ........... From the results of only the 10 gallon bucket "filter", I espect to be very pleased with the real filter.

    I'm sure you will.

    > Have a Happy 4th of July!

    Ditto to you from the Jersey Shore. (I look at the ocean from my porch.)

    TTL............................Gösta

    Go back To Index


    Date: Sun, 06 Jul 97 08:54:48 -0500
    From: Robert Kienietz

    THanks for the update on your page..

    i am about 3/4 done building my pond (approx5000gals) will need a liner in a week or less...Have you had any problems yet with your roofing liner.?? Heard bad news about them, but prob from someone who wants to seem me a plastic one..hah

    what is your opinion on bubble bead filters..?? my Main problem is dusty dirt blowing in the pond.. it is DRY and dusty around here. any ideas..?

    thanks ... bigbob

    Bob,

    At 08:54 AM 7/6/97 -0500, you wrote:

    >THanks for the update on your page.. i am about 3/4 done building my pond (approx5000gals) will need a liner in a week or less...Have you had any problems yet with your roofing liner.??

    None whatsoever.

    >Heard bad news about them, but prob from someone who wants to seem me a plastic one..hah

    Often the case.

    >what is your opinion on bubble bead filters..??

    Have a Salt Water aquarium (main reason I am so into filters I guess) and have read about quite a bit about them. I *suspect* they are just another gimmick to sell a filter. They may be very good, I don't know. It seems to me just another (and probably efficient) way to provide a surface for bacteria to grow. Don't think you can beat a lava rock filter when it comes to price, ease of cleaning, etc.

    >my Main problem is dusty dirt blowing in the pond.. it is DRY and dusty >around here. any ideas..?

    Nothing Other than having the sides of the pond raised a foot ot two above ground level. What will probably eventually happen over the years is the pond will get accumulate a nice silt bottom , good for plants.

    Whatever else you do, put in the makings for the undergravel filter before you put any water in. You'll never be sorry. You can stick the pumps in anytime (or never).

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    From: Dimmy03@aol.com
    Date: Fri, 11 Jul 1997 11:42:32 -0400 (EDT)
    To: gosta@exit109.com
    Subject: Hope I got the right site. . .

    If this is the right site to ask a question about a pond, I'd like to ask something. We dug a pond too close to a patio to leave room for a flat rock base. So we raised the edging approx 3" high x approx 10" wide. My question is this:

    Can I mortar bricks around that edge, fold the liner over them and THEN go with flat rock around the whole affair? What will mortar do to the water and how long will it do it? Can I use the excess dirt to help create a waterfall? Should the pump/fountain be on the opposite side of the pond?
    Did I really screw up? Free Willy? Screw Willy, free the Budweiser Clydesdales. Thanks.

    Dimmy, >If this is the right site to ask a question about a pond, I'd like to ask >something.

    Won't know until you ask now willya?

    We dug a pond too close to a patio to leave room for a flat rock base. So we raised the edging approx 3" high x approx 10" wide. My question is this:

    >Can I mortar bricks around that edge, fold the liner over them and THEN go with flat rock around the whole affair?

    Sure you can. Why put bricks around? Why not just lay the liner on top of whatever the bricks are sitting on and put the flat rocks on top of it directly.

    > What will mortar do to the water and how long will it do it?

    Probably not much and not for long.

    >Can I use the excess dirt to help create a waterfall?

    Sure.

    >Should the pump/fountain be on the opposite side of the pond?

    It gives the best circulation but if it's a pita, try it elsewhere and see how it works. You can always move it.

    > Did I really screw up?

    You'll find that out sooner or later. Worst thing can happen is you have to do it over. Many of us have done that.

    >Free Willy? Screw Willy,

    Hellava thing to say to a commercial fisherman.

    > free the Budweiser Clydesdales.

    Sure why not.

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    At 04:53 PM 7/9/97 -0400, you wrote:
    >Pond,Excellent
    >Pond Comments,I build one of your lava rock filters and i was wondering how >You clean it?

    >My email address is WSasianboy
    >thank you very much....

    If you look on the diagram you will see there is a drain on the very bottom with a pool hose connected to it. I just drop the hose on the ground and flush the lava rock from the top with a garden hose, which washes the dirt out the hose.

    If you look at the "Pond Pictures" page there is a photograph of the filter that shows the hose and drain clearly.

    BTW you should use the Email function when you want a reply. The Comment format does not give your return address. Luckily I remembered your name and was able to find your address (on the Pond Questions Page) or else I would not have been able to answer this.

    Where are you located in Asia? Just curious.

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    From: Grigsby3@aol.com
    Date: Wed, 16 Jul 1997 16:32:30 -0400 (EDT)
    To: gosta@exit109.com
    Subject: push vs. pull pond filter pumps

    Great pond Filter information. Can't wait to build my own .

    Question: Based upon your experience is there any significant difference between using the pump to "push" dirty water from the pond through the biological filter vs. "pull" clean water from the filter to the pond? Most packaged products seem to utilize the "pull" method.

    Thanks.

    Grigsby3@aol.com

    Thanks your reply.

    At 04:32 PM 7/16/97 -0400, you wrote:

    >Great pond Filter information. Can't wait to build my own .

    >Question: Based upon your experience is there any significant difference between using the pump to "push" dirty water from the pond through the biological filter vs. "pull" clean water from the filter to the pond? Most packaged products seem to utilize the "pull" method.

    I prefer the submerged pump method if only that it's a simpler setup. No suction leaks, no priming, quiter, less horsepower requirements (not that that is a significant factor, it isn't in a pond application). The number one enemy of electric motors is heat. A submerged pump has a built-in cooling system.

    It's just much more efficient and simpler to use overall, but it's not a big deal really.

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    From: Grigsby3@aol.com
    Date: Thu, 17 Jul 1997 12:31:32 -0400 (EDT)
    To: gosta@exit109.com
    Subject: Re: push vs. pull pond filter pumps

    Thanks for your reply. I guess I didn't phrase my question accurately. I meant to ask do you prefer "flow down" or "flow up" bio filters?

    G.

    G.

    At 12:31 PM 7/17/97 -0400, you wrote:

    >Thanks for your reply. I guess I didn't phrase my question accurately. I meant to ask do you prefer "flow down" or "flow up" bio filters?

    Big difference. I have both (FD on my salt water tank). The advantage to FD is the filter media, while staying wet, is exposed to a lot of air, which encourages bacteria growth, as I understand it.

    One disadvantage is they are not as easily home made as the lava rock filter is. Other than my SW tank I have no experience with the FD's. All I know is how well my LR filter works. In full sun, 90+ heat and my water stays crystal clear.

    BUT whatever works is what counts, and if the FD filter works in your application then go for it.

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    Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 03:10:28 -0700
    From: "J. Sherlock"
    Reply-To: jsherlock@worldnet.att.net
    Subject: Undergravel Filter?

    I just put a liner in my cement pond that had developed cracks due to blasting near my home. Since it is basically like starting over, I am going to install an undergravel filter like you describe. What type of white gravel did you use? I live in the limestone Capital of the world, but I know that limestone is a bad idea. The only other white stone I have found is marble chips which is about 1" in size but has rather sharp edges. I am concerned that the sharp edges of the rock might pucture the liner (45mil EDPM rubber) when I walk on it. I could use river gravel. It would not be white but the stones are round with no sharp edges. What size of gravel do you think would work best; aquarium gravel, pea gravel, one inch, or larger?

    My pond is 24" deep but the center part is only 11" deeper than the surrounding 4' wide shelf. Bad planning on my part, but 12 years ago I did not have the Internet with people like you to get good advice from. Being cement, making it deeper is not an option. The above was a preface to my next question. I do not want to take up more of my available depth than necessary. I am planning on using 1 1/2" pipe with 1" thick filter material. Should I just lay a 6-8" wide piece of the filter material over the pipe and then add enough gravel to make the over-all gravel depth 3" or is it necessary to have a greater depth of gravel above the pipe and filter material in order to get good filtration?

    Since the center portion of my pond is a rectangle, 4'6"x3'8", I am toying with the idea of using 4 elbows to make a continuous rectangle of the pipe, with a tee in the center of one side, for the upright section of pipe that the pump fits on. The rectangle of pipe would be made of such a dimension that it would be 8-12" from the sides of the pond. I think in my particular situation, it might function better than one straight length of pipe. What do you think of this idea?

    Your advice would be appreciated. I enjoy your website and yes I have voted :)

    Nathan Sherlock

    Hi Nathan,

    >I just put a liner in my cement pond that had developed cracks due to ..............gravel, pea gravel, one inch, or larger?

    If the UG filter is only going to be an adjunct (as I describe), you can pretty much use any kind of gravel that you think would look best or fits your situation best whatever it may be.

    If the UG is going to be the primary filter then I think you should use as fine a gravel as it practical for you to get the maximum amount of surface area for bacteria growth. In this case however you must be concerned with the gravel eventually getting plugged with detritus and consequent cleaning (a pita in a pond).

    In the adjunct case I really don't care if it gets plugged. It hasn't yet in over a year (and I don't think it ever will) but I am only pulling a relatively small amount of water through and am not *depending* on it for particulate filtration.

    Another advantage to finer gravel is that it's easier to root plants in though you could always use pots for the plants.

    >My pond is 24" deep but the center part is only 11" deeper than the surrounding 4' wide shelf. Bad planning on my part,

    No it wasn't. It was your FIRST. No matter how you did it (or the rebuild), as I said, you'll wish you had done it differently. {grin} We all do.

    >but 12 years ago I

    A veritable pioneer.

    >did not have the Internet with people like you to get good advice from.

    Yes and if you had, it would probably be not much different. 12 years ago I was catching REAL fish.

    >Being cement, making it deeper is not an option. The above was a preface to my next question. I do not want to take up more of my available depth than necessary. I am planning on using 1 1/2" pipe with 1" thick filter material.

    You might consider using 1" pipe (saves a little space) unless you have the 1.5'" "in stock". And I think next time I might just put some thin grating or heavy screening over the pipes with a few layers of fiberglass window screening on top. This filter material I used this time has sort of disintegrated (was not what I was told it was).

    Something else you could do is:

    1) Make a long U shaped holey pipe setup.

    2) Wrap the U with several layers of window screening.

    3) Have your up elbow come from one leg of the U and plug the other leg.

    That oughtta be pretty cheap and work as well as anything. It's probably what I'll do NEXT time {grin}.

    >Should I just lay a 6-8" wide piece of the >filter material over the pipe and then add enough gravel to make the over-all gravel depth 3" or is it necessary to have a greater depth of gravel above the pipe and filter material in order to get good >filtration?

    What the depth of the gravel does is increase the surface area for biological filtration purposes. How deep it *should* be is really anybody's guess. I would guess that 3" overall should do fine.

    >Since the center portion of my pond is a rectangle, 4'6"x3'8", I am toying with the idea of using 4 elbows to make a continuous rectangle of the pipe, with a tee in the center of one side, for the upright section of pipe that the pump fits on. The rectangle of pipe would be made of such a dimension that it would be 8-12" from the sides of the pond. I think in my particular situation, it might function better than one straight length of pipe. What do you think of this idea?

    Sounds fine to me.If you really want to go nuts:

    X <--------Up elbow
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    XX ............ XX............ XX.............. XX
    XX ............ XX............ XX.............. XX
    XX ............ XX............ XX.............. XX
    XX ............ XX............ XX.............. XX
    XX ............ XX............ XX.............. XX
    XX ............ XX ............ XX ............ XX
    XX ............ XX............ XX.............. XX
    XX ............ XX............ XX.............. XX
    XX ............ XX............ XX.............. XX
    XX ............ XX............ XX.............. XX
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Make your rig like this and wrap with window screening. You will probably wanna pipe the "Up elbow" over to the side of your pond rather than having the power head in the middle with the wire running to it.

    >Your advice would be appreciated. I enjoy your website and yes I have voted :)

    I hope you vote OFTEN. Few people appreciate/understand the scope ofd PARC and what it can mean towards pollution control for literally generations to come.

    Anymore help just holler. PS I will be adding this to the Pond Questions Page.

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    Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 22:30:18 -0700
    From: dario gheller
    Subject: Barrel Filter

    I have built filters using 55 gal. barrels for awhile. now and have gone to using plastic media instead of lava rock. The plastic media is 1 1/4" chopped up pieces of 1 1/4" sump hose. The pieces float and there is no need for a milk crate to hold them up.

    The idea is the same as yours though. Cleaning is easy, all I do is shut the pump off and dunk the media then open the 1 1/2" drain valve, away goes the debris into the garden. Just an idea . I also have used the swimming pool vacuum hose it is a little bit larger, 1 1/2" , sometimes pool companies will have old stuff sitting around for next to nothing.

    Ciao! Dario! Ps. I still use the chopped hose but run the water through a veggy filter first.

    Great idea. I will include your letter in my Pond Letters Page. You say that you use "barrels". How many do you use and what is the alignment and what size pond are you filtering? The advantage to using lava rock is the large surface area relative to its bulk. I'm certain the hose pieces are a lot less area per barrel. But hey, if it works, great.

    Reply from Darius
    RE: Barrel filter

    Pond size is 1500 gal. Barrels are in series. Veggy filter is a filter full of vegetation ( iris, hyacinths? etc ) The hose I use has internal and external surface area unlike the lava rock which has only external surface area, in my opinion it should have just as much if not more surface area and is a lot easier to clean.

    Systems I have built for others include 3 barrels for larger ponds, 2 barrels for 1000 gals. or smaller, with the last being a half barrel with open cell foam to polish the water before entering the pond.

    I am know personally using 100 gal rubbermade stock tanks. The first one is a full of Irises and hyacinths, the 2cnd is full of hyacinths with a row of 8 pieces of 4"-4"-12" open cell foam, the third is a half barrel with hose and a drip tray on top which is in the pond with only the drip above surface. I have used this system for 2 years and the only maintenance is to empty the 100 gal tanks at year end ( winter )

    The foam never backs up the system and is cleaned also at year end. The plants are the key to my filters and am now trying to spread the word. Mother nature always does a better job.

    Thanks for your reply. Ciao! Dario

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    From: "Keith G Brough."

    Mr. Lovgren,

    Hello from Lincoln England and thank you for your reply to my oblique comment on your web page. What I meant was, that I wish my pond was clear enough to read a billboard through let alone a newspaper. I am a novice so ...........

    You mention that you put 10lb of sea salt in once a year, could you tell me what ratio to gallons and how applied? I seam to vaguely remember someone else saying that adding salt helps, glad you mentioned it in your article I might have thought table salt would have been right. PS Like your waterfall!!

    MAKE SURE YOU USE SEA SALT. Get it from an aquarium store. Table salt is not the same stuff. It's pretty much straight sodium chloride whereas SEA SALT has a host of other minerals in it. One of the things it does is promote the growth of a healthy slime coat on the fish which protects them from infection. Another thing is that it has "medicinal" properties (iodine for example).

    Go back To Index
    (Dusty was telling me later she's gonna build a BIG pond next year.)

    Hi Dusty,

    Sound like you're going to the Big Leagues. Call Aquatic Eco-Systems. Call 800-422-3939 for a catalog or 407-886-3939. They handle BIG equipment and looks to be an excellent source for the type of stuff you're getting into.

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    Date: Thu, 14 Aug 1997 18:50:25 -0400
    From: ivan
    Subject: Algae

    Gosta,

    I built the barrel filter about 1 month ago and up till 2 days ago it was clearing my water great. The last few days it looks Mulky green looking, I backwash since my pond was so dirty around every 2 days are they anything I can do to stop this, it looks almost as bad as when I first put the filter in. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks Ivan Carter

    Gee Ivan I don't know what to say. Is the water "channeling"? That is can you actually see places where the water is coming up through the lava? If that's the case it indicates that the lava rock has a lot of dirt plugging it up and the passage ways are limited. The only thing you can do then is to take all the rock out and wash the dirt out. That *could* happen if your pond was especially cluttered (dirty, heavy algae, etc.) when you first started it.

    Don't know what else to suggest. A similiar thing happened to me when I built my first one (a 20 gallon barrel). I ended up by removing and washing all the LR.

    Let me know if you come up with something. Good luck.

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    From: Dimmy03@aol.com
    Date: Sat, 23 Aug 1997 15:20:00 -0400 (EDT)
    Subject: Re: Have I done something wrong?

    Dino, that damn Italian, said:

    Hello, Mr. Gosta.

    Just Gösta.

    I have a question about, you got it, my pond.

    How did I know that {grin}. (He writes a lot.)

    First of all, I followed your directions and constructed a bio filter to not the exact, but the same basic idea as yours. My pond, being only about 2000 gallons, I didn't think that the filter should be as big as yours. It's probably 5 or 6 gallons.

    My pond is nearly the same size (2100 gals) and my filter is 55 gallons or 10 times as big as yours.

    After three days, it cleared the water beautifully. Then, it got murky again, and has been that way.

    My guess is that you filtered out (minute) particulate matter (floating algae, plant matter, etc). The reason the water was clear probably was because the water was so murky the light didn't penetrate very far for the water type algae (remember there's all kinds of algae) to grow very much. 3 days is not long enough for the bacteria to get established that eat the ammonia/algae etc. It generally takes 2-3 weeks or longer.

    Questions.

    > 1. Do I clean the algae off the filter medium?

    Sure but it's not a big deal. Don't go nuts worrying about it. After all it's taking nutrients out of the water as well.

    2. Do I cover the filter?

    Up to you, mine isn't but not a big deal either way.

    3. Do I put hyacinths in the filter?

    Sure if you want to. Like the algae above, they take nutrients out of the water as well. Now whether you could have enough plants to completely clear the water is highly problematical. As a *general* rule I would say no.

    4. How important is a rock bottom on the pond?

    It's not *critical* but I wouldn't be without a gravel bottom (as explained in Building a Pond). Many ponds just have a lining bottom and do very well. It's not likely the addition of gravel will create enough surface area in and of itself to keep the pond clean though.

    5. Do you think that it just gets too much sunlight and I'm just paranoid?

    Paranoid? Of course you're paranoid, all ponders are. It's what makes 'em good ponders. My pond is in FULL sunlight and stays clear.

    6. My pump turns the pond over about every four hours. Is that too slow?

    Yes, I believe it is. But I think a bigger problem is too small a lava rock filter. If you want you could try a bigger pump (a 2000 gph sump pump costs around/under $100, 1200 gph around $60) and it may be the increased flow past the lava may be enough. I kinda doubt it but you never know.

    7. Should I wait a season to see what happens?

    No Dino, I don't think so. There's still plenty of warm weather left. I think I would try a bigger pump first (it's the quickest and easiest possible solution). If that doesn't work then you absolutely know your filter is too small and you'll know pretty quickly (visible improvement in a week or two).

    I'm pretty sure you're going to have to build a bigger lava rock filter, pump or no, and you just might need both (bigger filter & pump). If $$ are a problem, then it'll probably be cheaper to build the bigger filter first (if you're a good scrounger).

    8. Will a catfish take care of some of the algae?

    Man DON'T do that if you have fish, particularly small ones (gold fish, minnows, guppies, etc., BIG goldfish, koi, etc. OK ) In June I put a white channel cat in my wife had in her aquarium in school. That sucker must have eaten 50 1 year old gold fish, plus 20 or 30 1minnows I swear, and who knows how many guppies. We finally caught him in August and took him to the fish store. That sucker got big enough to be an entree at Denny's.

    So many questions. But nobody else seems to know. So I'm asking you. Lol,

    Yeah well I don't know either. Just giving what has (not) worked for me.

    I've seen your pictures--gorgeous. Basically, my problem is........green water.

    Keep pluggin away, you'll lick it. What you might also try (costs nothing) is to THOROUGHLY flush your existing lava rock. It might be plugged from the earlier particulate load you removed. This is *mandatory* if you see any "channeling" where the water percolates up through the lava rock.

    I would also ask, can the pump be put on a timer, or should it run continually?

    I would leave it running continually until I got the water clear before I tried a timer, then see how a timer works.

    How much should I clean the mechanical filters?

    As often as you see the water flow slow down. Generally the dirtier a mf gets the finer it will filter. Just see the letter on Prefilters in Pond Letters for some caveats if your mf is on the suction side.

    So many questions.

    Yeah we all havem.

    One more. Water Poppies. Aphids. Should I let the fish eat'em? Don't want to spray them, and the hose just looses them from the leaves for a little bit. Ideas? Suggestions?

    Haven't had that problem (knock wood) but sure let the fish eat them. They would in the wild. Sorry I can't help there. Poppies, huh? Did you get many flowers?

    Thanks again.

    Dino, that damn Italian.

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    Got a question on the lava rock. You seem to sware by it. I asked a local pond shop and they said the main drawback was that the inside of the rock would become filthy and there was no way of cleaning it. Any comments would be appreciated.

    Been using the same rock for YEARS. Maybe I ought to change it. (My point being I don't believe the inside of the rock gets plugged, only the outside.)

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    At 14:46 8/26/97 -0400, you wrote:
    >Pond,Excellent
    >Pond Comments,

    Dear Gosta,

    I enjoyed your material more than I can say in a short email. Your information is excellent, and you have a very entertaining way of getting things across. I have a tip to add- the water input to your barrel filtration system needs a one-way check valve (experience talking here). I had a power outage and all the crud drained back into the pond. Yuck.

    I don't use (or advocate) the use of check valves there because a) It's just one more place to fail & 2) They reduce water flow. In my barrel filter the input is raised 12" off the bottom so very little junk should wash back. We have frequent power interruptions too and whatever washes back is quickly picked up when the power resumes.

    I also have a question. I have two ponds- one is a 3000 gal. plus natural rock basin about 3 ft. deep at its deepest, full of good pond plants, about 50 goldfish, and so far, three koi. I also have a small (300 gal.) porch water garden with about 20 goldfish- small ones. The problem is that my fish are starting to murder each other. (my husband thinks it's gang-related and involved drugs, but I thought you'd have some idea).

    I see that happen too but never noticed a fish getting killed. Often the fish is very fat and I always thought it was going to have babies. I have noticed other ponders mentioning the same thing at around the same time so maybe it has something to do with moon cycles & sex orgies. Don't honestly know. But yours is the first I heard of actually drug-related murders.

    This is what I see- a healthy-looking goldfish gets ganged up on by anywhere between two to six other fish. They run it around the pond, chasing and pushing it into stuff until it gives up the ghost. Sometimes it takes hours. If I rescue the fish, it either dies shortly after, or gets attacked again when I return it to the pond. Either way, it's toast. Any ideas?

    Any chance your pond is haunted?

    they've killed six so far- one in the big pond and five in my small one.I'd like it to stop. Is there something wrong with the fish or is this really rough fish group sex? I'd sure like to hear any ideas, as well as suggestions on how to stop it.

    • 1) You might try tranquilizers or hypnosis.
    • 2) Get one of those mirrored globes they have in dance halls and hang it over the pond. Give them something else to concentrate on.
    • 3) You might try getting them spayed.
    • 4) Go on vacation Let them work it out on their own. Best man wins and all that.
    • 5) Change fish suppliers.
    • 6) you could ..... oh hell I don't know.

    My email address is rjcortes@oberon.ark.com. Oh, I live on Cortes Island in SW British Columbia in Canada. It's in the Gulf Islands.

    I live on a barrier island in NJ. Can't get much further away on the same continent.

    Thanks for all your help so far and for the terrific website.

    Good thing you saw the pond page first or you wouldn't be so quick to say that.

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    At 13:46 8/30/97 -0400, you wrote:

    Pond,Excellent

    Pond Comments,Looking for websites with actual "how to" construction details to build two 6x10ft ponds, one running into the other. Can you help?!

    Sure, just dig two holes with a channel running between them, drop in a piece of rubber lining and fillem with water. All there is to it. sorry I can't be more specific, but that's pretty much how I operate. Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes.

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    At 14:02 8/31/97 -0400, you wrote:

    WE HAVE HAD KOI AND GOLD FISH FOR ABOUT 5 YEARS AND IN THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF MY GOLD FISH HAVE STARTED TO LOSE THERE COLOR I HAVE TRIED FEEDING THE COLOR ENHANCING FOOD TO NO AVAIL. THE FISH SEEM HEALTHY, BUT MOST OF THERE COLOR IS GONE. WE LIVE IN SOUTH EAST TEXAS.

    NOT ALL THE GOLD FISH HAVE LOST THERE COLOR AND MY KOI ARE JUST FINE. OUR POND IS 10 FEET ACROSS AND ABOUT 2 1/2' DEEP HOLDS ABOUT 1000 GALLONS OF WATER WITH A STREAM DRAINING OUT OF IT INTO A SUMP WITH A PUMP THEN THE WATER IS PUMPED UNDERGROUND AND UP OVER A WATERFALL. AS I SAID THE FISH EAT VERY GOOD AND OVERALL THEY SEEM HEALTHY. ANYTHING YOU CAN THINK OF WHY THIS IS HAPPENING AND ANYTHING I NEED TO DO TO CORRECT THIS.

    THANKS FOR YOUR HELP

    Gee Carol. I can't think of anything. Just guesses:

    1) is there enough shade?
    2) Did you try chging food (I feed a lot of Friskies catfood. They like it fine)
    3) Maybe an intruder scaring the sh... er color out of them {grin}.
    4) Maybe just natural color change to fit background.

    Sorry, not more help.

    Since answering that some other stuff occurred to me:


    5) Maybe the fish are just getting old.
    6) Maybe a contaminate in the water.

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    We are buying a house that has an existing Koi pond (so they say). This pond is nothing more than where a very large hole has been dug in the ground and filled with water (I guess the other owners were into a natural thing). What can we do with this?

    If the ground holds the water okay (ie the water level doesn't go down beyond evaporation levels - normally less than one inch per day in my area.(NJ)) AND the pond is large enough for you, then it should be fine.

    Can Koi be kept under these >conditions?

    I don't see why not.

    How can I keep the water clean and clear?

    If it's an algae problem then a lava rock filter will do the job. If it's a problem due to a silty bottom stirred up constantly then you will probably have to empty it, and either remove the silt and/or lay a lining in the hole. If it's a particulate problem then the lava rock filter should do the job as well unless it's a really fine particulate in which case you'd need a finer prefiler.

    Help if you can.

    Best I can do under the curcumstances (limited info).{grin}

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    Quick (or not so quick question): I have an 80 gallon pond with no filtration system just lots of plants and a few fish. The water has become quite green

    You need some biological filtration to eat up the nutrients that cause/allow the water borne algae to grow (the "green" in the water). You obviously don't need anything on the scale of my Lava Rock filter. You might try filling a scrub bucket with lava rock and running the water through that for a few weeks. Pick up a small "power head" at an aquarium store ($15-$35) for a pump and make a mini lavarock filter.

    and the muck at the bottom smells bad. Thinking of replacing all the water and adding gravel to the bottom and starting again

    Gravel will help but I doubt if it will overcome by itself (though it may). If you're going to go to that trouble why don't you get a (couple) aquarium undergravel "pads" (again from an aquarium store) and put your gravel on them. You could plug in an air lift to the pads (or a power head) and draw the water through the gravel (1" to maybe 2" deep). It'll work the same as the above bucket pump. Probably the best solution.

    (I think I was overfeeding the fish).

    Nah, that's the fun of having them, feeding. Your filter should be big enough to handle that. I often feed mine 6-7 times a day.

    The fish (2 koi, 1 goldfish appear healthy with good appetites). Also have two frogs. What do you recommend? Would appreciate it immensely if you respond to: nordstromh@biotek.com. Thanks. I loved your pond reading.

    Go back To Index


    Date: Sun, 21 Sep 1997 09:48:51 -0700
    From: DENNIS BAHNEMAN
    Subject: algae

    First I enjoyed your pond building home page and used some of your ideas for my own. I built a 1200 gal. primary pond with a smaller one above with a cascading stream to the larger one. I installed a 50 gal bio filter and gravel bed suction filter in the main pond. Now that the water is getting cooler or the pond is getting mature I noticed a lot of heavy algae on the plants, sides, and bottom. The water is still crystal clear. Is this normal, should I do something or let it go? What other precautions should I take for the first winter?

    Hope to here from you

    I get the same thing. It seems to come about twice a year, once in early June and once in late summer. Maybe it's a spoor in the air, I don't know. I don't do anything about it myself, except to wash it off the rocks on the waterfall sometimes. As for in the big pond there doesn't seem to be much. I think the fish eat it.

    What other precautions should I take for the first winter?

    I usually let my waterfall (filter) run until the first freeze, then I take the pump out, drain the hoses, pipes, filter, etc. and that's it for winterizing for me. Since I've had the two small undergravel filter pumps (one winter) I leave them running all winter. They minimized the surface freezing to only the coldest nights (of course we had a mild winter) and days.

    Go back To Index


    From: "Keith G Brough."
    Subject: Re: Pond report
    Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 07:03:26

    Hi Gorsa,

    Read your pond report and noted that you have had some problems this year too. As you may remember I was having a lot of problems, mostly because I started off knowing little or nothing about the art of keeping a pond with fish.

    I have learned a lot, a lot from you - thank you - , and now have a pond that is clear for the first 18 inches, and getting better by the day, of its 3 feet depth. I can actually watch the fish swimming about and eating the food we put in, and the plants the crispus is being stripped to just twigs. The Ghost Koi are the worst offenders, they also root about in the pots despite the two inch stones in the top.

    You mentioned in your report that the Hyacinths were burned up. Well when the Ph in my pond was so high one of the problems was that the water hyacinths were going brown at the edges and dying back, and the lillies faded and died back. Also a number of fish died, one with its gills stuck shut, and the water developed a brownish hue, that is when it wasn't bright green when the algae started. So perhaps you have a Ph problem.

    I have used a commercial product to clear the algae, which it is doing - hence the 18 inches of clear water. I only put the fish back into the main pond a week ago having sorted everything out. During the months I have been putting all the things right, and building your larva barrel filter, I have talked to lots and lots of people and one of the things I have been introduced to is a product called 'Oclear'. I mean to use this when the Algae bloom starts next spring, and will let you know how good or not this is.

    I suppose that now I have got the pond right the Heron, we have a group living in the area, will pay a visit. I have put a few bolt holes in the pond for the fish (big pipes and tunnels that they can hide in) and hope that they use them if the bird puts in an appearance. Up to now the pond has been so cloudy even a Heron wouldn't have been able to see the fish.

    Next year, if the pond doesn't stay clear, I will add the gravel box that you describe in your web page. Unfortunately putting gravel on the bottom of the pond isn't an option due to the unevenness of my pond. When I built it originally I made the bottom different depths and slopes etc. Well it was built as a duck pond! So I will join the list of ponders who say "When I build my next........"

    Once again thank you for your help, encouragement and information. I will hopefully continue and get some real pleasure from my pond in 1998. I currently only have some 16 fish but will get some more in the spring. I was looking at some sturgeon the other day and was most impressed. They are the nearest thing to the Space cruisers from the Empire Strikes Back that I have ever seen, the design must have come from them I suppose. I really must get a couple in the spring.

    Well must close it's time to make a cup of tea and get my wife out of bed.

    TTFN
    Keith G Brough
    Semper in Faecibus Sumus Sole Profundum Variat

    Hi Keith,

    Great report. Think I'll add it to the 1997 Report.

    >Read your pond report and noted that you have had some problems this year too. As you may remember I was having a lot of problems, mostly because I started off knowing little or nothing about the art of keeping a pond with fish.

    Yeah It seems I have problems EVERY year and I've been at it over 10 years. One of the things keeps me interested I guess.

    >I have learned a lot, a lot from you - thank you - , and now have a pond that is clear for the first 18 inches, and getting better by the day, of its 3 feet depth. I can actually watch the fish swimming about and eating the food we put in, and the plants the crispus is being stripped to just twigs. The Ghost Koi are the worst offenders, they also root about in the pots despite the two inch stones in the top.

    Probably what's killing my stuff too. Like I said I'm gonna try fencing them off next year.

    >You mentioned in your report that the Hyacinths were burned up. Well when the Ph in my pond was so high one of the problems was that the water hyacinths were going brown at the edges and dying back, and the lillies faded and died back. Also a number of fish died, one with its gills stuck shut, and the water developed a brownish hue, that is when it wasn't bright green when the algae started. So perhaps you have a Ph problem.

    I'll look into it. I have a ph tester and back in May, June when I was having the fish dieoff, I checked it frequently and it was running right around 7-7.5 but I'll test it again today. Good idea. thanks.

    >I have used a commercial product to clear the algae, which it is doing - hence the 18 inches of clear water. I only put the fish back into the main pond a week ago having sorted everything out. During the months I have been putting all the things right, and building your larva barrel filter, I have talked to lots and lots of people and one of the things I have been introduced to is a product called 'Oclear'. I mean to use this when the Algae bloom starts next spring, and will let you know how good or not this is.

    As I've said many times I don't use any of that chemical stuff. I promise you if you build the LRB filter (and your pond is under 3,000 gals) your water will be crystal clear without any chemicals to kill algae AND stay that way.

    >I suppose that now I have got the pond right the Heron, we have a group living in the area, will pay a visit. I have put a few bolt holes in the pond for the fish (big pipes and tunnels that they can hide in) and hope that they use them if the bird puts in an appearance. Up to now the pond has been so cloudy even a Heron wouldn't have been able to see the fish.

    Trouble with the damn herons is that they traumatize the fish so they are *always* hiding and you seldom get to see them. Only thing my friend has found effective is light bird shot and even then it comes back after awhile. He even built a net affair over his pond and the damn thing dismantled it. Real problem. Friend is thinking of going to buckshot but he really doesn't want to.

    >Next year, if the pond doesn't stay clear, I will add the gravel box that you describe in your web page. Unfortunately putting gravel on the bottom of the pond isn't an option due to the unevenness of my pond. When I built it originally I made the bottom different depths and slopes etc. Well it was built as a duck pond! So I will join the list of ponders who say "When I build my next........"

    Know exactly what you mean.

    >Once again thank you for your help, encouragement and information. I will hopefully continue and get some real pleasure from my pond in 1998. I currently only have some 16 fish but will get some more in the spring. I was looking at some sturgeon the other day and was most impressed. They are the nearest thing to the Space cruisers from the Empire Strikes Back that I have ever seen, the design must have come from them I suppose. I really must get a couple in the spring.

    Sturgeon, huh? Neat idea. Are you in the States. Don't believe I've ever seen a sturgeon here in an aquarium store. Will have to keep my eyes open. Used to see one once in a great while when I was fishing. My father used to catch a lot of them in the Hudson River when he was shad fishing there 50 yrs ago.

    Go back To Index


    Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 13:21:52 +0800 From: Jon Richards
    Reply-To: katie_@cheerful.com
    Subject: Help me please, my goldfish are sick in my pond

    Hi, my name is Katie I need help immediately,

    I have a 600L pond (approx 125 gallons American i think). I have a sponge filter and pump linked to a fountain and pool. (this overflows into the pond to aerate it). It is a concrete pond sealed with pool paint. The surface area is 1.7785 meters squared and depth is 35 cm. Established for almost 2 months.

    My first problem is the wall, fountain and pool (below fountain) was painted with a limewash paint. I did not know this at first, but have come to realise this caused my ponds' pH to rise to a very high alkaline pH. I am going to seal the painted areas to help keep the pH closer to neutral. Does this sound OK to the experts??

    Next, I have already had one causlty, Casper, a large white comet with a very long tail. She was very quite from day one, with a minor patch of fin rot, which I treated with a fungus-aide treatment containing malachite green, formalin, acriflavine. This appeared to be healed and then the others got sick. But keeping to Casper, I noticed the fins were frayed, and a reddened patch under the mouth, two days later she was swimming uncharacteristically near the surface bumping into things and looking, very weak and sick. I removed her to a hospital tank (a large tub) and kept an eye on her. There was some black patches on her white fins (very small) and a large red area under the mouth. She tipped on her side, and I had to decide whether to put her down. Within the hour she had died. The fish/pond dealer suggested the cause after looking at her was something called GUD. I haven't heard, of this He said, there was an ulcer under the cheek and mouth. The slime coat was destroyed partially and the fish was very stressed. My fault entirely.

    As the pond was so alkaline I added salt (250grams) and 1/2 a tablespoon of pH buffer (down). I did not know I should have added this gradually over a few days this is the most likely cause of stress to my fish.

    I have 6 fish left.

    1 has just developed (2 days ago) a reddened swollen mouth. He is very quite and swimms in one spot.

    1 has had very bad fin rot, that hasn't gone with treatment (Malachite green 0.4g/L, methylene blue 0.425g/L and acriflavine 2g/L) It is black moor the dorsal fin is affected and it is grayish (? slime coat problems). It is very quite now, and isn't swimming around much, the dorsal fin is down (very unwell). The reddness has gone almost from the damaged area, so maybe he'll get better. Opinions please!!

    1 has had a very strange mouth since I got the fish, it doesn't extend out (it is a bristol or london shubunkin)fairly quite, has difficulties in grasping food, especially pellets from the surface (it can't suck them in).

    Another has what I though was mouth fungus, white cottony growth from the mouth, this developed (through the treatment period) to a swollen mouth and the white stayed, the fish is very quite, wont move much and stays near the surface, just above a plant.

    The other two fish appear healthy, no signs of disease or ailment. Why???

    I have finished the fungus multi-cure treatment, and have added something called, stress coat (containing aloe vera) to help them recover their slime coats that i destroyed with the salt and buffer chemicals. I am running the fountain for a minimum period of time to help the pH remain lower. I am still changing 10-15% of my water, every 7 days or so, replacing it with fresh water.

    HELP if you can, any info, sites for fish and just general care for my fish is greatfully accepted. I really want to save them, and repair their mouths, fins and coats. I don't think I can watch them struggle to survive or put them down.

    Thanks in advance.

    Katie

    Hi Katie,

    >Hi, my name is Katie I need help immediately,

    I'm afraid I won't be much help. I'm not a fish dictor, just a hobbyist, but I'll take a stab at it. In your case I would:

    1) Remove the fish to a large container (say a large clean garbage can lined with a new plastic garbage bag for further protection) and rig some sort of aeration.

    1a) Wash your sponge filter with chlorox to kill any possible parasites, bad bacteria, etc. Rinse THOROUGHLY.

    2) Empty the pond and give it a good scrubbing.

    3) Rinse it out *thoroughly*.

    4) I don't know that I would paint it with a sealer. I should think the scrubbing should take care of any lime leakage. It *seems* to me that you'd be adding another chemical with a sealer but I'm not an expert here.

    5) Fill the pond and run the filter for a couple days.

    6) Fill a small tank/container (1-2 gallons)with a high concentration of salted water. Use SEA SALT (from an aquarium store) ONLY. Make the concentration suitable for salt water fish (instructions on SEA SALT box). I emphasize sea salt because it contains all kinds of beneficial trace minerals.

    7) Remove the fish, one at a time, from the large container, and place them in the salt solution. Watch them closely for stress. After about 15 minutes (at the very most), remove the fish and put it back in the pond. It isn't necessary to change the salt rinse water each time. One bath should suffice for all the fish.

    8) Put some sea salt into your pond. Sea salt promotes the protective slime on the fish that controls disease and bacteria. How much is a guess, but certainly not as high a concentration as you have in your "fish bath".

    9) Throw away all that damn medication.

    Additional notes-

    Consider adding an undergravel filter to your pond. It's not all that big and you could add an aquarium type gravel filter with a small air pump for under $35 I should think. The gravel will provide a large surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow. Assuming you buy the gravel at an aquarium store, get the coarsest grade and it should never plug up. 1" to 2" (about 5 centimetrs I think) deep should be fine.

    In any case it will take several weeks for the bacteria so don't panic.

    Another thing, catastrophes are part of the pond game so don't get too upset. I once lost about 50 damn nice size fish going on 4 years old. Now THAT was a catastrophe.

    I will be posting a Pond links page next week but you can preview it at:

    http://www.exit109.com/~gosta/pondlink.sht

    There's a lot of help there but it's Caveat Emptor. Lotsa people will make you nuts with esoteric remedies and excessive (expensive) treatments. Take it easy and all advice with a grain of salt (doesn't have to be sea salt though {grin}).

    (Next Day)

    Hi katie,

    I got to thinking after I sent the prv msg. You should probably give your fish the "salt bath" as soon after removing them from the pond as you can. Just put them back into the garbage can (if that's what you use to hold them). I was afraid yo'd wait until you were ready to put them back into the pond. No sense making them suffer any longer than necessary.

    Go back To Index


    Date: Sun, 28 Sep 1997 14:51:09 -0700
    From: Jane and Rankin Smith rjcortes@oberon.ark.com
    Subject: Pond plant protection

    Hi Gosta

    Thanks for the update on how your pond did this year. I have a neat way to keep your fish from wrecking your plants. I"m new to computers and have no idea how to use my Paintshop Pro yet, and I know that getting mailing addresses off the net (so I can send you a sketch) is a nono, so please bear with me as I try to describe the system I use. First, figure out the surface area you want to cover... say 3'. Cut a length of 1 1/2" black (it's invisible once you're done) plastic plumbing tubing, about 9 1/2' long (3' diameter times 3.1417etc). Using a connector sleeve, glue the ends together. It will look like a big fat black hula hoop. Tie a length of 1/2" mesh long enough to go around the hoop and as as wide as your pond is deep (plus 8" or so) to the hula hoop, tying every inch or so. Tie the open end closed. It will end up looking like a hula hoop with a fishnet skirt tied on. Tie a knot in the hem of the skirt, and heave it in the pond. Put your plants inside the hoop. (Floaters can be protected this way, too, and the fish are kept out.

    Regards,
    Jane

    Hi Jane,

    A GREAT idea. I will post your letter in "Pond Letters" to share the tip with everybody else. Will give it a try myself next spring if my "fence in the pot" idea doesn't work.

    Go back To Index


    What do you feed your fish?

    First off I feed my fish A LOT, often 5 or 6 times a day. We have two cats and we have a lot of Friskies on hand all the time. 2 or 3 times a day I will grab a handful out of the cats' dish and toss it in the pond. The fish like it fine. It leaves a barely noticeable oil slick on the surface of the water but it soon disappears within an hour or less. The larger fish can eat the Friskies whole and the biggest will eat up to 7 or 8 at a time (not every time though). The smaller will grab a piece to big to swallow and swim around "grawing" on it.

    I keep a large plastic butter bucket (maybe two quarts) near the pond filled with a mixture of Tetra Min pond pellets and a cup of Tetra Min flake food. The flakes usually get broken up into almost a powder by the pellets and provides a ready food source for the smaller fish (guppies, etc). 3 or 4 times a day they get a handful of this.

    The Tetra Min Flakes *seem* to enhance their colors but that could easy be imagination. By the way I pretty much stick to the Tetra Min brand when I buy fish food because I've always had good luck with it in my aquariums. It doesn't cloud the water and the fish like it fine. It's a staple for my Salt Water fish. And while we're on the subject, We take a bucket of it to Aruba every winter to use when snorkeling. You know those little plastic film containers? Well you pack one of those with fish flakes and when you're snorkeling, just crack the top and let some flakes out. The water will swarm with fish trying to get at the container. We've graduated to bigger containers now but the film containers are a great place to start. Pick up a small can of flakes before you go diving/snorkeling next time and give it a try.

    Every once in a while I'll take a Milk Bone of Samantha's and toss it in. The fish'll spend hours gnawing at it but they get it after it softens up.

    Do they need this much food? Of course not, but I ain't gonna be the only one around here with a weight problem. {grin} Beside they enjoy it and I enjoy feeding them.

    I feed all through the winter too, but not nearly as much. Usually just a handful of Friskies once in a while. Whenever I see it's all gone (sometimes takes several days when it gets really cold), I'll throw another handful in. They're not real heavy eaters when the water gets cold. I've read where you shouldn't feed in the cold months but I figure if they oughtta know if food is good for them or not. One guy had me convinced the get "bound up" when they eat in the winter so I put in 3-4 boxes of Epsom Salts to gettem "loosened up" (no kidding). Don't do it anymore though. Think he was funnin' me but didn't figure that out until he fell over laffin. Still swears he wasn't though. Like I've said there's a great deal of competition with local ponders and sometimes I wonder about "advice" from a couple of the fellas.

    Way I figure is the fish must have food available in the wild during the winter and they know enough when to eat or not.

    Go back To Index


    From: MOssum
    Date: Fri, 19 Dec 1997 17:15:39 EST
    I'm home with a cold and time on my hands, so here is my attempt at an intelligent response to your request for letters and pictures of our pond....

    We live in Sacramento, California, where we MAY get a freeze a couple of times each winter, but the temp usually doesn't dip much lower than 40. Our pond (pic attached) is about 2,000 gallons and is constructed with a plastic liner placed over carpet padding placed over weedblock fabric in a hole we carefully sculpted prior to the neighbor kids sneeking into our yard and digging away willy-nilly. We've had a lot of fun trying to build our pond with as much free and/or recycled material as possible. The flatrock was rescued from a torn-down office building next to where I work. The round rocks were confiscated from the many river beds around our abode (yeah, I know, it's politically incorrect to alter the natural landscape, but. . .). We bought most of the potted plants, and subsequently were given a whole bunch of water hyacinth by a family friend, who also gave us about 15 healthy koi of various sizes.

    All in all, we have about 17 large feeder goldfish (bought 20; 3 were floaters), about 15 koi, and I-don't-know-how-many "mosquito" fish (which the County of Sacramento Mosquito Abatement Department was kind enough to supply us with for free). My favorites are the butterfly koi. Most everyone is dormant now although we do still -- very occassionally -- throw a handful of food in there, but that's mostly because I'm kind of a Jewish mother about my little fishies and God forbid I should have it on my conscience if one of them should wake up and be hungry and not be able to find any kibble. My only regret is that it's too cold to sit outside and enjoy what we've built.

    We started the pond in August. It only took a couple of weeks to build it to the point at which we could throw fish in (we have a teenage son who did all the hard digging), but of course, like any landscaping project, it's a work- in-progress. We have two biological filters working. Both were built by my husband after studying those being sold at Home Depot and the local fish- supply-rip-off stores. We probably spent just as much on supplies in the learn-as-you-go process as we would have if we'd bought them ready made, but we're much too stubborn for that and he had the enjoyment of doing the work himself. They are both made out of fake terra cotta (plastic) planters filled with lava rock. Both are functioning beautifully. We did, however, have a problem with green water which almost sent us to the funny farm, so the line running to the smaller of the two filters channels water through a UV light on its way there. Some may think that's cheating, but it sure works great! Until we added that light, we weren't able to see the fish at all unless they were leaping out of the pond.

    Anyway, that's about all the news that's fit to print about the Musso Pond. We really enjoy your site and your e-mails. Keep up the good work. And Happy Festivus!!!!

    Mimi (and Dino) Musso

    Am on my way out in the morning for vacation but will post your letter in Pond Reports and your pic on Pond pics when I return. Re your filters, you may want to look at my pond page again. You shouldn't NEED UV if you have enough lava rock & flow, but if it works ............ that's all that counts.

    Go back To Index


    Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 22:41:05 -0800
    Reply-To: shanenkrat@oregoncoast.com
    Organization: Trask River Mudcat Refuge
    Subject: good job

    I don't know your name, but your page about ponds is the warmest, most welcoming page I have ever encountered. Aiken's irises, up in Vancouver, Washington, is the prettiest, and Pete's Pond has a lot of good pix, but by gosh, Sir, you are a journalist.

    Stopped by, and wish to steal your ideas about the filtration system. My husband absolutely will not touch a shovel, hates the feel of a newspaper, even. The Swiss, you know, are kinda weird, I think!! ha ha

    In any event, my friends and I thank you. We are about as far west as you can go. Thank gosh for El Nino, a really warm, mild winter, half the rain we usually get (100 inches), can still dig in nice weather the end of December (10:40 PM - 51 degrees).

    Thanks so much for all your efforts. You certainly will have an impact on the world of ponding.

    Sue Hanenkrat
    Tillamook
    OR. 97141

    >I don't know your name, but your page about ponds is the warmest, >most welcoming page I have ever encountered. Aiken's irises, up >in Vancouver, Washington, is the prettiest, and Pete's Pond has a >lot of good pix, but by gosh, Sir, you are a journalist.

    My lands, you're gonna make me blush.

    >Stopped by, and wish to steal your ideas about the filtration >system. ....

    Steal away, steal away. Even though I swear by all that's fishy there's nothing but original stuff on my site, there are those unmentionables who claim that I have stolen some ideas myself but of course that's just a dastardly rumor.

    >In any event, my friends and I thank you. We are about as far >west as you can go. Thank gosh for El Nino, a really warm, mild >winter, half the rain we usually get (100 inches), can still dig >in nice weather the end of December (10:40 PM - 51 degrees).

    I am as far east, a barrier island off the NJ Coast. We get 50-60" of rain each year, 30" during a drought. Got lotsa "ninos" around here too, mostly up around Passaic and Newark though.

    Go back To Index


    Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 14:06:58 -0600
    From: jmrocks@juno.com (Julie M Meeks)

    Hello G.H. Lovgren,

    Thanks for the e-mail. Since the pond is pretty quiet it is nice to be reminded of warmer days to come by getting mail from my pond friends!

    All is quiet and the fish stay near the bottom (3 1/2 ft.) where they can get "in shape" for the coming summer. We have had a few very warm days (60degrees) and they have ventured towards the top to see what is going on. Just a few weeks ago they were all (10) at the top nibbling at my fingers. It was fun to "converse" with them again. Last summer I spent a lot of time sitting at pond-side watching and playing with them.

    All of the plants are being kept inside in an aquarium for the winter. The only plant that is still in the pond is a lilly which is 3ft. below the surface.

    I have discovered. even though I like having a lot of water available for fish space, the depth of 3 1/2 ft. is going to prove to be a challenge. When I have to get in to retrieve plants I literally have to "go swimming" for them. Next summer I will have to figure out a better way to reach the bottom without having to get in.

    What I tried this year is to have some plants in a large plastic bucket (Price Club $5) with a rope handle. I can just grab the handle and lift it out. Pretty heavy but Kevin (my son) likes to show off his muscles anyway (grin). "

    This past fall I used a rake to clean some leaves off the bottom.It worked very well. I even raked up a frog that had found a home on the bottom. He was one of five that had made my pond their home.Last summer it was fun to hear them croak. They had become accustomed to my presence by the fall and would actually sit in my hand rather than swim to the other side of the pond to escape my play with the fish.

    I use a child's plastic rake so as not to accidently poke any holes anywhere. If you have a mud section somewwhere the frogs will burrow in for the winter and come out in the spring.

    I have taken out the pump so now I keep the water from freezing with a bubble stone and air pump. So far it does pretty good. The pond is frozen almost every morning that I don't run the pump. I am hopeing that I won't need anything else to keep a whole in the surface. A friend of mine left his pump running which seems to be the answer for freezing temperatures. Next year I will try it if my bubble stone won't do the trick.

    I leave my UG pumps running all year round and so seldom have any ice forming except for the coldest (below 20F) weather and even then it thaws quickly. I tried an airstone one winter but it froze over that too. Just made a big bump in the ice as it keep freezing around the edges until it finally closed over.

    My husband is going to help me send you a picture of the pond. He just acquired a scanner with his work computer. Be looking for it in the next few weeks!

    Thanks again for the mail and Merry Christmas!!

    By the way. I have my own personal e-mail address now.

    jmrocks@juno.com

    Go back To Index


    From: "William Chappell"
    Subject: A couple of questions
    Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 13:38:21

    I have studied your site with great interest and think you have EXCELLENT information.

    A few questions though regarding your 55 gal. filter. I am planning a pond for the Spring (have already starting digging) I figure it to be about 1,500 gal. with a waterfall incorporating your filter to fill a small upper pond to supply the falls.

    With the water supply entering aprox. a foot from the bottom of the filter it seems like this would be a heavy load for the pump to push to the top? Is there any problem here? Maybe I'm all wet (sorry). I like your design but am not sure what kind of pump I need to push all that water.

    Also, someone else had mentioned a filter they had built where they included charcoal. Have you ever heard of this? I could sandwich a layer of charcoal between two layers of lava rock to keep it from floating to the top. I would appreciate your thoughts on this since YOU are the Expert.

    I thank you in advance for your help.

    Regards - Bill Chappell - Cleveland, Ohio

    At 13:38 1/2/98 -0500, you wrote:

    >I have studied your site with great interest and think you have EXCELLENT information. >A few questions though regarding your 55 gal. filter. >I am planning a pond for the Spring (have already starting digging) I figure it to be about 1,500 gal. with a waterfall incorporating your filter to fill a small upper pond to supply the falls.

    With the water supply entering aprox. a foot from the bottom of the filter it seems like this would be a heavy load for the pump to push to the top? Is there any problem here? Maybe I'm all wet (sorry). I like your design but am not sure what kind of pump I need to push all that water.

    The only pump I use is a common cellar submersible sump pump. It has no trouble whatsoever overcoming the load. (it's a lot less that it appears - Just envision the barrel as an extention of the pipe (only larger). It's no different than piping to the top of the barrel, same load (head).).

    Also, someone else had mentioned a filter they had built where they included charcoal. Have you ever heard of this? I could sandwich a layer of charcoal between two layers of lava rock to keep it from floating to the top. I would appreciate your thoughts on this since YOU are the Expert.

    If you think charcoal will help then by all means have at it. It's your filter. I can only tell you how mine has been working for YEARS and delivering crystal clear water.

    Go back To Index


    From: "Mike"
    Subject: pond building
    Date: Sun, 4 Jan 1998 22:50:38 -0600

    I understand you built a pond. I'm planning a large pond 10-15 acres. Any advise?

    Mike Dodd
    Alabama
    med@sonet.net

    Your pond is way out of my league. I believe that on my Pond Links page

    http://www.exit109.com/~gosta/pondlink.sht

    there is a pointer to a supplier of equipment for large ponds. You could write or call for a catalog. I believe their website is:

    www. Pondsupplies.com.


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    From: Pekrwood1
    Date: Sun, 11 Jan 1998 18:35:22 EST
    Subject: Filter questions

    Hello,

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your site. Although I have several questions, I wanted to discuss your filtration system(s)--namely the UG filter and your biofilter in the 55 gallon drum.

    With regards to the UG filter, have you had to clean the gravel at the bottom of the pond yet...will you eventually have to? If you will have to clean the gravel at the bottom, how would one go about doing this?

    Regarding your drum filter, what is your approximate media surface provided for by the lava rocks (in sq. ft.)? Pardon my ignorance, but I fail to visualize the drainage system at the bottom of the barrel. How do you keep water from leaking out of the drum? On your page, you mentioned something about fashioning a hook to hold the pool hose. Does this mean that for the drainage hose, you simply pull the hose up along side the barrel? For example, if the drum is 4 ft. tall, then you would fashion a hose about 4 ft. 4 inches? This would prevent water from flowing out of the hose since it is above the outlet line...am I following?

    Thank you for your time.

    Joseph Turner
    Pekrwood1@aol.com

    At 18:21 1/11/98 -0500, you wrote:

    >Pond Letters,Excellent
    >Pond Comments,Hello,

    >I have thoroughly enjoyed your site. Although I have several questions, I wanted to discuss your filtration system(s)--namely the UG filter and your biofilter in the 55 gallon drum.

    >With regards to the UG filter, have you had to clean the gravel at the bottom of the pond yet...will you eventually have to?

    No I haven't had to clean it yet (1 2/3 years) and the gravel still looks (is) clean. I do have a child's plastic rake I use to scoop up leaves and other detritus that falls to the bottom. As far as plugging up, I don't envision that happening. The "draw" area is so large compared to the size of the pump there shouldn't be enough suction pressure to cause a blockage (my theory anyway). As regards matter that gets in the gravel, it's organic in nature and should (will) degrade(s) before enough can accumulate to plug it up (my theory anyway).

    > If you will have to clean the gravel at the bottom, how would one go about doing this?

    If it should happen that I have to clean it, I would probably use a board or something to stir it up, causing the matter to go in suspension, then depend on my main pump and filter to get the dirt out.

    >Regarding your drum filter, what is your approximate media surface provided for by the lava rocks (in sq. ft.)?

    I have no idea but it's a lot. As I said the lava rock is so porous that pieces often float until they soak up enough water to sink. I would guess as a much or more than charcoal given that the composition (stone) is heavier than burnt wood (charcoal).

    Pardon my ignorance, but I fail to visualize the drainage system at the bottom of the barrel. How do you keep water from leaking out of the drum?

    Recall the section about "bulkhead fittings", I just use those with a liberal dose of silicone caulking. No problems with leaks at all.

    > On your page, you mentioned something about fashioning a hook to hold the pool hose. Does this mean that for the drainage hose, you simply pull the hose up along side the barrel? For example, if the drum is 4 ft. tall, then you would fashion a hose about 4 ft. 4 inches? This would prevent water from flowing out of the hose since it is above the outlet line...am I following?

    "That's exactly what I did, except the hose is about 6' long and it works super. Just MAKE SURE you use as large a hose as possible (recco 1 1/2" pool hose) to get a good flushing action when cleaning (weekly/monthly). "


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    End of Pond Letters(c)



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