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If you build it, they will come

I've spent the last week digging out my original small fishpond (about 10'W x 6'L x 4'D) with 'shelves' or 'steps' for shallow rooted plants and laid the new liner into it two nights ago so the sun the next morning would soften it up to make it pliable to work with.

Got it all laid out and began filling it yesterday morning and put a few larger river boulders onto the shelves. Got the feel for how much higher the back of the pond was compared to the front so started building up the front higher to accommodate covering the shelves completely without it overflowing the front span, then left it as is for the night.

Today I will be laying down the rest of the boulders on the shelves, leaving room for pots of plants, and then doing the top edge of the pond all the way around with other boulders that will hold the liner in place. Then the front 'wall' of the pond will be finished off with building a rock wall instead of just the dirt that it is now....both for appearance and also to keep the dirt from washing away or weeds taking over. I don't want plants in that wall unless it's some type of ground cover that will creep along in between the rocks/boulders and not get tall so anybody walking up to the pond (since it's built into a hillside) will be able to get close enough to see the fish and waterlilies...and the frogs...easily.

The other three sides will have multiple plants all around that I dug out prior to fixing the pond and will be putting back, such as hostas, water irises, etc.

Just went out there to make sure the water depth I left it with stayed put with no leaks going on and I already have a resident frog swimming around in it. I didn't even have to put out the 'vacancies available' sign......

I have another 'homemade' fish pond further over in the yard but it will have to wait until at least next year as it's pretty large and the damage done to that one was extensive over the last couple of years of neglect, including the liner needing to be replaced. The liner for it will be around $400 or better now but will be much stronger than the last cheapy one I had in there. That pond is about 15x12x6 so I will need nearly double that size for the liner because of the depth of the sides all the way around and shelves inside. Hopefully, when I'm ready for tackling it, I'll get some help with it since that is definitely not a one-woman operation.......lol

TONI

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Have you blue herons in your neck of the woods?

In reply to: If you build it, they will come

If so, they will love the smorgasbord you are providing for them.Wink

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Yes, we do; however,

In reply to: Have you blue herons in your neck of the woods?

they seem to prefer the very large ponds that some of the people here have on their properties...almost to the point of being small lakes instead of a pond. I have too many areas of my property that are just a few feet of dirt over mountain boulder/rock and would have to blast to create something like that so my ponds (three) are on the smaller side for appearance and landscaping instead. I have a hard enough time keeping possums and raccoons out of them when I bring in the fish (carp type...big goldfish).

I've been thinking about putting strong small square fencing a foot or so in from the edges to keep them from being able to rip/tear the liner with their claws, but not sure how I would be able to get that fencing stable enough to stop them from just hooking it with their claws and pulling it out. I don't see many of either one of those critters anymore compared to years ago, but they are still here once in a while enough to cause concern and pondering a solution.

TONI

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I've hear that fox urine is good

In reply to: Yes, we do; however,

I think it's expensive and requires reapplication.....and how do they collect this stuff??....from vixen pregnancy testing locations?

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I'm jealous ...

In reply to: If you build it, they will come

... I was just saying to the hubby the other day how much I would like to build a pond in the back yard. Sounds like a big project but seems the rewards are worth it!

Evie Happy

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If you have a fairly level ground area

In reply to: I'm jealous ...

to work with, it's a lot easier and faster....my ponds in the back are built into a sloping hillside that was always too difficult to try to mow and maintain well, so putting in the ponds was a relatively easy fix for that. I've been here sixteen years and the large pond has been established for most of those years with little maintenance until it was ripped apart and then left to neglect for too long. This smaller pond I deliberately drained a few years ago in order to make it 'better' than it was and then neglected badly shortly afterwards until now. I had gotten involved with my large vegetable garden and canning for a couple of years, then had the house construction done for nearly three years straight. I'm just now finally getting back to the landscaping now that I don't have the veggie garden anymore since it's just me here, and all the construction is completed. Working alone on the projects is slow going but it occupies my days and time and gives me the exercise I wouldn't otherwise get....and other than the damned poison oak that loves me so much it can locate skin area from 200' away and jump on me, I love playing in the dirt. Haven't figured out how to get rid of the stuff in all these years yet. It's like locust trees....cut down one and 100 show up for the funeral.

TONI

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Flat I got!

In reply to: If you have a fairly level ground area

Yards and yards of flat! Biggest problem is that with the wind I expect keeping water in the thing would be the biggest problem. Would like to do it as some sort of sloping "extension" off the deck but it would be "my thing" to care for. Thusfar I have had zero luck keeping the grass from my flower gardens so a new project probably won't go over too well.

Evie Happy

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Sounds heavenly

In reply to: If you build it, they will come

but I would just want to observe in the 90 degree weather...s

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Well Toni, cogitate over this:....

In reply to: If you build it, they will come

...You said, "since that is definitely not a one-woman operation.......lol"

You're not just the normal,ordinary, garden variety woman. I'd bet some heavy money it's just a "ONE TONI" operation...LOL

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Wish I could be there to help!

In reply to: If you build it, they will come

I have to stick with the preformed ponds now, as I can't risk having them in the ground, Psycho loves to swim in them and she also catches fish! Mine is about 300 gallons. The last time I had dug a pond and laid out liner was in the early 90's, Had no help as Jim kept saying, it's NOT my hobby!! LOL He was just a lazy butt and thought it was too much work!
Are you stocking with Koi or Goldfish? Enjoy the pond, we have morning coffee every morning at ours and love watching them go thru their antics as they are now breedingHappy

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I'll be getting regular goldfish

In reply to: Wish I could be there to help!

(they are actually miniature carp) as they actually grow larger with more room than a fish tank holds and they head to the bottom for the winter. I've tried fancy fan-tails and they're really wusses and the regular goldfish chase them down to nibble on their tails....then they die because they can't swim well anymore. Just prima-donnas that have the attitude that they should be treated like royalty just because they're pretty. lol

The goldfish are very hardy and it's cool to watch the couple of hundred babies in there (the large pond that can accommodate many) every year. They all play nice with the frogs and tadpoles, too. I'll get about eight Japanese black snails....great algae eaters (koi will eat the babies so you have to weed out the small fry and put them into a small fishtank until they get about 1" in size) and grow to about 3" in size. I haven't had problems with the goldfish trying to eat the baby snails.....or if they did it, they gobbled them up quickly before I even knew they had hatched.

I tried putting a plec (huge sucker that cost about $40) into the pond one year, but it wasn't able to handle the dormant state of winter very well and croaked on me. Snails do just as well.

The main thing right now is to choose the plants carefully for the small pond....I have shelves built for shallow marsh plants and much deeper to the bottom areas for hardy water lilies. I would love to be able to have the tropical water lilies because they have some gorgeous blue ones, but they can't tolerate the winter and the water has to maintain 70 degrees day and night. Nobody has come up with a hardy blue or purple yet...I've searched the net.

TONI

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interesting....

In reply to: I'll be getting regular goldfish

I didn't even know they had winter water lilies!!! Mine go dormant as soon as it starts getting cold! I am going to have to look for some of these
Try getting some Comet goldfish, not the commons as they have some really beautiful tailsHappy The commons are usually referred to as feeders.
Also a Taro plant is a great addition to the pond as they provide a lot of shade and grow real fast. I loved having Water Hyacinths, as they help keep the water clean, but they have been outlawed and can't be imported to AZ anymoreSad Right now I just have the Lilies and a Taro, and a Water Iris in my pond, Damn dog ate the other plants!!! Grrrrr!!

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There are no winter water lilies....

In reply to: interesting....

The hardy ones go dormant also.....the tropical ones probably do also, but have to be brought into the house into a fish tank if the pond temp can't stay at 70 degrees 24/7, which would never happen here in VA. Your weather in AZ (thought you lived somewhere else for some reason....didn't know you would be so close to Derek) must be pretty constant if Taro keeps through the winter for you (going dormant also), since Taro also is a tropical that needs to be brought in if the water temp can't maintain 70 degrees. Taro is part of the elephant ears family, and even ground roots have to be dug here and put up into a root cellar or basement over the winter.

Too late in the shipping season to try to order any lotus plants for shipment....have to get them ordered pretty quickly in January or sooner to get on the schedule cuz they're usually all gone by April or so. I like the Marsh Marigolds, too....they grow in dirt at the bank or in shallow water....bushlike with yellow rather than orange flowers.

TONI

TONI

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Rats!!! LOL

In reply to: There are no winter water lilies....

When you said hardy I assumed winter! Darn! I still need to build up around my pond with bricks or blocks so I can plant flowers around it.
I was told the Taro plant root is what they make Poi fromHappy How true that is I am not sure. The Taro and Iris have weathered the winter just fine, But the pond is on my patio under the awning, so it gets a lot of protection. If it was out in the yard in the sun I wouldn't be able to even see the fish because of algae!

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Oxygenating plants

In reply to: Rats!!! LOL

types that are completely submerged in pots and others that float freely as their roots don't need dirt will help eliminate the algae...as well as a couple of the snails I mentioned that will eat it.

Just don't make the mistake I did by listening to some 'pond expert' who talked me into buying some freaking chemical years ago that kills algae.....it also killed every fish I had in the pond even though it was the huge one and I used way less than what the guy recommended and put it only in one corner of the pond as a 'test' rather than put it everywhere.

Organic is better.....plants and snails do it best.

TONI

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I know!!!!!!!!!

In reply to: Oxygenating plants

The only way to use Algae destroyer is if you want to take all the fish out and all your plants!!!And drain the pond! Since the pond is my dogs water dish I never use anything like that! In the aquariums I use a chemical to remove the chlorine, but outside I let the pond sit for 24 hours before adding the fish back to it! Thanks to Michael and Jasmine I have had to totally drain my pond and clean it up! Not a lot of fun catching all those fish either!! Good thing GG loves the little brats! LOL!

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pumps, algae, etc.

In reply to: Oxygenating plants

I've had a smallish (~1,000 gal) pond in my yard for several years now. I finally figured it all out at the end of the season last year, and it has been virtually maintenance free this year.

I've found that the only chemical treatment that works with both plants and fish in the pond is Algae-fix. The other brands will kill one or the other. Algae needs low-oxygen water. If you raise the oxygen level, the algae goes away. So how? The underwater anakris (sp?) plants do some via photosynthesis, but not much. So you have to help it. Oxygenation occurs at the boundary layer between water and air, where the oxygen is simply absorbed into the water. The object is to create as much boundary as possible. With a fixed pond surface area, you've got to move the water to increase the boundary. Waterfalls and fountain sprays do some oxygenation by creating a continuously moving and changing water surface. You can put in an aquarium aerator bubbler to inject lots of tiny bubbles of boundary. I tried all those but they weren't enough, even all running together. So what was my secret - a pumped jet plume. A plume is simply a jet of water pumped up from below. The water flows upward, hits the surface, and spreads out across the surface. With a reasonably large pump, you can bring up huge amounts of stale water from below and quickly move it across the surface to aerate. I had been trying this unsucessfully for several years using several magpumps, but the inlet filters would clog after a day. I put one in a larger filter box, and that would last for 2 or 3 days before clogging. Finally I tried pumps that are rated for solids.

Here's a page from an online source I've used

http://www.webbsonline.com/frames/index.html

(I also stopped by their store one time while traveling back from NY, but it had already closed for the day...)

I use a Cyprio Titan pump sitting on a brick a few inches off the bottom, with the outlet pointed mostly up but at a slight angle toward the far end of the pond so that the plume creates some circulation as well as the huge moving boundary layer. I also have a Cprio Prima pump for the external biologic filter box (which then drains into the top of a short course of rocks that forms a "gurgling stream" on its way back down to a large flat stone that forms a waterfall back into the pond. The pump sits on a flagstone shelf so it is just below the water surface, thus cutting 18" off the height that it needs to pump up to the bio-filter, which increases the volume of water going through the filter and down the waterfall. Both of these pumps have no need for any sort of rapidly clogging pre-filters. Thus they pump at full efficiency all the time with no further attention. With the superior oxygenation this year, I haven't had to do anything to clear the water (yet.... with my luck, hell will need to be paid for now having publicly said I solved the problem...)

Regarding fish, I have a few Koi and the rest are goldfish. A couple of the goldfish were specialty types - fancy tails, bulging eyes, black, orange and white spots, etc., but then I got tired of spending real money for them. "Feeder" fish 8/$1 are just fine, and sometimes there are some interesting colors and types. Koi are beautiful, but they keep growing despite the inability of the pond size to support them. Goldfish self-regulate. They will grow larger in a larger pond, but when the pond size can't support any more, they stop growing. We also have a minor "problem" with blue heron stopping by to feed, so I have one of those plastic heron decoys. Even when a real heron figures out the fake (once or twice a year), I've put in some hiding places for the fish. It's just a large flat flagstone sitting on two stacks of bricks so that the fish have a "cave" to retreat into when threatened. And when it is time clean the debris from the bottom - just take the stones and bricks out. In this regard, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't create the nice little shallow corners for the marginal plants. I'd make the whole thing full depth and create the shallows with these flagstone shelves.

cheers,
dw

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I also use the same things.........

In reply to: pumps, algae, etc.

I have a pump running water thru my waterfall with filter material in it and bubblers I also have a fountain that sprays the water, double use in AZ heat it helps cool the water down. When I had the larger in ground ponds I manually removed the algae.

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The little pond I have been working on

In reply to: pumps, algae, etc.

is relatively easy to aerate such as you described by putting a hose into the bottom of the pond with a 'jet stream' type nozzle on the end wedged to face upward toward the sky. There is enough force since the pond is only 3-4' deep that it shoots straight up and slams downward that it keeps that pond relatively clear of algae all three seasons.

The big pond, when I get to it by next year, will probably need to have the pump that you describe and will need the electricity to it to run it finally put in. I used to drain the pond every so often in order to clear out the debris on the bottom as much as possible and then refill it with fresh water when I saw that things were getting out of hand. Usually that was a once a year project during a very long, hot, dry spell when the algae would take off running. Never lost any of the fish doing it that way, and used a large enough 'hose' which drained into a very large collander at the other end that sat in the grass near a bank where the water would drain off to. Any baby fish or tadpoles slid right out of the hose and into the collander where a bucket was waiting to dump them in quickly.

The 'hose' didn't have any end connectors on either end, and needed a 'jump start' by sucking on it to start the draining process and let gravity take over from there. About as disgusting as sucking gas out of a tank......now I have a pump for that. LOL

TONI

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It's the solids handling capability in the pump...

In reply to: The little pond I have been working on

Managing the algae is a catch-22. You've got to pump the plume continuously to oxygenate enough to keep the algae down, but clumps of the algae jam the pump inlet or clog the filter which cuts the flow so more algae can grow. Smaller pumps can't pump the clumps without a filter, and then the filter clogs. Only the larger pumps are rated for solids handling. So I've probably got more pump than I need, but it's been running for 2 months now and hasn't needed any attention except to top off the water when a few inches has evaporated.

Yours may be working well now, but the water is still fresh. Just wait 'til the algae has had some time to build up. Wink

dw

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Some beautiful lilies here....

In reply to: I'll be getting regular goldfish

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I've got the Joey and Lemon Chiffon

In reply to: Some beautiful lilies here....

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Georgeous!!!!

In reply to: I've got the Joey and Lemon Chiffon

My Lily is a very pale pink, Have no clue what it's name is as it was given to me. I love the yellow lilies
and when I can talk Jim into it I will get more plantsHappy Right now I am trying to talk him into a Rose bed, We just put up a fence to keep the dogs in the back yard and It would be perfect to put a flower bed in front of it.

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BTW Toni (about the quote)

In reply to: If you build it, they will come

That's how I remember the quote, too. But when it was ranked among the top 100 memorable quotes by the AFI last week (I forget exactly where -- not in the top 10) I was surprised to discover that the real back half is "he will come," "he" being Shoeless Joe Jackson.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Great news Toni, and a serious undertaking.

In reply to: If you build it, they will come

I envy you the project. Nancy's garden is coming along nicely with some newly delivered ferns for one of the raised beds at the back to set off the Hinoki cedar which is unfortunately planted right next to regular cedar and so rather loses the effect, but time will fix that. We have also found a 50+lb boulder of solid white quartz lying in the long grass which will be moving to a more prominent location ASAP.

Current big prohect, getting rid of all the book boxes that clutter up the back yard. Looks like we're buying new shelves too.

Rob

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