Newton is right - that is exactly what I mean. The bullfrog tads eat the koi fry. Before we discovered this, we had an awful time trying to keep up with the removal of the fry - not to mention that several years ago we ran out of homes for the koi fry. Each year, we would remove 50-60 koi fry and this was after allowing the koi to have their way with the eggs and the small fry. It was such a job every year. The bullfrog tads are such an easy solution to that problem.
I want a toad or frog!!!! Waaaaaa. Sorry. I love froggies. I have one in my house in a tank. A dwarf African. I'm not sure what sort of frog would live in my pond. Well, come winter at least. I heard some will burrough in the mud at the bottom (of which I don't have any) and go dormant. That would be so cool.
We removed all the gravel in the shallows of our pond. roughly 17010lbs. DH bailed and I hauled the cart and dumped it. Vacuumed thoroughly, cleaned falls and biowell twice. Put up a curtain wall across the pond between deep and shallows to try to maintain some clarity for the fish all gathered there. It was still thick with silt when we took down the wall and added meds. Two more 25% water changes with meds added today and tomorrow. Then more meds and conditioner for the next four weeks, followed by maintenance. That will put us up to August and headed into fall. If that doesn't kill the fish they are darn tough. But it had to be done. We lost one of the new koi day before yesterday, before the gravel operation. Looked awful. The people who sold them to us, we sent them photos, said that they way he looked should have taken months and they had only been inthe pond four a few weeks. Hard not to think he was sick when we got him which scares me for the rest of the fish, but this supplier is VERY reputable and quaranteens his fish for months before selling. The one who dies was scaleless and that may have been part of the problem. With all the rock and gravel he could have gotten roughed up then parasites set in. Just don't know. It took about 9 hours from start to finish -- no breaks. We finished about 7 last night. I can just see (barely) the bottom of the shallow end and some of the fish. With another pump off of the water, and a refresh it should help clear it up more. I wish I could have gotten the fish out but there was no way. The only way we caught the one fish is because he was so sick and that was a trip.
My pond is tiny, 200 gallons or so and no filter just a pump to circulate the water. The waters not clear and I don't mind. I grew up in MI where there are a lot of ponds and don't remember any that didn't have brown or green water. My gold fish are cheap 29 cent feeders and they have grown a lot. I have submerged plants, a couple dwarf water lilies and a clump of floating hearts. It's simple, easy to maintain and brings me pleasure. I do often wish for a bigger pond though...
If you are happy with what you have, if it brings you pleasure without mortgaging your first born and devoting you life to it, then I say keep what you have. Most of my fish are from a 20 for $5.00 at a fish store. Then two koi from Walmart for maybe $15 each. Then the seven (now six) koi from a breeder in Washington -- $70 each. The pond itself has cost an arm and a leg and still we toil over it - year round, yes even in the winter and 2 feet of snow we trek back to check the deicers, pumps, etc. If we had no fish we could let it freeze over and forget it for 6 months. Each year we think we have corrected all the basic flaws of those who installed it. If I had a nickle for each time my husband said "why couldn't you have done all this research BEFORE we had the pond built." And he is correct. But I didn't even know the questions much less the answers at that time. Right now I guess I am pretty down about the entire project. But it will clear up, the fish (I hope will survive) and I will spend many hours sitting and watching them, laughing at them, feeding them. A pond without fish and plants is dead and not worth having. But you have to weigh all the costs (financial, time, energy) when you are deciding what you want. A well designed pond, with a lot of money thrown at it in terms of equipment, would be fairly maintenance free. Carolyn might disagree as I think she has a wonderful pond and it appears to be pretty minimal on maintenance. You have to take into consideration where the pond is, what the surrounds are like, temps, etc. Mine is out in the middle of up to 20 hours a day sun, average temp 65, no shade. So I dodge some bullets (no predators, no heat spikes causing parasitic problems) and fight algae. I guess that is the worst problem and by the end of June it is usually controlled. Sorry for rambling. But if you have pleasure in your 200 gallon pond, leave it be. Sure, I could suggest filtration, bacteria to eat algae, etc, but it seems like when you start down that road, it never ends.
Songs - Thank you. I love the fish and have enjoyed watching them grow. My daughter teases me and tells me that I am the one that would get attached to fish. What she isn't saying is that she would get attached to them before I.
Newton - I agree with MS - if you are happy with what you have, why change it? Just enjoy it.
MS - on some levels I do agree with you and on some levels, not so much. We did not spend a fortune in having our pond dug. A friend of ours had just bought a new backhoe (I know, only in the foothills of PA do people own their own backhoes ^_^) and our pond was dug for the cost of gas and the cost of having the dirt removed. I think we spent a total of $250 back 6-7 years ago when we had this pond dug.
We did however, spend a small fortune on the liner - we opted for the local nursery, because they would deliver the liner to my back yard without any problems. Had we bought the liner online, we would have spent half, however the truck drops the liner at the street and then it is up to the purchaser to get the liner to where ever your pond is going to be. Oh yeah, there is also a separate charge for the truck to drop the liner. So, instead of paying $350-$400 for the liner, I think we spend $750-$800.
We run 4 pumps in the summer and use 2 deicers in the winter. The deicers tend to use more electricity than all 4 pumps put together. We also have 2 pressure filter and 4 uv lights. We replace the uv lights annually and they are the trick to keeping the water clear. So, what we have saved on having the pond dug, we have more than made up for what we have spent in equipment.
Our pond is 13 1/2 feet wide by 27 ft - this includes our bogs. Our deep end is 4 ft deep with the shallower end at 3 1/2 feet deep and the pond holds 4850 gallons.
On another note, in the past we have spent a fortune on fish remedies with various illnesses. The past couple of years (knock wood) have been illness free with our fish. Granted our, winters are not as long or as cold as yours,however we found when we started salting the pond for the winter and then doing our water exchanges after the 55* mark when the good bacteria kicks in, we seem to have put the fish illness to a minimum. We also do a vacuum in the spring and a vacuum in the fall. This also seems to go a long way towards keeping fish illness to a minimum. There were years, where we honestly wondered if it was worth it, but I can look back now and say yes, without a doubt, it was all worth it. We have been ponding for roughly 12 years or so and we are still learning.
We put our first second pond in and then built our lower deck next to the deck. Our third and current pond is still situated right next to our deck. I attached this picture so you could see. This deck is large enough to accommodate a table my husband made that seats 12 people comfortably.
I am wondering - what fish illness are you battling? I know one year we had problems with ulcers and the turning point to that was all the fish getting salt baths... I had one fish in particular that was so ill, all the people that I called that were in the business, told me to expect that fish to not make it. That fish is still with us. Granted, she took all of that summer to heal - but I am so thrilled we did not lose her, because she is one of my 'original' fish that I started out with in my Walmart pond, 12 or so years ago.
mstella I agree that ponding is very costly and time consuming but we have it down path. We have a 8 year old pond which costs a fortune , was a gift from my husband when i was on sick leave for 2-1/2 years. It is netted and DH cleans filter every other day and so far no algae, green water and sickness. Knock on wood LOL!!!
It gives me a lot of joy to feed them and listen to the waterfall. Ponding is not for every one. Our utilities is 50.00 more because we run it 24-7.
Been very busy that is why I had not posted any pictures. it is golf season and priority id golf. i am mandated to play!!! LOL!!!
I really don't know if there is truly an illness or not. so it is probably incorrect to say I am battling illness. I have never lost a fish to illness, only long winters and they die during winter, not in the spring. We only have the biowell and the pressure filter with the skimmer, and two UV's. But they don't seem enough to keep down the algae in the spring. We vacuum thoroughly in the fall, then again a little later in the spring when the fish are less weakened from winter. We start adding bacteria to jumpstart the biowell as soon as it hits about 40 degrees; we use a spring/summer mix then a fall/winter mix with cold weather bacteria. I clean the skimmer daily and Damien cleans the biowell once a month. the water is crystal clear with just a little greenish tint, coming from the remaining algae (very little by now) on the rock walls. It seems like you said you had some rock in your pond? Floor or just walls or not at all? Of course you have three ponds so they may all be different. Everyone said that when we removed the rock it would smell to high heaven due to the putrification beneath but there was no smell at all. So I don't believe that the rocks were hiding horrible things to hurt my fish. Dirt, crud -- yes. But no septicity, anaerobic bacteria (quoting my husband the engineer specializing in water/waste water plants.
the equipment you listed. Is that all on one pond, or for all your ponds? Is each pond separate or do they connect with streams? I appreciate all your comments and information. It seems to be a never ending learning process (energy/financial drain) and not all ponds are created equal. Like bottom drains, rock/no rock, shade, sun, temperature -- and it goes on. So I have to filter out (no pun intended) what doesn't seem to apply to us, like hot weather spikes (some days I could wish for hot weather spikes) or predators. And it is too late for bottom drains. I even considered retroing one, or putting in one that sits on top of the liner with hoses running up the side. Yuk. We settled for putting the 750gph pump in the bottom of the deep end to get circulation clear to the bottom there and to facilitate removing waste and such from there.
Here are a few pictures, before rock removal.
thanks again for any and all thoughts and observations.
Belle, my husband would love you, well, with your golfing priority. lol My pond was also a gift from my husband.
Here is the pond from last summer. August 18. the water is so clear in the first picture it makes it look like it is about 1 foot deep in the shallows, but it is really about 2 feet. Now with the gravel removed maybe 28. Deep end 4'
MS - you have such a beatiful pond and backyard. I can almost hear your waterfalls!
The pond we currently have is our 3rd pond. We started out in 98 or 99 with a 90 gallon walmart pond. DH went out and bought 4 koi. I am still not sure to this day how they overwintered in that tiny pond, but they did. It must have been the solitary heater we had in that little pond. We removed that pond and put in an 1100 gallon pond and built the lower deck. This pond had a gristmill, bridge and small stream. We had this pond for several years and then the 3rd and final pond that we put in, we put in where the 1100 gallon pond was. The gristmill was far too labor intensive, I wanted something a bit more natural looking and so we put in the pond that is in the pictures I have been attaching. We only have the one pond. I'll tell you though, I would have multiple ponds if I could. That is for the next peice of property.
This is the second pond with the gristmill that is no longer...
That is adorable. And looks very like mine as to the sides. So, rock on the bottom or no? You have four pumps, four UV's and two pressure filters? I assume two of the UV's are in the pressure filters. Where are the other two and how big are they? Where are your pumps? Sorry to be so curious but it is important to understand how your pond is so healthy. Your fish live and grow. so that means a really good pond. You have some gallonage on me (about 1800 gallons) but the depths are about the same. Plus I have caves in the rock that the fish hide in. BIG caves judging by how all 25 manage to cram in there. I grant they are not the same size as yours. Homer, the biggest, is only 12" long.
I love the little bridge. I really wanted one. If I could turn the putting green into another pond connected with my present pond I could put a bridge connecting the garden path to the other side. A grist mill. Did it really grind? You said it was too labor intensive? Were you actually grinding wheat? What a hoot!!
Do you run your pumps in the winter? We run one to circulate the water around the bottom, and keep one deicer in the skimmer so it won't entirely freeze up and break. Two more on the ponds surface, deep end and shallow end.
First, gorgeous ponds mstella and Carolyn! I'm a little curious about the consensus that ponds are so costly to maintain. I've had my pond six years now and i have put very little money into it since I built it. I don't have koi though - I'm wondering if your costs are associated primarily with the fish?
You are correct - two of the uv lights are in the pressure filters. The other 2 are each 18 watt Tetra Pond UV2's. We have found changing the bulbs every ponding season goes a long way to the water clarity.
The reason the grist mill was too labor intensive was that as all products that are made from wood, soak up the water, so did the waterwheel we had made. The waterwheel became so waterlogged it became quite difficult for the wheel to turn. We thought if we were going to do that again, we would use one made from pvc or some type of plastic or fiberglass. I have seen places that sell them, although they tend to be quite pricey.
We have a small pump - 700 gallons/hr that pushes water through the bog, which is loaded with pea gravel and plant matter. I do think this pump goes a very long way towards filtering the water of fish waste and other little cruddies. Then, in the skimmer, is the big pump that goes to the main falls. This pump, I believe is 2900 gallons/hr waterfall pump and is an Easypro. We have found that we like the Easypro pumps the best. The other two falls are 2400 gallon/hr and a 2250 gallon/hr pumps and these are the standard pumps - not waterfalls pumps. We are more than turning over the volume of the pond in an hour, but I think it goes a long way towards the water quality.
We do not run our pumps in the winter. Our understanding is that the water is in layers when the pumps are turned off, with the layer at the bottom at about 34* and this is where the koi stay for most of the winter. They move around some, but not alot. All the pumps come in one by one in the late fall with the last pump coming into the house generally the week between Thanksgiving and the first week of December. We put two deicers into the pond with one on either end.
In the Spring, the pumps are brought out and turned on, one by one. Usually this is sometime in the first week of March. This past year, it was later than that. According to my Pond Journal for this year, it was March 17th. Typically, DH will put one of the deicers into the skimmer to melt the ice that is in the skimmer.
I would love to have a koi cave. How did you go about putting that in? Was that something that was built or purchased? My smaller fish are about 10 inches or so and there are 18 fish. DH and I have talked about putting in some type of koi cave, but haven't done anything along those lines.
This is a picture of my pond 12/21/10 - Hoping this next winter isn't as long and snow filled as the last one.
I don't feel the pond is all that costly to maintain. Sure, my electric bill is higher than it would be otherwise, but I have also found out that I don't have the highest waterbills on my street!
I think once you have your equipment, that the major purchases have been made. We do put in the pondzyme plus every week to eat the crud and keep the good bacteria going and we have to buy the uv lights each year, however, the time to do this is in September - all the dealers are trying to clear their shelves, so these things can always be bought on sale.
So, I definitely agree with you. I don't think they are all that costly to maintain and I do have fish.
That's good to know. I have cheap goldfish, shubunkins and comets but they are small. The local heron keeps my population down. I've been tempted to get koi - especially after seeing pics like yours - but didn't know if it would make maintenance much harder and more expensive.
Carolyn, the picture in December is a hoot. Where is the snow? By December mine is under a foot of snow and working toward1-2' of ice. It sounds like you shut down and start up about a month and a half before us on each end. I agree that your bog area is the absolute best for natural filtration. I wish I had such an area. As for the caves, they hole was dug by the landscaper, the liner put in, and then very larg stones were put in at the deep end. Probably 36-45" tall, and only slightly smaller width. Those were set on landscape felt to protect the liner. Then a nother row was set on top of them. Since they are not in any way manufactured, only natural, they don't fit tightly, and in settlling and such, they formed natural caves. We can see them go in one hole in the rock and come out on the other side of the pond (this is in the deep end, so the distance is only about 8' or 10 feet. A hoot to watch. Or they go in a cave at the bottom and pop out a hole in the rock two feet above where they went in. the people I bought the koi from said that I should put in a bucket with a little hole in the side so my fish had a place to hide. I laughed. She wasn't aware that they had all the hidey holes they could want.
Songs, I can't remember the size of your pond, but I think you said it was fairly small. You really need at least 3' in depth if your pond freezes. Carolyn's experience overwintering her koi in 90 gallons is really amazing and I think a major miracle. She must be a favorite of the Koi gods. But you know that Koi are just big carp; same as gold fish, just more highly bred. I am no expert, so perhaps this is incorrect, but that is how I think of them. They get bigger I believe and some of the scaleless (I have found) I think are not as robust as the regular ones. I love my gold fish just as much as the koi, but they do tend to all look pretty much alike.
My pond is probably about 5000 gallons. It's deep enough to over-winter fish. I just like how low-maintenance my pond is currently. I am sure large koi would complicate things somewhat. But they are so pretty...sigh. :)
The differences that I can see are that koi put out more waste than goldfish. Also, koi breed once, whereas goldfish breed every month from April to October. One of the reasons we got away from goldfish was because they are just little breeding machines!
Hmm. Wonder what happen to mine. I have about 17 gold fish for two years and they chase each other mercilessly, and some grow very 'fat' often. but no babies. Well, except for one little guy we just discovered a couple of weeks ago. Not sure what he is as can't get close enough. About an inch long and from what I can see he is very dark with spots of orange. Looks more koi or shebunkin than goldie. Maybe our winters are too long and cold for them.
Golden Orfe? I never heard of them but I googled them and they sound very interesting. I wonder how difficult it might be to get some here in Atlanta. Anyone know where to get some?
I will ask my pond guy.
The picture of your pond and koi is beautiful. (July 4th @ 350pm) I would like to know how you can grow a lilly in the middle of the pond with such big koi? My koi are good size (18-24") and they trash any plant they can get a hold of. I have given up long ago trying to grow lillies in their space. I have tried to keep water lettuce floating in a mess bag but they push the mess in and up and manage to chew the lettuce's roots off! The are not underfed but are just big pigs I guess!! ^_^
we have not had problems with the hardy waterlilies, but have had many problems trying to grow tropical lilies. I have come to the conclusion the tropical waterlilies must taste better ^_^
My WL are planted in pea gravel and not in any of the clay planting mediums that are commonly used. We then put egg rock over the top of the pea gravel. Yes, we sometimes have pea gravel in the bottom of the pond, but not alot.
My understanding is when the koi are rooting around the pots of the WL, they are after the clay. We have only had one or two instances where a koi has taken a bite out of a lily pad, but they never went any further than the first bite. My koi are sizeable too - with most of them about 20ish inches and some are 25 inches, so they could decimate the waterlilies if they wanted.
I do have quite a bit of water celery growing in my bogs along side the pond. I know the koi just love the water celery and I do enjoy watching try to pull it out with all their might. Perhaps the water celery tastes better and I just got lucky. I don't know.
I tried the kitty litter thing this spring but after reading some of your earlier posts, I am going to pea gravel. I still had some plants to pot up and did it with gravel. I am hoping one of the local nurseries that has a shipment coming in of water plants has some celery that won't cost an arm and let. The other nursery charges $5 each for small and $15 each for big water lettuce. Jeeeez. And it doesn't last long here in our temp. The celery goes nuts. Some even survived last winter after I had thought we had gotten it all out of the rocks. good thing I guess, but I want more. It's pretty small right now.
,I planted celery last year and came back this year out of control!! I mean huge that it covered the waterfall. DH had to curt all of it but it is coming back. You buy the Italian celery at the nursery it is the same thing as a water celery.do not buy the pond plant.
Somehow my kois does not bother my plants. I guess they are very behaved.
My pond is 8 years and no baby kois yet. There was one year that we had babies but they ate them.
Unfortunately it is too late. I put the water celery last year. I think that like many other plants that are severely invasive down south, upper US border, it gets tamed down here by the winter. I only have a couple of little sprouts that don't seem to be going anywhere---yet.
We have Water celery all over the place. It has jumped from one bog into another. It does add to the natural look of the pond though and what jumps out of the pond just gets mowed. I love the way it grows between the rocks.
We always ended up with a bunch of baby koi from the spawnings until last year when we first tried the bullfrog tads. We ran out of homes for the fry a long time ago, so the tads have been a real blessing. Each year, we would have to try to catch 50-60 fry and those little fry swim fast! It was such a chore to catch them all.
Couldn't you have waited until they got bigger. But then, they STILL swim awfully fast. Yes, the celery is coming up between the rocks. I just can't imagine how they survived unless the roots went wayyyyy down in the rock below the freeze/ice line.
Well, I got 2' of ice on the pond last year, and according to my engineer husband our frost goes down at least a foot or so. I honestly can't remember how deep here in Anchorage. I wonder if the water, which doesn't freeze at the bottom and stays above 32F might provide enough warmth to keep the lower roots alive.
Plus we deal with perma frost, frozen ground that never thaws out. That is more prevalent in the northern regions like Fairbanks and causes much damage when things are built on permafrost causing warming that thaws it. Home are destroyed as the ground thaws and the houses collapse. Doesn't happen so often any more as people generally don't build in those areas. Banks certainly wouldn't loan money to build anything there.
I don't know how far down our pond freezes, but I know it isn't anywhere as thick as yours. I would think our pond wouldn't freeze down more than several inches.
You have permafrost and we have the flood plains. Anybody that has lived in this area for any length of time knows where the flood plains are and that we generally flood twice a year. Others, do not and they tend to be the ones that get flooded...
My dear son bought a house in Fairbanks in the flood zone. Didn't know where it was til it was too late. That is, WE didn't know. We assumed he bought on the upper side of Rosey Creek out in the country, but he bought at the other end, one that ended way down by the Tanana river; it has flooded once in 20 years. He got flooded the next fall. A terrible disaster in many ways. Now they can't sell the house. flood insurance is over 3400 per year and no one will pay that even if they are willing to risk getting flooded.