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Thread: SunDance builds a pond

  1. #1
    MG AgentOrange's Avatar
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    SunDance builds a pond

    Quote Originally Posted by sundance View Post
    Mighty nice setup AO.......tried to talk da huss into an out door pond, waterfall, etc......so far....naw (I do have an endless bird fountain though)
    ......of course, I'll pirate your ideas for later.........
    Old guys need projects to stay vibrant.
    If possible, I would like to be a part of this.

    Outdoor ponds are fun and easier to maintain than aquariums.

    You know an expert in most phases of it --> Me.
    I don't know anyone who can do it better or has more trial and error experience (the best way to learn).

    I also have a crap load of equipment like pumps, tubings and fittings in the shed. It is the little crap that runs up the cost, not the hole in the ground.
    I'll donate all that. (trade for beer) I can sleep in the Jeep.

    I say we put one in at your mansion this fall.:cool: (I hate to dig, so try to keep me out of that)

    Planing and building are as much fun as having.
    Lets fantasy plan.:)
    This could be fun for many on YC.

    First off you need to choose location.
    I know you have a swimming pool, but this is different.

    If possible, it should be in a place you can observe often for the "joy factor".
    Mine are below my chair. I watch them more than I do TV as fun things change there constantly by season. I have a pond, a chair in the shade, and a tiny outdoor fridge/freezer for adult beverages.

    Also, location counts as to how much SunShine is there. There is no best, but the application difference in "SUN" or "SHADE" is extreme. Partial shade is best most times, but it is easy to plant a tree in the right place. Mine have lots of shade, and I have limbed trees until I can no longer get up there. I brought in a guy to take out a few trees last year, and he did not want the job because a bucket truck could not be brought in. It made me think of our cop buddy Tom Smith who had a son who climbed trees and was always pawning his gear. Those guys are rare.

    Actually, the more shade the easier a pond is to maintain. Still, compared to an aquarium - easy crap. (I'll go into why later) I would like more Sun, but not too much.

    So, look around and pick a location.
    Next up we will talk size.

  2. #2
    inactive sundance's Avatar
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    I know you have a swimming pool,
    Naw, that was in my last home....my back yard today is kinda small and already somewhat crowded.......I've already taken out a tree, some bushes, etc. but it still small......I'm agonna rearrange some things in the next few days........i'll try to draw some diagrams..........
    If possible, it should be in a place you can observe often for the "joy factor".
    "place' will be the biggest obstacle.....as in concrete......

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    If it is to go on concrete, you don't have to dig, just frame it in like I did the one on my porch.

    Size is easy.
    Build the largest one you have room for.

    Out door ponds are like aquariums and experience the same puzzles to solve.
    It is not different but exactly the same.
    Unless of course you don't want critters which makes it much, much easier, but feels dead.

    You mentioned waterfalls, all want that. For some it is a "frog spitting" and for others a 20' high cascading stream.

    The basic thing is to start with as large a pond as you can. No matter how big you go, you will later wish it were larger.
    The two basic ways are to buy a preformed pond or to dig a hole and line it with plastic.
    I have both.

    The preform is tuff and easy. About the biggest you see is 220 gallons like my Frog pond that has been raising frogs for a dozen years. My newest pond at the end of my "Branch" is 125 gallons. Here is how it went in, but you can used these raised on concrete as they are tuff.

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    For a bigger pond you need to use rubber liner. Don't get the cheap plastic crap from Lowes or Home Depot as that is a bad buy. One good choice is 45mil EPDM. Here is some choices, but you might find it cheaper. Don't discount free shipping as this crap is very heavy.

    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...fm?pcatid=9213

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    That muddy waters looks bad.
    Here it is a couple years later (photos this month).

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    Here is 220 gallon (been there 13 years) sitting behind the Branch:

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    The 125 has enough Sun for lily pads. Here is a young frog taking advantage:

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    I don't keep fish in these two ponds just frogs and tadpoles.
    A 6" snapping turtle has found his way into the 220 gallon, have no idea what he is eating. It's not the frogs as the ones there are scarey big. I'll get him out in the fall.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sundance View Post
    Naw, that was in my last home....my back yard today is kinda small and already somewhat crowded.......I've already taken out a tree, some bushes, etc. but it still small......I'm agonna rearrange some things in the next few days........i'll try to draw some diagrams..........

    "place' will be the biggest obstacle.....as in concrete......
    Is this you?

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  6. #6
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    If you go with liner, don't go with what the experts suggest as they are crap experts just repeating things they read like "the World is flat":confusion:. It is the way liberals operate --> repeat something enough and all believe it, even those repeating it.

    Don't plan for shelves, plan for sides to be straight down as deep as you can build/afford. If you want plants on the sides, use pots and milk crates to get them to the proper depth.

    With liner, you have to look at depth when buying. For a pond 4' by 5' (or any shape that fits into that rectangle), you need to add for the depth. So, for say 4'X 5'X 2' deep, you would need liner that was 7'X8'. You need to add for depth and a foot overlay.

    Don't go less than two foot deep as that is building problems. Two foot is needed for water lilies, but 4 is no problem for them.
    My pond is 40" deep for safety so coons and herons can't wade in.
    You might not need that deep, but the more water you trap, the better everything works.

    You can get by with 2' if you don't buy Koi. I have 6 that went from 4" to about about 8 pounds now you can have. Gold fish are much better, just as much fun, and don't eat your plants.
    Clemson has a lake/pond with KOI and I want to let mine go there, but to date can't pull the plug on letting them go.

    Bigger is better, but deeper is the secret key.

  7. #7
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    A pond will need some circulation and maybe a filter.
    How much of either you need depends on the size and the utility of the pond.

    Frogs, turtles. etc require decent water. Fish and tadpoles require better quality water and the nitrogen cycle must be in working order.

    Aeration will be needed to keep oxygen in the water. This can be done with an air pump, or you can do like me and go the "splash" route. Aeration also helps remove CO2 from the water. Things like a waterfall add oxygen to the water. Any surface movement of the water does the same. You never want a stagnant area in the pond where water is not moving for several reasons. If you install a water pump, it will circulate the water. For a big pond you might need more than one. I have used two in my big pond and turn off one in Winter. I'll explain that below.
    To that end, buy a pump big enough and one that is efficient (uses less watts). I can help with that when you decide more about your pond project.

    A filter will be needed if you keep fish. It is also handy to keep the water clear if you want that. It is the difference in the ponds you see around town that are painful to look at and one you would drink from. A large out door pond could be seen as part of your "survival gear" as the water there be closer to what is needed for drinking.

    Basically there are 3 types:
    - mechanical for filtering crap you can see
    - biological for filtering crap you can't see
    - UV to kill free floating algae.

    Of those, biological is the critical one and UV is not needed for most.
    Biological is basically adding "surface area" for bacteria to grow on. Then when the pump runs water over it, the bugs transform the crap in it to less harmful crap. The bugs grow everywhere such as pond walls and waterfalls, on rocks, everywhere. A biological filter adds more area and puts the bacteria in a location where water is always flowing over your bugs - YUM YUM ! This cycle cuts off in water below around 50. Fish are cold blooded and so you feed them less in Winter to not at all. The bio filter does not work, you can turn it off.

    This cycle is NATURE.
    Here is land:
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    Here is water:
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    One reason for aquarium failures is not doing water changes to haul off the excess nitrates. In a Carolina pond you will average over 4 inches of rain each month to help you out with that. Your pond overflowing in a storm is good. (as a side note, when building the pond make sure the pond edge is high enough and will not be topped with surface water as we absolutely don't want "run off" going in there). I have considered how nice it would be to have roof water drained there from rain, but I built my home with no gutters. It could be a good thing. One might want to give a new roof a year to wash. When I re-roof the Bride wants tin, and I am putting in gutters just for this option.

    A mechanical filter is just that and strains crap from the water. Most of these use some type of foam or poly pads that can be cleaned and reused forever. they can also be tossed. The finer the media, the better they filter and the more they need cleaned. Actually, as gunk accumulated they filter better. A mechanical filter reaches it peak just before failure. Don't wait for failure. It is easy to see when water flow is being reduced to a level you don't like. Water flow is good.

    Most filters do mechanical and biological and some add in UV. The good is that bugs also grow on/in the mechanical media adding to the bio effect and the biological media also acts as a mechanical filter.
    Don't confuse them. The biological media should be last inline so it receives mechanically filtered water and does not get coated with gunk. You clean the mechanical filter and if needed just rinse the biological media in pond water so as not to kill your bug colony. Most Aquarium people never seem to grasp that one can never succeed with out a vibrant "bug colony".

    UV filters kill free floating algae. If your pond is perfectly balanced, this will not be a problem. Balance is hard and some locations make it impossible. Things that add to algea growth are Sun shine and water nutrients. If you find you have a problem in a pond, you can add UV later. UV kills free floating algae that causes "green water". It does not kill string algae (a good thing) that attaches to walls and rocks.
    It can also be controlled by controlling light and nutrients.
    A pond in shade will have less problems and one in direct SUN more. In Summer things like water plants will eat the nutrients, and floating plants will add shade to the pond.

    You can absolutely run a pond with no pumps or filters, they just make your job much easier. If you are lazy like me, invest in good pumps and filters so the pond does not become another chore in your life. If you have a 300 gallon pond, don't buy crap for a 300 gallon pond, get crap for a 1000 gallon pond (you will thank me later).

    For the last ten years, ran my 4000 gallon pond with homemade filters. I did add in a bought one this year mostly because part of the hobby for guys is working on the plumbing. If you don't like to tinker around, maybe you don't want a pond.
    I know for a fact that SD loves to tinker.

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