newbie -- resources

bagsmom(7)February 25, 2014

Hi there! I am VERY excited to say that after many years of wishing for a pond, I'm going to be able to build one. It will be pretty small and simple. In the front yard -- visible from the screened-in porch. Probably 4 ft x 6 ft. A little waterfall. Just a few cheap little goldfish. We have an old stone wall with perennial gardens. The look in general is a combo of cottage and woodland.

Do you have any favorite resources I might use as I begin my adventure? Books? Websites? Any thoughts for me? Your wisdom and experience are much appreciated! :)

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livetogardenbypond(6)

Welcome to an addiction. Life will never be the same! When I first thought of a pond, gosh, over ten years ago. The pond forum on here was just a wealth of information. I read and re-read all threads having to do with set up. The link I've attached is one that I remember had a lot of information that I devoured. I still look it up to refresh my memory on some things. What type of pond are you putting in?

Here is a link that might be useful: Robyn's pond pages

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 8:17PM
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bagsmom(7)

Not 100 percent sure. But I think just a natural looking little pond with rocks around -- probably a liner as opposed to a hard plastic pre-form. The area I'll be digging in has some big roots and I'll need to carefully work around them. What I find when I dig will dictate the details. I do have a cool book I got, but it's down in my car. Is it called The Pond Book or something like that? I think so. It seems great. Thanks for the link!!!! Can't wait to check it out. :)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:28PM
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Holly_ON(6a Ontario)

Depending on where you live, check the regulations before you dig. Some cities do not allow ponds that aren't fully fenced for safety reasons. Sounds though that you aren't in an area where there are close neighbours. You could always consider a pond less waterfall if the tree roots present a real issue. You couldn't have the fish but you would have the sights and sounds of running water. We have a pond in the fenced in back yard and pond less waterfall in the front and almost no grass to cut!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 7:17PM
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chas045(7b)

Since you are going for 'woodland and cottage' may I suggest my approach which was to create a stream leading to a waterfall into the pond. Admittedly, my stream is 25 feet long over a very gentle slope, but if you have even a little extra space before or beside your pond, you could create a short stream. The value of stream, aside from natural beauty, is it becomes your pond filter. I don't believe that my small skippy filter is really doing anything.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 8:21PM
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Holly_ON(6a Ontario)

Plastic preforms are actually much harder to put in. If you don't get them exactly level or they shift over time, you will be unhappy with the appearance. (know this from experience). Now have liner.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 2:38PM
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kashka_kat(z4 WI)

I can tell you some things they don't tell you in books or from uninformed garden center employees - find a knowledgeable local pond shop guru if you can. (And buy from them!)

Watch out for those "cheap little goldfish." If you have any heart at all you'll find them becoming cherished pets with real personalities - esp once they get big and you've had them 10-12 years. The cheap red ones are often the feistiest characters. That was perhaps my biggest surprise - their awareness of me and everything going on outside the pond. They've done experiments running goldfish thru mazes - they are more intelligent than they're given credit for.

Even if you don't bond that much you still want to see them healthy and happy - otherwise what's the point. You might look into rosy minnows if you're looking for small, short-lived fish. .

Forget about "gallons per inch of fish". That's a useless formula. A small goldfish can grow quite large in a year or two, eventually reaching 10-12 inches - instead, just plan for adult size (ie 50 gals per fish, or 30 gals if have good filtration and/or water turnover, and plants to handle the ammonia/nitrates).

BTW goldfish don't adjust their size to fit the container. Its more like they die before they reach full size if water conditions are poor and/or disease running rampant due to overcrowded conditions.

Equipment - manufacturers typically overstate their pump and filtration capacities. They might say for instance "good for 1000 gallons" but then you find with fish and/or lots of organic debris you need a much higher capacity. Instead of going by their recommendations for what size pond, learn about gallons per hour and "head height" and aim to turn over the water between 1-2 x per hour.

Ignore people who say you should go larger (unless you really want to). A 4 x6 x 18 inch deep pond would be about 250 gallons - that's a good manageable size, big enough for plants and 3 fish to start with. However the thing about a small pond is that water temps fluctuate more so don't put it in a lot of direct sunlight so as to not overheat your fish, and you may need to move them indoors for winter. For that reason (keeping temps more stable) I would make the pond 18-24 inches deep, with maybe a shelf around one side

Sounds like it will be beautiful - with the old stone wall already there (can you find similar stones for the pond?) Have fun and as always - post pics so we can see.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:33AM
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bagsmom(7)

Thanks so much!!!!! I do plan to just have 3 or 4 fish. And I had heard that it is much better to have more extensive filtration than less. The area will, indeed, be shady! It is somewhat sheltered, too. My next door neighbor has a pond with a fountain, and hers has never frozen over or anything... so I think so far, things are in my favor! Anyone with more thoughts.... keep 'em comin'! I love hearing your ideas and advice!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 2:08PM
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livetogardenbypond(6)

I agree that manufacturers overrate their equipments qualifications. And also, keep it manageable. And remember that when you say 3 or 4 fish, the chances that they will all be the same sex are remote. You'll have babies! It will be so exciting.
I know I could never get a preformed pond shape level. Using a liner gives you much more flexibility and easier to install. If you want to leave your fish in the pond over the winter, you definitely need to consider how deep it should be for your area. I just clicked on your name to see where you lived. Your property sounds like my idea of heaven! Just a word of warning, plan on a strong net being placed over your pond. Hawks and racoons will consider your pond their dining hall! Definitely find a pond place in your area. Oh, and you can have tropical night blooming lilies! Check them out. I'm so jealous! I've never been able to get them to winter over indoors. You're going to have a great time, both in the planning and enjoying it once it's done!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:58PM
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bagsmom(7)

There are several pond places nearby and I can't wait to go visit! The farthest away, but also the BEST, is Atlanta Water Gardens. I'm sure they have a webpage.... It is really a wonderland. Definitely geared to extremely wealthy folks. The store has a BUNCH of ponds all set up, some indoors, some outdoors. They are ponds for movie stars. I could bring a pillow and just sleep there -- it is magical. (My little pond will not be nearly so grand, but it is really fun to look and get ideas.)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 9:29AM
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