Pump, filter, equipment - FROG ponds?
Hi all. On the surface this will seem like the same question asked a hundred times but it's not; I've spent hours reading lots that you all have posted about pond equipment... and I keep having the same concerns.
I built my first pond 3 years ago (about 450 gallons) for frogs, and I love it. I'm now building my second, larger pond (16 x 13 x 3.5 - approx 2900 gallon). This pond I will probably try a few goldfish (definitely NO koi), but my main love will always be for the frogs, that's just my thing. We've got green frogs and treefrogs (but I never see the treefrogs near the pond). An occasional toad (would love more, but I just rarely see them).
My small pond has a pump for the small waterfall and that's it. Plants, of course. No filter, no nonsense. Beautiful little pond. The water's not crystal clear but it's not green or murky - looks great to me.
This time around I want to do what's right by the fish, but not at the sacrifice of frogs. I'd love nice clear water, but aesthetics take a back seat to my froggies. Here are the concerns that I raised as I read through the many equipment posts here:
1. Pump. I've seen lots of talk about how great solids handling pumps are. They shove your debris up to 3/4" up to your filter. All I can think when I read that is that my little tadpoles will meet a horrible death. I'm currently thinking I'll get the Laguna MaxFlo2900 gph waterfall pump, but it says that it is debris handling. So I just can't bring myself to hit "add to cart" just yet... suggestions?
2. Prefilters. I'm going to guess that a pre-filter maybe can protect the little ones from getting sucked into the pump, but doesn't that completely defeat the purpose of a debris handling pump?? Soooo confused...
3. Skimmer. All this talk about how important skimmer is. All I can think is that my frogs, fish, and tadpoles will get trapped in there, or worse. I really don't intend to do a skimmer at all, but still wanted to ask the question. (plus, can anyone tell me - if you use a skimmer with the pump in it, doesn't it mean the pump is less effective than if it were installed at the bottom of the pond??)
4. Bottom drain. Lots of talk about how vital a bottom drain is for getting the muck off the bottom of your pond. But I don't want the muck gone! That's where my little froggies hibernate in the winter, and hide and do whatever frogs do in the summer. Sure, it gets kicked up if I pull the pump out, but it settles in a day. Again, the life of froggies trumps aesthetics (though of course I want both!). In my new pond I did not plan to remove the muck, just as I don't in my little pond (I'll clear out maybe a little of it every spring, but I will literally pick through it all to be sure there aren't any tadpoles in there, so it would just be too much work to clear it all out. Mostly I only clear out the area near the pump just to keep the pump safe.)
5. Bottom drain, part two: even if you could convince me muck is bad (which I am not convinced of), I can't see how a bottom drain isn't yet another violent death for baby fish, baby frogs, and tadpoles... ?
6. Rocks on the bottom of pond. Same concept as bottom drain question. I would think some rocks on the bottom would protect little ones from predators, heat, etc. But I read on this forum how you should NOT use them, they're harbors of bacteria. Isn't that good though if I'm filtering anyway? Plus, I thought that lava rock on the bottom actually served as a filter?
7. My big difficulty is in understanding why, if people think that natural ponds are so beautiful, so beautiful that we want to build our own in our back yards and have the wildlife that natural ponds have, but we do it entirely differently... natural ponds are all muck on the bottom, they have rocks and debris on the bottom, no filters or UV lights, they aren't drained every spring and cleaned out... and they do just fine. Now, I'm NOT going to attempt to do a completely eco-pond with no pump or filters at all, because well, yeah, I would like somewhat clean water and I want a watercourse/waterfall, but other than that, I really just planned to let nature do what nature does. I'd like to get just a simple submersible pump that pumps up to a pressurized filter (no UV) and from there to my waterfall and be done with it (assuming none of this will hurt the tadpoles).
I'm now opening myself up for people to tell me why this is wrong (or right!). Really open to any opinions, but hoping I won't have anyone nasty or make me feel stupid :)
Thank you all for any thoughts/help/suggestions/enlightenment!
Here is a link that might be useful: