Need lots of help and advice, (Young New Teenage pond owner)
Alright, so I have never had a pond, nor do I know people that own one, but I wanted one so bad that I started to dig a hole in a shady place under a mesquite tree in my backyard and low and behold it's been fully functional for the past 24 hours! The pond size is a good 7X7 feet and I took the time to inform myself about the necessary depth for aquatic life to live in so it has a depth of 2 1/2 feet maybe 3 with a possibility of me filling it up to 4 feet in the future.
It has a plastic liner which due to my noobness is completely wrinkled on the floor and walls. I didn't think it would be an issue and felt like it would add character to my pond floor, so I left it like that and cemented a nice square pathway around it about a foot high. (BUT NO WORRIES!!) I did make sure that the walls were slanted so that I could give the plant life levels.
I forgot the name of my filtration system, (I will edit that in later and possibly add pictures too..) but I can say that it has UV filtration and according to the box it's adding biochemicals to the water that will help my pond later on. (What does that mean?) Along with the cemented pathway I added a cute little waterfall water feature to the corner which is connected to the filtration system.
In my first attempt to fill up my pond I went above the liner limit and managed to fill the pond midway up the cement portion until I realized that the sand holding up the path was falling into the pond through small cracks so I had to lower the water level down again. My pond now has a slightly sandy bottom instead of a clean plastic one.
FIRST QUESTION, will the sand affect my pond life? I hope not because due to the wrinkles cleaning is gonna be a hassle... The location my pond is in, allows partial sunlight and then 3 good hours of full sunlight in the afternoon when the sun still stings a bit. (I was wadding in the water the other day trying to clean out all the little leaves that floated on the surface from the tree overhead and I noticed the water get pleasantly warm, though it was still cool enough to be refreshing.)
SECOND QUESTION, What plant life should I add to feed my fish and welcome in other wildlife like frogs and dragonflies? I went to the store yesterday and bought the only water plants that they had and they are both waterlilies. (If anyone need's specific names just ask and I'll be glad to respond) I doubt anyone can eat these, plus I have very little hope in them seeing as how I'm going to have to wait for them to sprout from the netted root ball that they came in... I know algae will feed the fish a bit and help with ammonia levels, but my mom wants nothing to do with it, she thinks its an eye sore. So far I have seen no signs of it so I believe the filter is doing it's job, but the water looks a little murky. (BONUS QUESTION) Is there any way to clean that up?
I plan on heading over to a local park nearby and yanking out a couple of cattails and whatever else I find interesting, I highly doubt it's illegal and the poor little stream that leads to the enormous carp pond is choking with all the vegetation. (OH! I know that these plants will probably have other bacteria and algae and critters on or in it, is there any way to clean them without killing them? I want to make sure the plants are settled before getting fish, but I heard that a certain string? Algae is a pain to get rid of, does that grow in zone 9?)
THIRD QUESTION, since I live in zone 9 in one of the cities that borders the Rio Grande, Does anyone have any recommendations for the type of plants I might want to scavenge for, how to transport and transplant them from the stream into my pond, and what no-no plants I should try to avoid? (If I find any I kind of want some duckweed... is this a no-no plant? Will keeping the growth at bay turn into an overwhelming hassle for my medium-small sized pond?)
FOURTH QUESTION, (AND yes I can count, but I'm capitalizing the topic changing questions to try and keep everyone from getting too confused) I want goldfish!! I hear commits are really friendly, but what other species can I add? Can someone supply a list? Oh, and how many can I add? (I was thinking about 6-8 fish total)
(Even numbers so they can have a buddy system, but not like Nohas ark, they can only be friends!! No babies!!... okay maybe a few so I can add them to future smaller water features around the garden...) which leads me to the after thought question... Can different species of goldfish mate? I mean.. they are still goldfish... I know that bottom feeders won't eat all the gunk that will eventually fill the bottom, (I can't blame them) But are there any fish that I can add that will eat the bottom pellets? (Like catfish maybe, or something cooler/cuter)
Oh, and is Walmart a smart place to buy these babies at? (I'm sure most are familiar with the store...) My only other option is PetCo... Are they a good option? I don't want to buy bad fish... but I would feel terrible if I had to take a fish back because it was sick or it got the others sick...
I do want to hand feed my fish. I know the risks of them getting hurt by other animals but I have 3 small dogs that scare away all cats and wild animals, but are really just yapping balls of harmless fur.
I think this should about cover all the basics, All advice and information is gladly accepted, even if no one can answer all the questions at once, maybe all of you together can! Fingers crossed! :D
(There are an estimated 18 questions total! Who can answer the most?!)
Here I have posted a picture of my pond with the filtration above the water. In the comments I will post other pictures to help everyone get a better look!
This post was edited by Riasnow on Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 13:15