thinking about making some changes

settianoSeptember 14, 2013

I am thinking of making some changes to my pond. This is a little unusual for me as I have had the koi pond bug for years. I am thinking of transforming it into a water garden with catfish and just a few koi.
Its a really big pond, (42'x25 ' 3-4' deep) which was initially created as an aquascapes pond and I added a veggie filter and transformed the waterfall into a veggie filter too. I also changed out the pump to a good sequence pump.
This summer has been more intense than the last 7 and I am unused to Kentucky humidity (I started my hobby in Washington State). I find myself with a total lack of desire to go out of doors when the mosquito clouds are as bad as they have been and I dislike deet intensely. As a result, there have been days in which I did not check on the pond and when I did, ran into minor issues including clogging filters, overflowing waterfalls, etc. It was really not a big deal but they have always been little "omgs" and have required sudden changes in plans and a lot of quick work. It happened again today. Both veggie filters had clogged and I lost a bit of water and I spent hours wading in mud correcting the issues.
I love the pond and have no desire to do anything drastic. What I am thinking of doing is reducing my koi population from maybe 30 to about 6 large ones, keeping the catfish, adding waterlilies, returning the waterfalls to just that with a lower water volume, and correcting or removing the veggie filter altogether (my preferred option). I know that koi eat waterlilies and I actually want to set mine free a bit because the waterlilies I have in my clay bottomed pond are huge and much happier than the potted ones in the koi pond. My thought is to create large wire cages like those big dog crates, and put the waterlilies into soil inside of them. As it is, I have 7 waterlily plants in the pond. I have an additional 12 in the small pond which can be transferred over.
So my thought is that with low fish stock, and higher plant life, I can get away with reducing my filtration. I might even choose to remove the large veggie filter altogether to be quite honest. That way, on those days in which the mosquitos are particularly blood thirsty and hanging in dark clouds everywhere, I can stay inside and not worry about what I will find in a few days.
Oh, and to top my crazy idea off further, I want to put the pump on a timer and turn it off at night. The pump is great and it is an energy saver but it still eats quite a lot of electricity.
If necessary, I am willing to replace the koi with pond comets..but I would rather not.
go easy on me :)

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I doubt you would get a lot of critical advise here. It sounds like you know more than most of us about your size of pond anyway. I don't know what a veggie filter is and so can't even comment. My only thought is about the pump off idea. I doubt that this is a problem either. We are always talking about aeration but your pond is so huge, I doubt it is getting that much anyway so what's the difference. I only have comets, but I have essentially two ponds. One has a stream and waterfall with appropriate water turnover. The other is just a french drain collection point without circulation. The fish grew better there (well yes it was bigger too).

Oops, more thoughts: 'only six koi'; uh...., you do know where babies come from?

and finally; A couple folks here have been using the basket technique. I imagine it should work.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 6:09PM
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yup I do know where babies come from and thats why I have two humongous catfish..thanks to Cherokee Joe. However, that does not mean they will get them all so I am guessing that I will be doing some give aways and buying a seine net or whatever it will take to get them out. I honestly thought I would have too many fish this year but each time I have had catfish in a pond, things have evened out by the end of the year.
I made the veggie filter box too shallow. I thought that 3 inches of river jack in a 6 inch box would work but the plants replace rock with their roots bringing the mass all of the way up to the level of the box causing leakage. The more I think about it the more I think I will redo the veggie filter and keep plants out of the waterfall. I can load the waterfall box with bio balls and add a few plants near the rocks but not in any area where damming could happen. I was not there when the waterfall was built so was not able to say that I wanted my liner really high on the sides. I am finding that it is way too low so when water dams up and flows a bit higher, I get instant leakage.
thanks for your words btw, your ponds sound cool!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 8:17PM
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Hi Karen, Sorry the plants didn't work out so well. I planted my pond heavily this year and everything grew like crazy. I was inspired by you and your bogs.
I am still a fan of bio-falls filtration to keep the pond healthy but that requires running the pump 24/7. Don't give up on the Koi just yet they are great. No baby problems here though. They never get past the first day of being eggs. I did have a million Leopard and Green frogs show up this year. BTW my 18 Koi and two catfish don't eat the water lilies but the pond doesn't get enough hours of sun anymore to make the Lilies happy.

Cant help with the mosquitos.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 8:58PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Use Mosquito Dunks, which can also be applied as a spray. It only affects mosquito larva and blackflies.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 10:55AM
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Hi Mike
your pond is awesome!
Okay have been thinking on this thing more... the plants did grow very well and did a good job. Because the sides of my filter were too low, I got the water loss. I am thinking to take the thing apart and rebuild it making it a whole lot bigger and longer with high sides and a trough at the end with a drain for cleaning.
I honestly see only one difference between bogs and veggie filters and that is the depth of the pea gravel. Veggie filters rely on the plant roots as the filter media mainly and bog filters use both the gravel and the roots so the gravel is deeper (app. 6"). I did bogs well in Washington so I think when I re do this thing I will add extra pea gravel.
This summer was exceptionally hot and humid. I am guessing that next summer will be better.
My little waterlily pond has the bigger lilies and thats because they are free in clay. I really want to figure out how to do that in the big pond.
Thanks for putting up with my complaints. I actually love the pond...its just been a rough summer.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 3:45PM
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Hi Karen, I haven't been on in quite a while, been in TX moving my pond equipment back here to KY. Finally got it all here, now just need to get it all set up and finish my big pond here. Sorry to hear that you are considering changes to your setup. I love you ponds and plants, they are all so beautiful. I'm happy to hear the cats are doing fine and I sure hope they are helping to keep the baby population down. If you need to rehome some of your Koi just let me know, I have room for them. Also if you want to replace Koi with comets I have plenty that I can give you. They are not very big but some have very nice coloration. They came from my old Ohio pond when I cleaned it out. Proof positive that the cats don't completely control the baby population as these comets were in the same pond as the 3 big cats and are all offspring from a few comets I had in that pond.

If I can be of any assistance to you in your revamp just let me know. It's a short drive for me and G and we would be glad to come over to help and love to visit as well.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 8:15PM
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