New member introduction

Oscarmatic(CA z10/23)November 6, 2013

Hi! I'm a new ponder, but starting to rehabilitate an pond that's been in place at least 15 years. I've been reading for weeks through all the posts, and I thought I might take a moment to introduce myself and my project.

There's lots of unknowns about this pond! It came with the house when my parents bought it more than 15 years ago. They've had various pond consultants in to do various things at various times, but they summarize with "we're not really gardeners". They had some lovely koi several years ago, but between local predators and a pump mishap, they died out and the pond has been circulating and supporting reed, taro, watercress, dragonflies, and bees for years. We are in Sunset zone 23 (USDA 10) in San Diego, so it's a year-round pond.

What we do know... The pond is concrete with mortared-in rocks and boulders. It's built to take advantage of the natural hillside slope, with various size pools over 6 cascading tiers. The top pool (1) is smallish, with a waterfall into the deepest large pool (2), then a cascade of three small shallow pools (3, 4, 5) into the bottom largest pool (6). There is no skimmer, but a t-pipe just off the bottom of pool 6. The pump runs water through a Triton II filter before returning back up the hill to the pond inflow in pool 1. There is a trickle-fill valve with float that tops up the pond from the municipal supply (Ph 8+, chloramine). The pond water is clear, and tested Ph 8.5, no ammonia, nitrates, or nitrites.

The pond was last drained and cleaned at least four years ago. Since then, it has built up quite a layer of muck. The plants are thriving, but are well overgrown and tangled together. Bordering plants include fast-spreading bamboo, a pine tree, the neighbor's tree that drops fruit vaguely like olives, and some other typical marginal plants. The backyard also supports two large exuberant dogs.

The goal for the pond is casual enjoyment and low maintenance. While the parents say they would like to have koi again, I suspect they would be just as happy with some fancy goldfish. But all of that can wait, as I take this project forward one step at a time. A few things on the to-do list and in progress:
-- Dividing and thinning the reeds, taro, and cress so their roots are open enough to work as a bio-filter. Right now, the roots are so tangled and compacted, the water flows over the top.
-- Clearing the muck from the bottom.
-- Planting and floating more water-filtering plants, such as water hyacinth and watercress.
-- Backwashing and checking the filter. (No one remembers the last time it was done; at least years.)
-- Cleaning up the leaves and messy landscaping around the pond to prevent more material falling in.
-- Find a way to estimate the volume of the pond.
-- Having fun, experimenting, and learning.

I look forward to hearing your suggestions and sharing my progress. Thanks already to everyone who has been posting and discussing for the years before I got here, to provide these helpful archives!

Here are some photos of the pond:

Here is a link that might be useful: Photos of The Pond Project

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Sounds like you've got some work ahead of you - but what fun you'll have!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 6:46AM
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Can you take a picture of the whole thing? It sounds beautiful.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 8:50PM
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Hi, I would like to see some pics posted it sounds awesome. I was reading your post and will try to help. A triton 2 filter is actually a pool filter. Before the pond explosion the last 10 years, I would think that was the filter of choice. When was the last time that was cleaned? All of the muck that your finding on the bottom is because of plant waste. I'm not familiar with Bog filtration. However, I would believe that importance of plant waste is even more important than with a biological or mechanical filter. As plants die off they need to be removed from the pond. That's the reason why your Ph is a little high. Another thing is the fruit tree, if the leaves and fruit that drop into the pond are not removed, that will turn into muck.
If your handy at all, and it looks like you want to experiment. Look up DIY pond filters, just a suggestion, if you end up cleaning out the Triton, just into using other media than sand.

Looking forward to pics and stories of your progress...Craig

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 8:57AM
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Oscarmatic(CA z10/23)

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Family here are just dumbfounded (and grateful) I'm taking on the project. I'm happy to have encouragement from such an experienced and knowledgeable community.

The whole pond is too big to fit into one photo, so here's one with a pretty view. The rest are posted on a Flickr album, at the link below. This was taken before clean-up really got underway, so it's already looking a bit better.

(Craig, I've just finished backwashing the filter, and it went pretty well. I'll post a new thread so we can chat about it in more detail.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Photos of The Pond Project

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 1:20PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Wish I could see more detail but it looks like a really interesting project. I'm sure there will be lots of look-ins if you keep posting.

I am with Craig about the DIY filter. A pool filter is really not suited to a pond and if I can do DIY anyone can.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 11:52PM
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That looks amazing!!!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 12:59AM
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