Evap or Leak - Small Hardshell pond

kjledfordDecember 12, 2012

I have a small hardshell pond that come with the house. Its installed above ground in a raised bed. Its a typical one maybe 6 feet by 3 feet with a 1 tier shelf mid depth. Now, I've never had to put much water in it except during really hot months and that made sense to me. Here is the problem:

About August I conacted a company to come and clean my pond. I have large goldfish in it that have bred and had 2 fingerling babies. I told them that the fish were my #1 priority and the pond was getting really scummy. He caught the fish and emptied the pond - taking it completely out of the ground to do so. He kept talking about getting a soft liner and I told him I wasn't spending a lot of money on the pond - I just wanted it clean for the fish. He put the liner back and it was no where near level anymore. Sloped over to one side with maybe a 4-5 in grade. Since then, and especially the last 2 months - I've had to fill the pond every 2 weeks. Last time it was during a freeze and I was scared the hose wouldn't thaw and I wouldn't be able to fill it up again. So this past week again I see the water go down. Sure its cold and their may be some splash from the pump fountain (its set to just bubble out the top - no fancy fountain feature) -- but this is ridiculous. In less than 2 weeks the water has dropped maybe 5-6 inches? In temps from 20-60. Mostly 40s. He came out today and took the fish out and put them in a bucket. He brought a airater but it doesn't work. I can't keep them out of the water all winter. I plan on filling it back up today (and without any tap water purifier - he forgot to leave some)... and put them back in - figure its safer for them in there than in a bucket on the porch. Any suggestions out there for this mess? I don't want to lose anymore fish and I have never had so much trouble with the pond. And to top it all off... the water is BLACK. Wasted my money and killed my fish =(

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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

I think you need to get a new guy for any pond work...or anything else for that matter. He is either not competent or is deliberately screwing things up.

First of all, a "hard-shell" must be level and the shelf must be supported underneath. Otherwise strain is put on the shell especially where the plastic has any sort of built-in bend. It will eventually break if it has not already, quicker if you have anything resting on the shelf. There was no reason to take the shell out of the ground in the first place. It is sufficient to scrub the inside with a broom and flush it out several times if it needed to be emptied in the first place. You can use a utility sump pump if you already have one but there are several inexpensive devices to pump out the dirty water by connecting it between two garden hoses. Check at most hardware stores for a siphon style pump that works with suction from water pressure.

You don't mention any filtration. A pond needs filtration for several reasons, but it is the easiest way to keep the pond and the water clean. All it takes is a container filled with a filter material with an input and an output hose. There are endless variations. I have made one from a Tupperware canister for less than $6.00. Or you can purchase a pre-made filter. It will be necessary to clean or change the filter material occasionally but that is a lot less work and expense than completely dismantling the pond and having to pay someone who didn't do it correctly.

An aerator should be pretty much fool proof. Was it new? What didn't work?

You don't mention your gardening/weather zone. Without that we really can't say if a small aerator is enough to keep a hole in the ice. Around Lake Erie that might be a problem, in southern Ohio, not so much. We need more info.

Many of us have kept our fish in the garage in a new 32 gallon or larger plastic garbage can with a small filter/pump and an aerator. As long as the water keeps moving there are few problems. I've kept 16 4-7 inch koi that way for the whole winter.

Here is a link that might be useful: typical pump for flushing small pond

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 3:27PM
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