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 A Pond in Your Garden

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KMX
Admin
Admin
KMX

Posts : 16094
Location : Mansfield, TX
Favorite Fish: : African Cichlids of all kinds.

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PostSubject: A Pond in Your Garden    A Pond in Your Garden  Icon_minitime5/4/2011, 12:18 pm

A Pond in Your Garden  Caa3d135358577f205003a651aaf11d6 Credit Courtesy Nancy Burns










Gotta have a pond! Even Winston Churchill loved his pond and doted over his 'slimys' (as he called his goldfish)—feeding them special treats which he 'grew' in empty tuna fish cans left outside for a couple of days.

A pond in your garden is a fascinating source of both calm and excitement. The charm of water gurgling, fish gliding around, and water lilies with dragonflies beckons us closer. Children especially enjoy this new world. A pond is the perfect garden accessory!
Essentially, building a pond involves digging a hole and inserting a black fiberglass shape, or lining the hole with heavy-gauge black plastic or cement. I won't go into the details of pond construction as there's a lot of information available in books and the internet to guide you in that endeavor.

One observation however, learned the hard way: have the level of your pond three inches higher than the surrounding earth to prevent water running into the pond after a torrential rainstorm. The water that gets into an at-ground-level pond will contain garden fertilizers—usually fatal to the fish.

Once your pond is installed with a water pump and filter, and stocked with comets, goldfish or koi from the local pet store—Lily Pons (in Maryland) or Merrifield's Garden Center (in Virginia), this is where the challenge comes on keeping the whole system alive and healthy.

First, don't have more than six five-inch fish per 85 gallons of water. When outside and in a large pond, fish grow quickly and make keeping the water clean a full time job. Change your water filter every week in the hot summer, more often if it needs it.

When you do a water change (usually in the spring, mid-summer and fall), only do a partial one—about 40 percent of the bottom water gets siphoned out. Be sure to slowly hose in new water at the same time you are siphoning out the old—so the fish are not trapped in 60 percent old, concentrated ammonia water with murkiness swirling in their gills. Also by slowly adding the new water, it will come up more quickly to the air temperature and that of the remaining water.
Very important: add Tetra Pond Aqua Safe to neutralize chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals, as well as coat fish fills and their membranes (following directions on the container). Chloramine will not evaporate out like chlorine used to do. Chloramine will harm or kill fish.

The only reason to do an entire water change is if the existing pond water somehow gets totally bad or fouled. Then, it is best to have a separate big tub or trug of treated water already at air temperature in which to transfer the fish while you drain out the old water. This way, they don't go into shock in cold water.

Adding a little black nylon mesh Quonset hut to the bottom of your pond (about nine inches wide and 20 inches long, from Lily Pons) will allow your fish to hide from predators and be protected from the sun. Talking about sun, if you want water lilies to bloom, they need as much sun as you can give them. Also, if you have koi, you might want to cover the mud tubs that the water lilies grow in with 1/4 inch chicken wire so the koi (known for this) can't root into the mud—totally dislodging the lily tuber and making the water muddy.

Run your water pump and filter all year long to clear and oxygenate the water. In the winter, even though the fish are in hibernation and not eating, they still are breathing the water and need for it to contain oxygen.

I also keep the floating heater plugged in all during the winter so the water surface does not freeze. Freezing is bad because the gases of decaying leaves, etc. can't evaporate, thus stressing the fish. Because it has an internal temperature control that turns it off when the water gets to 36 degrees, the heater does not run all the time.

A few other tips I've learned along the way include not adding too many chemicals to the pond. Less is more. Perfectly clear water isn't necessary (in fact, it makes the bottom tubing, pump, electrical wires, tubs of plants, etc., all too obvious). When adding new fish, be sure to add antibacterial additives to the water (supply stores listed above can guide you on this).

Feed your fish 'koi' food to enhance color even if you have other types of fish. Koi fish food comes in two forms: the first is for spring/fall which contains more fat and nutrients to get them out of hibernation or (in the fall) more stored fat to survive hibernation. The summer food is lighter and maintains the fish during the hot weather.
Gotta just go ahead and do it, and enjoy!

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MarkM
Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant Colonel
MarkM

Posts : 1324
Location : Prairieville, LA
Favorite Fish: : If it swims and has fins and gills, I like it.

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PostSubject: Re: A Pond in Your Garden    A Pond in Your Garden  Icon_minitime5/5/2011, 8:02 pm

Thanks for posting. Nice article.
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