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Author Topic: Pond season..  (Read 15054 times)
Belinda
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« on: June 16, 2013, 01:40:29 PM »

Water gardens and outdoor fish ponds have become very popular over the years .
With some of the kits out there they can be affordable to more people than ever before .The market has grown so much for them as a garden feature that many beautiful plants geared towards water gardens are becoming easily available to the average water garden.
I have always enjoyed seeing the ponds others have put in their gardens; ponds full of lilies , lotus, water hyacinths ,papyrus and more, and of course fish. When most people think of ponds they naturally think of Koi or goldfish but more and more I am seeing other choices for fish in peoples ponds.

Well I got bored this spring; well maybe not bored just tired of the same old thing. I wanted to do something different with my fish.
We have an old but still functioning hot tub on the patio. It has become a money pit .. with old electricity burning pumps, jets and heaters; because of that it had been emptied and shut down last year.This spring it was full of leaf litter and rainwater and just teeming with life. There was the usual mosquito larvae, but there were also scuds, daphnia, and all other sorts of things living in there.

I had been going to the old spa with a brine shrimp net and cup to collect live food for the fish room ..While doing that one day I just thought to myself " Why are you making things hard on yourself running up and down stairs maintaining so many tanks in the fish room and spending your nice summer days down in the fish room?" " Dummy... Bring the fish outside for the summer!" I will have to bring them indoors come fall when the temperatures start to drop too low for tropical fish.

So I got to work..
It did not take much time or effort at all. I filled the hot tub with 550 gallons of treated water and went and pulled out duckweed, water lettuce and hornwort from the tanks downstairs. I left the leaf litter in the tub to encourage infusoria and to keep the water tannin stained. I put in aquarium heaters to maintain a minimum water temperature in case the nights got too cool for the fish and plants . I then went to a water  garden store and picked up a nice pot of  primrose creeper http://aquaticplantpages.tripod.com/waterplants/marginal/primrosecreep/p-rosecreep.htm   . The pot sit nicely on one of the seats in the tub.Then I waited for a few weeks for the plants to grow in and the new "pond" to settle in.

Now was time to figure out the biological filtration for the fish. the plants would be one part of it .. I could have just turned on just the circulation pump already in the hot tub and add biological sponge media into the tubs own filter system but then that would have defeated the purpose of saving money by not running the electrical systems in the hot tub.
the next best thing and the easiest way was to use what I already have running in the fish room... no added expense .
Fortunately I use a lot of air driven sponge filters in many of my tanks .. and always have spare air pumps on hand for backup. I decided on using simple sponge filters. I added new sponge filters to some tanks in the fish room to seed and the older large sponge filters would be used in the new " pond". The sponge filters I planned on using were designed for tanks over 80 gallons. I figured two of them and a very light stocking level would be good for my first experiment with pond keeping.

Yesterday was the day to move fish into the new "pond"!!! I shut down two 40 gallon tanks in the fish room ..Yeah!!!! less work down there!!
I brought out a small air pump and the large sponge filters from the fish room and connected everything to the electrical outlet behind the old hot tub's service panel . Everything was running perfectly, there was good water movement in the tub and enough aeration to keep a small group of fish happy in there.

Up came the fish...I had them in a 5 gallon pail. I set the pail in the tub on one of the seats. The water level came a little above the level of the bucket. I pushed down on the pail to let a little of the pond water go into the pail, and I watched the fish as they acclimated for the next 20 minutes to their new home. When I first brought them out they were still and quiet not being used to the bright sunlight. Then when I added some of the pond water to the bucket, sensing the change in the water the fish all grouped close together and curled their tails just a bit...  As I waited, I watched and added more water, they became more active and brightened up. That reassured me ..I was terrified that they would stress out with such a big change. Finally I tipped the bucket over slowly and watched as the fish swam out of the pail and down into the deepest part of the water. I left them alone to finish acclimating to their new home, deciding not to fret and check on them in an hour. I checked on them later in the day and could see them swimming about close to the bottom feeding on what they could catch in there. That made me feel so happy that they seemed to be adjusting beautiful to living in the pond for the summer.

What fish did I put in there??? Swordtails!!!
In went 2 dozen one inch juveniles to grow out for the summer. a dozen red and a dozen black.

It was so nice to go out with a coffee to the patio this morning, smell the flowers and watch the fish happily swimming. It looks tacky, but I am happy, and if it does well I will work it better into the yards landscaping next year.

I will get some pics as the plants fill in, and when I get the camera batteries charged.
Now, where did I put the camera charger????

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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
So how long will it take for me to create the perfect tank???
Muffuletta
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2013, 02:50:39 PM »

Wow, Beli it might take me a few days to read all of this.
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Pat Mary
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2013, 02:55:08 PM »

Pull up a chair, get a plate of fried gizzards and a glass of iced tea and settle in for a nice read.  It will go quickly, Muff.
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When in doubt, do a water change.
Muffuletta
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2013, 03:25:29 PM »

I did click on the link so at least I got that out of the way.
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Wheels on the Bus
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2013, 03:52:15 PM »

Congratulations on your new pond. Smiley You'll have to put up pictures, so we can all marvel at your eco-chic recycling. Smiley
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Belinda
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2013, 06:46:00 PM »

Muff ..can I lend you a pair of reading glasses ???? nerd
Long reads can be tiring on the eyes.

Thanks Betsy.....Marvel or laugh???? It is ugly Wink. The only attractive thing about it is the flowers and the fish.
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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
So how long will it take for me to create the perfect tank???
Wheels on the Bus
Hamster- the other white meat.
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2013, 08:58:02 PM »

You turned somebody else's trash into something useful. That makes it attractive to me.
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steffelem
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2013, 11:21:47 PM »

What a cool idea! I love it!
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Belinda
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2013, 07:04:43 PM »

 happy  Thanks Steff.!
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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
So how long will it take for me to create the perfect tank???
Netti
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2013, 08:53:23 PM »

What a great idea! Are the fish now more comfortable and are coming up to the surface?
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40 gallon long South Asian, 10 gallon Betta tank
Belinda
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2013, 09:36:33 PM »

The fish are doing well and seem quite comfortable in there Nettie .
 I see them swimming mid level , mostly swimming under plant cover, staying out of open areas.
I imagine as they and the plants grow they will venture more towards the surface.
 happy

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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
So how long will it take for me to create the perfect tank???
Tinker
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« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2013, 06:45:56 AM »

I always do love a pond. I just love water especially when there are fish in it.
I bet those fish will look amazing come time to bring them in when it gets cold again.
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Always willing to learn
steffelem
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« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2013, 01:02:41 PM »

They're gonna pout when its time to go in... how do fish go on strike?
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Belinda
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« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2013, 09:15:03 PM »

They are growing amazingly fast .. they will be beautiful come fall.
Somebody was teasing me and told be to double check my count when the time comes to move them.
I may have a few more than I started with ...now that will be fun crazy

They have already gone on strike .  LOL . they are too full of live food to even sniff at the commercial foods I offer them. lookaround
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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
So how long will it take for me to create the perfect tank???
fishbro22
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2013, 08:29:24 PM »

Sorry for the late post, but man, that's cool Belinda! I'm so jealous!

So how are they doing now? Any little ones?
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Belinda
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« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2013, 10:13:47 PM »

I am thoroughly enjoying the fish pond. I feed the fish while having my morning coffee out on the patio.
 The swords have gotten incredibly huge and fat .. I can't believe the colours they are showing now .
 I should have thought about the consequences of throwing plants from all of my other tanks out there , apparently some were full of eggs . There are month old Rainbow fry that are one inch long now and others that I can't get a good enough look at to see just what they are.
 There is nothing like tons of fresh water, live foods and sunshine to bring out the best in the fish. I will be doing this again in the spring from now on.
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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
So how long will it take for me to create the perfect tank???
steffelem
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« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2013, 10:58:21 PM »

I think I'm going to start looking for a freebie non-working hot tub for next summer.  But first I wanna know how or if your fish pout when they have to go back inside...
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Belinda
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« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2013, 11:16:52 PM »

  Oh they will pout.. lol
One thing I want to change next year if possible .. I want to get a pond liner for the tub .. over time the gaskets on the jets and drain will deteriorate over time .
 I have a small leak: a couple of gallons a day. It may be a good thing as it makes me top off with fresh water weekly ..I don't have to do that if it rains enough though... natural water change . However I do not want to have more of a leak ..or a sudden loss of a large amount of water.

But if you can do it go for it ..it is very easy to maintain...... your fish will love it ..
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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
So how long will it take for me to create the perfect tank???
steffelem
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Gender: Female
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Posts: 654



« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2013, 12:29:19 AM »

I suspect I would love it. As if I don't spend enough time in front of my tanks..,
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Belinda
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« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2013, 09:56:48 PM »

Update on the pond ... September has arrived and so have the cooler nights..
Last week the nights were going down to 4C...39F ...I tossed in 2 x 300 watts heaters in the pond to maintain temps for the fish .. the past few days have been cool 18 to 23 C....64to9 74 F.
So I decided it was time to start bring fish indoors.

 I filled a 34 gallon and a 25 gallon with 2/3 pond water and 1/3 fresh water and started to pull out tons of hornwort from the pond as well as some of the floating plants . as well as moving over some large sponge filters from other tanks.these will only be temporary holding tanks until the fish are acclimated to tank life/water. Then the will get moved into larger tanks or sold.

I then tried catching the fish ... LOL...catching them all is going to take some time .. I managed to get half (10) of the of the fattest and brightest Swordtails that I have ever seen, and I didn't bother to try and count the babies ,there are baby swords everywhere in that pond. Good thing I have places for them to go to when they are big enough.

As well I managed to catch 10 huge young Rainbows that had hatched out in the pond . I know there are more in there as they were jumping out of my nets when I was trying to catch them .Those Bows are 3 months old and some are almost 2 inches long.I have never seen Bow fry grow that fast ...from a quick glance I would say that they are some of my Melanotaenia Splendida Australis . I just did a quick peek at them as I wanted them out of the buckets and into tanks as fast as possible; all I could see was bright red tails ...Tomorrow when I turn the lights on the tanks I will get a better look.

It looks like I will be spending my extra time this week catching the rest of the fish in there ...It seems I don't have to rush to get them in .. After finishing for the day I checked the weather forecast for the rest of the week ... by Wednesday the temps will be going back up to 31C..88F. kopfpatsch
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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
So how long will it take for me to create the perfect tank???
Belinda
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« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2013, 10:35:08 PM »

Well I need a heating pad and a good massage ... Yesterday was a nice day so I decided to tackle bringing in the rest of the fish from the pond .

It's done!! the fish are all in and the pond has been drained .

I literally had to climb into the pond to catch the last of the fish .. after I had drained it down to a foot of water.
 The patio was filled with buckets of pond water filled with hornwort and frogbit to hold the fish in and I went in with a net in each hand to start scooping.I started draining the pond at 10 am and  I got the last fish in it's tank by 6 pm. Today was a good day for a nice long afternoon nap. Wink

What a job, If you think catching fry in a tank is hard try getting every fry out of a 5 ft x 5 ft space.  crazy
It took all day and I was still catching fry in 2 inches of water.
There were so many fish that I started up another 30 gallon acclimation/ holding tank.

I still have not counted the fish but there were at least 100 Swordtail fry of varying sized and approximately 2 dozen rainbows .
And I was elated when I finally found my pair of Hoplsternum thoracatum catfish in the muck in the bottom of the pond .. they are fat and gregarious as ever .. they were so content in the bottom of the pond that I didn't even need a net to catch them they swam right into my hands.

Of the original group placed in there in June 2 red swords are gone .. I suspect a 4 legged midnight poacher for the missing fish as one morning I had come out to find that the plants had been disturbed and many of the stems were broken.

When they were put in there they were still to young to sex .. now I have 3 red males and I suspect 2 of the black ones will develop their swords soon . Black swords can take up to a year to develop their swords, a fact that leads people to believe the misconception that the fish change their sex.

I have lots of work ahead in the next few weeks deciding which tanks the fish will go into and just which fish I will be selling as the fishroom is now full.

I am so pleased with how healthy the fish are that I am definitely going to set fish out in the "pond" next spring . Now which fish do I do that with????? so many ideas. biggrin





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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
So how long will it take for me to create the perfect tank???
Wheels on the Bus
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« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2013, 08:41:13 AM »

Well, you'll have all winter to plan.
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Belinda
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« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2013, 09:23:56 AM »

 Wink
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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
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GB
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« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2013, 02:46:39 PM »

... and what happened to the pictures you promised???  goldfish
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Belinda
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« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2013, 10:24:47 PM »

Oops I got busy and forgot the pics.
I will have to find them on the camera  and convert them .
They aren't pretty lol.
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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
So how long will it take for me to create the perfect tank???
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