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Small Pond Help Needed. . . New To Ponds
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Joined: 24 Oct 2005

PostPosted: 2005.11.04(Fri)22:52    Post subject: Small Pond Help Needed. . . New To Ponds Reply with quote

I want to build a small pond where I'd keep things that aren't your usual koi and goldfish. What fish would be good for this? First though:

I live in Seattle so it gets cold in the winter

I will provide a heater, although it won't heat the whole pond. I've heard that the fish will just stay near the heater and that it will be fine.

There will be a waterfall coming from a boulder (the boulder's about 3 feet high)

The pond will be surrounding the boulder

I need to know how to make this pond

Is it true that you don't need to feed coldwater fish during the winter because their metabolism slows down?

Would it be okay to use concrete to form the pond or would it add chemicals to the water or something?

What are good pond plants?

I've got a 6 and a 7 year old who want "their own pets" and having their own fish in the pond won't do, the pond needs to just be theirs. I was thinking of making a 5 or 10 gallon pond just for them that I would keep heated warm enough for tropical fish. Any hardy tropical fish that breed easily? (One of the things they like about fish is that they're much easier to breed than cats and dogs so easy to breed is important) And they like to watch the babies develop inside of the eggs so they don't want livebearers (otherwise, I'd just get them some guppies)
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003

PostPosted: 2005.11.06(Sun)10:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about the rosy red or fathead minnow(Pimephales promelas) for the kids pond? They likely won't need a heater and breed similarly to cichlids. The male guards eggs that have been glued to the underside of a cave such as under a rock. Medakas(Oryzias sp. or perhaps some kind of killifish) would be really cool but would require above 60 degrees and also are hard to find available. They produce very large eggs which dangle from the female like a cluster of grapes until she finds a suitable place to hang them up. The eggs make great things to observe development as they are pretty big.

The most important thing is to make sure the pond does not freeze over...a de icer could be bought from a pond supply or catalog for this.

Don't know about the concrete but generally decorative ponds are made using pond liner.

Don't know how you would get the boulder thing done. It would require some place to hide the tubing which would come from a pump in the water and climb to the top of the boulder. If their are any pond or water garden supply stores around they would be better able to make suggestions though I'd reccomend double checking any fish information with other sources first.
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Joined: 10 Jan 2005
Location: Abbotsford Canada

PostPosted: 2005.11.07(Mon)3:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey bettaluvr,
I live in the same climate zone as you and have both kept personal ponds and build and maintain ponds for clients so here are some observations...

If you are not that experienced with pond building the best choice is to either purchase a pre fab plastic pond or use a rubber pond liner and dig your own. Concrete is somewhat "old school", requires a lot more time and work, and isn't any cheaper. Plus most concrete ponds crack at some point and you spend much of your time draining and sealing the pond. Cement changes the pH of the water until a process of curing takes place.
My experience has been that if water can find a way to seep out of a pond, it will (seemingly running uphill!), so the safest bet is to build a pond and then place the boulder (if possible) inside or... really make sure that all of the water from the falls flows into the pond. I still remember the entire summer my friend spent trying to trace the water leaks in his elaborate waterfall (it turned out that all that water turbulance caused too much evaporation Surprised no leak at all)
In our climate, for successful year round fish survival, you need a pond that is at least 24" deep, no matter how many gallons it is. This allows the top 3-4" to freeze over while the fish swim below. You don't have to keep a hole open as long as you have at least this depth, don't feed the fish when the weather turns cold and clean out the debris in the fall. I have had a goldfish in a 160 Gal. unheated pond for 7 years and at times have stood on top of the ice on the pond.
A 5-10Gal. pond is too too too small. You cannot keep anything alive year round in something that small. It will freeze solid in the winter and evaporate in the summer. Even though it is a pond the same rules of filtration and bio load apply. Even if you plan to augment the heating (unneccisary really) you have to calculate the cost of a submersable heater, filter and pump; might as make the pond size worthwhile. Also the pond should be big enough to allow fish to hide from racoons, possums, herons and cats. I usually place a concrete building block or two upright in the centre of the pond with a piece of slate on top to allow hiding places.
Watching fish eggs develop in a pond will also be hard. You have only a top view, water reflection, algae and usually a dark lining to contend with. Another choice might be tadpoles, they are a lot bigger!
The best source for suitable pond plants is your local garden centre. Some are perrenial (lilies and bog plants) and some are annuals (water lettuce and hyacynth)
I hope some of this helps, good luck!
Intelligence is not having all the answers; it's knowing how to think!
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Joined: 03 Nov 2005
Location: South Africa

PostPosted: 2005.11.18(Fri)13:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had tadpoles before, I wanted to use them for live food, but they were too big. It was fun to see them develop, but after they became frogs they hoped out, one by one and dried out, not so cool Sad
Years of fish keeping = Good advice
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