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Problem Solving Guide For Fish Pond Keepers and Water Gardeners

HOW MANY FISH CAN I STOCK IN MY POND?

First of all decide what sort of fish you want to stock You can put more goldfish than koi in the same size pond. The reason is koi eat much more and grow much faster.

If you stock goldfish work on 50cm in total length per square metre of water surface. Work on half of this, you want to keep koi. With excellent biofiltration you can stock about 50% more than this. So in a pond with 2 square metres surface you can stock up to 20 goldfish 5cm long. This allows for the fish to grow. If you want to stock more add 1 to 2  litres of Alfagrog to your biofilter for each 4,000 litres of pond water. It is best to stock goldfish in small ponds.

I WANT A POND BUT I AM NOT SURE OF MANY THINGS. WHAT DO I DO?

Nothing until you have spoken to a reliable source of information and products.

If you are not sure ask someone who can give you good basic pond advice. If the advice is sound and makes sense  and can be backed up by example or published information then it is probably good advice. However if something does not make good sense to you maybe seek further advice and certainly probe the advice given. A bad installation is expensive to fix.

WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN INSTALLING A POND?

The pond installation is the most cumbersome and therefore the most difficult part of the total project so do your best to get this right. Seek help if you do not feel comfortable with doing the job yourself. Most important do not rush it - take your time, get it to fit well into the hole, create good back fill and edging support where necessary.

For pre formed pond installation TAKE trouble to get the pond levelled. If you do not the pond will certainly appear lopsided once the water has been filled into it. Use a spirit level. For larger ponds use a black plastic or rubber liner designed for pond building. Look for a 15 year or more guarantee and get the surround level.

WHAT DOES A COMPLETE POND COST?

This is an impossible question to be answered easily. As a general rule however rather spend more on a small pond than go for a larger pond and skimp on equipment.

A very beautiful pond including all necessary equipment can be created within a day by unskilled people choosing the DIY approach for a small cost . Such ponds will incur minimum running costs and will involve very little maintenance if the ideas in this site are understood and followed.

WHAT PRECAUTIONS MUST I TAKE IF I INSTALL A LINER POND?

The fundamental potential problem lies with the fact that a liner is relatively thin at between 300 and 500 microns. Avoid complex shapes. Do not worry about the liner pleats that will inevitably remain in the pond.

If you are going to build a liner pond before placing the liner in the excavated hole it is important to line the hole with old carpet, underlay, newspapers or something like this to prevent stones finding their way to the interface with the liner and possibly puncturing it. If you have dogs that like swimming then a liner pond can be bad idea since clawing the liner will inevitably damage it.

WHAT IS BEST TYPE OF POND?

The best type of pond is the one that suits your idea in terms of size and appearance. The choices are black plastic liner, and rocklike fibreglass ponds and concrete ponds.

Unless you want a really big pond to keep and grow big koi avoid concrete, these ponds are expensive to do properly. For smaller ponds of up to 500 litres choose pre formed fibreglass. These are simplest to install and also low cost. Plastic liners are cheapest of all and are very suitable for designs of your choice.

HOW DO I KNOW HOW MUCH WATER IS IN THE POND?

Record how much water your pond holds - you will need this information to specify a number of products and also for future reference. Store the information safely unless you can recalculate the volume yourself.

If your pond is square or rectangular and is the same depth throughout it is very simple. All that is required is to multiply the length by the width by the depth. To calculate the volume of water in the pond in litres use metres to measure the dimensions and multiply the result by 1,000.  For example for a pond of 3 m length * 2 m width  * 0.5 m deep the volume of water it can hold  is 3,000 litres of water. If your pond is not a simple rectangle or square then you have to approximate.

WHERE IS THE BEST LOCATION FOR MY POND?

Your pond should be sited so you can enjoy it, you should be able to see it easily, be able to sit close to it.

Full shade should be avoided, whilst partial shade is a good idea from the fishes point of view. Do not put the pond close to deciduous trees if you can avoid it because of falling leaves in autumn. Your pond should be sited so you can enjoy it but don't put it outside the bedroom window unless you like the sound of running water to get you to sleep. The reason is because your biofilter needs running water 24 hours a day and the gurgling/splashing sound might just annoy you as you lie in your bed.

WHAT IS THE BEST  ADVICE YOU CAN GET BEFORE GOING AHEAD WITH BUILDING A POND?

You presumably want to keep fish and have a feature in your garden you would prefer to enjoy than grumble about.

Without a doubt install a good biofilter and Ultra Violet lamp system. It goes without saying that you need a pump correctly specified.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY 97% DIGESTIBLE FOR KOI FOOD?

As far as koi food is concerned the digestibility is governed by the type of raw material used. If you use high grade raw materials in formulating fish foods then you get high protein and low ash

97% digestible quite simply means such koi food is an extremely high purity food made from the best raw materials making all the contents of the bag with the exception of the ash and moisture available for the fish's benefit.

WHAT TYPE OF FOOD IS BEST FOR MY FISH?

Always buy the best food you can afford. This will give you good water quality and fish will grow to their optimum in your pond. Koi Sticks and Pond Sticks can be a waste of money. It is far more economical and better to feed floating pellets. Just look at the analysis and you will understand why.

The best foods are those with ash levels of about 5% and moisture levels of about 5-8%. Never buy food which does not give this type of information on the packet. Ash and moisture are a total waste of money. Some foods have a total of ash and moisture = 25%. This means you are only getting 3/4 of a bag of food the rest is rubbish. The type of raw materials used is also very important. Look for herring meal or whole fish meal as the best ingredient and protein levels of 35% or more.

ARE LIGHTS IN A POND DANGEROUS?

For superb night time effects install a lighting system in the pond. Underwater lights are very safe since they use low voltage (24V) systems. They are quite low in cost also

You can have floating globes, underwater spotlights, in ground spotlights, coloured lenses and so on.

WHAT PIPE AND FITTINGS ARE BEST TO USE?

Until recently it was only possible to get clear hose or normal hose pipe or to use rigid PVC hose. All these suffered from major disadvantages. Transparent hose and garden hose pipe kink easily. Rigid pipes need expert fitting and are difficult from maintenance viewpoint. It is now possible to buy ribbed hose.

Ribbed hose pipe does not kink and is easy to use and very versatile if used with Polyex connections. Do spend a bit more on fittings and hose to reduce your pond keeping hassles. Avoid using jubilee clips which rust and become difficult to remove for maintenance. If you do use clear hose make sure you do not have kinks in the line. This will severely restrict flow from your pump. Avoid sharp bends and minimise the number of connections in the lines.

WHAT PIPE SIZES DO I USE IN CONNECTING PUMPS, BIOFILTERS AND UV SYSTEMS?

Always use the largest diameter pipe you can consistent with fittings on the pump or other piece of equipment. The reason is that larger diameter pipe interferes less with flow rate from pump.

If a pump is supplied with a 20mm outlet then use 20mm pipe. If the pipe is to be very long, say 10 metres then it would be useful to install a reducer to increase the pipe size from 20mm to say 25mm. What is important is to reduce pipe length and increase pipe diameter to get the best out of your pump. Do not use 13mm fittings and pipe except on very smalls pumps.

WHAT CHEMICALS SHOULD I PUT IN MY POND?

None in most cases unless absolutely necessary and you know what you are doing. The absence of a filter is more often than not the reason people add chemicals.

When the situation is reached that chemicals are to be added to a pond then this should only be done under guidance. It is rarely necessary to treat pond water. Some exceptions are when it is important to start up a filter from scratch then a bio starter can be used. These are non chemical and are perfectly safe to add. Another time is if you get blanketweed. One remedy for this is Goodbye Blanket Weed. This is a natural product which can do no damage.
 

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