Maintaining a Garden Pond ...HELP!

A Forum for discussion of water gardening including ponds, bogs, bowls, fountains and waterfalls. The scope ranges from design and construction, associated plants, fish and wildlife, maintenance and simple enjoyment.

Moderators: Forum_mod, ColinM

Maintaining a Garden Pond ...HELP!

Postby keptwoman » Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:14 pm

Hi there,
I'm new to the forum. We have just bought a house and I'm so looking forward to getting stuck back into gardening after renting for so long. Lots of plans!
First on my list, we have a garden pond. By my rough calculations it's a 2000litre pond with a waterfall thing for water circulation. The previous owners said it needed some TLC and it does appear that way. And I think it's the most pressing item on the agenda along with a few veges that need planting.
I've worked out what we have to work with, but I don't know where to start. So bear with me while I explain.

The waterfall pond area has a basket sedge which has exploded from it's basket and taken over. There is also a small waterlily in the waterfall area, which has been totally swamped by the basket Sedge.
I plan to take it all out, clean up the pond and put just the waterlily (repotted etc) back in. That's all pretty simple because we are talking about a reasonably small quantity of water.
The main pond has 3 or 4 basket sedge which are also overflowing and their exploding root systems are tangled with dead leaves from trees, lots of algae and the other plants: a couple of waterlilies that are looking pretty sick and a lot of scrappy water milfoil. There are some rocks in there which are (I assume) weighting down the pump intake, I have no idea if there is a filter on it. The bottom of the pond is pretty sludgy and while the water is clear when it's still it seems pretty murky if I move anything.
There are about 10 goldfish and a bunch of little black fish in there, they seem happy and healthy so it can't be too bad.

The pump system is sitting in a sump, there is no filter in the sump so if there is one at all it's in the pond and yet to be discovered.

So I'm not sure where to start with cleaning it out, the plants I can understand, I know they need to be lifted/divided/propagated etc and I have a pretty good idea of how to go about that. I will only be putting a max of two basket sedge back in, along with a decent sized water lily and some milfoil or other oxygenators.

So to clean it out...do I need a pond vaccum? If so what kind? We can't afford to spend a lot and some seem to be based on a garden hose running which again just goes against the grain, and I wonder how well they would deal with sludge. Is there some way I can harness the power of the pump to clean out the sludge?
If I use a pond vaccum do I rehome the fish in a bucket or something while I do it? I think I could get most of them.
Must I empty the water? It seems so wasteful in a time of drought and I have no way of storing 2000 litres of water although I suppose I could buy a small wading pool for temporary storage.
Do I need a filter? And if so what kind of filter? The in-pond one if it exists is going to be a pain to clean so I'm thinking perhaps the sump would be a good spot for one. I think with the few bits and pieces I've done that there might be one in the bottom of the pond because the waterfall has gone from a flow to a trickle, something is gummed up somewhere in there that's for certain.
How much shade does a pond need? It has two umbrella type decidous trees by it right now, they block the view of the pond from the terrace area so I'd like to move at least one unless they are needed for shade.
How do I work out how many plants a pond can support?

I'm sorry for all the questions, I went to the library and got a bunch of books on the subject but they all talk about emptying the pond and refilling it. I guess they have plenty of water so it's not an issue.

Well thanks in advance for any help and advice.
Sandra, very very amateur gardener.
keptwoman
Apprentice
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:33 pm
Location: Frankston, VIC

Re: Maintaining a Garden Pond ...HELP!

Postby midgin » Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:13 pm

Hi Keptwoman, welcome to GE... I am not much help re the cleaning of your pond...but re the filter... I would be inclined to visit a retailer that deals predominately in pumps/fountains etc and ask a zillion questions. You may find they suggest a simple solution... we were fortunate enough to have such a help with our pump problem for a small water feature that we have. .
Best of luck.
User avatar
midgin
Garden Wizard
 
Posts: 6188
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:54 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie,NSW Temperate.

Re: Maintaining a Garden Pond ...HELP!

Postby ollie boy » Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:55 pm

i love ponds and have one still.
if it was me i would start from scratch and drain the pond completely and scrub it out with a new brush then rinse until clean.
then i would fill with water add chlorine neautralizer and let run for a week with the plants (which i would re-pot and fertilize).
in this time the fish will need a temporay home a 50-60L tub should do, well aerated and fed little, even a sponge filter might be good too, although i wouldnt bother with the sponge filter if only for a week but i would change 25% of the water with fresh neatralized water after 3 days.
i would also add rock/aquarium salt to the "new" pond at a rate of 100 grams per 100L to keep parasites at bay.
i'd then add "the little black fish" which i assume are gambusia (pest) after a week and see how they go, if they seem fine straight away (which they should) then add the goldfish.
before adding any fish make sure you acclimatise them to your water conditions of your new pond. i usually sit them in a bucket of their original water, in your case the old pond water and drip feed another line into the bucket from the new pond, this will take awhile i usually give at least 1/2 an hour for goldfish as they are very hardy.
if there are any ornaments or rocks or logs in the original pond it would be great to keep them submersed with the fish during this transistion period then add them to the newly cleaned pond as soon as there is water in it! this will help with the nitrogen cylcle and actually speed it up as the living bacteria on the logs, rocks etc will colonize quicker.
oh and by the way i would just have a large coarse spong filter that slides over your intake pipe, that way you can just slide it out and rinse it (preferably in a bucket of pond water then top up the pond with fresh neutralized water) and slide it back on.
that's just what i would do if it were me and am in no way saying it is a sure fire success method but it works for me (Y)
with enough plants they should filter the pond adequately.
adam :)
ollie boy
Gardener
 
Posts: 86
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 6:22 pm
Location: 4570 (near gympie)

Re: Maintaining a Garden Pond ...HELP!

Postby ollie boy » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:02 pm

just re-read your post and noticed your not keen on wasting water.
you coud buy a filter or make an attachment to suit your filter or even fill your filter with dacron, it is a fine filter material for aquariums.
you would need to change it quite often (every 3 days i would guess) but it would eventually clear the water and it is cheap stuff.
adam :)
ollie boy
Gardener
 
Posts: 86
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 6:22 pm
Location: 4570 (near gympie)

Re: Maintaining a Garden Pond ...HELP!

Postby The Estate » Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:18 am

If you used your old dirty water on your garden it would not be a waste, I think you need to start from scractch , that way it will be nice fresh and clean and then just the reg. maintenance (Y)

ps welcome to the forum as well :P
The Estate
Garden Wizard
 
Posts: 14753
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 9:52 am

Re: Maintaining a Garden Pond ...HELP!

Postby karyn » Wed Sep 03, 2008 4:46 pm

Water your vegies with the pond water when you have a vegie garden, it'll be a bit smelly but the vegies will love it. All that luvverly fish poo!
User avatar
karyn
Gardening Sage
 
Posts: 1828
Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 12:48 pm
Location: Adelaide Hills

Re: Maintaining a Garden Pond ...HELP!

Postby keptwoman » Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:01 am

Thanks for your replies everyone. So we have a rain water tank. Could I use that water and not have to wait the week to put the fish back in?
I had come up with this plan:
Remove the fish to a temporary home with existing water
Hire a pond vac (yay!! I found a place that hires out the good ones) pump 50% ish of the water into the paddling pool. Filtering as it goes, scrub the pond, clean out the sludge into the vege garden.
Put the water back in, filtering as I go. Top up with tank water
Put in the new/rejuvenated plants, add the fishies.

OK, so the foam filter thing. Trouble with it now is it's smack in the middle of the pond and I can't reach it to clean it. Perhaps I could just put it closer to the side and that would be enough?
Last edited by keptwoman on Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
keptwoman
Apprentice
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:33 pm
Location: Frankston, VIC

Re: Maintaining a Garden Pond ...HELP!

Postby The Estate » Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:06 am

I can see why not :roll:
The Estate
Garden Wizard
 
Posts: 14753
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 9:52 am

Re: Maintaining a Garden Pond ...HELP!

Postby Elijah Magarey » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:43 pm

Whenever you are going to clean your pond, make sure that all live bodies such as small fishes,tarters etc are placed in other water place properly, use pumping method to drag all water out, use that waste water on your garden area this will save water and will help to grow plants.
jimsmowing
Elijah Magarey
Pruner
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:21 pm
Location: Melbourne


Return to Water Gardens

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron