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The Pond Thread...

IHDiesel73L

IHDiesel73L

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There's a fire pit thread so I figured what the heck...here goes:

This was the pond when we first moved to our place about three years ago-it was dug probably 40 years ago. Our neighbor to the north has about 120 acres of hay and our neighbor to the south has another 120 acres of soybeans, hay, swamps, and some overgrown orchards. The rear of our property is basically a small valley where everything drains through, going north to south (from the hay farm down my neighbor on the other side). The previous owner took what was basically swampland/a vernal pond and had an excavator dig it out to make it an actual pond. He mounded up the spoils around the low side and put an 8" PVC drain in which drains to the south into the swamp on my neighbor's land. :


With all of the other projects an old farm property/old farmhouse has to offer I haven't had a whole lot of time to do anything other than mow around it, but lately I've been trying to clean out some of the vegetation and to get a feel for how much muck is laying on the bottom. The pond is about 100' long by 50' wide and about 6' deep in the center. I've been using an old Sears fiberglass canoe as my "work boat" to remove vegetation in the shallows and to trim overhanging bushes, etc...


Got a bunch cleaned out but there is plenty more to do. I've also been using a muck reducer pellet to try to eat up some of the junk on the bottom. I'll be curious to see how much progress I make by this winter. Right now there is no life in the pond besides snakes and frogs and turtles. The previous owner had fish in it for a while but I'm guessing they got killed off during a long winter and/or picked off by predators over the years. This weekend I'll be picking up a couple thousand fathead minnows to begin building the food chain again and will eventually stock bass and bluegills before the end of summer:
 
derwoodii

derwoodii

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handy timing im about to begin a project as my paddock dam wall is leaking and i need to get 100+M3 of clay from paddock and lay it against the leaking wall.. This excavation hole will allow me chance to create landscape pond for critters wading relaxing creation so im exploring ideas like a few in link. OZ slang for pond is billabong





my dam with area that will need excavation up flow side

thumbnail_IMG_20200607_081518_3.jpg
 
CentaurG2

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The billabong. Haunt of the swagman, jumbuck and tucker bag. Banjo Paterson would be pleased. I would think lack of fish might be a sign that the water quality is poor. The flathead minnows will be a good test. If they go scuppers up, you might need to get some aeration into the pond. Solar or wind might work depending on your terrain. Let us know how it goes.







 
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IHDiesel73L

IHDiesel73L

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I would think lack of fish might be a sign that the water quality is poor. The flathead minnows will be a good test. If they go scuppers up, you might need to get some aeration into the pond.
It's all about stocking the right fish at the right levels. I talked to my local hatchery which is about 10 minutes away about my pond, water temps, freeze history etc...and they told me that once the fatheads are well established I can start stocking bluegill, largemouth bass and channel cats. Since the pond is fed by groundwater there is no concern of it getting too low or drying up in August. The critical time is winter when a prolonged hard freeze could allow toxic gases to build and oxygen to deplete while the ice is in. However, with the kinds of winters we've been having its unlikely that I'll have a winter kill as long as I don't severely overstock the pond.
 
CentaurG2

CentaurG2

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Well that’s a new one on me. Either of the above aerators will keep a part of the pond open during the winter. You can also purchase an agitator to prevent ice formation.



http://pondplace.com/kascodeicerwateragitators.aspx




How much water do you have flowing in and out of the pond on a daily basis? Based on your pics your pond looks very still. Without water movement, water oxygen levels will become a big problem for fish.
 

CentaurG2

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I had to look up yabbies’. Got a good tour of Australian crayfish. Everything from gilgies to marron. Very confusing. Big pond predator here is the great blue heron. Big Jurassic Park looking thing, with an appetite like a t-rex. We have them at our lake property and we occasionally see them at the farm. One can denude your pond in a couple of days.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_blue_heron
 
IHDiesel73L

IHDiesel73L

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How much water do you have flowing in and out of the pond on a daily basis? Based on your pics your pond looks very still. Without water movement, water oxygen levels will become a big problem for fish.
There's always a trickle going down the overflow pipe in all but the driest conditions. In speaking with the guys at the hatchery today when I went to pick up the minnows they told me that they have plenty of customers with primarily rain filled ponds that are 80+°F right now that hold fish all year long. My pond is 74° at the surface and 70° at the bottom which is a product of the fact that it's mostly groundwater fed and heavily shaded on the south side. We stocked 2,000 fatheads today and I went to work chopping out all of the vegetation around the banks: 20200627_184828.jpg 20200627_184845.jpg 20200627_184809.jpg 20200627_184901.jpg
 

esshup

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Fatheads spawn on the underside of things in the pond in less than 2' of water. I wouldn't stock bass and bluegills, the pond is too small. I'd stock some hybrid Bluegills, some redear sunfish and some Hybrid Striped Bass. Basically a put n take fishery. Largemouth Bass need to eat 10# of fish to put on 1 pound of weight (that is per bass). If you don't aerate or feed artificial food, ponds have a carrying capacity of around 300# of fish per surface acre. Aerate and you can double that number, aerate and feed a good quality artificial food and you can run around 900# per surface acre. If the pond is within 1/2 mile or so of grid electricity, I'd do that and trench in black poly pipe to the pond for aeration. Much cheaper than solar and much more reliable than a windmill.
 
IHDiesel73L

IHDiesel73L

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Fatheads spawn on the underside of things in the pond in less than 2' of water. I wouldn't stock bass and bluegills, the pond is too small. I'd stock some hybrid Bluegills, some redear sunfish and some Hybrid Striped Bass. Basically a put n take fishery. Largemouth Bass need to eat 10# of fish to put on 1 pound of weight (that is per bass). If you don't aerate or feed artificial food, ponds have a carrying capacity of around 300# of fish per surface acre. Aerate and you can double that number, aerate and feed a good quality artificial food and you can run around 900# per surface acre. If the pond is within 1/2 mile or so of grid electricity, I'd do that and trench in black poly pipe to the pond for aeration. Much cheaper than solar and much more reliable than a windmill.
On the aeration note, I traced back one of the "seeps" that feeds the pond over the last two days:



As opposed to a "spring" a seep occurs when groundwater flows until it his an impervious layer and is then forced to the surface:


Seeps are harder to develop than springs as they are more dispersed and the water expresses out of the ground over a wide area. My property lies directly on a limestone karst belt, so this water was flowing through the porous limestone until it probably hit some bedrock and the pressure forced it out of this hillside. I'm working on digging it out to see if I can get more flow:



I've looked at a few different ideas but one that seems to make sense to me is a kind of "reverse septic system" or french drain whereby you basically dig trenches into the waterbearing layer of the seep area and lay laterals of perforated pipe into a bed of gravel. The idea is that each lateral collects water and then drains it to a manifold that connects all of the laterals. The manifold is then connected to a delivery pipe that carries the concentrated flow to the pond. Concentrating the flow and piping it into the pond should accomplish two goals. First, if I can get a decent flow rate, I'll have a nice cascade into the pond which will help to boost DO levels. Second, the water is VERY cold-I didn't take a reading, but it's probably 55-60°F based on how uncomfortable it was to keep my hands in it for a long time. I plan on burying the pipe at least partially and then covering it with dirt and rock with the goal of keeping the water as cool as possible while it is traveling to the pond. Right now the water seeps out of the hillside and sheet flows through a swamp before it reaches the pond, and in the summer probably gets warmed quite a bit by the sun. My bottom temps at this point are holding at about 72°F which is not bad for this time of year, but I'm hoping that if I concentrate the flow of the seep that I can keep the bottom at not more than 70°F through the summer.
 

CentaurG2

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You could always try Koi. I think they are as durable as a tire tool. There is a place down in Mass near one of my favorite clam huts that specializes in selling them. They have quite the set up. The big ones fetch a lot of money! Get some good Japan stock, they would probably do alright in your pond. Couple of years and sell them for some good folding money and start over.



https://www.countrygardens-rowley.com/
 
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