First pond,BIG {Planning ATM} - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 05:40 AM Thread Starter
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First pond,BIG {Planning ATM}

Hi all,

I have a 25'x50'x6' "Hole" at my farmhouse. It was meant to be a pond, but it couldnt. The thing was, when my father dug it, they were completely unaware about the workings of a pond. We still are, but with me active in this hobby I am hopping to make this pond work. Atleast hold water.

The first issue is, it does NOT hold water. Even in the rainy reason, it only fills up about 3-4'. And that water stays from June to mid-February. After that it dries up. The rainfall is adequate [140-200 cms Annually] and the temperature goes down to 4-5C in December to 40C in May. The soil is, well not good. The region does not have much clay, however some 30-40 Kilometers from that place, the soil is good enough to make double storey houses. I think I can use that soil [Clay?] to make the bottom of the pond. The budget atm does not allow for lining the entire pond. The cost comes to around $6000 using butyl liner.

Second issue is filtration. We already have 20000G swimming pool, with a filter to match [Sand filter probably]. However no one uses the pool, and I can use that to filter the pond. But while the pool is 20K gallons, the pond is 56K. I dont think it can do the same filtration with the pond. I am thinking of going DIY here. Maybe make another sand filter. I have the skills at hand (not mine though] but I cant find the right specs for this size a pond on the net. In my planted tanks, I keep an average of 2-3X turnover per hour. That is simply not possible for this pond. The max I can get is 2-3X per DAY. Is it enough to atleast see the bottom? Tips?

Can I have some budget friendly tips on making the water stay?
I am guessing the liner shop is taking me for a ride with the prices.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 05:46 AM
These pants? are fancy.
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do you need a filter for the pond? are you going to be growing koi or tilapia in it? There are several large koi ponds around my area that only use "fountain" style pumps for aeration and no other filtration. When they're that big at 56000 gallons, they start up their own ecosystem pretty quick. I'd plant it with lilies and marginal plants and let them do some of the work.

As for making the thing hold water, I don't know what kind of clay would help, but nothing beats a liner. I know it's expensive, but I don't know what else will hold water for you... clay is porous, so even if it's some nice clay, it'll still absorb and pass water through it.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply
Well, I wanted it to be planted with Valls,cabomba,crypts etc. Hence, I wanted a filter so people can actually see them. Also, I an not interested kois, coz they ll probably die of heat or get eaten by birds and they are not native to India. This pond is neighboring one of the largest national parks of Asia, and one of the most well preserved too. A lot of homework will have to be done before adding any fish, in case it escapes. Right now I am thinking of adding small shoaling natives, in huge numbers.

And yea, even I am thinking now do I really need a lot of filteration. The pond is quite big and can easily start its ecosystem. I think I should first make it hold water, see how it goes. If it clears up I ll let go of the filter. Else I ll do something.
Do you think $12/meter is a good price for butyl liner?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 08:01 AM
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Can you make this work:
Make it a 2-part pond, with the smaller pond uphill from the main, lower pond.
The upper pond would be where you could have certain plants, perhaps plants that prefer part shade (if this end of the system was under some trees) or additional filter media. Perhaps some form of media that would grow lots of bacteria. The upper 'pond' might be a large tank (like a water trough for animals). Or it could simply be another hole in the ground.
Then dig a winding stream bed for fairly slow water movement, lots of rounded stones, lots of emersed plants. At least 20' (7 meters) long, no more than a 2' drop along 20'.
The slow water movement will allow stuff to settle out of the water, and the emersed plants, growing in the stream will use that settling material to grow. Since they are in the air they have no lack of CO2, so can grow as fast as they want. The exposure of lots of water to the air will improve the gas exchange. Oxygen enters the water for the fish (if the plants are not producing much, like at night) and CO2 enters the water for the plants during the day.
Then a waterfall into the main pond. It does not need to be very high to be nice, and the splashing increases the gas exchange in the pond itself by causing ripples in the water.
The formula to make a nice sounding waterfall: You need 1000 gallons per hour for every 1' width of the waterfall. So if the waterfall is 18" wide, you need at least 1500 gph.
Metric: (very rough conversion) For every .3 meters width of waterfall you need 4000 liters per hour of water movement.

If you think you can move 56,000 gallons 2 times per day, that is not too far off 112,000 gallons per day. Divide by 24 = over 4,000 gallons per hour minimum. You could have a good waterfall with that.

I am not sure about sealing the pond, do you have access to Portland Cement? Does it mix with the local soil and set up? Around here, 5 bags of portland cement (100 lb bags) are mixed with 1 cubic yard (a bit less than 1 cubic meter) of a specific blend of sand and gravel. You might check with local builders who would know about products available to you.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Diana, but I cannot add another pool to it, partly due to its aesthetics and partly coz I am not a landscape designer, and I cant imagine what I ll make

However, I will certainly look into adding a water fall to it.

I want my pond to somewhat resemble this:

This is very very Hi-tech, but I dont want an exact copy. I just want it to be planted, and if I dive in, I should be able to spot the fishes in it i.e. the water should be clear.

Also, I am using plants native to the area, so they will grow anyhow. I just want clear water, and stable water.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 02:52 AM
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Dig an area alongside the pond, but keep it separate from the pond with whatever materials you can (retaining wall sort of thing), or move it enough away from the pond that the soil will not collapse. Plumb it with some large pipe (like 3" or 4" pipe) with holes for the intake. Most of this lies on the bottom of the pond.

Use the soil you dig to build a waterfall, not too far away. Plumb the outlet of the pump with whatever size pipe is appropriate (Depends on pump output).

If you will get fish that eat plants you can still plant the pond, but keep these areas separate from the fish, for example with some mesh that will keep the fish out, but allow water to flow through.
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