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Pond Info Pond Info
You will have your own ideas about how you want your pond to look, which fish and plants you intend to keep, whether you want a waterfall or fountain etc. I am speaking from experience when I recommend you do as much planning and research as you can before making vital decisions, decide on pond position in your garden, pond size, volume and depth. Are you going to keep Koi, or standard goldfish, which plants if any would you like to keep. If you have young children you should cover or fence off the pond, this can be done without detracting from the asthetics of the pond. You will need to decide on which equipment your going to use, this will include pond liner, pond pump, pond filter, ultra violet clarifier, pond lighting, and how will this will be installed, Your pond pump etc, will need an electricity supply, this will need some thought, access to pond and filters for cleaning and maintenance will be required. The pages and guides I have put together should answer the vast majority of your questions, please read these and if you have any further questions use the contact us page, and I will answer your questions at my earliest opportunity. Happy reading!



Common Pond Problems

Greenwater
Unlike lakes and rivers, ornamental garden ponds are generally of small size with limited depth. Therefore they can warm up more quickly than natural bodies of water; they also have greater sunlight penetration and a higher concentration of nutrients. These conditions stimulate the growth of algae, which cause greenwater problems. These conditions can be reduced by maximising pond volume, minimising stocking levels, placement of pond away from direct sunlight, or blocking sunlight using canopies or pergolas, not overfeeding fish, and using correct food ie wheatgerm during cold periods. The best way of preventing greenwater after taking all these considerations into account will be to utilise the correctly rated pump, filter and UVC.

Pollution Caused by Fish Waste
Compared with natural ponds, garden ponds are usually heavily stocked with fish, which are fed more than they would normally find to eat in their natural habitat. Fish produce waste in proportion to the amount of food eaten. This waste is both solid and dissolved; this pollution is increased by the decomposition of plants and uneaten food. If these waste products are not removed they will eventually have a detrimental effect on your fish. Filtration is the key here, your filter should be large enough to cope with the demand placed upon it, if you wish to have large stocking levels, and you are intending to feed large amounts of high protein food in order to grow your fish to impressive sizes, then purchase a large efficient filter that can cope with these demands. Closely monitor your fishes behaviour, watch for anything unusual, this will be a sign that things are not as they should be, follow the pond feeding guidelines on this website, and remove any uneaten food or decomposing plant matter.

Herons
Herons are the number one enemy of fish ponds. Besides catching and eating healthy fish, they injure others which die later. They are most troublesome in spring when they have young to feed, not in winter. They are no longer fooled by fake "decoy" herons. Deter them by putting a trip-wire around the pond or using an electric heron alert, or cover the pond with a net. Herons are less of a problem in towns or where a pond is close to tall fences, a shed or a greenhouse, as they need a long, shallow flight path before landing.

Lack of Oxygen
Both green water and pollution can reduce the level of oxygen in pondwater. However, relatively high concentrations of oxygen are necessary to support healthy fish. The introduction of air into pondwater i.e. aeration, raises and stabilises the level of oxygen in the water. In addition the turbulence created by aeration will remove toxic gases. During the summer months when water temperatures rise lack of oxygen can become a problem, suspect this if you see your fish gasping at the surface.




Planning your pond

Choosing the right type of pond for your own needs is the important first step. If you have a patio, your pond could be the focal point or it could be the centre feature of your landscaped lawn. It could also brighten a gloomy or neglected corner of your garden.
If you are interested in natural water garden you could create an almost totally natural pond, rich in native plants and a haven for all types of aquatic life. But remember such a pond would have a natural appearance and typically is not suited for ornamental fish because of the lack of proper filtration and it's vulnerability to predators such as herons.
Another area of importance will be to decide whether you wish to keep beautiful plants and common ornamental fish in your pond or whether you are considering the possibility of a beautiful Koi pond. Because the site and construction for both ponds are very different you will be much more successful with your pond if you commit to a type of pond before you begin excavation.
The shape of your pond takes on two different styles. An informal pond has no straight edges and no symmetrical shape and may be designed to blend in with the contours of your garden landscape. Alternatively, a formal pond does have a regular shape and can be raised above the ground using brickwork to draw the eye to its symmetry.
Both types of pond are ideal for keeping aquatic plants and pond fish. A waterfall and a fountain or other moving water feature would usually compliment such pools.

No matter what size you plan your pond to be, you will always wish you had made it larger. A pond 100 sq ft of surface area or larger provides an ideal amount of surface area for many varieties of aquatic plants and fish. This is not to say however that a smaller pond or a container garden cannot be enjoyable or interesting. The minimum depth should be 18 inches for ponds with plants and ornamental fish that are not Koi. However, if you are in a colder climate or are keeping only Koi your depths should be 3 ft or deeper. The proper depth will enable fish to survive the winter more easily and keep them cool in the summer months. A shelf of 12-18 inches wide and about 9-12 inches below the surface can be created for the placement of marginal plants and some other potted aquatic plants.
Once you have decided on the type of pond you would enjoy, it's time to decide where to locate your pond. Locating a pond where there is too much sunlight should be avoided. Sunlight promotes the growth of algae and may cause the temperature of the water to rise dramatically during warmer weather, decreasing oxygen levels. To avoid this problem, position your pond where it will receive some shade, especially during the afternoon when the sun is the strongest. 5-6 hours of direct sunlight is ideal for most ponds with plants and ponds that are less than 18 inches in depth.
Beware of siting your pond beneath trees or near their roots to avoid leaves falling into the pond and potential root damage to the liner. As well as being unsightly, rotting vegetation in the water may adversely effect the quality of the water, which could cause harm to the fish. Another important consideration will be to site your pond close enough to an electricity source so you can incorporate a pump, filtration or lighting.




Pond Equipment

LINERS
This can be either a rigid pre-formed pond or a flexible sheet liner. Both are easy to install and extremely durable. A pre-formed pond has the advantage of ready made planting shelves and areas for placing submersible pumps though a flexible liner allows you more creativity and a more individual design. Pre-formed ponds tend to be limited in size, when choosing a liner purchase a good quality preferably butyl liner with a 20 year plus guarantee, protect the underside of the liner by removing sharp rocks, and placing a thick layer of soft sand beneath the liner.
PUMPS
A pump is essential for circulating water through filtration systems. Pumps are also used for creating moving water displays such as waterfalls or fountains which, as well as being attractive features, will help to maintain oxygen levels during warm weather. Your pump should be able to pump at least half of the pond's water volume per hour. There are a wide range of pumps on the market, bear in mind the pump will be running 24 hrs a day, so check out the pumps wattage, low wattage=low running costs, If you choose a solids handling pump you,ll have less maintenance, and no prefilters to clean, they are also good at removing debris from the pond bottom, to the filter were it can be removed.
FILTERS
Your filter keeps your pond water clear and healthy, they will use both mechanical and biological filtration to achieve this. Biological filtration utilises bacteria on the pond filter media to break down fish waste and organic matter. Mechanical filtration captures particles in a physical filter for removal during filter cleaning. A good pond filter will achieve both. Your garden pond filter should filter half the pond volume every hour at a minimum. Garden ponds that are exposed to the sun for more than 6 hours a day, or have Koi, should have a slightly larger filter to cope with this extra demand.

UVC
An Ultra-Violet Clarifier is highly effective in keeping your pond free of water-borne algae which will make the pond water green, free-floating single celled algae cause green water in ponds. This algae is too small to catch even with an effective mechanical pond filter. UVCs expose the algae particles to enough UV light so that they clump together (flocculate). These larger particles can then be easily filtered out as they pass through the pond filter.

LIGHTING
Lighting can really add a creative dimension to your pond at night. Lighting can be inserted into the pond, behind a waterfall, in a fountain, above the water, and even placed around the perimeter of the pond. Being able to see your pond at night can add a warm, relaxed mood or feeling to your garden. Pond lights are simple to install and will enable you to create magical effects at night time.




Pond Plants

Although is may seem obvious, aquatic plants are different to land based plants, because they have evolved to live in wet even submerged conditions. There are three principle groups of aquatic plants, all with specific needs:

Marginal or Bog plants - These are essentially the plants that stick up above the surface of the water and provide height to the pond. They can be planted into waterlogged ground or more commonly into plastic planting baskets, which are then placed into the water.
Planting Depth: 6 - 8 inches

Care: Plant into planting baskets using aquatic compost, when the plant starts to die back in the autumn / fall, cut back the plant to ensure that the decaying plant material does not pollute the water. Feed once a season with an aquatic root fertiliser. Cultivation: Generally these plants can be cultivated by division in the spring, although because of the huge number of plants in this section it's best to consult your nursery.

Hardy Examples: Water Iris, Pickeral Rush, Arrowhead,
Tender Examples: Papyrus, Umbrella plant, Water Cannas

Floating Plants - These floating plants have extensive root systems that dangle into the water from the surface, these root systems provide ideal spawning areas for fish like goldfish. They often reproduce by budding and as such can be very invasive.

Planting Depth: Allow to float unplanted on the surface

Care: They only care required is for tender variety if they are needed the following season. Take a strong plant in the early autumn and keep in pond water in a well lit frost free greenhouse. Periodically replace the water with fresh water. Stratiodes (the water soldier) sinks to the bottom of the pond in the winter and rises again in the spring.

Cultivation: Because these plants bud so easily, they can be cultivated by cutting the offspring away from the parent to produce a new plant.

Hardy examples: Water Soldier
Tender Examples: Water Hyacinth, Water Lettuce
Oxygenators - These are plants that are not very visable, as they are present under the water. But they can fulfil a useful role in the pond. They absorb nutrients, and can help to reduce the growth of algae in the pond. Calling them oxygenators can be a misnomer as although they produce oxygen during the day, they absorb it again at night. Oxygenation is best achieved using a pond pump.
Planting Depth: up to 18"

Care: These plants are usually purchased in clumps unpotted, and they do best when they are potted into planting containers with aquatic compost and dressed with pea gravel. Depending on the size of the container you should get 3 - 6 bunches per pot. You should have one bunch for every 2sq feet of pond surface.

Cultivation: When the plant becomes too big, simply cut a length off and plant up into a fresh container.
Examples: Anacharis, hornwort, cabomba.

Deep Water Plants - These plants have leaves that float on the surface and roots that are firmly placed in containers on the bottom of the pond. Water lilies are generally the best known aquatic plant. They are available in an enormous assortment of varieties and colours. Other plants like lilies are available.
Planting Depth: Variable up to 3'

Care: These plants should be in water that is at a depth specific to the variety in question. They should be planted in a generously sized container rich in nutrients, the compost should be covered with Pea Gravel and larger stones. If this does not prevent your fish from digging up the compost in their quest for food, then try enclosing the whole container with an old pair of nylons. These plants need regular feeding if they are to flower prolifically throughout the whole season. Dead leaves and flowers should be removed or else they will rot and pollute the water.

Cultivation: The lilies can be propagated by cutting sections from the rhizome, and planting in fresh compost . This should be done when the plant is entering the growing phase, not at the end of the season.
Examples: Many varieties of hardy, tropical, and night blooming lily, also water hawthorn, water fringe, water snowflake, and water poppy.

 



Pond Fish

For many people keeping fish is the main reason for having a pond. There is something intangible yet amazing about seeing fish in a pond, it will give the pond a magnetic draw, and they will become a source of constant pleasure for many years.

Family Name: Cyprinidae (carps and minnows)
Length: Max 30.5cm (12")
Weight: up to 0.9kg (2lb)
Identification: (Asiatic form) greenish when young changing to golden red as an adult, body shape variable, head scaleless, no barbels.
Habitat: Densely weeded lowland rivers, lakes, and ponds.
Breeding: Eggs laid on water plants in June and July, they take 7 -9 days to hatch, the young fish stay attached to the plants.

Note: Goldfish are the most common pondfish. Goldfish are inexpensive and fast growing. They are available in a variety of patterns and body shapes. Goldfish need a pond that has a minimum depth of 18" but a pond closer to 2'6" is more acceptable. However the more unusual varieties are less hardy than the true goldfish

Koi Carp (Cyprinus carpio)


Family Name: Cyprinidae (carps and minnows)
Length: Max 150cm (4' 11")
Weight: up to 36kg (80lb) usually less
Identification: Scaleless head, body can be scaled or unscaled depending on the variety, as can colour , mouth toothless and has two barbels at each side.
Habitat: Large lakes and major rivers in slow flowing lowland areas
Breeding: Late spring in shallow sun warmed areas over dense vegetation. The eggs are attached to the plants.

Note: Koi are the most rewarding of pond fish. They are available in a bewildering selection of varieties. Don't be put off by the Japanese names of the fish or by the high prices that they can fetch. If you see a fish you like in a pattern you like at a price you can afford - buy it. The most important thing is the health of the fish, a £2000 fish can die as easily as a £2 fish. That aside, Koi can grow to 3' if conditions allow, they are fast growers and can consume a lot of food. They are avid rooters in pots and as a result can make the water dirty if an effective filter is not installed. The depth of the pond should be 3' minimum




Winter Pond Management

One of the biggest problems in the Autumn and Winter is when leaves begin to fall from the trees above. If these leaves get in the pond and decay it will throw off the ecological balance of the pond. Remove by using a net to skim the leaves off the surface of the pond.

FISH

As the water temperature falls we should be feeding our fish less as their metabolism slows down. After the water temperature drops you should decrease the amount of food given and feed only once a day. Once the temperature drops below 10 degrees C you should stop feeding altogether. Cold-water fish such as Goldfish and Koi cannot digest food properly below these temperatures. They will happily munch on algae and other natural foods if the water does warm up occasionally.

Do not allow your pond to completely freeze over, make sure you have a small area free from ice, as organics decompose in the pond they can produce toxic gases that can become trapped in the pond if it is covered by ice for more than a few days. Do not break the ice as the shock waves created can damage or kill your fish. Defrost a small area using warm water.

PLANTS

As plants are starting to die back, any dead and dying leaves should be removed,
place plants deep enough in the pond to keep the roots from freezing.

PUMPS & FILTERS

It is advantageous to keep your pump and filter running through the winter. The bacteria in your biological filter will not be active at low temperatures but it will remain alive as long as you keep it supplied with oxygenated water. When spring arrives and the water temperatures begin to rise the bacteria can start to work immediately keeping the water quality healthy for your fish and helping to control the algae. Should you choose to run your filter through the winter it is a good idea to minimize the water circulation.




Pond Feeding Guide

Many, many people only buy one kind of fish food and feed that to their fish all year round. However, this is not necessarily the best option for the fish or your pocket. Pond fish extract different nutrients from their food at a different temperature. In the case of protein the uptake of this nutrient is limited during the cooler months and much higher during the hot summer temperatures. Foods have now been developed with this in mind and Wheatgerm foods which are low in protein but more easily digested, have been developed for Autumn, Winter and Spring feeding; whilst growth foods, which are high in protein are available for summer months. Below is a rough guide of what to feed and when.


You should only feed your fish enough food to allow them to feed for five minutes. Any more will be wasted and end up as waste in the pond. If a fish is fed until it is full, 30% of fish food will come straight out as waste. The five minute feed can be given four or five times a day, at regular times during the day in the summer months.

Pond Feeding Guide
food type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec min temp
Growth                         10degC
Staple                         8degC
Wheatgerm                         5degC
Pond Stick                         8degC
Flake                         8degC
Sinking                         10degC



Fish Health

ICH - White spot disease. Any parasitic infection is usually easy to cure if treated quickly with an effective dose of copper. If the dosage is too low, not all parasites are killed and re-infection results. If treatment is delayed, the parasites may become so numerous that they choke the gills and the fish suffocates or the fish becomes so weak it cannot recover. Treatment should continue for at least 4 days and a good rule of thumb is to treat the system every day until no sign of infection is visible, then treat one more day.
Signs of a parasite infestation are:
1. Visible spots, usually white. 2. Rapid or heavy breathing. Some parasites will attack the gills before any can be seen on the fins or body, and the fish may die from suffocation. 3. Scratching. If a fish constantly rubs against objects in the system and looks like he is trying to dislodge something, he is probably trying to rub something off and it is probably parasitic.

OODINIUM: This is actually a form of algae parasitic on fishes.
ANCHOR WORMS: These are easily visible and look like little sticks about 1/4" long protruding from the body or fins. They are firmly attached and when pulled out may hold onto a piece of flesh.
FISH LICE: Are crustacean parasites with similar treatment as per anchor worms. They are about one quarter inch flattened discs with rasping mouth parts and hook-armored legs capable of damaging fins and skin.
LYMPHOCYSTIS: This is a virus that lives off of impurities in the water while attached to a fish. It does not live off the fish like ICH, but may kill indirectly by interfering with gill movement, swimming ability, or eating.
BACTERIA: Bacteria grow erratically and are often white or milky in appearance. A bacteria infection may be localized or may be evident on several areas of the fish. Bacteria infections are likely to be found in or around open sores or any area where the fish has lost it's protective slime coating.
FUNGUS: Fungus spreads evenly, starting from a central point and growing in an outward pattern. Several areas may grow outward until they overlap and give the appearance of a bacteria infection. Fungus is white with a velvety or even hairy appearance. It is most likely to be found on the mouth, eyes, or tips of the fins.
POPEYE: This is a symptom, not a disease caused by a specific organsim. It is manifested by swelling behind the eye(s), or in the eye(s). The swelling may be caused by many factors but is most commonly caused by bacteria.
SWIM BLADDER DISEASE: The swim bladder is the organ which allows a fish to stay at any level in the water column without sinking or floating. The swim bladder may fail from damage by bacteria, parasites, genetic faults, or blows and/or bruises. When the swim bladder fails to function the fish loses it's ability to swim normally and may swim sideways or even upside down.
DROPSY: Dropsy is a name given to any disease that causes a fish to swell so much that the scales no longer lay flat against the body of the fish. By looking down on a fish you can easily spot a case of dropsy.
SUFFOCATION: Rapid breathing or gulping near the top of the tank may mean a fish is not getting enough oxygen. This may be caused by:
1. No air circulation. 2. Temperature is too high. 3. The water surface is covered. 4. Parasites. 5. Overmedication burning gills, rupturing blood cells, causing too much mucus production.
BRAIN DAMAGE: Fish may show any unusual symptoms. This should be only offered as a diagnosis after all other possibilities have been ruled out. Erratic, jerky swimming or spinning are common signs of brain damage. Brain damage can be caused by parasites, bruising (concussion), high or low temperatures, or toxins.
TOXINS: Symptoms look the same as brain damage, but all or most of the fish in the system are affected at once. Spinning is the most frequent sign of a toxin.

OPEN SORES: These can be caused by:
1. PH that is too high or low. 2. Scraping on rocks or other objects. 3. Bites. 4. Parasites. 5. Internal infections reaching the outside. 6. Net damage during handling.




Koi Fish Anatomy

Eyes - The eyes are just forward of the gills. Koi can see in two directions at same time - to either side of the body as well as above or below on each side.

Nostrils - The nostrils are just forward and slightly above the eyes. The nostrils are used purely for scent.

Barbel - The barbels located are located on the upper lip of the koi and contain many sense receptors to help locate food.

Gills - Gills have a similar function to the lungs. The gills are served by a series of fine blood vessels. As the water passes over the gills, oxygen is absortbed through the blood vessels and then transported directly to the body. Carbon Dioxide is return to the water via the gills.

Fin (Pectorial) - The pectorial fins are paired and located on the lower sides of the koi. They can be used to rotate the koi almost on the same axis, this is done by one fin working in the other direction to the other. The also act as the main braking fins, they achived this by placing the fins out to provide a large surface area to the water. They also use them when looking for food to stir up the bottom.

Liver - The liver helps remove waste from the blood and controls the use of digested food. It also produces bile which is used in the digestion and absorption of fat.

Gall Bladder - Located just below the liver, the Gall Bladder stores bile and releases it to help with digestion.

Fin (Pelvic) - The pelvic or ventral fins are paired and located on the lower sides of the koi approx mid body. The pelvic fins enable the koi tp rise or descend as it swims, you could say they act as hydrofoils.

Spleen - The spleen produces lymph cells (a yellow fuild consisting mostly of blood plasma and white blood ceels) and stores red blood cells.

Repoductive organs - The internal sex organs of the male are the testes and the ovaries of the female. In both the male and female they are located below the swimbladder. Eggs and sperm exit the boby via the gonopores which is located just in front of the urinary opening. The gonopores are connect by the gonoduct.

Anal Pore - The anal pore is located just forward of the anal fin. The waste products of the koi's digestive system are expelled via the anal pore. Water in the form of urine is also expelled via the anal pore.

Urinary Bladder - The urinary bladder plays an important part for the koi. As the salt content of the koi is higher then that of the water in which it lives the koi's body is continually taking in water which tries to equalize the salt concentation, this is known as osmosis. As a result of this process the koi must release the excess water, otherwise it would blow up like a balloon.
Anal Fin - The anal fin located just forward of the tail and is primary for stabilisation.

Caudal or Tail - The caudal (tail) acts as the koi's rudder and can be used to gain maximum speed/thrust.

Kidney

Swim Bladder - The swimbladder, located just below the backbone consists of 2 different size chambers. Fish adjust their position by inflating or deflating these chambers, this changes the density relative to the surrounding water. In conjunction with the auditory system it controls the fishes orientation, level at which they swim etc.

Dorsal Fin - The dorsal fin located on the top of the koi is the major stabilizing fin. It works in a similar fashion to a keel on a ship by keeping the koi upright. Koi can lower the dorsal fin to create a more streamlined effect when the koi needs to move at faster speeds.

Lateral Line - The lateral line runs roughly along the mid-body of the koi. The lateral line is a row of special pores that open into a channel which runs to the head and brain of the koi. The channel is filled with a viscous solution which is extremly sensitive to vibrations in the water.

Ears - Fish have internal ears that repsond to vibrations within the water. The auditory canal is connected to swin bladder and is used for balance.

Mouth - The mouth of Koi are located in an inferior position - not quite at the tip of the head but slightly below. This indicates that it has bottom feeding habits.

Colour - The colour variations in koi is determined by the amount of guanin cells (reflective tissue) in the skin below the scales (dermis). The guanin cells contain waste by-products of the bodies metabolism. The outlayer (epidermis) cells contain colour pigments, these are Erythrophores (contain red or orange pigment granules), Melanophores (contain the black pigment melanin), Xyanthophores (contain yellow pigment granules). Their placement in the skin will determine the colour of a koi. The more complete the guanin cell layer, the more metalic the apperance of the koi as and if this layer is partially or completly missing more colour are visable deeper.

Mucus Layer - The mucus layer covers the entire external area of the koi. The mucus layer provides protection for bacteria and fungus and gives the koi there slippery feel. It is therefore important that you hands are wet before handing koi, to ensure that the mucus layer is not damaged.
Digestive System - The digestive system of koi is more or less like that of any higher animals but differs from many as the koi doesn't have a stomach as such. Food enters via the mouth and is crudly crushed by the pharyngeal teeth (bony projections from the gill supports). From there it passed into esophagus and then into the intestines. The anterior part of the in intestines are swollen and look a lot like a stomach. The intestines long and coiled, usually 4-5 times the length of the koi. The is due to the fact the the vegetable matter eaten by the koi require more time within the body to be broken down so that the goodness is released. The intestines exit the body at the anal pore.

Nervous System - The nervous system of a koi consists of optic and other sensory nerves that radiate from the head. Fine fibers at the nerve endings transmit and receive message to the koi's brain, which is relatively simple. The koi's spinal cord helps protect the central nervous system which extends to all parts of the boby.

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