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#1 Steve Burke

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 12:23 PM

Having finished renovating and extending our cottage we're left with a bare back garden.  As many of you will know I'm very keen on wildlife and run Wingham not just as a fishery but also as a nature reserve.  The idea is to create a mini nature reserve in our garden.

 

My first thought is to start with a pond and then add the garden after that so to speak.  However I'm a complete beginner with garden ponds and so could do with a lot of advice.

 

The pond would eventually have fish, but it wouldn't be a must right from the beginning as it would be for the benefit of all wildlife.  I'd like it to be as natural as possible, so was thinking of using a liner to create a somewhat irregular shape of about 4m x 3m.

 

I'd like it to be low maintenance as I've got 170 acres to look after at Wingham and that's now becoming a full time job!

 

Any advice would be gratefully received, especially with regard to exactly what to buy and where to buy it from.

 

 


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#2 wotnobivvy

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 01:35 PM

I would first make a plan of how the finished garden will look. This will ensure you have access to all parts easily without have to tread on or across bits. We have a number of bark paths for that. If you can incorporate a stream, you can incorporate pools where birds can wash and drink.

A small waterfall will also help to aerate the water. I stopped using pumps with fountains as the nozzles get blocked and you end up with one free nozzle which because of the pressure will give one spout which can empty the pond very quickly.

Make sure the pond is deep enough (3-4 feet) to allow the eventual fish to survive a winter.

Do not put carp in as you will always have a muddy pond

Incorporate some ledges for marginal plants

If using a liner you can let the grass grow done to the edge, and have a small boggy area

Get a water testing kit and make sure the readings are good after you put plants in before introducing fish

If small children are likely visitors make sure it is safe for them

No doubt others will be along with filtration ideas, but both my pump and filter come from Oase, and have had no problems. The pump automatically slows down in low temperatures

 

Good luck and hope to see piccies as you go along


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#3 Phone

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 01:59 PM

Steve,

 

Dig a hole (sort of damaged kidney shape) a foot or two deeper than you want the finished pond to be.  Add 6 inches of mud and toss in a 100 or so Israeli carp.

 

Phone

(Ohh, I am a lilly freak.  They can be spaced out by variety to bloom all season.)



#4 Steve Walker

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 02:29 PM

First thing is to define what you want to achieve. Natural ponds are seldom clear all year, have a relatively low biomass of fish, modest external nutrient flows and are essentially transient features of the landscape - there is a natural succession of plants as they gradually go back to the land. Most pond owners want clear water, lots of well fed fish and not to have their ponds gradually turn into a willow grove! The question is, how natural do you want the pond to be, how interventionist do you want to be?

You don't necessarily need filtration. You will need it if;

* You want to keep above the natural biomass of fish your pond can support.
* You want to (significantly) feed your fish
* You want reliably clear water all year round.
* You want moving water (well, you could just have a pump, but you may as well add a filter).

If you are going to have filtration and you want minimal maintenance, there is an awful lot to be said for creating a gravity fed filter with the pump on the clean side of it.

Wildlife ponds need shallow sloping margins for access - saucer shaped. Fish ponds tend to have steeply shelving margins for maximum volume and hard formal edging. You can of course incorporate both areas, with care. An extensive sloping and well planted bog area gives you a nice natural transition from wet to dry, and also provides habitat where the amphibians and insects can shelter from the fish that the frog botherers will tell you that you must not stock in your wildlife pond (but you will anyway). The animals which will appreciate your shallow sloping edges for access include frogs, newts, hedgehogs, bathing songbirds and herons and next door's cat on their fishing trips. This might be an issue if you have ornamental fish you know by name, perhaps less so if you have lots of rudd and sticklebacks.

I think a heavily planted, unfiltered, unfed pond, about 3 feet deep in the middle with an extensive and heavily planted bog garden area on at least one side, lots of surface cover from water lilies and a modest population of small native species would be fairly low maintenance - though as you know well, with aquatic plants the first task is getting them to take and the second is spending the rest of your life hacking them back!

Edited by Steve Walker, 04 October 2013 - 02:30 PM.


#5 Phone

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 09:19 PM

Steve and Steve,

 

Guess you didn't like my idea?

 

Phone



#6 Steve Walker

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 09:22 PM

I chuckled :)

You missed out the next step, though - fill it with earth and plant your beans in it!

Edited by Steve Walker, 04 October 2013 - 09:23 PM.


#7 Dave H

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 04:08 PM

Are you using wild flowers Steve i know you are fond of them?



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#8 Steve Burke

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 04:31 PM

Many thanks one and all.

 

Would the following be a good buy?  http://www.pondkeepe...15000-set/p1961 ?

 

The liner is slightly bigger than we need, but it'll enable us to cut it down to an irregular shape.

 

I rather like the sound of the self-cleaning filter, but is this just a gimmick?


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#9 Steve Walker

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 06:03 PM

I'm a bit sceptical about that filter too. It's a clever idea, it uses the water pressure to push a piston down and squeeze the filter sponges, but I'm not that convinced that would really work. Also, to my eyes it looks large enough for a very large indoor aquarium or a very small outdoor pond.

These guys weren't too impressed, though they will be running systems which really need decent filtration:

http://www.koimag.co...00-t120626.html

This is how it is meant to work:



The last filter I built included three 50-100 litre coldwater expansion tanks - now that was for a large, deep koi pond, and it had two tanks full of filter brushes for solids removal and biological filtration and one full of gravel and plastic filter media for purely biological filtration. Overkill for what you want, I think, but a home-built system of a smaller scale using similar plumbing components would be the direction I would tend to take with these things. To my mind, something the size of a bucket seems unlikely to add a significant biologically available surface area to a large pond, though it may be reasonably effective in removing suspended solids.

Are you bothered about never having green water? You can completely eliminate algal blooms with an ultra violet clarifier, if you so wish, though you need decent solids removal with it.

#10 Steve Burke

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 09:16 AM

Thanks, Steve.

 

I'd like the water to be fairly clear just to be able to observe the wildlife, that may or may not include fish.

 

I'm not going to have much spare time so I'd prefer to buy an off the shelf package that would be quick to instal, plus be low maintenance.  Cost would also be a factor.

 

Any suggestions anyone?


Wingham Specimen Coarse & Carp Syndicates www.winghamfisheries.co.uk  Beautiful, peaceful, little fished gravel pit syndicates in Kent with very big fish. 2017 Forum Fish-In Sat May 6 to Mon May 8. Articles http://www.anglersne.../steveburke.htm  Index of all my articles on Angler's Net

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