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New pond- winter's comin- now what?

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by Kevjenty, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. Kevjenty

    Kevjenty LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    Pond (1600 gal) is finally in. What now? What type plants for the fall/winter? When can I put in fish- I have a UV filter by the way Ecoclear sytem I believe. Anyway- Just some ideas would be much appreciated- ex- when will chlorine be removed- or do I put in a remover?? Again- WHAT NOW??
    Thanks to all :drinkup:
  2. Victor

    Victor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,430

    Hi Kev.... I'd forget about the plants untill spring. It's great that you have the pond up and running, but unfortunately, you're going to have to wait untill spring rolls around to get any floral benefit from it.

    If you go to a pet store, you'll find several different dechlorinators you could use to remove the chlorine from your pond. Follow the instructions on the bottle and you'll be good to go.

    I'd wait to put the fish in if I were you. I'd let the pond "cycle" for at least a week before I even thought about putting fish in it. That way you'll have time to watch for problems like leaks. Fixing a problem like a leak is so much easier when you don't have fish in your pond to worry about.

    When your pond is ready for fish, just put a couple in there to start with. That way your pond won't be biologically overloaded.

    With winter coming on, you'll need to winterize your pond. I'm not sure how cold it can get down there, but if there's a threat of your water freezing, I'd highly recommend draining your pond down to the point where no water will be in your pipes, U/V, nor pumps and taking the last two aforementioned items inside your house. Another way to handle it, would be to do what I do for winter. I build a green house over my pond. Just make ensure that you cover every last part of your pond, including any buried plumbing. That way you can enjoy your pond all winter.

    There are many ways to build your green house, but I've found that the best way for me to do it, is with 1/2" galvanized pipe. It's super strong, it comes in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10 foot lengths. It's also threaded on the ends. There are also a miriad of fittings for it. You can get tees, 4-way cross fittings, 90 degree and 45 degree fittings and a lot of other fittings for it. For green house plastic. I buy what's called "over wintering plastic." It's designed to last for 1 year in a green house setting. That fact saves you a lot of money over normal green house plastic.

    If any of you guys with ponds would like to know how to make a strong, dependable green house like this to shelter your pond with, let me know and I'll post detailed directions on here for you.

    Good luck with your new pond Kev. I can't wait to see pics.

  3. Kevjenty

    Kevjenty LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    I always read your post and you go above and beyond w/ your answers.

    1. A green house will not work (though a great idea) due to the fact it is in the front corner of my house- a focal point and a grenhouse would not be allowed in front (wife).

    2. I will let the pond cycle a couple of weeks and then add some fish.

    3. It does get cold here in Nashville (some single digits) so I will clean out pump/and uv pipes.

    4. BTW I have notice some green forming on the bottom of the pond already. It does get sun most of the day. I have a uv so the water is clear, but what can I do about the green on bottom-or is that normal?

    Thanks again-
  4. Victor

    Victor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,430

    I can definitely understand about the pond being in a highly visable area. I can't say I blame you for not wanting to put a green house up.

    Be sure to take your pumps and U/V inside the house for the winter. They'll be in good shape that way for next spring. You'll thank yourself for letting your pond "cycle" (run for a period of time to enable you to check for proper flow, leaks and other problems). for a while before putting any fish in. Remember that you can have a biological filtration system installed on your pond that's rated for a 10,000 gallon koi pond, but if you put too many fish in your pond before that filter, or the pond has had a chance to "cycle" (in other words, build up a sufficient amount of nitrifying bacteria) you will still run the risk of having unsafe levels of ammonia and nitrites in your water.

    It sounds like suspended algae is starting to build up. Depending on your flow, suspended algae has a tendency to build up at the lower levels of your pond. Most people don't seem to notice it building up at this early stage. I've seen ponds in this stage one day, where the top half of the pond was clear and the next day when you see the pond. Boom! Pea soup city! You've got an algae bloom on your hands.

    You were very wise to incorporate a U/V sterilizer in your pond's design Kevin. Preventing algae blooms is one of the important things a U/V is supposed to do for a pond. Unfortunately, if the U/V isn't rated for the size of the pond you can still wind up with algae blooms. You can also have a properly sized U/V on your pond and still have blooms if you aren't flowing the proper amount of water through the U/V. Remember that when you're dealing with a U/V sterilizer Kevin, or a filtration system, "dwell time" is very important. If you flow too much water through either one of these two types of systems, the water won't be exposed to the ultra violet light (in a sterilizer) long enough for the bacteria, protozoans, nor suspended algae to be killed. Flow water through your filter too quickly and the nitrifying bacteria won't have enough time to biologically clean the water.

    If you don't have enough flow going through either one of these two components, you're not cleaning enough of your pond water per unit time to keep ahead of it's pollution build up. You know.... It's the same thing as bailing water Kevin. You'd better be able to bail that water out of your boat quicker than it's coming in, or you're gonna go swimmin'.

    It sounds like you're on the right track and I sure can't wait untill you can post pics of your pond on here so I can see what a great job you did on it.

  5. Kevjenty

    Kevjenty LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    Wow- thanks again for the info- I'm glad it stays on the site for others to see as well-
    I have approx 1650 gals in the pond. I have a Titan 2100 gph pump with an Ecoclear UV system matched for that size. I was told the 1450 titan was too small and this is the one to go with?? I hope- In the meantime, how can I kill the green starting to stick to the liner? I'm going to Kalifornication (LA) for a week, so when I get back, I hope I don't have pea :realmad: soup!
  6. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    Kev, your pond is approximately the same size as mine but we have slightly different components. I have a large 50-gallon biofilter and skimmer box with perhaps some filtration being done by a small bog garden, but I don’t have a UV filter. My water remains crystal clear, even with fish, but typically I’ll always have some string algae growth on the rocks and gravel. Algae likes sunlight, so do water plants. In the springtime try to get some hardy water lilies which in time will cover about half of your pond and look beautiful. They will reduce the algae and provide shelter for your fish.

    I’d really be careful about getting fish and putting them outside in cold water. Actually, I’d wait until spring because their immune system decreases in cold water and they can succumb to diseases much more easily. If the water temperature gets down to about 55 degrees they’ll go into a hibernation mode, and at that point you shouldn’t feed them at all.

    Oh… and if your pond is going to be a koi pond, then you will probably want to install a good biofilter in line. The UV light will help with the suspended algae; a biofilter with the health of the pond – and fish.

    Victor’s greenhouse sure sounds like the cats meow.
  7. Kevjenty

    Kevjenty LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    Hey Critical Care-

    What can I do to remove the green from the bottom of pond for a quick fix. I just returned from L.A. and it's much greener than it was-
  8. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    Last winter I drained and cleaned my pond, and after I started it back up in the spring there was a pretty rapid bloom of algae. The water was fine, but quite a bit of growth on the rocks. After the water plants began to grow then the algae growth slowed down as well. I've never used chemicals yet to control the algae but I did have a client that had success with Cutrine. Here's a bit of info about it:


    By the way, I have a toilet bowl brush stuck in the end of a length of pvc which I use to pick up any strings of algae. I also have a pond vac, but any clumps of algae will clog it up.
  9. Victor

    Victor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,430

    I'm sorry I took so long to get back with you. Is the algae that's growing in your pond string algae (bad), or is it just normal algae (sticks to liner, but doesn't grow out into open water like string algae does)? If it's normal pond algae, then I'd leave it alone. It's good to have it there. If it's string algae, then I'd be unhappy.

    Although it's tempting to drain your pond dry in the winter, I'd strongly recommend against that. There's no way I'd ever let anyone do that to my pond. I'll give you two good reasons for not doing this and let you decide.

    #1 Ground Water
    If you have ground water in the soil at the base of your pond, it's constanly putting pressure on your liner (trying to run in between your liner and the floor of the hole you dug to throw your liner in. What's the only thing keeping this ground water from being able to squeeze in between your liner and the floor of your excavation? The weight of your pond water. If you drain all of your pond water out, that ground water will run right in. Once it is under your liner, not only will your liner will bubble up and look bad, but you can also run into other problems. Your liner can be pulled out of place where it is sandwiched into bottom drain flanges for example. Once ground water gets under your liner, it can be very difficult to get out.

    #2 Nitrifying Bacteria
    When winter time temps cool the pond water to a certain point, your fish will go dormant (stop eating). When the fish stop eating, the stop urinating and deficating in your pond. Well...not only do your fish go dormant in these cold temps, but the nitrifying bacteria in your pond goes dormant too. As you can see. Throughout the winter, NEITHER YOUR FISH, NOR YOUR NITRIFYING BACTERIA ARE DEAD. In the spring time, when water temps raise, both your fish and your helpful bacteria come out of dormancy. When the bacteria come out of dormancy, it's not long before they are back to full strength (keeping your pond clean). This way, as the fish start getting their appetites back, the bacteria are able to keep up with them. As the fish start producing waste again, the bacteria are able to process it. Since algae loves ammonia, a pond that's high in ammonia is a great breeding ground for guess what? This is the reason why new ponds often have algae blooms and other problems with algae. The same can be said for an established pond that has been drained in the fall and filled back up in the spring. When you drained all of your water, you removed, or killed all of that wonderful nitrifying bacteria. In essense, your biological filtering system has to start all over (just like a new pond would). That's why a pond that's drained in the fall and filled in the spring almost always has algae problems in the spring.

    So....you can do what you want to do, but no one's going to drain my pond. Never ever drain your pond, unless it's absolutely necessary.

    I hope this helped you Kevin.

  10. Kevjenty

    Kevjenty LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    I WILL NOT drain the pond. It has the algae on sides and bottom only- no string algae- so this is Good!! :D

    I will not add fish or plants until spring- I will let the pond "cycle" until then- well I have had some frogs move in- but anyway I'll wait til spring.

    For asthetic (sp) purposes, do you recommend the blue water look? I'm not sure the name, but the water gets very blue and may look better than the green look- esp w/out plants or fish- if I add blue- how long will it last?

    Thanks again!

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