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Old 16th March 2017, 11:30 PM   #646
Ratzz
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Location: Cheltenham East 3192
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Originally Posted by AgB deano View Post
Before any of the following short essay response, does anyone have any basic plants they are willing to trade/swap, etc? LFS is either full of snails or rotting from lack of light, both at a premium price.

I'm after basic stuff and not a whole lot, anything that will tolerate low light until I improve the lighting on the tank. Java fern and java moss would be great, i can't source that locally at all. Please PM me or post, it'd be greatly appreciated

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With your current fish dying, i've a feeling it's the bacterial balance. A basic water testing kit will give you plenty of clues for that. You've got a filter which will help but if the pond is pretty bare, there won't be much surface area for the bacteria you need, given the plastic lining and lack of plants. I'd consider a river stone substrate (easier to clean), do a third water change weekly for a while and buy some of the water bacteria balance crap - it does work and will stablise your pond quicker. If you want a good dechlorinator and something that knocks out nitrites and ammonia, seachem prime is good. You will still need to do water changes though.

That aside, if it's a stable pond, so a balance has been achieved with the wildlife/fish/plants/insects/water, i reckon there are plenty of catfish species that would survive melbourne winters. Corydoras for example, they can be a hardy bunch temp wise but it's got to be a stable environment.

In winter, you'd probably need to cover the pond with very thin clear plastic (creating a greenhouse) just above the water line to retain more residual heat and eliminate wind chill (the right term?) and consider a water heater. The issue of course is oxygen/co2 and the thickness of the plastic and where it's positioned. It'll throw off the balance for your plants if it was sealed so you wouldn't want to completely cover it, just cover it enough that it's got a pocket of hot air. If it's too thick, it'll probably impede the lower chlorophyll spectrum of light but i'm not certain there - the stuff I used was professional greenhouse plastic, very good stuff. If it's too high above the water, the reduced light will mean less light penetration into the water for your plants. Personally, I had it about 5cm above the water line.

You'd also want better filtration, I'd setup an external canister filter myself and forget powerheads. Canisters are better in every way, from more bacteria (given you use good media) and are way easier to clean. Set the return spray bar just above the waterline and you're good.

Lastly, you would NEVER want to use any crap like algae cleaner. If nothing else, remember this. If you get an algae bloom in summer, put shadecloth over the pond. The algae cleaner will nuke all greenery in your pond, completely fucking up any semblance of balance you had.

My experience in the matter? I had a couple of outdoor ponds with a rental years ago, one of which had mosquito then frog spawn every single year, so I had a lot of native frogs around the house (they would be on the windows eating insects in the warmer months) and a ~400l pond with goldfish that were happy to spawn every year. Cleaned the filter and siphoned out half the water every few months, fed them twice a week with pellets. Pond was exactly that, a pond. Full of bugs, insects and everything else that kept the fish fed. During the winters which would involve 0 degree water at worst and ice forming on it, that greenhouse idea worked brilliantly. worst I saw was around 5 degrees on a -8 morning. Shadecloth in the summer, water got into the high 20's, algae was there but not murky.

As for plants, I recall having not a whole lot in that pond. DO NOT put in duckweed, it'll block the light for other plants and you'll never get rid of the shit. Java moss in clumps (yep, survived the winters), water lettuce, lillies and anubias iirc. I had one anubia that was huge by my standards. Mother root was around 30cm long. Damn shame the leaves don't do well out of the water. I miss that plant

Anyway, bit of a rant, I hope it has helped.

I lost a couple of fish early in the project, but haven't lost any since. Dunno what happened there, but they all seem active and healthy now.

I stick 10ml of dechlorinator in it every 4th time I top it up. I lose about 1/3 of the visible water level a week.. 70 litres or so? so I top it up once a week and it gets the dechlorinator once a month. Apart from that, there is a slow release block thing under the rocks that is supposed to promote good bacteria/algae/whatever. The rocks are about 50mm deep except for the pump end, where its more like 350mm deep.

The pump with a bigass filter is in a deep depression on the opposite end of the pond from the water feature. You can see where the filter is by where the weed is gathered.. the weed quantity was recently doubled, I need to add some more vegetation, the weed is pretty boring, and I might try anchoring some further away from the pump so it all isn't in one place.

The fish like the end where the water feature is, lots of little hiding places in there.. and the lining itself is kinda deliberately sagging in a few places to give a few little ledge like areas to hide under.

The liner is 4mm thick, has no problem holding the surrounding sand in place, and its suspended over a framework of 50mm PVC pipe to keep the top level and above the surrounding Scoria. The liner only goes about 150mm past the edge of the pond, pegged into the sand below and covered in scoria.

There is basically nothing but sand and agg pipe under the scoria, which is a good thing because the (gutterless) eave above the pond drops the rain straight into the scoria, where it magically disappears forever.

Before I even put fish in it, the local moggies were stalking the pond, hence the overkill with the cover. They've clearly come across ponds before
That and it nicely hides the top of the liner, and is easily just lifted away for maintenance. The moggies still hang around, I see cat prints all the time, but they haven't managed to get any

I've found a lot of useful info in your post, thanks

Here's my pond.. the water feature has changed somewhat to reduce water loss and evaporation. Ill do another video soon..

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Last edited by Ratzz; 16th March 2017 at 11:35 PM.
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