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Koi pond update

Posted by Joyce Clark on April 25, 2016
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It has been 18 years and 129 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Koi Pond April, 2016

Koi Pond April, 2016

This month we celebrated the fifth year of our Koi pond. We left the shade screen over the top all winter and it didn’t seem to hurt. So we will leave it up until it deteriorates. So far we have used it for 2 years and it is holding up well.

I discovered that the Taro plant is an invasive as the Yerba Mansa. This week we removed the all of the Taro on the left side of the pond. We discover runners that had

Koi Pond April, 2016

Koi Pond April, 2016

burrowed under the pond’s rubber liner and removed it all. We are leaving a small patch of Taro on the right. If it starts to become too invasive and we can’t control it, we will remove it as well.

I also removed a large tub of Iris in the center of the pond. It didn’t bloom this year and its height impeded a comfortable view of the large waterfall and pond. Once again, I left a smaller patch of Iris that sits in a pot on top of the fish shelter. It bloomed profusely this year with at least two dozen blooms. Beautiful!

IMG_0069 A

Water lily, Koi Pond, April, 2016

We added a funky wrought iron flower sculpture in the island between the small waterfall and the pond. It added a splash of color where it was sorely needed. We also added

Iris in bloom, Koi Pond, April, 2016

Iris in bloom, Koi Pond, April, 2016

a yellow hibiscus, yellow canna lily and some small plants, some with red flowers and some with yellow flowers to add more color to the island. Alas, the large Agave rotted and died. We decided not to replace it as it made it too difficult to maneuver on the island.

Our external, four barrel adjunct filter system is doing a fantastic job. It just keeps chugging along and keeps the water quite clear. I still add a mesh, laundry bag of barley to the pond every month or two. As the barley decays it releases a substance that kills algae.

The Koi are doing very well.  They have grown a great deal. Some of them are now 4 years old. We have about 30 of them and even though they are fed commercial Koi

Koi Pond, April, 2016

Koi Pond, April, 2016

food once a day, they spend a great deal of time foraging on algae that persists on the submerged rocks. I also periodically (when I think about it) make a small ball of bentonite clay, throw it on a pot shelf and watch the Koi attack it. They seem to love it.

From time to time, not frequently, I do use some Algae Fix to keep the level of algae down. We also spend some time hand removing string algae. It seems to love the small stream that meanders around a portion of the pond.

There is always maintenance: trimming of the vegetation surrounding the pond, removal of decaying lily leaves and removing string algae. But all is a labor of love.

Koi Feeding time

Koi Feeding time

This time of year, March and April, is Arizona’s spring, with several days of flirtation in the 90’s. Everything is in bloom, vibrant and colorful. This time of year we spend a great deal of time outside, enjoying Koi antics.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

It has been 17 years and 217 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

I haven’t done an update on the pond in awhile and it seemed like a good time to share how it and the Koi are doing. It’s early August and HOT. I was in the pond last week doing some trimming and cleanup work with the pond plants. Surprisingly, the water is much cooler than the ambient air temperature and the fish seem to enjoy it.

The pond in August

The pond in August

I am convinced that the shade cover is doing its job. The shade cover, the UV light, the barley bale and a very occasional dose of Algae Fix are keeping the algae down considerably. I’ve blogged about the shade cover and the UV light previously but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the barley bale or the use of Algae Fix.

A year ago I ordered 2 barley bales online for about $40. I didn’t realize they would last as long as they have. It took a year to use up one barley bale. The purpose of the barley is that it

Spring Spider Lily

Spring Spider Lily

retards algae formation. I take a mesh laundry bag (you can get them at a Dollar store for $1 each), fill it with barley straw and then insert it all into a second mesh bag. Add a string for easy retrieval and anchor the string around a rock. At first the barley mesh bag floats for about a week. Eventually it gets water logged and sinks to the bottom. As the barley decomposes it releases a natural chemical that retards algae development. The barley will virtually disappear over time. When the bag is empty I pull it and refill. I use barley in Arizona in the spring, summer and fall.

As for the Algae Fix I use it sparingly. In May the algae went wild and I was hand pulling pounds of it out of the pond daily. Yes, daily. I finally realized that I would need to use something to get a handle on the algae situation. I used the Algae Fix every 3 days as directed over two weeks. The algae disappeared considerably…not all of it but a good 80%. In July I started to put a cup in once a week and it has kept it under control. I still hand pull algae but not every day and not in the copious quantities I had been pulling.

I have tried to grow Lotus in the pond with absolutely no luck. First I got some Lotus seeds. I successfully got them to sprout, waited for them to grow and

gain strength. I then planted them in pots and set them in the pond. Every plant died. I have no clue as to why. I then ordered two Lotus plants and potted them this spring. Guess what? They died as well. I guess this pond is never destined to enjoy Lotus. I also ordered two Spider Lilly plants. They have done well and bloomed this spring.

The lilies are all blooming…yellow ones, blue ones, red ones and peach ones. As I write this I realize that I have no white lilies. Hmmm, maybe next spring. Our Snowflake plants have small, white flowers and grow like weeds. I find

Lillies and more lillies

Lillies and more lillies

culling Snowflake and Water Lettuce all the time. Both plants are very, very prolific and would take over the pond if I let them. The same can be said for Yerba Manza and my Taro plants. I finally ripped out the Yerba Manza but there is still one patch left that I will dispose of. The Taro has multiplied and now resides in two spots in the pond. The Iris is finished for the year and I have cut the leaves back so that they don’t obstruct the view within the pond.

Even though temperatures are soaring in Arizona the pond is happy and healthy and so are the Koi. We still sit outside every evening after dinner, feed the Koi and enjoy their antics. The pond has given us countless hours of enjoyment and well worth our investment.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Koi pond March 12, 2015

Koi pond
March 12, 2015

Arizona is experiencing a really, really early spring. Today it is 87 degrees and the weather is beautiful. February was the second warmest on record for the state. March looks as if it will be the same.

one fish

Butterfly Koi, white and gold

The pond lillies are starting to grow new leaves. The Iris are getting ready to bloom…and there is plenty of string algae.

I have found the best way to get rid of most of it is simply to pick it out manually. I have also started using peroxide and and Koi Clay once a week to get rid of the string algae I cannot get. You can get a quart of peroxide at WalMart for 88 cents. I get six at a time and dump all six quarts into the pond. It doesn’t hurt the fish.

The Koi Clay I got online at Amazon for $10. A little (6 teaspoons) goes a long way.The Koi love it. Where ever I put it in the pond they all covy up and eat away. It doesn’t harm them and is supposed to

More Koi March 12, 2015

More Koi
March 12, 2015

be good for them by replenshing minerals, enhancing their immune systems and their coloring. I just started so time will tell. I am also using — of all things — kitty litter with no perfumes or dyes. WalMart has a 25 lb. bag for $4. The really cheap kitty litters are pure bentonite clay. It acts as a flocculent, binding with debris which then settles on the bottom. I’m trying to use only natural remedies because they don’t harm the fish and I learned my lesson about adding chemicals to the pond.

In the next couple of weeks the Koi should start spawning. I made myself some DIY spawing mats. The directions were online. I went to the trusty WalMart and got the cheapest, thickest yarn I could find for $4. Then I went to the local drug store and got 4 travel size plastic bottles for $4. Cut the yarn to lengths of your choice. I went

Four spawning mats

Four spawning mats

with 20 inch lengths. Put together about 24 of them, fold them over the bottle and secure with a plastic zip tie. I made 4 of them, attached string to them (so that I can retrieve them easily) and strung them across the pond. I also obtained a square, breeding net. If I have any success I will put the Koi eggs in the breeding net that will be anchored to the side of the pond. It’s just another experiment. We’ll see if it works.

I will be doing a water change this weekend. We will drain about a third of the pond water and replace it. I plan to spend the next few weeks cleaning up plant debris from the landscaping around the pond. Believe it or not we did have a few nights of frost. I got lazy this year and did not cover up the plants. I will pay for it by trimming dead foliage. Once that work is done bring on the summer. The pond is ready.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

I thought I would do a quick update of the pond now that it is July of 2014 and we are in the throes of monsoon season. The shade cover has been up since May and is doing its job. It has stretched and when it is taken down this year there will be work to do to tighten it up.

fish in pond

Fish waiting to be fed

The fish are all doing well despite a recent heron scare. I feed them once a day around 3 PM. For several months they have taken to massing together and following me as I walk along the pond’s edge until I feed them.

Water lettuce and lilies

Water lettuce amongst the lily pads

What has really amazed me is the plant growth both in and out of the water. On our last trip to California I purchased a few, maybe half a dozen, water lettuce plants. I threw them in the pond and they took off. The lettuce has proliferated so much that the other day, I scooped about half of the plants out and threw them away. It was getting to be too much and the lettuce was crowding the water lilies and snowflake plants out. I suspect that I will be periodically scooping some out.

Taro explosion

Taro explosion

When the pond was first started, about 3 years ago, a friend gave me two small Taro plants. Well, it’s taken them awhile but this year they have exploded with growth and look magnificent.

Lotus from seed

Lotus from sees

I received some lotus seeds and decided to try to grow some. After three tries with seeds I have finally succeeded. With the first two sets of seeds, they would “hatch,” grow leaves and roots but everytime I put them in the pond it was just a matter of time before they died.  I now know the secret. Start your seeds in the hottest part of your summer. Wait until you have at least four leaves and a healthy set of roots before you pot them and place in the pond. The lotus love hot weather and apparently the hotter the better.

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel

Last summer we planted 3 Mountain Laurel. It took them awhile to take hold but they have finally done so. Right now they look like lanky, ungainly bushes. When they get a bit taller they will be pruned to one major cane that will eventually become a tree.

IMG_5758

Koi pond in July, 2014

We love our Koi pond! We have had countless hours of joy watching Koi antics and watching the pond vegetation mature and look like it belongs there. Was it worth the investment? You bet!

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Summertime at the Koi Pond

Posted by Joyce Clark on June 5, 2014
Posted in fish pondKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pond merge 2a

The other day I realized that I had not slowed down enough to provide an update on my Koi pond. The last time I posted on it was 6 months ago, in December of 2013. A lot has happened since then.

I’ve taken out all of the Yerba Manza. I discovered that it is just too invasive. Even though the original plants were still potted and submerged they send out runners – scads of runners – that seek rocks and other potted plants. The runners will even go over the edge of the pond into anything beyond. As a result the Yerba Manza was beginning to crowd out other plants and the need to cut off the runners was becoming a monthly chore. In their place I have decided to try some Spider Lilies and Cardinal Flowers.

At the beginning of May we reinstalled the shade cover over the pond. It continues to do its job but I have found that the material itself has stretched due to winds that buffeted it up and down. Right now it is very saggy. When we take it down in the fall we will resize it to take out some of the slack.

IMG_5682We finally broke down and purchased a Laguna Brand, 55 watt, UV clarifier/sterilizer light. It’s rather large – about 5 feet in length. The external 4 barrel filter system continues to do its job but it simply could not keep up with the tremendous algae bloom that occurs in Arizona with intense daily sunlight and temperatures of 90 to 100+ degrees. The light has only been in operation for a little over a week but the difference in water clarity is amazing. It seems to get rid of the smallest algae particles that are suspended in the water and that simply flow through the 2 regular pond filters. We placed it in-line, above ground with the external 4 barrel filters. As a result the water clarity has improved tremendously.

The water clarity is so good we are able to see the fish anytime, day orfeeding night. We have 4 under water pool lights and we can see the Koi grazing at night among the pebble bottom and the potted plants. It is really so nice to sit by the pond whenever the mood strikes and watch the Koi.

I ordered and received one of those Styrofoam rings with netting to introduce floating plants into the pond. I wouldn’t get another. The Styrofoam breaks too easily and it continually floats toward the filter system. I found myself moving it away from the filter several times a day. I finally had enough of it and removed it. So much for that gadget.

We have new visitors to the pond – snails – itty, bitty, tiny snails. We think they came in one of two ways: either on a plant I ordered over the internet or on the feet of the many birds that visit the pond. Either way, they are in the filters…everywhere. This past week I received some Assassin Snails and immediately dumped them in the pond. It seems an Assassin Snail’s mission in life to eat other snails. I hope so. I guess we will find out soon enough.

IMG_5729Our other visitor is a cane toad. He appeared one night about a week ago. We surmise he came in on our irrigation system or else, bird legs again, but as an egg. Cane toads are nocturnal. This one is a juvenile, maybe 6 to 8 inches long. I read that they can live for 10 years and grow to 2 feet in size. He’s not afraid of humans and will even let us touch him. He’s a very calm, little fellow.

Our greatest problem seems to be the heron that nests somewhere on our street. Our street is made up of one acre lots, irrigated. There is no curb, gutter, sidewalks or street lights. It is a dark, cool oasis in the midst of urban living and we love it and apparently, so does the heron. We think it visits the pond in the middle of the night. The only way to confirm it is to stay up all night or get a night vision, motion detector camera. I think the camera will happen sooner than staying up all night for many nights to confirm the heron.

We know it is taking fish and when it doesn’t take them it has wounded several Koi mortally. It seems to prefer Koi that are white or nearly all white in color although a few orange Koi have also disappeared. Just as the water clarity has improved for our visual enjoyment it has also allowed the heron to spot its prey more easily. We have lost more fish in the past month than in all of last year. Not a happy scenario. I will continue to research the best deterrent to this fellow’s dining regimen. 

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

For those of you who do not live in Arizona let me extend my heartiest condolences for the lousy weather you are experiencing. Here, we have had no winter. Today it is 75 degrees and sunny. That is the forecast until the end of the month, another 10 days or so. All flora and fauna are confused. Plants are either in bud or blooming and the Koi think spring has arrived. If there is, by some miracle, a frost in February it will kill all of the tender new growth – not a good thing. Below is a photo that I took today, January 23, 2014.

pond in winter

Arizona Koi Pond in Winter

The water quality remains fantastic. We can see the Koi and right now we only feed them occasionally so they are out sucking up residual algae on the rocks. Here are some photos of the Koi feeding. I put a hula hoop in the pond and throw the food within the ring. The Koi are trained to go there to eat. The white stuff in the photos is the food. We call the black/white/red Koi, Yum Yum. He or she is as wide as long and eats everything in sight. We call the orange Koi, Silky. It has the most beautiful flowing fins. Both are the largest fish we have and are easily nearly 2 feet long and each weighs a couple of pounds. We still lose an occasional fish. I have decided that when any variable in the pond changes, the weakest ones are affected and die off. The ones that are left are very hardy little dudes.

Silky and Yum Yum 25 fish 

I spent the past two weeks reinforcing the grommets on our shade cloth cover for the pond. During the monsoon season we can get some pretty strong winds. They put a tremendous amount of strain on the weakest points on the shade cloth  — the grommet holes. I purchased some duck cloth (under $8) and used a flexible pellon fusible cloth ($5) that I ironed on the shade cloth. It is now ready for another season. Here is a photo of the reinforcement.

shade cloth reinforcement

Since the pond was constructed I have had to slog through the dirt edging the south side of the pond. A few weeks ago we finally installed pavers in that section. It looks and feels so much better. Here’s a photo of the new pavers.

Pavers

New pavers around the pond

Soon we will do a water change and trim and fertilize all of the water plants. When that is accomplished we will be ready for the Koi breeding season as the water warms up. I read somewhere that cotton string mop heads are good havens for fish eggs and fry. I plan to get a couple and test that theory.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

water quality 3a

Koi pond in winter

Here it is December 9, 2013 and everyone is in the throes of preparing for Christmas. We tend to ignore our outside environment and focus on Christmas baking, shopping, and decorating. What about the pond?

If you do not live in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, here’s what our weather has been like. Highs during the day are in the mid-50’s. Since we live in a city adjacent to Phoenix our part of town is subject to freezing at night despite the fact that there may be no hard frost in the Phoenix downtown core. We have had about a half dozen nights of frost so far. For those of you who are dealing with snow, ice and really cold temperatures our weather seems wonderful and it is.

water quality 1a

Iris and lilies

water quality 2a

Gravel at pond bottom
Fish shelf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pond is in semi-hibernation. The shade cover was taken down in the beginning of October. The tropical lilies no longer cover most of the surface water and what leaves they do produce are small. The pond’s Iris are thriving. The cold doesn’t bother them a bit and we look forward to their show of blooms in the spring. We spend the most time covering and uncovering the plants that landscape the pond area  — the palm trees (still relatively small), Lantana, Ruella and Verbena. The large Agave and the Yucca seem to do just fine uncovered.

When I staggered outside about 8 AM today the outside temperature was 37 degrees and the water temperature was 46 degrees. The water is cold but crystal clear. The external filter and the two waterfall filters are running and won’t be cleaned again until spring. No algae dare grow at this time of year! Later on in the day, usually about 2 or 3 o’clock, after the water has warmed, the Koi will come out from beneath the fish shelf. They seem to spend most of their time doing nothing – just lying in place with occasional foraging for some remaining algae. As long as the water is this cold we don’t feed them and they do just fine.

Nature has graciously cooperated with our busy human schedules. The Koi and the pond are quiet, husbanding their strength for the burst of new growth and activity that will surely occur in February leaving us free to enjoy the season.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to :http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Shade over the Koi pond

Posted by Joyce Clark on August 9, 2013
Posted in fish pondKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , | 2 Comments

Another lesson learned from our visit to some California Koi farms was that our pond needed shade. California’s temperatures are much lower than those of Arizona yet every Koi farm had shade. Shade covering serves several purposes. It keeps the water cooler, it inhibits the growth of algae that is aided by direct sunlight and it prevents debris from going into the water. We plan to use the shade cloth during the summer (July-August-September) and take it down for the rest of the year.

This project was perhaps the most difficult we have tackled due to the very size of the shade needed. The Koi pond itself is 15” X 25” which necessitated a shade cover larger than those dimensions. We planned on a cover 18’ X 33′. The 18’ dimension would cover the pond proper – not the main waterfall or the stream waterfall. The 33’ dimension would allow the necessary posts to be set to the left and the right of the Koi pond.

diagram

Shade cloth diagram

Shade cover assembled

Shade cloth assembled

Grommet corner

Grommet corner

Our first chore was to find shade cloth. It’s readily available at big outlets like Home Depot and Lowe’s but they carry cloth no wider than 6’. I called a lot of stores and all had 6’ wide cloth. We ended up getting two rolls of shade cloth 6’ X 50’ (at a cost of $69 each) which would require cutting and piecing together to end up with the right size. Since I do not own a sewing machine I started assembling the shade cloth by hand sewing. It took a day or two for me to realize that I might finish the job by next year. So I started calling upholstery shops. I finally found one that could do my rather unusual job in a week at a cost of $75. My fingers were very grateful!

Posts in concrete

Posts set in concrete

Cables attached

Cables attached to posts

Cover attached to house

Shade cloth attached
to house

In the meantime my husband was acquiring the necessary hardware and would be setting two posts in concrete. His list included grommets – many, many grommets, turn buckles, cable, nuts and bolts, 3 pieces of rigid pipe and several bags of concrete mix at a cost of about $150. The total cost of the project was about $365.

It took a week to assemble the shade cloth and another two weeks to set the posts, string cable, insert grommets on the shade cloth and assemble pigtails, etc. We worked on it periodically and didn’t rush.

Pond covered 1

Shade cloth covering the pond

The shade cloth is up now. It looks like a giant parachute. It looks homemade and is not elegant but it is doing its job. The cloth was rated at producing 80% shade but we think it’s more like 60%. Since putting it up the surface water temperature has never risen higher than 85 degrees. Prior to putting it up we were seeing surface temperatures of 92 to 95 degrees. The water at the bottom of the pond is now between 75 and 78 degrees. Previously the bottom water temperature was 82 to 85 degrees.

There were definitely lessons learned on this project. The next time I will order the shade cloth online so that I can obtain a wider bolt of cloth that does not require so much piecing and assembly and perhaps find cloth that is denser to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the pond’s surface even more. The grommets were placed on the outside hemline of the shade cloth but there are tears next to a few of the grommets due to the tension created in stretching the cloth. I would reinforce the areas where the grommets are placed.

Would we do it again? You bet. With the new external filtration the water is incredibly clear and with the new shade the water temperature has lowered. These were the outcomes sought and we achieved them.

fish

Fish grazing on the bottom

When the pond water was clouded with algae and the fish were not to be seen I assumed they spent the day underneath their “fish shelf.” Now that we can see them we realize that they are busy all day grazing on the algae. I am happy and the pond is happy until I dream up the next “honey-do” project.

©Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

In July my family and I vacationed in California. While we were there we visited two Koi farms. Lessons learned from those visits were that we needed to beef up our filter system and we needed to add shade.  Our adult children committed to working on additional filtration. My husband and I would work on the new shade component.

Our Arizona summers with temperatures over 100 are prolific breeding grounds for algae. When the temperatures rise above 100 you can see the algae practically multiplying before your eyes. In dismay the water turns dark green and murky. We know we have fish. We just can’t see them anymore. We knew we were on the right track with our small external filter.

12. filter system running

Four barrel external filter system

It just wasn’t large enough to handle the job. The small external filter was a waste receptacle with holes drilled on the bottom of one side. It was filled with polyester batting and a small pump and hose pushed water into the receptacle. The water filtered down and exited through the holes at the bottom side of the receptacle. It works and would work well in a small pond of perhaps no more than 500 gallons. But our pond is large. It is 15’ X 25” with a depth of 2’ to 4’. It is 7,000 gallons and the little external filter was like the little engine that could. It could do the job but didn’t have enough horse power to do the job well.

8. Water to bottom

Each barrel has different media
with a layer of A/C filter pad on top

The first thing the kids did was to yep…surf the internet. They got a lot of great ideas from You Tube. Many other ponders have apparently faced the same problem and shared their ideas.  They decided on a four 55 gallon barrel system. A heavy duty submersible pump would deliver water from the bottom of the pond. It would go to the bottom of the first barrel filled with lava rock which would filter out large clumps of algae and other junk. The water would then move to the bottom of the second barrel filled with ordinary kitchen sponges. The water moves to the third barrel filled with A/C filter mats and lastly to the fourth barrel filled with polyester batting. In each barrel the water is forced to the bottom and must move up to the top of the barrel so that it can move to the next barrel in line. From the last barrel an outtake hose takes the filtered water to our little creek and into the pond proper.

10. Intake hose and pump

Intake hose and pump
at bottom of pond

11. Outtake hose

Outtake hose dumps
water into the creek

 

 

 

 

 

©Joyce Clark, 2013

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Pond update…July 25

Posted by Joyce Clark on July 25, 2013
Posted in fish pondKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , | 3 Comments

Those wonderful monsoon rains we experienced recently were great…except for the pond. We had a “gully whomper” one day and another entire day when it rained off and on. The rain cooled everything and washed away the dust and dirt…into the pond. Rain water, so I am told, does not contain oxygen and so it depleted the oxygen level in the pond. As a result we lost 3 fish after the rains.

We lost this goldfish. When my husband bought it, it was no more than 2″ long. It had grown to a whopping 8″.

goldfish 2

Goldfish

goldfish 1

Goldfish

 

 

 

 

 

The same fate awaited this metallic black and white skeleton Koi. He was no more than 3″ or 4″ when we got him and he, too, had grown to 8″.

skeleton fish 1

Skeleton Koi

skeleton fish 2

Skeleton Koi

 

 

 

 

 

The saddest loss of all was one of my favorite Koi. This guy was also 3″ or 4″ when we bought him and he had grown to a foot long. The coloring on this fish was really good. The front half was red and the back half was predominately black.

red white black koi 1

Red White and Black Koi

red white black koi 2

Red White and Black Koi

 

 

 

 

 

It’s always sad to lose pets whether it is a dog, cat, hamster or fish. I guess that’s nature’s plan and sometimes even with one’s best efforts, we cannot prevent their loss.

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