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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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.

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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.

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.

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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Our second excursion was to the Laguna Koi Ponds located at 20457 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. Their hours of operation are Mon-Sat 9-5 and Sun 10-5. Their phone number is 949-484-8960 and their website is www.lagunakoi.com.

This was a very well run commercial operation. Again, we were the only visitors that morning. One of the owners, Danny, was extremely informative and answered our questions thoroughly. They had some small demonstration ponds and here are some photos.

demo pond 4demo pond 3demo pond 2demo pond 1

Laguna Koi has a humongous filtration system.  I didn’t think to get any photos but I can describe it. It was an above ground, large box, about 4’ or 5’ wide, 3’ deep and about 4’ high. In it were a series of approximately 8 to 10 medium to fine filter media. Danny said that his system handles 5,000 gallons and they usually only have to clean the filter media once a year.

little guys

Little Koi

All of his fish holding tanks were concrete and the water was very, very clear. This brings me to two major lessons learned in visiting both Koi farms. One lesson learned is that shade is essential.  We all know that California does not experience the temperatures that we do in Arizona. They also do not deal with intense sunlight 360 days a year yet they consider shade in their environment to be very important. Both Koi farms had shade over their fish holding tanks. Laguna Koi said it brings down the temperature of the water by as much as 15 degrees and the shade also inhibits the growth of algae which loves the direct sunlight that causes it to grow and multiply.

medium guys

Medium sized Koi

When we returned home we bought some shade cloth and had it assembled into a canopy measuring 18’ X 33’. We plan to put it up this week and I will share our experience as we do so. We are expecting the shade to lower our 86-90 degree surface water temperature by 10 degrees and we are hoping it will reduce the tremendous algae production we experience during July-September. It will be portable and we will take it down in the fall for reuse next summer. Stay tuned for our shade erection adventure.

big guys 2

Large Koi

The second major lesson learned is that our filtration system is inadequate. Both Koi farms had very large filtration systems with lots and lots of filtration media. We know from our experiment with our small, garbage can-sized, external filtration system that it helps to rid the pond of algae. Our visit confirmed that we are on the right track but our system is undersized and is being overwhelmed by algae. This fall we will develop a plan to add more filtration and in the winter when the fish are torpid we will build it. This, too, I will share.

big guys 1

Large Koi

There has been one more lesson learned but not by visiting the Koi farms. About a month ago we added an aerator to the pond. It is a temporary measure. We have two waterfalls that run 24/7 but on extremely hot days the oxygen levels in the pond can drop precipitously. We placed a pump in the pond, connected a piece of hose and put a spray nozzle on the end of the hose. It adds additional oxygen to the pond water. One day we had to turn it off. By that afternoon I saw one of the 8”-10” goldfish coming to the surface and desperately gulping for air. The fish usually stay at the very bottom of the pond during the day. I freaked out, restarted the aerator and let it run all night. Usually I run it during daylight hours only. I expected to see a dead fish on the surface the next morning. To my delight he did not die and can be seen swimming and feeding with the pack. We learned that our instinct was correct and the extra oxygenating is helping our fish to combat the stress of an Arizona summer.

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June fish pond update

Posted by Joyce Clark on June 12, 2013
Posted in fish pondKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , , | No Comments yet, please leave one

Surprisingly we can still see the bottom of the pond and the fish despite the fact that the temperatures have been running in the 105 to 110 degree range. We have a new addition to the pond and it seems like I have to stop trolling the Net for pond information for awhile or we will go broke.

I visited YouTube and can spend hours watching videos of koi fish spawning, feeding, etc., or I can watch fish growing or just swimming around. Everyone once in awhile a video leads to some new discovery. That’s how I happened on the Aqua-Sphere. I saw it on a video, went to the site, bought it and it is now sitting in the pond. While a neat idea, I would not recommend getting it until the company does some modifications. The concept of putting floating food into the ball and seeing the fish magnified is a very good one but their equipment needs modification. The base is too short and not wide enough to provide stability. Since the opening in the sphere is only supposed to be a few inches below the water line we found the base legs to be woefully short. The company should supply taller base legs that can be cut to your appropriate height. So we took an old, plastic tub turned upside down, drilled holes in it and wired the base to in essence, another base. Here is the tub and the Aquasphere:

base for stand

Tub used as base for
Aqua-Sphere stand

Globe 1

Aqua-Sphere in pond
at dusk

 

 

 

 

 

The base ring that the sphere sits on should be wider as well to provide more stability. The first day I discovered that cleaning the pond and creating a strong current will tip the sphere over. Solution is to be more gentle and careful in my movements to clean around the sphere. Have we had fish in the sphere? Yes and no. If you count our hoard of Gambusia (mosquito fish) attacking the floating food, the answer is yes. The Koi are very wary of it so far. One of our Goldfish has exhibited great curiosity and may be the first to venture into it.

Here’s our current Fish Roster. We currently have about 20 fish but I am only going to share photos of half of them. I classify them as Large (between 12” and 24”); Medium ( between 6” and 12”) and Small (up to 6”).

First up is “Big Alice”, an all white, Large Koi. We were calling her “Big A” but during breeding season we realized that she is a female.

Big Alice 1

Big Alice
White koi

Then there are “Ying” and “Yang”, both are Large Butterfly Koi. Ying is orange and Yang is white with black spots.

Orange Butterfly 1

Orange Butterfly koi
Ying

 

 

 

Blk Wh Butterfly

Black and white butterfly koi
Yang

Next, unnamed and Large is a Koi that is primarily white with some red and black on its back.

Wh with r b 1

Unnamed Large koi
White with red and black

“Half and Half” is a Large Koi whose front half is red and back half is black.

Half and Half

Half Black and Half Red koi
Half and Half

Another unnamed and Large Koi has red on its head with mainly black on its body but with some red and white showing.

r w b 1

Red, white and black koi
Unnamed

 

 

 

 

 

 

“K1” is also a Large Koi. He is a light, golden color.

Lt golden 2

Light golden koi
K1

In the Medium category there is “K2.” He started off looking a lot like “K1” but as he has grown he has become more orange and has lost his golden luster.

Golden turned orange

Golden turned orange koi
K2

 

 

 

 

 

Also Medium size and unnamed are our two Skeleton Koi. One is orange and black and the other is silver and black.

orange skeleton 2

Orange skeleton koi
Unnamed

 

 

 

 

b w skeleton 2

Black and silver skeleton koi
Unnamed

I will post about the pond in July and introduce you to the rest of the pack. They all appear to be healthy. I feed them every evening at about 6 PM and it is a joy to watch them hone in on a morsel of floating food. It is the best time of the day.

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Another Rube Goldberg pond contraption

Posted by Joyce Clark on May 28, 2013
Posted in fish pondKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pond vac 1

Pond Vac

Having put together our shop vac system to muck the bottom of the pond I wanted something to combat the free floating algae in the pond water. Back to Internet surfing again. This time I found a suggestion for an external filter. Our filters are doing a good job but there is so much fine, lacy algae they simply cannot keep up with it all.

I went to Wal-Mart and bought another bag of polyfill batting, a round sprinkler and a tall kitchen garbage receptacle. Again, my purchases were under $20. The only other items needed were a piece of hose and a submersible pump. Fortunately we had both lying around.

The old pump is submersible and moves 600 gallons of water an hour and can completely recirculate the pond water in about 12 hours. We placed the pump is in a sack we made of old, screen door netting to protect it from becoming clogged by algae. We attached an old shovel handle to it so that we can pick up the pump and move it around without having to get into the pond.

External filter inside

Inside of external filter
Poly fill batting
Sprinkler and hose

External filter trash container

External filter
trash container
holes drilled in
bottom, front

External filter hose and pump

External filter
hose from submersible pump
to sprinkler in trash container

 

 

 

 

 

 

A piece of hose runs from the pump into the plastic garbage can filled with polyfill batting. Again we drilled about 9 large holes at the bottom of the garbage can on one side only and drilled a hole at the top on the side to slip the hose into. We attached the sprinkler to the hose end draining into the garbage can. We run this external filter system during the day from about 7am to 11pm. It has been working for about a week and we can see that the water is clearing.

IMG_4330

Fish in May 2013

We will never rid ourselves of all the algae nor would we want to. The fish do eat the algae and as they root around the bottom and sides of the pond eating algae they disturb it and the fine stuff floats up to the surface. We do see clumps of this fine stuff on the water’s surface. I have tried skimming with our trusty pool net it but it is so fine, it just dissolves. However, it does float over to the internal filters where it is sucked into the system.

water quality 1

Water quality in May
in Arizona

As we enter the really hot part of the year in Arizona the water is becoming more cloudy and with time, we will not be able to see the fish. The filters will not be able to keep up with Mother Nature’s algae production.  I am determined, no matter the temptation, not to use chemicals this summer for summer will end, the water will clear and we will be surprised at how big the fish became while invisible to us.

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Ze pond

Posted by Joyce Clark on April 9, 2013
Posted in fish pondKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , | 4 Comments

It’s the beginning of April, 2013, and spring has definitely arrived. All of the plants surrounding the pond are starting to bloom and in a few days there will be more riotous color than there is now.

IMG_4305 IMG_4306 IMG_4307 IMG_4310 IMG_4312The pond seems to be in “balance” right now and one can see the pond shelf that borders the perimeter of the pond underwater. An abundance of fish is there for our viewing pleasure as well. My husband counts 18 fish. I, not being as diligent, can count maybe 14 fish. No matter, at this time, they are all healthy, voracious eatersfish and have just started spawning. This morning we observed a pod of them chasing a white Koi that my husband had named “Big Al.” I suppose the more appropriate name, given the activity we saw, would be “Big Alice.” I doubt that we will suddenly be overrun with baby fish. The eggs will be eaten almost as soon as they are spotted as we are not set up to breed baby fish.

Other creatures are in mating mode as well – the birds, the butterflies and the dragon flies. We are not happy about the return of our dragon flies. For you see, they lay their eggs which hatch into nymphs. These nymphs are voracious little suckers and last year, they happily attached themselves to the smallest of our fish and killed them. These nymphs are about an inch long and dark in color. We find some, but not all, in the filter net of our pond.

We have not had to worry about predators like raccoons but our greatest foe is a resident heron. The folks in our area all live on one acre, horse properties. A heron has nested on a property several houses away from ours. He often comes over to visit by sitting on our roof which is a wonderful perch for him as he can see everything in the pond.  We’ve installed a heron decoy and move it from time to time as instructed. Does it work? We don’t know yet. If we see fish carcasses lining the pond perimeter we’ll know that the decoy didn’t work.

pondWith our cool, 60 degree nights and mornings in the 70’s, there is nothing better than sitting on our back patio, listening to the sounds of our waterfalls, viewing all of the vibrant color and watching our fish madly darting after one another. This is undoubtedly the best time of year not just for humans but for the fish as well.

 

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Fishes out of water

Posted by Joyce Clark on March 23, 2013
Posted in BlogsKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s late April 2011 and I now have this beautiful pond filled with water plants; lilies, Yerba Mansa, Pickerel Wart, Taro and Mosaic.   We had small, starter landscape plants around the pond. We had 2 pumps – a large one for the waterfall and a smaller one for the stream waterfall providing plenty of oxygen. We had 3 filters – the main one for the 2 pumps and a filter for the main waterfall and another for the stream waterfall. We had plenty of filter capacity to ensure that the water remained clean. The water completely recirculated through the filter system every 3 hours.

our first goldfish Ap 2011

First goldfish
April 2011

The time had come to add fish. A co-worker said that she and her husband were dismantling their small pond and asked if I would like to have her goldfish and lilies. Boy would I! Our first additions were a few more lilies and a dozen goldfish – little guys. Everything was going well. Our pond water was clear and we could see the fish. They seemed to be growing! The lilies were blooming. We had our paradise. My husband even named each of the fish as he watched them feed every afternoon. We were enjoying the time spent on the patio, listening to the sound of splashing waterfalls and watching streaks of color swim by.

Paradise was soon to be lost, stolen by oppressively hot days that invited the algae to bloom unmercifully, causing the water to turn darkly green and murky. We could no longer see the fish. We wondered if they were still alive for how chemical 2could they breathe and live in that morass of water? Every time that we cleaned the filter net we expected to see at least one small fish carcass.

Once again, I returned to the internet, this time to research algae and its causes. I called “experts.” I visited other pond sites. Did you know that there are almost as many remedies for ridding a pond of algae as there are people on this planet? I was horribly confused and panicked that I would soon have a steady dead body count of goldfish.

Just as we take pills to cure every ailment I decided a judicious use of chemicals applied to the pond would solve the problem. My first mistake was reliance upon science and the internet hawkers of algae remedies. They would have you believe that the algae are destined to vastly populate the pond water turning it into something the consistency of thick, country gravy, consuming every ounce of oxygen and asphyxiating the fish. My friend, who has a koi pond, cautioned patience. She said the water would turn green with algae and once the water “balanced” the algae would diminish greatly. My second mistake was not to heed her advice or the advice of others – all of whom – said, wait, the pond would right itself without my benign interference.

So began the great “Chemical Odyssey.” First I would order one, sure-fire chemical cure for algae. I’d faithfully followchemicals 1 the directions for its use, wait and wait some more, looking for the water to become at the very least, less greenish. When that batch of chemical didn’t work, I’d order another. Soon, the Fed-Ex guy and I were best buds, on a first name basis. This routine went on for the entire summer and into the fall of 2011. Now we actually had a dead fish count. Every couple of days another would be found belly up in the filter net. I would go to the local pet mart and buy a few more small fish to replace the “victims.” My husband despaired. All of his little goldfish that he had named and nurtured died and still I persisted, looking for the Holy Grail of Algae Killers while the water stayed a thick, murky green and the fish died.

This scenario continued until around October, 2011. Miraculously the water finally cleared not completely, but a lot – not because I had found the answer but because the water was cooling and the algae was dying off. But by then, so had the fish. We now had a beautiful, fish-less pond and despaired.

My next grand plan was that since we had no fish, the pond should be drained so that we could get rid of the muck at the bottom and kill off whatever algae still existed. So that’s what we did in January of 2012. We rented a siphon pump and pumped out all of the water. It didn’t go to waste as we used it to irrigate most of our backyard, nearly an acre in size. We even used bleach figuring that it killed everything.

Pond Ap 2012 no fish

April 2012
No fish

Thinking we had nipped the problem in the bud we prepared to move forward. We refilled the pond and once again, had clear, sparkling water and a new home for more fish. We again waited a month or so for the water to “balance” itself and then we blithely went about picking out more fish for our pristine pond. We were filled with self-confidence. Surely the great pond draining and cleaning must surely have done the trick. My husband was happy and again, he named the dozen fish, a mixture of goldfish and Koi. He made sure they were fed once a day. He and I delighted in watching them from our back patio. All was right with the world…until…

chemicals 3It was the late spring and early summer of 2012 and the hot weather and the algae returned with a vengeance, only to again raise our fears about the fate of the fish. Like a dummy, I repeated the cycle of last summer and turned to my vast bag of chemical tricks along with some new, untried ones. I was still on a first name basis with the Fed Ex delivery man. Only this time I would be smarter and use the chemicals more sparingly. I even had the water tested.Yet all of the fish died or disappeared (that’s for another blog about predators) and by now we were both despairing of ever having fish in our fish pond. Then it dawned on me and I will admit to bring a slow learner at times, that I had created a toxic waste dump! In attempting to get rid of all of the algae I had gleefully poured so many chemicals into the pond that the fish couldn’t possibly survive the onslaught. Their demise was a testament to my stubbornness.

By July, 2012 I had had it. I vowed no more chemicals and come what may; we would coexist with whatever algae bloomed. For the next 5 months I used no chemicals. We had no fish and did not get any to replace our latest set of “sacrificial victims.” Yes, we got algae but it wasn’t the darkly green kind. The water did get murky but you could still see the bottom of the pond. I will admit that there were times when I was tempted to add just a little of some chemical or other but then I pictured another dead fish in the filter net and strengthened my resolve. Unknowingly I was doing what I should have done that first year. I was giving the pond enough time to really “balance” itself. I was allowing the “good” biological enzymes to build up in the filters.

Pond fishes Jan 2013

New fish
January 2013

This past Christmas our kids bought me three beautiful Koi for the pond. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that it was probably an exercise in futility and that they likely had thrown their money away. So we dutifully put them in the pond fully expecting to see them floating “belly up” within a week. To our surprise and relief they lived! Three months later, they are healthy and growing. After 8 months, chemical-less,  I think we had finally rid the pond of all of the chemicals that I had used for a year.

We will get algae bloom again during the hottest part of this year but I have learned my lesson – no more chemicals. The fish will survive. They will reemerge to our delight when the weather cools enough to make the algae dissipate. We and the fish will have 8 enjoyable months of coexistence, reacquainting ourselves and my husband will happily name each and every one of them.

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Our grand plan

Posted by Joyce Clark on March 7, 2013
Posted in Koi pond  | Tagged With: , , | 4 Comments

So you want to build a fish pond. OK then. Let’s get started. Obviously planning is crucial. If you are like me, you’ve saved pictures and articles over the years. Time to pull them out and to list the elements you would like. Questions to answer as you begin to plan are how large will your pond be? What kind of pond construction do you want? Lined or concrete? What kind of filter system and how large? Perhaps the most important question is how large is your budget? That of course, will be the determining factor of your final pond construction and its features.

We had an acre (very rare in the urbanized Metro Valley of the Sun!) with which to play and plan. We immediately decided that we wanted the pond to be close to our patio and to become an extension of that area. We also knew that we wanted a rather large pond with a stream and waterfall feature. A large pond to eventually accommodate many fish and a stream and waterfall that would help to oxygenate the water.

Pond Shape 2

Garden hose layout

Pond Shape 1 Jan 2011

More garden hose layout

We started with garden hoses to lay out our dream project.

 

 

 

 

Pond Plan 2

Ground staking outline

Pond Plan 1

More ground staking

Then we graduated to marking the ground and using contracting stakes. Then we sat back and contemplated for at least a month. We fiddled here and there and modified the layout several times.

 

 

 

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