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My Pond Plans

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I am currently working on designing a pond for my yard! Right now I have a 8x6 irregular shaped design, it is 3.5 ft deep in the middle:

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Does anyone on here LOVE math, and want to calculate the gallons for this thing?! XD

I think I will go to the math forum and ask ;) volume calculation of irregular objects is really not my area.

It has a raised edge, but it will not be filled to the top of the raised edge, it is really just to make it harder for animals to fish, and to redirect runoff.

If I have enough space I would like to put in koi, but maybe I will stick to a whole bunch of goldfish!

I did not place a filter or aerator in my design sketch, but they will be there. the weird looking rectangles on the right are painted cinderblock hideouts.

I am trying to make it as "raccoon proof" as possible (more here)

Any ideas? Improvements?

This will be really fun to dig! ;)

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If you are not going to use a net, The only way to limit predation by land animals is depth. Large wading birds can stand in water 2.5 feet deep, and can fish deeper levels from there. Most predators will enjoy the shallow spot. If you make your pond uniformly 3' deep, you will thwart most land predators. Flying birds can still snatch a fish swimming near the surface. So why are you making variable depths? If you are trying to set it up for various plants, it's better to have a single depth and put plants on stands. You can make stools of pvc or stack blocks to support the plants.

When you have irregular shapes and variable depths, you may have fun digging, but you won't have fun lining. You will have to make lots of folds. This is not fun. If you love the kidney shape, consider that this is basically an oval with a partial circle stuck on one "corner." I'd recommend using a simple oval for the pond and adding a bog filter http://nelsonwatergardens.com/gravel-bog-filter-construction/ where you now have the shallow area. This will produce an overall kidney shape. You need about 100 gallons of filter volume for a pond of this size. Container or trickle tower filters of this size require some serious camouflage!

Your pond as drawn is roughly 900 gallons. That is big enough for 2 or 3 koi if you don't have any goldfish. However, you should be thinking 4 feet deep if you want koi. A koi pond should be at least 1000 gallons to give enough room for even one of these big fish to swim. Each koi should have at least 300 gallons devoted to it. So if you wanted to have one koi and some goldfish, there is 600 gallons left for goldfish. You will not be able to have pond lilies with koi. Some goldfish (all of mine) will devour any edible plant. Koi will do this, but will also rip up and tear apart any inedible plant in the pond. You can have marginal plants in pots with koi, and some floating plants, but that's about it.

I recommend starting with an allotment of 50 gallons per goldfish, so you could add 12 goldfish to that one koi. The reason for the large allotment of space is two-fold. You will not be able to resist adding fish, and they will reproduce, and some will survive. By the time you reach one goldfish per 20 gallons, maintenance becomes a real drag.

With a pond of this size, you should consider whether you want a bottom drain. It will keep the bottom very clean, but also makes for some more plumbing. My ponds are all small, so I have never used one.

Please tell us where you are in the US and the kind of soil you have. Building a pond presents totally different challenges in (for example) FL where most of the year is warm to hot and the "soil" is uniform fine sand, and somewhere in the midwest with clay soil and temperatures that vary widely and get very cold.

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I live in Massachusetts, so it gets down to the single didgets in the winter on cold nights. The soil is fairly rich. I think I will put 6 or 7 wakin goldies in and let them breed. I really don't like overstocking, and since wakins can get big I want to give them lots of space. I will look into the drain, one of my goals is to keep the water as clear and clean as possible.

So, rethinking the design, maybe I will dig it 3.5 feet deep all around, and make it a 6x6

square. I would like the eggs to hatch, and for some fry to survive; should I make a corner that can be closed off to protect the fry, or would too many survive if I did that? I just want one of two each season for the next couple of years, no more than twelve fish total in the pond.

(I suppose I could sell the extras)

Thanks for your advice. :)

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I don't think you should decrease the surface area. This is actually more important for the welfare of your fish than the total volume. Three feet is a very good depth. An oval is actually the easiest shape to line. A rectangle requires gift-wrapping type folds at each corner. With an oval and EDPM liner (which has some stretch to it) you can "ease" the liner in place with no big folds.

I would suggest you start out with a pair of very good wakin. You can select a breeding pair at Raingarden, or if you are willing to let the seller pick, you might try these: http://www.koisale.com/KoiStore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=69_76&products_id=589 If you start with a few fish in a lot of volume, you can add more when you have a better idea of what you want, or when you see a fish you just have to have.

If you want them to mate at random, you can just throw in some parrot's feather http://www.pondplants1.com/floating/floating_pond_plants.htm which will form a mat that will collect eggs and keep the parents from finding all of them. If you want to have a lot of fry, you can just pull out the plants after spawning and put them in a tub.

The kind of soil matters, and we are talking about the proportions of clay, silt, and sand. You should be able to get this information from the extension office. I have pure fine sand. I cannot simply dig a hole with vertical sides, put a liner in it and fill with water. The sand will not hold its shape and the sides of the pond will collapse. I learned this from experience. :( I have to line the walls of an in-ground pond with concrete blocks for the pond to hold its shape. If you have mostly clay soil, you can dig almost any shape you want and just put in a liner, but that digging is HARD work. If you have rocks in your soil, you would do best to hire someone with a backhoe to dig for you. Actually, that's not a bad idea for any soil.

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The soil is mostly clay, sand, and a ton of rocks (right now I am in New Mexico, so I can't get the exact proportions). I like square ponds, and I would be wiling to do some gift wrapping, but I could make it 7x7x3.5 perhaps. Much bigger than that is pushing it on space. I have a friend who is more than willing to help me build it, so I should have some assistance with digging it out (maybe my brother and dad could help too).

The fish at rain garden are really nice, I might like to put some of them into the pond.

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