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#510224 - 08/13/19 01:40 PM newbie to PB in the NE Ohio snowbelt--
neopond Offline

Registered: 08/11/19
Posts: 6
Loc: ohio, usa
We have a 1/4 acre pond-- approximately 10' at deepest location and averaging about 6' in depth overall-- that was dug a year or two before we bought our home in 1987. While I have had many thoughts about doing more than just observing, enjoying the pond and occasionally wetting a line to maintain fish balance, I never did much from a maintenance perspective. In an amateur fashion I added aquatic plants in the form of common pond weed and water lilies. I guess I thought I was creating a more natural environment and cover for the BG. The pond has just BG and LMB currently. This year has been a year of change for the pond, along with change for me due to my retirement. Without all the details, I had a muskrat invasion that did serious damage to the aquatic plants. I think I unknowingly did-in the muskrats when I put air to the pond water 24/7 to cope with the dead plant matter that turned into a big algae (FA) mess. I noted a very foul odor the first few days. My guess is a release of hydrogen sulfide and methane from the pond bottom by the sudden introduction of air to the pond. I now realize I was probably lucky I didn't kill the fish by putting so much air into the pond water so quickly. Three muskrats weren't as fortunate. I surmise that hydrogen sulfide may have blanketed the pond surface which is of course right where the critters inhabit. Little to no wind present. Within a week three muskrats were either floating or dead near the bank. Anyway, I've been doing searches and reading information on this board on how to better maintain the pond and reduce the muck build-up. I'm almost overwhelmed by the volume of information. Search is my friend! I did subscribe to the magazine and hope to get some questions answered in separate threads once I've done further searching and reading. Wonderful message board! The pond now has an 80 LPM air pump connected to two diffusers in a depth of about 6'. It's a start. Next is beneficial bacteria. Then... well, you get the picture. I look forward to being an active member here. Thanks all!! -Jim

#510409 - 08/16/19 08:56 PM Re: newbie to PB in the NE Ohio snowbelt-- [Re: neopond]
neopond Offline

Registered: 08/11/19
Posts: 6
Loc: ohio, usa
I wanted to share what I've observed since placing the two diffusers into the pond a couple of weeks ago. One, the fish are doing fine. They appear to be more active and some of the BG and YOY LMB are actually locating within 10' of the diffusers in the water current. I've been somewhat surprised by the amount of water current there is-- even 10' from the diffusers. I think this is a good indicator of water mixing and likely moving DO outward from the diffusers. The water clarity is slowly improving. There was a lot of dead pond weed and water lily leaves floating on the pond surface. The algae loved it. Me-- not so much! We have a canoe, so I used that to do some mechanical pond weed and algae removal with a garden rake. About twice a week I continue to remove algae and dead pond weed from the edges of the pond. There is much less material to remove and when the wind blows it moves the material to the pond edges making removal easier. The pond surface itself is nearly clear. I've noted a thin, oily sheen on the pond surface that is pushed away from the diffusers bubbling location by several feet. From what I've read this is a substance that is released as part of the muck and organic material breakdown. It doesn't seem to bother the fish. The water clarity has improved from under 12" to nearly 18". I hope to move some photos and short vids to a image hosting site so I can share the details. About 25 years ago I could have removed or avoided planting trees around the pond. At the time I thought the shade (and obstruction to occasional heron, goose, duck, or fisher) would be beneficial. I'm now more concerned about the organic load the trees add to the pond each year in the form of leaves and fruit (crab apples). At the least I think I will prune back limbs that are hanging over the water to at least reduce the amount of material going into the pond. I've had a positive experience with the aerator pump and diffusers so far. Still early in the process though. Almost forgot-- my Mom had some Yellow Iris that were not doing well in a garden situation. She gave me a couple small flats of the plants to put along the water's edge. I didn't bother separating the plants to spread them out. They all went into one corner of the pond. That was 15 years ago. Until the muskrats chewed about 50% of them off this year, the Iris had propagated around the entire pond. I can confirm these plants produce copious amounts of floating seeds that readily germinate in wet locations. Thoughts on trees for shade and bird deterrent?? I've been spending literally hours reading threads on various pond issues and experiences. Not enough time in the day/week/month to read it all. -jim

#510418 - 08/17/19 12:20 AM Re: newbie to PB in the NE Ohio snowbelt-- [Re: neopond]
anthropic Offline

Registered: 05/03/14
Posts: 1940
Loc: East Texas, USA
Neo, in my admittedly limited experience, trees tend to draw birds rather than hinder them. Good to hear you got rid of the muskrats, though.

Be careful with aeration in winter. Very easy to kill fish without meaning to do so!

If you have the budget, I highly recommend considering feeding the fish. If you live near the pond, you won't need to buy a feeder.
8ac E Tx, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17. 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19

#510483 - 08/18/19 10:14 PM Re: newbie to PB in the NE Ohio snowbelt-- [Re: neopond]
neopond Offline

Registered: 08/11/19
Posts: 6
Loc: ohio, usa
ant-- Thanks for the reply. I believe you are correct about attracting birds with trees, although geese and ducks need a landing zone in the BOW. The blue heron seems to need a decent sized landing zone, so I suspect it has reduced the frequency of its visits. Now that I'm retired, I should be able to observe the bird activities more closely. As for feeding, over the years I've limited that to tossing broken up bread pieces into the BGs. I do this nearly daily during the summer. There are probably better food pellets for the BGs I'm guessing?? The frogs, tadpoles, and bluegills seem to provide the LMB prey. And the occasional dragonfly that hovers too low! Good to know about winter kills by aerating. I'll need to search the message board here to better understand the risks of winter aeration. With heavy ice cover here in NE Ohio and deep snowcover, keeping at least one area of the pond surface ice-free would seem appropriate. The last polar vortex killed all of our LMB, nearly all the bluegill and the single amur we had. It was a messy and disappointing outcome of the heavy ice cover. I hope to avoid that in the future. BTW, the pond is only about 75' from the house. Needless to say, I make frequent visits to the pond in spring, summer and fall. So an auto feeder doesn't seem needed. A change in BG food- probably.

#510485 - 08/18/19 10:53 PM Re: newbie to PB in the NE Ohio snowbelt-- [Re: neopond]
roundy Offline

Registered: 09/10/16
Posts: 261
Loc: Central Illinois
I like to hand feed when I visit my pond a couple times a week. My fish would eat bread but when I started throwing a little of this they went crazy for it. Aquamax Sportfish MVP Game Fish Feed 43% Protein, Diet for Bass, Bluegill, Trout, here is link for a sample size to see if you like it off Amazon.

Purina MVP

I keep some in a cottage cheese container and pitch it out the truck window. They sure do come a swimming and itís no mess or fuss.

#510488 - 08/19/19 12:51 AM Re: newbie to PB in the NE Ohio snowbelt-- [Re: neopond]
neopond Offline

Registered: 08/11/19
Posts: 6
Loc: ohio, usa
Thanks roundy for getting me up to speed on better alternative for feeding BG and maybe even LMB.

#510502 - 08/19/19 10:23 AM Re: newbie to PB in the NE Ohio snowbelt-- [Re: neopond]
roundy Offline

Registered: 09/10/16
Posts: 261
Loc: Central Illinois
Forgot to mention the Aquamax listed is a mix of sizes and sinking and floating feed. There are several other formulations available to meet specific needs.


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