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#77485 - 10/18/06 07:03 PM Small Pond Questions
AaronM Offline
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Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 325
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Howdy PB group... I discoved this board and have spent days reading and reading all the great advice. What a great group!

I just purchased property in the desert in AZ and plan on building a small pond, probably 2500-3500 square foot. I want to keep LMB and BG and have learned enough that I should make this as big as I can. We're going to build a constructed wetland filter and probably keep it no more than 5-6 ft deep, with shelves, and with linar and lots of gravel/rocks. I want to create a good ecosystem and balance, as it's too small to create a good fishing pond (right?)..

A couple questions:

1) does anyone have an good suggestions on designing something this small to ensure structure, habitat, various spawning areas? anyone have any previous designs?

2) obviously this won't hold too many LMB, after I get BG's and flatheads populated, what size and how many LMB should I start with to ensure they don't get out of hand?

Thanks!

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#77486 - 10/18/06 07:05 PM Re: Small Pond Questions
AaronM Offline
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Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 325
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
p.s. - just ordered a bunch of the Pond Boss books and videos...

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#77487 - 10/18/06 07:31 PM Re: Small Pond Questions
Bruce Condello Offline
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Registered: 08/01/04
Posts: 8854
Loc: United States
 Quote:
Originally posted by AaronM:
...as it's too small to create a good fishing pond (right?)..
My best fishing pond is 5700 square feet. I kid you not...

Welcome, AaronM! So you're looking for the old BG, LMB combo pond, am I right? I fished my little pond about two weeks ago. I don't pressure it very much, but I caught a hard fighting 15 inch smallmouth, two master-angler award sized bluegill, a master-angler award sized redear sunfish, and marveled at dozens of leopard frogs, painted turtles and clear water. The sky's the limit, baby. But make sure to squeeze every last square foot out of it that you can.

Where does your water come from? Are you going to feed your fish? Can you keep the angling pressure fairly light?

Again, welcome!

Bruce
_________________________
Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.

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#77488 - 10/18/06 07:38 PM Re: Small Pond Questions
AaronM Offline
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Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 325
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Hi Bruce,

Thanks for the welcome! Water will be municipal (yeah, $$!).. I can keep the angling pressure light, and I'm definetly going to feed the BG's as that appears to be a no-brainer to keep them happy. The property is in Phoenix, so I'm going to be squeezing to get 3,500 sq ft. I think the wetland and the stream can be good for smaller fish if we build it right, and that will be added to the 3500.

Thx- Aaron

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#77489 - 10/18/06 08:00 PM Re: Small Pond Questions
Bruce Condello Offline
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How much will water cost? This is an important question because if you can afford a little excess water, then this can be used to keep water quality high and allow for a little additional feeding. What would happen to the water if you added more than the pond capacity? If it isn't feasible to add excess water, then you could use a big waterfall to add ambiance, and to keep water fresh. Is this a possible consideration?

You can make a 3500 sf pond act like a 10,000 sf pond if you carefully control the water quality. Size doesn't always matter. ;\)
_________________________
Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.

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#77490 - 10/18/06 08:08 PM Re: Small Pond Questions
AaronM Offline
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Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 325
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
It is feasible to add excess water, although I'm going to loose a bit to evaporation in Phoenix in the summer. I can also use excess to water my trees and lawn (Phoenix thing!)

My contractor wants to use an aquascape system to create a bog filter with pump etc. I used to have acquariums, so it feels like a big lifesized acquarium filter to me. \:\)

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#77491 - 10/18/06 08:24 PM Re: Small Pond Questions
Bruce Condello Offline
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Can you landscape to create shade over some of the water to minimize evaporation? Good thinking on the part of the contractor. All of the concepts are the same from aquarium to pond. It's still all about creating a situation so you ALWAYS have acceptable oxygen levels. The water temperatures will likely not be a problem if you choose the right fish. I'd think about redear sunfish as well. They are very tolerant of warmer water and grow larger than bluegill.

One strong consideration would be have the contractor design the pond so that you could seine it once or twice a year. This is the best management tool ever invented. This way you wouldn't have to manage entirely by angling, which will make your fish hook smart. I honestly think that in a pond your size that structure is overrated. Structure is primarily to make fish concentrate in an area for angling. You won't have this problem because you'll be able to cast to all areas of the pond. Less structure means easier seining. You can manage the livin' daylight out of a pond with a seine.

Bogs are good.
_________________________
Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.

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#77492 - 10/18/06 08:28 PM Re: Small Pond Questions
Bruce Condello Offline
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By the way, if you can design a way to pull water off of the bottom of the pond to water your lawn and trees it will be more nutrient rich which helps both the pond, and the trees and grass you're watering. Essentially aquaponics on a grand scale.
_________________________
Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.

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#77493 - 03/13/07 07:46 PM Re: Small Pond Questions
AaronM Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 325
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Hey Bruce,

Thanks for your thoughts on this. I thought I'd revisit this as I'm finally getting close to breaking ground (April 2).

I posted that question after finding this forum, and I've since learned so much from reading on here and in the mag. (thanks to all of you!) We're definetly going to squeeze everything into this pond in the middle of the desert.

All told it will be about .2 acres now - as I figure out how to make it bigger than I originally planned. I know you said "size doesn't always matter" - but you also said to "squeeze every last square foot" out of it. I chose to go with the later!

I'm putting in an 'aquascape' type pond, so I'm building a constructed wetland of about 30'x40'. It will help filter the water quite a bit. Anyone done one of these?? They put gravel and rocks all over the liner, and I'll have 2 skimmers, the wetland filter, 2 waterfalls, a stream back into the pond (about 50'), and aeration. I prefer not to seine, and it's kinda a shape that prohibits it anyway.

The company (an aquascapeinc.com installer) typically build these as watergardens with a huge focus on water quality, but we're tweaking it a bit and I'm following the PB guidlines to get most of it deeper than 3 ft quickly, although I'll have a few shallow shelves with some plants. Max depth will be 8'.

I'm going follow your suggestion of removing nutrient rich pond water, and probably utilize this as a water change system. The pond is in my backyard so I can manage it pretty closely.

Now that I think I've got 'most' of the pond details figured out, I've got to figure out how I'm going to stock this pond.

I did have a quetsion about your post from 10/18... do you have your smallies controlling the BG and RES in that pond??

thanks- Aaron

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#77494 - 03/13/07 10:01 PM Re: Small Pond Questions
Bruce Condello Offline
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Sounds like you're on the right track. If you can seine the pond, then you can manage with largemouth if you wish. They'll do a heck of a job controlling the bluegill and redears, then you should be able to control the bass with the seine and angling.

I'm managing mine by keeping all one sex of BG and RES.

This is going to work. \:\)
_________________________
Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.

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#77495 - 03/13/07 11:21 PM Re: Small Pond Questions
AaronM Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 325
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Yeah, you work much harder (is that work?) than I do! I love the article and what you do for the CSBG! I'm wondering when we're going to see them over 3 lbs!

What are anyones thoughts on doing a little creative experiment (I'm game for learning something - and with this size pond I don't see much risk).. I've tried my best to think this though with all that I've learned on PB..

Here's what I'm thinking:

-BG/RES (with feeding)
-Smallmouth in limited numbers to control some small BG
-Female only LMB to eat what's left (after 12 months)
-other forage (FHM, TS, and Tilapia might be supplemental stocking?)

The thought would be good panfishing, as enough large ones should be able to make it... fun light tackle SMB that should be able to get to decent size. They shouldn't control the BG, so the fLMB would be there and I'd hope to grow a couple really large female LMB (isn't 1/2 the fun growing them?) without the fear of their overpopulation. I wouldn't harvest the SMB or LMB and understand it would be put & take... I'd harvest SMB if they recruit and survive predation from the fLMB and look like they're going to get out of control.

Seems like this would last a while, and I could add more female LMB if needed - or remove if needed.

Is this logical?? any thoughts?

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#77496 - 03/14/07 07:58 AM Re: Small Pond Questions
Bruce Condello Offline
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Registered: 08/01/04
Posts: 8854
Loc: United States
I think your reasoning is pretty sound. One of my best little ponds has some smallies in it, and they are probably both sexes. My thought has been, that if the smallies reproduce I'm going to run the seine and collect the little SMB. They would be extremely easy and profitable to sell. In your case, if you had bunches of little SMB you could contact a local fish guy and trade. SMB are usually the easiest fish to barter or trade with.
_________________________
Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.

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#77497 - 03/16/07 11:05 AM Re: Small Pond Questions
Ryan Freeze Offline
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Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Is the municipal water chlorinated? This could cause some problems.
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"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking

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#77498 - 03/16/07 12:30 PM Re: Small Pond Questions
AaronM Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 325
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Hi Ryan, it is chlorinated. We're planning on putting in new water through the wetland, where it will go down through a 'bog' and then down a stream and a waterfall. I figured once we have the original water in the pond that the new 'fill water' wouldn't be much as a percentage and would be okay... yes? no?

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#77499 - 03/16/07 12:37 PM Re: Small Pond Questions
Chris Steelman Online   content

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Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 1849
Loc: Red River County,Tx
I clean one of the aquariums here at my school that is at least 500 gallons. After we drain half the water out we just replace it with regular tap water and the fish do fine.

I dont think you will need to treat the water at all if you are only replacing evaporation and seepage.

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#77500 - 03/16/07 12:59 PM Re: Small Pond Questions
AaronM Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 325
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
That was my experience with aquariums as well... I started doing 25% water changes without any treatment and never had a problem for many years. I'm game on doing little things to make sure I'm safe though!

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#77501 - 03/17/07 07:56 AM Re: Small Pond Questions
Meadowlark Offline
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Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
AaronM,

You're probably aware of the need to check the ph and alkalinity of the new water and make sure you don't have any drastic changes or out of bounds levels. I have an indoor recirculating system in which I do continous small water change through a siphon system. New water is not a problem at all as long as it has safe levels including similar water temp.

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#77502 - 03/17/07 11:56 AM Re: Small Pond Questions
AaronM Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 325
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Thanks ML... will do.. how's the GG experiment going?

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#77503 - 03/18/07 08:54 AM Re: Small Pond Questions
Theo Gallus Online   content
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Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 12417
Loc: Central Ohio
+1

No need to call it a continuing experiment if you've changed conditions, ML, but how big are those fish now?
_________________________
"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
-S. M. Stirling

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