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Creating the food chain Jump to new posts
Food Chain in a 100% Clay Pond FishinRod 5 minutes ago
I dug some more test pits at our property this weekend.

One of the good low locations had nice sandy clay that was getting more clay-rich with depth. Certainly enough clay to seal a pond.

I then moved up to some higher ground where the "upper end" of a 1-acre pond would be located. After cutting about 10" of top soil, the location was 100% clay. I got down to max. depth of 8.5' for my mini-excavator, and was still digging in clay. The clay sides of my pit were smooth and polished and packed very hard.

Question for the experts:

If I finished a pond in that clay soil, I think it would be a very long time before any aquatic plants began to thrive in the pond. The pond will be sourced with pumped water from an adjacent groundwater pond, so there will essentially be zero surface water inputs of silt and nutrients.

Will this pond only grow FA, or be exceedingly low productivity?

Do I need to build some nice flats around the pond shores at a depth of 3' and re-cover those areas with 6-12" of top soil to get aquatic plants growing in the pond to aid all of the organisms at the very bottom of the food chain?

Any experience from managing a similar pond or just any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks, FishinRod.
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Questions & Observations Jump to new posts
Re: How to Stabilize Wet Sand in the Shoreline? FishinRod 1 hour ago
Good news, the project worked and we once again have a pond with water despite the long-term drought.

I did forget the first rule of pond projects: You must design your project to match what the actual soil conditions give you!

I rented an excavator and started digging out the corner of the pond adjacent to the dry stream. Water started filling my hole once I got below the current groundwater level. However, I could not deepen the hole because the wet sand just kept flowing in. I tried cutting shallow banks, but they were very unstable.

I then conceded defeat and went back to my old test pit that was in the middle of the pond. I kept deepening and widening the hole, but I couldn't access the nice sand that held the groundwater aquifer. I was worried any newly constructed pond at this location would not be a viable water source since my "re-fill rate" would be too slow without a lot of connection to the aquifer.

Finally, the little light bulb went off over my head and I realized this soil distribution was a good thing!

The solid clay portion gave me the ability to excavate a stable hole that could act as a water storage sump for the new "down-sized" pond. I therefore dug out to a depth 8' below the old pond bottom. I then worked my way back over to the sand layer, which I eventually encountered about half way between my two test pits.

The new pond filled up in a few hours and I have 5' deep water in the clay sump and about 6" of water covering the sand bank and keeping it stable.

I have not run a pumping rate test yet. However, I should be able to take out significant amounts of water and then maybe rest a day to let the pond re-fill.
5 284 Read More
Help Jump to new posts
Re: Adding water during drought FishinRod 1 hour ago
Two large scale ways to remove chlorine from tap water are to use evaporation and UV radiation.

The reason "letting it sit for 24 hours" works is that much of the chlorine will evaporate out of the water over that time period.

There is also a lot of UV radiation in sunlight, so leaving the water for a period in direct sun would also break down a significant amount of chlorine.

For a tiny garden pond I think you could fill a kiddie pool in the morning and leave it all day. Fill the garden pond from the pool the next day and the fish would be 100% safe.

However, you need to deliver WAY more water than that for a 1/2 acre pond!

I am thinking maybe run several sprinkler heads to the upwind side of your pond. You do NOT want a lawn sprinkler that you move around on the end of your hose - that is designed to expel streams of water. You want something that makes water droplets. (I think that will get you the maximum evaporation of chlorine over a short period.)

Maybe build a manifold from 3/4 PVC pipe and spread out 3 or 4 sprinkler heads. Just put a female garden hose thread on the inlet so you can attach your hose.

I think the biggest safety factor for your aquatic creatures will be DILUTION. Even if there is some chlorine remaining in the water you are adding, it should be quickly diluted to safe levels in your pond.

I would definitely run an experiment first. Try whatever method you settle upon, and then raise the pond water level 1-2". Observe your creatures for a week. If everything looks fine, then try to raise 3-4" as your next increment. I would certainly add the water in baby steps!

[I am definitely NOT an expert on the level of chlorine that becomes toxic to fish. I do know that if your pond water gets shallow enough and hot enough, then fish will die. So you are making a trade off. Maybe an actual expert will drop into your thread with some better guidance.]

P.S. Many water systems charge a significant premium price for water if you greatly exceed your usual monthly usage. One acre-foot of water is 326,000 gallons. To raise your 1/2-acre pond a single foot, you will need 163,000 gallons. Make sure you can afford that BEFORE you start filling.

Good luck on your fish protection project!
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Selecting a site Jump to new posts
Re: Digging with existing water esshup 12 hours ago
I was talking to a dirt contractor about a 6.5 acre pond project and here is how he deals with excess water.

IF there is excess water in the ground, he said they put a french drain around the perimeter of the work site, 10' deeper than the deepest part of the pond. They have pipe risers connecting to the french drain, and hook up large dewatering pumps to the pipe risers so they can suck the water out of the ground before it gets to the area that they are digging. They pump that water away. Sometimes there are field tiles that are available to tie into, sometimes there are ditches nearby to pump the water to.

This particular pond project will be 20' deep, so he would set the french drain at 30' below the soil level.
12 296 Read More
Types of fish to choose Jump to new posts
Re: What is the maximum allowable drive time? esshup Yesterday at 04:53 AM
Well, since this is a big part of my business I won't say about some of the things that I learned over the years doing this. I paid $$$$$$$$$ in dead fish, etc. etc. and for me to give all the info away? I just won't do it. You have to pay for knowledge, and payment could be paying a professor in a class room or paying for knowledge learned by paying for mistakes. BUT here are some lessons learned/cliff notes.

Do NOT run tanks that aren't full. It's called a slack tank. VERY dangerous if you have to make an abrupt driving direction change. I know of a fish hauler that had slack tanks in their truck, took an off ramp and they rolled the flatbed truck...... It wasn't pretty, both the people in the cab had multiple broken bones, and the truck was totaled.

Water weighs a LOT. You have to have the tanks tied down with straps strong enough, and you have to have lids on the tanks to contain the water. Splashing water out of the tanks is not a good idea if a state trooper or other police department just happens to see it. If you do not have electric brakes on the trailer, stopping distances can be greatly increased. If you don't distribute the weight in the trailer correctly and it starts to sway, and you don't have electric brakes on the trailer to stop the sway you will be toast. I will NOT use a trailer that has surge brakes. Period. Electric brakes or nothing AND you have to adjust the braking level according to the weight of the trailer. You can overload a truck/trailer suspension. Blow a tire, you better be able to control the vehicle while you stop it and you better have a good spare tire AND all the tools needed to pick up the vehicle/trailer to get the tire changed. I've heard of jacks sinking into hot asphalt because of a heavy trailer and the tire couldn't be changed. Is the trailer rated for that weight and are the tires rated for that trailer weight? Are you running the tires at the correct air pressure?

Hauling a tank that has more than 200 gallons in it? You better have a tanker rider on your drivers license. Haul more than 1,000# of O2? You better have a Haz-Mat placard on the truck and a Haz-Mat rider on your license.

Running ambient air is OK for a short run with low loading density, but for a long run or a higher loading density? You have to run pure O2. Running pure O2 without an oxygen meter is a recipe for disaster. Also, just like aerating a pond, using an air stone that does not make fine bubbles will cause problems. Even a Point Four O2 diffuser can allow you to kill fish if it turns upside down. You can kill fish by burning their gills by having the O2 levels too high. It WILL kill the fish. Running O2 means having redundant back up systems OR enough parts on board to fix whatever fails and fix it quickly. Don't run a defoamer in the tank? You can kill fish that way too by not letting the water off gas.

Keep fish in the same water for too long and you will kill the fish. You have ammonia build up and CO2 build up. You might see trout piping at the surface, think the O2 level is too low and pour more O2 to them if you don't have an O2 meter. It could be a build up of CO2 and you will smoke their gills.

The warmer the water, the less O2 it will hold. Fish are best hauled at 63°F water temp. You want the O2 levels to be between 9 and 15 mg/l. You might be able to get away with higher levels for a short amount of time, and possibly down to 5 mg/l for a short amount of time BUT that stresses the fish and causes them to use more O2. .

Fish density. It all depends on the species of fish and water temp, but when running pure O2 1/2# of fish per gallon of water is safe. At that density, holding fish for more than 16 hours is very iffy if you don't do at least a 50% water change. (Fish swim in their own toilet) You CAN haul fish at a higher density, but that is like playing with a lit firecracker that you don't know how fast the fuse will burn. Catfish can be hauled at a MUCH higher density. but if the fish weren't purged for 3 days prior to hauling, the haul density has to be lowered.

Water temp/pH change. No more than 5°F per half hour temp change, and no more than 1.0 pH per hour change. I have killed Walleye fingerlings with a 1.3°F temp change.

When using O2, you HAVE TO HAVE a DOT approved safety cap on the tank when driving down the road. It's a recipe for a ticket if you don't have a safety cap on it. Even with the regulator on the tank, it's gotta have a safety cap on the tank..

Try to cool down the water with ice? You better have a chlorine or chloramine neutralizer on board to use. Ditto for using city water.

Some states you need a fish hauling license to transport fish. If you don't have a receipt and you have fish in greater number than the bag limit, OR fish smaller or larger than you can catch and keep, you can get spanked for that too. Take fish from one state to another without having the proper permits or health certs? Google what a Federal Lacey Act violation costs. Oh, and that is a felony too.......

10# of small fish need more O2 than 10# of large fish.

Galvanized tanks? Not this boy. Take a look at what the haul tanks are made of. Absolutely 0 are made from galvanized metal. Zinc is toxic to fish. Add salt to the water to stimulate the slime coat just causes zinc toxicity faster. Again, you may "get away" with it for a while, but sooner or later you will get burned.

Putting big fish in the tank with small fish is a recipe for killing the small fish. They get beat up by the big fish.

Hauling in hot weather or cold weather and not using insulated haul tanks? Good luck. I have hauled fish for 12 hours in 10°F ambient temperatures. Even with insulated haul tanks the water temp dropped 13°, and try to adjust an O2 flow control meter when it's covered with 1/2" of ice.......

Just because you are running pure O2 and have an O2 meter doesn't mean that the O2 levels 5 minutes after the fish are in the haul tank will be the same 20 minutes down the road.

Use O2? You will need a diffuser stone made for O2, a regulator and a flow control meter. Since you need redundancy, now go price at least one extra of everything.

That's why it costs $$ to haul fish. Equipment costs, Knowledge expenses and driving down the road expenses. $4.30/gallon of diesel? That's $0.43/mile @ 10 MPG JUST FOR FUEL. For a hobbyist for one trip, you might be able to get away cheaply. Buy $500 worth of fish, get home, see that they died on the trip, now they just cost 2x as much to replace IF you can find those same fish.
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Selecting a site Jump to new posts
Failed Retention Pond Mesta-80 Yesterday at 01:09 AM
My property currently has a very very low spot in it that collects crazy water if it rains and it floods all the way to the house being built behind me. The developer claims the area has always been known to flooding so they added a drain pipe under the road. The problem is it was installed was to high so for the water to even go in there it has to flood a good bit. So I’m thinking on making it a pond and having the drain overflow to it o the pipe how would do it so that all the runoff went into the pond but isn’t to low for the overflow to go into the pipe since it’s very high
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Recent Posts
How to Stabilize Wet Sand in the Shoreline?
by FishinRod - 09/25/23 09:50 AM
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What is the maximum allowable drive time?
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