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Hey everyone. First off, thanks in advance for your thoughts and insight. We have a lot to learn, but want some help before our problems get worse.

I reached out to a local water management company that can help with ponds. They said I was looking at a minimum charge of $350 to come out and talk and cost can go up to $3500 if water tests and more formal work is done. I don't even know if that is reasonable, so I guess my first question is...should I go that route?

Our pond has about 5 large Koi (2'), a school of small goldfish, and an unknown number of black catfish. The surface area is about an acre. I understand the depth is 3' - 5' before dropping down to something like 15' at the drain? That is unconfirmed though.

So, when we moved in over a month ago the pond had (and still has) lots of underwater grass and plants. The water seemed murky, but the surface was mostly clean, though lots of Lilly pads at one end.

However, since then and seemingly overnight, the pond has a good amount of algae on the surface. Seemingly happened over the course of a day or two, though I may have missed it happening.

I would prefer to use natural solutions, but will consider all options. If there are good posts or FAQs that I should review being a complete newbie, please share them.

Again...THANK YOU!

Here are some pictures...
At move in:

The rest are recent:




This end of the pond is still clear...For now...

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Welcome to the forum... Where in VA are you?

Sounds like you have a classic under managed older pond that has become very eutrophic. The biggest question is: What are your goals for this pond? Once those goals are determined, then a plan of action can be taken. Ponds are holes into which money is thrown. Particularly if you want them to meet your expectations... The cost you are being quoted, it's hard to say what is reasonable and what isn't. If you live near by, I may be able to come over and give you some on scene advice. I don't own a pond management company and won't charge you a penny. I can at least get you started with some ideas and what you can expect to pay to accomplish your goals.

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Originally Posted By: CJBS2003
Welcome to the forum... Where in VA are you?

Sounds like you have a classic under managed older pond that has become very eutrophic. The biggest question is: What are your goals for this pond? Once those goals are determined, then a plan of action can be taken. Ponds are holes into which money is thrown. Particularly if you want them to meet your expectations... The cost you are being quoted, it's hard to say what is reasonable and what isn't. If you live near by, I may be able to come over and give you some on scene advice. I don't own a pond management company and won't charge you a penny. I can at least get you started with some ideas and what you can expect to pay to accomplish your goals.


Thanks for the reply!

I'm down in the Richmond area, close to Ashland. Guessing you are a tad north of me...

Goals? Honestly...That is a great question. I've gone through a progression, neither of which are vetted and each without any real knowledge of what it would mean...

I started thinking about it as a fishing pond for me and the family, presumably bass. Then, when I saw the Koi in the pond and started to look into it I realized that maybe I could have a hobby raising/selling the Koi over time as they got large, etc. Now I'm sorta of at the point where I just want it to look and be an enjoyable part of our property while weighing the costs/maintenance aspects...Then it algae bloomed and now I just want that to go away. wink

So...I guess you could say I'm at least partially undecided, but if it made sense raising Koi (whether to sell or not) is probably the most attractive idea at this point...

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Any other thoughts anyone?

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I had someone come out and do an analysis. I'm posting this to validate whether this sounds reasonable or not. I already paid him for his time to come out and do the water tests/analysis to get to this point.


The water quality in your pond is typical for this region of Virginia. Your total alkalinity was low (17.1 ppm), which can be improved by adding agricultural lime to the pond at one to two tons per acre your pond is 0.4 acres. Southern States can provide this service with a spread truck. Liming will also improve the total hardness (34.2 ppm) in your pond as well as the pH (6.37). Dissolved oxygen (DO) readings in your pond were very low (3.10 ppm). This parameter can be improved by installing an aeration system in the pond. A quote on an aeration system designed by Vertex Water Features is as follows:

Air 1 system $1,592.50
10% discount - 159.25
Sub-total 1,433.25
Tax 71.66
Shipping 90.09
Installation 950.00
Grand Total $2,545.00

To further improve water quality, I recommend the application of two different natural aerobic bacteria, Complete and Digester. The cost for a year supply of these MicroLyfe products is as follows:

Complete $189.28
Digester 440.70
Sub-Total 629.98
10% discount - 63.00
Sub-Total 566.98
Tax 28.35
Shipping 61.67
Grand Total $657.00

At present, your pond is heavily infested with a combination of aquatic plants, including coontail, parrot feather, and water pennywort. A chemical application of Diquat and Cutrine Plus will knock these plants back, which you can do yourself or I can give you an estimate for me to treat the pond. Stocking grass carp is also recommended eight fish total for the size of your pond. You will need a permit from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) to stock these fish. I would also recommend that the edge of the pond be dredged and a check dam be constructed above the walkway at the upper end of the pond. Finally, you should remove all of the trees on the front and back side of your dam as well as the emergency spillway.

I have attached to my e-mail to you some information on the aeration system and its design as well as information on the MicroLyfe products.

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Add the lime suggested. In the meantime read up on ponds here. The rest of the stuff can wait until you understand what you are being offered and decide if you think it is needed.

The green stuff looks like a plankton bloom. The lime will help with the plankton bloom daily swings and help clear the water. The other stuff like clearing the dam should be done.

Without specific goals it is best to learn the basics of water quality and pond biology and then you can decide.

CJ could help with an eyes on look.

Last edited by ewest; 09/09/12 07:50 PM.















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Ok, good to know about the lime. I will get that done as well as the tree clearing...

Does this mean you don't think I need the aeration system? What about the grass carp, bio-additives, etc?

As for the question about use...how much of a difference in maintenance if I want Koi vs bass? That is my plan now, but leaning towards Koi...

That said...I do want to choose an approach that is manageable and beneficial and as affordable as possible, though I can spend money on it...I just don't want to spend ALL my money on it. smile

Thanks,
Mike


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Dear Vaaccess:

Good morning and welcome to PB.

I can tell you, unequivocally, you are in the right place. I am just up the road from you, near Fredericksburg, and a year ago, I was in the exact same situation as you are now. I had just moved into a home with a fairly large, old, never managed BOW that was a total mess. I came here for help and the outpouring of support and advice was, and continues to be,overwhelming.

With that said, the greatest single piece of advice I could give you is to take CJ up on his offer. After my initial posting on PB, he reached out to me and offered his advice and assistance. He has been an invaluable resource and won't take any money from you even if you tried to cram it in his pockets. He is well known on this forum and there are reasons why he is oftentimes referred to as PB's Biologist Extraordinaire.

As a side note, you don't need Southern States' spreader truck. You only need a ton or two and you will probably be far better off doing this yourself. Up my way, Ag Lime (make sure you get Ag, not Hydrated lime) costs about $3 a bag. Get a pallet of it ( a little over a ton, about 50 bags) and either spread it with a shovel or just slit the bags and dump around the perimeter of your pond. It will dissolve out and raise your alkalinity slowly over a relative short period of time.

If you want to go this route, send me a PM and I will come down and help you.

Good luck and Warmest regards,
Paul

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The last time I ordered ag lime delivered (2 years ago), I got 3 tons for $100 and he backed up to 3 or 4 spots next to the pond. Seems alot less work than opening and dumping 50 bags???

Perhaps lime is cheaper in Mississippi or prices have gone up in the last 2 years.


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Originally Posted By: Vaaccess
Does this mean you don't think I need the aeration system? What about the grass carp, bio-additives, etc?

As for the question about use...how much of a difference in maintenance if I want Koi vs bass? That is my plan now, but leaning towards Koi...



Not at all on question 1 and 2. They could be helpful. But first you need to learn about how a pond works , then decide on what you want and look at the costs.

A Koi pond is nothing like a pond with LMB. Koi are carp and will constantly disturb the pond bottom (muddy pond)while a LMB is a predator and eats other fish (so you need forage). Entirely different concepts but both require water quality.
















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Originally Posted By: djstauder
The last time I ordered ag lime delivered (2 years ago), I got 3 tons for $100 and he backed up to 3 or 4 spots next to the pond. Seems alot less work than opening and dumping 50 bags???

Perhaps lime is cheaper in Mississippi or prices have gone up in the last 2 years.


Great to know...I need to give them a call!

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Originally Posted By: ewest
Originally Posted By: Vaaccess
Does this mean you don't think I need the aeration system? What about the grass carp, bio-additives, etc?

As for the question about use...how much of a difference in maintenance if I want Koi vs bass? That is my plan now, but leaning towards Koi...



Not at all on question 1 and 2. They could be helpful. But first you need to learn about how a pond works , then decide on what you want and look at the costs.

A Koi pond is nothing like a pond with LMB. Koi are carp and will constantly disturb the pond bottom (muddy pond)while a LMB is a predator and eats other fish (so you need forage). Entirely different concepts but both require water quality.


Let me ask a different question...Does a LMB setup take more or less effort than a Koi setup? Or, are they relatively similar? If one was easier or had better benefits versus the other, I think that would be compelling to know and would help with the decision.

Thanks again everyone!

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Trust me if the spreader truck can put it into the pond in several locations and the cost is not to high you will be glad you let them put in the lime. If not get them to dump bulk ag lime as close as possible and you can spread by shovel.
















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Originally Posted By: Vaaccess
Originally Posted By: djstauder
The last time I ordered ag lime delivered (2 years ago), I got 3 tons for $100 and he backed up to 3 or 4 spots next to the pond. Seems alot less work than opening and dumping 50 bags???

Perhaps lime is cheaper in Mississippi or prices have gone up in the last 2 years.


Great to know...I need to give them a call!


Last week here with a spreader truck it was $35 a ton.

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Originally Posted By: ewest
Trust me if the spreader truck can put it into the pond in several locations and the cost is not to high you will be glad you let them put in the lime. If not get them to dump bulk ag lime as close as possible and you can spread by shovel.


Roger. Given my stats...The quote said 1-2 tons per acre, at .44 acres should I do...what... .75 tons? 1 ton?

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With ag lime, adding too much won't be a big deal.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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VA I would go for just keeping some lmb/pan fish if the sole purpose of going with koi is for a side business............At the very least look into the state regulations to do so.I don't know about VA but NJ is a logistical nightmare.After you navigate the state red tape you then have the various viral and disease issues that the koi industry has been dealing with over the last few years.While I'm far from a expert on Koi a few farms I visited while in the process of getting my aquatic farmers license dealt with koi.They where pretty fanatical about keeping things bio secure in their operations.

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Originally Posted By: Robert-NJ
VA I would go for just keeping some lmb/pan fish if the sole purpose of going with koi is for a side business............At the very least look into the state regulations to do so.I don't know about VA but NJ is a logistical nightmare.After you navigate the state red tape you then have the various viral and disease issues that the koi industry has been dealing with over the last few years.While I'm far from a expert on Koi a few farms I visited while in the process of getting my aquatic farmers license dealt with koi.They where pretty fanatical about keeping things bio secure in their operations.


Interesting...hadn't considered that aspect at all! Being able to make some money was definitely a big reason to go with the Koi...

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Dear Va:

All advice here re: lime is sound. I really encourage you to call SS and would be interested in what they tell you.

I needed 28 tons. SS in Catlet wouldn't do it because of "liability" issues. The one in Caroline would do but they wanted a $150 delivery fee for a 35 mile haul. Plus, their lime has a fairly high concentration of Mg compared to what is available up our way. For only a ton though, I wouldn't worry about it.

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Vaaccess,
If your property has acidic soil (like southern Miss.) you could get the excess spread somewhere where you want to grow a veggie garden or orchard in the future.


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I paid more than that for three 50 pound bags.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 09/11/12 08:54 AM.

It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

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So......I think I've made a decision. I want to go with LMB and other fun fishing fish. smile

As noted previously, the pond currently has about 5 large Koi, a small school of Goldfish was seen at one point, but I haven't spotted them since the algae invasion, and a dozen or so (...?) flatheads plus numerous frogs and probably some yet unconfirmed snakes. smile Oh yeah...Saw a beaver in there the other day, which surprised me.

I'll be off to other board posts to understand LMB more as I'm sure there's plenty on here already. Though, I would welcome thoughts and insight in this thread, too!

Thanks to all for the help. I haven't had a chance to call for the Lime yet. frown Need to try and make that a priority tomorrow, but my job is kicking my butt lately.

Mike

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Lime applied. (Well, have 400 more pounds to drop in to get the full ton, doing that tomorrow. Who would have thought moving a ton of 40 pound bags could be so much fun??? Not!!!!!!

Also took care of the beaver problem, which is good. It had already put a nice hole in the bank (not dam side) and took down a couple of small trees...

Still debating aeration...

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.

Last edited by Vaaccess; 03/11/13 06:51 PM.
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You might consider a fountain. You have a beautiful setting and a fountain will add to your enjoyment of it, plus go a long way towards keeping you from chemical dependence. I spent $3000 on a large Flair fountain, about 15 yrs ago. Have never regretted it.

Half of that cost was in the submersible cable, and you won't need even half of that. You need a dock post to mount your electrical box and a trencher to get electric to it from your house, and it's not as costly as chemicals added over the life of your pond.

I pull my fountain out every winter because my pond freezes hard, but you won't have that problem in VA, will you? Such a beautiful country you live in.

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