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Ragnaut Offline OP
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Greetings All!

I should have known there was a big site devoted to ponds. Briefly, I'm closing on a 10 acre parcel, adjacent to my brother's 20 acre piece, with the intention of homestead and permaculture.

I have a machine coming next week to dig ponds on both parcels. My original intention was to gather fill for the home and barn and to water animals currently on the tract. My wife, however, is insistent that we plan to stock it as part of the long game.

I am situated in Central Florida with a very high water table. The soil is sandy. I have not completed my soil samples, but I do not believe there are any environment matters. My original intent was to dig a boring 1/2 - 3/4 circular pond. I have only relied on ponds for cattle, which have largely been replaced by solar-driven wells.

My questions are as follows:

1. Can you direct me to designs that are appropriate for supporting fish. There is no urgency with stocking, but I want the initial design to make stocking later feasible. The animals can be moved if "walking down" is a consideration for the design.

2. Is there a minimum acreage and or depth for a successful pond? I'm not sure exactly what fish I will ultimately stock. Blue gill, speck, cats, bass.....no idea.

Its a long term plan. The 10 acres is an empty canvas. No ponds, trees, shrubs....all will be from scratch. We intend to plant a couple acres in trees, an acre or so garden and keep small animals (chicken, rabbits and maybe goats in time.

Thanks for any thoughts or resources you can share.

Best,

Ragnaut

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Welcome to the forum. It's best to water the animals with water from the pond in a water trough or tank vs. letting them walk into the pond.

The smaller the pond, the harder it is to keep a viable reproducing population of fish in it, smaller ponds are better suited for low reproduction rates of hybrid fish.

The design of the pond is driven (sort of) by the species of fish you have in it. Most fish are like wild critters, they like edge cover, so a more uneven shoreline is better than a round, square or rectangular pond.

Depth all depends on the ground and the area. Being in Florida, you probably won't have many issues with drought, BUT since Florida has a lot of sand in the ground and it will most likely be a water table pond, you need to figure out how much the water level will fluctuate over the course of a full year. I wouldn't feel comfortable having a pond that would be shallower than 8' deep during the driest time of the year.

With sand, you are limited to a max slope of 3:1.


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Welcome Ragnaut.


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.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Welcome to the forum. I checked out the map of your home town. Looks like the lakes in your area are old craters and and big ol' horseshoe.


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
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Ragnaut Offline OP
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Originally Posted by esshup
Welcome to the forum. It's best to water the animals with water from the pond in a water trough or tank vs. letting them walk into the pond.

The smaller the pond, the harder it is to keep a viable reproducing population of fish in it, smaller ponds are better suited for low reproduction rates of hybrid fish.

The design of the pond is driven (sort of) by the species of fish you have in it. Most fish are like wild critters, they like edge cover, so a more uneven shoreline is better than a round, square or rectangular pond.

Depth all depends on the ground and the area. Being in Florida, you probably won't have many issues with drought, BUT since Florida has a lot of sand in the ground and it will most likely be a water table pond, you need to figure out how much the water level will fluctuate over the course of a full year. I wouldn't feel comfortable having a pond that would be shallower than 8' deep during the driest time of the year.

With sand, you are limited to a max slope of 3:1.

Thanks for the info. Agreed concerning watering animals via ponds. We've employed solar-driven wells on the family cattle ranch for the better part of 15 years. There are currently cows on the 10 acres, and I'm not eager to kick them off so I can come out of the gate with an ag exemption. The pond need is many steps ahead of the solar well need though. My wife served me up with a funky design with fingers. That design looks like a pia to maintain. Ponds on the family cattle ranch a few miles away rise and fall as much as 5', depending on conditions. The 3:1 ratio is noted, thanks. I'll visit with the operator next week and get his thoughts.

Eta: This is what we use at the ranch, although I think newer ones call for pressurized tanks.
[Linked Image from ar15.com]

Last edited by Ragnaut; 07/16/21 11:07 AM.
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Originally Posted by RStringer
Welcome to the forum. I checked out the map of your home town. Looks like the lakes in your area are old craters and and big ol' horseshoe.

Thanks for the welcome Stringer and Dave. Every perfectly round lake around here are courtesy of sink holes. Its a trip viewing our county from the air.

Several of our lakes are spring fed with depths of over 50'. We are surrounded by water around here.

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With the oddball shape, you will have to make the surface area larger to get the depth, such as the design with all the fingers. For instance, a finger that is 8' deep BUT you could see a 5' water fluctuation means at full pool it has to be 13' deep, so at a max of 3:1 each finger needs to be a minimum of 78 feet wide. But it should be wider because once you reach the depth you want to have it that depth for a while, not like an inverted triangle.


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Heres some thought for you also. The more pond edge you have the more to maintain. I weed eat out as far as I can reach. Myself I like the look of different features along the edges. Heres my pond.
[Linked Image from forums.pondboss.com]


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
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Ragnaut Offline OP
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Originally Posted by RStringer
Heres some thought for you also. The more pond edge you have the more to maintain. I weed eat out as far as I can reach. Myself I like the look of different features along the edges. Heres my pond.
[Linked Image from forums.pondboss.com]
Tell me more Rusto! Square feet, depth, stocked, etc? I quietly think wife's design is unnecessarily complex.

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Love the pond, very cool. Is that about a quarter acre?


"In the age of information, ignorance is a choice." - Donny Miller
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Theres a link to it on my signature line. Its around ⅔ - ¾ ac. Close to 12 feet deep at deepest. I stock it with fatheads and CC bout 10 years ago (way before I found this site). Mine is kind of a mutt pond. Has a few koi, lots crappie, lgm bass, hybrid striped bass (thanks 2 snrub, snipe, fishinrod) sunfish, red ears. Might be more tht iv added over the years. I really dont fish much just love the pond. If I had the money I would add rip rap all around it. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
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"There are currently cows on the 10 acres, and I'm not eager to kick them off so I can come out of the gate with an ag exemption."

Ragnuat,

I don't think anyone is suggesting you kick out the cattle. However, your wife and pond will be much happier if you separate the cattle from the pond!

There are many ways to do it. You can fence off the pond, and have a narrow bay that comes past the fence to a watering hole for the cattle. You can drive some pvc pipe through the pond bank and fill a cattle trough that you install below the pond water level. I am sure you can come up with many more options after looking over your specific situation.

In addition to muddying the water and affecting the life cycle of the pond creatures, the cattle will also destroy any slopes you create while building the pond. Finally, if the pond will be visible from the house, then the cattle will control your landscaping.

In my experience, happy wife >>> happy cattle!

Good luck on your new pond and homestead!

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P.S. The next time you have a rainy day, you should definitely read Rusto's thread!

His pond is just past his house, which might give you some good ideas for your homestead. His thread discusses landscaping, later modifications to the pond as needed, kids in the pond, and raising a fish population appropriate for his conditions. It also shows the time frame for developing everything.

Further, he is very good at including pictures - for all of the people in the forum that enjoy "visuals" to enhance the discussion.

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Ragnaut Offline OP
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Yes - I'm resolved to move them over to my brother's 20. His fencing is done. I may pull a couple over for the usda assessment on September 1st. Or I may just skip a year while we are getting the house, barn, wells, cross fencing, etc. together.

It happened to be rainy today, so I did check out Rusto's thread. Wife really likes the design.

@Rusto - would you happen to have the approximate length and width? 3/4 acre sounds perfect. I believe the excavator can get down to 15'.

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Monday when I'm bk at work I will google map 4 ya. This image I did when I was trying to figure out the shape. They havnt updated their image since Iv increased the size but i can get pretty close. Something similar to this. Dont know why google has to take the picture when r pool was green ggrr lol.u
[Linked Image from forums.pondboss.com]


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
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I'm looking at right at ¾ an ac. With 840 feet of edgeing. Not an exact cause Google hasnt updated their image yet but pretty close.
[Linked Image from forums.pondboss.com]


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
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Originally Posted by RStringer
Monday when I'm bk at work I will google map 4 ya. This image I did when I was trying to figure out the shape. They havnt updated their image since Iv increased the size but i can get pretty close. Something similar to this. Dont know why google has to take the picture when r pool was green ggrr lol.u
[Linked Image from forums.pondboss.com]

Alright, we flagged out .75 acres yesterday. We are going to adjust the shape later this week. The machine is $500 per day. I don't know the bucket size, but was wondering how long you guys think the dig might take. I don't know the operator personally, but I understand he is good at what he does. I also don't know his daily rate. We are working on the overall budget. Thanks.

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Bucket size? Is he using a trackhoe? If that's the case he will be moving a lot of the dirt more than once. Like when he is digging the middle he wont be able to reach the bank edge. This size really needs a dozer. Hopefully someone will chime in with more knowledge than me.


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
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Ragnaut Offline OP
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Well, a Cat 313F was delivered yesterday. Brother is pissed because it doesn't have a large bucket. He is digging 2 ponds and cleaning up existing ditching. I may go my own way.

He also took delivery of a his Kabota L3901HST, with a number of implements. His barn kit is due soon as well. He got a big head start on me!

Scratching my head on the size of the pond too. We do own an F350 with a 9' dump box, but I doubt it could keep up with the digger. I may dig enough for the barn/house fill I need an revisit once some other boxes are checked.

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Most everyone I know wishes theirs was bigger. Ponds wright?


Do not judge me by the politicians in my City, State or Federal Government.


Tracy
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Not everyone wishes their pond was bigger. It depends.
A bigger pond looks better BUT- A bigger pond means proportionally more cost and work in maintaining weed problems that eventually occurs depending on nutrient inputs. Most owners use chemicals for weed control so more cost and some pond chemicals are pretty expensive per acre of water. Larger ponds mean more harvest of plants and or fish meaning more man hours doing the effort. Smaller ponds are easier to renovate with the fish community needs to be killed off and restarted. Smaller pond area allows it easier and quicker to drain whenever needed. Proper management is not provided to some large ponds due to cost and effort required. Heavily feeding fish causes more rapid eutrophication which causes plant and water quality concerns, thus all ponds eventually need to be rebuilt or dug deeper or deepening the edges or shoreline. The larger the pond the more expense in rebuilding and someone has to deal with that problem. Larger is not better in that situation.

Large fish can be raised when done properly in small water.


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Right Bill,

I have 2 actual ponds, a creek and 3 small water holes that I don’t stock. The large one is about 2+ acres and the small one, one mile from the house, has green sunfish, 10 cats and assorted turtles and snakes. The larger one has an expensive feeder, bass and bluegills that I try to keep unbalance. It uses a lot of Optimal and chemicals when needed. $$$ The small one pretty well looks out for itself and I take a 4 wheeler ride to hand feed Optimal. On the larger one, I’m actually trying to grow and maintain fish. That takes $ and sweat. The small one is just for enjoyment.


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.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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