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#543628 02/02/22 09:35 AM
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I am looking for advice on adding aeration to my farm pond. The pond sits in front on our family home so I will be able to trench electricity from the house, around 250 feet. There are fish in the pond but my main concern is the algae that covers the pond every summer. For years I have tried chemicals and even had a pond management company do monthly applications. I do not live there so it is hard for me to keep up regular spraying. So my hope is aeration will help with the algae problem at least to the point that not as much spraying will be needed. In the winter the pond is 1.5 acres and 8 feet deep at the overflow pipe. It does leak, not through the dam, but this area has a lot of limestone caves, so most experts believe that is the cause. It is full in the winter but can go down to half that size in the summer. I cannot afford to fix it but would be happy with the amount of water if it could remain clean. So will aeration help? The closest installer of aeration is three to five hours away. I have four quotes with different types of aeration, AirMax, Vertex and AerMaster Elite. Most propose three head diffusers, one with four, combinations of deep and shallow water. Is it necessary to run them 24/7? How much maintenance is required on an ongoing basis? I am not there all the time, so what happens if the power goes out? Since the pond leaks and the depth will vary, will there be problems if the water becomes too shallow above the diffusers, is that a problem? Sorry for the length of the question, any suggestions are appreciated.

EkimNeeks #543632 02/02/22 11:35 AM
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Welcome to the forum!

I doubt that aeration will do what you want it to do. When the pond water level drops, sunlight can get to the pond bottom, creating a huge area for the algae to grow.

I'm guessing that the pond is an older pond? I'm also guessing that the pond is a groundwater pond, dependent upon the ground water level to keep the pond full. If it was leaking out through a cave, then the pond would be low all the time.

I believe you will have a better result by reducing the nutrient load and by doing algae treatments every 2 weeks along with adding dye to the pond to limit sunlight penetration.

Yes, when the water levels drop and you have less water over the diffusers, that severely reduces their effectiveness. About 6 feet is the bare minimum water level that I would like to see over the diffusers, but even with 8 feet of water, you still should have O2 at the bottom of the pond. ,


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EkimNeeks #543637 02/02/22 12:16 PM
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It does not sound like "fishing" is the primary goal of the pond.

Is "family recreation" the main goal?

If so, then a few triploid (sterile) grass carp and annual spring stockings of tilapia might also be part of your management plan.

You would probably need to start with a fish kill treatment to make sure there are no large catfish or bass that will eat your small tilapia after stocking.

Below is an old link about tilapia that has lots of comments from people at about your same latitude.

Tilapia for Algae Control

That thread is over 10 years old, and the experts on Pond Boss know a lot more now!

Note that you will have almost total control of your tilapia population. They will die off 100% in your pond every winter.

EkimNeeks #543639 02/02/22 12:20 PM
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The pond was built in the 1970's. It was drained and redone in the 80's. Unfortunately I used clay but not bentonite which I think might have helped. A small stream runs into it. Also a mountain spring that feeds five cattle waterers, then the overflow comes into the pond via a pipe, about 12 gpm, all year round. We have lots of rain, snow in the winter thus the water level stays up. The pond is in the mountains of Virginia near the TN state line. I have used dye but it does not remain long. Should I use dye every two weeks as well? What do you suggest that is best for the algae treatment?

EkimNeeks #543640 02/02/22 12:25 PM
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Provide a little more information please.
1. How much wind does the pond get for natural mixing by wind action?

2. What do you think is the max, min and average water clarity? I assume you do not have any Secchi disk or actual clarity measurements?

3. Have you considered trenching - pushing air to the pond instead of trenching in electricity. Electric wire cost to the pond will be MORE EXPENSIVE than using black plastic water line trenched to the pond. One option would be to put both pipe and electric in the trench when trench is open. I like sending plastic pipe to the pond instead of electric because you can put the compressor in a shed or building at the power source instead of having the pump in an extra cost housing unit at the pond. the compressor stored in a building is IMO much better that in a small ventilated extra expense housing at the pond.

4. I am nosey,,,,,, what is the price range of the pro estimates for having it installed as you have described? You can do this yourself and save about 1/2 the cost.

5. Aeration is often promoted as reducing filamentous algae (FA) growth. Fallacy. My experience is many ponds with bottom aeration that I deal with have FA problems. Bottom aeration is more likely to influence phytoplankton algae and not so much FA growth.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/02/22 03:26 PM.

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EkimNeeks #543649 02/02/22 03:21 PM
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FishinRod - Thanks I fixed my error.


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EkimNeeks #543661 02/03/22 01:00 AM
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Bill:

With the pond at 8' deep in the winter and I'm estimating half that depth in the summer (OP stated that he loses about 1/2 of the volume of water in the summer) will bottom diffusion aeration work well enough to offset the cost?


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EkimNeeks #543677 02/03/22 10:16 AM
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It is correct that fishing is not the main goal. The pond sits in the front yard of our family home so keeping it clear of algae and clean in appearance is the main goal. We boat a little and the grandchildren fish some but improving appearance is my main goal. I was told my someone in the same area that aeration really helped their algae control. Below is what one of the professionals I contacted for a quote told me:

"There are multiple tools for algae control.

One of the best long term management tools is getting an aerator installed. Proper aeration will increase the ponds ability to naturally process nutrient, reducing the algae growth naturally. The water movement helps break up the mattes of algae as well. The initial investment on an aerator is relatively substantial but if the aerator is initially installed it will greatly reduce the need for routine treatments. If algaecide is being used as the sole tool for control treating twice monthly throughout growing season could be necessary. But if an aerator is installed in combination with other indirect control options (discussed below) algaecides may only be needed a few times per growing season."

So I was disappointed in the response above that said aeration to control FA was a fallacy. The quotes run from $3,000 for equipment only to $6,700 for the full install. The clarity of the water seems good, I don't know how to measure exactly, except of course I can't tell as most of the summer has it 75% covered in FA and watermeal. Watermeal used to be the primary problem but now it has diminished and FA is dominate. I am concerned about aeration is the shallow end but one of the quotes put in "shallow water diffuser heads".
There are bass in the pond so does that eliminate Tilapia? There were some Isreal Carp put in the pond many years ago, so restocking with grass carp is a good idea I think. What about Koi?
I appreciate all the help. I do not have unlimited resources so I want to make the best decision possible before spending on aeration. I do want a professional to install as I am only doing this once and want it done correctly. Also if a professional is on site he may give me better ideas about how to control the algae ongoing. I will attempt to post some pics next.

EkimNeeks #543680 02/03/22 10:44 AM
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Here are two pics of my pond, one showing extensive coverage, on in early spring showing very little, both are 1-2 feet down from the top of the overflow pipe

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Pond Clear Resized.JPG Pond with FM-Resized.JPG
EkimNeeks #543684 02/03/22 11:36 AM
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Great looking pond! (Except for the algae.)

I assume you DO NOT use any fertilizer on your front yard. (Fertilizer runoff would contribute to your algae growth.)

The existing fish in the pond will certainly affect your success rate from new stockings (like tilapia). If you have predation on your stocker fish, then you will generally have to pay more money for more fish or larger fish to stock.

Do you ever see your existing carp working at the surface of your pond? You may not need to re-stock on grass carp. You may just need a new species of herbivore fish. Different species graze on different algae and other plants in the pond.

I thought there was a recent post on Pond Boss about aeration affecting algae, but I couldn't find it during my search.

I believe the conclusion was - there are some ponds where the totality of circumstances are such that aeration affects some variable that reduces algae growth. In other circumstances, the aeration would NOT affect the algae growth and would be a poor investment (not counting the other benefits of aeration).

[I don't trust my memory on that discussion.] Hopefully, you can get some more responses from the Pond Boss aeration experts and algae experts!

EkimNeeks #543716 02/03/22 05:49 PM
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In My Educated Opinion.

1. Are you feeding the fish? If yes, stop and harvest as many fish as you can to reduce the fish biomass because then you are no longer providing fish welfare food. Feeding fish adds lots of fish manure nutrients from more fish than the pond can support naturally. When feeding the fish the pond is an animal feed lot that produces excess nutrients. Nutrients grow plants. Nature’s law.

2. What do you think is the biggest bass in the pond? Big bass eat bigger stocked tilapia. This means more expense of buying bigger tilapia to survive predation for algae control.

3. Grass carp rarely eat very much filamentous algae. Sometimes they will eat duckweed but IMO usually not much duckweed unless it is the only plant. The big algae and duckweed consumers are the tilapia who are primary vegetarians. As mentioned they need to be stocked each year. BUT also chemicals need to be added each year thus chemicals are also a big expense plus algaecides and herbicides chemicalize the pond, often with ‘unhealthy’ stufff for the pond habitat-ecology. Tilapia is an expense but it is mostly no chemical, very good algae control IF ENOUGH TILAPIA ARE ADDED per acre and depending on how much algae needs to be consumed. Each fish can only eat just so much. More algae requires more tilapia, just as more plants require more chemical applied for control.

4. Israeli carp are basically a sparsely scaled strain of the common carp (common German carp). Koi are the same specie. This specie of carp have taste barbells on the side of the mouth. The Israeli and Koi are promoted by some fish farms for algae control. I studied this concept in detail. Their diet is minimal algae and preferred are mostly bottom dwelling invertebrates. They are omnivores eating living and dead stuff. Most of the small amount of plants consumed are accidentally ingested in the fish’s sediment rooting search for invertebrates and worms that live in the bottom mud.

Watch a carp feed. It roots and digs up to its eyes in the bottom mud sucking up and straining out mostly animal goodies as it digs and works through the sediment. Junk & sediment passes out the gills. The bottom feeding process causes re-suspension of sediments and mud making the water cloudy with fine sediment. The more Israeli, koi, and common carp one has the more muddy the water becomes.
Aeration currents help keep the mud and fine sediments in suspension. Plants grow poorly in muddy murky water. This process is how Israeli carp, koi and common carp control algae and plants by making the water turbid so plants receive less light and do not grow very well. Israeli, and koi and common carp really are not eating the plants / algae compared to tilapia who actually eat and digest lots of algae and delicate plants for their growth. The carp’s rooting / bottom feeding disruption keeps plants and algae from becoming established on the bottom. These carp fish can help to control algae if you don’t mind muddy roiled water. Pond dye makes the muddy water look blue as in “Make-up on a pig”.
Grass carp aka White amur are vegetarians and they, same as tilapia, eat and digest the plants that are normally picked, snipped, or sucked up separate from the bottom. They usually work up off the bottom not digging in the bottom. When plants are gone tilapia can eat and digest organic bottom materials even better than carps.

5. Your picture shows evergreens blocking wind action on one side of the pond. Usually natural wind action will mix pond water down to 6ft deep. Water deeper than 6ft is the area or volume that needs IMO to be artificially mixed to keep oxygenated water on the deep bottom areas for good, rapid organic muck decomposition. Bottom aeration is for maintaining oxygen on the bottom helping to make the bottom sediment more ‘healthy’. Oxygen using bacteria thrive by decomposing dead organic material converting them to nutrients for reuse by plants. Algae if growing on the bottom of the pond in deep water, also adds oxygen to the bottom zone. ALL filamentous algae always starts growth on the bottom or attached to underwater surfaces. Murky, cloudy water does not allow plants to grow well in deep water. IMO you only need to aerate the bottom areas deeper than 6ft which may require only one or maybe two diffusers to pump and lift the bad DEEPEST water out and up to the surface where it then gets oxygenated and degassed. Ample oxygenated water on the bottom in the deep zone from bottom aeration has MANY benefits but algae control is not one of them IMO and professional experience.

6. Try this. If the pond companies are saying aeration will stop and significantly hinder algae growth,,,, ASK them if they will guarantee their aerator will significantly do this or your money back. I know the answer. They will say yes when combined with using their chemical plan. The chemicals are controlling the algae not the aerator. I tell people that have a small pond and if you add 2 to 4 cups of fertilizer to the pond even 6-10 aerators will not stop the algae growth.

7. Asked - “necessary to run them 24/7? How much maintenance is required on an ongoing basis?” IMO in 8 ft max depth there is not a lot of water volume to get moved out of the deep zone. Thus running 24/7 would not be absolutely necessary HOWEVER it could be very beneficial to help digest the muck sludge in the bottom PROVIDING if the deep zone in summer loses its dissolved oxygen which may not actually happen if the maximum depth is only 4-5ft (1/2 of 8ft maximum summer low level). Dissolved oxygen (DO) testing would verify DO amount mid-summer on the bottom. IMO diffusers should not be any shallower than 5 or 6 ft during maximum depths due to the summer low pool and natural oxygenation mostly by plants in shallow water.
Most all bottom diffuser Aerators only need annual maintenance of checking the compressor, cleaning / replacing air filters and cleaning the diffusers. Since you are not there 24/7, I fear vandals and trespassers could damage or steal the compressor/aerator and cabinet. It is worth stealing! Plus with only 4-5 ft of water in the summer, and nature with its average wind mixing should usually keep the bottom zone oxygenated due to sunlight penetration IF water clarity is 2ft as measured with a white coffee cup or 6”-8” dia plastic lid on stick or a cord, aka DYI secchi disk.

8. Your pond problems are a symptom of the problem. Excess filamentous algae and duckweed are indicators of excess bottom muck and over enriched plant nutrients in the pond. This always happens in old, aging, very nutrient rich ponds. Ponds are natural collection basins with no drain. Nutrient enrichment grows more plants. Nature demands it. When I see these problems to excess, I always strongly suggest a pond clean-out and rebuild to get rid of all the nutrient enriched bottom sludge and deepen the shallow areas. Deepen and repack the pond bottom properly so it does not leak. A pond rebirth is needed. Maybe even down size the pond to ½ or more of the size if money is a problem.

9. I guarantee if you put enough tilapia in, they will do the job of eliminating the algae. They are nature’s algae eating machines, but you need to buy more each year. Bass do eat lots of small and baby tilapia especially if bass are big and/or overpopulated. As mentioned earlier you might consider killing or renovating the pond of fish. Start over with just tilapia each year. They are a great sport fish for kids and in early fall catch them and eat some of the large 12"-14" tilapia that cn grow in VA. New baby tilapia are the algae eating army. If bass are eating lots of baby & small tilapia more big tilapia at stocking need to be added to increase the “algae army”. Around 100 small 3”-4” tilapia last summer completely denuded my 0.6 ac of algae & Chara filled pond that has no bass.

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Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/03/22 07:33 PM.

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EkimNeeks #543754 02/04/22 01:00 PM
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Thank you for your input. I am growing more hesitant to invest in aeration as I read the forum. I would love to do a pond rebirth but the cost to do so, with no guarantee that the leaks would not reappear is just throwing good money after bad. I did it twenty years ago, spent $15,000+ and the pond leaked again within a few years. I can live with the leak if the pond's appearance could be improved by algae control. In summary you are suggesting forget the aeration and invest in tilapia and do limited chemical control. I have never fed the fish in the pond. The pond is not fished often however I have seen some 8-10 inch bass caught. I have no real idea of the fish population.

Does anyone know of where I could buy Tilapia in the southwest VA, upper East TN area? It sounds like I would need around 200 tilapia, as large as I could buy and repeat each year. What would that cost approximately?

Thank you and I will make a donation.

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Yes - This spring try some tilapia. They are often sold by the pound. 4.5" to 6.5" are close to 4 to 5 fish per pound. Price is often $20-30/lb. Average stocking for pretty heavy algae is 30 lb per acre = 130-140fish @ 4.5"-6". Small amounts of algae can see good results with 15 lb per acre. See Item 2. I don't think 12" bass will eat very many 4" tilapia and no 5" tilapia. Your pond is very likely overpopulated with 10"-12" bass which is normal for many ponds. If I was adding tilapia I would do two important things for your specific pond conditions. NOTE: Bigger ponds always require more money to treat and deal with problems which is why I suggested to downsize the pond, if / when it is rebuilt.

1. Give your tilapia the best chance for survival. Have several fishing forays to catch as many bass as possible as soon as the water reaches 55F. Have a family or friends fishing parties. Give small prizes for the most bass caught and largest bass caught. Fish intently and as often as practical until the water is 66F-70F when tilapia are stocked. You are saving money by removing each predator bass. Get as many bass out as possible until the tilapia arrive. This removes tilapia eating predators and allows maximum survival of the new tilapia and their offspring. If it were me I would use live minnows from the local bait shop under a slender stem bobber as bait to catch the bass. Do not worry about taking out too many bass. On pair of bass hatching will provide ample bass for the next few years.

2. Use some Cutrine-Plus to reduce the amount of algae before the tilapia arrive. If the filamentous algae(FA) is floating spray it with diluted Liquid Cutrine-Plus. If the FA is still attached to the bottom spread lightly scatter granular Cutrine-Plus in the beds of FA. Try to significantly reduce FA as much as practical. The less FA the fewer tilapia that will be needed and the faster they will catch-up eating the biomass and eliminating it. Often it takes 30-40 days to see significant reduction of FA. If FA is not noticeably reduced in 40 days you had too much algae to begin and not enough tilapia. A lot of my tilapia customers say that when tilapia had all the FA cleaned up by fall when tilapia die (water 50F), the FA often is not as bad nor abundant the next spring.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/04/22 10:07 PM.

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EkimNeeks #543769 02/05/22 03:46 AM
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Bill is spot on. We have found that you HAVE TO kill the algae within about 6 days of stocking the Tilapia or they wont' be able to eat all the dead floating stuff AND eat the new stuff that is growing on the bottom. Here in N Central Indiana we have to stock 40#/surface acre to achieve algae control.


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EkimNeeks #543789 02/05/22 10:04 PM
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Ekim you might have to do some old fashioned innovative homework to find a tilapia supplier for your area. Check out Lakeway Tilapia Rutledge TN who specializes in selling numerous types of small tilapia. Remember your bass eat small tilapia. Small ones are expensive bass food. They might sell some larger individuals in the 4"-6" sizes. If not ask if they know of a seller in your area. Tilapia farmers know their buyers and competition. Check out Craig's List for aquaponics and / or aquaculture growers who very often grow tilapia in their systems. Check with University Extension office for leads of who in VA grow or sell tilapia. There might be a Virginia Aquaculture Association in VA who could provide tilapia grower info.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/05/22 10:09 PM.

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EkimNeeks #544259 02/19/22 10:44 AM
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Tilapia are ILLEGAL in VA so we can forget that plan

EkimNeeks #544261 02/19/22 10:56 AM
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Two current photos, showing algae just beneath the surface, and only February and still cold, average daytime in 40's low 50's, night 20's. Should I start dye and algacide now or wait another month?

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Pond in Feb floating algae.jpg Pond with algae under surface-Feb..jpg
EkimNeeks #544342 02/21/22 10:39 AM
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The water clarity shown in the picture indicates to me the filamentous algae(FA) grows on the bottom down to around 5 maybe 6ft deep. Thus all pond bottom areas less than 6ft will produce your algae growths that eventually break loose and float. Once floating those floating clumps are basically done growing and waiting to die due to some reason and sink, then hopefully they decay and or create lots of bottom muck. New appearances of FA are always from more mats breaking loose from the bottom.

Cause of the algae growth is due to excess nutrients in the water that are not being consumed by other plants. If the pond had lots of submerged plants to use the nutrients, water would be very clear and weed infested. The more nutrients that present the more plants that will grow to use those nutrients. Nature demands some sort plant grow to use available nutrients. Nature has thousands of different pant species available to grow in all sorts of nutrient enriched conditions.

Filamentous algae(FA) grows because more dissolved nutrients are available than being used by all other forms of plants that are present. Tree leaf litter entering the pond each year contributes lots of dead nutrient laden material that when decomposed releases those nutrients. Natures policy. Waterfowl manure also adds lots of nutrients. 10 geese make the equivalent manure of one cow. Geese are FLYING TOILETS.

When one uses pond dye its purpose is to reduce sunlight penetration. Reduced light from dye if used properly reduces the amount of algae that grows in water deeper than 2ft. The water needs to be around 2ft deep and dye dark enough to filter enough light to suppress algae growing on the bottom. As per label the concentration of dye should be around 1 part per million. This, when using the gallon container size, is same as one gallon per million gallons of pond water. If less dye is used then less algae or fewer rooted plants will be suppressed. FA growing deeper than 2-3ft is a good indication the dye concentration is not dark enough. A little bit of dye should be added monthly to adequately compensate for: dye evaporation, dilution, UV fading, chemical decay, and absorption into sediment and organics. Dye is an organic stain. It naturally and gradually breaks down and dissipates. I recommend the small monthly amount be applied in Nov-Dec and again as soon as ice melts in spring and also monthly. Monthly dose is 1/10 or 1/12 of the original volume treatment. Remember dye is used for pre-emergent treatment for plants. Dye does not kill the plants.

Filamentous algae always starts growing attached to the bottom or on solid structures wherever it receives enough light for growing. Thus dye should be best used before the algae is growing i.e. as a pre-emergent. It does not control floating algae mats, already well established bottom FA and submerged plants, or emergent (shoreline) vegetation. Floating FA is best removed or treated with an algaecide. Heavy hard rains, strong waves often beat-up the floating FA and it sinks.

FA of one species or another is usually a continual problem in shallow areas of ponds. Often FA does not grow in the deeper central bottom area of ponds due to lack of adequate sunlight. Tilapia are the sheep and goats of the pasture keeping the FA trimmed and eaten.

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esshup #549431 06/18/22 08:37 PM
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Teach me more of this, my pond is groundwater and last summer was the first season and we didn’t get much rain level dropped a couple feet. Water came immediately above overflow pipe in October and has been full to the brim because of all our rain….but I should expect it to drop over the next summer months purely because of groundwater level?

I am considering taking more dirt out of the water level ups and downs that much.

Low level probably got 5-6 feet deep in it, I’m on site now so I’ll be measuring daily.


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What’s the easiest way to get rid of leaves
by Bill Cody - 04/20/24 09:09 PM
Major Fail
by esshup - 04/20/24 04:15 PM
Muddy pond
by esshup - 04/20/24 12:29 PM
How many channel cats in 1/5 acre pond?
by Theo Gallus - 04/20/24 10:31 AM
Protecting Minnows
by ArkieJig - 04/19/24 11:43 PM
'Nother New Guy
by teehjaeh57 - 04/19/24 01:36 PM
1/4 HP pond aerator pump
by esshup - 04/18/24 06:58 PM
Hi there quick question on going forward
by Joe7328 - 04/18/24 11:49 AM
Chestnut other trees for wildlife
by Augie - 04/18/24 10:57 AM
Newly Uploaded Images
Eagles Over The Pond Yesterday
Eagles Over The Pond Yesterday
by Tbar, December 10
Deer at Theo's 2023
Deer at Theo's 2023
by Theo Gallus, November 13
Minnow identification
Minnow identification
by Mike Troyer, October 6
Sharing the Food
Sharing the Food
by FishinRod, September 9
Nice BGxRES
Nice BGxRES
by Theo Gallus, July 28
Snake Identification
Snake Identification
by Rangersedge, July 12

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