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#562958 12/05/23 01:37 PM
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I've been rolling through lots of the previous posts, and perhaps I've missed some info but thought I would check...

Currently in Late Fall / Early Winter with the pond going through some freezing and thawing. Water is low and filling as it rains/snows.

We are trying to get the habitat for the fish finished up which should be done in the next couple of days (I hope) before the next rain/snow event changes the clay back to greasy pig conditions.
- Have approx 4' of water in the bottom of the pond currently. Have ordered a LaMotte test kit in but hasn't arrived yet.

Any of you have a checklist for a rookie in the pondmeister world that could be used to keep a new guy from making a booboo early on?

My next step is to start working on the Alkalinity above 75PPM mark and PH between 6.5-8?

Is there any benefit to adding any forage fish to the water currently in winter conditions? Wouldn't really be looking for anything in the way of growth at this point. It would be more about fish/water acclimation than anything.

As a follow up to the forage fish question above. We will be stocking the pond as it rises not when it is full. Should my stocking plan be based off the estimated current water in the pond or what the pond will be when full?


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Is it cheap and easy for you to put in some FHMs now?

If so, the winter survivors will start spawning as soon as they are able in the spring.

If you are going to put in some Gambusia (mosquito fish), you might still be able to seine a few out of the remaining pools in a nearby creek. Same theory as the FHMs. The biggest caveat with that plan is that you must be 100% sure of all of the creek "minnows" that you are adding to your pond. Adult Gambusia are very easy to identify. You definitely do not want any misidentifications such that you might add anything (like GSF) that you will regret later.

Good luck on your new pond! I predict much fun for you this spring just WORKING on your pond.

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Need to start with your goals for the pond.

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The goals were done before we started digging. Pond is 100% based on the fish and the surrounding wildlife. After building the forage base the addition of F1's is the end game goal. Forage base will include GB, RES, FHM (until they are gone), Crawfish, and a likely swap from YP to GSH when the F1's are large enough to clean them out.
- Doubtful that we will ever see double digit fish but would love to find a way to get some 7-9lbs with management through both feed and selective harvesting.
- Aeration is planned before F1's go in.
- (1) Feeding Station will be used starting spring of 2024.

Pond is about 1.5 acres with an avg depth of 6-7'. Deep pool at 12'.

Cover, Structure and Habitat are getting close to wrapping up.

So my question is....now that we are in winter, and have a bit of water the three choices I see now are:

(1) Add a few forage fish to start water balance rather than add all the fish out of the gate in the spring. From my aquarium days, much smaller scale, I always added the fish slowly so there wasn't a huge impact to the system.
- A bit of a two fold question actually. As we are adding fish at depth intervals (4' now, 8' opens up some flats, humps and trenches, 8-10' opens the BG Spawning beds). Do we add fish based on the current water level or normal pool when full?
(2) Focus the "downtime" from winter on trying to get the water quality in a better spot. Have a few months to get Alkalinity, and PH both moving in the direction or toward the final goals. I'm guessing but if the Alkalinity is low now with partial depth filled. As water adds to the pond through the same watershed it will continue to be low. As I understand it....addition of the chems takes a couple of months to balance.
(3) Likely the hardest of the three options.....wait for Spring.

Was hoping for some direction from the experienced guys.....1st time for me in this area of building a pond.

Wellsville Pond


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I see no benefit by stocking now. Wait until the water temp normalizes.


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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Boondoggle:

Check your water chemistry now and see if you can check a local pond water chemistry to see how close they are to each other. You might be surprised. Adding all the forage fish at once is no big deal, you have less of a bio load on the pond than on an aquarium. Don't add any crays until you get underwater plants established. The plants are part of the pond filter, and part of the forage base. While the fish won't eat the plants per se, they will help create habitat for small organisms that will feed the young fish.


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Thanks for the tips. Still trying to get my hands on the test kit...Heard yesterday it's going to be delayed for 3 weeks. Might try to send off a sample or two.


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Just use the same test kit you used for the aquarium. The biggies now are alkalinity, pH (depending on time of day the sample was taken) and maybe hardness.

Unless you want to test for heavy metals and pesticides - then you have to send the sample out, but make sure the testing lab can test low enough trace amounts to have a valid test. Typically those aren't an issue. In a new pond, you could test for everything else, but until you start getting biomass in there, it really isn't that big of a deal.


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Made it out to the pond today and wanted to double check our results from water testing. We used an API kit (not strips) that came in via the Amazon today.

KH (cabonate hardness) 5dKH = 89.5ppm
GH (magnesium / calcium) 9dGH = 161ppm
PH tested at 7.0 or 7.2

Should I expect these values to change as the pond clears up? Like the stained water making it a little tougher to read the results.

Currently looks to me like no changes are needed and we'll monitor a little more as the pond fills. Come spring with the add of fish, AG Lime would be an option to try to bump both KH and PH or would be do this before the addition of fish to the pond? We should be looking for a KH of < 150 and a PH of < 8 correct?


Thanks,

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Last edited by Boondoggle; 12/11/23 08:07 AM.

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I'm no professional, barely even know how to spell it, but I would think you may be over thinking the testing thing, while the pond is filling up and settling out, along with a little erosion and settlings from the construction part, your numbers, I would think, are gonna vary a good bit, but almost worst case scenario they are probably not going to be off so far as to have any kind of attrition of fish.

Once it fills up and levels off, and settles out, and the summer sun hits it for a while, then do some testing as to water quality and such and make some adjustments if needed. jmo

There's a thousand, 30 yr old ponds out there, with some pretty great fishing in them that have never had a water sample in their entire existence.
Good Luck tho and enjoy your new fishing hole!


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Well said Jake


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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I'll try to cool my jets a little. The spot I didn't/don't want to get into is...."You had all winter to work on this step and now you need to do this step before moving on to the next one."

Where we started on the project was finding a little land that we could build the forever home on. We looked at lots of weird shapes (pie, trapazoids, U's and L's). Some bordered on the railroad tracks, others didn't have slope for a pond or were just such a rats nest of overgrowth that it was a project we didn't want to take on. After finding "our little slice of heaven", purchasing we moved on to the waiting game not only for closing but crops had already been sewn. We allowed the farmer to finish up harvest before starting most of the test holes to confirm we could get the pond in and what the final pricing would look like.

Crops came out in Oct this year and it was pretty much a mad dash to get the pond built (at least for me). Our excavator did a pretty good job overall but his sense of urgency and mine were in a little different zones. The pond did get built, made it pretty much on budget which I am very thankful of.

The waiting is a tough one. This dream has been in the works for years.

I appreciate all the responses and the pointers, even if it's "cool your jets and wait for spring".


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Patience:

Ya know, I’ve been cooling my heels for the last couple of years waiting for our long term drought to end. This isn’t my first drought but, ……….


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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Originally Posted by Boondoggle
I'll try to cool my jets a little. The spot I didn't/don't want to get into is...."You had all winter to work on this step and now you need to do this step before moving on to the next one."

Where we started on the project was finding a little land that we could build the forever home on. We looked at lots of weird shapes (pie, trapazoids, U's and L's). Some bordered on the railroad tracks, others didn't have slope for a pond or were just such a rats nest of overgrowth that it was a project we didn't want to take on. After finding "our little slice of heaven", purchasing we moved on to the waiting game not only for closing but crops had already been sewn. We allowed the farmer to finish up harvest before starting most of the test holes to confirm we could get the pond in and what the final pricing would look like.

Crops came out in Oct this year and it was pretty much a mad dash to get the pond built (at least for me). Our excavator did a pretty good job overall but his sense of urgency and mine were in a little different zones. The pond did get built, made it pretty much on budget which I am very thankful of.

The waiting is a tough one. This dream has been in the works for years.

I appreciate all the responses and the pointers, even if it's "cool your jets and wait for spring".

I can relate to the anticipation thing, waiting is hard, I looked for the perfect spot for yrs, along with the price range I wanted to spend, I didn't want to spend so much as to not have any monies left to exploit my dreams, I found a pretty decent place for the right price that let me do my thing, and it took me several yrs to develop what I have now, a beautiful place with a great fishing hole along with other recreation accommodations, with tons more potential.

What is that old saying, "good things come to those who wait"?

As a self employed person, running my own business for a number of yrs, I have learned that you need to, like you said, do some planning for the future, but worrying only adds wrinkles. It will all be perfect in no time. I even added some Channel Catfish in my pond and fed them so that I would have good eating fish to catch sooner, and it worked, I was catching and eating in no time. although now I wouldn't mind if the darn things weren't in there, as I think they are reproducing in my pond, actually I know they are, but I don't think they are hurting anything, might give the otters something to chew on and leave my LMB and BC alone.

Good Luck!


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Before the pond fills get all your cover in there for the fish. Rule of thumb is 20% of the surface area should be cover for the fish. So if the pond is 1 ac, then 1/4 ac of cover for the fish. Distributed between shallow and deep water, cover with large openings in it, cover with small openings in it.


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