Building a Pond

I know of people who feed their pond fish catfish food and even dog food. They smile and tell me how cheap these foods are and that their fish do just fine with them. This may be true — for a while. Eventually, however, the "cheap" ingredients in these foods will cause the fish to become obese and die.
Most folks are going to grab whatever is handiest and cheapest for the fish in their ponds. Little thought is given to what kind of food it is and for what purpose. The fact is ornamental pond fish really DO NEED to be fed because Mother Nature cannot supply worms through rubber liners. We, at Pond Doc’s, DO look at the label and size up just what the food does for the fish. Some brands are extremely poor quality and build fat on the fish. Yes, fish suffer from obesity just like humans do! Others are on the other end of the spectrum, supplying the equivalent of our steaks and caviar.
It’s been our experience that once a pump goes on the blink it becomes extra weight in the trashcan. There’s very little middle ground. They either pump up a storm or they hum with no water flow at all. You’ll also notice that pumps go out on you at the worst possible moment. You may have a dinner party planned or it’s prom night and the waterfall is the backdrop for the pictures you plan to take. The pump may decide to go out just as you begin your PP treatment. But before we get too carried away and start shopping for a new one it’s worth a try to see if it’s only a matter of a good cleaning.
A few days after one of the many torrential rainfalls we experienced this spring a customer called me for help with her leaking pond. “You must get out here quick,” she said. “The pond is going down every day. Pretty soon my fish will have no water at all!”
Just because something is cheap does not mean you’ll save money. This is true with everything in life and is especially true when it comes to ponds. The words “price” and “cost” have two different meanings. The price is what you pay at the time you purchase an item. The cost is what you end up paying over the life of the product. Something that is low priced may end up costing you more after only a year or two.
It’s no secret that we prefer liners to preformed shells. We’ll order them if you insist but we won’t clutter our store with something we don’t believe in. If I’ve steered you away from purchasing that seemingly “easy to install” preformed pond shell — good! Now you need to decide what kind of liner to install. We have our preferences on that too!
Like the automobile, the very first bead biofilter was a breakthrough in technology. It offered pioneer pond keepers an alternative to archaic methods of filtering water. But like the Model T the very first model bead filter had its share of problems. As time goes by these problems are addressed by manufacturers and improvements are made. The hour-glass design of the bubble bead was found to bottle-neck the water flow and was ditched by many distributors in favor of a single round tank that resembles a pool filter.
Before you get all excited and start planning on which veggies you intend to plant in your vegetable filter I better tell you that a “vegetable filter” is a term used to describe a type of filtration where the water passes through a bog pond. The use of a vegetable filter as your only type of biofiltration can be deadly unless you know the whole story. It’s true that plants do a lot of good but that’s only part of it.
Many people confuse a prefilter with a biofilter. It’s easy to do. Those who manufacture prefilters often call them biofilters on the packaging. They shouldn’t be able to get away with it but they do. Prefilters are used in conjunction with submersible pumps to strain large debris so that it won’t get caught up in the pump. They’re often built onto certain pumps or come as optional attachments. We like to construct our own with pump baskets.
There is a plethora of filter products designed for use in ornamental ponds. There are so many choices available that it can, in fact, make the job of choosing a filter more difficult for the consumer. We spend a great amount of time testing filters and determining their usefulness, if any, in the pond.