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Smurfishy

A few pond questions from a newbie

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I am kind of hoping that I don't have to start a bunch of new threads for each one so if you guys can try to help me with it all here that would be great.

I just bought the 300g rubbermaid stock tank, it is huge! As a plus it has a drain at the bottom that consists of a pvc elbow that the homedepot guy was completely useless to help me with. I took pictures and brang the camera but he had no idea how to hook up the pumps or the pvc to it. I'm afraid that I would screw it up somehow if I tried to remove it so I'm not touching it! Unless I got some very good instructions on how to, although that prob means needing to reseal it. Also, where the normal drain is there is a small pvc pipe with no drain plug, or does it look that way without a drain plug? Someone told me to try a local hardware store which I will do as soon as I have a moment. I'll put pics up later. If you have advice on this by all means.

1. If i get a pond deicer do I have to worry about the pond getting too cold in winter if its above ground?

2. what kind of paint would I get so as to be fish safe? I would like to be able to see my dark fish

3. would want to put some kind of wire or something on the drain to make sure none of the small fishys get sucked out while draining through the drain, what could I use?

4. Regarding safety measures for overflow,I was thinking of drilling holes close to the top. We can get downpours that last days. God forbid they go up and over.

5. Shakaho suggested play sand instead of paint, how would I go about rinsing it before I put it in the tank and what about maintenance as I hear sand can get sucked up into siphons.

6. Can I seed my pond with old media and if I did so would I put it in the prefilter box or place within the rocks of my trickle filter set-up?

7. I assume I will be using fishless cycle with ammonia, will it take as long in a pond as an aquarium? It took nearly 3 months on both my 20 and 75 gallon tanks, the 20g was cycled with fish, the 75 with ammonia, I am wondering if it has something to do with the composition of my well water. I am hoping to get them in within a month of set up. We have had pretty mild weather in Connecticut all winter and in March it feels like summer weather! Global warming yay! J/k I am a big environmentalist.

Thanx for all your help

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1. Probably not, unless you have fancies in there. All you need is a hole for gas exchange.

2. If there is any paint that will stick to the inside of a tank full of water, Rubbermaid can probably tell you what it is.

3. I don't know anyone who uses the drain to remove water from the tank with fish in it. It's mainly useful for emptying the tank if you want to move it. Your pump is the best way to get water out of the tank when fish are in it. I don't have a Rubbermaid with a drain, but I think you can just screw a threaded ball valve into it. If you can attach a pipe or fitting on the inside, you could use one of these:http://www.aquaticec...ylene-Strainers to keep the fish from going out.

4. See my description of an overflow system in this thread, post 10: http://www.kokosgold...e-instant-pond/ The only difference in the big and small tanks is the length of the pipes. I have the pipe going to the bottom of the tank so that it removes the dirtiest water when it overfills. The materials required are a pvc pipe, two elbows, and a uniseal http://www.aquaticec...es/829/Uniseals I put the overflow pipe right next to the pump, so that dirty water drawn to the pump is what will exit the tank during overflow.

5. I just poured 3 or 4 inches of sand in a bucket, ran the hose in it, mixed it around with my hands and then poured off the water. After two or three rinses, little was coming off. Play sand has already been washed pretty well in advance. I have less than a half inch of sand in the bottom of a pond.

Unless you are raising the stock tank off the ground, you can't siphon water out of the bottom of the tank. My overflow pipe is about an inch above the sand, and I set my pump on a brick to avoid it picking up any sand. My pump has a sponge "prefilter" on it and I've seen no sand in it. There is a big difference between a pond pump-filter system and a HOB aquarium filter. In a pond, you put the pump at the farthest part of the pond from where you spill the filtered water so sand kicked up by the incoming water is nowhere near the pump.

Cleaning the sand is easy. I just take a fish net, swish it back and forth above any fish poop, leaves, or other debris to get it off the bottom, then scoop it out with the net. I have a bucket of water to rinse the net. Most debris will be near the pump, so the area you have to clean is very small.

6. I strongly advise you to start off with a simple bucket filter like the one here: http://www.kokosgold...e-instant-pond/ You can put some old media in the bucket and add some new. When your trickle filter is built, you can feed it water from the bucket filter and the medium in it will quickly be seeded. Actually, everything in that thread will work in a bigger stock tank as well as in the little one.

7. There is no reason to fishlessly cycle a pond. Outdoor ponds typically cycle in about 3 weeks and the cycle is very stable. Nitrifying bacteria are ubiquitous outdoors. They live in the soil as well as in containers of water, and they quickly wind up in your pond. Furthermore, the nitrifiers in your yard are those best fitted to thrive in your climate. Just set up your pond with a simple filter, put in up to 5 or 6 fish, and monitor ammonia and nitrite. If these stay down, add a few more fish every couple of weeks until you are fully stocked.

Smurfishy, the best way to have a successful pond is get started, and keep your plans flexible. I say set your tank where you think you want it. Put in a simple pump-filter system like in the thread I keep referring you to to. Make a net cover for your pond to keep predators out. (You can just make a rectangle with 1x3s and staple netting to it.) Get some fish in the pond. Once you've done this, work on any improvements to your pond's function -- like building that trickle filter or doing something with the tank drain. After you are completely satisfied with the functioning of your pond, start work on the aesthetic improvements - like the surround.

Any time you feel like you need to take things apart and re-do them, you can get a kiddie wading pond and put the fish in there while you work on the pond.

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That all sounds like good stuff right there, I will start on reading up on your links. First thing fist is to figure out what to do with these two drains! Photobucket is being slow right now, pics soon to come.

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above is where the normal drain is, it is threaded on the inside and outside of the end you are seeing and the pvc does not protrude inside the tank.

DSC00976.jpg

This is inside the stock tank where the added drain is.

DSC00977.jpg

This shows the outside of the added drain. The elbows don't look to be threaded but maybe it has a cap over the threaded part?

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The normal drain looks OK. You should get a male threaded adapter in a 1 inch size and see if that fits in there. If it does, there's no limit to the plumbing you can do. The added drain looks like a serious problem to me. Is the tank sitting on this pipe? If so you either have to dig a hole for it or put the whole thing up on blocks except for the pipe. Is it removable? Figuring out what to do with this is beyond my plumbing skills. I could probably find some way to plug it by trial and error, but I don't know what it would be.

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Excellent advice and posts shakaho :)

Good luck Smurf :)

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Here is one link that I thought could help in figuring something out: http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showthread.php?16161-Gene-s-300g-Setup-with-55g-Upflow-Filter

and another: http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/showthread.php?259803-DIY-stock-tank-filter-idea-looking-for-comments-and-advice

and another: http://www.koiclay.com/diy/pg1.htm

Yeah, the tank is sitting on the elbow. I'm going to try the hardware store, and maybe in the mean time I can call a plumber or whoever it is to fix my washer and he can give me extra advice on the tank?

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The plumbing guy that fixed my washer with help from the lowes plumbing expert I seemed to have gotten everything I need to set it all up. I'll take lots of pics. Could possibly have this up and running by tonight.

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Good for you! I made one small filter with a drain on the bottom, and it is such a PITA that I blanch at the thought of anything on the bottom.

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all the pvc was crazyness, especially since the hole on the inside and the hole on the outside are two different sizes. The plumbing/electrical/mechanic guy was awesome, fixed my washer and car for $75 and says he wouldn't mind helping me do all the cutting and drilling for the pond for free. I'll prob give him something anyways. It saves me the cost of buying a new jigsaw and drill that I wouldn't end up using again for who knows how long. We are going to start on it in the next couple days. right now I need to figure out how I am going to suspend my trickle filter above the water. Use something as a shelf or build/find something that is either outside the water, half in and out, or completely in the water.

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Look at this thread http://www.goldfishkeepers.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2025&highlight=trickle+tower and look at the second picture in post #15. Here's a video on it

The idea of having the tower sitting on something stable beside the tank and having the pipes come out the side is very nice. If you use bioballs or something else that is light instead of lava rock in your boxes, it is reasonable to suspend the boxes across the tank.

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Lava rocks are actually quite light and porous and at 1.71 for 7lbs at lowes can't be beat! I got 3 bags and think I need 3 more so thats 42lbs. I would figure I would want some weight in em to help keep them from blowing over in a big wind. We do get some 60+mph hurricanes every now and then, such as last years Hurricane Irene that took out my power for over a week. Although I have in the back of my head plans to drill holes in everything to secure it to each other, with I don't know what. I was thinking what ever that flexi cuff type material is called. I have thought about the flower box idea before but I really like the idea of being able to grow plants in the boxes, and have no idea how to make holes in plastic and stick pvc in em. The 300g is completely circular so I don't really have an edge to stick anything on. Although my new friend had something in mind, not entirely sure what. I would use cinderblocks but my ph is wicked high and I hear it would only make it higher, but would work outside the pond as long as I can secure it onto the blocks. I bought a flower box at home depot last year too and it was $12 buying 3 gets on the pricey side. I ended up getting 3 of those paper organizers as they were on sale at home depot for $3 a piece and they are stackable. The front part is already veiwable so I might not even worry about the sides which have slats and I can stick hanging plants through them.

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Correction: dry lava rocks are light. Full of water, they aren't light any more. I don't know what you are planning to use for boxes, but I was just pointing out that picture to show how you that you could set a tower next to the pond. I thought you were planning to surround the tank with concrete blocks so you could set a tower on those. You do have to have a water-retaining container on the bottom. Putting pipes through plastic is easy. Get some uniseals http://www.aquaticec...es/829/Uniseals

Get the required size hole saw for your drill. http://www.homedepot...w&storeId=10051

This is the best deal if you think you will ever want to drill a different sized hole: http://www.harborfre...-set-68114.html

(If you don't have a drill, you should have one. You can get a perfectly good drill for under $20 at Harbor Freight.)

Then all you do is put the hole saw on the drill, drill the hole, push the uniseal into the hole, and push the pipe through the uniseal. You have a water-tight seal.

One thing you have to be concerned about if you are building a tower. Check your pump to determine what lifting the water 3 feet (or whatever the height of your tower is) above water level will do to your gph. The stated gph are under Ideal conditions -- no lift above water level, no resistance (like filter material), and large diameter hoses.

That's the big advantage of a sedimenting upflow filter like kulukhan's. You can set a 30 gallon drum on the ground and it protrudes only six inches or so above the rim of the tank. You can put plants in the top of the filter and make it both pretty and functional. The pump only has to lift the water less than a foot so you get good water flow. Here's a picture of one of mine that was used on a stock tank. DSCF0133-1.jpg

I don't know why I had the blocks the filter was on stacked so high.

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You may be right about the gph changing but I hope it all works out. Right now I am missing a couple pieces, I'll get those tomorrow then I should have everything all set up to go. We'll have to do a test run. If it doesn't work I will have to cry. I made my friends life easier by letting him cap off the bottom drain and we are now setting the pvc to go up and out the tub, then an elbow is put on to go in between cinder blocks, another elbow to go up behind the tower, then another elbow to place it above the box and then a T with holy pvc. All the pvc is 3/4." The tower consists of 3 boxes and is sitting on a tray that used to be the bottom of my ferret cage. I wanted to create a waterfall effect but not sure if I will have the required gph to create it. My buddy thought it would work out better if I drilled holes in the side, which isn't the effect I was going for but in the end it's whatever works. Another friend thought It would work best to put another pump in the tray that would pump the water out to create the waterfall effect. There will be no resistance and 3/4" pipe seems small enough to me, I'll check the packaging to see if it states a change for gph, but its two 258 gph pumps connected to the same line.

I was planning on a surround but I am kind of just going the lazy route right now, lol. I just want to get it up and running as you said and then worry about the other tidbits later. Its not like I can't drain it and tweak it later. Thank you for showing me how to do the hole drilling thing.

I was going to put up pics but my camera cord is mia. Tomorrow I guess...

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1. If i get a pond deicer do I have to worry about the pond getting too cold in winter if its above ground?

I'm also in Ct., and I'm worried about your pond freezing solid above ground. Northern winters can be long and cold. I know your pond seems huge to you, but our winters can be brutal, and thick ice forms across ponds. Just think how thick the ice gets on top of a large, natural pond, large enough to skate on. My pond is 3' deep at the center. I built my pond 6-7 years ago, and one winter I had more than a foot thick coating of ice across the surface. I keep a de-icer on the pond, but that just creates a small hole to let the gases escape, it won't help melt the ice overall. I have heard that the general rule of thumb in our area for ponds is at least 3' deep. (which is why I made mine that deep) You need your pond to be deep enough so the fish will have room under that layer of ice. How deep is your pond? I'm thinking you might have to over-winter your fish, I've known many people with ponds like yours who have to do that. Some people get enormous rubbermaid tubs or something similar and keep it in their garage.

Last year's winter was really, really bad. I lost several goldfish. As you know it just snowed, and snowed, and snowed....the surface of my pond actually thawed out because of the snow, maybe it insulated the water?? But the snow turned to slush, and kept falling into the pond, so that by late winter my pond was a slushy through and through. Just thick, gooey ice, my poor fish, I did my best but couldn't save them all, the pond wasn't deep enough. A friend of mine lost every one of her beautiful goldfish and koi.

I just did a quick google and found several links explaining the depth of the pond for cold winters, here's one link:

http://www.aquaticco...y.com/pondfish/

Goldfish can be housed in a pond that is no deeper than two feet, but if you live in a colder climate and you plan to let your Goldfish stay in the pond during the winter the pond must be deeper. Goldfish need at least 12-16 inches of water below the freeze zone to survive.

Edited by finsNfur

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I do have an unheated garage and I could possibly put it in the basement for the winter. What I have is a stock tank pond. I plan on keeping it above ground. I wonder if a water heater instead of a deicer would be better, but I can imagine that there is none that can hold up to the freezing weather.

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You'll be fine with the deicer as long as you insulate the sides. The deicer keeps the stock tank open for stock to drink in places a lot colder than Ct. You should have time between now and winter to build an insulated surround. But suppose you don't get it finished. When people rake up their leaves in the fall, collect bags of leaves and place them all around the pond -- fantastic insulation. In Wisconsin and also in far northern NY, we would plant carrots to be ready to eat in the fall. When snows came, we put bags of leaves over the carrot patch. In mid-Feb when it was -20F, we would go out to the garden, dig away the snow, pull off a bag of leaves and pull fresh carrots from unfrozen ground.

You can also build a support for a plastic "roof" over your pond. I made one of pvc to support my pond net, but many people find they can keep their ponds thawed with just a simple homemade "greenhouse."

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The deicer keeps the stock tank open for stock to drink in places a lot colder than Ct.

In Wisconsin and also in far northern NY, we would plant carrots to be ready to eat in the fall. When snows came, we put bags of leaves over the carrot patch. In mid-Feb when it was -20F, we would go out to the garden, dig away the snow, pull off a bag of leaves and pull fresh carrots from unfrozen ground.

I guess it would depend on the de-icers then. If you can provide a link to a de-icer that will clear the surface of a pond without melting the sides, I'd love to see it! I belong to pond forums and we've discussed this endlessly, looking for solutions. You would need to warm the water without overheating the fish in a tub, so it would have to be powerful but not TOO powerful, and if the tank is rubber the heater could bump against the sides and melt a hole in it. The de-icers I've used do not keep the surface open whatsover, thick ice forms in a circle completely surrounding the de-icers. My pond is below ground and still freezes solid up to a foot thick. We have a 2 feet deep wheelbarrow in back that fills with rainwater every fall, and it always freezes solid. Snow helps to insulate, but most winters in Ct. are NOT snowy. We get snow from time to time, but we don't usually have snow cover for the whole winter. :) As I said previously, last year was really snowy and that's when I lost several fish, the pond wasn't frozen over. I also used to work at a horse stable, and it was a never-ending battle keeping the horse's water buckets unfrozen. We had huge heaters that we placed in the buckets that helped, but it would still eventually freeze over and we had to refill the buckets every day with warm water. And this was inside. We also couldn't use rubber buckets because if the heater touched the sides it would melt it. So again, it might depend on the type of heater you are using, clearly some would not work in Ct. The first two links below are the heaters I have used, I really didn't like the second, it filled with water and partially sank:

http://www.drsfoster...557&pcatid=8557

http://www.drsfoster...49&pcatid=15049

http://www.drsfoster.../ps/c/5163/7660

Edited by finsNfur

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Just to add, I'm not trying to be difficult or argumentative, I'm just sharing the experiences I've had with my pond here in Ct. It was awful losing fish last year! Most winters you'd be fine with a simple de-icer above-ground, but a couple winters I've been through were really hard on the pond. Another thing that has helped keep the ice thin for me is my filter; I leave it on all winter. It has a bubbler-thing that rests at the surface which creates movement. It keeps the ice at bay until the temps are continually in the single digits at night. Good luck, I can't wait to see pics of the finished pond!

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FinsNfur, I have never used a deicer. I assumed Smurfishy was planning to use a stock tank deicer like this: http://www.tractorsupply.com/allied-precision-floating-de-icer-1500-w-2170495 . Most ponders in very cold climates do not use a deicer, but rather a stream of air or water directed to the surface to keep a hole in the ice. This works in Zone 3.

You were wise to run your filter, which provides some of that effect, since running water is very difficult to freeze. My first house in northern NY had the water supply coming under the road. When they rebuilt the road, some idiot didn't bury the pipe deeply enough. As a result, when the temperatures stayed below zero for a few weeks or below -30F for a day, the water pipe froze. The solution the village came up with is to require everyone on my side of the road (maybe 6-10 houses) to keep a tap running full blast from November through March. In return, they turned off our water meters for that time. It worked and apparently was far cheaper than digging up a busy street.

I do not question your problems with ice, and I'm very sorry that you lost fish. I wonder why that happened. Feral goldfish thrive under thick layers of ice far north of you. Are you in an acid rain area? Could it have been a chemical contamination from the lack of ice cover?

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I'm surprised you haven't heard of trapped gases underneath the ice. A large body of water or lake will help distribute the gases, but in a smaller pond it's a bigger risk. And even in colder temps that are sustained for days, the moving water across the surface of my pond still eventually freezes. If you google the issue, you will quickly discover that people in colder climates with small ponds must deal with ice, I'm not unique in that respect. I know others who lost fish last year. But as for the de-icer you recommended, it's not meant for ponds, it is meant for livestock. I'd be worried about potential damage to the OP's pond and fish if using a de-icer not designed for ponds. One of the reviewers of your de-icer mentioned my worries exactly, so if I were the OP I would use caution, I wonder exactly how warm the water gets:

This tank heater works great; I would only suggest getting the plastic guard that is sold separately. It does get hot enough to melt the tank if it is plastic and the heater lays against the wall or bottom of the tank.

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Why do you suggest that I haven't heard of trapped gases under the ice? I was, however, wondering why your fish died when you didn't have ice cover this winter. Perhaps I misunderstood. I was not recommending the deicer, just suggesting that might be what smurfishy was planning to use. I wouldn't use a deicer. I seem to have a lot of difficulty expressing myself, and I think it's time to stop trying.

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Hello,

Just wanted to say that I've been reading this thread with interest. The forum is enriched to have people with pond expertise. I'm sure when disagreements arise, we can discuss the fine points civilly and continue the discussion and to continue to help the OP. Thank you both for your continuing efforts. :)

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