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Water Garden Page

On this page I will share information about my water garden. I started my water garden in May, 1999. I made two ponds connected by a stream. The upper pond is about 16' long, 8' wide and 2 1/2 to 3' deep oval shaped. The bottom pond is about 14' long, 8' wide and 2 to 2 1/2' deep, the connecting stream is about 6 feet long and 6-8" deep. I used EPDM roofing liner which many say is a no no, but I haven't had any problems with it. I washed it good before installing it.
I have a submersible pump (about 1800 GPH) in the bottom pond that pumps water into my 55 gallon drum biological filter. Instructions for bio-filter can be found here. There is one thing I would change about my those instructions, I would raise the filter on cement blocks and put the drain in the very bottom of the drum, much like this one only with lava rock as filter media.

My submersible pump is inside a 5 gallon bucket surrounded with lava rock and with blue filter mat media on top, this acts as mechanical filter. I drilled holes just in the top of the bucket which turned out to be a blessing, my pond cannot pump dry, if the water level drops below the top of the bucket the pump can no longer pull in water. Ask me how I know that;-) Yes the first night my outflow pipes on the bio-filter stopped and it ran over all night. I'm no science whiz, so that was another tough lesson, the outflow on the biofilter (gravity fed) cannot be below the water surface, or else they will not gravity flow. I'm sure most people know that, but I had to learn that one by experience also.

I put in 2 dozen feeder goldfish and had about 6 die. I then added 2 shebunkins, one of which disappeared early spring 2000, and I have several babies, which equals too many to count. In June 99 I added water hyacinth, arrow head, parrot feather, pickerel rush, horses tail, chameleon plant, thalia, hardy lilies and a taro. Over the winter the chameleon plant was the only unexpected casualty (other than the missing shebunkin). The only thing I sheltered inside was the taro. I pulled out all the hyacinth and threw them in the compost before the first freeze.

In the spring and early summer of 2000, I added my first tropical lily, the Panama Pacific, (see photo in upper left corner) to date it has done really well. I also added a (rubra lily) night blooming lily, and a lotus, Perry's Super Star. The Rubra has now bloomed see picture at bottom of left column. The lotus bloomed today (July 10, 2000) for the first time, you can also see pictures of it at left near the bottom.

I had the algae problem at first, and I went against all advice, and put "stuff" in it to clear it, and it would...briefly, then be back with a vengeance. Once I heeded the advice, exercised what little patience I have, and just let the pond do its thing, it balanced and has not been green since, it is clear to the bottom.

I had thousands of these tadpoles
they turned into thousands of these tiny toads (that's a dime beside it)

upper pond July 1999
Lower pond July 1999
dragonfly on furled lotus leaf
upper pond June 2000
lower pond June 2000
viviparous baby

To view larger image click the smaller images above
January 2001
 We've had an unusually hard winter here, second coldest November and December in history.  My pump had gone out in October and I decided not replace it before spring, bad decision.  Both ponds were frozen solid for about two to two and one half weeks, I did manage to keep the ice broken on the ponds most of those days, but when the mid-winter thaw came, thirty two of my fish in the bottom pond floated to the top.  It was a complete kill off.  I didn't lose a single fish out of the top pond.  There are two possible reasons why it was devastating the lower pond and not in the upper, 1) the upper pond is deeper and probably didn't freeze as deep and 2) the lower pond has more leaves and debris in it from the fall, thereby causing poisonous gases to build up faster in that pond than the upper from the amount of decay.
At any rate, as soon as spring arrives, I'll completely empty that pond and wash it good with power washer and then refill and let it rest about a week, then I'll move my fish from the top pond to the lower and clean it good, then restock one of them. Sure makes me glad I had those three dollar a dozen gold fish instead of expensive fish.
I'll post more when spring gets here and things get in better shape.
July 2002
Water garden going well.  Got two koi for my addiversary;-) and they are growing good. Lotus needs split bad, spoke to someone who told me lotus plant would need to be comletely dormant before attempting to split it so next year in February is the plan for splitting, hopefully it will work.

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