View Full Version : Need help with no-electricity ponds

06-13-2011, 07:50 AM
Hi there. I posted a while back about wanting to start up an above ground pond for my three common goldfish (4-5 inches long so far, in the used 40 gal breeder they came with). Thanks to advice from this site and others, I had decided to use a 100 or 150 gallon horse waterer (since they are built to be full of water, unsupported above-ground). I had been interested in solar filters/pumps (still don't really understand the difference, as some sites say you need a pump FOR the filter, and not others in general) but haven't really found ANY good solar-poered filters for fish, as most reviews seem to say they turn off at night or whatnot. I have heard of ponds being unfiltered and being OK, though the water-volumes are increased for each fish. For goldfish of this size, how many gallons would i need to keep them healthy for at least a year without using any power-filter? (moving out for sure by then, so that I am sure I'd have an outside power outlet that works; that's why no electricity available at my current residence).

Or, does anyone know of a completely solar-powered setup/kit that would actually work? Our city gets at least I think 270 days of sunshine on average a year, so the battery backup wouldn't have to be all that great, as long as it's there for nighttime.

But then I heard for fish tanks, you may have 24 hours in cae of a power outage for all the good bacteria to die/bad bacteria to develop; do I have more time with pond bacteria so that ngiths-off would still be OK?

06-13-2011, 09:21 AM
I have a 80gal pond, unfiltered. Home to 3 fantails and a school of firetail gudgeons. I'll be adding 2 more goldfish at some stage, prolly not til winter is over now though

The only thing i'll be adding to at some stage is a solar water fountain

06-13-2011, 10:33 AM
Its a crash just waiting to happen unless you are doing water changes once a week and sucking any and all debris from the bottom. 100 gal for 3 goldys is a good bit of water though and if shade is kept,you do a min of 25%wc weekly and keep the bottom clean you should be ok. Feed them very little when kept this way,they will get a lot of nutrient from algae growing on the sides,feed them a wheat germ based food that stays floating.

06-13-2011, 02:30 PM
@Alasse: Would a simple fountain causing aeration help a lot, if I didn't have a filter? I didn't even think of the help it might cause, and lack of harm for when it's off, compared to anarobic bacteria :D

@smaug: I was planning on weekly water changes, so I guess it would all work out with even 30-40% changes (totally do-able, as my planned placement was going to be near ((not under)) a tree, so as long as i did it on watering day with a siphon, then even the tree is happy! -_^) ? I imagine getting a 150gal continer would also help keep my fishies safe from overload of wastes?

06-16-2011, 12:33 AM
I agree that you could keep them successfully without a filter and with 25-50 percent water changes per week. I ran a 3,000 gal pond with 7 large koi and water lilies for a few years with no filter that way successfully. Eventually organic matter started building up on the bottom that was a pain to remove and I went to a filter. A solar fountain would give you all the aeration you need. For starting it would be a good idea to get a few gallons of water from another older operating pond to get a start of the right balance of bacteria. Doing this beats out purchasing bacteria solutions from supply firms. While many of the bacteria are fixed on rock and plant surfaces some are always detached and free in the water.
Stay away from high protein growth foods, they pollute your water fast. Even with low key food, use it sparingly. Gold fish and koi will suppliment by eating the algae that you will soon have.

06-16-2011, 12:41 AM
It is never of use to add old water from another system when it comes to fw set ups. All that is being accomplished is adding waste material and artificialy upping the bioload. All nitrifying bacteria that does any real converting of ammonia exists on surfaces. You really did 50% water changes weekly with a 3000 gallon pond furface?

06-16-2011, 03:32 AM
I do fortnightly or every 3 weeks waterchanges, done when i vacuum clean the gravel. The fish are fed every 2-3 days, the rest of the time they feed on bugs, mozzie larvae, algae etc. The pond gets afternoon sun only. I also have live plants in the pond.

A fountain will certainly assist with oxygenating the water. Though as i said i dont have one running at present. Pond has been setup since around April

07-02-2011, 05:21 PM
Yes, I really did the water changes, to the tune of 25-50 percent a week. However, this was in the warmest weather of summer only, cooler spring and fall I did it every 2 weeks, sometimes longer and got by fine.
I guess we will disagree on using water for an established pond to start up bacterial balancing a new pond. The amount of water being added is trivial to increasing waste load of a new pond but I believe the bacteria are invaluable. The majority of beneficial bacteria are on surfaces, however there are always some free in the water, dislodged by fish, insects and water movement. These are the ones that would be available to colonize new surfaces. Their reproduction rate is stupendous and they constantly slough off surfaces. I can put a new object in a pond and within a week it is coated with a film of these bacteria.
I overwinter my koi in the basement, when I start up the tank (emptied and cleaned for the summer) in the basement in the fall I always add water from the pond a week prior to adding the fish. Transistion is smooth as can be.
Over the years I have built 2 new ponds in the gardens and started them off running smooth using the same method, fish ready within a week.