View Full Version : considering a pond, got questions

05-22-2012, 10:18 PM
I am hoping to set up a rooftop garden on my root cellar next spring. It hasn't been cleared yet, so I'm not sure how much space I will have to work with. I would love to do a small pond, but I'm not sure what all I would need to consider. Let's just pretend that I could get somewhere around 150-200 gallons at about 2 foot deep. I live in Oklahoma, it gets really hot in the summer, typically at least a couple weeks worth of triple digit temps, and the winters are very in predictable. Would I need to consider a heater in the winter or chiller in the summer? I know I would need filtration and water movement. Would I need to do regular water changes as I do with my tanks, or just make sure it stays topped off?

I have always wanted a koi or goldfish pond. Hopefully I can make this happen. Any advise is welcome.

05-22-2012, 10:56 PM
keeping it in the shade will help keep the pond cooler. if you leave the fish in the pond over winter, you'll want a small pond heater/airstone. I always recommend looking up aeonflame's DIY bucket filter. they work great for ponds and are super simple.

05-22-2012, 11:40 PM
I personally don't have a pond as I still stay at home, but I do have cousins and relatives who have kept them for years, and being the kinda fish lover I am they always want me to help, in the process of helping an uncle set up his the now.

So In 'my' experience it is always good to have a deep section of a pond. Over here in scotland we can get crazy winters when things freeze for weeks and months. If your weathers bad like this then its always a good idea to have the deep section. Doesn't need to be massive even if the deepest part is size of a dustbin lid it helps, having this at 3-4ft deep might just save your bacon when you get a really unpredictable winter. It would be a real bummer to watch your fish grow for 6 years, get a stupid cold snap, then lose them. Even with a heater and airstone if something goes wrong the chances of a 4ft thick bit of ice are slim so it will bide you time to resolve the problem.

Just my 10pence worth though :22:

05-22-2012, 11:40 PM
Do not consider koi in anything less then 1000 gallons. I kept a 150 gal pond for a few years and had the mistake of trying to keep koi in it. I kept them alive for 4 yrs that way but it was a lot of work. Comets and fancy goldfish work well in ponds that size and you can keep about 6 to 8 comfortably if you have good water movement and bio filtration. A bucket filter is a good cheap alternative to the xpensive commercial offerings. Summer heat is doable as long as the pond stays shaded,lilys can cover the whole surface to accomplish that. Winter still needs water movement to keep air exchange going instead of freezing solid. I did not use a heater but kept a 500gph filter going with the jet up under the surface to keep a good boil going. For the pond size your considering I recomend a quality preform plastic pond.

05-23-2012, 12:05 AM
I needed to clarify "kept them alive" they are still alive and well in there 2500 gal upgrade! Going on 8 yrs old now some of them.

05-23-2012, 02:49 PM
Thanks for the advise. I hope to have a koi pond some day, but I want like 12 or more so I know it will have to be huge. My plan was for goldfish at the biggest, but if I need to go smaller, maybe some white cloud minnows or mosquito fish. If I could do 6-8 goldfish that would be my preference. I would love to have water lilies, and I could provide some fake log shell type things to help with shading.

As far as the water quality goes, I have seen pond vacuums in fosters and smith catalogs, I know that when I clean the bottom, I will need to top it back off, but what about water changes to keep nitrate down?

05-23-2012, 03:59 PM
It isn't just about shading the fish but shading the whole pond. 2 good lily plants will cover almost the entire surface. Water changes can be about 25% once a week and just use a fine net to clean the bottom of the pond. Start off the year and end it with a total water change.

05-23-2012, 05:29 PM
Thanks again smaug. You're a huge help. I'll hopefully have the rooftop cleared in the next couple of weekends and will let you know if there is enough space to put a pond.

05-23-2012, 07:55 PM
I am hoping to set up a rooftop garden on my root cellar next spring. ... I live in Oklahoma, ..

Please don't be digging the top out of your root cellar, particularly if the more correct name - in Oklahoma - is storm cellar.
Old cellars have a nasty habit of collapsing if the concrete rots. A leaking pond liner would be perfect for destroying the integrity of your shelter. Freezing and thawing moves pebbles up into a liner and eventually through it.

05-23-2012, 08:02 PM
Thanks for the thoughts dbosman. I hadn't thought of that. It truly is a root cellar, not a storm shelter. Once I get the dirt and shrubs off of it. I will be sure to inspect it very carefully and have my concrete guy double check it. The roof is a 4 inch slab of reinforced concrete. I'm not sure if it is in any condition to hold 2000 lbs of water and equipment.