This year I think I have had more questions about my Miyagi Ponds (wood framed ponds made with a drop in liner) then I have in all years combined since installing my first one 4 years ago. I don’t know if more people are watching “the YouTube” now due to CoVid or what, but I realized it has been a while since we discussed this topic.
I was in fact going to discuss some of it on the feedback show Thursday but we ran out of time, I also realized it really does not fit well in a 10 minute variety show segment. So today we are gonna tackle it head on.
For today’s discussion I am talking about “ponds” not aquaponics though you can combine the two and I will mention that. I am also talking about “garden ponds” vs. bigger more conventional ponds ranging from say a tenth of an acre up to about an acre. While I am not sure of any official size division I consider something an acre or larger a lake.
Specifically I want to run with for our discussion today we are talking say 100-5000 gallons in range. Ponds of this size can go in almost any back yard, they can often be made portable if you move with the use of things like stock tanks and yet they are big enough to support biodiversity. They are also manageable to maintain with roof rain catch, rain water or even de-chlorinated tap water if need be.
Join Me Today to Discuss…
- Why you’d want a garden pond anyway
- Fish (food or aesthetics)
- Reserve water
- Aquatic plants (edible, profitable or otherwise)
- For an aquaponics component
- Ideas for Ponds of various sizes
- Stock tanks (plastic or galvanized) 100 – 800ish gallons
- Wood frame ponds 500 – 2500ish gallons
- Concrete poured ponds – limited by budget and skill only
- Spill trays – the one I am working with is 250 gallons
- Preformed pond shells
- Lined in ground ponds – bentonite or pond liners
- Developing biology that supports fish and other life
- In my opinion you need a pump, two is better
- Move water from one end to the other, to all four corners, etc.
- Give ponds time to develop biology (nitrate – nitrite cycle) before stocking to capacity
- Keep water foul out of ponds of this size, always
- Dogs will f-up a pond of this size if you let them, sometimes, bet they will though
- Create hides, shelves, entry and exit points, a much habitat as you can
- A dedicated fish kindergarten is even better
- I love surface vegetation, but it comes with some issues
- Some things I have learned
- Have a back up power plan
- Never over feed, if you do and get away with it, skip a few days
- Valves for flow control work, they also by their very nature clog, clogs can kill
- Float valves save lives, fish lives that is
- If you build it they will come (life forms of all kinds)
- Stocking the pond
- Minnows and forage fish first (fatheds, rosy reds, white clouds, mosquito fish)
- Create hides that are specific to minnows and fry
- Native fish are best if you have access to them
- Sunfish (perch, brim, bluegills, sunnies, etc.)
- Predators like bass are cool, but limiting and a pain in the ass
- Channel Cats are a great ROI food wise
- Bullheads do well but need space or they eat each other
- Goldfish may be the perfect cycling fish, most don’t die though
- Koi are beautiful but make a lot of waste and get huge
- Shubunkin Gold Fish give the beauty of koi, smaller, less waste and are fun as hell
- Cherry Shrimp actually have done great over the winter in my climate, but everything eats them
- Crawfish should be doable
- If you want shellfish river prawns are very doable but need lots of hiding spaces and cut fish in half, really
- Final thoughts
- It is addictive
- The biodiversity is amazing
- It can be a bit expensive but worth it to me
- They do need on going attention
- In cold climates go deep or have a heating solution
- Start small, you can always sell off a stock tank, or turn a box frame into a garden
- Keep critters you don’t want in your pond, out of your pond
- Think about any and all risks to children
Resources for today’s show…
- Follow Life With Jack on Instagram
- TSP Facebook Group
- Join the Members Brigade
- Join Our Forum
- Red Dirt Road – Brooks and Dunn
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