Property Factors

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Want a Koi Pond? Get a Clue

Liner ponds leak, concrete ponds leach. Fish get diseases if they are not eaten first. Algae are a constant problem. And what about mosquitoes and West or East Nile Virus?

Ponds are high maintenance, so do I get a pressurized bead bio-filter? Do I get an up-flow filter or down-flow filter? Or a side-flow? How about a waterfall? Bio-falls? Pondless falls? Liner fall? Concrete fall?

I had a pond once, and you could not see the fish for the algae. Someone said to use algaecide, and somebody else said to get a U.V. Someone said to get more plants, and someone else said I had too many fish for the size of my pond. No problem…a crane ate half of them and last month a raccoon ate the rest.

Someone said I need a scarecrow sprinkler or a pond net. I asked, What for? I don’t have any fish, only lots of mosquitoes. So someone else said, buy some mosquito fish, you can get them free from the Department of Fish and Game. I got the mosquito fish, and my sump pump that the liner guy installed in my liner pond ate all my mosquito fish.

My pump was plugged with mosquito larvae and dead mosquito fish. Someone said I could scrape them off the pump screen with a kitchen knife. That worked well, but I accidentally stabbed the liner. I Googled leaky liner and found someone who calls himself The Fall Guy. He said I should get rid of my sump pump and liner and install a concrete and rebar pond with bottom drains and a high-performance, low-energy centrifugal pump, a pressurized back-flushable filter, a U.V. light, and an electronic auto-fill system.

He said that, unlike liners that have no warranty against acts of nature, concrete and rebar ponds which are built and sealed properly will last for decades. Plus, with the proper design and equipment, they will be next to maintenance-free.

I said, okay!

It cost me 20 percent more to do all this than what the original liner pond cost me to be installed.

It’s been 5 ½ years, I have a wooden deck built around my pond 14 inches above the pond surface. The pond is 3 feet deep in the shallow end, and 5 feet in the deep end. Raccoons hang onto the deck, lean over, and swipe at the surface of the water. Cranes stand at the edge wishing the pond was shallower or that they could bend down that far so they can scarf up a scaly snack. Their eyes are pathetic. I almost find myself sprinting to the kitchen to find them a snack. NOT!

Once a week I turn the handle on my bio-filter and back-flush the brown, nitrogen-laden waste water into several 5-gallon buckets from an attached flexible pool filter hose. Then I water my trees and plants with it. Talk about miracle grow!

After 1 to 2 minutes of back flushing, I pull the wiper plunger on my U.V. a few times to clean off the internal quartz lens housing the U.V. bulb. The film (pond scum) is instantly removed from the lens, giving the U.V. bulb 6 months of extra life.

The U.V. light kills pathogens that cause illness to my fish and other bacteria that cause the pond to stink. It also kills what is known as planktonic algae that turn the pond green. Twice a year I throw in some rock salt to keep the salt level at a specific gravity of 1.0. The fish have a healthy skin coat, my plants are happy, and string algae are virtually nonexistent. My water is crystal clear, and an electronic aquafill maintains the level of the water automatically.

Look before you leap and research before you weep.

Happy koi, peace and joy.