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Author Topic: Wildlife pond  (Read 1378 times)

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AlaninCarlisle

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Wildlife pond
« on: May 07, 2017, 17:28 »
I've finally got my pond dug, lined and filled. It's 20ft x 15ft x 3ft deep in the  middle. It's on the edge of a field, maybe 15ft on the north side of mainly hawthorn hedge. To keep my grandkids safe until they get a bit older, it has a 4ft high wire-mesh fence around it with a lockable gate.

 I've started to put oxygenating plants and weed into it but am looking for a bit of inspiration on the following:

What is the best way of disguising the black pond-liner as it slopes into the pond? The liner which is on the horizontal is easy as I will just shovel earth on it and seed it.

How do I stop the water going green? Standard wisdom amongst local gardeners with much smaller ponds is to fill it with rainwater rather than tap-water. Not an option due to its size and remoteness from roofing gutters etc. Neither do I have the option of a waterfall or any other electrical means of water circulation.


New shoot

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Re: Wildlife pond
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2017, 21:29 »
There are quite a few creeping plants that will grow over the edges of ponds to disguise the edges.  Your local pond shop will have them, but you can also raid the garden centre.  Ajuga and Lysimachia (creeping jenny) will both tumble over the edges and are not too bothered about getting their hair wet.

I have hardy geraniums and ferns bordering mine and they also tumble down onto and even into the water without seeming too bothered.

The water will go green at first, but leave it alone and it will sort itself out.  Tap water is OK - the chlorine will quickly evaporate off.  After giving it a week or so for that to happen, see of one of those local pond keepers will let you have a bucket of sludge from the bottom of their pond.  It will be teeming with stuff that will help get your pond off to a good start  :)

AlaninCarlisle

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Re: Wildlife pond
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2017, 09:56 »
Thanks, good advice. I'll see if the local garden centres sell any of those plants although I must say that I'd never noticed anything other than the usual water-lilies or showy perennials etc. Maybe I can buy them on line as plug plants. Intrigued about water going green, I assume it's an algae growth and if so wonder why the local old sages with ponds recommend rain-water v tap-water to prevent it?

New shoot

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Re: Wildlife pond
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2017, 11:02 »
All new ponds go green for a bit, but the nitrates in tap water don't help.  If you have a large pond to fill, tap water is really the only option, but as the natural balance sorts itself out, the water will clear.

Ajuga and Lysimachia are usually sold in the alpine sections of most garden centres, although they aren't really alpines as such. 

If you are looking for plants for the steep sides of the pond, concentrate more on the sun/shade aspect, as the soil will be as wet or dry as your soil normally is.  Anything a bit tumbling is good as it provides routes in and out of the water for wildlife, as well as disguising the edges. On the sloping sides, the soil is wetter are you are looking at true marginals.

AlaninCarlisle

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Re: Wildlife pond
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2017, 09:55 »
I've finally got my pond dug, lined and filled. It's 20ft x 15ft x 3ft deep in the  middle. It's on the edge of a field, maybe 15ft on the north side of mainly hawthorn hedge. To keep my grandkids safe until they get a bit older, it has a 4ft high wire-mesh fence around it with a lockable gate.

 I've started to put oxygenating plants and weed into it but am looking for a bit of inspiration on the following:


Pond is settling down nicely, marginal plants and re-growth of grass make it look more natural.
A question about fish: Stagnant ponds like this in my childhood (I imagine originally dug as watering holes for livestock) invariably had a stock of small fishes in them such as sticklebacks, roach, tench and etc. Is this a good idea and if so, can they be bought?

sunshineband

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Re: Wildlife pond
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2017, 10:17 »
Although sticklebacks might be OK, larger fish do eat a large amount of small wildlife in pond, and tench, being bottom feeders, hoover up snails, dragon fly larvae, water slaters etc and in a pond the size you have would denude it pretty quickly imho. Our pond at home has koi in it and the comparison in the richness of what else lives there with the (tiny)pond on our plot which has no fish is staggering!!

I made a mistake with the garden pond in including wild yellow flag, which is a tremendous thug and took a lot of work in keeping it under control... got rid of it all in the end and replaced it with much smaller irises.

Another plant that grows well and it easy to control is Brooklime, with pretty blue flowers. Romps around in damp soil and gives lots of cover for small frogs etc as they come out of the water

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AlaninCarlisle

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Re: Wildlife pond
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2017, 10:37 »
Oops, my wife has just put some yellow flag into it from the remnants of an earlier (filled in for safety) pond in a bit of woodland between the garden and the field. I'll keep an eye on it. Now I think about it, it did tend to take over that earlier pond

Goosegirl

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Re: Wildlife pond
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2017, 12:44 »
To help with oxygenating try a small solar-operated fountain or bubbler.
"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend." Martin Luther King.

sunshineband

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Re: Wildlife pond
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2017, 13:44 »
Oops, my wife has just put some yellow flag into it from the remnants of an earlier (filled in for safety) pond in a bit of woodland between the garden and the field. I'll keep an eye on it. Now I think about it, it did tend to take over that earlier pond

It'll be very happy there, no doubt.... in fact far too happy in all probability. Round here volunteer groups spend a long time removing it from the river and canal sides, as it marches determinedly outwards over the years 🤓🤓🤓

AlaninCarlisle

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Re: Wildlife pond
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2017, 10:16 »
To help with oxygenating try a small solar-operated fountain or bubbler.
Now the pond has settled down, some of the plants are growing well and the surrounding area looks back to natural. I'm thinking of buying a solar-powered filtration unit to keep the water a bit cleaner so fish will survive (just had a few small gold-fish in mind). Bearing in mind the 20ft x 15ft x 3ft dimensions, does anyone have any thoughts/recommendations on this please?

8doubles

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Re: Wildlife pond
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2017, 20:25 »
Filtration* is not really needed just a bubbler or water jet/ fountain to keep the water moving to absorb oxygen. It is more important that this works at night when water plants absorb oxygen and release CO2 so direct solar power is not good.

* High end protein skimmers etc are a different matter ! ;)

AlaninCarlisle

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Re: Wildlife pond
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2017, 19:38 »
Got same advice yesterday from a local pond and pond-life supplier, so thanks 8doubles.

As the pond is primarily for the benefit of my 4 small grandkids, I bought a dozen small goldfish, about 2" long. I figured that native fish like chub etc that are dark in colour and bottom feeders would be largely invisible to the little ones. The shop-owner told me goldfish would be fine in a large wildlife pond, especially if I install the "bubbler" recommended above.

A couple of questions to other pond-owners:
At what stage do the goldfish start to come off the bottom and take the flake-food I bought for them? Since introducing them to the pond, they have stayed out of sight
How big will they grow?
Are they likely to breed?

RichardA

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Re: Wildlife pond
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2017, 20:21 »
I guess you know this but please please ensure there are ramps to let any hedgehogs that fall in get out safely. As for green water it is said by some that barley straw will clear it and some pond suppliers sell it in bags etc and some landowners use a full bale. Best of luck with the pond. My ponds are all aerated as I can get power to them. Some use solar powered aerators on basis if sun shines then the algae grows but also the aerators are running.

snowdrops

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Re: Wildlife pond
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2017, 20:23 »
There's probably enough food in the pond at the moment to be honest. Yes they're likely to breed but the fry might get eaten, by themselves or tadpoles etc. We had to empty our pond out last week & found 13 young fish,all black,can't tell what they are, could be grass carp,koi,goldfish or shubumkins, it was a real treat to find them. Our goldfish are about 6"

AlaninCarlisle

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Re: Wildlife pond
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2017, 21:05 »
I guess you know this but please please ensure there are ramps to let any hedgehogs that fall in get out safely.
It's not only hedgehogs, my grandkids' safety is a concern too, so the pond has gentle contours all around its perimeter plus a 4ft high wire-mesh fence  :D



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