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Re: POND life vs. aquarium life

Thanks to all that responded to this message. 

The pond has been a crazy undertaking to say the least. It'll be about 4.5
acres of pure 
surface water and about 1.5 acres of newly created wetlands (1-3 feet deep
planted with bog plants, cattails, etc) and other habitat. It was going to
be 6 acres of pure water but I just didn't want a big puddle full of water
and fish - I decided I wanted an entire habitat. When I started this project
I didn't know much about ponds. I thought you dug a perfect hole and it
filled up with water and you lived happily ever after. Luckily the
government has published extensive documents on how to build a pond. The
total length of the project was a month because of the weather. To correct
my last message I live right outside of Pittsburgh, PA. Here's some
interesting things I have learned while building my pond:

Clear ponds like how we like our aquariums will not support wild fish and
much wildlife. A clear pond breaks the chain of life. You need certain algae
in the water which feeds the zoo plankton and insects which feeds baby fish
which feeds larger fish, etc, etc... 

You fertilize a pond with the same fertilizer as aquariums but not to feed
your water plants - you are actually looking to create an algae bloom to
feed the zooplankton.

In a healthy pond if you stick your hand in the water you should only be
able to see it to a depth of 18 inches. Any deeper and you need to add

In PA the soil is acidic which makes your water acidic. You add crushed
limestone to the 
substrate of the pond to raise the PH. I added an incredible 6 tons. It's
called agricultural lime and is a fine powder and looks like very light grey
snow when it's sitting there.  Cost - $140.00

Some might think that you should build a steep sided pond with all the same
grades on the sides. Not true. You need to make many sections that are 1-3
feet deep spanning 5 feet out so that fish can spawn to product feed for the
other larger fish. Some fish have different spawning requirements. For
instance for catfish you need to place a metal trashcan or bucket on it's
side in 1-3 feet of water otherwise they wont spawn. 

I built an artificial freshwater reef for a habitat out of old junk I had.
It was 
about 20 feet long and 3 feet high. Some people weigh down Christmas trees
with concrete blocks and make an underwater forest.

Fish wont go deeper then 12 feet because of lack of oxygen. My pond is 20
feet deep in some places though (protects against drought). 

To stock a pond you first put in water plants, mussels, snails, tadpoles,
newts, and turtles 
in the spring/early summer. In the early fall you add bluegill. In the next
spring you add your predatory fish (i.e. bass). Total cost to stock a 6 acre
pond with wildlife is about $3,000.00. Total length of time before you can
fish and expect to catch that big one is 3 years.

Some people think the more inflow/outflow of water in a pond the better. Not
true. If you 
have too much flow you'll continually have to add fertilizer and lime
(imagine if your aquarium was continuously filling and draining.)

If you ever decide to build a pond get an escavator/contractor who has an
eye for nature. My escavator constantly brought me aside with a lot of, "How
about this for fish habitat or how about that for a protected area." 

I stuck some pictures up of the building of the pond if you're interested.