should it stay or should it go?

Discussion in 'Water Gardening' started by mlezjello, Oct 27, 2006.

  1. mlezjello

    mlezjello New Seed

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    Hi folks- I am searching the internet for ANYONE, ANYONE, ANYONE who can help me out. I need some advice, ideas, encouragement, honest feedback- anything to help me make an informed decision about the fish pond...

    I recently purchased a home in New England (where the weather is quickly turning cold), which has a fish pond in the backyard. Before we moved in, we asked the owner to remove the fish, as we planned on disassembling the pond. (It was nothing we had ever previously considered maintaining, and it seemed like more work than we wanted to take on.) Once we were on the property, we noticed the pond was also full of frogs, and yes, two goldfish-type fish managed to stay behind. I have started to enjoy the thought of keeping the pond (husband does not share the sentiment), but we have put off a final decision because there has been so much other stuff to do with moving into the new place. However, the time has come to make a decision, and I hope to elicit your help.

    The biggest problem with keeping the pond at this point is that it already needs repairs. In the inspection, we saw it working fine- the pump was circulating water up some tubing into this pretty little waterfall. The pond has that black rubber kind of lining, is perhaps 2.5 feet deep at the deepest point, and maybe a total of 10 feet across, divided into two small pools. It looked pretty at the inspection. However, once we moved in, things were different. The water level had dropped significantly, and the pump motor burned out. I know where to get a new motor, should we decide to keep the pond, though I don't know anything about installing it (how hard can it be? i'm an intelligent sort). However, the water level was pretty low, so I refilled it using the hose hooked up to our well. Within a day, the water level had dropped off significantly again, to the point that the water line was well below the filter box (and nowhere near the little safety hole where excess water can escape). I would say the water level had dropped almost 8 inches within 48 hours, and then it stopped dropping. I know nothing about ponds, but I'd say there's a leak somewhere. I don't think water evaporates like that. I have done the refill-and-watch thing a few more times, and the same thing always happens. Does this sound like a leak to you?

    I have thought about letting the pond winter over (the previous owner left a heater, but I don't know that we would use it if we weren't sold on keeping the pond intact), but I am unsure about the fish and wildlife, which appear to have done fine up to this point. I really, really, really don't want them to die. I am quite the animal lover (yet another reason why we wanted the old owner to take his fish out- I didn't want to feel guilty should anything happen to them). We have an aquarium and could get the various parts we needed to get it up and running. The thought has occured to me and the husband to collect the fish and just sit tight on the pond and see how we feel about it come springtime, before we make a decision. But what of the frogs? I know we couldn't save the snails crawling around in the muck at the bottom of the pond, but should we try to catch the frogs and make it a semi-terrestrial aquarium? Would it be silly to try to save the frogs? Could they possibly survive a winter in such a shallow pond if we didn't heat it? And what would the frogs eat? crickets? pet store worms?

    Anyway, I would really appreciate your insight. I know this is asking a lot of you, but I don't know where to turn, and I really need some advice. We hope to take some sort of decisive action this weekend before things start to freeze over.

    Thanks!!!!

    Emily
     
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  3. glendann

    glendann Official Garden Angel

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    Hi mlezjello (Emily) A big hello from Texas .This is a job for our Pondlady .I would love to have a pond
    and waterfall.Look in pondlady's blog she is the best on here to help you I think .She builds them and knows how to tell you how to repair I think.She will be around shortly and help you out.
     
  4. bethie

    bethie Young Pine

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    Welcome. A pond is a welcome and Joyous addition to your landscape once you get the hang of it. Try to get Him interested too. 8)
     
  5. mlezjello

    mlezjello New Seed

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    Thanks, folks. I look forward to hearing from the Pondlady. I really respect my husband's feelings about the pond and wanting to keep our life simple. I don't want to take on a pond and not provide it the care that it really deserves, so I'm really being measured in my feelings about it. Ya know? I would love for it to work out (and for anyone to offer suggestions/encouragement), but really want to be sure it's in everyone's best interest. Maybe someone has suggestions for how to get through this winter and pick it up/fix it up come spring?

    Thanks!
    Emily
     



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  6. pondlady

    pondlady Young Pine

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    Does your pond leak with a waterfall or pump running? Or is the pump running at all. Leaks are incredibly easy to fix, so if you do have one, don't worry. If you have more questions, I'll do my best to answer.
     
  7. jubabe296

    jubabe296 Official Garden Fairy

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    Emily I would love to have a pond!! Ponds add so much interest to a garden!! I do hope you and your husband decide to keep it going!! Please update us on what you decide!!
     
  8. mlezjello

    mlezjello New Seed

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    I don't know if it leaks with a waterfall or pump running. The pump has been inoperable since we moved in. The water level was already well below the level of the pump, and it appears to have simply burned out.

    I'm encouraged to hear that the leak should be easy to fix.
     
  9. pondlady

    pondlady Young Pine

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    Uh oh. That's probably why the pump burned out.Sounds like you have a leak somewhere on the bottom. Buying a new pump is not all that expensive. And changing it is usually a matter of pulling the old one out and throwing a new one in. Patching the leak is as easy as patching a tire. Patching material is precut and sticky. Peel the paper off and stick it on the leak...fixed!! Leak has to be dry tho. I have been known to use a hair dryer to get it dry. Sounds like you need to empty it out completely, patch your leak and start over. Check my blog. I have directions on how to do all this and while dirty work, it is not hard. Once you are up and running, maintenance is less than a lawn or flower garden
     
  10. mlezjello

    mlezjello New Seed

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    hmmm.... I like the line about a pond being easier to maintain than a lawn or flower garden!

    I am thinking that the leak may not be on the "bottom" of the pond, but rather along a side. Each time I refill the pond, the water level appears to drop down to a certain point and then to stop. It would make sense, then, that the leak is somewhere along the edge, no?

    What sort of thing could cause a pond to leak? Should I expect a lot of them, if we decide to keep the pond?

    Thanks all!
    Emily
     
  11. pondlady

    pondlady Young Pine

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    No, a pond liner rarely leaks if it is a rubber liner. If you have an old plastic liner, that's different. I'll bet there is pond or water garden society near you and some member will be glad to help diagnose and solve your problems. Check Water Gardeners International to find out.
     
  12. mlezjello

    mlezjello New Seed

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    i checked, but didn't see anyone in my area.

    my husband and i had a summit tonight to talk about the pond, and we agreed to "keep it" as long as i can get it up and running without much cost, and that it doesn't take too much effort. my plan is to first figure out what is up with the leak issue and to try and figure out how to work the heaters. i'm going to wait on a new pump and get the waterfall restarted in the spring (there aren't too many fish, so they won't be fighting over oxygen). i just gotta be sure i get the leak figured out and that the heaters work right. then we can work on cleaning up the pond (the bottom is full of rotting leaves and such) and reworking the "plumbing" in the spring. sounds ok, right?

    looks like i'm gonna be sticking around on this site.

    i've got a hobby!

    emily
     
  13. pondlady

    pondlady Young Pine

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    First thing to do: clean out pond, remove the water and debris.
    Second thing: Find and patch leak
    Third thing: fill pond up with water and put dechlorinator in
    fourth thing: put fish back in
    fifth thing: You don't need heaters until the top ices over. The heaters only keep a hole in the ice, they do not keep the water warm.
    Next: leave things alone until spring and then we can get you set up.
    link to water gardeners international where they have a complete list of pond societies.
    http://www.watergardenersinternational.org/join.html
     
  14. bethie

    bethie Young Pine

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    Yes, put your pond to sleep as Our Pondlady advises. Spend the winter dreaming of the oasis of beauty that you will create come spring. 8)
     

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