graham_f graham_f
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  • Posted on: 26/8/2010 10:24
Just bought a house with a pond - advice please! #1
Hello,

I'm new to this forum, so hello, and thanks in advance for any help and advice you can offer. My wife and I have just bought a house which has a pond in the garden, and I'm after some advice on what I need to do to look after it, and the fish who live in it. Here's a picture!

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That's our daughter behind the wall so, yes, I am going to be putting a fence round the rest of the pond, and probably mesh over the top! It's a quadrant, about 175cm radius, and about 75cm deep, so I reckon that makes it about 1800 litres. I'm not exactly sure of numbers but I think there are around half a dozen goldfish in it (each about 3 inches in length) a few much smaller fish, and a few water snails. It's fitted with a pump / filter (a TetraPond PF4000) that's connected to a fountain. When we moved in the pond was pretty full of weed (not sure if there are different types of weed, but here's a picture of some I pulled out in case it helps)

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I don't know if it was the right thing to do, but I've pulled a lot of that out, as it was really clogged.

I've bought some Tetra Pond Sticks, and have been giving them a handful of those each morning, most (but not all) of which seems to be getting eaten.

I'm completely new to fish keeping so apologies if I'm asking stupid questions (if someone can point me towards a good beginners guide that would be great). To help us get going, the questions I've got so far are:

How often/how much should I be feeding the fish?
How often/for how long should I be running the pump each day?
Should I be testing the water, and if so how often?
Should I be replacing any of the water in the pond on a regular basis?

Thanks again for any advice you can offer!

Graham
Jellybean Jellybean
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  • Posted on: 26/8/2010 10:47
Re: Just bought a house with a pond - advice please! #2
Hi Graham and welcome to FK,

Others with more experience of ponds should be on later, but for now i can answer a few for you.

Feeding: only feed what the fish will eat within a couple of mins, scoop out any remaining so it doesnt spoil and taint the water.

Pump/Filter: 24/7/365 never turn it off in other words.

Testing your water is the only way to check that every thing is A ok. Try this one, it seems expensive but you will get hundreds of tests out of it. http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/API-Freshwater- ... 8?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish

Replaceing water: only if your tests dictate water quality is not all it should be, and if it starts to evaporate in warmer weather.

HTH
Jen
graham_f graham_f
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  • Posted on: 26/8/2010 12:32
Re: Just bought a house with a pond - advice please! #3
Thanks for the reply Jen. Will get one of those kits ordered. Just a quick question on that - I Googled it, and all the info I found is referring to it being used for tanks. I guess there's no difference testing pond water as opposed to in an aquarium?

Do pumps usually have a means of turning the fountain off separately from the rest of the system, or is the fountain a crucial part of it, and more than just decorative? They help to get oxygen into the water don't they? The filter unit is sat on bricks at the side of the pond, and the water coming out of that is flowing into the pond, so that would have a similar effect I would have thought. The previous owners certainly didn't run the pump constantly. It was never on when we went to see the house.

One other thing I'd meant to ask is what is the best way to deal with feeding while we away on holiday? We're going away the week after next (a much needed break after moving!) and we don't really know the neighbours well enough yet to ask them to come round and feed the fish everyday. Are the automatic feeders fairly reliable?
rubadub rubadub
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  • Posted on: 26/8/2010 13:24
Re: Just bought a house with a pond - advice please! #4
Hi Graham, welcome to FK

Your filter (TetraPond PF4000) and the pump supplying it need to be running all the time, exactly as Jellybean says.

If the fountain gets it's water from a different pump (or has its own pump built in) then you can turn that on and off to your liking. It helps increase aeration on hot days when the pond will need all the help it can get, but on a normal day it is not so important.


If there is plenty of mature, well established vegetation in the pond (including green "stuff" on the sides of the pond) then the fish will be fine foodwise for a good few days while you are away. You dont seem to have that many fish so they should be fine grazing the plants for a week.

The last time I was away I was tempted by some holiday "blocks" from the supermarket that dissolve slowly over time releasing food. I think my fish would have been fine without them.

The water testing kits are fine for ponds, and it is very important that you test regularly to catch any water quality changes as soon as possible. As the pond is new to you, and your filter has not been operational all the time, you need to keep a good eye on the Amonia/Nitrate/Nitrite levels while things settle down.

You don't need to replace water much unless you identify problems via your test kit, and any water you do add should be dechlorinated (there are various ways to do this to your tap water).

You will also need to regularly clean your filter. I need to clean mine weekly. Always clean your filter with pond water, never tap water. Don't replace the filter media, it will be full of bacteria etc that is vital to your pond's well being.

Hope that helps,
Rub-a-dub dub three fish in a tub.
graham_f graham_f
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  • Posted on: 26/8/2010 14:16
Re: Just bought a house with a pond - advice please! #5
Thanks Rubadub, that's really helpful. I'll get the pump switched on when I get home, and get a testing kit ordered. Good to know the fish can manage a few days without us!
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  • Posted on: 26/8/2010 20:13
Re: Just bought a house with a pond - advice please! #6
Hello graham_f welcome to the forums.
I can really only echo what has been said, but with an added part. Yes you must leave the pump for the filter running 24/7
More information about that can be found HERE

As for the pump for the fountain its really up to the person who built the pond if there is a separate pump for a fountain or if its run from the same pump that supplies the filter. (There is no ?rule? that says what must be done) The only way to find out is to lift the pump out see what else is connected to it. (Don?t pull the pump by its cable) Turning it off is not the best idea as two things may be fed from the same switch.