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Mandrew968

Building a pond for the backyard.

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Mandrew968

Even my mother in-law told me it looked nice yesterday, and she thinks I am crazy... :blush2:

(All of the last 6 photos were pre-wash pics--it looks ten times better when the rubble is washed away and the rock is nice and clean)

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Patrick

Wow! Looking nice! I hope that pond holds water for you just as you want. Really cool project.

I don't know if you've started looking at filtration options, but I thought I'd share what I've got. It is really easy to maintain and is great at keeping my pond clear. It's a bead type filter:post-195-0-96486400-1425667926_thumb.jpgpost-195-0-20836700-1425667959_thumb.jpg

I also have an air bubble pump in the pond that is very helpful. Let me know if you want more info on anything.

Keep up the nice work. You're not even done and I already have pond envy!

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Mandrew968

Thanks! My mother in-law asked me yesterday, why are you making it so deep--I told her that the number one regret for pond owners is they wished it was bigger, after the fact... I don't want that feeling of regret. I have all sorts of ideas but right now, I am just working on the form--I am gonna have a really cool natural bridge made from the natural rock; gonna tunnel under the rock to get the water to flow through while maintaining the integrity of the existing rock--should be killer when it's done. I can tell you, even I didn't know the venture I was undertaking and it has certainly gotten more elaborate, but to have my mother in-law say something nice about it is really a win and lots of extra motivation--my wife is on the same page as I but at the beggining of this project, her mother thought I was just destroying the perfectly nice grass :)

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John Case

If you are thinking of Koi, remember that they can get very large in a few years...It is difficult for a 3 foot fish to survive in a pond only 3 feet deep.....

keep digging!

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Ben in Norcal

Long way to go if it's a koi pond.

Remember the bottom drain(s) too! No pond should be without at least one!

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John Case

Long way to go if it's a koi pond.

Remember the bottom drain(s) too! No pond should be without at least one!

Mandatory if you are adding fish....methane buildup in the waste over time will kill all living things....

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Mandrew968

If you are thinking of Koi, remember that they can get very large in a few years...It is difficult for a 3 foot fish to survive in a pond only 3 feet deep.....

keep digging!

I wasn't but you would have known that, if you had read the full thread. I don't know where you are getting 3 feet either... frustrating comment.

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Mandrew968

It's getting more and more difficult pulling this 90 pound hammer in and out of these holes, but it really is the only way I can make progress.

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Mandrew968

Then I pick up all the big rocks and scrape up all the small debris into 3 gallon containers and dump it in the wheelbarrow, until that's full. Then I dump that in various spots in the yard. My wife took this shot when I was not aware... found it later on my phone.

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Mandrew968

After clearing and cleaning by hand, it looks like this.

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Mandrew968

Now comes time to wash...

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Mandrew968

...and more washing; the water begins to run clear as the rock, dust and sand is carried down to the lower levels.

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Mandrew968

And this is the lime scum and murky muck that is washed into the holes...

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Mandrew968

More washing... starting to look nice!

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Mandrew968

So is my natural bridge :)

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Mandrew968

Since I have gone so deep, it no longer holds water; this is about as much water as it will hold no matter how long I leave the water on. :indifferent: It now drains in minutes, not hours.

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Mandrew968

One last shot to leave you with.

Spring Break starts next week and despite a decent client list for palms and installs, I plan to get a lot more done, during that week off.

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rick

Wow that thing is a lot bigger than I thought! The shot with you in the pond really gives a good sense of the scale. Could be really interesting to see it filled with a bunch of Lake Malawi peacock cichlids.

peacock.jpg6bf74edf14fe6244d124248439a92abf.jpgmalawi_peacock_090417a3_w0480.jpg

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Jerry@TreeZoo

Andrew,

A few random thoughts:

Around here, the cap rock is usually 1 to 3 feet thick with gravelly sand underneath it. maybe you are through most of the rock and are into sand. if so, you could dig to your depth of choice much easier. You could then pour a concrete floor.

As deep as this is, you should give some serious thought to some type of barrier to keep little ones safe. as my lawyer brother would say, this is an attractive nuisance and could be a huge liability. BTW, your homeowners insurance do satellite photo inspections periodically. I put a pond in my back yard and the insurance company deemed it a sink hole and almost dropped me.

This looks like it is becoming an obsession. Kind of reminds me of the work at the Coral Castle.

I would not put a lot of expensive fish in the pond. Stick with cheap fish or what you can net for free out of local canals. Turtles, raccoons, ducks and especially herons will eat all your easily spotted brightly colored fish.

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Ben in Norcal

I'd go for Tanganyikans, but to each his own! :mrlooney: Would make for a nice reef-pond too.

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Mandrew968

Andrew,

A few random thoughts:

Around here, the cap rock is usually 1 to 3 feet thick with gravelly sand underneath it. maybe you are through most of the rock and are into sand. if so, you could dig to your depth of choice much easier. You could then pour a concrete floor.

As deep as this is, you should give some serious thought to some type of barrier to keep little ones safe. as my lawyer brother would say, this is an attractive nuisance and could be a huge liability. BTW, your homeowners insurance do satellite photo inspections periodically. I put a pond in my back yard and the insurance company deemed it a sink hole and almost dropped me.

This looks like it is becoming an obsession. Kind of reminds me of the work at the Coral Castle.

I would not put a lot of expensive fish in the pond. Stick with cheap fish or what you can net for free out of local canals. Turtles, raccoons, ducks and especially herons will eat all your easily spotted brightly colored fish.

Obsession is about right--have worked myself delirious more than a few times... I wish you were right about eventually hitting sand; I have hit pockets of gold, no doubt, but they are more like vertical streaks. Nothing horizontal yet. Deepest part, so far is just about to my neck(I am 6'). I have been working on this since December and my goal was to be done by this summer. Everything I have done, has been by my own hands and I am already taking pride in that accomplishment.

As far as 'dangerous', It's nothing compared to growing up in Miami--had 6 bikes stolen from me before I could get my driver's liscence, the day I turned 16. Some of those were pretty physical. I have come home bruised and beaten before--thought one time I was gonna get cauliflower ear, but I can say I have been lucky.

I plan to build a small fence around this thing to keep in the reptiles I will house; if I can get a permit then I will go with some dwarf caimans. Otherwise, I will be in the market for some rare turtles. The only fish I will be keeping in this pond are red zebras(Maylandia estherae) or at least that will be the largest fish and only cichlid. If you have seen the rock, I am removing, you could never confuse this thing with a sinkhole--my whole neighborhood is on a coral rock ridge--the least prone place in Florida to succumb to a sinkhole. Insurance has ruined this world, in my opinion-if they had it their way, there would be no more tree houses or kids team sports. Fun, adventure and imagination entails too much 'liability' for the insurance world. Which is why I am not building a pond--it's a GROTTO.

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Mandrew968

Wow that thing is a lot bigger than I thought! The shot with you in the pond really gives a good sense of the scale. Could be really interesting to see it filled with a bunch of Lake Malawi peacock cichlids.

peacock.jpg6bf74edf14fe6244d124248439a92abf.jpgmalawi_peacock_090417a3_w0480.jpg

Rick, have you ever come across a large breeding pond of various Cichlids? I have and the ultimate outcome is gross; they all end up interbreeding and the fish lose their colors and turn brown which defeats the purpose of raising fish like the colorful pictures above. Also I think small fish in a big pond is best as fish will not be the main theme in this pond--most likely turtles will be. I have had red zebras before and they should make conducive pond mates to turtles; they are hardy and can hold their own with 'fish eaters'.

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Alicehunter2000

It is according to what African Cichlids you are talking about. Some readily crossbread....others not so much. Peacocks will cross with other Peacocks fairly easily. Some Mnuba will as well especially those which are similar in color. Some Peacocks will cross with Mnuba .....ie "OB Peacock", If you research carefully you can find various colors and shapes and species that do not cross readily....especially if there are others of their own kind.

Turtles are really destructive to plants and the bottom substrate and they poop a LOT! be prepared for damage to any plants and to have increased filtration to keep your water clear.

But Andrew....I am very envious...what an awsome project ....it takes years off my back just watching....you are very fortunate to have such a killer yard to work with. That grotto is going to look super cool.

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Palmaceae

I think it looks really cool. That sure was a lot of work, not quite sure I could do that in my advanced years!

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Mandrew968

It is according to what African Cichlids you are talking about. Some readily crossbread....others not so much. Peacocks will cross with other Peacocks fairly easily. Some Mnuba will as well especially those which are similar in color. Some Peacocks will cross with Mnuba .....ie "OB Peacock", If you research carefully you can find various colors and shapes and species that do not cross readily....especially if there are others of their own kind.

Turtles are really destructive to plants and the bottom substrate and they poop a LOT! be prepared for damage to any plants and to have increased filtration to keep your water clear.

But Andrew....I am very envious...what an awsome project ....it takes years off my back just watching....you are very fortunate to have such a killer yard to work with. That grotto is going to look super cool.

David, that's interesting, if true--you seem to know more than the average person about Cichlids... I have always been a big fan of the South American Cichlids like the blue and Bolivian rams and the apistogramma complex--especially the cockatoo Cichlid. My only concern with placing these in this 'grotto' is the high ph it will no doubt have. This may be a dumb question, but South American and African Cichlids don't interbreed, do they?

On the turtle aspect of things: yes they can be destructive but I am hoping a large enough enclosure will help with your valid concerns. I also anticipate not to seal this bad boy completely and as such, should help with the extra 'fertilizer' they make. If you look, the 'dade county' portion of the pond is much more shallow and is going to be where I plant my aquatic plants--whatever I decide is best for this project(papayrus, water lilies or water lettuce--maybe even an aquatic palm???). Further up the state will become deeper with the large rock formations acting as basking platforms. Now just as I am a palm snob, I anticipate to have some really unique and odd or rare turtles in this pond--should I start a new thread about suggestions or should we post them here? I am also keen to incorporate some of the semi-aquatic turtles such as the wood turtle( a must have for me and would love to breed them) and the reeves turtle--maybe also a matamata(maybe not due to the depth and basic environment)? I would also like a couple of forest hingebacks to add to the equation... When this is done, I plan to head to the panhandle to catch a breeding pair of barbour's map turtles as I used to have one of these guys in college and he was one of the coolest pets I ever had--miss him a lot!

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Mandrew968

A couple shots from yesterday, after clearing the debris.

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Alicehunter2000

African and South American cichlids will not interbreed. Ram's are nice but are a bit delicate for your grotto, require acidic ph, and would probably not be big enough or colorful enough to appreciate when viewing from above. African cichlids LOVE high ph water and your grotto would be perfect for their chemistry and rock work requirements. You will have plenty of hiding spaces for them. South American cichlids like an acidic ph for the most part and your conditions would not be ideal for them. You can mix the two in a neutral ph environment but I think you will have a hard time with all that lime rock....you could add peat etc. but I think that it would be a big hassle to try and fight the natural tendencies of your water chemistry.

But not to worry African cichlids are the most colorful freshwater fish in the world and you got the perfect place for them. The species you showed above is aggressive as are many Malawi Mnumba cichlids. Malawi cichlids have the best color of the three lakes. Lake Victoria and Lake Tang. have interesting fish, but are not as readily available and are not as colorful for the most part. You can mix Haps, Mnumba and other families of Malawi's without worrying about interbreeding.

I don't profess to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination and I would defer any choices to the experts or you can go online and find out which species would be compatible with the goals your are trying to accomplish. They will breed....ALOT...but if you choose different colors, species and where they stay in the water column...then you they will not jump species and get muddy and ugly. Fish of a feather will stay together. Your caymens and turtles can help keep the numbers in check.

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Mandrew968

First off, thanks David, for the feedback and interest. I will say the caiman will be a long shot and way later down the road, if it happens. I also hope to attract lots of wild birds; they should help with keeping the population down. Exciting, thinking about what to stock this thing with, but this is a long way away, at this point.

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Alicehunter2000

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Mandrew968

Question: will the yellow lab cross breed with the red zebra?

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Alicehunter2000

YES....my brother has both and they crossed. Colors are very similar....labs are much more docile and I think is a better fish.

post-97-0-53899300-1426786412_thumb.jpg

This might help....although it does not take into account interbreeding. Just stay away from like colors and members of the same or similar species.

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Mandrew968

YES....my brother has both and they crossed.

How 'muddy' did that turn out?

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Alicehunter2000

Not muddy because both are pretty bright yellow...with red zebra more orange-ish. About halfway between the two. A big problem is when you don't have either male or female representatives of a particular species.....they will get what they can find at that point....lol

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Mandrew968

Nice Chart! Know anything about Nanochromis?

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Mandrew968

These look attractive in a group and if they don't cross with the red zebra, I may invest in some of these...

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Alicehunter2000

I think they are from a different lake....not sure about alkalinity or if both male and female exhibit good color. A lot of the "other" lakes (non-Malawi) the female is not as attractive...usually brown or dull.

True red is a difficult color to find in a freshwater fish.

Another fish you might want to consider keeping is a bristlenose pleco. They are great pleco's for reducing algae and are not messy like common pleco's. They do not eat wood....which reduces their waste big time. They also do not get large, less than 4 inches. They are readily available for CHEAP. They also have albino ones. Can be acclimated to tolerate your high ph. Cichlids most likely will not mess with them. They live a long time and may breed as well. Get a bunch of them.

Synodontis catfish....various types are another fish that will do well with your cichlids....they are cool! I especially like the Synodontis petricola. Although they are small. Synodontis eupterus gets larger, is more available, cheaper....but not as pretty of course. They will clean up any uneaten food that sinks the bottom.

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Jerry@TreeZoo

Real scavengers are the invertebrates. Get some shrimp, crabs and crayfish. Snails.

Don't forget that you are viewing the fish from above, not the sides like in an aquarium. The way most look from above is darker than the sides.

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rick

Wow that thing is a lot bigger than I thought! The shot with you in the pond really gives a good sense of the scale. Could be really interesting to see it filled with a bunch of Lake Malawi peacock cichlids.

Rick, have you ever come across a large breeding pond of various Cichlids? I have and the ultimate outcome is gross; they all end up interbreeding and the fish lose their colors and turn brown which defeats the purpose of raising fish like the colorful pictures above. Also I think small fish in a big pond is best as fish will not be the main theme in this pond--most likely turtles will be. I have had red zebras before and they should make conducive pond mates to turtles; they are hardy and can hold their own with 'fish eaters'.

I have come across several ponds as well as taken care of tanks of Africans for the last 15 years. Since getting into palms Ive scaled back to just 2 tanks though. Like David said its all about proper selection of species. If you just dump a bunch of random fish together (especially the most common Mbuna) they will readily interbreed. While some crosses can be interesting usually you end up with a bunch of dull yellow or brown fish that you can't even give away. Metriaclima sp are the most commonly seen in aquarium stores specifically because they are so easy to breed. Zebras (Metriaclima estherae aka Pseudotropheus zebra) will mate with just about any other mbuna (or at least try to). They can be a really great addition but you have to be careful about other fish you are going to add. Since most of them are crosses upon crosses their coloring is highly variable. A beautifully colored juvenile can easily grow up to be a fairly boring adult. I've currently got a light pink male that started out deep orange red. I would avoid Melanochromis auratus. Although they breed like rabbits, the males are super aggressive towards everything. I have lost several really nice fish due to those guys. Yellow Labs (Labidochromis caeruleus) are much more docile and easier to deal with. If you like the general shape of the zebras, look for Pseudotropheus acei (yellowtail form). They get along really well with Labs and the nice blue color is found in both sexes. So far they have never successfully mated with my red zebra either, although I have seen a male zebra try.

From my experience with African cichlids its usually best to pick a lake or region and only get fish from that spot. The conditions in eash of the lakes and rivers can be really different. Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria has interesting shapes but not a lot of color. Since you would be looking at these fish from above you would be better off with things from Lake Malawi. Those Pelvicachromis that you posted a pic of are from the opposite side of the continent and need soft water.

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Ben in Norcal

The Malawi mbuna are colorful, but a dime a dozen. If it were my pond, I'd do some cooler/rarer things from Tanganikya. Thinking Frontosas to start, which also grow to a nice size. And if you breed them/grow them out, they sell for a pretty penny. They'd also have better luck holding their own vs. turtles etc. given they are much larger than Malawi cichlids, at least of the varieties we are talking about.

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Ben in Norcal

I also really like the Tropheus species from Tang., as a Frontosa companion:

tropheus_moorii_kaskawalae.jpg

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