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Mandrew968

Building a pond for the backyard.

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Hammer

I would really urge you to wait on chosing your fish until your pond is established.

Agreed that Lake Malawi cichlids are by far most colorful of the options mentioned. I love 'em and have kept them for 20 years. I've also kept South Americans off and on too.

I suggest waiting until you understand what your water chemistry ends up being.

Tanganyika cichlids come from a lake that has pH higher than ocean water...up to 9.06. And Total Hardness of 224 and conductivity as high as 700 MicroSiemens.

Lake Malawi typically has a pH around 8.0. With Total Hardness of 85.6 and conductivity of 200 MicroSiemens. In other word MUCH softer than Tanganyika.

These measures have a huge impact on the fishes' ability to osmoregulate. If they can't do so properly, they will stress and die.

Once you dial in your chemistry I would consider the viewing angle of your pond. Peacock cichlids are brilliant...from the side. Mbuna (rock fish) are much easier and brighter to view from above, imho. And therefore may be a better choice for your pond, assuming you go the Malawi route.

Someone suggested Frontosas. Again, depending on water chemistry, would be an excellent Tanganyika selection. But they aren't as bright as Malawi options. However, their size when mature should help make up for that.

Hope these thoughts are helpful.

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Mandrew968

Thanks for all of the insight as far as fish stocking is concerned--they are much valued!

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Mandrew968

Updates: I decided to remove a big piece of limestone in the shallow part of the 'grotto' as I didn't see it was adding much to the overall project. it is the largest piece of rock excavated so far. I think I'll keep her...

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Mandrew968

More shots.

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Mandrew968

In this shot, you can still see the piece of rock that I later removed--to the right.

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Mandrew968

The 'bridge' is coming along too.

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Mandrew968

I think I am deep enough now that I can excavate a tunnel out beneath the natural rock.

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Alicehunter2000

Wish I could get all your "extra" rock for bromiliads and epipytes. I could trade you a bunch of yellow labs (fish)...they breed like crazy.

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Mandrew968

Wish I could get all your "extra" rock for bromiliads and epipytes. I could trade you a bunch of yellow labs (fish)...they breed like crazy.

No need to trade anything--a gift. Just come on down and load some up; I will help you. Let me know

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Pedro 65

Andrew, it keeps growing and growing , fun all the way no doubt , good to see your artistic side at play :)

You surely must be going to cement the floor and half way up the sides with "coloured" concrete so this project "holds" water ?

Keep havn fun with it :)

Pete

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Mandrew968

Pete, always good to hear from you! Thanks for the kind words-swords-still watching those hospita and my Ptychosperma you are keen on...

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WestCoastGal

Blown away by your creative mind and stamina in hammering out your grotto. No doubt your sons (real cute BTW) will remember what you created by hand for as long as they live. Been looking through the progress photos and I initially thought this was going to be a little trench. It's been fun to see it slowly take shape over the past weeks. The coral rock there looks amazing and I can see why you hated the thought of lining it with pond liner. Hope the sealing goes well.

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Alicehunter2000

Andrew....any updates...pictures etc.

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Mandrew968

None yet, and that bodes well for the overall size--still not ready to seal it. I will soon be making it much bigger. The boys love playing in it in the meantime.

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Mandrew968

I started back digging probably a month ago from an almost 8 month hiatus. I usually only get to work on it for an hour or two during the week, and maybe twice that on the weekend--maybe none, if we have plans... I recently put up the shade cloth and the cinder blocks are to keep out the tortoises.

site.jpg

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Mandrew968

Just from that break, I had to deal with all of the ferns and weeds that started to take over--that was great work in itself. I also hate centipedes. Every now and then I move or lift something and they scurry away and it always gives me some pause... that's the main reason for gloves.

site2.jpg

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Mandrew968

Hard to convey with my camera phone, but these are some near finished steps down to the deep part.

site3.jpg

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Mandrew968

My oldest son is great help--he fills the 3 gallons with the rubble I make.

digger1.jpg

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Mandrew968

He turned 6 this summer. We are both enjoying the process. Mom, not so much...

digger2.jpg

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Mandrew968

If it takes 2 more years, that's fine. I know when it's done, I will be satisfied with it--or I won't be finished!

dig1.jpg

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Mandrew968

Last shot for now--looking out from under the shadecloth canopy.

The palms are, left to right: Coccothrinax montana, Copernicia ekmanii, Coccothrinax spissa, Syagrus schizophylla (behind that is a vinifera doing well).

dig3.jpg

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Mandrew968

Here are some updates. I only get to work on it once or twice a week for a few hours at best. All by hand now and a 3 gallon container at a time...

grotto1.jpg

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Mandrew968

I am making little caves and tunnels as well as steps--My oldest who loves to help me, asked--Dad, how come we are making steps? The fish don't use steps... 

grotto4.jpg

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TexasColdHardyPalms

Any estimated timeframe left before complete?

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Mandrew968

No.

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Pando

Looks like an archaeology project. :)

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NorCalKing

This thread is amazing!

Thanks so much for taking us all along on this journey. Really cool watching things unfold. Good luck with the finished product. We'll all be following!

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OverGrown

A propane torch would make light work of removing the fern over growth. 

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Mandrew968
On 2/3/2017, 6:27:13, OverGrown said:

A propane torch would make light work of removing the fern over growth. 

That would be a bit cruel. With all the animals that try to make their living in the rocks, I would be killing more than ferns. Mainly lots of lizards and frogs. My oldest has good gloves that help him do it.

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Mandrew968

I am a glutton for this--it hurts but I keep going, slowly...

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Mandrew968

The steps come in handy as I work myself to pure exhaustion--at that point and until I cool down, I doubt I could pass a field sobriety test.

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Mandrew968

We got 12, 3 gallon containers of rubble out on Saturday. a few more on Monday. These pics are from Saturday.

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grotto2.jpg

grotto3.jpg

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Mandrew968

Been a while since I worked on this, but we did this weekend...

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Mandrew968

It's getting there...

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Sandy Loam

Cool, Mandrew.  Since the water is not connected to a river system, will you have a pump to move water in and out so that it doesn't turn foul?  This isn't for human bathing, is it? (...would involve chlorination, etc)  I assume that it's just a water feature.

Interesting backyard project!

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Mandrew968
2 hours ago, Sandy Loam said:

Cool, Mandrew.  Since the water is not connected to a river system, will you have a pump to move water in and out so that it doesn't turn foul?  This isn't for human bathing, is it? (...would involve chlorination, etc)  I assume that it's just a water feature.

Interesting backyard project!

I have two nice showers inside so yeah, no, not going to do chlorine. I have a pump for my irrigation-I can run a hose on the power it already has, but I am still digging so one step at a time :greenthumb:

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Missi

This is freakin' rad! If you do cichlids, it will be gorgeous like the water feature in Fairchild's Conservatory :wub: Not sure if it's been discussed in the previous comments, but hope the egrets and herons don't raid your fish once you get it stocked. Speaking of ornamental fish predators, a friend out where I live had his group of adult show-quality Japanese koi all killed by a black bear in one night :rage: Killed, not eaten :rage:

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Mandrew968

It's getting deep... The boys love playing in it, for now.

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