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Thread: My Tropical Outdoor Pond

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    Registered Member keef's Avatar
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    Default My Tropical Outdoor Pond

    OK - having been inspired by David Rose's beautiful Koi pond thread & pics here on SD, I've decided to share some pics of the garden pond I built over the last year. I'm no expert at pond construction so if there are any pro's out there don't go too hard on me - lol!

    Moving from a very cold temperate country (London, England) to the Australian tropics made me curious as to the possibility of keeping some of my favourite tropical freshwater fish (that I used to have to keep in a heated aquarium back home) in an outdoor garden pond over here. I thought seeing them in a larger body of water and looking down on them rather than through glass would give me a different perspective on their behaviour and maybe bring me a bit closer to how they behave in their natural environments around the world. Please note however, I haven't aimed at trying to create any specific biotope dedicated to any one species with this pond, it is just a generic filtered garden pond with heavily weeded and rocky areas much like how you would aquascape a general community tropical aquarium, the only real difference is that this is outside and it can hold tons more water!

    I'll start the timeline back from the beginning so you can see the project take shape,
    and include the species I have added over the past year & which species have successfully spawned etc as I go...

    If anyone else has pond pics to add please do, it's always good to see ppl's pond ideas no matter how big or small they are. I have learned from this that as long as you have the essential in place, ie adequate filtration etc, the beauty of designing a garden pond is that there is no right or wrong way it should look, you are not limited by the constraints of an aquarium. Anyway, time to get some pics up! I look forward to your comments!
    Last edited by keef; 11-21-2010 at 08:14 PM.
    The two best times to fish are when its raining and when it's not.

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    Registered Member keef's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Tropical Outdoor Pond

    So here is the area I chose, a kinda boring 'dead area' around the side of our house next to the shed. It was an area I hated mowing...


    [IMG][/IMG]
    The two best times to fish are when its raining and when it's not.

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    Registered Member keef's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Tropical Outdoor Pond

    You can see the scribbled out line. this is where I had second thoughts about the size and decided to make it 'just that little bit bigger...', the wife rolled her eyes...



    Next came the digger, this might seem like overkill but we were getting a swimming pool built at the same time so for a couple of beers the pool guys dug out the pond with a few quick scoops!



    Filling the pool assisted by my special little helper!







    After a week or two we put a few goldfish in there to start cycling the filter (they are all still happily in there today)

    The two best times to fish are when its raining and when it's not.

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    Registered Member keef's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Tropical Outdoor Pond

    Now this is where it got a bit tricky, I couldn't decide whether I wanted a formal look to the pond or just a more natural look. On the one hand I love the fully tiled old estate ponds in England which you see in most ornamental gardens. However to really let the fish enjoy themselves and act a bit more naturally I kinda wanted lots of rocky crevices/boulders etc. So this was the comprimise... I paved around 3 sides and created a rockery wall coming up out of the pond at the shed end. I figured that the fish like Clown Loaches and Red Tailed Black Sharks etc would have plenty of cover whilst the open water area would suit the free swimmers more. Underwater lights green/red etc were sunk at the bottom of the rockery wall shining up out of the pond - looks kinda cool.


    The two best times to fish are when its raining and when it's not.

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    Registered Member keef's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Tropical Outdoor Pond

    Oh yeah, it was around this time that I also started putting in some of the hardier tropicals like guppys, mollies & platys etc. I also put in s handful of tiger barbs, danios a few silver dollars and some silver sharks....For the bottom a bunch of cories were introduced. What you can see on the top is bunches of floating water hyacinth. It grows locally in our river (I waded in and grabbed a few bucketfulls, keeping an eye out for crocodiles as I did). It is a real nutrient guzzler and I wanted it in pretty much as soon as the pond was filled so it would outcompete the single celled algae and prevent green water. I also have a UV clarifier running as added insurance against this.

    The two best times to fish are when its raining and when it's not.

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    Homesteader Jennie's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Tropical Outdoor Pond

    NICE formal look! need some vines to hide the shed though!
    Jennie,

    Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten

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    Administrator Second Hand Pat's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Tropical Outdoor Pond

    Looks great...cute kid too. Agree with Jennie, a screen of some sort for the shed would complete the look.

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    Registered Member keef's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Tropical Outdoor Pond

    Pat & Jennie - thanks for your comments, yes I agree about the shed, it's a real eyesore. I have a trellece and am planning to grow passionfruit vines up the side that faces the pond. That will probably be my finishing touch. I am also growing Bouganvillia across the fence which will add a nice splash of red to the scene (you can just see it beginning to creep across in the 2nd pic). Here are some photos that pretty much bring up bang up to date. I now have a safety fence/gate around the pond as a safety precaution, I have also cravelled around the pond and put some stepping stones in. Past the shed you will see some banana plants that are growing rapidly now, they were about 2ft when they went in a couple months ago, now they are 8ft! Couldn't resist the frog.









    The two best times to fish are when its raining and when it's not.

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    Registered Member keef's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Tropical Outdoor Pond

    Now to the fish. I am planning to get some good fish shots over the coming weeks but here are a few to be going with

    The critter you can see below is a golden variety of the black shark. He is HUGE, I put him in at about 7cm last year and forgot about him. He lives in the rock wall feature & doesn't come out much but has grown to about 25cm! I also have another red-tailed black shark in there who I see now and again, he lived down the other end of the pond and is about 12cm long now



    Before you ask, yes there are also some Discus doing really well in the pond. I put about 10 home bred pigeons in there about 4 months ago at 3cm t/l. They are now approx 6cm t/l, so doing fine. I kept a control fish from the same batch in an aquarium envoronment with regular 4 times a day feedings of b/h, f/b/w & formula 1 flake and guess what - he is the same size! Interesting huh? Especially when you consider that I am only feeding the pond with one helping of generic flake food per day! I think those pond discus are thriving on a more algae/detritus based diet in the pond, and are faring none the worse for it!

    Other fish now in the pond include Angels, Plecs, Bristlenose, Siamese Fighters, Rainbow fish, Neon & Black tetras, Banded Leporinus, Gourami, Clown Loach, Pakastani Loach, some cichlids and a bunch more that that I will add as I remember. Oh and the goldfish of course - I went for the mirror scaled variety, also a pregnant albino brick swordtail...



    The two best times to fish are when its raining and when it's not.

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    Homesteader Jennie's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Tropical Outdoor Pond

    discus pond! interesting!!!!
    Jennie,

    Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten

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    Administrator Second Hand Pat's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Tropical Outdoor Pond

    Keef, really, really nice. You added lots of nice touches. Interesting you have goldfish and discus in the same pond. Goldfish are quite dirty.

    How cold do you get there. I'm in Florida and it's subtropical but we can still get down in the 30s in the winter time. Do you heat your pond?

    Pat

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    Registered Member kaceyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Tropical Outdoor Pond

    Very nice setup. It looks more like a garden than a pond in a couple of your pics. I'm also wondering about the temp in the pond and how much it varies between day and night or if it's heated.
    Do you see the discus feeding at the surface much, catching insects?
    Thanks for posting,
    Kacey

  13. #13
    Registered Member keef's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Tropical Outdoor Pond

    Thanks guys, sorry it's been a while getting back. Pat it gets to about 32 C in the daytime and drops to about 26C at night, during the winter it goes from about 26C down to 22C.

    The Discus never feed from the top kaceyo, they seem to be very much mid water feeders when in the pond, they just hang on the periphery of the action during feeding times, while all the boisterous fish go mad. I have also seen them pecking at algae on the rocks. It's fascinating watching them in the pond, and I actually think, sizewise, they are starting to overtake my control fish in the aquarium!!!
    The two best times to fish are when its raining and when it's not.

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    Homesteader Jennie's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Tropical Outdoor Pond

    what will you do with discus when 22 celsius??
    Jennie,

    Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten

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