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Pond FAQs
Updated 6/13/2017
To: Pond, Fountains & Water Feature Articles & FAQs Index
 Other Specialized Daily FAQs Blogs: General, Planted Tanks, Freshwater, Brackish, Last Few Days Accrued FAQs, Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: Rick Novy, Sue Garrett, Darrel Barton, Neale Monks, Marco Lichtenberger, Sabrina Sharp, Eric Russell, Chris Perivolidis, Chuck Rambo, Bob Fenner, are posted here. Moved about, re-organized daily Current Crew Bios., Not so current Crew Bios ____________________________________________________________
Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

pond mortar     6/13/17
From searching your posts I have found the following two recipes for waterproof concrete and mortar. Can you please help me decide which is best to use. I am building a small pond to hold 400-550 gallons of water. I will be using extremely large river boulders as large as a washing machine to frame to pond. I will be setting down a liner with stucco wire/concrete mesh/chicken wire like you described. I want to build as I go, having the pond be primarily built from large river rock (basketball sized to softball sized).
Question 1: Which concrete recipe or mortar recipe should I use?
Recipe 1:
3 Aggregate (1/4 pea gravel)
2 Sand (sharp)
1 Cement (plastic cement)

Recipe 2:
4 Aggregate (1/4 pea gravel)
2 Sand (sharp)
1 Cement (plastic cement)
<I'd go with recipe #1, less aggregate... Three parts here will be enough>

Question 2: Is there a foundation coating, cure retardant or additive I should use that will not change the color too much of the natural stone (clear coating is ok, shiny is ok, white is not ok).
<Mmm; no coating... mask off (paper or trash bags, tape) and try to not get too much cement/concrete on the rocks... sponge (large yellow ones at the concrete place) what you can while it's still wet... read on WWM, elsewhere re acid washing to remove the rest after all is set>
Question 3: There is not a home depot or Lowes around me that sells “plastic cement”, I live at 10,000 feet in Colorado. Can I make my own “plastic cement” somehow?
<Mmm, well; you can/could add plasticizing materials (such as limestone, hydrated or hydraulic lime); be careful with the last two (wear a breathing mask, gloves) as they're very alkaline...>

Question 4: There is one concrete producer an hour away that sells a “shotcrete” mix with the option of an additive mesh of some sort…would this work?
<Yes... but this term refers only to the fact that the blend is intended to be applied by high pressure...>
Thank you,
<All these types/kinds of concrete will work for you here. I suggest putting the liner and wire down... having friends over to help mix and apply whatever you end up with. Take your time. Bob Fenner>
Re: pond mortar     6/13/17

Wow! Thank you! I looked to see if just hydrated or hydraulic lime was available and no, it’s not. I have only used pre-mixed mortar in the past but I want to use your recipes and advise.
Question 1: Would this mix below work for the rock work I explained or should I add more less of something?
<Let's see...>
5 gallons of water (give or take)
18 shovels of aggregate/sand (I have sand from an old river mining operation. It is bank run dirt, washed and classified to half an inch, therefore everything in the sand is half inch and smaller) Would this count as my sand and aggregate both or just sand?
<Better to have sand AND aggregate... and for such a small pond/basin, "pea gravel", nominal 1/4" diameter. Half is really getting to be too big. IF you can, you want to keep the wall thickness down to 3-4"... easier to do w/ smaller grade gravel. The mix ingredients are overall okay... again, see y/our prev. email for relative volumes. 3:2:1, and just enough water for slump>
Another option is that I buy pea gravel and crush some rocks in a rock crusher (I have plenty of large rocks to crush)
<Yes... or likely easier (what I would do), sieve out the too-large bits, use them elsewhere (as in a mix for falls...)>
<And you, Bob Fenner>

contacts, Not saved on WWM      6/13/17
Dear Wet web I know this is an unusual request.... I was reading your Q and A's and I noticed there was a question from a help with converted pool; algae posted on 7/2/15
...Dear Bob Fenner and Crew,
Howsit Lou Anne?...,
from Pasadena, ca, well I too, live in Pasadena and have converted my 25000 gallon pool into a pond with turtles and fish. I am having the same problems (we seem to have started our conversions about the same time) I would love to get in contact with her and talk about our ponds, can you please contact her and give her my info
Tamara XXXX com
I would really appreciate it. With many people wanting to do this pool conversion I was hoping that there will soon be a form for just this particular project. thank you so much
Tamara T
<We don't retain folks contact information unless they expressly request to post it Tamara.
Do please peruse the files archived on WetWebMedia.com re pond algae issues and swimming pool conversion. Bob Fenner>

Help!! Fantails with disease & growth       6/11/17
Hi Neale/Bob -
<... 16,345k?!>
Firstly, thanks so much for such a helpful and informative site. Having never previously owned fish, your site has assisted us in having our 18 fantails thrive in a 3500L outdoor pond for the last 7 or so years without incident, with a few babies also :)
I am writing because I have two fish I am concerned about (for different reasons) and, despite trawling through your site, I am no closer to being sure what the problem is. I am therefore reluctant to do without knowing exactly what is wrong. One has a growth, and the other has two white spots.
Incidentally, they are both the oldest fish in the pond.
Flippy is the matriarch who has all the babies, and over the last several months has developed what looks like a benign tumour. It started with scale discolouration, then scales lifting, then the cauliflower-like growth that is there now.
<I see this, and agree re this being a growth of some sort. Some folks might try excising this (essentially cutting away with a scalpel) and daubing the area... I would leave it be>
She is otherwise happy and healthy, and eating normally (see photos attached).
Houdini is a master of survival, and lived in the shallows of the pond without our knowledge for approximately 18 months before joining the main pond about 7 years ago! He has very recently developed two white spots/growths on his side, but is otherwise happy/healthy and eating well. He does not seem to be exhibiting any strange behaviour (rubbing, scratching etc).
<Can't tell what this is... as it's only on the one fish... Perhaps simply a manifestation of a physical trauma; I would NOT treat for this>
The pond has a dirty water pump with UV filtration, which does 12000L/hr. We use Wipeout for bacterial control (though we have only ever had to use this once or twice), water conditioner in summer when the pond loses water at a faster rate, and Coptrol (aquatic Algicide with 107g/L mixed copper chelates) as needed to manage algae.
<Mmm; the last is dangerous and perhaps a factor here... stressful to/for the fishes, lilies>
I'll admit we have never needed to use testing strips in the pond, so I cannot tell you what our levels are, but the other fish are all happy, healthy and disease free. The water is also clean and clear to the eye. We do have a lot of detritus in the bottom of the pond (by design), but do control this with regular and gradual clean outs as required.
<Good; I like this last description/practice>
There is <sic> water lilies and water reeds in the pond, and the fish are fed pellets from our local specialty fish, pond and pump supplier. They are fed in the afternoon every second day (there is rarely left over food), and seem happy with this. To the best of my knowledge, they have always been healthy and happy in the pond. Until now, really the only issue we have ever had is with Ibis (a local water bird) coming in and trying to steal fish (hence the netting in the pics)!
Just in case it is relevant, I am in Perth, Western Australia and we are just going into our winter. These are generally quite mild - today it is sunny and fine, with a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 23 degrees Celsius (the average range in winter is 8-19).
<Sounds good; I would cease feeding pondfish when the temperature stays less than about 50F/10C.>
Any advice or assistance you can offer would be sincerely appreciated. <As above; I would likely stick w/ your stated routine and not add anything more>
Many thanks
<As many welcomes. Bob Fenner>


Re: Help!! Fantails with disease & growth     6/12/17
Hiya Bob -
Thank you so so much for such a speedy response! And sorry about the file size *hangs head in shame*
I will do exactly as you advise, and also look into another option for algae control.
<Ah, good>
We were obviously ill-advised when we were told this was safe for fish.
Thanks again -
Keryn :)
<Glad to help. BobF>

Algae Growth on Water Lilies... New pond, and ponder       5/19/17
Greetings, Crew!
It's Fuzzi here, again, with a question I can't find answered on WWM, or anywhere on the web, so I decided to ask!
I installed a 100 gallon preformed pond this April, adding water on April 16th, then adding filtration a week later, on April 23rd.
<So; just a month back>
I'm running a 330gph submersible pump, a skimmer with basket and filter pad, and the waterfall is full of floating plants doing their best to filter out the less-than-clear water, see photos. It is not noticeably green until you collect some in a jar, when a slight yellow/green coloration is evident.
<Happens... a sign of life... not to worry>

Since I added filtration, I have been steadily adding plants in pots, as well as floating plants (water lettuce and hyacinth), and then two hardy water lilies about two weeks ago. The weather has remained cool until recently.
No fish have been added.
I noticed that the water lilies have a green slimy algae-type of growth on their stems and under the pads (see photo).
<See this>
The water tests as uncycled, high (above 7.6) pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates as zero.
<Uncycled... these should be some nitrogen present>
I believe the algae growth is due to new pond syndrome, but would love your input:
1. If the algae growth is part of new pond syndrome, will it pass once the water cycles?
2. Will it hurt the water lilies?
<It will not>
3. If it will hurt the water lilies, what can I do about it?
<Patience at this point. Your pond may well "green out" for a while... best to shade a good part of it>>
The lilies are planted in clay dirt in plastic baskets, with paper lining the inside and pea gravel on top to keep the dirt from leeching out. Each lily has one fertilizer stick shoved down deep in the pot, on the side away from the rhizome.
Thanks for your advice and thoughts on the algae situation.
Fuzzi (Lor)
<Don't get desperate and chemically treat... algicides are toxic; directly and in their effects
. Bob Fenner>

Trouble calculating my pond volume      4/27/17
I am trying to figure out the volume of my irregular shaped pond. I got 3 different measurements on it. One for the shallow end (2'Lx5'Wx0.1'D), my second deepest part (5'Lx8'Wx1.6'D), and my deepest part of the pond (3'Lx
6.9'Wx3'D). What is the volume of my pond in USA gallons?
<Mmm; multiply all three measurements... add for cubic feet, multiply this by 7.5 (gal.s/cu ft.), done>
I am having trouble calculating these measurements due to a math disability. Can you help me with this one? Thank you.
<Otherwise, time how long it takes to fill a given volume container (like a five gallon plastic bucket) and measure the time it takes to fill the basin. Bob Fenner>

Subject: Cement Koi Pond Question      4/16/17
I have literally been reading for months and stumbled upon your website quite by accident. I have now dug and ":shot" my cement (gunite) Koi pond.
I remain confused. Should I Plaster the pond or coat the gunite?
<Either way.... but needs to be sealed... to render water tight and prevent much alkali leeching>

I did NOT use a liner prior to shooting the gunite. The pond is 25 x 15 x 5 (depth)/
<Mmm; as you likely know from the reading; I am a huge fan of liners. Let's hope your basin/s don't leak, the ground doesn't shake, shift, allowing cracking. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Franz Criego
Re: Cement Koi Pond Question      4/16/17

Thank you for a very direct and "straight" answer....
<Ahh! The way I am. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Gunite Koi Pond?       4/23/16

Search as I may, I can't seem to get a straight answer. Can you tell me if GUNITE is toxic to Koi fish.
<Mmm; gunite is actually a mortar... a mix of cement, sand and little water. It's the delivery of being applied through a pressurized hose that makes it different than mortars applied by hand. DEPENDING on the type of cement used (some are quite alkaline), gunite can be more/less toxic to koi and other aquatic life.
Did we chat before? Gunite ponds, swimming pools, spas MUST be coated to make them waterproof AND PERHAPS less toxic. In the pool/spa industries the term "plaster coat/ing" is used though this (plaster) is not what in fact is applied... I would look into the Thoro line or similar products here to seal the gunite>
I am building a 10,000 gallon gunite koi pond in my back yard. I have discovered an article that states GUNITE it toxic to koi. I have read about other sealants, and noted that others have veered away from Pond Armor. So here are my two questions, N 1) MUST I seal my gunite pond and 2) Can I "plaster" my pond walls prior to any sealing using after plaster Pond Armor application?
<Yes and yes>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner; whose old businesses at times dealt with gunite applications for biological systems>
Re: Gunite Koi Pond?

Thank you for a "straight" response....
<Glad to provide it. BobF>

Pond Pump Question     4/14/17
Hey Crew!
The last time we "talked", I had an injured Kuhli loach, but it appears to have recovered, without use of antibiotics, but only using frequent water changes. Thanks for your input!
Now, my question(s):
I've recently noticed that you have a pond section of WWM, woo! After reading most of the articles about ponds, and using the internet, AND researching with (!!!) pond books, I still cannot figure out something, and am hoping you can help me:
<Let's see>
About three years ago I purchased and installed a 20g preformed pond. It has a waterfall and pump that have served well, with filter media located in the top of the waterfall. I am upgrading to a 80-100g preformed (approximate
size as it's second-hand, irregular shape, and I won't know the exact size until I add water).
A couple years ago, in anticipation of a pond upgrade, I bought a brand new Gen-X GX-6000 submersible pump (great sale), and am now getting ready to install it in the new pond. However, I can't figure out how it works, as it
only has one output nozzle (see photos). There were no instructions, as it was sold "out of box", with just a portion of the original packaging remaining (see photos). I have spent many hours scouring the Web for a users' manual, without success.
Could you clarify how this design works? The websites I've gone to are not helpful.
The printing on the side of the pump reads:
GX-600 Submersible pump, AC110V, 60Hz, 130W, Hmin>0 Hmax, 3.8 Qmax, 6000L/H
The box states the pump has a ceramic shaft.
Thanks so much!
Sorry about the quality of the photos. I hope they are clear enough: I used my iPad.
<The three threaded by ribbed connectors are for variously fitting discharge (the top) for attaching hose for... waterfall or jet for fountain on the discharge (top). This pump is designed for producing more volume and pressure than the application you have in mind here... To repeat: this may well prove to be too much pump for what you have intended here... IF you find that too much water is being moved about, you might want to look into a smaller unit. Bob Fenner>

pond goldfish with one showing blisters     4/5/17
Dear Crew,
I have aprox 3000 gal recirculating pond with waterfall. There are 7 adult goldfish (2 comets, 3 Sarasas, and 2 Shubunkins ranging from 6 to 8 inches) as well as 4 fingerlings, (native frogs that I can't keep out) and a variety of water plants. I just had the spring cleaning done by a professional (which included replacing the water) last week. There is 1 functioning aerator (a second one is waiting for repair). We also replaced the Triton ionizer anode but the controller doesn't seem to be working so are waiting for parts to replace that as well. I live in Texas. We had a gentle winter so they never truly hibernated this year. Our spring/summer warm-up began in March and they have become correspondingly ravenous. I don't feed them daily but when I do, I use Tetra season appropriate food. I converted them to the summer food when the water temp reached 60 a few weeks ago.
<With you so far>
Today (April 4) I noticed that the largest Comet has aprox 5 blisters (none of the others have any that I can detect). I last fed them on April 1 and didn't notice any blisters. The comet with the blisters is currently acting normal. It is the largest of the fish and the most voracious eater.
Any ideas?
<Could be... nuptial (breeding) tubercles (do look up)... As none of the other fishes are showing such, I doubt if there is an environmental or pathogenic issue. I would do nothing at this point... but watch the one "blemished"
fish for reproductive behavior. Bob Fenner>
Thanks, Sharon Nilsen
Re: pond goldfish with one showing blisters     4/5/17

Thanks so much for a quick response! Will monitor.
<Please do keep us informed. BobF>

Deer Vs, Water Lily     3/18/17
Greeting WetWebMedia Crew, I'm currently moving to a new property and am transporting a fairly water lily collection over. I've been told by previous owner they have a fair amount of axis deer moving thru property.
Do have any predictions on how the water lilies will fair. The house actually has 2 in-ground ponds and I'm moving some above ground stock tanks over. Do you think the deer will be very attracted to the water lilies or do they have a chance of co-existing without netting and/or fencing?
Thank You
<Mmm; Axis deer will eat water lilies. Whether yours are attractive to this particular bunch though remains to be seen. You'll definitely notice in both cases. Bob Fenner>
Re: Deer Vs, Water Lily      3/19/17
Thank you for reply Bob. I actually dropped off a few stock tanks with water lilies yesterday and wont be back for a few days. I'm hoping once my dogs move onto property they should keep the deer away but in the mean
time, I'm a bit worried. I'll keep you posted with any developments. Thanks for the great site.
<Am with you. Had the local deer eating my Avocado tree leaves... tried the wolf pee product, shiny ornaments... Finally fashioned four by welded wire (for driveways) around them. Then the price of water quadrupled!!! BobF>

One last question on my 40 gallon pond I am planning. Overwintering small pond     3/8/17
As you know I have a 40 gallon pond I am planning. I want one fancy goldfish in the pond. The pond will be outdoors. I live in the subtropical desert region of the AZ desert. I might use common fantails, as they are hardier than most fancies. But I have got that Ranchu in my big 765 gallon pond right now. She is with 9 comets, 1 comet Shubunkin hybrid, 1 Ryukin, 2 common fantails, and 1 Oranda. She is very nervous right now. Just got her about 3 weeks ago. She is also the smallest and slowest fish I have. I am making sure she gets all the food she needs. But she concerns me the most out of my fish. I may I have to take her with me if I move anywhere. Or I may have to put her in this new pond I have planned. The whole purpose of me obtaining this new pond is so I can take one fancy goldfish with me if I have to move. It might wind up having to be the Ranchu. The Ranchu needs me the most. This pond must be able to work outdoors for any fancy goldfish I have to take with me. Any suggestions on insulating the pond or warming it with a heater during winter?
<Put it indoors, like in a garage during the cold months of the year (when nights are below 55F let's say) is what I'd plan on doing.
Bob Fenner>
Thank you.
RE: One last question <?> on my 40 gallon pond I am planning     3/8/17
Garage is not an option either. Anything else I can try?
<Spray foam on the outside? Building a wood box and lining it w/ Styrofoam and placing the pond inside? A submersible heater set on low?
Here is a photo of my 40 gallon pond I plan to use.

<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/contpdsart.htm
here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pddessiting.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdmaintwint.htm
and the linked files above.
RE: One last question on my 40 gallon pond I am planning     3/8/17

Will try those ideas. Thank you so much Bob! ��
40 gallon pond Photo and Bubble wrap question     3/8/17

Here is a photo of the 40 gallon pond I have been talking to you about.
<... you already sent this>
Would bubble wrap work as temporary insulation too?
<Doubtful; IF the temperature vacillates too much diurnally; there will be trouble... Too much stress. I'd just keep the fancy goldfish indoors in an aquarium. >


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