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Old 12-09-2006, 11:10 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Pond Sludge - To clear or not to clear?

I created quite a large pond last year - about 10 meters in diameter
holding a bit over 20,000 litres of water. My aim was to encourage as
much wildlife as possible into our garden, which I am pleased we seem
to have succeeded with.

I have noticed that we have accumulated a significant amount of sludge
/ blanket weed in the bottom of the pond - even after just one year. We
have no filters or water movement, as I wanted to create as natural an
environment as possible. For the same reason, I haven't introduced
fish.

Should I attempt to clear the sludge out? I am concerned that if I
leave it, over time, the amount of sludge will take over, but equally,
if I clear it, I may upset the balance of the pond. The water has
remained pretty clear, and the plants, in the main, are healthy.


Any advice would be gratefully received.


Michael.


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Old 12-09-2006, 11:42 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Pond Sludge - To clear or not to clear?

MB,

We have a large oval pond about 30 feet long, 15 feet wide, and 4 feet
deep. Immediately upstream are five smaller ponds. The first two
catch the gravel, twigs, and silt that comes downstream into our
property, yet the buildup of sludge in the large bottom pond is
relentless. A lot of it, of course, is falling debris, in autumn
particularly. We keep about twenty fish in there - carp and gold fish.

We would like never to have to bother with removing the sludge but we
have decided we have to. Because if we don't the buildup will be
relentless and eventually it won't be a pond any longer but a large tub
of mud with a streamlet trickling over its surface from inlet to outlet.
There is something magical about a vast pool of deep clear water! We
have about three square meters of waterlilies tucked at one end, the
fish, and a couple of attractive decoy ducks in the shadlows. This
gives it interest. The other option would be to let it become a
mudpool which would of course host all sorts of plantlife but there is
no way we could control that plantlife, i.e. keep out of the grasses and
unattractive plants because to enter would be to wade in 4-feet of mud
and disturb it all.

So as odious a job as it is, every summer, when the water's not so cold
and in the incoming water is a trickle, we jump in, take a breath, dive
under, unscrew the lids of the vents set in the bottom but 1 foot above
the concrete bottom so as not to be lost in the sludge, let it all gush
out down the side of the hill (thirsty sheep rush to drink!), then to
get rid of the remainder we bring in the dirty-water pump until all that
is left is about 9" of ooze. That's when the back-breaking work
begins! Shovelling it all into buckets, lifting them out, and carting
them round the garden to spread over the flower beds - rich stuff
although watercress and the like then sprouts up all over the garden!

Uncle Marvo wrote:
Unless you're very anti-fish, introduce a brace of sterlets into the pond
and wait. There are other pond-clearing fish but the sterlet's the best,
IMHO.


Pond-clearing fish? Sterlets? Tell us more! Anything to avoid the
misery of clearing the pond each year.

Right now, after our annual dig-out two weeks ago, our pond has refilled
and I have to admit it's worth maintaining. It's beautiful.

Ellie.

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Old 12-09-2006, 12:00 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Pond Sludge - To clear or not to clear?

Thank you for your replies.

Ellie - do you not find by draining the pond each year to undertake the
dredging, that you end up with problems with algae growth, or is the
pond spring fed?

There are plenty of natural ponds / lakes in the countryside that seem
to find an equilibrium, and don't get dominated by sludge or algae - so
I wondered whether the sludge would eventually get to a level where it
decomposes as quickly as it accumulates.

Michael.

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Old 12-09-2006, 12:10 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Pond Sludge - To clear or not to clear?

We do get an occasional visit from a heron - even though we have no
fish (I assume it likes tadpoles and frogs just as much). Along with
the problems of excrement, this was the main reason for avoiding the
fish - but this may be worth a go.

I have been amazed at the amount of wildlife that has found its way to
the pond in such a short period of time. Masses of dragon & damsel fly
nymphs, newts, water boatmen and various aquatic snails. How did they
all get there so quick?!

I have in the back of my mind someone telling me that snails with
pointy shells are bad for the pond, and flat ones are good. Is there
any truth in this? Some of the pointy ones in my pond are over 2 inches
in length!

Thanks for the advice

Michael.

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Old 12-09-2006, 12:20 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Pond Sludge - To clear or not to clear?

In reply to MB ) who wrote this in
, I, Marvo, say :

We do get an occasional visit from a heron - even though we have no
fish (I assume it likes tadpoles and frogs just as much). Along with
the problems of excrement, this was the main reason for avoiding the
fish - but this may be worth a go.

I bet you get kingfishers too, but you'd be lucky to see one ... I see many
because I live on a river, they are fantastic but travel at about Mach I,
all you see is a bright electric blue flash. I don't think herons eat frogs,
but I expect to be corrected.

I have been amazed at the amount of wildlife that has found its way to
the pond in such a short period of time. Masses of dragon & damsel fly
nymphs, newts, water boatmen and various aquatic snails. How did they
all get there so quick?!

Just dig a hole, fill it with water, and count to ten. I spent years
developing and redeveloping my pond, and learned nothing technical, just
what happens. I could sit there for hours watching it, which might explain
why I'm divorced :-)

I have in the back of my mind someone telling me that snails with
pointy shells are bad for the pond, and flat ones are good. Is there
any truth in this? Some of the pointy ones in my pond are over 2
inches in length!

I know not. I bought snails to start with, then realised that you don't need
to. Mine were flat though, and bottom snufflers. Some spend their time round
the sides and have to compete with the sterlets.

If you /do/ get fish, and even if you encourage frogs, make sure you keep
the eggs/spawn away from other fish/frogs/anything else by putting a
partition in with small holes (like chicken wire) otherwise the breeding
cycle gets rudely interrupted by lunching predators.




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Old 12-09-2006, 06:22 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Pond Sludge - To clear or not to clear?

Hi,
I have been warned by a long time fish keeper that sterlets and pond liner
don't mix, apparently their fins are very sharp and can cut through pond
liner.
Although they can become very tame when young and feed from the hand, I
havent kept any for that reason, but they are lovely fish.

regards
Cineman

"Uncle Marvo" wrote in message
...
In reply to MB ) who wrote this in
, I, Marvo, say :

I created quite a large pond last year - about 10 meters in diameter
holding a bit over 20,000 litres of water. My aim was to encourage as
much wildlife as possible into our garden, which I am pleased we seem
to have succeeded with.

I have noticed that we have accumulated a significant amount of sludge
/ blanket weed in the bottom of the pond - even after just one year.
We have no filters or water movement, as I wanted to create as
natural an environment as possible. For the same reason, I haven't
introduced fish.

Should I attempt to clear the sludge out? I am concerned that if I
leave it, over time, the amount of sludge will take over, but equally,
if I clear it, I may upset the balance of the pond. The water has
remained pretty clear, and the plants, in the main, are healthy.


Any advice would be gratefully received.

Unless you're very anti-fish, introduce a brace of sterlets into the pond
and wait. There are other pond-clearing fish but the sterlet's the best,
IMHO.




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Old 12-09-2006, 07:45 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 1,966
Default Pond Sludge - To clear or not to clear?

Uncle Marvo writes
In reply to MB ) who wrote this in
.com, I, Marvo, say :

I bet you get kingfishers too, but you'd be lucky to see one ... I see many
because I live on a river, they are fantastic but travel at about Mach I,
all you see is a bright electric blue flash. I don't think herons eat frogs,
but I expect to be corrected.


FWIW, one of the carvings on the Natural History Museum building in S
Ken shows a heron with a frog in his mouth, IIRC


I have in the back of my mind someone telling me that snails with
pointy shells are bad for the pond, and flat ones are good. Is there
any truth in this? Some of the pointy ones in my pond are over 2
inches in length!

I know not. I bought snails to start with, then realised that you don't need
to. Mine were flat though, and bottom snufflers. Some spend their time round
the sides and have to compete with the sterlets.


Fun to have different species. I have the pointy and the flat, and also
a smoother intermediate shape which has beautiful patterning on the
shell.

If you /do/ get fish, and even if you encourage frogs, make sure you keep
the eggs/spawn away from other fish/frogs/anything else by putting a
partition in with small holes (like chicken wire) otherwise the breeding
cycle gets rudely interrupted by lunching predators.

Green tench are veggie, and don't seem to have affected the newts and
frogs in our pond - in fact, even the newts aren't having that much of
an impact on the frogs
--
Kay


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Old 12-09-2006, 07:45 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
K K is offline
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Posts: 1,966
Default Pond Sludge - To clear or not to clear?

Uncle Marvo writes
In reply to Ellie Bentley ) who wrote this in
, I, Marvo, say :

Uncle Marvo wrote:
Unless you're very anti-fish, introduce a brace of sterlets into the
pond and wait. There are other pond-clearing fish but the sterlet's
the best, IMHO.


Pond-clearing fish? Sterlets? Tell us more! Anything to avoid the
misery of clearing the pond each year.

Sterlets are funny things, like small sturgeons, and they work on the pond
by swimming round the sides sucking the sludgey deposits off. They swim on
their sides near the top, whereas there are others (green tench, I seem to
remember) which dredge the bottom, and they are very efficient. The only
downside is fishshit which can be efficiently cleared up by snails. But then
you get snailshit, and so on, so you need frogs.

No, really, the cleaning fish are good, go to a good aquatic centre and
they'll advise on which to get. They cost around a fiver a fish for small to
medium size, they grow to fit the pond.

I've found sterlets are not very good at swimming through blanket weed -
they get caught up in it. So if you have a blanket weed problem, green
tench are better. They're smooth and streamlined not knobbly and spiky.
You put them in when small, they disappear for a couple of years then
reappear 9 inches long and very fat, basking at the surface and making a
huge splash when disturbed.



--
Kay
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Old 12-09-2006, 10:59 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 5,056
Default Pond Sludge - To clear or not to clear?


"Ellie Bentley" wrote ...

We have a large oval pond about 30 feet long, 15 feet wide, and 4 feet
deep. Immediately upstream are five smaller ponds. The first two
catch the gravel, twigs, and silt that comes downstream into our
property, yet the buildup of sludge in the large bottom pond is
relentless. A lot of it, of course, is falling debris, in autumn
particularly. We keep about twenty fish in there - carp and gold fish.

We would like never to have to bother with removing the sludge but we
have decided we have to. Because if we don't the buildup will be
relentless and eventually it won't be a pond any longer but a large tub
of mud with a streamlet trickling over its surface from inlet to outlet.
There is something magical about a vast pool of deep clear water! We
have about three square meters of waterlilies tucked at one end, the
fish, and a couple of attractive decoy ducks in the shadlows. This
gives it interest. The other option would be to let it become a
mudpool which would of course host all sorts of plantlife but there is
no way we could control that plantlife, i.e. keep out of the grasses and
unattractive plants because to enter would be to wade in 4-feet of mud
and disturb it all.

So as odious a job as it is, every summer, when the water's not so cold
and in the incoming water is a trickle, we jump in, take a breath, dive
under, unscrew the lids of the vents set in the bottom but 1 foot above
the concrete bottom so as not to be lost in the sludge, let it all gush
out down the side of the hill (thirsty sheep rush to drink!), then to
get rid of the remainder we bring in the dirty-water pump until all that
is left is about 9" of ooze. That's when the back-breaking work
begins! Shovelling it all into buckets, lifting them out, and carting
them round the garden to spread over the flower beds - rich stuff
although watercress and the like then sprouts up all over the garden!

Uncle Marvo wrote:
Unless you're very anti-fish, introduce a brace of sterlets into the pond
and wait. There are other pond-clearing fish but the sterlet's the best,
IMHO.


Pond-clearing fish? Sterlets? Tell us more! Anything to avoid the
misery of clearing the pond each year.

Right now, after our annual dig-out two weeks ago, our pond has refilled
and I have to admit it's worth maintaining. It's beautiful.

If you cut the drains level with the bottom and put valves on the outlets
you then just have to turn the valves to clean you pond and you probably
wouldn't need to drain it completely.
Have a look on the net for Koi pond designs, bottom drains etc.
Just a thought.

--
Regards
Bob H
17mls W. of London.UK


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Old 12-09-2006, 11:10 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Pond Sludge - To clear or not to clear?


"cineman" wrote in message
k...
Hi,
I have been warned by a long time fish keeper that sterlets and pond
liner don't mix, apparently their fins are very sharp and can cut through
pond liner.
Although they can become very tame when young and feed from the hand, I
havent kept any for that reason, but they are lovely fish.


possible correction
Or was that sturgeon, old age it don't come by itself you know

regards
Cineman

regards
Cineman

"Uncle Marvo" wrote in message
...
In reply to MB ) who wrote this in
, I, Marvo, say :

I created quite a large pond last year - about 10 meters in diameter
holding a bit over 20,000 litres of water. My aim was to encourage as
much wildlife as possible into our garden, which I am pleased we seem
to have succeeded with.

I have noticed that we have accumulated a significant amount of sludge
/ blanket weed in the bottom of the pond - even after just one year.
We have no filters or water movement, as I wanted to create as
natural an environment as possible. For the same reason, I haven't
introduced fish.

Should I attempt to clear the sludge out? I am concerned that if I
leave it, over time, the amount of sludge will take over, but equally,
if I clear it, I may upset the balance of the pond. The water has
remained pretty clear, and the plants, in the main, are healthy.


Any advice would be gratefully received.

Unless you're very anti-fish, introduce a brace of sterlets into the pond
and wait. There are other pond-clearing fish but the sterlet's the best,
IMHO.






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Old 13-09-2006, 09:48 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 742
Default Pond Sludge - To clear or not to clear?

In reply to K ) who wrote this in
, I, Marvo, say :

Uncle Marvo writes
In reply to MB ) who wrote this in
, I, Marvo, say
:

I bet you get kingfishers too, but you'd be lucky to see one ... I
see many because I live on a river, they are fantastic but travel at
about Mach I, all you see is a bright electric blue flash. I don't
think herons eat frogs, but I expect to be corrected.


FWIW, one of the carvings on the Natural History Museum building in S
Ken shows a heron with a frog in his mouth, IIRC

See. If it /ate/ frogs, it wouldn't have hung around long enough to hav the
carving done :-)

I have in the back of my mind someone telling me that snails with
pointy shells are bad for the pond, and flat ones are good. Is there
any truth in this? Some of the pointy ones in my pond are over 2
inches in length!

I know not. I bought snails to start with, then realised that you
don't need to. Mine were flat though, and bottom snufflers. Some
spend their time round the sides and have to compete with the
sterlets.


Fun to have different species. I have the pointy and the flat, and
also a smoother intermediate shape which has beautiful patterning on
the shell.

If you /do/ get fish, and even if you encourage frogs, make sure you
keep the eggs/spawn away from other fish/frogs/anything else by
putting a partition in with small holes (like chicken wire)
otherwise the breeding cycle gets rudely interrupted by lunching
predators.

Green tench are veggie, and don't seem to have affected the newts and
frogs in our pond - in fact, even the newts aren't having that much of
an impact on the frogs


True, green tench will not normally eat spawn, but if they're /really/
hungry ...

Carp are notorious cannibals. Shame, they are so nice to look at.





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