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Setting Up A 'Temperate' Pond

Author Topic: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond  (Read 7037 times)

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Offline daveyng

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Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« on: March 27, 2018, 04:49:12 PM »
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I have been extremely interested in keeping temperate fish for a while now and having no space for another tank in the home I decided to construct a small heated mini-pond from wooden sleepers in my garden.
The climate is not too extreme where I am situated so I came up with the idea of expanding into the garden.
9 200 mm x 100 mm x 1200 mm sleepers were used for the basic structure which was then lined with 25mm insulation to prevent heat loss.
The capacity is approximately 300 litres with the filter.
Heating is provided by 2 x 300 watt titanium heaters which are connected
to an Inkbird Temperature controller.
My intention was to have some Shiners in the pond so I went for high flow with a large capacity pressure filter. The pump is rated at 4000 lph so I am guessing I am getting about 3000 lph based on the size of the tubing used etc.
I also wrapped the filter and pipes with thermal insulation to prevent heat loss during circulation.
The pond is covered with a clear plastic insulated sheet to prevent heat loss during the winter months this will be removed during the day when it gets a bit warmer.
The circulated water is currently returned to the pond just below the surface of the water. I also have a return above water level for use during the summer months.
I have attached some pictures of the pond during construction.

Setting up.
Construction was started in October 2017.
The pond was initially filled with tap water and water conditioner added.
I also used cycle and food to get the filter going.
Temperature is set to 19 centigrade with a 1 degree drop.
Added oxygenating plants (Elodea) and rocks with java moss and Anubias attached. These are all growing well.
I installed a Seneye device to monitor the temperature / ammonia levels etc.
During this month I changed a small percentage of the water using aquarium water from my tank on a daily basis (I still continue to do this).
This was left for a month after which I added 5 White Cloud Mountain Minnows from the temperate section of my LFS.
Ammonia levels went up slightly to about 0.02 ppm then dropped to 0.01 after about a week Currently the level is averaging 0.005 ppm.
The PH averages out to about 7.5.
I have been gradually stocking the pond since then and it now contains
8 x Rainbow Shiners, 6 x Red Shiners and 10 White Cloud Mountain Minnows.
I have also added a few nerite snails and there is a small population of MTS present.
Once the 2 x 300W heaters cut in it takes about 1 hour to increase the water temperature by 1 degree. Normal heating period is about 1-3 hours per day, however, during the recent cold spell the heating period increased to 4-5 hours per day.
All the inhabitants are doing fine. They are feeding well and spend most of their time towards the bottom of the pond darting about in the flow from the outlet pipe.
I have taken some underwater video footage using a cheap waterproof camera. It's not brilliant but at least I can see the fish in their environment. I will try to find a way to share this for your perusal.


Offline TopCookie

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Re: Settng up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2018, 05:12:42 PM »
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Looking super good there Dave...  Hope you're planning to keep the thread updated as things progress...  :)

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Settng up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2018, 05:24:56 PM »
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Fantastic.  ;D

Great idea to expand to a pond when you run out of room in the house.

Great fish as well. I have rainbow shiners in my river tank, as well as WCMM in my temperate tank. I don't have any red shiners, but I have seen them at an LFS. What a great mix of colours.

Offline kdt1

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Re: Settng up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2018, 06:41:46 PM »
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the only problems i can see, is in the summer i would think you could do with a chiller, direct sunlight could push the tem up to over 30, and when you take the cover off in the summer your need something to stop the herons. 

Offline daveyng

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Re: Settng up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2018, 11:40:46 PM »
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Thinking about the summer temperature problem. I could stick some silver tinted solar film onto the cover. This would reflect heat away from the water surface. Also a gap under the cover would allow air to flow across the water surface. The downside of this would be the effect on plant growth.
Alternatively I could stretch a mesh across the surface to stop predation and leave it open. This will allow me to cascade the water back into the pond via the filter which will assist with aeration and provide a cooling effect.

Offline Hampalong

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Re: Settng up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2018, 12:03:32 AM »
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Whereabouts are you daveyng? In the uk I wouldn't be worrying about summer temperatures but winter temperatures. I can't see 600 watts being enough tbh.

Offline daveyng

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Re: Settng up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2018, 08:11:21 AM »
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Iím on the South Coast in Portsmouth.  During the recent bad spell the temperature fell to about -3.0 and the heaters were on 5-6 times a day for about an hour. Temperature averaged about 18.2 C during the cold spell.
The heating cuts in at 17.6 C according to my Seneye. The Seneye is about -0.5 C out and I havenít bothered to set the trim adjustment.
Iíll post a picture of the temperature graph from the Seneye for the last month to show how the heating fared during this period. Iíll try and stretch it a bit so it doesnít look too cluttered.

Offline daveyng

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Re: Settng up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2018, 09:19:14 AM »
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I have attached a temperature graph for the last month. This will give some indication on how the heaters have performed during the recent cold snap.
The red indicators are false positives for the device being "out of water".

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Settng up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2018, 09:42:27 AM »
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That graph looks as if your heaters are coping well with current conditions.

I've had more struggles with keeping tanks cool during the summer. I have a few temperate tanks, and some are more of a problem than others. I've seen my axolotl tank go through a couple of warm summers, and eventually bought a chiller unit for them because they can die at temperatures =>24C.
Shade, air movement and water movement are all very helpful, as you've already considered. Before buying the chiller I also floated ice packs in the axolotl tank (sealed in ziploc bags, to be on the safe side), used fans at the top of the tank, and did large water changes daily, but it wasn't easy to keep >400L cold enough.
Considering the weather in the UK you probably have quite a while to implement suitable precautions before the warm weather arrives.  :)

Offline daveyng

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Re: Settng up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2018, 10:33:28 AM »
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Posted a video on YouTube of the fish having "lunch". I took it on a sunny day so it's a bit washed out I'm afraid. I'll have another go when it's overcast might show the colours of the fish a bit more.
Here is the video :- #Invalid YouTube Link include https#

Offline daveyng

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Re: Settng up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2018, 10:35:40 AM »
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Got the tag wrong on the last post. Hopefully this one will work :- #Invalid YouTube Link include https#

Offline daveyng

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2018, 05:02:45 PM »
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Another failure Iím afraid. Iíll have another go later.

Offline daveyng

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2018, 11:38:33 PM »
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The link to my video, hopefully this one works :-
https://youtu.be/ksHuxrgA0Ok


Offline TopCookie

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2018, 01:18:08 AM »
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That worked a treat and the pond looks a treat too... :)

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2018, 09:07:54 AM »
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Those are some active & perky fish.
Adorable.  ;D

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2018, 11:42:57 AM »
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The link to my video, hopefully this one works :-

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksHuxrgA0Ok" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksHuxrgA0Ok</a>

 :cheers:

Offline fcmf

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2018, 07:36:38 PM »
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Wow - lovely. What voracious feeders they are! 

Offline daveyng

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2018, 10:53:14 AM »
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Now that the weather is starting to improve. I am starting to think about suitable plants for the pond. I am considering aponotogen species. Based on what Iíve read they seem ideal for this type of environment. Iíll plant them in baskets using aquatic soil. I did consider a dwarf lily but I think the high circulation may not favour this type of plant.
I am also going to place some large size Ďriverí gravel on the bottom around the planters and elevate the pump.

Offline Matt

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2018, 12:39:02 PM »
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Sounds good!

Just a thought 're the gravel though... if its darker than the current base it may hinder your view of the fish... it would make maintenance less easy too...  that said it will likely enhance the look greatly! Can you see the base from the surface?

Offline daveyng

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2018, 03:50:43 PM »
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Currently there are a few rocks on the bottom covered in Java Moss and one with an Anubias attached. The rest of the base is just the black liner. I Think the gravel would improve the visual look of the pond and the fish may be happier in more Ďnaturalí surroundings.

Offline Sue

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2018, 04:18:10 PM »
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There is another benefit to having gravel on the bottom - it will be home to a whole host of micro-organisms that are of benefit to a tank/pond.

Offline Matt

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2018, 12:00:33 PM »
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Currently there are a few rocks on the bottom covered in Java Moss and one with an Anubias attached. The rest of the base is just the black liner. I Think the gravel would improve the visual look of the pond and the fish may be happier in more Ďnaturalí surroundings.

Gravel sounds like a good move then  :)

Offline daveyng

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2018, 01:21:07 PM »
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Yep, I am going to go with the gravel. I have also ordered a few aquatic planters, liner and aquatic soil.
I will probably get a few Aponotegen Henkelianus for the planters they grow to about 40cm and will be OK with the temperature. I was also thinking about Hornwort as a stem plant.

Offline Matt

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2018, 01:41:03 PM »
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Only thing with homework is that it can loose its needle like leaves quite easily which normally would need vacuuming up to prevent them rotting in the tank.  Do you think this will be practical in your pond setup?

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #24 on: April 04, 2018, 01:41:52 PM »
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The aponogeton helenkus have lovely leaves, they'll look fantastic.  8)

Offline Sue

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2018, 02:45:40 PM »
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Only thing with homework is that it can loose its needle like leaves quite easily which normally would need vacuuming up to prevent them rotting in the tank.  Do you think this will be practical in your pond setup?

I assume that's meant to be hornwort  :rotfl:

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2018, 03:09:47 PM »
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I hadn't noticed that @Sue
I read it as hornwort  :rotfl:

Offline daveyng

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2018, 04:28:21 PM »
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Iíll try the Hornwort.If it is a problem Iíll ditch it and have a rethink.

Offline fcmf

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2018, 06:13:40 PM »
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I've added homework, I mean hornwort ;), to my tank recently. I like it and the way it drapes - a lovely canopy effect - but is a downside: the fish food gets trapped in it, so I have to give it a prodding post-mealtimes to release the food particles caught up in it.

[Message edited. I had thought there was a second downside but, having re-investigated just to be sure, I realise I was wrong and so have reneged the second downside I had mentioned.]


Offline Matt

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2018, 10:20:02 PM »
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I assume that's meant to be hornwort  :rotfl:

Arggghhh, auto correct is really not set up for fish keeping chat, I get all sorts of rubbish and normally spot it and correct it, that one has slipped through the net...

Offline daveyng

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2018, 11:19:44 PM »
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I recently purchased a couple of bags of river pebbles from a local hardware store. They were classified as suitable for aquatic use. 1 bag has been washed and spread out over half of the base of the pond. I can actually see the fish now without too much difficulty. The other half will be completed in a couple of days.
The Aponotogen Henkelianus (4 bulbs) have been planted in a basket. I have used Westland aquatic soil for this purpose. I have also got 1 sprig of hornwort and placed this in the same planter temporarily until I put another one in place. The planters are 23  x 23 x 13 so I would imagine 1 would be OK for the 4 Aponogeton bulbs. I can always relocate a couple of bulbs at a later date.
I am going to place the rocks covered in Java Moss next to the planters hoping that the moss will creep over the exterior mesh to disguise it.
I am also considering cutting a hole in the side of one of the planters and upturning it to create a Ďcaveí. I have some small Java Fern plantlets and a Anubias to attach to the mesh. These should eventually cover it.
The Java Moss is growing profusely so I would imagine it will start spreading across the pebbles as well.
I have also added a dozen Amano Shrimp to assist with Algae removal.
I would also like to add some more fish. Iím thinking either Golden Barbs or Odessa Barbs (perhaps both).
Stocking would be 12 x Golden or 6 x Golden + 6 x Odessa.
I think these would complement the Shiners and WCMMs.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2018, 11:35:17 PM »
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Sounds like it's coming along nicely Dave...   :)

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2018, 04:37:12 AM »
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That sounds absolutely brilliant   ;D

I would never have thought about keeping shrimp outdoors, though of course you can with your heated system. Like the idea of how you're doing the planting, including the cave idea... or could it be part of a raised area of the pond I wonder???

Must be great being able to see the fish more now... I cam imagine you wanting to get fish which look different from above... something most of us never have to think about!

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2018, 07:31:24 AM »
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Sounds great.  8)

Offline daveyng

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2018, 11:31:12 PM »
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Couple of pics of the bottom of the pond with the river pebbles in place. The Java Moss attached to the rocks look almost 'fern like' from above.  You can also see the top of the hornwort which has now reached the surface. It must be growing about 4" a day. The Aponotogen bulbs have also started sprouting leaves.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #35 on: April 16, 2018, 08:01:35 AM »
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I like it with the pebbles.  8)
Great to hear that the plants are growing well, and I hope that your fish are enjoying their new additions.  :)

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #36 on: April 16, 2018, 12:07:39 PM »
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Great pics Dave... 

Offline daveyng

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #37 on: April 17, 2018, 12:27:23 PM »
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Wandered in to my LFS today and they had some ĎMetallicí golden barbs. Came home with 8 for the pond. They are now swimming happily around with the Shiners.
At least now if someone asks if there are any Ďgoldí fish in the pond I can say yes.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #38 on: April 17, 2018, 12:30:22 PM »
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I can't fault your logic @daveyng   ;D

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #39 on: April 17, 2018, 06:17:57 PM »
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Great plan/addition, @daveyng  :fishy1:

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2018, 11:29:07 PM »
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Forgot to mention, I also added a dozen 'largish' Amano's towards the end of last week. I have seen them wandering over the pebbles and on the java moss.
I was considering getting a couple of hillstream loaches once a biofilm/algae has established itself on the pebbles.
There is plenty of flow and the temperature is fine for them. I haven't kept them before so it would be something new for me. Any thoughts on this idea ?

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #41 on: April 17, 2018, 11:36:02 PM »
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Lovely little fish for sure...  I can't really advise on them myself, as I know virtually nothing about them, but can completely understand wanting them...  Hope they are suitable, coz they're great l'il fish...   :D

Offline Matt

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2018, 07:17:12 AM »
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Temperature should be fine as you say. Re flow, hillstreams are adapted to take a lot of linear flow - the sort of flow in a river that we would struggle to stand up in. People often set up river manifolds for them.  That said they dont 'need' this type of flow it's just what is found in their natural environment.

I would suggest if you get a few you might need to consider supplementing the amount of food available to them with something like repashy soilent green or algae wafers unless you are getting quite a significant amount of algae growth? 

They are lovely fish for sure. I would love to have a river tank to keep them in. @Littlefish have you kept hillstreams?

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #43 on: April 18, 2018, 09:51:23 AM »
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@Matt  yes, I've got a group of sewellia lineolata in my river tank.

@daveyng there are a few types available, which were you considering getting? They do like a lot of flow, and need high levels of oxygen in the water. They may also appreciate some larger rocks among your pebbles.
My gang enjoy algae & biofilm, but are also happy with the Repashy food, algae wafers, cucumber, etc.

Offline daveyng

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #44 on: April 18, 2018, 11:31:59 AM »
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I did see the Sewellia Lineolata on sale at my LFS. They look quite striking so I would probably go for them. I have Algae wafers and sinking wafers which I use for the Shrimp and Catfish in my tank. I have Been putting a couple of sinking wafers in the pond for the Amanos. They love them.
How many Sewellia would you suggest ?. I would probably go for 2-3.
The flow in the pond is not really linear but it is quite turbulent around the return from the filter. The Shiners tend to shoal in this area, swimming against the current. I also have the option of directing the flow to a Ďpumpí water feature, which I will start using when it gets a bit warmer. This will assist in keeping the oxygen levels up. I would imagine that Iím circulating something approaching 3000 lph counting losses.
One thing I have noticed with the fish in this environment is their behaviour. They seem to be more aware of their surroundings and they all tend to stay together as a group (regardless of species). They only venture up to the surface when they know itís feeding time.


Offline Littlefish

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #45 on: April 18, 2018, 01:08:10 PM »
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They are lovely looking fish.  :)
They are wild caught and quite sensitive, so make sure that they are feeding at your lfs prior to purchase.
Although linear water flow is ideal, it is not absolutely essential. Cool water and high oxygen levels are essential. You may want to look at how you are going to keep the pond cool during the summer, and how you are going to deal with surface evaporation (may need a solid lid, and top up losses with RO).
I have a group of 9 in my river tank, and they seem fine together. I got quite a few because SF says they are found in large groups in the wild http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/sewellia-lineolata/
Although they are said to be relatively aggressive, my gang seem ok as long as each one has a large rock to themselves. They mix well at food time, and mix well with my other fish. When I first got them two of the males had a battle for the best rock, but that was short lived with no harm done (and fascinating to watch).
As for the behaviour of your fish, things might change slightly as your plants grow. However, the rainbow shiners in my river tank are usually low to mid-water, rather than near the top, which seems to be the same as what you are seeing.

Offline daveyng

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #46 on: April 19, 2018, 11:57:15 AM »
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I have taken to shading the pond over the last three days for a few hours during the peak sunlight period. Temperature currently is around 21C. I had a problem with rising pH during these periods. This seems to have alleviated that problem as well as curbing the temperature rise. Iím using a sheet of  ďsilveredĒ  insulation (bit like bubble wrap) which also reflects heat over the area that catches the Sun. There is also an insulated hard plastic cover over the entire pond. I am thinking about using a ďbankĒ of fans which I can put in the space between the hard cover and the water surface. Iím hoping the evaporative effect will cool the water. I use a small one on my aquarium and it seems to work.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #47 on: April 19, 2018, 01:16:11 PM »
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... I use a small one on my aquarium and it seems to work.

Wouldn't mind seeing a pic of that Dave...  Looks like we're in for a hot summer and cooling the tank is likely to be a challenge...

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #48 on: April 19, 2018, 03:51:16 PM »
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I have used fans previously to cool my axolotl tank, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tropical-Freshwater-Aquarium-Cooling-FS-604/dp/B00DGR5RQ6  and I found that it worked well if you only need to drop the temperature slightly, perhaps a degree or two. Combined with shade, and regular water changes this may be enough in all but the warmest of summers.
I've also floated ice packs in the tank to help.
Eventually I purchased a chiller, which was quite expensive.



Offline daveyng

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Re: Setting up a 'Temperate' Pond
« Reply #49 on: April 19, 2018, 05:05:43 PM »
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@TopCookie thereís a pic of the fan under the topic ĎNew Lighting AI Hydra 26 HDí you can see it behind the lighting unit. Itís fairly small but it works for me.

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