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Robyn's 1800 Gallon Pond Page

Last Updated: 6/20/23

See my Pond Showcase page on this pond.

Physical Attributes

Built 5/6/97 to 5/10/97.
~1800 gallons in full sun.
10'1" x 5' at slope of 6-10" deep + 10'1" x 4' at slope of 15-20" deep + 10'1" x 1.5' at slope of 19- 26" deep + 10'1" x 4.75' at slope of 25-27" deep + exit basin of 32" x 3' x 4" deep + waterfall basin of 3.5' x 3' x 5" deep + small waterfall pond and volume totally maybe 10 gallons more. Thus, the main basin of the pond is about 10' x 15'.
45-mil EPDM liner with crushed gravel underneath.
Pennsylvania fieldstone around the edges, pea gravel and river rock in the shallow areas.

Equipment and Waterfalls

OASE Neptun (2600 gph) pumps through 15 feet of flexible PVC to a ~44 gallon biofilter (with ~20 gallons of lava rock on top of 3 cubic feet of bioballs all in nylon wash bags) over into a double waterfall with a total drop of ~5 feet. Half the water goes into a ~2 gallon pond and spills off of a huge rock. The other half goes down a stream and splashes out at various places. Watercress overfills the waterfall. Water celery fills the bottom of the waterfall and filters the water. Over a third of the water runs behind the rocks, out of sight as the whole hill has collapsed over time (it was made from the dirt dug out for the depth). The pump is in a large plastic plant basket with holes and wrapped in an inch thick filter material. The floss holes must be large or it clogs in just one day. Floss must be squirted off with water every week during the summer by getting in the pond to take out the basket and floss (a real pain, I wish I had a "real" out-of-pond filter). This pump and system runs every day of the year unless the power is out.

The original pump was an OASE Nautilus 60 (2600 gph) that ran for 20 years from May of 1997 until it quit on 6/26/2017.

Additional Cyprio 1200 planter filter with Mag-Drive 700 gph pump in the shallow end which was setup and running by late 5/98 to replace the Pondmaster 1700 filter and mushroom fountain that I was using. This filter system provides extra filtration, aeration, and circulation in the warm months and requires cleaning every few weeks. The Cyprio filter was expensive, poorly built (light plastic), and allows for a UV sterilizer only before the filter and not after where it is supposed to go. There is also no way to prevent small animals from being sucked in. While they sell foam for the intake, then the flow stops within a few hours totally. I wrap the same floss I use on the OASE pump around this one but there are large gaps allowing water and innocent fry or tadpoles to be sucked in with ease. In 2003, I started keeping the Mag-Drive pump with the plastic holed plant container and floss inside a nylon laundry bag. It is zippered up with only a tiny opening for the cord and outflow. Fewer animals get sucked into the system now. The Cyprio filter is removed for winter. In the summer of 2000, strange green moss-like things grew inside the filter in the dark. They have been around ever since. I have no idea what they are, perhaps moss animals.

On 4/20/16, the above Cyprio planter filter was replaced as it kept leaking. It was replaced with a Biosteps 10 filter which leaks at every connection too! It has 8 sheets of Matala. Unlike my Cyprio filter, which was decorative, this thing is a hideous black that also gets hot in the sun.

Additional PondMaster Mag Drive Model 12 which pumps 1200 gph was added on 5/1/11. I put the pump and its plastic pre-filter in the kidney shaped holed plant. I wrapped the pump in filter floss but the more dense green floss made from soda bottles. I normally use the loose white stuff. I held an end piece on with a diaper pin. I cut a hole for where the tubing comes out and a slit so I could remove the filter floss without having to remove the heavy pump. I diaper pinned the slit together. I bought 20 feet of Tetra kink-free corrugated black plastic tubing. I set the pump basket in the shallow end, not too far from the intake that goes to the Cyprio filter. I ran the tubing along the side of the pond inside and then up under the juniper bush, among the rocks, and had it dump in the mini-pool right above the main waterfall rock. I put a heavy rock on the tubing. So, when I turned it on, my main waterfall gushed and gushed. The intake of this pump would later collapse during the spawning of 2012. I bought a new one.
From 4/22/12:
Crushed pump pre-filter - inside view of the inlet filter for the PondMaster Mag Drive Pump Model 12; it collapsed due to heavy debris during spawning.
Crushed pump pre-filter - outside view

Low voltage lighting - one floodlight on the waterfall and two walk lights by the pond. These were dead after a few years.

Pond aeration kit - large air stone running off Luft pump in moderate depth end during summer since both waterfalls run at 10-40% of their original flow rates even with total cleaning.

De-icer in the winter.

I measured the biofilter on 4/3/11. It is 30" deep. The diameter from the bottom up to 17" is 19". The diameter from 17" up to the top is 23.75". The total volume is thus 44 gallons. Here is a photo of it empty:

On 4/3/11, after 12 years of the pump popping off of the line, I put on an Ace Drain Trap Connector which is a rubber gasket thing. It says it connects 1.5" plastic to 1.5 or 1.25" tubular whatever that means. Here are some photos:
Pump connected to the tube with the new connector

The connector started to pop off in the summer of 2021. I replaced it with a different one on 10/3/21 so the first one lasted more than 10 years! The old one was hard and no longer rubber-like.

Details about My Pump and Filter Floss

I added this section on 8/15/06 for clarification.

In order to reduce how often a pump needs to be cleaned, either you have to increase the size holes in the filter material or intake, or you need to increase the surface area. When I first got my 1800 gallon pond, they just put the pump in the pond and got it going. The problem was that the intake clogged often, and I was worried about small animals getting sucked into the pump or at least sucked onto it since the suction is strong when over a small surface area. So, I bought a black, plastic, holed pond plant container of about a foot square. I then bought some filter material (which I often refer to as filter floss or just floss in my pond newsletters). Using a utility knife, I cut it into four pieces. The first is about a foot high and almost three feet long. I join the ends of that and attach them together with four old-fashioned diaper pins (the metal ones with plastic colored heads). I set this into the plant basket. Then, I cut a bottom piece and set it in there. I cut two smaller pieces for the top. Once I am back in the pond, I set the pump down into the filter floss, lower it to the bottom, and put the top pieces on. While the top pieces still allow some debris to collect at the actual pump intake, with weekly squirtings of the filter material and pump intake, I usually only have to clean this once a week during the growing season. I clean it every two weeks during the winter. I have to get in the pond to do this. This floss intake does provide mechanical filtration but it is more of a pre-filter. The water from the pump goes into the bottom of the biofilter which contains six bags of bioballs topped with five bags of lava rock and a few small bags with Ammo-Carb, oyster shells, and crushed coral to bring up my pond's hardness and alkalinity although I only change those a few times a year. The bioballs and lava rock are mostly in mesh nylon bags sold to wash delicates in in the washing machine.

Here is a photo of the plant basket with the filter floss (pump and top floss removed) taken on 11/4/04: Filter Floss in Basket with leaves in the bottom (not squirted off yet).

I used to buy the holed plant basket and filter floss from Aquamart which changed to AAA Pond Supply where they have similar products but not the exact same ones anymore:
AAA Pond Supply

Current Fish

Note: Most of the information below is out of date, even the out of date information!

Current 2023 pond fish:
3 koi
4 orfe
~20 goldfish (all commons and comets; nobody special; not including youngest fish)

Old Information:

All of these fish are young (born 1996 or later) and still small to moderate in size. They were all bought in 1997 and 1998 except for 2 comets and some rosy red and fathead minnows and of course, all of their offspring.

Update 5/14/04: This list is SO out of date! The shubunkins are all gone. My first goldfish, comet Jill, vanished 5/6/04 (herons were around so probably got her). The 2 koi and 4 orfe are fine. Only 2 fantails remain. Below is the old list but I could not possibly count the fish anymore! I am ashamed parts of my site are so out of date but I have no time to read 1000 pages to update them! The goldfish will not sit still for a count! I probably have 50 goldfish of all sizes with about 3 over a foot long.

10+ Common Goldfish
10+ Comet Goldfish
2 Red Fantail Goldfish
1 Sarassa Fantail Goldfish (red and white)
2 Shubunkin Goldfish (one died on 8/23/02 of dropsy but since Bunky (see below) is now full grown, I still have two shubunkins! No I do not! This list is way out of date! All have vanished!)
2 Butterfly Koi (about a foot long in the summer of 2000, about 1.5 feet by 2001)
Hundreds of Rosy Red and Fathead Minnow fry and young adults born in the ponds and tanks, now as large as their parents of whom about 15 were added.
2 small Golden Orfe added 5/11/07.
On 7/11/04, I added one 3" or so shubunkin!
On 10/1/06, I found a shiner in my 1800 gallon pond. I do not know what exact species it is but it is a species I have never had. It may have come as an egg on plants that I bought or was introduced by wandering wildlife. See my October 2006 newsletter (on-line 10/14/06) for more details.
On 4/18/09, I put in a koi named Kojak and six tiny feeder goldfish. All seven fish had been in separate lengthy winter quarantines. Kojak died on 8/14/11.
On 10/4/09, I added a Sanke koi named Mac to the pond and risked not quarantining. She died that winter.
I added a shubunkin and four bitterling on 5/5/10 that I had been quaranting indoors since10/24/09. All are presumed dead within a few months (heron probably).

7+ goldfish born from the above fish during 1998, exact parentages unknown-

In 1999, dozens of baby goldfish survived including at least a dozen that are plain orange common and/or comet goldfish, a number of bronze commons, a few orange and white commons/comets, and two shubunkins. I do not know how many goldfish and minnows there are and can no longer keep a good record of how many goldfish that I have of what kinds. I have also lost track of older fish since they keep changing colors, and there are simply too many now. I believe many of the 1997 and 1998 fish have died but no bodies were found. Perhaps predators ate some.

By 2001, there are about 60 goldfish. About one third are original fish from 1997, one third are their babies from 1998 and 1999, and the other third are fish from 2000. I do not include the goldfish that are under a few inches of which there may be 30 or more! It seems that the prettiest baby fish like the shubunkins and red and white fish die off most of the time while the duller fish survive predation. They are so beautiful to see but they vanish but it is good that I do not have too many fish.

On 5/15/04, I released 17 young goldfish into the 1800 gallon pond that were kept in the basement pond over winter.

A poor oranda died on 6/11/04 with no symptoms or markings of any kind! She was a female, 7" long with 4" body and 3" tail. She was in perfect shape except, she was dead! I was very upset! This gorgeous girl was red-orange with some white on her tail and a small wen (also called cap or hood).

I bought two shubunkins on 6/6/04. They were quarantining in my 20 gallon mosaic pond but one jumped out on 7/11/04 so I put the other into my 1800 gallon pond. I had hoped to infuse some more blood into the breeding pool. The surviving shubunkin was sighted alive in mid- November 2004!

Go to my pictures page to see a photo of some of these fish.

I had a massive goldfish die off in September and October of 2004. By 11/7/04, I had lost 14 goldfish before the die off stopped. They had no symptoms. The water chemistry tested fine. Everything else was fine. There is no reason I could find. You can read all the details in my October 2004 newsletter and November 2004 newsletter under Happenings at Robyn's Ponds.

I was able to get a pretty good count of the remaining goldfish (only colored adult ones, not any that were still brown/natural). I counted 33 goldfish on 12/28/05. None are over a foot. Those all died from the heron and mystery disease in 2004 and 2005.

On 5/28/13, I put one orange common goldfish and two orange comet goldfish in the 1800 gallon pond after a 12 day quarantine and treatment with antibiotics and anti-parasitic medications. They came from a relative's relative who was just going to kill them.

On 5/21/20, I added four orfe which vanished until I saw three of them on 6/14/20. My last large orfe died on 8/23/20 and was 18" long. I have three small ones left but they are growing fast.

I discovered two baby orfe in 2022 but only one survived to 2023 so there are now three large and one small orfe.

Current and Past Other Animals

This is out of date!

7+ Green Frogs (from tadpoles) and their offspring (hundreds of tadpoles) - most green frogs died in early spring of 2000 for an unknown reason but always enough survive to lay more eggs.
1 Pickerel Frog (invited himself), back in March 1998. (Many more in 2000.)
In Spring - countless gray tree frogs and American toads (tons of toadpoles each April).
2 Leopard Frogs (bought 4/98) that visit occasionally.
A few (3 or 4) uninvited huge bullfrogs (mostly 1998 and 1999).
Probably 100 trapdoor snails have been added from 1997 to 1999 but only a few survive (maybe a dozen in the whole pond).
A few ramshorn snails may survive from the dozen or so added but none have been seen lately.
Even with treated plants, a few (million that is) pond snails snuck in.
A few dozen ghost or grass shrimp clean the bottom and regularly show up in the filter floss in summer (I restock them each spring).
Microorganisms of many kinds abound (added and showed up).
~80 newborn spotted salamander larvae added 3/98, most gone by 6/98, more added 3/99.
3 adult Eastern newts added 8/8/98.
Occasional visits from wood frogs during breeding season, eggs laid in March of 2000 in 153 gallon pond and in late March 2001 in 50 gallon lotus tub.
Insects and dragonfly larvae abound.
A garter snake was seen undulating across the pond on 8/23/98 and among the rocks on 10/11/98; it was found during the spring of 1999 with its head eaten off (probably the raccoon did it).
1 female Eastern painted turtle was added 5/1/02 but vanished a few days later.
About a dozen each of trapdoor, Melantho, and black ramshorn snails added 5/2/02.

Snails in my pond and raccoons:

Note that my pond for some reason did not bode well for algae eating snails during the first few years. I had plenty of suspended and hair algae in 1997 and 1998. Perhaps there was not enough hard surface algae. As far as I know, most trapdoor snails died and only a few ramshorns have held on. The plant eating snails (Golden Inca and Three-Horned) mostly ate my snowflake plants and laid light orange eggs all over plants sticking out of the water. They were the only snails thriving but died during the pond's first winter of 1998 (which was actually the mildest on record). The frogs thrive on butterflies, bumblebees, moths, and baby minnows. During the spring of 1998, the only snails I could find were pond snails and one trapdoor snail. I believe that the raccoons may have been eating the snails. Or, the snails may just have died. Additions in 1999 were much more successful with trapdoor snails now being commonly sighted in the pond. By 2000, the few trapdoors were reproducing with a stable population. In 2001, there were still a few trapdoor snails around but the raccoon was pulling out ramshorn snails in the 153 gallon pond and leaving them to dry and freeze out of the water. Since the raccoon left tracts coming out of the 1800 gallon pond as well, he was probably eating my snails in there too! For more on raccoons, go to my raccoon page.

Current Plants

This is out of date!

I have added too many plants to list. You can visit my plant lists to see which plants I have bought or collected in the wild. About half of the plants have died or were eaten totally. I had about a dozen two gallon pots of submerged plants (mostly eaten anacharis; by 2001, I was down to three one gallon pots) and have about two dozen one and two gallon pots of marginals. I also have bought a lot of floating plants. The surviving marginals and lilies have all outgrown their pots and been repotted at least once. In August 1998, I divided one two gallon pot of sweet flag into seven large plants. I repotted two of these and the rest got planted in the ground to see if they would make it in a damp area. By 1999, my plants were thriving, needing yearly division, and I was throwing out 50 pounds of excess plants per week at the end of summer.

Watercress - I bought some from the grocery store without roots, stuck it in the gravel in my waterfall stream and catch pool. Voila, a wonderful plant for swift waters that removes nutrients from the water. It flowered in April and May 1998 with pretty little white flowers. More information can be found on watercress on my plant information page.

Hardy Lilies - Fabiola (pink, big but few flowers), Chromella (yellow, small), Comanche (orange/yellow, big), Albata (white, very big), and William Falconer (red, small); all gorgeous flowers :-) In 2001, I added a Helvola dwarf yellow lily but it died within a month. The red lily died in 2003. I repot each one every other year.

Tropical Lilies - Blue Capensis (blue, small flowers, very prolific) in summer 1999, I tried to overwinter it in the refrigerator but it turned to mush; pink night-blooming tropical lily (variety not specified) put in during summer of 2000 which first bloomed on 8/2/00; it is more white than pink but with a hint of pink on the edges. The pink night-bloomer survived being stored over winter but appeared to die after being put into the pond! In 2001, I added a Director Moore blue day-blooming tropical lily to the same pot that held the "dead" pink night-bloomer. Well, when the tropical lily bloomed on 7/17/01, it was white! That means that the pink night-bloomer did survive overwintering, and the blue day-bloomer died! For information on how I overwintered the tropical lily, go to my plant information page. The white night-blooming tropical lily is still alive as of 2004!

Lotus - Mrs. Perry D. Slocum? (pink), in pond since spring 1997, finally got its first flower bud in August of 2000! I had ordered a Mrs. Perry D. Slocum but they claimed to have sent me a Perry's Giant Sunburst which is yellow. The flower turned out pink so who knows what I really have! The first week of July, 2001, it put out two large flowers! I have since added and lost many lotus! I no longer have a current record here. As of 5/28/04, I have one tiny specimen of that first lotus as well as two others I got in 2004 in tub ponds.

A good photo showing many of above lilies and lotus can be seen on my plant page.

Go to my pond pictures page to see a ton of pictures of my 1800 gallon pond, plants, and fish.

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