Ponds and Water Gardening forum: Pool to Natural Pond Conversion

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Name: Cal McGaugh
Escondido, California (Zone 10b)
Image
EscondidoCal
Feb 11, 2018 3:51 PM CST
Peter Clarke & Jo Harris inspired us to do this........it's all their fault! Hilarious!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

We want to convert our swimming pool to a natural pond, eventually
with plant-covered floating islands (iris, water hibiscus, moss, etc), water lilies in pots on the steps,
lotus in a sunken tub, plants along the edge (in mesh/soil anchored in place to the pool rim),
koi, gold fish, mosquito fish, and a red slider turtle.

The pool water has no detectable chlorine now, ph = 6.5, and dissolved solids is ~2000 ppm using a meter.
Should I drain the pool or dump 3/4, and replace with fresh water?

BTW, we're not filling in the pool with dirt......except for the potted lilies and lotus, everything will float.

I'm starting to build an island ~3ft X 6ft using "noodle" floats, green plastic garden fencing, and 2" thick
filter material. Everything will look natural when done....no rectangles, no plastic exposed.

I won't add any plants or fish until I know the water is safe.
Just need to know what parameters are necessary. Smiling

Would appreciate any tips or info on the process.
Thank You!




Learn & create something every day.

"Take only pictures. Leave only footprints."
[Last edited by EscondidoCal - May 19, 2018 9:58 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1639435 (1)
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Feb 12, 2018 6:25 AM CST
Would love to see pictures as you progress!

First, learn what you can about the nitrogen cycle in a pond. Start here:
https://www.thepondguy.com/pro...

Here is a link for water parameters:
http://www.watergarden.org/Fis...

Plenty of resources that will help you on the same site:
http://www.watergarden.org/Pon...

I would also recommend a few water test kits:

Thumb of 2018-02-12/MoonShadows/dfb7ac
Measures pH balance, Ammonia content, Nitrite levels and Phosphate content

Thumb of 2018-02-12/MoonShadows/7d454e
Measures GH & KH

Thumb of 2018-02-12/MoonShadows/e1362a
Detects high nitrate levels from 0-160 ppm


MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
[Last edited by MoonShadows - Feb 12, 2018 6:29 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1639665 (2)
Name: Cal McGaugh
Escondido, California (Zone 10b)
Image
EscondidoCal
Feb 12, 2018 5:14 PM CST
@MoonShadows
thanks for the info. Smiling

We already have a smaller pond that has been very successful. We'll stock the
new pond with plants and fish from the smaller one when it's safe. Plants first,
then fish, a few to start.

My main concern are the high TDS in the pool.....at least 2000 ppm per my meter, and
3400 according to Leslie's, but they just do chems & eyeball it....not sure
how accurate they are.

I'm trying to avoid doing a major water change, but think that is the safest thing......replace
at least 80% of the current water to dilute the TDS.

Here is a good paper Understanding Your Fish Pond Water Analysis Report
https://fisheries.tamu.edu/fil...

We were inspired by this pool conversion in Australia. Thumbs up
https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

I put together a small island today using 2" thick filter mesh, a noodle float, and sheathed copper wire (from Home Depot for electronic barrier for dogs....didn't work for the dog, but works great for many other things...very strong). just to see if it would be stable, and it appears to be.

The iris is in soil in a shopping bag (with slits for water exchange) from the grocery store (that we are all accumulating in California, because we forget to take them into the store, and don't remember till checkout D'Oh! )

Added sphagnum moss, and will hide the noodle & mesh with other plants, and organic debris.....just experimenting. Smiling

Should be Ok for a few days until I do the water change, but so far so good. Smiling
Thumb of 2018-02-12/EscondidoCal/a70d8f
Thumb of 2018-02-12/EscondidoCal/188fd1

Learn & create something every day.

"Take only pictures. Leave only footprints."
[Last edited by EscondidoCal - Feb 12, 2018 5:16 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1640003 (3)
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Feb 13, 2018 2:02 AM CST
@EscondidoCal Ah, so you already have experience! So, what I wrote in my first post you probably already know. That amount of TDS is high, but not knowing the composition of the TDS and it being a pool, I imagine your concern is the TDS are mainly from pool chemicals that have been used? A water change is probably your best route to go so you can at the least sleep soundly at night and at the most not have problems related to the makeup of the TDS down the line.

Great YouTube video! One of the nicest I ever saw, but I don't think I would drink the water as that woman did. I used to be a member of the Garden Ponds forum, a huge pond forum. I've seen some folks do some really nice pool conversions. I'll take a look at that paper a little later. It's 3am here, and I haven't had my coffee yet. Too early for anything technical. Blinking

Here's a cool one, too:

MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
[Last edited by MoonShadows - Feb 13, 2018 9:00 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1640248 (4)
Name: Cal McGaugh
Escondido, California (Zone 10b)
Image
EscondidoCal
Feb 13, 2018 11:34 AM CST
MoonShadows said:@EscondidoCal Ah, so you already have experience! So, what I wrote in my first post you probably already know.

Well, I don't know it all, so your info is very welcome, and hope others who come here will benefit as well. Thumbs up

That amount of TDS is high, but not knowing the composition of the TDS and it being a pool, I imagine your concern is the TDS are mainly from pool chemicals that have been used? A water change is probably your best route to go so you can at the least sleep soundly at night and at the most not have problems related to the makeup of the TDS down the line.
Yes, that's my worry....all the salts from the chlorine, shock, and
pool tabs. I think it's considered "brackish" at this level.

I bought a fire pump to defend the home in case of a wildfire, so can spray it out over our property, and it will eventually be diluted by rain
(if we ever get any). Sighing!

Great YouTube video! One of the nicest I ever saw, but I don't think I would drink the water as that woman did.

It had a yellowish cast to it. Rolling on the floor laughing
Aussies are always fun. Thumbs up
Looks like she has a great immune system, too. Smiling

I used to be a member of the Garden Ponds forum, a huge pond forum. I've seen some folks do some really nice pool conversions. I'll take a look at that paper a little later. It's 3am here, and I haven't had my coffee yet. Too early for anything technical. Blinking

Thanks for the video link. I'm not adding any dirt (at least "wittingly") to the pool, just creating floating islands of plant. Also along the rim of the
pool/pond by securing filter mesh to it.

We have flocks of mallards coming & going......about 30-50 in the morning, and later about 4pm to eat, show off, learn the ropes, find a mate.
http://cal3d.com/DuckParty1212...
The little island of iris made it through this morning's onslaught unscathed. Thumbs up

Was hoping to have lotus, but may have to put them in a tub away from the new pond....they might get a bit thrashed by the fracus. Rolling my eyes.



Learn & create something every day.

"Take only pictures. Leave only footprints."
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Feb 14, 2018 6:55 AM CST
Wow, that's a lot of ducks! Nice pics.

Looks like unless you can get the water tested to find out the composition of the TDS, you'll have to dump most of the water. I don't know if such a test is expensive or not. Also, I know in some areas of CA, there are strict water restrictions and high costs, right. Would you re-fill from your household water source or have it trucked in by tanker?

Ah, I'm just a pond novice. I only put in our garden pond this past Spring. It's a small 425 gallon raised pond. I was going to damn up a natural spring on our property that runs through a deep depression behind our house, but the 4 inches of paperwork and fees from the State of Pennsylvania put an end to that. (Endangered species study, historic building study, 100 year flood study, run-off study, site survey, relocating "wet land", etc., etc., etc.!) I still may just dig a hole in our back field and put a well in to feed it. They can't stop me from doing that.

Here's our little pond
MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
Name: Cal McGaugh
Escondido, California (Zone 10b)
Image
EscondidoCal
Feb 14, 2018 12:11 PM CST
MoonShadows said:Wow, that's a lot of ducks! Nice pics.

Thanks!
re: Your pond & video......very nice job! Thumbs up

There was an overflow crowd this morning of ducks AND crows......I couldn't even crawl into the hallway to
turn on the furnace as the crows would split, and probably all the ducks.....a lot of newbies that have a flock mentality,
though there are some Elites aka Uber ducks there to show teach them how to look cool.
Anyway, always fun to watch & study them......verrrrrry cool ducks. ;)

Looks like unless you can get the water tested to find out the composition of the TDS, you'll have to dump most of the water. I don't know if such a test is expensive or not. Also, I know in some areas of CA, there are strict water restrictions and high costs, right. Would you re-fill from your household water source or have it trucked in by tanker?

TDS is easy to check, but haven't heard definitively if the current level is toxic. A pond place here didn't think so. The ducks seem to be thriving, too.
So am not going to stress about it, and we've started adding hyacinths, duck weed, and miscellaneous small floating plants.
I ordered 3 nice lotus (tubers) from PondPlantsRUs, too.
Thumb of 2018-02-14/EscondidoCal/5855b7

Ah, I'm just a pond novice. I only put in our garden pond this past Spring. It's a small 425 gallon raised pond. I was going to damn up a natural spring on our property that runs through a deep depression behind our house, but the 4 inches of paperwork and fees from the State of Pennsylvania put an end to that. (Endangered species study, historic building study, 100 year flood study, run-off study, site survey, relocating "wet land", etc., etc., etc.!)

D'Oh!

I still may just dig a hole in our back field and put a well in to feed it. They can't stop me from doing that.

Go for it! Thumbs up





Learn & create something every day.

"Take only pictures. Leave only footprints."
Name: Cal McGaugh
Escondido, California (Zone 10b)
Image
EscondidoCal
Feb 19, 2018 2:41 AM CST
Today I put together the large island using noodle floats, shade cloth, 2" thick filter mesh, and plastic coated copper wire.
I had a vague plan in mind, but improvised as I fabricated it. Everything can be changed if necessary, but so far it looks
like it will work. Smiling

I had planned to use a plastic mesh fencing material on the top and/or bottom of the island, as I had seen used by
others, but my wife, Ginger, had the great idea to use shade cloth instead. It's much easier to use, is UV protected,
and flexible.

We already had a piece of shade cloth that turned out to be just large enough to overlap the noodles so
they would be hidden underneath......kind of like the trampoline on a catamaran. Smiling

Here are some pics that show the process:

Poke the wire through the shade cloth...
Thumb of 2018-02-19/EscondidoCal/9005ef

wrap it around the noodle, twist ends together, and trim excess with scissors.
(doubling the thickness of shade cloth may not be necessary, but can't hurt)
Thumb of 2018-02-19/EscondidoCal/4cf113

Knee pads are essential....these are pretty good
Thumb of 2018-02-19/EscondidoCal/3606d8

A thick cushy towel is better. Big Grin
Thumb of 2018-02-19/EscondidoCal/587351

This is the underside of the island.....note the wire criss crossing, and
attaching the ends. I thought the white filter mesh would not be necessary,
but then realized it would give the structure integrity, especially when heavy
plants & soil are added.....otherwise it would collapse in on itself.
It will also provide the surface for biofilm to form.

I will cut holes where necessary to place a pot or bag of soil for the
iris or other plants that need more than just water.
Thumb of 2018-02-19/EscondidoCal/7e14cc

Thumb of 2018-02-19/EscondidoCal/771e20

The island is rectangular, ~3ft X 6ft, but is flexible, and I will change the
shape to make it look more natural.
Thumb of 2018-02-19/EscondidoCal/70da9c




Learn & create something every day.

"Take only pictures. Leave only footprints."
Name: Cal McGaugh
Escondido, California (Zone 10b)
Image
EscondidoCal
May 19, 2018 10:03 AM CST
Here is the new duck pond after just 3 months....

Still a long way to go, but so far, so good.
Enjoying it everyday now, and it's been a fun project. Thumbs up

BTW, I have many pics of the process, and will include them, plus what
worked & didn't, when I have more time to update. Smiling
Learn & create something every day.

"Take only pictures. Leave only footprints."
[Last edited by EscondidoCal - May 20, 2018 12:55 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1713021 (9)
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
May 19, 2018 10:29 AM CST
EscondidoCal said:Here is the new duck pond after just 3 months....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Still a long way to go, but so far, so good.
Enjoying it everyday now, and it's been a fun project. Thumbs up

BTW, I have many pics of the process, and will include them, plus what
worked & didn't, when I have more time to update. Smiling


Absolutely gorgeous Cal! And your video cam is doing a great job too.

I forget, did you post this to the Ideas forum? Hope so. Thumbs up
AKA Joey.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
May 19, 2018 2:10 PM CST
Looking good, Cal!
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
May 20, 2018 5:15 AM CST
Really looking good, Cal. Congrats and enjoy your hard work!
MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
Name: Cal McGaugh
Escondido, California (Zone 10b)
Image
EscondidoCal
May 20, 2018 5:23 PM CST
Thanks Joanna, Carol, & Jim. Smiling

I'll start a thread at the Ideas forum with a condensed timeline of the process.
Basically trial & error, common sense. Smiling

Probably will take me another few days if not a week to get it together.
I hope it will inspire others to do the same.

Gotta go work on it now to rescue some small plants that the ducks have
pretty much decimated. D'Oh!
Learn & create something every day.

"Take only pictures. Leave only footprints."
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
May 20, 2018 6:01 PM CST
EscondidoCal said:Thanks Joanna, Carol, & Jim. Smiling

I'll start a thread at the Ideas forum with a condensed timeline of the process.
Basically trial & error, common sense. Smiling

Probably will take me another few days if not a week to get it together.
I hope it will inspire others to do the same.

Gotta go work on it now to rescue some small plants that the ducks have
pretty much decimated. D'Oh!


Cal, if you have a central location where you're thoroughly documenting the whole process, I think it's okay to just post a short explanation of the idea with a link. Then you'd only have one place to update or elaborate or edit. Much easier that way.

Someone else has already done that here so you can see what that looks like:
The thread "Create a Wildflower Field" in Gardening Ideas forum

AKA Joey.

giathinhpool
Oct 8, 2018 3:59 AM CST
Hóa chất diệt rêu hồ bơi là một sản phẩm vô cùng quan trọng giúp bạn đánh bại rong rêu có trong hồ bơi. tham khảo nhiều hơn tại đây nhé
Name: Cal McGaugh
Escondido, California (Zone 10b)
Image
EscondidoCal
Oct 8, 2018 9:37 AM CST
I love Vietnamese food, but sorry, do not understand the language.
English, please. Smiling
Learn & create something every day.

"Take only pictures. Leave only footprints."
[Last edited by EscondidoCal - Oct 8, 2018 1:54 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1832674 (16)
Florida (Zone 9a)
Image
Gina1960
Oct 12, 2018 8:06 PM CST
Gosh I have wanted to do this with my pool for so long but my husband won't do it. He likes to float around in a float and drink beer on the weekends. I have to live vicariously through yours so post a lot of photos
Name: Cal McGaugh
Escondido, California (Zone 10b)
Image
EscondidoCal
Oct 13, 2018 4:08 AM CST
Hey Gina,
I'm working on it, but in the meantime, here is a video of ducks coming in for
dinner a few weeks ago (be sure to watch on a computer monitor, full screen, with volume up!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

And a slideshow of some ducks yesterday.
http://cal3d.com/Ducks%202018/...

It's so much fun. Green Grin!
Learn & create something every day.

"Take only pictures. Leave only footprints."
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Oct 13, 2018 5:41 AM CST
Great video, Cal. I love the way they just "plop" down into the pond. They look like they are having a grand time.
MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains

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