As I look at my pond this afternoon, I wonder if I really made any progress. Seriously. The pond is just as brown as it was before I cleaned it up! However, I struggled with cleaning out the nastiness at the bottom. But I digress…
Day 2 was akin to watching a pot of water boil. Due to the size of the pump we bought (this little thing is a beast, BTW! More on that later.), it took seven hours to drain the pond. And because I was worried about burning up said little beastie, I went out every 30 minutes to check on things. We started at 10am and around 5pm pulled the pump out. The pond smelled SO bad, I couldn’t bring myself to clean it that night. Give me a night to prep my stomach please…
Day 3. The following morning, I made myself Just Do It! Put on my sexy Walmart boots, my grungiest clothes and got to work. Remember when you first changed your sweet little newborn’s diaper? What was that stuff called? Meconium? (Had to look it up) It was sticky and smelly and would NOT clean up! That is what I had at the bottom of the pond. BLEK!
Of course, since we just moved and I am doing most of my DIY on a shoestring, I did not want to spend the money on a cleanout pump or pond vacuum. Then again, I thought “How bad can it be?” Our yard is all sand. Seriously. No.dirt.here.at.all! We did not have any algae or fungus in the pond so my naïve mind thought that all I would find at the bottom was a bunch of sand, leaves and twigs. I did find that-and so much more.
First, I found this. That did not go over well. I posted it on Facebook so my mom would see it. <Teehee> It is now living under the palm tree and guarding for me.
So because I wanted the cleaning to be completely natural, I used a bucket and scooped out the leaves, twigs, smelly muck and a few spiders. Me and my yellow Playtex gloves (I mentioned I am new at this, right?). It only took approximately 30 minutes to scoop it all out. I tried to scoop up as much mud as I could but it was like glue. So after a while I gave up. Next time we will rent or borrow a pond vacuum or other applicable appliance. <sigh>
I then used the sprayer on my hose to clean off the sides of the pond and started filling it. (BIG mistake! I should have drained that dirty water out before refilling.) In the meantime, Kevin thought it would be nice to make a little island for the frogs to hang out somewhere in the middle of the pond. For that we took an old garbage can, drilled holes in the bottom, set it upside down on the bottom of the pond, and I set two rocks on top that I had discovered while cleaning. Voila! Frog Island Resort is now in business.
The other thing we did was turn the beast into a fountain (It’s true purpose.) and set it on the other side of the pond. It actually has two ports so the other side will eventually be used for my DIY waterfall. No water wasted. Love that.
*For you fellow detail oriented people, the pump is a HydroStar Submersible Fountain Pump 620 GPH. Item 68393. With our trusty 20% off coupon, we paid $30.37 for it at Harbor Freight.
Now, for the fountain, Kevin was hesitant to place it directly on the bottom of the pond. First, the ground was uneven. Second, the sand might clog it. So, he took one of my old pots drilled big holes in the bottom and used thin wire to attach the pump to the pot. I set that in the pond as well.
What I love. My frogs have a somewhat cleaner home. I am excited about the next phase which is planting native Florida wildlife-friendly flora around the pond. Remember in the last article I mentioned I want the National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat certificate? One of the requirements is that I need to provide animals access to food. I am in the middle of researching the right plants now and will post my strategy and decisions in the next blog.
What I don’t love. The water is still very dirty. I am pondering a few things…
- Should I add beneficial bacteria and muck remover to clear up the water? The descriptions say they work naturally. Is that true…? Are there any potentially dangerous ingredients added? I require further research.
- The pond ground is uneven so the water empties down to the lowest point. First, I can see the black lining everywhere except at that lowest point. Second, there is no natural and easy entry for a small animal to get to the water. The lowest point I mentioned is under the palm tree, with rocks hindering access and there is still a small drop. I am pondering how to solve that.
- Should I add fish? I read many different opinions on the fish situation. I am not looking for pets. I am looking for mosquito larvae eaters! My dilemma. We are kinda out in the sticks. My house backs up to 90 acres of untouched forest. Literally. Oh, and we do not have a fence. Those fish might be easy pickings. It would bum me out to find a little fish skeleton on the side of my pond during my morning walk.
Additionally, I do not want to feed them. I would like the pond to provide naturally all the nourishment they need. How do I know if I am doing that? Lastly, from what I understand they like to eat tadpoles. I have numerous frogs living near my pond. We find them everywhere actually. I kinda like them. Hate to kill off their offspring for the sake of having some additional mosquito larvae eaters.
Actually, I think I just talked myself out of the fish! Ha! Thanks for working through that with me.
If anybody has experience with the beneficial bacteria and muck remover, I am all ears.
Next blog will be on the first set of plants I choose and what I decided to do with the muck remover and beneficial bacteria. See you soon!