These walkways will slope very gently to the 2 ft. depth. Some sports type wheelchairs are submersable. They could be driven down a path and then to a little parking area about 32 inches deep, where a fence and hitching post would keep the chair safe while the owner swims. At this depth, the person's body weight would be largely borne by the water. I've seen a guy launch in this manner. I'll have to get some of those wheelchair parking signs to post along the fence. Everyone will want a photo of themselves posing in the world's first submerged disabled parking stalls. I would imagine that photos of this nature would get around and lead to positive media exposure. Certainly, every physically active disabled person in my area will find out, one way or another. There's a basketball team. People who do that from a chair are bound to be interested in my many accessible facilities.
On water temperature ---- Hip waders will be available to all paying customers. Stay dry, stay warm. I'm managing for high temperatures by going fairly shallow with good southern exposure, wind breaks, dark colored boulders etc. I may even employ solar powered pool heaters in the swimming area.
Most plastic rocks, waterfalls and other plastic, was set on the concrete. Only one waterfall was placed in a "geologically plausible" setting. Some good ideas for suburban yards but nothing I could use.
I view these places as somewhere to get ideas. I could see using a feature like the pond in the second photo as a brood tank or as a repository for potted water plants to be sold from.
I have to get some bog plants to adorn the formal patio.
I call this, the wall of horrors. They promote the idea that a pond requires medications, fertilization, algae control, shock treatments ... and fish eat from plastic pill bottles.
Luckily, I'm not impressionable or stupid.
A helpful graphic, sells plants.
Underwater Viewing Structure --- Many of us have gone to one of those giant aquariums and watched fish, dolphins and seals through the glass. It's very expensive glass. I will build a scaled down version of this. A patio door glass standing the shorter way up is about right. This would be mounted in a concrete dugout on the water's edge. The glass needs to stick about 6 inches above the water line, so that waves don't swamp the structure. The best way to view underwater is to be in full sunlight, so that the water is well lit but under a shading blind so that reflections and glare are eliminated. Depth of view is limited only by water clarity. I've taken hundreds of underwater photos with a regular camera that can't get wet. They are so clear that most people think they were taken by a scuba diver. It's all about shading. I haven't seen others doing this but it must be well known amongst photographers. With proper lighting combined with shading of the viewer and the water to about 2 ft ahead of the eyes, it is possible for visitors to stay totally dry, while they watch pond life swim by. It's like wearing a very loose fitting swim mask that doesn't fog up as bad. A windshield squeegee will reside in a bucket of clean water. I'll plan this feature to be at a juncture between the emergent zone and open water. Lots of action there. Food scraps and other offerings could be fed a short distance away. I don't want to constantly view uneaten scraps, but new foods could be tried out in this area to determine what is being eaten and witch size and species prefer it.
Safety --- Viewers will have their feet about 3 1/2 feet below pond level and their heads 6 inches below the surface. If they somehow manage to break the very strong glass, the dugout would flood and they'd have to stand up. Anyone over 4 feet tall would be fine. (Little kids won't be allowed to use it unattended.) They would then be kicked out, and repair costs would be taken from their credit card that was used as a deposit against this sort of thing. You'd have to beat on the glass with a rock to break it.
Cleaning --- This would be like an aquarium with only one glass side. A soft sponge would clean algae from the pond side. The inside would get covered in finger and nose prints from exuberant kids. Nose prints containing oily sunscreen are the worst. The only other maintenance issue would be to bail or sponge out any water that gets in. Since it's below pond level, a floor drain would not work.
I intend to build many simple structures that help visitors see things that are usually hidden. This is bound to be popular. Another similar structure will be in a rock pile that is home to alligator lizards.
Flying Fox Cable Ride --- This is the ultimate swim toy. A cable is strung over the swimming hole and a pulley with a handle carries the rider quickly to the drop zone. It's safer than a swing rope. With ropes launched from a high point on land, some idiots fail to let go of the rope while they are over water. Others lose their grip or change their minds after it's clearly too late, choosing instead to skid their half naked bodies along mud, rocks and gravel , ending their journey in a crumpled pile at the pond's edge. YouTube is filled with videos of many kids with poor strength to weight ratio, meeting this awful fate. This is a great way to thin the herd. Visitors will never use these things until liability insurance is in place.
Viewing other wildlife --- Ponds are a wildlife magnet. If we had lions, this is where they would wait for prey. I will take steps to deter large animals from visiting but hundreds of harmless species are welcome. We get hummingbirds, ravens, swans and many other birds. There are resident snakes and lizards. Most of the furry critters likely to visit could pose problems since many eat fish or gardens. The same goes for birds. Visiting swans, ravens, herons, osprey and eagles will have access to a wildlife pond but not to ponds managed for fish.
Tilapia --- These warm water fish like to be kept at 75F or higher. Some of them live almost exclusively on algae. If I can achieve suitable temperatures for even 3 months, I'll get some. They would have a greenhouse to keep them warm in cooler months. Flotsam from the cooler ponds would be fed to them all year, just as caged chickens are brought food from distant fields. Tilapia are amazing breeders. They can be managed to have thousands of fingerling sized offspring ready to go when ponds heat up in the spring and those offspring can grow out to edible size by fall. Breeding continues through the year. In the fall, the pond would contain thousands of little fish that could not survive the winter and that are unneeded for breeding stock. They can be fed to catfish or chickens. If one area of a pond is artificially heated, warm water fish will congregate there where they could be netted or washed over a weir to hungry ducks and catfish.
Catfish --- These fish can be used to dispose of unwanted fish, dead rodents, road kill or any other creature on the farm that dies. They'll also eat some garden wastes. They are omnivores and can consume a wide array of food. --- CATFISH VS PIGS --- To me, they are the aquatic version of pigs but they have several advantages over pigs for the way I want to farm. In a natural pond, catfish feed themselves. They have the ability to eat large quantities when the opportunity arises and then to go back to eating from the pond when I have nothing for them. They are much easier to fence than pigs are. As prisoners of their pond, catfish would have to work harder pursuing frogs and little fish when not fed by me. They grow slower when not fed, but they don't die and they don't break through fences to get at the corn. Running out of food for growing pigs, is simply not an option. Catfish have no option but to wait until the next time the farm produces something they like, and I decide that they can eat it. Pigs will constantly attempt to make dietary choices for themselves.
Trout --- Most stocked ponds around here contain trout. These trout are fed ground up fish that come from the ocean. This, along with cage raised salmon, is one of the most unsustainable enterprises that can be done in water.
Some ponds are managed naturally, but the yield is low, usually around 100 lb. per acre. They are very picky about water quality. I am also very picky about water quality. I want it to be piss warm for comfortable swimming and I want it to be a nitrogen factory that coughs up mountains of nitrogen rich flotsam. There are dozens of ways to accidentally kill trout but those are lessons I'll leave to others to discover.
Koi --- I like koi and they are expensive. I like that. I may construct a habitat for them, using my cleanest water. They would be afforded more protection than any other animal on the farm. A 100 sq ft. pond that is 3 feet deep can hold hundreds of those little hot dog size koi that retail for $40 each. $$$$$$$$$$$$$
I can only assume based on prices, that koi are difficult to raise. The ponds I've seen have been very clean and there were lots of air pumps. Another item for further investigation. 10% of the koi market around here is a substantial sum. If I decide to pursue this avenue, I may choose to be a dominant player in this little niche. I've always chosen work where I'm in a niche market that is easily dominated by a few motivated individuals. I've never raised a koi and am already formulating plans to kick the competition to the curb.
Plants are able to cure any water quality problems that may develop, in a pond that is based on a clean incoming water supply.
Various sources of pond wisdom, suggest that for optimal cleanliness, about 60% of the surface should be covered with emergent or floating plants. This leaves 40% available for swimming and boating. Ponds that have too much open water, tend to grow lots of algae.
A multitude of chemical remedies exist for those silly enough to buy into the idea that a farm pond needs to be crystal clear. Some poison the water, some dye it to prevent solar penetration, some put in UV light "sterilizers" and some hire consultants with a dozen more ideas. ---- A few, more evolved pond owners accept algae as a normal part of pond ecology and they leave it alone to be managed by creatures that eat it. They carefully control nutrient inputs. I'm in that camp.
Harvesting Nutrients ---- None of the dozens of videos that I've watched suggest that nutrients should be gathered both as a way to fertilize the land and to control algae bloom. ---- This is probably because most information on the subject concerns production of large mouth bass. Some go to great lengths in labor and expense, to grow trophy sized bass. They buy feed and structure long food chains around bass. For instance, it takes about 10 lb. of blue gill feeder fish to put a pound of meat onto a bass. I'd rather eat 10 lb. of little blue gill. ----
Back to nutrient harvest ---- Filamentatious algae fix nitrogen. The only known limiting factor to their growth is phosphorus supply. Extreme eutrification is a common problem in natural waterways that are inundated with phosphorus rich agricultural or municipal runoff .--- I will add rock phosphate in amounts needed to foster a suitable level of algae growth so that flotsom can be continuously gathered. Everything gathered from the surface will be offered to livestock and the leftovers used as mulch or for other soil improvement.
Bottom Muck ---- The deepest area of a pond tends to accumulate a gooey mess of rotten plants and other sediments. As this material decays, it consumes dissolved oxygen. When I look at the huge amounts of aeration required to break this stuff down it is clear that this is an area where most ponds could use some management. I will regularly vacuum up the bottom muck. This muck is high in nutrient value. When plants grow in water, they release oxygen. When they decay they consume oxygen. By gathering organic matter before it rots, I will be causing a net gain to my oxygen supply. The dreaded filamentatious algae can cause extreme oxygen depletion when large masses decay. But if it is harvested regularly, it contributes oxygen to the pond. Every bit of carbon in their cells came from CO2 in the air or in the water and oxygen was released during that growth. Harvesting both dead and living plants moves the oxygen uptake part of the cycle to dry land so that those materials cannot draw on dissolved oxygen supplies as they decompose.
The ponds will produce a net gain in nutrient to the farm, due to the nitrogen added by algae and other nitrogen fixers. The plants will produce a net increase in oxygen available to the fish.
Agents of Decay --- When bottom muck is vacuumed up, many little worms and other things that eat detritus will be sucked up with it. There is a whole community of critters similar to those that break down forest litter on land. This protein harvest will be eaten by the chickens when the mucky water is broadcast onto soil. Tiny creatures that wash into the soil will enrich it. It won't hurt the pond to loose these creatures. They reproduce quickly. Any shortfall in these populations would tend to slow decay which would in turn, slow the loss of dissolved oxygen to those processes. They all breathe oxygen. I'm likely to remove less than 10% during any single day's cleaning.
Seaweed ---- It's easy for me to gather an abundance of seaweed which contains many nutrients. Some of it will be eaten by fish and bugs. The addition of salt and seaweed are often prescribed to enhance fish health. This means there will be no need to wash stuff that is gathered. My soil is salt poor, so no problem there. Water used for irrigation will contain nutrient from the sea.
Tree leaves, twigs, bird feathers and many other organic materials are likely to find their way into a pond. Most of them float and are easily driven into concentrated mats when the wind blows. They are easily netted with a fine mesh as is used for cleaning swimming pools. If they sink, the vacuum will eventually get them but in the interim, they consume dissolved oxygen.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A few hours later I have returned with more
Aeration --- Much of the preceding verbosity was concerned with methods of preventing loss of dissolved oxygen to decay processes. This got me thinking about how much electricity would be saved in a pond that can do just fine with little or no aeration. I Googled things, this way and that and found the weight of carbon dioxide. CO2 is 27.3% carbon and 72.7% oxygen. --- 72.7 divided by 27.3 = 2.66 ---------------- One pound of carbon requires 2.66 pounds of dissolved oxygen to be completely gassified. This means that if I remove leaves and sticks containing 10 pounds of carbon, I have just saved 26.6 pounds of oxygen. --- I will next consult Mr. Google to see how many hours various units would have to pump air into the pond to add that much oxygen. ------------ and I'm back------- Commercial fish farmers comparing aeration to using bottled liquid oxygen, seem to agree that it costs about 1 kilowatt hour of electricity to add a pound of oxygen to cold water using the latest aerators. More aeration is required for warm water. That kwh of power is worth about 10 cents here in B.C. and much more in other places. If a generator produced that same power, it's likely to cost more than 50 cents per kwh. At that price it's going to cost $1.30 to remove a pound of carbon through aeration. ------ but we're not done spending money ------- The equipment must be bought and maintained. If a $500 generator consumes $500 worth of gas and then it dies or is stolen, you paid $1000 for the power that the machine produced. I've had such bad luck with generators failing or being stolen that I figure they have cost me $10 per kwh when amortized over the few hours of service before tragedy struck.
That was a lot of math. Now here's more. I'm never going to run down to the pond to remove a pound of carbon waste. I'm going to do it 100 lb at a time but not every day. You might have to remove a ton of flotsom to get 200 lb. dry weight, which would be half carbon. That might take an hour when done from a little barge. I can't see ever getting my aeration costs below 25 cents a pound, so that ton of algae, leaves and sticks is worth $25 in savings. After being allowed to drip out, the material would be loaded by hand or excavator or crane arm, onto the truck and driven a short distance to wherever chickens or pigs are eating that day. It's going to have some unknown value as feed and some other unknown value as fertilizer. --------- AND THAT'S HOW THE REMOVAL OF CRAP FROM A POND CAN TURN INTO A MATH LESSON --- the test is on Tuesday. ---------------
I think I've beat this issue to death by now, but here's one more way that trash removal beats aeration. Equipment can fail. Air pumps can break, the power can go out, hoses can get damaged ... These systems are left unattended for long periods. A system relying on air pumps is at constant risk of oxygen crash when some mechanical item or sensor dies. Skimming and bottom cleaning remove the need for aeration. Any equipment failure would be dealt with during the procedure. There are no sensors, motors or hoses to fail in my absence. ---- When I read through the aquaponics threads, it appears that most disasters have happened due to a malfunction when nobody was there.
Settling Tank ---- There will be times when irrigation water is not needed but the ponds could use cleaning. The mucky water could be pumped to a tank where it could be allowed to settle for a few days. Then most of the water could be returned to the pond and the sediment used as mulch.
Dredging ---- A net dredge could be used to regularly clean up sunken leaves and other large debris that sinks to the bottom. This would reduce the need to use the trash pump.
Keeping the pond clean, also reduces acidity. I'll regularly check ph, and lime according to need. Most plants that I'm likely to irrigate, will prefer neutral water.
The internet has plenty of bad news for those with very alkaline water. It is more difficult and expensive to remedy.
Parasites ---- The only parasite issue that affects swimmers around here is " swimmer's itch ". It is associated with a snail that fish eat. I always thought that ducks caused it because the cases I've seen, came from ponds that are filled with duck shit. It turns out that the ducks degrade the environment for the fish that eat the snails. And they eat any fish that strays into their sewage lagoon. The snails thrive in dirty water that has no fish to eat them, and the ducks create that environment. Did I mention anything about my distaste for swimming in duck poo ? ----------- I think we're done with water issues for now.
Unwanted critters - MOSQUITOS, leeches, mink, weasels, herons, eagles, osprey, king fishers, raccoons, bears, tigers and other fish eaters.
--- Mosquitos are seldom a problem here. Lots of fish, frogs and dragonflies will eat most in the larval stage. I haven't seen 100 of them, so far this year.
Leeches --- are mostly a problem in stagnant water that lacks fish. If they ever become a problem, a predator will be introduced.
Raccoons, mink and weasels are likely to be my worst enemies. A dog will be trained to pursue them. Traps may be employed.
Fishing birds will be constantly chased off and their flight paths will be interrupted by fishing line strung over the water. A sling shot with clay balls will be employed. The dog will be sent after them.
A few resident swans, geese and Muscovy ducks may be allowed to use the ponds. Something needs to eat slugs and snails that attack emergent vegetation. I'll look for birds that are aggressive toward intruders, so that they can help keep wild ducks and geese away. The dog would need to be taught to leave resident birds alone. Labs are good at that. Many breeds are not bright enough.
Steps will be taken to ensure that the fish have hiding spots. By keeping the water clean and oxygenated, I'll provide suitable conditions for the fish to go into deep water to escape. In many ponds, only the surface water is livable. This puts surface dwelling fish at constant risk of predation.
Dealing with fish predation will be a learn as you go experience. It could go a hundred different ways.
Passive Aeration ---- There will be times when the oxygen can be added to by people and animals that play in the pond. A daily fluctuation usually occurs with the greatest oxygen saturation occurring in late afternoon for ponds with lots of algae and other plants. During the night, plants, fish and agents of decay all consume stored oxygen. In clean ponds, living things consume the bulk of it. In dirty ponds, decay processes can use over 90% of it.
Recreational activities will add oxygen, but not early in the morning when supplies are at their lowest. Certain water toys splash water everywhere.
Sometimes, hot tubs, wading pools etc. will be drained into a pond. This could happen before dawn, if the need ever arises. A series of little waterfalls would serve nicely.
For at least a year, I'll experiment with stocking rates and plant manipulation as my only means of controlling oxygen levels.
If well water is used to top up ponds, it could be pumped through a sprinkling system on a timer.
A windmill would work intermittently as wind is prone to do.
Thinking about your points on dissolved oxygen levels (aka D.O.), there was one thing I wanted to suggest. Generally, in fish pond management, bottom diffuser aeration is not specifically used in increase the D.O. levels in the pond. As you calculated, it is very inefficient. Bottom diffusers are used to circulate the pond water and to prevent formation of a thermocline. Increasing the D.O. levels in the pond is usually achieved by some sort of waterfall, where falling water is striking the pond surface. Pumping water is a energy wasteful way to achieve this, like with fountains. Cascading is most efficiently achieved by allowing your inflow water to splash as vigorously as possible when it enters the pond. If this is happening, then your surface waters will be well oxygenated. Wind also plays a helpful role in keeping the surface water well aerated. The bottom diffuser is then employed to circulate this oxygen-rich surface water into the depths. Without a bottom diffuser, stratification creates an anaerobic situation in the bottom of the pond, which greatly limits the fish habitable area of the pond. Without circulation, the fish are forced into the oxygenated surface waters, and then entire depths of the pond become unusable. Hope that makes sense.
Rainbow trout are not as picky about water quality as some try to tell us. They need cool water, like under 72 degrees, and relatively oxygenated water. But they are fine with turbidity, algae, etc. The biggest drawback is that getting them to spawn naturally is near impossible, so you need to purchase little fishes. The good news is that little rainbow trouts are really cheap, and will grow year round in your climate. Just a thought, I definitely like my rainbow trout, as other 'warm water' fishes wouldnt perform nearly as well in my climate.
that's all I got, keep up the good work-
I will try some trout, but they'll have to feed themselves and swim in water that is managed for a variety of uses.
You beat me to the punch on the trout question. It's been the subject of further musings on how to use the ponds in the off season, when neither swimmers or tilapia need them.
I expect the ponds to be suitable for tilapia for about 4 months a year. The moment that the last breeders are moved to their winter home, trout could be introduced to gobble up the little ones that would die over winter. This would happen in September when the water temperature goes to the 70F range. Fertilization would stop in advance of this transition. Winds pick up in the fall, which would help with DO levels. Trout would rule the pond until May or June.
A smaller pond on the shady side of a hugel mound could be fed with cold incoming water. Some trout could spend the summer there while the rest would be harvested during the transition. Inflow could be aerated and water quality maintained by dumping water and bottom muck to the larger ponds. The trout pond is then a pre heater for the warm ponds.
The big question would be whether trout fingerlings could be grown out to a useful size in 8 months. Only a test run could answer that one.
My only negative issues with carp are legal issues, since they are highly invasive in many parts of North America, and their destructive nature. Carp will eat or destroy many plants that I want to sell. If they turn out to be legal in my situation, I'll want to try a few varieties. The bottom of the food chain is occupied by filter feeders in the fish world. Silver carp are able to feed on suspended algae that are too small for most fish to utilize. They have very specific spawning requirements that involve the eggs washing downstream for about 50 miles in a suitably warm river. This will be hard to simulate.
Grass carp will consume a wide variety of plants. They'll probably eat plants that I want to sell, so they would not be put into that pond. Net raising might be a possibility. A big net cage would keep them out of the emergent zone but maintaining a fish prison may prove too time consuming. When caged, the carp would depend on duckweed and farm scraps since foraging in the muck would be prevented. A separa
In another thread, I document my fishwasher/dishwasher experiment. It works quite well. http://www.permies.com/t/27219/toxin-ectomy/Invented-Cleaning-Dishwasher-soap-electricity#217511
There will be a number of other "inventions" and adaptations related to this project.
The city of Victoria is working on shutting down a noisy, boat based shanty town that has cropped up in a touristy area. There's been sewage dumping and a drunk girl was tossed overboard ! Attempted murder charges pending. -------- If a dirt cheap vessel, suitable as a barge or houseboat comes available, I'll grab it.
Spring houses can be used to store all sorts of preserved foods in jars and they can also provide suitable temperatures for storing greens, fruit and root vegetables. My grandparents had dairy cows before they had electricity. At that time, land without a spring was unsuited to dairy. In the summer the cold water refrigerates. In winter, the water prevents the house from freezing.
Quite often, I see old refrigerator trucks for sale at less than $1000. The box could be taken off one of these and buried partially, after some rust protection. A pond liner could cover the whole thing and a drain tile run to the edge of the hill would prevent flooding. A thin layer of earth over the roof would moderate temperatures The truck could then be sold to someone who wants a flat deck.
A metal box is going to be easier to render vermin proof than are most root cellars.
Michael Newby wrote:Great stuff here Dale, lot's to muse over. On the pond aeration, have you looked into airlift pumps? They can move quite a bit of water using just an air compressor, which is more efficient than a pump. Check out this video from a Koi enthusiast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1uBybsdXHQ
If they truly are more efficient than regular pumps, I'd like to go with air. I want to send water to elevated storage. Any overflow would come back to the pond. It might as well come back aerated. I think it would be easy enough to have two hoses split off of the air pump. One would power the air lift. A hose would be planted deeply in the pond so that during periods when the pump isn't working very fast, all air would go to pumping to storage when there there is not enough pressure to overcome the back pressure that exists at depth. When there is more air pressure, the extra would be pumped to the pond bottom.
This thread is about building a tall mound and reservoir from the materials excavated from the pond. --- http://www.permies.com/t/33099/earthworks/Dale-Volcano-Mound-crater-lake
Dale Hodgins wrote:If they truly are more efficient than regular pumps, I'd like to go with air. I want to send water to elevated storage. Any overflow would come back to the pond.
air lifts are more efficient at low heads. pumping up to an elevated storage tank is better suited to a regular pump.
you can aerate the return water with a venturi.