Trying a pond in Tennessee

Drewbacca

We’re going to be doing some landscaping in our backyard this Spring, and one of our thoughts was creating a small pond. I’ve always wanted a pond, but I’ve been intimidated by the complexity and cost of the setup. I’m also worried about the climate. We live in Nashville, so we get 100+ days in the summer and sub-freezing days in the winter. I don’t really want to bring fish indoors and would like to keep them outdoors year round. I have a livebearer tank with Mollies and Endlers, but I don’t think they’d do too well in my weather. If they did, I’d have to have a serious heater and/or dig a pretty deep pond. So, I’m guessing I’d be stuck with goldfish or some local fish like bluegills. I’d want to make sure that my mosquitos were under control. Would White Cloud Mountain Minnows work too?
 

Heron

I live in Cumbria in the UK, we get warm Summers and cold snowy winters. I have a selection of goldfish in my pond that have survived a few winters with 3 inches of ice on top and Summers of 25 C+. The pond is nothing fancy, no filters or heaters just a submerged pump/ fountain unit that's turned on in the spring and off in the autumn.
A pond can be as complicated or as simple as you build it. Mine is just a large hole in the ground lined with a butyle liner.( I didn't build it , it came with the house ). If you have light ground you may need some concrete to stop the sides falling in, this wasn't an issue here as our ground is very heavy clay. A few plants in some baskets and that's it.
You can add fil
 

Drewbacca

I live in Cumbria in the UK, we get warm Summers and cold snowy winters. I have a selection of goldfish in my pond that have survived a few winters with 3 inches of ice on top and Summers of 25 C+. The pond is nothing fancy, no filters or heaters just a submerged pump/ fountain unit that's turned on in the spring and off in the autumn.
A pond can be as complicated or as simple as you build it. Mine is just a large hole in the ground lined with a butyle liner.( I didn't build it , it came with the house ). If you have light ground you may need some concrete to stop the sides falling in, this wasn't an issue here as our ground is very heavy clay. A few plants in some baskets and that's it.
You can add fil
I think your post cut off halfway through. We’re mainly doing it for the plants to fill in an area of our garden that is kind of blank right now. I wanted fish in there to control mosquitos and to add a little bit of interest to the area. A little bit of a water feature would be nice as well as it would add some peaceful sound. Given this purpose, I’d want it to look as natural as possible.

I think we’re fine spending several hundred dollars doing this... but I worry we’d go down a rabbit hole. Digging a hole, buying stones to go around the area, possibly adding in a waterfall, a filter, a heater, a skimmer, fish, plants, etc. It gets intense to think about. My wife wants me to just take the fry from my Mollies and Endlers and put them in there. They’d die in the winter, but she thinks that’s the same as me keeping them in a community tank and having the larger fish eat a lot of the fry.
 

saltwater60

If all you want fish for is to control mosquitos there are things called mosquito dunks or have the pump move water to make the surface a bit choppy. Mosquitos will only lay eggs on flat calm water. Then you can skip the expensive filter. I run a pond without a filter. I hate them. I keep my bio load low and feed very sparingly.
You also don’t need a skimmer.
I literally dig a hole, lined it and pump water. I clean it good in spring and do like an 80% water change, tossed some snails in there, and some floating plants to keep the algae down. I have no problems and my water is crystal clear. My pond is 51” deep and I can see the bottom all the time. Dont overthink/over complicate it.
 

Drewbacca

If all you want fish for is to control mosquitos there are things called mosquito dunks or have the pump move water to make the surface a bit choppy. Mosquitos will only lay eggs on flat calm water. Then you can skip the expensive filter. I run a pond without a filter. I hate them. I keep my bio load low and feed very sparingly.
You also don’t need a skimmer.
I literally dig a hole, lined it and pump water. I clean it good in spring and do like an 80% water change, tossed some snails in there, and some floating plants to keep the algae down. I have no problems and my water is crystal clear. My pond is 51” deep and I can see the bottom all the time. Dont overthink/over complicate it.

It’s not only for the mosquitos. I like fish too, but they need to serve a purpose too.
 

saltwater60

How big of a pond do you want. Liners are expensive.
 

Drewbacca

Somewhere between 6-10 feet at its largest diameter. Right now it’s an empty area of mulch in our garden. I’d like to have some natural grasses and other plants surrounding it with some lilies and other aquatic plants in it. Goldfish are the logical choice. I don’t want something as big as koi, although I know goldfish grow. I’d actually prefer smaller fish that would reproduce and sustain a population, but I’m afraid my Mollies and Endlers wouldn’t make it through the winter without paying a fortune to keep it warmed. I have a source of white clouds, and they like cooler water, but I fear even they wouldn’t make it... and they might not reproduce.
 

Ember2020

I live in Kentucky and have a backyard pond. Goldfish reproduce a lot. I bought 10 to stock my pond two years ago and now have over 30 and I’m going to have to remove some this spring. I like the look of the Shubunkin Goldfish compared to the common ones. All mine have survived harsh winters with no heater where the pond top froze over. If your pond freezes, don’t try to break the ice on top, it will just make your pond freeze even deeper. The Goldfish will sink to the deepest part and be fine. I am 6 foot tall and dug my deepest part of the pond waist deep and that has been placenta deep enough here. I don’t feed my Goldfish under 50 degrees, they won’t eat when it’s cold and can go weeks with little to no food in the winter. Definitely do some floating live plants in the summer for algae. I do water hyacinth and they will naturally spread and cover most the top and the Goldfish will nibble at their roots also. The plants will die in the fall and you can scoop them all out with a cheap pool net. Plan on hearing frogs croaking at night. They always find my pond during the summer and every time that I remove one it seems two to three more replace it. I hope some of this helps and enjoy your backyard pond.
 

Drewbacca

I live in Kentucky and have a backyard pond. Goldfish reproduce a lot. I bought 10 to stock my pond two years ago and now have over 30 and I’m going to have to remove some this spring. I like the look of the Shubunkin Goldfish compared to the common ones. All mine have survived harsh winters with no heater where the pond top froze over. If your pond freezes, don’t try to break the ice on top, it will just make your pond freeze even deeper. The Goldfish will sink to the deepest part and be fine. I am 6 foot tall and dug my deepest part of the pond waist deep and that has been placenta deep enough here. I don’t feed my Goldfish under 50 degrees, they won’t eat when it’s cold and can go weeks with little to no food in the winter. Definitely do some floating live plants in the summer for algae. I do water hyacinth and they will naturally spread and cover most the top and the Goldfish will nibble at their roots also. The plants will die in the fall and you can scoop them all out with a cheap pool net. Plan on hearing frogs croaking at night. They always find my pond during the summer and every time that I remove one it seems two to three more replace it. I hope some of this helps and enjoy your backyard pond.

Thanks for the reply. My father in law did goldfish in Nashville successfully. I think I just need to make sure it’s about 3 feet deep. I was hoping to be able to use fish other than goldfish or koi, as they get bigger and have a lot of waste. However, I’m not sure my livebearers would cut it and the White Clouds are probably not cold hardy enough either.
 

AngryRainbow

When I was in the planning stages of a pond in Illinois, and when the time comes I had planned on stocking small native fish. I live uphill from a natural waterway and wouldn't want a goldfish somehow finding it's way down there via predator or flood etc. If you want something that will thrive and breed in your climate why not look at what naturally occurs there?

here's a site I found that you can order natives from

Jonah's Aquarium - We sell native fishes - Shipping to the USA - Fish List
 

kallililly1973

I’m not sure my livebearers would cut it and the White Clouds are probably not cold hardy enough either.
I agree that the live-bearers may not be able to survive the winter but the WCMM from what i've read can handle water temps as low as 40 degrees so they should be able to make it through a winter in a deep enough pond.
 

Drewbacca

How do you usually handle water changes and top offs? I know you’re not supposed to fill it with hose water, but having enough treated water to add to a pond seems excessive.
 

Drewbacca

When I was in the planning stages of a pond in Illinois, and when the time comes I had planned on stocking small native fish. I live uphill from a natural waterway and wouldn't want a goldfish somehow finding it's way down there via predator or flood etc. If you want something that will thrive and breed in your climate why not look at what naturally occurs there?

here's a site I found that you can order natives from

Jonah's Aquarium - We sell native fishes - Shipping to the USA - Fish List

I was looking into native species a little. Least killifish are native to South Carolina and Georgia, which is close to me... although I’m a tad bit north. Sunfish, like Bluegill, also sound like an option, but I’m planning on a smaller pond, so I’d hate to end up quickly overstocked by them. One other I saw was the Rosy Red Minnow. They’re native to Canada and the northern US, so they can definitely handle the winter.

Any other thoughts? What about snail species for algae control? I’ve heard crawfish are not good for plants and can tear up a lining. I also doubt shrimp would be hardy enough for outdoors.
 

AngryRainbow

Algae problems aren't a guaranted thing, much like in aquariums as long as nutrients are balanced, not too much sun, and you've got plants using up the nutrients. But if you find you do have algae I would probably go with native snails, or some small fish pick at algae as well
 

saltwater60

For algae do floating plants like water hyacinths and Japanese trapdoor snails. Make sure you cover about half the top of the pond with floating plants to keep the algae down.
watch doing grasses since they spread like crazy.
 

Heron

Put plants in mesh baskets so you can easily keep them under control. Plants can take over if not kept in check. Plenty of snails keep algae under control.
 

Drewbacca

This has all been good info. Right now I’m gonna plan to do either least killifish, red river minnows, or goldfish depending on how big the pond ends up being. I think I’m going to do the Japanese Trapdoor Snails as well since I like having snails and they don’t reproduce very quickly.
 

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