I've been a ponder for more than 15 years. My recent marriage and move to Colorado included an agreement that I would have a new pond by the end of the summer. In April, I packed up most of my worldly belongings, which included eight 12 - 16 inch koi, several 3 inch baby koi, and a handful of four to six inch goldfish and shubunkins. The trip from Portland to Craig (about 1,000 mi.) was pleasant and there were no fatalities. Once we arrived in Craig, the fish were placed in a kiddie pool in the garage and the Ryder truck was unloaded. The fish lived happily in the garage for a few months as we began our project.

First came the hole. My dear husband rented a backhoe and dug a beautiful 12 x 16 ft. x 4 ft. deep hole. For a little over a month it served as a great mudpie kitchen for my granddaughter while we worked on ordering liner and filtration materials.

It seemed to take forever, but in the next month we placed the liner, bottom drain and filter system. Next came the water, a few plants and development of the all-essential waterfall.

The 4,400 gal. pond is filtered by a four-stage filter system which we built out of 100 gal. Rubbermaid cattle troughs. It consists of a sediment collector tank, a downflow bio filter (lava rock medium), an upflow bio filter (more lava rock) and a tank for the pump at the end of the filter system. Water is then pumped to the top of a 4 ft waterfall weir which contains fiberglass screening (a final filtering device). It then returns to the pond. Oh yes, the rubber duckies in the fourth tank serve a dual purpose. 1) They alert me to any drastic water level changes. 2) They will hopefully distract and amuse any marauding raccoons.

Once the pond was filled and conditioned, we introduced our well-traveled koi. Unfortunately, we were a bit too impatient and cut corners when placing them in the pond. Within a day they began to die off one at a time. Thank goodness for koivet.com . Using the information from that site didn't save all my fish, but at least two of my oldest koi and most of the babies and goldfish survived. I learned the value of good old salt when treating sick fish. Today, my fish are happily swimming around in their new home. Although there is much landscape work and planting to be done, I have my pond and now feel "at home." We were surprised by some snow yesterday, so it appears that I'll have to wait until Spring to do the extensive planting. For now, my pond is like the child only a mother could love.

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