We will be attending the event at Home Grown Hydroponics featuring Dr. George Brooks. After that, we fully intend on converting our backyard pool into a productive pond. We have seen some information on this site whereas others in the group have done this, and we would be grateful for input and suggestions from anyone with experience with this concept. We have been researching other information and are ready to commit to this conversion.
All that said - to invite any interested persons on the journey. We welcome people to check in on the project to learn with us and share ideas. Our skill level is average - but our hopes are high - so stay tuned.
Are you making the entire pool into a pond, or a greenhouse with a pond? I'd recommend you visit GardenPool.org. They're in Mesa & have tours occasionally. The next is in mid-Jan I think. Converting the whole pool into a pond would be very interesting and fun. If you'd be using it to run grow beds, it would take a lot of fish to bring the nitrates up, though. It would be interesting to see your plans!
I Second Sheri. I have not had a chance to visit Gardenpool.org myself, however their project is a huge inspiration.
One of the considerations of pool to pond conversions is the stocking density and how you plan on filtering the water. If you keep your fish density very low and take some steps to provide areas that promote the growth of bacteria to create a nitrogen cycle, it can work really well. If you use a fish like tilapia in your pool and you don't add controls to the population, you will probably have a population explosion of fish and fish waste that could throw your pH and ammonia levels off enough to create a fish kill.
Here are two videos that I find inspirational about the concept of pools. The first is Murray Hallam talking about using a swimming pool as a fish tank to grow fish to harvest and the amount of filtering required to keep those fish healthy:
The second is using the pool in more of a traditional pond sense, where it's not only a fish pool, but actually a working pond.
You'll notice the raised planter beds in the background that are the filter beds for the pond. I'm so excited to see your results - please keep us posted on your project. This can be done! I kind of wish I had a pool to try out this idea, too...
Yes, it takes a lot of plant life to balance the waste production. We have 500 gal total in tanks, and have to drain about 1/3 weekly into our soil based garden to keep it in balance because we don't have enough grow beds to use all the nitrates. It's a good problem, and our soil garden loves it, but we're considering cutting back to 300 gal., and have plans to double our beds in order to find the right balance. Now multiply our tanks by 20 to equal a 10,000gal pool, and that's a lot of plant life!
Garden Pool uses an older diving pool, with the deep end being the pond and the rest of the pool staying dry and set up for the plants. If you have a play pool, you can fill the bottom with water and build walkways across it. You'll need to calculate the right depth for the fish, then go from there. Lots of options!
Thanks for your interest and quick responses. Like many, we are tired of maintaining a pool that gets minimal use. What a waste. We were going to fill it in a couple of years ago, and it was the City of Mesa that directed us to www.GardenPool.org. So we waited and have been learning and building the courage to make the leap. I really like the laid-back guy in the video Liz posted, www.ecofilms.com.au/2011/10/22/growing-fish-on-algae/. One of the first links I found during research as www.kilk.com/pond.
So our original idea was to simply turn our pool into a pond to keep fish, supplement our in-ground garden with irrigation, and have water available if the world went to h***. Like the link from Liz, the guys says - it only makes sense. We will be learning more about the fish density ratio as we go and taking notes to share about everthing else.
Thanks again for the replies. More as we go.