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My Little Rift Lake

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#1 anchar

  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 28-January 04
  • Location: Bullcreek

Posted 13 September 2006 - 08:41 PM

My Little Rift Lake
by Darren Leagas

I have watched with interest over the last couple of summers how well cichlids do in out door ponds. Some of our members have ponds full of cichlids, the colors they develop and the amount of growth over summer inspired me to put in my own Little Rift Lake.

Size and Construction
First, I dug a hole 5.5 metres long and 2 metres wide at the top, tapering down to 1.4 metres at the bottom with a depth of 80cm. I lined the hole with carpet underlay, then with PVC liner which is 500 microns thick. A rock border holds the overlay in place. Sheets of rigid plastic were laid on the bottom of the pond, before a front end loader bucket full of limestone rocks were used in the construction of a reef. A few terracotta pots were also used. The plants used are Bacopa sp., Ludwegia sp. and Vallisnera sp. A lot of blanket weed (alga) was also added to the

For this approximately 6500 litre pond, I added a CP8000 Clearpond pump with a flow rate of 8300 litres an hour, 32mm flexible hose and two biological series 2 Clearpond filter boxes. These boxes consist of Japanese matting, aquatic foams and plastic pipe pieces. Secondly, a non descript pump delivering around 5000 litres an hour is used. A ninety litre storage box filled with all the offcuts of filter materials I could find, is used as a prefilter for this pump. The water is then diverted via a tee piece with roughly 2500 liters being pumped through a 3 foot 6 inch round pond. This pond is being used as a plant filter. The other 2500 liters being used for circulation/aeration. A pond of this nature cost approx. $280.00 for the liner, $425.00 for the CP8000 and $300.00 each for the filters.

At the end of October when the water averages around 20 degrees Celcius at 8am, I introduced the first lot of fish into my pond. The remaining fish were added over the next few weeks. At the peak of summer, the temperature in the pond will rise up to the early thirties. I have two 3 metre wide market umbrellas on the edge of the pond to throw
some shade onto it. As it's quite hot in the direct sunlight, most days the fish will follow the shade.

I feed roughly 75-80% of what I use indoors due to algae in the pond and the unfortunate bugs that happen by the pond.

The Fish and their Habits
I have 23 different species in my pond: 16 being from Malawi, 3 from Tanganyika, 1 from Victoria, some brazilliensis, Brisltenose catfish and an Australian Archer fish. I have two 150 watt floodlights over the pond so I can observe them at night The fish breed quite readily in there, but it is the size and intense coloring that the fish get that inspires me to put them outdoors. The fish seem more relaxed and less aggressive which I believe to be because of the extra space. It adds a whole new dimension to the hobby for me and I believe it is well the effort.

Best fishes Darren

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