Monday, May 19, 2008

We all need structure in our lives - So do ponds

I mentioned in an earlier post that we had added some wooden pallets (built into an A-Frame configuration) to provide a bit of extra structure in the pond. One thing about man-made ponds is they usually lack sufficient structure unless it is introduced artificially. Natural ponds and lakes generally have natural structure in the form of fallen trees, natural plant growth, and uneven bottoms with rocks, ledges, and holes which evolved naturally. A smaller man-made pond frequently has a relatively smooth bottom, especially near the dam area where the earth was moved and shaped to form the pond. Most trees are normally removed except perhaps in the upper or shallow end of the pond. This pond has a relatively smooth bottom throughout except for a few rocks, some of which were pushed into piles.

Structure is important to fish in many ways. It provides safety, shade, cover for predators, etc. Animal and plant life tend to congregate around structure in the water. Perhaps more importantly some fish require particular structure to successfully reproduce. The introduction of artificial structure is common, especially in marine environments. In 2006 a decommisioned aircraft carrier was intentionally sunk in the Gulf of Mexico to provide an artificial reef where both plants and animals could flourish. I understand Florida has over 2,000 artificial reefs with 450+ being old ships.

We plan to introduce additional structure to the pond in a variety of forms. Since we don't have our own aircraft carrier we have to improvise. We built these structure forms from some old plastic pipe which was free. The only cost was the nuts and bolts which hold them together and the time it took to build them plus a little concrete to weigh down the bottom pipes to keep them in place. We plan to introduce some additional similar but smaller structures primarily for catfish habitat.

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Thanks for stopping by to visit our little pond. We would love to see you again real soon.