I have some pond questions for anyone with any experience
I'm house-sitting for my parents in Los Angeles this month, and we've had an oooold fish pond in our front yard as long as we've been here - It's stone set into the ground - I'm guessing well over 60 years old. There have been fish in it sporadically (and even populations of frogs back in the 80's when the climate wasn't so dry) - though it has never been consciously maintained by anyone - right now empty except for an overgrown water-lily population and at least a foot of crud (10+ years of fallen leaves etc...) at the bottom...
It's 6 feet in diameter, I'm guessing 1.5 feet deep - so about 320 gallons (does that sound right?)
Anyway I was passing it today and was surprised to see a goldfish in it! My mother added a few feeders about a year ago to keep the mosquito larva in check - I didn't think they'd last - there just so much crud in there - but I guess the pond still supports life.
So now I'm thinking it might be fun (well, disgusting, but fun in the long run) to clean all that gunk out of the pond and restore it to it's former glory and add a few more fish.
The only thing is, once I'm gone nobody is going to maintain it, it will be a strictly "nature takes it's course" sort of thing. The pond is a standing body - no current, and I'm pretty sure my parents aren't going to want to run a power line out there to install a filter. So we're talking about 320 gallons of unfiltered standing water with a ton of water lilies, algae etc...(when I brought in some water to test, it was teaming with little organisms)
Has anyone tried to keep fish happy and healthy in such an environment? I know we've had some fish live for years in this pond in much worse conditions than I would be restoring it to - still I'll bet stocking it would be a sensitive issue as it's such a static ecosystem? (nitrate levels are only slightly above 0ppm at present)
Any thoughts are appreciated.