We offer free advice and on average receive about 50 emails a day. It has been 9 years since we started and what follows is some of those emails that are to say the least… different. They speak for themselves; I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Actual serious emails and customers looking for advice:
Note: It is not my job to judge people, but sometimes it is real hard not to advise people that they should consider getting into a different hobby…
If my Butterfly Koi leaves the pond will it be able to find it’s way back?
My dog keeps eating my Koi and Goldfish, is there a pond fish that does not taste so good?
Can my fish tell what sex they are?
Is it best to use wet or dry water? Note: I actually did know that this lady meant soft or hard water.
The hole story:
My son brought home a large green fish from camp and put it into the pond. It seems like every other day one of my other fish is missing, do you think this new fish is scaring them away?
There is a large bird with long legs hanging around my pond, should I be worried?
I connect a hose from one side of the pump to the other and nothing is happening, what did I do wrong?
Bottom drain story:
A man thought it was a good idea to put a drain in the bottom of his 12000-gallon pond to help clean out the sludge and debris. He lived on a hill overlooking a golf course. He installed the drain and ran an 11/2 inch hose down the hill some 50-feet or so and put a ball cock valve on the hose. The problem was where he put the value. It was at the end of the hose. One day some bored golfers waiting to tee off spotted the valve and opened it wondering what it was.
I just cannot seem to keep fish alive. I have done everything right and have crystal clear water. I check the pH everyday and net out the leaves and other debris constantly. I hope you can help me as I do not understand why my fish die if I do all the same things including adding the right amount of chemicals that I use in my swimming pool.
I made a pond out of cement and now cannot move it, any suggestions?
My birthday is Dec. 22nd. My mother gave me a pond for my birthday and my father gave me one for Christmas, which one should I keep?
I added a second pump to my system by connecting it in series to the original pump. This does not seem to give me as much volume as I expected. Do you have a formula or calculation as to how much GPH I should get at 4 feet head height?
The best filter story:
Q. I have a green water problem, what can I do?
A. Please read the attached essay “FM The Cure for Green Water”
Q. I read your essay, but do not understand how that relates to my problem.
A. What type of filter are you using?
Q. The best it works really good.
A. Then why do you have a green water problem?
Q. That is what I am asking you.
A. If you have a good filter design and are using beneficial bacteria then you should not have a green water problem.
Q. But I do have the problem and I have the best filter.
A. I am sorry; I guess I am not being clear. If your filter is of the proper design and you are using a good beneficial bacteria to enhance the biological effect the water should clear. How long have you had the pond running?
Q. 5 years.
A. Is this the first year you have had the green water problem?
Q. No I have never had clear water.
A. You should consider changing the filter to a different design. See ours.
Q. I already told you I have the best filter.
A. Okay lets recap and maybe I did not get enough information to help you. What type of filter do you have?
Q. The best.
A. Who’s on first? (I did not actually write this last answer, but wanted to)
First of all, I simply do not want to spend any money what so ever on this pond. I do not want a filter or anything else like that. Don’t you have some magic stuff that I can put into my pond and keep it clear?
A. Sorry, I do not, but I heard that there is some magic dust available out there. I think it is called Santa Claus Pond Clear. Check with your local pond store. (Again it was temping, but I did not answer like that)
Q. I have 37 Koi and 123 Goldfish in my pond do you think this is too many?
A. That depends on several factors…the biggest being how large is your pond?
Q. It goes from my deck to the fence and is about ½ that much wide.
I just bought a 50-gallon pond from Home Depot; I was wondering if you know how much water it holds?
There is a label on the pump I bought that says 500-GPH; does this have anything to do with the water?
I want to put the electrical outlet for the pump about 2 feet under the water to help hide it. What are your recommendations? (This one was as close as I have ever gotten to recommend that the person should consider a brain transplant)
I am not sure this one was for real or just one of my so-called buddies messing with me, but in any case here goes:
My new girlfriend and I built a pond and really enjoy it. It is built out of an old hot tub that we sunk into the ground. We used your filter design, but were concerned about the beneficial bacteria as we often skinny-dip together having fun and relaxing as the fish nibble on our _____ hair. Are your bacteria safe being used this way? (Note: I simply answered…sure.)
Another strange one…
If my wife falls in the pond naked will the enzymes eat her?
I got a rash on my private parts from skinning dipping in the natural pond, what do you think was the cause?
For the longest time I wanted a pond, what do you think?
I just sold my house and there was a picture of the pond in the listing. The realtor says it goes with the house, but I want a pond at my new house. Should I take it or not?
Q. I build a pond, which by my calculations holds 3280 gallons, using the length x the width x the mean depth x 7.5. I used Pond Guard Liner utilizing a Uni-lock Paving stone border. I ordered the Aquascape filter/waterfall combination and powered it with a Pond-Master 4000 GPH pump, which uses 250 watts. The waterfall is three steps and cascades down about 42 inches from the top. I teed off 1 ¼ clear hose inlet line with a barded adapter to a Becket 3 tiered fountain and diverter valve. The pump sets in a skimmer box that is also from Becket. Not this season, but next I plan on installing a UV light and maybe even a trickle tower. To control the algae growth I bought a bottle of Aqua-shade, blue, which I use on a regular basis between cleanings. I do not like to use additives like you recommend so I only treat my eco-system with… a DeChlorinator after each monthly water change, Kent Marine Clean out, Pond Clear and every once in awhile I will add some Greenex, but not much. Over the pond I put a Pond-Master ½ inch mesh net built by utilizing a criss-cross pattern of ¾ inch PVC pipes about 2 feet 3 inches apart and secured into the ground with tent stakes. Including the decorative rock, aquatic plants and materials I figure I have close to $4853.77 already invested. A 15 amp GFI powers the whole system. Oh, I almost forgot I also have a Henri spiting frog connected to a small 80 GPH Little Giant pump and one underwater 12 volt light with 3 colored lens, but do not remember the manufacturer. Thank you in advance for your time and please answer my question ASAP.
There was just no way around it I answered… What is the question?
PS I did not get a reply.
I have dug the hole, how long does it normally take to fill with water?
I want to order some Koi from you, but concerned about shipping and such. If they are sent 3-day ground via UPS to save money do you wrap them in wet newspaper or something like that?
How do I know if my fish is dead?
I bought some food from my local pet store. The directions say I should feed the fish twice a day. This is fine in the evening, but I am always in a hurry in the morning and often late for work?
It was actually written just like that in the form of a question.
I read somewhere that you should not feed the fish if the water temp. is lower than 45 degrees. This is a problem for me as my pond is frozen over. Any help you can give me will be appreciated.
I would like to start a side business raising Koi. I have 2 large 50 gallons aquariums with proper filtration that was used for Guppies, but that did not work out. Do you have a book on this subject? Also what would your price be for a pair of Japanese show quality Koi? I like the red, white and black ones the best.
The pet store sold me 6 Bull Frog tadpoles over a month ago and they still have not turned into toads. Do you think I should take them back?
I am getting tired of buying turtles. Since the 1st. of June I have bought 7 of them and not one stayed in the pond. What should I do?
I have Cardinals, Blue jays, Blackbirds, Sparrows, Little yellow/black birds, Doves and some Pigeons that come to my bird feeder each day. The feeder sets on the edge of the pond and the birds seem to really like it there. My question is this; I went to Pet Supply Plus and asked them for some floating birdseed and the salesperson looked at me like I was crazy. The pond is a real mess as the seed sinks to the bottom. Do you sell floating birdseed and how much is it in bulk? I would like to buy 50 pounds at a time.
I built my pond using your directions off the Skippy’s Website. The pond came out to be 12 feet by 20 feet and is 3 feet deep. We decorated it with North Carolina slate as you recommend and lined the bottom with 2 yards of screened black topsoil to hold the lilies and other plants. I bought 6 large Koi (10 inch) and a dozen or so smaller (6 inch) fantail Goldfish. The pond is always murky and muddy. The lilies keep floating to the surface. My wife told me if I do not solve this problem the pond has to be filled in, please help.
I had to re-read my own advice to see if I had slipped up and stated somewhere that it was a good idea to put dirt in the pond as this guy had insinuated I had done so. Thank God it was not there. You can guess what my reply was.
This next one needs some explanation. When we did not know better we use to sell Beckett and Little Giant pumps. This was during our naive first year in business, after that we found Pond-Master and have sold that brand ever since. As all small operations we want to please the customer and try real hard to satisfy them. This email came in during our 5th year.
Q. I am very UPSET with the pump I bought! Is there anything you can do to replace it?
A. Sorry you are having problems. Please explain what is wrong and include the model number.
Q. It stopped working PERIOD! It needs to be replaced.
A. What type of pump do you have?
Q. The big one, it is JUNK!
A. Sorry we sell many large pumps. Can you please get the model number off the pump and email it to us?
Q. I still have the box. It is a Beckett 3900! Can you HELP me or not!
A. Yes we want to help you anyway we can, however we have not sold Beckett pumps for over 4 years. How long ago did you buy it?
Q. I still have the credit card receipt. It was in June just 2 years ago at Home Depot.
It took all my fortitude to hold my tongue until my partner Mary pointed out that the person sending this email had not actually stated that the pump was purchased from us.
This next one is similar in the respect that it shows a mindset that is best described as strange…
Q. I own a 2400 GPH Pond-Master pump and have found it to be inadequate for my needs. I would like to trade it in on a larger one.
A. How long ago did you buy the pump?
Q. I do not see why that matters, but I got it as a birthday gift from my son 3 years ago. I think he got it from AAA Pets in town. You sell Pond-Master don’t you?
Other strange and wonderful emails…
When I come home every night from work my fish come running to me. Is this strange behavior?
I bought a plastic pond and pump kit. There does not seem to be anyway to connect the pump to the faucet. Do you sell this fitting?
Similar and just as unbelievable…
Do you think the water board will be able to tell me how much it will cost to fill a pond each day?
There is no way someone could make these things up…
If my house catches fire will it affect the pond? I want to insure against this happening. Are there any other liability concerns?
I just do not understand how the water gets from the pond to the waterfall and back again. Can you be clearer on this subject?
So big fish eat little fish? So you do not state, which fish to buy. So do I buy little fish or do I buy big fish? So what do you consider a big fish? So what do you consider a small fish?
My local City government has a law that says we cannot have carnivorous fish. Do you have non-carnival fish for sale?
Everyone tells me it is a good idea to test my pond water. Does the City come out and do this for me or do I have to take my water there?
My pond just does not look like 2000 gallons, is there any experts in the Dallas area that can test it for me? I do not trust the guy that built it.
There is a variation of this one somewhere else…
I saw on TV where you dig a hole, put in some liner thing, cement over it and then paint it. This sounds really foolish to me. What if you want to move the pond at some later date?
On the side of my fountain pipe there is a control thing. Whenever I turn this, the fountain spray shoots up really high and splashes all over everything on the patio. What do I do to prevent this?
I have two large Koi, when am I expecting a baby?
Yes there are those among us that are somewhat impatient…
Q. I did everything you said including the bacteria and enzymes. My water just will not clear up.
A. How long ago did you treat the pond?
Q. Way last night.
I have a river running along the side of my property. I want to build a stream from the river to the pond and back again. My only concern is will this dry up the river? The river is only about 200 yards across.
My neighbor does not want a pond, what should I do?
I have had a pond for several years and it has always been green. Will this continue?
I keep hearing about balance, but nobody is willing to explain it to me. Does it have to do with how much my pump, pumps as it is pumping?
I would like to buy pond stuff; I found your site by searching for pond stuff. Do you actually sell pond stuff or do you know someone who does sell pond stuff locally?
This emailer did not state where they lived.
George wants to build a pond?
Don’t ask me I was as confused as you are.
I got a small bale of barley straw and as per the directions I put it into my pond. It is turning moldy and looks real bad. I am afraid it is fermenting and will get my fish drunk.
If you have not heard about the barley straw myth, farmers use it to help maintain livestock ponds. What actually happens is it is just a place for the bacteria to live and grow, much like a biological filter, but much less effective. There is no magic in it.
Which plants do you think will grow best in my pond? Real ones or artificial?
How do even start to explain this…
I bought a water hyacinth and planed it 6 inches under the water in what was suppose to be aquatic soil. It died and I do not want to waste any more money. Is there really a difference between aquatic soil and just plain old dirt? Did I get ripped off?
More scary water hyacinth stories…
For oblivious reasons I do not want to divulge my location, but I found out that water hyacinths are illegal to import into my state. I have several other illegal plants growing in my yard. It is secluded and off the main road, however I do not want to attract any more attention than necessary. Do you know of anyone who sells water hyacinth in Georgia?
I live in northern Michigan and have never been able to keep a water hyacinth alive through the winter. At 2.99 each this is a lot of wasted money each year, what is the secret?
I buy just 6 water hyacinth each year and by the fall my pond is covered with them. There has to be a way to slow the growth down, so I can see my fish.
I wish I were a better business man for I could be riding around in a limo instead of a old beater pickup…
I am going to beat this green water problem if it takes my last dime. I bought a bio-filter and largest UV system available. Spent over $2500.00 just last weekend alone. I have a shelf full of all the chemicals on the market. My pond has 4 pumps running 24/7 and 2 aerators. I saw in a chat room information on a bubble bead system and also a sand filter arrangement was talked about. These sound interesting to me. Do you sell them? Or send me anything else you sell. My Visa # is…
I have not been this tempted since the prom queen said yes.
As a side note we once got a blank signed check in the mail with a note that simply said “Ship ASAP what you think I need.”