Carnivorous Pitcher Plant

Carnivorous Pitcher Plant
one of the first plants in our swim pond

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Snorkeling in the pond

Today has been very satisfying as the water level in the pool rises. It is now well over the filter and the pump is running. In fact it is almost up to the large step, within a few centimeters. The tank water has run out and we are now topping up with tap water. To our surprise the water, which is crystal clear in a glass, has a brown almost greenish colour to it in the pool. We think this must be tannin staining from the vegetable matter in the first tank-probably also the source of the phosphates. That is not a problem for us since we are used to dam water which is tannin stained. There is a good chance this will fade with sunlight anyway. But it might make it difficult to see an algal bloom in it's early stages. The green colour might be reflection off the tree. So today I was swimming, and even snorkeling, getting my submerged plants settled in. Happy as the proverbial pig...... If this was an aquarium I would expect a period of water deterioration before the biofilm and biofilter kick in. Perhaps a full on algal bloom. With our phosphate I wonder if this is what will happen? Today there were three different dragon fly species hovering around the pool. There are also water boatmen (bugs) in the pool already. It is amazing how quickly the fauna are returning. More pictures when the pool is full.

Filling the pool at last!

Well today was fill day. First we had to arrange the rocks in an aesthetically pleasing way, plant the steps area and install planters and jugs for plants around the pool edge. Then we had to await the lab test results for the water quality. Our tank water turns out to have 0.056 mg/l of Phosphates. That sounds minuscule to me but Ralf says it is more than is desirable. We can use it but it might require some managing to keep the algae levels down. We may well have more algae (biofilm) around the walls and floor of the pool initially until the filters get the phosphates down. However I am not dismayed at this. The increased biofilm will also allow insects to establish more quickly, (and thus their predators), tadpoles, snails and other algae eaters to establish etc. Even the newly planted plants will benefit from the phosphates, so that can't be all bad! As the pond develops more life it will develop an ecosystem of it's own and every thing will find a balance. So after a Skype conference with Ralf we decided to go ahead and our tanks are draining into the pool as I write. We have enough water to more than half fill the pool and unless it rains tonight we will have to top up with town water. And within 2 hours of starting the fill there was a tiny baby water dragon sitting on one of our decorative rocks, watching the rising water. So the fauna has started to move in already! I'm happy!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Pool conversion construction

The construction of the conversion is being completed by Andrew of Pool Planners, Brisbane. Ralf flew up from Sydney to supervise the filter intallation and Andrew, who is an experienced pool builder, is completing the refurbishment and completing the conversion.

The filters are the long tubes and near them are bags of gravel which will be laid to form the retaining wall for the filter system.
Here the construction of the filter system has begun, with the first of the bag layers holding a gravel bed. All 6 units of the filter are laid on top in sequence and then further gravel is added.

This shot shows the landscaping of the step area where we will have lots of plants, and in the deep end you can see the filter system, with its bag wall and stone edging. The pool has also been painted.

Tomorrow is filling day hopefully, but first we have to complete the placement of soil and rocks and install some large pots over the filter area for our lotus and bull rushes, and other deep water plants. We are also awaiting the lab test results for our water tanks. We do want to use tank water to fill the pool if possible! It goes with our green ethos. Hopefully we'll have those results in the morning or the fill will be delayed!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Animal list

The filling of the pool has been delayed by rain! The painting hasn't been completed, and we must wait a week for the curing of the paint before filling the pool. So I decided to document the animals we had in our pool before the current refurbishment. We have seen:- Eastern water dragons (Physignathus leuseurii),  Keelback snakes (the one that bit me and two more) giant water beetles,  water striders,  whirligig beetles,  dragon flies and nymphs,  frogs - giant tree frog (litoria caerulea)  rocket frog (litoria leseurii),  desert tree frog (litoria rubella) 2 unidentified frogs. Numerous tadpoles A visiting egret, A visiting wild duck (unidentified) 5 goldfish grew to giant size without feeding by us. Birds bathing in the water - finches, honey eaters. The cat and the dog drinking the water! (toads -maybe I shouldn't mention that!) We are installing a netting barrier around the pool to try to avoid toads but allow admission to all of the other creatures in the let above. I wonder how long the new pool will take to re-establish it's fauna after filling?

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Back on track

Well the do-it-yourself proccess didn't work for us! The water went green. The main problem for us was finding a way to get so many plants into the pool, with the water depth too high for most plants. The floating plants were not successful. However we did have a lot of life in the pool and we are more determined than ever to make this work.

So - plan B
We have contracted Ralf Schmeil from Gartenart in Sydney to install a biofilter. Ralf is very experienced in this sort of work and we feel confident with him. The process has started with the repair of the pool lining, installation of the filter bed, painting the pool a lovely pond brown, and installing hanging baskets and other planting areas around the pool.

The filling of the pool is scheduled for 1week's time. I have jumped the gun though and ordered a lotus! I can't wait!