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Backyard pond regulations - City of Edmonton

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I am planning to build a backyard pond. I understand a permit is required if it is over 2 feet deep plus fence, gate and lock requirements. My landscaper told me it is fine to be over 2 feet without a permit as long as the side of the pond is not vertically down over 2 feet. If it is slope down or have a couple "stairs" before hitting the bottom should be good. I called the Edmonton official. The answer I was given was: 

Technically, a  permit is required if the pond is over 2 feet deep. However the inspector will not stick a measuring tape in to check the deepness. It is ok as long as only a portion (in the middle part of the pond) is deeper than 2 feet. There are steps/slope along the side to allow someone to walk/climb back up when falls into it.

Any comment if this is true?

Thanks

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If both the landscaper and Edmonton official gave you the same story then it seems how the rules are applied. We had a pond with three levels, the deepest being 2 foot to avoid the permit hassles. Especially the need for 6 foot fence and locks didn't appeal to me.

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44 minutes ago, biodives said:

If both the landscaper and Edmonton official gave you the same story then it seems how the rules are applied. We had a pond with three levels, the deepest being 2 foot to avoid the permit hassles. Especially the need for 6 foot fence and locks didn't appeal to me.

6 foot fence requirement does not bother me as the fence in my neighborhood are all 6 foot in height.

I am planning to have a depth of approx. 3 foot and hoping to keep fish in it all year round.

By the way, does your pond freezes in winter? Do you move fish inside?

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I have built a few ponds for people over the years and have a few clients keep their dish on the pond over winter. All of my ponds are 2 feet max, so I make sure to keep the water moving all winter so it doesn't freeze. I've done this by two different methods - strong bubbler or water pump in the bottom of the pond... I have seen a couple ponds that just ran as is over winter w/o problems. As long as you keep the water moving, it won't freeze and kill your fish.

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3 hours ago, jvision said:

I have built a few ponds for people over the years and have a few clients keep their dish on the pond over winter. All of my ponds are 2 feet max, so I make sure to keep the water moving all winter so it doesn't freeze. I've done this by two different methods - strong bubbler or water pump in the bottom of the pond... I have seen a couple ponds that just ran as is over winter w/o problems. As long as you keep the water moving, it won't freeze and kill your fish.

Thanks Jason!

How about the filter/skimmer/waterfall? Do they need to be turned off when weather gets cold and just put a bubbler or water pump in the bottom? 

I am wondering if a bubbler will fail when leaving outdoor during winter.

Also, how big a pump is needed? can a power head do the job?

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We moved the fish indoors over winter and just let the entire pond freeze over. We didn't use filter or skimmer and had a zero maintenance pond (except from netting out tree leafs at end of Fall). We used a 'dirted pond' attached to the main pond with abundant tall wetland plant growth. That was out filter. A bit like the way I run my aquariums.

 

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20 minutes ago, biodives said:

We moved the fish indoors over winter and just let the entire pond freeze over. We didn't use filter or skimmer and had a zero maintenance pond (except from netting out tree leafs at end of Fall). We used a 'dirted pond' attached to the main pond with abundant tall wetland plant growth. That was out filter. A bit like the way I run my aquariums.

 

Thanks!

How does the water rune between the 2 ponds? Do you run a pump from the pond to the 'dirted pond' and water overflow back to the pond?

Any pictures to share?

 

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11 hours ago, fishlover said:

Thanks Jason!

How about the filter/skimmer/waterfall? Do they need to be turned off when weather gets cold and just put a bubbler or water pump in the bottom? 

I am wondering if a bubbler will fail when leaving outdoor during winter.

Also, how big a pump is needed? can a power head do the job?

If your waterfall is short, or you have a good amount of water going over it, you might get away with keeping the whole system running - I've seen 2 systems like that.  Usually, I pull the main pump in winter and keep it in the garage.  It was recommended to me when I first learned the trade to keep it in a pail of water to keep the seals from drying and cracking; however, if you use a proper lubricant on the O-rings, you could probably get away with just keeping it dry all winter.

I just cover the bubbler with a Rubbermaid bin for the winter - something to keep the snow off.  If you stop by any of the pond shops around (AquaLine out in Sherwood Park is my favorite) will be able to make sure you have the right size bubbler.

For the pump, some guys just pulled the pump from the skimmer and dropped it in the bottom of the pond after fall clean-up. Others bought a fountain pump and keep their main pump inside for the winter.  It really depends on the size of your pond & pump

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37 minutes ago, jvision said:

If your waterfall is short, or you have a good amount of water going over it, you might get away with keeping the whole system running - I've seen 2 systems like that.  Usually, I pull the main pump in winter and keep it in the garage.  It was recommended to me when I first learned the trade to keep it in a pail of water to keep the seals from drying and cracking; however, if you use a proper lubricant on the O-rings, you could probably get away with just keeping it dry all winter.

I just cover the bubbler with a Rubbermaid bin for the winter - something to keep the snow off.  If you stop by any of the pond shops around (AquaLine out in Sherwood Park is my favorite) will be able to make sure you have the right size bubbler.

For the pump, some guys just pulled the pump from the skimmer and dropped it in the bottom of the pond after fall clean-up. Others bought a fountain pump and keep their main pump inside for the winter.  It really depends on the size of your pond & pump

Thanks again Jason!

Somebody says only keeping the bottom part of the pond from freezing is not good enough. Fish need to breath so at least to keep a small area on the surface from freezing. I am wondering if a bubbler can do the job. I am planning the have a 30" deep pond.

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I've encouraged clients to keep at least a small opening in the ice, but I have at least 1 who doesn't bother and hasn't reported any losses for quite a few years.  If you have emergent plants, don't cut their stalks off until spring - air can travel through their dead, hollow stalks.  Otherwise, if an ice dome does form over the bubbles, a hammer or hot water will open that up easy enough.

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1 hour ago, jvision said:

I've encouraged clients to keep at least a small opening in the ice, but I have at least 1 who doesn't bother and hasn't reported any losses for quite a few years.  If you have emergent plants, don't cut their stalks off until spring - air can travel through their dead, hollow stalks.  Otherwise, if an ice dome does form over the bubbles, a hammer or hot water will open that up easy enough.

Thanks Jason.

How about evaporation issue?

If there is no rain (summer time), do they required adding water every few days? I meant to a medium size pond, like 1500 to 2000 gallon.

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You could see over 5gal per day evaporated. Put in an ATO if possible. I have not noticed any detriment of adding small amounts of untreated tap water directly to a pond.

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On 7/12/2017 at 8:22 AM, fishlover said:

Thanks!

How does the water rune between the 2 ponds? Do you run a pump from the pond to the 'dirted pond' and water overflow back to the pond?

Any pictures to share?

 

Think about the imprint left by a high block-heel shoe in soft sand. The large depression from the foot part is the main pond, the smaller but deep impression from the heel is the 'wetland' pond, and there is a bridge  between the two that is a bit lower than water level. After digging this out and putting the pond liner across both ponds and the bridge we simply backfilled the dirt in the wetland piece sloping it so there was a shallow water area near the bridge and then pilling up to about half a meter above pond level to create a gradient of fully to partially water-saturated soil. We had big irises, tall reed with 'cigars', smaller rushes, mares tail etc growing in the lower parts, with ferns, willows etc higher up. I believe the emergent plants helped draw fish waste nutrients out of the water and it made a good spawning ground for gold fish and hiding place for cloud minnows. We had a submerged pump that fed a waterfall, but that was more for the sound and general enjoyment by us (and the birds) then the fish. We had the pond for some 10 years or so and with the exception of the first 2 months it ran crystal clear with never any maintenance, chemicals, filtration or whatever. The green water in the first 2 months before plants caught on was solved by releasing daphnia.

My favourite fish where rosy minnows where the males form territories under overhanging stones and then lure females in for spawning. As close as you get to cichlids in the pond (unless you put in real cichlids, which I never tried). We had many fry and with all the plants and wetland they had good hiding spots to hangout and survive predation.

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4 hours ago, jvision said:

You could see over 5gal per day evaporated. Put in an ATO if possible. I have not noticed any detriment of adding small amounts of untreated tap water directly to a pond.

That sounds about right. It would take about 2 weeks of dry spell before I felt it necessary to top up and just used plain tap water as well. Probably up to a 10% refill with no signs of discomfort to the fish. Now I know more about our tap water, it kills hydra overnight, I would probably do more regular small top-ups or, use an ATO though I typically prefer low/no-tech solutions. 

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1 hour ago, biodives said:

Think about the imprint left by a high block-heel shoe in soft sand. The large depression from the foot part is the main pond, the smaller but deep impression from the heel is the 'wetland' pond, and there is a bridge  between the two that is a bit lower than water level. After digging this out and putting the pond liner across both ponds and the bridge we simply backfilled the dirt in the wetland piece sloping it so there was a shallow water area near the bridge and then pilling up to about half a meter above pond level to create a gradient of fully to partially water-saturated soil. We had big irises, tall reed with 'cigars', smaller rushes, mares tail etc growing in the lower parts, with ferns, willows etc higher up. I believe the emergent plants helped draw fish waste nutrients out of the water and it made a good spawning ground for gold fish and hiding place for cloud minnows. We had a submerged pump that fed a waterfall, but that was more for the sound and general enjoyment by us (and the birds) then the fish. We had the pond for some 10 years or so and with the exception of the first 2 months it ran crystal clear with never any maintenance, chemicals, filtration or whatever. The green water in the first 2 months before plants caught on was solved by releasing daphnia.

My favourite fish where rosy minnows where the males form territories under overhanging stones and then lure females in for spawning. As close as you get to cichlids in the pond (unless you put in real cichlids, which I never tried). We had many fry and with all the plants and wetland they had good hiding spots to hangout and survive predation.

Thanks for the information!

I am wondering if your fish survive the Alberta hard cold winter and reproducing?

For plants in the pond, do you plant their root underwater or just submerse the pots?

1 hour ago, biodives said:

That sounds about right. It would take about 2 weeks of dry spell before I felt it necessary to top up and just used plain tap water as well. Probably up to a 10% refill with no signs of discomfort to the fish. Now I know more about our tap water, it kills hydra overnight, I would probably do more regular small top-ups or, use an ATO though I typically prefer low/no-tech solutions. 

Sounds like water splashes from your waterfall does not cause much water lost on top of normal evaporation.

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