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Thread: An Isaan Pond

  1. #26
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Thanks for great thread Mendip. We have 4 ponds in rice land. Built years ago. Rely on rain to fill. Stock every year with fingerling catfish and snakehead. Let em grow, dain the pond and turn local kids loose to catch and bag. They have great fun and fish are tasty.

    Property on house land we have more a large bathtub rather than a pond to act as home for Timmy the turtle. When water gets low just top up with village water supply.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

  2. #27
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    We have 4 ponds in rice land. Built years ago. Rely on rain to fill. Stock every year with fingerling catfish and snakehead. Let em grow,
    Norts, do you feed them?

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    Norts, do you feed them?
    Yes. Couple times a week.

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    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    ^ We get a few snakeheads in the pond .. highly regarded (eating wise) apparently.

    The catfish will eat almost anything and, because they can breath air, can tolerate quite putrid water conditions that would kill other fish.

    What do you feed them?

  5. #30
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    What do you feed them?
    Wife gets in bulk at Amphur. Big bags full. Unbranded but basically same as this.
    An Isaan Pond-15.-.jpg

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    Thanks for great thread Mendip. We have 4 ponds in rice land. Built years ago. Rely on rain to fill. Stock every year with fingerling catfish and snakehead. Let em grow, dain the pond and turn local kids loose to catch and bag. They have great fun and fish are tasty.

    Property on house land we have more a large bathtub rather than a pond to act as home for Timmy the turtle. When water gets low just top up with village water supply.

    Sounds quite familiar, Norts....


  7. #32
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    Once the pond and pipework was in it was time develop the adjacent land a bit. A sala was planned alongside the pond and a car port by the access gate.

    In answer to one of David's questions, the pond sides were steep and knowing how few Thais can swim we treated the pond the same as our pool and kept it fenced off. This was easily done as the old boundary walls were still in place so it was just a matter of keeping the gates shut... what could be easier...

    Anyway, the footings for the sala and car port went in.





    Then the poles...





    And then the roof structures.





    I was working in Brazil back in 2012 which meant long trips away from home. A lot went missing in translation during this period, the builders went off-plan and there was nothing I could do about it. Of the several Thai building projects I've been involved in, this gang of builders were without doubt the worst (and the bar was low). I don't think there is a single right-angle amongst the two structures. But all said and done it was only a sala and car port so no damage done.

  8. #33
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    Went for blue roof tiles to match the house and things started to take shape.



    Then put a fence around the car port to keep the pond segregated - our daughter was still young at the time - and moved the original access gate to the new position to make the area secure.


  9. #34
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    I put in guttering around the roof of the sala and car port in a vain attempt to increase water catchment for the pond, the water level of which remained worryingly low.





    As anyone familiar with deforestation will know that once you remove vegetation soil erosion is a major problem. Our pond was no exception so further expense was incurred by laying turf around the shoulders of the slope. This worked well, although as time went on it proved to be yet an other wasted exercise.

    Here is our trusty gardener and his helper laying the turf. The helper in the purple shirt was in fact a lady boy, albeit not a very convincing one. He/she may not have had much business in the Korat bars but could dig all day in the sun and was very welcome in the garden!



    My wife befriended 'Long' the lady boy and one night after a hard day in the garden they went out for a drink together. In typical lady boy fashion Long swapped his gardening gear for a nice frock and a few inches of caked on make up. They must have had a skinful because Long stayed the night after passing out on the sofa, lying on his side. During the night, Den, one of our dogs, had jumped up on the sofa and licked all the makeup from the exposed half of the unconscious Long's face. When he came to in the morning his face was one half the dark brown, sun-weathered gardener and the other half, a pale white, make-up caked lady boy. It remains one of the more bizarre sights I've ever seen in Thailand.

    Sadly Long had his problems and the lao khao finally got him a few years ago. He died from liver failure before he made 50, an all too common story in the north east, what with the rice whisky and the liver flukes.

    I digress. A few weeks after Long helped lay the turf everything looked like this.



    The next projects were the chicken run extension in the far corner of the pic and the waterfall. The plan was to build the run and then knock through to the existing chicken enclosure on the other side of the wall in our original garden (you can see the reed roof of the original chicken run above the top of the wall). The waterfall was to be built above the waiting intake pipe.

    I must admit that even back at this stage it was a worry that the water level was still below the waterfall inlet pipe, but I pressed on regardless...
    Last edited by Mendip; 08-10-2019 at 02:34 AM.

  10. #35
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    is the umbrella for the som tam stall ?

  11. #36
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    ^ Well spotted Baldrick, I hadn't noticed that.

    I've learnt not to ask questions, but would think that there may be an electrical connection under that umbrella. There's an upturned bucket on a post nearby so that was probably another one.

    That umbrella is where the waterfall went and we ran electricity out to the waterfall and on to the sala.

  12. #37
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    I started the chicken run extension on my own with some help from the gardener for lifting the heavy stuff. Those concrete posts are surprisingly heavy and I've since given meself a hernia lifting stuff I shouldn't. I would still rather do a lot on my own but can't risk the lifting any more - it's more important to keep fit for my work medicals. I guess I have to accept I'm not getting any younger.

    This was also good practice for my welding. My welds certainly ain't pretty, but they do the job.



    Meanwhile had a gang come in for the waterfall and also for a lot of rebuilding works of the car port. Mk I was a disaster but I have no photos of that - was probably too pissed off to take any.

    No sign of Baldrick's umbrella here but looks like there's some kind of join in the electric wires - so that mystery solved!



    And a stage later.



    I was keen to preserve an existing tree in the chicken run so made some effort during the roof design. The tree died a few months later anyway.


  13. #38
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    And an overview a little later.

    i wouldn't say we had very clear water in the pond.



    While this was going on , unbeknown to me the wife had a sneaky word to the builders and got them to make a tank for her catfish. She buys fingerlings and feeds them up with pellets until around 8 to 10 inches long when they get turned into some foul smelling chilli/fish sauce. I've banned her from making this in the house as it stinks the place out with a dead dog kind of smell. I feel a bit sorry for teh fish and sneak a few into the pond from time to tome, although looking at the pond water back then, they may have preferred to the fish paste option.



    And a couple of pics showing the waterfall progress. The basic design was to have a pump inside to pump water up to a small reservoir on top. I thought this would help aerate the pond water and also initially considered installing some kind of inline filter. Those grand plans changed with time.

    We got a secret load of limestone rocks from some village in Khao Yai. Not sure of that was legal or not, but it all seemed very secretive. Long, our former ladyboy gardener helper / dog tormentee came from Khao Yai and sorted this out. Since that load of rocks a few years ago it has become impossible to get hold of any at a reasonable price. Now, every time I come up the hill from Bangkok I get the taxi driver to stop enroute and I pick up a few rocks from the side of the road. There's a lot of scope for this now with all the road building going on for the new motorway. After a few years of doing this I've built up a nice collection for a rockery.









  14. #39
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    These small projects were soon finished.

    Once the chicken run extension was finished I knocked out a section of wall to link it with the existing one.



    The waterfall was all complete, apart from the pump and grand 'turn on'...



    And the catfish tank was all ready for it's first inmates...



    And a couple of overview pics of how things looked at that stage.




  15. #40
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    At this stage everything was looking pretty good.

    The chickens were chuffed with their extra space, especially when the nipper collected a bucket of snails! (the pond-side new extension is to the left of the gap in the wall)



    The wife was chuffed with her tankfull of catfish, pre chilli/fish paste stage...



    And the fish were safe for the time being, much to my young daughter's frustration...



    I was reasonably happy with things... so pressed on and put in a pathway. I used a dry sand/cement mix to bed in the slabs and around seven years later this method has proved good.



    I also put in a small concrete slab in preparation for a barbecue next to the sala. The plan was to spend a Sunday afternoon fishing, a few beers, and eating fresh barbecued fish. But this was a few years away.



    At the end of the day I couldn't escape the fact that all I'd created was a muddy swamp.

    After heavy rain, even if I say so meself, it looked pretty damn good!



    But a few days later... back down the water level went to not even cover the waterfall inlet. It was pretty hopeless to be honest.



    It was a good place to come if you wanted to see clouds of mosquitoes, but apart from that it had little going for it.

    I was absolutely assured by various locals that the pond would gradually fill with time. Despite common sense and my growing scepticism I still had some faith in local knowledge back then and pressed on for a while...

  16. #41
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    My welds certainly ain't pretty, but they do the job.
    I see you have done the most important part - cleaning all the welds and spraying with cold galvanizing paint

  17. #42
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Really enjoying watching your backyard grow.

    Some questions ...




    Do/did the birds sit on the beams in the carport and shite on your car?

    They do at our place. FiL put some of that cheap shade sail and that stopped it.

    WOW ... 2 lights ... how posh

    Have you set up a sensor so when you drive in or walk to the carport they automatically come on?

    “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”

    .

  18. #43
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Did you make the pH balance in the water as the new cement can release excess lime, leading to a high pH?

    I know that catfish are quite hardy when it comes to water quality, but we've never kept them in concrete tanks.



  19. #44
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    Man ... all those hanging plants ... P I T A

    Having to water them all the time, duck under them as you walk into the Sala

    Did they last the journey or get ditched after a while?

    Those lights must be a mozzie magnet?




    That fountain, once it's operating would do a kick-arse (good) job of aerating the pond and help to de-stratify the water levels.

  20. #45
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    The pond ... a sad face



    Can you please rearrange the lillies to show T D (Teak Door) please ?

    ---

    Be inspired by what some of the Japs do with their rice paddies ...


  21. #46
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    David, I haven't mastered the multi-quote function, but...

    Yes, pigeons used to roost every night in the car port, covering the gardener's van with shite. I put sections of vertical chicken wire along the beams and that stopped the problem. They moved and roosted along the decorative pelmets (?) above the house windows and started covering the side of our house with shite.

    And yes, we are posh, but not enough to have light sensors.

    No pH check for the catfish, I hadn't even thought about that and it would be easy since I have the kit for testing the pool water. The catfish seem to do very well, the main problem being overfeeding by my daughter. I've since added an aerating block, similar to those used for indoor aquariums.

    Hanging plants... we have a gardener/handyman/peace of mind for me when I'm away at work.

    PITA?

    The hanging plants were raised above head height in the centre of each face of the sala, and they are no longer orchids... to expensive and needy. Later pics of the sala will come, it has become a nice area to sit, particularly now we have fibre and the wifi extends down to the bottom of the garden

    The main problem with the lights was on evening when those mad hatches of fly happen and they get absolutely everywhere, those nights when a multitude of frogs and toads miraculously appear to gorge themselves. Otherwise, mosquitoes haven't been a particular problem. The pond now (very different from how it looks above) has lots of fish and they seem to take care of any mosquito larvae.

    The 'fountain', or waterfall as I like to call it, has been quite a success, even if I say so myself. To follow...

    And finally, yes, an unhappy pond face was rather apt. The fish ate the water lily roots and they all died. One of our many lessons. To be honest I didn't persevere with water lilies as they tend to cover a pond and block out the light. We have other more fish resistant plants now!

  22. #47
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    ^ Thanks Mate ... looking forward to the next series of installments.

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    ^ Thanks Mate ... looking forward to the next series of installments.

    Ain't life in the real world stimulating, David?
    Or the appearances, thereof...


  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by baldrick View Post
    I see you have done the most important part - cleaning all the welds and spraying with cold galvanizing paint
    Well thanks Baldrick, compliments for my welding are few and far between!

  25. #50
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    Due to the water level, or more to the point, lack of water level, I lost a bit of interest in the ongoing peripheral projects and progress came to a temporary halt.

    However, even when low there was always at least a couple of feet of water in the pond, helped by a water source I installed that came directly from the local water tower. This bypassed the pump and filter arrangement our house water supply passes through, so a hose could be left running into the pond almost continuously without disrupting the house supply. Even with this decadent water use our bill rarely exceeded 1000 Baht in a month. Water is cheap in Thailand - at least where we live. Turn your back and someone will always take advantage though...



    I only included that pic as when we visit the UK I am constantly amazed at how wrapped in cotton wool the kids are these days. My little daughter is growing up in Thailand much as I did in the UK during the 70s, forty-five odd years ago. She's surrounded by animals, and while outside playing she can get as dirty as she likes. I don't encourage drinking water from from the hose, directly from the underground supply, but the occasional gulp doesn't seem to have done her any harm and I'm sure her immune system has benefited hugely.

    I can't remember now but I think I put a bag of pla nin (brown tilapia) fry in the pond. Probably more to control the mosquito larvae than any other reason. It was clear that at least for the time being, I hadn't created the fish pond I was hoping for.

    The pond was also getting naturally inhabited by some local wild life.

    I should be used to it by now but am constantly amazed by crabs living away from the sea - it just doesn't seem right. Unless he was fast I would imagine this guy ended up in the wife's som tam.



    And a pair of tree frogs also seemed to approve of my efforts...


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