I’m a Ponder!

I’m a Ponder!

I’m rough an’ tough and smarter than any fish! Why do I need to pay some club a buncha money to do this hobby? I’m just fine on my own, right?

Well, probably wrong, and for a large number of very good reasons. Beginning ponders almost always approach the hobby with a significant knowledge deficit, having either been told by the contractor that their spiffy new ponds were “maintenance-free”, or having started off with a self-dug pond with limited or absent filtration. Poor water quality and overstocking are the twin curses of inexperience, and are the most common reasons that many beginners never get past their second season as a water gardener.

Ponding  is one of those avocations that, like model railroading, is a lot more complex than it looks on the surface. Water quality, filtration, circulation, water testing, planting, stocking, fish health, management of predation, injury, and disease and multiple other interrelated issues all contribute to making ponding one of the most absorbing and challenging hobbies around. It also provides the opportunity for endless disaster for the unwary.

The most effective way to avoid the common (and uncommon) pitfalls inherent in ponding is to find a bunch of experienced hobbyists and learn from them. The most common attribute of any avid ponder is his or her willingness to discuss (at length) every mistake, disaster and goof they’ve ever committed, and then share their rescues, miracles and solutions. Avid ponders are terminal fidgets, always experimenting and changing their ponds, their filters and their fish. The more of these people that a beginner can interact with, the fewer mistakes he’ll make with his own pond.

Hobbyists of any persuasion instinctively band together, and ponders are no exception. Koi and water gardening clubs abound just about anywhere the combination of fish, water and plants are possible. At any given club meeting, a beginning ponder can find upwards of a thousand man-years (or more!) of hard-won ponding experience. Presentation of a problem will result in not just a solution, but very likely many possible solutions, all of which have worked in one situation or another.

Koi societies, water gardening associations, goldfish clubs are vast repositories of knowledge and experience, and are powerful teaching organizations. If you are fascinated by this hobby in any of its many facets, you need to join a club. It’ll keep you from making serious mistakes, regardless of your level of experience, and help bail you out when you stumble over the inevitable barriers produced by Ma Nature and Murphy (the Imp of the Perverse).

Bob Passovoy