Twins Solen and Sagan show the fish tank where they helped plant the mangrove seedlings for the aquatic ecosystem.

by Sheryl Davis

Planning for a vibrant aquatic ecosystem starts with a good pond design that maximizes water catchment potential and manages water retention with dams and spillways. This is a pond that Symbiosis Regenerative Systems was hired to design and install near Brenham, TX.

First, a large dozer (operated by contractor, Pete VanDyck) was used to remove the soil in a bowl shape, to a depth of about 11 feet. Topsoil was set aside to be used as a topcoat for the dam wall (left) to facilitate grass growth that will help secure the dam and prevent erosion. The compactor (shown here and operated by me) was used to compress the layers of subsoil that comprise the dam wall to prevent blowouts and leakage. A stone spillway will be installed at the low point in front of the dam to maintain consistent water levels in case of heavy rain events.

Look closely in the center of the pond and you can see our bubbling aeration system (designed and installed by Brently Donnell). Aeration is imperative for a thriving pond life. Oxygen = life. The more oxygen you have in your water layers, the more life your pond can sustain. Without an aeration system churning the water, the chemical compounds in the bio layer created by fish poo and rotting biomass on the pond floor toxify.

We were so excited when the day finally came to stock the ponds. Everyone helped! We put in the order with Kenneth Henneke Fish Hatcheries in East Texas to stock both ponds with a 1/2 acre pond package of blue gill bass, red ear sunfish, crappie, hybrid catfish, and minnows to supplement the food chain.

Twins Sagan and Solen helped start a floating mangrove nursery in our fish tank. One day, we will plant these amazing trees near the ponds so their buttressing roots will create ideal habitat for fish reproduction and protection from predatory waterfowl. (Remind us to drop a few pins in Daniel’s tree map!)

We’ll be posting more step-by-step photos of the aquatic ecosystem construction on, including a view of the baby mangroves floating in their aquarium-safe styrofoam floaties and one of our male dwarf gouramis exploring the baby mangrove roots.

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It’s All About the Water!

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