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Thread: Whats that skinny guy been doing? Fixing a pond.

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    Skinny's Avatar
    Skinny is offline General More Posts Than Postman Pat
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    Whats that skinny guy been doing? Fixing a pond.

    The former house of my parents where I now live, has a large pond. Or should I say, mud pool. Here is a pic of a few weeks ago:



    There where even some fish in there, or so it was rumoured:



    Hard to say for sure.

    So I took it upon myself to improve the pond and build a proper biological filter. Buying those things for such a big pond is out of the question, they cost a fortune, and I have no idea why. The principle is simple enough, so I set out to buy some 220 liter rain water barrels and some plumbing and a few days later I was ready to test with just 3 barrels (plan on going to 6 eventually)



    I kept the first empty as vortex filter (allow heavy particles to sink in to a vortex). I made cones at the bottom from fibreglass and epoxy to allow water to slow and dirt to slide down, just like the professional vortex filters but for a few dozen euro rather than 500.




    filled the second barrel with leftover PVC piping cut in to rings, and the third I was waiting for proper filter media. Found a nice spot to put it in, you cant see it from the garden at all:



    So I was testing for a few days, it wasnt leaking or anything, not clogging either. So far so good. Then I turned on a large fountain to help aerate the pond. Next morning I wake up, and find the mud pool... empty. Well almost:



    The fountain head clogged, and the pressure of the very powerful pump tore the hose apart and spilled all the water out the pond over night. Leaving only the dirt and sludge accumulated over 30 years, and some fish (gold fish, some Koi and some others), several of them motionless on dry concrete. They might have been there for hours and I presumed they where dead, and ones in the oxygen deprived toxic sludge would surely die later. Miraculously, putting them back in the water, they started swimming! they all lived. All of them as it turned out, not a single fish was lost.

    Anyway, I set about on a rescue mission at 7:30 am, still in my pyama's and not even had coffee. What a morning. Initially put all the fish in the filter barrels I had just made, but by noon I had set up an emergency pond on the right side of the big pond. Used an old door and some plastic thats meant for covering the floor while painting. Added a mix of the mucky water they where used to and tap water, an air pump, some plants and hoped for the best:



    The "air pump" is actually a compressor for an airbrush set. I glued an aquarium air stone to it and it worked- rather miraculously.

    Then i figured I might as well use the occasion to properly clean the pond. 3 days of hard, stinking unpleasant work. Luckily I got some help from friends and family. Help as in, bringing beers and telling me I was making great progress lol. Only on the third day I realized I could just have called a sewer truck to empty it in 10 minutes. Instead I wasted 3 days of my vacation. Oh well.

    Anyway. A week and a half later now, and Ive put all the fish back. I only filled the pond partially to allow the water to mature, and because Im going to build a proper skimmer and need to do some building, but so far its looking as if its paying off:






    Thats without skimmer (surface is laden with pollen), and with the UVC still turned off. Meanwhile the filter media arrived and were put in the third barrel, and a large air pump will arrive this week to aerate the biofilters and pond itself.

    Still got lots to do, but I always said by the summer, I will have a clean and nice pond, and maybe Ill actually achieve it too
    Last edited by Skinny; 26-04-2011 at 23:37.

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    Wow - you must be exhausted!
    The pond looks great in the last photo - what a difference

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    awesome. Don't forget to post the pics of second round

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    It will be a while before that second round happens. I want to build a surface skimmer in right side "lob" of the pond and fix some of the stone/concrete plant 'baskets' which as you can see on the last pic, havent survived the past decades, so I have to make some walls there with stone and cement (and Ive never worked with cement in my life), but ive been doing some reading and it seems fish dont like cement. It kills them for some reason.

    So many things kill Koi, its almost amazing you can keep them alive at all. Tap water kills them, well water can kill them, their own sh*t kills them (ammonia), stress kills them. Lets not mention herons. Anyway, so I have to apply a coating over it, which takes a month to dry out fully. Thats after 3 weeks for the cement to dry.

    Also, on hindsight I thoroughly regret not having taken the opportunity to paint the concrete black. I was in a rush to get the fish back in there, as they would only survive so long in my emergency pond, but Im still wondering if I should pump out some more again and paint the parts I can. Of course Id need paint that works on rough concrete and doesnt kill koi, and all pond stuff is so ridiculously expensive!

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    Kang is offline Warrant Officer More Posts Than Postman Pat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skinny View Post
    So many things kill Koi, its almost amazing you can keep them alive at all. Tap water kills them, well water can kill them, their own sh*t kills them (ammonia), stress kills them. Lets not mention herons. Anyway, so I have to apply a coating over it, which takes a month to dry out fully. Thats after 3 weeks for the cement to dry.
    Yea, well, on the other hand they all survived that little emergency you were having, so maybe people are just overly fuzzy about them again. My brother has snakes, according to him those critters are best kept in a satellite tech clean room, since they don't survive literally anything, but when I asked him how any of those would stand more than an hour in nature then he just got angry and never gave me an answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kang View Post
    Yea, well, on the other hand they all survived that little emergency you were having, so maybe people are just overly fuzzy about them again. My brother has snakes, according to him those critters are best kept in a satellite tech clean room, since they don't survive literally anything, but when I asked him how any of those would stand more than an hour in nature then he just got angry and never gave me an answer.
    LOL, yeah, I got the same thinking generally. THen again we did have a massive Koi death a few years ago, caused by some benign parasite. We waited too long to get some professional help when the first Koi died. It was one given to us about 6 months before, a huge fish, and an old one, so we thought it was something that just happens. Next day there was another dead, the day after 3 dead. Only then did we seek professional advice. Too late for ~15 Koi. Some of them 20 years old

    Thing is, Koi do survive and thrive in the wild, but not in crystal clear water, not in concentrations as high as in our typical ponds, and not with concrete or plastic bottoms that are just 1m deep. They live in far larger natural ponds and rivers with clay or earth bottoms, many more and diverse plants and usually "dirty" water. Its a bit like keeping a dophin, it will do fine in the ocean without our help, but keeping one in a salt water pool is something else entirely. I assume its like that with snakes too, but I know nothing about them.

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    Great stuff Skinny, its all the more worth while if you have had to work hard for it!

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    Well done Skinny!

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    Aleksa is offline Warrant Officer More Posts Than Postman Pat
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    Now, you have to make a wooden bridge across the pond.
    Activated carbon is excellent for water filtration systems. Also i made ozon generator in my aquarium days. Great for fight with microorganisms.
    Looking forward to see how's project going in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aleksa View Post
    Now, you have to make a wooden bridge across the pond.
    A proverbial bridge to nowhere ?

    Activated carbon is excellent for water filtration systems. Also i made ozon generator in my aquarium days. Great for fight with microorganisms.
    Looking forward to see how's project going in the future.
    Activated carbon is excellent to use temporarily if you have some chemical pollution, or perhaps when you dont have enough room for other filtermedia (as often is the case with an aquarium), but its not something I want in my biofilters the year round. Like zeolite, salt, and all the other "cures", its stuff I keep at hand for when its needed.

    As for ozon; I recently read a bit about it. For ponds that size, its really not affordable, but even if that wherent the issue I got mixed feelings about it. Im sure its great to keep water crystal clear, but this is a pond, not an aquarium, I dont mind if the water is slightly orange or even slightly green. Its not like the grey concrete is so amazing in its natural color . Ozon is also toxic in too high concentrations even cancerous. Stuff to be careful with. My 160L/min airpump just arrived, Ill stick with that for now. No one ever died from too much air

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    Novotny is offline Brigadier More Posts Than Postman Pat
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    That's very interesting work and a beautiful garden. But what a tiny house! Do you drive that wheelbarrow?

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    Very cool and I love your backyard!!

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    NIce...good job!
    Why be normal when you can be happy?

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    Aleksa is offline Warrant Officer More Posts Than Postman Pat
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    Yes, you are right about ozon. I was using it from time to time just as a quick fix. Downside is that it kills all the good bacterias too.
    Do you have any calculations about optimal fluidity in your bio filter. Not quite sure, but my thoughts is if water rush through filter too fast it is not going to be efficient, and if it runs to slow bacterias that populate filter will run out of "food".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aleksa View Post
    Yes, you are right about ozon. I was using it from time to time just as a quick fix. Downside is that it kills all the good bacterias too.
    Do you have any calculations about optimal fluidity in your bio filter. Not quite sure, but my thoughts is if water rush through filter too fast it is not going to be efficient, and if it runs to slow bacterias that populate filter will run out of "food".
    Running out of food isnt the problem, as the the amount of food vs amount of bacteria would be relatively stable. Even if you have a massively oversized filter, the bacteria colony will just adapt to the amount of nutrition in the water. However if the pump runs too slow with plenty of nutrition in the water, the bacteria might run out of oxygen and anaerobic bacteria might take over. To counter that, Im busy installing the airpump to blow air (and oxygen) in to the biofilters.

    Mind you, all that "knowledge" is just from reading on the internet these past few weeks.

    As for calculations; I did some based on the surface area of my filter material and some tables I found somewhere. Its probably underdimensioned for my pond size right now (once I fill it completely), but then I do have that iris filter bed which is not an insignificant filter by itself. I will also add a skimmer which will pump its water through a (fairly small) pea gravel bed with plants on top. And I might put the outflow of my DIY biofilter through there as well. All in all I suspect that gives me overcapacity if anything.

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    Looks like you need a few beer after that eh

    Awesome job Skinny!

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    Skinny,

    that is some awesome work mate!
    Life is like a box of chocolates.

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    I was (and am) getting lots of foam on my pond.
    Googling around it seems to be from dissolved organic material, most likely my UV lamp doing a good job killing algae. Had some time today, so I decided to do something about it. A protein skimmer. First try, and what do you do know, seems to work somewhat





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    Please Help me out skinny

    Where did you find these plumbing fitting for your filter system? I am making a similar system with 55 gallon barrels. Those fitting would be perfect. Did you find them at a plumbing supply store?

    Thank you Matt

    http://img84.imageshack.us/i/sdc10507f.jpg/


    The fitting I am asking about is the one you used to go through the barrel

    any help would be much appreciated

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    if at posable you could email me mhenwood@hotmail.ca thank you so much
    Quote Originally Posted by mhenwood View Post
    Where did you find these plumbing fitting for your filter system? I am making a similar system with 55 gallon barrels. Those fitting would be perfect. Did you find them at a plumbing supply store?

    Thank you Matt

    http://img84.imageshack.us/i/sdc10507f.jpg/


    The fitting I am asking about is the one you used to go through the barrel

    any help would be much appreciated

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