1st Pond....equipment help

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Greetings. I have started building my 1st pond in the backyard. It will be roughly 11'x8' with a max depth of 30" (roughly 1500 gallons) and will home only goldfish. I suppose I'm leaning towards Tetra products for the ease of ordering through amazon and what seems to be fair prices. What I'm trying to figure out is the correct method to plumb all the equipment together.

I would like to use the following tetra products;
In-pond skimmer
Waterfall
Water garden pump
Flat box filter

Im realizing now that all 4 of these parts can NOT be plumbed together in series and I would actually need 2 pumps. After speaking to a representative at tetra they suggested using 2 pumps if I wanted to use all these parts. So at this point I'm thinking to order a Tetra debris handling pump and connect that particular pump to the skimmer and waterfall. The water garden pump would be used for the 1 or 2 flat box filters. Both pumps would be plumbed to a T fitting and flow to the waterfall. However, I don't know if this a good idea? The debris handling pump is twice as powerful as the water garden pump and I wonder if that would cause a flow problem at the T fitting? My thoughts are that the stronger pump would cause resistance at the fitting before entering the waterfall and maybe even push water back towards the smaller pump. If that is the case then what are my other options? Should I use fountain for the second pump instead?

Also, the online calculator suggests I need a 15x20 liner. The best price I found was on justponderliners.com for a firestone liner was 195$ and 60$ for the underlayment. Can anyone recommend a cheaper site?
 
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I don't know the different prices, but I've found Webbsonline to be very reasonable. They also sell pond kits - all equipment designed and chosen to work together!
 

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@anthony21078 I like Webbs online also. I like the Laguna pumps myself. Lower power usage then some. You can use old carpet w/o any nails or tacks as an underlayment also. That's what I used plus old blankets. We have sandy soil so no big rocks in ground.
 
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Not sure what size the flat box filters you are referencing. I have one I don't use anymore made by Tetra that is very small. Definitely not large enough for 1500 gallons.
My pond is a slight bit over 1500 gallons.
I suggest you look at addy's long post on contructing a natural bog filter. It will work way better than any commercial filter you can buy and not hard or expensive at all to build.
I wish I would have known about bog filters when I built my pond. Eventually I will be adding one and getting rid of my two (yes two) pressure filters. I also have a pump in a bucket filled with lava rock. Even with all of this, my water is not as clear as I would like it. So, basically, I spent hundreds of dollars on commercial filters and I'm not satisfied. A bog would have cost a fraction of that.
 
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Oh, you stated you would like to use a Tetra debris handling pump for the skimmer. I currently use one of those to pump water through my pressure filters then over my waterfall. I don't know if it's the same as the one you are looking at. The one I have sits in the pond and sucks the water through grating on it's outer shell.
I hope you understand the concept of pumps related to skimmers. Some skimmers have a pump built into them.
If your skimmer uses a separate pump that sits in the pond, then you need a pump that has an inlet where you can connect the hose from the skimmer to. Basically an in-line pump, an inlet and an outlet. This way the pump sucks the water directly through the skimmer. The one I have cannot be connected that way. There isn't any hose connection on the inlet side. It sucks the water through the grating in its outer shell.

A note on hose to use...
I have found through experience that the best hose to use is schedule 40 flex PVC. I wasted so much time and money on that corregated Tetra pond hose that constantly sprung leaks. If you are lucky, it might last one season. The flex PVC will probably be the first and only hose you will ever buy. Plus it can be glued to standard PVC fittings.

The old stand-by liner material is 45 mil EPDM rubber. There are other good materials out there now, but EPDM is the ole standard one. Don't fall for the low priced PVC liners that the big box stores sell, it will crack, tear or crumble in a few months. Ask me how I know...Ha! Another $90 wasted...I just didn't know any better! But that was over10 years ago.
 
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Not sure what size the flat box filters you are referencing. I have one I don't use anymore made by Tetra that is very small. Definitely not large enough for 1500 gallons.
My pond is a slight bit over 1500 gallons.
I suggest you look at addy's long post on contructing a natural bog filter. It will work way better than any commercial filter you can buy and not hard or expensive at all to build.
I wish I would have known about bog filters when I built my pond. Eventually I will be adding one and getting rid of my two (yes two) pressure filters. I also have a pump in a bucket filled with lava rock. Even with all of this, my water is not as clear as I would like it. So, basically, I spent hundreds of dollars on commercial filters and I'm not satisfied. A bog would have cost a fraction of that.
This is the tetra filter i was referring to. My intentions were to use 2 of them even though they are rated for 500 gallons each. Not sure if my pond will truely be 1500 gallons since it wont be 30" deep everywhere. I was digging three levels each at 10" per level.


Ive read about bog filters and they are quite interesting but my space is limited. Im sure I could swing it but I certainly didnt plan for it. Perhaphs in the future I could modify what I have.

Oh, you stated you would like to use a Tetra debris handling pump for the skimmer. I currently use one of those to pump water through my pressure filters then over my waterfall. I don't know if it's the same as the one you are looking at. The one I have sits in the pond and sucks the water through grating on it's outer shell.
I hope you understand the concept of pumps related to skimmers. Some skimmers have a pump built into them.
If your skimmer uses a separate pump that sits in the pond, then you need a pump that has an inlet where you can connect the hose from the skimmer to. Basically an in-line pump, an inlet and an outlet. This way the pump sucks the water directly through the skimmer. The one I have cannot be connected that way. There isn't any hose connection on the inlet side. It sucks the water through the grating in its outer shell.

A note on hose to use...
I have found through experience that the best hose to use is schedule 40 flex PVC. I wasted so much time and money on that corregated Tetra pond hose that constantly sprung leaks. If you are lucky, it might last one season. The flex PVC will probably be the first and only hose you will ever buy. Plus it can be glued to standard PVC fittings.

The old stand-by liner material is 45 mil EPDM rubber. There are other good materials out there now, but EPDM is the ole standard one. Don't fall for the low priced PVC liners that the big box stores sell, it will crack, tear or crumble in a few months. Ask me how I know...Ha! Another $90 wasted...I just didn't know any better! But that was over10 years ago.
This is the pump I already purchased with intentions of using it for all the plumbing. Rated at 1000gph. But I realize now that it wont work the way I planned with the skimmer, filters and waterfall. So I think I will be using this pump soley for the 2 flat box filters. The grate is removable and has a threaded fitting to attach the hose for the flat box filter


The tetra skimmer I bought does not have a pump inside it. It is also a "in-pond" skimmer as opposed the traditional ones that get attached to the liner. Having second thoughts about this skimmer though based purely on looks. I think a traditional skimmer would look nicer.


Now as far as the tetra debris handling pump is concerned, I realize now that I would have to place it inside the skimmer since it doesnt have a threaded inlet. I dont want to do that so Ill search for a different pump. I could buy an additional pump like I listed above for use with the skimmer and waterfall and maybe even get the next size up if that would better suit my needs. Not sure yet

Regardind the tubing, it does seem like most the reviews on tetra tubing gets leaks. I was leaning towards something like this


I havent purchased a liner yet but it will either be a 45 mil by firestone or aquascape
 
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Two things caught my attention -

1: if your pond is 1500 gallons, you want to be pumping at LEAST 1.5 times that much water. With all the pumps you mentioned, I'm not sure where you ended up with your decision, but it sounded like two 500 gallon pumps were in the plan. Even if the pond is closer to 1000 gallons, you need more GPH.

2: I agree about the in-pond skimmer. People don't have great luck with them, and they are taking up valuable pond space!
 
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That's the same skimmer I have. I only used it for a short while. It resides in my shed now for quite a few years. The external pump I was using with it kept getting jammed up with crud that got past the skimmer pad. I got tired of disassembling the pump to clean it out every other day.
The hose you referenced to looks good. I don't know if it's schedule 40 and fits standard PVC fittings, but you might not care about that. The main thing is strength and durability.
Lisa is correct about pump size. You need enough turn over, especially if you're going to have fish in there.
Think about adding lots of plants too. They are a critical component of filtration and the natural cycle of the pond chemistry.
 
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Two things caught my attention -

1: if your pond is 1500 gallons, you want to be pumping at LEAST 1.5 times that much water. With all the pumps you mentioned, I'm not sure where you ended up with your decision, but it sounded like two 500 gallon pumps were in the plan. Even if the pond is closer to 1000 gallons, you need more GPH.

2: I agree about the in-pond skimmer. People don't have great luck with them, and they are taking up valuable pond space!
Ive read about the 1.5 or 2x filtration per how many gallons. The pump for the 2 filters is rated at 1000gph and I decided to buy the larger pump for the skimmer/waterfall which is rated at 1900gph. Does this pump combo give me adequate filtration? Does it work like that?

Since my excavating has just began, I was intending on digging out a small U shaped notch (if you will) in the perimeter to place the skimmer so it wouldnt sit directly in the pond. A few rocks on top will hopefully make it disappear into the landscaping

That's the same skimmer I have. I only used it for a short while. It resides in my shed now for quite a few years. The external pump I was using with it kept getting jammed up with crud that got past the skimmer pad. I got tired of disassembling the pump to clean it out every other day.
The hose you referenced to looks good. I don't know if it's schedule 40 and fits standard PVC fittings, but you might not care about that. The main thing is strength and durability.
Lisa is correct about pump size. You need enough turn over, especially if you're going to have fish in there.
Think about adding lots of plants too. They are a critical component of filtration and the natural cycle of the pond chemistry.
Even with the foam pad in the skimmer your pump was clogging? Perhaps the pad is rather coarse and letting to much crud through? Doesnt sound good. I wonder if a fine particle pad could be cut to fit to aid in filtration.

Plants will definitly be in the pond. I just haven't gotten to that section of research yet to purchase the correct plants. Any reccomendations for a goldfish only pond? If weather matters, I live in Long island New York.
 
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Yeah, with the supplied pad in the skimmer I was still getting clogs in my pump. I did try other type of materials, but eventually gave up. The pump was the mag drive type with the magnet/impeller and not a "debris handling" type. Maybe you'll do better with another pump. So, now I just keep my net handy to scoop out any floating debris.
In the fall I use a nylon net to cover the pond to keep all the leaves out. I made a frame out of 3/4" PVC to support the net in a bowed fashion. All those leaves are not good for your water quality.
Another note about construction...
I don't know if you have thought or read about plant shelves. When you excavate you pond, build in shelves all around the perimeter as much as you can. Maybe 10" - 12" below the water surface. You can sit plants on them so their root system is under water.
Any aquatic type plants are good. You would be surprised how many common plants also work well in a pond.
I have a marsh marigold sitting on a shelf in the water that is beautiful and survives the harsh Pocono Mountain, PA winters. It keeps getting bigger every year. Also have Lizard tail, iris, mini cat-tails, creeping Jenny that also survives the winter if planted in the surrounding soil. I try to buy mostly hardy plants that will come back every year. But I also like some of the tropical stuff, such as water lettuce and water hyacinths which just float, no soil or pot. Papyrus is nice, but doesn't survive winter. Some people have had luck with Parrots Feather if planted in the surrounding soil. Mine always dies.
 
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If you have room to "notch out" for the in pond skimmer, why not just do the standard type? It's a place for the pump to reside and I think all around people find they work better.
 
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Oh and as for pump size - the important factor is that you are moving 1.5 to 2X the total water volume through the filter. So at 1000 gallons you'd be under filtering. The other water movement is great, but it's all about how often the water goes through the filter.
 
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My pump that powers my filter, sits inside the skimmer . I really like it, it improves water flow and hides the pump :)
 
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Yeah, with the supplied pad in the skimmer I was still getting clogs in my pump. I did try other type of materials, but eventually gave up. The pump was the mag drive type with the magnet/impeller and not a "debris handling" type. Maybe you'll do better with another pump. So, now I just keep my net handy to scoop out any floating debris.
In the fall I use a nylon net to cover the pond to keep all the leaves out. I made a frame out of 3/4" PVC to support the net in a bowed fashion. All those leaves are not good for your water quality.
Another note about construction...
I don't know if you have thought or read about plant shelves. When you excavate you pond, build in shelves all around the perimeter as much as you can. Maybe 10" - 12" below the water surface. You can sit plants on them so their root system is under water.
Any aquatic type plants are good. You would be surprised how many common plants also work well in a pond.
I have a marsh marigold sitting on a shelf in the water that is beautiful and survives the harsh Pocono Mountain, PA winters. It keeps getting bigger every year. Also have Lizard tail, iris, mini cat-tails, creeping Jenny that also survives the winter if planted in the surrounding soil. I try to buy mostly hardy plants that will come back every year. But I also like some of the tropical stuff, such as water lettuce and water hyacinths which just float, no soil or pot. Papyrus is nice, but doesn't survive winter. Some people have had luck with Parrots Feather if planted in the surrounding soil. Mine always dies.
My design is similiar to this photo. 3 sections 10" per section. Appreciate the plant suggestions. More reading to commence


If you have room to "notch out" for the in pond skimmer, why not just do the standard type? It's a place for the pump to reside and I think all around people find they work better.
We jumped the gun and purchased the skimmer a few days ago. Not saying it cant be returned though....

Oh and as for pump size - the important factor is that you are moving 1.5 to 2X the total water volume through the filter. So at 1000 gallons you'd be under filtering. The other water movement is great, but it's all about how often the water goes through the filter.
That makes sense. The 1900 gph pump could be used for the filters and the 1000gph pump for the skimmer and waterfall which would give me that 1.5x. However, different online calculators are giving me very different numbers in regards to total gallons. My layout is just like the photo above. Pretty much oval 11'x8' with three sections each 10" deep. I think the online calculators are assuming the whole pond is 30" deep which is roughly 1500 gallons. Can anyone help me on that?

Regarding the liner, I see webbs doesnt have firestone in stock (which is what I wanted) but the have carlisle 15x20. Thoughts on carlisle liners?
 
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I can't help you with estimating water volume, but can tell you how to get an exact amount as it's being filled. It may be too late for equipment purchases at that point, but at least you know exactly how much water it will contain for future reference.
I use a digital water meter that screws onto the end of my garden hose. I bought on Amazon for under $20.
As an example, my water is chlorinated, so if I need to add water, I use the meter so I know how much dechlorinizer to add.
 
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Not sure what size the flat box filters you are referencing. I have one I don't use anymore made by Tetra that is very small. Definitely not large enough for 1500 gallons.
My pond is a slight bit over 1500 gallons.
I suggest you look at addy's long post on contructing a natural bog filter. It will work way better than any commercial filter you can buy and not hard or expensive at all to build.
I wish I would have known about bog filters when I built my pond. Eventually I will be adding one and getting rid of my two (yes two) pressure filters. I also have a pump in a bucket filled with lava rock. Even with all of this, my water is not as clear as I would like it. So, basically, I spent hundreds of dollars on commercial filters and I'm not satisfied. A bog would have cost a fraction of that.
With a 2" pvc bog and a pea stone gravel the cost is mind numbing how cheap it is in comparison add long term maintenance and service and you can't compare them to a sand filter or pressure filter in any way. i can walk away from my pond for months and come back to larger plants as the only change. The water is crystal clear you can see down 5 feet to the bottom thinking it's only 6" deep. I did also go with a snorkel bog that i like a lot i can vac out sediment built up over time . and i can also run air stones to the bacteria below . Just like today's septic systems they have found adding compressed air into the septic tank allows the bacteria to thrive and when it thrives you get sparkling clear water.
 
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With a 2" pvc bog and a pea stone gravel the cost is mind numbing how cheap it is in comparison add long term maintenance and service and you can't compare them to a sand filter or pressure filter in any way. i can walk away from my pond for months and come back to larger plants as the only change. The water is crystal clear you can see down 5 feet to the bottom thinking it's only 6" deep. I did also go with a snorkel bog that i like a lot i can vac out sediment built up over time . and i can also run air stones to the bacteria below . Just like today's septic systems they have found adding compressed air into the septic tank allows the bacteria to thrive and when it thrives you get sparkling clear water.
The air stone idea sounds interesting and makes sense to me. Where did you place the air stone and are there more than one?

Can you explain how your snorkel bog is constructed and the procedure on vacuuming it out?

One day I'll have to get myself in gear and start that bog build. I have not seen anyone post your method concerning air stones and the snorkel.
 
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They have recently 10 years started pumping air into septic systems so that the bacteria can grow. think about all the wonderful gasses in septic tank. methane, co2, well places like a gas station who are in rural areas but have a great business have septic issues because they are constantly being used and the clog up real quick. Well by pumping in air/ o2 they have found the systems can handle greater loads "pun intended" when they pumped something as simple as air into the system. The other related is open natural ponds say at golf courses or condo's they pump air or have a fountain to keep the o2 levels high which intern deter algae growth. So i gave it a shot in my system. my bog is 20x10 x 6 foot deep as i can recall and what i used was 24" culvert pipe double walled so it is smooth inside. so theres 18' of horizontal pipe that is attached to a second culvert pipe thats 8 feet tall and caped on the bottom and top. but the top above water level can be removed. i left it 1 foot and a half sticking up above water level so that if the bog starts to clog it can't just come out the vertical snorkel tube as the height increases in the tube so will the pressure in the bog thus cleaning it's self. So the horizontal pip has slits cut in it facing up at 9 and 3 o'clock and is pitched toward the vertical section . so that any sediment that does get in the snorkel should settle to the bottom and can easily be cleaned out with a trash pump. I had some string agae before i started pumping air to the bog and now well i think you have seen the video on my build. If not it's https://www.gardenpondforum.com/threads/going-for-it-phase-one-12-000-gallon-pond.22563/

The air is a nitto 45 and i am using a double rubber bladder . a sinle would probably do the job the double i use for my winterizing breather. i ran it to the bottom of the vertical snorkel tube .
 
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We used Aquascape's snorkel and centipede to build our bog - more expensive than PVC, but it was a quick and easy install.

Large_Pondless_Vault.gif


We actually used two of these - one in the rain exchange (the pump is in the vault) and a second in the bog. Like @GBBUDD said, we can drop an airstone into the snorkel to add air or even drop a pump in there to run a fountain or another feature in the bog if we wanted. Plus it makes potential clean out a breeze - never used it, but we could if we had to.
 
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