Any way to get a sieve above the water line?


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I have a pretty sizeable hole, about 5000 gallons worth of hole, dug out in my yard.

I am trying to build a pond that will be as maintenance free as possible, and one thing that everyone seems to say will provide a much easier maintenance experience for a fish pod, is a bottom drain. But one thing that I constantly see pop up for a bottom drain, is a sieve or settlement tank. Since a sieve is much smaller, I was going to go with that Idea.

I was hoping to avoid putting a bunch of equipment underground to facilitate the "gravity feed"

Is there any way to have the sieve and pump and filter above ground/water line?

Side question. Is an aerator in the bottom drain absolutely necessary? Having a more pristine surface where I could put an upside down fish tank so the fish could swim above the waterline is sort of a dream of mine, and having a stream of air bubbles coming from the surface makes that dream difficult.

Thank you.
 
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I am trying to build a pond that will be as maintenance free as possible

For a maintenance free pond, have you considered a bog or plant filter? A bottom drain requires filtration that needs cleaning... not my idea of maintenance free! (@brokensword - how did I do??)
 
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That is quite nifty.

Not sure about the shower being the return, that means I would have to have that on the top of my waterfall. It isn't a deal breaker though.

What about the aerator in the bottom drain, is it absolutely required?
If you don't need the shower don't use it. aerated bottom drain not required.
 

brokensword

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For a maintenance free pond, have you considered a bog or plant filter? A bottom drain requires filtration that needs cleaning... not my idea of maintenance free! (@brokensword - how did I do??)
ha! Think you're getting the hang of this, Lisa! Now, you forgot to mention how arduous a task putting in a bottom drain is, how the odds of a leak are monumental compared to a bog filter, the fact lil fishes can commit sushi-cide if you have a bottom drain, how it it likely to scratch the bottom of your feet when you HAVE TO go into the pond and clean out the almost surely gonna happen 'debris clogging my bottom drain!' and not least, how much fun it is to chide others who DO have bottom drains, from the lounge beside the pond, a drink in one hand, typing on your phone with the other!

Now, that was just a 'bog filter is better'n a bottom drain' primer 101. There'll be a quiz in the morning...

:p
 
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You are in the wrong forum to be discussing bottom drain systems. Generally, any intelligent conversation on the subject ends once someone says " I'm afraid it will leak". Despite the fact that in the real world I've never actually heard of it happening to anybody. But hey, it is possible. Just about any plumbing joint involving water "could" leak, right?

Now that I've had my little rant, I'll say that what I think you should do if you are determined to have a gravity fed bottom drain system is take a rest from the digging, rest up, do some more reading until you get your enthusiasm back and dig that pit for the plumbing. Trying to get a bottom drain system to work with the sieve above the level of the pond will add a layer of complication that will give you no end of problems and likely end up being a lot more frustrating than doing a little digging.
 

brokensword

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You are in the wrong forum to be discussing bottom drain systems. Generally, any intelligent conversation on the subject ends once someone says " I'm afraid it will leak". Despite the fact that in the real world I've never actually heard of it happening to anybody. But hey, it is possible. Just about any plumbing joint involving water "could" leak, right?

Now that I've had my little rant, I'll say that what I think you should do if you are determined to have a gravity fed bottom drain system is take a rest from the digging, rest up, do some more reading until you get your enthusiasm back and dig that pit for the plumbing. Trying to get a bottom drain system to work with the sieve above the level of the pond will add a layer of complication that will give you no end of problems and likely end up being a lot more frustrating than doing a little digging.
Mucky; I hear you but consider this; if one doesn't believe a bottom drain is necessary (I don't, others don't either) to have a visually clean pond (AND good quality water), and the potential DOES exist for a leak, it isn't much of a leap to see why folks would rather not go that route. I never say woulda, coulda, shoulda as in life, eventually, problems DO develop. I'm sure the odds are very low for a bottom drain leak if you have a professional do it and probably nearly the same if you do it your self. That said, I can count on one hand the number of people (non professionals) I'd trust to do this for me, that's how 'unhandy' we seem to have become.

For me, the fact I don't see a reason to have one (bottom drain) is the clincher. There are no bottom drains with any natural lake or pond I've seen and the fish seem to do fine, even with all that additional organic matter decaying away. I suppose if you're going for a koi only pond and with their heavier than usual discharge, you'd want more/better options to keep the water quality up, then I could see a reason.

Other than that, why go through all the effort and possible risk?

okay, off MY rant! :)

Michael
 
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I think a bottom drain is a great idea if you have a DKP (dedicated koi pond) as you won't have rocks, gravel or plants to complete the eco-system. And all you'll be sucking down your drain is fish poop. But if you're planning for a garden pond, I think a bottom drain is not the way to go. It's just not necessary. And since you started this post by declaring your desire for a relatively easy pond to manage I would encourage you to rethink that idea. I don't know where you heard that a bottom drain makes maintaining a pond easier, but I think you can find some people here who would argue that point. My pond is virtually maintenance free - the only work I really do involves the pond plants.
 

addy1

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My pond is virtually maintenance free - the only work I really do involves the pond plants.
So is mine. I can turn it on in the spring and ignore it all summer if I want to. The plants are the only thing I take care of. Filter with only one large bog. No bottom drain. The water always tests great, quit testing it was boring. The water is always crystal clear, no green water even at spring start up.

Over 100 shubunkins of various sizes.

This is in the 5 foot deep area, you can see some horn wort growing on the bottom, a few trap door snails. (last summer)
20160912_122713.jpg
 
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Mucky; I hear you but consider this; if one doesn't believe a bottom drain is necessary (I don't, others don't either) to have a visually clean pond (AND good quality water), and the potential DOES exist for a leak, it isn't much of a leap to see why folks would rather not go that route. I never say woulda, coulda, shoulda as in life, eventually, problems DO develop. I'm sure the odds are very low for a bottom drain leak if you have a professional do it and probably nearly the same if you do it your self. That said, I can count on one hand the number of people (non professionals) I'd trust to do this for me, that's how 'unhandy' we seem to have become.

For me, the fact I don't see a reason to have one (bottom drain) is the clincher. There are no bottom drains with any natural lake or pond I've seen and the fish seem to do fine, even with all that additional organic matter decaying away. I suppose if you're going for a koi only pond and with their heavier than usual discharge, you'd want more/better options to keep the water quality up, then I could see a reason.

Other than that, why go through all the effort and possible risk?

okay, off MY rant! :)

Michael
I still don't understand why you think a bottom drain is such a great risk for a leak? Have you ever installed one? I have, and I can tell you it was a piece of cake, certainly no harder than installing a skimmer or hooking up a pump, both of which "could" leak if you are totally careless or possess absolutely no aptitude for basic plumbing skills. To me, that is just not a valid reason for not putting in a bottom drain.
The "heavier than usual discharge" argument is why I prefer a bottom drain, but really has nothing to do with my koi. I do have a fairly high fish load but only a few small koi who's waste is more than adequately handled by biofiltration and plants and algae. However, I do have an abundance of plants in my pond, in fact, it is the abundance of plants that produce the large amounts of "discharge". Not only do I have a lot of plants for my small pond I also have a lot of algae growth, which all eventually die and produce a lot of "discharge". In my last pond, which also had a lot of plants (but no bottom drain system), I would regularly see a layer of muck and mulm in the bottom of the pond 3' to 6" thick before I would finally get disgusted and scooped it all out, which of course would make the whole pond cloudy for a while and tended to plug up the other filters. But now with the bottom drain, that stuff gets removed from the pond bottom automatically, I just open a valve in the settling tank and it flushes into a waiting bucket which gets dumped into the vegetable garden. Most properly designed bottom drain systems are that simple to clean, so I don't see how it can be argued that they are high maintenance???
Anyway, I'm not saying bottom drains are the only/best way to filter every pond, but the arguments that they are high maintenance or likely to leak are really not valid arguments.
I could argue that bog filters tend to get clogged up after a few years and require a huge amount of maintenance when they get plugged up (digging up all the rocks and scooping out all the accumulated muck), but I've never had a bog system and have no personal experience with one, and any evidence I could produce on the subject would be second-hand evidence from other accounts I've read on the internet, so I won't go there. I'll have to trust that the few people in this forum who have bogs haven't experienced that sort of problem,,, yet. ;)
 
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he few people in this forum who have bogs haven't experienced that sort of problem,,, yet

We have heard from a few people who have had to dig up bog gravel - not fun. I think one key to not having that problem is to only pump "clean" water through the bog. Some kind of pre-filtration will keep the bog free of debris that would cause build up.
 
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We have heard from a few people who have had to dig up bog gravel - not fun. I think one key to not having that problem is to only pump "clean" water through the bog. Some kind of pre-filtration will keep the bog free of debris that would cause build up.
What sort of pre-filtration do you use Lisa?
 
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What sort of pre-filtration do you use Lisa?

Our pond empties into a "down flow" bog of sorts. All the debris from the pond gets caught up in the gravel. The pump is in the vault which is in the rain exchange. The pump itself is a foot off the bottom of the vault. All the water that gets to the pump is clean - no debris. I've pulled the pump a few times thinking it probably needs cleaning and it always looks like brand new. When we do pull the pump for whatever reason (once because I dropped my watch down the vault. Another time I dropped a connector for the pump plumbing down there... I gotta be more careful!) I drop a submersible pump to the bottom of the vault and pull water from the very bottom. It's got a bit of silt in it, but otherwise it's free of debris.
 
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Our pond empties into a "down flow" bog of sorts. All the debris from the pond gets caught up in the gravel. The pump is in the vault which is in the rain exchange. The pump itself is a foot off the bottom of the vault. All the water that gets to the pump is clean - no debris. I've pulled the pump a few times thinking it probably needs cleaning and it always looks like brand new. When we do pull the pump for whatever reason (once because I dropped my watch down the vault. Another time I dropped a connector for the pump plumbing down there... I gotta be more careful!) I drop a submersible pump to the bottom of the vault and pull water from the very bottom. It's got a bit of silt in it, but otherwise it's free of debris.
Don't you ever clean out that gravel in your "down flow" bog?
Don't you get accumulated dead plant matter and leaves in the bottom of your pond?
 
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I don't clean the gravel, per se. I do pick up the leaves that accumulate there and toss them into the bushes - it's never more than a couple of handfuls every week or so. And no - we get very little plant matter in the pond. We have one crab apple that drops leaves on the pond, but they are super lightweight and get pushed out before they can sink. We get some leaves blown in from neighboring yards, but I've already scooped them out this year and had less than one net-full. I put off trimming the plants around the pond until spring as they help to collect the dead leaves on the edge before they can end up in the pond. And I keep my pond plants trimmed up pretty much during the season so nothing drops into the pond.
 
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cas

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I put off trimming the plants around the pond until spring as they help to collect the dead leaves on the edge before they can end up in the pond.
Well, isn't that an interesting idea! I wonder it that would work for me.....
 
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@cas anything that will remain standing or not end up in the pond I leave alone. It's amazing how many leaves get stopped from blowing in the pond with a natural barricade. Even my vinca ground cover catches leaves on the edge of the pond.
 
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A bog is like an outhouse. A bottom drain is like a toilet. They both work just fine assuming your goals match the solution.
 
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