Bog building


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I won't speak for @addy1 , but I can say that our bog does not filter fines. We've considered getting a fines filter from time to time, or just DIYing a quilt batting set up for a few days, but ultimately decide that we just really aren't all that bothered by it.
I find the gravel wont filter fines too well either but I think the plant roots would. My hyacynth work like magic. And they can so starve the pond of fertilizer all the plants start to yellow even with a full fish load.
 
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Mmathis

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@nomadh Look at the mechanics of a bog. Most of us use up-flow bogs where water from the pump is pumped through a manifold (of one type or another) at the bottom of the gravel bed. Water flows upward, through the gravel and past the plant roots. Yes, there might be channeling, but if the bog is plumbed correctly, and maintained (plants cultivated), it will still be a very efficient filter. It’s been proven to work.
 
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you'll find her answer is; over 10 years and never cleaned it. This will be a mantra for most well built upflow wetland filters (bog-type filter). The maintenance needed is thinning the plants as they thrive and do their job. The more aggressive the root system, the more filtering power. That and addy's bog is very large, which is another benefit toward successful filtering. Mine is similar in size and depth. The idea is not to throw water into the bog so fast and in large volume, but rather, less and slower so any accumulate can break down and NOT channel. We use gravel as it provides a lot of surface for the denitrifying bacteria AND a substrate for plant roots.
I think at the time I didnt have room for a huge bog so my problems added up real fast but even that small one I had to thin the plants and unbind the roots from all the gravel they keep taking with them.
At a koi meeting we had a filter expert from marineland he designed and maintained small and gargantuan systems. He explained that the bacteria that broke down the waste products are fully aerobic and should never be submerged. They actually drown and turn anaerobic (toxic) in a few hours if flow stops. He saw submerged biofilter where the submerged biofilt was off a day in summer and the fish were ok until turning back on and killed many of the fish. He showed how an enclosed trickle tower or any filter media kept wet but never submerged had dozens of times more bacteria per sq ft.
My mother in law has a pond and I redesigned it after aquaponics type rock design almost killed most her fish. I made it about1 ft deep and 5x6 ft. I just skipped the rock and put in taro, water hyacynch and parrots feather. It grows like crazy and looks beautiful. No substrate needed. Now 1 or 2 times a yr I just lift up the root mass and saw chunks off to give away or mulch. If too much muck I just sump pump it to garden. I don't worry about separating gravel from roots or gravel getting into compost pile. The pump creates some as it falls into the bog and then again as it waterfalls into the pond. I'd still like to add more biofilter for her but with her fish load it's worked for years.
 

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Had an 18” gravel manifold bog for 10 years and had no issues with it other than it being undersized for my pond and stocking level. So, I enlarged it and redesigned into a water matrix block/snorkel/centipede bog, this lets the fines settle out into the snorkel and can be pumped out as needed, so not really worried about channeling happening in it. Been keeping ponds this way a loooong time, using bogs and plants as the filter and have never had a fish die off or any issues for that matter.
 
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This is not based on any science. It's just my thoughts on the subject...
I think if you have your manifold disperse the water thoroughly, you shouldn't have a problem. The more of a spread you get, the less chance of getting a buildup in one spot.
I used two ten foot pieces of 2" PVC for my manifold. I cut slits 1/3 through the 2" PVC and spaced them 1-1/2" apart. My bog is only 5 feet wide.
 
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Sawzall for us. I think that's also a name brand like skil
No we call it sawsall here as well.

I come from the planted tank and reef world myself my avatar here is a picture of my planted tank and i placed 148 in the ada competition one year. So i hear you as to the clogging spray bars lava rock etc. i never went that route i did bio balls and live rock in my sump. With the reef and this is going back tot he 80's and in the late 90's i started a planted tank where everyone told me i had to do the ferts in order to have plants grow. I never agreed with adding chemicals even fertilizers maybe just a little but those regiments were crazy. I build my own version of a bog but it was a water fall into the open top of a fish tank with plants and a simple pressurized filter more for the currents and feeding the falls then anything and the water was crystal clear. So when i heard of the bog here i did some home work not coming from the sterile koi pond scenario. i had an open mind, There are members here who have had the peastone bog for years a decade actually, The entire system relies on NATURE yes the bog will start to clog in areas and mother nature will take the path of least resistance. So as you said as one area does begin to clog the next area with the least resistance will receive more pressure thus flushing the bog. One argument no one on the sterile side can argue is Plants can and due absorb a great deal of natural occurring minerals and chemicals that all the protein skimmers ,uv's and nexus barrel filters can ever hope to address. So the rely on getting the waters as clean and pure as possible. This method replicates the world fish come from where the healthier the environment the better the chance the koi have the natural ability to fight disease. My pond has only been running for 4 years now and when i have tried to clean out my snorkel there's just not much there . And if there was a serious clogging going on the water would just raise up within the snorkel and out the top. From when ever I measured the water levels there was never more the a 1" difference. The plants grow like weeds . I just pulled over 30 frozen frogs out of my pond and if there's ever an indicator of how an ecology is doing, it's that. Regardless my pond is crystal clear parameters all look great and i can walk away from my pond for weeks and it takes care of it's self. There will always be the argument a natural bog is a waste of time and energy . while those on this side feel you don't need sterile waters. and yes i understand it is not truly sterile. In the garden pond we except and welcome peach fuzz algae on the rocks and rocks even, while i know the other side doesn't want anything green and is a constant fight, whos right whos wrong i say neither if it works for you don't fix what's not broke.
 
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I think at the time I didnt have room for a huge bog so my problems added up real fast but even that small one I had to thin the plants and unbind the roots from all the gravel they keep taking with them.
At a koi meeting we had a filter expert from marineland he designed and maintained small and gargantuan systems. He explained that the bacteria that broke down the waste products are fully aerobic and should never be submerged. They actually drown and turn anaerobic (toxic) in a few hours if flow stops. He saw submerged biofilter where the submerged biofilt was off a day in summer and the fish were ok until turning back on and killed many of the fish. He showed how an enclosed trickle tower or any filter media kept wet but never submerged had dozens of times more bacteria per sq ft.
My mother in law has a pond and I redesigned it after aquaponics type rock design almost killed most her fish. I made it about1 ft deep and 5x6 ft. I just skipped the rock and put in taro, water hyacynch and parrots feather. It grows like crazy and looks beautiful. No substrate needed. Now 1 or 2 times a yr I just lift up the root mass and saw chunks off to give away or mulch. If too much muck I just sump pump it to garden. I don't worry about separating gravel from roots or gravel getting into compost pile. The pump creates some as it falls into the bog and then again as it waterfalls into the pond. I'd still like to add more biofilter for her but with her fish load it's worked for years.
you know most koi clubs/associations operate with the idea upflow wetland filters won't work, right? That's the way most 'old timers' have always done things, so bogs are anethema to them. Thing is, how do you explain the succes many are having here on the site? Now, some don't have koi but many do and their ponds are doing fine with bog filtration. Better than ever, for some. Most here have garden ponds, not dedicated koi ponds, so maybe that's the secret? Some turn off their bog pumps for the season and start them up and there's no one reporting problems. The gravel you want to eschew is where the bacteria colonizes. Your plants are only taking up the nitrates in the water, not the nitrites nor ammonia. So, hard to see how having all that surface area in a bog as not beneficial. Still, if you've got it working without, more power to you. Obviously, you have enough surface area somewhere in your system to provide for your current fish load. But be careful as your pond fish grow/propagate as that's when we get the most posts with problematic situations.
 
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They actually drown and turn anaerobic (toxic) in a few hours if flow stops. He saw submerged biofilter where the submerged biofilt was off a day in summer and the fish were ok until turning back on and killed many of the fish.
While i agree with the premises of that statement it is true with ANY BODY OF WATER leave a body of water to sit long enough it will go stagnant and hydrogen sulfide is the by product. I run air to my snorkel and martix bog all year long to insure that the bacteria has all it needs to thrive . Again having dealt with the principles of bio balls, so when i do shut down my pond for the winter the bog still has a 40 and a single 9 bladder providing air and circulation. the cistern gets a small water pump to keep the water moving and the pond gets a 120 double 9 inch bladder and when the pond is started at the beginning of the year the first 5 minutes of water are dumped due to the underground pipes going stagnant .
 

brokensword

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just to throw more fuel on the fire; from the esteemed Meyer Jordan;

And all of the talk about hydrogen sulfide and anaerobic bacteria is 'chicken little' talk. Both of those elements occur in every natural pond and fish thrive. In fact some anaerobic bacteria are necessary for denitrification.

from;


4th reply
 

addy1

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He explained that the bacteria that broke down the waste products are fully aerobic and should never be submerged.
He saw submerged biofilter where the submerged biofilt was off a day in summer and the fish were ok until turning back on and killed many of the fish.
Mine has been turned off during the hot of summer for a day or so. Turned off for 4 months over winter. I turn it back on, NEVER have a fish kill, never. The water ( in the spring) goes crystal clear within a few day from the winter murky look. I never get green water, minimal string algae. Do nothing but yank plants when they over grow.

I had a small bog on another pond it did just as good, Arizona.
In 2010 when I was researching the best way to build my pond here, I read a lot of posts from monster pond builders. The bog was highly talked about. I did not follow the "rules" 12-18 inches deep, etc, mine is about 2.5 feet deep. I also have high flow through mine, except for a small diversion to another pond all of the flow from my 6800 gph pump is sent through it.

I have never regretted having it, the fish and pond do great.

Not the best picture, this is the flow from the bog. My anti heron net is falling apart waiting for a new one to get here. It also weeps over the bog wall here and there. That rock is around 3 feet long.
nvr travel_LOREX_main_20210320071526_@3.jpg
 
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The koi folks i'll call them look at a pond that was a natural pond and it's always the same look at all the sludge all this black garbage. Well to us it looks like mud to the microbes and small invertebrates frogs even its HOME plants love the stuff so who is the sludge bad for the ecology of the pond or the human who see's mud ad mud. Talk to any environmentalist That sludge is where they make there living to them it's hardly mud. They know it's the life blood of aquatic nature. That's why you can't go to one natural pond and not find it. Its mother nature doing her thing.
 
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brokensword

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In 2010 when I was researching the best way to build my pond here, I read a lot of posts from monster pond builders. The bog was highly talked about. I did not follow the "rules" 12-18 inches deep, etc, mine is about 2.5 feet deep.
I thought the depth was a byproduct of your over zealousness with Kubotas, no? ;)
 

addy1

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I thought the depth was a byproduct of your over zealousness with Kubotas, no? ;)
Well yessssssssssssss lol I was having fun digging and could have put dirt back in but decided not to! So ordered around 38000 lbs of pea gravel. It works great that is all I care about.
 

brokensword

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Well yessssssssssssss lol I was having fun digging and could have put dirt back in but decided not to! So ordered around 38000 lbs of pea gravel. It works great that is all I care about.
so, your bog building advice comes down to;

get a Kubota, start digging, turn your head and watch the bees on the flowers, turn your head back and THAT'S the depth a bog is to be. Okay, taking notes! heh
 

addy1

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get a Kubota, start digging, turn your head and watch the bees on the flowers, turn your head back and THAT'S the depth a bog is to be. Okay, taking notes! heh
Hey it worked! I had dumped all the pond dirt on the down hill side of the pond. Ran over it constantly to harden it up, then started digging the bog. Our pond is on a slope, had to add a dirt berm to hold the bog.
 
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@nomadh - I may have misread, but did you say your MILs waterfall falls ON TOP of the bog? If so, that's a whole other animal.

Gravel is critical to an up flow bog - it slows the water and gives the bacteria surfaces to colonize. Otherwise you just have a heavily planted pool... which is great, just not the same thing. You have plants absorbing nutrients, but you can get that by planting your pond. You aren't colonizing bacteria, which is the magic underneath the plants in a gravel bog.
 
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I was afraid to turn on my bog this Spring, fearing decaying sludge in the gravel etc.......nothing happened :). All was just fine :)
 

addy1

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I was afraid to turn on my bog this Spring, fearing decaying sludge in the gravel etc.......nothing happened :). All was just fine :)
Guess I don't over think it, since the day I built, off in the winter on in the spring, never even thought about decaying sludge, dead bacteria.
 
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For those who like to geek out:

I downloaded the cad drawings for Aquascape's Centipede module and calculated that they have 42 sq. in. of diffuser opening per 1 ft. of centipede pipe (5.5' centipede w/ 230 sq. in. of diffuser) and they spec. about 550 GPH per foot of Centipede (3,000 GPH per 5.5' centipede)

This can be helpful if you're DIYing a centipede from drainage pipe and either want to match Aquascape's design or figure out how many slots at what size to cut in your pipe for a custom length.

This probably doesn't matter all that much in the grand scheme of things, but I am avoiding work today and decided to go down this little rabbit hole.
 
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Lots of great replies here thanks. I think I gave a wrong impression earlier. I'm not against bogs or plants filtering koi ponds. I think they are great. I started with plants before koi. Not really against upflow filters either. It's just that the guys with the scientific measuring do dads have found that wet/dry is many times more efficient and less risky. If you make a gravel bog big enough it WILL have enough aerobics and if build well enough won't have a problem for decades or ever, unless something down under that ton of rock goes wrong. Its proven. Actually many in the koi club have similar upflow systems. And some of them use gravel although I think the most common media was lava rock. (more nooks and cranny surfaces) And they did work great, maybe a few for 20+years. But the couple that did fail failed catastrophically and these typically very vigilant koi owners were blindsided. They were fine with gravel until they had to shovel it back out for repair and deal with the parts that turned to like concrete. I think the few that failed still went back to a similar setup and hoped they'd be dead before it happened again as redesigning would have been a huge undertaking. But they all wished they used a lighter media that was easier to sift and check up on. It's sort of like a french drain really. A bad one will clog in a few years but the owner will praise it those first few but even a really great one will or could eventually clog. Then there you are digging or maybe even cutting concrete again. So a lot of my issue is the if/when something goes wrong. What if a crack, or tear or hole at the bottom of the bog or a tree root or rodent hole. Gravel is just so damn heavy and awkward to deal with. And not even that cheap really, buying ,moving or re-moving it compared to a smaller but more efficient lighter media. So I love a good bog, just earlier in the filter and leave the biofiltering to the smaller specialist biofilter. Its a little splitting hairs really. Once I looked at what you guys are doing they really are impressive and well engineered as to their type of filter. I just wanted to give the other side to some of the small differences. I also wanted to note one of the natural advantages to a nice gravel bog. It can really look very nice and if cultivated can be very much like an aquatic zen garden look. I love that look and I love big boulders with a pond. Just not in the pond. Down a few inches to hide a liner is fine but once again no place where lots of anaerobic bacteria can form and turn the pond to a toilet.
Just with the latest info on how much more efficient a wet/dry (trickle down) filter is many in our koi club steered that direction. My biofilter is a simple shaded container with a spraybar spraying water into lightweight biomedia (crumpled shadecloth) where the water drains from the bottom of container back to the pond as a falls. I can peek in anytime and see there is no muck buildup and the water freely walls out the container so the media is never submerged to have any anaerobic bacteria. If I have a pump failure I just pour a few pitchers of water over it 2 times a day and turn on the air stone until I have time to fix it. And a biofilter that never needs cleaning means its always at peak operating level.
Right now my prefilter needs work. My matala is disintegrating and the settling area is a little undersized for what I want and needs a cleaning. All my talk about keeping muck out of the pond and right now I probably have a few inches of muck in my system just in another part of the water column. :)
Although I don't waste the muck my pond plants don't get the benefit as I just dump my sludge to the garden. I was considering an experiment where I let my pond overflow to a shallow stream where it lets the solids not settle but filter through floaters or iris and such. From there the water can go to a small sump area where my pump can push the now mostly filtered water up to my very efficient biofilter. (I try to never let the pump grind up solids till I can filter most out.) Who knows maybe even put a few bags of gravel in the bottom of the stream 2" deep. I'm fine with that as long as I can periodically poke around and sift it with my hands. It sounds very nice actually. I just don't want 800 lbs of it to deal with. :) I have so many potted plants and temps maybe this should be a very long stream and I can use it to keep 30 or 40 pots watered and automatically fertilized :)


That is all my pond. My MIL pond is a horrible kludge and am still deciding how exactly I want to solve it but no matter what it will be a compromise but already many times better than the aquascape flim flam man setup. And you know how it is. You fix it you own it. :) Maybe the stream exit idea for her also? My pond is above ground but hers is inground. The biggest issue of both will be gluing the new stream liner to the old pond. Maybe rubber cement or flexseal? Anyone know the best way currently for rubber liner?
 
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