Convert swimming pool to natural pool/pond


brokensword

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Thank you very much for the detailed instructions! I am working on the basic cleaning with the pool pump and filter as the first step, while researching how to build a bog. I am still not clear how to build a separation between the pool and bog in the concrete pool. For pond pump, I read some recommendations for laguna submersible pump, but if my pool has about 20000 gallon water, I don't see any model that can turn it over 1 time per hour.
I'd opt for more pumps than just one. If one goes out, you still have the other(s) to give you flow and aeration. So, look for something that can do half or even a third of your volume and multiply for the number of pumps you might need.

Re bog INSIDE your pool; were it mine, I'd create a wall inside your pool and line it. This wall should have some protection against the bottom liner if you have one, or if your pool is all concrete, you probably don't need it. The liner will separate the water inside the bog from your pool. You'd pump water to the bottom of your bog and then let it rise up through the various levels of gravel/rock. I'd make sure this bog section is higher than your pool so the overflow will provide a waterfall effect, which adds to your aeration.

Re fish; as noted above, shubunkin are both colorful and easily managed, and not nearly as expensive as koi. For the most part, you'll not even have to feed them as they'll get sustenance from the algae growing on your pool surfaces as well as any insects that fall/live in the water. That then will provide sustenace for your bog and in turn, help keep the water clear. It's the free floating algae you want to minimize as it's the one people don't like but fish don't mind.
 
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addy1

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For pond pump, I read some recommendations for laguna submersible pump, but if my pool has about 20000 gallon water, I don't see any model that can turn it over 1 time per hour.
I don't turn mine over every hour, maybe every two hours and it does fine. I prefer external pumps, to me less messing with prefilters etc.

I have shubunkins, they get fed occasionally, I seldom feed them, and they are all fat and sassy. They have great colors. A lot less fussy than koi, demand less filtration etc.
 
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Hello everyone, I'm a complete newbie here. Tried to do some search of how to convert swimming pool to natural pool/pond here, but did not see one in the same situation. Anyway, I have a swimming pool (used to be chlorinated, but haven't maintained or added any chemicals for over a year now). The water has turned green with lots of algae. The size is about 18ftx24ft with about 6ft depth, and it's made of concrete and lined with tiles. It has pool pump and vacuum. There are a 18x5 area with 5in depth, and a few steps of 2ft or 4ft depth in the four corners.

Now I don't want to add any more chemicals to the water (kids and myself are very sensitive to chemicals). I want to convert it to a natural pond. If we can still swim in it that would be fantastic. But I don't know how to get started. Should I start with cleaning the algae manually? Then bring in the plants? Should I add pea gravels or sand bags to build a plant area? Any suggestions are welcome. Thank you!
Thank you very much for the detailed instructions! I am working on the basic cleaning with the pool pump and filter as the first step, while researching how to build a bog. I am still not clear how to build a separation between the pool and bog in the concrete pool. For pond pump, I read some recommendations for laguna submersible pump, but if my pool has about 20000 gallon water, I don't see any model that can turn it over 1 time per hour.
take it slowly get the pump and a mechanical filtration system working now and work on the bog if needed a few months from now. if you do not want fish that is ok add nutrients to the water for the plants. i have read about natural swim ponds and all agree do not have fish in a swim pond.
 
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To the OP; you already have in place pump, skimmer, etc. so what you need to do is decide where to locate the bog, and plumb to it.
You may or may not want to drain depending on where the bog will be located, (inside the existing pool, or outside). If there is room, I'd install it outside, and above by about 1.5'. That will give about 18" depth, about 16" of gravel, and a good drop to the pool water for a nice waterfall return. If you opt for the external bog, you shouldn't need to drain the pool, and water should clear up, as the plants start their work. As noted above rule of thumb is bog surface area = 30% surface area of pool/pond. Bigger may be better, and sometimes you can get away with smaller. As to shape, it can be any shape you want or need. It can be round, long and skinny, or short and fat, or square. it can be 3' x 20', or 7.5' x 7.5. Or any size and shape that you need. ;)
 
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The larger the pool the less important that you MUST TURN THE WATER OVER 1 or 2 times and hour. So long as you build a large enough bog. Now I don't know what your pool area looks like and if you have the room for a exterior bog. if you have full sun for the bog or part shade exc. Bogs are not the cheapest things to build or the least amount of work in the building of. But once they are built corectly and running you can't beat them. the more organics in the water the better your bog will thrive. I like many here who have a bog can totally disturb the bog or plants in the pond/pool make it so murky you can't see 6" but give the bog a couple hours and you'll be able to see down 6' again such as my bog and give it 12 hours and the water is crystal clear again.
 
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i have read about natural swim ponds and all agree do not have fish in a swim pond.
Popy cock if you have no organics in the water column your plants will not do so well. if you are thriving for a mountain stream where there is no or as minimal algae as possible then maybe. i swim in my pond all the time yes the rocks have a peach fuzz of them just like any pond.
 
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Please do post pictures of the pool area, and we will have a better idea of where / how you can work a bog in. I personally prefer external bog that waterfalls back in; this will not take up any of your swim area, will create a lovely water feature, and allows you to not need to drain the pool in order to build it.
Start by measuring your pool. If it’s say 15 ft by 10 ft, ( length and width), you’ll try for a bog that is 1/3 that total number. 15x10=150/3=50 square feet of bog. That could be a 5ft wide bog along the deep end of the pool, or it could even be built like 2ft wide planter boxes along most of the pool with areas to allow folks in and out along the shallow end and common entrance/ exit points. I like that idea, but only if you have enough outlets and space for each section to have its own pump. I’m not savvy enough to be able to think on how to run plumbing to make it work for all the sections to be on just one pump.
You say your pool is around 20,000 gallons. Can you find out what your pool pump moved per hour? And possibly keep using that pump, for water circulation, just add one or two dedicated pumps for the bog(s).
As I mentioned, but others seem to forget, if your kids are still young and energetic, please hold off on adding fish. There are multiple alternative options to feed the plants that won’t end up harming fish or causing kids to freak out if “Nemo” is found dead after a rambunctious pool party. You haven’t said if they are younger or in their teens. I would consider talking to the kids if they are all 12+, responsible ( or as responsible as kids that age can be) and if they enjoy fish/ nature. If they are, discussing the options of fish and what that limits/ the repricusions of what might happen , are things you as a parent and they as developing individuals should cover prior to getting any fish. In nature, fish can flee far away from loud noises, and the natural dirt/ mud banks absorb sound waves better than concrete and tile. In a pool, the jumping and splashing could frighten fish to a point that they refuse to come out of their chosen hiding spot, or even end up dead.
 
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One other thing to think about is if you plan on swimming in it bugs like toe biters will be there as well. If ducks come to your pond i wouldn't even step foot in it, they carry a parasite that gives you a bad rash.
 
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POPPY COCK . What do you think you do every time you step in a pond or any fresh water body of water ? Its far healthier to take a swim in a well balanced pond LOADED with Bacteria then to take a dip in a pool of chemicals that are designed to kill living organisms.
 
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Please do post pictures of the pool area, and we will have a better idea of where / how you can work a bog in. I personally prefer external bog that waterfalls back in; this will not take up any of your swim area, will create a lovely water feature, and allows you to not need to drain the pool in order to build it.
Start by measuring your pool. If it’s say 15 ft by 10 ft, ( length and width), you’ll try for a bog that is 1/3 that total number. 15x10=150/3=50 square feet of bog. That could be a 5ft wide bog along the deep end of the pool, or it could even be built like 2ft wide planter boxes along most of the pool with areas to allow folks in and out along the shallow end and common entrance/ exit points. I like that idea, but only if you have enough outlets and space for each section to have its own pump. I’m not savvy enough to be able to think on how to run plumbing to make it work for all the sections to be on just one pump.
You say your pool is around 20,000 gallons. Can you find out what your pool pump moved per hour? And possibly keep using that pump, for water circulation, just add one or two dedicated pumps for the bog(s).
As I mentioned, but others seem to forget, if your kids are still young and energetic, please hold off on adding fish. There are multiple alternative options to feed the plants that won’t end up harming fish or causing kids to freak out if “Nemo” is found dead after a rambunctious pool party. You haven’t said if they are younger or in their teens. I would consider talking to the kids if they are all 12+, responsible ( or as responsible as kids that age can be) and if they enjoy fish/ nature. If they are, discussing the options of fish and what that limits/ the repricusions of what might happen , are things you as a parent and they as developing individuals should cover prior to getting any fish. In nature, fish can flee far away from loud noises, and the natural dirt/ mud banks absorb sound waves better than concrete and tile. In a pool, the jumping and splashing could frighten fish to a point that they refuse to come out of their chosen hiding spot, or even end up dead.
Thanks to everyone who is trying to help me here! Really appreciate it.

The pool is under full sun (>8 hours in summer and it's pretty hot here!). I am attaching the picture of the pool area below:
IMG_9979.JPG

The shallow end has only ~5 inches maybe, then it goes from 4 ft to 6ft. Below is the approximate measurement:
pool.jpg

I am thinking of either to do a partition bog in the pool, or do a raised bog on the shallow end. Which one would require less work? Please let me know any suggestions.

The pump we currently have is Sta-rite intellipro variable speed pump. I read that the pool pump is not good for pool as it hurts plants and fish? Otherwise I am fine with keeping the pool pump and just adding extra pond pump for the bog.

My kids are still young (5 and 8). They do not jump, but is the splash/kicking from swimming too loud and big already? Honestly fish is something I haven't thought about much yet, as I'm still thinking about how to clean up the water (all the dirty green with lots of particles) and where/how to build the bog.
 
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................................................ O M G..............................................................
 
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What a nice pool @sherry and I would definitely want to keep it for swimming!
Thank you! I want to keep it for swimming too, but I really hate to add chemicals to the pool or smell the chlorine. We have quite some health issues and I don't want to add more toxin load to our body.
 
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i DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR BUDGET IS OR HOW FAR YOU WANT TO TAKE THIS BBBBBBUUUTTTTTTT..... you have a backyard made for a natural swim pond and bog .........
the old jucuzzi is your bog but i would put a liner in it build up some boulders at the face of the jacuzzi and have the water fall into the pool or make a couple drops into the pool but do not make the falls straight on to each other to the eye have one turned a little left the other to the right . and that magnificent little hill a stream coming down that omg i would love to have that as my canvas to create my next pond..........
omg.jpg
my net pond
 
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I am sorry... did I do anything wrong?
not at alll im drulling over your raw pallet to build a incredible backyard for what you would spend the return could be incredible
 
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i DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR BUDGET IS OR HOW FAR YOU WANT TO TAKE THIS BBBBBBUUUTTTTTTT..... you have a backyard made for a natural swim pond and bog .........
the old jucuzzi is your bog but i would put a liner in it build up some boulders at the face of the jacuzzi and have the water fall into the pool or make a couple drops into the pool but do not make the falls straight on to each other to the eye have one turned a little left the other to the right . and that magnificent little hill a stream coming down that omg i would love to have that as my canvas to create my next pond.......... my net pond
I see what you are talking about... It's not a jucuzzi; it was a concrete platform for gazebo (we took down the gazebo). It's big and has quite some distance from the pool. The picture you drew looks very beautiful, but seems to require lots of work, and I don't have that much budget... Any other easier way of having a smaller pond/bog?
 
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Here's a link to my add-on bog build. Maybe it will help you.
Mine is based on and inspired by addy's extensive bog showcase.
It's surface area is a little over 30% of the pond's surface area. It keeps my overpopulated pond crystal clear. Those fish just keep multiplying!

 
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Ok .. if the gazebo base is set back thats ok You should have at least 28" from the pool decking to the gazebo base and it looks like another 12" from the pool deck to the water level at the end of the pool . You have alot to work with and for a lot less effort and cost then some , LIKE ME as i had to build up my area 6 feet just to get a foot or drop. You can use that area as one of your walls if it was built securely. If it's not real strong then i would just build the raised bog between the pool and the gazebo base. I' d even add a layer or two of 4X4 above the gazebo for extra height fort filtration and additional height for over flow prevention as well as more of a drop into the pool. Building a wooden box / raised bog is a lot cheaper then it is hauling in boulders and buying rocks. how far back in the gazebo base? 8 feet? the little stream on the left can be easier and cheaper to build then you may think as theres no deep digging involved and your just diverting water where you want it to go mother nature will do the rest. your not holding back any weight of water and the rocks needed to hide the rubber can be thin turned so they look like larger boulders . but were placed by hand with little effort.
 
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