Do I need bottom drains?

Discussion in 'Pond Construction & Equipment' started by Gemma, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Gemma

    Gemma

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    I would like my next pond to be set up much like my current one, with the waterfall spilling in a section with plants only, and then onto a main pond where the fish will be
    I plan on purchasing a pond vacuum, that allows to either waste or return the water to the pond after filtration, and use it once a month, do I still need the bottom drains if I periodically vacuum the bottom?
    I don't have a bottom drain in my pond and other than a handful of leaves I really don't get much debris, still I wanted to add 2 bottom drains when it was renovated, because they are recommended by many pond experts but the contractor talked us out of it, told us they get clogged, trap baby fish, leak and so on
     
    Gemma, Oct 12, 2017
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  2. Gemma

    Angel

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    Most likely doesn't know how to install them. Sediment tank between bd. And filter should prevent that espicaly the fish part.
     
    Angel, Oct 12, 2017
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  3. Gemma

    budgenator

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    Nope, you don't need a bottom drain, but it saves you a lot of work.
     
    budgenator, Oct 12, 2017
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  4. Gemma

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    Haven't had bottom drains on any of my ponds. Never wished I had them after the fact.
    I use a net to get anything off the bottom like leaves. Just net it once a year or so.
     
    addy1, Oct 12, 2017
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  5. Gemma

    Gemma

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    No bottom drains then! I'm glad that's settled!
     
    Gemma, Oct 13, 2017
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  6. Gemma

    Mucky_Waters

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    I'd had a pond with and without,,,, I prefer with. (y)
     
    Mucky_Waters, Oct 13, 2017
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  7. Gemma

    bagsmom

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    I don't have a bottom drain in the bottom of the pond floor. But what I DO have and like VERY much is a drain at the bottom of my waterfall filter. Will you have a waterfall filter? A waterfall with a large reservoir? It fills up and spills over the top, with muck and gunk settling down at the bottom. There is a hole at the lower back with a heavy pipe leading out well away from the pond and into my garden. All buried within the waterfall hill. I have a little pull "gate valve" that I just walk over to periodically and open. I hear a satisfying glug glug noise and then a rush of water in the near distance. There is a short burst of STANK as the crud flows out into the garden. I let it run - usually for a count of 10 or 15. Sometimes I turn off the pump prior to opening the valve and I just let the waterfall filter empty completely. This is a wonderful, efficient, and very easy way to do small water changes. I love the way it works and makes for very simple maintenance.
     
    bagsmom, Oct 13, 2017
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  8. Gemma

    Gemma

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    I don't have that in my existing pond, I've had it for 15yrs, I don't think they made waterfalls like that 15yrs ago, but I might have it in my new pond
     
    Gemma, Oct 13, 2017
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  9. Gemma

    audioenvy

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    If you are going to have koi in the pond that are going to be fed enough to grow large and you are going through the effort and expense of building a new pond, you should definitely install bottom drain(s). If it's more of a water garden or you are going to only keep small fish then it's probably not necessary.

    If the contractor can't figure out how to install them, get a different contractor. I installed my two BDs by myself having never done it before. YouTube has plenty of great videos on how to do it.
     
    audioenvy, Oct 13, 2017
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  10. Gemma

    Gemma

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    How do one figure how many to put in:, by square footage or by volume?
     
    Gemma, Oct 14, 2017
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  11. Gemma

    audioenvy

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    Generally I think it's square footage. My pond is roughly 10x14 and I have two 3" bottom drains. If it had been a little smaller I would have gone with one 4" BD.
     
    audioenvy, Oct 14, 2017
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  12. Gemma

    Gemma

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    Can you please tell me more about your BDs?
    Where does the water go once it goes through the BD? Do they clog? Trap fish?
     
    Gemma, Oct 14, 2017
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  13. Gemma

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    Gemma
    I have no koi, shubunkins only, they don't grow as large as koi. I have never had koi, in any pond.
     
    addy1, Oct 14, 2017
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  14. Gemma

    DrCase Moderator Moderator

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    I have 4 ponds 2 have bottom drains & skimmers . The other 2 have skimmers only .

    The water looks the same in all the ponds when I look at them .

    What I like about the bottom drain ponds . I can collect a coffee can full or more of muck every day , and take it out of the water column instead of letting it settle on the bottom of the pond it never stops pulling it out.
     
    DrCase, Oct 14, 2017
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  15. Gemma

    Lisak1

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    We have a garden pond with koi - 4000 gallons, 8 good sized koi plus multitudes of goldfish - and no bottom drains. We've never felt the need to have them.
     
    Lisak1, Oct 14, 2017
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  16. Gemma

    audioenvy

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    I have Koi Toilet bottom drains with the built-in aerators. There are lots of other options. If you get one 4" drain I would recommend something like the Rhino II because of the integrated check valve for the air.

    There are various ways to plumb the bottom drain but something like the bottom drain to a Nexus 320 or an Eazy Pod Complete with the pump AFTER that is a fairly complete filtration solution. The water is pulled through the filter by the pump and is then pushed up to the waterfall. Other people use a settlement tank but I don't have personal experience with that so I cannot weigh in on that.

    My drains have a 3/4" gap meaning only something that small would be able to get sucked up the drain. I have no fish small enough for that to be a concern. As for clogging, it's pretty hard to clog a 4" pipe. I'm assuming you would also have a skimmer to catch leaves or other surface debris and you'd have things situated to prevent rocks and/or gravel from falling into the water.

    There are videos on YouTube showing the installation. My favorite is the pond construction series from The Pond Digger. It has step-by-step instructions for the bottom drains as well as just about every other aspect of building a liner pond.

    This is a garden pond forum so under no circumstances am I "judging" anyone who doesn't have a bottom drain or who has gone years without needing one. If you are planning on, say, 10 total pounds of Koi in a 4000 gallon pond then you're really not talking about a lot of waste. But if you have 50+ pounds of Koi in that same space it's a different challenge altogether. The koi poop has to go somewhere and having it settle on the bottom having to be manually vacuumed out is a maintenance challenge. I say this as one who did that every other day for a year. If you are starting a new pond rather than working with an existing pond, now is the time to install a bottom drain if you're ever going to have one.
     
    audioenvy, Oct 14, 2017
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  17. Gemma

    Gemma

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    I'm trying to figure out the plumbing and number of pumps necessary if I do BDs and skimmer
     
    Gemma, Oct 14, 2017
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  18. Gemma

    audioenvy

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    I have an inexpensive submersible pump in the bottom of my skimmer that feeds into a Little Giant bead filter and then back to the pond via return jets in the walls. This helps move water around at the bottom of the pond so that stuff migrates more quickly to the bottom drains.

    I have a separate circuit for the bottom drains. Separate 3" pipes all the way up to the filtration station where I will have (waiting on some remaining parts to complete this) a sieve followed by an external pump that then feeds into UV and a combination rotating drum filter / bakki-style shower. That outputs to a 4" pipe that gravity feeds the waterfall. I don't believe you need all this stuff for a hybrid pond but you do need mechanical filtration and bio filtration. Something like the Eazy Pod or the Nexus is sort of an all-in-one for that while still being easier to service than a homemade filter. You could certainly save a lot of money make a sand-and-gravel mechanical filter and build your own shower filter but I wasn't confident I could make something that was both easy to service and also fault tolerant (meaning no overflow if too much debris collects).
     
    audioenvy, Oct 14, 2017
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  19. Gemma

    Tombstone

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    You can add a bottom drain, external.
    I wished I would have installed one but I will put a external 2 inch copper pipe with a filter at the bottom.
    Cleaner pond if you can draw off the bottom.
     
    Tombstone, Dec 7, 2017 at 2:43 PM
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  20. Gemma

    Gemma

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    Thank you for your input, everyone..... I actually decided against installing a bottom drain!
    There are no trees where the, pond will be built, I don't plan on keeping a lot of koi nor feeding to speed up growth, so I think I'm just going to have the same simple filtration that the other pond has, and vacuum up the bottom if it ever need to be
     
    Gemma, Dec 7, 2017 at 4:52 PM
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