Do I need bottom drains?

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

  1. Gemma

    sissy sissy

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    I would not say bottom drains do not work ,I just say to some it is not worth it or the risk .I myself would never try it .Plus I like standing out there netting gunk from the bottom .It is funny to watch the fish swim into the net when I am cleaning to see if I am picking up some goodies they may want .Sure wish they would do that when I want to catch them .I have to catch at least 6 of them for a well established pond owner that decided they finally want fish after a year .Fish know the difference ,so they are smarter than we think .Plus in the next couple of years I plan on pulling the liner and back filling the area .We all have to think of the future of our ponds .They are not an asset for house sale in some areas .
     
    sissy, Dec 10, 2017
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  2. Gemma

    Mucky_Waters

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    Hey Sissy, I completely agree with you that putting in a bottom drain may not be worth it to some people, in fact, I don't see much value in small ponds or preforms where you have little muck build-up and easy access to the bottom of the pond within arms reach. And certainly, if you are only planning on setting up a temporary pond you wouldn't want to install a bottom drain, or a skimmer for that matter, and cut that hole in your liner. But for normal more permanent pond setups I fail to see any risk in installing a bottom drain beyond normal plumbing procedures like connecting two ends of a hose or pipe up to your pump or external filters, etc... It's just not that hard.

    You may really enjoy swirling a net around and netting muck out of the bottom of your pond, but for those that don't find it all that fun of a thing to do on a regular basis, that might be just the reason a person might want to install a bottom drain. ;)
     
    Mucky_Waters, Dec 10, 2017
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  3. Gemma

    Lisak1

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    I'm always curious when people say they have a lot of debris and mulm at the bottom of their pond that needs scooping - why don't I have that? I have A LOT of plants in and around my pond, but I never had more than a few leaves to scoop out of the pond bottom. Not that I'm complaining... just wondering.
     
    Lisak1, Dec 10, 2017
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  4. Gemma

    Mucky_Waters

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    I'm always curious when people say they have a lot of plants but don't have muck and mulm build up in their ponds. After all, leafy plants like lilies and parrots feather continuously die off, especially in the fall, what happens to all the dead leaves? I know that dead plant matter and algae will eventually break down and basically dissolve and turn into DOCs but that takes time, and I prefer to remove them from the water cycle before that happens.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
    Mucky_Waters, Dec 10, 2017
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  5. Gemma

    Mucky_Waters

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    The build-up of muck (dead leaves and algae) on the bottom of ponds is why so many people (even in this forum) recommend against rock-bottom ponds because it's so hard to clean out. So it must be a common problem.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
    Mucky_Waters, Dec 10, 2017
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  6. Gemma

    Tula

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    I didn't know about bottom drains when my pond was built. If I was redoing it, I'd make it bigger and have a bottom drain.

    That said, I'm content with my pond just as it is :)
     
    Tula, Dec 10, 2017
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  7. Gemma

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Yes, it is a too common problem, one that is caused by a deficit in pond design or husbandry or both.
     
    Meyer Jordan, Dec 10, 2017
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  8. Gemma

    Lisak1

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    That seems to be the case. I have a gravel bottom pond. Why don't I have build up? Just something I wonder about. If I get in and stir up the gravel there's a small amount of silt, but nothing that could be considered mulm or muck. It settles within seconds. It's definitely not something you could scoop. I do a lot of plant grooming so very little plant material ends up in the bottom. I have good movement from waterfall to skimmer - I get a good amount of plant material in the "skimmer" (actually a negative edge, but it acts as the skimmer would). From a pond construction point of view, it's pretty standard. Maybe my fish devour it all. Who knows.
     
    Lisak1, Dec 10, 2017
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  9. Gemma

    sissy sissy

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    My pond is over 5000 gallons so not so small but netting it is relaxing .I only have water lettuce in my pond and the ones hanging on the side are in window screening pockets and I trim the tops off and lettuce taken out .It is covered where lettuce is now with plastic and lettuce has not been harmed to bad by cold weather .Tomorrow I will take it all out when it is in the 50's .I have a hose from my pump on the bottom that has holes drilled in it that helps gunk get pushed to the filter .It can all come down to how much money you want to spend on building a pond also .When you have a budget you have a budget and there is always something else to spend that money on that you save in doing the pond .I would prefer to use that money for other things I enjoy doing .I would never want to push people into going over budget and then they fail and give up .
     
    sissy, Dec 10, 2017
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  10. Gemma

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    I have, a few times, decided I needed to net the bottom, but after a few scoops of nothing I quit. Mine is the same, not much settles or stays on the bottom. I am not the best at grooming the plants, but still not much on the bottom. One time I did the entire pond, got maybe 1/3 of a 5 gallon bucket of debris off the bottom. Decided it was not worth the effort. Most of the bottom you can see the naked pea gravel bottom, pea gravel that wandered in over time.
     
    addy1, Dec 10, 2017
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  11. Gemma

    Mucky_Waters

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    Well, I'm not sure what you got going on but you gals are lucky, I get plenty of stuff that settles in my settling tank, and from my last pond and the other ponds I've seen (without bottom drains) it's pretty standard to get a good layer of sediment at the bottom of the pond over time.
    Figure out your secret and let us know what you are doing differently than the rest of us.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
    Mucky_Waters, Dec 10, 2017
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  12. Gemma

    Mucky_Waters

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    What sorts of mistakes (deficits) do you feel people are making with their ponds that would lead to too much muck build up?
     
    Mucky_Waters, Dec 11, 2017
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  13. Gemma

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Unequivocally, the primary chronic cause of sediment build-up is the unrestricted, repetitive addition of fish food in amounts beyond a garden pond's capacity to process in a timely manner. Leaf litter and other wind-blown organic debris may result in temporary issues, but because they are typically seasonal there is sufficient time for the pond's bacterial population to process (oxidize) this temporary organic litter. What little remains can be collected in some form of sump for external disposal.
    For some unknown reason, most garden ponds are first constructed and then the question of how many fish can it support is raised. The proper method is to determine how many fish are desired and the pond designed and constructed based on this number. If available space or budget is lacking to accommodate this number, then this number should be reduced.
    An entire book could be written on this subject.
     
    Meyer Jordan, Dec 11, 2017
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  14. Gemma

    sissy sissy

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    I guess if you do not over feed your fish you will not have much waste .
     
    sissy, Dec 11, 2017
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  15. Gemma

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    But Meyer, methinks you're asking an unanswerable question, no? I mean, does ANYBODY really know how many fish they'll eventually want? Doesn't this happen AFTER we put too many in? I mean, I never sat by my pond and ever said 'gee, that's exactly the number of fish I needed/wanted'. No, most of the time I'm thinking 'I can probably get ONE more and be alright!' And of course, that's the thought for more than a few successive viewings, you know? Check out the Koi Addiction thread and watch Audio rationalize each additional addition. I mean, he DOES have an exit strategy but not many can buy and give away as he's (going to be) doing! Heh heh.:p

    Of course you're right, but you're putting an awful lot of personal responsibility on a person, don'tcha know?? I figure too many would split a seam just tryin'...


    Michael
     
    brokensword, Dec 11, 2017
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  16. Gemma

    Jimmy Gibson

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    Kinda like when you first get married....yeah Honey I want 2.13 kids...... and when you have 4 you have to adjust.....now some of us do go overboard (not mentioning my name) ....but when we stumble, we ask for advice, try our best to listen and act on it, adjust, learn.
     
    Jimmy Gibson, Dec 11, 2017
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  17. Gemma

    Mucky_Waters

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    That I find hard to believe.
    I would think that a pond would have major issues with ammonia levels long before the fish poop accumulation could get to any significant visible levels. Fish poop breaks down very easily and is virtually impossible to net out, sort of like trying to use a net to scoop up cigarette ash, which is why so many koi purists resort to gravity fed bottom drains systems where you stand the best chance of capturing the delicate poops without stirring them into fine dust.

    I can attest that any solid fish poops mixed in with the mulm and debris in my pond are pretty insignificant, the bulk of it is dead algae and plant matter. Especially dead algae and dead lily leaves and flowers that die off throughout the growing season. My current pond is raised and surrounded by walls, so I don't find many wind-blown leaves getting in there unless there is a significant wind storm, although in previous ponds that was an issue.

    Edit: After posting this I realized that you are probably talking about actual uneaten/undigested fish food which I guess could maintain a relatively firm consistency once it sunk to the bottom of the pond, but I still think ammonia levels would go through the roof if you had visibly accumulation levels on the bottom of the pond.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
    Mucky_Waters, Dec 11, 2017
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  18. Gemma

    Lisak1

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    That may be part of the difference - I remove all dead lily pads, faded blossoms and any other dead or dying plant matter. And the algae is handled by the fish. They are like a landscaping crew, keeping the algae clipped close to the rocks. And maybe that's because they aren't overfed - they have to work for some of their food. When people say "remove any food your fish don't eat in X amount of minutes" I'm like "huh?" We feed in small amounts at a time, making sure every morsel is gone before we toss in more. We kind of have to - the current will carry any food out and over the edge before they can eat it if we feed too much at a time. And we stop long before they are full. But once the food stops falling from the sky, the grazing starts. We say they are like the French, eating their salad after their main course!
     
    Lisak1, Dec 12, 2017
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  19. Gemma

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Change the word 'fish' to 'pond' and that is fairly accurate.
     
    Meyer Jordan, Dec 12, 2017
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  20. Gemma

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Yet, in aquaculture this is exactly the approach. The fish production facility is designed to produce a certain volume of marketable product.
     
    Meyer Jordan, Dec 12, 2017
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