Hi NJ transplant (one of many, I'm sure) from West Orange to PA Poconos.


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I built a koi pond at (what I thought was to be my last home) my home in West Orange, and was loving it. My wife and I figured out how to get me retired and still have an affordable home we could enjoy and be proud of. Well obviously the pond remained in NJ and we are here in the Poconos now. No regrets! Well maybe one, we miss the pond. We bought a fixer-upper and and I am finally getting to the landscaping. We have bears here and I don't want to attract them with koi. I had enough headaches with herons in NJ. I don't want to argue with the bears. They don't just leave they, "argue" back! We have lots of other native wild life here; frogs, salamanders and the usual suburban dwellers birds, chipmunks, squirrels' and raccoons etc..

I'm thinking of focusing on waterfalls, a small one out front and a larger one in the backyard. Maybe with shallow pools (2-3") at the base of each. I have been looking at the equipment available, and slowly making purchases for the first project in the spring. I want to work on curb appeal, so I'll work on the gardens out front and the smaller waterfall next. So far I have 15 milk crates for the water vault (instead of Aqua blocs), and a pump (Jebao DCP-8000 used) on the way. I'm also thinking of a Pondmaster Pro3000 spillway, and a Tetra skimmer. I'm figuring the little bit of filtering from the skimmer should be enough, since there will be no bio load from fish and plenty of water flow, aeration and plants. I'm having fun finding the least expensive equipment and adapting it to my application. I have lots of time available and take pride in making well working finished projects at a low cost. Of course that leaves me with some extra bucks to spend when I really want the best.

If anyone notices any problem in my thinking or equipment choices jump in. I'd like to think I'm always right but life has killed that dream. :)
 
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I would save your money on both the spill way and the skimmer.
The spill way can easily be replaced with a simple little pool where you're water enters at the bottom very much like a bog. You can have it t off with larger holes let the water flow and place some larger stones like 3/4 or 1 and 2" this will difuse the water and you can make it over flow as wide as split up as you would like. I personally love when there's a main cascade and a smaller trickle off to the dude that makes its way back to the main flow maybe after filling a small wetland area off to the side..
And the skimmer I would look at either a negative edge or a intake bay they both do the same job as a skimmer and if you do add fish down the road they are both more fish friendly . And where skimmers can run 500 bucks plus a cover rock the intake bay can be very cheap to build and the negative takes a bit more thinking.
 
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I would save your money on both the spill way and the skimmer.
The spill way can easily be replaced with a simple little pool where you're water enters at the bottom very much like a bog. You can have it t off with larger holes let the water flow and place some larger stones like 3/4 or 1 and 2" this will difuse the water and you can make it over flow as wide as split up as you would like. I personally love when there's a main cascade and a smaller trickle off to the dude that makes its way back to the main flow maybe after filling a small wetland area off to the side..
And the skimmer I would look at either a negative edge or a intake bay they both do the same job as a skimmer and if you do add fish down the road they are both more fish friendly . And where skimmers can run 500 bucks plus a cover rock the intake bay can be very cheap to build and the negative takes a bit more thinking.
Thanks for the ideas. I mulled both of them over already. Pretty sure about the fish. Not interested in getting up close and friendly with the bears. The pieces of equipment I've chosen so far are very inexpensive. I want the spillway (about $30) for its structure. I'm building on top of a large rock pile and eventually might also want additional filtering that it will accept. The skimmer seems easier to clean out than the intake bay, just remove the basket and shake (about $50). I'm also thinking I may add a fill valve and float at some point inside the skimmer.

Thanks for the thoughts GBBUDD. It forces me to check my thinking.
 

addy1

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Welcome to our forum!
 
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Welcome neighbor!
We're in Mount Pocono and we have our share of bear too.
I guess we've been lucky though... Bears have never disturbed our pond and we have a lot of fish in there. Some huge koi, shubunkin, various goldfish and even some hybrids. They just keep multiplying!
I think I've personally been closer to a bear than my fish!
 
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Welcome to the GPF @Bob Crifasi ! I love your waterfall idea. My suggestion would be to build your basin as large as possible - the more water it holds, the less likely you'll have to do frequent fill ups. Plus you will capture and store rainwater, so free fill ups to boot!

The spillway makes sense and you're right - they aren't expensive and are easy to use. The skimmer is less obvious to my mind - you'd need a pool at least as deep as your skimmer to make it work, right? (No skimmer on my pond so I'm just going off what I've seen.) Why not just build it "pondless" and skim any debris off the top with a net, rake, or even just a quick swoop with your hands? You aren't concerned about mechanical filtration in this case so just let the gravel catch the big debris. A skimmer also requires regular maintenance - if it gets overfilled with debris at any point you risk running your pump dry. You can create a pooling effect with some liner under the gravel, if that's the look you're after.

Just some thoughts!
 
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Welcome to the GPF @Bob Crifasi ! I love your waterfall idea. My suggestion would be to build your basin as large as possible - the more water it holds, the less likely you'll have to do frequent fill ups. Plus you will capture and store rainwater, so free fill ups to boot!

The spillway makes sense and you're right - they aren't expensive and are easy to use. The skimmer is less obvious to my mind - you'd need a pool at least as deep as your skimmer to make it work, right? (No skimmer on my pond so I'm just going off what I've seen.) Why not just build it "pondless" and skim any debris off the top with a net, rake, or even just a quick swoop with your hands? You aren't concerned about mechanical filtration in this case so just let the gravel catch the big debris. A skimmer also requires regular maintenance - if it gets overfilled with debris at any point you risk running your pump dry. You can create a pooling effect with some liner under the gravel, if that's the look you're after.

Just some thoughts!
Lisak1, I think I have most of what you are suggesting covered. The milk crates would build up an "underground" vault to contain that body of rain water you mentioned. I was even thinking of maximizing that with a collection system from the house rain gutters eventually to top up the pond and water the garden. The top of the inverted milk crates would be covered by a layer of stones and gravel leaving just 2 or 3 inches of exposed water above. Across from the final drop to the water surface would be the skimmer. That way the water flowing from the falls would tend to push any debris toward the skimmer. If the skimmer does clog with debris the water would still be able to filter down through the stones and gravel to the vault ensuring that the pump never runs dry.

Thanks to your suggestions and explaining my plan to you, I just realized a big flaw in it. The out put from the pump will go to the spillway, no problem there. But the intake will come directly from the skimmer. If that clogs there is (so far) no alternate way to draw water from the vault! That would indeed lead to a motor burnout. So I need to contrive some sort of relief gate to react to a drop in flow from the skimmer and allow water to flow from the vault to the motor. This is exactly why I wanted to talk to others about these ideas. Thank you for the dialogue!
 

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welcome and from nJ but still own my parents house outside of berwick PA I was born there but retire to VA .Taxes alot cheaper here 1 thousand for just over 3 acres and not ver big heating bills or insurance bills .I know my sister owned an A frame in the poconos and I visited several times and bears were the bigger problem .One even broke the window out in my car ,no food in it ,I know better but I guess it did not matter to them .I did a pond and now wish as I age I had done pondless with just a small splash type pool .At least you know what will work best for you .I was stupid
 
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I still think you'll be less than thrilled with the skimmer in this application. Think of it this way - what will cause the water to move to the skimmer when it can just flow down through the gravel? Water will take the path of least resistance, and gravity will guarantee that is down through the gravel.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the plan - is there a pond involved here, too?
 
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My suggestion would be to build your basin as large as possible - the more water it holds, the less likely you'll have to do frequent fill ups. Plus you will capture and store rainwater, so free fill ups to boot!
AGREED and my problem is i thought 2500 gallons would be more then enough but honestly i wish i had made it twice the size at a minimum but it does get very pricey
I purchased the Helix skimmer and i loved it they have the traditional pool basket within the skimmer. great to pull up and give a quick rinse but they do clog quick. At least it does in my yard with all the trees and plants i have in the pond area. And they also have a three basket deep skimmer basket for the fall again it works great but i needed more i travel a lot and needed to have a design where i didn't have to worry about clogging. The helix is basically good for a week at a maximum particularly in the fall. i know use a negative edge that drops into a pool. The leaves and debris fall into the area where i keep branches in there looks very natural and the leaves etc get hung up and what does get past that fall over another edge where i made a basket of sorts where the Non woven fabric is the basket and it catches what falls and it as it fills then flows through the large rocks like a pondless so there's catch number three. I have left the pond for 2 months and didn't have any issues. Is it to say there's no scenario that it will be able to handle . nope. but even in the fall this year all was well and i have two very large maples over the pond and an Acoussa tree.
 
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I still think you'll be less than thrilled with the skimmer in this application. Think of it this way - what will cause the water to move to the skimmer when it can just flow down through the gravel? Water will take the path of least resistance, and gravity will guarantee that is down through the gravel.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the plan - is there a pond involved here, too?
One thing i had considered was to place a medium fine mesh net under the pondless area for a catch but place it under the top layer of rock. so when you do they removal of the large stuff everey so often when the finer stuff gets through the rock you just pick out a few larger rocks say 2" and then remove the screen and rinse if off. Now i would not place the screen across the whole pondless area but only half so if it does start to clog it can over flow to the rest of the pondless area.
 

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Window screening can be used to filter out fine stuff and little bird legs and frog legs do not get caught in it .That is why I use it over my pond it shades the water a little but does not harm any little critters .
 
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Welcome neighbor!
We're in Mount Pocono and we have our share of bear too.
I guess we've been lucky though... Bears have never disturbed our pond and we have a lot of fish in there. Some huge koi, shubunkin, various goldfish and even some hybrids. They just keep multiplying!
I think I've personally been closer to a bear than my fish!
The bear is constantly crossing my property. He seems to be more interested in my neighbors garbage than anything I have so far. I loved my koi pond but I would rather not give Yogi a reason to start investigating my yard. Just building a water feature seems like taking my chances to some extent, but water is available enough around here I think it's a limited risk.
 
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sissy

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Went is therre a bridge there because I know we went into dingmans ferry area .They owned a chalet type A frame back in the 70's because they bought it around the time my son was born in 1974
 

addy1

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Wow TEN ponds! Nope don't expect to go there! I have other hobbies and a wife. My property size is also on the small side. LOL
lol it is 11 now, from big to small. My hubby was working and he bought me a tractor with a back hoe and bucket, got to do something with it. He wants me to build another and I sort of said NO got enough to take care of. He wanted me to build a just lily pond. But with our slope it is a pita to build ponds.
 
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Thanks for the welcome JRS
I still think you'll be less than thrilled with the skimmer in this application. Think of it this way - what will cause the water to move to the skimmer when it can just flow down through the gravel? Water will take the path of least resistance, and gravity will guarantee that is down through the gravel.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the plan - is there a pond involved here, too?
Lisak1, Yes there would be both an intake bay or shallow pool and a skimmer at the far edge of it. The skimmer being enclosed would be a problem when clogged with debris, being the only intake for the pump. Your questions forced me to recognize that point. Thank you. The water would filter down through the rocks and gravel in the shallow pool into the vault below. But the water in the vault would not have been available to the closed intake system from the skimmer to the pump. I browsed the internet for a flow control box that I envisioned after reading your question. I didn't find anything. I'm sure one must exist, this seems like it must be a fairly common problem. I took some time and designed something that seems practical to build, inexpensive and might actually work. I've been sketching my ideas on the laptop I'll try to post them. If I succeed let me know if it makes sense.
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