Intake screen before pump box?

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We just spent the spring overhauling our existing pond and adding on.

Previously, we had one pond ~3500 gallons with an accompany bog. We had a submersible pump in the pond, we pumped water up through the bog with a gravity/waterfall feed back into the pond. This pond was just under 2 years old. Never had a problem with water quality/clarity, but had a problem with the bog and the pump. We had river rock of varying sizes covering the pvc under the bog, and the lilies planted in the bog combined with the gunk coming from the pond eventually clogged the holes in the pvc and burned out a few pumps. We tore out all the rock in the bog, cleaned everything out and just lined the edges this time, and put plants in baskets as a trial for this summer. (Downside - removed all biological history we had going!)

So then we added 2 ponds and a stream. The new top pond flows into the second new pond, which goes down a waterfall and into a short 8' stream that flows into the original pond. Bottom drain on the original pond now goes into a 100gal settlement chamber (round sump chamber, gravity feed through two inlets, one near the bottom and one close to the top/pond level), which feeds into a second identical pump chamber for the submersible pump. Right now there is nothing in the pump chamber other than the pump and water. The pump pushes the water back up to the top pond.

My problem is with mechanical filtration. Right now I just have a roll of quilt batting in the bottom to try to help combat the huge pollen issue I'm having.

The outlet is a shower drain about 2/3 of the way up. If I leave the grate on I am currently cleaning it twice a day because it keeps getting clogged and I run the danger of a dry pump. If I don't put the grate on, the pump eventually gets all clogged itself because of the larger bits going into the pump chamber (mostly algae.)

I am flushing the settlement chamber daily through a bottom drain. I need advice on two things:

1) Is there some sort of screen I can use as part of the outlet? I can't find anything that fits, or would stay there easily.

2) Filter media - I know, the age old question. I've been looking at matala mats, matala rolls and sponges in a laundry bag. But with two inlets, it seems I need to "block" both of them so there is not direct flow right into the outlet (particularly from the top one.) So, I need to block/catch the big stuff AND let enough water through.

Taking away all my bio filtration from the bog is not helping as the whole system is now establishing itself! So far water quality is fair in the top pond, great in the second pond and not so great in the original pond.

The ultimate goal would be to be able to go on a weeks vacation and not have the pump run dry because of a blockage!

Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!
 
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Thanks for giving details.

1) Is there some sort of screen I can use as part of the outlet? I can't find anything that fits, or would stay there easily.
Not really. There are rain gutter strainers that can help. Also come in plastic. Not sure these would exactly fit your drain but it should be close. I think it's easier to just make your own. The larger it is the longer it takes to clog. Use the grate screws to attach the wire.

2) Filter media - I know, the age old question. I've been looking at matala mats, matala rolls and sponges in a laundry bag. But with two inlets, it seems I need to "block" both of them so there is not direct flow right into the outlet (particularly from the top one.) So, I need to block/catch the big stuff AND let enough water through.
That is correct, you need some kind of strainer. Normally the laundry bag deal can be tied to the filter top and so that wouldn't block the drains, well at least the bottom.

The ultimate goal would be to be able to go on a weeks vacation and not have the pump run dry because of a blockage!
I hear you. I don't know your fish load but you could try an experiment. Turn off the pump and stop feeding the fish just as I assume would happen while you're away. Start measuring ammonia. Maybe ammonia stays at 0 for a few weeks. If true you could just turn off the pump before you leave. If you were concerned about O2 you could add an air pump. Pretty cheap to buy and run. Or move your pump into your pond for movement.

My two cents on settlement chambers...
What is a better settlement chamber, a 100 gal tank or 3500 gal pond? OK trick question, of course the pond. As a matter of fact stuff has to settle in the pond before it can go into the drain and on to the "settlement chamber" where it has to settle a second time when the water is hundreds of times more turbulent.

You could put a valve to flush directly on the bottom drain and remove the settlement chamber entirely. Just open the drain to flush same as you did with the chamber. Removes a lot more fine material.

Then you can place in the pump into the pond say a 12" below the water and pump to the top. Normally no need for a pre filter and the pump won't clog ever in most cases as long as there's no foam filter in the pump.

I have to stand up for bogs...
Not that it matters now...but I don't like the PVC thing on the bottom of bogs for the very reason you gave. I just let the water into the bog on top and dig out a bit at the overflow.

People seem to think they can spread the flow out with pipes...but water doesn't know what you want and just takes the easiest route. So if you looked at actual flow the water goes thru about the same amount of material in both systems. And in both cases water channels, meaning it takes little rivers thru the material. Back in the gravel filter days they call this channeling and was the primary reason these filters went away.

In the bog the little channels will clog at some point and the water will find another channel. This will continue until you start seeing water above the rock which tells you the bog is completely clogged. The PVC did the exact same thing, as holes clogged other holes were used until all were clog. Without the PVC the water would have been able to find other channels and you would have gotten a much longer life out of it.

No better settlement chamber than bogs. I like bogs, but I also like simple.
 

addy1

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I cut slits in my pvc piping, not holes, no plants can get their roots near the piping to clog up the slits with little root fibers. This is my third pond run off a bog/gravel type filter, so far I have had no issues with channeling on any of the ponds. The bogs have worked as designed keeping the ponds crystal clear.

The one bog I made in which the water entered from the top was a pita, the top of the gravel was constantly getting clogged with debris, leaves, algae etc, needed to be stirred, rinsed off to keep working. Finally tore it apart and put under the gravel piping, it worked great after that.
 
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Not really. There are rain gutter strainers that can help. Also come in plastic. Not sure these would exactly fit your drain but it should be close. I think it's easier to just make your own. The larger it is the longer it takes to clog. Use the grate screws to attach the wire.
-->Thanks - I will give that at try. The husband found something last night at Lowes that may help hold that in place.

I hear you. I don't know your fish load but you could try an experiment. Turn off the pump and stop feeding the fish just as I assume would happen while you're away. Start measuring ammonia. Maybe ammonia stays at 0 for a few weeks. If true you could just turn off the pump before you leave. If you were concerned about O2 you could add an air pump. Pretty cheap to buy and run. Or move your pump into your pond for movement.
-->I didn't even think about turning the pump off! (Sometimes it's the most obvious things!!!) I have aerators in each pond, so I may be ok on this front.

You could put a valve to flush directly on the bottom drain and remove the settlement chamber entirely. Just open the drain to flush same as you did with the chamber. Removes a lot more fine material.
-->Hmm. I may already kindof have this in place. The flush valve is fitted so that it flushes both the settlement chamber and the pond simultaneously. If I leave it open for 10 seconds or so, it gets the gunk out of the settlement chamber. If I leave it on for 30-45, I have noticed that the water clears, and then I start to get more gunk, so I'm assuming that it is flushing out the pond.

Then you can place in the pump into the pond say a 12" below the water and pump to the top. Normally no need for a pre filter and the pump won't clog ever in most cases as long as there's no foam filter in the pump.
-->I think my husband might kill me if I wanted to remove the settlement chamber at this point.(!) But, I may be able to route the pump back into the pond, after the settlement chamber. I'll have to think about this, it's a good idea.

I have to stand up for bogs...
Not that it matters now...but I don't like the PVC thing on the bottom of bogs for the very reason you gave. I just let the water into the bog on top and dig out a bit at the overflow.
-->When we put it in, we were very nervous because we could see the potential for it clogging. The amount of sediment/gunk/ick we pulled out of that thing this spring was amazing. After we got all the rocks out, we swore we were not putting them back in...and I plan to stick with that.

Instead we put larger rocks around the side to support the edging keeping the dirt out and the liner, and for aesthetics. Kept the PVC, with ceiling grate over for supporting the plant baskets. Currently there are about 10 plant baskets in it, I may up that so it's filled completely. This way, it's easy to get the ShopVac down under the grate to vacuum out the muck when needed, at least until I convince my husband he's ready for another pond project and can dig out next to it and run another bottom drain under the retaining wall for a flush. The frogs seem to love it this new way, that's all that's important, right? We'll see how it goes once this new pond setup cycles.

I am hoping with the rest of the ponds and the plant areas I've incorporated including the stream, that I can mimic the bog filtration. The plants and rock did a fabulous job of keeping the pond clean.

Thank you so much for your comments and ideas. I'm getting closer, but just needed some new heads to point out the obvious!

--Samantha
 
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Thanks Addy1. I had hoped the bog worked better for me - I loved the end result. The pond is tall pine trees and near oaks with a high fish load, so that may have something to do with it. Just too much stuff to handle. I am hoping this new design will give me the benefits of the bog with an easier way to clean it as needed.

I cut slits in my pvc piping, not holes, no plants can get their roots near the piping to clog up the slits with little root fibers. This is my third pond run off a bog/gravel type filter, so far I have had no issues with channeling on any of the ponds. The bogs have worked as designed keeping the ponds crystal clear.
 
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