Is it Okay to NOT have a Bottom Drain??

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Hey y'all. I'm sure this has come up before, but I want some good, fresh perspective. We are moving, and have pond build quotes from 2 different pond contractors (based on timing, size, and some other factors, we are simply not willing to DIY this time). I fully expected both to quote for bottom drain, as I feel that is the standard for koi ponds. One contractor seemed more knowledgeable and more confident than the other, but says they don't do bottom drain, because they notoriously end up leaking or failing. Does anyone else agree with this, or have an experience they would share?

They have proposed a skimmer, and a great 8000 gph filter system with 120w in-line UV, and vinturi returns. I feel good about all of that, but... where does the solid fish waste go? I can add barley enzymes, but is that enough?

Pond will be approximately 4850 gallons. Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks!!
 
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Are you going to keep koi, rather than goldfish? I can share my experience with goldfish, but I know koi care has different concerns.
 
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Are you going to keep koi, rather than goldfish? I can share my experience with goldfish, but I know koi care has different concerns.
I am moving my existing fish: 12 koi, 1 large shubunkin goldfish. Thanks.
 

sissy

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They may not be doing their bottom drains correctly .But could it be where you are moving too ,. Maybe sandy soil are earthquakes or some other reason bottom drains leak for them .Even a high water table or heavy rains can shift bottom drains .I don't have one and don't have a skimmer .Do they give you a reason they fill the leak
 
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They may not be doing their bottom drains correctly .But could it be where you are moving too ,. Maybe sandy soil are earthquakes or some other reason bottom drains leak for them .Even a high water table or heavy rains can shift bottom drains .I don't have one and don't have a skimmer .Do they give you a reason they fill the leak
We definitely have a lot of rain. So, you have no bottom drain/no skimmer... what is your general cleaning method? Currently we vacuum weekly through the summer months, but it is a pain.
 
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We have no bottom drain in a 4000 gallon system with 10 big koi. We have a rock and gravel eco-system pond with lots of plants. NEVER see solid waste. Ever. The bacteria and other tiny organisms that inhabit the pond do their part to break it down and keep things clean. The plants take up the resulting nutrients. Good circulation is important to keep things moving as is a skimmer to make sure you don't have other organic waste falling into the pond and sinking to the bottom, but you can certainly have a koi pond with no bottom drain.
 
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I only have the goldfish - but I have a decent little "herd" for my size of pond. I have lots of plants to help with excess nutrients from fish poo. I rarely feed them. They eat bugs and algae and keep the pond quite clean. My pond is also an eco-style pond, which means I'm ok with a nice biofilm on the rocks and I'm not striving for a pristine pond. I have a skimmer and a bio-falls. Both the skimmer and the falls have matala pads for filtration. My waterfall receptacle is very large -- like a big industrial sized trash can. We have attached an outflow drain hose to the bottom of this receptacle. Every so often, I'll turn off the pump and do some general maintenance, allowing the gunk and crud to sink to the bottom. Then I open the gate valve and let all the icky water flow out into the garden. The plants love it! If the water level wasn't high to start with, I'll usually top it off after -- by about an inch. It is really easy maintenance. But again -- I have heard koi make more waste and you might have higher standards for what you want in terms of pond "cleanliness." My pond is just 2 years old. But so far, I'm doing good without the bottom drain. Good luck!
 
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We have no bottom drain in a 4000 gallon system with 10 big koi. We have a rock and gravel eco-system pond with lots of plants. NEVER see solid waste. Ever. The bacteria and other tiny organisms that inhabit the pond do their part to break it down and keep things clean. The plants take up the resulting nutrients. Good circulation is important to keep things moving as is a skimmer to make sure you don't have other organic waste falling into the pond and sinking to the bottom, but you can certainly have a koi pond with no bottom drain.
That's good to hear--thank you!
 

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We have 2 raised ponds totalling over 9000 gallons. No bottom drains, no skimmer. Savio filters, stock tank and barrel filters. I just open up the bottom drains on the filters every couple of weeks and if need be, hose down media with extra 1000th pump to clean things up. One pond has waterliles and a bog, other has widow box bogs.
 
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C-Note, Since I've seen your pond and would not describe it as a "garden pond" and knowing your strong interest in koi, I'd say to think seriously about the bottom drain. I don't think when they're properly installed they frequently fail....just as those in swimming pools do not routinely fail.

If you're vision for your pond has changed and you want lots of plants, consider a bog....they are beautiful and do a good job of filtration.
 
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I've had a bottom drain in my self-buit pool for thirty-odd years. Installed properly they don't leak. For someone to suggest they do, is nonesense. The bottom drain and the four inch pipe that connects to it should be encased in waterproofed concrete. What can leak, is that if it's a liner pool, then the seal between the liner and the flange of the drain can fail, if it's a cheap bottom drain. Some look very flimsy.

I consider a bottom drain in a Koi pool essential. They can produce a huge amount of waste during the warm weather. Without a bottom drain you're just going to build up problems for yourself.
There wouldn't be a market for "retro-fit bottom drains," if those people who failed to install a bottom drain in the first place don't start to regret not having one in the first place.

Koi keeping is for the long term. The memory of the cost and inconvenience of "getting it right in the first place" fades in a relatively short space of time.

Sorry it's not a good picture but it will stand enlarging.

Look how substantial was the kit for my pool, bottom drain and connectors for a pump sump. By contrast the normal terrain 4" pipe and bend look quite flimsy. The collar on the bottom drain that traps the liner is secured by sturdy nuts and bolts.

09_02_19.JPEG
 
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C-Note, Since I've seen your pond and would not describe it as a "garden pond" and knowing your strong interest in koi
That's the most important point right there - what kind of pond you plan to have.
 
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C-Note, Since I've seen your pond and would not describe it as a "garden pond" and knowing your strong interest in koi, I'd say to think seriously about the bottom drain. I don't think when they're properly installed they frequently fail....just as those in swimming pools do not routinely fail.

If you're vision for your pond has changed and you want lots of plants, consider a bog....they are beautiful and do a good job of filtration.
Thank you! I think we want to stick with the clean/modern look. It's rough that we can't find a balance between a contractor we trust, and the construction we want. There's hardly anyone in the area we are moving to.
 
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I've had a bottom drain in my self-buit pool for thirty-odd years. Installed properly they don't leak. For someone to suggest they do, is nonesense. The bottom drain and the four inch pipe that connects to it should be encased in waterproofed concrete. What can leak, is that if it's a liner pool, then the seal between the liner and the flange of the drain can fail, if it's a cheap bottom drain. Some look very flimsy.

I consider a bottom drain in a Koi pool essential. They can produce a huge amount of waste during the warm weather. Without a bottom drain you're just going to build up problems for yourself.
There wouldn't be a market for "retro-fit bottom drains," if those people who failed to install a bottom drain in the first place don't start to regret not having one in the first place.

Koi keeping is for the long term. The memory of the cost and inconvenience of "getting it right in the first place" fades in a relatively short space of time.

Sorry it's not a good picture but it will stand enlarging.

Look how substantial was the kit for my pool, bottom drain and connectors for a pump sump. By contrast the normal terrain 4" pipe and bend look quite flimsy. The collar on the bottom drain that traps the liner is secured by sturdy nuts and bolts.

View attachment 115825
Totally agree! We've had several of our koi for about 6 years now. I've regretted NOT having a bottom drain in the past. But this contractor insists it is not necessary, which I found confusing. Thank you!
 
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Okay, it seems like I do need to go with a bottom drain, because I do not intend to have substrate or many plants. I'm certainly not going to have a bog set up. I guess we may have to go with the other contractor, but they were really sketchy with us on the initial quote (it seemed to rise as they changed their perception about what we might be able to afford, which is total crap!).

Thank you for all the input!
 
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Are you familiar with Eric Triplett, The Pond Digger? He has tons of videos on You Tube and is sort of a pond builder's guru. I know in many of his videos, he says you can call his company and they will recommend contractors in different regions. It seems like the different contractors who attend his professional education seminars and such are pretty passionate about doing things right. Just in case you were interested -- that might be a resource.
 
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Okay, it seems like I do need to go with a bottom drain, because I do not intend to have substrate or many plants. I'm certainly not going to have a bog set up. I guess we may have to go with the other contractor, but they were really sketchy with us on the initial quote (it seemed to rise as they changed their perception about what we might be able to afford, which is total crap!).

Thank you for all the input!

For a kick off, plants and koi don't mix, they'll eat any the can get at down to the roots.

A koi pool unless you have a really sophisticated filter system needs to be at least 2000 galls, to have a chance of maintaining acceptable water parameters, without a lot of flctuctuations. Koi don't like changes of anything in their environment.

In any event it needs to be at least 4ft deep.

For all things koi check this message board out. Lot's of good advice available there.

http://www.koiforum.uk/index.php
 

sissy

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I have large koi over 2 feet long and 2 filters 2 pumps and a laguna aerator with 12 air stones with a air stone in each filter .I use a pool net maybe once a month if I have time and I only feed my fish 2 or 3 times a week .The fish clean their home because of less feeding I have less work to do on the pond .I have 3 acres I take care of myself so no real time for the fish except to watch them while I have a cup of coffee .My visitors loved my pond and fish that fled the flooding in NC
 
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