New pond setup, could use some advice

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Coinr, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. Coinr

    Coinr

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    I have a 20 and a 55gal tank in the house.  This year I built a 1600 gallon koi pond for my wife and need some advice on setting things up.  I have the liner in and it's filled with water.  There is a shelf around the outer edge that varies from 1 to 2 feet and the center of the pond is 4 feet deep.  I live in Michigan, haven't bought anything else yet and would like to be ready to add fish in the spring.  I plan on buying a pump, a waterfall and a uv sterilizer (the pond is in almost full sun).  I plan on putting the filter media in the waterfall.  Also, I need some way to clean debris (mostly leaves) from the bottom of the pond.
    I'm a little confused about the pump.  It seems like the goal is to circulate all 1600 gallons of water through the filter/waterfall roughly every hour.  So what size (gph) pump do I need.  I know that with a regular sump pump that the gph decreases as you pump the water higher.

    Also, how does the water stay clean if you remove the pump and filter in the winter?  I'm assuming I will have to do this to prevent it from freezing. 

    Anyway, I'd appreciate any advice.

    Thanks,  Roger
     
    Coinr, Nov 4, 2011
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  2. Coinr

    sissy sissy

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    welcome and remember koi are more work and ,koi and goldfish have babies .With a pump also the farther you pump the water the more the gph decreases also .Cleaning the bottom I just use a swimming pool net .You could put a bird net on top of your pond to keep some leaves out Bird net at lowes is about 7 to 9 dollars
     
    sissy, Nov 5, 2011
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  3. Coinr

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    Welcome aboard, Hmmm where in the world do we begin. You have a nice start on a small koi pond, or a very nice water garden, but for now I suggest thinking what you want to accomplish, we could use details, and pics. Lots of reading here and in books. 4 feet in depth, that's good, the shelves? can it be a place for a bird to sit and attack? If so, might not be good. But if your wanting plants yes, it's about right. Now Koi with plants, big koi eat plants! Be prepared! IMO butterfly koi grow slower, don't dig as bad, and don't destroy plants as bad as standards, Goldfish don't mess with the plants hardly at all! Have you looked at some of the new varieties of gold fish, I have been looking and there are many that will compete with any Koi! Just don't get AS big.
    removing leaves, many options, a cover, netting (Also helps in predator prevention) netting them out, bottom drain, vacuuming. Bottom drains can be done but then you'll have to do even more digging for information. But those that run them HIGHLY recommend there use when keeping koi. Now for your filter question, Look at filter fall filters if you want to buy one, If your wanting to build a really good functioning filter look in the DYI section, There are several that do excellent for a fraction of the cost of buying one and far more efficient.
    Be sure and check out the showcase section in the forum, also a lot of good step by step photographs and videos to check out.
     
    fishin4cars, Nov 5, 2011
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  4. Coinr

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    During the winter just remove your pump, if you have no fish let it freeze, once you have fish run an air pump or some small pump to just keep a hole in the ice over winter. Goldfish, shubunkins do better than koi staying out all winter in the cold.

    If your pump is submersible, make sure you leave it in the pond, if it won't freeze or keep it in a bucket of water over winter.

    I just use a pool net to clean leaves etc from the bottom. I have only goldfish and shubunkins, but love the colors they have. I have been fighting a heron, my pond is deep without any shelves, but the sucker was trying hard until it turned cold. Hopefully it went south for the winter.
    Your shelves will make a good place for it to stand and fish if you have herons.

    this site might help you with pump size.

    http://www.gardensupermart.com/articles/garden-pond-pump.php
     
    addy1, Nov 5, 2011
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  5. Coinr

    Catfishnut

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    Roger,

    Read all the info from the other members here before you get too involved and start buying this or that and items that you may not need. I am not familiar with Koi, but have a good sense for native fishes. I can only give you a few tips.

    One of the first things that I would do, before you drop any fish in your pond at all, is aerate the heck out of it and pump the water all around. Do this for about two weeks if not longer if you can. You see, I am assuming that you are going to use house water to fill your pond. If that is in ayway treated with any chloramine, chlorine, flouride or other chemicals you will want to elliminate them before adding fish. Extreme aeration, lots of water flow and waterfalls will do good to gas out these chemicals from the water. This is something that I know from first hand operation.

    Secondly, do not be impatient to get started. Take your time and research filtration systems, the lifestyle of the fish you intend to put in the pond and all other items. Put it this way, "How old are you?"... Well, you have done without a fish pond for that long, you can wait a little longer so that you get it right.

    That's not exactly my own personal advice, that is something that I keep reading as I go along with my own personal research. It seems that every step along the way requires a great deal of patience. If you are going to use some sort of a bio-converter filter, take your time at building it and build it right. Then, take your time at gettng the bacteria started. I would pay much for all of this. Don't buy bacteria starter colonies or chemical treatments if you can avoid it. Most that I would do, before you place any fish in the pond, is buy some pure ammonia (without detergents or additives) and add that to your pond. This will kick start your biofilter without worrying if you are sacrificing your fish.

    If you are only going to put a few fish in at a time,you may not even have to kickstart your filter in this manner. Your tank is large enough that adding a few fish over time will go nicely.

    Gordy
     
    Catfishnut, Nov 5, 2011
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  6. Coinr

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    Oh and welcome to our site!

    [​IMG]Roger

    Agree with gordy, take your time. One mistake a lot of people do is add fish quick, before the pond cycles, the fish then die or have a lot of issues.
     
    addy1, Nov 5, 2011
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  7. Coinr

    koiguy1969 GIGGETY-GIGGETY!!

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    coinr...where at in our glorious state are you living? i'm in Macomb myself. we'd be happy to help you out with your pond questions.
     
    koiguy1969, Nov 6, 2011
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  8. Coinr

    Waterbug

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    Since the water will have sat for months I wouldn't worry about chlorine.

    I'll add to the praise of swimming pool nets to remove leaves. Specifically, leaf rakes. The shallow nets, skimmers, aren't too useful. Also Venturi vacuums work well, especially if you want to get every leaf.

    You do need to match the pump and GPH to the UV filter spec. And the UV can be sized according to the pond volume. I would let the UV drive the pump size. The pump spec will also tell you the GPH at different heads (how high it has to pump water).


    Now, for what many would consider heresy...
    The pump GPH thing is just something people like to say. My best advice is be really careful about what you hear. You have to judge for yourself, but be skeptical. All ponds are different, not everything applies to every pond the same way. I used a 900 GPH pump in a 7600 gal pond for years, but that was my pond.

    Better to understand why you would need a pump. Same reasons as you have with the indoor tanks applies to ponds. How much water flow would you need in your 55 gal tank if you had just one Tetra? Probably no water movement, no filter and that little puppy would be just fine. Well, I don't actually know that to be a fact, but you get the idea.

    If you're going to be adding 10, 20, 50 pounds of fish in the spring you do have to be ready for ammonia, cleaning, pumps, etc. If you're adding a few 4" Koi to a 1600 gal pond you don't "need" any pump or bio filter. One way people cycle bio filters, as you probably know from running tanks, is by adding a few small fish. Ammonia levels don't get high enough to hurt the fish. The large mass of water dilutes the small ammonia load enough to give the bacteria time to consume it. Just like with a tank the whole pond is a bio filter. The question should be is that bio filter (the pond) large enough for your fish load.

    Obviously, as the fish grow, if you choose to grow out the fry, if you choose to feed a lot, your fish load grows. Someday you might need more O2 or more bio filtering.

    To know if you have enough bio filtering you do exactly the same as with a tank, you test. You could have 0, 1, 2 or 20 bio filters and that may not be enough. Testing tells you. No one on the internet can tell you bio filter X will always keep your pond safe. You could guess what kind of fish load you're going to have 5, 10 years down the road and try and build filters to that standard. But you still have to test.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm pro pump and a good working bio filter is only good. But I think understanding a little of the whys is more helpful, gives you more choices.


    Now, for what many would consider utter, burn me at the stake, heresy...
    My own personal opinion of the old mat in the falls deal, or even mat things in general, is they are about as poor a filter as possible and still be called a filter. Trickle type bio filters are much more effective, cheaper, and easier to maintain.

    How a pond stays clean without a pump in winter is kind of the same question why ponds stay clean in summer without a pump. Or why ponds with pumps are often not clean. Basically because the pump has little to do with clean or not. If clean means clear...a clear pond without a UV filter will have bacteria that attack algae and kill it to eat it, and/or string algae which I believe produce chemicals that attack single cell algae. If clean means no ammonia...its because the amount of ammonia produced is being handled by just the pond being a bio filter without a pump. Ammonia can out gas too.
     
    Waterbug, Nov 6, 2011
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  9. Coinr

    taherrmann4 Tmann

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    Welcome to the forum.
     
    taherrmann4, Nov 6, 2011
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  10. Coinr

    j.w I Love my Goldies

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    [​IMG] Roger
     
    j.w, Nov 6, 2011
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  11. Coinr

    Coinr

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    Thanks for the information. It has been very helpful. Sorry for not responding before (don't know if anyone is even looking still). Things came up and the pond had to wait, but I'm ready to get back on tract. I'll post some pictures soon and update where the ponds at.

    I do have a question about pumps now though. Obviously they are expensive to run. Also, there are so many available that it makes it hard to pick one. I would rather pay more upfront for one that is energy efficient and dependable. Any thoughts?

    Thanks again
     
    Coinr, Mar 23, 2012
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  12. Coinr

    sissy sissy

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    that would depend on how much you really want to spend .I bought one at lowes and got the warranty and it is energy efficient and all my others are from harbor freight .I always buy the extra warranty and the only problem if you do not buy local is if it goes out you have to ship it somewhere to get it repaired and that means you need a back up pump .I use 2 pumps one from harbor freight and one from lowes and in my stock tank i use a harbor freight one that i have had for 6 years now .
     
    sissy, Mar 23, 2012
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  13. Coinr

    CliffandJoann

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    we have a few harbor freight 12.00 pumps that work well, also have several pumps that are in the 30.00 - 40.00 range.
    These pumps are between 250, 500, and 750 gph. I prefer several small waterfalls over big raging waterfalls.
    we ran 3 pumps (250gph) all year, 24/7 365 days...there was no noticable increase in electric...
    We also have a 900 and 1200 GPH, that we run on occassion to kick it up a notch when we have toutists
    visiting...
    good on the shelves, build them up with rocks and plants, rather than leaving them as a 'shelf'
    here is how we did our shelves.


    [​IMG]
     
    CliffandJoann, Mar 23, 2012
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  14. Coinr

    sissy sissy

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    gotta love there warranty too .I had one burn out my fault to close to the edge last year in the snow storm bitter cold and one of the koi knocked it over and it almost drained the pond luck I went out to check or fish would have frozen in afoot of water .Took it back since i paid for the warranty and they didn't ask anything just gave me a knew one .Lucky there is a store of there's in Danville .I got this one also .they sent me a half off coupon so how could i pass it up .I will put it over at the other pond .
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    00 gph one
     
    sissy, Mar 23, 2012
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  15. Coinr

    Coinr

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    I looked at pumps while at Lowe's today. I also looked a lot on line yesterday. I'm leaning towards the 2000gph pump from Lowe's. It uses 115 watts. I think that will work well with the waterfall and one spitter. I also plan on buying a uv sterilizer and a skimmer. Originally I was going try to get by without a skimmer, but I've already figured out that's a bad idea. Too many leaves in the fall and too much other junk already for the spring. I was thinking about trying to use an in pond or floating skimmer vs. One connected to the side of the pond. I'm not thrilled about cutting the liner. Any thoughts?
     
    Coinr, Mar 24, 2012
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  16. Coinr

    sissy sissy

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    remember buy the warranty on your pump ,the you never know could happen and that protects you for at least 3 years .I did not use a skimmer either same reason and really did not need one on my pond no trees close by .I did buy a skimmer for a intex swimming pool at big lots clearanced out and put it on my neighbors pond and it works good and even better if she remembered to clean it out .
     
    sissy, Mar 24, 2012
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  17. Coinr

    CliffandJoann

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    We made a little bump out and put the skimmer in the bump out, then put a dock over the skimmer.

    Our friend put in a through the wall skimmer and the weight of the water eventually pulled the liner
    around the skimmer and he got a leak..he evenutally removed the skimmer and copied our idea.
    there is a post on the dock if you care to see it, (in the garden pond section) it's both decorative and functional.
     
    CliffandJoann, Mar 25, 2012
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  18. Coinr

    sissy sissy

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    At least you don't ever have to worry about a leak doing it that way .You can always get something decorative to put over it .
     
    sissy, Mar 25, 2012
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  19. Coinr

    Coinr

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    I looked at the dock. Very nice pond and great idea. Something like this might work for me. My wife has said she would like to have a place to sit at the edge of the pond so maybe I could incorporate something like this. Maybe a little bigger? So any thoughts on what type of filter you would use for this type of install? I guess I should also point out that we have lots of trees in and around our yard. I learned last fall that I couldn't come close to keeping up with trying to get all of the leaves out myself. So when thinking about the skimmer I need something that won't clog things up quickly.

    Also, just thinking in general, when freezing temps come what keeps things like skimmers from freezing and cracking/breaking if they are installed in a manner which can't be removed. I do plan on putting a heater in the winter, but I don't think that will keep the edges from freezing.
     
    Coinr, Mar 25, 2012
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  20. Coinr

    CliffandJoann

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    Our skimmer we made from our old swimming pool skimmer. We take it out in the winter
    and store it in the garage.

    We also have huge oaks, and mainly use the skimmer in early spring when the tannins fall
    from the trees. By the beginning of of May this is over and then we shut the skimmer down until late fall.
    Truthfully we skim the leaves in the late fall with a net when they are blowing and falling into the pond.


    We have a bottom drain gravity fed system and that's what catches and removes all the
    fish waste and small particles of leaves that sink to the bottom.
     
    CliffandJoann, Mar 25, 2012
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