Noob filter/pond questions

Discussion in 'Pond Construction & Equipment' started by Faultless, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. Faultless

    Faultless

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    The Story:
    Me and my wife recently purchased a foreclosed home. The last few months I have been avoiding the pond that came with it(we weren't even sure if we were going to keep it). To my best guess it is roughly 2500 gallons and came with no pump,filter or anything. It had no fish except for some small guppies/minnows and a small turtle(will he be a problem?). We don't plan on having allot of koi mostly just some gold fish because I hear they are easier to keep.

    My background:
    In my life I have owned many fish tanks, I currently have a 125g and a 30g reef tanks. This gives me some insight on testing/chemicals/balances and filters.

    My plan:
    I want the easiest filter system possible at least something to get me by for the next few years until the kids are older and the house needs less attention. I don't mind spending a bit of money, just really not in the mood for another DIY project.
    This is what I have found
    Filter :http://www.amazon.co...ds=tetra+bp2500
    Pump: http://www.amazon.co...eywords=dhp4200

    They both seem to have great reviews across multiple sites.

    My main question:
    How should I finish it off? We like the idea of a waterfall but after doing some research on the spill overs I do not have enough excess liner to prevent spill out. Does anyone have any other ideas to put the water back in the pond?

    Edit: I wanted to add that the pond averages about a foot and half deep with the deepest part going to about 3 feet.
    055.JPG DSC_0001.JPG DSC_0002.JPG DSC_0003.JPG 003.JPG
     
    Faultless, Oct 20, 2012
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  2. Faultless

    sissy sissy

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    first congrats on your new home and yes goldfish are easier and pump and filter depend on budget and do it yourself and to be honest those filters never work like they say .Build a filter and fill with plants cheaper and easier .
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    2 filters less than 25 dollars and a tote and a plantainer and plumbing pipes free from left overs from house build .Lava rock and plants and pump harbor freight one 79 dollars
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    sump pump hose less than 10 dollars .I went cheap 13 fish and I have 2 koi also
     
    sissy, Oct 20, 2012
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  3. Faultless

    Waterbug

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    Did I see this question posted in a another forum? If yes, that's certainly fine, but just wondering what that thread said and your reaction. Hate to rehash the same stuff.

    The filter is worthless. I'm sorry, that's not really fair...the filter is worst than worthless. Unless maybe if you clean it everyday. It's isn't the brand or model, it's basically every mass market filter. They're almost exclusively sold to first time buyers. And the reviews...":this is my first pond and first filter I've ever seen and I now know this is the best filter available". Not too compelling imo. You will get that over and over again in ponds...experience with a single pond for a short time is not valuable experience. Like everything.

    When I sold my San Jose home the new owners kept the house, and I offered to help with any questions. They hired a pond expert. That pond had no filter other than the pond itself. The pond expert fixed this by moving the pump from the skimmer to the bottom of the pond and added a filter like the one you link. Couple of grand, thank you very much. When I was at the house for a visit I saw the filter leaking away...not my pond, not my problem. A month or so later I get an email, raccoon torn a hose off the filter, pump now being at the bottom of the pond drained the pond dry in a few hours. I'm sure they called the pond expert back out to remove a few more grand from their pocket and "fix" the pond even more.

    So yeah, I think these filters are worst than worthless. Only thing more worthless are self proclaimed pond experts who were working at McDonalds yesterday.

    Don't put the pump at the bottom of the pond. And as far as pumps go I think they're all about the same. I've had pumps that didn't last a month while the another pump from the same manufacturer lasted a really long time. I've never been able to tell much difference. Some pumps last and last, some don't. Back a long time ago there were more differences, some pumps had steel parts that rusted, some had oil to cool them, etc. But these days they're all pretty good. The big difference is in the basic design. Some pumps are designed to push water really high (25+ feet), but use a lot of electric. Other pumps are designed to move water for less electric but can't push very high (like 12-15' max). Go for the low head.

    On filters...same deal as with fish tanks...you add filters to fix or help prevent problems. So the first question is what is it you want to fix or prevent. That drives the filter choice. Bad answers would include "I want to balance the pond", "I want a clean pond", etc. Just like with fish tanks you know "clean" means different things. A green pond is an excellent bio filter so a green pond can be completely clean of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

    Waterfalls don't need any excess liner from the pond. The falls gets it's own liner which is overlapped over the pond liner. You just need to create a small gap between the two to prevent capillary action, easy.

    Waterfalls and streams are excellent bio filters and can even clear green water (no guarantee however).

    Another option is a Trickle Tower filter. This is just a pile of rocks with water flowing over it. The pile can be placed directly in the pond or be like a waterfall. A Trickle Tower is just a condensed version of a stream/waterfall. Does the same thing in a smaller footprint. Fast and easy to make and never has to be cleaned.
     
    Waterbug, Oct 20, 2012
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  4. Faultless

    capewind

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    First off, welcome to the group and congrats on your new home! You will find that the pond will be much easier to take care of then your reef tanks! Our last reef tank was a 180 gal, but hurricane Bob turned that upside down. When you lose $5k worth of inverts, your heart kind of goes out of it. As far as filtration goes, get your head away from the fluval/eiheim style... you want something more similar to a standard marine wet/dry system. You will get much better results, with less work:)
     
    capewind, Oct 21, 2012
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  5. Faultless

    Faultless

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    Nope I just googled "pond forums" and you guys were first on the list.


    I haven't had any major melt downs on my tank yet except for when we were moving them into the new house, I dropped a 15 pound piece of live rock with about 6 decent frags and endless monti and polyps. This almost made me cry until about a week ago i noticed 90% of the broken pieces survived and seeded all over the tank. I prefer Wetdry/ bio filters over the flulval mech. ones. Both my tanks are filtered by Refugiums with a Bioball section.

    Back to the subject at hand, I appreciate all the no BS answers on the subject. So the Tetra stuff is out, now where do I go from here... The problem with DIY I don't really have the time, Its not really about the money saving. Are there any store store bought systems that anyone would recommend? Mean while i guess I will browse around for a DIY system that looks good and quick to make.
     
    Faultless, Oct 21, 2012
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  6. Faultless

    capewind

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    When Bob hit us, we were without power (or generator) for eight days, and with the August heat, even one day without power could have caused major problems for the inverts. Anemones were the most hardy life form we had in there, and they too were gone within just a few days.

    Bio balls, IMO are a waste of money. Sure, they have surface area, but there are other, cheaper things to use, that even offer MORE surface area. AKA, go to a hardware store and buy a couple of FLOOR BUFFING PADS... the white ones... run about $11 each up here. Just cut them up into kitchen sponge size pieces and place where you would the bio balls! Just bought a couple of new ones, so can post a pic if you need one.

    IF you cant make a little bit of time, we have a Laguna 5000 filter falls running right now that we slapped on to run our pond for the short term (nothing wrong with the filter, just massive expansion coming and we got this at the right time/right place), but seriously, take a look at a skippy filter. Home made, and do a great job. You can build one in a matter of a couple of hours with basic skill and tools. A local friend just added one to their pond with a 150 gallon stock tank they ordered through the hardware store. I saw their pond before, and it was nice, but their skippy filter is blowing away their old system.
     
    capewind, Oct 21, 2012
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  7. Faultless

    Waterbug

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    Still don't know what you're trying to filter.

    UV if green water is 100% effective when sized and installed correctly.

    You can buy a bead filter. These can provide bio (ammonia, nitrite) if back washed often and they can remove small particles but not great. Because they they do both bio and mechanical they do nether as well as some DIY filters. The amount of time to install one can be more than DIY depending.

    DIY doesn't have to take longer than installing a manufactured filter.

    Trickle Tower:

    1. Go to Home Depot or where ever and get some hardware cloth .

    2. Form into a cylinder about 2-3' diameter, let extra mesh just overlap if to like. To connect you can use string or wire.

    3. Set the cylinder in the pond in a shallow area.

    4. Run pump output tube up inside the cylinder.

    5. Fill the cylinder with rocks. Rocks from the yard or from Home Depot. You can rinse them off if you like.

    6. Turn on the pump. Done.

    IMO that doesn't take any longer than hooking up a manufactured filter and the TT never has to be cleaned, so the net is time is way less. In addition to bio filtering a TT can work like a refugium allowing string algae to grow and clear green water.
     
    Waterbug, Oct 21, 2012
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  8. Faultless

    johnnyi

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    I'm with waterbug's advice here. I have a stock tank in a skippy-like configuration, but it wasn't until I put rocks in the 15' long stream-bed that I got and kept clear water (relatively speaking). It was quite dramatic that 3 days after putting the rocks in (horizontal trickle tower) that green water cleared.
     
    johnnyi, Oct 21, 2012
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  9. Faultless

    Waterbug

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    If you don't like the look of hardware cloth you can use what's called a strawberry pot like this one from the Home Depot.
    [​IMG]
    1. Buy pots.

    2. Set in the pond.

    3. Fill with rock.

    4. Put pump output hose at top.

    5. Turn on pump. Done.

    Lots to choose from, Terracotta, ceramic, plastic. You want a tall one. You can set it on a concrete block in the pond as the part above water is what works as a Trickle Tower.
     
    Waterbug, Oct 21, 2012
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  10. Faultless

    capewind

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    okay Waterbug... you got MY attention with this one... You know I have a hard time grasping other types of filters... Trying to learn them, but I drive hubby nuts as I just cant understand them til I can see it, BUT I have an extra PLANTER... can you explain better to me? Do you fill each pot with rock? How small? I am visulizing pea stone... Do you just stick a discharge tube in the top pot??? Is it really THAT simple??? or am I missing something?
     

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    capewind, Oct 21, 2012
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  11. Faultless

    Waterbug

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    Rocks, any size you like, any kind, any shape. Fill it right up, as much as you like, just a pile of rocks. Water at the top. You can get fancy and make a spray bar or something to get water over the whole thing, but not required. Taller you make them the better, but there's no real minimum.

    You might drill more holes in each pot, but not required. The idea is no standing water, flowing is best.

    TT were designed based on a stream, just water flowing over rocks. TT just fits in a smaller space.
     
    Waterbug, Oct 21, 2012
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  12. Faultless

    capewind

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    Thank you waterbug... I think I got it. Apparently you can make a filter out of just about anything LOL.
     
    capewind, Oct 21, 2012
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  13. Faultless

    Faultless

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    Holy crap I am in love with this idea! Thanks allot :)
    Couple questions:
    How often do you think it would require cleaning if at all?
    To assist with my really green water should I incorporate a UV filter or will this system work on its own?
    How many GPH should I move through it for about 2500 gallon pond? Would slower water movement be better on this system?


    Edit: wrong pond size >
     
    Faultless, Oct 21, 2012
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  14. Faultless

    Faultless

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    pond filter.jpg

    So essential I will ave it sitting on blocks in the water to bring to to the top of the water.
    Put a pipe up through the center and have it spill out onto rocks where it will trickle down through each layer via holes I added.
    Do lava rocks sound like a good idea?
     
    Faultless, Oct 21, 2012
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  15. Faultless

    Waterbug

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    In theory never. The idea is the water falling over the rock cleans the rock 24/7. But each case is different. For example if you build a large TT the internal rock will stay very clean for basically ever. Smaller deals, like these pots aren't perfect for staying clean, but they're easy and will work better than the filter you originally linked to which I call a static submerged media. In tests the same size TT as a static submerged media converted 30 times as much ammonia. When I say "clean" I'm speaking from the bacteria's perspective. Bacteria create a bio film attached to the rock and it feels like a slime to us.

    But if you wanted to remove the pots once a year, tip them on the grass, pour some pond water on them, put it all back, there'd be no harm.

    A UV properly sized and maintained is 100% effective in killing green water algae in 3-5 days. These are excellent filters but often require tweaking, like adding a valve to control flow and adjusting the flow, which falls under the heading of proper maintenance .

    Everything else is not well understood so is hit and miss. My theory is macro algae (string algae, etc.) creates a chemical that kills green water algae.Norm Meck years ago showed water from a clear pond could be toxic to green water algae. His theory was teh chemical came from bacteria but I've come to believe it comes from macro algae as it's a common thing in sea water algae, just not studied in freshwater. Green water algae would also produce chemicals toxic to macro algae. I kind of confirmed this in my own tests, but it's harder to be sure. I believe a stream, waterfall, or TT gives the macro algae more sunlight and it's able to withstand the green water algae attack and live enough to kill the green water algae.

    You can speed up the process by buying a pond plant at any store and placing it at the top of your TT. The plant will almost certainly have macro algae even if you can't see it. But chances are it will form on the TT on its own.

    Interestingly a UV can normally be turned off after say a month, and be left off for months, even years. The theory is after the green water algae is killed something else can grow and that thing stops green water algae from returning. It fits my macro vs micro algae theory, but no proof.

    These can take any flow you give it. The rocks being covered in water is enough. Too much isn't really possible, but of course at some point there are diminishing returns. It is a very simple system from our perspective, very complex from nature's perspective but nature worked it all out long ago.

    Your question is related more to fish load than pond size or flow amount. Just like with fish tanks, the amount of food given drives water quality. If you measure ammonia and your TT is more than a few weeks old it probably means you need more or larger TTs. Increasing or decreasing flow over a current TT probably wouldn't fix the issue. So just as with fish tanks water testing tells you about your filters.
     
    Waterbug, Oct 21, 2012
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  16. Faultless

    Waterbug

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    That's good.

    That's best imo, but the pipe or hose can be run up the outside if easier.

    They're fine. Originally, when TTs were first used lava rock was considered a requirement because they have more surface area for bacteria. Back in those days (15-20 years ago) surface area was all we ever talked about. But over time people realized that tiny pores became clogged with dirt so really the net result was less surface area. So imo if you're at the store looking at a bag of lava rock and a bag of river rock I'd pick the river rock. 1/4 to 1/2" rock is probably best for these small strawberry pot type deals. But all rock works.

    You will still read web pages saying lava rock must be used in a TT. These are just old or written by people who just copied the idea from another web site without knowing anything beyond how to cut, copy and paste.
     
    Waterbug, Oct 21, 2012
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  17. Faultless

    Faultless

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    ok great! I will be ordering the parts over the next week. I will take pictures of the build and post them when I am done. Thanks for all the great solutions and advice everyone!
     
    Faultless, Oct 21, 2012
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  18. Faultless

    Faultless

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    I have one more question about these large UV Filters. The max GPH is really low : for example a UV filter for a 3k gallon pond has a max GPH of 985?
    If I were to purchase one and incorporate it into this filter project and my pump did 4200 GPH, A UV filter that work with 4200 GPH is meant for a 8k gallon pond. So I guess the question is if I added one to this filter system with a 4200GPH pump would I use the smaller or the bigger one? Or is 4200 GPH way to much for this project?

    On a side note I'm not completely sold on UV filters, when making my first reef tank I was told by many people "you have to incorporate a UV filter into your system". I've never purchased or installed one because I've never had a algae problem.
     
    Faultless, Oct 22, 2012
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  19. Faultless

    Waterbug

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    Most ponds have an initial green water problem that sometimes clears, sometimes seems to go on forever. Some people add plants and in a week or so the pond clears and the plants gets the credit and their next question is how do I get rid of string algae. But the process isn't 100% for sure, or even understood. Some people with green water want it clear ASAP and that's where UV comes in. It's purely the choice of each owner.

    You can always buy a larger UV than you need, but it wouldn't really work better. Kind of a Catch-22, a UV has to kill almost all the algae in a short period or the algae would just keep reproducing and the pond would never clear. I suggest buying a UV for your size pond, or next size up if really close to the limit. IMO UV should always be connected to a pump with a bypass and ball valves so the amount of water going thru the pump can be controlled. In your case something like 500-900 GPH going thru the UV and the rest goes around it. This is also important because the max GPH rating is for a certain algae load. The heavier the algae the more UV is blocked inside the filter and the more algae can get thru. Basically you try a flow and if the pond doesn't clear in 3-7 days you turn down the flow and give it another 3-7 days. That's why the bypass is important imo.

    If you do consider a UV I can recommend AquaUV. They're built well but what I like best is they give good numbers for their units. However, like pumps all UVs work about the same imo.

    I don't know if you have these terms in aquariums, but in ponds you'll see UV Clarifier and UV Sterilizer. I think in the aquarium trade it's strictly sterilizer. If you lower the flow rate a clarifier becomes a sterilizer. So all units are both a clarifier and sterilizer depending on what flow they're used at. That confuses some people. If you want a sterilizer you would have to size for that function, but few people want a sterilizer. Like I said about the Catch-22, clarifier mode is fine. Most of the algae in the pond is actually killed in a few hours in either case. The 3-7 days is how long it takes that green algae to decompose even to settle out or break into smaller pieces that can't be seen as well and the pond starts to look clear.

    If you do have green water keep in mind that algae uses ammonia directly, not sure that's commonly known with aquariums. So it's extra important to test ammonia and nitrite any time you do anything to clear a green pond.
     
    Waterbug, Oct 22, 2012
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  20. Faultless

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    [​IMG] to our group!

    Stick with goldfish / shubunkins, a lot less stress than koi that are more demanding and way larger fish. If down the road you want koi you could add them. I love my goldfish and shubunkins, easy to care for a very pretty. (They leave my pond plants alone too)
     
    addy1, Oct 22, 2012
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