Planning phase of my 3rd (and hopefully final dream pond), Need some construction advice. i.e.) bottom drains, bog filters, depth, retaining wall, et

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Hello lovely old friends! It's been a while! I'm going to be building a new pond hopefully this summer, maybe next if I can't get it planned out perfectly this year. I've attached a couple of pictures of what I'm going for. It won't be exactly like this but hopefully close. I want to be able to sit on my new deck (also part of the new build) dangle my feet in the water while I hand feed my koi.

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I know everyone has all their own opinions, but this is the parts I know for sure about how I will be building and planning this.

- Primary filtration will be a skimmer fed to a natural bog, fed back into the pond by a large waterfall. Bog area will be absolutely no less than 1/3 of my pond surface area. Ideally because I like a heavily stock pond with lots of big ol' koi, it will be more like 1/2. I have found that 27-32" of water depth is ideal for my area/climate so that is what this will be. I know deeper is favored amongst koi ponders, but that was how the pro's in my area taught me and I've had much better luck since I started doing it their way.

1. I would like to incorporate a second small bog, that is more "in the pond" itself. Like a plant shelf, that filters. I saw designs for this on here once upon a time, but basically it still has the plumbing the big bog will have and 12" or so of gravel to plant in but there will be some sort of retaining wall keeping all of that in place, the top of which will be lower than the surface of the water so that the clean water can flow up through the gravel and just naturally circulate back into the pond.
a. I'd like to use retaining wall bricks stacked from the bottom all the way up to a couple of inches below surface area for the face of this little internal bog area. Are there concerns or things I should look for when choosing these brick to make sure I don't inadvertently choose something that could interfere with the quality of my water? Certain materials that are toxic? Anything that could screw with my pH? Things like that. I do know to stay away from having a lot of limestone in the pond. But is there anything else I should know?
b. I want to pump and any hosing/plumbing for this to be completely concealed. My skimmer and submersible pump will feed the big main bog and waterfall. What is the best way to go about feeding this little bog? Are there better options than having to use a second skimmer?

2. Bottom drain - yes or no AND why? I've never had one. I've always had 2-3" river rock on my pond bottoms. Yes, cleaning it once a year is a bitch, but I like the aesthetic. I'm worried about bottom drains leaking and potentially coming home to 20 dead fish. There are a lot of horror stories out there about this! I'm not a breeded. My koi are beautiful, but inexpensive butterflies from backyard breeders. I am not showing them. Of course I want them to live long healthy lives but the lovelies are the ones that alot of you big deal koi folks would have culled right from the start.

3. Is there a way to set up my pond so that topping off with water and maintaining the water level is completely automated? I am so over it looking outside when it is windy AF and 105 degrees and my pond has dropped 5" so I turn on the hose and then forget and 7 hours later my entire back yard looks like a swimming pool. Seriously ya'all...I do this all. the. time!!! I want this thing to know it needs water, fill itself, and then turn itself off before it overflows? Please please please tell me there is a way!!

4. I have now used your normal typical rubber pond liner, and some newer hybrid stuff. Don't really know long term which is truly the best cause I never seem to stay anywhere longer than 7 years (hahahaha). But this time, I'm hoping I grow old in this house and I want a liner to make it there with me. Thoughts??

5. Any other things you think off that I am not? Anything you see about my dream pond picture that you can straight from looking is a bad idea? Please let me know!! Equipment recommendations? Anything I may have forgotten or not mentioned?

Last but not least has anyone had any success with this new type of pond where the bottom is sand and essentially has a gigantic version of a reverse aquarium sand filter so that you can actually swim in your pond with your fish? Supposedly there's some pros that are building them and having great success. I would abandon my entire design plan and do this if it's truly possible and someone can spell it out for me how to do it!!

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Also...…here are my last two ponds the raised one being my current baby, in case ya'all don't remember me :)


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Thank you all!!
 
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This will be so fun to watch!!!! Yay! A new pond build!
One thing coming to mind is a recent Team Aquascape video saying something like: "we ruined our pond." They did a sand beach and something about it went wrong. (I didn't watch it - but it might have some good food for thought while you are in the planning stage. I know lots of people will have some good thoughts. Your current ponds are beautiful!
 
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watch

This is the video. Since I didn't watch it , I don't know if the title is misleading or not. I love the Aquascape guys but whoever is doing their social media, they are using a lot of the irritating techniques to get views: Goofy faces on the intro pictures, saying that everything is "INSANE", and overly dramatic titles. (But that's all over YouTube. I still love them!)
 
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but that was how the pro's in my area taught me
That depth is the easiest to build as there's little to no need for addition work to secure the soils to stabilize the walls If this is number 3 i'd consider 3 to 4 feet deep . in indiana and the cold you get the deeper the slower temp changes and the more insulated the fish can be in winter
YES IT IS POSSIBLE TO HAVE AN AUTOMATIC WATER VALVE just like your toilet you use a float valve one way is the floating ball when it drops as the water does it turns on the water and when it gets to the determined height it turns off automatically.
RUBBER IS HEAVIER BUT EASY TO SHAPE WITH . HDPE LIGHTER BUT HARDER TO MAKE IT BEND IN TIGHT CORNERS
Here is a list and blog in building my pond should help answer a lot of questions https://www.gardenpondforum.com/showcase/gbbudds-12-000-gallon-koi-pond-full-build-and-layout.141/




This pond
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is one that is running Ozone, it seems they are popular in South America. There's a fine line between a fantastically clear water, blue sands and poisoning your fish.
 
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That depth is the easiest to build as there's little to no need for addition work to secure the soils to stabilize the walls If this is number 3 i'd consider 3 to 4 feet deep . in indiana and the cold you get the deeper the slower temp changes and the more insulated the fish can be in winter

YES IT IS POSSIBLE TO HAVE AN AUTOMATIC WATER VALVE just like your toilet you use a float valve one way is the floating ball when it drops as the water does it turns on the water and when it gets to the determined height it turns off automatically.

RUBBER IS HEAVIER BUT EASY TO SHAPE WITH . HDPE LIGHTER BUT HARDER TO MAKE IT BEND IN TIGHT CORNERS

Here is a list and blog in building my pond should help answer a lot of questions https://www.gardenpondforum.com/showcase/gbbudds-12-000-gallon-koi-pond-full-build-and-layout.141/




This pond View attachment 156228is one that is running Ozone, it seems they are popular in South America. There's a fine line between a fantastically clear water, blue sands and poisoning your fish.
Here are the links I read about these sand bottom ponds. They don't mention anything about Ozone. I've never even heard of that in a koi pond (heard of it in air purifiers, but I stay away because its not good for you if you have asthma).

The thing I liked about this was somehow they had figured out how to keep koi, and sand and you could walk around in your pond and it won't get all stirred up and cloudy.


 
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Hi Jen. Check out my build. I'm in the PNW and did a sand bottom w/ a pressure grid. I have an Aquascape style bog as well that's been running for almost a year and just turned the pressure grid on for the first time this winter when my main pump broke down, so too soon to tell if it's a big success, but I'm glad I have it as a backup.

I tried to carefully plan the distribution grid and size of the holes, but I can tell I didn't get it quite right because only about 2/3 of the grid is distributing water and the holes that are active are boiling the sand a bit. I don't mind that, though. It's kind of cool.

The trick to getting a sand bottom that doesn't cloud up the pond is to choose the coarsest sand available to you. Something that, when you put it in a bottle and shake it up, the grains settle within about 10 seconds or so.

No matter how coarse you go, it'll still be full of silt and will kick that up until it's removed mechanically. After placing my sand, I used a trash pump I didn't mind ruining, filled the pond up a few inches over the sand, kicked it up into a mud bath, and pumped out the slurry. Think I did that 3 times before I called it good enough. It's clean and clear now.
 
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Doing a little research last night and I came across these guys on You Tube: Modern Design Aquascaping.

They are using wetlands as filter which seems very similar to my bogs, but on steroids and it uses something from Aquascape called a centipede and a snorkel, and aquablocks. I feel like I like this A LOT!

The other thing they are doing is a negative edge that runs into an intake bay (no skimmers). This seems like I really have to do my research because if you do it wrong, you're just asking for lots of jumpers and dead fish; but if I do it right, it seems like it just kind of maintains itself almost 100%. And tied in with this they use some rain filter on their gutters to bring rain water into the pond to keep up with evaporation. I love love love this idea a lot! When I was married we used a rain barrel to collect water and use for water changes. Currently I have a well though, and will have a well at my new house as well.

So what can you guys tell me about this whole negative edge intake bay thing?

Any cheaper alternative to Aquablocks? They are super $$$.

Could this be done where it drops into a little pool so if a fish does jump he has some water to keep him alive until we notice he jumped?

Here is a link to one of their videos showcasing one of their negative edge ponds and I am just in love with this!


Also, here is another one of their ponds they are using a tree trunk in which is just sooo cool! Can I use just any old tree trunk? We will be taking some trees down on our property that are almost dead and a liability so this could be perfect.

landscape-pond.jpg
 
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@JenH: Looks like we posted around the same time this morning. See just above your previous post if you missed it re: sand / bottom filter.

I know @GBBUDD, @Lisak1, and I all have negative edge returns on our ponds. They're great, but it's more than just planning for "jumpers." You need to carefully plan the size of the reservoir and make the waterfall as "thin" as possible to handle all the potential water in motion. It's tricky. I worked very hard to make my water in motion as tiny as possible and I still ended up with a lot more than I would have liked.

it just kind of maintains itself almost 100%.

In the winter, yes. In the summer, it would really depend on how large you build the reservoir. I don't know of any negative edge reservoir that has made it all the way through summer with no refills. I was foolish to think mine would make it.

And tied in with this they use some rain filter on their gutters to bring rain water into the pond to keep up with evaporation.

I'm doing this as well, and it is a benefit for water changes/topping up, but not as much as I'd hoped. How much it helps you would depend on your climate. Where I am, we're mostly getting tons of rain when the pond doesn't need it and not much when it does. Still nice to have, but unless you're getting frequent summer rains, you're not going to be topping up the pond in the summer from the gutters.

Intake bays are also great. Lots of folks here have built them recently. Much easier and less expensive to construct. If I could do it again, I might just do that. I do like having the reservoir, though.

Any cheaper alternative to Aquablocks? They are super $$$.

I used milk crates as I had access to a lot of them for very cheap. Plastic pallets would work better, though. If you can find enough of them for a reasonable price, I'd choose them over milk crates.

Could this be done where it drops into a little pool so if a fish does jump he has some water to keep him alive until we notice he jumped?

Yes. Best way to achieve that is probably with a bib liner. You place a spare piece of liner over the top of the reservoir to create a kind of kiddie pool, and that kiddie pool dumps into the reservoir wherever if overflows. You want to keep a healthy space open to the reservoir, though, so that you don't get frequent clogs/overflowing.

Look forward to seeing your build.
 
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I used the Atlantic brand of "water matrix blocks." I found mine on Webb's Online. You can also search on Amazon, too.
 
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If you have a negative edge, you don't have an intake bay and vice versa. A negative edge - at least the way I learned it - is a waterfall the drops off into a rain catchment system of some kind. Essentially a pondless waterfall at the end of the pond. Very different than an intake bay.

And honesty if you build either one right "jumpers" aren't a problem. We have the occasional fish overboard, but we have enough water in the top of the rain exchange that they just swim there until we rescue them.
 
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somehow they had figured out how to keep koi, and sand
As mentioned it's not a trick it is just the type of sand that is used that being a course WASHED sand. However if you go with a bottom drain I suggest keeping the sand out of that area. I have sand in the shallow areas in the pond. The sand will go right past the prefilter on my pump thus causing potential premature wear.
They are using wetlands as filter which seems very similar to my bogs
They are the same . John j, Modern design Aquascaping has probably the most informative videos on the net imo .

How to Build a Sustainable Sand-Bottom Pond - POND Trade Magazine

I was taught early on as a pond professional not to put sand on the bottom of a pond, and I’ve always just accepted it as best practice in the pond-construction industry. After all, I have heard quite a few objections over the years. “Sand can’t be brushed or vacuumed effectively, so it will be... www.pondtrademag.com
yes we are talking the same ponds you pointed to the pond made by genesis in brazil. Their Success is largely due to ozone imo. The link i sent the second video goes to one of genesis stores.
negative edge that runs into an intake bay
I constructed a intake bay as a means to catch the numerous babies that i was getting each year along with a negative edge at the end of the intake bay. There is a catch pool at the bottom of the negative edge . But admittedly i wish i had made it larger. But i did not do a bib liner but , what i did was fold and lift the liner to the height i wanted fold the liner and slide that under the boulders of the negative edge and made the pool using the same piece of liner.
The water then when it rains over flows a low edge and catch pool of the falls and flows into the 3000 gallon cistern. Again check out the showcase all the details are pretty much there.
Can I use just any old tree trunk?
cedar and oak are best pine less so but as long as its not spongy Any wood can do the job

as @combatwombat MENTION WATER IN MOTION IS CRITICAL TO A SUCCESSFUL POND modern aquascaping has a very informative video . as well as many others
 
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If you have a negative edge, you don't have an intake bay and vice versa. A negative edge - at least the way I learned it - is a waterfall the drops off into a rain catchment system of some kind. Essentially a pondless waterfall at the end of the pond. Very different than an intake bay.

And honesty if you build either one right "jumpers" aren't a problem. We have the occasional fish overboard, but we have enough water in the top of the rain exchange that they just swim there until we rescue them.
Most don't do both but i found both the intake with a negative edge is very beneficial the extra large intake collects all the leaves while the negative edge keeps the pond level at a constant only the cisterns water level fluctuates
 
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Right - you developed kind of a hybrid system - which mine occasionally becomes when the rain exchange is full to the top. I've often said I wish we had built ours that way - so much easier to clean with the leaves and other debris are floating rather than wet leaves plastered to the rocks!

The usual "intake bay" is usually built as a shallow area in the pond with an opening that narrows down (the "bay" portion) and a pump that's under water pulling the water towards the intake. More like an in-pond skimmer.

Negative edge or infinity edge as I've seen it called is just a pond edge the terminates in a waterfall that flows underground.
 
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On my next pond, I will do an intake bay with the pump deeper under water than a skimmer pump. It will do the same as a skimmer to pull floating debris with the added bonus of less noise from the pump. And not having a big skimmer cover to try to hide.

I have skimmer and do like that it draws floating stuff before it sinks. But the thing I like least about my pond is the noise of the pump from the skimmer. I have made sure the pump is not touching the skimmer to reduce vibration, and added padding to muffle sound. But I still hear it as an annoying hum that reminds me my pond is manmade. I even bought a new pump that claimed to be quieter.

My skimmer is at the far end from my bog filter. I use one pump for the skimmer that feeds the bog. I have a separate waterfall with it's own pump in the pond near the skimmer. This way, if one pump fails I still get aeration from the other. Both pumps pull water from the far end of the pond away from the bog.

Yes there are ways to set up water refills with a float similar to a toilet tank system. And it can be in hidden location.

I would do at least some deeper area because it helps keep water cooler in summer and warmer in winter. But I am not in your climate.

Have fun with your pond design. I am looking forwards to more planning, progress, and final pics.

I just left the hose running yesterday which could be catastrophic with my chlorinated city water. I am going to order a shut off timer now to be safe. Luckily I remembered in time yesterday.
 
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I would love to have two high school football guys. A cat 312, an All terrain fork truck and a skid steer . AND LET THE IMAGINATION GO WILD build a pond with all the bells .
 

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