Skimmer advice requested

Mmathis

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May be moving to a new home soon, which means a new pond build. I really, really, really, want a skimmer this time around. All construction will be done by someone who knows what he/she is doing (IOW, not DIY this time), LOL!

  1. What kind of skimmer do you have?
  2. What do you like about it?
  3. What do you not like about it?
  4. Would you recommend it?
  5. Is there any advice you would want to give me (skimmer-wise)?
 
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No skimmer in our pond, per se. Our negative edge that flows into the rain exchange acts as a skimmer and collects debris in the gravel pit. The plus side is there's no basket or net to get filled with debris, so we never have to worry about cleaning it out when we aren't home or having an overflow because the net is full. And no filter pads to clean either - just an occasional spray down with a hose and rake the gravel now and again.

I'd highly recommend this construction method - you wouldn't need to have 1000 gallons underground like we do - just a pondless basin where the pump can live that holds a few hundred gallons of water. One other plus - our pond level never looks low. If the pond needs topping off, it's the basin that's low, not the pond.
 
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No skimmer in our pond, per se. Our negative edge that flows into the rain exchange acts as a skimmer and collects debris in the gravel pit. The plus side is there's no basket or net to get filled with debris, so we never have to worry about cleaning it out when we aren't home or having an overflow because the net is full. And no filter pads to clean either - just an occasional spray down with a hose and rake the gravel now and again.

I'd highly recommend this construction method - you wouldn't need to have 1000 gallons underground like we do - just a pondless basin where the pump can live that holds a few hundred gallons of water. One other plus - our pond level never looks low. If the pond needs topping off, it's the basin that's low, not the pond.
On my next build that is exactly what I plan to do. I love the thought of additional water under ground and in the right spot next to the down spout on house. I notice many new ponds now having the rake out section instead of a skimmer which makes perfect sense. Also like you have down that negative edge dropping into the gravel top is spot on. Do you have a pre filter on a down spout before going into the chamber ?
 

Mmathis

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@Lisak1 I knew I could depend on you, girl! So, now you’ll have to explain how this system is constructed and how it works! This is a new domcept for me. I’m a little dense, so explanations have to be, shall I say......simple.
 
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No skimmer in our pond, per se. Our negative edge that flows into the rain exchange acts as a skimmer and collects debris in the gravel pit. The plus side is there's no basket or net to get filled with debris, so we never have to worry about cleaning it out when we aren't home or having an overflow because the net is full. And no filter pads to clean either - just an occasional spray down with a hose and rake the gravel now and again.

I'd highly recommend this construction method - you wouldn't need to have 1000 gallons underground like we do - just a pondless basin where the pump can live that holds a few hundred gallons of water. One other plus - our pond level never looks low. If the pond needs topping off, it's the basin that's low, not the pond.
the other advantage to this is rain collection extend your downs pouts to the underground tank and the pond can be as maintenance free as possible water wise
 

Mmathis

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the other advantage to this is rain collection extend your downs pouts to the underground tank and the pond can be as maintenance free as possible water wise
Wait! Please don’t talk about the pros (or cons) yet! I still need to figure out and understand what it’s all about: construction and function. I’m getting confused already! Seriously, it sounds great! Tried to do a little research, but most of what I’m finding is aimed toward someone who already has a grasp on the concept.
 
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OK turtle toots lets throw this back to you like we do to newbies" even though I guess I'm still a newbie too" what do you see your pond looking like and size, waterfalls, deep stream or shallow, swimmable , a wading pond, lots of plants few plants what do you see?
 
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Just think of it as a pond that ends in a pondless waterfall. If I could do one of those nifty drawings, I would!

Essentially the pond flows over the edge into a pit of gravel (ours is filled with 32 aqua-blox and a whole lot of rock and gravel). The pond vault sits at one edge of the pit with the pump in the bottom. I'm going to look for some construction pictures. I'll be back!
 

Mmathis

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OK turtle toots lets throw this back to you like we do to newbies" even though I guess I'm still a newbie too" what do you see your pond looking like and size, waterfalls, deep stream or shallow, swimmable , a wading pond, lots of plants few plants what do you see?
Not sure I appreciate being called “turtle toots,” but pretty sure you didn’t mean anything by it, so...

I picture my pond pretty much being......about the same as it is now (view my profile description) except with a bog. Right now I have a small (4’ x 6’) bog attached like a satellite, connected by PVC conduit, but not in direct physical contact with the pond. It’s 100% a bog for the turtles! Before I can “design” and draw out a shape, I will need to determine what shape & design and where the turtle habitat will go. And can’t do that until I have access to the property to take proper measurements. Somehow the pond and/or bog will have to be partially included within the habitat. See, the whole reason for my pond is to provide a watering hole with fresh, filtered water for the turtles.....but boxies only need a few inches of depth.... The pond and goldfish part are after-thoughts, but you know that the bigger the volume of water, the easier it is to maintain. Seriously, I’m not making it up! It’s complicated.
 
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yes I didn't mean anything by it I just knew how you love your turtles But anyways . it's all in the planning. the bigger the bog and volume the less the turtle waste will be able to generate toxicity.
 
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OK - let's try this:

Here's the pit full of aqua-blox. The pond vault has a centipede, so it looks like this:


61OmgBuCHvL._SX425_.jpg


So here it is installed:








P1090226_1024.jpg


Here it is full of gravel with the water flowing over the edge:

P1090636.jpg


We eventually took the pea gravel out - too small - and replaced it with a small river rock. We also had multiple layers of landscape fabric, thinking it would aid in filtration - don't do that. It clogs almost instantly.
 

Mmathis

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yes I didn't mean anything by it I just knew how you love your turtles But anyways . it's all in the planning. the bigger the bog and volume the less the turtle waste will be able to generate toxicity.
Keep in mind that box turtles are terrestrial critters, and only go in the water occasionally for a soak (well, yes, for a poop). Only a very small percentage of the pond’s actual water volume will be dedicated to the turts and be included in their habitat, though all of the water is circulated through the filtering system. The 30 or so goldfish get to live in most of it — just not with the turts. It’s lots of fun planning their living spaces!
 

Mmathis

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@Lisak1 Thanks! I’m very visual, so the pics help. But don’t you have a plant bog as well, or am I misrembering.....or misunderstanding?
 
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i'd go with something like this that both the turtles and little ones can enjoy and not get in trouble. the area below the waterfall it's what lisa is talking about as well . the water drains through some gravel to a holding tank . that holding tank can collect water from the pond in the form of a stream as well as like a dry river bed i'd bet the turtles would love that when it rains that water is channeled to the same holding tank
 
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But don’t you have a plant bog as well, or am I misrembering.....or misunderstanding?
Nope, you're right. We do - the wetland filter is at the other end of the pond. The water flows into the rain exchange and then gets pumped around the perimeter of the pond and up through the plant bog which feeds the waterfall. So we don't have a typical biofalls on this pond either. We're pond rebels!

@GBBUDD - I've seen that pond. It's fantastic. We modeled ours after his which also has a constructed wetland filter (bog).
Do you have a pre filter on a down spout before going into the chamber ?
We don't have our downspouts going into the pond. We had put a lot of money into getting water off of our yard a few years prior to building the pond and had put the downspout on that side of the house underground. We do however have our sump pump pumping into the pond - no pre-filter required.
 
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It sounds like you are sold on the construction method you've all been discussing. It sounds fantastic! But I will share my info, too - since you asked. I put off digging my pond so I had time to save more money and buy a Helix skimmer. I really love how it works and especially love that the fish can swim all around inside it safely. But I'm really interested to read more and hopefully see pictures of the more natural skimming set up!
 
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I have a Savio skimmer. I like that it's sturdy enough to stand on, it's well made. I don't like that fish can swim into it, but made a fish guard out of 1/4 inch PVC.
 

Mmathis

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It sounds like you are sold on the construction method you've all been discussing. It sounds fantastic! But I will share my info, too - since you asked. I put off digging my pond so I had time to save more money and buy a Helix skimmer. I really love how it works and especially love that the fish can swim all around inside it safely. But I'm really interested to read more and hopefully see pictures of the more natural skimming set up!
No, not sold......more intrigued at this point. Right now I’m just looking at options. There will definitely be a bog!
I have a Savio skimmer. I like that it's sturdy enough to stand on, it's well made. I don't like that fish can swim into it, but made a fish guard out of 1/4 inch PVC.
Does the fish guard interfere with the effectiveness at all? I currently have an Oase floating skimmer, and had to come up with something like that a few years ago. There were a couple of fish that kept chasing food into the skimmer! For a long time I thought that those fish were just weak (or ill), couldn’t fight the current, and were getting pulled in — until I saw them in action! Silly fish would go to the weir and actually flip themselves into the skimmer! Then they would just as effortlessly flip themselves back out after they foraged!
 

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Would go with Lisa’s design if I were to build a pond again.

I’ve used Atlantic skimmers, no issues with them. Never had a problem in the roughly 15 years of using them with healthy fish getting stuck in the skimmer. Now I will say my current pond (9 years old) is roughly 40’ long or so and the fish are fed near the waterfall at the opposite end of the pond. Skimmer never sucks in food.

My adult terrapins go in the skimmers in their pond all the time.

The 7 juvie terrapins wonder in there chasing food and I have to get them out. The one in there pond came with brushes for the weir, so they can swim up to it but they still climb over them occasionally. Took them all summer to figure out not to go in there.
 
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People warned us that our fish would swim over the negative edge - it's only happened a few times and always during spawning. They never intentionally go overboard - they swim REAL close, but seem to know instinctively how close they can get and where to stop. There's always a few inches of water in the rain exchange, so if they go overt they just hang out there until we come and scoop them back in the pond.
 
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