Skimmer and or bottom drain


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Given your collective experience with skimmers, bogs and ponds … I would appreciate your help.

I understand the value of a skimmer which catches debris that falls on the surface of the water before it sinks to the bottom. Will a skimmer be sufficient to move all of the water out of my pond and through my bog over time or do I need a bottom drain driven by another pump too??


If I need two pumps to have a skimmer and filter my pond, what would need to be taken into consideration since one pump would be cycling the water through the bog and the other pump would only be moving the surface water.

My pond is 5ft wide by 8ft long and 4.5 ft deep.

Thanks!
 
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The crowd here is not really into bottom drains, though a few folks have them and swear by them. Koi keepers with more "sterile" pond environments wouldn't build a pond without one.

You don't need two pumps to run them. In fact, most would argue that a bottom drain should gravity flow to a filter prior to pumping and that running it straight to a pump is not optimal. If you do it that way, you can use a 3-way valve to balance intake between the skimmer and the bottom drain.

A bottom drain is mostly about removing crud, not necessarily mixing water from different levels of the pond. If you have a waterfall and aeration, you'll probably be achieving mixture/turnover just fine.

And the rule of thumb is to circulate your pond 2x per hour. That doesn't mean 100% of that circulation has to go through filtration, though it certainly doesn't hurt.

A side note: I would never run a pump-driven bottom drain into a bog filter without a really pre-filter before the pump. You'd be sending so much blended up crud into the bottom of your filter.
 
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I don't think you need a second pump or a bottom drain (I suggest have a second, back-up pump available in case the "real" pump stops working.)
My pond (9x9x3) is half-under big trees, so lots of leaves and tree debris. Even with a skimmer with a small pump going to a small supplementary bog, I net stuff out of the bottom of the pond periodically. My primary pump has a pre-filter, and 100% of that water goes to a bog. Both pumps are elevated from the bottom of the pond by 12-18" so the pond won't drain completely in the event of any malfunction.
 
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Our pond has both a bottom drain and a skimmer. They run off of a single pump. The pipes from each join just before going to the pump.

And yes, we wouldn't have a pond without a bottom drain or a skimmer and it's not a "sterile" koi pond. It's a water garden with goldfish.

We never have to clean debris off the bottom. The bottom drain takes care if that. The skimmer keeps the surface debris cleaned up.

Hope that helps
 

Mmathis

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Our pond has both a bottom drain and a skimmer. They run off of a single pump. The pipes from each join just before going to the pump.

And yes, we wouldn't have a pond without a bottom drain or a skimmer and it's not a "sterile" koi pond. It's a water garden with goldfish.

We never have to clean debris off the bottom. The bottom drain takes care if that. The skimmer keeps the surface debris cleaned up.

Hope that helps
Just goes to show that there is no right or wrong way, just different ways.
 
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Our pond has both a bottom drain and a skimmer. They run off of a single pump. The pipes from each join just before going to the pump.

And yes, we wouldn't have a pond without a bottom drain or a skimmer and it's not a "sterile" koi pond. It's a water garden with goldfish.

We never have to clean debris off the bottom. The bottom drain takes care if that. The skimmer keeps the surface debris cleaned up.

Hope that helps
Thank you! So many decisions and choices it's tough for an amateur.
 
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I don't think you need a second pump or a bottom drain (I suggest have a second, back-up pump available in case the "real" pump stops working.)
My pond (9x9x3) is half-under big trees, so lots of leaves and tree debris. Even with a skimmer with a small pump going to a small supplementary bog, I net stuff out of the bottom of the pond periodically. My primary pump has a pre-filter, and 100% of that water goes to a bog. Both pumps are elevated from the bottom of the pond by 12-18" so the pond won't drain completely in the event of any malfunction.
Thanks for your reply!

That's a good idea to have an extra pump. We purchased 3 "smart pond" pumps fall of last year at Lowe's they were 75% off. But still not sure how many of those we will wind up needing for the bog and the falls. Or if they are any good. Are there any recommendations on brands of pumps?
 
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I totally agree about all those decisions. All us amateurs had to start somewhere and it can be overwhelming with all the choices that have to be made. It's a lot more complicated than it looks when the pond is finished!
 
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The crowd here is not really into bottom drains, though a few folks have them and swear by them. Koi keepers with more "sterile" pond environments wouldn't build a pond without one.

You don't need two pumps to run them. In fact, most would argue that a bottom drain should gravity flow to a filter prior to pumping and that running it straight to a pump is not optimal. If you do it that way, you can use a 3-way valve to balance intake between the skimmer and the bottom drain.

A bottom drain is mostly about removing crud, not necessarily mixing water from different levels of the pond. If you have a waterfall and aeration, you'll probably be achieving mixture/turnover just fine.

And the rule of thumb is to circulate your pond 2x per hour. That doesn't mean 100% of that circulation has to go through filtration, though it certainly doesn't hurt.

A side note: I would never run a pump-driven bottom drain into a bog filter without a really pre-filter before the pump. You'd be sending so much blended up crud into the bottom of your filter.
Thanks for your reply! You have been very helpful and knowledgeable not just to me but others I've noticed. Personally I don't know how you manage the time. Any tips on time management I would love to hear. Ha!
 
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Thanks for your reply!

That's a good idea to have an extra pump. We purchased 3 "smart pond" pumps fall of last year at Lowe's they were 75% off. But still not sure how many of those we will wind up needing for the bog and the falls. Or if they are any good. Are there any recommendations on brands of pumps?
I've used several brands of pumps over the (25) years - smartpond, tetra, creekstone, anjon - and all have worked perfectly fine, but not forever ("forever" is unreasonable). Because my ponds have been 600-1400 gallons and I don't have big waterfalls so I don't need Powerful Force, I've never had to worry about the cost of running the pumps. If you use 1 or 2 with your pond, whether you go with a bottom drain or not, an extra pump of any brand is handy in case of a breakdown. The extra pump gives you some time to decide what to buy to replace the failing one and time for delivery/ pickup of the new one without excessive worry about filtration, aeration, and fish health.
There's also "Larger Pond Syndrome" ... once one has a pond, many of us decide a bigger pond would be much, much more fun (I plead guilty!), so don't get too hung up on the pump sizes yet. Enjoy!
 
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Skimmer /negative edge the most important start of filtering the pond in my opinion.
Then comes the main drain. Bottom drain. If the bottom drain is omitted than a good circulation along the bottom becomes crucial especially if you have rock on the bottom.
The other must have for the koi keepers is a bottom that is shaped like a bowl.
 
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Skimmer /negative edge the most important start of filtering the pond in my opinion.
Then comes the main drain. Bottom drain. If the bottom drain is omitted than a good circulation along the bottom becomes crucial especially if you have rock on the bottom.
The other must have for the koi keepers is a bottom that is shaped like a bowl.
Thanks to everyone!
 
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Skimmer. I liken a bottom drain to a skylight, or sunroof. You cut a hole in the roof, it's gonna leak. Same with bottom drain. You cut a hole in the bottom of your pond it's gonna leak. (someday)
 
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Sorry, but I disagree. If a bottom drain is installed properly it should never leak.

I'll admit that it is a bit intimidating. But if you can't trust that it can be done correctly, use a reto fit bottom drain.
 
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A bottom drain in epdm as your first seal your first puncture through a liner is a bit risky.

But I have to agree with you both. If done properly and the epdm is protected and shielded from the uv rays of the sun. It can live 50 years. I installed rubber roofs back in the 80's and one was just like a pond it had parapit walls on 4 sides with two roof drains. It's covered by a deck it has been replaced the rubber has not.

But nothing is forever mother nature will even claim your concrete ponds I don't care how thick you make the walls .

Look at the Roman's part of the aqueducts still are used today. I'm sure they have been patched but still going after 3000 years.

But if you are thinking of a bottom drain and your a first time builder I would recommend digging the trench for the drain and the piping just like you would if you were putting it under the liner but make everything a little larger so you can install the fabric liner and fabric them place your plumbing and drain ONTOP /INSIDE the liner. And then cover it all with rocks . Maybe concrete to hold the drain in place so it can't move and run the plumbing up and over the sides. Wala bottom drains no puncture.
 
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But if you are thinking of a bottom drain and your a first time builder I would recommend digging the trench for the drain and the piping just like you would if you were putting it under the liner but make everything a little larger so you can install the fabric liner and fabric them place your plumbing and drain ONTOP /INSIDE the liner. And then cover it all with rocks . Maybe concrete to hold the drain in place so it can't move and run the plumbing up and over the sides. Wala bottom drains no puncture.

Aren't you going to get a bunch of crud stuck in your trench that the bottom drain can't get?
 
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Not if its filled with pipe , rock , and gravel . How many boulders do you have that are backfilled with gravel. besides i have no issues with the muck muck it the bi product of decay and muck while yes it promotes growth it does not allow water flow through it but just saturated. Plants thrive from this and also gives insects bacteria and microbes A home this is a pond ! I'm pulling apart the static bog due to the African violet. while it was full and flowering its not the look i wanted. you would not believe all the critters in that muck, worms, beetles spiders, and all kinds of odd things i cant even describe like the translucent work/slug 2inches long that when it moved you could see it's inside sliding in the outer clear casing
 
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How many boulders do you have that are backfilled with gravel.

Lots! But I don't have a bottom drain. Haha. I guess most of the folks I know with a bottom drain are pretty militant about "no rocks on the bottom" and "no nooks and crannies for crud to accumulate." You're pretty much the only person I've ever known to have both a bottom drain and gravel bottom. Honestly, kind of wish I'd explored it further myself. Every time I looked into it, the consensus seemed to be "bottom drain and gravel are incompatible."

I know better now that there are no hard and fast pond rules, but I didn't know that when I was making that decision. Almost certain I couldn't do it with sand, though. And, so far, I am really liking the sand bottom.
 
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Lots! But I don't have a bottom drain. Haha. I guess most of the folks I know with a bottom drain are pretty militant about "no rocks on the bottom" and "no nooks and crannies for crud to accumulate." You're pretty much the only person I've ever known to have both a bottom drain and gravel bottom. Honestly, kind of wish I'd explored it further myself. Every time I looked into it, the consensus seemed to be "bottom drain and gravel are incompatible."

I know better now that there are no hard and fast pond rules, but I didn't know that when I was making that decision. Almost certain I couldn't do it with sand, though. And, so far, I am really liking the sand bottom.
Hmmm you went with a sand bottom?? Interesting! Why did you decide that? What do you like about it?
 

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