Viewing window questions

Discussion in 'Pond Construction & Equipment' started by BStadele, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. BStadele

    BStadele

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    Hi Everyone! I'm just starting the process of building my above ground pond...rough estimate is somewhere between 600-900 gallons depending on a little stump removal. One thing that I really want to put into the pond is a viewing window for my young kids (3yr and 19mo) so that they can watch the fish without the risk of having them try to climb over the edge and fall in. I'll try to measure everything tonight to get a better, more exact idea of the dimensions of the pond.

    The Build: I am leaning towards a plywood build, using 2x4s or 2x6s for the framing and structure, similar to the way people build plywood aquariums. Looking to make it about 3' tall with a small waterfall on the back end. The shape will kinda look like a home plate because it is going into the corner of our yard and my wife vetoed me cutting into the grass for the project. Then using Pond Armor as the liner.

    For the viewing window I found a place that sells acrylic sheets for what seems like a pretty reasonable price. I was leaning towards a 2'x4' window along the front wall of the pond and I was wondering how thick I would need to go. Would 3/4" or 1" be enough? Would it make a difference if the entire window is submerged vs the top of it is at the top of the water or just above it? I live in Colorado so our temps can get pretty low in the winter, is there anything that I need to worry about with acrylic? How much overlap should I have (wood covering the window) so that it stays safe?

    Hopefully this is enough info for you guys to get the jist of what i'm trying to do...look forward to hearing what you have to say!
     
    BStadele, Jul 10, 2018
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  2. BStadele

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    Welcome to our group.
     
    addy1, Jul 10, 2018
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  3. BStadele

    j.w I Love my Goldies

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    upload_2018-7-10_17-10-13.gif @BStadele
    Somebody on this forum made some windows like that but I can't remember who it was.I tried doing a search for viewing windows etc. but came up w/nothing. It is a neat idea!
     
    j.w, Jul 11, 2018
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  4. BStadele

    sissy sissy

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    welcome to the group and I remember 1 on here that had a water wheel and a big viewing window .I think he was in the UK
     
    sissy, Jul 11, 2018
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  5. BStadele

    sissy sissy

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    he was whiskeys 2013 he posted pics just got to search forums and type in whiskeys .He did a nice build
     
    sissy, Jul 11, 2018
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  6. BStadele

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    addy1, Jul 11, 2018
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  7. BStadele

    herzausstahl herzausstahl

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    I saw this thread & thought of whiskey's pond right away too. He was a stonemason by trade if I remember correctly so my advice would be to follow his build as close as you can for success. I think your kids would love it if you can. Also for the build look for @koiguy1969 basement pond. It's amazing & he's had it running for several years now
     
    herzausstahl, Jul 12, 2018
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  8. BStadele

    Sparky

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    King of DIY does a section dedicated to the viewing ports on his plywood tanks. YouTube it. And welcome!
     
    Sparky, Jul 12, 2018
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  9. BStadele

    BStadele

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    Thanks for the replies everyone! The King of DIY is actually what got me thinking that this would be a really cool idea for my pond.

    It took a while but I went thru the majority of Whiskey's pond thread...oh man that is one heck of a setup! Mine would probably be considered primitive by comparison, but it is my first real venture into pond building so I figured I should keep it relatively simple.

    I'll try to post up some pictures when I get home tonight to show you guys a little more of what i'm working with and the dimensions...although I did the measurements last night and the front wall will be 7' and then kick back 3' (a little more than 90 degrees I think on one side which throws some things off...I might have to change it so it looks a more symmetric depending on what my better half says), and one of the back sides is 8' and the other 6'...although depending on the stump issue I might have to cut those down and come across the front of the stump and then use build the filtration/waterfall over the stump.
     
    BStadele, Jul 12, 2018
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  10. BStadele

    sissy sissy

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    yeh I loved following his build but I could never afford to do all that and really would not want too .but it is something
     
    sissy, Jul 12, 2018
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  11. BStadele

    carolinaguy

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    We build with 4 inch concrete blocks reinforced with rebar and concrete in the holes. Guaranteed to resist water pressure and easy to work with. The exterior can be skinned with decorative stone. Hang the liner on the walls over Fiberglas underlayment. Easy to port with pvc. Bulwark fittings through the liner. Use glass for the window fitted with a rubber gasket or silex (sp?) caulk . If you use plexiglas you will regret it when you clean the interior surface and permanently scratch the interior until it fogs.
     
    carolinaguy, Jul 12, 2018
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  12. BStadele

    BStadele

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    couple of quick pictures from last night...should give you a better idea of the shape of the pond. Still need to get the stump out, or at least get it down to ground level. initial design would go right over it, although after looking at the space last night I might just cut straight across the front of the stump and once I flatten the stump area out, make a small platform for the pump and water fall.
     

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    BStadele, Jul 13, 2018
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  13. BStadele

    GBBUDD

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    Welcome,
    U'm isn't that your underground services both your power and communication in the back ground? I would definitely avoid placing the pond over these as they go underground. and as was mentioned above i would lean away from plexi glass scratches and yellowing from the sun. your young kids walking up to look at the fish with a hot wheel in there hands and your scratched and less then happy. Don't know if you have ever seen the fish elevator. you tube it . it is simply a fish tank upside down and the fish come up above the main water level it's a huge hit with kids. oh and if you go glass plate glass is very strong but again the kid running up to the glass or a slap shot with a puck. Code would call for tempered glass and that gets pricey but not soo bad.
     
    GBBUDD, Jul 13, 2018
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  14. BStadele

    Sparky

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    Yes. The utilities are an issue and look pretty beat up
     
    Sparky, Jul 14, 2018
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  15. BStadele

    Lisak1

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    I think the idea of a viewing window is cool, but the reality may be more trouble than it's worth. Scratching or etching is one issue that comes to mind, but I also imagine it would be constantly covered with algae - as any well functioning pond should be. And then you'd just be gazing through green covered glass. Public aquariums clean their glass daily. If you don't mind the upkeep, then I suppose it would be fine.

    I also think pond fish were bred for viewing from the top - the patterns are prettiest when you look down vs when you view from the side. That's why koi are judged from the top in a tub, not from the side in a tank. Aquarium fish are chosen for the side view. But again - just one person's opinion!

    I'd build the raised pond with a step up all the way around so the kids can get an elevated view. Teach them to view the fish safely from the edge and they'll be fine.
     
    Lisak1, Jul 14, 2018
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  16. BStadele

    carolinaguy

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    We have a member with a window just as you describe. Daily cleaning depends on how well algae is suppressed. Glass is a must because of the clouding over time. Sealing the seam around the glass is key. An engineer will know what is required. Observation overhead is a nice substitute. We have a deck elevated 10 feet above our pond that gives a great visual, although a horizontal view sounds more dynamic. A horizontal alternative is a bubble view. Take a plexiglas hemisphere set in the pond surface, converse side up and pump the air out. The bubble will stay full so long as air bubbles don’t enter. Viola! Koi in the bubble.
     
    carolinaguy, Jul 15, 2018
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  17. BStadele

    BStadele

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    Well its been quite a while since I posted on here, so I figured I give you guys a quick update. not completed yet...which I should have known with the two little ones running the show at home along with the other random commitments. The framing of the pond is complete and plywood is up on the inside of the pond. Also got the first 2 coats of the pond armor on the inside. this weekend I will put the fiberglass strips over all of the seams...and it looks like I might have to do the same over the screw heads as well, not a big deal I've got plenty of it. If the fiberglass goes as planned I will be able to lock in the window as well or sometime next week after work.

    After that sets in I will put on another coat of pond armor and then add water to test for leaks. No leaks - the I will add some insulation in between the 2x4s and put plywood on the outside.

    Still a long way to go but the end is nearing...too bad I didn't get it all done before the first snow.
     

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    BStadele, Oct 25, 2018
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