What equipment must I have?


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Hi, All! I am anxious to break ground for new wildlife/recreation pond. However, I am a little confused as to what equipment is appropriate for my plan. It will be 9ft x 11ft, largest area about 1ft deep, with shelves progressively deeper to 3ft. Lots of plants, no fish hoping to attract many frogs! I know my kids and dog will be in it, so I want to use an external centrifugal pump. I also want a small waterfall, no more than 3ft higher than pond water level. I don’t love the idea of skimmers/filters because of threat they pose to the frogs, but it seems I will need something to protect the pump. All suggestions are welcome! Thanks in advance!
 
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Alden - have you considered an intake bay instead of a skimmer? It serves the same function, but is made to be safer for wildlife.
 
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Hi, bagsmom! Thanks for your reply. Can I have an intake bay without the pump vault? The most important factor is protecting kids from the wayward electrical current that can come from submerged pumps.
 
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Hi, bagsmom! Thanks for your reply. Can I have an intake bay without the pump vault? The most important factor is protecting kids from the wayward electrical current that can come from submerged pumps.
Yes, you can. I am building exactly that right now. You simply draw your water from a pipe in the bay rather than installing a submersible pump.
 
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Yes, you can. I am building exactly that right now. You simply draw your water from a pipe in the bay rather than installing a submersible pump.
Great news- thanks! So I can bury much of the hoses going to intake bay and waterfall, but leave the waterfall / pump connection area out for priming the pump?
 
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Great news- thanks! So I can bury much of the hoses going to intake bay and waterfall, but leave the waterfall / pump connection area out for priming the pump?
Yep. You can either do a flooded suction installation or install a priming pot on the pump to fill the suction tube w/ water before starting up. Or you can buy a self-priming pump, but they're kind of expensive for how simple priming a pump is and how infrequently you should need to do it.
 
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snip...
wayward electrical current that can come from submerged pumps.
Hi alden, Welcome. could you expand more on the above statement please, I've not heard of this?
 
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Hi alden, Welcome. could you expand more on the above statement please, I've not heard of this?
It's low risk, but there is a risk. When a pump is installed in the water, then you have 120v electrical current in that water. If the part of the pump that separates the electrical from the pond water cracks (could be from freezing over the winter and then turning on in the spring, then that current will leak out into the pond water. If there is someone in the pond when that happens, they could get shocked.

If the pump is installed on a GFCI outlet/circuit, the shock should be mild as the breaker will trip before much voltage leaks, but there will still be a shock. It's also not impossible for a GFCI outlet/breaker to fail closed (maintaining the circuit). They're designed to fail open (shut off current) but it's not impossible for the opposite to happen.

An external pond pump removes all of those possibilities.
 
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addy1

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It happens I got shocked by a submersible pump. Now just use externals pumps. Except for the hot tub pond, that is a 250 gph laguna pump. I unplug before hands go in the water.
 
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Yes, you can. I am building exactly that right now. You simply draw your water from a pipe in the bay rather than installing a submersible pump.
You need to keep in mind however that external pumps do not pull water rater they push water. So you need to keep the pump and the water level very close if you pump is higher then water k even by 3 feet it will not be able to prime its self .
 

addy1

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Since I built on a slope the top of my pump is just a few inches above the water level. One good thing about slopes. The ground drops off so fast.

In arizona with the same pump, I had a check valve on the line, no priming issues.
 
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Even if you have a GFCI outlet, you should check it's operation regularly. Once a month or more - and not just with it's test/reset button. Buy one of the GFCI testers - they are cheap - and they are normally more than just a tester, as most times they also confirm your wiring is correct and still good.
Here is the one i have. It's the updated model of the very popular Sperry GFCI tester you see everywhere on YT. This is also easier to read.
 
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If there is water running through a pump it doesn't matter if the pump is in the water or out of the water. Electricity will follow the water to ground. Just install a GFI and don't worry about it.
 
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That statement is a bit misleading. There's a huge difference in the potential of a shock or electrocution. With a submersible pump the electrical and its power source are submerged in the water. Your relying on waterproof seals to keep the two separated. And if that fails you then rely on the gfci.
A external pumps does not have any electrical underwater. There is no seal to rely on. The pump has very little chance of electrifying the water. But if on the rare failure. You then have the gfci as well.
 
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hmmm, I mentioned earlier that I'd never heard of this electrocution by submersible pump issue. I did some digging on google and while responses of "Never mix water and electric or you'll die" were easily found, examples of death by pond pump were not. Neither were deaths from electrocution by shower pump. There was a 4 person example with a "fountain pump" but that was found to be due to a lack of any earthing, and IIRC there were other issues at the breaker box contributing to the incident.

The two most common causes listed at www.electricshockdrowning.org were breakdown of insulation, (40 years in one memorable example) and a lack of grounding of the appliance. If you re getting shock from the submersible pump, theres a fault that may not be the pump. Changing from a submersible pump to an external pump and using the same power feed could easily mean the problem is still there.

It may very well be different here in the UK to elsewhere (we refer to GFID as RCD devices and all new homes have been required to have them built in for some time). But with correct grounding, the correct class of RCD (they vary by response speed waveform type etc) and a double insulated pump that wasn't a knock off design, I dont think I'm too worried by the hyperbole.

Will I fit an RCD? yes, already got them installed in the house. Will I PAT test the system during commissioning? yes. will I inspect the insulation is good and safe from damage? yes. Will I turn off the power before wading in to do some planting? probably. Am I going to worry about it? no.
 

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