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Thread: built in safety for the pond

  1. #1
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    built in safety for the pond

    This morning while chatting with a fellow koi kichi, I heard the painful story of a water change in progress
    that turned into a death trap for some valuable tosai. easy enough to happen, a phone call or other distraction while your emptying water and by the time reality hits the damage is done.
    I thought we might chat about what you did with your system to have a built in safety so that only so much water can escape and still retain enough to keep your wet pets alive. the potential for this to happen
    is like a ticking time bomb unless you've done something to prevent it. how about sharing, for those building a new facility or for those who can see the value of retro fitting something....
    Dick Benbow

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    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Sansai almostgeorgia's Avatar
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    Looking at it from the other end, that of filling up a pond, which can be just as dangerous, I've installed an 'auto-fill' feature on my pond that detects a 1-2" drop in water level and tops the pond off. It has a built in timer 'shut-off' feature that closes the valve after it has run for 5 minutes or so if it has failed to trigger the sensor that the pond is full. This common irrigation valve/timer can be purchased at any big-box hardware store. Even though the 'mains' water coming in is chlorinated, the theory is should you accidentally walk away from a pond refill, dumping in only a few minutes of lightly chlorinated water shouldn't present a problem for your fish.

    However
    , as this is chlorinated water, and I have seen one of these valves 'fail' on a pond-less water feature (fountain) and run for hours, I have decided to install a simple ball valve in the line as a back-up feature. I do NOT leave the valve open to top off the pond when it drops an inch or so due to evaporation. I do throw the ball valve and turn on this auto-fill feature when I am doing a water change, but do not leave the area of the pond until the change is complete. In theory, if I ever DID get distracted, that max 10-minutes-and-off feature would save me from disaster. And of course, ST is always added at the beginning of the process.

    My .02 worth for anyone considering building a pond or retro-fitting an existing one, it makes your water changing much easier to control when you have built a system for re-filling, short of just 'tossing in the hose'. Making it simpler also makes it much more likely that you'll perform that critical function of a water change to begin with.

  4. #4
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    On both of my ponds I have dedicated hose bibs (no hose) for filling the pond.

    I use a simple timer 'shut-off' valve, because, more than once, I have forgot and left the water running.

    I add ClorAm-X or sodium thiosulfate at sometime during the fill. It would not kill the fish if I forgot to add during a 10% - 20% water change.

    It would be a problem it I left the hose running with untreated water for hours.

    I misunderstood Dick's original post about emptying a pond. Both of my ponds have built in design safety so that not all the pond water can escape from the pond.

  5. #5
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    thanks tho rickshaw for covering another problem that's no stranger to pond keepers and that's over running it as well. May I ask how you protected from total drainage

  6. #6
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dick benbow View Post
    thanks tho rickshaw for covering another problem that's no stranger to pond keepers and that's over running it as well. May I ask how you protected from total drainage
    There are several considerations. One is to have the bottom drain outlet, below pond level, but above where it can completely drain the pond.

    You may not be able to easily design a pond that will protect you from opening the bottom drain and walking away and forgetting about it. But you can design your filtration system so if there is a leak or blockage, the pump cannot drain the pond completely during the night or while you're away. I would rather have to replace a burned out pump than loose all my fish.

    This illustration might help (not how my systems work);



    I have wet sumps (pre-filters) on both my ponds from where the pumps draw water from. The pumps will suck air before pumping the pond dry.

    Anytime you have gravity flow you have to think about what could happen?

  7. #7
    Jumbo jnorth's Avatar
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    I designed mine similar to what Ricshaw has posted as well. Unless the bottom drain cracks or something there is nothing in the system that can drain the pond below about 1.5' of water which is plenty to keep them alive until I can fix it.
    Koi-Unit
    My personal koi page Updated 7/8/07
    ZNA Potomac Koi Club

  8. #8
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    thanks, I hope our effort saves atleast one pond If it does it will have been worth it.....

  9. #9
    Oyagoi
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    tried taking a picture but did not turn out

    with my set up i pull from bottom drain to pump then through filtration,i know not ideal but tight on room.
    anyway i am sure my external pump could drain the pond total since it all slopes to 1 bottom drain.

    i have one of them low water shut off floats in the pond that plugs into wall then pump plugs into it.about 20-30 foot cord??? from float to plug in
    so if the float every goes updside down or least towards upside down the power gets shut off to pump.

    about once twice a year the koi may mess with it that the ball(or whatever inside) moves and shuts off the pump.no big deal i just lift it up to get started again.

    should get one for skimmer circuit also but would not pump below skimmer opening anyway just be hard on the pump.
    Paul Korf

    member of:
    Midwest Pond and Koi Society
    Louisville Koi club
    IKONA

  10. #10
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    I designed mine similar to what Ricshaw has posted as well. Unless the bottom drain cracks or something there is nothing in the system that can drain the pond below about 1.5' of water which is plenty to keep them alive until I can fix it.
    Same with my pond. Gravity to the filter pit will only dump around 3 out of 8 feet. To take the rest out I would have to leave a sump pump running. So just like using a timer on the new water....a timer on a sump pump is not a bad idea.
    ricshaw likes this.

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