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Thread: Retrofitting an Aquascape Water Garden into a Viable Koi Pond--What are the Options?

  1. #11
    Oyagoi koiczar's Avatar
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    Dan

    You're ideas are okay but I guess you missed the part about the cash coffers being empty as this pond was just installed a month ago.

    Folks,

    This is a perfect case in point that was being talked about on another thread here on Bito. AS contractors are rip off artists. Notice Marie mentioned the customer(her friend) said she wanted a koi pond and in the contract it read "water garden". Another dissatisfied customer. Then they want to know what they can do to make it a koi pond, and for not a lot of money. I totally understand this whole scenario, I see it all the time. We have retrofitted at least 15 ponds this season that are built exactly like this one. By the way Marie, that is an Aquascape skimmer. Bet there's a submersible pump down in the bottom of the box with flex pvc running up to their wonderful "bio falls" filter unit filled with a bag or two of lava rock and maybe a piece of reticulated foam.


    If you are interested, please contact me with a pm and I will give you my personal e-mail address. I think I have a few suggestions that COULD help out!!

    Mike

  2. #12
    Daihonmei aquitori's Avatar
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    I had heard some crazy quotes for building a Aquascape pond...the highest I have heard of and this by a certified builder of Aquascape was $18K?!! That is one expensive watergarden....

    I have also seen $1100 dollar Tancho in an Aquascape pond that is less than 14" deep....The fish looked okay but felt sorry of it.

  3. #13
    Jumbo dcny's Avatar
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    It's possible to retrofit on a budget if you're handy and don't mind DIY. A Tetra BD is $30. The Aqauart is closer to $90 but probably worth it. A no-niche skimmer is around $50. 55 gallon barrels are free or cheap. Static and moving bed filters are relatively easy to build. Moving bed media can get expensive but you can probably find it for around $20-$30/cubic foot. You can find AV-50 air pumps for around $70. You can find Sequence pumps for $130 or so. For showers, lava rock is a both inexpensive and effective. All in all, the retrofit would probably be less than 1/10 the cost of the original pond build.

    The thoughts that I put out there are by no means the best options available or anything like that. I'm sure if you ask 12 different people, you'll get 12 different options. It's just one option, a starting point. Hopefully it could help promote discussion about other options and general koi pond design vs the aquascapes template we often see.

    The nice thing about retrofits is that it doesn't all have to happen all at once. My last pond was an aquascapes style pond that went thru many retrofits. I played with it for years, before we sold that house. It was a great, although more often frustrating, learning tool.

    -Dan

  4. #14
    Oyagoi koiczar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcny View Post
    It's possible to retrofit on a budget if you're handy and don't mind DIY. A Tetra BD is $30. The Aqauart is closer to $90 but probably worth it. A no-niche skimmer is around $50. 55 gallon barrels are free or cheap. Static and moving bed filters are relatively easy to build. Moving bed media can get expensive but you can probably find it for around $20-$30/cubic foot. You can find AV-50 air pumps for around $70. You can find Sequence pumps for $130 or so. For showers, lava rock is a both inexpensive and effective. All in all, the retrofit would probably be less than 1/10 the cost of the original pond build.

    The thoughts that I put out there are by no means the best options available or anything like that. I'm sure if you ask 12 different people, you'll get 12 different options. It's just one option, a starting point. Hopefully it could help promote discussion about other options and general koi pond design vs the aquascapes template we often see.

    The nice thing about retrofits is that it doesn't all have to happen all at once. My last pond was an aquascapes style pond that went thru many retrofits. I played with it for years, before we sold that house. It was a great, although more often frustrating, learning tool.

    -Dan
    Hey Dan

    Where do you find AV50 air pumps for $70 bucks or a sequence pump for $130? You can't even buy wholesale for those prices!!

    Mike

  5. #15
    Oyagoi
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    Get some small explosives and make the hole deeper. That should take care of most of the rocks and get some pretty good sized chunks of liner out of the way too....

    Rocks out, bigger pump, draw off the bottom, make a DIY shower w/ lava rock, and possibly convert a 55gallon drum with 35 gallon drum inside to a DIY vort with easy. Maybe another drum with static K1. Use the other filter only for the pretty waterfall return and take it's innards out. Drain it down and remove koi, remove the rocks, then pull the liner up carefully, dig deeper in the center and throw the dirt around the edges inside the hole, if you do it right you will have enough liner to work and have a deeper pool in the middle. That should only cost a few hundred dollars, the pump being the most expensive part.

    BTW in the US you have 3 days to make em take it back, regardles of reason, no matter what the contract says. I would try to at least make them come and dig it deeper for me. Especially since they were told it was for koi, and if they are truly qualified they should know that, and if not you will report them to the BBB and your state's attorney general's office for their unethical business practices. That should get em digging. If they don't call teh attorney general. They know how to stick a ...oops can't say that here or it'll get tossed outside......umm.... they are very effective.
    'Sometimes it take a talking donkey to turn things around in the right direction, ask Balaam."

  6. #16
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Marie: I agree with what everyone is saying, but does your friend really want a koi pond? Lots of people say they do, but what they really mean is a water garden with some colorful fish. That looks like the beginning of a beautiful water garden. The pitcher plants really look nice. If your friend thinks it's beautiful, then maybe the greater happiness would come from making it the best it can be for what it is... a water garden. There are a lot of varieties of goldfish that could be tried. Such a pond with a dozen $6 Red Cap Orandas can be awesome ... especially when the waterlillies are in bloom. Does your friend really want to eliminate all the water plants? It may be that the best resolution is to maximize the water garden and start planning a second pond for koi for the future.

  7. #17
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    Tons of good suggestions, but...

    I think Mikes point is best for this circumstance.
    The Coffers are emptied and the homeowner does not appear to be a doityourselfer from what Marie has said. That puts a lot of limits on what can reasonably be done.
    Replacing the filter media as already suggested by Werner is a good idea regardless, relatively cheap, effective, and easy for the less "handy" among us. But making this a "koi friendly" pond is too costly and labor intensive for a non-do-it-yourself type with an already tapped out budget.
    She might be best served by just taking Mikes advice an getting some attractive but hardier breeds of fish for her "water garden".
    Larry Iles
    Oklahoma

  8. #18
    Jumbo 111whalen's Avatar
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    Bottom line-it's not a working pond. If out of money, get rid of the koi. The sad part is (again), how can they sell this stuff to people? It probably drives people out of the hobby and creates nightmares in terms of cleaning and fish health. Sorry to hear of another rip-off.

  9. #19
    Jumbo dcny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    Marie: I agree with what everyone is saying, but does your friend really want a koi pond? Lots of people say they do, but what they really mean is a water garden with some colorful fish. That looks like the beginning of a beautiful water garden. The pitcher plants really look nice. If your friend thinks it's beautiful, then maybe the greater happiness would come from making it the best it can be for what it is... a water garden. There are a lot of varieties of goldfish that could be tried. Such a pond with a dozen $6 Red Cap Orandas can be awesome ... especially when the waterlillies are in bloom. Does your friend really want to eliminate all the water plants? It may be that the best resolution is to maximize the water garden and start planning a second pond for koi for the future.
    Mike makes a great point. I wound up giving up on a real koi pond at my last house because it just wasn't suited for it. When the new owner purchased the home, I explained the difference between a watergarden and a koi pond and told them where they can get nice shubunkins and sarasas comets.

    Quote Originally Posted by koiczar View Post
    Hey Dan

    Where do you find AV50 air pumps for $70 bucks or a sequence pump for $130? You can't even buy wholesale for those prices!!

    Mike
    AV-50 (http://www.kensfish.com/linearpumps.html) - $69.35
    Sequence Aspen (http://www.azponds.com/new%20sequence.htm) - $129.95 shipping included.

    Aspens isn't necessarily a great pump but it's a nice low end option. Personally, I'd upgrade to 750 or 1000 series.

  10. #20
    Oyagoi koiczar's Avatar
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    Thanks For the info Dan. Hadn't heard of the "Aspen" line of pumps from Sequence. But, they don't interest me either. Neither does the AV50. Is it actually designed for "outdoor" use?
    Mike

    P.S. - Okay, checked out the website. That airpump is really suited for indoor use. I've seen them in action. They're okay, but they still won't replace the standards on the market.

    Quote Originally Posted by dcny View Post
    Mike makes a great point. I wound up giving up on a real koi pond at my last house because it just wasn't suited for it. When the new owner purchased the home, I explained the difference between a watergarden and a koi pond and told them where they can get nice shubunkins and sarasas comets.


    AV-50 (http://www.kensfish.com/linearpumps.html) - $69.35
    Sequence Aspen (http://www.azponds.com/new%20sequence.htm) - $129.95 shipping included.

    Aspens isn't necessarily a great pump but it's a nice low end option. Personally, I'd upgrade to 750 or 1000 series.
    Last edited by koiczar; 08-10-2006 at 02:20 PM. Reason: added content

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