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Thread: Anybody use Aqua Art bottom retro drain?

  1. #1
    Tategoi Peppy's Avatar
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    Anybody use Aqua Art bottom retro drain?

    Hi all. I'm redoing a typcial AS pond.

    After a grueling 9 hours X 2 people, the rocks and gravel are out. Now just have to cart those boulders away!

    I did not find a lot of retrofit bottom drains. I found Tetra at 2" and Aqua Art up to 4".

    Anybody have any experience with the Aqua Art one? I've been advised to go with 4" for the bottom drain on the 2,000 gallon pond (hopefully more without the rocks and once the sides are raised).

    Or anyone know of a DIY way to do a retro bottom drain?

    I'm posting a pic of my hole in the ground. No, I'm not digging it out to make it deeper but I think I can get 3 feet out of it by undoing the liner over the dirt berm and taking it straight up and putting some sort of blocks to hold it. That's the plan.

    I might have to buy a portion of liner and tape it to the existing liner at the tops of the blocks to take it over top of them, if anybody can understand what I'm trying to get at with THAT statement!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Anybody use Aqua Art bottom retro drain?-2008-07-08-smaller-still.jpg  

  2. #2
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    "...I might have to buy a portion of liner and tape it to the existing liner at the tops of the blocks to take it over top of them, if anybody can understand what I'm trying to get at with THAT statement!"

    Yeah, I smell what you're steppin' in
    That ought to work as a reasonable means to increase your depth/volume, and getting rid of the rocks is probably the nicest thing you've ever done for your fish

    I've never used the retro drain you mentioned, but a link to a page where you found it might let us take a better look at it. 4" is better than 2" if the design is decent enough, that much is certain.
    Larry Iles
    Oklahoma

  3. #3
    Tategoi KoiCCAPW's Avatar
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    I have both a tetra retro drain and the smaller aquaart retro drain installed in a shallow concrete watergarden.
    Both are good, but I like the Aquaart one better. It sits flatter on the bottom and the pipe comes out of the side instead of the top like the tetra, so less for the fish to bump into.
    Also I've had the tetra float a few times, which makes the pump run dry. Easy fix to put it back, but a pita if it happens too much. However to be fair to tetra, I have a no niche skimmer attached to it on a 3-way valve so it could be drawing down too much.

    Here's link to the web page-Aqua Art Pond Supplies....Bottom Drains, Retro Drains

    Here's where they show how to install it.-
    Pond Specialist...Aqua Art Retro-drain Installation
    Barb

    Santa Clara Valley Koi & Water Garden Club

    http://www.sckoi.com

    Zen Nippon Airinkai Nor-Cal Chapter

    http://www.znanorcal.org

  4. #4
    Oyagoi CarolinaGirl's Avatar
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    I like your temporary set up!! Good job! And GREAT job on getting the rocks out!! Your fish will thank you for it.

    I would think twice about splicing the liner though. I have heard of many times that the splices don't hold up. It would be a shame to go to all this trouble and then have leaks. Any chance of getting a new liner?

  5. #5
    Tategoi Peppy's Avatar
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    Papa Bear it smelled BAD...took days for the smell to get out of my nose. To think my poor fishies were in there!!!

    But amazingly, only the tinest bit of black stuff behind one huge bolder where it looks like a bunch of roots rotted. The rest was all brown stuff but still stank pretty bad at the bottom.

    Thanks KoiCCAPW! That's one for the Aqua Art. I feel better hearing from someone who actually has one.

    CarolinaGirl, thanks for your input! Ever since this pond was put in it's been temporary this and temproary that, trying to improve the crappola design of the whole system.

    But I didn't know until reading on this and another forum exactly what I should be doing. I just knew it wasn't working.

    I attached my plan for the liner. Hopefully, none of the splice will be below water.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Anybody use Aqua Art bottom retro drain?-new-liner.jpg  

  6. #6
    Oyagoi gcuss's Avatar
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    Peppy,

    As others have already said. GOOD JOB on getting the rocks out.

    I took a look at the bottom drain you were asking about. TBH, looks like it might work ok for your situation.

    I would go 4" for sure and the lower you exit the pond through the liner the better flow you will get using gravity alone. It would help wonders if you can get it to flow into a settlement/vortex prior to filters or pumps and I think it will do OK. Get your settlement chamber down in the ground and enter it as low as you can with your 4". Even if you have to pump it right after the settlement, you're still ahead of the game.

    I designed my own and my 4" drain comes into my settlement chamber about 18" below the pond's water level. I have more draw down than I would like, but it flows very well for me.

    I would use 4" abs pipe and just run it as tidy as I could. Use sweeping elbows as opposed to the tight radius type to further increase the flow potential. Make sure the shoulders on the elbows aren't sharp. Probably wouldn't hurt to sand the corners off since your fish will probably bang into them from time to time.

    How are you planning on breaching the liner with the 4" drain pipe? I gave it some thought and I thought that maybe a 4" ELECTRICAL female adapter with a male adapter plus two pieces of PVC sheeting would do the trick. You'll want more area being compressed than the adapters can alone. I would cut out some PVC and make a couple of 8" discs. Then cut out so the adapters will go through the center of them. (sorta like big PVC washers) Male adapter -> PVC sheet -> liner -> PVC sheet -> female adapter. This should provide enough surface area to seal. Clamp the whole works together with stainless steel bolts and nuts about 3/4" from the edge of the PVC and space them out about every 1 1/2". Use a decent marine adhesive or 100% silicone between each layer. It's sorta Mickey Mouse, but IMHO should work. If you do go this route, the adapters have little ridges on them for tightening up, sand those off when done... gotta protect the fish!!

    Hope this helps, or at the very least confuses the hell out of you!

    Grant

  7. #7
    Oyagoi Sangreaal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcuss View Post
    Peppy,

    As others have already said. GOOD JOB on getting the rocks out.

    I took a look at the bottom drain you were asking about. TBH, looks like it might work ok for your situation.

    I would go 4" for sure and the lower you exit the pond through the liner the better flow you will get using gravity alone. It would help wonders if you can get it to flow into a settlement/vortex prior to filters or pumps and I think it will do OK. Get your settlement chamber down in the ground and enter it as low as you can with your 4". Even if you have to pump it right after the settlement, you're still ahead of the game.

    I designed my own and my 4" drain comes into my settlement chamber about 18" below the pond's water level. I have more draw down than I would like, but it flows very well for me.

    I would use 4" abs pipe and just run it as tidy as I could. Use sweeping elbows as opposed to the tight radius type to further increase the flow potential. Make sure the shoulders on the elbows aren't sharp. Probably wouldn't hurt to sand the corners off since your fish will probably bang into them from time to time.

    How are you planning on breaching the liner with the 4" drain pipe? I gave it some thought and I thought that maybe a 4" ELECTRICAL female adapter with a male adapter plus two pieces of PVC sheeting would do the trick. You'll want more area being compressed than the adapters can alone. I would cut out some PVC and make a couple of 8" discs. Then cut out so the adapters will go through the center of them. (sorta like big PVC washers) Male adapter -> PVC sheet -> liner -> PVC sheet -> female adapter. This should provide enough surface area to seal. Clamp the whole works together with stainless steel bolts and nuts about 3/4" from the edge of the PVC and space them out about every 1 1/2". Use a decent marine adhesive or 100% silicone between each layer. It's sorta Mickey Mouse, but IMHO should work. If you do go this route, the adapters have little ridges on them for tightening up, sand those off when done... gotta protect the fish!!

    Hope this helps, or at the very least confuses the hell out of you!

    Grant
    Wow Grant, aren't you handy! Wish you were a neighbor so I could pick your brains on retroing all of my project ponds....

  8. #8
    Oyagoi gcuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sangreaal View Post
    Wow Grant, aren't you handy! Wish you were a neighbor so I could pick your brains on retroing all of my project ponds....
    LOL, thanks for the compliment! When you have been in the hobby for little more than a year, and have done, redone, and then done again for a total of 4 ponds... You either better be rich, or get real familiar with plumbing and stuff. Lucky for me I was a gasfitter/plumber before becoming a firefighter so I think that's helped quite a bit.

    Grant

  9. #9
    Oyagoi koiczar's Avatar
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    If you're going to go through all that trouble with a retrofit BD AND try to gravity feed to a settling tank, then why not simply go UNDER THE LINER and use a REAL 4" bottom drain with air diffuser? I would also seriously suggest just removing the shelves in the bottom to allow for more water, less chance of predators thinking it's their own private sushi bar and much better temperature control and circulation ability to help get all the waste and stuff down to that bottom drain.

    Okay, if you still want to use a "retro" drain, I would recommend the AquaArt small unit for this pond. You can use up to 3" pipe with it, the large unit will handle up to 4" pipe. If you're sucking the water out with a pump then the 3" would be just fine. We have installed several on retrofit jobs we've done for customers and they work really well. If/when you get it, you'll notice that there are 4 flat "feet" on it. You will need to glue some large cobblestones or other material onto them to weight the unit down to keep it in place. Otherwise it will try to float on you.

    Mike

  10. #10
    Oyagoi gcuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koiczar View Post
    If you're going to go through all that trouble with a retrofit BD AND try to gravity feed to a settling tank, then why not simply go UNDER THE LINER and use a REAL 4" bottom drain with air diffuser? I would also seriously suggest just removing the shelves in the bottom to allow for more water, less chance of predators thinking it's their own private sushi bar and much better temperature control and circulation ability to help get all the waste and stuff down to that bottom drain.

    Okay, if you still want to use a "retro" drain, I would recommend the AquaArt small unit for this pond. You can use up to 3" pipe with it, the large unit will handle up to 4" pipe. If you're sucking the water out with a pump then the 3" would be just fine. We have installed several on retrofit jobs we've done for customers and they work really well. If/when you get it, you'll notice that there are 4 flat "feet" on it. You will need to glue some large cobblestones or other material onto them to weight the unit down to keep it in place. Otherwise it will try to float on you.

    Mike
    If you're pulling on it from a pump, would a 2" do also? I have no idea on the quality of the aftermarket drains, but if the Tetra one @ 2" is cheaper...

    Also, very good tip on the weight for the drain. What type of gap do they leave on the bottom? Do you have adjustments on the feet to accommodate different pump flows? Or is that not relevant?

    For the record, I completely agree with the first part of Mike's post. It really wouldn't be that hard to lift the liner up, prop it out of your way and pop a quick trench in for a normal bottom drain. The shelves also removed would be an easy step for extra gallons and reduced threat of predation. But... your pond, your work... your choice. The really nice thing about a regular bottom drain would be the ability to gravity flow your water and get the solids out of the water column before emulsifying them with a pump.

    Anyway, keep us posted on your project.

    Grant

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