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Thread: Where to Put New Pump?

  1. #1
    Tosai
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    27

    Where to Put New Pump?

    Hi folks. Have been lurking for some time, but have stayed mum learning from the masters on this site. Am seeking your advice as I retrofit/improve a pond that I inherited when I moved into this house 3 summers ago. Please indulge me with this bit of a long description. I apologize upfront. I've included photos. About me: Growing up had indoor freshwater aquariums. Worked at family-run aquarium shop through high school and first year of college. Have had tanks all my life and I know how to keep indoor freshwater fish. This is my first stab at an outdoor pond. Live in North Carolina just outside Charlotte.

    History:
    2 ponds constructed about 10 years ago from what I could get out of the previous owner. Had no filtration (ZERO!), no air, no bottom drains, no nothing but a dozen 29 cent goldies swimming around in pea green mud overgrown with pond plants. (Basically the guy who built it must have just figured it would be nice to have a water feature with no consideration for upkeep or maintenance after the fact. Duh!) The area where ponds are has a gentle slope downward at about a 10-15 degree angle. Upper pond is a pre-formed plastic tub that is about 300 gallons with no fish in it and heavy muck I needed to remove. Lower pond is about 2,000 gallons and 3 1/2 feet deep. Upper pond waterfalls into lower pond.

    Starting the Transformation 2 years ago:
    Felt bad for those sad goldies in muck, so decided to help 'em out with filtration for lower pond only. Bought Laguna 2100 Pressure Filter (with UV) that is partially buried. Have Laguna 1500 pump to accompany it. Did the usual partial water changes, barley, etc. and water quickly cleared up. All goldies and koi survived first winter. All fish happy. (Knock on wood).

    Last Year: All fish still in lower pond. Upper pond not in use other than by frogs. Bought first 2 koi--little ones at about 4 inches each in bottom pond. All fish happy. Water quality still good and clear. All fish survive another winter. (Knock on wood again).

    This year:
    Bought 3 more koi at 5 inch size (you can see where this is going...LOL!). Last year's koi are now 9 inches. Have never lost a fish in the three summers we've now cared for the pond. Wanted to get all goldies (now about 3-5 inches each) and put them all in the upper pond so I could reserve lower pond for just koi. Fully drained/vacuumed out upper pre-formed pond this weekend and discovered it had over a foot of muck, frogs, etc. Water was clear, but heavy on muck settlement. Refilled it with partial new water (we are on a well, and water in our aquifer is beautiful. No nasty chems or anything. Fish love it.) and partial existing water from lower pond. No filtration yet in upper pond, but have filtrated water from lower pond recirculating into upper and then falling via waterfall. Caught 4 goldies, and put 'em in upper pond. Am trying to catch the other ones (boy are they pesky to catch!).

    What to do next?:
    I can afford to do one thing this year to retro-fit the ponds. Next year perhaps a skimmer, but budget is tight thanks to crappy economy, So, I want to get rid of the Laguna 1500 submersible pump and put in a larger Pondmaster X-series external pump. I have chosen this because it has the lowest wattage usage of external pumps I am looking at (need to be thrifty on elec bills and this uses only 195 watts), plus, I've read positive reviews. I've used pondmaster equi before and it's always been a consistent brand for me. I've looked at other great brands for stuff that you guys use--but they are energy hogs. I will get a leaf trap for it and one of them backflow thingees as it will not be self-priming. I'm on a budget, but want to do an external so I can save my 39-year old aching back from reaching into the water and lugging out a pump to clean. I also want to put a splitter on it so that one line will go to the upper pond for the goldies and the other will go to the lower pond and then have both feed into my existing filter.

    I realize I have to bury this thing below the water line, which I can do at the lowest part of the lower pond. Is that the right place to put it?? How have you guys gone about building a pump pit? I plan to put the pump on a couple of bricks, but how are you guys covering your pit? I want to make sure this thing gets good air flow. Any photos you can share? I also want to know how deep I have to go? What is an acceptable depth below the water line? Also, water will be pumping up grade to the ponds if I put it at the lowest part of the lower pond.

    Am I thinking about this correctly? What suggestions do you have for me in terms of what direction I'm going in with relation to this pump and where to place it.

    Here's a pic of the fishies. Sorry it's a bit murky looking as I was shooting right into the sun. Water is actually much clearer than it appears here. Also, Here's a pic of the pond, too.

    Ultimately, I want to add to the existing filter by building my own in a 55 gal drum, but that will happen next year. My biggest dilemma is that the pond is in an open area in the yard and I don't want a honking big drum that can be seen. And I have no real way of disguising such a thing at the moment. I can ultimately put one under the deck (about 6 feet aeay/up from the upper pond) and bury the pvc to get to the top pond. I'm assuming that this would work because of the 15 degree incline in terms of gravity?

    P.S.--some day I will likely dismantle the whole thing and make it bigger and better (can you tell I've caught the sickness!?). But for now, I'm trying to work with what I've been given and improve upon it as much as my wallet will allow.

    I bow down to all the masters/experts here in listening about my humble pond.

  2. #2
    Oyagoi CarolinaGirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    1,620
    Welcome! First of all, your pictures aren't showing up. Also, have you joined the charlotte koi club? You should....there are tons of really experienced koi keepers there. and they have a great show in November. Here's a link... http://www.pkwsonline.com/

    Also...I live about 90 minutes from you. If you are ever in the columbia area and would like to visit, let me know!

    See if you can get those pics up...they help a lot!!

  3. #3
    Tosai
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    27
    Quote Originally Posted by CarolinaGirl View Post
    Welcome! First of all, your pictures aren't showing up. Also, have you joined the charlotte koi club? You should....there are tons of really experienced koi keepers there. and they have a great show in November. Here's a link... http://www.pkwsonline.com/

    Also...I live about 90 minutes from you. If you are ever in the columbia area and would like to visit, let me know!

    See if you can get those pics up...they help a lot!!

    Hi there CarolinaGirl. I have double checked the photos on two other computers, and they are showing up fine when I click the link. Forgive me!

    I have just learned about pkw a few weeks ago, and do plan on joining and visiting the show later in the year. If I pass by your neck of the woods some time, I'll certainly give you a shout!

  4. #4
    Tosai
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    az
    Posts
    23
    He set it up so you have to click on the thing that says 'pic' A bit differnt then we are use to here.

    I think that is a fine spot for your pump. I have never buried a pump before? have you considered going thru the filter, dropping all of the water into the little pond, and then bring having a waterfall to the big pond?

  5. #5
    Tosai
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    26
    Quote Originally Posted by lfreem View Post
    I realize I have to bury this thing below the water line, which I can do at the lowest part of the lower pond. Is that the right place to put it??
    Consider the flow pattern of the pond as a whole first, then figure out where to put the pump. When you've gone as far as you intend to go before digging the pond up and starting over, where will the pump draw water from the pond, and where will the water return to the pond?

    And what sort of intake are you planning for the new pump this year? A skimmer? A bottom drain? Both?

    How have you guys gone about building a pump pit? I plan to put the pump on a couple of bricks, but how are you guys covering your pit? I want to make sure this thing gets good air flow. Any photos you can share? I also want to know how deep I have to go? What is an acceptable depth below the water line?
    If you're not trying to make it self-priming, you can place the pump above the water line. You'll probably get slightly better performance with it below the waterline, though. I would think two feet would get you to the point of diminishing returns, but I'm no expert.

    All else being equal, you want the pump near where it draws water from the pond. This is because centrifugal pumps push better than they pull. But if your tubing is of adequate size, and you're not trying suck water uphill, this is a very minor consideration.

    When you plan your pump pit, be sure that rain won't flood it. Not only do you need to cover it, but you also need to either make it watertight or provide very reliable drainage to carry off the ground water.

    Also, water will be pumping up grade to the ponds if I put it at the lowest part of the lower pond.
    I'm not sure what you mean by the lowest part of the lowest pond. Are we talking about a bottom drain here?

    For the purpose of calculating head, it doesn't matter how far below the waterline the pump is. Water above the intake of the pump balances water above the outlet up to the water line. Hence, you only need to worry about friction head and the height above the waterline.

    I also want to put a splitter on it so that one line will go to the upper pond for the goldies and the other will go to the lower pond and then have both feed into my existing filter.
    Have you considered pumping all the water through the upper pond and making a waterfall to the lower pond? It looks like this is what the original builder meant to do before abandoning the project. This would be much simpler than trying to manage two parallel circuits on the same pump and would make better use of your electricity, as both ponds would get the full flow of the pump.

    Am I thinking about this correctly?
    I'm honestly not sure I understand what you're thinking. I've read your post three times, and I'm still not sure how water is getting from the lower pond to your pump. I apologize if you said this clearly, I didn't get much sleep last night, and hence I may be a bit dense this morning. A simple drawing of your master plan might help.

    P.S.--some day I will likely dismantle the whole thing and make it bigger and better (can you tell I've caught the sickness!?). But for now, I'm trying to work with what I've been given and improve upon it as much as my wallet will allow.
    My pond also came with a house a few years ago, and it was also built by someone who didn't know what he was doing. If I knew then what I know now, I'd have started digging up the old pond as soon as we closed on the house. I realize now that no matter what I do to the existing pond, it will always be a maintenance nightmare, and the time and money I've put into trying to make it right would have been better spent building a proper pond from scratch.

    However, I didn't know then what I know now, and if I'd started digging then, I'd have made all sorts of mistakes out of my abysmal ignorance, just like the last guy. It's kindof a catch 22. You can't build a successful pond unless you know what you're doing, and it's very hard to learn about ponds unless you have one to work with. I suppose that's one reason why so many first ponds are redone completely.

    But your koi are growing fast, and pretty soon, it's going to be hard to keep them without proper pond designed for a bottom drain. Big fish eat big meals, and no, it doesn't float.
    Last edited by Otter; 07-05-2009 at 06:55 AM. Reason: hit submit when I meant to preview

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