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Thread: Pond without bottom drain, please help!!!

  1. #1
    mvt
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    Pond without bottom drain, please help!!!

    Hi all, I am newbie to koi hobby. I just bought a house and there is a koi pond in the backyard, approximate 1,400-1,600 gal. After doing some research, I know this pond was not in a good design at all, no bottom drain. The previous owner just dump the 2'' pipe straight down from the pump to the bottom of the liner pond. The water level is way below the suction pipe. There are four-55gal barrels filter, the first three are mechanic filters and the last barrel is bio-filter, I think. The thing is I don't want to reconstruct the pond because of the budget after I bought the house. What should I do to improve the water quality and less maintain? Should I buy the pond vacuum or retro-drain or else? Please help!!! Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Meg
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    welcome
    are the filters gravity feed? for 1,500 gallons the filters may be ok, can you tell us about each barrel?
    what is the turn over rate of the pond?
    plants in the pond?
    how many fish? koi need 500 gallons a fish, so your pond is good for say 3 adult koi.
    you can add a retro bottom drain that goes over the pond side just like your plumbing does already, just add enough pvc to reach the bottom and add the drain, hopefully water flow can keep things pushed/washed to the drain? another good thing for you to check, the water currents of the pond.

  3. #3
    Tosai
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    I had the same exact situation. I bought a house and inherited a pond that had zero consideration for filtration in mind, and I've basically retrofit the whole thing.

    I put an aqua art retro bottom drain in and its the best thing I've ever done. The thing works like a charm and I just have it tied into my 55 gal filter. Tetra also makes a retro bottom drain, but i don't like the fact that it pipes into the top part. The aqua art drain pipes into the side, so your pipe lays flat on the pond bottom. For your size pond, you should buy the small aqua art drain.

  4. #4
    mvt
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    lfreem,
    Thanks so much for response. There's another problem that I have is my bottom pond is pretty flat and I don't see any lowest point that I can put the retro bottom drain. Should I put at the center or on the side of the pond? I heard people said that the retro bottom drain won't suck anything more than 6" in parameter. Correct me if I am wrong. One more thing that I'm going to retrofit my pond is to have the suction of the pump below the water surface. Is it a good idea?

  5. #5
    Tosai
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    LOL! You're still describing my situation exactly. My pond is perfectly flat on the bottom as well--the builder never put a gentle slope toward the center.

    I have my aqua art drain placed precisely in the center of the pond, and it sucks in stuff from all over. The 6" comment you heard about it complete nonsense!

    I have mine plumbed as you describe. I dug down on the side of the pond, drained 50% of the water in the pond (fish were all still in there) and popped a hole through the liner about midway down. I put in a black bullhead fitting and sealed it really well with PL roofing sealant. I let it sit until the next day...I simply filled two five gallon buckets with the dirt I had dug out and propped the liner against them so the liner would stay up and hold all the water in. Once it was dry the next day, I then plumbed using 2" flexible black piping. Aqua Art recommends the use of stiff pipe, but I had no trouble using flex pipe. I did this because I felt I could move around the retro drain if I chose to. Honestly, I really haven't had to move it from dead center in the pond tho.

    One thing I would recommend is at the end of the line when the water comes back into the pond after it runs through your whole fitration system, I keep my return flex pipe in the water and then I put a eductor at the end so i acts like a TPR. This forces the water at a high speed. Instead of buying a pond eductor, you can simply reduce the size of the 2" pipe sharply with a pvc fitting. Let's say a 1" fitting so the water has to quickly squeeze out of a smaller hole. I simply put that pipe at a far end of the pond, and all the water swirls around in a circle in the pond (which is exactly the venturi-like effect you want). This makes all the stuff swirl into the center of the pond, which is where (tada!) your BD is. The koi love the extra fast moving water, too. If you've got a waterfall at the end of your circuit that would work too, but not as well as this TPR idea since a TPR moves water from underneath in a circular motion (and a waterfall just does water movement from the top).

    I just bought a Dolphin AV-50 pump from Ken's Fish, and I plan on sticking a 6" disc air diffuser on top of my aqua art drain. This also helps draw stuff to the drain as well. You will see these aerated real bottom drains for sale, I'm just doing the same thing in a retro manner.

    But don't let anyone tell you the aqua art drain doesn't work. It definitely does what it is intended to do. As I said, I have had zero buildup of anything on the bottom of my pond since I installed it. It has made maintenance 1000% easier for me. Instead of vacuuming and netting things, I sit back and enjoy the fish. It may not be the 100% equivalent of a real bottom drain, but in my situation I didn't have a real BD, so I had to figure out a way to make it all work.

    Not sure if you want to go for the large or small aqua art. I went for the large one and it's big. I was surprised when I opened the box. I decided that bigger would be better. Maybe you want to do the same. Dunno. After a month of being in there it's already covered with a bit of the usual green that's coated all over the bottom of the pond, so it kinda blends in. Once I put the air disc on top or near it, I'm sure you won't be able to see it all since the bubbles will be spewing up and covering it. I also have a black ring where my plants are, so that hovers above the BD and hides it as well.

    I tell ya, you will notice a difference within a day. Do a google search for the aqua art drain. I ended up getting mine from Columbia Water Gardens as it was about $12 bucks cheaper than buying it from aqua art. Just shop around a bit before you buy it.

    I don't know what you mean by the fact that your suction will be beneath the water. Are you saying you have a submersible pump? I have an external pump (Sequence 750). I'm not clear on what you mean by that statement. Help me understand what you are getting at.

  6. #6
    mvt
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    OMG, I am just a second to ask you how to install the bulkhead without damage the liner and Boommm...you described very detail how to do it.
    No, I have the external pump but it's way above the water pond level. Not to harm the pump in the long run, I am going to lower my pump below the water surface. So instead of pulling the water, the pump just discharges the water to the filters and back to pond. Also, how is the liner at bulkhead fitting, front and back of liner? any sign of tension or tearing? As your sugguest, we should hook up the flexible pvc at bulkhead. Some said we should hook up the rigid pvc so the bulkhead won't move around and damage the liner. I am going to install the bulkhead fitting this weekend.

  7. #7
    Tosai
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    I was PETRIFIED of installing a bulkead in my liner! Make a hole?! What?!Honestly, it could not have been easier. I got one of those bulkheads that basically looks the same on both sides, so inside and outside are both the same like this one. You've definitely got to get your pump under pond water level. I don't believe the retro drain will work properly otherwise...and it's not great for your overall filtration scheme anyway. I dug a hole next to my pond to make a filter pit and my pump is is there. I was so scared of making a hole in my liner that I initially tried to snake the flex pipe to my retro BD over the side of the pond. Of course, that didn't work work because I was working against gravity flow. Here is my pit. You can see my Sequence 750 next to my barrel. My piping to my BD is just 3 feet from here. It's the flex pipe you see heading away from the back of the pit. Tho i now have it buried about 6 inches below...

    PL roofing flashing sealant, which you can get at HD or Lowe's is a godsend. Just slather that deeply around your fitting and it won't leak. If I'm not mistaken, the aqua art site has instruction on how to install a bulkhead. I did use just a little black pond silicone (found at my local pond shop) to coat the inside of the bulkhead so it would not bind/twist the liner. Don't use too much here, as it is not used to prevent leaking, it's just used to keep the liner slippery as you're turning the bulkhead to seal. Then I slathered the PL all around the edges of the outside of the bulkhead once tightened.

    I hope this helps.

  8. #8
    mvt
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    Thanks, hopefully everything's going to workout for me. I'll update the work.

  9. #9
    mvt
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    lfreem,

    I already installed the bulkhead and so far everything looks good and I'm gonna install the retro-drain, large size. Like I mentioned earlier, my bottom pond is pretty flat and the bottom's area is approximate 85 sf. You think the large aqua art retro-drain will suck the waste in that parameter. Thanks.

  10. #10
    Tosai
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    The Aqua Art site has specifications for the GPH and size of pond for each size. I got the big one, and boy is it big. The small one I think is for 500-1400 gallons and I think the big one was 1400-10,000 gals. You can pipe it with everything from a 1 1/2"-4" pipe. Mine is piped with a 2" flex pipe.

    The small one has a 11" circumference and the big one has a 15" circumference. It doesn't sound like much of a diff, but it is.

    It quickly disappears once the usual green stuff starts growing on it. I just attached a air diffuser disc to the top of mine, so now it really can't be seen at all. Just bubbles.

    Congrats on breaking through the liner and doing the bulkhead. Scary, but once it's done, it's the best thing ever.

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