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Thread: Ultima II Opinions?

  1. #51
    Tategoi Peppy's Avatar
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    makoi339, my pond was 2,000 gallons so I ordered the Ultima II 4000; however, I've been digging for what seems like all dang summer so now I have no idea how many gallons I'll have.

    I had a 2' deep aquascape pond and removed the gravel, pulled back the liner and made the shelves narrower.

    Also dug the first shelf down to the depth of the original 2' bottom.

    Now I'm working on the bottom that will be 3' deep. Attached a photo. I am hand digging this and it is a never ending job.

    I know 4' is considered minimum for Koi but I honestly am so freaking tired from digging and fall is here and the leaves will start falling and my Koi have been in a swimming pool since June.

    The perimeter is 15' X 18'.

    It is 3' 4" from the bottom to the string in the photo. I hope to put landscaping blocks around the perimeter and if they hold, then that will make it 3' 4" deep.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ultima II Opinions?-still-digging.jpg  

  2. #52
    Sansai
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    For thit s type of pond dig you shelves back to about 1 ft wide max. This gives you enough room to stack and mortar from the shelf up with just enough room for a plant pot if you desire. The shelf was also mortared and sanded to protect it partly because small ponds are so visual. The only exposed liner is from the shelf down and the bottom.
    This pond has a three inch bottom drain leading to a Wave 24 settlement tank with static prefilter and a Savio compact skimmer. A Wave 1 1/15 hp pump, 40 watt uv, one 55 gal upflow sand and gravel filter and one 55 gal drum PVC shaving filter built into the waterfall. One 3/4inch gravity flow TPR from the top of the PVC shavings filter to rotate the pond away from the skimmer under the falls.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ultima II Opinions?-knepper-22-958x719.jpg   Ultima II Opinions?-knepper-26-958x719.jpg   Ultima II Opinions?-knepper-33-958x719.jpg   Ultima II Opinions?-knepper-31-638x479.jpg  

  3. #53
    Tategoi Peppy's Avatar
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    Kent, I love it! You are a neat digger, that's for sure. I'm so tired of digging, I don't even care about neatness anymore.

    I don't know anything about mortar. Is this a pond for Koi? What kind of mortar did you use and how long before the fish can go back in? How did you mix it?

    How deep is it to the bottom?

    I made my shelves a foot wide too. They were so wide before that the bottom area, which was only 2' deep, was only about 4' x 6'. Now it is much bigger.

    Is there no issue with pathogens behind the mortared rocks...between the rocks and the liner...I mean does the mortar stick to the liner so water doesn't get between the mortar and liner and create an anaerobic situation?

    I thought for Koi I was limited to bare liner and no rocks. This is something to think about.

  4. #54
    Sansai
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    I rebuild a lot of ponds and many of them are small ponds. This was one of those. We pulled the liner back, added the drain, settlement and skimmer, reshaped the bottom and reset the liner. The customers are used to that rock look so we replace the rock on the sides only to give that rock pond aesthetic look but leave all the rocks off the bottom. The mortar seals the rocks in and prevents the anaerobic condition of loose rocks. We use plain bagged concrete with no herbs or spices. It's just like building a concrete pond and the ph stabilizes very quickly. Acid wash all the rocks and mortar with muratic acid during clean up. We use a #12 sand thrown on top of the bare concrete between the rocks to give that rocks in beach sand look. Color the concrete toward the top to mute the grey of the concrete on top.
    Oh and never use sharp rock under the water line. We commonly use the customers river pebble we pulled off the bottom and sides to rerock from the shelf up. These rocks are fairly smooth so they can't damage the fish.

  5. #55
    Sansai
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    This one was close to 3 ft deep. There was a layer of hard pan that was impervious to man or beast. Even Jay and the jackhammer couldn't get deeper. The settlement tank sits on the hard pan with the drain up and out the side instead of out the bottom!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ultima II Opinions?-knepper-6-958x719.jpg  

  6. #56
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    I thought for Koi I was limited to bare liner and no rocks. This is something to think about.
    Ask yourself how that extra time, work and materials makes a better environment for koi. We know from all the pictures in the following thread that rocks make a better fit outside a koi pond...than inside.

    For My Friend Jan T - KoiShack

  7. #57
    Sansai
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    Hey Mike, I never said it was a "better" environment for koi. In the business world I have to, at some level, give the customers the "look" they want. On small pond rebuilds I give them all the "functional" bells and whistles I want/need and many of them I have to make myself. I give the customers a compromize toward the "look" they want. Those round mortared in rocks have no different effect on the koi than a pond completely built of bare concrete. I didn't say it was the "best" way to do it but one way to make the sale and improve what the watergarden world created by about 100 times.
    Here's the before. Careful, don't stir it up. Black hydrogen sulfide goo comes up.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ultima II Opinions?-knepper-958x719.jpg   Ultima II Opinions?-knepper-1-958x719.jpg  

  8. #58
    MCA
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    Kent,

    I tried to be careful not to quote you are try to put words in your mouth about any "benefit" of put rock and mortar on the sides of a pond. I fully understand that ultimately you have to do what the customer accepts. And all too many pond owners only know the R&G approach. You work is excellent.

    My point is that doing that is a complete waste of time, money, and effort as at best...the impact to the water quality is neutral. At worse it provides a few more places for mulm to gather.

    It goes back to the heart of the problem....treating a pond and inhabiants as garden oraments (or landscaping devices) first...and as animals in our care second. And the strange thing is that so many of the folks who do that kind of pond are they ones shouting about how much they love their "fishies". It takes passion and knowledge to be a good koi keeper.
    Koi keeping is not a belief system; it is applied science with a touch of artistry.

  9. #59
    Tategoi Peppy's Avatar
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    Of course they love their fishies! They either don't know about the gravel issue (like me!) or heard it but aren't convinced (also me!).

    People put two and two together and get five. My neighbor said they have no problems whatsoever with rock and gravel in their pond but all their Koi died and they consider that mysterious.

    So Kent, have you run into any problems with mortar cracking due to freeze/thaw?

    Kudos to you, Kent, for giving people what they want aesthetically but is also a hundred times better than the traditional pond-in-a-day.

    I don't even have to time to think about mortaring rocks this year. I'll be lucky to get the thing back together before the bare hole is full of leaves.

    By the way, when my Ultima II gets here, can I put some of my bioballs in it to quick-start the bacteria? Or can I add bacteria to quick start it?

    Somehow, I have a feeling there is more to this than I know too.

  10. #60
    Sansai
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    Mike, I know you and I understand each other. I just wanted to make sure others know where I stand. The problem with being in business is you have to sell something or go out of business. I can take the high and mighty road when it comes to circulation, filtration, flow rates, aeration, prefiltration etc. At some point you have to offer a compromise and appeal to aesthetics on a level that an individual customer requests or just go out of business.
    The visual aspect of any pond over the long term is always what's above the water line. Other than the fish, what's below the water line doesn't ever get noticed long term. I've put a lot of effort into aesthetics above the water line but there are clients that never intend to have expensive fish and really like that rock look so my compromise is mortared in, smooth or round stone down just a few inches below water level to a small shelf. After a very short time customers that are used to the rock bottom look never even notice that the bottom is bare.
    Rebuilding existing ponds is a very different market than building ponds from scratch for clients that have expectations for their fish.

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