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Thread: Pond Skimmers

  1. #1
    Nisai
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    Pond Skimmers

    Hello all,

    There are many brands and types of pond skimmers on the market. Some of you have "no-niche" styles skimmers, some of you have swimming pool style skimmers, and some of you have other types of pond skimmers.

    I invite you to take a look at our HydroClean pond skimmers and see how they compare to other pond skimmers on the market.

    We have designed our pond skimmers to give you maximum versatility - they can attach to rubber liner ponds, concrete/gunite ponds, as well as polyurea, fiberglass, and other types of ponds as simple as attaching any pipe to the pond. They have been designed so that they can be used on both "in-ground" and "above-ground" ponds - and be moved away from the pond with ordinary PVC pipe. They can be attached to bottom drains and mid-water intakes as well. They are also designed to give you - the pond builder - a wide variety of plumbing options. They can be used with centrifugal and/or submersible pumps and multiples of each. Their design is also "Koi Friendly" - Koi can swim in and out of the skimmer - especially important when smaller Koi chase food into the skimmer.

    Please view them here: http://www.russellwatergardens.com/F...hydroclean.php
    Let me know what you think.

    Thanks so much.
    Sincerely,
    John Russell
    www.russellwatergardens.com

  2. #2
    Tosai berkokid's Avatar
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    RE: Pond Skimmers

    Hi -

    I took a look at your skimmer. My biggest thought is ... in principal, I understand fish can swim in and out ... however, it seems to me that with sufficient current the fish simply won't get out.

    In my opinion, I think a significant improvement to your skimmer would be to prevent fish from swimming in. I've had to hack together a solution for this on my skimmer, which I did by using 1/2" PVC pipe to create my own 'tension rods' which span horizontally across the opening of the skimmer. They sit below and above the water level, with roughly a 3/4" gap between which allows debris to flow in but prevents most fish.

    Still, in my situation, I can loose small fish ... say 2" or smaller ...

    Just my two cents ... good luck!

  3. #3
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    They can be attached to bottom drains and mid-water intakes as well.
    Sure they can. The issue is should they. IMHO, almost as bad as tieing a BD into a skimmer. No way to control or balance a from from the mid water (or BD) flow that way.

    That may be an acceptable message in other pond hobbies. The koi hobby left that kind of system design behind many years ago with the publication of Koi Kichi by Peter Waddington.

    Matter of fact, I had water garderner come by Saturday. I showed him our pond and then I got out our copy of Koi Kichi. I showed the person the diagrams of the filter systems in the book. The light went on....another epiphany.
    Koi keeping is not a belief system; it is applied science with a touch of artistry.

  4. #4
    Oyagoi gcuss's Avatar
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    John,

    Another obvious problem for me is the lack of a weir door. If the pond level drops from evaporation, you'll starve the circuit, and if the level rises you're no longer pulling off the top.... Not really a skimmer anymore. I realize you sell a weir door kit, but your website recommends against it and if one chooses the weir door, your biggest selling feature (the koi coming and going) is bunk...

    Sorry, not impressed with that product at all.

    Grant

  5. #5
    Nisai
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    Hi all,

    First of all, I invite all of you to come see our HydroClean pond skimmers actually working. We can debate their theory forever - but you'll better understand them once you see them actually working.

    One thing you all need to know is that we don't market anything without exhaustive research and testing. The industry is very competitive - and if we didn't make a "better mouse trap", we wouldn't be gaining market share and growing sales - especially during a difficult economy.

    Those of you that have been to our flagship store in Redmond Washington know that we have dozens of working ponds (of all types and sizes) in which to test our ideas before moving into production. We also have testing partners in all corners of the United States and Canada that help us improve our designs and work out "bugs" before production.

    Believe me when I tell you that your questions are valid, appreciated, and have most likely already been addressed during our R&D process.

    Now let me address your comments.

    #1. Weir Door. We have attachable weir doors for those who require, or simply want them. Both on the 6" and 10" inlet sizes. Through our testing, we have found that weir doors are not needed when the inlet pipe diameter is matched to the pump's flow rate.

    For example - our Piper skimmer has a 6" skimmer inlet pipe. The 6" pipe by itself generates a "vacuum wave" into the inlet pipe with flow rates of 5,000 gph to 7,000 gph. We call it a vaccum wave because that's what it actually "looks" like in operation. When water at specific flow rates enters specific diameter inlet pipe - it creates a curved wave around the front of the inlet pipe and down into it that draws leaves and debris into the skimmer. This photo shows this phenomenon on a Koi pond at our store - but better yet - come see it in person.

    Where is the skimmer in this photo? The Piper HydroClean pond skimmer is installed 24" back and away from the pond with lush plantings and landscaping between the skimmer and the pond. This makes for a much prettier pond edge. Also, note that there is no weir door in this Koi pond installation so Koi can swim in and out of the skimmer.

    For flow rates under 5,000 gph, the skimmer's inlet pipe gets adapted down to 4" and even 3" pipe. No matter which pipe size your application requires - you can move the skimmer away from the pond's edge for a more attactive pond.

    On the 10" Pelican model, flow rates of 10,000 to 24,000 gph into the 10" inlet pipe doesn't require the wier door. For lower flow rates under 10,000 gph, the inlet gets adapted down to 8" or 6" pipe or the weir door can be attached.

    The weir doors are used when the pump's flow rate doesn't reach the capacity of the inlet pipe. For example, a 4,000 gph pump with the Piper's 6" inlet pipe would either require adapting down to 4" pipe or attaching the 6" weir door housing. It's your choice. Keep in mind that weir doors prevent fish from exiting pond skimmers - so in this case, we recommend using the 4" pipe instead of the 6" weir door.

    Weir doors are designed to increase surface suction by reducing the area of water entering the skimmer. Limiting pipe diameter can perform the same function. Lowering the water area increases the water velocity - that's the purpose of a weir door - to increase velocity to increase surface suction. Limiting pipe diameter does the exact same thing. Your pump's gph remains the same. Its like a narrow section of a river runs faster than a wide section of the river - the same water volume passes - just at different speeds based on the area available. What we're doing with variable pipe diameter is like making a river more narrow - thus speeding the velocity of the water. With this principal, weir doors are simply not needed.

    To see what I'm talking about, try it yourself at home. Attach 12" lengths of 4", then 3", then 2", then 1.5" pipe to a pipe connected to your centrifugal pump's inlet. Place your test "skimmer" pipe level in your pond with the upper edge of the pipe about 3/4" to 1" above the water line. See what the water does and how it "sucks" leaves off the top of the pond. Next, vary the length of pipe from 12" to 24", and 36" - and note what happens. You'll find that limiting pipe diameter performs the same function as weir doors in increasing surface suction by increasing water velocity.


    #2. Devices to prevent fish from entering a skimmer. Anything placed in front of any brand of pond skimmer to prevent fish from entering that skimmer can reduce that skimmer's ability to remove debris from the water. If it prevents a fish from entering the skimmer - it can prevent leaves or other debris from entering the skimmer as well. So blocking any brand of pond skimmer's inlet is not recommended by any manufacturer.

    Knowing this, we opted to design a skimmer that allows fish to swim into and out of it without restricting leaves and debris from entering the skimmer.

    #2a. Fish swimming out. Small fish can swim out of the skimmer with lower flow rates and wider inlet pipe - lower water velocity. For example, a 3,000 gph flow rate with a 6" inlet pipe will have a mild current that even Fantails can swim against and out of the skimmer (the wide slow river). But, this set up reduces the skimmer's surface suction power. To increase skimmer suction power without causing flow rates that exceed small fish swimming strength - move the HydroClean pond skimmer back and away from the pond. Split the 6" inlet pipe into two 3" inlet pipes with an adaptor and a Wye or a Tee. Connect the two 3" skimmer inlet pipes to two different locations on the pond. This will have the net result of two skimmers on the pond that increases surface skimming, but not have such high velocity rates in each that prevents small fish from swimming out the pipe and skimmer. One HydroClean pond skimmer can be used in place of two skimmers of any other brand because of its ability to move away from the pond and attach to PVC pipe.

    #3. Regulating Water Level. All our HydroClean pond skimmers come pre-plumbed for an automatic water fill valve and one or more overflow ports. With the auto fill valve turned on, and the overflow port connected to a drain line - the water level is maintained at all times except during exceptionally large water changes or filter backwash cycles. The autofill valve keeps the pond "topped-off" from evaporation and slowly refills the pond after backwashes. The overflow ports prevent the water level from exceeding the skimmer's inlet pipe even during heavy Seattle rains.

    Each skimmer is available with one or more bottom drain/mid water intake ports. Our Piper skimmer is available with one to three 1.5" to 4" bottom drain/mid water intake ports and the Pelican model is available with one to three 1.5" to 6".

    With a bottom drain attached to a HydroClean skimmer - the water can drop below the skimmer's surface inlet and not starve the pump.

    One more thing of note, all our our Hydro Dynamax submersible pumps come standard with Automatic ON/OFF float switches, and our Hydro Centrimax centrifugal pumps have optional float switches that automatically shut pumps off in low water situations. With HydroClean pond skimmers - multiple pumps - and/or types of pumps can be used at the same time - each with their own Automatic ON/OFF low water shut-off protection.

    #4. Adjusting flow between upper and lower inlets. Flow between the bottom drain and surface inlets is controlled by pipe diameter. Take the Piper HydroClean skimmer for example: To have more bottom suction than surface skimming - you can order the Piper HydroClean pond skimmer with a 4" bottom drain inlet and a 3" skimmer inlet adaptor - or any combination your design calls for. The Pelican with multiple 4" bottom drain inlets and a 6" surface skimming inlet - or three 4" bottom drain inlets with the standard 10" surface inlet. With HydroClean - you have maximum flexibility.

    HydroClean pond skimmers can also be installed "in-line" with settlement tanks, sieves, or other such filters or devices. The purpose of the HydroClean pond skimmer is to remove debris from the pond - both top and bottom - give the pond builder maximum plumbing options, give the pond designer the most installation and placement options, and be safe for Koi.

    All of your skimming questions and concerns are answered with HydroClean skimmers.

    Again, I invite all of you to come see them in person - because no amount of talking here will do as much as you seeing them in action with your own eyes. Compare our skimmers to any brand on the market - physically put them side by side with any other brand - and you'll see what all the excitement is about.

    Don't take my word for it - come see them in person.

    Sincerely,
    John Russell
    www.russellwatergardens.com

  6. #6
    Oyagoi mstrseed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Russell View Post

    #2. Devices to prevent fish from entering a skimmer. Anything placed in front of any brand of pond skimmer to prevent fish from entering that skimmer can reduce that skimmer's ability to remove debris from the water. If it prevents a fish from entering the skimmer - it can prevent leaves or other debris from entering the skimmer as well. So blocking any brand of pond skimmer's inlet is not recommended by any manufacturer.

    Knowing this, we opted to design a skimmer that allows fish to swim into and out of it without restricting leaves and debris from entering the skimmer.


    Sincerely,
    John Russell
    Please go find the threads where mutilated Koi or Koi killed could have been prevented with a guard of sorts. Part of skimmers is maintenance.................so if flow is disrupted, unclog it, its a novel approach..............

  7. #7
    Nisai
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    Hi Mstrseed,

    No question. Koi die in pond skimmers with weir doors every day. You're making my point of the need of having a pond skimmer that Koi can swim into and out of.

    By not having a weir door - Koi can swim out of a HydroClean pond skimmer. That is the primary design point of HydroClean pond skimmers.

    Thanks so much.
    Sincerely,
    John Russell

  8. #8
    Oyagoi mstrseed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Russell View Post
    Hi Mstrseed,

    No question. Koi die in pond skimmers with weir doors every day. You're making my point of the need of having a pond skimmer that Koi can swim into and out of.

    By not having a weir door - Koi can swim out of a HydroClean pond skimmer. That is the primary design point of HydroClean pond skimmers.

    Thanks so much.
    Sincerely,
    John Russell
    No I am make a point not to allow them in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. #9
    Tosai berkokid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstrseed View Post
    No I am make a point not to allow them in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I agree with this ... the modifications I did to my skimmer don't seem to prevent flow. My testing consisted of dumping leaves and grass 'n' stuff in the pond several times and getting it so that it continued to work. I'm not suggesting that I haven't reduced the effectiveness of my skimmer somewhat, I'm sure I have ...

    For me, however, if a leaf gets caught 1 in 10 times, that's a small price to pay to protect my fish ... and in the first week with my brand new Savio SkimmerFilter setup I lost an 8" Koi who swam in and couldn't get out.

    To me, the right product package for a Skimmer is "never compromise fish safety ... then do the best you can to skim and filter."

    It seems like most product "do the best they can to skim and filter" and then think about what they need to do to protect fish. That feels bass-akwards to me ... if the Skimmer kills even one fish it's failing as an effective product.

  10. #10
    Nisai
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    Hi all,

    Again, no arguement on the importance of Koi safety. Traditional weir-door based pond skimmers kill Koi unless modified with a mechanical device in front of the weir door that can also reduce the skimmer's efficiency. HydroClean pond skimmers are designed for maximum Koi safety and to not reduce skimming efficiency with mechanical devices in front of its inlet.

    When using traditional pond skimmers the choice is to either have weir doors that kill Koi or mechanical devices in front of the weir that reduces the skimmer's efficiency. Lock the Koi in the skimmer, or lock them (and other debris) out of the skimmer - that's been the industry's choice untill the introduction of HydroClean pond skimmers. HydroClean pondskimmers let Koi swim into and out of the skimmer without reducing its skimming efficiency.

    HydroClean pond skimmers were designed specificaly to solve issues such as these like no other brand of pond skimmer on the market. Compare HydroClean pond skimmers to any brand on the market on how Koi safety, skimming efficiency, plumbing options, installation options, and serviceability issues are addressed. You'll see that there really isn't a comparison. HydroClean pond skimmers come out on top of every category. Their only down side is that they are also on top of the price category - but we maintain that "you get what you pay for".

    Berkokid, if you had installed a HydroClean pond skimmer with an open inlet pipe instead of that other brand with its weir door - your Koi could have simply swam out of the skimmer and be alive today. That's the point of HydroClean pond skimmers.

    That other brand gets frequently installed because of its relatively low price and mass market availability - but when you add the cost of replacing the Koi killed by its weir door, and the time, materials, money, and effort spent on modifying it to be safe for your Koi - you could have just installed a HydroClean pond skimmer and been done with it.

    You are exactly right: "Never compromise on Koi safety". That is the cornerstone of HydroClean pond skimmers. Their design started with Koi safety as Job #1. "Swim in, and swim out".

    Sincerely,
    John Russell
    www.russellwatergardens.com

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