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Thread: Could use help in completing pond design

  1. #1
    Tosai
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    17

    Could use help in completing pond design

    Hello everyone,
    I am designing my first pond and could use some help piecing together everything I need for filtration.

    Some background on the pond and its location:
    1. Will be oval-shaped, 18í long, 13í wide, 5 feet deep, 7500-8000 gallons. Poured concrete floor, concrete block walls, sprayed polyurea coating. Waterfall.
    2. Plan to keep stock levels quite modest, roughly 10 fish.
    3. Iím in San Diego, temperatures stay pretty warm year-round.

    Some requirements I have:
    1. Backyard is somewhat small (regular suburban Southern California house) Ė as such, I donít want to take up any more space for the pondís filtration system than I have to. I plan to hide/enclose the filtration equipment as much as possible. Iíve seen the huge splashy towers of rocks in milk crates, thatís not for me, even if it is a bit cheaper and preferred by 8 out of 10 Koi in a non-partisan poll.
    2. Would like to keep things as low maintenance as reasonably possible Ė donít mind a couple minutes each day and maybe a bit more on the weekends, but would like to be able to go on vacation for 2 weekends without having to train a housesitter on a complex maintenance process, or suffer anxiety over a pond full of expensive cat food upon return.

    It is sunny here and we are installing a large solar panel system. While I donít want to use any more power than necessary, a little extra power consumption to keep space consumption lower, is okay.

    I am very mechanically adept and understand pumps, plumbing, electronics. Iíve maintained my fatherís large salt water aquarium system when he goes on vacationĖ once I see an assembled system I can figure out how it all works. Of course, designing a system is entirely different than understanding something already built.

    Iíve bought a couple books and been reading the online forums to get an idea of what a person needs to keep their pond healthy Ė as most of you veterans know, no two people seem to completely agree on the ďrightĒ solution, hence my difficulty in deciding exactly what to do. I sure donít want to do this stuff twice.

    In my research I came across the aquabead.com website, and I find a mostly-complete pre-fab filter solution like their AquaBead PLUS system appealing, the 10,00gal/4.25 being the probable size. Iím not against DIY, but there are enough other projects going on to keep that part of me satisfied (like, permit-ing and building the whole thing). There may be better or more complete pre-fab kits out there, might be interested in those too.

    Based on my limited learning-
    Sources of water and crap from the pond:
    1. I'll want two bottom drains. They'd be aerated, with the pond bottom bowled to direct crap to the drains.
    2. I need one (maybe two?) skimmers. I am landscaping the yard and have been careful to select plants and trees that wonít drop stuff into the pond.

    Water returns to the pond:
    1. Waterfall, can be turned off if it gets cold (it was 59 this morning ,burr!)
    2. 3-4 jets, or "TPRs" as they are abbreviated here, to get that swirly motion in the ocean

    Amongst my haze, the part in the middle is the fuzziest. In general, I *think* the flow is something like this:
    Pond -> Filter Out Big Stuff -> Filter Out Small and Biological Stuff, Gas Exchange -> Zap Algae with UV -> Pond

    So, for a pond of this size, should I be looking at a single "circuit" of filtration, performing all three steps, as the AquaBead system does? Would this filtration circuit pull from all three sources (both bottom drains and skimmer), or a subset? If I were to split into multiple circuits, would both circuits perform all three functions in parallel, or split? It might be good to have two pumps in some sort of parallel/redundant config should one fail. I'm not sure the 1/3hp pump in the above AquaBead kit is adequate to move all the water need for this pond, including the waterfall. Where should all this equipment be located vertically with respect to the pond's water level (at surface, below, etc.)?

    Basically, I could use some guidance on what to do about that part "in the middle" where the water magically goes from crappy to clean, based on my requirements and desire to use as much of a proven pre-fab'd system as possible. Once I know all the components to use, I can plan their layout and space requirements.

    Many thanks in advance for your guidance and Koi-operation! I promise to return the favor with many pics of the process and finished product.

    --Jason Rhoades

  2. #2
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Location
    Davenport, Oklahoma
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    6,726
    I like your attitude. You come to this with a good bit of study time already in hand and a sense of humor to keep it all from making you nuts

    Personally, I'd go for separate circuits on the BD's and Skimmers. That allows you to perform routine maintenance on one while the other remains fully operational. For your setting and desired ease of operation I'd go with BD circuit to vortex settlement loaded with brushes feeding the pump on the main Aquabead. That way if you leave for a short vacation the settlement will be able to handle the heavy detritus without fear of plugging up screens and starving the pump. The Aquabead systems are available with various levels of automation for unattended operation and I'm sure Gary can design one set up for failsafe operation.
    The separate skimmer circuit could easily be set up with similar pre-pump settlement with failsafe automation. You would still want a babysitter to come by just to make sure no localized power failures or other unforseeables had caused a problem, but it would be quite easy to walk just about anyone through a simple re-set and go if needed.
    I'm sure you'll get more feedback from others, and you can also get together with some of the local Koi Kichi who are in some of the clubs in your general vacinity. There are some very knowledgeable folks very nearby and tapping into that braintrust of experience would serve you well.
    Larry Iles
    Oklahoma

  3. #3
    Jumbo
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Crooked River Ranch, OR.
    Posts
    998
    Your pond is very close to what i built a couple of years ago. I have a thread on it here some where. Your pond is perfect for two BDs and 3 TPRs. Go with two 4" BDs to a DIY vortex or settlement if you have the space, or two Cetus Sieves. I like to then run my settlement to some kind of bio, fluid beds are my favorite. Then pump feed to some kind of fines/mech filtration then to the three TPRs like pictured.
    For your skimmer I like the lg Savio. It is very well made, has a nice rigid leaf basket, and takes the new quartzless drop in UVs. Run a 3" line out the center bottom to another pump feeding some kind of fines/mech filtration and then to your waterfall.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Could use help in completing pond design-tpr-flow.jpg  

  4. #4
    Tosai
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    17
    Thanks to Larry and Steve for your replies. With your help, I have finalized the design and layout of my pond and filter system.

    Being in the City of San Diego, I am going to need to go through the permit process to get this pond built. In speaking with the City planning group, it turns out if the pond is over 5000 gallons or not directly "on grade", I will have to have full structural schematics and calculations done.

    I plan on contructing this pond in a manner similar to MikeM from this thread. Oval shape, filled and rebar'd block wall construction with rebar'd/poured footer, rebar'd/poured floor, and polyurea or similar coating. Do any of you folks with already-completed ponds, that have been through this process, with similarly constructed ponds, have such information available? Maybe scanned or in some other electronic format?

    Maybe I'm just a cheap bastard, but it would be great to take an example of what my City is looking for, and be able to scale and modify it to my application, than to start from scratch. There's got to be a bunch of permit'd ponds out there built in this manner. My education is in applied mathematics, so I missed all the good engineering classes, but if I saw a complete version of what the City is looking for with a similarly constructed pond, I could probably fake it from there.

    Failing that, if anybody in the San Diego area has a recommendation on a good structural engineer to complete this task "properly", that would be very welcome also.

    Thanks again!

  5. #5
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    You might want to get in touch with NancyM.
    Her hubby is right up your alley...

  6. #6
    Sansai
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    195
    If you send me a basic drawing I could probably find some photos that would mimic what you're trying to do. That might help a bit. I have lots.

  7. #7
    Daihonmei
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,198
    add a couple of more holes/plumbing in the floor and the sides so when the hobby learns what works better you can add that..or anything else you can imagine..without it being a pain

  8. #8
    Tosai
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    17
    Hey everybody,
    Well, it's only been about a year but the pond project is finally in full gear. Hole is dug and concrete block walls are built. Filters and skimmer and all that stuff is bought and here. Just need to finish digging the bottom and get the floor poured and block walls filled.

    So the question today is around waterproofing. Original plan polyurea too expensive after typical massive budget overrun on rest of new home landsacping.
    I was going to maybe have the concrete co. mix some Xypex in the mix used to fill the walls and pour the floor, then use Xypex-imbibed stucco to coat the walls in. Problem is the Xypex rep never called me back, and the local Xypex distributor doesn't stock it, and is recommending a product called Aquafin:
    Aquafin, Inc. - waterproofing - concrete protection
    Specifically their 2K/M product:
    2KM main page
    Acrylic Modified Cementitious Waterproofing

    Since it is underground they also recommend this as a base coat:
    AQUAFIN-1K

    The stuff looks legit and I like that I can go pick it up locally, but I haven't seen any refrence to Aquafin products on this or any other pond sites. Maybe it's just something else (maybe even Xypex) rebranded? I also like they offer a nice array of colors, dark blue would look great. Looks like it'd be well under $1k in materials, and I'd have a stucco crew do the work.

    Thanks again for allowing me to tap this board's great knowledge and insight!

  9. #9
    Meg
    Meg is offline
    Oyagoi Meg's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
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    Florida Panhandle
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    check out this stuff

    Question for Luke: Did you use Xypex?


    edit...
    crud, silly me I see you have

  10. #10
    Daihonmei
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,198
    i got enough Xypex additive for less that $125 delivered to me from Miami to do my 50,000 gallon pond and the raceway filter...you only put in a couple of pounds of it in each 80lb bag of stucco and the sand...
    I actually had a fourth of it left over. It is a seed crystal. When exposed to free lime and water it grows till it fills the cappilaries in the concrete.
    And it becomes exposed later (due to hairline cracks) it starts growing again....
    I'd use it again...or at least base coat it under the aquafin

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