Well, I've finally broken ground on my pond, so I guess it's time to start my build thread. I'm building a 15,000 gallon, semi-raised pond out of concrete block with a remote filter pit.
Background: I joined Koiphen back in 2007, after lurking for a good deal of time before that. I've been taking notes, stealing ideas, and generally obsessing ever since. I've been obsessed with fish my whole life, from fishing (I know that seems counter-intuitive, but it's not) to aquariums. I've had an affinity for asian styles since growing up in Hawaii in the early 70's (and I remember seeing koi in ponds around restaurants and tourist attractions). I'm an Engineer by training (alright, electrical engineering, but the zeal for designing is the same!), and I love building things. Finally, I have an almost obsessive problem with collecting "things" - beer cans (late 70's), comic books, rocks, butterflies, coins - if I can organize them, I'll collect them. So clearly, koi keeping hits all of these cylinders.
Garage QT Tank: One of my first Koiphen endeavors was creating a tank in my garage. One of my earliest posts from 2007 (http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...erm&highlight=) was discussing building a garage tank that would let me start keeping koi immediately, learn a little about husbandry, and have a QT already done and ready to go once I built my real pond. In 2007, I was guessing the main pond would be in 2009...
Well, it's taken quite a bit longer, but the QT tank worked out great. It's a little under 1000 gallons, has two bottom drains and a skimmer (all shower drains) that lead to a pair of 50 gallon barrels in sequence. The first is a DIY nexus - the barrel was intended to be for settlement, and within this barrel is a smaller trash can filled with K1 to trap debris. In hindsight, the flow is too great for meaningful settlement, but the static K1 works well to trap solids. A pipe from within this K1 mechanical filter leads to a 50 gallon Moving Bed. This has turned out to be tons of filter for the size of the tank (the MB K1 is barely a tan color, and I think the K1 in the static filter does a lot of the bio as well).
It's a good thing I overbuilt the filtration, though. OK, I guess the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem - I now have 17 koi in that tank. A couple are probably 18", most are at least a foot. It's way too much, but then I thought I was going to have the outside pond done years ago. I haven't purchased any new ones since early 2011, and even those babies were only purchased because I thought I was going to build the pond THAT summer.
A fluorescent fixture is above the tank on a timer fitted with full spectrum lights, but it sadly isn't the same thing as being outside. In the spring/fall, when I open the garage door in the morning and the sunlight angles into their tank, the koi don't know what's going on. They avoid this strange "sunlight", swimming around the edges of the tank to stay in the shade as if they're vampires. As you might imagine, I've had some issues with colors fading. I clearly need to build this outside pond NOW. But, I change water in the QT often, the filters appear to be more than capable, so it's mostly an issue of cramped space.
Why it's taken so long: I was actually ready to go in the fall of 2010. Almost. I was making my plans, calling about permits, beginning to call about costs, but it stretched out a little too far into the fall, and would have meant building in the winter, so I decided to wait until spring of 2011. That spring, I called a bunch of contractors (mostly pool builders) about a gunite / shotcrete project. Only a few called back, and basically said "sounds like a fun project, but we're up to our eyeballs in pool projects in the spring. Call us back in the fall if you still need help". So I grudgingly waited until fall 2011. In the fall, I DID get some people to call me back, and they all wanted around $25,000 to build the gunite shell for me. Not plumbing, or filtration, or electric, or rockwork. This is a wealthy area in the suburbs of D.C., so I guess they can get that kind of money for pools, but it's out of my budget for a koi pond. So, I set my sites on spring of 2012, and redesigned everything around a block pond instead of gunite.