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    Thread: 400 gallon pond...1 inch bottom drain

    1. #1
      comp666 is offline Junior Member
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      400 gallon pond...1 inch bottom drain

      My parents have a small pond about 400 gallons. They currently have a bottom drain connecting to an inline pump and waterfall like so: pond bottom drain -> inline pump -> waterfall. This has a couple of problems right now:

      1. The pump fails every few months as it's constantly getting clogged.
      2. They used to have a very weak mechanical/bio filter that sits in the pond

      I was thinking of adding a gravity fed filter in front of the pump to solve both these problems, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea with such a small bottom drain pipe. I think the filter will need to sit at least 5 inches below water level to get 1x turnover per hour. What do you guys think?
      Last edited by comp666; 2 Weeks Ago at 03:22 PM.

    2. #2
      koiman1950's Avatar
      koiman1950 is offline Senior Member ~ Koi Health Care Committee Member
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      I think the bottom drain pipe is too small as you suspect, but also, it doesn't matter as the pipe will still clog. The only way to remedy this is with a much larger drain pipe installed or raise the existing pipe off the bottom 2-4" so it doesn't pull so much debris into the pump. You would then need to net the remaining heavy debris by hand.
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    3. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by comp666 View Post
      My parents have a small pond about 400 gallons. They currently have a bottom drain connecting to an inline pump and waterfall like so: pond -> inline pump -> waterfall. This has a couple of problems right now:

      1. The pump fails every few months as it's constantly getting clogged.
      2. They have a very weak mechanical/bio filter that sits in the pond

      I was thinking of adding a gravity fed filter in front of the pump to solve both these problems, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea with such a small bottom drain pipe. I think the filter will need to sit at least 5 inches below water level to get 1x turnover per hour. What do you guys think?
      Just to clarify too you don't want the filter below pond level or else when you shut the pump off it will
      overflow. You'd normally put the gravity fed filter an inch or so above what max. pond level will be. You'll
      see the 4"-5" as "draw down" in the filter, since that is what's required as a height difference between the
      two bodies of water to accomplish the flow. It might look something like this:

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    4. #4
      comp666 is offline Junior Member
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      Thanks for the reminder, I'll have the water drum lip above water level and the inlet 5 inches below water level.

      Changing the drain pipe is not an option since the pond is already built. I think if the 1 inch pipe is for sure going to a clogging headache I might consider another approach.

    5. #5
      Erwin is offline Junior Member
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      Maybe you can add a skimmer line to your mechanical filter

    6. #6
      BWG is offline Senior Member
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      Build a slip on pre-filter that will fit the 1 inch drain that is easy to change. Even better is to build 2 for quick change out. The filter can be several inches in diameter to last several days.

      Make the holes large if you end up building a settler before your pump. This would keep the small drain line from plugging with large debris. You could also build a domed pre-filter with larger holes to lay over the drain to trap large items.

    7. #7
      comp666 is offline Junior Member
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      I'm not familiar with a skimmer line, is this something that can prevent the pipes from clogging?

      Yeah the prefilter is definitely a good idea. The current set up with the 1 inch pipe actually lasted a few months before the pump gave out. The pump sucking the water out of the pipe probably added pressure and eased the clogging. Until the pump itself clogged of course. With only gravity drawing the water through the pipes I'm not sure how long it'll last. I guess I can saw open the pipes and test it out for a few days before building the gravity filter.

    8. #8
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      Have you thought about using a Retro bottom drain going over the top lip of the pond ? and not using the 1" drain



    9. #9
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      I hope you have goldfish in that pond ... it is much too small for koi. I used to have shubunkin goldfish when I had a pond. They were gorgeous and very friendly. Good luck with your bottom drain situation.

    10. #10
      comp666 is offline Junior Member
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      It looks like if I run the retrofit pipe over the pond I risk siphon loss issues. And I'm not sure if I'm willing to drill through the walls of the pond. If the 1 inch pipe fails the test I'm going to just use: a pump in the pond -> pressure filter -> waterfall.
      Last edited by comp666; 2 Weeks Ago at 03:48 PM.

    11. #11
      Erwin is offline Junior Member
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      if your going to gravity feed the water from the pond to your mechanical filter and then to bio filter to your pump you need additional water input to the mechanical filter to cope with draw down on water level in your filter. Meaning your pump will have enough water supply to return to pond.

    12. #12
      DragonFireSG is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by comp666 View Post
      It looks like if I run the retrofit pipe over the pond I risk siphon loss issues. And I'm not sure if I'm willing to drill through the walls of the pond. If the 1 inch pipe fails the test I'm going to just use: a pump in the pond -> pressure filter -> waterfall.
      A retro BD will not lose prime if the pipeline is sealed properly. Siphon loss would suggest a leak in the line, which is bad whether it goes over the top, or is buried like a regular BD.

      Here's what I would do. Wouldn't be too hard to diy. Most debris should be caught in the mesh. The water from that can be passed to a pressure filter for improving clarity.
      Directly feeding a pressure filter with dirty water will result in a lot more work for you in the long run as pressure filters are largely intended to handle only fines.

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      Edit: Btw I'd probably install a lock on the fill valve or use one with a removable handle
      Opening it when the pond is running would cause instant loss of prime.
      Last edited by DragonFireSG; 2 Weeks Ago at 10:51 PM.

    13. #13
      Paultergeist is offline Senior Member
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      Wow....that is such a nice drawing that I really hate to post a contrasting option, but......I think that the siphon implementation is going to prove a bit challenging in the real-world. I have used old-school "back-of-the-tank" aquarium box filters which were siphon-fed in the past.....never again. I also just do not see this level of engineering being warranted for a 400-gallon pond.

      The OP never stated what was causing the (original) pump to become clogged? If there are -- for example -- massive amounts of tree leaves and debris being introduced into the pond, then any intake (pump, bottom drain, etc) is going to encounter issues. My suspicion, however, is that it is simply a really cheap pump. If it were my pond, I would simply get a decent pump which can handle some solids and sits submerged on the bottom of the pond. A Laguna "Max-Flo" comes to mind, but there are other brands as well. As an example:
      https://webbsonline.com/Item/28236
      These sort of things are designed for exactly this type of application: designed to sit semi-flat on the bottom, built in screening to keep big stuff out of the pump, operate fully-submerged, can push the water *up* out of the pond to whatever filter you decide upon, absolutely quiet operation in the water. You'll probably remove it once or twice a year for cleaning. Connect some black 1-inch flex tubing to the outlet of the pump and it is good to go.

      So....that is my opinion for an easier-to-implement approach.

    14. #14
      comp666 is offline Junior Member
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      Wow, tremendous information here! I didn't clean out the clogs myself but my parents said it was muck, leaves, and a dead goldfish... (There is a filter basket on the drain, so not sure how the fish got in). They said they've replaced the pump 3 times already, each lasting ~3 months. The pump is also loud as heck as it sits outside the pond.

      I know an in-pond pump won't get clogged. I've had the following set up running for a good half year now:

      Aquascape AquaForce 1000 -> compact sieve -> moving bed filter -> pond

      Water has never been clearer, no clogging whatsover, and maintenance has been a breeze - just rinse the sieve every 3 weeks. Their only complaint about this is they can't use their 4 foot tall waterfall.

      The pressure filter idea is the simplest, I can get it done in 1 afternoon. However, I'm slightly worried about the long term maintenance burden. No more sieve with this set up, and I'm not willing to shell out $$$ for a pressurized sieve canister.

      The DragonFire™ design will filter much better and will be easier to clean. It sounds way more fun too. But it's a lot of work... like digging a 3 foot hole itself sounds like a lot of work.

      I'll discuss with my parents, see what they think.

      Also: How would one construct the "adjustable weir"? Seems hard to make something water tight that also moves.
      Last edited by comp666; 2 Weeks Ago at 04:11 PM.

    15. #15
      DragonFireSG is offline Senior Member
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      The wier does not need to be 100% watertight. It just needs to hold back *most* of the water.

      Easiest way is to use a PVC panel with holes drilled into it that mounts on the divider

    16. #16
      comp666 is offline Junior Member
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      Would a simple alternative to the weir be a ball valve after the pump to throttle the pump as necessary?

    17. #17
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      When the pump replaced x3, was it also operating the waterfall @ the same time?

      What kind of head pressure is the pump trying to overcome and is it rated for it? Running @ it max capacity 24/7 will cause premature failure.

      Does the total volume account for the waterfall as well?

      Adam

    18. #18
      DragonFireSG is offline Senior Member
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      The weir is pretty much just a nice to have. Getting the height of the divider right is the important bit.
      You could say that the weir just gives you more more room for fine tuning the overflow point.

      Btw don't go too crazy with the mesh fabric. It isn't wedge wire and will choke fast if you use too small a mesh size.
      Last edited by DragonFireSG; 2 Weeks Ago at 08:11 AM.

    19. #19
      comp666 is offline Junior Member
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      We've decided to keep the "life support circuit" of: AquaForce 1000 pump -> compact sieve -> moving bed filter -> pond
      since that's been working fine.

      To get the waterfall working again, we're going to add a 2nd submersed pump in the pond. This will sit mid-elevation in the pond, right under the clean water return of the aforementioned "life support circuit". Hoping the water here will be clean enough to not clog the waterfall pipe without any additional filtration in line.

      We're going to leave the 1 inch bottom drain unused - in retrospect I wish the contractor they hired had made this bigger.

      The one thing left unaccounted for is the dirty bottom of the pond. They've had this pond running for 5 years now, and for the first 4 years it was running a puny in-pond 200gph fountain filter thing. They would occasionally get green water in the summer, then use algaefix. For the most part there weren't any fish deaths except maybe 1 or 2 from algaefix. Some fish do have bumps on them though. With the sieve+moving bed filter I added this year, they didn't have any green water this summer. Do you think it's necessary to do something about the debris settled at the bottom of the pond? Wondering if I can just let nature do its thing like it has been so far.
      Last edited by comp666; 2 Weeks Ago at 04:55 AM.

    20. #20
      BWG is offline Senior Member
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      It's only a 400 gallon pond. Small enough to easily scoop the bottom with a fine net a couple times a week with only a few minutes time. Or just use a wet vacuum.

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