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    Thread: Planning a Pond Rebuild at Windsong Acres

    1. #1
      Windsong Acres's Avatar
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      Planning a Pond Rebuild at Windsong Acres

      The most expensive part of reading Koiphen in recent years is learning about the things I did wrong when I built my first pond...the one that sits right in front of my kitchen window. I have improved the filtration on it, and I could just leave it alone, but I think enlarging it and changing it will make it far better for the years ahead. So...

      Problems to correct:

      1. Increase gallons. It currently has about 4000 gallons at best. Would like to triple that to more safely keep the number of Koi I would like to view in this prime location.
      A. Increase depth. Currently 3.5’ at deepest point, with some large shallow plant shelves I don’t use now. Aiming at 5’ and no plant shelves.
      B. Increase surface area to make this bottom basin the largest in the pond system. This pond is the third in a string of three that overflow from the top one down. That means all evaporation or leakage from all of the three show up in decreased water levels in this pond...which affects the RDF performance. Increasing the surface area will look nicer for big koi, but will also slow the changes in the water level.

      2. The “middle pond” was meant to be a rocky stream between the goldfish/water lily top pond, and the koi pond at the bottom of the chain. It has turned out to be a great place to grow hair algae...shallow (only 6” deep in places), and with no BD or filtration...it is a great Settlement chamber built right into the pond system...except no good way to flush out all the muck it captures!

      3. I built it with a rubber liner, BUT I did not build a concrete ring or wall under the rocks—with the exception of one area where I used blocks as a retaining wall, I simply dug the rest of the hole and lined it! THEN my wife trimmed the liner CLOSE to the rocks before adding plants around the edges. So add together soft wet ground and stepping on rocks now and then, and it equals a constant struggle to find the latest spot where water is leaking through a fold under a rock.

      4. I used only one BD (and it is not aerated) and one skimmer, but it is starting to crack down the back side as the ground is shifting around it. So the clock is ticking on the need to replace the skimmer, too.

      5. The Water returns are mostly at the surface instead of deep, and they do not set up a good current pattern, resulting in leaves and other debris gathering in some places on the bottom.

      It is a beautiful, seasoned pond and in some ways I hate to tear into it, but I think correcting these issues now will result in a better pond going forward.

      I will add posts soon to talk about plans, and would be glad to hear thoughts to help make the rebuild a great long-term solution.
      Attached Images Attached Images  
      My Current 13,000 gallon Pond Build: http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...ot-in-Illinois

      More info about our renovated barns and ponds: www.WindsongAcres.org


    2. #2
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      hard to pull the trigger sometimes for sure. look forward to your new build.

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      Good luck! If your in the market for a new skimmer there is a guy in the northwest suburbs here in Chicago selling new full size Savio (without the faceplate) for $250.00. New in the box.

      I have a 20ft creek between the two ponds and when I constructed it, I had it pitch to a low area and gave it a "bottom drain". Sure is nice to open the drains and be able to hose down the entire creek through the drain.

      Again good luck and bigger is better!
      Last edited by cottagefog; 12-20-2017 at 04:41 PM.

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      Such a nice pond, but it will be for the better.

    5. #5
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      It's going to be bigger and better then ever



    6. #6
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      Jeff could adding a retrofit drain to the middle pond help remove the muck? hair algae is great though and should still grow in the shallows. i have hair algae on my less than 1 year old intex and it has been very good to me
      perhaps keeping my nitrates down as well

    7. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by kevin32 View Post
      Jeff could adding a retrofit drain to the middle pond help remove the muck? hair algae is great though and should still grow in the shallows. i have hair algae on my less than 1 year old intex and it has been very good to me
      perhaps keeping my nitrates down as well
      Yes I am sure it does remove some nitrates, but you in this location it catches all the suspended debris and holds it, keeping it from ever going through my RDF and being removed. So the middle pond catches all the muck and holds it, which harms water quality over time.

      The top pond does too, as it is full of goldfish and water lilies, and has no working BD or other mechanical filter on it. Right now water is pumped from the bottom pond into two s/g barrels near the pond and then gravity flows out of them back into the top pond. But debris produced in the top pond either sinks there and then stays there, or else has to flow out the waterfall into the middle pond and then on down into the koi pond in order to go through the RDF (mechanical filtration). Clearly this is another problem to address...more effective mechanical filtration for the top (and middle) ponds.
      My Current 13,000 gallon Pond Build: http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...ot-in-Illinois

      More info about our renovated barns and ponds: www.WindsongAcres.org


    8. #8
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      Here is one idea—eliminates the middle stream/pond, converts it to a bigger waterfall, and uses the extra space for a larger bottom pond for the koi.
      Attached Images Attached Images  
      My Current 13,000 gallon Pond Build: http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...ot-in-Illinois

      More info about our renovated barns and ponds: www.WindsongAcres.org


    9. #9
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      Always look forward to your threads!

      My only suggestion is adding a good quality auto-fill on the bottom pond. It was indispensable when
      using the RDF for mine. Then no matter what happens in the upper portions, water levels will always
      remain stable.
      --Steve
      Find more about Weather in Poulsbo, WA

      "It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company." --George Washington

    10. #10
      Windsong Acres's Avatar
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      Another option...I could separate off the top goldfish pond so it is on its own with a separate filtration system (I have some ideas of how to do that eventually). Then I could make the middle pond into a smaller waterfall basin to fall into the enlarged bottom (koi) pond. Kind of like that idea, also because it eliminates the additional problem of runaway goldfish getting into the koi pond.
      My Current 13,000 gallon Pond Build: http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...ot-in-Illinois

      More info about our renovated barns and ponds: www.WindsongAcres.org


    11. #11
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      Quote Originally Posted by Windsong Acres View Post
      Another option...I could separate off the top goldfish pond so it is on its own with a separate filtration system (I have some ideas of how to do that eventually). Then I could make the middle pond into a smaller waterfall basin to fall into the enlarged bottom (koi) pond. Kind of like that idea, also because it eliminates the additional problem of runaway goldfish getting into the koi pond.
      I would go with this option. Then if you have any plants keep them in the top pond.

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      I had a very similar set up to yours. I built my original pond with a steam to a lower pond then added a third pond attached to the lower one. The hole setup had lots of problems, every time the power went out for more then a few min. The bottom pond would run over. Also ended up with the middle pond becoming more of bog. All the seditamnet from the upper pond and stream collected in the pond. Always full of sludge. What pushed me over the edge for the redo was my failed attempt as a bond beam on the edge of the lower pond failed. I was able to complete the new pond this past summer but will finish the stream in the spring. I totally eliminated the middle pond. I went with poured floor, block walls and poured beam using xypex. Also running it through the winter, I’m very happy I took the plunge!
      I think the idea of the large fall between the ponds is the best, look forward to seeing it all come together!

    13. #13
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      Quote Originally Posted by CALHOUN View Post
      I had a very similar set up to yours. I built my original pond with a steam to a lower pond then added a third pond attached to the lower one. The hole setup had lots of problems, every time the power went out for more then a few min. The bottom pond would run over. Also ended up with the middle pond becoming more of bog. All the seditamnet from the upper pond and stream collected in the pond. Always full of sludge. What pushed me over the edge for the redo was my failed attempt as a bond beam on the edge of the lower pond failed. I was able to complete the new pond this past summer but will finish the stream in the spring. I totally eliminated the middle pond. I went with poured floor, block walls and poured beam using xypex. Also running it through the winter, I’m very happy I took the plunge!
      I think the idea of the large fall between the ponds is the best, look forward to seeing it all come together!
      Very interesting...thank you! Do you have a thread or pics of your pond, before and after?

      If I eliminate the middle pond and make a waterfall between the top and bottom ponds, one issue is keeping the goldfish out of the lower koi pond. They always seem to get over the falls and then it is hard to catch them in the big lower pond.

      Separating the ponds solves that issue but then requires a new and separate filtration system...retrofitted...on the upper pond.

      Or I could keep them linked, but get rid of the goldfish/lilies, and replace them with koi. Dear wife does not like that plan.
      Last edited by Windsong Acres; 12-22-2017 at 03:38 AM.
      My Current 13,000 gallon Pond Build: http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...ot-in-Illinois

      More info about our renovated barns and ponds: www.WindsongAcres.org


    14. #14
      CALHOUN is offline Senior Member
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      Here is the link to my redo. http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...-redo-Michigan
      I don’t have gold fish in my top pond, I would put baby koi in the top pond and would get a few that would take a ride to the lower pond. When I finish the stream this spring, I’m going to try to make sure there is no where for sediment to build up in the stream. Also going to try to make it easy to clean, when I shut it off for winter.

    15. #15
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      Quote Originally Posted by CALHOUN View Post
      Here is the link to my redo. http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...-redo-Michigan
      I don’t have gold fish in my top pond, I would put baby koi in the top pond and would get a few that would take a ride to the lower pond. When I finish the stream this spring, I’m going to try to make sure there is no where for sediment to build up in the stream. Also going to try to make it easy to clean, when I shut it off for winter.
      That sounds like a good strategy… It will be interesting to see what you do with the stream to make it easier to clean.
      My Current 13,000 gallon Pond Build: http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...ot-in-Illinois

      More info about our renovated barns and ponds: www.WindsongAcres.org


    16. #16
      Windsong Acres's Avatar
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      These two sketches will show the difference between the existing set up and my current plan to change it.

      I did not indicate where all the return lines would go for simplicity sake, and it is not drawn to scale.

      Briefly, the phases of the project would be:

      1. Separate and modify the top goldfish pond’s filtration system so that the goldfish pond will be independent...no longer flow into the rest of the system. Question...Would a Zakki Sieve be able to pull water from the existing 3” BD? The BD has never been functional as a gravity flow BD but it is the only drain line I have on that pond. After the sieve/pump, water could still go through a UV and return via the two existing S/G barrels, or I could convert one of them to a MB filter. I could also add a skimmer, but I am not sure of the best way yet.

      2. Convert the middle pond into a waterfall basin for the koi pond below it. To keep the look of a rocky stream, it will have a similar but shorter footprint, and to discourage hair algae it will be deepened. Since it no longer needs to receive water via a waterfall from the goldfish pond, the water level of the stream section could be raised a few inches to increase the height of the existing waterfall into the koi pond. Since the stream was entirely a flow through section before, I will need to add a return line and a bottom drain line to easily flush out any accumulated debris.

      3. Enlarge and deepen the existing koi pond—the lower pond. Install 3 BD and 1-2 skimmers. Continue with two circuits as follows:

      A. 3 BDs > RDF > ES 8500 > Zakki Shower > 4 gravity flow returns (year round)

      B. 2 skimmers > Sieve (AquaForte or Zakki) > ES 8500 > UV > waterfall. (Summer only)

      Install a valves waterfall bypass line to be able to divert some or all of the waterfall water directly into the pond...maybe as a bottom sweep type system?
      Attached Images Attached Images   
      My Current 13,000 gallon Pond Build: http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...ot-in-Illinois

      More info about our renovated barns and ponds: www.WindsongAcres.org


    17. #17
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      Looking for suggestions:

      * If I use a Zakki sieve above ground for the 3" BD of the goldfish pond, would it effectively pull water through the 3" line even though it apparently has a "down-up-down" section that makes it not work for gravity flow?

      * Also, which size Zakki sieve would I need, and what kind of flow rate might I expect? I estimate the goldfish pond to be about 3500 gallons, and the water will be pumped back into two s/g barrels, unless I convert one of them to a moving bed for additional bio. The pond will not have koi--it will have goldfish and water lilies according to current plan. I will include a UV in line between the pump and s/g barrels. Also, I may want to add a small pool type skimmer but could splurge for a larger Savio--the pond is constructed of dry stack concrete blocks with concrete in the holes, and then a rubber liner, so it would be a little involved to retrofit a skimmer, but I could and probably should do it. Any suggestions?

      * As far as I can tell, the Zakki sieve is the only one on the market that could convert this wasted 3" BD line into a working BD line without having to frequently unplug a leaf basket...right?
      Last edited by Windsong Acres; 12-24-2017 at 12:09 AM. Reason: additional facts
      My Current 13,000 gallon Pond Build: http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...ot-in-Illinois

      More info about our renovated barns and ponds: www.WindsongAcres.org


    18. #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by Windsong Acres View Post
      If I use a Zakki sieve above ground for the 3" BD of the goldfish pond, would it effectively pull water through the 3" line even though it apparently has a "down-up-down" section that makes it not work for gravity flow?

      Also, which size Zakki sieve would I need, and what kind of flow rate might I expect? I estimate the goldfish pond to be about 3500 gallons, and the water will be pumped back into two s/g barrels, unless I convert one of them to a moving bed for additional bio. The pond will not have koi--it will have goldfish and water lilies according to current plan. I will include a UV in line between the pump and s/g barrels.

      As far as I can tell, the Zakki sieve is the only one on the market that could convert this wasted 3" BD line into a working BD line without having to frequently unplug a leaf basket...right?
      the zakki Jr can pull 4800 I believe. probably the best bet. i used one on my 3800 gallon pond and also 1400 gallon intex. gravity flow is better but the zakii will be fine with 3 inch line and will provide a nice velocity through the pipe to keep the line clear.

      s&g are 2,000 gph max so should be fine. or run 1 s&g and 1 moving bed personally

      also a 2 inch skimmer can be fed to the zakii sieve and u can have another inlet added from Zac.
      Last edited by kevin32; 12-24-2017 at 12:43 AM.

    19. #19
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      Quote Originally Posted by kevin32 View Post
      the zakki Jr can pull 4800 I believe. probably the best bet. i used one on my 3800 gallon pond and also 1400 gallon intex. gravity flow is better but the zakii will be fine with 3 inch line and will provide a nice velocity through the pipe to keep the line clear.

      s&g are 2,000 gph max so should be fine. or run 1 s&g and 1 moving bed personally

      also a 2 inch skimmer can be fed to the zakii sieve and u can have another inlet added from Zac.

      Thanks Kevin.

      The pipe run from the pond to the Zakki Sieve is probably 75 feet. With the skimmer line, I am assuming that the plan would be to catch leaves and bigger stuff in the skimmer basket instead of having it travel that far in a 2" pipe...right? Or should I plan on making it a 3" pipe?

      What size pump should I use?
      My Current 13,000 gallon Pond Build: http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...ot-in-Illinois

      More info about our renovated barns and ponds: www.WindsongAcres.org


    20. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by Windsong Acres View Post
      Looking for suggestions:

      * If I use a Zakki sieve above ground for the 3" BD of the goldfish pond, would it effectively pull water through the 3" line even though it apparently has a "down-up-down" section that makes it not work for gravity flow?

      * Also, which size Zakki sieve would I need, and what kind of flow rate might I expect? I estimate the goldfish pond to be about 3500 gallons, and the water will be pumped back into two s/g barrels, unless I convert one of them to a moving bed for additional bio. The pond will not have koi--it will have goldfish and water lilies according to current plan. I will include a UV in line between the pump and s/g barrels. Also, I may want to add a small pool type skimmer but could splurge for a larger Savio--the pond is constructed of dry stack concrete blocks with concrete in the holes, and then a rubber liner, so it would be a little involved to retrofit a skimmer, but I could and probably should do it. Any suggestions?

      * As far as I can tell, the Zakki sieve is the only one on the market that could convert this wasted 3" BD line into a working BD line without having to frequently unplug a leaf basket...right?
      Run two 3" lines into the Zakki Sieve, One from the BD and one from the skimmer. Remove the skimmer backer and let the sieve do all the work, that's what it's designed to do. Zak recommends a self priming pump for the sieve so I would go with the Evolution ESS 5200. That would need to be pinched back just a bit but a good choice for the flow rates of two S/G filters.

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