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    Thread: Pond build on hillside front yard - Honolulu (long post)

    1. #1
      johnc808 is offline Member
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      Pond build on hillside front yard - Honolulu (long post)

      It's been almost a year since I started planning and building my new pond, and it's now up and running smoothly - much to my delight. I had considered sharing on the koiphen pond construction forum as things went along, but decided to wait to share the process. It wasn't without hiccups and disappointments, but I can now say I am very pleased and feel extremely fortunate to have this feature with my home.

      We did the pond build along with an addition and renovation of a house that was owned by my in-laws where we had lived for over ten years with our three small children. It was very small, but the 3 kids being young didn't mind sharing a room. My generous in-laws let us live here rent free, but when they moved back to Hawaii, my wife and I bought our own house down the hill. That house was my introduction into the koi world because it had an old pond that hadn't been taken care of - I fixed it up, put a few fish in, and was soon addicted to the koi hobby.

      Sadly my father-in-law passed and mom went into a care home. We tried to sell the house but got no offers near what we thought it was worth, so we decided to make the house suitable to our needs (one adult child still at home) and desires (a koi pond for me and also my now koi addicted wife), and make it the last house we'll ever live in.

      Since I've gotten so much information and guidance from the koiphen community, I wanted to share the process and transition. Given my experience with the community I'm sure there may be criticisms or suggestions (and that's great - I want to hear it all), but I am done with the build and don't foresee too many changes to the filtration system or other aspects.

      First, here are before and after pics of the front of the house, to give you an idea of the big picture:
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      At first I was planning on RDF and bakki shower systems and did a ton of research (and was willing to spend some money), but eventually realized I just did not have the space and topography that would allow an RDF to be gravity fed, considering what else we needed on the property. So . . . I went with a bead filter system from Sacramento Koi. I know that will not be a popular decision here, but except for a couple of issues that I will discuss later, have been very happy with it.

      Anyway Sac Koi drew up some plans for my contractor after I sent them some drawings and these pictures:
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      The plans:
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      Now just some pics of the build itself:
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      This last picture with the pool drain made me realize my contractor had never looked at the detailed pond plans I had given him. He has a koi pond, and has built koi ponds, but I realized then that I know much more about it than he does. He had only looked at my architect's plans that did the entire house addition/renovation and just had high level drawings for the pond. I emailed him the more detailed plans and 3-D sketch ups of the plans at least twice - but I think even still today he hasn't look at them - or the list of equipment I had shipped from Sac Koi - that included all the bottom drains, valves, fittings, lights, etc. Even with that, I love this guy. He was willing to listen, and realized I wasn't some know-nothing noob. Since then we have discussed things and found solutions. You may also notice all the elbows and turns in the suction pipe from the skimmer - this was an issue I discussed with my contractor and I think he will not repeat it.

      More build pics:
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      Mid-course we decided to create an overhang to give the fish a place to hide from the sun, and provide us a bit more room for the lanai - it's about 4 feet:
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      A pic from the master bedroom that opens up to the lanai:
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      Suction and return pipes around the back of the house awaiting the pump and filter system:
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      I will add more to this post when I get back from dinner - lol.

      Some pics of the lanai and pond tile work:
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      Filter, pump and valve pics:
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      A major problem I had was that the 1/2 horsepower pump recommended by Sac Koi (and bought and installed by me) was not strong enough for the job. Some of that may be due to all of the bends and elbows in the plumbing my contractor did (not according to sac koi's drawings - including where the skimmer suction joins the bottom drain suction pipes near the pump in the picture - blue valve handle), but I think, given the distances and volume of the pond (8000 gallons), Sac Koi should have recommend something bigger. Since I could get very very little suction from the skimmer (furthest from the pump) when we started up the pond, I decided to go beastial and get a 3hp variable drive pump - which definitely does the job. When I asked sac koi about it, they admitted that 1/2 hp was borderline enough for my needs (Dooooh!).

      The other problem I had was that the system took a long time to cycle - over three months. I first brought 5 fish in late July and the whole thing cycled in about three weeks (ammonia up, then starting to decline when nitrites showed up, then both declined to near zero). I then had to move the other eleven of my fish at once because we sold our other house. I was keeping salinity at about 0.3% and kh at about 10-11 drops of testing solution the whole time. Only recently has the cycling finished running its course, and I am comfortable feeding them what I used to in their old pond.

      Here are some pictures of the finished pond, and a couple of short videos:

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      Last edited by johnc808; 11-14-2021 at 08:41 PM. Reason: not finished

    2. #2
      gray cat's Avatar
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      Beautiful home. Looking forward to seeing your pond build pics.
      Nancy



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    3. #3
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    4. #4
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      Wow
      Looking forward to more photos
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    5. #5
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      Hi and welcome.
      Really cool pond build and cool place to live, my wife would love to see Hawaii for real but her poor health and terrible claustrophobia makes flying over from Italy just a daydream. Looking forward to the continuation of the story...

    6. #6
      johnc808 is offline Member
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      Another video

      For those that saw my post before I was finished, I added some completed pond pics and a video.

      Here is the second video I mentioned at the end of the post (I didn't realize you could only include one video per post).


    7. #7
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      Looking real good, thanks for the photos and videos. Keep them coming

    8. #8
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      Looks incredible!!


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    9. #9
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      Holy cow! Looks amazing!

    10. #10
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      That was a great transformation from a lawn to Koi Pond. I loved it.

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    11. #11
      gray cat's Avatar
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      How beautiful. Thanks for the pics & the video's.
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    12. #12
      KingstonKoi is online now Senior Member
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      The pond came out beautifully, and that’s an incredible collection of fish. What a joy to watch every night. Thank you for sharing.

    13. #13
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      Just read your entire post. Quite some work, but the result is terrific indeed, congratulations!

      Quote Originally Posted by johnc808
      The other problem I had was that the system took a long time to cycle - over three months.
      I have a newbie question... "a long time to cycle"... what does that mean? What exactly took 3 months to happen?

    14. #14
      johnc808 is offline Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Jerome View Post
      I have a newbie question... "a long time to cycle"... what does that mean? What exactly took 3 months to happen?
      The nitrogen cycle performed by bacteria in the pond and (mostly) your bio-filteration system.

      Your fish excrete ammonia as waste. One type of bacteria converts the ammonia to nitrite, another type converts the nitrite to nitrate. All three are harmful to your fish if levels get too high. It takes a while for each type of bacteria to establish itself in a new environment and depends on a lot of factors. Others on this forum are much better able than I to get into the nitty gritty of it.

      Enjoy your pond building journey!

    15. #15
      Jerome is offline Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by johnc808 View Post
      The nitrogen cycle performed by bacteria in the pond and (mostly) your bio-filteration system.

      Your fish excrete ammonia as waste. One type of bacteria converts the ammonia to nitrite, another type converts the nitrite to nitrate. All three are harmful to your fish if levels get too high. It takes a while for each type of bacteria to establish itself in a new environment and depends on a lot of factors. Others on this forum are much better able than I to get into the nitty gritty of it.

      Enjoy your pond building journey!
      Got it. Thank you!

    16. #16
      two_wheeled is offline Senior Member
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      Beautiful.
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      Novice Extraordinaire

    17. #17
      coolwon is online now Senior Member
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      A pond built by TRUE professionals.

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    18. #18
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      Breathtaking view and pond!


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      Beautiful pond!! We live on the Big Island and could not find a builder that was willing to put in bottom drains. Your builder did a great job!

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      Beautiful setting

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