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    Thread: GA Koi Pond Journey #1

    1. #1
      Sensei B is offline Member
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      GA Koi Pond Journey #1

      Ok, so starting out I have always loved fish/ocean/etc being a Pisces :o) I have multiple reef tanks inside and this little 100g neglected outdoor fountain thing/garden was shouting out "Help me!"

      The plan is a "big" (at least to us) koi pond with lillys, waterfall, etc in front of pagoda thing..
      Thinking minimum of 11x21 hole, maybe up to 15x25? In GA so not going super deep. at least 3' if not 4'.

      This is the starting point..
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      NOPE!!!
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      And old liner out and in process of designing layout... HARD process since hopefully planning on bottom drain, maybe 3 barrel filter system? Picking up a used Helix Skimmer on Sun... Trashcan symbolizes where we are thinking for waterfall..
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      Would love advice on main pump and where to place filtration, etc..

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    2. #2
      rainblood's Avatar
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      That area looks heavily wooded. You need to account for the leaf litter in the fall or it’ll become a nightmare to deal with. Tree roots when digging and also growing and pushing against the liner , skimmers, etc. I would always advise on a BD if feasible but remember the leaf issue - they can clog or slow down your BD.

      Deeper is always better but more water = bigger filters/UV/everything.

      Excited to see how this progresses
      -Rain

      :I CAN'T BRING THIS SHIP INTO TRTUGA ALL BY ME ONESIES, SAVVY?:

    3. #3
      Sensei B is offline Member
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      Thanks sir! Yeah the trees are def in my mind.. I already trimmed quite a bit already lol! I plan on using a skimmer (or 2) for sure to try to combat the leaves and get them before they go down to mess with the hopeful bottom drain.

      Just trying to think on best way to plumb the BD or just go retro...

    4. #4
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      What a glorious site for a pond, beautiful setting.

      A couple of early decisions to consider:

      - For utilities you will need one, or better two, 15 amp electric circuits to the pump/filter location, along with potable water.
      - The cost for a larger pond like your considering will be $4 (used equipment & lots of DIY) to $9 (mostly new equip & still much DIY)

      Your ducks in a fish pond makes the filtration system MUCH more difficult (if it is possible?) and will involve more $$$$. If you decide to have a water garden with some nice goldfish, it can be shallower, and easier on the ducks and your checking account.

      Please keep us posted on what you decide, there are many folks here who can provide help along the way.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy View Post
      What a glorious site for a pond, beautiful setting. Thank you!

      A couple of early decisions to consider:

      - For utilities you will need one, or better two, 15 amp electric circuits to the pump/filter location, along with potable water. For sure! We have one line going over there already (attached to bottom of lefthand 6x6 on pagoda thing), but are thinking about another!
      - The cost for a larger pond like your considering will be $4 (used equipment & lots of DIY) to $9 (mostly new equip & still much DIY) $4 is way cheaper than we thought... Ohhhh you prob mean 4k! That is what we are thinking/under that if possible..

      Your ducks in a fish pond makes the filtration system MUCH more difficult (if it is possible?) and will involve more $$$$. If you decide to have a water garden with some nice goldfish, it can be shallower, and easier on the ducks and your checking account. We love our ducks... but they will not be allowed in there.. will figure out a way!

      Please keep us posted on what you decide, there are many folks here who can provide help along the way.
      Thank you! Looking for all the help we can get. Def thinking about filtration, 3 drum set up or maybe IBC tote. Also how to incorporate the skimmer with either the BD or retro BD is the hold up now..

    6. #6
      rainblood's Avatar
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      At either length you’ll be looking at 2 BDs…food for thought
      -Rain

      :I CAN'T BRING THIS SHIP INTO TRTUGA ALL BY ME ONESIES, SAVVY?:

    7. #7
      *Ci*'s Avatar
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      Depending on your slope and exact measurements, this pond could be anywhere from 5-10,000g. I don’t think a 3 barrel system will be adequate filtration for even 5000g, but, again, it depends on your purposes. Maybe for a simple water garden with plants and very few fish, but not if this is a pond for koi.
      Perhaps you can describe a bit more of what you envision for the pond and the filtration setup you have in mind?
      ________________________________________
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      Ci


    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by *Ci* View Post
      Depending on your slope and exact measurements, this pond could be anywhere from 5-10,000g. I don’t think a 3 barrel system will be adequate filtration for even 5000g, but, again, it depends on your purposes. Maybe for a simple water garden with plants and very few fish, but not if this is a pond for koi.
      Perhaps you can describe a bit more of what you envision for the pond and the filtration setup you have in mind?
      Sure! We def want koi, but also plants... maybe a sep section kinda for goldfish or to raise fry eventually... waterfall of course. So we are thinking somewhere around a 15' x 25' at most "hole." The first drop would prob be 18 to 20" around 80% of pond. Second shelf/drop would be maybe another 12" down, then last would be x" to get to 4' total deepest as of now. Kind of angled on the last drop to accommodate the (2) (I guess now it's 2 lol) bottom drains...

      From what I understand the BD need to drain into something like a IBC tote or 3 barrel set up, then pump back into pond.

      I also am getting a Helix skimmer today so will use that too, somehow...?

      What do ya'll suggest without going super crazy?

      I am also looking at possibly options to "get/add/use":

      105 Vortex Filter Tank for <$750
      Aquasurge 5000 for < $350
      Nexus 220 for under $1000

      if any of that would help/be necessary, etc! Let me know thought for sure! Thanks!

    9. #9
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      I am sorry, I wasn't very clear with my post. Here are a few more thoughts:

      Say you end up with irregular shape 20' long x12' wide x3' ave deep, that could be 4-5,000+ gallons. At $4, that could be $16k+. Look into Firestone EPDM liner, but you have other options too, those tree roots will be a worry.

      The treatment system for a koi pond usually has the mechanical filtration first, often a dedicated unit(s). Pond water gently flows by gravity from the bottom drains and skimmer(s) to a sieve, (cheaper but more maintenance), or a rotating drum (less maintenance but more expensive). Either could be in a pit to have gravity flow (depending upon the slope of your lawn). If a pit it needs some method to protect against flooding using sump pump or drain.

      On this size of pond you may want to have two pumps removing water from the sieve or drum and feeding the bio filtration devices. Lots of choices here as you know, many folks use moving bed bio, and/or showers, but there are other methods. Multiple drums in series can have problems keeping the flow balanced, where a larger single tank can be better. If this bio tank(s) are high enough the treated water can flow by gravity back into the pond with the waterfall. Having under water returns is good to provide circulation in the pond which will help get debris into the skimmer and drains.

      Often the top of the bottom drains will provide air, plus many of the bio systems will require air so you may want a primary air pump followed by a backup unit.
      Last edited by Grumpy; 06-04-2023 at 10:35 AM.

    10. #10
      Paul Sabucchi is offline Senior Member
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      I would suggest using some of the soil from the dig to make a berm all around the perimeter so the level of the pond will be above the surrounding terrain. This will avoid rainwater washing into the pond and bringing unwanted substances to pollute the water, minimize issues with floods, avoid groundwater seeping under the liner and also make it a little easier with gravity filtration. My pond is roughly the size you are planning (16.5'x26.3') and maybe I should have made it longer and narrower, more similar to the shape is now favoured by the top Japanese koi farms, something like 35'x12'. If your climate is not too extreme 4'-5' deep should be all that is needed. In my opinion when planning a pond it is best to get right the things that can't be easily changed later. So size,shape and build method of the pond, bottom drains and underground plumbing. Also plan for valves in strategic locations to cut off the flow if maintenance is required and a means to purge the bottom drains if sludge has built up. If you have strong prevailing winds in your area, put the skimmers where they are more likely to push the fallen leaves and place the returns to work the same way. Ciao
      46000 liters with only wetland filtration

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    11. #11
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      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Sabucchi View Post
      I would suggest using some of the soil from the dig to make a berm all around the perimeter so the level of the pond will be above the surrounding terrain. This will avoid rainwater washing into the pond and bringing unwanted substances to pollute the water, minimize issues with floods, avoid groundwater seeping under the liner and also make it a little easier with gravity filtration. My pond is roughly the size you are planning (16.5'x26.3') and maybe I should have made it longer and narrower, more similar to the shape is now favoured by the top Japanese koi farms, something like 35'x12'. If your climate is not too extreme 4'-5' deep should be all that is needed. In my opinion when planning a pond it is best to get right the things that can't be easily changed later. So size,shape and build method of the pond, bottom drains and underground plumbing. Also plan for valves in strategic locations to cut off the flow if maintenance is required and a means to purge the bottom drains if sludge has built up. If you have strong prevailing winds in your area, put the skimmers where they are more likely to push the fallen leaves and place the returns to work the same way. Ciao
      Thanks!
      Yes, we def plan on using the dirt for either adding to the waterfall area and/or a berm around the low part to raise it.... but all of what you see in the pics is already higher than most of surrounding area.. it's almost like a little hill..

      I've been wondering if it would be better to add dirt to the bottom when leveling or "cut into" the top?

    12. #12
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      Anyone have an opinion on which I should get/would work the best for my set up?

      I already have a Helix skimmer, ready to go. Plan on buying 2-4 inch bottom drains.

      105 Vortex Filter Tank for <$750
      Aquasurge 5000 for < $350
      Cetus Sieve Pond Filter < $700
      Nexus 220 for under $1000
      DIY three barrel set up $?
      DIY IBC tote setup $?

    13. #13
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      Are you near Atlanta? If so, the VERY BEST ADVICE I can give you is to put your shovel down and join the Atlanta Koi Club. Come to our meetings, get to know us, see our ponds. Talk to real live people standing next to their ponds about what works and what doesn't work. If you join this week, the June meeting is at my neighborhood rec center on Sunday and we're having a presentation by a koi vet from California who's written several books and has a YouTube channel helping people with their koi.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Angie Jones View Post
      Are you near Atlanta? If so, the VERY BEST ADVICE I can give you is to put your shovel down and join the Atlanta Koi Club. Come to our meetings, get to know us, see our ponds. Talk to real live people standing next to their ponds about what works and what doesn't work. If you join this week, the June meeting is at my neighborhood rec center on Sunday and we're having a presentation by a koi vet from California who's written several books and has a YouTube channel helping people with their koi.
      Nice! I’m definitely going to look into that!

      I am a member of the Atlantareefclub, but didn’t know that there was also a Koi club!

      I’m a little over an hour south, kind of near Macon, so depends on where in Atlanta, but definitely a good idea

    15. #15
      Grumpy is offline Senior Member
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      I really think you will find interacting with the Koi Club will save you a lot of time and set you on a solid path to a more successful pond. There is so much nonsense and noise about ponds on the web.

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      Amen to this! It is sort of a passion of mine to help guide people to a more successful, less high maintenance pond experience. Like religion, politics or anything else, you can find a community of people online to support whatever pre-conceived idea about pond construction you want to believe is the right way to build a pond. I know this from personal experience. I convinced myself that I wanted "a natural ecosystem" {{insert massive eye roll}} and I found a pond builder who built exactly what the internet convinced me would be awesome. Then I joined our koi club and gained a little real life experience and learned from real koi keepers rather than some yahoo sitting behind a computer screen pretending to be an expert. Sigh.... Painful lessons.
      Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy View Post
      I really think you will find interacting with the Koi Club will save you a lot of time and set you on a solid path to a more successful pond. There is so much nonsense and noise about ponds on the web.

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      Been researching, asking those questions, etc. and digging. A lot lol! We’ve got a lot more done since this picture and if I can upload this video, but a few additional questions at the bottom.

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      So I still plan on doing two 4” bottom drains. My question about it is should both be going with separate lines to the IBC settlement chamber? Or would it be better to have one going to the settlement chamber and maybe the other one either going to a bog or maybe something like a sieve filter?

      And then the skimmer would go to either the sieve, or I guess that could go to the settlement chamber as well?

    18. #18
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      You have made alot of progress. Just a few thoughts:

      When considering piping, water always flows where there is least resistance, so joining pipes before the mechanical filtration can be problematic, running independent pipes is much better where you can restrict one if needed.

      The lines from both bottom drains needs to have the big stuff caught before going to any bio treatment, especially a bog.

      A settlement chamber needs retention time to work well, the old general rule was 10% the volume of the pond, although a vortex tank would reduce that volume rule of thumb. Sieves works fine for bottom drains.

      Gravity flow from a skimmer is very difficult because of lack of propulsion pressure. If your skimmer has baskets to catch the leaves and sticks, you may want a pump from your skimmer pushing to your waterfall, there will be little bio waste in your skimmer circuit. Your tall waterfall tower can hide a bio chamber, possibly a moving bed, etc...

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      Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy View Post
      You have made alot of progress. Just a few thoughts:

      When considering piping, water always flows where there is least resistance, so joining pipes before the mechanical filtration can be problematic, running independent pipes is much better where you can restrict one if needed. Got it! I'll keep separate.. and I have the valves to close them/adjust flow if needed before the sediment tank too

      The lines from both bottom drains needs to have the big stuff caught before going to any bio treatment, especially a bog.

      A settlement chamber needs retention time to work well, the old general rule was 10% the volume of the pond, although a vortex tank would reduce that volume rule of thumb. Sieves works fine for bottom drains. I remember reading that, but even 10% of my prob 4k-5k pond would be huge. I plan on an 275 or 330g IBC tote. I've seen 2 Vortex used that are an option, but still more $$$... I'd like to save for now at least?

      Gravity flow from a skimmer is very difficult because of lack of propulsion pressure. If your skimmer has baskets to catch the leaves and sticks, you may want a pump from your skimmer pushing to your waterfall, there will be little bio waste in your skimmer circuit. Your tall waterfall tower can hide a bio chamber, possibly a moving bed, etc...
      Good idea about having a rising 55g drum or something there.. It is a nice Helix skimmer with baskets, etc, so should be good there...

    20. #20
      *Ci*'s Avatar
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      The rule of thumb for settling is 10% of the pump’s gph flow (which is often the size of the pond, but not always). So for 5000gph of flow, you would need a 500g tank. A vortex, or round cone shaped tank is more efficient and easier to clean, but would still follow this guideline.

      Having a prefilter on the output of the SC would allow you to get away with a smaller tank, but would also be more maintenance.
      ________________________________________
      Cheers,
      Ci


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