Kayla102968

Need a fast and easy solution for an outdoor pond...help please.

114 posts in this topic

The only thing I can make with my boys' tinker toys is a stick with 2 "wheels". I think I'm in trouble...lol.

If I decided to go with a 15 gallon filter instead of a 30 gallon, how would that change the size of tubing and pvc I needed. Would the shower drain, flange and bushing need to be a different size too? If I went the uniseal way...would that size be different too in a 15 gallon bucket?

I found a place to get clean plastic drums and they are $15 for a 30 gallon but he also has 10 and 15 gallon drums he said. For a fully complete, plug-in ready 30 gallon filter he charges $290! Wow...I should make filters as a hobby...lol.

The girls were put in the pond last night and seem to be doing fine...I can't find Smokey easily though...he's a dark comet. The temp of the pond this morning was 50 degrees...they could starve before temps get warm enough here to heat the large tank to 55 - 60 degrees.

I put in the ceramic beads from my AC110's and also about 1.5 cups of oyster shell. I'm not sure it is doing anything though since I don't have moving water yet. Should I put a tank air pump connected to a bubble wall in the pond so they have some surface agitation?

Does the skippy/doc filter have to set higher than the top of the pond to work?

I have a lot of trouble seeing the "big picture" of things and get caught up in detail. My sister used to say that I could never see the forest, because I paid too much attention to the trees :).

I hope I can get this whole filter thing figured out.

Thanks,

Kayla

Edited by Kayla102968
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The recommended size for a DIY pond filter is 1/10 the volume of the pond. That makes a 30 gallon drum the perfect size for your pond, and $15 for a clean drum is a steal. (When you cut the top out of your drum, cut a hole in the top, leaving the rim which is there for strength.)

The size of tubing is determined by your pump. Yours takes up to one inch tubing, so you use 1 inch tubing. If there are various grades of 1 inch pipe, use the kind with the thinnest wall (also cheapest) you don't need added strength, and thinner walled pipe has a larger inner diameter.

The diameter of the pvc pipe you use inside the filter is optional. It is easiest to use the same size as your tubing. My 30 gallon filter uses one inch pipe. I recommend 1 inch pipe for yours.

The outlet pipe (that delivers the water to the pond) needs to be two inch diameter. Unless the outlet pipe is twice the diameter of the pipes coming in, you can get overflows.

I don't know why Kulukan used a toilet flange for the outlet. It is certainly the most difficult installation of anything I have seen. Because it is so big and comes so far down the barrel, the volume of water in the barrel is greatly reduced. Most people use a shower drain for the outlet. You install that exactly the way Kulukan installed the drain at the bottom, except it is at the top. I have shower drains for outlets on two of my filters. Both of them have leaked, but neither is leaking at the moment.

The size of the uniseal depends on the size of the pipe you are using. So you use a 2" uniseal.

To use a uniseal for the outlet pipe, drill a hole where you want the pipe to be, using a 3" hole saw. (This takes ~ 5 seconds.) Push the 2" uniseal into the hole from the outside. (It goes in easily.) Take a piece of 2" pvc a little longer than you want the outlet pipe to be. Push it through the uniseal from the outside far enough so the pipe sticks out from the uniseal on the inside. (You really have to push hard. This is what forms the tight seal.) Done.

Your filter has to be high enough so the spout goes over the rim of the tank. I just went out and measured mine -- which has a shower drain outlet put in as high as I could. (and in the process discovered it was leaking again.) It's less than 24", so you will have to put your filter on something to raise it to get the outlet over the rim. Concrete patio blocks give a good level base.

If you fill the top of your filter with plants (potted in pea gravel), it looks very nice, and the plants slurp up nitrate and other nutrients from the water.

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You convinced me...I ordered the two 2" uniseals :) and I'll be using a 30 gallon drum. I'll still need the 2" ball valve for the drain right? I noticed it says to use detergent or windex to push the PVC through the uniseal. I can't do that with the filter right?...will water work?

I think I will use the plastic chicken fence that Kulukan used...since it seems clean and simple. Should I add in some extra pieces of plastic too or will it get to crowded then?

You posted before me so I didn't see your response before I responded on this post.

Thank you so much...I really feel I can do this now...yay!

Edited by Kayla102968
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Use the detergent. It washes right off and works better than the Windex. If any tiny trace remains, it can't possibly cause any problems diluted by over 300 gallons of water.

Yes, you need the ball valve. You cut a piece of 2" pvc 2 to 2 1/2" long, glue it into one end of the ball valve, then push the free end of the pipe into your uniseal.

The plastic fence idea comes from here: http://drdaveskoi.tripod.com/html/doc_bio_filter.html You might note that he replaced some of his cut-up tubing media with two rolls of fencing cut in half lengthwise -- 50 feet of snipping. I thought it sounded good, because I thought the fencing would be good for supporting plants at the top of the filter. I tried it and I hate it. Those cut edges catch on everything, and the fencing does not contribute much to mechanical filtration, so the water quality deteriorated from what it had been with denser media. This is also probably the most expensive DIY media out there.

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As always, great useable information Shakaho...much appreciated. If I use the cut up pieces of plastic...can I use any kind of plastic...for eg. yogurt containers and other food containers, or are there some plastics that are bad to use? How large should the pieces be?

If I go with the Bio Bale, how much would I need? There is quite a difference in price between one cubic foot and 1 gallon. Is a cubic foot 5 times as large as a gallon size?

What type of filter material do you put in the top of the filter container, between the plants and the plastic media?

Thanks again,

Kayla

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For both the cover for the stool and the cap for the biomedia, I use Matala: http://www.drsfoster...99&pcatid=15799 So the Matala is the "bread" for the biomedia "sandwich." Matala is a rigid, virtually indestructible filter material. It hoses clean. The company sited regularly has sales on Matala that are about $5 off.

One cubic foot is about 7.5 gallons, and that is enough for your filter. As for "trash media," I wouldn't use yogurt containers because they would catch and hold water. You want water to flow through and around the surface. Water bottle caps, drinking staws, cut up pieces of drip irrigation hose, plastic Easter basket grass, stuffed in nylon stockings. plastic rope cut into 18" lengths knotted or fire-fused at one end and frayed, nylon bath "sponges" http://www.dollartre...02756/index.pro, plastic mesh scrubbies, all are things people use. I don't worry about the kind of plastic.

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Listen to Shakaho, she really helped me through my 300g stock tank project!

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Listen to Shakaho

Agreed :thumb:

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:thanks
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I would never have undertaken this project without Shakaho's guidance so far...I really appreciate all the help :).

Yesterday Sparky and Elmo were eating the ProGold large pellets in the pond, but Smokey was not interested at all. Today, everyone is eating....yay!

When I went to go pick up my 30 gallon plastic drum, the pond guy said that I shouldn't use silicone to attach the ball valve to the pipe since it will kill my goldfish due to it being poisonous. What is a safe way to attach the ball valve to my pipe? Using the uniseals, is the ball valve the only place where I will need to use any kind of glue/adhesive/silicone? Will the pvc pipes inside the filter just hold together without anything?

Thanks,

Kayla

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Why would the silicone be poisonous? Our aquarium sealants are silicone, no? You just want to avoid using kitchen and bathroom sealant, since those contain a fungicide. Window sealants should be fine.

Shakaho is our awesome resident pond expert! :thumbs:

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You use PVC cement http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100345577/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=pvc+cement&storeId=10051 to "glue" the ball valve to the pipe. You find it right next to the pvc pipes. This is the same thing that holds together the pipes that carry your drinking water.

So you don't have to use silicone at all. But even if it were toxic (which I doubt), the water going through the dump valve is going out of the filter (to irrigate and fertilize your lawn/garden and won't bother your fish.

I don't glue together any pipes that are in the water -- either pond or filter. The pipes and fittings go together nice and snug, and I like to be able to take it apart again if I need to (and I always do, :) ) Leaks only matter if they are outside the water.

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What density/colour of matala filter mat should I order for the pond filter? Will I only need 1 sheet (24"x39") and just divide it in half and cut it to fit?

I'm wondering if that "trickle in/ trickle out" idea would help with my soft water, since my pH drops much lower than the water comes out of the tap after a few days; or would the amount of new water going in not be significant amount to keep the pH higher? Maybe this is why they use it for koi, since they are so sensitive to pH changes?

What kind of plants would work in the top of the filter? Are there any hanging type plants you could put up there or does it need to be strictly aquatic plants? Are there certain plants that work better at the top of the filter?

I'm slowly but surely getting all my supplies together to get the filter built.

My girls in the pond seem to be doing well and seem a little less skittish.

Thanks again for all your help Shakaho :) .

Kayla

Edited by Kayla102968
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When you are using it as support material, the black is fine -- and also cheapest. You can cut it with a kitchen knife, so you just cut the size you need. Little scraps can go in the "biomedia bag."

"Trickle in-trickle out" is great when you have problem water, since change occurs over a day or so. Goldfish don't like changes any more than koi do, but the pond varieties of goldfish are tougher than koi. You can take that bag of ground oyster shell, put it in a mesh bag, and wash it until the water is clear then toss the bag in your clean water tank. I'm so happy with this system. The water that trickles out is crystal clear and has perfect parameters. I turn over 10% of the tank volume each day.

You use land plants in the top of the filter. Canna lilies are at the top of my list. Impatience is awesome. Basil grows better in my filter than in the ground. I just put the plant in a flowerpot, fill it with pea gravel and put it in the filter. Rain lilies and iris are great. Just try your favorite plants and find what works. Most plants work.

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So the plants don't need soil in the top of the filter...just a pot and pea gravel? Do the roots grow out of the plastic bowl and into the matala filter mat?

I'd like to try the trickle in/trickle out but I'm concerned my boys would either step in or pour out, the water going in. If I had the new water in a large plastic drum...how many gallons would it need to be? With 300 gallons, it would be 30 gallons per day and I would replace the new water every day...(just use dechlorinator then)...or would I want a bigger reservoir?

I'll order the matala tonight.

Thanks Shakaho.

Kayla

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Oh, hold on...they won't be able to step in a large plastic drum...for some reason I was thinking the reservoir was a flatter container :).

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If I do the "trickle in trickle out" set-up, how big of a clean water reservoir do I need, and how big of a uniseal and pvc pipes and hole for the overflow spot?

My pond is now at 6.7 pH and the rain coming down is pH 6.5, and tap is 7.1. Should I remove some of the water in the 300 gallon and put more tap water in? Do you know how much I should replace. Can I put some plywood over the pond to prevent more rainwater getting in...will they get enough air?

Thanks,

Kayla

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Here are the girls in the pond (1st day)...can you see Smokey (she's the brown/black comet) :) . Just ignore our dog Sport, he always wants someone to throw his toy (he's a retriever) and barks if you don't pay attention.

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So the plants don't need soil in the top of the filter...just a pot and pea gravel? Do the roots grow out of the plastic bowl and into the matala filter mat?

If I had the new water in a large plastic drum...how many gallons would it need to be? With 300 gallons, it would be 30 gallons per day and I would replace the new water every day...(just use dechlorinator then)...or would I want a bigger reservoir?

Yes, no soil, just gravel. You want the plants to get their nutrients from the water. They will "eat" much more than just nitrate.

I've had roots grow to the bottom of a filter.

10% per day is a water change fanatic's level. At your stocking level, 5% per day is luxurious. The standard recommendation for pond water changes is 10-20% per week.

The bigger the reservoir, the less often you need to fill it. But do remember that the bottom of the reservoir needs to be at pond water level for the reservoir to be able to empty. Something like this http://www.tractorsu...40-gal--2229846 might work better than a barrel, since it is only 13" high. You can make a stand for it with cement blocks.

Important point: Your pond should have a clean-water-in area and a dirty-water-out area as far apart as possible. The filter and the reservoir are in the clean water area, and the pump and overflow are in the dirty water area. This creates a flow of water across the pond.

If I do the "trickle in trickle out" set-up, how big of a clean water reservoir do I need, and how big of a uniseal and pvc pipes and hole for the overflow spot?

My pond is now at 6.7 pH and the rain coming down is pH 6.5, and tap is 7.1. Should I remove some of the water in the 300 gallon and put more tap water in? Do you know how much I should replace. Can I put some plywood over the pond to prevent more rainwater getting in...will they get enough air?

The outflow pipe will usually just drip, but when it rains hard it might really gush. I have 1 1/2 inch pipe for overflow in my front pond. That should be adequate for anything short of a hurricane. A 1 1/2 " uniseal needs a 2 1/2 inch hole. If the only hole saw you have is 3", do a 2" pipe/uniseal.

Covering for rain might be a good idea. something like this: http://www.homedepot...g&storeId=10051 might be a better idea for a rain cover than plywood. Or you could simply put some pieces of 2x4 across the top and put a tarp over it. Fishies will get enough air.

Here are the girls in the pond (1st day)...can you see Smokey (she's the brown/black comet) :) . Just ignore our dog Sport, he always wants someone to throw his toy (he's a retriever) and barks if you don't pay attention.

Your fish are beautiful!

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Thanks Shakaho for all your great help and the compliment about my fishies :). They are much more relaxed in the pond now and quickly swim up and over to me when they see me coming. Food motivated I'm sure, but I think it's adorable anyway. So I'm waiting to get all my supplies before starting the filter project. One thing I wanted to ask is if it matters which side has the clean or dirty water since my pond is about 1.5 to 2" unlevel. I started thinking about the flow of water in the pond and began to wonder how important it is to have a level pond and if it matters where the filter, clean water reservoir, pump and overflow pipe are located in a slanty pond.

Thanks,

Kayla

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When I'm putting the holes in the 30 gallon drum, do I want the drain to be as close to the bottom as possible and the water return outlet to be as close to the top as possible? I guess if I want to put plants in the top, I need to have a little room up there?

Also, when I'm putting the 'table' that holds the biomedia from the bottom, how high do I want the legs of the table? Would 6" be okay? Until I get the "trickle in, trickle out" thing done, can I put the oyster shells right in the filter with the biomedia? Any thoughts on how much oyster shell I should use?

I received the Bio bale today (Shredded continuous PVC); should I fluff it out to fill up more space or leave it as it comes in the mail...more closely together?

Thanks,

Kayla

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Kayla, you are getting to be knowledgeable on this subject. You are thinking about how things work and asking specific questions. Good for you!

I do believe fish are friendlier in a pond.

Sometime you will want to level that tank if possible. It can be hard on a tank to be unlevel. It won't damage your Rubbermaid, but I had another brand tank that started buckling on one side when it was uneven. Since it slopes, you want the "dirty" end to be the low end.

You want the drain hole to be as low as possible, as long as the wall is vertical. Uniseals are much more tolerant of rounded surfaces then other products, but if the wall is not vertical, the pipe through it won't be horizontal. This may not be important for the drain. Put the outlet as high as you can where the wall is still vertical. Here it can matter if the pipe is not horizontal. I know, I did it. The pipe points up a bit, and the water splashes too much.

You want the plants to be sitting in the water, and the level of the water usually won't be higher than the middle of the outlet pipe.

Six inches should be good for the stool. If you don't like the height, it's easy to fix. I just took an inch off the legs of a stool I decided was too tall.

I'd put the oyster shells in a mesh bag, wash them well and put them under the bio bale. I'd put them all in. They can't do any harm.

You want the water to flow easily through the pvc ribbons, so it probably wants some fluffing.

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Thanks Shakaho...the only reason I understand this stuff even a little is from all the great help you've given me...it is so appreciated. Whenever I have a moment I read over your 5 gallon filter explanation to keep the info fresh in my mind :). I'm still waiting on the pump and the matala. Then I checked my e-mail and found out that they were delivered yesterday and no one left me a note saying where the parcels are now. I found out they were nervous of my dog...he's a golden retriever...but then they wouldn't even put the parcels over the gate because they didn't want my dog to chew them. Boy...it's tough to get UPS deliveries when you have a dog...very frustrating. I left a note on the gate today to please leave my parcels and I'm keeping the dog in the house as much as possible today...hopefully I will get the pump and matala today.

Does this dog look like he'd cause trouble? :) : http://i202.photobuc...02/IMG_5820.jpg

I totally understand being nervous about a dog...but a golden retriever...he gets beat up by the neighbourhood chihuahua...lol.

Anyway...here's to hoping I get my pump before the start of the long weekend :)

Edited by Kayla102968
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That's one ferocious looking dog! He looks like he might beat you with his tail if you got too close. Not to mention slopping up your face.

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Sport (our dog) sure does love to give kisses :). The UPS guy that came today brought doggie treats...lol.

So, I completed my cover for my pond and tonight decided to PVC glue the ball valve to the 2.5" long, two inch diameter, PVC pipe, to give it a chance to start drying before I finish the rest of the filter. I checked to see how far the tubing would go into the ball valve to see if I would have enough room to get a 1 inch clearance through the other side of the uniseal. It looked fine. Then I put the glue on the PVC pipe and slid it in to the ball valve and it went WAY in. Now I only have one inch of PVC pipe showing out of the ball valve which means I will not get a 1" clearance past the uniseal. Is this quite important? Should I just flip the ball valve around and put a longer piece of PVC into the other side...or just hope that the PVC clears enough of the uniseal to not cause a leak? Leave it to me to cause a problem on the first step...lol.

One other question...does the Laguna 600 need to be placed on bricks (or a step stool) above the bottom of the pond...or does it just sit at the bottom? The pond is bare bottom right now.

Here is my ball valve with the short PVC:

http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa173/kayla111_02/IMG_5113.jpg

Thanks,

Kayla

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