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Bmitchell486

Questions for an outdoor stocktank pond

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Hey All!

 

I'm thinking about having a small pond, beginning next spring.  I'm a planner, so I'm already thinking it through and have some questions for you pond pro's out there.  I have 8 fancy goldfish.  I plan on rotating weekly and keeping 2-3 indoors, and 5-6 outside in the pond.  The reason I want a pond is because I want my goldfish's colors to strengthen, and I have seen so many accounts of large, healthy, colorful fish that are in ponds out in the sunlight.

 

Below are some questions I have, and am asking for opinions as well:

 

1. What do you guys think about this one below.  It fits the size I'm looking for, and I think it's affordable:

Little%20Pond.jpg

 

2. This will be above ground, right up next to a raised deck.  It will get direct sunlight at noon.  I live in Ohio, and in the summer it can get in the upper 90's.  Any chance of the water overheating in an above ground 170 gal container?

 

3. I think I'll probably bring everyone inside during the winter, so I won't need to worry about a heater during the winter.  But what about spring and fall? Sometimes the temp can dip into the 50's during the night and climb back to the 70's during the day.  Since this pond will be above ground... will the temp fluctuation be unhealthy for the fish? Should I still get a heater and set it to 70 so the temp doesn't lower at night?

 

4. Filtration -- I plan on using a submersible pump that draws water through a flatbox full of ceramic beads and a filter pad, and then I'll direct the output towards the surface to promote surface agitation.  Below is what I'm thinking, does this look good?

Pond%20Pump.jpg

*I would remove the pre-filter piece and attach it to the flat box.

 

Flat%20Box.jpg

 

5. I'll probably drain 50-80% of the water weekly and replace it.

 

6. I'll cover the pond with sturdy netting unless I'm outside.  I live in a neighborhood without any water near by, and I have dogs that are frequently outside, but I'd still worry about some bird finding the pond.  Is netting usually sturdy enough? Or should I get chicken wire or chain link fencing and secure it with that on a wooden frame?

 

 

Thanks for reading my long post. :)  If anyone has any suggestions or opinions, please let me know as this would be my first pond and I'm hoping to avoid beginners mistakes.

 

Thanks!!!!

 

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Hey All!

 

I'm thinking about having a small pond, beginning next spring.  I'm a planner, so I'm already thinking it through and have some questions for you pond pro's out there.  I have 8 fancy goldfish.  I plan on rotating weekly and keeping 2-3 indoors, and 5-6 outside in the pond.  The reason I want a pond is because I want my goldfish's colors to strengthen, and I have seen so many accounts of large, healthy, colorful fish that are in ponds out in the sunlight.

 

Sunlight should be avoided, except for a bit in morning or late afternoon. I do not believe it has anything to do with the brighter colors of outdoor fish, and it overheats a small pond.

 

1. What do you guys think about this one below.  It fits the size I'm looking for, and I think it's affordable

 

One of the advantages of a pond over an aquarium is the greater surface to volume ratio.  This tank doesn't have that characteristic.  The narrow top opening will make your fish hard to see.  The Tuff Stuff 140 gallon tank would be a much better choice, with the Rubbermaid 150 as an alternative.

 

2. This will be above ground, right up next to a raised deck.  It will get direct sunlight at noon.  I live in Ohio, and in the summer it can get in the upper 90's.  Any chance of the water overheating in an above ground 170 gal container?

 

About 100% with temperatures in the upper 90s and direct sun at noon.  You can put a shade cloth "sail" over the tank for protection.

 

3. I think I'll probably bring everyone inside during the winter, so I won't need to worry about a heater during the winter.  But what about spring and fall? Sometimes the temp can dip into the 50's during the night and climb back to the 70's during the day.  Since this pond will be above ground... will the temp fluctuation be unhealthy for the fish? Should I still get a heater and set it to 70 so the temp doesn't lower at night?

 

No problem.  There is solid scientific evidence that goldfish (and fish in general) do better with normal temperature  between day and night.

 

4. Filtration -- I plan on using a submersible pump that draws water through a flatbox full of ceramic beads and a filter pad, and then I'll direct the output towards the surface to promote surface agitation.  Below is what I'm thinking, does this look good?

 

No.  Another advantage of an outdoor pond over an aquarium is superior filtration.  Submersible filters are about equivalent to a sponge filter in your aquarium.  You can build a nice upflow biofilter with a 10 gallon capacity and have excellent filtration.  I do not believe that pump can turn over 600 GPH.  It has the size and price of a 200 gph pump.  I can't find any specific information on this pump, but I smell snake oil.

 

5. I'll probably drain 50-80% of the water weekly and replace it.

 

IMO the best water change procedure for a pond is a continuous drip of 10% a day.  It's very easy to do, but a daily water change of 10% will accomplish the same thing with more work.  If you get that submersible filter, stick with the aquarium style water changes.

 

6. I'll cover the pond with sturdy netting unless I'm outside.  I live in a neighborhood without any water near by, and I have dogs that are frequently outside, but I'd still worry about some bird finding the pond.  Is netting usually sturdy enough? Or should I get chicken wire or chain link fencing and secure it with that on a wooden frame?

 

This cover is simple and secure. 005.jpg

 

 

 

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Thank you Sharon for your response.  I appreciate your candor, and that you get right to the point.  Sounds like I have a lot of reconsidering to do.  I picked the tub and the internal filter for aesthetic reasons, but of course the safety of the fish is most important.  I really love your article of the homemade upflow biofilter, and will certainly build that and hide it with plants, as you have :)  Unfortunately, the only shaded part of my back yard is sloped.  I will need to think about shade options that are functional and also pretty.  

 

It's a good thing I have the whole winter to think this through and figure out what to do. :)

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You saw how to build a "stool" in the filter.  You can use the same type of fittings to make a pergola out of pvc pipe to go over your pond.  You can make a grid  out of pipe or something separate that you fasten onto the top.  Then cover the top with shade cloth.  If you want to get fancy, you could even use pipe to build a greenhouse and cover the top with shade cloth in the summer and cover the whole thing in plastic for the winter.  There are plans all over the internet.

 

The nice thing about a container pond is that you can build a simple surround of any design you wish.  It only has to be strong enough to support itself since the container holds the water.  Cedar siding is a very popular choice.  

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You saw how to build a "stool" in the filter.  You can use the same type of fittings to make a pergola out of pvc pipe to go over your pond.  You can make a grid  out of pipe or something separate that you fasten onto the top.  Then cover the top with shade cloth.  If you want to get fancy, you could even use pipe to build a greenhouse and cover the top with shade cloth in the summer and cover the whole thing in plastic for the winter.  There are plans all over the internet.

 

The nice thing about a container pond is that you can build a simple surround of any design you wish.  It only has to be strong enough to support itself since the container holds the water.  Cedar siding is a very popular choice.  

 

Hey Sharon,

 

I decided to keep our pond discussion going here (instead of in the "New Fantail" thread).  

 

So, recapping - I think I will start without the 10% continuous drip at first, but then build it later.  I like the idea, but I just want to bite off one piece at a time.  I'll just do 10% manual water changes a day at first.  I think stock tank/filter will be step 1.  Then I'll build the bottomless wooden box around it, with a hinged lid with wiring.  And once all that's done, hopefully Cynthia will be selling ECR stewie griffin ranchu fry or calico ranchu fry :)  Maybe by then I will be able to have the continuous drip water changer set up too.  If I set this up in the corner of the yard by the fence, the continuous drip bucket could be up on a platform in the corner behind the stocktank...

 

Here are the 2 locations that could work -- which do you think is best?

IMG_9834.jpg

 

 

IMG_9833.jpg

 

First option would probably be more shaded, but second option is closer to the power source and the deck for viewing.  In either case, I could and probably would need to build something for them for shade.

 

I'm going to make the internal bucket filter that draws water from the bottom and fountains it out the top.  I like the look of the water bowl fountains... not sure what they're called, but they look like a glass bowl upside down...  Does this pump look like it would be that way?  Or do you have another that you recommend? I'll be getting the 150 rubbermaid.

 

Thanks in advance for the advice!

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I would put it by the deck.  The more convenient the pond location, the more time you spend with it.  Your sketches look like you are making one of the most common rookie mistakes -- not having access to the pond on all sides.  My first in-ground pond had 18" of passage area all around, and only 12" on some sides.  After that, they have 2 feet.  Three feet would be better.  With a  stock tank, you don't have that big a problem, since you can drain it and move it. 

 

The pump description says one fountain head produces a "waterbell" and I guess that might be what you want.  I haven't had a fountain in a pond for a long time.  A fountain in a small tank can lose water that splashes out or gets blown out by the wind.  While Laguna generally makes good products, I noted a lot of low reviews on this one, often complaining of low flow.  The pictures also showed a pretty low flow for a pump that supposedly turns over 529 gallons per hour. 

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Thanks Sharon for the feedback.

 

Yeah, I was hoping to put it next to the deck just for shade purposes -- I can easy create a structure for shade, and can easily sit next to it :)   But, if I need to move it out to have more room around it, I can do that.

 

I want to get a good pump for sure.  I have always forked the price for the fluval canister filters for my indoor aquariums and always put a high gph on those.  I do not want to skimp on the pond, especially since I worry that I'll just be looking at them top down and there's always a chance I may not notice any distress in the fish until they're pretty sick.  So I really want to make sure I stay on top of water changes and have a really good filtration system.  I plan on having a 3 gal bucket submerged with the sponge filter pads around the outside, and the scrubbies filling up the entire inside.  

 

Do you have any pumps with the water bell that you recommend? How many gph do you recommend?  I think the fountain would only go up just above water level, so I don't think it would reduce the flow too much, would it?

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I may have not explained it right -- I'm planning on making the filter in post #7 here -- where the fountain flows up in the bell shape over the bucket:

 

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/92676-instant-pond/

 

I think I can handle making this... I think :)

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I used this pump in that system.  These cheapies seem to last forever.  They have a problem in the too-short cord.  I have four of them, the oldest about 6 years old, and none have failed.  

 

The pump should claim to turn over 2 to 4 times the pond volume per volume.  Read lots of reviews.  

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Perfect. I think I'd want the 620 GPH one then.  I have a harbor freight a few miles down the road from me!

 

I've been searching online for the attachment I would need to created the bell fountain but haven't found anything with good reviews (or they do have good reviews but they come with a pump so it's more expensive).

 

I have a good/expensive pond/aquarium store near me.  I can stop in to see if they sell just attachments.  And I imagine I would need some sort of connection piece, bc from the picture of the pump, looks like just a hose can fit on it?

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Most fountain pumps come with an assortment of fountain attachments.  I have a box full of the things.  They often don't mention them in the ads.  

 

Read the last couple of reviews on the 620.  The first one I bought lasted 3 months.   I bought another because it was an emergency, and it has lasted for more than a year, but I don't trust it at all.  If you get this one, buy the warranty.

 

The hose attachment unscrews.  All of this stuff comes from China, and sizes vary among brands.  Few companies have replacement pieces.  

Look at the pumps inn HD/Lowes .  It helps when you can open a box and see what's in it and they take back the defective ones without a problem.

 

I have concern about a submersed filter in a bucket in a two foot deep tank.  The one I showed worked because it was deeper than the pond.  

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One thing I've noticed is that those harbor freight pumps use a good bit of electricity. Doing some math, they are listed as .6 amps at 120 volts 120 x .6 is 72 watts. Thats 8.6 gallons per hour per watt. A tetra pond pump is listed at 42 watts and flows 550 gph. 13.09 gallons per hour per watt. 13.09/8.6 is 1.5 which means the tetra will flow 1.5 times more water per watt of electricity used. My point is that the harbor freight uses a lot more power to flow water, which will end up costing lots more over time. Anyway... Just something to think about.

Edited by DieselPlower

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Sharon, I think I need to go with the upflow biofilter you referenced in post #2.  I am intimidated by it, but it sounds like it's my best option.  I didn't realize the internal bucket filter wasn't a good option for my situation.   I am not in the habit of going half-way when it comes to setting up an environment for my pets, so I'll bite the bullet and attempt to make that filter.

 

I was reviewing the pictures (the pictures are SUPER helpful bc I'm very visual).  So it looks like the pump goes in the pond (propped on a brick).  The hose attaches the pump to the top of the PVC in the bucket.  Some of the links you added are broken (I think Home Depot quit carrying some of the products, or the webpages moved around).  I think I can go into my HD/Menards with my PVC structure and the hose and ask them to help me connect the two. :)

 

So for filter/bucket placement -- is it best for the bucket to be placed above the pond (so that the bottom of the bucket is level with the top of the pond? Or can the top of the bucket be only slightly higher the pond?  I'm just wondering if I should put the bucket on my deck (above the pond) or if I should put the bucket next to the pond on some sort of a pedestal.  If it's next to the pond on a pedestal, I'll wedge it in next to the deck/stairs/pond so it can't fall over with wind or anything.

 

For a 150 tub, should I find a 10 gal bucket, or will a 5 gal be sufficient?

Edited by Bmitchell486

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One thing I've noticed is that those harbor freight pumps use a good bit of electricity. Doing some math, they are listed as .6 amps at 120 volts 120 x .6 is 72 watts. Thats 8.6 gallons per hour per watt. A tetra pond pump is listed at 42 watts and flows 550 gph. 13.09 gallons per hour per watt. 13.09/8.6 is 1.5 which means the tetra will flow 1.5 times more water per watt of electricity used. My point is that the harbor freight uses a lot more power to flow water, which will end up costing lots more over time. Anyway... Just something to think about.

 

Thank you for your input!  The tetra pond pump 550 is just what I was looking for.  Per Sharon's advice, I looked at the reviews and this one seems to get good reviews.  On amazon, almost all of the recent reviews are 5 stars!

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Sharon, I think I need to go with the upflow biofilter you referenced in post #2.  I am intimidated by it, but it sounds like it's my best option.  I didn't realize the internal bucket filter wasn't a good option for my situation.   I am not in the habit of going half-way when it comes to setting up an environment for my pets, so I'll bite the bullet and attempt to make that filter.

 

I was reviewing the pictures (the pictures are SUPER helpful bc I'm very visual).  So it looks like the pump goes in the pond (propped on a brick).  The hose attaches the pump to the top of the PVC in the bucket.  Some of the links you added are broken (I think Home Depot quit carrying some of the products, or the webpages moved around).  I think I can go into my HD/Menards with my PVC structure and the hose and ask them to help me connect the two. :)

 

Thank you so much for saying this.  I was hesitating about explaining why the submerged filter is a bad idea. I will check the broken links.

 

So for filter/bucket placement -- is it best for the bucket to be placed above the pond (so that the bottom of the bucket is level with the top of the pond? Or can the top of the bucket be only slightly higher the pond?  I'm just wondering if I should put the bucket on my deck (above the pond) or if I should put the bucket next to the pond on some sort of a pedestal.  If it's next to the pond on a pedestal, I'll wedge it in next to the deck/stairs/pond so it can't fall over with wind or anything.

 

Your filter only needs to be high enough so the outlet goes over the top of the tank.  If you want to put a plant filter something like this

 

061.jpg

between the filter and the tank, you need to raise it a little higher.  I do all of the raising with cement blocks and patio blocks.  Your fresh water reservoir can sit on the deck.  A large container of water is pretty stable.

 

For a 150 tub, should I find a 10 gal bucket, or will a 5 gal be sufficient?

 

You can certainly start with 5 gallons, but as your fish grow, you will want a bigger container.  These would be perfect:

 

http://tampa.craigslist.org/hil/for/5560691573.html

 

http://orlando.craigslist.org/hsd/5544184272.html

 

These can be painted and I know how to do it so the paint stays on.

 

A muck bucket is another good option with lots of plant space in the top.

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Thanks Sharon.  You can shoot straight with me -- I won't get my feelings hurt.  I know nothing about building a pond and I don't want to make any fatal mistakes.  I hope you know how much I appreciate any and all advice you have!  You give so freely of your  time.

 

I like the tall cylinder drum idea.  Not sure if this is a "real thing" or not, but I feel that in a taller and slimmer drum, the water would flow over the filter media more than in a short round muck bucket.  I'll do some searching to find some here in Ohio.  I might as well start with a filter bucket that's big enough, instead of having to upgrade later.

 

I can't wait to buy the rubbermaid stocktank.  I think that's when this will all feel real. :) 

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The tall, slim container gives better mechanical filtration since particles have a long distance over which to get stuck somewhere.  A short fat container has the advantage of having lots of space for phytofiltration on the top.  It may have an advantage in biofiltration because in a long trip to the top in a tall container, the water can lose much of its oxygen so nitrification can decrease near the top.  (That's purely a hypothesis.  I know of no evidence.)

 

The drums pop up pretty regularly on craigslist.  You can also find some on ebay.  

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There are a few drums listed on my cragslist.  One seller stated that he didn't know the prior contents of the containers, and they they could have contained harsh chemicals.  Another seller didn't mention that in his ad, but when I asked him, he said the same thing and said he had no idea what the previous contents were.  

 

How concerned should I be about that?  Could I just soak/rinse them for a while, or should I verify the drums (if used) didn't contain chemicals?

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I don't worry about it unless it stinks of chemicals.  I fill the barrel with water, let it sit for a day or two, then empty and repeat.  Anything that doesn't dissolve in the water in days of soaking isn't going to suddenly do so when you run it as a filter.  You can toss a bag of carbon in the filter to remove any trace organics.

 

What size drums are you looking at?  Are they cheap?

 

When you search, also try rain barrel, pond filter, aquaponics.  I often find some in those searches that didn't turn up when I looked for barrels/drums.

Edited by shakaho

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Oh okay, then I won't worry too much.  So I have only seen the plastic 15+ gals so far (not 10) and they're $20, so I think that's cheap.  I think I'll keep looking until I buy the stock tank and pump and see if there are any 10 gals listed.  I'll search with the other key words as well.

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I just had an idea.... I like it bc aesthetically it looks nice to me.  What do you think?

 

Pic 1: I was already planning to build a wooden frame around the stock tank.  This way I can build in a hinged lid that locks.  But I could extend that frame out and box in the drum (containing 10% reservoir for daily water change) and the filter (muck bucket would be the best option with this design).  The frame on that side wouldn't just be for looks, but it would have to be structural to support the 10 gallon muck bucket - 2x4's and such.

7af113a5-154f-4db4-86db-cb9e78f23bad.jpg

 

 

Pic 2: Shows the 15 gal reservoir drum below, and the 10 gal muck bucket above.  A door would cover these.  I would need 2 pumps.  1 would always be in the stock tank for the filter.  The second I would plop into the pond to drain 10% a day, and then plop it into the reservoir drum to pump water back into the pond.

2cb851a9-01f8-4000-9868-1448befd020d.jpg

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I would put the (17 gallon?) Muck bucket (as a reservoir) on the deck, allowing it to drip water into the pond by gravity.  If you hate the look of it you can make a box matching the one around the pond.  Or you can use a large, pretty flowerpot for a reservoir.   The 15 gallon drum filter could sit on the ground and still have the outlet above the top of the tank, but for purpose of draining the filter, you should have it set up a few inches.

 

When you build a pond system, you quickly learn why we call Murphy's Law the most important  law in science.   :)  The simpler the system the less likely disasters become.  The simplest system has a box around the pond and filter -- that can certainly have a door to expose all of the filter -- that is rectangular and all one height.  The top of the filter rising above the box doesn't look ugly (particularly if you paint it) and has plants growing in the top that may be spilling over the sides.  

 

If you put 90 pounds of water-filled filter on top of the water reservoir, you make the reservoir difficult to access.  In order to fill the reservoir or put a pump in it, you have to drain the filter and remove it.   Draining the filter weekly keeps it clean, but draining it daily would get to be a PITA.  

 

These threads show pictures of some surrounds for tanks.

 

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/103095-pond-finally-finished/

 

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/109561-new-deck-pond-plans/

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I LOVE those boxed in ponds!  I wish the top one had instructions.  It has very clean lines. But I'm sure I can google search to find pond frame/boxing instructions for a look that I like.

 

I agree with you that the best place for the reservoir would be on the deck to do a continuous drip into the pond.  The issues is we have a small deck.  With the grill and table/chairs, the space is limited.  I'd be happy to still put it on the deck, box it in, and put a flower pot on top.  But my amazingly sweet husband who usually is fine with whatever I want to do, he's unusually strange about the deck and thinks it's too small to have anything else there.  It would bug him.

 

So.  I need to keep everything on the ground next to the deck.  I don't think I did a good job drawing my plan.  I was thinking I'd use 2x4's to build the filter/reservoir area, and actually have the muck bucket up on a shelf.  It would not be sitting on top of the reservoir.  There would probably be 8-12 inches of space between them.  But... like you said, maybe stacking isn't the best option.

 

I like your simplistic approach.  I'm wondering if just boxing in only the pond would look best.  Then paint the filter/reservoir black, and have plants coming out of the top.  And to balance out the look, have one on the right side and one on the left side of the pond. Maybe like this:

dac0def1-c1b9-4db0-b2ac-adfa255cad7f.jpg

 

 

Also.... I'm wondering if I should wait to actually box the pond in.  I may want to play around with the arrangement of the reservoir and the filter, and I'd hate to go to the trouble of building it and then wish I'd done it differently.... I may be too indecisive for this project! haha.  Thank you for helping me to work through these ideas and plans.  I'm positive that my original and revised plans surely would have failed without your advice.

Edited by Bmitchell486

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Definitely wait to box in the pond.   Definitely "play around" with arrangements.  

 

I always have my filter and reservoir next to one another, the filter elevated slightly for easy draining, and reservoir elevated to above water level.  At the opposite end of the pond I have the pump and the overflow.  This produces the "river flow" circulation -- clean water in one end and dirty water out the other.  If you want to siphon out debris, you will find nearly all of it right around the pump and the outlet pipe.  The pond flow results from the filter outflow and pump uptake, so if you drip clean water in the end opposite the filter, most of it goes out the overflow pipe.  

 

Because my stock tank ponds sit in the rather narrow border around the swimming pool in the screened enclosure, they have to have one long side against the screen.  If not for that constraint, I would have space on all sides.

 

Here's a picture (not very attractive) that shows some functional arrangements.

 

IMG_0391.jpg

 

Starting at the left, the blue bucket catches overflow.  You don't need this when the pond is sitting on the ground.  Directly above it, you can barely see the elbow on the end of the overflow pipe.  If you could see through the ugly old (but cheap) stock tank, you would see the inside part of the overflow pipe, with an elbow on it connected to a pipe that goes to the bottom of the tank so that dirty water near the pump comes out the overflow pipe.

 

IMG_0249.jpg

 

The pump sits inside the tank near the blue bucket.  You can see the prefilter box that holds the pump in the picture below.

 

The green basket on the right end of the tank sits on a sturdy stool I made.

 

IMG_0393.jpg

 

It has plants potted in lava rock and serves as a veggie filter.  You can see the water coming out of the biofilter into the veggie filter.  Both have just been planted.  In a few months the fern will obscure the basket and the plants in the filter will grow huge.  To the right of the filter, you see the reservoir.  It doesn't have flowers growing in it, just potted flowers sitting on the lid.  In the picture above you can see brown 1/4 inch tubing coming around the back of the veggie filter.  It has a dripper on the end that I can make out.  This comes from the freshwater reservoir.

 

Usually, I put the filter in the foreground and the reservoir behind it.  In this case, I wanted to hide the stand  for the filter and reservoir behind a potted blueberry bush,  so I put the reservoir behind the filter (relative to the tank).  You can see how effectively a potted plant hides the stand.  

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Oh okay, then I won't worry too much.  So I have only seen the plastic 15+ gals so far (not 10) and they're $20, so I think that's cheap.  I think I'll keep looking until I buy the stock tank and pump and see if there are any 10 gals listed.  I'll search with the other key words as well.

 

Ideally, you want 1/10 the pond volume, or 15 gallons.  I tried to say before -- but not clearly -- that with just three fish, you could get by with a 5 gallon filter, and better, 10 gallons.  If you want to eventually fully stock the tank with 6 or 7 fish, you want 15 gallons.  If you fully stock and the fish get enormous, you can build a 30 gallon tank later.  :D

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