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Water Gardens: Info on Pond Skimmers and Biofalls Filters please.

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bedouin
Fort Lauderdale, FL
(Zone 10b)

May 29, 2009
3:18 AM

Post #6612196

BeaHive, thanks for the below information and link to alohawatergardens.

I'm enlarging a 3 year old pond, incorporating a waterfall, stream (small scale) and a gentle incline to encourage visits from frogs. The present pond I have is stable but not frog-friendly, so I've decided to add some features which will be more aesthetically pleasing as well as frog and bird friendly. I'm in zone 10 so have to be concerned with the temperature of the water during the summer as well as keep in mind that Herons love my little goldfish! I have a large waterlily, parrots feather and a few other plants which are all doing very well.

I'm not familiar with Pond Skimmers or Biofall Filtres. Your experience with these would be very educational and welcome.

If you have a pond skimmer and/or a Biofall filter, please do let me have your comments re their installation as well as functional durability as I'm absolutely clueless about them. Thanks to BeaHive, I now have a starting point re mechanics! (oh, oh, as I type the frogs are croaking at the pond! So welcome)!

BeaHive re:
auto fill - you mean its a connection to your waterline and you turn on a tap to top the pond water up? I've been using a birdbath with a dripper to keep the water fresh for the birds as well as drip down into the pond to keep it filled. Its worked very well other than the green buildup on the base of the birdbath, which I wash away with a hose now and again! But, a waterline (pvc pipe)? to fill it up will be very handy as the dripping wont keep a larger pond filled!
Shutoff valve: There will be a waterline to the top of the little waterfall which will have a shut off valve.
Overflow drain: You mean a pvc pipe into which the excess water will be routed to another area. Or into a gravel drain?
Bottom Drain: I'll have to do research on this as well as everything else. When I've needed to empty the pond, I've used a sump pump but thats entailed so much prior work, its exhausting what with the moving of the plants and trying to keep goldfish and mosquito fish, snails etc alive! I wonder if there is an easier way to clean a pond????
Clarifier: I've never used one. The only problem I've had was that awful green slime. Plus clarifying the water after a pond clean-up.

I agree! I dont test or change water other than its annual cleanup and the only time chemicals ever entered my pond was when my DH fertilized the lawn and wondered why the goldfish were all floating in the pond afterwards! Sigh!

I keep the pond water 'bell' on 24/7 as well. It certainly needs regular cleaning though, but thats easy to do!

When you laid the stones and pebbles, did you need to do anything other than just lay them down? (cleaning)? Did you use cement to keep the large slate/stones in place?

Did you line your boggy area with pebbles? How did you ensure the soil did not slide down into the pond? Does the pond water lap over into the boggy area to keep it wet? Is this where the frogs enter to pond? Do you have platforms in the water for the frogs, or do they stay either in the water or on your wet stones?

So many questions!!!

A photo of my Momma Frog! Croaking away - what with the eternal rain we've had for the last few weeks! From utter drought to flooding! What crazy weather!

Info from BeaHive: "I have a boggy area on one area of the pond that goes from about 1" to 1'ft of water. The rest of the pond is between 3-4FT deep.
I had waterlines installed and if you can I recommend it. I have an auto fill and an overflow drain for use during the rain. I do not have a bottom drain and at times I wish I did to remove some of the gunk. But I vaccum when it gets horrible.
Hers is a link to a picture of a set up that is like my set up. I have a ecosystem which requires very little maintenece and only a weekly clarifier once it gets balance. I never test my water, never change the water exepct for yearly cleanout and I never pour unnecessary chemicals. I think the closer you get to nature the happier the creatures will be. I keep the water running 24/7 and use a deicer when the pond starts to freeze up. Not often here, but I keep it on hand for those rare icy days"



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snapple45
Holland, OH
(Zone 5b)

May 29, 2009
3:39 AM

Post #6612290

As to skimmers and biofalls I have a Savio system installed going on nine years. The pond is 2500 gallons. It is a koi pond in which I grow some plants. Koi aren't plant friendly so a water "garden" and a koi "pond" are really at somewhat of cross purpose. At any rate the Savio has shown no signs of wear. It's easy to maintain. The filtration is excellent and produces the high water quality that koi demand.

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BeaHive
Dallas, OR
(Zone 8a)

May 29, 2009
1:57 PM

Post #6613432

bedouin. I have the carpet cleaners coming this morning. I will try to answer all your questions later today.
BeaHive
Dallas, OR
(Zone 8a)

May 29, 2009
9:53 PM

Post #6615239

ok here goes. Hope this helps some.
I will try to answer as many questions as possible. You may wish to purchase a book or visit the library for a pond building book. I did not install my pond but I watched very carefully as it was built and can add the info as I remember.
First to start here are two links to show you what a skimmer and biofalls are.
skimmers http://www.pondsolutions.com/skimmers.htm
Boi falls http://www.thepondoutlet.com/home/tpo/smartlist_176


The skimmer is where I have the auto fill and the overflow features. Water flows through this unit from the pond. The skimmer basket & filter pads collect debris. The water is pumped though this unit and back up to the bio falls. In the bio-falls there are several layers of filter pads that collect more debris. I also have added what are called bio balls which collect beneficial micro organisms to keep the pond in balance in time. The water from the bio falls then goes down the waterfall stream and back into the pond. The water is always in recirculation.

The Auto fill that I have was plumbed using pvc pipe for the water line similar to how you would lay irrigation for sprinklers. Outside the skimmer unit there is a screw type shut off valve. It is normally in the open mode during the summer. The auto fill valve releases water when the level of the pond gets low. It shuts itself off when the water fills to the determined level. ( kind of like the workings in a toilet tank)
info for auto fill valves

http://watergarden.com/store/product/Assessories/Auto-Fill_article.htm

The overflow is basically a drain inside the skimmer. If the water level gets to high from rain, the drain takes the water to the street gutter system thru a pvc pipe. You may wish to route your line to a dry area in the garden or if you have room, you could save the water in a cistern or rain barrel.
We have so much moisture in Oregon..that I cannot take the excess on my property…
I do not have a bottom drain so I can’t help you with that.

A liquid Clarifier weekly helps build up the beneficial micro organisms which help rid the pond of slime and muck. I use Aqua One and on occasion have used Algae Off when the algae get thick. This product is safe for use with fish, but you must have great water flow as it does deplete oxygen levels. If I use this product I add additional circulation by having my small fountain/filter unit running. You will need to clean out the skimmer quite often as this product makes the algae rise and flow into the skimmer. Don’t want a clog!!

When they laid the stone after the whole was dug he laid a layer of sand, followed by a pond fabric liner followed by the thick plastic liner. About a foot of liner was left around the edges of the pond.
We used river rocks for the pond. I understand that sharp edged rocks are not good as they can poke a hole in the liner. Anyway, he used various sizes. He created plant shelves and hiding places for the Koi with larger stones and filled any exposed liner with stones of 2-5 inch size keeping the bottom rocks as flat as possible to make ease of wading in the pond. The sides were built up using larger stones and again filling the gaps with smaller stones. On the edge of the pond he placed some large “boulders “ mixed with large stones. Over the liner on the edging he added small river stones .

The bog area is lined as above. I have planted some plants directly in the stones (bare root) and they have done well (pond muck is a wonderful replacement for soil l. I also have some potted plants with them sitting in an inch or two of water.
No cement was used to place stones. The weight of the stones and water keeps them in place. Occasionally I move the larger stones around to accommodate a water lily of plant..

Well hope this helped somewhat. I do recommend getting a book as a better reference.

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bedouin
Fort Lauderdale, FL
(Zone 10b)

May 30, 2009
4:15 AM

Post #6616541

BeaHive, thats a tutorial in its own right! Thank you very much. Ive printed it out, of course!!!

I've had my pond for 3 years. I have a bell fountain 7/24 with the pump sitting in the black rectangular bio-filter box sold at Home Depot. So mine has been 'very basic'. By and large, I've not had any problems with it, plants are all healthy and fish too, - what ever is left every time I replenish with goldfish since the naughty heron thinks breakfast, lunch, hors d'ouvres and dinner is supplied for him alone! All of the above which you have, is certainly going to be a learning process! Since I've already dug the extension and raised the soil for the waterfall, I'd better hurry up and educate myself! Thought I'd just pop a pvc connected to a hose at the top for the waterfall and ensure my pump was large enough to pipe the water up from the pond! Whew! If I'm going to do it, I'd better do it PROPERLY! Your information is very clear, thanks for taking the time to detail it. I'm scratching my head and wondering where to start as I want it up and running by the end of this month!

The photo below show the extension progress. I plan to get the plants etc out when I've completed the digging and re-aligning. Then remove the pond liner & rubber , use the excess sand to highten the waterfall area and lay down the new materials. (did not think of putting sand down as a base, but I think it makes a lot of sense so will add that). (Hope DH will lend a hand...) The centre of my pond is a deeper than the plant shelf so the depth will be continued into the new area gradually rising for a bog area as you mentioned. (Still trying to come up with an idea to make that work. Just to explain why there is a centre 'wall' between the new area and the pond!

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bedouin
Fort Lauderdale, FL
(Zone 10b)

May 30, 2009
4:22 AM

Post #6616552

The extension is towards the lawn and the waterfall/cascade will be behind the palms.

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bedouin
Fort Lauderdale, FL
(Zone 10b)

May 30, 2009
4:25 AM

Post #6616559

Extension towards the lawn. Deepish with rising side for bog plants

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bedouin
Fort Lauderdale, FL
(Zone 10b)

May 30, 2009
4:27 AM

Post #6616564

Waterfall/cascade area. Will be higher. Pond liner will between soil and palms. Stone wall on side facing camera, gradually falling to ground level.

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