Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
shakaho

Automatic water change.

Recommended Posts

I built a very simple automatic water change system in my front pond. It has two components, a reservoir and an overflow pipe.

First, we have the overflow pipe. I made a notch in the wall of the pond big enough for a 2 inch pvc pipe. If I just put a pipe in this notch and wrap the liner snugly around it, I have a simple overflow pipe that will direct excess water out of the pond when it rains. But I wanted the excess water to come from the bottom of the pond. So I put an elbow on the horizontal pipe, and cut another piece of pipe long enough to reach almost to the bottom. Sticking this on the elbow, gives me a drainage pipe that will drain water from the bottom of the pond when it rains, actually changing the water. It could also drain fish from the bottom of the pond, so I capped the end of the pipe and drilled a large number of 3/8" holes in the lower part of the pipe. Rotated so the whole thing is out of the water, it looks like this:

DSCF0154-1.jpg

While it is partially covered by a hose, you can see another elbow on the outside end of the pipe. That's mainly there to hold the system in place.

While the overflow system worked as shown here, I later put the pipe through the liner using a bulkhead fitting. It works and looks better that way.

Now the reservoir. I used the tank of my old water softener for my reservoir. It's a nice cylindrical 30 gallon tank. I had to cut off the top, because there were a couple of little holes there, Then I calculated the volume, and made marks on the inside to indicate how much water was in the tank.

DSCF0148.jpg

I put a hose bib (faucet) near the bottom of the tank. This required drilling a hole just big enough to slip it through. Then I used rubbery gaskets and locking washers on the inside and outside to hold it in place, then slathered it with lots of silicone caulk to seal it. Once determined that it didn't leak, I spray painted the barrel black.

You can ask for help at the hardware store with what you need to install the faucet. I suggest you tell them that you are making a rain barrel. They know what that is and the installation procedure is the same.

DSCF0147-1.jpg

Initially, I planned to simply turn the faucet on to a drip. But when I tried this, after a few hours the drip stopped. So I got an adapter for the faucet that allowed me to attach 1/4 inch irrigation tubing http://www.homedepot...catalogId=10053 to the faucet. Then I got an adjustable dripper for the end of the tubing. http://www.homedepot...catalogId=10053

DSCF0149.jpg

DSCF0150.jpg

This allowed me to put the reservoir anywhere I wanted and have the clean water dripping into the pond anywhere I wanted.

I chose to have the dripper at the same end of the pond as where my flowerpot filter returned water to the pond.

DSCF0151.jpg

The best place for my reservoir was at the opposite end, right by the overflow pipe.

I searched long and hard for a cover for my reservoir. I wanted a container that would fit over the top. I would put potted plants in the container to make the reservoir look like a big flowerpot. I found this feeder pan at Tractor Supply Company.

DSCF0152-1.jpg

Here's the whole pond.

DSCF0155-1.jpg

At in the foreground, to the right of the birdbath, you can see the overflow pipe coming out of the pond. To the right of that is the reservoir, with a poinsettia in the top for seasonal color. In the back, my flowerpot filter sits on the left, and the dripper is at the right back corner, not visible in this picture.

The system works beautifully. When I initially filled the reservoir, I added dechlor, but as long as I fill it up every few days, there's no need to add more since it takes a few days for the water to drip out so the water is aged.

I set the dripper to a fast drip, which adds about 5-6 gallons a day (35 - 42 gallons a week) to my 250 gallon pond. Of course, it isn't really that big a water change, since the new water mixes with the old, but a rainfall can produce a big water change. Furthermore, every week or two, I flush the filter. This involves draining the water from the filter, allowing it the refill, then draining it again. This removes 20 gallons of water which will be replaced by the clean water drip. The water is sparkling clear, odorless, and has perfect parameters. The goldfish are happy because any changes in the water are very gradual, and goldfish, like old men, like things to stay the same.

One warning. If you have acid rain, and particularly if you also have soft water, the passive water change from a heavy storm could result in a dangerous pH drop. If I had that situation, before a storm I would rotate the overflow pipe to the position shown in the first picture , so that the overflow water would come from the top of the pond, and thus be mostly rainwater.

This post has been promoted to an article

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:thumbs:

I need a pond so I can put all your brilliant ideas to practice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish I was as handy as you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really not handy at all. I spend weeks trying to get up the nerve to start something, then I do it wrong several times. I just keep doing it over until it works. My back pond was started last February. It's almost done, but of the four or five things left to do, I haven't figured out how to do any of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

brilliant! thank you for sharing :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is just awesome! Thanks for sharing :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brilliant!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice article! Very smart idea, very innovative. I would put koi in that pond as they are very hardy. Goldfish and Koi seem to get along nice but Goldfish are kinder in my experience. Maybe add some apple snails too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, but it's really not innovative. Koi people agree that the best way to change pond water is "trickle in, trickle out," although with their huge ponds, they use more of a flow than I do. I'm using 30 gallons of water a week, and that is about the recommended 10% water change per week, since my pond is about 250 gallons. Since it hardly ever rains here from October through May, not much water comes out the overflow pipe. Most of the water loss is from splash-out around the filter. I'll get around to fixing that someday. I love this system. The water is perfect all the time, and I don't have to work to keep it that way.

Minimum size for a koi pond is about 1000 gallons, and they also should have 3 feet or more of depth to develop properly, since swimming up and down is important to them. This pond is 250 gallons and only 16 inches deep. Koi are wonderful animals, but even if I had space for a koi pond, I really don't want fish that get to be 2 to 3 feet long. As it is, most people who see the pond gush over my "koi." When I tell them they are goldfish, they are amazed at how big they are. My largest is about 7 inches (sl), :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This system still works very well. The only maintenance -- other than filling the reservoir -- is to clean the little screen filter in the faucet adapter every few months. You can tell it needs cleaning when the drip stops when there is water in the reservoir.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took a look at this when you replied to my post. It's a really nice set up and I'm going to emulate this. For the overflow, when the waterline reaches the bend of the elbow water will start siphoning out and pulling water from the bottom of the pond?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really not handy at all. I spend weeks trying to get up the nerve to start something, then I do it wrong several times. I just keep doing it over until it works. My back pond was started last February. It's almost done, but of the four or five things left to do, I haven't figured out how to do any of them.

I am the same way. It's called stubborn. I want what I want and I won't give up until it happens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very clever, Shakaho! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love your pond and all the plants around it. Just lovely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took a look at this when you replied to my post. It's a really nice set up and I'm going to emulate this. For the overflow, when the waterline reaches the bend of the elbow water will start siphoning out and pulling water from the bottom of the pond?

It doesn't siphon, it just overflows through the pipe, but it comes from the bottom fo the pond. As soon as the water level drops, the drainage stops. In a heavy rain, I've seen streams of water shooting several feet out of these pipes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've made some revisions in this system. I decided to move the filter to the end of the pond that has the overflow. I am a bit of a fanatic about having clean/filtered water go in one one end of the pond and dirty water pumped out or overflowing at the other end.

It was easy enough to fix the clean water. The clean water reservoir was right next to the filter, so I just needed to put the dripper right next to the faucet.

035-Copy.jpg

However, the overflow outlet was also there too. I wanted to overflow the dirty water that collected by the pump at the other end of the pond. So I put together a pipe that would go from the overflow to the pump area. It looked like this.

011-Copy.jpg

The holey pipe here is the same one you see in the first picture in the thread. I just built an extension so the water would enter from the opposite end of the pond.

I don't want to see that thing when I look in the pond, so I painted it black. You can see it on the right side of the pond here.

024-Copy.jpg

The tube from the pump to the filter is very obvious on the left, and the overflow pipe is much less conspicuous right next to the pond wall. If I didn't have a little sand in the bottom of the pond you would have trouble seeing either one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice job. :) :) I always love seeing your ponds. :heart

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I, too, love seeing your ponds! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...