Fountain pump clogging 170 gallon small pond- Help!

ilovemilkbottles(Z4NY)April 23, 2007

I have a very small 170 gallon pond system I bought at Sams Club 6 years ago. It has a large tub (bottom) and a small upper tub with waterfall (top). The only thing it came with is a small pump with fountain attachment. The tube that sucks the water in is covered by a round cylinder foam sponge. Of course, I didn't get enough water pressure from the fountain pump to run the waterfall (only a trickle) so I bought a second pump that does 300 gph and ran it from the bottom right up to the top so now I have good waterflow. My problem is when the weather warms up and we get alot of sun, that sponge filter clogs up all the time and I am every other day pulling it out and cleaning it. I would like to still have the small fountain head but need something that doesn't need to be rinsed out every other day. Any thoughts? I would really like to go to an external small filter and still keep my fountain but would use something submersible that doesn't clog up all the time. Any help would be appreciated. Again, it is a small 170 gallon pond.

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crcrazy2003(Z7 NC)

A couple of things you can try...

1. Replace your sponge. I've found that sponges deteriorate with time. Replacing it seems to work wonders in keeping the pump from clogging as frequently.

2. Build a mini-Adam's filter. You can find links around the web on how to do this. If you want to go the easier route, look at Home Depot or Lowes. They sell box like filter systems. I believe it comes complete with 2 sponge pads (different densities)& some biological filter media (at worst, you can look at their concept & build your own). I've got one from HD that I use in my small 250 gallon pond (before I became addicted & built a matching 2000 gallon). I've used it for several years & simply replace the two sponges every year or two.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 6:45PM
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I do regularly change out the sponge filter - usually once or twice a summer. I am just wondering if there is a small efficient system out there that I could hook up the fountain apparatus in the bottom of the pond that won't clog up all the time.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 10:24AM
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I use an aquarium's bottom filter with a little gravel over it. I've got my pump sucking water through the side of the undergravel filter and then out to a Tetra POnd filter. The undergravel filter can hold a lot of mulm but you need to stir it up say once a week or so to make sure there are no anerobic (sp?) pockets forming in the gravel. This worked for me all last summer in my 110 gallon stock tank.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 10:54PM
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The problem is that people use fountain pumps for ponds. That's not what they are for. They are clean water pumps designed for fountains and the little sponge is there to keep the small amount of debris that might get into the water. A pond isn't a fountain. A fountain is a decorative water feature that doesn't have fish or plants in it and generally uses chlorinated water to keep the fountain clean.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 3:06AM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Sponge filters are a pain, they are meant for clean water as NG pointed out.
You could buy two plastic collanders from the dollar store, along with a couple of packages of nylon scrubbies [the "bun' type] and some nylon ty-raps.

The idea is to make a container for your pump to sit in, using the collanders, tied together with the ty-raps.
The nylon scrubbies are packed around the pump, inside the collanders, as the filter material.
Put your pump in the collanders, make a hole/notch, for the hose/pipe and electrical cord.
Pack it around with the scrubbies and tie the two collanders together with the ty-raps.
You now have a filter that will not plug up like those usless sponges.
If and when it does plug, just hose the whole thing off and put it back in place.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 6:44AM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Milkbottles, here are a couple of photographs for you of the collander filter cage.

The first one shows the materials required.
I only show four scrubbies, you will need more of course.

Second photograph shows collanders ready to be held together with the ty-raps.
You will also need a hole cut for the hose or pipe, to suit your type of pump.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 11:00AM
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oh wow i just saw this ...

does it keep your pond clean. ...mine is about 500 gal

i was wondering if i should use those rough green fiber style...pot scrubbers too..or just these plastic scrubbers like you have in the picture...

also is the filter( foam material) that goes on the end of the pump filter where the water comes into the pump, not put on?
do you just leave the opening open without the foam extender. then you take your hose that the water comes out of the pump through the colander and to the fountain head..

i am very new to all ponding and am dealing with green water.

everyone here is so nice and helpful..

thank you

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 5:06PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Happee.....just throw the sponge filter away, they clog up to easily!
I would not use the green fiber type of pot scrubbies in this type of filter cage, the nylon ones do the job just fine.

As far as keeping a 500 gallon pond clean, you may want to consider going to an external filter box.
There are all sorts of plans for them around and they are easy to make.
Even with the external filter I would still use the collander type in the pond as a pre-filter for the pump.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 5:23PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Happee..... I forgot to mention, instead of using the collanders you can use two plastic baskets. They come in black, dark green, about 12" X 8" X 6" deep and are perforated all around. They are used for keeping craft stuff, etc, in.
You will find them in the dollar stores.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 5:45PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Happee...., here is a photograph of two types of plastic baskets that can be used instead of the white collanders.

You would require two of each individual type for the filter basket/cage.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 6:49PM
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I've been using these. They are enamel coated steel and they work great. I even have one in my farm pond for the aerator pump
You get them at Staples for $10.00

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 7:34PM
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Wow, what great ideas here. I bought the submersible filter and put my pump in that. It cost about $30.00 at Menards, and helps with keeping the pump from clogging. It has the pads and bio balls in it. My water is crystal clear right now. I see I could have saved money by being creative as you all have. Great ideas. You definately want a larger pump for waterfall. Happy Ponding!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 9:45PM
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i new it.. i new guys are so so helpful...

thanks so much

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 1:25PM
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Well - thanks for all the advice people and here is what I did. Instead of the collanders, I went to the dollar store and bought a shoebox style tupperware container with snap on lid. I drilled a hole in each end (one to run the electrical cord from the pump through and the other side to run the hose in. I then drilled another hole in the top for the fountain to poke out of. I then drilled about a dozen small holes in each side for waterflow. I got the fountain pump in there and then stuffed that puppy full of those dollar store colorful plastic scrubbies. I discarded the sponge cover entirely. Once submerged, I had to put some flat rocks on top of it to weigh it down but it works great. It went for almost 4 weeks before I had to clean it out but even then, I could maybe have gone another week but I was going on vacation and wanted to make sure there were no problems. Boy when I did clean it I couldn't believe the algea and crap in the scrubbies. By using a container with a snap off lid though it makes it easy to just pick the whole thing up out of the pond and hose it out. It was a great idea and thanks to everyone for their suggestions.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 5:22PM
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txgdnr(7TX DFW)

Thanks for the great idea Horton!! I needed something just like this to pre-filter my pump leading to my bio falls filter. I would have never come up with this solution. You are a genius!!!
Thanks Dianne

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 5:14PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

I ditto NG and Horton! Those sponge prefilters are a pain! One other thing I discovered that may never come up for you is that clear tubing can be stopped up overnight by algae growth. Even if you have a 100' of the stuff left over from a project the way I did, go buy some black tubing. If the tubing is too tight a fit, fill a thermos with boiling water and put the end of the tubing in the water for a minute or so. It gets soft and will stretch over a fitting and when it cools it will snug down. Don't burn your fingers. Sandy

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 6:06PM
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wxman5(Z9 CA)


Where did you find the black baskets you showed in an earlier post to this thread?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 4:20PM
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You can get black plastic baskets at Dollar Stores, I used them and it works great.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 6:13PM
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magdaloonie(6B-7A Magdalena, NM)

A blow dryer works to soften the plastic tubing. Safer than boiling water, too.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 8:40PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Yep! at the dollar stores.
Black ty-raps at a hardware store, HD, Lowes etc, electrical dept,.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2007 at 7:08AM
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thanks Horton brilliant idea, will give it a try.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 1:00PM
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