Woke up to disaster

annedickinsonJune 5, 2010

When I went out to the pond this AM there was only about 8" of water in the pond. The outflow from the skippy filter to the stream had plugged with a piece of plant and the water had overflowed. What saved the day was that the prefilter had landed on a slant on the lily plant pot so it didn't pump the pond lower.

Funny thing - yesterday at the pond store I asked if they sold anything that would shut off the pump if the water level got too low. They said no. I was also thinking that today I would make some kind of a mesh/strainer protector to put in front of the outflow to keep a plant or anything else from plugging it.

Should have acted on my thoughts yesterday!!!

BF said he would make a shut off contraption for me, but I just found one on line for about $50. I will look further for one cheaper, but that is my next pond purchase!!!!

One good thing is that I can see that the water lily is sending out lots of leaves and buds. There is even a new little plant starting. I put a lily fertizler in the pot while I was checking it. I had been concerned because there were only 2 leaves that had reached the surface so far. More are on the way.

Now I just have to get the pump started again. May have to clean the gunk out from around the impeller if it doesn't start up.

Main thing is that the fish are okay. I have fresh water warming up to put in the pond. I just hope that much fresh water doesn't cause them problems, but I don't have much choice.

Should I add only about 20 or 40 gals a day til full? Will it be helpful to space it out to give the water a chance to normalize a little?? Pond is about 160 gals. What a shock for those poor fish.


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oh no, add de-clor and fill it a little at a time over a few days.
Best wishes for your fish.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 3:52PM
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Thanks for responding.. that's what I thought I should do. I feel better now.

I am using a declorinator that we use for the camper plus some Stress Coat. Then I let it sit in the blue tubs for a while so it warms up. The water coming right out of the hose is way colder than the pond.

I put 40 gals in earlier and have another 40 gals waiting for tomorrow.

The fish seem okay for now, the pump is working correctly, the water is flowing out of the skippy filter the way it should and I put a screen up in front of the outflow pipe to prevent any more plant material from clogging things. I'm going to get a stainless steel strainer to put in front of it as a permanent solution, but the screen is working for this weekend.

Now I think its time to relax with a martini!!!!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 4:19PM
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Forgot to mention, also provide lots of aeration,
run the waterfall. Sink a aquarium stone, and run that
as well.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 5:16PM
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Oh, yes, I do have a bubbler that I use in the winter with air stones. I'll go put that on. The waterfall (has lots of drop room now) is running.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 5:31PM
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I would look at a product made by Little Giant low water shut off RS5. They are a pressure switch that when the water drops to the bottom of the unit it shuts off. The unit should be mounted about 6" below the water level and then plugged into the outlet. Your pump is then plugged into this plug. They can handle up to a 1/2 hp pump. I have used them for the last 12 years with great success on lots of ponds. I usually use them in skimmers but they would work just as well in a pond. I have used them to run one pump and multiple pumps with a relay. I have also used them by running low voltage 12 volts through them to run a relay. In one case it controls 7 pumps, 3 air pumps, and 3 UV's on 4 different 115 volt circuits. Yes they can fail and should be tested at least once a month to make sure they are still working correctly.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 10:42PM
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Sorry also to hear about your overflow. I always wondered about skippy filters that were full of plants if it may cause problems. Would removing some of the plants into the pond where the fish are help? At least your fish still had water! One thing you could maybe do if you want to get your pond filled faster is to fill laundry tubs with water & dechlorinator and let them sit for the day. Even in our cold temps laundry tubs only hold about 30 gals. Would make your yard look interesting bunch of tubs everywhere!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 12:53AM
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Mike - Thanks for the testimony. The Little Giant Low Water shut off was the one I was looking at. I'll feel better now about sending off my hard-earned $$$ for it.

jalal - I have 2 blue 20 gal tubs that I fill up with declorinated water and add Stress Coat. Then I let them sit to adjust to a temperature close to the pond water. I put 2 in the pond yesterday and 2 in this morning. I'll do the same tomorrow. Eventually I'll have a pond full of water, hopefully I'll still have live fish.

As a temporary measure I put a piece of screen up to prevent any more plant pieces from going into the outflow tube. I am also going to change the outflow to something that can't clog, but for right now, I think things are stable.

I don't think the problem is the plants as much as a design failure (experience is the best teacher, after all!). The reason I choose the skippy I did was so that I could have the plants and, darn it all, I'm going to have them come hell or high water - or in this case, low water.!! hahaha


    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 11:45AM
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craigster_mi(z6 MI)

check at home depot or lowes by the sump pumps. i bought my float switch for probably half what they are at pond stores.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 7:32AM
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I had fallen leaves or flowers block my open top mini-skippy twice last year with the same results. It actually blocked several more times that I caught right away. This year, I got a covered feed tub from Tractor Supply to replace my old tub. The plants that had been in my old skippy had always gone down in appearance anyway once the water cleared from the annual spring greening-not enough nutrients to keep them happy and no easy way to feed them.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 8:32AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

So sorry to hear about the disaster. What luck the prefilter was tipped the right way. I guess even the most experienced ponder can have bad luck.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 11:25AM
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Craig, Thanks for the tip on the float switch. I'll check it out.

Sleepless - I don't know how experienced I was before, but I sure have a bit more now!

Pond is about 1/2 full tonight.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 6:59PM
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pashta, well when things go well, a pond is a delight---when things go wrong, it's a disaster. Glad the pond didn't drain altogether. I think I understand what you are asking about so I'll tell ya' what I did to prevent a problen such as yours. In the skippy filter I put a square plastic basket in front of the drain to keep everything away from the drain. The basket is one of those that plants come in---holes in all sides and bottom of it. If I remember it was one that came from the garden center. best of all it was free and it truly works. as I said, I hope I have it straight what you are trying to do. This sounds too simple to help you though. Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 10:37AM
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Thanks. That is a great suggestion. I put a piece of screen up in front, which helped, but it slowed the flow down so much the filter overflowed because the water wasn't draining out fast enough. I think I am going to install a lip type of outflow instead of the pipe. That might solve everything.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 3:09PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

I have a 6 inch outlet pipe and it is pretty hard to clog it up but it can happen. Any mesh smaller than 1 inch will do it. I have a thick layer of quilt batting as the top layer in the Skippy. The plant roots can grow down into it if I don't move it often enough. Otherwise they behave in the perforated plastic pots.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 3:34PM
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