Pond Design Flaw - Solutions?

janinelevin(9)June 14, 2013

Greetings - I am new to this wonderful forum, so please forgive me for posting two questions so quickly! I have attached a photo of two small 90 gallon ponds that sit next to each other. One sits slightly higher and spills water down into the lower one through two tubes I inserted through holes that I cut in the wood. The pump in the lower pond moves the water back up to a square spillway at the rear of the upper pond. The setup has been great, and the three fantails in the lower pond and four black moors in the top tank really seem to love their homes. Sadly I woke up one morning early to the sound of "chugging," and dashed outside to find that the hose had dislodged and the pump had kept on pumping water ... but into my garden instead of the upper tank, while the top tank kept draining, and the whole system just purged itself of half of its water. I lost a small sweet black moor who happened to be in the well of a bog plant pot at the time the water went down past the top of the pot. I feel terrible and although I think that I have secured the line well at this point, and have had no further incidents, I have this burning worry all the time. I have thought it through and cannot come up with any kind of failsafe. I moved the pump higher in the water so that it would fail sooner in the event of another line failure. But is there some "pond trick" that I might be overlooking? Some sort of reserve tank between the lower and upper ponds? I feel like an ogre to this day, those poor black moors are so vulnerable and sweet and I just failed him.

Thanks in advance.

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Oh, and also, I forgot to mention, if the pump were to fail altogether, same issue, the top would just keep draining into the lower and the water would just spill out. Might not be as deadly as what happened, but still ... wondering. thx again. j

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 11:56PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Ouch. About the only thing I can suggest is frequent and complete maintenance checks to make sure lines are securely attached and hose clamps are tight. It happened to me and many others here and I sympathize.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 12:07AM
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Sorry about your fish. The upper pond should only be able to lose water by way of the upper spillway. If the two ponds are connected at some lower point, you should seal that up and change the plumbing. The lower pond should have the pump high enough off the bottom that it cant drain the pond completely. The hose from the pump should enter the upper pond near or at the top.

With this kind of setup, even if the pump line is cut in half the upper pond stays full and the lower one will still hold enough water to support fish for a while.

Feel free to post as often as you like. That's what the forum is for.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 1:02AM
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You can put a float switch in the pond (probably both ponds) to cut off the pump when the water level drops. They aren't expensive.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 12:01PM
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Hi, janinelevin & welcome. My puddle consists of three in-ground pre-forms + a skippy at the upper end. Just chiming in to say Mike has aptly described my set up. My pump is in the lower pond elevated on blocks. If the worst happens (and it has) it cannot drain completely. That little fail safe has saved my fishies more than once in the past 13 yrs. Sorry to hear about your sweet blackie.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 11:17AM
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Since the initial problem came from a hose disengaging-- do you have hose clamps securing the hoses?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 12:03PM
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Hi - Digger, I suspended the little pump in a fine mesh bag and looped the drawstring around the wood edging at the top of the pond. It now hangs a couple of inches from the water line. Cara, I am not sure about using clamps on this hose that has spring metal already inside it. Is that something that is usually done? I feel like a hose clamp would deform the corkscrew-shaped metal that frames the hose. Maybe I am not reasoning correctly?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 1:12PM
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It's just a flex hose of course you can put a clamp on it. Sorry about your fish I'm getting ready to start my pond build.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 5:26AM
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My solution was to get what Chas describes. If the water reaches a certain lowness, the pump shuts off. I think it is called a low water shut off for sump pumps. I got mine at Lowes for about $20.

Sorry you lost your fish. That is always hard!!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 5:45PM
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