Return to the Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Newbie pond w/o fish questions

Posted by wynswrld98 z7 WA (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 2, 14 at 15:20

I have a 30' x 40' x 2' pond I'm about to put Firestone 45 mil EPDM pond liner in (and underlayment) and use a Kasco Decorative Fountain 1/4 HP 1400JF to aerate it. The previous owner had it lined many years ago but as of now it's a crater.

I'm totally new to ponds. I have no plans for having fish in the pond.

Is it okay for me to periodically put chlorine in the pond like people do with swimming pools? If so how would I figure out how much and how frequently I can do so?

How many hours a day do I need to fun the fountain (for aeration purposes)? I'm in the Seattle/Tacoma WA area.

Does anyone have any recommendations of sump pumps or such to make it easiest to periodically empty the pond? There is appropriate lower open land nearby it can drain to.

Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

That is a big pond. First, you can use old carpet that you can get when a new rug replaces an old one from a carpet dealer/installer, in place of underlayment.

You don't really need to add chlorine at all, or anything else either and I also don't see a good reason for emptying the pond either. Of course, it would help if you wanted to clean out the bottom sometime and I guess you could use the water for irrigation of your gardens. I actually have a submersable pump from Harbor Freight (cheap Chinese stuff, but works reasonably well). I have a secondary storage pond that I do use for irrigation. I have found that when a long hose is attached, that pumping volume goes down from a gusher without hose, to an annoyingly slow flow. However, I also found that I could attach a Transfer Pump in the middle of my line before I went to garden hose that would vastly increase the hose pressure back to normal or better. It would still take a very long time to empty a pond of your size. If a submersable pump like mine were only attached to a length of 1.25 or 1.5" inch pipe directed away from your pond, you could probably empty it quickly, but it would be a vast waste of water.


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

Is it okay for me to periodically put chlorine in the pond like people do with swimming pools? If so how would I figure out how much and how frequently I can do so?
It's OK, assuming no plants in addition to no fish. You would look at it as a swimming pool instead of a pond. The amount of chlorine varies by weather, sun, what's in the water, etc. There's a lot of info on the web about adding chlorine, like making sure pH is optimal to reduce chlorine, etc. It's a whole deal.

How many hours a day do I need to fun the fountain (for aeration purposes)? I'm in the Seattle/Tacoma WA area.
Zero. Well, in a perfect world, depending on your goals, it might be best to have 100 fountains running 24/7. Then there's the reality. I think it's best to understand what a fountain does and doesn't do so you can decide what you want to do.

It's a myth that fountains, waterfalls and such are required for aeration. I prefer the term gas exchange because aeration is really just O2 while gas exchange is more about O2 plus other gases like CO2. Gas exchange happens at the surface between water and air. It's like having 2 rooms in your house connected by a doorway. In one room is 10 cigar smokers. Gases between the 2 rooms will exchange thru the doorway. Same thing happens with water. This also happens in our bodies, gas exchange happens in our lungs where blood and air meet (basically).

But gases move slowly thru water. The water at the surface will have max O2 for example and the deeper you go O2 will generally decrease.

In ponds we move water from the bottom to the surface, just mixing the water. As lower water moves toward the surface it pulls O2 from the air and releases other built up gases like CO2.

Pushing water up into the air costs a lot of energy so less water is moved. The same pump directing output into the water to create a current will result in much better gas exchange.

In your case 2' deep is not really deep enough to be concerned about aeration or gas exchange. And you don't have fish so there's really no reason to concerned with aeration at all.

My guess the concern about aeration is about water stagnation? If we look a bit closer it's not that non-moving water is the issue, it's stuff in the non-moving water that becomes an issue. Drinking water in a container is stagnate but remains safe to drink for years. It is true that moving water will decompose waste faster than stagnate water, but it's really not the solution it seems. It doesn't solve anything. You don't really want a waste treatment plant.

The real key is to reduce the organic load. For example, if you toss an apple into the pond it will slowly decay into billions of tiny bits. Increased gas exchange can speed up that decay a lot, but you still have a rotting apple in your pond. A better option is to remove the apple before it rots.

Algae will be the biggest organic load. Slowing it's growth will reduce organic load. Copper base algaecides are the best option imo for your type of pond. When a chlorine molecule reacts with an organic cell both go away. When copper reacts with an organic cell the cell goes away but the cooper molecule remains to go kill another cell. So copper is much cheaper and easier to add imo for algae control.

Nothing in the realm of reasonable will stop all algae growth. Plus you'll likely get leaves into the pond, bird poo, dust, etc. So a plan for removing this from time to time will deal with the negative aspects of stagnate water. Koi pond owners often use expensive equipment for this. I think that would be overkill in your case and increase the amount of maintenance. Vacuuming is an option but not the best imo.

What I suggest is a concept called TPRs (Tangential-Pond-Return). It's a lot simpler than it sounds. It's just a pipe, or pipes, that are pointed into a pond to create a current. The current pushes organic matter on the bottom to a certain location. In your case you can create a low spot someplace, like 2.5" deep instead of 2'. Maybe an area around 80 to 100 sq ft. The lower spot will create a dead spot where a lot of matter pushed by the TPRs will settle. That spot then can be vacuumed or dumped (explained next)..

Does anyone have any recommendations of sump pumps or such to make it easiest to periodically empty the pond? There is appropriate lower open land nearby it can drain to.
Cheapest and most trouble free pump by far is gravity.

The top outflow pipe only has to be at water level in the pond, or a little lower to work. The drain can be anywhere on the bottom of the pond if used to remove waste.

So, all together you have some TPRs pushing waste to a lower area which contains a 4" drain pipe. Once a year, or more often if you like, you open the pipe's valve for a minute or so to flush a lot of waste out of the pond and use a copper base algaecide to reduce algae growth. That will go a long way in keeping the pond clean.

Now, this will not be perfect. Getting TPRs to sweep a 30x40' pond clean isn't really going to happen. I suggest just running a PVC pipe 30' across the pond say every 8', so 4 runs to cover 40' and the last 8' being the low spot. On these pipes have a tee every say 5' with the open end pointing toward the end of the pond with the low spot. So that's 7 tees per 30' length, total of 28 tees. That's probably too many to run at once unless you get a huge pump. To use a smaller pond you can use valves so only one 30' section runs at a time. You can change which section runs once a week or so.

That's just a ballpark idea just to get you thinking.

Having said all that about aeration and stagnation I do like a pump to be running 24/7. There will still be plenty of organic matter to break down so moving water is a good thing imo. Just didn't want you to think a fountain was a serious solution for everything. A fountain is great for aesthetic reasons.

Even in this size pond I would consider a skimmer, or several. I make them myself or you can buy them. I like to make them because I find it easier and I can size it to any pump size or need. For example, in your size pond, when the wind is right in the fall you might get several bushels of leaves going to one skimmer in a couple of hours. A normally skimmer basket can't handle that. DIY can.

Skimmer is just another way to remove organic matter before it decays into smaller, harder to remove, bits. But it can also reduce dust on the surface of the water. I assume this is to be a reflecting pool. Viewed when the sun is low can make the surface of the water look down right dirty.

Another feature I suggest is an overflow. Rain can overflow a pond normally in one spot. A 30x40' pond and 1" of rain = 750 gals dumped in that one spot can cause serious problems. One problem is it can cause the liner to float up pushing more water out. An outflow is super cheap to add.

The last feature is an automatic refill. Just save you time and water since you will forget to turn off hoses. And imo a reflecting pool should always appear full to look best.


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

Hi
can't add much to the above except to add that it is probably best to plan on some type of stocking because it will soon fill up with all kinds of life lol Mosquitoes, tadpoles
dragonflies and a host of higher life forms are waiting in the wings lol
i built mine originally to collect rainwater which it did and continues to do but was soon taken over by all sorts of things lol So i added plants and added fish because they are the easiest cheapest way to control the beasties lol Ended up with a rather attractive water garden rather than a giant tub?? Good luck gary


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

Gary: what are the dimensions and depth of your pond? do you have a drain like waterbug_guy is talking about? the drain looks like a lot of extra work and violates what I've been trying to do is have a single piece of EPDM with no seams/cuts in it to make sure there are no leaks (I have bad experiences with water finding a way to leak no matter what). I have a lot of wildlife where I live so with only 24" depth I have a feeling any fish would be devoured quickly. I went with 24" depth because it's the max the county allows without having a fence around the pond and I don't want a fence. I'm on an acre very natural looking landscape a fence would ruin the natural look so that's why I went with the 24" depth.

Do you have any kind of fountain (something to keep water from being stagnant)? how about a skimmer? I do want to look into skimmers, haven't done so yet.


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

Gary: what are the dimensions and depth of your pond? do you have a drain like waterbug_guy is talking about? the drain looks like a lot of extra work and violates what I've been trying to do is have a single piece of EPDM with no seams/cuts in it to make sure there are no leaks (I have bad experiences with water finding a way to leak no matter what). I have a lot of wildlife where I live so with only 24" depth I have a feeling any fish would be devoured quickly. I went with 24" depth because it's the max the county allows without having a fence around the pond and I don't want a fence. I'm on an acre very natural looking landscape a fence would ruin the natural look so that's why I went with the 24" depth.

Do you have any kind of fountain (something to keep water from being stagnant)? how about a skimmer? I do want to look into skimmers, haven't done so yet.


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

Not Gary but: my secondary water storage pond has no circulation. My ponds are in their seventh year. For different reasons each pond has been cleaned out once several years ago. Neither one is stinky and I don't recall that when I removed the crud on the bottoms, that they were particularly nasty. Both ponds have some of that aquarium plant that ate the Mediteranium (I don't let it escape) and it multiplies. I yank some of it out on occasion, but not that often in the non-circulating pond (out of sight; out of mind) and it had really taken over there but still didn't cause a rotting stinky pond. I suppose your results could be different, but if not you could just forget about most stuff as I already suggested.

Re skimmer: since you have such a big pond, I would suggest that you consider waterbug_guy's hand made skimmer ideas. Search. They are just slightly underwater boxes with a removable strainer. You place them where leaves/crud is naturally drawn by wind or water flows.


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

Hi
This is a 5x10 x3 foot box made of stacked 4x4. lined with fiber glass tarp. has no pump or drains Filtration is accomplished by rainwater collected from the roof overflows into a bog garden to the upper right. I throw a sub pump into it for irrigation The fish frogs turtles ,plants add a lot of interest to what would otherwise be an oversize tub??
Originally i used it collect RW then a grow out tank for tropical fish and evolved into a water garden certainly nothing fancy but works for me lol gary


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

  • Posted by min3 9N.CA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 6, 14 at 17:48

Love it, Gary. I'm thinking now to make one below our deck where it is badly needed. It will be right by our back steps where we can admire it daily. Thanks much for the idea, Min


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

Hi
Thanks for the compliment but all it is is a box filled with water lol I like the above ground as it brings the lily up close so you can not only seee the flowers but get the aroma which is lost in a regular pond??
Obviously the entire concept wouldn't work where there is snow and ice . Even here i can't keep most tropical fish year around. If I were to do it again I'd plant a MUCH smaller form of lily as you can see it covers every square inch and then "stacks " resulting in lots of rot of the pads. This year I added a gigantic form of Asian lotus I planted it in a 18x24 pot located in the far corner
Already looks like I should have picked a smaller type ?? lol My thought was that it need to get up and away from the lily and high enough to get sun most of which is blocked by a palm/ fern forest to the soutn .
Anyway good luck with yours!!! be prepared to be amazed at how many types of critters it attacks and have a plan on how to handle them . gary


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

I have some research to do on topics above (thanks everyone). A new question... So the pond is about 30' x 40' (possibly as small as 25' x 35' since I'm moving soil around before liner), I have my eye on a couple of different fountains and am curious advice sizing of height/width based on length/width of my pond from an aesthetics point of view.

Option #1: 10' diameter x 4' tall spray pattern
Option #2: 18' diameter x 6' tall spray pattern

I'm having a hard time imagining which fountain would be a better choice for my size pond.

Any opinions on which option you think is a better choice?

This post was edited by wynswrld98 on Sat, Aug 9, 14 at 4:07


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

I think the choice of fountain is purely a personal thing, where the fountain is placed, primary viewing point, wind and of course whatever the pond size actually ends up being. For example if this is going someplace where the wind blows a lot and the pond isn't protected by trees or buildings and the final pond size is more like 25' then a 18' diameter fountain could be a problem with water blowing out of the pond. If the pond is more like 30' then that isn't as big a deal.

I don't really care for jet fountains, so aesthetically speaking...well really I don't think aesthetics is something that can or should be voted on. Go with the designer's vision.


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

Designer? what designer? There is no designer involved. What I'm asking about is people who have experience with ponds and fountains what their opinion is of the SCALE of the two options, is one option too small in their view? or is one option too big? or is one about right? I'm having a hard time envisioning the sizes in my mind and I'm not going to have a realistic chance at returning the fountain if i don't like it without losing a lot of $$ so am looking for opinions from experienced people.


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

Who ever is doing this project is the designer...I assume that's you. If true then like it or not you are the designer.

What you're asking for doesn't really exist. Adding a jet fountain to a pond is not a normal type feature for lots of reasons. I've seen maybe 200-300 ponds in person and I've never seen such a fountain. Some tiny little fountains that come with a pump sure, but even those are rare. So this may not be a good forum choice to ask.

Jet type fountains are more of commercial type water feature, or part of a very specific yard design. The whole design is like sculpture. Drawings are made to show dimensions and a drawing on how the final feature will look. With those materials people can give aesthetic opinions. There are no hard guidelines in landscape design for sizing a fountain.

There are forums for landscape designers, including one here at Garden Web. You might be able to get some opinions more to your liking there. I'm not blowing you off, just trying to help you.


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

Wow. I have found a lot of POND companies on web selling fountains, many models, many spray patterns and horse powers but no one is buying any of them? Seens a bit hard to believe.


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

I have used fountains in my pond(s), but on a much smaller scale. I think smaller fountains and waterfalls and streams are more common in the home ponds you see on here. The type of large scale fountain you seem to be talking about is very pretty, but I have only seen it near me in front of more commercial buildings. I have seen it in front of an upscale apt complex near the entrance, and in front of a commercial building with professional landscaping. While there are all kinds of ponds, most here seem to have fish and/or be water gardens, and people like to see the fish. I have small ponds so I have only ever used a small multi tier fountain nozzle and a "bubbler" fountain. Spray leaving the pond from the wind is always an issue. So for that reason only, I would consider going with the smaller one. Because if you find the wind blowing the spray out of your pond, it will drain your pond and make upkeep difficult. Since you can't return it, that would be a waste of money. That is another reason people with smaller ponds probably don't use them a lot. And most "backyard" ponds are probably smaller than yours.


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

Great advice sue_ct, that was exactly the kind of info I was hoping to gain from someone who has some experience vs. I said right in the title of my post I'm a newbie.

That makes complete sense and I'm going to take your advice and do the smaller fountain (plus bonus of less expensive and less electricity usage).


 o
RE: Newbie pond w/o fish questions

Wow. I have found a lot of POND companies on web selling fountains, many models, many spray patterns and horse powers but no one is buying any of them? Seens a bit hard to believe.
As I said, the small fountains are common, but you rarely see them used by pond designers at landscape shows or in ponds on pond tours, or in Koi Ponds.

The common types are like 3-4' in diameter. OP is talking 10-18' in diameter...that's larger than many ponds. So the "small" one is chosen, a relative term.

I don't believe I've ever seen even a 10' diameter fountain in a backyard pond or swimming pool. Commercial properties, parks, sure. But I guess I must be wrong and lots of people are using these massive jet fountains in their backyards...my mistake.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here