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 Post subject: Mike's System (planned)
PostPosted: Jul 7th, '09, 20:35 
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I figured now I am at planning stage I should post my (planned) system in this section of the forum. I promise photos of my almost completed pond will come - I just never seem to be home during daylight.

I need more advice / help having never built a system (though some experience with an ornamental koi pond).

I have very dodgily sketched plan 1 based on the love of CHIFT PIST from plenty on the forum. I guess just to let you know the most important thing for me really is happy and healthy KOI in my ornamental pond (liner - ~20,000 litres), with that said I would love veggies too (being a vegetarion and all).

Can you please comment on my basic plan and tell me if I have missed something simple, and/or your improvements you would recommend. Essentially I am planning on hooking up a standard biofilter to my ornamental pond to run 24/7, to make absolutely sure my fish are healthy, then using CHIFT PIST system for the growbeds. Also without photos you should know the pond is below ground, but built up with a retaining wall, so grow beds are definately lower than pond. Also not planning on high stocking density.

Some other specific questions I have are:
1) How big should my overflow pipe from pond be, and also does a rectangle pipe make more sense than a round pipe?
2) How best to seal pipe to liner
3) Any harm / benefit to add gravel to bottom of pond (more room for bacteria etc).
4) OK for pump to be a foot off bottom of pond (I did that in my old koi pond so it did't block up quickly)?

Lots of questions I know - help much appreciated!


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PostPosted: Jul 7th, '09, 21:53 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Hi there and welcome!!!!

You have a rare opportunity there, an ornamental pond that is above a space for your grow beds.

Have you had ornamental ponds before? The gravel in the bottom is likely to collect lots of fish waste, gunk, uneaten food, and leaves. The only gravel I usually want in the bottom of an ornamental pond is usually for holding the roots of pond plants. Also if you have to get into your pond to do any clean up or anything, you don't want to be walking on bits of gravel and pushing them perhaps dangerously into the gravel not to mention the pain of stepping on a piece of gravel. For my Mom's Ornamental pond, some one usually has to climb in there twice a year, in the spring to do some clean out at start up and again in the fall to get out as many leaves as possible (of course that pond is in a cold snowy climate where the fish have to survive ice cover for part of the winter.)

It is good you stated your priorities that the pond and Koi are first and the Veggie side of Aquaponics is only secondary. In that case, a separate pump and bio-filter are probably appropriate (I personally like filter falls and mom's ornamental pond is full of pond plants so I guess technically that one is sort of aquaponics but more in a mimicking nature sort of way, not enough nutrients left over to grow any veggies.) Are you planning on pond or water plants for the ornamental pond? If so, with low stocking densities you might not have too much nutrients left over for veggies unless you can safely up the feed for the Koi.

So you know, grow beds would be perfectly capable of keeping the water quality good for your koi if you have enough space for them. But working in tandem with the bio-filter they will only improve things for the fish and perhaps there will be enough nutrients for your veggies.

Placing your bio-filter pump up off the bottom of the pond, that is not an uncommon practice and if there is a leak, at least the fish won't be completely pumped dry. However, leaving a lot of gunk in the bottom of the pond could be an issue if feed or stocking density increases.

How big a pipe for the SLO (CHIFT PIST overflow?) Well that will depend on the size or flow rate of the pump that is in your sump tank. Too small an overflow pipe and the water level in the pond will have to rise more for the water to get out the smaller pipe or may even overflow the pond all together. Too big a pipe and the cost is more than needed. I have a 3" (it is actually drainage pipe so a bit smaller than sch 40 3 inch pipe) pipe as an out let for my CHIFT PIST fish tank drain. The inlet is only 1 1/2" pipe coming from a pump that can do about 60 gpm but a little of the flow is bypassed back to the sump tank. If all the flow goes to the fish tank, the level rises an extra couple inches to build up a little more pressure to push the water out the pipe faster. I know there are people on there that know the math to tell you how many gallons or liters per minute that different size pipes can discharge by gravity. I now personally think 3 to 4 inch pipe (70-100mm) is probably the appropriate size for large system SLO drains.

How to plumb through liner. I've used bulkhead fittings with some sort of hard backing and I've also used uniseals with a backing. Just make sure everything is supported since a liner stretching could pull away from a bulkhead fitting.

I don't know of any benefit of rectangular pipe unless you are trying to make NFT channels to grow plants in net pots. I also don't know how to plumb a rectangular pipe though a liner, I only know of round bulkhead or uniseal fittings. Do you already have rectangular pipe?

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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '09, 00:15 
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This is what I used to make a bottom drain in my grow bed; and wished I had of placed into my pond as well.
Image

Its some kind of floor drain I found at lowes. It has bolts and plenty of lip to seal by pinching the liner down all the way around; add some liner or rtv silicone and your are in business for a 100% leak free fitting! Bolts, lip, pipe fittings; all thats needed for a bottom drain and only $12!

If you want perfect koi water then I suggest you filter out the solids BEFORE they get to the pump and make sure it can be cleaned.

I used this swirl filter made from a 50 gallon pickle drum.
Image

Its amazing how much more clear the water was after doing this!

Also, I think you are on the right track having your bio filter circulate the pond water all the time! Many plants do better with fewer floods anyway. You might consider an aquaculture arrangement of swirl/solids filter to fines filter to bio filter. Of course you can accomplish all this in a single step with gravel grow beds, or better yet, the expanded clay joel sells.

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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '09, 01:41 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Yea! Duh Dan is right, so right. Instead of putting a pump down in the koi pond to get all gunked up, have the water flow out (since your pond is higher up) to some sort of solids filter like Dan suggests. That way the pump can stay nice and clean and more of the solids get removed before being pumped into the bio-filter to be returned to the pond. Heck, if your bio-filter and solids filter are enough to support the fish you have, you can simply send some of the water through some raft beds or NFT pipes on it's way back to the pond. This might not work as well for fruiting plants but will do fine for basil and lettuce depending on season.

Then you can add in the gravel beds as you have time if the nutrients seem sufficient to support more.

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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '09, 01:47 
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AHH TClynx don't give away my system plan , AHHHH
TC , I've been reading your thread and your wish to go CHIFT PIST,, you convinced me:)

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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '09, 07:27 
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You can grow any plants if you separate the waste from the fish water; makes for real clean fish water. Some would worry about nitrates in the fish pond, but I have never had more than 10 ppm nitrates after a year of indoor fish. Anyone interested pm me for more details, don't want to start a controversy lol.

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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '09, 20:34 
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OK thanks guys, I'm convinced not to put gravel in the pond, so one thing sorted.

I'll look into the swirl filter idea, not sure how that works.

I am a little confused how I can have the pond drain to the biofilter (via the swirl filter) on a continuous flow, while also using gravity feed down to the growbeds when the sump tank pumps to the main pond - can someone please explain to me again how that might work?


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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '09, 21:25 
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This guy has some good DIY designs if you want to go that way...

http://leisure.prior-it.co.uk/build-diy ... lter.shtml

His DIY bio-filter has a swirl filter in the base...

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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '09, 22:18 
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Swirl filter not unlike when you get in a pool and run in one direction to create a whirlpool, all of the dirt and heavy particles get drawn to the centre and settle on the bottom (centrivical force).

Typically the dirty water enters the base of a swirl filter, and entry pipe is angled to direct the flow in a particular direction (creating whirlpool effect).

Clean water is taken off at top, and for best results exit is facing away from the flow to avoid any dirt particles that may get up that high from easily entering the overflow.

There is usually a drain in the base for solids recovery (valve opened from time to time to remove accumulated solids).

Basic diagram as follows (hope it helps)...


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PostPosted: Jul 9th, '09, 03:21 
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Something like this perhaps..
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The swirl filter can also serve to limit the amount that the pond could ever drain, only overflow will move water; CHIFT.

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PostPosted: Jul 9th, '09, 07:33 
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Thanks for the picture Dan, does that mean the Drain is always 'open' it just doesn't drain into the swirl filter unless the swirl filter has overflowed to the beds (because filter water is same hieght as pond)?


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PostPosted: Jul 9th, '09, 20:21 
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Yes, thats it. The water in the swirl filter is the same height as the pond and water overflows it to the grow beds. The drain lines are always open. A bottom drain will collect and remove a lot of junk, including leaves that fall into the water and sink if left open, but can collect fish too, so a screen just small enough to keep the fish out is important.

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PostPosted: Jul 12th, '09, 20:04 
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Possible problem with my planned system... your help appreciated.

I finally went to BYAP yesterday and spent some time with Faye. She raised concerns on my planned system because of my unreliable water supply (rainwater tanks only). I may not have sufficient water to ensure my system is fully topped up all the time (may have to rely on rain), therefore am thinking CHIFT PIST may not be possible.

If I change to a more standand pump from fish tank plan, then I can always allow the fish tank water level to drop (possibly even considerably) between top-ups if neccesary. I'm hoping that shouldn't be too much of a problem for the KOI because I am not planning to stock too heavily anyway.

I guess my main question here is around evaporation. Living in the Hills of Perth, with a ~20,000 litre pond (fish tank), and maybe 30 sqm of surface area - how much evaporation am I likely to have? Probbaly a really tough question I know.


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PostPosted: Jul 12th, '09, 20:17 
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My pool is 55000ltrs and I don't notice the water drop. But then again I don't take any notice of how much I top up. Just leave the hose on a small trickle and turn it off when the level looks good. A larger area does catch more rain.

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PostPosted: Jul 12th, '09, 21:27 
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mike_harwood wrote:
I guess my main question here is around evaporation. Living in the Hills of Perth, with a ~20,000 litre pond (fish tank), and maybe 30 sqm of surface area - how much evaporation am I likely to have? Probbaly a really tough question I know.


Info from Poolmasters
The following table shows the average DAILY evaporation in litres for Perth
Pool size Surface area Litres per day
8M * 4M 32.0sq.m 266L
This is the mean for the hottest 6 months of the year for an uncovered swimming pool
could be quite a bit higher when you take into account splashing aerators and transpiration
from the garden (one tomato plant can transpire around 6 Litres per day)


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