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Fishpond...any ideas?

Old 14th Jul 2010, 03:20
  #1 (permalink)  
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Fishpond...any ideas?

I have a garden pond about 4m x 3m and 1m deep. It has a collection of low-value but mature ghost-koi which I am committed to maintain in the best possible living conditions. (Full filtration and UV installed)

Here's the problem: Through normal evaporation and possible leakage, the water level drops c.1-2" (25-50mm) a day.

I am away from home for prolonged periods at the moment helping to care for a young family member who has cancer and have no neighbour/friend who could call to top-up the pond every day or two (mains water and hose is only 8m from pond though).

Although I walk with the aid of canes these days, I'm pretty OK with plumbing and electrics...

Can one of you brilliant guys (or gals) suggest a method of automatially maintaining the water-level in the pond..

A bottle of JD for the best (practical and working!) solution..
Cheers, bm
BoeingMEL is offline  
Old 14th Jul 2010, 04:17
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Why not keep it simple?

You could, possibly, just run a hosepipe from the tap to the pond with water flowing continuously at an appropriate rate to replenish the perceived loss. I calculate 12.5 litres per hour (or, if you prefer imperial, 2 pints every 5 minutes) should be enough to compensate for a drop of 25mm per day; rainfall should help replenish any loss in excess of that amount.
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Old 14th Jul 2010, 04:17
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Attach an automatic pond filler to the end of a garden hose. See SuburbanPonds.com - Automatic pond Filler for an example (first hit in Google. I've not used this one). To stop it moving about, either attach it to a post in the water, or attach it to a bit of rigid PVC pipe with a 90-degree bend in it, and attach that to the hose. Then put stones or bricks on the pipe for stability.
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Old 14th Jul 2010, 06:48
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If you are handy with plumbing and electrics there are three cheap(ish) options:-

1) Make a sound connection from the tap via a hose to a standard ball-valve suitably mounted at the pond.

2) Use a float switch in the pond to control a motorised valve or solenoid to turn the water on as required.

3) Manually fill a container (wheelie bin?) with sufficient water to cover your absence. Make a syphon using a length of hose. Terminate this at the pond with a funnel upside down. Put a ping-pong ball or similar in the funnel. Set funnel at such a height that when the water pushes the ball up into the funnel it stops the syphoning.

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Old 14th Jul 2010, 07:44
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You may be aware that if you top up directly with tap water that the chlorine in the tap water will knock the bacteria in the bio section of your filter. Then you will be getting all sorts of problems from ammonia and nitrite buildups in the water.

Add this item between tap and pond for peace of mind.

Koi Pond Filters | Buy Detox Dechlorinators | Evolution Aqua Ltd

A great wealth of info also here, beware the spelling on the Forum is diabolical!

Koi Magazine
Flying Farmer is offline  
Old 14th Jul 2010, 08:06
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Another idea is :- do you you have a fountain whose spray is being blown out of the pond?
My pond gets a refill from the home gutter downpipe. So when it er rains, the pond gets the water: excess runs off through an overflow to the flower bed.
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Old 14th Jul 2010, 08:16
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Firstly BoeingMEL, how long is a prolonged time?

For example, if you are away for 10 days the water level, at max rate loss, would be halved and probably only just reaching a critical level. In which case the answer is simple, go back home every 10 days. However, now that summer seems to have ended, you could probably get away with nearly 3 weeks away, allowing for a min rate loss and rain top up factor.

Also, how do you normally top it up?
If it is by hose pipe and the fish are surviving then the added complications flying farmer adds are not an issue and a simple cistern/drinking trough type ball valve set up from the tap would be ideal.

My 'Bottle of JD' idea is this;
Should you think the loss is solely due to evaporation, simply cover the pond with a plastic sheet and make a solar still type affair, where the water cycle produced would maintain your water level. In another part of the garden you could have other plastic sheets to collect rain water that could be fed directly into the pond, adding some nice fresh water to the pond.
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Old 14th Jul 2010, 08:17
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Watch out for the Building Inspector, as they get a bit twitched when you start putting wires outside.

What about a 12v battery and windscreen washer motor from a scrapyard, linked to waterbutt with a bit of oxygen tubing? And some sort of homemade float switch, based on the thing that's inside a toilet cystern (microswitch and a ping pong ball."

Can't wait to see the photos.

Peeing down here, just enjoying the hosepipe ban.
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Old 14th Jul 2010, 08:25
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If you are pretty okay with plumbing could you rig up a float valve / ball cock from a cistern to your hose which would then top up your pond automatically just like the cold water tank in your attic or toilet cistern?
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Old 14th Jul 2010, 08:30
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The problems that I'm alluding to are very real

If the bacteria in the bio section of the filters die, the net result (if the pond is stocked to a reasonable level) is ammonia and nitrite build up and the fish will suffer health problems and possibly even die!
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Old 14th Jul 2010, 08:38
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May I suggest a Hozelock Aqua Control Water Timer

Available from a web store for £20.45 delivered (think of a long south american river dot com).

Can be programmed to operate upto 4 times per day, down to once a week.

Job done with the minimal of fuss and expense I would imagine (a floating/ball valve would probably cost you a tenner + time to rig up).
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Old 14th Jul 2010, 08:45
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Advertise your bottle of JD locally and you'll soon find a friend.

I have a similar problem but I give the missus white wine and she does it for me. Tops up the pond, too.

FF, our similar sized pond gets a hosepipe top-up when needed, although the water has colour the fish (Koi, Mirror, Ghosties, Rudd, Tench, Goldfish) plus insects and frogs thrive and breed in it.
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Old 14th Jul 2010, 09:02
  #13 (permalink)  
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Thans so far guys..

..I greatly appreciate your suggestions..

Returning to refill pond myself every few days costs me over £60 in petrol and such excursions are not adequately funded by my Disability Living Allowance and miserable pension! (9 jobs f/w and rotary in 31 years ffs!)

Would prefer to avoid electrics due to cost and safety grounds..although 12v would be OK

Can't cover pond with poly... too many lilies standing proud..

I had already considered the cistern ball-cock arrangement but think it would be unsightly or difficult to conceal..

The syphon idea sounds cheap and effective but would need a big reservoir/tank.. wheelie-bin would prob only cover 24 hours loss..if that.

So far.. the automatic shut-off filler looks ideal.. I'll follow it up...

ps contamination from mains water already filtered

Many thanks again... competition ends next Friday!!

You folks are diamonds..
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Old 14th Jul 2010, 09:04
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Shy Torque just because you have always got away with it dosen't mean you always will. I'm interested to know if you test your water? do you know if the tap water you introduce alters the ammonia or nitrite levels, do you have a stable PH.

I was told once, by a very well respected dealer of quality show Koi that we don't keep Koi we keep water.

Boeing MEL can I ask what type of filter you have? I do recall a thread in a forum somewhere showing how to set up an automatic top up system. I think it involved some drilling to the fabric of the filter and a small float type valve was installed. I will have a search for the relevant thread.

Last edited by Flying Farmer; 14th Jul 2010 at 09:15.
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Old 14th Jul 2010, 09:20
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When we bought this place I noticed that there appeared to be a black ball submerged in the large pond we have. After the winter, and the water level had dropped, the ball came to the surface. After wading in to weed out some rogue plants I discovered it was indeed a ball cock set to keep the level up by taking water from the our irrigation system. That seems to be the solution, as mentioned above, and hats off to the previous owner who installed it, (but he could have told me about it).
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Old 14th Jul 2010, 10:57
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Howabout some slow release powdered water?
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Old 14th Jul 2010, 11:26
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Been (almost) there ...

An elderly relative had trouble keeping a flower border watered but didn't want trailing hose or cables to trip over.
I cable-tied a spray head to the house guttering, fed via a Hozelock timer from the cold water riser in the roof space. Each night it waters the flower patch and tops up the bird bath.
If your pond is not too far from the house you might do the same but with an aimed jet instead of a spray.
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