The never ending life of a pond lover…


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The 6000 gallon pond showing the skimmer box. The black pipe is the water line to an automatic float leveler to keep the pond topped up.

After the scare of losing 2 Koi in the 6000 gallon pond, I had been looking to see what else I could do to improve the situation. Quite honestly, I could not immediately see anything that was wrong with the mechanics of the pond and I have been testing the water on a very regular basis. The ph is a little low and I need to bring that back up but I want to do a 20% water change first to see if it helps. That amounts to 1200 gallons of water, the size of many peoples ponds, which puts quite a spike in my water bill. Still, it needs to be done.

I got to looking at the flow coming out of the bog and the waterfall and it seemed to me that I could probably increase it quite considerably with a bigger pump. First though, I needed to rod out the lines leading from the skimmer where the pump is located and going to both the new bog and the waterfall which also goes through a Skippy filter before returning to the pond. I had planned ahead and had included a clean out on the bog line which made it very easy to unscrew the cap and push a drain cleaner through it. I was pretty full and the line was running at about 50% capacity. The rod did the trick and loosened the muck which I washed out before putting the cap back on.

For some unknown reason, I had not included a clean out on the waterfall side. I was not too satisfied with the plumbing coming out of the skimmer box as there were too may 90 degree elbows and decided that I needed to re-work the pipes. I spent a day cutting out the old pipe and installing new that included clean outs. I had to use the solid type flex pipe in one area in order to make a smooth transition for the drain rods to follow as they will not go around 90 degree bends. In the process of re-connecting to the existing main run, I used a slip joint to complete the connection. Well, long story short, the slip joint started to leak when I turned the water on to test everything. It was just a very small drip but I knew that I could not leave it as it would bother me knowing the the plumbing was leaking. That finished me for the day and I vowed that I would complete the work the next day.

The next day as planned, I strolled out hoping that the leak had somehow fixed itself in the night but no such luck. It was still dripping just a tiny bit. I gathered up my tools and went back to work, cut out the leaky joint and attached a double collared slip joint which spanned the piece of pipe I had removed and then I tightened it up as much as I could. I turned the water back on and it held.

Going back to my thoughts of increasing the size of the pump, I had done some research and found one on the Home Depot website which was the cheapest I could find. For $140, I found a 6500 gph with a 2 year warranty. I clicked the buy button and managed to get free shipping. That was a week ago and as I was working on the repair this morning, the pump was delivered. Perfect timing. I didn’t even have to make any changes to the connection as it was a perfect fit. Ten minutes later, I turned the new pump on and the flow of water to both the bog and the waterfall has increased by about 50%, much better than before and the joint repair held up very nicely. In retrospect, I should have installed two inch pipe for the supply lines which would have increased the flow even more. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but all in all, a good days work, I thought until I happened to walk past the 5000 gallon pond and I noticed that one of those pumps had stopped working.

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The 5000 gal pond showing the basket that holds the new pump at the end of the pipe.

There are three pumps on that pond, One is in the skimmer box and it pumps to a Skippy filter and then is returned to the pond.The other two sit directly in the pond. One goes to the Urn bubbler that sits in the middle of the pond and the other feeds the waterfall on one end and the smaller Urn on the bank opposite the waterfall. I have tried running all three off one pump but could not get the desired visual effect I was looking for. Usually, when the pumps stop, it is one of two things. One is that the inlet basket or the plumbing is so blocked that no water can get through but the pump still runs. The next is that the pump is no longer running which turned out to be the case in this instance. Nothing for it but to change out the pump with another of equal or bigger size and as it happens, the one I just took out of the other pond fitted the bill perfectly. The only problem was that it was a different type and required some changes to the plumbing to make it work.

No big deal, I thought as I searched through my boxes of plumbing fittings for a particular bend. I did not have one and could not see any other way around this hook up so, off I went to Lowes, which is 5 minutes up the the road in Bee Caves. I purchased the parts I needed and my car automatically made a bee line for Starbucks which just happened to be on the way home. Well maybe not exactly, as I went out of my way for a couple of blocks but close enough. With a Grande latte in my hand and listening to a Stephen King story on my bluetooth car radio, the trip home was so much better.

I completed the repair and hooked up the new pump which was still wet from when I pulled it out of the water in the other pond that morning. Both the waterfall and the Urn worked better than before with greater water flow. All in all, another job well done.

This got me to thinking about people that do not have the know-how of what to do when these sort of things happen, and they do. If you have a pond, it is going to require maintenance of some sort. Lines will need to be cleaned at some time, pumps are going to fail and even simple things like water changes do require some additional equipment. Now, if I was just a bit younger and had enough ambition, there is money to be made doing this sort of work. Am I thinking about it, you ask and the answer is a definite and resounding “NO”. It takes all of my time and energy and yes, money, to maintain my own 5 ponds.

 

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