A Wonderful Stroke of Luck…


The one from BJ on the 5000 gallon pond.

For those of you who have been following my blogs might remember that I managed to acquire two separate Aquadyne Filter Systems, These systems are top of the line as far as having an outdoor pond and eliminate the need to frequently wash filters. I bought one from my good friend BJ who had not installed it on her own ponds and this one, I installed on the 5000 gallon pond. I used a 3500 gph submerged pump on it but was not very happy with the amount of water it was putting out so as I just happened to have one,  I added another 1200 gph pump to the system to make a combined total of 4700 gph.  This was an improvement.


The one from Jim on the 6000 gallon pond.

The second system,  I acquired from a Fish Rescue from an older gentleman named Jim. This one came with a 4700 gph above ground pump. I installed this setup on the 6000 gallon pond. after a few trial and errors, managed to get it up and running.  This pump seemed to put out a lot more water than the combined pumps on the 5000 gallon pond. This was the first time that I have used a pump of this type (above ground) as prior to this, all of my pumps have been submerged. I was really happy with the entire set up as it moved a lot of water through the system.


Sea Horse (new)

Unfortunately, the pump went bad as they usually do especially as it was an older pump in the first place and it would have cost more to repair than to buy a new one. So, I bit the bullet and went on line and purchased a Sea Horse 1 HP pump that came with a leaf pot already attached, was self priming and moves 4700 gph. I installed it, which was pretty simple although it did require a few modifications to the inlet pipe as I couldn’t get it to prime. Eventually, I got it worked out and it puts out more water than the other older pump did. In fact, it is flowing at full 1-1/2 inch  pipe except when it starts to accumulate dirt inside the filters. Then it cuts back a little on the output until I manipulate the valve to clean it. That’s the beauty of the Aquadyne System, there are no filters to wash out manually and all of the cleaning is done by manipulating the lever built into the head of the tank.


I was so pleased with this pump, that I decided that I needed to install something similar on the 5000 gallon pond which had the first Aquadyne System installed on it. As I mentioned before, this was powered by two submersible pumps one that put out 3600 gph and the other was only a small one at 1200 gph. So between them, in theory, they were pumping 4700 gph. I could never get a very strong flow of water out of this set up and after seeing what the above ground pump was doing on the 6000 gallon pond just knew what the answer was. Even though my intentions were good, for some reason, I kept putting off buying another Sea Horse pump which as it happens, turned out to be a stroke of good luck on my part.

Thirty odd years ago before I moved into this house, I had 5 acres way out in the country. It had a creek running through it with a small pond although it was prone to getting low on water by the end of summer. I had a garden and I bought a 1/2 hp pump to irrigate it by pumping the water out of the pond. When we moved to this house, I brought it with me and over the course of time, it got buried behind a pile of junk in one of my sheds. The other day, I decided to clean out that particular shed and came across the pump which quite honestly, I had forgotten that I had. The brain started clicking as I looked at it to see if I could adapt it for the present purpose which was to attach it to the Aquadyne System on the 5000 gallon pond.  First of all, I was surprised just how heavy the pump was but then I realized that it is made of all metal and has no plastic anywhere in it. After all, it is 34 years old and is labelled as a Sears Pump. You remember them, Sears and Roebucks or maybe my age is showing?


Sears (very old) showing the Leaf Pot that I installed.

I plugged it in and it fired right up with the motor spinning away very smoothly. No grinding or strange noises.The next thing was to hook up a temporary inlet and outlet line and try it in some water to see if the pump part still worked. The plate only said it was 1/2 horsepower and nothing about how many gph it could put out. Watching the amount of water coming out under pressure at the end of a hose pipe, it just looked like it would work very well for what I had in mind.

The next thing was to plan on how I was going to hook it up. Out came the tape measure and I measured this and that and visualized all of the steps in my mind before deciding on a course of action. Even then, I was not 100 percent sure it would work and I kept going over the different steps in my head that it would take to hook it up. The next day, after a trip to Home Depot to buy the necessary fittings, I bit the bullet, turned off the other pumps and cut the pipe that connected those pumps leaving the smaller 1200 gph pump hooked up to an urn which has been on that pond ever since it was built more than 25 years ago.


Note the non return valve installed in the line to help with the priming.

I turned my attention to hooking up the pump to the Aquadyne System and several hours later, had the thing connected. Then came the moment of truth as I prepared to test the new setup. The pump did not have a leaf pot attached to it and I just happened to have one that I got from some rescue or another. I had tried to give it away at the last swap but had no takers which turned out lucky for me as it was going to provide me with a self priming hook up for the “new” system. With everything in place, I filled the leaf pot for the first time and turned on the pump and all that happened was the water that I had put in came out of the temporary outlet I had rigged up. I had to take the temporary route as I didn’t want to pump any rust or 30 year old  gunk back into the pond. I would hook everything up permanently after the pump was clean. That was the theory anyway.

I tried it several times and it still wouldn’t prime enough to start pumping so I took a step back to consider my options. As I had similar problems when I installed the Sea Horse pump  on the other pond and I had got over it by taking a more direct line to the brass inlet foot which is under the water. So, I broke down a lot of the inlet pipe setup that I had just built, found a piece of 1-1/2 inch flexible  hose that just happened to have a part of the right coupling still attached to it and hooked everything back up together again. I repeated the process of filling the leaf pot to prime the pump, plugged it in and away it went. Water came out of the temporary 1-1/2 inch outlet at a tremendous rate so I waited for it to start running clear with no sign of rust and then shut everything down.

I re-hooked the line back to the Aquadyne System and turned it back on. I could hear the water within the tank just sloshing the beads around, which is a good sign and it just poured full pipe out onto the waterfall where I had placed the outlet end. I think the pump is putting out just as much as the 4700 gph Sea Horse or at least it appears so. I stood there for a while just marvelling that this 34 year old pump is still working after all of this time . In truth, it never got used very much at my old house and not at all here at this house so it has not had a lot of wear and tear but even so, it is amazing. Heck, I have to turn on my Dishwasher for a couple of seconds every day or that motor will just buzz and not run and freeze up and I have to get under it to give it a turn to start it again. So, to me, this pump is the cat’s miaow. Now all that remains is to see just how long it will last. After all, just like me, it is very old.

With the pump running at full tilt, the last part of the project was to make a basket that the brass foot sits in to shield it from the leaves and silt that tend to block things up. The bane of having ponds is the amount of dirt that the fish generate hence the need for cleaning the water in the first place and shielding the inlet in the second. Ponds, being what they are, also grow algae which also can block the inlet pipes and that is not counting the debris like leaves and such from the trees.

What I do is take two of the plant baskets, the sort that are perforated and place one on top of the other with zip ties, cut a hole the size of the brass inlet in the top and attach it with wire to the pipe that sticks out. This will slow down the amount of junk that attaches to the brass foot but will not stop it completely requiring that from time to time, I have to disconnect that section of pipe and take the whole thing out of the water to clean it. Small price to pay for having clean water. I include screw couplings just for that very reason in the inlet line.

You may notice the large 4 inch diameter pieces standing on the top of the vertical pipes. These are to place a leaf blower in that which when activated, stirs up the beads that are inside the Aquadyne tank. It only needs to happen about once a week. It is possible to buy the newer systems with a blower already permanently installed.


Oh yes, it was a good job that I decided to clean the shed and to locate the pump after all of these years or maybe, if my memory wasn’t so bad, I would have remembered the pump and could have foregone the shed cleaning.

Next up is to clean out the greenhouse. Wonder what hidden goodies I might find there and I can’t wait to clean the workshop. I might even find my 3 pound club hammer that somehow has disappeared. Dream on, as it is probably buried out in the garden somewhere, victim of my forgetfulness. Anyway, if I ever get around to cleaning the workshop, I will need a dumpster to get rid of 30 years of surplus junk.


Ponds and Pumps

DSC_5440-2I woke up this morning and did my usual tour around the garden carrying my plastic bucket full of fish food, feeding as I normally do and checking to see that everything made it through the night. I used to send Richie, my male Dachshund out to check but he sometimes gets waylaid with the overnight smells and forgets to to do the job. He is not very good at feeding the fish as he has taken a liking to the fish food for himself. Then when he does come back in, I can’t understand a word he says so it is simpler to check for myself. That way, at least I know that the fish are being fed.

The very first pond that I visited was the 5000 gallon original big pond, the first one I built 25 years ago and lo and behold, one of the pumps was not working. This is a multi use pump and drives a waterfall, a bubbler urn that sits in the middle of the pond, another urn that sits on the bank and has water flowing out of it and finally, a small Skippy filter that I installed to help keep the water clean. This pump is pretty important to the entire scheme of things for this particular pond.

No big deal, I thought, I’ll just check my supply of used pumps and find one that is working and do a quick change. Well, all the best laid plans and all that stuff just didn’t work out. I dug out five separate pumps that had all been used previously and were stored in one of my sheds and carefully checked each one by plugging it in to the nearest outlet to see if it worked. Four out the five I pitched onto my used pump pile where I probably have 12-15 old, used and broken pumps collected over the years. The fifth pump worked when I tried it so I planned to use it in place of the burned out one. If my memory was better or if I was more organized, I would chuck the useless pumps onto the stack just as soon as they die instead of having to check them out, one by one at a later date to see if they are still working.
DSC_5435-2You can tell from the dirty water that one of the filters is not working and the sooner I get everything back up and running, the happier the fish will be. Of course, the big Koi in this pond are notorious for stirring up the mud and both filters have to work very hard to keep the water anywhere near clean.

I must mention that I have been experimenting with using two 12 x 12 plastic baskets with one inverted on top of the other and the pump in between in an effort to stop the many blockages caused by the leaves and debris in the ponds. This  pump sits in the pond itself and not in a skimmer so it is prone to blockages although it never completely stops flowing, just doesn’t flow as well. BTW, this is not my idea as Jeff Yarborough from Emerald Gardens, now Leaf Landscape Supply put me up to it. You have to do a little trimming for the inlet pipe to poke through the basket and then use cable ties or drill and use nuts and bolts to hold the thing together. As it turned out, this particular pump that I dug up was already in a basket and with a little adjusting, I was able to get the pipes lined up and placed the unit in the water. DSC_5444The big moment came as I plugged it in and after a few fits and starts, the pump began to push the water through although without much pressure. It ran for probably two minutes and then quit entirely. So much for that effort. I jerked it out of the water after disconnecting it, removed it from the basket and added the pump to the broken pump pile. I searched around in the shed and found one more that worked just fine but it was only a 1200 gph pump and I knew that it would not handle the requirements of driving four separate water features.

So, there was nothing else for it. I was going to have to visit my favorite store, Home Depot and buy a new pump which I proceeded to do. I am lucky that I am caught between two such stores both about the same distance away. I ended up with a 3600 gph pump that I knew would replace the one that no longer worked. It cost me $189 but should be good for a couple of years at least that is how long it is warrantied…

Yeah, right, we all know that it will probably burn out a couple of weeks after the warranty expires. They always do. This pump was almost exactly the same as the one it was replacing so that also in my favor was the fact that the pump inlet was the same size as the existing pipework and I would not have to make any adjustments. I paid for my wares and jumped into my car to drive home.

Did I mention that when I bought my new car last year, it came already programmed to stop at every Starbucks. The only way to prevent it is to buy something. Only then will it pass the rest of them without stopping so with this in mind, I was “forced” to buy a grande latte at the Starbucks in Bee Caves in order to make the journey the rest of the way home. I think my car knows the location of every Starbucks in Austin and the surrounding towns.

DSC_5442It took me ten minutes to put everything back together with the new pump and when I plugged it in, water came out all of the appropriate places with considerable pressure and my pond was back to normal again. Now all I have to do is to wait for the second Skippy filter help to clean up the water.

The whole episode got me thinking of the number of broken pumps that I have stored up over 25 years of ponding. I did not realize there were so many as the stack is not something that I look at very often. Guess I need to make a trip to the junk yard to get rid of them.  Wonder if there is a market for used and broken pumps and where the nearest junk yard is. Hope there is a Starbucks on the way…

Been a while…

BeBe in the middle of the jungle

BeBe in the middle of the jungle

It’s been a while since I posted last
quite a bit of time has passed
at least a month and maybe more
I don’t know as I don’t keep score
all I know that the time that has passed
has not been wasted and will not be the last
when other things get in the way
things I do from day-to-day
like administering for a soccer league
or checking rosters for Texas State Cups

The Streams and Pond

The Streams and Pond

And I’ve been busy on other things
enough to keep me away from this blog
and writing which I love to do
has to take a back seat when duty calls
especially as money I get
from doing these tasks as they arise
which helps pay the bills as they come in
as they usually do on a regular day
gas for the car, food for me
and don’t forget the menagerie
of five dogs, two cats and seventy Koi
all demanding their share of the spoils
to feed their hungry bellies they know
that they come first on our food chain
and in return they give me love
and attention too although it should be said
that I have yet to see a Koi show love
and probably that’s just as well
as I have watched their rituals to mate
chasing each other around the pond
and crashing and bumping is part of the game
which I am not going to join in.

Best of Buddies in the sun

Best of Buddies in the sun

It’s a beautiful day as I sit here
looking out of the window and at the yard
that is already alive with plants so green
Nature has already started her thing.
The dogs are sitting out in the sun
enjoying the warmth and taking in rays
It has been windy and things are down
I need to get out and clean up the mess
which I will do just as soon as I
finish this poem of my thoughts
and apologies for those of you
who can’t wait to read the words that I write
and wondering what has happened to them
as these past few weeks has taken my time
on other more pressing, more urgent things.

The time away has not all been in vain
as I have collected words and pictures of things to write
and have them stored and when the time comes
will be back writing in my usual way.


Routine Maintenance or just Busy Work…

Fish Fountain Water Feature

I was in one of the ponds the other day fixing a pipe that had gone astray
the pipe to the Fish Fountain Statue led but was  spraying water in the pond instead.

I do not mind getting in the ponds when the water is warm and the temperature high
for it is like a swimming pool, but not as clean and a little green with algae
and dirt floating around and with fish for company tho they cannot be found
except when against my leg they do swim not knowing who this is and why
I am around but they really don’t care as I move slowly so as not to step
on any of them and I cannot  forget that at least two turtles live in the pond
so warily as I move along  just in case  one under my foot should be found.

With so many ponds it’s hard to say which one the turtles are in today
as on the  move they can often be found going on walkabout
without much design as the course they are taking to them seems fine
Richie, the dachshund kicks up a fuss  as he barks frantically to make me aware
at least, I like to think it is so but probably he is more interested to go
to see to the turtle what he can do although with the big one he has met his match
and the big turtle retreats into his shell at the noise
and is too heavy for Richie to surprise by flipping on his back
as this seems to be his favorite thing.
The small one is more of a match as on his shell Richie chews
in a frantic attempt to eat him as he does with the rats in the shed.

I fixed the pipe,it didn’t take much and while I was there the pond I did clean.
Keep in mind the ponds do reside under the trees which means
that leaves are always inside the ponds
so now and then, with my hands as a shovel I scoop out the muck
and onto the bank it goes and then in go the hands for another big load
and so it goes on until satisfied me that the pond is as clean
as it’s going to be as leaves fall in it all of the time
and cleaner than clean is not my line besides the muck in the bottom I find
is a place where the Koi can nuzzle around to find tidbits and larvae and small little bugs
that add to their diet instead of the stuff that I feed.

Turtles in Stream Pond

Red Eared Sliders

In go my hands just one more time, whats this round and hard with sharp little claws
its one of the turtles the middle-sized one who struggles and scratches
as I lift him out just to quickly examine him and to see
if any leeches have attached to his body as they will kill him given the time
as is the way Nature decrees as we all fall in line in the food chain
and in the grand  scheme of things.

The pipe is fixed and the pond is clean
at least cleaner than before I started the task.
While I was at it a pump I did change as the old one was stopped more than it pumped
which is a sure sign that it’s on it’s way out. It will soon be history and will be added to the pile of used pumps that I have out of view.

I check its number and make a note to see if under warranty
Darn, it’s not so there goes that hope of exchange for a new one mainly
to put on the shelf as it’s a pretty safe bet that given the time
one of the pumps will go off-line
and the new one that’s sitting on the shelf will be placed into action
it’s work to begin and the old one back on the pile will be thrown.

I clean up the mess of the leaves from the pond and put water lilies back in the tank
to recover from damage the Koi they did make
as they chewed and buffeted them all along
I replaced the lilies with strong growing ones and in a safety net did place
to protect them from the damaging Koi  as in the ponds they do grace.

Water Lily in net

Routine stuff all  in a day but not if the Koi had their way
as damage they do to anything new that is green and tender
as on them they chew.

I walk the yard, what else do I see that needs attention immediately.
Ah yes, the filters need to be changed and then cleaned to be used again
simple work it is true but the difference is great what the filters can do
to keep water clean, after the dirt I kicked up
as I was cleaning out the muck.

I change the filters and hose them down knowing that the next time I’m out
checking things in the yard to see the things to be done will always include
feeding fish which is fun to watch as they splash and turn
disturbing the water in their mad dash to eat as much of the food as they can.

If nothing is found then inside I’ll go, give the dogs cookies
as they hang around,  check for messages, oh good nothing for me,
this gives me a chance to work on this blog as in the back of my mind this idea I have
of writing about my dip in the pond.