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Knowdafish

DIY Koi Pond Filter

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Knowdafish

It looks as though I have been enlisted to design, help fabricate, and install a filter for a medium sized koi pond with fountain for a local church. It consists of a 16 foot diameter lower basin that hold 3000 gallons or so that has a 6' basin above it. It also has a large statue on top of the upper basin with a water feature. It is rather impressive and was fabricated and shipped here from China. 

 

They already have a decent sized pump hooked up to it to circulate water and run the fountain part of it, but they have no filter. The koi in it don't seem to mind and are doing extremely well, but they are difficult to see except at feeding time. That will soon change. 

 

If money was no object and a large pressurized sand filter or media filter was easy to procure here I would go that route, but their budget along with water and electricity concerns have caused me to formulate a better route which is as follows:

 

The upper basin, which holds approximately 400 gallons will be used to house media for beneficial bacteria. This media will consist of medium (2-3mm) sand which will have the return water from the filter pumped up through the bottom of the sand. This will greatly increase the surface area for beneficial bacteria (BB). The upper basin will need to be drained so the water lines that feed it can be reworked so that water will enter the basin from its bottom instead of approximately mid-way up. 

 

The lower basin will also get some plumbing rework done to it to as the drain needs to be modified as well as a secondary water return from the pump. The whole thing was obviously designed as a water feature without much thought for fish. The bottom of the lower basin is flat. In a perfect world it would be sloped towards the drain. This would greatly effect the way water circulates and how waste makes its way to the pickup (drain) for the pump. I have suggested that the pond be drained and the koi moved, so that the bottom of the lower basin can have a sloped concrete layer installed, but they are not enthusiastic about this at all and it will likely not happen. 

 

The filter will consist of three, possibly 4, 55 gallon plastic drums. Drums #1 & 2 will both have vortex filters. These are simple and inexpensive to construct and do a fantastic job of removing solid waste and clarifying the water. They are also extremely simple to maintain as there will be a bottom drain with a valve attached. With weekly partial draining of drums #1 and 2 the majority of the solid waste will be disposed of. Since they adjoin the river it would be a simple matter for this to drain into the river, but I am trying to get them to use the waste to fertilize and water their extensive selection of plants. 

 

DIY Vortex (aka swirl) Filter

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mLPro9N7FQ

 

(youtube.com/watch?v=-mLPro9N7FQ)

 

More detailed info about it is here: http://www.earthangroup.com.au/building-simple-swirl-filter/

 

After drums 1 and 2 the water will go to drum #3 for polishing and biological filtration. 

 

DIY Sand Filter

 

 

(youtube.com/watch?v=QQUtBrEcaB4)

 

After this step the water should be polished to a fine degree, but we will see. If I am not completely happy with the result I will add drum #4 for final polishing before the water goes back to the pond. 

 

Water changes should be minimized because the lower basin will be partially stocked with aquatic plants such as water hyacinths. I want to corral these so they are partially under the overhang of the upper basin. Hyacinths work extremely well at reducing and eliminating nitrates from fish waste. With nitrates removed/reduced algae and green water is eliminated for the most part. 

 

Since the price of city water is ridiculous here in Dumaguete  (90 centavos/gallon!) it is cost prohibitive to do large water changes so we will also be constructing a very large water catch system. The church has a number of buildings and has a massive roof area. Some of the roof area is fully guttered (about 1/2) while other sections are not. Even with just 1/2 the roof guttered I think we will be able to catch enough water during the rainy season to keep this, and 3 other ponds full. Right now all of the rain water goes on the ground, which all parties agree is a waste. 

 

Here in Dumaguete rainwater is acidic because of air pollution. To "sweeten" the water and raise the pH we will be using crushed coral placed in mesh bags. I have a pH as well as other water test kits so it will be a simple matter to see if the coral is enough to do the job or if another step will be needed such as adding baking soda which is a completely fish safe alternative to raise water pH. 

 

When all is said and done I hope to have pictures that show the results. I will have to rely on the church though as my Nikon has lense issues and needs to be repaired. 

 

Most of the stuff that will be needed to do all of this will be donated, but I hope to compile an accurate list of what was used and the quantities involved so I can come up with an approximate cost if others want to do something similar. 

 

They are in the process of acquiring my "want list" now. I told them it would be nice if we could get it all done before the rainy season really kicks in here which historically starts in June, but time will tell if that happens. 

 

Stay tuned.......

 

        :animal0028:  :animal0028:  :animal0028:  :animal0028:  :animal0028:  :animal0028:  :animal0028:  :animal0028:  :animal0028:  :animal0028:

Edited by Paul
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hyaku

Sounds great.

 

I'm fortunate enough to be able to do water changes. I also use an overhead filter hid behind a waterfall packed with mattress foam. Easy enough to just rinse. My problem is having to filter fresh water coming in. There are some nasty creatures coming in from the supply. Actually had an eel trapped in the faucet once.

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Paul

My problem is having to filter fresh water coming in. There are some nasty creatures coming in from the supply. Actually had an eel trapped in the faucet once.

Reason enough to change over to rain water harvesting, isn't it?

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fred42

The problem I have had here is with too much mechanical filtration and blockages to my sump..In just a couple of weeks the pump (inside the sump) runs dry because the filters are working too well and blocking water flow with accumulating fish crap and algae..

I like the idea of Vortex filters with a separate sump and drain tap to get the crap out before it blocks other filters.. I`ll design one when I have time!

I made a  trickle filter (the Japs call it a Bakki shower) out of 8 Coke crates filled with ground up plastic shreds that go into my stream filled with gravel.. Just done an Ammonia,nitrite,nitrate test and all good.. 

Edited by fred42
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fred42

Here`s a pic (Below video) of the homemade bakki shower.. The pond has a bottom drain going to settlement chamber and the mechanical filtration and sump chamber then pumped up to the bakki and into the streams..

Hope this helps but a vortex filter like this.. would make this system into the dogs nuts!

Hope this helps in some way.

 

P4120624_zpsbf95dea9.jpg

newpond4_zpsa9f59c1e.jpg

Edited by fred42
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Knowdafish

Cool set-up, but wouldn't Coke bottle cases work better than Pepsi? Just kidding!  :P

 

Thanks for the pics! 

 

I was thinking about installing a bakki shower filter too, but decided against it as it would likely be too noisy for a church environment. I don't think you can beat a bakki for rapid biological filtration! 

 

The other thing that is a challenge for me too is that this system will need to be by gravity flow from the pond with the pump back to the fountain being last in the system. I don't have a way to gravity drain back the water from a bakki or any other type filter to the pond/fountain. 

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Knowdafish

The church seems to be having trouble locating inexpensive plastic 55 gallon barrels for this project in Dumaguete. A minimum of 4 are needed, but up to 10 or so could be used as a rainwater catch system is going to be implemented also. 

 

The going rate here seems to be 1500p or more. If anyone has leads on some that are "fish safe" (they have not previously contained harmful chemicals) and close to Dumaguete for less $$$, please let me know here or via PM. Thanks. 

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Paul

Maybe Larry (shadow) would have an idea? 

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Knowdafish

Maybe Larry (shadow) would have an idea? 

 

I mentioned it to him in passing, and mentioned Matiao has them locally, but he didn't give me a reply. He had had a very long day when I mentioned it to him. Likely his thoughts were elsewhere. I'm glad you brought it up though. He is definitely a wealth of local information. I'll try him again. 

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Davaoeno

my koi pond [ with birthday ballons!]

 

to the right of the picture was rock wall waterfall and to the left of the picture was an infloor stream going 16 meters to the pump [ back to the waterfall ] .  I only had a very amateur filter system [ which is probably why after about 2 years the koi died ! haha ]  The filter system was sufficient for the koi when small but when the 21 of them started to average 15-18 inches it just couldnt do the job properly .

post-8045-0-89217800-1401768007_thumb.jpg

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Paul

Here`s a pic (Below video) of the homemade bakki shower.. The pond has a bottom drain going to settlement chamber and the mechanical filtration and sump chamber then pumped up to the bakki and into the streams..

Hope this helps but a vortex filter like this.. would make this system into the dogs nuts!

Hope this helps in some way.

 

 

By the way, Fred, after viewing the video you posted, I must have spent at least four hours, viewing other, similar videos the other night. I didn't go to bed until almost sunrise! :P

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fred42

By the way, Fred, after viewing the video you posted, I must have spent at least four hours, viewing other, similar videos the other night. I didn't go to bed until almost sunrise! :P

 

 

You and me both.. How do you think I remembered how to find it!!

I have collected a serious amount of Fishkeeping bookmarks from watching "just one more youtube video" ..Just ONE more!!

Edited by fred42
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Knowdafish

Here is another one Fred that has a wealth of fishkeeping knowledge: www.monsterfishkeepers.com

Edited by Knowdafish
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JohnSurrey

Septic tank for fish?

 

If budget is a problem and they have a reasonable pump I would try and get hold of 4-5 of the drums they supply margarine in to the bakers - normal cost about P150/each - arrange in a line and join with PVC Tube - get some plastic mesh and foam of increasing densities and hook it all up - will take a few weeks for the bacteria to become active... use sand in the last drum?

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fred42

Septic tank for fish?

 

If budget is a problem and they have a reasonable pump I would try and get hold of 4-5 of the drums they supply margarine in to the bakers - normal cost about P150/each - arrange in a line and join with PVC Tube - get some plastic mesh and foam of increasing densities and hook it all up - will take a few weeks for the bacteria to become active... use sand in the last drum?

 

 

John..The point of the swirl filter is to help the gunk settle in the settling chamber. (first drum)

At the bottom of the drum is a tap.. A couple of times a week the tap is opened and out it all comes!! Great fertilizer for vegetables and other plants,in fact the system was designed for hydroponic systems.. If you can get most of the solids out in that first drum,the other mechanical filtration will take far longer to get blocked up,reducing maintenance..It also reduces (10 fold) the load on the biological filter..

Edited by fred42
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hyaku

Septic tank for fish?If budget is a problem and they have a reasonable pump I would try and get hold of 4-5 of the drums they supply margarine in to the bakers - normal cost about P150/each - arrange in a line and join with PVC Tube - get some plastic mesh and foam of increasing densities and hook it all up - will take a few weeks for the bacteria to become active... use sand in the last drum?

I paid P40 for one drum and packed it with mattress foam. Simple but effective. My main pool is raised up one meter deep to be able to sit and enjoy at eye level. Just need to filter a few hours a day and wash the foam. For me its mostly important to filter the water going in.

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Knowdafish

Septic tank for fish?

 

If budget is a problem and they have a reasonable pump I would try and get hold of 4-5 of the drums they supply margarine in to the bakers - normal cost about P150/each - arrange in a line and join with PVC Tube - get some plastic mesh and foam of increasing densities and hook it all up - will take a few weeks for the bacteria to become active... use sand in the last drum?

 

Thank you for your reply, but at 150p each are they 55 gallon drums or are they 5 gallon buckets? I can easily procure cheap buckets here (which are way too small), but we are looking for a source of inexpensive 55 gallon drums. Fancy you mentioned bakers though, as a I got a PM yesterday mentioning the phone numbers for a commercial bakery supply business here in Dumaguete. We'll see what they have to offer. 

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JohnSurrey

Thank you for your reply, but at 150p each are they 55 gallon drums or are they 5 gallon buckets? I can easily procure cheap buckets here (which are way too small), but we are looking for a source of inexpensive 55 gallon drums. Fancy you mentioned bakers though, as a I got a PM yesterday mentioning the phone numbers for a commercial bakery supply business here in Dumaguete. We'll see what they have to offer.

I was told the bakery sold them for P150... although that could have been P150 for the three...

 

It reads Vegetable Shortening and Snowlar or Snowjar and 35kgs... so about 7 1/2 gallons...

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Knowdafish

 

 

so about 7 1/2 gallons...

 

Those would work for a much smaller system than the one I am working on. Thank you for your reply. 

 

Yan-Yan here in Dumaguete has a vast assortment of different size barrels and buckets, but sadly are "out of stock" of the 55 gallon large plastic barrels we are looking for. They took my cell # and said "we will call you when we get some more in stock".

Time will tell. The gal there said they go for 1300p each. I was hoping that some could be found for 500p? Maybe I am dreaming..... 

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Knowdafish

While still looking for an inexpensive source of 55 gallon plastic drums, I dropped by the church where the pond and fountain is located to see if they were making any progress.  My contact, who is almost always there, was no place to be found. I think he bailed early to miss the onset of rain as the sky was beginning to darken and spit a drop here and there.

 

I looked around and it doesn't look like they have made any progress as no drums could be found on their property, but I did notice that the pond in question was notably clearer, which is a good sign. I know they did a large water change last week, but on this visit I also noticed that the surface was almost completely covered by water lettuce and a few water hyacinths. These plants act like a filter and are an excellent low buck way to aerate a pond and remove nitrates. Too bad you can't see the fish now though! 

 

With the rainy season slowly coming upon us here in Dumaguete at least the fish should be in the money with fresh water from the weekly rain. This is a major victory for the very nice koi that are in this pond, but it doesn't help with viewing them or the operation of the fountain which located above this pond. Hopefully this will change soon.

 

To be continued.......

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fred42

While still looking for an inexpensive source of 55 gallon plastic drums, I dropped by the church where the pond and fountain is located to see if they were making any progress.  My contact, who is almost always there, was no place to be found. I think he bailed early to miss the onset of rain as the sky was beginning to darken and spit a drop here and there.

 

I looked around and it doesn't look like they have made any progress as no drums could be found on their property, but I did notice that the pond in question was notably clearer, which is a good sign. I know they did a large water change last week, but on this visit I also noticed that the surface was almost completely covered by water lettuce and a few water hyacinths. These plants act like a filter and are an excellent low buck way to aerate a pond and remove nitrates. Too bad you can't see the fish now though! 

 

With the rainy season slowly coming upon us here in Dumaguete at least the fish should be in the money with fresh water from the weekly rain. This is a major victory for the very nice koi that are in this pond, but it doesn't help with viewing them or the operation of the fountain which located above this pond. Hopefully this will change soon.

 

To be continued.......

 

I put all my water lettuce in a separate pond as the Koi eat the roots and generally make a mess..and as you say..The fish are no longer visible!

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Knowdafish

I put all my water lettuce in a separate pond as the Koi eat the roots and generally make a mess..and as you say..The fish are no longer visible!

 

Tilapia and quite a few other omnivorous and vegetarian fish will do the same thing. Fortunately this particular pond is way understocked with just a few mid-sized koi so they don't shred the plants too badly. 

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hyaku

One of the other problems experienced in such bright sunlight is algae. If the dirt doesn't get you the sun will. My pools are well shaded.

 

Plant can be contained in floating rings.

 

Easy to see the fish if you feed them in the same place at the same time. Just about to sit outside and feed mine now.

 

What kind of food are you guys using?

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Knowdafish

 

 

What kind of food are you guys using?

 

To be very vague - "pellets". Good koi food is somewhat expensive and hard to come by here, that is why eventually I will make my own. I already have a great recipe. I just need a commercial mixer and a meat grinder with the right size die. 

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hyaku

I think mines Tetra. Going home to Japan soon. I could find a supplier but I guess it could work out very expensive. I don't like to buy too much at one time. It doesn't keep very well here.

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