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Reconstruction of Pond: Bottom drain or no?

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by Bbentler, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. CJF

    CJF LawnSite Member
    Posts: 67

    How deep are your ponds in Florida? I imagine a constant hot
    climate is a challenge to keeping fish safe and
    cool is a problem.
    As part of our pond maintenance we do frequent water exchanges by letting
    the hose run in the pond for about 10 to 15 minutes several times a week
    the water flows out of the pond, thus it's a water change. In hot weather
    we do the water exchanges every day. Fortunately for us water is inexpensive
    and we do not need to add de-clor.
  2. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    2 to 5 foot depth in proportion to horizontal dimensions for lined ponds. Earth bottom ponds may be much deeper.The real key to moderating the water temps in this area is shade, shade, shade. which of course usually means trees. Just to give you an idea of the difference, 4 hours of sunlight in my area is equivalent to a full days sun in your area. This was determined several years ago in a Horticultural study to determine just exactly what the term 'part-sun' meant. If you are a gardener or landscaper you know what I am referring to. The temperature of the water column in a pond, in this area, can easily exceed the ambient air temp. This becomes more pronounced if it is a bare liner pond; the liner is black and black absorbs heat.
    Water changes are good. I am inferring that you have a well. If so, you might want to have it tested periodically. Well water, besides having very low, if any, oxygen, may contain other harmful dissolved elements and/or hydrocarbons that could be toxic to your fish. I once had a customer who went through a ton of money replacing Koi that kept dying. He was using well water. After much prodding by me, he finally had it tested and found that it was very high in Copper which is extremely toxic to fish.
  3. dweav44

    dweav44 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51


    Can you have a bare liner koi pond without a bottom drain and no gravel?
  4. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    You can. I see DIYs and car trunk installs built this way all the time. Would I recommend it? NO.
  5. dweav44

    dweav44 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    Why would you not recommend it?
  6. CJF

    CJF LawnSite Member
    Posts: 67

    I just can't imagine having a large clear, clean, and healthy pond without
    a BD and with gravel on the bottom. In our pond we have
    a shallow beach section, that we have rock in that section on the bottom. Years
    ago we had small pebbles and had to change it to
    bigger rocks because of all the crap
    getting stuck in the pepples.
    Every couple of weeks we hose the beach section to losen
    out the fish waste and it gravitates toward the bottom
    drain. Also the amount of waste that we take out of the
    first tub each week
    is unreal.
    You have to consider that the BD function is to
    filter the water and remove the waste continually,
    thus there is no need to empty it every two to four
    years for cleaning.
  7. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    I think that I have thoroughly explained my position on the function and purpose of a gravel bottom aquatic eco-system. Therefore, if one was to construct a lined pond without gravel then a key piece of the total naturally occurring biological cycle is missing; that being the Benthic layer and the accompanying Benthos. Organic detritus would accumulate without sufficient naturally occurring organisms (Benthos) to break it down. A bottom drain would then be appropriate to aid in maintaining overall water quality.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010
  8. dweav44

    dweav44 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    If good water quality is good for koi ... then tell me how you think bottom drains are "definitely NOT beneficial to any resident fish". That's like saying airfilters are definitely NOT beneficial to humans!

    I don't understand what you have against bottom drains and bare liner ponds. Enough with the whole balance of nature and ecosystem in harmony stuff. Rubber liner isn't natural, that's why you use gravel and I use bottom drains! There are biofilters out there that take care of the break down of fish waste and other bad bacteria.

    Thousands of koi and watergarden enthusiasts have bare liner ponds that swear by them and would NEVER go back to gravel bottom ponds. These people don't have thousands and tens of thousands of dollars worth of fish as you mentioned earlier. That is so rare in this hobby.

    I wouldn't recommend a gravel pond to anyone, but you don't see me on this educational forum speaking falsely about gravel ponds as you have bottom drains. I just don't like the mess.

    I don't understand it.

    People: I highly recommend www.koiphen.com to anyone looking for unbiased, very knowledgeable help with any kind of pond.
  9. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216


    I have stated no less than 3 times in this thread that bottom drains can be appropriate.

    The disregard of "balance of nature and ecosystem in harmony stuff" is exactly why the problem of pollution has reached a critical point. It won't cause pollution in this case, but it is that particular mind-set that troubles me.

    As to a bottom drain not being beneficial to the fish, both Koi and Goldfish are by nature bottom feeders and if you remove their ability to act instinctively in feeding, a certain amount of stress is placed on the fish. No amount of stress is beneficial. Gravel provides the media to support this natural behavior.

    I believe that rocks and gravel in a pond more closely approximates a natural habitat for the fish which, to me, is a value worth the extra maintenance

    You are evidently of the school of whatever involves less maintenance is the path to follow.

    Koi and Goldfish can be kept and enjoyed under both venues.

    www.koiphen.com is an excellent site, as I stated earlier. Another excellent, and older, site is www.koivet.com that is hosted by Dr. Erik Johnson DVM who has been a universally respected authority on Koi health for many years. He thinks gravel bottom ponds are fine, in fact he had a quite large one built for his personal use a couple of years ago. And yep, no bottom drains.

    I will say it one more time: It boils down to a matter of personal choice by the customer.

    I almost forgot, biofiltration does absolutely nothing to inhibit "bad bacteria", all it does is provide the basis conversion steps of the Nitrogen Cycle.
  10. dweav44

    dweav44 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    You are something else.


    Seriously... we are talking about the best environment for koi and you think that carries over into global environment? Come on.

    Oh, this is too good. I'm discussing water quality and how bottom drains ARE beneficial to koi and you want to talk about changing up their instink to bottom feed. All the koi I have seen in bare liner ponds do bottom feed...on carpet algae. I think they will be ok.

    Since no amount of stress is beneficial and cancels out all the beneficial things(in your mind)then how do you clean the gravel ponds. You first take out the fish before you drain the pond...oh no...stress, well there goes the benefits of gravel bottom ponds! So let me then say as you would, gravel bottom ponds are "definitely NOT beneficial to koi".

    Ummmm no. I believe bare liner ponds with bottom drains provide a better environment for koi than gravel ponds and I don't understand why people would rather put up with worse quality water AND more maintenance.

    I never said they were bad. I know they make better water gardens than they do koi ponds.

    I checked out koivet and it had a total of 8 people on site. 1 member and 7 guests(including me). Koiphen had 141 members and 214 guests. Older is not always better.

    If you are serious about your pond or pond project check out koiphen. Don't take my word for it. Check it out for yourself. Get on there and ask the thousands of enthusiasts, professionals and hobbyists that are members anything you want.

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