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Where is the water going??

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by hertelbr, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. hertelbr

    hertelbr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    OK all you pond experts I have one for you. Here's the info: I have an 11' x16' aquascapes pond kit that I installed 2 years ago. (As a side note) I had a huge problem with string algae partly due to the type of rock I used for the pond. I used Michigan Grindstone which is a Limestone product that is blue-grey in color, because of the high pH of the rock my string alge bloom was terrible it was over everything. I tried copper sulfate and my Koi and Comets did not like that at all, they got very sluggish w/ no appetite. I then tried sea salt at about 3 lbs. per 100 gal., within a week it was completely gone, w/ no ill effects to fish or plant material. My latest problem is that I am losing water when my waterfall is going, it operates 24/7 and after a fill up the night before the skimmer is very low by morning and the level is down. The pond will operate at this low level just fine, but the pump is sucking some air. The pond level will not change if the pump is off, so,, no leak in the pond liner. So I have a leak in the falls and stream right? Nope not that either. Over the weekend I removed the lava rock and filter material from the bio-falls, and waa laa my level has not changed a bit in three days with the pump going. So I digress, why am I losing 100 gal. overnite w/ the filter material in and none if it is out. Incidentally I have not cleaned the biofalls filters in the 2 years I have had it. This might be a problem but they did not look that dirty and where in the #$&* is the water going? There are no visible leaks around the falls and stream.

    Signed, Confused
  2. JTHutch

    JTHutch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 115

    There may have been a gap in the silicone on the bio falls and when you moved the filter material it eased the pressure and the gap closed? I don't really know I spent all summer fixing leaks in ponds but it's one of those things you have to be there to really know what's going on.
  3. n2h20

    n2h20 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 503

    i agree with iyou have to be there.. but i have seen the filter material build up sludge and prevent the water from flowing like it supposed to over the "fall" (plastic or rock lip) this would cause the water to leak out the side.
    You had string algae because you never cleaned your filter.
    Adding 3lbs of salt per hundred gallons is like putting 3 band aids on your herpes..
    you are just killing the algae..
    do water changes (10%) and clean that filter weekly..
  4. hertelbr

    hertelbr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    do water changes (10%) and clean that filter weekly..

    I thought disturbing the filter in the bio falls was supposed to be done only yearly, as the bacteria colonized on it to help breakdown the organic material? I did keep up on the skimmer net and filter. Also, I have no sign of runoff at the falls or around it. Is it possible I am losing it somewhere between the skimmer and the biofalls on the 2" return line? Maybe the additional pressure created from the filter material is causing a leak but 100 gal. est. in 12 hrs.?
  5. n2h20

    n2h20 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 503

    hmm i really dont know what to say without looking at it.
    I would try and look for soggy area's. with no sign of runoff i would say its in the stream somewhere.. but you say it only loses water when the filter media is in place.
    check around the fitting where the 2" line comes into the box. it is possible that its not tight. The likelyhood that it is leaking in the 2" line is rare.. they usually use a flex tubing thats a solid peice and pretty tough.

    "I thought disturbing the filter in the bio falls was supposed to be done only yearly, as the bacteria colonized on it to help breakdown the organic"
    that is AS sales pitch to you and potential customers. I have never seen a clean AS pond that was only cleaned once a year. I have never really seen A truley clean AS pond, period.
    Did you notice how much sludge ws on the bottom of your "biofalls" box? Were you pads covered in muck?
    When it warms up get in the pond and reach to the bottom, feel to see how much muck is on the bottom.
    This muck is basically fertilizer, for algae, and your yard. it breeds parasites that will harm your fish.
    Even if your water was clear, it doesnt mean its clean.
    You can close your garage and run your car for 5 hours.. and the air would still be clear... but not real healthy to you, same with the water.
  6. hertelbr

    hertelbr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    Thanks for the advice, I did notice a fair amount of sludge on the top layer of filter material, I drain my pond and give it a good cleaning in the spring of the year I do have a lot of litter in the bottom of the pond but very little in the bottom of the falls just a little bit of gravel, I was a little surprised, I also keep a fair amount of water lettuce in the pond, parrots feather, and another oxygenator. I keep Water Hyacinths in the bio falls and also in the pond
  7. n2h20

    n2h20 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 503

    that is a good thing to do. however draining the pond and cleaning it us more stressfull on everything, plants, fish, bacteria than regular water changes and keep the leaves and debris out. I see you are in Michigan so i assuming you shut the pond off during the winter? does it freeze over?
    the best time to do a spring clean would be before the pond freezed over, so when spring comes along it will thaw out and everything will "be ready to go" in the spring.
  8. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    Is it possible there might be a loose coupler on the line between the skimmer and the biofalls? The filter could put just enough back pressure in the line to cause the pipe to move a millimeter or so and leak. Just a wild guess.
  9. ODUrugger

    ODUrugger LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    yeah... dirty filters can add up to or over 20 psi... thats enough to make seriously leaking in the piping anywhere depending on the pipe used and joining methods.

  10. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    You could be loosing it to splash..don't try eliminating problems in your mind you will have to break down the falls and stream and LOOK.

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