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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pond Up and Running

The Pond has been functioning perfectly for a week. The cement patching and waterproof paint had plenty of time to dry before the rain appeared and it didn't take long using a couple of hoses to refill. The fish were extremely happy to get some space after a week in the confinement tank.

Someone enjoys the bare pond surface

Obtaining drinking water is a little more difficult

While the pond was almost completely empty a lot of thought was given to the pump which resides in the bottom of the pond. It's sole purpose is to push water up into the flow forms and provide a gentle water sound.

We spent some time fiddling with the pump inlet to set up a filter to exclude debris. Over the years we've tried all sort of ways to stop the pump from blocking with algae, leaves and sludge but found that we were standing in the pond every few days unblocking the inlets.

The problem being that the pump sucks water and creates turbulence which disturbs the water around it stirring up debris. Elevating the pump as high as possible from the bottom of the pond worked for a while until the algae in the water eventually builds up and blocks the pump.

Because the pond is almost empty and most of the debris removed and almost no algae is present it seemed like a good time to innovate. If the purpose of the flow form was to aerate the water would it be possible to run it right from the start keeping the algae to a minimum and concentrate on a solution which excludes leaves and other debris.

The idea that came to mind was to enclose the pump inlet in a large container to firstly restrict the turbulence to the container and secondly to separate the pump from the main water body. By placing a piece of shade cloth over the top of the container the water that would enter to supply the pump could only come from above and be filtered across a broad surface. By having the top of the container a sufficient distance from the surface of the water, floating debris would not be attracted leaving only algal growth with which to contend. Using as large a surface area for the inlet and starting and maintain the flow forms from when the pond has minimal algae may reduce the cleaning intervals.

There was an old stainless steel 15 litre discarded cheese pot which had a small corrosion hole in the base. It pays not to throw things away too soon. It was wide enough to provide plenty of space for the pump and tall enough so as to have the top just below the maximum water level in the pond. As we always keep shade cloth offcuts handy it meant the solution was cost free. Well so far it seems to have worked as the water is still flowing efficiently.

The next problem is the noise level of flowing water. A fully functioning set of flow forms creates a background noise equivalent to a passing train. Hardly a meditative outcome. The original sump pump was replaced a long time ago with a much lower volume aquarium pump. The next problem was the swishing sound of the flow forms is extremely discordant. Lots and lots of fiddling with rocks and splash panels eventually created a gentle background noise similar to a gently running brook. This probably means the flow forms are not performing their original function but at least the sound is pleasing.

Breaking the water fall sound with rocks

Reducing the swishing

Minimising turbulence and associated sound

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