This is the final post related to the pond rebuild after the fish kill in 2017. When doing this rebuild project I had not anticipated posting the procedure in a blog so there isn’t as many pictures of all the steps as I would like but I think there’s enough so that it may give other people ideas.
With the pond sump now in place it was time to hook up and test everything out. This next picture shows the basic items hooked up which include the aerator and water feed to the fountain. The aerator I used is the Aquascape 61000 Pond Aerator Pro, this gem has performed flawlessly even though it was out in the open and uncovered for several months (including through a hurricane).
The sump was plumbed up with a high flow valve like what is used for livestock feeders. This worked well except it was constantly cycling, normally not a problem but it caused the pond fountain to pulse with the same frequency. I later solved this by adding an inline timer valve to just add water in the early hours of the morning.
The aerator included an air stone but that quickly showed a weakness. Because the pond floor is very soft silt, the stone caused an upwelling of the dirt underneath and ended up on it’s side blowing large bubbles. The primary issues are that it was too small and light and too close to the bottom. After a lot of research I went with a membrane style diffuser and made a plan to give it a semi permanent mount on the pond floor. Here;s pictures of the diffuser top and bottom (with pvc attached):
Turns out a standard 5 gallon bucket is just about the same diameter of the diffuser, lucky me! To create the concrete base, I first cut a hole in the bottom of a bucket to fit the threaded PVC piece to attach the diffuser.
Next, I attached the threaded piece to an elbow and measured the height of this on the outside of the bucket. This is done so the top of the threaded pipe will just about be flush with the top of the base (which is now the bottom of the bucket). It will be more clear in a minute. I marked the hole location for the entry pipe:
Then cut the hole.
Again, the base is upside down at this point. Since I don’t need the whole depth of the bucket and wanted to remove extra to make the pour easier, I cut the bucket off a few inches above this new hole and set up the pipes inside.
Next, concrete was added to a little more than an inch over the side entry pipe.
This wasn’t going to just drop out when hardened, I used a multi tool to cut the sides and peel the base out.
Now this may make sense, here’s the base flipped over so you can see the threaded part.
Now with the diffuser screwed on.
This has worked much better than the cheap airstone that came with the pump. The diffuser is larger, keeps itself clean, is higher of the pond floor, and is weighted down by about 20 pounds of concrete. One last picture of this with the brass connector added and the concrete is drier. Ready for installation.
Now for the sump housing. Again, I don’t have a lot of pictures of the construction but I’ll explain how it was built. I made the four sides separately then screwed them together to form the box. There is a one inch gap at the bottom to allow water and debris an escape and also for air flow. Once the box was assembled and squared, I created a roof frame that also doubles as a flip up lid.
Plywood added and painted prior to shingles.
This was built completely indoors in my workshop, it’s a lot easier to do that than try to lug all the tools and materials out to the pond area (also cooler in the shade). Once completed, I used the tractor to move the housing over the sump area and tied it down to the slab with some galvanized angle iron and tapcons. Here’s a picture of it installed:
And with the lid flipped open:
Inside there’s plenty of room to work around things and enough space to add a water pump for irrigation. At this point I’ve got the timer valve installed and the lighted fountain going.
I can’t think of anything I’d do differently at this point. If anything, maybe make the pad a little larger and run a few more pipes into it for the eventual sprinkler pump. Over time there will be plants and trees hiding most of the box but for now I think it looks pretty good.
Hopefully all these changes will prevent another fish fill like last time. Another big change is that the pond is only stocked with tilapia now. Previously, it had tilapia, brim, bass, and catfish. I have already noticed hundreds of tilapia minnows which I never saw before since the other fish were eating them.
Now that spring is here, I’ve got some great projects planned. Stay tuned!