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re:water garden problems, filters

>I've just read about your magazine [TAG] on the net and am interested in
>one of your back copies.  However, can you tell me if your magazine (or
>your personnel) have any information about pond filters?  I have a water
>garden (2 years old) and I've had a devil of a problem with sediment and
>algae.  Whatever advice you can lead me to will be sorely appreciated.
>Does your magazine offer advice, help regarding pond sediment and algae.
>I'm in real need of a good filter, one that doesn't cost me the farm.


I'm not sure if my pond setup is comparable to your situation but perhaps
you or others on the APD may benefit from my experiences to date.

The pond I built is going in to its third year and is based on an idea I
read about in FAMA. The author's name and months of publication escape me
but it was a two part series. He had constructed two ponds, an upper pond
and a lower pond connected by a water course. The upper pond was a shallow
affair that contained bog plants, the lower pond was deeper and home for
his fish. A pump drew water from the bottom pond to the top and the bog
plants acted as a natural filter.
If memory serves me well, he turned the  pump off for winter and very soon
after spring startingup his water was running crystal clear.

In our garden we have a series of 4X12ft. raised beds built out of
landscaping ties. We grow mostly vegetables but some do contain flowers and
with a little persuading my wife let me have one for our pond. I prepared
several "zones",the deepest being 4ft, the shallows about 8 inches or so.
Pond liner was fitted and was secured in place under the top set of ties.
In the shallow end of the pond, I built a box to fit the inside diameter by
about 2ft. Water was brought up from the pond to the box by PVC pipe and
returned to the pond by way of a waterfall built in the middle of the box.

The box was filled with substrate and various bog plants and in principle
it worked really well as a natural filter. That is.... until the box became
absolutely choked with plants and roots. I was sold on the idea but the
homemade "filter box" had to go!

Last year, while down at the local feed store picking up horse & chicken
grub, my eyes fell upon some stock troughs manufactured by rubbermaid and
used for watering livestock. Best of all they had proper threading for
hooking up pvc pipe and as luck would have it the 50gal unit was the
perfect diameter to fit in the end of my pond.

I had it installed in a flash but this time I added no substrate to the
bottom of the "filter box" planting instead in pots and containers while
experimenting with different substrate combinations. Flat rocks or bricks
were used underneath the pots and containers so that the crown of the
plants were within an inch or two of the water surface.

The beauty of this  setup is that it works as a natural settling container
allowing all mulm and debris to collect on the bottom of the stocktrough.
I simply remove the plant pots and siphon all the muck onto the eager
vegetable garden.

I started out with 2 koi and 2 comet in the 2.5 inch range and they have
grown tremendously -the largest is about 9 inches now-and all continue to
be the picture of health. I realize that most pond setups only allow for
"traditonal" filtration systems but if you ever have the opportunity to
build a similar pond I'm sure all who try will be as pleased as I was.

John Cochran
Photography & Digital Imaging
British Columbia Flyfishing Resources http://vvv.com/flyfish