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  1. #1

    Wetland and bottom drain? Help!

    First Post- be gentle. I dug a pond for goldfish and koi, 2 of them which I was bought. I've been running a pressure filter with uv and recently bought a second pump and box filter. So yeah, pump fed. I'm not happy though with the size or general running of the pond, basically admitting to myself that I've dug a goldfish pond and breaking a few golden rules, such as putting it under overhanging trees. I manage it, but yes...I know! Anyway, I want to make it bigger and better. I've discovered and been seduced by all sorts but my plan is in with my question....can I sustain a good koi pond with a wetland filter, uv and skimmer, waterfall and oxygen lines? Could I marry it with a bottom drain for silt? Would I need to? Or would it defeat the object of wetland filter system? Also, how would I make sure it wasn't pump fed? So the propellers don't mush up the mess? Or wouldn't it matter cos the plants love it? If I put in a bottom drain, could I run straight to wetland or do I need mechanical filtration? Irs a long one I know, but I'm planning to begin in spring and want opinions on whether bottom drain is necessary etc. In addition, dont worry about dimensions, i know it depends on size and stock etc, i just mean in principal.Many thanks and much obliged, happy ponding....


    Last edited by Billinghamkoi; 22-11-2022 at 07:20 PM.

  2. #2
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    No, you can’t run a wetland filter gravity fed from a bottom drain. It’s totally unsuitable filtration for koi anyway, since they produce large amounts of solid waste so they need an efficient mechanical filtration system that doesn’t keep fish waste trapped in the water for too long. Anything with gravel sets you up for bacterial problems that you will be unable to address.

    You are on the right lines thinking about a bottom drain- they make a massive difference for koi. But you need to choose a suitable filter. Bottom drain > gravity fed mechanical filter > biological filter > pond is the tried and tested recipe.
    If you are interested in a DIY setup then you could look into anoxic filtration with or without plants. But you need something decent for the mechanical filtration first.
    This is a good place to start your reading https://www.mankysanke.co.uk/html/qu...umrequirements

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  4. #3
    Really?! Thanks for the advice! I'll look into that, it's so useful to learn from experience. I'm really pickled though because the reason I was going for an external wetland is because of the mass of videos on YouTube with koi in ponds and people claiming they were the best thing ever. I do want good water quality so definitely going for an upgrade on the pump fed box system. At the moment there's only 2 in there but they're growing and I do want more....bottom drains and filter houses seem a lot of work so I thought I'd found an alternative. Why are so many people singing the praises of external wetlands then?

  5. #4
    What style of pond do you want and what size garden have you got ?

    The external wetlands you see on you tube need draining and power hosing yearly!

  6. #5
    I want quite a natural looking pond as far as possible. As nice as these dedicated "koi ponds " are, perfectly rectangular with sleepers and viewing windows, I want something that's going to suit my style and my wider garden project. The garden is large enough to house a larger pond, but it's only one part and not the stand out feature, at the same time though, I do want to future proof it as much as possible, but I'll never be a fully blown koi fancier with 30 huge beasts swimming around. I just want the right environment for the fish I decide to get, within the ponds limit. I know wetlands need an annual clean but comparing that to weekly or even 4 weekly it seemed at the time the obvious choice given my other commitments. Then though, I got onto bottom drains and was seduced by the silt busting job they do and wondered whether I needed to combine them or go all out gravity fed, or whether a pump fed wetland would do it or if there was a way to combine the 2 and get crystal water and happy fish.

  7. #6
    I fell for the YouTube videos and built a wetland filter thinking it would be low maintenance. It lasted 9 months before I got sick of the poor water quality and seemingly endless NPS. I think they can work in certain situations but not for Koi.

    When removing the wetland I built, I was astounded at the amount of “sludge” build up at the bottom of the gravel. Not good at all.

    I now have a conventional system albeit it’s DIY. Works great though and my water cleared up in a matter of weeks.


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  9. #7
    After 9 months wow. Did you have a vertical pipe for cleaning? What's nps? I wanted a way to maybe marry the 2. Have wetland as biological but not need to make/house/plumb/buy chamber filters if possible because of money. Currently thinking drain to filter (pressure 12000lph with uv) to pump (9000 lph) to wetland to pond whilst also having skimmer (diy with my other pump 8000lph) to filter ( decent box with uv) to pond via some sort of waterfall. Would this work or do I need to be thinking chambers etc?

  10. #8
    Take a look at my pond. Just "completed" it a few months ago but I think its something along the lines of what you are thinking.
    Is your site dead level ? mines not. very very important for a in ground pond.

    https://www.koiforum.uk/pond-constru...finally-3.html

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  12. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Billinghamkoi View Post
    After 9 months wow. Did you have a vertical pipe for cleaning? What's nps? I wanted a way to maybe marry the 2. Have wetland as biological but not need to make/house/plumb/buy chamber filters if possible because of money. Currently thinking drain to filter (pressure 12000lph with uv) to pump (9000 lph) to wetland to pond whilst also having skimmer (diy with my other pump 8000lph) to filter ( decent box with uv) to pond via some sort of waterfall. Would this work or do I need to be thinking chambers etc?
    Yes, I had a snorkel to back flush. NPS = new pond syndrome.

    I get what you’re saying about expensive filtration systems, check out https://diypondfilters.com/ if you’re up for doing it yourself, will save a lot of money.

    If you put a pressure filter in front of the wetland then the wetland is unlikely to function properly because it won’t be getting enough “muck”. A better way to do what you’re thinking is to pull from a bottom drain to mechanical filtration, then to bio filtration / UV and then back to pond. You could then use the skimmer line to go to a bog/veggie filter and then back to the pond as extra filtration. In truth though, I wouldn’t rely heavily on the bog/wetland as your main filtration if you want to keep koi.

    My setup is BD > vortex like chamber > static bed > moving bed > vari pump then it splits with water going back via a waterfall and a line with a UV going back through returns in the pond. I use a floating skimmer as I didn’t fit a skimmer during the initial build. The chambers are DIY 300L tanks that I brought from B&Q.


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  13. #10
    Thank-you! Looks great, pipes and valves freak me out a bit. It's build on a raised area of the garden but not raised above ground level at the moment.

  14. #11
    That's what I was thinking, what's the point in a wetland if all the poo has been filtered out. The pipes and valves in Chambers freak me out a bit....in terms of a filter housing. Is that as in full on building? I'll definitely continue to research all diy options. Just looked at easy pod prices and I've got no chance

  15. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Billinghamkoi View Post
    That's what I was thinking, what's the point in a wetland if all the poo has been filtered out. The pipes and valves in Chambers freak me out a bit....in terms of a filter housing. Is that as in full on building? I'll definitely continue to research all diy options. Just looked at easy pod prices and I've got no chance
    Yeah it can be daunting trying to figure out all the pipe work and having confidence it won’t leak when you do it for the first time but there’s plenty of advice/help around. Plenty of solvent weld cement and rubber seals on all connections will do the trick.

    I’d start by drawing a diagram of what you want to do and the post it in the forum for the members to give you feedback and advice.

    My chambers are in a wooden box essentially, next to the pond. Built from fence posts and ply board and then clad with roofing lath to make it look nice. Really simple and inexpensive.


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  16. #13
    Senior Member Rank = Adult Champion Twhitenosugar's Avatar
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    Maybe use the search function on this forum and have a look at 'anoxic filters'. This could work well for you as a biological filtration. And if you put plants in the baskets, it could very natural.

    But you 100% need a good mechanical filter in front of it. Otherwise it will clog up with crap in no time and give you no end of problems (fish health).

    Koi produce a huge amount of waste, much more than I realised. So you need a mechanical filter that can effectively catch the solids in the water and remove it from the water as quickly as possible. And you really really want it to be super easy to clean. Constantly cleaning out filter sponges, especially in the winter, becomes tedious pretty quickly.

    Drum filters are generally seen as to the best mech. Filters. But cost an arm and a leg.

    I'd say a sieve filter is probably the next best option. You can generally buy them second hand for reasonable money.

    So a setup as follows would work well...

    Bottom drain > gravity fed Sieve > variable pond pump > UV > DIY Anoxic filter > back to pond, would work well and shouldn't cost too much. And importantly, a sieve is relatively easy to clean.



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    13,000L fibreglassed raised pond with window

  17. #14
    Thank you all...at the end of the day I'm not hung up on a wetland but the way I saw it was, at present it runs on submersible pump fed pressure and box filter. So any upgrade helps right? But then things like anoxic filtration, flush valves, auto top up, vari flow pumps get mentioned and I think wow, I didn't know all this mattered. I thought hole, pump, filter, fish, done.

    All I wanted was to not overload a wetland (which I assumed was biological filtration) but to not prefilter it to such an extent that it was unable to operate. So I thought bd for silt and sinking poo, filter to sieve some out, wetland to deal with the rest, skimmer to deal with the top. The problem being is my 12000 lph pressure filter up to the job or is it going to need constant maintainable still? I know it's a pain, especially fishing the bio balls out, as when I put it on a reverse flush it empties the pond but doesn't seem to shift the sludge from the bottom of the filter. As I say, I don't want tonnes of koi, but a few more would be nice. I've also got shibunkins in and goldfish oh and a couple of orf fry which I hope will survive and grow.

  18. #15
    Keep an eye out for second had ez pods or nexus etc
    I bough all mine used for a fraction of the new price.
    There was even a lad giving away a free one here not too long ago.
    The pipe work is easy once you get going !

  19. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billinghamkoi View Post
    Thank you all...at the end of the day I'm not hung up on a wetland but the way I saw it was, at present it runs on submersible pump fed pressure and box filter. So any upgrade helps right? But then things like anoxic filtration, flush valves, auto top up, vari flow pumps get mentioned and I think wow, I didn't know all this mattered. I thought hole, pump, filter, fish, done.

    All I wanted was to not overload a wetland (which I assumed was biological filtration) but to not prefilter it to such an extent that it was unable to operate. So I thought bd for silt and sinking poo, filter to sieve some out, wetland to deal with the rest, skimmer to deal with the top. The problem being is my 12000 lph pressure filter up to the job or is it going to need constant maintainable still? I know it's a pain, especially fishing the bio balls out, as when I put it on a reverse flush it empties the pond but doesn't seem to shift the sludge from the bottom of the filter. As I say, I don't want tonnes of koi, but a few more would be nice. I've also got shibunkins in and goldfish oh and a couple of orf fry which I hope will survive and grow.
    All that disgusting sludge at the bottom of your pressure filter now is what a mechanical filter needs to remove from the water before it reaches the bio. Your alternative is to reduce the load on the filter so it can cope, which basically means no koi.

    A bottom drain does nothing to fix your solid waste in itself- it’s the mech filter that does that. The bottom drain simply makes it easier for waste on the bottom of the pond to reach the filter on the first place. I like to think if it as the difference between emptying your bath via for plug hole, or trying to empty it by sticking a pump in a cage in the bottom- any sludge that had come from your body would still be on the bottom of the bath wouldn't it.

    This is probably going to sound a little mean (I am trying to help you by giving you the info you need before you make a mistake, honesty)- but if you can’t afford to buy an EazyPod, then you probably cannot really afford to build a koi pond in general. It’s not just the cost of the pond build including filtration and pipework, it’s the ongoing cost of keeping them healthy. Your nets, bowls, microscope and water testing kit would cost as much as an EazyPod would. Your electricity use also will be costly at todays energy prices. It’s important to include the essentials of keeping koi healthy and diagnosing issues they get in your budget. We often see people join the forum and spend a lot on a pond build, only to give up a year later because they have had issue after issue and found the ongoing costs were not what they bargained for. The first 2 years of a new pond tend to be the worst as new pond syndrome makes the fish vulnerable to lots of things.

  20. #17
    Thank you for your advice and support. Whilst I completely understand and appreciate the sentiment of the point, as far as I have seen, it's not eazypod or nothing, as I've seen plenty of people out there having great ponds whilst saving pounds. I really can't reiterate enough that it's not ever going to be a full on dedicated koi set up, but I'd like a few for colour and I've already got 2. I think the more research the better though. Honestly I don't take anything personally. I would love a lowish maintaince pond. You seem pretty koi focused if you're talking microscopes.

  21. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billinghamkoi View Post
    Thank you for your advice and support. Whilst I completely understand and appreciate the sentiment of the point, as far as I have seen, it's not eazypod or nothing, as I've seen plenty of people out there having great ponds whilst saving pounds. I really can't reiterate enough that it's not ever going to be a full on dedicated koi set up, but I'd like a few for colour and I've already got 2. I think the more research the better though. Honestly I don't take anything personally. I would love a lowish maintaince pond. You seem pretty koi focused if you're talking microscopes.
    This is a koi forum after all
    A microscope is an essential bit of kit unless you are planning to just replace your fish when they get sick and die rather than treat them.
    also, I’m not suggesting an EazyPod as a good option for koi anyway- they are only really up to the job on a small quarantine tank.
    That said, one would be a big upgrade from a pressure filter

    Many of us here started our koi journey by thinking we could add a few koi successfully to a goldfish pond, then expanded as we learned more and realised our fish were either outgrowing that pond or being stunted by the poor conditions. So what you are considering is not all that different from what got some of us into the hobby in the first place. But the money we spent on those early ponds was largely wasted other than the value of the learning experience

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  23. #19
    Honestly I appreciate all the tips etc. I've srsrted thinking about it now cos I know I want it to be right when I expand. What gets me though, i mean what really really confuses me is how, all the American koi forms and some uk ones absolutely advocate wetlands, and how others are saying absolutely no way! They either work or they don't, so what's the deal with that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billinghamkoi View Post
    Honestly I appreciate all the tips etc. I've srsrted thinking about it now cos I know I want it to be right when I expand. What gets me though, i mean what really really confuses me is how, all the American koi forms and some uk ones absolutely advocate wetlands, and how others are saying absolutely no way! They either work or they don't, so what's the deal with that?
    Americans have been running gravel bed type filters for years, and building huge ponds with hideous concrete boulder type things stuck down all round them. They probably get away with the bacterial issues to a certain extent because of sheer volume, but I would suspect that many of these ornamental ponds you see online have a high fish turnover because the fish is just an expendable accessory, rather than the main point. There are obviously some very keen koi keeps in the US too, using decent mechanical filtration and no gravel.
    You should definitely consider climate when making decisions too. What works in the hot south of the US, or the northern half of their country when things freeze solid in winter and some of these people actually turn their filtration off, you might find does not work here.

    Over the years on this forum we have had many people make DIY filters and wax lyrical about how amazing their set up is. But gradually most realise that the big down side is always how easy the media and chambers are to clean. That is why drum filters have become such a popular choice. Dirty cold wet stuff to clean in the cold and dark of a UK winter is not a lovely thing

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