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Thread: Not your typical pool

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    Not your typical pool

    We have built a pool that is more of a pond. It's 65' x 85', mostly oval, with tiers. It was built to replace a sick looking area on the west side of our rustic-type home. The area wouldn't grow anything, and the dirt smelled nasty. We tried to put a dry riverbed landscape there, but nothing would grow. I had an epiphany (haha) that a natural pond would look good, and fit in with the house.

    Then our daughter got engaged, and she said she wanted to get married by "the pond" that I had envisioned. So now we were committed, and under a time constraint.

    Fast forward, the wedding was lovely, the pond looked A-mazing. I had plants in, and they were blooming, and all was right in the world.

    Fast forward again, the next Spring brought much string algae. We tried to control it with manual removal, but it was just too much. The water was super clear, and you could see to the bottom of the 6' deep area. I finally gave up, and pulled the plants (stuck them in our farm pond), and started shocking it. It's keeping it pretty well algae free, but I need to get in there and use my Leaf Master to get the dead stuff off of the rocks. There are frogs and tadpoles in the pond, but no fish. That's one of my rules--NO fish. I didn't invite the frogs, but they came, nonetheless. I don't mind them, per se, but if they go away, I'll be okay with that, too. I thought the bleach would kill them. I did have a mass murder of tadpoles. That was completely gross, by the way. There were....a hundred or more...floating, bloated tadpoles, clogging up the filters, floating in the skimmer boxes, and some along the edges. Nasty.

    The bottom is river rock and flat stones. You can see what I mean in The Pond album: The Pond, overview - Google Photos

    The pond is oval"ish", and tiered. 65' x 85'. The first step down is only about 10" deep, and is about 1/4 of the pond, with most of it at one end. Each step down is all the way around the pond, but more area towards the house. You can see that in the pictures better than I can describe it. The second step down is about 2.5' deep, and is about 1/4 of the pond, maybe a little more. The 3rd step is about 4' deep, and is a smaller portion of the pond. The 4th step is a half circle, and is about 6' deep. That's by the dock.

    There are 3 skimmers with pumps, set fairly evenly around the pond. The 1st skimmer/pump is on the West, by the dock, and has a 3" flex pipe running out into the deepest part of the pond, as well as a 3/4" pex pipe running around to a rock that we drilled a hole in. So it's dripping off the edge of the rock into the pond. The 3" pex pipe at the deepest part was meant to keep the bottom moving. And it does. The 2nd skimmer/pump is on the east side of the South bank, and it also has a 3" flex pipe, this one running into the 3rd step down, the 4' deep. It's pointed opposite the 1st flex pipe, in hopes to keep it all stirred up. It seems to be doing that. The 2nd pump/skimmer also has a 3/4" pex pipe, but right now I've just got it laying there, running off a rock. It was originally going to be a fountain, but I'm not sure we need it, so I haven't made it into anything. 3/4" isn't very much water. The 3rd skimmer pump is on the north side of the East end, in the shallows. It only has one 3" pipe out, and it runs up to my waterfall. The rise on the water fall is about 8', and it's perfect. I have a Eco-Series Waterfall Diffuser- 16", and it's just what I wanted. That creates great movement of water in that shallow area, which is what I was going for.

    I'm here learning from all of your experiences, trying to come up with a long term plan.

    We own a chemical manufacturing company, so I have ready access to chemicals in quantities that most people don't have. I'm currently trying to decide whether I should get Sodium Hypochlorite, or Calcium Hypochlorite.

    Anyway...hello. Thanks for all of your posts, as they have been remarkably helpful.
    Last edited by SuzyCentri; 09-09-2016 at 09:43 AM. Reason: Updated to include more thorough info
    Not your typical pool. 130K, in ground pond, 30 mil BTL liner (polyethylene), 3 EasyPro PS10E Eco-Series Ovation Pond Skimmers w/ EasyPro EP9700 Large Mag Drive Pond Pump, Max Flow 9700 Gallons-Per-Hour. Lined with river rock and other rocks. Originally had plants, set up as a natural pond. Kansas City, Missouri. TAYLOR K-2006 TEST KIT COMP CHLORINE FAS-DPD. https://goo.gl/photos/jMWp7VnNvbANyfuQ6

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    Re: Not your typical pool

    Very cool
    Pool installed 8/2015. 30' round Radiant pool. 21,000 gallons. 200# sand. Hayward Vari flow XL valve. 1.5hp Hayward Power-Flo Matrix running 10 hours/day in two periods. TF100 with speed stir. Sun all day, south side of house
    Order test kit TF-100 w/ Speed Stir and then Poolmath Calculator --- RECOMMENDED LEVELS --- POOL SCHOOL --- Algae? --- Chlorine/CYA CHART.

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Not your typical pool

    Hi, Welcome to TFP! That is a beautiful pond and it must have been a lot of work! The only thing I would be concerned with using cal-hypo would be issues from not being able to brush it to help it dissolve. It may discolor the stone if the granules are allowed to sit on it for any length of time. I would use the sodium hypochlorite. Do you have a return were you could pour it in or do you just pour around the perimeter of the pond?
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Not your typical pool

    It is not clear what your long term goal is. Do you want it clear like a swimming pool? You will have your work cut out if so. Let us know what you are trying to accomplish.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Not your typical pool

    I want to hear more about this one..............I agree with Dave in that we need to know your goals for this pond to best come up with a plan.

    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Not your typical pool

    Thank you for the welcome, and the questions.

    Zea3, I currently add bleach off the dock, which is where the deepest part is. I realize now that I needed to tell you where the output from the pumps are. I'll add that to my original post, so it's better explained.

    Duraleigh and kimkats, excellent question. It's been a bit of a moving target, I'm afraid, because my original goal was to have a natural pond, with plants and such. It just didn't work out that way. When I realized that I was going to have to control the algae in some other way, I pulled the plants so as not to kill them, and, basically, shocked it with swimming pool shock. 15 packets, spread around. And hey, that killed the algae, LOL.

    So my CURRENT goal is to have it clear, yes. I'm not sure crystal clear is attainable, with the rocks, frogs, and such. I don't know why the frogs are still alive.

    Perhaps "not icky", and swimmable (I don't think that's a word) would be a better goal. Right now, I am putting 3 gallons of plain bleach in, once a week. I know that's not enough to sanitize. It's clear to the 2nd step-down. I'll add the step-downs in my original post, too. It does not smell, neither of chlorine, nor of anything bad. I do not have string algae in the bottom.

    My pH is a little high, at 8. I'll take new measurements tonight.

    Before I knew anything (i.e. before TFP), I bought some 3" chlorine pucks from Walmart and chucked them in every 4-5 days. When it got close to the 5th day, I could see the rocks starting to turn green. Then I tried HTH Algae Control 60. You know, the non-foaming one, LOL. There are a couple of pictures in that album of the non-foaming results of that little party. Although it did foam right away, it actually cleared the pond quite a bit. THEN I found TFP. So I've been using 3 gallons of bleach a week. Like I said, I know it's not enough, but I have to start somewhere. I think my CYA is pretty high, due to the pucks and probably the HTH non-non-foaming Algae stuff. My first few tests didn't seem quite right, so I'm not even going to tell you what I got. LOL

    This is not a pool that will be swam in often. Mostly just some family get togethers, and maybe some light swimming by the grandkids on Wednesdays. Definitely I will throw myself into it when I'm super hot and working on the yard. I'd throw myself in the pond farm, though, if it didn't have snakes. I'm not that picky, when I'm sticky, sweaty, and need to cool off.
    Not your typical pool. 130K, in ground pond, 30 mil BTL liner (polyethylene), 3 EasyPro PS10E Eco-Series Ovation Pond Skimmers w/ EasyPro EP9700 Large Mag Drive Pond Pump, Max Flow 9700 Gallons-Per-Hour. Lined with river rock and other rocks. Originally had plants, set up as a natural pond. Kansas City, Missouri. TAYLOR K-2006 TEST KIT COMP CHLORINE FAS-DPD. https://goo.gl/photos/jMWp7VnNvbANyfuQ6

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Not your typical pool

    Trying to "see" what you mean by the "skimmers and flex pipe"...........lets all get on the same page.

    This is a skimmer as we know it:

    Kelly Contracts Specialist Builders: Skimmer Pool, Infinity Pool Deck Level Pool Explained

    It is where the pump pulls the water from the pool through the baskets (that catches big things) to the filter.

    The water returns to the pool after the filter through "returns" as seen here:

    Pool Return Stock Footage Video 402052 - Shutterstock

    Do you have any close up shot of your skimmers and such?

    If you use the IMG code for photobucket or such you can do direct links so we don't have to click out of your thread.

    I bet setting was purrrfect for the wedding!

    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Not your typical pool

    If you are interested in a clear, no algae, fish pond, let me know in a PM. I use no chemicals in mine and it's clear down to the deep part.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Not your typical pool

    Quote Originally Posted by pabeader View Post
    If you are interested in a clear, no algae, fish pond, let me know in a PM. I use no chemicals in mine and it's clear down to the deep part.
    I would certainly be interested. Do you have pics to share?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Not your typical pool

    Here is an example. It's a video I do every once in a while. I call it, "A minute by the pond"

    https://www.facebook.com/robert.piec...type=3&theater


    I try to get some more recent pics to post in the morning.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Here is an overview from last year. This year the Mimosa went nuts and you can't even see the pond from the balcony.

    https://www.facebook.com/robert.piec...type=3&theater
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Not your typical pool

    Your fish pond is beautiful (as are the fish), but it is a fish pond......it is not a swimming pool. Without chlorine, there is no protection from bacteria and certainly no protection from becoming algae-filled.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Not your typical pool

    Cal hypo will cloud the water &leave powder on the bottom of the pond. Sodium hypo usually comes in liquid form and won't do that
    Pool repair tech 15 years experience

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    Re: Not your typical pool

    True, but with a pond you have other things that you can do, you use bacteria to combat the ammonia and other foods that feed the algae. The fish will eat quite a bit of it and UV kills the rest. Unfortunately, UV also kills the good stuff so you use it sparingly. The other piece to the puzzle is an active filter system. That's why I have a secondary bog that the water runs through, that absorbs a lot of nutrients. As you know, no food no algae.

    That's how a pond differs from a pool. In a pond you use the living things to your advantage. In a pool, you make sure to stop those things. It's a matter of your desired outcome.


    That's why you and others have asked the OP what they ultimately want. If it's a swimming pool, then at some point the living things will have to be moved out of the water. If it's a pond for fish and plants and wildlife, then it's a different story. I have read and seen where folks with large, deep ponds, have been able to also use them to swim but I don't think that's a good idea. You run the risk of harming the pond by introducing stuff from you and you risk yourself because of the living things in the water.

    Remember, clear doesn't always mean safe. That's why we insist on self testing with a good kit.

    Since this is a pool site, I would really rather take this discussion offline, hence the request for PM. I don't want to muddy the water and create confusion in any new members that might come along and read this thread.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Not your typical pool

    Its a really lovely pond, and I apologize for saying it, but I prefer the natural angle, fish and all. I really think it will be hard to have it in between, but perhaps you can keep it to your satisfaction level with some regular additions of of Chlorine. Its going to attract wildlife and IMO tend to lean to the wild side making it tougher to keep as pristine as you really want. If you stick with Chlorine additions, Calcium Hypo won't cloud your water as a given by any means. Your fill water character should be considered because if you have hard water, that will only make it worse and increase your likelihood of scale over time. I hope you keep us updated on this interesting situation. Its really nice looking.
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    Re: Not your typical pool

    Nuts, I just lost a long reply I had typed. LOL I'll be back.

    - - - Updated - - -

    First, thank you for your replies. I'm sorry I haven't been on to check back. I need to set it up to send me an email. We had a new grandbaby, so we've been busy with fun things, and I haven't come to check on my post. Honestly, there is so much activity on this forum (this is a GOOD thing!), that I know I need a few hours, when I come here!
    Not your typical pool. 130K, in ground pond, 30 mil BTL liner (polyethylene), 3 EasyPro PS10E Eco-Series Ovation Pond Skimmers w/ EasyPro EP9700 Large Mag Drive Pond Pump, Max Flow 9700 Gallons-Per-Hour. Lined with river rock and other rocks. Originally had plants, set up as a natural pond. Kansas City, Missouri. TAYLOR K-2006 TEST KIT COMP CHLORINE FAS-DPD. https://goo.gl/photos/jMWp7VnNvbANyfuQ6

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    Re: Not your typical pool

    I didn't mean to start a controversy, with my "pool vs pond" situation. Pabeader, that is exactly what I had in mind, when I started this pond. I will message you, and I appreciate your thoughts about this. I have read many, many blogs, magazine articles, and opinions, about natural ponds, and that was, in fact, my intention. But I simply could not keep up with the algae. I totally agree that the theory behind the natural pond is a good one, but introducing people to it makes it dangerous for both.

    Because I want my grandkids to be able to swim in this, it has brought me to the TFP side of the argument. My granddaughters would completely freak out if they were to walk through algae. I grew up swimming in real ponds, so mud between my toes, and algae in my hair, not to mention the occasional leech, were part of the deal. Children these days are not made that way. At least not my grandchildren. So...I need to make this people friendly, or scrap it all, and turn it back into natural.

    Right now, I believe I can make it people friendly, leaving the plants on the outside to make it still appear natural.

    Thank you, Patrick_B, for the compliments, as well as your thought about liking it natural. I feel that way, too. I just wish I could maintain it and feel right about having the babies swim there.

    Kimkats, the skimmers are very similar to what pools have, but these are actually for fish ponds. I will try to figure out how to post images, and take specific pics. Basically, the skimmers are black plastic trash can size compartments. Yes, they have a basket that catches things like leaves, toads, and even a couple of turtles last year! Crazy. The skimmers have mag pumps, with max of 9700 gal/hr. So the water in Skimmer 1 goes through the basket, then a filter mat, through the pump, then through a 3" pipe that runs 20' or so, to the bottom of the pond, where it stirs up the water down there. Theoretically, I've got all my water moving. I don't see any stagnant areas. The surface water moves counter clockwise, and is aided by the waterfall. The baskets and filters are cleaned every 2-3 days, unless the leaves are falling, then it's every couple of hours. That's another huge problem, for another day. LOL
    Not your typical pool. 130K, in ground pond, 30 mil BTL liner (polyethylene), 3 EasyPro PS10E Eco-Series Ovation Pond Skimmers w/ EasyPro EP9700 Large Mag Drive Pond Pump, Max Flow 9700 Gallons-Per-Hour. Lined with river rock and other rocks. Originally had plants, set up as a natural pond. Kansas City, Missouri. TAYLOR K-2006 TEST KIT COMP CHLORINE FAS-DPD. https://goo.gl/photos/jMWp7VnNvbANyfuQ6

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Not your typical pool

    So lets talk about the filter............"filter mat"??? Where is this mat? Is there any way to plumb in a "real pool" filter before the water returns to the pond?

    This is going to be a fun one to turn into a swimming pool for the Grands!

    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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