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Thread: My fresh water pool in Bali

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    My fresh water pool in Bali

    Hi as a newby I'd like to introduce myself and thank all of you in advance that are kind enough to offer your advice and experience to help me on what is probably a strange undertaking to many here (can't find any similar topics here so it must be strange).

    I'm building a fresh water pool here on the Indonesian island of Bali and would appreciate some advice. Pool is about 15m by 4/5 with 3 external feeder pools. The feeder pools will be filled with water plants to filter and clean the water for the main pool.
    Pics here:http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/eboyba...epair20091022#

    The pool is about 8 cubic meters of water and the feeders about the same.

    What aquatic plants can you recommend? Any other ideas for the tropics? Lots of fresh water pools in Europe but that doesn't help me much here in the tropics.

    Best regards
    Markit
    10Kgal vinyl IG, sand filter, UV sanitizer, inline chlorinator gizmo.
    Same system serves spa (except chlorinator is bypassed).
    Langley, BC, Canada

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    Re: My fresh water pool in Bali

    Markit,

    Good morning. I wanted to acknowledge your post but can offer no help. A pool without chlorine will not be sanitized....in other words, there's nothing to kill the bacteria ands germs that could be harmful.

    I doubt we've ever had a discussion on this forum about the type of pool you are interested in. Perhaps others will chime in but I think you have a very difficult road ahead to maintain an unsanitized pool.
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    Re: My fresh water pool in Bali

    Quote Originally Posted by Markit
    What aquatic plants can you recommend? Any other ideas for the tropics? Lots of fresh water pools in Europe but that doesn't help me much here in the tropics.
    Hi Markit, welcome to TFP

    If construction or maintenance of a natural pool has been mentioned on this site it was probably just in passing. I know of a couple of people who have installed them (in Washington state and in Kansas) but I've not had conversations with either about what type of plants they used... in any event, I doubt the species would crossover to Indonesia. Though most everything regarding water balance and pool maintenance you'll read about on this site is geared to chemically sanitized water I hope you'll stick around and share some of the aspects (and pictures) of your natural pool project so we can learn about them. And, who knows? You might pick up some pointers regarding maintenance and/or equipment issues that will prove helpful to you.

    I have a friend in Jakarta who has a pool, but I don't know if it's traditional or "fresh water." I'll ask him about it the next time we speak.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: My fresh water pool in Bali

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    A pool without chlorine will not be sanitized....in other words, there's nothing to kill the bacteria ands germs that could be harmful.
    Well . . . hm.

    I grew up with and learned to swim in a fresh water pool in Germany. This was a municipal pool, concrete, deep end with diving board and had an attached kiddie pool which was very shallow. The pool was filled from a small stream which was diverted to flow into the pool and out again back into its stream bed. There was a grate and mesh at the fill end to keep out natural debris as well as fish and frogs and other such aquatic life.

    Cold water! It was the community's gathering place in summer. I'm sure we all peed in that pool and I know we swallowed lots of water yet none of us ever got sick from swimming. Cold, yes. In fact, one or the other of us was always being told to go lie in the sun, "your lips are blue".

    Many of us swim in lakes and rivers even today. Those bodies of water aren't sanitized, either, and yet we survive. Sure, you can get swimmer's itch and yes, some lakes get closed down occasionally because agricultural runoff, especially during spring, contaminates the water for a while. But a natural body of water, with adequate flow-through, can be safe without chemicals.
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    Re: My fresh water pool in Bali

    Yeah, I certainly don't disagree....I used to swim in the Missouri River growing up and it was, well, nasty to say the least. I never cared and never got seriously ill. (Pretty common to pick up leeches on your legs, tho.)

    I think the biggest issue that an artificial pool would have going against it is flow. The stream in your pool exchanged that water constantly so developing contaminants were carried away. A pool would be recirculated and no practical way to get rid of the developing bacteria (and algae).
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    Re: My fresh water pool in Bali

    There are some topics on web sites about converting swimming pools to fish pools. They use a separate tank filled with aquatic plants, and other filter media similar to what is used in aquariums; maybe some "cleanup" fish in the filter tank too. The water is pumped into the fairly large tank where it percolates through the plants and down through the bottom layers of media and always kept circulating. But I don't think people use them any more for swimming.

    I, too, grew up swimming in the Ky River downstream from loads of human waste being put into the river. The main thing our parents were concerned about was Typhoid so we all kept current with T vaccinations. Don't think we ever got infections or illness. We also swam in many lakes and small streams.

    Barton Springs, in Austin TX, is fed by underground springs. It is dammed at one end, natural bottom/sides of rock. The water then is let out into a stream. I doubt there is any sanitation used.

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    Re: My fresh water pool in Bali

    One question I have is why you would want to do this instead of Chlorine? I am a "ponder" as well as a pool guy. Lots has been written on the net on building bio-filtration for large ponds that generally consist of large trickle towers followed by plant filters/bogs.

    As for being "sanitary", it will not be - as the word "bio" in bio-filtration requires the use of nitrogen-processing bacteria - and anything you put in the water to make it sanitary (i.e., sterile) would be counter-productive and kill your bio-filter.

    Hence, in this type of set-up there will always be risk of e. coli (et. al.) bacteria also present in the "system". Some ponders try to improve the quality of the water that moves through the system by placing a UV and/or Ozone system between the filter and the final return of the water.

    But, because there is no sterilization in the main body of water, and because there will be nitrification (addition/break-down of wastes to NO2/NO3) - you will almost assuredly get algae on the sides/floor of your pool.

    A very complicated system, that - depending on your goals - may not give you the results you desire. One way I have (partially) got around this was by having the pond adjacent to the pool but designed as a separate system (the pond still needs a better filtration system - I learned infinitely more after it was installed).

    I would re-think the design - at least for the swimming-pool portion of it.
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    Re: My fresh water pool in Bali

    It would seem that unless the pool were fed by a running natural source, and outflow fed back into it, that the pool would most certainly not be sanitary, no matter how much recirculation or "natural filtration" was designed into the system.

    I find it mildly amusing how naturalists can think that just because something is natural, its not harmful. Not necessarily directed at our submitter here. All sorts of awful nasty deadly bacteria and virii are totally natural. Those along with natural predators, natural eathquakes, natural hurricanes and typhoons, and natural forces of nature ARE DEADLY! Natural <> safe.
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    Re: My fresh water pool in Bali

    I found some info here.
    http://greenbydesign.com/2008/09/24/the ... -optional/

    looks like it need ultraviolet sanitzer and a lot of plant and rocks to filter.
    14000K gal 400sq ft w 6x8 spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS3050, Pentair cart filter, Pentair Master Temp, Pentair Intellichlor IC40, Pentair Easy Touch 8, wireless control. 3x intellibrite LED light. Pentair Kreepy Krauley Sand Shark. Solar Panel Plumbing. 2 x 24 inch arc sheer 24" spa spill way.

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    Re: My fresh water pool in Bali

    I already gave my 2 cents here, but also want to point out that temperature is a factor. Most rivers and streams aren't particularly warm while most swimming pools are at least 78F if not 82F or higher. That makes a big difference in the rate of growth of pathogens. Also, natural bodies of water usually have fairly rapid water flow (rivers and streams) or are very large bodies of water (lakes or ocean). The most dangerous areas are shallower with worse circulation and more human activity (i.e. beaches). As noted in the post, the risk in a low bather load pool is going to be fairly low, but it's not as low as in a sanitized pool.
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    Re: My fresh water pool in Bali

    Quote Originally Posted by AnnaK
    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    A pool without chlorine will not be sanitized....in other words, there's nothing to kill the bacteria ands germs that could be harmful.
    Well . . . hm.

    I grew up with and learned to swim in a fresh water pool in Germany. This was a municipal pool, concrete, deep end with diving board and had an attached kiddie pool which was very shallow. The pool was filled from a small stream which was diverted to flow into the pool and out again back into its stream bed. There was a grate and mesh at the fill end to keep out natural debris as well as fish and frogs and other such aquatic life.

    Cold water! It was the community's gathering place in summer. I'm sure we all peed in that pool and I know we swallowed lots of water yet none of us ever got sick from swimming. Cold, yes. In fact, one or the other of us was always being told to go lie in the sun, "your lips are blue".

    Many of us swim in lakes and rivers even today. Those bodies of water aren't sanitized, either, and yet we survive. Sure, you can get swimmer's itch and yes, some lakes get closed down occasionally because agricultural runoff, especially during spring, contaminates the water for a while. But a natural body of water, with adequate flow-through, can be safe without chemicals.

    There are some pools like this in Austin. The key is the water flows in and out right away. The state DSHS allows them to operate these pools as long as the water temperature is below 68 degrees and that they drain it once a week and bleach wash the shell.
    21' Leslies Beachland Ag Pool, 10,000 gallons, professionally installed (best money I ever spent) Hayward 16" sand filter w/Pentair two speed pump Fafco 4x20 solar heater,Aqua Trol RJ. Borates added. Hard plumbed.

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: My fresh water pool in Bali

    You guys have all hit the nail right on its beady little head - temperature is the main problem.

    As I said on another post I've read and talked to lots of builders/owners of "natural pools" in Europe but none in the tropics and I'm beginning to suspect the reason why. I'm sure that the water temperature would never drop below 80 Fahrenheit! In view of the many safety precautions I would have to take the whole project is beginning to look less and less "green".

    Thanks for the link.

    Mark
    10Kgal vinyl IG, sand filter, UV sanitizer, inline chlorinator gizmo.
    Same system serves spa (except chlorinator is bypassed).
    Langley, BC, Canada

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: My fresh water pool in Bali

    Quote Originally Posted by Markit
    In view of the many safety precautions I would have to take the whole project is beginning to look less and less "green".
    If you decide to go with a more traditional chemically sanitized pool this is a good forum to participate in. My interest in lowering my impact on the environment (to the extent that can be accomplished by a pool owner!) led me to investigate how I could put as few chemicals as possible into the pool... and to this site.

    The "BBB" mantra here has many adherents with various motivations (saving money, maintaining a healthy, safe and 'trouble-free' pool, being independent and self-reliant through knowledge etc.) but its most attractive aspect for me is the avoidance of the mindless application of chemicals.

    Here I've learned that balanced pool water doesn't entail endless trips to the pool supply store, just accurate testing combined with appropriate treatment using a handful of easily procured products. (Stand-alone spas can be a bit more complicated.) I try to combine this conservation with other measures like using a solar pool cover (to reduce evaporation and chemical use.) I purchase all of my electricity through my local utility's 100% green power program, but have learned more since my pool was constructed on other ways to reduce energy.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: My fresh water pool in Bali

    I know this is an old post, but we are also in the tropics ( Belize) and wonder if you managed it? My concern is having the water clear enough that you can see snakes etc! Please let me know if you did and then may I pester you with questions??! Thanks

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    Re: My fresh water pool in Bali

    Hi Markit,

    This is an interesting question and I'm also looking forward to build a freshwater pool in the mountains of Bali. Apparently there are ways to just keep a constant flow of water in and out of the pool to limit the risks of vegetation growth inside the pool, but this requires of course a very good and unlimited access to water. Something that is probably more likely to happen in the mountain area close to springs. Furthermore the temperature is also easier to manage with constant flows + mountain area (about 700 m of altitude), which guarantees a rather cold temperature all of the time.

    But another useful tip that I had is the use of suckermouth fishes that can be permanently put in the pool in order to clean it from algae etc. They are said to be shy so that you can just arrange a place for them to hide when someones gets to swim in the pool (e.g. under the stairs).

    I must admit that I'm just planning it for the time being, but really looking forward to doing it for real as it might be really good!

    Let's keep in touch, did you finally make it and did it go?
    Romain

    Quote Originally Posted by Markit View Post
    Hi as a newby I'd like to introduce myself and thank all of you in advance that are kind enough to offer your advice and experience to help me on what is probably a strange undertaking to many here (can't find any similar topics here so it must be strange).

    I'm building a fresh water pool here on the Indonesian island of Bali and would appreciate some advice. Pool is about 15m by 4/5 with 3 external feeder pools. The feeder pools will be filled with water plants to filter and clean the water for the main pool.
    Pics here:http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/eboyba...epair20091022#

    The pool is about 8 cubic meters of water and the feeders about the same.

    What aquatic plants can you recommend? Any other ideas for the tropics? Lots of fresh water pools in Europe but that doesn't help me much here in the tropics.

    Best regards
    Markit

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