Dirty pond (pool)

CrazyEyes

Member
Aug 11, 2019
8
Central Coast , CA
Hello everyone!

We have a pond on our farm that we basically use as a pool. It is lined with a 30 mil vinyl liner. However, we got the cart in front of the horse and did not install any sort of filter, pump, vacuum, or circulation system. We now realize that was a mistake. We have algae like you wouldn't believe and trying to keep up with it, especially without any knowledge or experience, has been a challenge.

If anyone has any advise on what type of system and how to install it after the water feature is already in I would appreciate it. Also, I probably need to post something in the algae area as I need to figure out how to control the algae take over...

The pond is about 20,000 gallons.
Lined with a black vinyl liner.
Surrounded by trees so lots of leaves and debris.
Dogs and kids in and out of it so lots of dirt

All we have done is circulate chlorine in it occasionally with a submersible pump and hoses.

please help save my sanity!!

Thank you
 

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CrazyEyes

Member
Aug 11, 2019
8
Central Coast , CA
Welcome to TFP.

Doing what you do with chlorine and pumps is the low cost way. But it will be a never ending battle.

How much money you want to throw into this pit? Why not install a real vinyl liner pool in the hole?

I suggest you read ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
Hi.

Welcome to TFP.

Doing what you do with chlorine and pumps is the low cost way. But it will be a never ending battle.

How much money you want to throw into this pit? Why not install a real vinyl liner pool in the hole?

I suggest you read ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
We are prepared to spend a little money to make it manageable but hoping it doesn’t turn into a rabbit hole/money pit.
We wanted it to look like a pond/swimming hole and we wanted it to be in a specific shape. I think we succeeded in doing that, especially with all the algae that comes with a pond... Now we are realizing that with how often we are in it we should try to manage the quality of the water.
 

CrazyEyes

Member
Aug 11, 2019
8
Central Coast , CA
I’m thinking I’ll need to pump a pump and filter system in that will run over the side of the pond. We consulted with a few “pool guys” and it seemed more like they just wanted us to buy multiple chemicals to dump in and more chemicals to balance the other chemicals and a lot of money to do it. I was hoping for a slightly more natural or at least limited chemical approach...
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
12,868
Northern NJ
I agree you need to setup a pump and circulation system for the pond. My concern with putting a filter is what type of filter will not get clogged quickly?

Chlorine is the chemical that deals with algae. You really need to add CYA/stabilizer to protect the chlorine from the sun UV.

Do you have a pool test kit? It would be interesting what pH and TA is of the pond water.
 

Dave31410

Bronze Supporter
Feb 27, 2018
124
Savannah, GA
What is your water source? If you have a well or spring, you could just let it continually feed the pond and let it overflow to waste, which would have to return to a natural outflow such as a creek.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
23,424
Laughlin, NV
If you plan to have a closed system, you will not have a 'natural' pool, whatever that means.

You will have a pool. That is chlorinated, maintained, filtered, etc.
 

crusemm

Bronze Supporter
Sep 1, 2011
198
North Texas
If you want to run that as a pool you will need to purchase and install the following things:
1. A quality pump, 110/220 depending on power available. VS is recommended for new pools, may not matter for yours.
2. Some sort of filter. In your case probably a sand filter. DE is better (catches smaller stuff) but you would be backwashing every other week.
3. Some sort of "over the side" plumbing that should include a skimmer and preferably two return legs, however one may be your only real option.

You will need to do the following either shortly before or right after the equipment is in place
1. Remove all of the sand/dirt from the bottom of the pool
2. remove all organic debris from the pool
3. add the appropriate amount of CYA and LC to sanitize the pool.

I would also recommend you do the following
1. Read Pool School, treat your pool as an in ground vinyl pool.
2. Install some sort of LC injection system (such as a Stenner pump)
3. Realize after all this time, effort, and expense you still don't have something as good as a real professionally installed vinyl liner pool and you will be 3/4 of the way there on price.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
Hi CrazyEyes! And welcome to TFP. You won't find much info here, or support really, for running a "natural pool." As Marty wrote, "whatever that means." You'll find the info at TFP centers around chlorinated pools. And I concur. Personally, I wouldn't want to swim in a pool that wasn't chlorinated, as a chlorinated pool is the easiest, most cost effective to maintain, and safest in terms of both water and swimmer health.

As was suggested, read Pool School. I recommend you download the ebook and use that, as it reads more like a book, topic to topic, than does the online version (which consists of independent links that you have to kinda jump back and forth to read in whole). The content of the two are identical otherwise.

Step two (which you should do even before you finish the book) is to order a proper test kit. All of TFP's teachings and advice is based on knowing what your pool's chemistry is. You don't want to put any chemicals in your pool until you understand what it needs. Don't shortcut this action item, by trying to save money at the local pool store with a cheap kit. This is the only kit you'll need or want: TFTestkits

While your waiting for the kit to arrive, you'll need to start on crusemm's advice (paragraph 2):
You will need to do the following either shortly before or right after the equipment is in place
1. Remove all of the sand/dirt from the bottom of the pool
2. remove all organic debris from the pool
3. add the appropriate amount of CYA and LC to sanitize the pool.
The chlorine you add won't be able to "catch up" enough to sanitize the water as long as there are large amounts of sand and debris and leaves in it. So job three is to purge your pool of everything except water.

A little primer on some of the shorthand being used in your thread (which you'll also learn in Pool School):
LC = liquid chlorine
CYA = cyanuric acid. This chemical helps maintain the level of chlorine in your pool. Without it you'll use way more chlorine than necessary.
pH and TA (Total Alkalinity) = these are levels, along with your chlorine level and a few others, that you'll need to test for and maintain for good water quality. You can't adjust these important levels without a test kit.
VS = variable speed pump (which I highly recommend). You can dial in a VS pump to the RPM that best balances circulation and cost of electricity. They quickly pay for themselves compared to a single speed pump.
LC injection system = this is an automated chlorine injection device that greatly reduces the amount of effort required to maintain a pool. Love mine, as most here that have one do. I also have a pool vacuum and acid injection system, and between these three my pool maintenance effort is very low.

There's a lot to learn. Keep at it. Don't buy any equipment just yet. Let's get your water tested, post the results. The experts here will be better able to help you after you do that. Then we'll start putting together a plan, based on your water and your goals, that will then provide you a better idea of what you need to install, equipment-wise. At that point, you can take stock and decide if turning your pond into a pool is the best way to go, or if alternatives might make more sense in the long run.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
Oh, yah, another step for you... You need to fill in your signature. I realize you don't have a lot of stuff to list just yet, but you could add a description of your pool, and what you know about it so far (size, water source, dimensions, etc). Update as you go. This way, someone coming to your thread doesn't have to hunt around, or read your whole thread, to know what we're talking about. Look at others' posts for examples of how to format a signature and what to include.
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,970
NW Ohio
Welcome to TFP!

You appear to be trying to find some middle ground between a traditional pool and a "natural pool". Well, I'm sorry to tell you but there isn't one.

A traditional pool uses a sanitizer and oxidizer to keep water clear and sanitary. It is extremely unnatural insofar as a body of water sitting out in the sun and air is going to grow algae and bacteria and a pool is chemically treated to prevent this. Regardless of natural or not (wooden houses are not natural, computers are not natural, drinking the milk of another animal is not natural, humans do a lot of great unnatural stuff) it is a safe way to maintain a body of water for swimming. Chlorine is really the best option, it is safe and reliable. Bromine and biguanide are also acceptable but usually most costly and more work with no real benefits over chlorine.

A "natural pool" is a highly specialized ecosystem to run a sort of small pond that keeps itself clear and sort-of-but-not-really sanitary. They exist, but they are not just holes in the ground, they are very complex and require a lot more work than what you speak of. We don't support their use, I wouldn't swim in one, but they are out there.

If you are attempting to find some middle ground you are probably going to run in to "chemical free", "chlorine free", or other "more natural" systems. I put those all in quotes because they are all marketing wonk for adding other chemicals to keep the water clear with less or no chlorine. Any system you use adds chemicals to the water. The sellers of these systems and buyers seem convinced that chlorine is a chemical but copper and ozone are magic fairy dust. No, they are all chemicals and chlorine is one that actually sanitizes water as well as keep it clear and no amount of sales tactics can make that untrue.

Obviously we highly recommend you run a pool to TFPC. It is simple, effective, sanitary, and very comfortable to swim in. It is also the only method we endorse. It is your body of water though and your choice of how to manage it, but understand if you choose another route that doesn't involve properly sanitizing the water we are unable to help you. Regardless I wish you the best of luck with it.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
Obviously we highly recommend you run a pool to TFPC
So, Donldson (or anyone), if CrazyEyes decides he wants to run a TFP pool, is there a path for him? You saw his pic, he'd have to figure out how to run some pipes over the side of that berm, to/from a filter system (which I can sort of picture), plus figure out some way to skim and vacuum (which is a little bit harder to imagine). Is it realistic to think this can be done? Does anybody here have any experience in building a custom system like that?
 

frogabog

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2010
2,833
Portland, Oregon
Fish. Some lilypads. Crappie and bluegill. They love that. The kids will have so much fun catch and release. They will become pets.

Bass will eat them. Trout ok.

Spend the $ on a proper pool for the kids. Let them fish otherwise.

Can you tell I always want a fishing pond close by?
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
fogabog, I hear what you're saying, and wouldn't try to talk CrazyEyes out of your idea if he liked it. I'm just thinking out loud about if there is any chance he'd be able to run that pond as a sanitized pool, or if yours is, in fact, the best, or only, option.

A word of caution though, this is California we're talking about, and our Fish and Game Department has some rather strict laws about manipulating fish in bodies of water, complete with very substantial fines (like five-figure fines). You can't necessarily just throw some fish in a pond and start having fun. Not without them involved. Private property is not exempt. Just sayin'... CrazyEyes needs to do his due diligence before he moves on any plan...
 
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CrazyEyes

Member
Aug 11, 2019
8
Central Coast , CA
If you want to run that as a pool you will need to purchase and install the following things:
1. A quality pump, 110/220 depending on power available. VS is recommended for new pools, may not matter for yours.
2. Some sort of filter. In your case probably a sand filter. DE is better (catches smaller stuff) but you would be backwashing every other week.
3. Some sort of "over the side" plumbing that should include a skimmer and preferably two return legs, however one may be your only real option.

You will need to do the following either shortly before or right after the equipment is in place
1. Remove all of the sand/dirt from the bottom of the pool
2. remove all organic debris from the pool
3. add the appropriate amount of CYA and LC to sanitize the pool.

I would also recommend you do the following
1. Read Pool School, treat your pool as an in ground vinyl pool.
2. Install some sort of LC injection system (such as a Stenner pump)
3. Realize after all this time, effort, and expense you still don't have something as good as a real professionally installed vinyl liner pool and you will be 3/4 of the way there on price.
Thank you very much for laying it for me. It’s a bit overwhelming because I have little to no experience so your suggestions are perfect for me to start wrapping my mind around the upcoming project.
 

CrazyEyes

Member
Aug 11, 2019
8
Central Coast , CA
Fish. Some lilypads. Crappie and bluegill. They love that. The kids will have so much fun catch and release. They will become pets.

Bass will eat them. Trout ok.

Spend the $ on a proper pool for the kids. Let them fish otherwise.

Can you tell I always want a fishing pond close by?
I did have bass in it a while back, don’t ask where I got them from! It was great! The pond is in an area that we rent out for vacation rentals and parties so we are trying to make it more of a clean water feature/pool now. Depending on how this process goes, I may end up going back to a fishing pond at some point though...
 

CrazyEyes

Member
Aug 11, 2019
8
Central Coast , CA
Is this in a commercial area? Is there sand/dirt on the bottom?
It is a combined use. It’s our property but it is in an area we rent for vacation stays and for weddings/parties. We manicured/shapes the area then lined it with 40mil vinyl. There is no sand or clay in the water feature, just the leaves and dirt it collects...