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Duck Pond construction, filter system, uphill pump, waterfall

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

So I've read lots of stuff on duck ponds on this forum and on Pinterest and any where else I can find info on the web.  I am going to try and create my own system using the things I've seen from these sources.  I will post pictures as I go, as construction should start next week.

 

Background:

I have two Pekin Ducks (Benny and Ducky, named by the kids), by accident.  Long story, but we love them.  I am currently incubating their fertilized eggs and so far so good.  Even if the eggs don't work out, I plan on having more ducks, because we've fallen in love with them.  They are much more fun than our Guinea hens, and do ALMOST as good a job eating the pests in my yard.

 

Experience:

I built them a shabby pond with a simple store bought pump and small filter, when we first got them.  I now know that was folly.  So we completely redid our back yard and plan on putting in a legit duck pond, that is as self sustaining as possible.

 

Plan:

I have the pump left over from the old pond, that should suffice to move water.  Since my wife and I never do anything SMALL, we are putting in a waterfall to help aerate the water and give us a nice feature in the back yard.  I will be using a two piece filtration system, using a clarifier, overflowing into a lava rock filter, going back into the pond.  I also plan to use filtering plants and duckweed (to help wth feeding) within the pond to help with the cleaning.  I have dismissed the idea of getting any fish at this point.  SIze of the pond will be relatively big, probably around 10 X15 and up to 18" deep.  This is to have plenty of room to expand our little flock. 

 

Problems:

Will the pump be strong enough to push unfiltered water uphill to the filtration system?

Will I need to put the filtration system near the pump, and buy another pump to push the clean water uphill to the waterfall?

Will all of this actually keep the pond clean!?!

How do I keep feathers and debris from clogging up the initial pump?

Will I have enough time to go fishing this summer?

What kind of plants are best for filtering duck poop (or other stuff that grimes up the water)?

 

Thoughts?  Input?

 

I've read through many of the pond threads already here but have not found any that address my specific issues, though you'll notice that some of those ideas are here.

 

Work on this should start in earnest next week (as I am working this weekend).  I will post pictures of my progress, for those that might be interested. 

 

And I'd welcome any input and criticisms you might have.  I'm not a proud person, so don't worry about hurting my feelings.  I just want to do it right the first time!  Or at least right enough, that when I find something I did wrong, I can fix it.  Thanks!!

post #2 of 18

Problems:

Will the pump be strong enough to push unfiltered water uphill to the filtration system?

depends on the size of the pump. With pumps, always go bigger!

 

Will I need to put the filtration system near the pump, and buy another pump to push the clean water uphill to the waterfall?

Where do you plan to set up the filtration?

My pond is 10x7 and 18" deep. I have a ~70 gallon filter box that falls back into the pond. That filter box is where water is pushed into from the pump and it filters up through a few layers of Blue AC filter stuff and then several bags of lava rocks. I've seen some people use strapping instead of the lava rock... I might swap to that as I do have to clean my filter and those rocks aren't light!.

 

Will all of this actually keep the pond clean!?!

Depends on what you mean by clean.

Clear - probably not.

I clean my pond about once a year now. I have 4 ducks. The pond bottom is full of sand and poop. I use a pool skimmer to clean the pond as needed and just run it along the bottom of the pond. That pulls up sticks, leaves, frogs, acorns, etc (my pond is partially under a tree - intentionally). It does pull up some duck poop as well, but it leaves behind just as much.

Unless stirred up, the poop stays on the bottom.

My pond is clear on day one after a water change. Day 2 it is cloudy. Day 3 it starts turning green. And it stays green with algae, but it doesn't smell and the ducks don't care, so neither do I. 

The filter box - DISGUSTING. I drain that and then get a buck and scoop poop water that is too thick to go through the pump into the yard. I had thought about installing a drain in the bottom, but everybody said you never need to clean a skippy filter. Well, with ducks, you do! It stinks. It is gross and the ducks love it! So now I do the filter first and then drain the pond to dilute the poop even more. And if possible, I try to do it with rain in the forecast, but that doesn't happen often.

 

How do I keep feathers and debris from clogging up the initial pump?

You have a couple of options

1 - put the pump in a filter box (can use a milk crate with blue AC filter to line it - this gives you a prefilter of sorts). I find I just had another disgusting thing to clean by doing that

2 - get a pool skimmer and clean a few times a week or after storms - this keeps it pretty debris free

When it does get clogged up, just unplug and clean it out.

Or avoid that and swish it around in the pond every now and again to keep it cleaner.

 

Will I have enough time to go fishing this summer?

Not if you are digging by hand!

I built a raised pond - while my husband was hurt, so I did all the work. When it came time to pounding rebar in through 5 layers of landscape timbers, he was able to help a bit. We also overkill everything we do and I swear if a tornado every comes through our yard, the pond will still be standing after!

It took me a few weeks, but I started in May when it is already stinking hot/humid here in coastal AL.

 

What kind of plants are best for filtering duck poop (or other stuff that grimes up the water)?

I hear water hyacinth are good. I bought some. They left them alone for 2 days and then the dogs showed them they could eat them. So I put them in the filter box and had ducks hopping out of the pond on the ledge to grab plants. Day 3 I had no more plants. I'm not sure duck weed would last long enough to get established.

Try floating plants with good roots - they will use the ick in the pond. But be prepared that the ducks will find them as tasty snacks.

post #3 of 18

I am just posting here so I can follow your project :pop I'd like to dig my own pond once I establish a permanent location for my ducks. Good luck!

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Got some pics to share but struggling with how to attach them!
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 


Kind of my before pic



I was going to make my own filter, but the guy at our landscaping place was looking to unload this one



Used a shower drain at the bottom of the liner with some mesh, gravity feed into a 5 gallon bucket with my 3900gpm pump. Pumps into the filter.which gravity feeds another container with my 3900 gym going up the waterfall

Problem is that I can't find equilibrium with the system. It's either pumping too fast or too slow, I will work on that tomorrow. Little frustrated.....
post #6 of 18

I always like to see how people build their ponds. I am working on one for my exotic duck aviary for my mandarin ducks right now. It has been a long process because I have had some problems with a bear eating my precious birds and destroying my enclosures ugh:barnie  but I will continue soon, I am still looking for ways to keep it clean for longer so I don't have so much work. So I will be following to see if I can find some more ideas to use on my pond!:pop   ​

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birchymm View Post



Kind of my before pic



I was going to make my own filter, but the guy at our landscaping place was looking to unload this one



Used a shower drain at the bottom of the liner with some mesh, gravity feed into a 5 gallon bucket with my 3900gpm pump. Pumps into the filter.which gravity feeds another container with my 3900 gym going up the waterfall

Problem is that I can't find equilibrium with the system. It's either pumping too fast or too slow, I will work on that tomorrow. Little frustrated.....

 This is a good filter idea!  I don't know exactly how your system works or how you want it to be but would it be easier to make the filter gravity directly to the top of the waterfall so you could eliminate a step in the pumping part of the filter and maybe that would help it work better?....Just a suggestion and I don't know if it would even work for you, but just though I would mention it.

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

That was my initial idea, since that would be a lot easier.  I guess I might be overthinking, but I figured that pumping dirty water uphill to be filtered would be silly.  But I still might do that since I cant get this two pump equilibrium thing figured out.  I have one more idea, and if that doesn't work, I'll be going to one pump and put the filter at the top of the waterfall.

post #9 of 18

Did I read this correctly? You're planning on 2 pumps?

 

As an avid aquarium hobbyist, I'd not recommend that, unless you want to get into float switches to prevent your system from pumping out the whole pond if one of your pumps fails.

 

I've been planning a build myself and was planning 300 gal pond, pumped to a plastic trashcan that acts as a container for a bio-filter. Pump the water in from the bottom through a few layers of media then let gravity do the work on the way out.

Follow my flock on instagram and on my blog herouxpotager.com
Duckling Cam is Live! Last Broadcast of the season! View the Thread or go right to the cam!

 

My Flock: 2 Adult ducks, 2 ducklings (hatched late April), 4 ducklings (hatched mid May), 6 ducklings (hatched late May), 1 duckling (hatched under a broody momma in early June.) All Saxonies.

Reply

Follow my flock on instagram and on my blog herouxpotager.com
Duckling Cam is Live! Last Broadcast of the season! View the Thread or go right to the cam!

 

My Flock: 2 Adult ducks, 2 ducklings (hatched late April), 4 ducklings (hatched mid May), 6 ducklings (hatched late May), 1 duckling (hatched under a broody momma in early June.) All Saxonies.

Reply
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birchymm View Post
 

That was my initial idea, since that would be a lot easier.  I guess I might be overthinking, but I figured that pumping dirty water uphill to be filtered would be silly.  But I still might do that since I cant get this two pump equilibrium thing figured out.  I have one more idea, and if that doesn't work, I'll be going to one pump and put the filter at the top of the waterfall.

ok, let me know how it goes! cant wait to see what the pond looks like when it is done! also I am very interested in what you figure out on your filtration system, I might steal the idea if it will work for me! :pop

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