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Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Wifezilla, Mar 16, 2009.
Did anyone happen to save this pdf - it no longer seems to be available. I'd love to see it!
Yes... I would as well.
Love that this thread is still drawing interest! Read this a few years ago and then just went with the kiddie pool dump, scrub, refill method. Hubby just bought a 300 gallon stock tank so going to try to set up pump/filtration this way. Anyone want to update "wish I would ofs" before I start? I have 3 ducks, 1 goose and won't be adding to the flock. Would like a mini donkey and some mini goats but those are different forums!
I just started a duck pond with a 6' diameter x 2' deep (400+ gallons) stock tank with a 95 gallon stock tank that will be used as a Skippy filter. I had to put the output from the filter lower than I'd wanted due to the design of my Southern States (versus Rubbermaid) stock tank- the flat side had a ridge close to the top so I couldn't put the flange as high as I would have liked. I have ten 17" commercial floor scrubber pads inside for filter media, and am considering putting those toward the front of the tank and having another egg crate light grade divide the inside up so the back area is for pond plants like anacharis, duckweed, water lettuce, etc. I started work on everything, got the hole for the pond dug and leveled, big stock tank set in and backfilled, and the smaller tank set up as the filter as far as attaching the flange to the front, on Tuesday since it was 65 degrees F out and I had off (school teacher) for the primaries. Ever since it's been cold and windy, and might snow tomorrow. Needless to say I will probably have to scrape off all the silicone caulk since it probably never set properly with the weather.
I had a sump pump I bought at Harbor Freight that I'd intended to use as my pond pump, but read about all the negative aspects of using one here and in other sources, so I ordered a Tetra Debris Handling pump rated for 3000 gallons. We'll see...
I bought the big stock tank a few years back (stopped using it when a chicken fell in and drowned later that season... terrible but I think it was a fluke) that probably cost about $250, and beyond that I have $75 in the smaller stock tank, $25 in floor scrubber pads, $125 for the pump, $26 for 2 egg crate light grates, probably about $20 in random PVC stuff... I'm sure there's more I can't think of right now, so it's not going to be cheap, but all in all I think it's going to work out pretty well and it'll be way cheaper if this setup works from the start. (I keep thinking of when I first got chickens, and started out with an Eglu for my two that became 5... then "upgraded" to some other ridiculously overpriced and poorly designed coop and run, then finally went out and bought a Lowe's plastic shed for a couple hundred, made panels out of 2x4s and 1/2" hardware cloth and a roof out of corrugated plastic roofing panels for the attached run, and finally had a winner. Just how much these eggs have cost me each will forever be incalculable.)
I've got 5 ducks and we just dug/lined a pond that is about 5' deep in the middle, 10x8. We are planning to use2 large garden tubs for biofiltering on the outside that are fenced off from the ducks.
We are doing a berm around the edge, and then pavers and rocks. Since that isn't done yet and we have water in the pond I bought some koi/goldfish and 2 plecos as well as a small aerator to help with mosquito larvae and algea growth.
Here's hoping we can get a healthy ecosystem going!
Can anyone/everyone update us how well their pond is doing?
I'd be especially interested to know the following:
1. Estimated cost of pond install
2. Type of pond design (duckoponics/aquaponics/classic pond)
3. Type of pond material (linear/mold, etc.)
4. Dimensions of pond
5. Approximate volume (gallons)
6. Pump components
7. Biofilter components
A. How well your pond design is working and what is the daily/weekly/monthly/seasonal maintenance
B. What you would do differently/lessons learned from building your pond.
So we did manage to experiment with this, but certainly need lots of improvements. Here's what I found over the last 5 months. Unhappily, the resulting pond is NOT esthetically pleasing, but functional.
We had a 20 gallon rubber pan we filled with water every day and drained, but ducks being ducks, it was mostly mud most of the day. Funny, though how the chickens and guineas also prefer the duck-flavored water over the fresh clean drinkers, no accounting for fowl.
I bought a 500 gallon kiddie pool, the type that have rigid sides and a soft rubber bottom for $18. Its about 18" tall and about 8' in diameter, and I dug a hole to put it in so the top edge was an inch or so higher than the ground. I also tried to make the center deeper than the sides by a few inches, not too much though because I wasn't sure how much stretch the pool would tolerate. we surrounded the pool with large rocks to keep the duckies from taking mouthfuls of dirt to rinse in the water, and also surrounded the whole area with a thick layer of mulched shredded bark.
Then we got one of those 150 gallon stock tanks, and made a version of a 'skippy filter' - put a plastic frame we had lying around that divided the tank in half. I didn't buy floor scrubbers, but instead used a roll of the blue swamp cooler pads, I meant to chop it up, but my husband was in a hurry (we were leaving town the next day) and we ended up just laying three layers flat. This left more room for us to stick plants in the top, but I don't know if it might have been better to have more gaps in between.
Then we took a 5 gallon bucket, cut slots out of the sides, and put in a $40 pond pump that pumps 600 gallons per hour, At first I surrounded the bucket with more of the swamp cooler pad stuff to filter out leaves and feathers but it fell apart quickly, later used some netting which was too fine and clogged too quickly, and how am using window screening which I rinse off once a week - seems to work best.
I trudged down to a dry stream bed that cuts through our property and dug up some cattails, and put them bare rooted in 2 gallon pots with stones to weigh them down. the pots didn't really stay in place, so I put some field fencing over the top of the tub and threaded them through. they filled up the center third of the tub. Then I bought a red, white and black mangrove seedings - but they don't like our climate here, I think only three of the 50 plants survived, I'm keeping those in the greenhouse to see if I can get them better established and will have to bring them in most of the year - even in summer it gets down to the 50s at night at my house, which may be too cold for them. However it could be 95 during the day (I'm at 7000 feet in the NM mountains) The plant I had great success with was water lettuce - I ordered some on amazon and got 5 little plants in a zip lock in the mail. In a few weeks, they had choked out the tub, so I'm hoping they are cleaning as much as it seems! I also ordered duckweed, since its a good food for them, I hear 40% protein, but I couldn't get that established. I may try again in the greenhouse.
So in a way, we have a working system. I have 11 ducks which is very hard on this little pond, and the water does get pretty icky. Every two weeks or so we pump out 3/4 of the water into the garden and orchards. But I worry the water is getting septic sometimes, especially now in the fall when the algae doesn't grow (I think it was doing a lot of the cleaning too) It is not a pretty pond, but the ducks love it and the chickens and guineas venture out into the rocks we have in the pond to get a drink too,
I think next spring we'll add another filter with sand and gravel. Also, I wish I had a slope to the pond so that solids (feathers, leaves and poo sludge) could be more easily removed. I've never cleaned my 'skippy filter' but I have pumped out all the water from it, leaving the sludge thinking all the good bacteria is in there, but I still think the system is overwhelmed by poo. I'd like to also do more hydroponics - maybe pump the water through shallower trays where we can grow stuff for the flock to eat or even veggies for us.
A few times we had power failures and all the water in the filter tub siphoned back into the pond, sometimes flooding the chicken yard. My husband came up with a brilliant idea - he put a connection on the hose from the pump to the filter just over the filter's edge that we can tighten when we want to siphon out the tub, but we keep it loose most of the time. It drips a little into the tub, but that's OK, if the pump stops it isn't air locked and the suction is broken so the water stays where it should. Way cheaper than buying an air lock!
So, its not exactly sustainable yet, we still need to exchange the water at least once a month if not sooner, but we've been able to use rain water from collection tanks instead of our scarce well water, and we don't need to scrub the muddy/poopy pan every day which is a huge time saver. It doesn't use less water, but we can recycle the water more efficiently for the garden.
I'm not sure what our plan is for winter - I don't think we can keep it from freezing We've though of covering it with a mini greenhouse hoping that the water might hold some heat from the sun, I'll post updates as we make them.
Lil 2 U,
Thanks for posting your experience. Have you ever thought of putting in a swirl filter between the pond and your skippy filter? As you mentioned, 11 ducks create a lot of biomaterial which is very difficult for the skippy filter to handle by itself. The swirl filter will remove much of the sludge from your pond before going to your skippy filter. In your case (i.e. 11 ducks), you might even want to do two Skippy filters in parallel so that the concentration of biomaterial is reduced by 50% between the two filters. Last stop should be your plants before dumping the water back into the pond.
Maybe I missed it, but how do you keep your ducks from eating the plants you are using to filter your water with?
Personally I would just shut down your pond for the winter and provide the ducks with dunking pails to obtain their water and clean their eyes/nostrils with.
The plants are the top layer of the Skippy filter - but you are right, any time any of the birds has access to it they will chomp it down to nothing, so I have a very inelegant piece of horse fence around the filter to protect it from my voracious birds. I've been thinking about a swirl filter, and definitely plan to experiment with multiple filters. I hate thinking about shutting down operations for winter, though, the birds do so enjoy swimming, and it so nice not to deal with carrying water around in the winter. I wanted to post a photo but its such a gloomy dark day today, and raining (which is very rare for us) I dumped half of the water lettuce out last weekend since they were crowding terribly and some got frost bitten, I should have taken pictures in the summer when it was surrounded with greenery!