SF Bay Area Koi Club

Organization of Pond and Koi Keepers

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  • 06/25/2017 9:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This is an excellent article, originally from an aquarium magazine, that explains the problems of chlorine and chloramines in city water supplies.  It mentions  the chemicals or methods you should be using to treat your incoming water, and I have also made a few Koi pond comments.   If you use city water for your pond, you need to read this article!

    Most people take water which comes through their faucets directly from their local water companies and put it into their aquariums. After all, what the heck, why not? It is plentiful and inexpensive. Unfortunately for the hobbyist, every local water company adds chemicals to the water to make it safe to drink. This is a mandated requirement from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The two major chemicals they add to the water to kill the harmful bacteria and other organics are chlorine and/or chloramine. Of the many chemicals that may be added to your water by the local water company, chlorine and chloramine, both of which are very different in character and nature, are the two most harmful to your fish. We will discuss these two chemicals in greater detail shortly.

    Additionally, many water companies today are pumping water to you through pipes which they laid in the ground many, many moons ago, and many of them are made of lead. Over the course of time, water can have a detrimental effect on lead pipes especially if it is on the acidic side, or in other words, it has a low Ph value. To combat this effect on their lead pipes, the water companies will add additional chemicals to the water to make the water more alkaline or have a much higher pH value.

    Alkaline water has a much lesser detrimental effect on the lead pipes than that of the acidic water. And to further complicate matters, this is only the beginning. It would be one story if the water company could guarantee us the same water conditions 100% of the time, but they cannot!

    From day to day the chemical structure of our water is very volatile. The water companies do not do this on purpose, but rather it occurs for reasons which Mother Nature herself controls. In warmer climate areas, more especially during the summer months, the bacteria booms and their levels are much higher. For this reason, the water companies will use more chlorine in the water in an effort to combat the excessive bacteria. Heavy rainfalls will also turn the water more acidic, lowering the pH value. Acid rain seems to be the norm in today's world. On occasion, a water company might have their supply of water depleted to the point that they have to purchase a supply from a neighboring water company. If the chemical structure of the water from the two companies is not identical, other variances will be present when it comes out of your faucet.


    As I stated above, chlorine is an EPA mandated chemical in our drinking water and must be present at a specific minimal level. More importantly the level of bacteria is monitored and controlled. In order to get the bacteria down to the meet the minimal EPA requirements, the water company might have to greatly increase the amount of chlorine they add to the water. Chlorine has a natural tendency to evaporate from the water over a period of 18 to 24 hours. Therefore, even though a heavy dosage might have been added at the water company and depending upon how far away you live from the water company and how long it took to travel to you, the chlorine's presence will be diminished by the time it comes out of your faucet. However, it is still present in the water and must be attended to before being introduced to your fish.

    Why you ask?

    As I stated earlier, chlorine is very harmful to your fish even in very small quantities. Very small quantities will cause the fish a great deal of stress while higher quantities are extremely toxic and will kill them in a very short time frame. The good news is that most fish stores generally carry several different brands of products which will neutralize the chlorine effects. The major common ingredient in all of these products is the chemical sodium thiosulfate, which chemically diffuses and neutralizes the chlorine effects instantly. The cost of these products is relatively low, especially if you compare it to the cost of having to replace your fish. If your water contains chlorine, this is an item which I would recommend you have on hand, and more importantly use, every time you make a water change. There is an alternative to using these products, so let me give you the flip side.

    As previously mentioned, chlorine has a natural tendency to evaporate from the water over a period of 18 to 24 hours. Therefore, you could put tap water into large buckets or pails and let it sit for 24 hours or so before adding to your aquarium water. It is important that the water have continuous movement during this time to aid in the evaporation of the chlorine. Therefore, I would recommend air being pumped through an airstone be added to each bucket. If you have a relatively small amount of water to 'allow to sit', this may work well for you. If you have a great amount of water to change, buckets and/or storage space might very well be a problem for you, in which case, I would suggest you look into the aforementioned products.

    Chlorine has two strikes against it, however, and is being done away with by many of the water companies. Because chlorine evaporates so rapidly plus the fact that it has been proven that chlorine, in conjunction with some types of bacteria which may or may not be present in the water, will form a type of cancer causing agent, many water companies have switched, or are in the process of switching, to chloramine.


    If your water contains only chlorine, then the sodium thiosulfate product is all you will need. If your water contains chloramine, there are other significant dangers for your fish. Chloramine is a chemical which contains chlorine and ammonia. If you use a sodium thiosulfate product, only the chlorine part of the chloramine is neutralized. Remember, ammonia is highly toxic to your fish. If the ammonia is not neutralized, you will be subjecting your fish to an extreme amount of stress and possibly their final day of existence in your aquarium. What is that you say? You thought that ammonia is removed by your biological filter? You are correct, however, the ammonia neutralizing bacteria in your aquarium is by nature automatically proportioned to the amount of ammonia being produced in your aquarium each day.

    A sudden increase in the ammonia level without having the bacteria available to neutralize it, will many times lead to disaster. Yes, the bacteria will eventually catch up to the ammonia level, but I would not suggest you wait. The chemists of the world have again come through in the clutch and created a product which will neutralize both parts of chloramine completely. This product is also available on the shelves of most fish stores under several different names and it too is relatively inexpensive. Just as there is with chlorine, here is an alternative way to eliminate chloramine without having to use these products.

    {The products manufactured for use with Koi ponds are ChlorAm-X and Ultimate.  K.O.I. does not recommend using other products.}

    First, chloramine does not evaporate so you cannot simply let it sit in a bucket with aeration for 24 hours and then use it. The alternative method would be to put the water into buckets and aerate it as a first step.

    Secondly, and this is a 'must do' item to perform, you will need to treat the water with the product of your choice as discussed above in the chlorine part of this article to eliminate the chlorine. Failure to eliminate the chlorine from chloramine will result in the bacteria in your biological filter being killed. I just gave you a big hint as to what the third step is. Yes, you are correct!! An established biological filter must be added to each bucket of water. When all traces of the ammonia have vanished, the water may be added to your aquarium. Although this method is not very cost effective, it will work.

    Which do I have?

    Rather than testing your water, the best solution is to go right to the source. Call your local water company. Simply explain that you have an aquarium {pond!} and need to find out what chemicals, etc., are in the water they provide to you. By law they are required to produce water quality reports for the EPA, which are to be made available to the public upon request. Ask them to send you a copy. You will be shocked to see what really is in your water. We hit upon the two big ingredients but there are many, many more. You will see columns of various ingredients along with their percentages. Most will not matter to you, however, a couple you want to look for are items which you can test for with the use of common test kits. They include phosphate, iron, nitrate, etc.

    In conclusion

    Quite simply, be sure you know what is in your tap water and treat it appropriately before adding it to your aquarium and ending up with a major catastrophe!

    This article was written by Ed Keene from the Diamond State Aquarium Society, February 2014 issue of Gravel Gossip

  • 06/10/2017 7:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here is tutorial of how to fold an origami koi.  No audio - just good, simple demo of how to fold a paper Koi.


    There is also Origami Koi 2.0

  • 06/03/2017 8:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As fins evolve to help fish swim, so does the nervous system.  Study shows that shape and mechanics of fish fins evolve in parallel with the sensory system, tuned to swimming behavior.

    The sensory system in fish fins evolves in parallel to fin shape and mechanics, and is specifically tuned to work with the fish's swimming behavior, according to new research from the University of Chicago. The researchers found these parallels across a wide range of fish species, suggesting that it may occur in other animals as well.

    The study, published April 10, 2017 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, combined measurements of fin shape from hundreds of specimens of the Labridae family with fin mechanical properties and neural responses recorded from eight different Labrid species, commonly known as wrasses. These measurements were then mapped on an evolutionary tree of 340 wrasses to determine how the mechanical properties and nervous systems of the fins evolved over time.

    "As pectoral fins evolve different shapes, behaviors, and mechanical properties, we've shown that the sensory system is also evolving with them," said Brett Aiello, a PhD student in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, and the lead author of the study. "This allows the sensory system to be tuned to the different stimuli relevant to the locomotor behaviors and fin mechanics of different species."

    When animals use appendages for movement, they rely on sensory feedback from those limbs to control motion. Nerves in the pectoral fins of fish detect the fin rays' position and how much they bend as they move through the water, which helps the fish sense speed and the relative position of their fins.

    The shape of the fin affects how the fish will move too. Scientists use a number called aspect ratio (AR) to measure this shape. High AR means the fin is long and narrow, or more wing-like; low AR means the fin is broad or round, and more paddle-like. Wrasses with high AR, wing-like fins flap them to maximize efficiency and thrust as they propel themselves forward, while those with the broader, low AR, paddle-like fins use rowing movements to maneuver close to reef bottoms.

    Aiello and his colleagues collected fin aspect ratio measurements from hundreds of Labrid species at the Field Museum, and combined that data with a genetic phylogeny of 340 Labrids developed by Mark Westneat, PhD, professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and co-author on the study. Using DNA from living fishes, Westneat constructed a family tree of relationships between these species, tracing how they evolved through time. The researchers then mapped the fin shape of each species on the phylogeny, allowing them to track fin evolution from their ancestral state to living species. The ancestral state reconstruction revealed patterns of convergent evolution, with high AR fins originating independently at least 22 times.

    With this history of fin evolution in place, the researchers also tested the mechanical properties and sensory system sensitivity in the pectoral fins of four pairs of closely related Labrid species, one with low AR fins and one with independently evolved high AR fins. The team tested the sensory response by measuring the neural response from the pectoral fin nerves as they bent the fin, and then repeated the process, bending the fins a different amount each time.

    What they found gave more clues about the utility of each kind of fin. The low AR, paddle-like fins tended to be more flexible, and the high AR fins were more stiff or rigid. But the sensory system of the wing-like, high AR fins was also more sensitive, meaning the fins were more responsive to a smaller magnitude of bending. Aiello said he believes that a more sensitive nervous system evolved in the high AR fins because it needed to be more responsive to smaller movements as the fish use these stiff, less flexible fins to swim.

    The work is the product of collaboration across disciplines, a hallmark of the Organismal Biology and Anatomy program at UChicago. The resulting PNAS study could have been three separate papers: the archival research of specimens from the Field Museum, the genetic phylogeny, and the neurobiological study of the living species.

    "Collaboration among scientists with different perspectives and expertise can take research in whole new directions," said Melina Hale, the William Rainey Harper Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and senior author of the study. "It is also a lot of fun because we learn about each other's fields. For experimentalists, like us, working with colleagues and natural history collections at the Field Museum has been particularly important as they bring key insights on evolution and biodiversity."

    Besides giving biologists a better understanding of how fish have optimized their swimming mechanics, the results of the study could also be useful to engineers developing underwater autonomous vehicles. The propulsion systems of these devices need to be both efficient and responsive, and there are perhaps no better designs to copy than those perfected through evolution over millions of years.

    "A lot of the problems that engineers run into are similar to the type of things that animals have already evolved solutions to over time," Aiello said. "If we start to look more towards bio-inspired technology and incorporating some of the things we see in nature in our engineered devices, I think it will help advance and solve some of these problems more quickly."



  • 05/25/2017 12:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Photo Credit: Hyunwoo Yuk/MIT Soft Active Materials Lab

    You know how hard Koi are to catch!  How about a robot that can catch and release live fish?  Engineers at MIT have fabricated transparent, gel-based robots that move when water is pumped in and out of them. The bots can perform a number of fast, forceful tasks, including kicking a ball underwater, and grabbing and releasing a live fish.

    The robots are made entirely of hydrogel -- a tough, rubbery, nearly transparent material that's composed mostly of water. Each robot is an assemblage of hollow, precisely designed hydrogel structures, connected to rubbery tubes. When the researchers pump water into the hydrogel robots, the structures quickly inflate in orientations that enable the bots to curl up or stretch out.

    The team fashioned several hydrogel robots, including a finlike structure that flaps back and forth, an articulated appendage that makes kicking motions, and a soft, hand-shaped robot that can squeeze and relax.

    Because the robots are both powered by and made almost entirely of water, they have similar visual and acoustic properties to water. The researchers propose that these robots, if designed for underwater applications, may be virtually invisible.

    The group, led by Xuanhe Zhao, associate professor of mechanical engineering and civil and environmental engineering at MIT, and graduate student Hyunwoo Yuk, is currently looking to adapt hydrogel robots for medical applications.

    "Hydrogels are soft, wet, biocompatible, and can form more friendly interfaces with human organs," Zhao says. "We are actively collaborating with medical groups to translate this system into soft manipulators such as hydrogel 'hands,' which could potentially apply more gentle manipulations to tissues and organs in surgical operations."

    Zhao and Yuk have published their results this week in the journal Nature Communications. Their co-authors include MIT graduate students Shaoting Lin and Chu Ma, postdoc Mahdi Takaffoli, and associate professor of mechanical engineering Nicholas X. Fang.

    Robot recipe

    For the past five years, Zhao's group has been developing "recipes" for hydrogels, mixing solutions of polymers and water, and using techniques they invented to fabricate tough yet highly stretchable materials. They have also developed ways to glue these hydrogels to various surfaces such as glass, metal, ceramic, and rubber, creating extremely strong bonds that resist peeling.

    The team realized that such durable, flexible, strongly bondable hydrogels might be ideal materials for use in soft robotics. Many groups have designed soft robots from rubbers like silicones, but Zhao points out that such materials are not as biocompatible as hydrogels. As hydrogels are mostly composed of water, he says, they are naturally safer to use in a biomedical setting. And while others have attempted to fashion robots out of hydrogels, their solutions have resulted in brittle, relatively inflexible materials that crack or burst with repeated use.

    In contrast, Zhao's group found its formulations lent themselves well to soft robotics.  "We didn't think of this kind of [soft robotics] project initially, but realized maybe our expertise can be crucial to translating these jellies as robust actuators and robotic structures," Yuk says.

    Fast and forceful

    To apply their hydrogel materials to soft robotics, the researchers first looked to the animal world. They concentrated in particular on leptocephali, or glass eels -- tiny, transparent, hydrogel-like eel larvae that hatch in the ocean and eventually migrate to their natural river habitats.

    "It is extremely long travel, and there is no means of protection," Yuk says. "It seems they tried to evolve into a transparent form as an efficient camouflage tactic. And we wanted to achieve a similar level of transparency, force, and speed."

    To do so, Yuk and Zhao used 3-D printing and laser cutting techniques to print their hydrogel recipes into robotic structures and other hollow units, which they bonded to small, rubbery tubes that are connected to external pumps.  To actuate, or move, the structures, the team used syringe pumps to inject water through the hollow structures, enabling them to quickly curl or stretch, depending on the overall configuration of the robots.

    Yuk and Zhao found that by pumping water in, they could produce fast, forceful reactions, enabling a hydrogel robot to generate a few newtons of force in one second. For perspective, other researchers have activated similar hydrogel robots by simple osmosis, letting water naturally seep into structures -- a slow process that creates millinewton forces over several minutes or hours.

    Catch and release

    In experiments using several hydrogel robot designs, the team found the structures were able to withstand repeated use of up to 1,000 cycles without rupturing or tearing. They also found that each design, placed underwater against colored backgrounds, appeared almost entirely camouflaged. The group measured the acoustic and optical properties of the hydrogel robots, and found them to be nearly equal to that of water, unlike rubber and other commonly used materials in soft robotics.

    In a striking demonstration of the technology, the team fabricated a hand-like robotic gripper and pumped water in and out of its "fingers" to make the hand open and close. The researchers submerged the gripper in a tank with a goldfish and showed that as the fish swam past, the gripper was strong and fast enough to close around the fish.

    "[The robot] is almost transparent, very hard to see," Zhao says. "When you release the fish, it's quite happy because [the robot] is soft and doesn't damage the fish. Imagine a hard robotic hand would probably squash the fish."

    Next, the researchers plan to identify specific applications for hydrogel robotics, as well as tailor their recipes to particular uses. For example, medical applications might not require completely transparent structures, while other applications may need certain parts of a robot to be stiffer than others.

    "We want to pinpoint a realistic application and optimize the material to achieve something impactful," Yuk says. "To our best knowledge, this is the first demonstration of hydrogel pressure-based acutuation. We are now tossing this concept out as an open question, to say, 'Let's play with this.'"

    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS_piPMIFbM

    Story Source:

    Materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Orig. written by Jennifer Chu.

    Journal Reference:

        Hyunwoo Yuk, Shaoting Lin, Chu Ma, Mahdi Takaffoli, Nicolas X. Fang, Xuanhe Zhao. Hydraulic hydrogel actuators and robots optically and sonically camouflaged in water. Nature Communications, 2017; 8: 14230 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14230

  • 05/18/2017 7:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here is our New Shirt Logo and the shirts will be Black!

    Wonderful design.  I'm ordering 2.  To cover the cost and the labor of these shirts, we will be selling them for around $15 each (PRICE CONFIRMATION Coming Soon!)

    T-Shirts will be available online as soon as I get this page put together.

  • 04/23/2017 8:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written by Brenda Bartz


    It seems a Ghostie is a mis-fit or the right-fit Koi, it just depends who you ask.

    So, what are these Ghost Koi I've been hearing more and more about? Well, it seems they have been around since the early 1980s when a British farmer allowed a mirror carp to spawn with a Koi. The offspring from a cross of a metallic Koi and a wild, dark-colored carp are known as Ghost Koi. Notably, the most striking areas of a Ghost Koi are the metallic head and flashy pectoral fins that glimmer in the sunlight and disappear into the depths of a dark pond like a ghost, hence the name. They are considered a hybrid, being a cross within varieties of the species Cyprinus carpio creating feritle offspring.

    Koi purists tend to relate to them as mis-fits that should have been culled and do not find value in them. Garden pond owners relate to them as being vigorous, hardy, tame, rewarding to view, and more affordable. A novice or beginning Koi enthusiest may find them a great first Koi as they are considered tough as nails requiring less pampering, have a natural high disease resistance, and grow rapidly, because of the stronger genes passed from the broadstock carp. As they are not a high-grade Koi, requiring generations of breeding and farming, a larger percent of offspring reach the market making them more affordable. The coloration is made up of whites, silvers, charcoals, gun-metals, and golds. Ghost Koi can also have a variation of scale patterns, including fully-scaled small scales, large mirror scales, linear (lateral line and dorsal) scales, and leather (scaleless) variations. Gin rin (sparkling) variations can also occur within the fully scaled.

    Because of their resilience, they require less demanding and sophisticated filtration systems to maintain superb water quality and do well in garden ponds; this also makes them more affordable. They are less effected by common Koi ailments, such as ulcers, which is another advantage for the novice and hobbist. They do benefit from a large pond and a well-balanced food compared to premium-grade food and color enhanced food. Their color pattern appears on younger Koi and is stable throughout its life. 

    So, it seems, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and Ghost Koi are finding their niche in the market and in ponds. 

  • 04/16/2017 11:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Most pet goldfish live between five and ten years. But some goldfish apparently have other ideas. Here’s an amazing post about a pet goldfish called Splash who has just celebrated his 38th birthday!

    In 1977 Richard and Ann Wright’s young children won a little goldfish at a local funfair. They took him home and named him Splash. Astoundingly, Splash is still alive! He’s just celebrated his 38th birthday. The tiny fish has lived through two Gulf wars, the assassination of John Lennon, Charles and Diana’s wedding, and the 2012 London Olympics. That’s nearly four decades of history!

    Sadly, Splash’s tank-mate, Splish, died two years ago. Splish was no spring chicken either, and was 30-years-old when she died. Luckily, Splash has continued t thrive despite Splish’s death. The Wright family claims that they haven’t done anything special to extend their goldfish’s life span. Maybe the lucky little fish just has good genes!

    The 71-year-old owner of Splash the Goldfish says:  “He looks as if he’s coping fine but I’ve no idea how he’s still alive. It feels like he’s been around forever and he’s even outlasted our children living at home with us.  We’ve never done anything out of the ordinary to care for Splash – we’ve been blessed with a really hardy fish who’s lived through it all."   

    Although the death of Splish’s was the most traumatic event in his life, he seems to have already recovered, according to Mr. Wright:  “Not much has changed since then really – Splash just swims around looking happy as he always has but I’m sure he grieved for Splish  They were a double act for such a long time it’s been a bit odd seeing Splash on his own but he’s still battling through which is fantastic.”

    He adds:  “We certainly didn’t expect Splash to live this long – it’s incredible. The children eventually grew up and left home but Splash has stayed put with us – he’s really part of the family.”

    Blog written by Karen Pattist

  • 06/06/2016 8:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    These pictures are the completion of this project.

    Here we are the day after the bottom drain was set to dry over night and we can now start filling with water.

    The most important aspect of filling the pond up is to go slow and pull the liner into position.  As the water fills your pond the liner will be pushed against the walls, so work out all those kinks and folds as you go.

    Here I have bulges in the padding under the liner.  These need to be flattened and molded to fit cleanly.

    Continue working your way around and around the liner constantly tugging it upwards .

    Best technique to lift the edge of the liner and release as the water flows back.

    Here I am using this technique to lift the liner completely and then allowing the water to mold the bog area which is round and adjacent to the oval main basin.

    Tricky area here as there are shelves on both sides of the entrance to the bog.

    The bottom of the bog is to be flat and the excess from the folds in this area are being manipulated.

    Here we are filled and its time to connect the filter.

    This was our original filter.  Its was a used filter that we thought was a bargain but ended up being a teaching moment of buyer beware.  Ask questions like how long has it been in the sun?  When was the last time it was used?  Take a real close look at seams and seals.

    Here you can see the drip coming from the threaded area.  Also, you can see there is white all along the bottom seem of the intake where this was repaired before.

    Here is what it took to repair this seam.  Some things you don't know until you plug all the peices together.  Once the filter was on water was seeping up from the handle which meant that the spider seal was compromised and needs to be replaced.

    Here is the pond on April 10th running on the used Advantage Bead Filter.

    This is a brand new Ultima 2 filter for a 2000 gallon pond. The homeowner and myself decided that for the life and longevity of this new pond. that replacing the filter was better choice than repairing from the very beginning.

    Time to start placing the birdbaths which are apart of the waterfall.  This birdbath is actually on 3 layers of liner.  Under the liner are strips of liner material covering the cement blocks.  On top of these blocks is the main pond liner which stretches up beyond the waterfall.  Attached to the waterfall basin is a 3rd liner which drapes over the main liner.  Under each birdbath and any huge rocks are smaller pieces of liner that is cut and layed on top of the top liner.  All these layers are necessary when placing waterfall stones.  Most accidents and holes and leaks are caused by rock and slate being slid and rubbed across the liner.

    Remember to lift and set rock down and lift it straight up. Dragging rocks around the waterfall can ruin the whole project.

    The sides need to be leveled high above the water line.

    Time to step away and come back tomorrow.

    This is about a week after and green water is expected in all new ponds.  This is the process of a new pond.  This is actually a basin of water that is chemically being turned into the water of an eco-system.

    This is my original sketch for this project.

    Here we are at the beginning of May and the first plantings have  gone in.

    The finished pond is 1350 gallons.

    Finally got the cap stones the next spring.  The bog has filled in nicely.

    Been awhile since I've seen this pond.  After this picture she brought in mulchy soil to raise yard to the level of the caps.  I wonder how the rest of the landscaping looks today.

  • 04/10/2016 3:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Once again, we've had rain issues, but this day was high and dry, so let's lay the liner.  This is the most exciting and nervous of all days.  Thanks Sequoia for taking the pictures today and to Marla for coming to help pull the liner.

    Here is my last photo of the water fall.  The rocks and birdbaths will be removed so the liner can be spread underneath.

    This is my first stab at the return plumbing.  The white male adapter on the right is not snug.  I may end up having to replace this connection and the valve shown.  More to come on the redo of this.  I just want to get the system up and running.

    This will be the return of the waterfall.

    We will be using the previous liner as an underliner.  Normally not necessary, but do to soil issues, we are going to use it.

    Cleaning up the mud that's collected on the seal surface of the bottom.  I want to keep this really clean.  I also pushed in a few rocks to level the bottom drain one last time.

    Many hands make quick work.  "Grab me that".  I found the night before a load of carpet matting.  The best thing to use under the liner and over the ruff edges.

    A great shot of how I hung sheets of the matting along the perimeter.

    I'm feeling a little sideways here.  I just remembered to cut away the first liner.

    Here is the under liner and I should have cut that hole a little larger.  Remember to take your time.  I get excited putting these parts together.

    OK, its time.  Everything has been padded with matting and the pre-liner is in and the new liner is spread out ready for the unfolding.

    Shoes off.  There is absolutely NO dragging, stepping or pulling at this point.  Every move is small.  Tearing the liner at this stage would be heartbreaking.

    Pulling and shifting.  Feeling one with the liner and how it falls.

    Working on those folds.  Once the water fills up the walls it is virtually impossible to pull the liner.  The weigh of water will win every time.

    Final fold and at some point you have to just move onto the next step.  I have plenty of liner covering the waterfall area.

    Here we go.  All those sleepless nights comes down to this final huge step.  Sealing the bottom drain.  Remember to breathe.  I use a buddy here, just someone to sit on the side and be with me.  If you have never done a bottom, don't panic..  Here I have committed to my center.  I have cut a small 3" hole in the middle of the bottom drain.  If I were to make the hole larger it could tear.

    This bottom drain has a second port.  I am screwing it in tightly.  I also glued up and capped this second port.  There will be only one, 2" drain port.

    GE Silicone 1* is a Window sealant that is 100% silicone and Does Not contain Mildew Retardant.  

    I silicone everything.  Every step of the way.  Leave no crack un-siliconed.  It may be over kill, but this is the most important feature of making your pond.

    Lining up that first hole.

    Second hole is ususally a little more difficult.  Remain calm, you are almost done.

    All lined up.  Do not take a break.  Keep going while the silicone is drying already.  This is a fiber gasket that I rolled a bit of silicone on.  I silicone everything.

    The bottom drain plate and the final piece to the bottom drain.

    Using the fiber gasket I line up the hole of in the plate and screw down into the bottom drain.

    Eight screws to the promised land and everything get screwed in clockwise, snug and tight.

    I now am cutting away the interior with a sharp knife.

    Here I silicone the inside of my plate the has connected the liner to the bottom drain.

    Here is the completed bottom drain that we leave to dry for a day and we will then be filling with water.

  • 02/21/2016 5:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Greetings from February, as it rained here in the SF Bay Area pretty much Dec. and Jan.  I did not make my former completion which was end of December, Mother Nature had other ideas.  I am back and this project is in full swing again.  Enjoy!

    This is the 2" bottom drain we are using.  It has an alternative exit for plumbing.  I have capped this end.  This bottom drain is not the KoiToilet variety as that one come with a dome top.  Aurora has fancy goldfish and we needed a bottom drain that was a complete plate with holes.  Will show this off when we get to actually put this project together.

    I was not satisfied with the original thicker border plastic I was using, trying to create an inner circle for the bog shelf.   I found this much thinner and pliable border material.

    Here I was able to measure, carve, level and fit my shelf wall.

    Finally the curve for a shelf is about 18".  I used that little section of ABS to keep me within a birds eye of the outer wall.

    You may have seen in former blog pics that I had the shut off valves from the bottom drain and the skimmer right at the end of those pipes.  This was an incorrect position as it needed to be much further to the right.  I extended these.

    This is another perspective from the bog and the placement of the bottom drain.  I am always nervous about committing to having a sealed bottom.  My best advice is to go slow.  Practice on misc. ABS/PVC pipes and fittings to understand the amount of glue and giving each piece of the plumbing a good have turn.  Which brings up, thinking ahead of your plumbing and how you can always add on.  Fitting pieces in the middle of plumbing could lead to having to cut out large sections and redoing it.

    Once I committed to my plumbing, I placed rock around the base and back filled to secure.  I also sprinkled small rock around the bottom drain ABS ans back filled it also.   I have one word for you through out this procces.  It is to "LEVEL, level, LEVEL."  Use of a line level is my personal favorite.  Here is my, one per pond job, table level that is injured, but still holding true.

    Returning to the bog we excavate another 6 inches or so, bringing the center depth to 2 ft. for the waterlilies.

    Here I am with my extended plumbing to the filter area.

    NOTE TO SELF:  Becoming over zealous in success of plumbing will keep you awake at night.  Ideally it would be great to have the entire eco-system up and running to test your plumbing, but you have to have faith and trust that in each connection is sound before moving on to the next.  Here I did cover too soon and had not done a proper water test.  The area behind the plumbing is the future home of the filter and pump pad, which needs to be dug out.

    I did come back and do a water test.  I extended the bottom drain and did a pressure test of the skimmer line, by plugging the skimmer hole and filling that line with water.  I like to cover my plumbing with small gravel and loose soil. I then will cover plumbing with large flat pieces of stone or lava to protect any downward pressure on plumbing from people walking on the surface plus the dirt used to cover them up. 
    Also here, you can see that I have measured where the base needed to go and have dug out accordingly.  There were many chunky roots from the creeping fig that covers the back fence.  One gnarly extension of this root was sacrificed and the other allowed to grow downward.

    The platform used a large bag and a half of concrete.  We are ready for the filter!

    So here is our 2000 gallon filter sitting atop its new platform and the plumbing for the pump has been measured, trimmed and placed.  I am very pleased with how compact I have been able to make this setup.

    Here is where I used an irrigation trap to cover our cut offs for the bottom drain and the skimmer line..

    The greatest invention to any pond owner, is the use of these rubber connectors that clamp onto existing plumbing. They allow some give and take.  We live in earthquake country and having an exactly rigidly glued together setup can be a problem. You have to think about your pond as giant bathtub. The equipment you use on your pond is external and man-made contraptions that process the environment for your eco-system and any and of all of these external pieces can and will FAIL at some point in the life span of your pond. Allowing each piece of your filter and pumps and UV's to be put together with these rubber fittings, will each pay for their use ten fold.

    Oh, by the way, when you let it rain and the grass grows, give it a mowing!
    We move onto the waterfall now. I have already started to edit the site line, by removing rock from the waterfall.  Moving closer to liner day.

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