In early March we began a dedicated koi pond remodel. This pond is about 10 years old and the home owners wanted to expand it into an unusable door area, expand the waterfall and most importantly install a custom sliding window that would allow the pond to be viewed from inside the home with no obstruction. This was a project that required a general contractor so we teamed up with Craig, a family friend and general contractor, to tackle the job. Craig and his company have built many custom homes , pools and landscapes but a custom koi pond was something new to the team. So-Cal Ponds was to be the main design leader on everything pond related. After meeting with the home owner and Craig we came up with a plan of attack and began to meet with other contractors. Within a few days we met with electricians, plumbers, masons, pool builders, dry wall tradesmen, painters, and stucco contractors. After many meetings and design discussions the demo began. Within two days the corner section and water fall was demo’d and hauled off.
Ill skip the talk about the house and focus on the pond for now. This pond was built solely to house large koi (known as a dedicated koi pond) and since it is a dedicated koi pond there is no rock in the pond and the filtration system is a design not commonly seen in your average pond. The pond is constructed of cement and waterproofed with Line-X… yes Line-X, the same product you spray your truck bed with. The pond was built by a builder whom only builds dedicated koi ponds so for the most part it was built right. The pond was built with two aerated bottom drains which lead to a settlement chamber, and a prefilter before heading to the pump and external filter. The water then returned to a small waterfall and back into the pond. One of the things the pond lacked was a significant waterfall with good water flow.
Since the pond was constructed with filtration in mind the first time, we only had to improve on a few things. One item of improvement was a better waterfall with more flow. The extra flow would require a larger pump and therefore we needed to install a larger supply line to supplement the extra water volume. At this point most of the demolition had been completed and the plumbers could begin installing the supply lines. Some of the lines that were installed were 3″ water lines, 1″ air lines and 1.5″ electrical lines.Within a day the plumbing had been installed and the masons were able to start constructing the waterfall. This took several meetings and “design” changes. I had to make it challenging for the masons as we were installing a Helix Floating Bed filter about 6′ from the top of the waterfall. The home owners wanted to utilize that filter and create a second waterfall. This, of course, was in a small space under the home’s driveway (this is a custom home built on a steep hillside) so the area we had to work with was limited. With any waterfall filtration we had to make sure we had enough grade to force the water to flow where we wanted it to Fish? go. The mason’s did a great job of creating a waterfall and bowl to contain the water coming from the filter before flowing through several pipes to the top of the main waterfall. The flow from this water fall can be reduced with the excess returning directly back to the main waterfall. This is important for several reasons… if the filter ever needs to be serviced it can be shut off with out stopping the entire filtration system.
The pond is equipped with two 4″ aerated bottom drains that lead to a settlement chamber. The settlement chamber collects all the heavy solids from the pond, such as koi feces, leaves and uneaten food. This particular settlement chamber has a 2″ waste line which can be opened to remove the waste rather quickly. The water then leads to the pump then an Ultima II 4,000 filter before heading back to the waterfall. Part of this project was to upgrade the entire system. We installed a 3″ supply line to the pump, installed a new Helix Fish Safe Skimmer, upgraded the pump, added a new 3″ return line which leads to the waterfall and a Helix Moving Bed Filter. The waterfall was expanded and reshaped to accommodate the increased water flow. There is now an automatic filler which helps keep the pond at a desired level, three new LED underwater lights were also installed, and of course the pond was enlarge by approximately 500 gallons. The entire pond was originally sprayed with Line X and that was our choice once again. If you are considering designing and building a custom koi pond constructed with cement it will need to be sealed to ensure the structure does not leak. One huge benefit with Line X is the pond can be filled the same day and fish and plants can be introduced that very same day.
The fish (about 17 of them) had been staying in the garage in koi show tanks for the last 6 weeks. We installed the old pump and Ultiama II filter to help make the transition less stressful. After we introduce the fish into the pond, the water from the show tanks will be drained into the pond and the filter will be installed. We connected the existing filter and pump to the two temporary ponds which will keep the bacteria in the filter alive and healthy and allow the fish to stay as healthy as possible. After all this is being done for the fish and if they do not survive it is all for nothing… no stress right?
We checked on the fish weekly to make sure they were staying healthy as the pond construction was underway. Since we used the existing filter system the fluctuation in the pond water chemistry was minimal and therefor kept the stress level fairly low. Once we added the fish back into the pond it was almost as if they knew they were home again. They immediately began to swim around and checking out the newly expanded home, after all they have been in small tanks separated from each other for several weeks.
After about six weeks of labor the pond construction was coming to an end. The pond was expanded, the waterfall completed, the pond sealed and the majority of plumbing was completed. There was also new lighting installed both in the pond and above the pond wall of the house and a large section of the wall needed to re-stuccoed. Once everything was finished we were able to begin moving the fish back into the pond. I knew this was going to take some time, and be highly stressful. Not only did we have to move the fish back into the pond one by one, we had to move the existing Ultima filter to its new location which had to be carried down a few steps, over the waterfall, along the edge of the pond, down some more steps and over $500 of plumbing then connected to the new pump and a confusing plumbing configuration. After eight hours of good work the filter was installed, the pump running and the fish back in their home. We hung around for 20-30 minutes enjoying the koi and to make sure there were no problems. We take pride in our work and love building relationships with our clients. If you have a koi pond or want a koi pond we would love to thousands be your company who helps bring that want to a reality.