Saturday, 30 August 2014

Day Seven of Filter Replacement - A lot of concreting and tidying up

On the Sunday morning Craig had a later 9am start mainly because this was concreting and tidy up the garden day.

Craig started by putting concrete blobs at each end and then every 3m along the new 4" return pipes to fix them into place so they could move when they were backfilled with pea shingle and soil. As soon as the cement mixer started I understood why he had started later today! At least the neighbours had had some chance to lay in until about 9:30.

Next was the concreting of the side path and within the garage. That really was a great job done and really good to have the side path back to normal.

After this was the concreting of the new base for the air source heat pump.

Next and as a change to the plan Craig popped of all the sandstone slabs around the edge of the pond. The reason for the change of plan was that the weather for Monday (the next day) was awful rain and therefore we didn't want all the ballast and cement getting wet and even heavier.

When the slabs were laid previously the layer of Type 1 hadn't been deep enough and allowed for natural compression so the majority of the stones had come loose and were wobbly / unsafe. Craig dug a trench about 12" deep and 18" wide around about 60% of the pond edge. This was tough going and very hard work. Once this was done it was time for more concrete mixing and for the trench around the pond to be immediately filled. This backfilling with concrete involved wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow for hours to fill it. Not a pleasant task.

Whilst this was happening I was soaking the grass trench that had been backfilled a few days ago to compress the soil and gets the level right. Simple task yes it may be but as a note to self, running on grass that has been soaked for over an hour, results in falling flat on my back. Saying that I couldn't expect much sympathy because Craig was still mixing concrete and filling the trench around the pond.

With all that done I had hoped we were finished for the day. Think again. We then moved the old sieves, roto showers and the crystal bio media out of sight behind a brick outhouse.

The finally and as a good tidying tasks to get the front of the drive clear we (Craig and I) wheelbarrowed a ton of ballast from the front of the drive to the back of the garden. I don't mind hard work after about the twenty five barrow loads humour was reaching and all time low.... Not long after that we were done but by now it was dark and 9:15pm.











Saturday, 23 August 2014

Day Six of Filter Replacement - BHM arrives and the vats get cleaned

With the filtration all running smoothly overnight, Craig (DannyKoi), Tony (KoiKare) and Sid were on site nice and early.

Overnight I had noticed that the heater had tripped out, we beleive this is because the significant power drawer when it kick in was too much for its dedicated breaker. After speaking with Neil, a replacement intelligent breaker has been ordered and will be fitted in a weeks time.

Tony brought 320kg of BHM with him. One 250kg bag and seven boxes. To ensure I had my 200kg we emptied five of the boxes and filled them from the bag. Sid and Craig then emptied the remaining BHM onto a tapaulin on the drive and broke each bar into 3 or 4 smaller bits and the. wheelbarrowed it round to the filter house.

Both of the 4 tier bakki showers and the spray bars had to be taken apart so we could add the media tier by tier.

The media so soon all around the back and being placed in the bakki showers. Following a lot of advice we fully loaded the bottom three tiers of each shower and then placed the remainder into the top tier.

As you can see, on the walls behind the showers there had been a lot of splashing overnight so we decided to put a waterproof membrane onto the walls to protect from further damage. We also cut pieces of polycarbonate sheeting to rest between each tier of the showers to again reduce the amount of splashing out of the showers.

Once that was in place we refitted the spray bars and the return pipes onto the spigots at the bottom of each shower. As a final preventative measure we placed a few pipes into the two header tank pond returns to prevent all the BHM dust and small bits getting washed through and into the pond.

The whole system was now fully up and running which was brilliant. As a bit of fine tuning there were still a few air bubbles getting through the return pipes into the pond mainly because one of the returns from the shower was going close to the bottom return in the header tank. To stop his happening we put and 90 degree elbow onto a short straight, then onto another 90 elbow, on another short straight and then finally into another 90 elbow. This basically resulted in the water coming up and out of this return rather than splashing down.

Whilst Craig and I were adjusting the pipes in the header tank, Sid was power washing each vat and then disinfecting them with Virkon. This is a really important job otherwise the next person would end up with dirty vats having stagnant and smelly water.

We then hoovered out the BHM small dust and bits from the bottom of the header tank and removed the protection pipes. It's always a fun task using the pond hoover, sometimes it works and others it just lasts 10 seconds and blocks....this was one of those days!

That was a big and positive Saturday done.



Day Five of the Filter Replacement - Pond and Getting the New System Running

This day five Friday was the last day for Simon and Neil so there was always a lot of pressure to everything coming together for this one day. Everyone was on site before 8 which was good but did emphasise the task ahead. In addition to Simon (Nippon), Neil and Craig (Dannykoi) were two electricians Frank and Craig. Having two Craig's on site did cause a bit of confusion at times although the two electricians were superb.


Craig (Dannykoi) started the morning off by cutting through the concrete of my side path so the electric, water and conduit pipes could be feed into the garage and connected up. With a lot of dust and noise, the neatest of holes was in place and the cables fed under the wall into the garage.


Also as a little lesson we have also found out that all the drainpipes are actually all feeding soakaways onto the garden so that will be a reduction to the water bill!!


In the filter house Simon and Neil were creating the pipework to connect the flow friends to the spray bars that would feed over the bakki showers. Once complete they moved on to create and connect the return pipework from the 4" spigot at the bottom of each shower into the header tank. In parallel with this happening Craig and Frank (the sparkies) were adding a new breaker board, plug sockets and wiring everything up within the filter house. The original breaker in the filter house wasn't ideal because if one thing on the main circuit in the garage would switch off it would take the whole break with it. This new breaker doesn't do that because each unit now has its own separate earth so therefore everything is independent and if something does break it will won't impact anything else. This is much much better than before! Thankfully the filter house is large because with four guys in there all trying to work around each other it was a little tight...

The drum control box was connected up and placed into the bannister. As you can see from the pictures the placement of all these control boards this was a really neat and tidy piece of work.


Finally for Simon and Neil was the connection of the drum to a large waste wheelie bin and a sump pump. The sump pump was suspended within the wheelie bin and hooked into the old waste pipes that nicely waters the flower bed.


Next for Craig and Frank was to connect up the electricity to the main board within the garage. Again a very neat and tidy job with the cable connected up and clamped in around all the rafters.


Whilst all this was happening, Craig (Dannykoi) and I were emptying the water from the vats that had been on the patio for the week. The pond had been filling from the tap overnight but it had only filled about 1.5 - 2 ft so we still had at least 6ft to go. We started by emptying the large holding vat with a two inch flexi pipe and Craig sucking the water through and then letting gravity do the rest.


Once this large vat was empty we then put the 'keeper' koi from the vat nearest the pond back into the main pond. We immediately put a large air stone into the pond. Once this was done the water from the vat was then pumped back into the pond.

We then realised that we still needed a lot of water so added an additional hosepipe and many thanks to the neighbours for that.

The koi from the 50/50 vat were then separated with three going back into the main pond and then rest were placed into the move on vat. Now the vat was empty of koi the water was pimped back into the main pond.


Thankfully by 4pm everything was in place (except the BHM media) for the new filtration system to be turned on. Firstly the four ball valves on the 4" inputs to the drum were opened.


Next the drum was turned on... We hit a hitch straight away. The drum had been stood on the patio for about three months before being plumbed in which had cause the rubber seal around the actual drum unit to stick to the casing and this was issue one. The second issue was more of a problem that this rubber seal had a manufacturer fault as it was slightly too long which meant it has crimped up at one section. This exacerbated the sticking issue when the drum tried to turn. After speaking with Paul at Select (where we bought the drum) and then Mark the actual designer of the drum we were advised to lower the float switch as this would reduce the weight of the water in the outer part of the drum so it could eventually equalise and level the water between the inner and outer drum. After wetting all the way around the outer part of the seal and with a little push we started a clean cycle of the drum. It worked!! This issue did cost us about 3hours of waiting for phone calls and understandably did see some solid working relationships pushed to the limit. Saying that the drum was working and now the flow friend pumps were turned on. These pumps are simple work horses and they just work efficiently and in silence. Thankfully the header tank didn't overflow and gravity feed via the new 4" returns back to the pond worked perfectly.

This was a huge relief for everyone. As I had been advised the water clarity would be far from ideal when the system was turned on the for the first time and this was certainly the case! Saying I was advised to give it a few days and let the drum do its thing.


Whilst all this was going on Tony (Nemo) was driving to and back from Yume Koi in Portishead. In theory this was an ok journey but in practise definitely not a good idea on the Friday before a bank holiday weekend!! On the positive side Tony had picked up all the media in a huge sack as Mike didn't have time to box it all up.

We booked Mark (the designer of the BD drum) to come and replace the rubber seal on the Tuesday morning following the bank holiday weekend.

I had a working system and was extremely pleased this had all been done so quickly. All that was left now was to put the garden back to normal and backfill the return pipe trench!














Thursday, 21 August 2014

Day Four of the Filter Replacement - Drum, UV and heater plumbed in and trenches being backfilled

Progress for the week so far had been good and the dry weather had definitely been on our side so far.

Thursday needed to be a big day for progress and it was. Craig on site at 6:30 started of by backfilling the trench that contained the water, power and two conduit pipes. This was heavy work with the soil was all back filled. The grass was then placed back on top like a jigsaw puzzle. It was handy that Craig had placed it in order on the tarpaulin so it was much easier to put back. The soil was stacked high because over the next few weeks it will compress down as we gradually tred it down.


Within the rear manhole cover we placed a T onto the water pipes so one could be kept for this side of the garden (the blue pipe out of the ground) and another would feed the filter house. Next the water and power cables were placed into the trench from the man cover at rear of the garden to the filter house. This was shortly followed by more backfilling of soil and now you would never know any work had been done (which is a positive!).


Within the filter house the focus was now onto the drum filter. Two 4" pipes were attached to the outlets and via some 4" to 3" converters connected into the two flow friend pumps. The end caps for the 3" spray bars were glued into place. Three rows of holes at one inch intervals were drilled into the 3" pipes to makes them into the sprays bars for the showers.


In a change to the original pond water feeds, we decided to utilise one of the 2" returns as an input into the UV --> heater --> return to the pond via one of the existing 2" return pipes. This had a couple of benefits because we could use what was already in place and also will assist with the water flow around the pond. The 2" input was connected to a ball valve, the into a 15k sequence and then via a ball valve into the UV. The UV pipework was then neatly cut along and out of the rear wall and into the 15k air source heat pump again via more ball valves. The outputs from the ASHP had another ball valve on the exit and then went back through the filter house wall and was connected to one of the original 2" pond returns.


Now all the drum had been fully plumbed in and the uv line was in place the pond refill started at 4pm. This was a huge milestone to reach and it is going to take a while to fill!






Day Three of Filter Replacement - good progress with great quality work but a lot still to do

Another bright and sunny start to Wednesday morning. Craig, as always, on site by 6:35am with his cousin John for some extra push.


Firstly the two return holes were cut into the pond wall by Neil. Whilst in theory this is just cut a 4" hole it certainly wasn't a quick easy and especially wasn't a bad language free zone. Neil had to go initially cut through the fibreglass wall of the pond, then through the full width of concrete block work and as to make things worse it was at 6ft height from the pond floor so reaching up whilst doing it then finally stood in 6" of cold pond water.


Once that was done two of the old 2" returns were filled with expanding foam because we won't be needing them for the new filtration solution. Once the foam is set we will be smoothing them over and fibreglassing over them. Whilst that was happening Craig and John were putting a 2-3" layer of pea shingle into the return pipe trench to restrict movement of the pipes.


Now the remainder of the return pipes could be joined and fixed into place. To ensure a nice round flow and to help with the cutting of the 4" return pipe hole we put a 45" angle on the end of the return pipe into the pond. Once in place this was concreted in and then sealed with expanding foam inside the pond.


Next was the plumbing in of the three remaining 4" pipes into 4" ball valves and then into the drum. Again a really nice a tidy bit of pipework.


The final (we hope) trench was dug over from the back corner of the garden over to the filter house. This trench will contain the new dedicated power feed and also a water supply. With all the trees this was extremely tough going because the ground was solid because the tress had sucked all the moisture out. This is Craig and John exhausted but happy that the digging of this trench is over.


As you can see from the picture above the manifold has been cut to the level of the soil and the power cable has been laid. Within the trench that goes from the house to the back corner of the garden, they have placed the two conduit pipes, the water feed and power cable and then covered with pea shingle. Next to go down will be the yellow electric warning tape.



The temporary pond vats that are holding the koi only have air stones in so therefore no filtration. Saying that the koi haven't been feed for two weeks now to ensure waste would be at a minimum. To ensure they had the best conditions possible we performed some sizeable water changes. Whilst working on one we noticed that there had been a spawning in one of the vats and let's say the males in there will be well and truly spent. That vat needed the largest water change!!


We need a very big Thursday to ensure we are ready for the 40-50% pond fill to start late in the day and at the very worst on Friday morning. This will take 36ish hours. Thankfully we only need 40-50% pond fill from the tap because we have saved a large volume of water within the four vats. The 20 boxes (200kg) of BHM media was delayed by a few days getting to the UK port so that won't be arriving on site until late Friday evening or first thing Satuday morning. This will then be placed into the bakki shower trays, then the spray bars fitted above the top tiers and finally the whole filtration setup is turned on on Saturday afternoon. That's looking like very best case!



Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Day Two of Filter replacement - filter house pipework begins and electric / water trench dug

After a good and positive first day I was hopeful the momentum would keep going into day two.

At present the filter house daisy chains it's power from the growing on house which is a big problem. Currently if the power trips in either it's takes out both. There have been two occasions where this has caused the power to be off for a few hours and then koi in the growing on tank have had ammonia poisoning. Thankfully I have always made it to them in time and done 60-80% water changes and after 6ish hours the koi right themselves. I don't want the risk of this happening again.

So Craig arrived at 6:30am and started to dig the trenches for the new water and the new electric feeds by 6:45am. The water feeds will be used for the growing on tank, the filter house and a new garden tap. The electric feeds will be used for a new dedicated electric feed for the filter house and also a new one for garden lighting. This digging was much tougher than the trench for the return pipes because this soil hadn't been touched last year during the pond build and also being 45m long didn't help.


We will be putting all the electric cabling within conduit pipework and we have access hatches (man hole covers) at either end so we can easily add more cables at a later date. By mid afternoon the 100m of 3" conduit pipe and 100m of 25mm water pipework arrived.


Within the filter house the layout has now been agreed. The support frames for the bakki showers and header tank were moved into place and the drum was raised up to the correct height.

Simon and Neil moved the bottom trays of the two bakki showers into place onto the frames and attached 4" swept bends to the bottom 4" spigot.



The holes in the filter house wall for the 4" returns to the pond were cut out with a heafty drill and then the 4"return pipes pushed through.


We have included a header tank in our plans to prevent bubbles returning back to the pond within the return pipes. Once the 4" pond return pipes were placed through the filter house wall Simon and Neil were able to attach this to the bottom of the header tank via tank connectors and a lot of neat pipework! The 4" swept bends at the bottom of the bakki showers had 4" pipes attached so they now return feed into the top of the header tank. We expect some splashing from these bakki shower return pipes so we will add some further swept bends to the end of the pipes so the water feeds straight down. As you will see the returns to pond are at the bottom of the header tank again to reduce the chance of bubbles returning down the pipes.


Another good day of progress.