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Old 04-14-2013, 12:15 AM   #1
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Bog filter build

I have a 275 gallon galvanized stock tank that I've used for the last 5 years as a water feature. This past winter, I decided I wanted to convert it into a small goldfish pond and build a bog filter for it.

Recommendations for the size of a bog filter run from 10 to 20% of the total capacity of the pond, so I bought this 60 gallon Laguna plastic bin, which is designed to be used as a pond. The bin comes pre-drilled with a hole on the short side toward the top, which I cannot imagine a use for. Fortunately, they also send you a plug for it.

Since my tank is 2 feet deep, the bin sits on two courses of concrete block set on 2 inch thick pavers to elevate it high enough for outflow to the tank.

I used 1/2 inch PVC to make a rack to hold my filter media out of the yucky water in the bottom of the bog. We used 4 side outlet elbows and six Ts.


(The blue handled tool at far right is a pair of PVC cutters, and my son highly recommends that you use them.)

He drilled two holes where we wanted them - one for the dump valve on the back, and the other for outflow to the pond. We used 1 inch PVC to make the plumbing for the inflow, and attached 90 degree elbows to the ends, so the water would be forced to circulate toward the corners of the bin.



Since the tubing coming from the pump is 1/2 inch tubing and we are using 1 inch PVC, I needed a reducer to attach the tubing to.

A funny thing happens to me - and I suspect a lot of other women - when we start wandering around a plumbing department in a hardware or big box store. The guy running the department can't believe we really know what we want, and why.

He listened and after I practically diagrammed out my plan, he started digging around in bins, talking to me as he was bringing me fitting after fitting. While he was chattering, I got down on my knees and found a single fitting I thought would replace his 5 or 6, as long as I capped it on the end.





In this shot, you can also see what I call the dump valve, which I'll use to flush the gunk out of the bottom of the bog filter. We used 1 inch PVC with a 1 inch ball valve, to install in the hole drilled on the back of the bin.



The ball valve and the end cap on the reducer are the only two plumbing assemblies that are glued. All winter long, I've haunted pond forums, and one thing I read over and over is how people wished they had not glued all their PVC fittings to the pipe. It seems that no matter how well conceived the design, something always needs to be taken apart - even if it's just to clear a clog.

Uniseals have to be some of the neatest inventions since sliced bread.

They weren't nearly as hard to install as what I had read, but I do recommend using some silicone pipe lube to get the PVC through the seal. The seals are rubber and I did not, as the plumbing guy at Lowes suggested, use WD40 to lubricate them. He's not the one who will have a hellacious mess and a bunch of dead fish on his hands when the seals fail due to deterioration from using a petroleum based product...



For my base filter media, I used the coarsest grade of Matala.

One sheet of it fit nicely in the bin, after cutting about an inch and a half off of it, and slitting an X in the middle for the intake pipe from the pump.



We then attached our 1 inch intake pipe to the pipe running down to our swirlers using one T.



Then it was time for the coarse river rock. I did not want to put the pea gravel directly on top of the Matala, because it was small enough to clog the holes in the Matala. We put the pea gravel on top of the river rock.

I bought this pump, which comes with a plastic pre-filter basket. I bought an extra pre-filter basket in case of problems down the line.

The 1/2 inch tubing connects to the reducer. We installed a 1 1/2 inch outflow pipe from the bog back into the tank. We used some of that inch and a half of extra matala to stuff into the outflow pipe to catch extra trash. I can use an extra 1 1/2 elbow (in the photo below) to control the depth of the water in the bog before it dumps into the tank, if needed. Since it's not glued, I can take it off if I want to.



We backwashed our river rock and gravel through the dump valve for about an hour. Even then, we had some cloudiness in the tank, but all the plumbing works.



I turned the pump off tonight to see if the cloudiness (which is dirt and dust from the rocks) settles without any additional flushing.

Pond and bog plants will be delivered the week of 4/22. After I plant, I'll post more pics. I'll wait a week before the first two fish go in.
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:21 PM   #2
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Very creative! Looking forward to the updates.
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:28 PM   #3
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Very creative! Looking forward to the updates.
Much clearer today.




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Old 04-14-2013, 09:57 PM   #4
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What will be your plant stock for the bog? Nice use of the matala.
Question: what happens to the bog tank in the winter?
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Old 04-14-2013, 11:15 PM   #5
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What will be your plant stock for the bog? Nice use of the matala.
Question: what happens to the bog tank in the winter?
The hardy bog plants will be blue rush, arrow arum, corkscrew rush, and creeping jenny. I also plan to use some impatiens and may try some dwarf daylilies.

In the pond will be anacharis, cabomba and hornwort submerged, with duckweed, salvinia minima and frogbit floating. I'm also going to try a hardy lotus.

The bog continues to run during the winter, primarily for water circulation, and the filtration offered by the matala and river rocks. I'll cut all the plants back as suggested for winterizing, and since they are hardy, they will be back the following year, although I understand I will probably have to be merciless in thinning out the arrow arum, although it's supposed to be the least invasive of the arrow plants.

Both of the rushes are winter hardy and hold their form during the winter when other plants have died back. The blue rush is semi-evergreen.

The spread of the rushes and the arrow arum are about 24 inches each. The arrow arum is the most shade tolerant of the bog plants, so it will be planted in the rear on the right hand side of the bog filter.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:09 PM   #6
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Wow, now that sounds like a plan. And a good variety of plants. As always, post pics when you can.
A hardy lily is sending up leaves in my 50 g ornamental pond (pond is an overstatement). There is a lotus in there and some creeping Jenny that overwintered underwater. I have it growing in the dirt around the pond as well. Quite invasive...it started from a single 2x2 pot.
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:01 PM   #7
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Wow, now that sounds like a plan. And a good variety of plants. As always, post pics when you can.
A hardy lily is sending up leaves in my 50 g ornamental pond (pond is an overstatement). There is a lotus in there and some creeping Jenny that overwintered underwater. I have it growing in the dirt around the pond as well. Quite invasive...it started from a single 2x2 pot.
Wow, good to know about the creeping jenny. I've got a space 42 inches by 28 and a half inches to plant, and although I plan to plant intensively (for maximum filtration and because I love plants), I wasn't planning on one plant taking the whole container!

From what I've read about this type of bog filter - one in a container - you have to thin. And I have a hard time throwing plants away. I guess I can see if I can find someone else who wants them when the time comes.

I couldn't help myself. On the way home I stopped by a nursery that was supposed to have a brand new shipment of pond and bog plants. It was pretty slim pickings but I did pick up 2 Louisiana black gamecock irises, and decided to go ahead and test my idea about the impatiens


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Old 04-15-2013, 10:41 PM   #8
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I can see you filling up that filter very quickly. Yes, you will have to thin it out frequently. I had water lettuce growing and in the peak of summer i was removing a dozen or two plants out each week.Think about it this way: fish by products are converted into plant matter than can be easily removed from the system. If you don't find any plant takers, then fill your compost bin. At least you can then recycle that into terrestrial plant food (for a vegetable garden?). Talk about circle of life.
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