Anatomy of a Water Feature -- Follow-up

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Anatomy of a Water Feature -- Follow-up
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 9:05 PM

Hi,

I posted this under the "Subscribers' Extra" Column of the same name, but I am reposting it here:

Dear Nancy,

We have been puzzling over getting power to our little pond for years (Somewhere in the forum posts Tom Trigg and I had a running discussion on the issue. I dropped it at the time to address other challenges.). When you say "no extension cords," do you mean to none from the pump's plug to the outlet or that the pump needs to be hard wired to the outlet? Also, I am assuming the outlet itself should be a professional job if not already installed, or is this something that could be attempted as a DIY project?

We do successfully keep guppies and water hyacinth, but a pump would really open up what we could keep as we are in the tropics. With our liner probably leaking, it may be a good time to tackle this project if we can work out the power issue.

Thanks in advance!

Eric

P.S. If I could've added one thing to your article, it would've been mosquito control. Either add fish (guppies or Gambusia sp. (aka mosquito fish), a killer, or drain it. Otherwise, your neighbors will hate you!

As ever, thank you for a thought-inspiring article.  The Triple O has matured to the point we may actually tackle this project!

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Posted by Rene Schweitzer on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 8:41 AM

Hi Eric,

 

Thanks for your note. I've emailed Nancy, pointing her to this letter so she can comment.

Rene

Rene Schweitzer

Garden Railways and Classic Toy Trains

nan
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Posted by nan on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 9:54 AM

Hi Eric,

Regarding 110-volt power, the pump plug should either be plugged directly into a GFCI outlet or hardwired (cut off the plug and wire it inside the electrical box to code). The electrical outlet/box needs to be routed 18" underground until the conduit is fastened 90 degrees up to a post. 'No extension cord' means direct plug in so that water does not get in any extension cord connection, a hazard. I have been experimenting with DC marine sump pumps powered through a transformer/inverter from AC at the house. Currently my water feature is not running because the pump failed. The inverter still makes a sound so it must be okay. I had run that pump over a year constantly so it's time for another from West Marine store. Where 110-volt assemblies are concerned, for insurance reasons, you need a licensed electrician to either do the work or check your work.      

Regarding mosquitos, we have a pondless water feature so that no standing water exists for bugs to breed/lay eggs. I have used mosquito-killing pellets when I had another one with a pond. Mosquito-eating fish always get scooped up by critters, mostly raccoons, in my neighborhood. Elsewhere, I have a bowl-enclosed water feature that runs 24/7. Running water prevents mosquitos from breeding there. Have fun with your project and let us know how it goes! NN                                                                   

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 10:12 PM

Nancy,

Thank you for your prompt and thorough reply!  We are fortunate in having an outdoor outlet, so it looks like the go / no-go for us in the immediate future, given your advice, is the length of the power cords on available pumps.  We have been discussing another outdoor outlet for trains, bug zappers, and "party lights," so this gives us food for thought, if the budget permits.  I'll get to the hardware store and do some investigating...

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, September 15, 2019 1:18 AM

Hi Nancy,

 

I wanted to provide a follow-up.  Pumps available locally have too short of a cord to make use of our existing outlet.  That would mean a new outlet, so we are going to have to do a big "think" about where that should be and what the budget will support.

 

This is a pretty small pond, and we are able to use "nature's water purifier" (water hyacinth) to keep the water clear and cool.  Please see recent pictures below:

 

 

Guppies are our mosquito killers.  As I mentioned, the leak has sparked interest in relooking the project, and we are investigating both liners and pre-formed pools.  There are pros and cons to both.

 

I wish I could tell you we were going to "pour on steam," but, given the variables here and the work involved, I think we need to take our time on Lake Inferior 2.0!

 

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by chocho willy on Sunday, September 15, 2019 10:50 AM

fallspondEric, I had a pond that was 8'x15'x3' for about 5 years and I used a sump pump for power because i had one and the smaller pumps around wouldn't lift the amount of water i needed for the waterfall and the 35' river. to keep it clean i used a leaf screen or a pool and water lettuce to keep it clear, i had some water hyacinth at first but found them too invasive and couldn't see the pond after about about a week. The water lettuce kept the water clear and was easy to remove with the pook screen and stored in a kiddy pool till the meet was over. There weren't many pool liners back then but I stumbled upon a liner for a land fill and it worked great, the sound of running water just does something for a layout, besides you have to have a place for the pirate ship, ARGGG, Bill

Tags: the pond
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, September 16, 2019 9:11 PM

Bill,

Thanks.  I have to crack the power code.  We need a bigger pond to accomodate more interesting fish and "wet foot" plants.  Our little thing is abut 6-8" deep at its deepest, which really limits both fish and plants because of the heat issue.

 

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 9:31 PM
A friend is donating a pre-formed 200 gal pond liner. Looks like I may have to proceed with this project...
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Posted by chocho willy on Thursday, September 26, 2019 10:34 AM

Sounds like you have a touch of the Irish!

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Posted by York1 on Thursday, September 26, 2019 10:48 AM

I know nothing about garden railroads, or about yard water features, so please take it easy on me.

I do know that there are low-voltage water pumps available for small water features.  With the low voltage system, an outlet near the house could be connected to the pump with low voltage rated wire, and would not require expensive conduit, electrician costs, etc.  The low voltage wire is not even required to be buried.

I don't imagine the low voltage system would work with a larger water feature, but it might be an answer for a smaller one.

Saints Fan John

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, September 26, 2019 11:20 PM
Thanks, York1. Do you have a link to an example of what you mean?
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, October 4, 2019 2:34 AM
OK, it was a 75 gal tub, but the price was right! We'll get cracking after the Christmas season.

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