Yay! Finally had the time and energy to make some progress on the bog/gravel filter and the current version of the airlift pump (turbo = compression fitted air chamber with drilled “airstone” holes).
- Couple of days ago? I detached the bog tubing from the pump so the bog would drain into the pond
- This morning, I bailed what was left in the bog — there were still enough to fill two 4.5 gal kitty litter buckets and some more, but I was able to tip it up and over to empty.
- As I feared, the middle of the purple dinosaur sandbox was starting to bottom out due to insufficient support, so I put another flat cinderblock (actually I learned its a stacking stove pipe chimney block) in the center where I hadn’t been able to put it before, and added a couple more bricks as well. (ultimately, I’m going to stuff subsoil that comes out of the holes I will be digging under there)
- To create a trickle drain, I drilled holes in the inner and outer walls to fit a grommet for a 1/2” tubing (I did need to be able to get to the underside to properly fit the grommet, so emptying the bog was a necessary step
- (...and I just now realized I forgot to take pictures... but) I pulled out the turbo airlift pump and attached the gravel tray water intake on one side of the tee and my diy mayo jar intake on the other side.
This is what I’m calling a “gravel tray” (don’t know if the pump that it came with is still working....)
- I had some trouble setting the tray down on the step and the base of the pump on the very bottom of the pond, but I managed to get it to at least half depth, and started tinkering
- I needed to add an extra couple of elbows for the bog filter distribution pipe, then had to twist it this way and that way — eventually finding a perfect angle to lay the pipe flat on the bottom, more or less on the opposite side from the drain
- the air escape module was still giving me problems — I tried out the idea to capture the small burps and gurgles of water by connecting it directly to the turtle spitter, but no matter what I did, as soon as I connected the 1/2 inch, the bog distribution pipe started bubbling like a hot tub... and the steadily pouring drain reduced to a trickle then drips and stopped
- I tried out leaving it open and reducing to a 1/2 inch pipe to gurgle and burp — a larger version of the turtle spitter, and considered finding a fitting to reduce further to make it squirt ... and, instead, found a fountainhead
in my bag of odds and ends. I had to be a bit clever to create a tight fit, but yep, it worked
...it’s not a steady fountain since what comes out is a lot of air and occasional gurgle and burst of excess water (every 5-20 seconds with pretty good sized spray once in a while). It does make enough watery, drippy noises and spray bursts of water that I think it will be attractive to the hummingbirds
- I only had one bag of gravel, so I piled them up along the distribution pipe. I think I will need 3 more bags.
- Once the turbo airlift pump was running for a while through this setup, the pond water started to really clear up ... enough for me to see the gravel tray — it was stuck at an angle on the step wall — and I could see
why — there was a sunken stick blocking it. With the stick removed, I was able to settle the tray flat on the step
- It turned out that the angle of the elbows and pipes made minute differences in the turbo airlift performance. With the fountain head as well as the water outlet to the bog tubing adjusted, the drain pours in a steady stream that makes steady water sounds as it falls into the pond. This will attract wildlife in general
Here’s the pond now, viewed from upstairs window:
...I am in serious pain — back muscles and core muscles in particular — but I am really pleased with the progress so far
...oh BTW, I found the little snake’s NEW hiding spot — haha — I was going to get a couple of bricks from under a temporarily placed flagstone, and tilted it up ... and there it was, coiled and looking put out. At least I’ve found out that it has moved away from the waterfall mound and the pond liner, so this means I can dig there now.