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Turtle Pond Clean up...

Discussion in 'Water turtles' started by kameya, May 8, 2019.

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  1. kameya

    kameya Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I've got a 400 gallon turtle/pond for about six years. It has a pump/filter/waterfall circulation system, and I would clean the built-in filter pond every month. But as the year goes by, the water condition was getting greener and greener, and it got to the point I can only see my turtles when they swim up to the surface during the feeding hours or when they bask on the surface rock. I've looking for ways to make my pond clear and crystal again... looking online for any pond cleaning miracle tools... and it wasn't easy.

    Then I found a video on youtube that shows you how to turn the green pond into a clear pond again just using items I have around my house. I tried it... and now I have my clear and crystal pond again...
    IMG_20190422_125448135.jpg

    I will list the steps I took for the cleaning process...

    Here are the items for the cleaning process... I picked up the *polyester* batting from the local JoAnn store, had to drill many .375" holes on the Home Depot bucket. IMG_20190430_084802816I.jpg
    You will need to wrap the batting around the pump and place everything in the bucket with the sprout facing top. To cover the batting and the pump, I use filter pad and bricks(or stone) to make sure everything will stay in the bucket once I submerged the bucket into the pond. I also connect the pump discharge hose at this point so I can direct the water flow around the pond to stir up the mud and junk.... IMG_20190430_085125893.jpg

    Now submerge the whole bucket into the pond and run the pump 24/7. This portable filter bucket will start collecting all the mud and junk during the process. The bucket can also be moved around the pond to provide on the spot cleaning.
    IMG_20190430_085949602.jpg

    For the first 6 days, I had to remove the bucket from the pond about every 8 hours to clean the junk and mud from the batting. I would rinse and clean everything then place the bucket back to work.
    IMG_20190430_085949608G.jpg

    This was the sixth day of the pond... now I could probably see through midway of the pond...
    IMG_20190430_192703394.jpg

    This was the eighth day of the pond... the pond was almost clear... I was able to pick up a lot of falling leaves, rocks, and big objects from the bottom of the pond at this point...
    IMG_20190506_064800934.jpg

    The whole cleaning process took me about 10 days to complete since this is the first major cleaning up of the pond in six years. I am planning to do this type of cleaning maybe every half year or so and it will probably take less days. I am very happy with the end result, as now I can see my fishes and turtles swimming in the pond again... Happy Cleaning... ^_^ IMG_20190507_124816552.jpg
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
    Moozillion, Subersibo, JLMDVM and 7 others like this.
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I love it!!!!! Thank you.
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  3. Sleppo

    Sleppo Active Member

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    Looks so nice!
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  4. Relic

    Relic Well-Known Member

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    Some potted pond plants would help drain the excess nutrients out of the water that the green algae needs (think fish/turtle poop) and help keep the water clear, too.

    There is a pond forum that has a lot of good information you might enjoy: https://www.gardenpondforum.com/
  5. PJay

    PJay Well-Known Member

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    Wow, your pond looks great now!
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  6. kameya

    kameya Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you for your great suggestion... so I've added a couple potted plants in the pond, they are filled with water lily and water lettuce, and now the pond can look clear and great with the additional plants all year round...
    IMG_20190626_130150998_HDR.jpg
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  7. Relic

    Relic Well-Known Member

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    Really nice set-up...I've always thought fish and turtles go together.
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  8. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Nice job
    I use a small 800 watt UV sterilizer in line going into my waterfall.
    It handles algae very well, also.
  9. kameya

    kameya Active Member 5 Year Member

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    That's how I like my pond... a mix of turtles and fish... and frog. My turtles don't really eat the fishes, the fishes are too fast for my turtles, so the turtles can only eat the dead fish that is dead from natural cause.
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  10. kameya

    kameya Active Member 5 Year Member

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    My pond doesn't really have the algae issue, as the turtles and koi fish are doing their best to chew away those algae for food, so they are the guard to keep the algae in my pond at bare minimum. The deep clean helps me getting rid of the excessive poo and goo so I can get the pond water clear again. I also added another separate filter box to help the main filter system and now the water just stay clean and clear since the last deep clean...

    Here is the link of the small filter box I got from Amazon, it's cheap and works well...
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0024EFYU6/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
    Moozillion and Pastel Tortie like this.
  11. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I was going to ask if anyone had any experience using UVC sterilizers for unicellular algae control. I really want a pond, but I really don't want green water. Thanks for answering before I even asked!!! :D
  12. kameya

    kameya Active Member 5 Year Member

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    When my pond was first built, with built-in UV light inside the filter box, I still had the algae problem in the beginning. The long string algae was everywhere, from top of the waterfall down to the edge of the pond. But it took about two years for the ecosystem to establish, then the algae became less aggressive, and my turtles and koi would just take care most of the Algae. I can still see patches of algae in my pond, even on the stem of water lily, but I am ok with that as it is part of the ecosystem, The important part is that my pond water stays clean and clear so I can see my turtles and koi.
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  13. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    A few months ago, I got some funky, green, "thick" water.
    Turned out the UVB bulb had burned out.
    In about 72 hours with the new bulb, it was crystal clear again.
    I have a submerged pump in a debris bag feeding a pressurized filter with bio pads and plastic bio balls out into the sterilizer and underground to the waterfall box.
    The waterfall box is fed from the bottom and overflows into the pond. It contains large bio balls and Lava rock. About 18" deep.
    The water has been clear as glass almost from the start.
    I have never cleaned the waterfall box. I will need to do so at some point.
    I also do not recommend using a pressurized filter like I have.
    Make your own gravity filters with lots of media.
    There's a lot wrong with my Koi pond.
    My newer ponds are much simpler and work better, but lack the natural look.
    About the only thing I WOULD do again. Is use a Sterilizer.....Or utilize shade.
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  14. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I've added water lettuce and Hyacinth to my 2 above ground ponds.
    They greatly lowered my Nitrate levels

    Attached Files:

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  15. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    @kameya
    Have you ever used a pond vacuum?
    I purchased an Oase POND O VAC.
    Used it twice. And it has been sitting in my garage ever since.
    It DOES remove debris and algae. But it does so so slowly....

    Attached Files:

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  16. kameya

    kameya Active Member 5 Year Member

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    That was one of the cleaning methods I have thought about it, but it's like a $200 investment and not knowing how effectively it could clean my pond, and the unit may broke after a couple of uses from some online reviews. So ultimately and luckily I was able to discover the bucket and pump method, which is very inexpensive (I happened to have a backup pump on hand), very easy to do, and did the job in 10 days.
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  17. enchilada

    enchilada Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Is quilt batting pretty much the same thing as aquarium filter pads ? How much does it cost typically?

    Thanks
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  18. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I too use UVC filters in my pond. I have 3 large ones. The flow rate through them actually will determine if the are really "sterilizers" or algae killers. They work great if sized and pump flow rates are controlled properly.
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  19. kameya

    kameya Active Member 5 Year Member

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    The batting is softer and more flexible than the filter pad as you need to wrap around the pump to trap the goo. However, it is a good idea to use the aquarium filter pad to cover up whole setup.

    The polyester batting is actually quite inexpensive, you can go to your local fabric store and pick up a bag, it costs me less than $10 for the one shown in the second image.

    I forgot to include the youtube link in my original post where I found this pre-filter idea... you can check it out to see the whole process...
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  20. enchilada

    enchilada Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you it works
    Before 72CC7228-D2C5-49B6-B85F-C814BEEBF33B.jpeg After
    8D3DEA13-98E1-4E5A-A4CD-C2D5DB5154C0.jpeg
    PJay and kameya like this.
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