natural swimming pool/swimming pond

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by jeff, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. jeff

    jeff Junior Member

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    Hi, haven't posted for a while so here's some updated pix of my natural swimming pool/fish pond.
    I've had 3 golden perch and a koi and 10 or so goldfish in the swimming pool for the last 18 months and recently added another 32 golden perch to the bio filter pool totalling about 30 kg of fish.
    The 32 perch came from a nearby farm dam that I drained/transferred water as the dam was very low and the fish had to be rescued.
    The appropriate authority (can't remember who) said I couldn't let them go into the Murray river as they were farm fish and of unknown gene pool. Fair enough.

    So with nowhere else to put the fish in a hurry, I opted for the swimming pool's bio filter pool.
    I might add at this point that 28 snake necked tortoises came out of the dam and overnighted in the pool before being released next day in one of the Murray's billabongs.

    The perch were put into the bio filter about 5 weeks ago and seem to have had little impact on the system.
    The water always smells very clean when swimming.
    Yesterday I tested the system for ph, nitrates and ammonium using an Aquaspex stream survey kit.
    Ph is always about 7.6 with ammonia reading good as none and ammonium reading as good as none.

    I fed the fish quite a few yabbies when I first put the fish in but have not fed them much of late.
    What is a good fish food to purchase?

    I did want to get all the original fish out some time ago as ideally a very low nutrient level is desired in this sort of pool however I've only increased the potential nutrient load.... and they will need to be fed!
    The bio filter should have no problems catering for the fish but just how much fish poo do I want to swim in!

    Time to go fishing I think.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. hardworkinghippy

    hardworkinghippy Junior Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    What a wonderful space. :D

    That looks like a big on-going project and I bet you getting a lot of fun out of it!
     
  3. Reb

    Reb Junior Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    Does anyone know of a good forum for discussing details about how to remodel a sand/chlorine pool
    into a natural pond with a biological filter system or a passive one with no active filtering at all?

    I've found companies that want to sell books, and a guy named Erik had a good site but it's not a forum
    and it's pretty much defunct now. Backyard aquaponics is a great site for raising fish and vegies. But
    I'm looking for help in figuring out whether a) I can configure a passive system that will be clean enough
    for swimming; b) if not, help with sizing/designing an active system.

    Thanks a bunch,
    Rebecca
     
  4. jeff

    jeff Junior Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    The few available books on natural swimming pools gave me a great headstart into how and why these pools work.
    Re backyard aquaponics, which is a great site, will give all the information you need regarding nutrient removal from water. The same principles are applied to a natural swimming pool, with or without fish.
    Equaly important as finding out about the water habitat, is "construction" methods to suit your particular needs.
    Passive must be massive imo.
    The less you circulate the water, the better the system and its location must be.
     
  5. Desertrat

    Desertrat New Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    I Jeff
    Love your work
    I'm thinking of building a natural pool in Alice Springs and think I have some good ideas that can be incorporated in my design but there is no substitute for speaking to someone that has and is doing "it" so hope I can pick your brains and of course anybody else with ideas, suggestions and wheelbarrows full of money.
    One thing I am wondering about is the growing of a dark green algae on the walls of the main swimming area wether this could cause problems if it were left growing, I have quite a large fish pond that is also deep well shaded and has no filtration or water circulation sysytem and lots of algae yet water is cystal clear. Any thoughts or ideas?
     
  6. jeff

    jeff Junior Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    Hi desertrat, Lots of thoughts and ideas! I have been asked a few times about how to build a natural pool.
    I don't know where to start when it comes to giving advice because there are so many variables in design possibilities/requirements.
    There will always be a bio film (Including algal growth) on the pool underwater surfaces. How advanced that bio film becomes is up to the pools design, and whether it is vacuumed/brushed off.
    In future designs, I plan to use algae to my advantage.
    Algae may just be the best nutrient scrubber for these pools.
    Our climate is very different to where these pools originated so we need to modify our designs to suit.
    Crystal clear water is the "achievable goal".
    Circulation is necessary for a swimming pool in full sun, and to keep the water surface clean, not to mention the water flow required for the biofilter.
     
  7. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    [/img][​IMG][/img]
    Something that interests me since having purchased a house with a hardly used pool and I stumbled this article
    https://kilk.com/pond/
    https://www.longbeachrealestatehome.com/ ... ming-pools

    There was another too about conversion of a cement in ground pool
    Still looking for that.

    The difficulty is does it add or detract from the value of your house /investment/retirement fund?
    Perhaps when there are more permaculturalists around ?
    But the new vaccine against skin cancer will probably see Ozzies back baking on the beach ?
     
  8. Reb

    Reb Junior Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    Michaelangelica,
    Yes, Erik, is the guy I mentioned in my post. Unfortunately, he sold the house, and the forum is more or less dead.
    I delayed doing a rainwater harvesting/aquaponics system with my pool for years over worry about resale value.
    Finally hit that point where it doesn't matter. I'm doing it.

    Hey, what's the latest on the skin cancer vaccine--any breaking news out there in Australia?

    We must be kin of some kind Ozarkians and Ozzies.

    Rebecca
     
  9. Pablito

    Pablito Junior Member

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  10. scottjunner

    scottjunner Junior Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    Depends on how you sell it. There is a market for everything. All that is required is to attract the people who want what you are selling. This can be used to sell anything you want. What would you rather sell? That may be the more imporatant question than what other people are doing that you don't like. I mean, we all have things we don't like. Wouldn't we rather give attention to the things we do? Promote and be proud of the things we do want? If I've got money to spend on anything (considering myself fairly close to something like, almost, but maybe not quite normal) I want to spend it on something that someone has put real effort into. Did I say there is a market for everything? Oh yeah, and by the way, there is a market for everything.

    Dominate the world markets with good ideas!
     
  11. Reb

    Reb Junior Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    Pablito,

    Thanks! That yahoo group is exactly what I was looking for.

    Rebecca
     
  12. Davidgreen

    Davidgreen New Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    Regarding the build up of algae on the surfaces of a natural swimming pool. Having worked in the aquatics industry many years ago I remember the same problem arising in the home aquarium, IE the tropical fish tank. This problem was easily remedied by the addition of a Plecostomus species of fish. Depending on the size of the set up 1, 2 or 3 may be added. It's interesting to note that some of these harmless unassuming algae eaters grow quite large in size, and as do all fish (to some degree) in direct relationship with their supporting environment. Big tank big fish, therefore in warmer climates such as Australia would it not be possible to add a few large species ( there are numerous ) as natural pool surface cleaners. They are fascinating fish, some being very attractively marked and some growing to over 12 inches in length; they are non stop grazers and long lived. This would possibly be the most natural solution to the algae build up problem; let the fish do the work, it works in the aquarium so why not the pool ?????
     
  13. Davidgreen

    Davidgreen New Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    With regards to the build up of algae on the surfaces of the swimming pool. This reminded me of my past when working in the aquatics industry in the UK. The same principles apply to the keeping of tropical fish in aquariums and the natural solution to that was always to introduce a species of Plecostomus fish. These gentle chaps constantly graze on the algae and are efficient eaters and removers of the dreaded green film. Some species grow quite large and are sometimes very decorative, therefore in warmer climates ( I think they are amazonian )such as Australia they should fare well. They out grow the average aquarium fast so there should be no shortage of donors? If the temperature of the pool drops too low then a solution would be to catch them (its easy) and hold them in a indoor tank until warmer weather returns. The pool would not be used then I'd guess anyway. I'm from the UK but now living in Sabah Borneo where I am planning to set up a totally green resort. The resort will hopefully incorporate a natural swimming pool fed by an adjoining river that circles the proposed site. I plan to use this as a main water supply that can feed the pool after the water has been naturally filtered with plant life and a grave system so avoiding the need for electricity. There is no supply at present and Solar will be the main way of generating this, as well as a possible water wheel/turbine set up that is still very much on paper at the moment but I'm sure its possible. I hope this gives another idea and great site by the way........
     
  14. jmygann

    jmygann Junior Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    Here is our pool/pond ....

    Northern California


    [​IMG]
     
  15. hardworkinghippy

    hardworkinghippy Junior Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    Here's our pond - but we cheat because this one is stream fed.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Fernando Pessoa

    Fernando Pessoa Junior Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    Dear Jeff your pool looks great,I have one of these too, though I am running it for the time being as a green system.I have included some of the websites that I have found useful in my studies thus far.I am running my system as a green system because,I am a tight bastard not wanting to fork out hard earned bucks for fish food or for electricity to run a pump.
    I have other reasons as well.
    1The algae that I am able to havest makes a great addition to my compost algae is usually a response to phosphorus,this is caused by rotting vegitation at the bottom of the pool and a healthy load of chicken shit I dump from my chicken houses every so often which I believe is called deritus.
    I use both deritis and mineral laden algae as inputs in my garden to no ill effect thus far.I usually spend about 10 minutes a day in high summer pulling out about 2 kilos of algae.
    I remove deritus with my pool net like you would leaves I think this is important because to much deritus causes oxygen deficientcy and stratification because all the underwater composting can rob the water of oxygen
    2. A green system benifits the type of fish I grow which like the algae and other water plants I grow as grazing material when they become more mature they also enjoy small snails which enjoy algae and the various zoo plankton insect lava and Pyhtoplankton along with Kang kong water chestnut and a variety of other bog plants I have zone fived from my local fresh water pond and established on the steps.
    I am slowly extending the bog area to be about 15% of total pool area my choice of fish bidyanus bidyanus(why do all these latin names have to be so suggestive)silver pearch.
    Now I started slow 5 or six fish they have never been fed a commercial food they were fingerlings now my largest would be in excess of 400grams in 18 months so I am sure the green system provides adequate food.I could feed and stock to commercial levels,If I had a filter but I would loose this wonderful diversity because the filter would take many of the inputs that I need to sustain healthy plant and micro flora and fauna.
    I have about 15 fish now from fingerlings to 200grams,I say about because since I converted I have a White faced heron,Australaisian bitten and cormorants who visit I think the big guys are ok but the fingerlings are running the gauntlet.
    I am just a hobbyist trying to find my way ,I am not so good at recording things but have found that the fish are more active when its hot and that since the inclusion of a mat of azolla they will lurk at the top of the pool longer when picking the few bread scraps I throw at them just to check on the progress.
    So basically a pool can provide the urban house with inputs for compost at the back door if you include water hyacynth and azzola etc you will end up with a great compost full of wierd and wonderful life that I believe services mychoryzal fungal associations etc etc.It gives me great joy to see the many coloured damsel and dragonflys buzzing over it's surface and performing their role as my benifical insect airforce as well they are good fodder for butcher birds and magpies which make short work of they massive brown grasshoppers.The one lesson I get from all the great thinkers in permaculture is diversity diversity diversity in the ground in plants in water and I have seen it work so that why I am advocating the green system.I think I have said enough so best wishes with your fishes and good luck to all.
    https://www.biofilters.com/LONGPATH3.htm

    https://el.erdc.usace.army.mil/aqua/apis/intro.aspx
    https://www2.dpi.qld.gov.au/fishweb/2703.html
    https://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S15 ... ci_arttext
    https://www.aquaprogram.cz/index-en.php? ... icke-sterk
    https://www.resources4homeschoolers.com/Aquaponics.html
    https://el.erdc.usace.army.mil/aqua/apis/intro.aspx
    https://www.biofilters.com/LONGPATH3.htm
    https://treadle.pump.googlepages.com/woo ... ;init:.jpg
    https://treadle.pump.googlepages.com/woo ... ;init:.jpg
    Physical Characteristics
    If going for a clear system...heres some good ideas
    1. Number of replicate systems planned ?
    2. What is the volume of each system (gallons, ft3 or m3 ) ?
    3. How much water (gallons, ft3 or m3 ) do you expect to flush from the system on a daily basis ?
    4. What size of pump are you using ?
    Horsepower:
    Flow Rate (gallons per minute @ 10 psi):
    5. How will you use the system ?
    Display:
    Holding Brood Fish:
    Breeding:
    Rearing:
    Fingerlings:
    Growout:
    Other:
    6. What species are you going to culture ?
    Loading
    7. What is the maximum weight (pounds or kilograms) of animals you will hold in the system ?
    8. What is the maximum weight (pounds of kilograms) of feed you expect to use per day ?
    9. What is the protein content (percent by weight) of the feed ?
    Water Quality
    10. What pH are you going to maintain in the system ?
    11. Maximum allowable Total Ammonia Nitrogen (TAN) in mg/l or ppm ?
    12. At what TAN level will the system be operated ? < 0.5 mg/l
    0.5 to 1.0 mg/l
    > 1.0 mg/l
    < 5.0 mg/l
    13. Maximum allowable Nitrite-Nitrogen (NO
    2
    -N) in mg/l or ppm ?
    14. At what NO
    2
    level will the system be operated ? < 0.5 mg/l
    0.5 to 1.0 mg/l
    > 1.0 mg/l
    < 5.0 mg/l
    15. What is the desired Total Suspended Solids (TSS) level you will maintain in the system ?
    16. What temperature are you going to maintain in the system ?
     
  17. jeff

    jeff Junior Member

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    Re: natural swimming pool/swimming pond

    Thankyou Fernando. As you are finding out, water is great fun to play with and manipulate for various end uses.
    We can make water drinkable again after it has been used for its many purposes.
    We are going to need to do this as our population grows and demand for water increases.
    There is one thing beyond doubt nowadays in Australia and that is the uncertain future of rainfall.
    There are quite a few places that have had flooding rains this year and also many places such as Albury where I live that are suffering serious water shortages.
    Chemical free water recycling systems should have a big future in Australia.
     
  18. newieboy

    newieboy Junior Member

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    Hi Jeff,
    Cool pictures of the pool. I am looking at putting one in myself but using the Aquaviva filtration system. I was just wondering how long you have had the pool in for and if you have had any problems with it, such as algae. Any other tips you have will be greatly appreciated.
    mick
     
  19. jeff

    jeff Junior Member

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    Wow ! a post from three years ago. The forum didn't send notification of a post because it got too old I suppose.
    Well , I wonder how Mick went with his pool?..........

    As for my pool, nothing has changed. The plants around the pool have grown and I have built the latest concept in my fine filter.

    After seven summers now, I have never put a single thing in the water. The water has remained constantly clear all year round.
    I had my pool water tested by Albury City Council on 10 January 2013 with excellent results.
    I asked the council to come and take a sample directly from the pool, which was then sent to a NATA accredited laboratory in Melbourne for chemical and biological testing.
    In short, the council wrote ''high quality water" and "satisfactory for swimming and water based recreation"
    That will be a first I think for an unsanitised pool.

    I have built another three pools now using similar construction methods. Two of those pool are about 75,000 litres and are producing the same high quality water, with each using a single 100 watt pump, powered by off-grid solar power.
    I don't think there is a greener pool. No chemicals, no grid power.

    It is still very much an uphill battle trying to get interest in these pools. The last persons to look at my pool was July 2012, one year ago. I did build a pool for them.
    I don't get it. I have a website, I'm proactive in blowing my trumpet and yet response is very poor.

    I have learnt though, that most people do not understand what chemical free means. When I say that nothing is ever put in the water, the first thing most people say is ''it's salt then?" or "it's an ioniser" Both of these systems produce or require chlorine.
    Chemical free is just that. No chemical or additives ever. The water in my pools is alive, not dead like normal pools.

    My system/concept is 'made in Australia, for Australia, by me'
    I can only keep on flying the flag.

    Anyone else out there developing their own system?

    This is pool number three in N.E. Victoria.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    What a great old thread! Your pool #3 looks awesome Jeff. This is so timely as I've been thinking of late (it's hot summer here) of a lap pool again. Long and narrowish with the bio-filter section wrapping around one end and most of the length on both sides ... pool entry on the remaining end. Pool outputs into the bio-filter section at the far end and water flows through the filter down both sides before entering the pool again near the pool entry. May be like swimming in a tropical creek!
     

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