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Duck Pond Filter Suggestions ???

 
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Hello,

We are planning on using a Tractor Supply round water stock tank for our duck pond. It is 8' diameter and I think that's 300 gallons. * I know I could dig one for cheaper but my health would make it difficult.
Since it will be 300 gallons I would like to use some sort of filtration so I do not need to do as many water changes. Any suggestions on  what type of filtration for this size volume of water? I can do either electric or solar. Which ever will do the best job. We will try to use some sort of ground cover around the pond so that they do not track as much grass and dirt as they are now doing with their kiddie pool.
Also, is an 8' diameter 2' high tank big enough to maybe add some fish or plants? If yes what plants would they NOT eat?

Thanks
 
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How many ducks are you going to have using the pond? I think that will probably be a big determiner in what type of filter you use. I know when we tried to have a filter on our duck pond (with 8 ducks and probably 500-600 gallons), that the filter kept clogging. We used a really big filter (I'll ask my husband what it was, as he's a fish keeper and knows a lot about filters, and was the one to install it). But, there was just too much poop.

I've found that, for my--up to 20--ducks and my amount of land, that the easiest thing for me is to have 1 or 2 trays of water that are 1-2 inches deep, and 1.5-ish feet wide and 2.5-ish feet long. I dump these out every day and refill them. During the summer, I move them around by fruit trees, so that when I dump the water, it fertilizes and waters the tree. Because I dump the water every day, it doesn't get icky, and since the trays are small, the ducks can't make as much of a mess, and they don't need as much water. I also provide my ducks a pail to drink out of, so they can clean their bills easily. I change that water every day, too.
 
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Ducks are SO good at making duck poop. It's really impressive.. and a little duck poop goes a long way to making a pond gross.

I am guessing a substantial sand/gravel filter is the only economical filter option, you'd want a lot of media... these can be DIYed in 55gal barrels...

I think planning to use the duck water for plants, replacing often, is much preferable, unless you have a really dire water shortage and no way to add storage to compensate... in which case, maybe not ducks..?


If I end up raising ducks here, I will plan to both rotate them between ponds, and to pump hundreds of gallons of ducky water onto plants, replacing from another pond as needed...
 
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You may try the same system as the vermicomposting flush toilet.

http://www.vermicompostingtoilets.net/design-construction/
https://www.permaculture.co.uk/readers-solutions/how-make-vermicomposting-flush-toilet

It would need a pump instead of working with gravity, and may not work when the water is too cold.

Maybe it would be good to have two tanks, alternate each hour/day so the worms do not drown.
The ducks would even benefit from some proteins from time to time if the tank is overcrowded.

I think Burra Maluca has a system like this at home, can you confirm if you read us?

 
Jim Grieco
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We only have 3 ducks. We already do the kiddie pool and rubber tubs but want to give them a much larger water source to play in. They are fun to watch.
 
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If it's a stationary pond, I would use a couple of raised-bed filters. I would construct stands for two halves of a 55 gal. drum, take a whole drum and cut it down the middle, so you have two half-cylinders.

I would drill a few drainage holes in the end of each, near the rounded bottom edge, raise the other end of the half-barrels slightly, and drop a coarse pebble into the bottom, perhaps with a biochar layer sandwiched between landscape cloth, and topped with a garden bed.

I would make a slight partition of landscape cloth at the raised end of each half-barrel, and fill the partition (not large, just enough for the purpose) with a sand-filter arrangement, into which a pump can deposit duck water without washing away the garden soil. The pond water should flood the surface, but not so much that it overflows or displaces soil. A layer of sand might do well between the landscape fabric barrier and the topsoil.

I would plant heavier-feeding plants near the sand filter end, and those requiring less would go nearer the drain.

If the lower lipped ends are left to drip back into the pond, the water will be clean by the time it reaches the pond again.

If you want to grow plants that the ducks aren't to eat, why grow them where the ducks are going to be?

I wouldn't put anything in your duck pond that you don't want eaten. In fact, I would probably encourage the growth of duckweed. You could grow aquatic plants that ducks do eat, but screen off the main plant so they don't kill it completely, but can easily eat anything that pokes out of the protective screen. In that way, the plants will grow back, to be cropped back again by the ducks.

As to fish, I would add some white cloud mountain minnows (I think that's what they're called) to combat mosquito larvae, or anything else that you don't want overrunning your tank. I would also get a bottom feeder. My choice would be a local small catfish, brown bullhead, but you might have other choices available. Koi might actually do the trick, if you're uninterested in eating them.

You might want to consider making a long sock-like arrangement to contain some kind of growth medium, even silt and muck from a natural pond local to you. This would be hung just under the water level around the inside rim of the pond, and you would want to plant a local reed bed guild in the sock. It might require a little additional protection, but you could have a ring of reeds around your duck pond, giving them shelter and seclusion from predators, and the reeds would actively filter the water, reducing the load on any filtration method you choose that requires a pump.

There are many options. All you need do is tailor an approach to your specific situation. Let us know how it goes, and good luck!

-CK
 
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Jim Grieco wrote:Hello,

We are planning on using a Tractor Supply round water stock tank for our duck pond. It is 8' diameter and I think that's 300 gallons. * I know I could dig one for cheaper but my health would make it difficult.
Since it will be 300 gallons I would like to use some sort of filtration so I do not need to do as many water changes. Any suggestions on  what type of filtration for this size volume of water? I can do either electric or solar. Which ever will do the best job. We will try to use some sort of ground cover around the pond so that they do not track as much grass and dirt as they are now doing with their kiddie pool.
Also, is an 8' diameter 2' high tank big enough to maybe add some fish or plants? If yes what plants would they NOT eat?

Thanks



Jim, did you come up with a reliable filter for your pond?  This spring I am hoping to use a 10' round stock tank for our ducks and I also want to filter the water to limit water changes.  I may also consider using the water for aquaponics, or quackuaponics in this case.
 
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We have a smallish but 8 ft deep duck/ koi pond and about 6 month out of the year about 50-100 wild mallards come and visit us. I'm looking for solutions for filtering too. Sounds like from what I read, I can DIY a couple barrel filters, or maybe buy 2 filters? What do y'all think?
 
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Has any one used a sieve.  I know cetus sieve is used in aquaponics and koi ponds.  I just dont know if the poop is ground down to the point the filter won't filter it, even with a gravity fed.  
 
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When last I looked into this for our fowl this blog was the best I could find from someone who managed to do the pond thing successfully with a handful of ducks.

https://www.tyrantfarms.com/how-to-build-a-backyard-pond-with-diy-biofilter

We do similar to Nicole with concrete mixing tubs and dump them regularly under the fruiting trees.

I might try a pond one day... maybe it would work if the birds were given limited access allowing the filter to keep or catch up?

Curious, Nicole, when you tried it did they have unlimited access during the day or day/night?
 
Nicole Alderman
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When we tried it, they had unlimited access during the day. At night we had them secured in their house.

My son did dig a hole outside (about 2 feet by 3 feet, and maybe 4 inches deep), and it fills when it rains. The ducks love it. Since it gets flushed out naturally in the rain, it's fine for most of the year (it rains most of the year). We also only let them have access to it for a few hours.

But, last summer, my husband kept filling the puddle/pond up, and the ducks were in it a lot. It ended up getting a layer of poop and gunk that were really nasty. We had to keep the ducks out of it for a while to let it recover.
 
Chris Kott
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Hey, all. I don't know why I didn't include this in my original response, but it occurs to me that it would be possible to do a duck pond filter in a garden bed, or even a swale.

This would, of necessity, require tweaking for specific soil situations, as does every tool in the permaculture toolbox, in my opinion. If you're seeking to reclaim all the water directly, it would be necessary to be working in conditions where the bottom of the bed or swale could be sealed to impermeability (in exactly the way you don't want to to in clay soils, for instance, when you're trying to infiltrate water into the subsoil).

For a filter garden bed, you could even use a pond liner, then build in an appropriate version of the sand filter detailed above, and the pond pump discharge area designed to obviate overwhelming or eroding the beds. Depending on the ratio of filter bed size to the volume of water to be treated, the flow path of the water could be extended by adding baffles extending in three-quarters of the way in an alternating pattern, ninety degrees from the sides of the bed, making the flow path zig-zag.

For a swale, I would do essentially the same thing, though if it were only two feet wide, say, or a foot wide, even, there wouldn't be a need or possibility for zig-zag baffles. It would have to be dug slightly off-contour, with the raised end taking the pump outflow and the lower end releasing water that would eventually percolate into the pond.

The movement of filtered water could be increased by employing some sort of tiling system between the filter bed outflow and the pond itself. Conventional fired clay tiles (as in, the terra cotta tubes whose ends nested to make drainage tile back in the day), or their modern sock-over-perforated-plastic-(ew, David!) iterations could be used. I would make a t-section, with the arms spanning the width of the bed or swale, and the body directed towards the pond itself.

A dug trench filled with large pebble and lined with landscape cloth would probably do well in this application.

I would probably stick one of those reed bed sock constructs in the end of the drainage channel, pond-side, just to keep sediment down in high-flow events.

One other suggestion I have made elsewhere but somehow missed on this post is the idea of building out a solar-powered duck island pump. Essentially, you use a design for garden beds in flooded areas, as in chinampas, or the floating vegetative mats that are being used in delta areas in (I think?) Bangladesh and/or Pakistan. These support your garden bed and sand filter, and is surrounded by a perimeter reed bed sock, which can also contain wild rice for your own harvesting, should you feel so inclined.

A central, solar-powered pump would bring water and sediment up from the bottom and deposit it in the centre of the island bed, and the levels of filtration would work similarly as the others, but in outward concentric rings. A spiral pattern could be designed into the flow path. The island could have caged duck plants that regrow from their protected centres, and serve as shelter and habitat as well.

I would love to hear an update from the OP. In-ground solutions were never an option there, if the water was to be returned to the pond system, but I would love to hear how it was managed.

Thanks. Be well, and good luck.

-CK
 
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