DIY Bottom Drain
I really enjoy DIY projects. First of all, I am a geek at heart. Secondly, I am, by necessity, cheap! And, lastly, I will be the one maintaining the system, so by doing things myself, I know how things work and when fixes need to be made I can make them.
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Living in a very cold area of the country, I chose to install my drain through the wall at midwater level. In the fall and spring, I disconnect the BD and draw from the midwater level. This gives the pond a chance to settle out so that there is a buffered temp on the bottom of the pond for the fish to hang out in. All summer and in mild weather, I slip the 3 inch flex hose attached the to the drain into the midwater intake and then draw from the bottom through the drain. Here is a diagram that may explain better than text.
I built my bottom drain from the following materials: a large salad bowl from the dollar store, a bit of extra concrete, some scrap PVC with end caps, and a few 3 inch fittings. I also used a black permanent marker, a carpet knife, and some black spray paint.
The first step was to find a large bowl made of soft-ish rubber (as opposed to brittle plastic). I found one at the local dollar store. Then I used a 3 inch male slip fitting and a marker to draw a circle on the bottom of the bowl through which I could slip the small end of the fitting.
After drawing the circle, I carefully scored around the line with a carpet knife. Then made a bunch of cuts from one edge of the circle to the other. I popped out each little wedge shaped piece and refined the opening to fit the PVC piece.
I glued the set of male/female fittings through the hole, then placed a stub piece of 3 inch pipe into a plastic bag and slipped it in the fitting on the inside of the bowl. Next, I filled the bowl to the top with concrete. The stub piece kept the concrete from running out of the bowl through the fitting so I could fill the bowl full, and the plastic made it easy to slip the fitting out when the concrete set up. Scrap pieces of 1 inch PVC were set into the wet concrete for legs. To hold the legs in place, I put a 2 inch drywall screw through the end of each leg that went into the concrete.
Once the conrete was partially cured, but still carve-able, the plastic bag covered stub was removed. Then I shaped the concrete to slope to the opening of the fitting on the inside of the bowl. I trimmed the legs to a uniform length and capped them.
After the concrete was fully cured, I coated the whole works with black spray paint.
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