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The ULTIMATE Pondless Waterfall is the only completely filtered pondless waterfall system. The ULTIMATE Pondless Waterfall is both pre-filtered, and biologically filtered. The system also utilizes a tank for the water storage instead of the impossible to clean gravel basins that other systems feature.
The system is "pondless" because when the pump is turned off - all the water is captured and stored out of sight inside the HydroChamber™.
The Hydro Vortex™ filter will self clean itself!
The first step in learning how to build an ULTIMATE Pondless Waterfall is to create a drawing of the pondless waterfall you are envisioning. If you need help, simply give us a call - we're here everyday to help you.
You'll be able to make as many changes to your pondless waterfall drawing as you wish - make it longer, shorter, have more curves, less curves - you're in charge. Once you're fairly satisfied with the pondless waterfall drawing, it's time for the next step.
The next step is to paint your pondless design on the ground in actual size. Having it painted on the ground gives you a much better idea of what you are creating.
Using your pondless drawing as your guide, first paint where the Hydro Vortex™ Easy To Clean Waterfall Filter will be installed. Then at the other end of your pondless design, paint where the HydroSieve™ and the HydroChamber™ will be installed.
With the pondless drawing in "actual" size now, measure the length and width of your design from one end to the other. These dimensions are what you'll provide to a Friendly Customer Service Associate at Russell Watergardens & Koi who'll then create a custom pondless waterfall kit that is specifically tailored to your design.
From your drawings and dimensions, Russell Watergardens & Koi will create a custom pondless waterfall kit for you that is specifically tailored to your pondless design. With a custom pondless waterfall kit from Russell Watergardens & Koi, you'll never have to make your pondless waterfall design fit inside the limitations of a pre-packaged pondless waterfall kit!
Once your ULTIMATE pondless kit is on site - you're ready to go. First you'll need to excavate your water storage basin.
In your custom pondless waterfall kit, you'll have a HydroSieve™ and at least one HydroChamber™. Your excavation will be few inches wider on each side and deeper than your HydroChamber™ and HydroSieve™.
You will use your excavated soil as the fill around your Hydro Vortex™ Easy To Clean Waterfall Filter, and to create the "Guides" that make up your stream boundaries - or "Shoulders".
You will recycle every bit of soil you remove from the water storage basin excavation. It will be used to hide the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter and to create the stream shoulders. Its best to excavate your stream about 3" - 5" and build the "shoulders" up 4"-8". The shoulders hold your stream water in, and any ground water run-off out of your stream.
The stream shoulders are extremely important - they support the rubber liner above the water line. Without the shoulders, the liner would "sag" and cause water to leak out of the system. When creating your shoulders, make sure the soil is highly compacted to limit the amount of settling that will occur and build it at least 6" to 8" high and 12" or more wide.
Now that the water storage basin area is excavated, and the streambed "shoulder" guides are created - its time to install your Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter. Your Hydro Vortex™ filter comes complete with PVC pipe adaptors and 100% Silicone Sealant. Apply a solid bead of Silicone near the start of the threads of the male pipe adaptor.
You'll then thread the PVC male pipe adaptor with Siliconed threads directly into the Solid Brass Female threads of the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter's Inlet Port. There is no need for a large wrench or Channel-Locs, simply thread it in just as tight as you can get it with just your hands. Make sure to not cross the threads.
The Ahi Hydro Vortex™ Filter has one 1½" Solid Brass female threaded Inlet Port and matching PVC pipe adaptor and one 1½" Solid Brass female threaded Bottom Drain Cleanout Outlet Port and matching PVC Pipe adaptor.
Both the Marlin and Dolphin Hydro Vortex™ Filters have two 2" Solid Brass female threaded Inlet Ports with one 2" PVC pipe adaptor and one 2" PVC plug. Both units also have one 1½" Solid Brass female threaded Bottom Drain Cleanout Outlet Port and matching PVC Pipe adaptor. (The plug may be substituted for a second pipe adaptor when dual plumbing main-lines are used.)
You'll then repeat the process with a second PVC pipe adaptor and thread it into the Hydro Vortex™ Filter's Solid Brass female threaded Bottom Drain Cleanout Outlet.
With the pipe adaptors attached to the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter, you're now ready to attach your flexible PVC pipe to the filter. First, clean the outside end of the flexible PVC pipe with the Purple PVC Primer included with your kit. Clean fully around the pipe, and up the pipe about 3".
With both the outside end of the flexible PVC pipe and the inside of the PVC male pipe adaptor cleaned and primed with the Purple PVC Primer, apply the Red Hot PVC Glue to the outside end of the 10' section of flexible PVC pipe that is used for the Clean Out Drain-line. Make sure the glue is completely around the pipe, and up the pipe about 3". You do not need to put glue inside the male pipe adaptor - only on the pipe itself.
With both the pipe adaptor and the pipe cleaned and primed with the Purple Primer, and the Red Hot PVC glue applied to the outside end of the flexible PVC pipe, insert the flexible PVC drain pipe into the pipe adaptor that is in the bottom center of the filter's settling cone.
Slightly twist the pipe back and forth as you push it into the pipe adaptor to remove any air bubbles in the glue. Once the pipe is all the way in - hold it for 60 seconds.
The drain pipe gets attached first because it is the lowest pipe. The inlet pipe is above the drain pipe. The drain outlet is always at the bottom center of the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter and perpendicular to the filter's round side wall. The inlets are always parallel to the filter's round side wall.
With the drain pipe previously glued to the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter, repeat the pipe priming/gluing process for the main-line pipe that will run back to the HydroChamber™. Hold the pipe for 60 seconds.
With pipe attached to the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter, you are now ready to "set" it.
!!!! Make sure to
NEVER MOVE THE FILTER BY PULLING THE PIPES!
Always move the filter and pipe in unison !!!!
The first step in learning how to build a waterfall is to set the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter on firm level soil. If your soil is soft, wet, or high in peat - first place a 4" thick bed of compacted crushed gravel as a footing. Remember when full of water, the filter will be very heavy - if the filter isn't set on a firm footing - settling can occur that may cause leaks in the future. Extend the drain pipe out to a waste area, and extend the main-line pipe back towards the HydroChamber™.
Once the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter is set on firm level ground, have someone stand inside it with a level to hold it in place. This is to maintain the filter's levelness while others surround the filter and cover the pipes with soil excavated from the water storage basin.
Standing in the filter is traditionally reserved for the "supervisor" of the project.
Compact the soil as it is being placed to ensure uniform compaction from the bottom-up. The soil should come up to within 1" - 2" from the upper rim of the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter.
This particular design called for a two-step waterfall - compacted soil is used to construct "steps" that will become footings for the waterfall boulders. The height of the steps are a division of the total height of the waterfalls, in this design, the falls are 2' high, so one stair step of 12" is created with soil, the upper fall will be created with the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter itself.
To properly estimate the width your "stairs" need to be, add the width of the waterfall effect you are creating plus each "shoulder boulder" that the waterfalls will fall between. In this example, the waterfall will be 18" wide and we'll have 18" boulders on each side of the waterfall - so the width of the stair step needs to be 18" + 18" + 18" = 54" wide.
Waterfalls, like streams, need to have "Guides" or "Shoulders" to hold liner above the water line. These "Shoulders" should be at least 6" - 8" above each horizontal level of the stair steps.
With your stairs and shoulders constructed with firmly compacted soil excavated from your water storage basin - you're ready to install the underlayment.
Remove all sharp rocks, debris, and roots from the soil. Rake it as smooth as possible - then lay your underlayment over your streambed and stairs. Tuck it into the corners and smooth as many wrinkles as you can.
With the underlayment in place, you're now ready to install your stream/waterfall liner.
Like the underlayment, tuck the Liner into the corners and smooth out as many wrinkles as you can. Leave 2"-4" at the base of each stair as "expansion" joints. Extend the liner up and over the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter. Extend the liner up and over all "shoulders" with 12" or more extra on each side.
!!! DO NOT CUT OFF EXCESS LINER YET !!!
You're now ready to attach the liner to the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter. First, pull back the liner overlapping the filter. Using the Purple PVC Primer included with your custom Hydro-pondless Waterfall Kit, clean the entire flat "U" shape face of the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter.
Place the liner back up and over the filter's face - smooth out any wrinkles. Place the filter's Liner Gasket Flange (flat "U" shaped plastic piece with screw holes in it) up to the face of the filter with the liner in between. Poke a screw driver or awl through the upper corners of the Liner Gasket Flange and matching screw holes of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter. The liner will be pierced in the middle. Leave the screw drivers or awls in place. They will be used to temporarily hold the Liner Gasket Flange to the Liner.
With a screw driver or awl through each upper corner of the Liner Gasket Flange, pull the flange, screw drivers, and liner back as one piece towards yourself to expose the back side of the liner that will be attached to the Hydro Vortex™ Filter. With the Liner Gasket Flange creating a guide, clean the liner with the Purple PVC Primer.
Clean the entire area that the Liner Gasket Flange outlines - from screw driver to screw driver. Let in dry for 60 - 120 seconds.
Purple PVC Primer stains what ever it touches - so don't get it on any clothes that aren't purple - and don't set the can down on anything you don't want purple.
Using the 100% Silicone Sealant that came with your Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter, apply a solid ½" thick bead of Silicone completely across the "U" shape face of the filter. Make sure the bead is un-broken and runs through the center of every screw hole on the Hydro Vortex™ Filter's face. Remember, where ever there is a gap in the Silicone - could become a leak! So make sure there are no gaps in the Silicone bead!
Lift the Liner Gasket Flange, Liner, and Screw Drivers as one piece and insert the screw drivers through the upper most corner screw holes of the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter. Smooth out any wrinkles between the filter and the Liner Gasket Flange.
Holding the Liner Gasket Flange and Liner firmly against the Hydro Vortex™ Filter, remove one of the screw drivers and insert one of the Stainless Steel Screws and a Stainless Steel Washer supplied with the filter through the Gasket Flange, Liner, and filter screw hole - from the outside in. Place the Self-Biting Stainless Steel Nut without a washer on the end of the Stainless Steel Screw that is protruding into the inside of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter. Use a Nut Driver or pair of Pliers to hold the nut as you tighten the screw from the outside. The nut will have Silicone on it and will be too slippery for you to hold it with your bare fingers.
!!! DO NOT FULLY TIGHTEN SCREWS UNTIL
ALL SCREWS ARE INSTALLED !!!
Place one Stainless Steel Washer on each Stainless Steel Screw and push it through the Liner Gasket Flange, Liner, and screw hole of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter. Place one Stainless Steel Nut without a washer on the end of the screw on the inside of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter. Do NOT tighten the screws until ALL screws are installed. You may need to slightly shift the Liner Gasket Flange to insert all the screws.
Once all the Stainless Steel Screws with Stainless Steel Washers are installed, and each screw has a Stainless Steel Nut attached on the inside of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter, you can go ahead and tighten each of the screws.
Using a razor knife, use the Liner Gasket Flange as your guide. Cut only the inside of the water fall opening - do not cut the liner sticking up over the filter's corners or any other liner at this time.
!!! DO NOT CUT ANY LINER OUTSIDE OF THE LINER GASKET FLANGE AT THIS TIME !!!
With the liner cut out of the Liner Gasket Flange ONLY - smooth out the Silicone bead between the Gasket Flange, Liner, and Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter.
Notice the liner is un-cut outside of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter's Liner Gasket Flange.
!!! You only cut off excess liner after your pump is running! This allows you to see any low points in the liner that may cause a leak, and it lets you see exactly where the water line is so that you don't accidentally cut the liner too short !!!
With the Liner attached to the Hydro Vortex™ Filter and the Silicone drying - its time to install the Stainless Steel Lever Ball Valve on the filter's cleanout line.
Using the Purple Primer and Red Hot PVC Glue that was supplied with your ULTIMATE Pondless Waterfall Kit as before - attach the Lever Valve so that it is on its side. Note the water directional arrow on the valve's body. With the valve open, the Lever should be "in-line" and parallel with the pipe and pointing in the direction of the water flow - in this case, away from the Hydro Vortex™ Filter. With the valve closed, the Lever should be pointing towards the sky and be perpendicular to the pipe.
In "Normal" operation of your pondless waterfalls, the Hydro Vortex™ Filter's Bottom Drain Cleanout Lever Ball Valve is in the "Closed" position with the Lever pointing towards the sky. When cleaning the filter, the valve gets switched to the "Open" position simply by pushing the Lever forward and downward in the direction of the water flow. When you're finished cleaning the filter, simply pull the Lever upward to the skyward position. No twisting, no turning - simply push the Lever forward and downward to open the valve, then pull the Lever upward and backward to close the valve.
The valves are this easy to turn:
To "Open" the Hydro Vortex™ waterfall filter's drain valve simply push the lever forward and down. When the lever is parallel to the pipe, the valve is "Open". To "Close" the valve simply pull upward and back until the lever is perpendicular to the pipe.
These can be placed any distance apart, but for this example, they are connected together.
Place a bead of Silicone around the HydroChamber's™ inlet nipple and attach the 4" rubber coupler.
Tighten the coupler's Stainless Steel nut to lock the coupler in place.
Repeat the process with the HydroSieve™ to connect the two units together.
Tighten both of the couplers Stainless Steel nuts to lock the two units together.
You're now ready to install the optional Auto Fill Valve plumbing.
Apply a bead of Silicone to the pipe adaptor.
Thread the Siliconed pipe adaptor into the HydroChamber's™ Auto Fill Valve Inlet Port on the outside of the tank.
Use 1/2" thick walled flexible irrigation pipe - also known as "Funny-Pipe" for your water supply line. It is designed to connect with the pipe adaptor.
The pipe makes a water tight compression fit onto the pipe adaptor.
Install the optional Auto Fill Valve into its inlet port on the inside of the HydroChabmer™.
Now you're ready to connect the plumbing to the HydroChamber™.
Apply a bead of Silicone to the threads of the PVC male pipe adaptor.
The HydroChamber™ has two outlets - when using just one pump, choose the outlet that is on the side where your main line pipe runs. Install the plug in the other outlet.
Apply purple PVC primer to both the inside of the male pipe adaptor and the outside end of the main line pipe. Next, apply the Red Hot PVC glue to outside end of the main line pipe.
Push the pipe into the male pipe adaptor while twisting side to side to remove any air bubbles in the glue.
Hold the pipe in place for 60 seconds.
Compact the soil as you fill to help reduce later settling.
Contour your stream, or water course, towards the HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe.
Install your underlayment in the water course and extend it underneath the HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe.
Your now ready to attach the liner to the HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe using the rubber collar.
Apply a bead of Silicone around the end of the HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe
Loosen the nut on the rubber collar enough so that you can place the collar over the liner, and over the HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe.
Pull out the large wrinkles from within the collar, but leave extra liner below the HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe.
Tighten the collar's nut about 1/4 of the way just to hold the liner onto the HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe.
DO NOT FULLY TIGHTEN
THE NUT YET!
Starting from the center of the HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe, cut a hole in the liner 1/2 the diamter of the inlet pipe. The HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe has a 4" diameter, so we will be cutting a 2" hole in the liner - in the center of the inlet pipe.
The hole in the liner should look similar to this.
Now you're ready to push the liner and the rubber collar further onto the HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe.
The liner will stretch tight onto the HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe and make a completely water tight seal.
You can now fully tighten the collar's Stainless Steel nut to lock the liner onto the HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe.
You liner is now attached to the HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe and you're ready to install your pump.
!!! Do not cut off the extra liner untill the system is full of water and running!!!
Disconnet you Camlock Check Valve asembly at the Camlock.
Apply a bead of Silicone to the threads, and thread it into the outlet port that the main line pipe is attached to on the outside of the tank.
Attach the large section of the Camlock Checkvalve Assembly to your pump and lower both into the HydroChamber™.
Align the female side of the Camlock assembly with the previously attached male section.
Push the female section onto the male section and pull backwards on the Stainless Steel levers to lock the two sections together.
Begin placing your boulders around and over the HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe.
With the HydroSieve's™ inlet pipe completely hidden with stone, begin the rock work up the stream and falls.
The most natural looking waterfalls are those constructed using boulders. More "formal" looking waterfalls are constructed using cut stone or slate. The choice is yours. In this example, we're using 1-man sized basalt boulders. Start with placing your "shoulder-boulders" on each side of your waterfall step - then place your waterfall boulder between the shoulders. Make sure the boulder is as level as you can get it. Use smaller boulders, pebbles, and/or river rocks as shims under your waterfall rock to hold its position. They will all get "glued" together later with the waterfall foam.
Again, use smaller boulders, pebbles, and/or river rock as shims to hold your waterfall rocks in position until your ready to "foam" them all in.
From your waterfalls, extend boulders in a random pattern down each side of your stream all the way down to the end of the stream - at the HydroChamber™.
The more random - the more natural the stream will look upon completion.
Before foaming your waterfall rocks in place, hand place clean and dry river rock stones in the gaps behind, below, and in between your waterfall boulders. This will take up space to allow you to use less waterfall foam. The foam will also bind the stones, boulders, and liner all together.
Fill all voids under and behind all waterfall boulders, and any boulders in your stream that you don't want water running under or behind. Don't worry if you squirt too much foam - wait until its dry - then simply tear off any extra that you don't want.
!!! Don't try to remove wet waterfall foam - you'll only make a mess! Its easier to remove excess foam when it is fully dry by tearing or peeling it !!!
When the waterfall foam is fully dry - (it takes about 30 minutes), you can install your river rock onto all horizontal surfaces in your stream and waterfalls.
You are now ready to install the Hydro FilterSilk™ media that is included with your Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter. Simply place the round lower diffuser grate into the inside lower section - above the settling cone - inside the Hydro Vortex™ filter, then simply open the Hydro FilterSilk™ bag and pour it in! Give the Hydro FilterSilk™ a gentle "fluffing" with your hands. NO ADDTIONAL MEDIA IS REQUIRED!
For those of you that choose the HydroFlush™ System, here is how you install it onto your Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter: First, apply a bead of Silicone to the PVC pipe adaptor, then thread it into the bulkhead fitting located in the upper side wall of the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter.
With the Siliconed pipe adaptor threaded into the upper bulkhead fitting of the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter your next step is to connect the HydroFlush™ pipe. Using the Purple PVC Primer as before, clean the inside of the pipe adaptor and the outside of the flexible PVC pipe. Then apply Red Hot PVC Glue to the outside of the pipe and push the pipe into the pipe adaptor while twisting back and forth to remove any air bubbles in the glue.
Cut your main-line pipe. Using your Purple PVC Primer and Red Hot PVC Glue, glue the section leading to the Hydro Vortex™ Filter's main inlet into the side of the 3-Way Valve opposite the side that leads to the HydroFlush™ at the top of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter.
Using your Purple Primer and Red Hot PVC Glue, glue the line coming from the HydroChamber™ to the side of the valve labeled "Inlet". The opposite end of the valve gets glued to the pipe running to the Hydro Vortex™ filter's inlet, and the side outlet of the 3-Way valve gets connected to the HydroFlush™ pipe connected to the top of the Hydro Vortex™ filter.
Then place the lid on the valve box before backfilling with soil.
With the lid on the HydroFlush™ Valve Box, backfill your excavation area and you're done!
Next, assemble the HydroFlush™ Froth Jet pieces.
!!! DO NOT GLUE OR SILICONE ANY OF THE PIECES - THEY ARE MEANT TO BE COMPRESSION FITTED ONLY !!!
Not gluing these pieces makes it easy to disassemble them or adjust them. First, thread the male pipe adaptor into the inside of the upper bulkhead fitting. Next, insert the small pipe stub into the pipe adaptor, then attach the 45 degree elbow pointing towards the center of the filter, then the larger pipe stub, then the 90 degree elbow pointing towards the sky.
!!! DO NOT COVER THE SKYWARD OPENING OF THE 90 DEGREE ELBOW !!!
Now you may place the Lid onto the Valve Box. You'll notice that the HydroFlush™ Valve is discreetly hidden within the landscape and the HydroFlush™ Froth Jet on top of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter is discreetly hidden with river rock.
Now is the time to start adding your aquatic plants. Here's how to plant marginal aquatic plants in your stream:
Remove the plant from its pot, wash off most of the mud and soil from the plant's roots. Part the river rock where you wish to place the plant. Spread the plant's roots out directly on the rubber liner - then cover the roots with river rock and you're done!
You're now ready to fill the water storage basin with water and turn your pump on.
!!! DO NOT CUT OR COVER LINER OUTSIDE OF THE SHOULDER BOULDERS UNTIL YOUR HAVE TURNED YOUr PUMP ON AND CHECKED FOR LEAKS !!!
Once you have verified that there are no leaks, you may trim off excess liner to 12" outside each edge. Then fold the excess Liner underneath itself and cover it with more river rock. Add landscaping around your pondless waterfall to complete the job.
Congratulations, you just completed installing a custom pondless waterfall system.
You've just learned how to build a pondless waterfa.
The water dissapears at the end of the stream into the HydroSieve™ for pre-filtering - and removing of leaves and debris. Then the water exits the HydroSieve™ and travels into the HydroChamber™ where the pump returns the water to the Hydro Vortex™ filter at the head of the waterfalls and stream. Both the HydroSieve™ and the HydroChamber™ dissappear with simple landscaping.
Boulders, river rock, and marginal aquatic plants combine to make a natural looking stream that simply disappears into the HydroChamber™ hidden away from the water feature.
Come to Russell Watergardens & Koi to see this, and other beautiful ULTIMATE Pondless Waterfalsl and Streams.
You've just learned how to build an
ULTIMATE Pondless Waterfall!