How to build a hybrid pond

How to Build a Hybrid Pond

The first step is to create a drawing of the Hybrid Pond™ 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 as you wish to the drawing – make the pond larger or smaller, make the stream wider, longer, more narrow, short, or exclude the stream all together – you’re in charge. Once you’re fairly satisfied with your drawing, it time for the next step. Russell Watergardens & Koi professional Customer Service Associates can create a schematic drawing of your idea like the drawing shown here.  
The next step is to paint your design on the ground in actual size. Start by painting the pond and then paint the stream. Then, paint where you envision the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter and the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer will be installed. The two units should always be opposite each other – water exiting the pond should always be at the furthest point away from water entering the pond for maximum circulation. Measure the widest points of the pond. Measure the length of your stream. Measure the distance between the pond and where you will remotely install your HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer. Measure the distance between the skimmer location and the filter location. Then either order your Custom Hybrid Pond™ Kit here on-line, or call our Friendly Customer Service Associates and give them your dimensions. Either way, we’ll create a Custom Hybrid Pond™ Kit specifically tailored to fit your design! With a Custom Hybrid Pond™ Kit from Russell Water, Gardens & Koi, you’ll never have to make your Hybrid Pond™ design fit inside the limitations of a pre-packaged pond kit!

With your Custom Hybrid Pond™ Kit on site, set out the components to gain complete perspective of water you are envisioning.

Place the Hydro Vortex™ Filter on firm, compacted, level soil at the head of your waterfalls and/or stream. If your soil does not firmly compact, place a bed of crushed gravel below the filter. You need to create a firm and stable foundation for the filter to be installed upon.

The Hybrid Pond™ gets excavated at least 3 feet deep, and up to 6 feet deep with only one narrow perimeter marginal plant shelf. Notice the bottom of the excavation also has an excavated recess area and trench for the Bottom Drain and Bottom Drain Pipe. The Bottom Drain Pipe will be connected to the front section of the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.

A Hybrid Pond™ is designed with a marginal water plant shelf similar to a water garden pond. After the marginal plant shelf, the Hybrid Pond™ drops straight down to a minimum depth of 36″ – similar to a Koi pond. The bottom of the Hybrid Pond™ slopes towards the Bottom Drain at a rate of 1″ of down slope for every 10 feet of pond bottom to increase the efficiency of the Bottom Drain at remove debris.

The Bottom Drain of a Hybrid Pond™ is most often installed closer to the waterfall end of the pond than the skimmer end. The skimmer end of the pond is at least 3 feet deep, and the bottom of the pond is slope downward to the bottom drain at a rate of at least 1″ per 10′.

Extend the Main Line Flexible PVC pipe from the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer to the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean and Backwash Waterfall Filter. With the Hydro Vortex™ filter on a firm foundation of compacted soil and/or crushed gravel, you’re now ready to attach your plumbing.

Attaching the plumbing to the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter is quick and simply – and requires no special tools. All Hydro Vortex™ Filters come complete with PVC pipe adaptors, drain pipe, and Fish-Safe Silicone Sealant. First, place a bead of Silicone on the 1½” PVC male pipe adaptor for the Clean Out Drain Pipe.

Please note: 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 thread the PVC male pipe adaptor with Siliconed threads directly into the Solid Brass Female threads of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter’s Bottom Drain Cleanout Port. Thread it in just as tight as you can get it with your hands – no need for a large wrench. Make sure to not cross the threads.

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 Inlet Port.

Using the Purple PVC Primer included with your Custom Water Garden Pond Kit, clean and prime the inside of each of the pipe adaptors you just finished attaching to the Hydro Vortex™ Filter.

Next, grand the 1½” x 10′ flexible PVC Drain Pipe that was included with your Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter. Clean one end of it with the Purple PVC Primer. Clean and primer all the way around the pipe, and up the pipe about 3″ from the end.

Next, open the can of Red Hot Blue PVC Glue that was included in your Custom Water Garden Pond Kit. Apply the glue all the way around the end of the primed flex pipe. Apply the glue to the same surface area of the pipe as with the primer.

Insert the primed and glued flex drain pipe into the Bottom Drain Outlet Port of the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter. Slightly twist the pipe back and forth as you’re pushing it into the pipe adaptor to remove any air bubbles in the glue. Hold the pipe for 60 seconds. The drain pipe gets attach 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.

You next step is to un-roll your main-line pipe and extend it from the Hydro Vortex™ Filter to where you will be installing the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer. Like the drain pipe you previously attached to the Hydro Vortex™ Filter, you will clean and prime the pipe with the Purple PVC Primer then apply a coat of Red Hot PVC Glue to the pipe.

Just like attaching the Cleanout Drain Pipe, you will slightly twist the Main-line Pipe as you push it into the Inlet Port pipe adaptor to remove any air bubbles in the glue. 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. Click on this photo to enlarge. 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 HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.

You will recycle all the excavated soil. It will be used to hide the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter and to create the waterfall and/or stream shoulders. Its best to excavate your stream about 3″ – 5″. Build the “shoulders” around the pond and along each side of the stream up 4″-8″. The shoulders hold your water in, and any ground water run-off out of your system.

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

Compacting soil around Hydro Vortex filter 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 a 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.

All Hybrid Pond™ Systems include a 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.

Extend the HydroFlush™ Pipe to where you will be installing the HydroFlush™ 3-Way Valve. The 3-Way Valve can be installed anywhere on the Main Line Pipe you choose. The HydroFlush™ System comes with 15′ of 1½” Flexible PVC Pipe, but if you need more, you can simply couple another section of pipe onto the the pipe that comes with the system.

Install the HydroFlush™ 3-Way Valve anywhere along your Main Line Pipe that runs between the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer and the Hydro Vortex Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter. Make sure you have easy access to it. The 3-Way Valve will be installed inside a 10″ Round Valve Box – so excavate an area about 18″ round and 14″ deep to give you room to connect the pipes. Using your PVC Primer and Red Hot Glue, attach the HydroFlush™ Pipe that’s connected to the top of the Hydro Vortex Filter to the side outlet of the 3-Way Valve.

Cut your main-line pipe. Using your Purple PVC Primer and Red Hot PVC Glue, glue the section of pipe coming from the top of the Hydro Vortex™ filter to the side outlet of the 3-Way Valve. You’ll first glue the reducer into the side outlet of the valve. (You can see the white reducer in the side outlet in the photo on the left.)

Using the Purple Primer and Red Hot PVC Glue, glue the line coming from the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer to the end of the valve labeled “Inlet”. The opposite end of the valve gets glued to the pipe running to the Hydro Vortex™ filter’s main 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.

Next, install the 10″ Round Valve Box over the valve and pipes. You’ll need to cut notches out of the valve box where you pipes are located.

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 HYDROFLUSH™ FROTH JET 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.

Next, hide the HydroFlush™ parts with river rock on top of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter’s upper diffuser grate. !!! DO NOT COVER THE SKYWARD OPENING OF THE 90 DEGREE ELBOW !!!

In normal filtering operation, water from your pump runs straight through the HydroFlush™ 3-Way Valve with no head loss. The 3-Way valve’s side outlet to the HydroFlush™ Froth Jet is closed.

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.

With your Hydro Vortex™ and HydroFlush™ Backwash System in “FILTER” mode, water runs straight through the HydroFlush™ 3-Way Valve. In the “FILTER” position, the HydroFlush™ Outlet is “CLOSED” and the Outlet to the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter is “OPEN” as seen in the photo on the left. Click on the photo to enlarge it for easier viewing.

With your Hydro Vortex™ and HydroFlush™ Backwash System in “BACKWASH” mode, water is diverted out of the HydroFlush™ Outlet on the side of the 3-Way Valve. In the “BACKWASH” position, the HydroFlush™ Outlet is “OPEN” and the Outlet to the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter is “CLOSED” as seen in the photo on the right. Click on the photo to enlarge it for easier viewing.

There are many ways and tools you can use to check the water level around the pond. Many contractors use a Transit Tool, while most “do-it-yourself” Hybrid Pond™ Builders use a simple string level. String levels are available at most hardware stores for a few dollars and consist of a string, and a small level that hangs onto the string.

To use a string level, hold one end of the string at the bottom of any one of the Outlet Ports inside a HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer. Extend the string out through the skimmer’s inlet pipe and across the pond. Move the end of the string opposite the skimmer up or down until the level hanging on the string shows level – then simply mark that spot. That spot will be your water line. You can take further string level measurements off that spot. With the water line set, make sure the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer sits level front to back and side to side. You’re now ready to attach its plumbing.

Next, glue the HydroDrain™ bottom drain to 4″ flex PVC pipe. Place a plastic bag over the inlet side of the drain to keep soil from falling into the drain when you begin backfilling around it with soil.

Extend the 4″ flex PVC pipe to the area near the pond skimmer where the HydroSieve™ bottom drain pre-filter will be installed.

!!! Installers Trick !!!! Wrap the bottom drain inlet with a plastic bag and secure it to the drain with a rubber band to prevent soil from falling down into the drain as you backfill and install the underlayment and liner.
Compact the soil around the Bottom Drain and over the Bottom Drain Pipe.

Attach the 4″ bottom drain pipe to the HydroSieve™ bottom drain pre-filter. Apply a bead of Silicone around the sieve’s inlet nipple and pipe end – then slip both the pipe and sieve nipple into the 4″ coupler. Tighten the stainless steel nut.

Connect the HydroSieve™ outlet to one side of the 3-way flow control valve, and an outlet of the HydroClean pond skimmer to the other side of the flow control valve. The middle port of the 3-way control valve gets connected to the Hydro Centrimax™ pump’s suction inlet.

Now you’re ready to attach the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer’s Remote Installation Pipe. Remote installation for the Piper HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer is done with 4″, or 6″ PVC pipe. The Pelican HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer gets remotely installed with 10″ pipe.

Place the Silicone lined Remote Installation Coupler onto the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer’s Inlet Pipe. Do not tighten the Stainless Steel Clamp yet.

The Piper HydroClean Pond Skimmer’s Inlet Pipe is 6″ and can connect to 6″ pipe, or with the Reducing Coupler, attach to 4″ pipe as shown in the photo on the left. The Pelican HydroClean Pond Skimmer’s Inlet Pipe is 10″ for coupling to 10″ pipe.

Now, place a bead of Silicone around the inside perimeter end of the Remote Installation Coupler opposite the end connected to the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.

Next, insert your Remote Installation Pipe into the Siliconed open end of the Remote Installation Coupler. Now you can tighten the Stainless Steel Clamps to lock the pipe, coupler, and HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer together.

With the excavation and plumbing complete, you’re now ready to install the Underlayment. Tuck the Underlayment into the lowest corners first, then flatten and folds wrinkles outward and upward. Piece of Underlayment may be cut and overlapped to fit odd spaces.

With the Underlayment in place, you’re now ready to install the rubber pond liner. Russell Watergardens custom rolls liner for you – so installing rubber liner is as easy as “rolling it out – and opening it up.” Tuck the liner into the lowest corners first. Leave about 2″ extra in each corner as expansion joints and the flatten the liner as you move outward and upward. Smooth out the smaller wrinkles and simply “fold over” the larger wrinkles.

Using your hand as “feelers”, locate the Bottom Drain. Once located, press and pull the liner flat across the flat surface of the Bottom Drain’s lower flange.

Place the Bottom Drain’s upper flange onto the lower flange. Line up the upper flange that is on top of the liner with the lower flange that is below the liner with your hands. Then simply cut out the center hole of the liner.

Once the liner hole has been made, remove the upper flange to prepare for a Silicone application.

Lift the liner slightly and apply a bead of Silicone to the upper surface of the Bottom Drain’s lower flange under the liner. Apply the Silicone in a solid bead around the entire flange under the liner, and through each screw hole. Apply another bead of Silicone around the flange area on top of the liner.

Place the Bottom Drain’s upper flange onto the Siliconed Liner and lower flange and line up the screw holes. Poke a hole in the liner in one of the screw holes and install one of the Stainless Steel screws. Do not fully tighten the screw yet. Then, repeat the process for each of the remaining screws. Once all of the screws are threaded in, go ahead an tighten them all down.

Smooth out the Silicone that squishes out past the flange to remove any air bubbles. Then, install the Bottom Drain’s lid onto the water tight flanges. !! Do not glue or Silicone the lid to the flange !!

The lid of the Bottom Drain is weighted to keep it down and in place. Do not glue or Silicone the lid of the Bottom Drain to the flange. It is designed to be easily removed if servicing is necessary in the future. The Bottom Drain’s lid is to increase suction across the pond bottom. Without the lid, water is drawn into the drain straight down and not the pond’s bottom. The purpose of the lid is to force water from across the pond bottom to the Bottom Drain – and carry debris with it to the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.

With the Bottom Drain installed, you’re now ready to attach the liner to the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer’s Remote Installation Pipe.
Pull the liner over and around the pipe – leaving at least 4″-6″ of slack below the pipe. Remove the Stainless Steel band from the Remote Installation Collar and slip it over the pipe and liner as shown in the photo on the left. Pull out the large wrinkles. The small wrinkles will get stretched away in the next steps. Cut a hole in the liner in the center of the pipe 1/2 the diameter of the pipe. For 4″ pipe, the hole diameter is 2″. For 6″ pipe, the hole diameter is 3″. For 10″ pipe, the hole diameter is 5″, and so on.

Fold the liner forward over the rubber collar and install a bead of Silicone around the pipe – behind the liner. When done, fold the liner back over the Siliconed pipe.

Pull the Liner and the Collar back onto the pipe and over the Silicone. This is where all the small wrinkles get stretched out and disappear. As you pull the liner over the pipe, because the hole in the liner is only 1/2 the diameter of the pipe, the liner stretches tight and wrinkle free around the pipe.

Pull the liner and the Collar over the pipe at least 2″. Then, install the Stainless Steel Banded Clamp onto the Remote Installation Collar and tighten it down. Wipe of the excess Silicone and you’re done! You just attached liner the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer’s Remote Installation Pipe!

Your fish will be able to swim into, and more importantly – OUT OF the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer and its Remote Installation Pipe.
Compact the soil as it is being placed to around the Hydro Vortex filters 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 a 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 pond area – 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 you 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 from 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.

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.

With the liner and face of the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter previously cleaned with the Purple PVC Primer – and the Primer dry – you’re ready to apply Silicone to the filter. 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!

With your solid, un-broken bead of Silicone across the face and in the screw holes of the Hydro Vortex™ filter – you’re now ready to attach the liner. 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.

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.

!!! DO NOT FULLY TIGHTEN SCREWS UNTIL ALL SCREWS ARE INSTALLED !!!
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.

With all the Stainless Steel Screws fully tightened – you may proceed with cutting the liner out of the waterfall opening. 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 to 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 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 valve’s are this easy to turn:

With you HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer, Hydro Vortex Waterfall filter and Liner installed, re-check the water line around the pond’s edge to make sure your Liner is above water line all around the pond prior to installing your rock walls. A string level is the most economical method (of many methods) of viewing a level line across the pond from the Over Flow Outlet Port inside the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.

Hold the string at the bottom of the Over Flow Outlet Port, extend it out of the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer through it’s Outlet Pipe and/or Remote Installation Pipe all the way across the pond. When the string is level – as noted by the hanging level seen in the photo above – place a mark on the side of the pond at the end of the string. That mark will be the pond’s water line. You can then make other string line measurements from your mark. With your Liner re-checked, and your Liner above water line all around the pond at least 6″ you’re now ready to build your rock retaining walls within the pond.

Here’s a tip that will help you move rocks and boulders more easily. Use a piece of underlayment doubled over itself as a sling. Roll a rock onto the the underlayment, and with two or more people, pick up the corners of the sling. As you lift the underlayment it will lift the rock and/or give you a way of sliding the rock around. Make sure your sling is wide enough so that the rock or boulder won’t roll out! Always use proper “heavy-lifting” practices – lift with your legs and not your back and wear proper lifting gear. If you’re unsure about proper lifting methods, please ask a licensed Physical Therapist.

Before building the rock retaining walls in your Hybrid Pond™, make sure that there are no “tight-spots” in the liner that might tear when rocks are placed. Make sure the bottom of each side wall has at least 2″-4″ of excess liner at the bottom as expansion joints as seen in this photo on the left.

The boulders you choose for your Hybrid Pond™ should have no sharp edges that may harm the Liner or Koi. While any rock or boulder may potentially harm a Koi, boulders without sharp edges may lower the risk of harm. So care should be taken when choosing your boulders. Build your retaining walls with large stable boulders on the bottom away from the wall 4″-8″ or more. Leave open spaces between them for water circulation and hiding places for Koi and pond fish as shown.

The submerged retaining wall will be at least 36″ high – so stack the boulders so that they do not move. With the base boulders away from the side wall, lean the wall backward to the wall as you build it up so that the upper part of the wall is leaning on the side wall. It is also recommended to foam the boulders together and to the Liner with the Waterfall Foam to increase the stability of the walls.
As you complete your submerged retaining walls, continue your boulder construction up to the waterfalls and to the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter. All the horizontal – flat surfaces – in the pond remain bare liner. River rock gravel may be used in the stream. Care should be taken to ensure that the stream gravel does not fall into the pond. If the stream has a grade of 5% or more, simply use your Waterfall Foam to glue the river rock gravel to the stream Liner to prevent the water movement to push the gravel into the pond.

!! DO NOT INSTALL GRAVEL OF ANY KIND OVER THE LINER IN A HYBRID POND™ !!
With the rock work completed, you’re now ready to plant your aquatic plants. Since there is no gravel in Hybrid Ponds™, the aquatic plants get planted in aquatic plant baskets. Then the baskets are placed on the perimeter marginal plant shelf. When you purchase an aquatic plant, it is always in a pot with muddy soil. When purchasing your aquatic plant, purchase an aquatic basket larger than the size of the pot the plant is in. For your Hybrid Pond™, remove the aquatic plant from the pot it comes in and gently wash off the muddy soil down to bare root. Place a layer of Aquatic Plant Media or pea gravel across the bottom of the aquatic plant basket. Place the plants bare roots onto the gravel or media layer. Then fill over and around the bare foots with your pea gravel or media layer up to 1/2″ from the baskets upper edge. Then simply set the aquatic plant basket onto the marginal plant shelf in your Hybrid Pond™ as shown in the diagram below.

If you plan to have Koi greater than 12″ in length, it is recommend that you plant you aquatic plants in large plant baskets the are taller than your marginal plant shelf is deep. Place heavy 6″ river rock stones in the bottom of the plant basket and then the pea gravel and plant. The added weight will prevent the larger Koi from knocking the aquatic plant baskets over. Also, with the upper lip of the basket above the water line, the Koi will be prevented from damaging the aquatic plants themselves

At this point all of your rock work is complete and your aquatic plants are planted in baskets and set on the marginal shelf of the pond. You’re now ready to install the Hydro FilterSilk™ media into your Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter. First, remove any soil, rocks, or tools that may have fallen down into the filter. Place the round diffuser grate inside the bottom of the media chamber – it will sit on top of the Vortex and Settling Cone at the bottom of the Hydro Vortex™ filter.

Open the bag (or bags) of Hydro FilterSilk™ and pour it into the filter – on top of the circular diffuser grate at the bottom of the filter. Gently “fluff” the media as it may have been squished during shipping and packing. “Fluff” the Hydro FilterSilk™ until it complete fills the media chamber between the bottom diffuser grate and the ring around the inside perimeter of the filter near the top of the filter – just below the waterfall outlet opening.

Next, install the upper diffuser grate onto the upper ring of the Hydro Vortex™ filter. The grate is designed to fit tightly – so install the flat edge first, the snap the back, curved side down into place as shown here. The upper diffuser grate is designed to hold the Hydro FilterSilk™ inside the filter and also hold river rock to hide the filter from view.

Next, install the HydroFlush™ Froth Jet pieces on top of the upper diffuser grate as shown here. !!! DO NOT GLUE OR SILICONE ANY OF THE FROTH JET 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.
Next, hide the HydroFlush™ parts with river rock on top of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter’s upper diffuser grate. !!! DO NOT COVER THE SKYWARD OPENING OF THE 90 DEGREE ELBOW !!!

You next step is to attach the Custom CamLock & Union Spring Checkvalve Assembly (CVA) to your pump. Simply thread the CVA to the pump’s discharge port. !!! DO NOT USE SILICONE OR GLUE TO ATTACH THE CVA TO THE PUMP !!! The Spring Checkvalve will keep the plumbing from leaking. (You’ll need to be able to disconnect the CVA from the pump at some point in the future.)

Open the CamLock section of the CVA by pulling the two Stainless Steel Levers forward. Pull out the male section of the CamLock. Apply a bead of Silicone to the male threads.

Thread the Siliconed male threads into the Outlet Port closest to your main-line pipe that runs between the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter and the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.

You’re now ready to lower the pump and CVA down into the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer and re-connect the CamLock fittings. !!! DO NOT LOWER THE PUMP BY ITS ELECETRICAL CORD OR FLOAT SWITCH – DAMAGE TO THESE PARTS VOID YOUR WARRANTY !!!

Lower the pump down into the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer by its handle and CVA only! Push the pump and female section of the CVA onto the male section that is now attached to the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer’s Outlet Port. Pull the Stainless Steel CamLock Levers back towards the pump into the “Closed & Locked” position.
With the pump and CVA installed in your HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer, you’re now ready to attach your main-line pipe and overflow pipe. Apply as solid bead of Silicone to the PVC pipe adaptor included with your HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.

Thread the Siliconed pipe adaptor into the outside threads of the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer’s Outlet Port that the pump and CVA are connected to on the inside.

Repeat the process for your Over Flow pipe. Choose which of the remaining two Outlet Ports you wish to use as your Over Flow Port. Thread the second Siliconed pipe adaptor into the outside threads over your chosen Over Flow Port.

Attach your pipe to the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer the exact same way you previously attached pipe to your Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter. Prime the outside of the pipe, and inside of the pipe adaptor with your Purple PVC Primer – then apply your Red Hot PVC Glue to the outside of your pipe. Push the pipe into the pipe adaptor while gently twisting back and forth to remove any air bubbles. Hold the pipe in place for 60 seconds. Repeat the process for your Over Flow pipe. The over flow pipe is usually the “left-over” from what was cut off your main line pipe – unless you order extra pipe with your Custom Hybrid Pond™ Kit.

If you chose the Optional Auto Fill Valve Kit, now is the time to install it. Apply a bead of Silicone to the threads of the Auto Fill Valve and thread it directly into the Auto Fill Inlet Port inside the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.

Next, apply a bead of Silicone to the threads of the 1/2″ barb fitting and thread it into the outside threads of the Auto Fill Valve Port of the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer. Then, push the 1/2″ water pipe onto the barb. The pipe and barb make a water tight seal without Silicone or glue. At the other end of your 1/2″ water pipe, attach the Brass 3/4″ Female Hose Thread by 1/2″ Barb fitting with the supplied Stainless Steel Clamp. Then thread the 3/4″ Female Hose thread to your standard hose faucet.

Install the secondary Mag-Drive pump that feeds the HydroUV™ System into another outlet port of the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.

In this installation, the primary pump and main line pipe running towards the Hydro Vortex™ filter is connected to the right outlet port of the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer. The secondary mag-drive pump feeding the HydroUV™ System is connected to the left outlet port, the Overflow pipe is connected to the rear outlet port, and the Auto Fill Valve is connected to its dedicated inlet port. ONLY HYDROCLEAN™ POND SKIMMERS LET YOU DO ALL THAT WITHOUT MODIFICATION!
Install your HydroUV™ System underground with the union end and electrical cord pointing skyward for easy bulb changing. In this case, two HydroUV’s are plumbed in series. The two units are connected at the bottom outlet ports. Water enters the first unit on the lower left side of this photo. The water then passes downward through the unit, across to the second unit and upward and out the opposite side of the top near the top of the photo. Later, a valve box will be installed over the HydroUV™ units to conceal them from view.
Backfill around the HydroUV’s to their middle simply to stabilize them in a vertical position. Place the valve box over and around the UV’s (you’ll need to cut holes in the sides of the valve box where the inlet and outlet pipes are). Next, place a brick on the soil inside the valve box and and install the HydroAir™ pump on the brick to keep it above the soil. Connect the air tubing the the HydroAir™ pump and extend it over the edges of the liner and down behind the rock walls. Attach the AirStone to the end of the air tubing and place the AirStone on top of the Bottom Drain, or between the Bottom Drain and the rock wall underneath the waterfalls as shown in the diagram above.
When the pond is full of water, and you’ve verified that the liner is above the water line all around the pond – you may now detail the pond’s edge. Cut off the excess liner – but leave at least 6″ extra. Fold the 6″ extra liner underneath itself and then cover it up with river rock or stone of your choice. (Remove any river rock that may fall into the pond during installation).
Now you’re ready to add landscaping around the pond. Notice how with the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer remotely installed away from the pond’s edge – you can add plants and other landscaping between the skimmer and the pond. This photo on the left shows the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer and valve box containing the HydroUV™ and HydroAir™ pump without their lids.
The photo on the right shows the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer and valve box containing the HydroUV™ and HydroAir™ pump with their lids.
You’ve just learned how to build a Hybrid Pond™. Placement of AirStone and Bottom Drain underneath the waterfalls in a Hybrid Pond In this photo, you can clearly see the Bottom Drain and the air bubbles rising from the AirStone. The bubbles rise and break the surface of the water where the waterfalls splash into the pond. Placement of the AirStone, Bottom Drain, Waterfalls, and Pond Skimmer are critical for proper water circulation in Hybrid Ponds™. Because of the 3′-5′ depths of Hybrid Ponds™, proper water circulation is critical in removing Koi waste and maintaining proper dissolved oxygen levels.
Placement of the waterfalls is always opposite the pond from the pond skimmer. Since the waterfalls are at the farthest point away from the pond skimmer, the rising air bubbles should be directly underneath the waterfalls. As the air bubbles rise to the surface, the scatter in all directions. When their air bubbles reach the surface under the waterfalls – the can only scatter in directions away from the waterfalls. This causes the surface of the water to push debris towards the pond skimmer for more efficient floating waste removal.
Your newly built Hybrid Pond™ is now ready for Koi and/or other pond fish. The Hybrid Pond™ in this series of photos was built at Russell Watergardens & Koi in Redmond, Washington using an Ahi Series Hybrid Pond™ Kit. The pond is 4 feet deep with a smooth bare liner bottom, a perimeter aquatic plant shelf, Bottom Drain, fully backwashable Ahi Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter with the HydroFlush™ 200 Backwash System, remotely installed Piper HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer, HydroAir™ 1500 System, and a HydroUV™ System.