The larger of the upper biofilter tanks is doing really well, though the water hyacinth has not bloomed this year and I’m holding no hope that it will. The triangular water reed has nearly tripled in size even after removing half the original plant last spring to give to Mindy. Jill? Can I restock you when I cut this back in the fall?
This year this larger filter tank is loaded with hydroton which provides shelter for the roots. The water bean, hyacinths and reeds are mega happy, sans blooming.
The smaller tank is also filled with hydroton and has last year’s penny royal which amazingly enough, wintered over due in part to the tank being made of closed cell foam (insulative), containing hydroton (insulative) and filled with standing water (insulative).
Because the maple tree and the triangular reed are sheltering the smaller biofilter tank from the sun the penny royal is growing much more slowly, which is a plus. Last year it was horribly root bound it grew so fast. I cut out most of it and thew it away, then took the remaining bit and cut it in half to give to Mindy.
I like the fairy moss as a fill-in between the larger plants. It helps keep the mosquito population down. Having marigolds growing in a pot on the back frame helps as well. I don’t worry about mosquitoes in the big tank – fish food!
The reed is blooming, though it hasn’t yet peaked to produce the mass of feathery tendrils that will be the end product.
I updated the overflow drain on the larger bog filter tank. I’m still using electrical conduit elbow, but it’s 1½”, not 1″. The outlet pipe is also resized for an 1½” tee-less connector. I enlarged the hole in the piece of perforated drain which keeps the roots from plugging the conduit.
I’ve been finding more uses for inner tube. This plumbing change includes a piece of bicycle inner tube for connecting the two pieces of pipe together.
The only thing I wish I’d done before assembly was to paint the conduit black, but once the water hyacinth is added to the tank the leaves will hide the gray.
It’s still too cold to put out any of the biofilter plants I’ve tried to winter over but it is time to get the tanks in and circulating. This upper tank is foam. I got it at a year end sale two years ago for $10, a great buy.
Last year I used a tee-less fitting and a piece of rubber hose for the upper tank outlet. All last summer I had issues with the upper tank overflowing due to a too small outlet with penny royal root blocking the flow. I’m hoping I’ve solved some of that with this year’s setup.
I pulled the tee-less connector and inserted a tapering vacuum cleaner wand extension pipe into the hole. After determining I would get a good seal, I pulled it out, trimmed it accordingly and reinserted it into the hole. No sealant was required to give a good water tight fit.
This change allows better outlet flow and the mean level inside the tank is lower decreasing the chance of overflow.
What you can’t see (I’ll drop the water level and get a snapshot before I put the plants in) is the 3″ PVC pipe that keeps the hydroton out of the outlet and inside the tank. The pipe is one foot long with a 45° angled end. This angle fits over the outlet and is fastened to the tank with a 2½” screw. The other end of the pipe is a straight cut which is covered with a piece of 30% sun shade cloth. The length of the pipe has saw kerfs to increase the ability of water to enter the pipe.
I was looking back through my posts and updating post tags and saw the picture of the biofilter I took at the beginning of what we are laughingly calling summer. What a difference. Next summer I’ll see if I can find a yellow canna to add to the mix. The orange and red are lovely, but yellow would rock.
I picked up water plants for Wadly’s “pond” today. I happily spent every penny in my pocket! Jill Hartman at JMH Greenhouse and Water Garden was wonderful to work with as we picked through her stock, determining what would work and what would be questionable. I’ve got two hardy plants and two that will have to come in for the winter. I also got pennyroyal and fairy moss!
When winter gets close I’ll run over and refresh my knowledge on what will hold in the pond and what has to go indoors.
Wadly planted the big potted stuff in rock filled wire baskets. I put the pennyroyal and one of the reeds in the particulate filter. Everything else went in the bog filter.
I still have more to do, but this will hold for a bit. I’m happy!