Sphagnum Moss Bog Garden Filtration Problem

Kenjrv(z5 MI)August 4, 2004

I have build a pond, waterfall and bog with some unresolved problems. The pond and bog are separated by a dirt burm (a least a foot higher than the pond water level. The pond, waterfall, burm and bog have a one piece rubber liner. I have a 2" line running from the skimmer at the far end of the pond into the bottom of the bog where the bog box and tube (Easy Pro) are located. I control the water to the bog via a 2" gate valve that is just barely open. In the bog I have the bog box and tube sitting on 3-4" of pea gravel and the tube (maybe 12" in diameter) also covered with pea gravel. I then added, on a 4 to 1 ratio, sphagnum moss and sand. On top of the burm, hanging over the pond (supported by fieldstone boulders) are flat Canadian Waterfall slabs about 6" thick. the backside (bog side) of these flat slabs is foamed so as to force the water above the slabs to allow the water to trickle off back into the pond. We then added a second layer of slabs giving it a very beautiful look. On the bog edge of the burm we put large (8-12") boulders to keep the moss sand mixture from the edge. The space on top of the burm between the slabs and the boulders (pond and the bog) we filled with pea gravel up to the height of the second slab. The idea was to have the water from the bog reach the top of the burm and then seep back into the pond between the two slabs while staying below the pea gravel. Initially I filled the bog with enough moss/sand mixture to keep below the top of the burm. When we tried it the first time the water rose in the bog, filled the pea gravel in between area and seeped out over the slab just as we planned. We foamed a few spots near the edges to force the water more towards the center and away from the edges. I then added more moss/sand mixture to bring the level of the bog up so it would be above the water level in the bog before it seeped back into the pond (theoretically). I want the moss/sand level at the top of the bog to be damp and firm but not wet. Anyways, when I added the additional moss/sand mix to raise the level the water stopped seeping out as previously experience and rose to the top of the boulders before going into the pea gravel and seep back into the pond. Well, I figured the moss/sand mixture clogged the crevices between the boulders so I put in about 6" wide of river rock (1-3") between the boulders and the bog material as a further separation area. The water still raises over the top of everything before it seeps into the pea gravel. What am I doing wrong?? Also, how do I eliminate the tea color in the pond from the sphagnum moss?? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Get rid of the sphagnum moss completely and replace the sand with something of a larger diameter.
Sphagnum moss is great for an actual bog, sitting off by itself but it's a terrible thing for a pond. It's doing nothing but decaying and keeping the PH of the pond down.

A bog FILTER shouldn't have the same components as the bog that is designed for real bog plants.
A bog filter should just be a pea gravel or large diameter sand media that is planted with regular water plants.

As long as you try to maintain the setup you have now you will have problems.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 4:12PM
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I guess the big question is whether you wanted an actual bog or a veggie filter (pea gravel) for your pond. The people over in ponds repeatedly refer to pea gravel veggie filters as bogs and it simply isn't so. The sphagnum is acidic so you are in fact going to have some pretty wild readings for your ph as well as perpetual tea stained water.

Bottom line is that true acid bogs have little or no water movement through them. They are for all practical purposes, self contained ecosystems. The sphagnum is quite anerobic and isn't capable of filtering much of anything which you have now experienced first hand. The plants that go into an acid bog (or fen for that matter) have very specific requirements which will differ considerably from marginals most frequently associated with ponds.

I think you would best achieve the results you desire by eliminating all of the sphagnum as suggested by webfeeet and replacing it with pea gravel. Toss your marignal plants in and add a few Miracle Grow Plant Food Stakes into the the pots and you should be good to go.

Daunting to remove all the sand and sphagnum but you will never be able to establish any semblance of balance with your current set up as it isn't for this type of an application.

Best wishes to you.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 12:53AM
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