Bobby Mathee's pond
Bobby Mathee’s pond
This is the pond of Bobby Matthee, Chairman of the Western Cape Chapter of the South African Koi Keepers Society 2010, and now Treasurer for the Chapter in 2011. Bobby started with an 8000 litre pond in 1997 but he had to give it up when he relocated to Cape Town in 1999. His dedication to his new business prevented him from building another pond for more than 10 years. His dedication at work paid off and he won many National Awards within the Shoprite/Checkers group. During this time he longed for the calmness, tranquillity and camaraderie associated with a koi collection. His Koi interest was revived in 2007 when he constructed a 10000 litre pond in the Western Cape. Bobby’s circle of Koi friends grew rapidly from this point and he was elected to be the Chairman of the Western Cape Koi Society in 2009. During December 2009 he completed the 32 000 litre Koi pond in his front garden.
Bobby is very passionate about Koi and is aiming to have a very special collection of Jumbo koi in his new pond. He is well on his way to reach that goal, because at the recent Western Cape Koi Society in Cape Town his fish won Mature Grand Champion, Reserve Grand Champion, Supreme Grand Champion and Supreme size 8! Bobby recently also acquired a Kohaku that won Mature Champion at the Kwa-Zulu Natal Show!
Sadly He will not be available for re-election as Chairman due to work commitments but he is committed and passionate about the Koi industry and will lend a hand wherever possible and to play a positive role in developing Koi as a hobby.
If there was any topic that kept the koi keepers in South Africa glued to their computers, it was the saga of Bobby building this magnificent pond. The whole process was posted step by step on a local koi forum. This topic exceeded all expectations with 16737 views and 755 replies. Read on and you will soon realise why!
Bobby planned the pond on a small open space between the front of his house and the sidewalk, hoping to fit the pond into this space with final dimensions of 5,5 by 2,5 by 2.2 meters deep. He chose this particular position for the excellent view of the pond from the front door, his study as well as from the balcony. Because of the specific location and the underground municipal services, it took him 5 months to convince the Municipality to approve the plan. He eventually succeeded but a myriad of conditions were imposed on him such as foundation protection, re-routing electrical cables, main water supply and meter as well as a sewer line. The depth of the envisaged pond also made it compulsory that he install a security gate to prevent uncontrolled public access.
Bobby is a firm believer in “more is better” and started the project with the following specifications:
The foundation and concrete floor measures 3.6 m by 7.6 m to accommodate the 300mm thick pond wall as well as the filter chamber. The pond walls consist of a double row of cement bricks spaced 90 mm apart to create enough of a cavity for plumbing, concrete filling and reinforcing steel rods between them. The concrete slab is 300 mm thick and reinforced with steel. Eight cubic meters of 30MPA ready mix concrete were ordered and 390 m of reinforcing steel rods were used to strengthen the walls. Two bottom drains were installed. The first is connected with 110 mm class 9 PVC pipe to the Easy Pod and Bubble Bead filter. The second bottom drain is also connected via 110 mm piping to the Nexus 300 filter. A second Easy Pod draws water from the skimmer. The Bubble bead filter and one Easy Pod return the filtered water under pressure to the pond, while the water from the second Easy Pod and the Nexus 300 are pumped through two trickle towers and return to the pond below the surface under gravity. Gigantic 110 mm PVC ball valves were installed to isolate both Easy Pods and the Nexus 300 from the pond during cleaning operations. Three 120-liter per minute linear diaphragm air pumps would provide sufficient pressure and flow for bottom drain diffusers and to stir up the Kaldness media when cleaning the Pods. Two 55-watt UV sterilizers were fitted to keep suspended algae under control. Each of the four filters are connected to its own low wattage, high volume pump.
Other features include a huge sump pump to dispose of waste water when cleaning or draining the two Easy Pods, Nexus 300 or Bubble bead Filter. The design of the Trickle Towers was such that it would require very little cleaning/maintenance. All return pipes below the water surface were installed through the brickwork to enter the pond at a 45-degree angle and it was cut level with the inside of the pond to prevent injuries to the fish. The plastering/rendering on the inside of the pond was done with cement, sand and Coprox mixture and the outside walls were finished with either face bricks or sand stone cladding. Although rendering with the Coprox mixture would have ensure a waterproof pond, Bobby opted for four additional layers of Marbeleine to ensure 100% waterproofing.
The specifications of this pond are truly impressive but Bobby’s final stroke of genius was the installation of an aquarium type window at the feeding area. Although it is contrary to the koi purist’s beliefs, the window does provide a cutting edge in atmosphere and an excellent view into the pond. This window will also be extremely valuable to conduct health inspections of the Koi.
After digesting the above, let’s look at the process of construction, up to the final result. This result is the envy of many koi keepers.