July 2, 2016

Keeping the Champagne Tub


     In April 2014 I added my “Champagne Tub” to the garden. After spending the morning at my daughter’s home splashing around in her beautiful pool I was impressed how cool I stayed all day afterwards. With no intention to put in a full swimming pool, I decided a kind of a plunking pond to get into on a hot day might be appealing. And so, the idea of the champagne tub was born. After plenty of research and daydreaming I ordered a tub. Recently, there was a discussion about galvanized tubs for pond use on Facebook with lots of questions and I have decided to share my experience.
     I ordered the tub, a two-hundred-gallon size, from a farm supply company in South Carolina. It was very easy to find several online. It was shipped freight and arrived strapped to a wooden pallet. I set it free and rolled it down into the lower level of my yard. It was a bit awkward but not terribly heavy and I was able to handle it alone. While waiting for it to arrive I had set a section of level square cement stones into the yard and I put it there.

The handy drain

     The tub was washed thoroughly with regular dish soap and rinsed well. It has a nice plug on the side that is easily removed for draining. If I only want to empty part of the tub I have a large siphon from the aquarium/pet shop, but I only used that once. I also ordered a small, really inexpensive, pool net to skim out leaves. Even though the tub is located beneath my beautiful river birch it stays relatively clean and I skim it about once a week. It’s actually a very relaxing and pleasant job.

The bio filter box, weighed down with a big rock.

     For filtration there is a bio filter and two pumps. The bio filter resembles a shoe box and inside are little plastic balls that look like the Death Star from Star Wars and two filtering sheets. Inside is a small pond filter. Filters are rated by GPH, or gallons per hour. The one inside the bio filter is 600 GPH, plenty for a two hundred tub, then there is also another a small pump that runs into the little statue. That is more for the sound of gurgling water and visual effect rather than filtering. The water stays pretty clear most of the summer. I skim the leaves weekly or after a storm and dismantle the filter and rinse the pumps every couple of weeks. A thorough cleaning takes about fifteen minutes. After a rain sometimes the water turns a bit green and I add about a couple of tablespoons of laundry bleach. I have seen no damage from a little bleach to the tub. Very quickly the water turns clear again. Usually in mid-summer, about August, I empty and refill the tub once.

Potted hostas and ferns surround the tub.

     Do I get into it you ask? Yep. But I never get in within 24 hours of adding any bleach and I ALWAYS unplug the filters first. Because my tub is in the shade the better part of the day the water stays very cool so I don’t tend to linger in it until very late in the summer. If it got more sun I might consider the solar heaters I have seen that float on the surface of the pool but I like the water cool. My yard is completely fenced and children do no play out there without supervision. The tub is about three feet deep.

The fairy feature.

     I love my champagne tub. It is quite easy and economical to keep. I have the sound of a gurgling pond in my yard with little work and no mud at all. It was super easy to set up and in the winter I drain it and invert it by myself. On a midsummer night I sometimes float tiny candles in the water and sit amid the fireflies and listen to the soothing sound of my champagne tub. An ice cold lemonade seems even cooler there on a summer evening.

     Here's a little video of the sound of the tub: The Fairy Feature Running

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