Solar pump keeps birds and frogs happy

By: Michael Fox

Water pumped to bird bath trickles into top pond

In our Queensland heat how do you keep a backyard birdbath full of water and free of mosquitoes?

Circulating water from a frog pond to the bird bath is one solution. We installed a Reefe Solar Pump today in the micro-habitat Pollinator Link garden at the B4C Sustainability Centre. Keeping a shallow birdbath full can be a challenge particularly when a couple of Rainbow Lorikeets jump in for a swim and splash water everywhere. d

Two different frog habitats

Two frog ponds provide different micro-habitats – High Pond for climbing frogs like Green Tree frogs and Low Pond for ground dweling frogs like the Striped Marsh frog. Water is pumped from the Low Pond to the bird bath where it overflows into the high pond to be returned to by pipe to the low pond. The water in the bird bath is constantly refreshed and a weekly top up of water in the low pond is all that is required.

Backup battery and controls protected from sun

The Reefe pump performs well lifting the waterabout 120cm with a steady flow into the bird bath. We have set the optional timer to run the pump 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off. With the solar panel and backup battery the water should be circulating 24 hours a day, perhaps a little less if we have very cloudy days.

The pump controls and backup battery are all well sealed in a waterproof case. However it is important to protect the case from direct sun. We mounted the case on top of besser-block Blue-banded Bee home under the old bathtub used for the high pond.

The Reefe solar pump was recommended by the Irrigation & Pump Shop in Capalaba. dOne

Decorative gravel provides a soak for butterflies & bees

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One lesson learned – sand and pond pumps don’t mix. I wanted to create a soak for butterflies, bees and other insects. My first idea was a sand beach which was not good as the sand immediately jamed the pump impeller. Cleaning out the pump was quick and simple and replacing sand with decorative gravel seems to have solved the problem while still acting as a soak.

About Mt Gravatt Environment Group

Mt Gravatt Environment Group is restoring a unique piece of Australain native bushland only ten minutes from Brisbane CBD.
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