go to our website
to sign-up for our
Our passion. free
w w w. a q u a s c a p e i n c. c o m
Water Gardening Enthusiasts!
Water gardening is an You have two routes to take when getting Inspiring and Educational
into this hobby. The traditional do-it- When you take the plunge with
old hobby that today, yourself track, or the hiring of a landscape water gardening, be sure to visit
or water gardening professional to do www.aquascapeinc.com, a web site
is the hottest trend in it for you. This magazine contains the that contains articles on container
blueprints for both avenues. water gardens, seasonal maintenance,
landscaping, nationwide. installation tips, and much more! While
Working with Mother Nature you’re there, click on the “Newsletter”
Radical changes in product The Aquascape™ products and link to sign up for Pondside Monthly
development and design concepts plans are designed for the weekend and receive free tips and articles in your
have converged to make today’s water warrior tackling a water garden project, e-mailbox each month.
gardens the most beautiful, ecologically and the AquascapePRO™ products All these resources ensure one
friendly, and low maintenance water are designed and constructed thing: There is a plan to cut through
features in history. However, to for professionals or serious water the confusion, and once you get your
capitalize on the latest design trends gardeners. Both products and systems water feature, there’s going to be
and product advancements, you need are designed to do one thing – create consistent and up-to-date support to
to have a blueprint to follow for water ponds that work with Mother Nature, help you enjoy your new hobby.
garden success. As with any exploding and not against her. Only by doing
industry, like water gardening is right that, can you truly have a beautiful, You Deserve It!
now, misinformation and conflicting natural, and low maintenance water Don’t you deserve your own piece
advice run rampant. This guide and feature to enjoy. As you see when you of paradise to come home to each
owner’s manual is designed to cut flip through these pages, there’s a day? Take the plunge and join the
through the confusion and become boatload of products and information millions of “pondaholics” who are
your blueprint for success in the water to help you succeed and enjoy the already enjoying the hottest trend in
gardening hobby. water garden lifestyle. gardening today!
2 The Pond Owner’s Handbook www.aquascapeinc.com
4 Introduction to Pond Ecology
and the Aquascape Ecosystem
Understanding your pond and how all of the
elements work together to create a naturally
functioning, low-maintenance water feature
6 Pond Fish
Everything you need to know
about taking care of your fish
8 Aquatic Plants
The role of aquatic plants in your pond
8 Water Lilies
9 Marginals, Floating Aquatics, Submerged Aquatics
10 Pond Myths
20 top pond myths and why they are “myths”
Tips for maintaining your pond throughout the year
13 Preformed Ponds, Pondless® Waterfalls
14 General Maintenance
15 Fall & Winter Maintenance
16 Spring Maintenance
18 Top 10 Methods to Get Your Ecosystem in Balance
19-22 Pump Troubleshooting
www.aquascapeinc.com The Pond Owner’s Handbook 3
features are not only
enjoyable for us, but
also necessary for
the sustainability of
Understanding Pond Ecology
The goal in water gardening
today is the creation of
a naturally balanced,
ecosystem that allows
water gardeners more
relaxation time by their
aquatic paradises, and environment, including the living The Big Picture
plants and animals, water, air, We should remember that our
less time worrying about and the sun’s energy. Backyard backyard water features are not
ponds can function as ecosystems only enjoyable for us, but also
maintenance. because they play host to a total necessary for the sustainability of our
interrelationship of all organisms in environment. Do you want your pond
What Is an Ecosystem? the environment – birds, fish, frogs, to be more diverse? Given a little time
In biological terms, a community plants, and many microscopic and proper plant selection in and
or ecosystem can be defined as organisms. These ponds not only around your pond, you can create a
plants and animals interacting create a natural ecosystem in their very diverse ecosystem in your yard.
with one another in the sharing of defined environment, but they also Just remember to keep it simple and,
available resources and restraints fit into the community or life cycle with patience, your pond will mature
in a defined area. An ecosystem of not just one backyard, but of the over the years into a beautiful and
encompasses all the parts of this entire ecological region. functioning part of nature.
4 The Pond Owner’s Handbook www.aquascapeinc.com
one Pond Makes a Difference
One pond in one backyard may
not seem very important, but
when you have a thousand similar
backyard ecosystems functioning
simultaneously, there truly is a
positive impact being made on the
environment. These water features
help provide an oasis for creatures
whose natural habitats have been
replaced by development – birds,
frogs, toads, newts and salamanders,
and many others whose numbers
have been declining sharply for
many years now.
So at a grassroots level, as the
hobby of water gardening grows,
there are additional habitats and
Given a little time and proper plant selection in
diversity being added to our stressed
and around your pond, you can create a very
suburban environments. diverse ecosystem in your yard.
The Aquascape Ecosystem
Plants Plant Pockets Fish Rocks & Gravel Bacteria
• Marginal plants can be planted directly • Best way to get rid of unsightly • Fish, like Koi and goldfish, can be • Contrary to popular opinion, adding rocks and gravel reduces pond maintenance • AquaClearer™ Extreme bacteria
in the gravel. Their roots will spread planting containers successfully kept, and even bred, • Gravel, unlike a smooth pond liner, provides surface area for bacteria to colonize naturally balances the pond.
throughout the gravel, cleaning the • Each pocket is about 6” deep in water that is only two feet deep • Covering the pond liner with gravel protects the liner from harmful UV rays and
pond by using nutrients and growing • They promote health in plant as far north as Zone 4 (MN). damage from animals and other sharp objects
vigorously. development by allowing the roots to • The rocks and gravel also help hold down the liner during high ground water
spread through surrounding gravel conditions and create areas for fish to hide when predators come around
• Finally, a stone bottom looks far more natural and is safer to walk on than an
exposed slippery rubber liner
Skimmer BIoFALLS® Filter
• Eliminates routine maintenance by removing debris before it sinks • Creates a perfect base for building beautiful, leak-free waterfalls.
to the bottom of the pond which allows pond construction in any • Requires only once a year cleaning when used in combination with
location, even directly beneath trees. a skimmer pre-filter.
• Requires only two to three minutes every other week to clean while • A non-clogging swirl chamber allows even distribution of water,
aiding filtration and increasing waterfall width.
standing outside the pond.
• Hides the pump and plumbing from view alongside your pond instead Liner • Can be sunk into the ground for a stream effect or raised to create
a greater water drop.
of in the pond. • Strong 45-mil EPDM liner is the best
• Won’t drain the pond down if a leak develops in the plumbing or waterfalls.
• The pump is easily removed by loosening one hand-tightened fitting on the
Underlayment choice for most pond installations
• Unlike concrete, it is easy and
• Filter support rack holds filter mats and doubles as side supports.
• Simple, uncluttered design. No moving parts to break.
discharge piping above the water line. • A non-woven, needle punched underlayment inexpensive to install and won’t crack • Easy to camouflage, removable upper rack on Signature Series™
• Keeps the pump free from clogging by trapping waste in a catch area forms a soft padding for the liner • When covered with stone, it has a BIOFALLS® Filter makes filter easy to disguise into the landscaping
before it reaches the pump. • Unlike newspapers, it’s quick to install 40-year life expectancy using rocks, plants and gravel.
• High-density polyethylene construction assures strength with • Unlike sand, it completely covers the vertical • If a leak ever were to occur, a simple • High surface area filter mats included with the Signature Series™
extreme durability. areas of the pond shelves inner-tube patch kit can make it as BIOFALLS® Filter have 50% more surface area than traditional mats.
• Patent Pending – adjustable faceplate on Signature Series™ has four • Unlike carpet padding, it allows gases to escape good as new • Customize one or more waterfall opening on Endless Cascades™
inches of travel, enabling you to tweak out the perfect water level. out the sides while looking more professional
www.aquascapeinc.com The Pond Owner’s Handbook 5
The Jewels of the Water Garden
Koi … the jewels of the
water garden! Have you
thought about making
E veryone who has koi preaches
of the joy they have while
feeding them, watching them
swim through caves and waterfalls,
and even naming them. You’ll find
out there. If your fish are part of a
balanced ecosystem, as is the case
with an Aquascape pond system,
your best bet is to feed them as
much as they will eat in five minutes,
koi of all different shapes and sizes being careful not to leave too much
them a part of your named accordingly. There’s “Goldie” food floating at the surface.
– everyone’s favorite yellow fish; and Fish can also over-winter in your
watery paradise? “Spot” – the fish with a precarious pond, so you can rest assured that
spot on the front of its forehead; the they won’t be in a tub in the middle
names can go on, and on, and on! of the living room as the months get
colder. After all, they won’t even
Low-Maintenance Pets pay rent!
One of the other things that is so
wonderful about welcoming a fishy More Than Just Koi
friend into your pond is that they are Are there other fish, besides koi,
pretty low-maintenance. You won’t that make great pond-living pets?
see a koi scratching at the door to There most certainly are! That same
go for a walk, or choosing your prized goldfish that stares at you from the
sofa for a litter box. Nope. Fish live, glass at the fish store is a perfect fit
breath, and eat in the exact same for your pond. Goldfish are incredibly
place … your pond. They truly are one resilient and can be a great starter
of the most low-maintenance pets fish for a new pond. Best of all, they
you can have. come in all shapes, sizes, and colors
When it comes to feeding them, and if you have a container water
you may notice that there are garden or preformed pond, they’re a
several different recommendations great fit!
ABOVE: Fish are a major part of your pond’s ecosystem. They are important to
your pond’s overall health, but they also make great pets.
6 The Pond Owner’s Handbook www.aquascapeinc.com
Another fish that is sure to find its
way into your heart resembles the TYPES OF COMMON POND FISH
koi, but is much smaller. It’s called
a shubunkin and it’s a kind of single-
tailed, long-bodied goldfish that
differs from the koi in the fact that
it doesn’t have “barbels,” which are
whiskers of sorts, that are used to
root through gravel.
It Doesn’t End There KOI GOLDFISH SHUBUNKIN
If you do your homework, you’ll find
that there are plenty of fish (many
native to your area) that would be
perfectly content in your pond. From
minnows to mosquito fish, to carp and
game fish – your options are endless.
Fish are a major part of your pond’s
ecosystem and they are important to
your pond’s overall health, but they
also make great pets. And best of all,
regardless of what’s happened in your Koi Balance® Original is Koi Balance® LoTemp™ is Koi Balance® Premium is Koi Balance® UltraGard™
life, they’ll always be there to greet designed for basic, everyday designed for easy digestion in designed for easy digestion is designed to support
feeding of koi and goldfish. cooler water temperatures. and supports brilliant color. the immune system and
you at the end of a long day. Ain’t brilliant color.
P r E DaTO r
C O N T rO l
How is my koi different
from a goldfish?
Simple. Have you ever seen a goldfish with whiskers?
A koi’s whiskers are called barbels and are used to
root around in the gravel or mud for food.
Heron Decoy Scarecrow
Will other animals eat my fish?
Yes. Unfortunately, heron, owl, raccoons, and others
find koi and other fish quite delectable. Make sure lOOkINg FOr
your fish have a place in your pond to hide, whether MOrE abOuT
it is plants or large crevices. If those animals get to
be a problem, a Scarecrow water sensor or Heron
Decoy may be the answer. Check out The Hobbyist’s
Guide to Pond Fish, the
What do I feed my fish? remember – fish grow! This rule cannot be applied to complete guide for the
Koi food is available at most pet shops or online. fish greater than six inches long because weight and water gardening
There are many types of food on the market today, girth may play a big factor. enthusiast. The book
and those in pellet form seem to be the most popular. covers everything fish,
The Koi Balance™ line contains koi food for every need Can fish get sick?
from types and styles
(see chart above). Fish also like to feast on yummy Like all of nature’s creatures, fish can fall ill due to
to care and feeding.
treats like fresh fruits and veggies. diseases, ulcers, parasites, and fungus. Aquascape
It’s perfect for
offers several medications for your finned friends
How many fish can I put in my pond? everyone – from the new fish keeper
under the EcoRx™ line. There are also preventative
A good rule of thumb is to allow one inch of fish for to the pond veteran! Ask your local
medications like EcoRx™ Pond Salt to replace natural
every square foot of pond surface area, and to retailer or pond professional.
electrolytes for improved fish health.
www.aquascapeinc.com The Pond Owner’s Handbook 7
The Role of Plants in a Water Garden
Aquatic plants aren’t just provide fish with shade from the heat be planted in colder zones when the
of the summer sun, cooling the water water temperature is consistently
used in the water garden and making algae control easier too. above 70º F and treated as annuals or
over-wintered, if given proper care.
to provide beauty and Hardy
Hardy water lilies are reliably To Pot or Not?
naturalization … perennial from the northern reaches Go natural when planting your
of Zone 3, to the subtropical areas water lilies – hide those pots! Planting
T hey also serve the very
important function of helping
to balance the pond ecosystem.
Their valuable biological filtration
helps remove nitrogen, ammonia,
of Zone 11. The white, pink, red, or
yellow flowers float directly on the
water surface and are open during the
day. When cold weather comes, the
foliage dies. This should be removed
pockets help you do this. Hopefully
these have been excavated into your
pond, if not, you can create them
with rocks right on the liner. Place
the potted lily into the pocket and
nitrates, and other minerals that algae before winter. New leaves emerge cover with rocks to hide the pots.
would otherwise feed on. In addition, again in the spring.
the plants provide food, shade, and Fertilizing
protection for the fish and wildlife that Tropicals Fertilizing water lilies is necessary
live in and around the pond. Typically, The flowers of tropical water lilies to encourage a greater number
they are divided into four groups – sit above the water and come in the of larger flowers. Time-released,
Aquatic Plant Fertilizer:
EcoSystems® EcoTabs™ water lilies, marginals, floating plants, typical whites, yellows, pinks, and granular fertilizer, mixed into the
and submerged plants. reds. Unique to tropical water lilies soil at the bottom of the pot or plant
are the blue shades – light blue to pocket, is a great way to fertilize
Water Lilies deep purple. Flowers are also more lilies at the time of planting. Any
Water lilies are available in hardy often fragrant and there are varieties other time, however, it would be
and tropical varieties. They both available that bloom at night. messy and inconvenient. That’s
come in a wide variety of colors, Although tropical lilies are only when EcoSystems® EcoTabs™
shapes, and sizes and the leaves hardy to zones 10 and 11, they can fertilizer tablets work great.
8 The Pond Owner’s Handbook www.aquascapeinc.com
Marginal aquatics are the plants T Y P E S O F C O M M O N aQuaT I C P l a N T S
found growing around the edges
(margins) of a water garden. They
add valuable filtration to the pond
and they remove elements that would
otherwise feed algae.
To create a natural-looking pond, a
good selection of marginal plants is
very important. There are hundreds of
varieties – hardy and tropical – that
come in all shapes, sizes, textures, HARDY WATER LILY TROPICAL WATER LILY LOTUS
and flower colors.
C O N Ta I N E r S
Water Hyacinth – Water Lettuce –
Taro – MARGINAL AQUATIC
FLOATING AQUATIC FLOATING AQUATIC
Floating Aquatics The Added Touch
TIP: Keep overly-aggresive plants, such as lotus, Floating aquatic plants sit on the water Aquatic plants will add a new
in their containers to keep them from spreading surface while their roots hang down into dimension to your water feature. If
uncontrollably through the pond.
the water. Most are tropical, but a few you take the time to learn a little
are hardy perennials in climates with about them and their requirements,
How to Plant Marginals hard winter freezes. These plants may you’ll find them easy to install and
In a rock and gravel pond, be used to shade the water, helping with care for. They come in many forms
marginal plants are generally placed summer algae control. and sizes, varying widely in their
directly into the gravel. This allows Plants such as hyacinth and water environmental needs. It is highly ABOVE: Learn
them to thrive naturally, and filter lettuce do a great job of disguising likely that, for any given situation, everything you need to
the water more effectively. Invasive the open top of the BIOFALLS® filter, you can find several species of know about types of
water garden plants.
species should be kept in pots that while providing excellent filtration. aquatic plants to fill the bill. To learn
are buried in the rocks and gravel. Use a stick across the spillway to keep more about aquatic plants, grab
Well-behaved plants can be taken the waterfall from carrying the plants a copy of The Hobbyist’s Guide to
out of the pots and planted directly over and into the pond. They can also Pond Plants. Ask your local retailer
in the gravel where the roots can be floated in the pond, however care or pond professional.
absorb nutrients directly from the must be taken to make sure that they
substrate of the pond where fish don’t end up in the skimmer. PlaNTINg
waste and other organic debris
settle and begin to decompose. Submerged Aquatic Plants
aQ uaT I C S
Choose the area for the plant, move Submerged plants are commonly
the gravel aside with your hands, referred to as oxygenators, but this is Water Lily Lettuce
place the plant, and spread the gravel a false description. These plants do
around the base to support the plant produce oxygen during the day, but Forget-me-not
and hide the pot. If you’re planting at night and on cloudy days, the cycle
bare-root, remove the plant from the is reversed and they use oxygen and Cattail Bulrush
pot and wash away any loose soil produce carbon dioxide. These plants Each aquatic plant species has different
before planting. Tropicals that you are still important allies in creating a water depth requirements because of
how deep their roots are able to grow.
plan to bring indoors over the winter, well-balanced water feature by using Having a good assortment of plants – each
should be left in the pots to make nutrients in the water. They also provide consuming nutrients at a different level of your
pond – maximizes their filtration benefits.
removal easier. great hiding places for baby fish.
www.aquascapeinc.com The Pond Owner’s Handbook 9
“Why believe us?
We have over
15 years of field
I want my pond located in It’s necessary to drain and and just as healthy as they are in
the lowest part of my yard. clean your pond regularly. traditional koi ponds – and you’ll love
This is probably the worst location If you decide to work in harmony them just as much!
for your investment because of with Mother Nature instead of doing
the run-off that can creep its way battle with her, then draining and Predators will eat
into your pond. When your pond is cleaning your pond should take place all of your fish!
positioned near your house, you can only once a year (at most). Clean-outs Fortunately, most fish will swim to
take in the beauty and tranquility of should occur in the spring. a deeper, more protected part of the
your pond when entertaining friends pond when a predator is threatening
or lounging on your deck. The more filtration, them. The Scarecrow, a motion-
the better the pond. sensing sprinkler that can be set up
You can use a timer Believe it or not, you can over- alongside your pond, ready to fire a
on your pond pump. filter a pond. Tight filter pads in your steady stream of water at a heron,
Not true! Your pond is a living, skimmer pick up the smallest particles has had some degree of success in
breathing ecosystem that needs of debris, requiring you to constantly warding off these curious critters.
constant oxygen, just like the clean the filtering mechanism. If you Plenty of lily pads or even some pond
human race. If you shut your can see a dime on the bottom of the caves give the fish some protection
system down at night, then you pond, then the water clarity is just and will work to minimize attracting
can never have sufficient growth of right for your fish and filtering past a heron in the first place.
beneficial bacteria to fight algae that creates headaches, instead of
blooms, and your finned friends eliminating them. The presence of rocks and
will have a hard time breathing. gravel makes it difficult to
You can shut down a Pondless ® You can’t be a koi hobbyist clean your pond.
Waterfall system, however, and a water gardener. Rock and gravel bottoms offer a
whenever you’d like because there You can raise koi and have a natural place for aerobic bacteria to
is no ecosystem depending on beautiful water garden. The koi colonize and set up housekeeping.
the circulation. can grow up to be just as beautiful This bacteria breaks down the
10 The Pond Owner’s Handbook www.aquascapeinc.com
well-conceived, naturally balanced
water garden normally requires no
A pond in your backyard
means you will have a lot
Mosquitoes will generally only lay
their eggs in still, stagnant water. If
the mosquitoes happen to lay eggs in
your pond and the mosquito larvae
hatch, the fish in your pond will
consider them a treat and will pick
them off the water’s surface with
You cannot have a pond
in an area where there are
a lot of trees.
Yes, you will have more leaves
in your pond in the fall but, by the
same token, the shade provided by
the tree(s) will help minimize the
algae bloom in the summer. If you
have a skimmer sucking the top
quarter inch of water off the top of
your pond, it will pull most of the
ABOVE: Rock and gravel bottoms offer a natural
fish waste and debris that would place for bacteria to break down waste and debris. leaves and related debris into the
otherwise accumulate in the pond skimmer net.
and turn into sludge. Koi can’t be kept in a pond
that also contains plants. Having a pond may decrease
UV lights such as those in In a naturally balanced ecosystem, the value of your home!
the UltraKlear™ UVC are the koi and plants complement and need Everyone knows when it comes
best way to keep your pond one another. In nature, fish feed on to the resale value of your home,
water clear. plants. As a result, the fish produce a swimming pool can be deadly.
UV clarifiers are one of the ways waste, which is broken down by However, in the opinion of some real
to keep your pond water clear, but aerobic bacteria on the bottom of estate agents, ponds can be a great
certainly not the only way, and your pond, which, in turn, is used as addition to your home that might
arguably not the natural way. The fertilizer by the plants to grow and even pay dividends.
fact of the matter is that if you have produce more natural fish food.
a pond that’s naturally balanced, you I have liability or
don’t need a UVC at all. You have to bring your fish safety concerns!
inside for the winter. It’s natural to have these thoughts
Your pond must be at least Fish do fine during the coldest of and concerns, but it is important
three-feet deep in order to winters as long as you give them two to remember that a professionally-
keep koi. feet of water to swim in, oxygenate installed water garden has steps
There are thousands of two-foot the water, and keep a hole in the ice leading into the pond. The first
deep ponds around the country, full with a de-icer, allowing the naturally shelf is only ankle high once the
of happy and healthy koi. produced gasses to escape from gravel is laid down. The next shelf is
The water in a two-foot deep under the ice. up to your knee, while the smallest
pond will generally only freeze eight area in the bottom is just above your
inches down, even in the coldest of Your pond water must be knee, so it is not constructed like
climates, because of the insulating tested on a daily basis. a swimming pool. If liability is still
qualities of the earth that surrounds Mother Nature never tests her water, a concern, consider the option of a
the pond. and her ecosystem does just fine. A Pondless® Waterfall.
www.aquascapeinc.com The Pond Owner’s Handbook 11
Maintaining Your Pond All Year
Now that you’ve decided
to dive into the world of
water gardening, you’re
T here is a lot of conflicting
information out there about
the dos and don’ts of water
garden maintenance, so your head
may be spinning, wondering which
steps are necessary and which ones
probably wondering aren’t. The whole point of installing
your pond in the first place was to
exactly what you need to reduce the stress in your life, not
add to it.
do to maintain your new Allow us to share a little bit of
water gardening knowledge with you
aquatic beauty, and keep … the key to a low-maintenance water
garden is to keep your new ecosystem
it looking good. in balance! Read on and learn how
to water garden the low-maintenance
way. Regardless of which type of
water feature you own, we’ll tell you
the best way to maintain it with the
least amount of work on your part!
“the key to a low
garden is to keep
your new ecosystem
12 The Pond Owner’s Handbook www.aquascapeinc.com
Different Pond Types ■ EcoFloc™ clumps suspended General Maintenance
Ecosystem Ponds particles for easy removal. The Skimmer
The key to keeping an all-natural water ■ EcoBlast™ Granular Algaecide The skimmer is designed to sweep
garden in check is general ecosystem is Aquascape’s #1 treatment for the surface of the water so that it is
maintenance. The five elements of breaking down algae! Fast Acting free from debris. The debris basket
your ecosystem all need to be balanced and not temperature sensitive. or net inside the skimmer is the first
in order to ensure that everything is 100% safe for fish. filter stage of the skimmer. The basket
working smoothly. They are: ■ EcoStarter™ Plus Liquid removes or net will collect leaves, twigs, seeds,
■ Mechanical and Biological Filters & detoxifies chlorine; removes and other debris that falls or blows into
■ Pumps and Plumbing & detoxifies ammonia; destroys the pond. It only takes a few minutes
■ Rocks and Gravel chloramines; detoxifies copper & every other week to empty the debris
■ Aquatic Plants heavy metals; boosts alkalinity; basket or net. More frequent changes
■ Fish adds essential electrolytes; adds will be required during the autumn
These elements must all be 3-part skin slime replacer; and because of the quantity of leaves
present in order for the system reduces stress. falling off the surrounding trees.
to really work. Once your pond Preformed ponds and container It is a good habit during your first
is balanced, it’s not hard to gardens also differ from liner ponds season with the pond to periodically
see why maintaining a well- in the fact that leaks cannot be fixed. check the quantity of debris in the
balanced ecosystem is easy. With Preformed ponds and barrel liners basket or net. This is especially true
the exception of some seasonal are impossible to fix if cracked, and in the fall. Keep a mental note as to
maintenance, all you really need must be replaced. Evaporation is how often your basket or net has to be
to worry about is tossing a little also more common and much more emptied. It’s important that the debris
beneficial bacteria into your pond noticeable because of the small basket or net is not allowed to become
and cleaning out your skimmer net amount of space. You can, however, too full, as too much debris can reduce
once every week or two. follow the same steps when refilling the water flow to the pump.
them as you do a natural liner pond.
Preformed and Container Lastly, over-doing plants and lowering Filter Mat
Water Gardens the fish load in your preformed pond The filter mat is the second stage
When it comes to preformed and or container water garden will help of the skimmer. The mat is designed
container gardens, maintenance is a balance the system better! to handle any debris that finds its way
little different. There are a few products past the basket or net. The mat will
that can be used when problems arise. Pondless® Waterfall not need maintenance as frequently
Remember, the smaller the system, One of the greatest features of the as the basket or net, since the basket
the harder it is to achieve balance, so Pondless® Waterfall Filter is that there or net will remove the majority of
a more repeated dosage of beneficial is very little maintenance. The system debris from the water.
bacteria may be necessary. can be run 24 hours a day or can be The water reaching the pump
■ AquaClearer™ Extreme Dry is turned off and on when desired. Don’t should be relatively free of any
effective at reducing sludge, forget to periodically check that there large debris, thanks to the debris
waste and excess nutrients. is enough water in the Pondless® net and filter brushes on the
■ AquaClearer™ Extreme Liquid is Waterfall basin to properly operate skimmer, and if you have a
effective at reducing ammonia, the waterfalls. When you hear the Pondless® Waterfall, the fact that the
nitrites and excess nutrients. pump “gurgling” or sucking air, you water has to pass through layers of
■ EcoFoam Away™ Removes foam know it is time to add water. gravel in the basin.
from the water.
www.aquascapeinc.com The Pond Owner’s Handbook 13
FILTER MAT: The filter mat should be checked, but not as BIOFALLS® FILTER: The filter media only needs to be cleaned once a year.
frequently as the debris basket.
Note: The Signature Series™ BIOFALLS® filter that comes with the Pondless® Waterfall
system does not include filter mats or media bags. There is no need for these items since
there is no pond. In addition, Aquascape produces a full line of products and educational
materials designed to help you get the most from your new water feature. Ask your installer
or local supplier for more information on purchasing these products.
Note: The filter mat may have a slot cut into it so that it fits
around the discharge pipe. Install the filter mat correctly
so the slot fits around the discharge pipe. Skimmer filter Vault and physically remove any from the water before it reaches the
mats are designed to last for about one year. Filter mats debris found around the impeller, or BIOFALLS® Filter.
may be discolored and appear dirty and old, but will work intake, or bottom of the pump. You Most ponds don’t require the
just fine in your skimmer and BIOFALLS® Filters, or may also want to physically remove filter mats or filter media bag in
MicroFalls®. Replace old filter mats if they begin to tear or any debris with your hands that may the BIOFALLS® Filter to be cleaned
fall apart. Ask your installer or local garden center about have found its way to the bottom of more than once a year. Cleaning
replacement filter mats. the skimmer or Pondless® Waterfall them, especially with chlorinated
Vault, where the pump sits. tap water, more often will reduce or
kill the beneficial bacteria growing
The Pump BIOFALLS® Filter on these filters. Replace old filter
On occasion, you may see a The BIOFALLS® Filter is the mats after several years, when they
reduction in the water flow over the starting point of your waterfall. The begin to tear or fall apart. The filter
waterfall. This could be a sign that filter mats and media provide a mats can be removed for annual
it is time to clean the pump intake home for the beneficial bacteria that cleaning through the wider opening
or the filter screen on the bottom of help clean the pond. It is designed at the front of the rack.
BELOW: The ideal
the pump. This process should take for once-a-year cleaning when used
water level should be
set at about 3/4-inch no longer than five minutes. Simply in combination with a Skimmer or The Water Level
below the top of the unplug and remove the pump from Pondless® Waterfall Vault prefilter, Every pond will experience
skimmer mouth. the skimmer or Pondless® Waterfall ensuring that large debris is filtered evaporation. The amount of water loss
due to evaporation depends on waterfall
height, water splashing outside the pond,
stream length, the amount of sunlight
the pond receives, and the temperature
of the region where you live.
During the warmest months of the
year, most small, residential ponds
will need a weekly addition of water
to counteract the effects of water loss.
During rainy periods, adding water to
your pond may not be necessary at
all. The water level of the pond can
be monitored using the opening of the
skimmer mouth as a reference. The
ideal water level should be set at about
¾-inch below the top of the skimmer
mouth. You can check the water level
each time you empty the debris net.
14 The Pond Owner’s Handbook www.aquascapeinc.com
When you notice that the water Once you have found the leak,
FALL MAINTENANCE: This is the time to prune the yellow leaves off all
level is low, simply drop a garden hose pack additional soil under the liner to of the plants around your pond. The best way to keep up with the
into the pond and add the required raise the edge above the water level. falling debris in your pond is to remove it using a skimmer net.
amount of water. De-chlorinator does Hide the exposed liner by replacing
not need to be used when adding less the gravel and add mulch.
than 20 percent of the pond’s total If you have plants growing in your
water volume. BIOFALLS® Filter, it is common for
If your pond is equipped with a their growth to displace the water,
water fill valve inside the skimmer, causing it to flow over the back side
the water level of the pond will be of the filter. Simply remove enough of
maintained for you. The water fill the plants to lower the water level.
valve can be connected to the garden
spigot on your house or connected Seasonal Care
to the main line of an underground Fall and Winter Maintenance
irrigation system. When the water In the fall, water is almost always ■ As it gets colder, your aquatic
level in your pond drops, the float on very clear because of the cooler plants will have all but died for
the valve drops also. Water is added temperatures and the full, lush plants. the season. Now you can cut
through the fill valve until the float Enjoy the good water quality! Here are back the dead plant material
rises back to its original position. some things that you can do to keep and remove the tropicals. Cut
your water garden looking good. Note: back the cattails above the
Troubleshooting Leaks Several of the steps do not apply to water level, or better yet, leave
If you notice you have to add water Pondless® Waterfall systems. them up to see how magnificent
on a daily basis, or hear the “hissing” ■ There may be an increasing they look in the winter.
of your water fill valve constantly number of yellow leaves this time ■ If you’re fortunate enough to be
running, (after properly setting the of year, so prune them off all of where it stays warm all year round,
water level) you may have a leak, most your plants. Your water lilies – you’re set for the winter.
of which occur along the perimeter tropical and hardy – should still ■ If you live up north, where the
of the waterfall and stream. These be going strong, at least until the surface of the pond freezes, you’ll
leaks are generally due to the ground first heavy frost. need to prepare for winter by
settling which causes the water to ■ Stop fertilizing when the weather deciding whether you want to keep
trickle over the edge of the liner. becomes cooler. This lets the your pond running or shut it down.
These leaks can be easily fixed. plants know the season is coming ■ To shut your pond down, first
to an end. unplug your pump and pull it out
LEAKS: Check the liner around the perimeter ■ When the water temperature is of the water. The pump should
of the pond – water could be leaking over. around 55 F° (10° C), stop feeding be stored in a frost-free location,
your fish. Continuing to feed them submerged in a bucket of water to
could cause health problems keep the seals from drying.
or death for them, since their
digestive systems are beginning FISH: A small circulating pump can be
to slow down for the winter. used to keep a hole in the ice for your fish.
■ As leaves fall from nearby trees,
you’ll probably have to empty the
debris net every day to keep up
with the influx of leaves. Some of
Check the perimeter of the pond, them will undoubtedly sink to the
waterfall, and stream for any areas bottom, try to remove as many as
that are wet. This is usually a good you can, however a few left in the
indicator that water is leaking over pond will give insects and frogs a
the liner. place to hide over the winter.
Check to make sure any slow moving ■ If you leave too much organic ■ If you have fish, a small re-
sections of the stream/waterfall have matter in your pond, the water circulating pump that bubbles
not become obstructed by leaves, may turn brown. If this happens, at the water surface is necessary
plants, or other debris. This can remove the excess debris and to oxygenate the water. In all but
cause the water to back up and leak add activated carbon to clear extremely low temperatures, the
over the edge of the liner. the water. bubbling of the pump will also
www.aquascapeinc.com The Pond Owner’s Handbook 15
keep a hole open in the ice to
allow for a gas exchange, keeping
your fish alive. It is not necessary
to oxygenate the water or keep a
hole open in the ice if you don’t
■ If your area experiences long
periods of extremely cold weather,
you may consider adding a
floating de-icer. Controlled by
a thermostat, the unit only runs
when the water temperature is at
or below freezing, heats the water
to just above that, and then shuts
off again. Ask your installer or
local supplier for products to help
your pond during the winter.
maintenance products: ■ If you use a floating de-icer, The most important thing is to Here’s what you’ll
EcoSystems® EcoStarter™ place it away from the bubbler. have fun with your water feature need to get started:
Plus and EcoSystems®
EcoTabs™. The movement of the water can all year long. Keep some of these A clean-out pump with approximately
move the heated water away from key maintenance issues in mind, 25 ft. of discharge hose.
the de-icer, making it run more and it will be smooth sailing. In the
A high-pressure nozzle for your garden
than necessary. meantime, stay warm!
hose, or a power washer.
■ You can also choose to keep the
waterfall running. This will require Spring Maintenance Garden shears for trimming plants.
a little babysitting to make sure Spring is simply the most exciting A child’s swimming pool or a similar
an ice dam does not form, which time of year. As things slowly awaken sized container to hold fish and
could cause water to run out of the from their winter hibernation, there any other critters you find during
Pondless® Waterfall/ Pond basin. are some things that you can do to the clean-out.
You will also still need to replace make sure your water feature gets off A net or something similar to place
water loss so the pump can to a good start this spring. over the fish container to keep them
continue to function properly (see Does your water feature need a full from jumping out.
“The Water Level” on page 14). clean-out this season or does it just
Two five-gallon buckets to
This extra effort during the winter need to be tidied up a little? There
collect leaves and debris.
will reward you with the most are a couple of things that you can
beautiful ice formations and look for to help you decide. First, A fish net.
patterns around the falls if there is a layer of “crud” at the EcoSystems® EcoStarter™ Plus water
and streambeds. bottom of the pond and the water is conditioner to remove chlorine and
dark in color, it would be a good idea chloramines prior to putting fish back.
to do a full clean-out. EcoSystems® EcoTabs™
On the other hand, if there is just fertilizer tabs.
a small amount of debris that you
can stir up and capture with
a net and the water looks
clear, a little tidying up is The best time to perform a pond
all that’s in order. Plan clean-out is the early spring, before
on spending a half to a your water garden completely awakens
full day to complete from its winter dormancy – ideally
a pond cleanout. before the water temperature in the
A Pondless® Water- pond creeps above 55º F. If a clean-
fall will take out is performed when the water
considerably is warmer, after bacteria colonies
less time. form, the balance of the ecosystem
will again be thrown off and your
pond will go through another “green
16 The Pond Owner’s Handbook www.aquascapeinc.com
phase” before the bacteria colonies Use the gentle stream from a ■ Dip a five-gallon bucket, or similar
re-establish themselves again. garden hose to rinse the rocks and sized container, in the holding
gravel. Start at the top and work your tank and fill it with water.
Drain the Pond/ way down to the bottom. Periodically ■ After you’ve caught a fish, place it
Pondless® Waterfall turn the clean-out pump on to remove in the bucket and set the buckets
Place the clean-out pump in the the dirty water. You can discontinue in the clean water.
deepest point of the pond or in the the periodic pumping once the water ■ After about 15 minutes,
Pondless® Waterfalls Snorkel in order rinsing down to the bottom begins periodically begin splashing some
to remove the water. to look clear. Remove the pump and pond water into the bucket.
Drain the water into the surrounding begin filling the pond. ■ By now, the temperature of the
landscape. Be sure to relocate the pond and the bucket water should
pipe two or three times to allow the Cleaning the Filters be close to the same. You are
water to seep into the ground and not Remove any debris from the bottom ready to spill the fish into their
flood the yard. of the skimmer and Snorkel™ Vault. spring-cleaned home.
If you have fish, use some of this This can be done by hand or by using
pond water to fill up the holding the cleanout pump.
pool. The fish can be removed from Remove the media nets and filter a F E W a l g a E FaC T S
the pond using a net once the water pads from the BIOFALLS® Filter. Types of Algae:
is low enough so you can easily (Not included with the Pondless® The two types of algae
catch them. Waterfall). If you have the optional that most water
Don’t keep the fish in the holding drain kit attached to your Signature gardeners experience
pool for more than several hours. Series™ BIOFALLS® Filter, you can are suspended algae
Keep them in a shady spot with a net open up the valve and rinse the and filamentous algae.
over the top of the pool to prevent media and filters. Once the filters Suspended algae
them from jumping out. have been removed rinse them free of consist of millions of
accumulated debris. microscopic algae STRING ALGAE
The filter media and mats can be floating throughout the
put back into place and the waterfall water. This causes the water to turn green or “pea soup” color.
pump can be reattached in the Filamentous, or string, algae forms long and short hair-like strands,
skimmer or Snorkel™ Vault. attaching itself to rocks, gravel, plants, or any surface area it can find
in the pond.
The Annual Pond Cycle: Most pond owners will notice a similar algae
pattern in their pond, throughout the year. The cooler temperatures of
early spring and late fall typically bring increased algae growth. Don’t
be discouraged if your pond turns “pea soup” green or you have
string algae problems during this time. Be patient as the pond and
ecosystem tries to get itself balanced. This lack of balance results in
excess algae. But as the water warms and the ecosystem becomes
more active, the algae will be reduced. Some ponds take longer than
others do, but your pond will once again be clear and string algae will
noticeably diminish as the summer approaches.
Don’t Overdo the Cleaning Putting Your Fish Back Algae Control
Rinse the inside of the pond. You Into Their Clean Home Algae control is often considered
can also use a pressure washer to Your pond clean-out is now done to be the biggest headache in water
help remove debris from the rocks and it’s time to put your fish back into gardening. There are different view
and gravel. their home. Once your pond is half full, points as to how algae should be
Don’t try to scrub all of the algae you can perform these steps to safely controlled or eliminated – naturally,
away. Some algae on the rocks will place your fish back in the pond: artificially, or a combination of the two.
prove beneficial in developing your ■ If you’re on city water, it’s
ecosystem. For an average size pond imperative that you add a de- Artificial Algae Control
(11’ x 16’) this should take around chlorinator to the water so it is If you have a pond that’s suffering
15 minutes. safe for fish. from green water and you can’t see
www.aquascapeinc.com The Pond Owner’s Handbook 17