Pond Owners Manual


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This manual is indispensable for anyone who has a pond. Don't have a pond yet? Check this out and you'll be tempted to get one!

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Pond Owners Manual

  1. 1. go to our website to sign-up for our Your paradise. Our passion. free Monthl e-newsletter! y Pond The Owner’ s Handbook w w w. a q u a s c a p e i n c. c o m
  2. 2. Welcome 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
  3. 3. Table of Contents 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” 12 Maintenance 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
  4. 4. Pond Ecology Your paradise. Our passion. “Backyard water features are not only enjoyable for us, but also necessary for Pond the sustainability of our environment.” Understanding Pond Ecology Ecology The goal in water gardening today is the creation of a naturally balanced, low-maintenance aquatic 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
  5. 5. Pond Ecology 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
  6. 6. Your paradise. Our passion. Pond Fish Pond Fish 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
  7. 7. 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 Pond Fish 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 FISH FOOD 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. that grand!? Fishy FAQs 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 POND FISH? 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
  8. 8. Your paradise. Our passion. Aquatic Plants Aquatic Plants 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
  9. 9. Marginal Aquatics 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. PlaNT C O N Ta I N E r S Water Hyacinth – Water Lettuce – Taro – MARGINAL AQUATIC FLOATING AQUATIC FLOATING AQUATIC Aquatic Plants 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 Water 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
  10. 10. Your paradise. Our passion. “Why believe us? We have over 15 years of field experience building Pond and maintaining water gardens!” Common Ponderings Myths 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 Pond Myths 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
  11. 11. well-conceived, naturally balanced water garden normally requires no testing either. A pond in your backyard means you will have a lot of mosquitoes. 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 great enthusiasm. 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 Pond Myths 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
  12. 12. Spring Summer Maintenance Your paradise. Our passion. 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 Maintenance maintenance water garden is to keep your new ecosystem in balance!” 12 The Pond Owner’s Handbook www.aquascapeinc.com
  13. 13. Autumn Winter 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 Maintenance 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
  14. 14. 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 Maintenance 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
  15. 15. 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. Maintenance 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
  16. 16. 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 have fish. ■ 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. Recommended spring 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- Maintenance 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
  17. 17. 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 Maintenance 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