This is a common question asked by new pond owners and people planning to install a pond. Nobody wants their new pond to look like a bowl of slime, and there are different schools of thought regarding the best way to keep a pond looking nice. We have been building ponds and water features for 15 years, and we go with a rock bottom every time. Here's why:
These are the reasons we do full-rock-coverage on our water features. It is a proven technique that works for pond builders around the world. It is a key element of the aquatic ecosystem and allows for greater harmony in the pond, ultimately leading to a cleaner, nicer, safer pond with less regular maintenance.
A backyard pond is a lovely thing to enjoy, especially when it is full of colorful koi fish. Watching them swim around your pond is one of the best parts of having a pond. In order to admire the fish, however, it is important to have good water clarity. We get a lot of calls from people who are unhappy with the green water in their pond. Fortunately, we are very familiar with this and have learned how to efficiently deal with it.
As we've said elsewhere, the easiest way to avoid green water is to set up your pond correctly from the start. To see what we mean by that, read this article. If you are well-beyond the initial set up, read below for some tips on what you can do today to clarify the water in your pond.
Before we begin making adjustments to our pond, we must first determine the cause of the green water. It could either be single-celled algae, or it could be tiny particulates (dead string/carpet algae) suspended in the water.
(This part is very important) Take a sample of the pond water in a clear container and place it against a white background:
Using Wetland Filtration on Your Backyard Pond
Does your pond have sparkling clear water? If so, does it require a lot of effort to keep it that way? Thanks to the benefits of a properly-built wetland filter, it doesn’t have to!
What is a wetland filter?
A wetlands filter is an advanced form of natural filtration. Think of it as a big hungry sponge that feeds on the waste from fish and plants. Like a sponge, it is porous, allowing water to slowly pass through. Like a sea-sponge, it is alive, and it literally has an appetite for the stuff that clouds your pond water. Unlike a sponge, a wetlands is a complete ecosystem, populated by of trillions of individual bacteria, and usually, a handful of plants and invertebrates. These organisms colonize on the bottom of the pond and feed on particulates suspended in the water.
When you look at an established wetland in a backyard pond, it just looks like a shallow area with slow-moving water over fine gravel. Maybe there’s some grasses or thalia plants growing there. What you won’t see, however, is what’s going on beneath the surface that allows it to clean your water so efficiently.
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June is the time of year when pond owners often call us up with questions or concerns about the string algae growing in their water feature. It can show up seemingly overnight, and without a solid plan of action, controlling it can become a regular chore. Fortunately, there are several proven measures you can take to combat the stuff, and there are quite a few products available that are designed to assist with that task. The main problem then seems to be a lack of education on how to use those products, and a misunderstanding of what causes string algae and the role it plays in an aquatic ecosystem.
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Cattails are ubiquitous residents of aquatic habitats. They are hardy, fast-growing, and excellent filters of pollution. They will also overcrowd a small pond if given the opportunity. They do release a chemical into the water that will signal the plants to restrict growth as that chemical reaches a high enough concentration, however, your idea of 'enough cattails' is likely to occur quite a bit sooner.
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A question that many new pond owners have is how to determine the right number of fish for their pond. Like any system, a backyard pond ecosystem has an ideal ratio of elements that will best promote balance and harmony. As you might imagine, a big 20'x30' pond is not necessary to keep five or ten little goldfish happy. Likewise, a small 6'x8' pond is much too small to support the 24" trophy koi that you've been dreaming about. Common sense will guide you from such extremes, but finding the sweet spot will require a few calculations.
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Springtime is when we start spending more time outdoors, and for water feature owners, this means you are probably looking at dark water full of the past season's leaves and muck. This is the best time for a little maintenance on your pond or waterfall. An annual spring cleaning not only beautifies your water feature, it can also prevent problems from arising later in the season. For those of you who are the hands-on type, read on for tips on a successful pond clean-out.
If you're in the South Jersey area and would like to leave it to the professionals, pick up the phone, and call the preferred team of local pond experts: Landvista Aquascapes at 856-768-9404.
If you don't live in SJ, but still want a professional to take of your pond, click here to find your local Certified Aquascape Contractor.
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Although you wouldn't know it by looking out the window, we are merely five days from the start of Spring. This means it is nearly time to do some annual pond cleaning. Even if your pond was just cleaned last year, leaves and debris have probably been falling in throughout the winter and decaying into muck on the bottom. Performing a spring cleaning can help prevent future problems from arising throughout the pond season. Some pond enthusiasts are happy to handle their own maintenance, but you can always hire a professional to take care of it. For our neighbors in the Camden/Burlington/Gloucester area, Landvista Aquascapes has a team of pond experts that are trained by the best in the world to properly care for your ponds and water features.
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Oxygen is essential for life. It forms the backbone of water. It's the most crucial element for vertebrates; we need it constantly. Just a few minutes is the maximum time we can be without it; no other element is as vital to supporting life as we know it.
As vertebrates, fish have these same needs for oxygen. Only instead of breathing it in from the air, they extract it from the water with their gills. This oxygen they are extracting isn't being torn from the water molecules themselves. They aren't pulling the the O from the H2O. The oxygen they absorb is 'dissolved oxygen', stable O2 molecules that become dissolved into the water through aeration and agitation, the same O2 that we breathe from the air.
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If you're a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed that many of our posts regard the criteria for pond that will be home to a specific family of animal. Thus far, we've described ponds for turtles, bass, frogs, dragonflies, and snails. Today's post is about a different class of animal: avian. More specifically, it is about ponds built for ducks! This article will describe exactly what ducks need in a pond, and how to design a pond where your feathered fowl can thrive.
Click 'Read more' down at the right to learn what makes an ideal duck pond...
Easily the biggest challenge with designing and owning a duck pond is achieving adequate filtration. A standard ecosystem pond designed for koi will quickly become overloaded with waste when ducks are introduced. To effectively handle a load of ducks, you'll definitely want to have a wetland or bog filter. This uses plants and bacteria to naturally utilize the excess nitrates in the duck detritus as nutrients for growth. Deciding how large to make your wetland depends on the number of ducks and the size of the pond. A typical fish pond will have a wetland averaging about 10% of the pond's surface area. For ducks, you'll want it sized between 30-50% of the pond's surface area. That may sound like a lot, but consider how the typical environment where ducks thrive is full of reeds and cattails. That doesn't happen by accident, those reeds grow so well because the ducks provide them plenty of fertilizer. It's been discovered that the best plants for using in the wetlands of a duck pond are reeds and cattails. Due to their density and vertical growth, they use the greatest amount of nitrates relative to the area they occupy.
Landvista Aquascapes provides Pond & Water Feature Design, Installation & Maintenance -Repair services for South New Jersey Homeowners