All posts by Laura Reale

Aquatic Plants in the Fall

Aquatic plants in the fall
Aquatic plants in the fall

Aquatic Plants in the Fall

The seasonal change from summer to fall is the most beautiful time of the year, but not for Aquatic plants in the fall. The leaves turn beautiful colors and create an array of amazing colors. However, with fall comes cooler temperatures. How will the cool air affect aquatic plants this fall?

Aquatic plants in the fall: Waterlilies

Waterlilies will begin to show their dislike for the cold with yellowing leaves and fewer flowers. When this happens, the leaf and flower stems of hardy water lilies should be cut back to about 2 to 3” above the base of the plant.

In warm climates, tropical waterlilies are happy in the pond year round, as long as the water temperature stays above 60°F. In areas where freezing is likely, plants should be overwintered indoors. This can be a difficult task; therefore many gardeners choose to simply buy a new plant each season.

Aquatic plants in the fall: Hardy Marginals

Dropping temperatures signal your hardy aquatic plants to prepare for their winter dormancy. At this time, you should stop fertilizing them as you see leaves begin to yellow and brown. It’s okay to leave these plants where they are in your pond to weather the cold of winter, just be sure to trim the dying foliage of your marginal plants down to 2” above the water level.

Aquatic plants in the fall: Lotus Aquatic Plants

As with the marginals in your pond, the foliage of your lotus plants will need to be trimmed back after they have died back and turned brown. It’s important not to cut the leaves while they are still green because the freshly cut, hollow stems are susceptible to disease which can spread to the plant’s tuber, possibly killing the plant.

Lotus tubers will not withstand freezing, so any plants that are growing in the shallow areas of your pond should be moved to the bottom, away from freezing water.

Aquatic plants in the fall:Tropical Marginals

In warm climates, tropical marginals will keep growing and will require fertilizer as usual. Water gardeners who live in Zones colder than 8 or 9 will need to treat these plants as they would any garden annual by replacing them each season.

A fun alternative to this is to treat them as tropical houseplants and bring them in for the winter. Most tropical marginals will do well potted in heavy garden soil in a sealed clay pot with no drainage holes. When kept wet, the plants do well in a sunny window or sunroom.

Caring for your aquatic plants in the fall will mean less work and healthier plants come spring. Contact AquaReale for help with your Aquatic plants in the fall.

What is a butterfly koi?

Butterfly Koi
Butterfly Koi

Some basic facts about butterfly koi

Some people don’t see the charm or uniqueness of butterfly koi and think of them as the “black sheep” of koi.  We have even heard people say butterfly koi are not real koi fish!  Simply not true!  As many other DO know, butterfly koi can be some of the best koi in any koi collection!

How did the butterfly koi originate?

Brown and grey carp with long fins were found in Indonesia in the early 1980s.   A NY company heard about them and bought some but then they thought they were too ugly to sell.  But, a group of curious breeders at Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery heard about them and decided to order some too.  They took their odd-looking long-finned fish and bred them with their finest traditional koi fish.   They actually turned out great!

The long finned koi ended up being robust and disease free.  They could also be bred in many beautiful colors.  An original Blue Ridge breeder was named Wyatt LeFever.  When his young son first went to see the fish, he said “Dad they look like butterflies.”  The name is still used today for the fish.

Butterfly koi size

Butterfly koi become more and more impressive as they grow.  Their fins keep growing until the blood vessels can’t sustain the fins to be any longer. The older the fish, the longer and more impressive the finnage. A full-grown koi can almost like a long, slinky dragon moving through the water..

The fish may not be as large as traditional koi, but they can run from 36-40 inches in the right pond with the right food.  Butterfly koi are pleasant and graceful and a delight to watch swim.

Is a butterfly koi a “real” koi fish?

Yes, they are.  In the past, Japanese koi enthusiasts did not appreciate the long-finned  koi.  Over time, Japanese breeders started seeing the beauty and value in the fish, partially from their immense popularity in the United States.  Now the butterfly koi are a very popular koi fish pond choice.   For more information on koi ponds in the Philadelphia area, contact us.

Philadelphia pond help

Need Philadelphia pond help?  We are the company to call.  Here’s a recent video we had made that shows explains why you should hire AquaReale for your pond needs  Call us at 215.880.6811 with any questions.

Tips for a Healthy Philadelphia Koi Pond

Philadelphia Koi Pond
Philadelphia Koi Pond

Tips for a Healthy Philadelphia Koi Pond

Want a Healthy Philadelphia Koi Pond this summer?  Ponds have a joy and beauty that make your summer even more relaxing and enjoyable.

You want to make sure your water feature is healthy and functioning at 100 percent during the warmer months.  And when the temperatures rise above 80 degrees, there are some things you can do to help.   Here are our recommendations:

Health of Your Philadelphia Koi Pond Fish

Keep an eye on your fish. Do your fish seem stressed out, gasping for air close to the water’s surface or especially close to a fountain or waterfall?

Increased activity and warm pond water go hand and hand, and that increased activity also means your fish require more oxygen when less oxygen is available, thus creating a vicious cycle. Stressed fish often begin to develop diseases, and soon enough you’ll have a domino effect.

We recommend adding oxygen to your pond by placing an aerator or AquaForce® pump in your pond. You can also install a fountain with a pump if your pond doesn’t have a waterfall or stream. Make sure all areas of the pond are skimmed and the water circulated. And keep in mind that waterfalls, streams, and even fountains play a huge part in the oxygenation of the water in your pond.

Philadelphia Koi Pond: Beat the Heat

There are certainly some preemptive measures you can take in order to keep your pond from becoming a warm, unhealthy mess. It all starts with a well-designed water feature. Depth, plant coverage, shade, and circulation should all be considered when designing and building a pond. A minimum depth of two feet is suggested; the bottom of the pond will remain cooler.

Of course, you’ll also want to stock your pond with a lot of plants to provide shade for the fish. A good rule of thumb is to provide plant coverage of approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the pond’s surface area.

And finally,  one of the most important parts of pond design is circulation. If possible, you’ll want to place your biological filter and mechanical filter across the pond from each other, so that your pond receives optimal circulation.

Additional Philadelphia Koi Pond Summer Tips

  • If you feed your fish, feed them in the morning and be careful not to overfeed. Uneaten food decays faster in warmer water and can pollute the pond.
  • Be sure to remove dying leaves and flowers before they have a chance to decay in the warmer water.

Each season has its own challenges and summer is no exception. The bottom line is that you need to keep an eye on your pond and let your fish and plants do the talking.

If you have a balanced ecosystem, you’ll find it much easier to maintain the health of your pond, fish, and plants. Contact us for more information or with any questions.

Philadelphia Pond Product Showcase

Philadelphia Pond Product Showcase
Philadelphia Pond Product Showcase

Philadelphia Pond Product Showcase

Welcome to our new Philadelphia Pond Product Showcase, where we show you something we think is pretty awesome.  This month we are showing off the new faux oak stump cover.

The Aquascape Faux Oak Stump Cover is the ideal solution to covering unsightly landscape components, including everything from power outlet posts and  IonGen™ panels to transformers and fish food /pond supplies.

Philadelphia Pond Product Showcase: REALISTIC OAK APPEARANCE

Many landscape covers, such as fake rocks, can look un-natural, cheap, and out of place. The Faux Oak Stump Cover provides an extremely realistic oak appearance and texture that looks great in any setting.

 BUILT TO LAST

The cover features durable, heavy-duty poly-resin construction, designed to stand up to the elements and provide year after year of enjoyment.

DECORATIVE GARDEN ACCENT

The Faux Oak Stump Cover can even be used as a seat or decorative garden accent.  We recommend these as a way of making your pond area as natural as possible.

For more information or to make a purchase, email us via our website or call us at 215.880.6811

 

Philadelphia Pool Waterfall Slide

Philadelphia Pool Waterfall Slide
Philadelphia Pool Waterfall Slide

Philadelphia Pool Waterfall Slide

A top NBA player and Olympic Gold  Medalist had a vision of a Philadelphia Pool Waterfall Slide.   He wanted a pool oasis for his kids, one that included his dream slide into the pool.   He had never seen exactly what he wanted, but he was able to describe it.  He had this dream for more than three years.   He is only at this house during the off season, so time was very important.  We had a tight timeline to make this dream come to life.  His kids wanted a cool water slide, and he wanted to make that happen.  A cool water slide coming out of a waterfall, to be exact…

Philadelphia Pool Waterfall Slide: The Challenge

We met the client through his pool contractor, someone we had worked with before.  Our client is a very busy athlete, so we never did get to meet him.  We had a long distance relationship, with him emailing through his team of assistants.  We were able to understand his vision, and emailed him a  rough sketch of what we could do.  He immediately agreed!

We only had one chance to make this right and we were up to the challenge.  Schedules had to be changed and pond builds put off so we could complete this project to be ready when his basketball season ended and his kids finished school.

Philadelphia Pool Waterfall Slide — The Solution

AquaReale built a large natural stone waterfall that holds a curved slide for maximum fun.  The slide is 10 feet and has water jets going down.  The waterfall is at its highest peak is 4 feet tall and took 40 tons of boulder and rock to create the large waterfall.  We also built a set of stone steps, going from the lawn area up to the slide.  These are natural flagstone slabs to match the waterfall.

For more information on pool slides or waterfalls or any pond project, reach out to AquaReale.

Philadelphia Wetland Filter Installation

Philadelphia Wetland Filter Installation
Philadelphia Wetland Filter Installation

The Need for a Philadelphia Wetland Filter Installation

We have been working for quite a few years with St Vincent’s of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and knew they needed a Philadelphia Wetland Filter Installation.   St Vincent’s is a beautiful retirement home for priests with a large pond in the courtyard as a focal point and meeting place.  The priests and staff greatly enjoy the pond and often overfeed the fish in their excitement.  The pond is concrete

and runs 20 x 30 feet.   It has been there since the 1930s.

Three years ago AquaReale installed a skimmer bay in the pond, allowing surface debris to get skimmed off rather than just sinking to the bottom.  This has worked very well for them, but now they needed more.  They needed a Philadelphia Wetland Filter Installation.

The Problem

The pond had too many fish in it and inadequate filtration.  It was also overrun with food thrown in by the priests on a daily basis.

Their existing filter box was not keeping up with the load.  The pond was always green and we knew the overfeeding was going to continue.  Who are we to stop a retired priest from feeding the fish? So now we needed a solution and we had it.  A Philadelphia Wetland Filter Installation was needed.

Solution:  What is a Philadelphia Wetland Filter Installation?

A wetland filter is a graded gravel filter that houses tons of beneficial bacteria and traps sediments  Water is distributed through the gravel slowly, giving time for the healthy bacteria to break down the organics.  Here’s a video about wetland filters and how they work: https://youtu.be/6xMpuvwGJY4

The new filter would be six times the size of their biofalls, which was their original filter.  Over time, as the filter becomes seeded with bacteria, the filter will work better and better.

Philadelphia Wetland Filter Installation
Philadelphia Wetland Filter Installation

The Results

The clarity has already improved with the pond.  Long term results will show by next year, when the bacteria is full seeded in the filter.   Like most natural things, it can’t be rushed.  It is already improving and it will be worth the wait.

What pond dilemma can we solve for you?  Contact us to see how we can help you.

 

 

Bucks County pond fish

 Bucks County pond fish
Bucks County pond fish

It’s finally pond season,which means time for fish health for our  local Bucks County pond fish.

Does your pond promote the health of your fish? Several factors influence whether a pond is good for Bucks County pond fish  to live in  So before you add some new fish, take a few minutes to look at where your Bucks County pond fish  will be living and see if the space is healthy enough.

For Bucks County pond fish,  size does matter

 

The size of your pond is very important to fish health.  It needs to be large enough to support your fish and allow them to grow.  Pond fish generally need 10 gallons of water for every inch of their length, and you have to be ready for them to grow larger, so be careful not to overstock, no matter how tempting this may be.  Some pond pros even recommend only ½ inch of fish per every 10 gallons of water, for maximum space for Bucks County pond fish.

You may see ponds with a lot more fish—even as many as two or three inches per 10 gallons of water and the fish were OK.  Even if it looks OK for now, the ecological strain and density of this fish overload turns the pond into a fragile system.  This is not good for fish.  When the pH sags, the fish grow slower and there is much more chance of disease.

If you have too many fish in your pond and they get sick, there is nothing you can do.  Your fish will probably cull themselves to the best amount for the pond, so reduce the overstocking now to prevent fish loss later.

A sunny morning is great for  Bucks County pond fish.

Ponds (and Bucks County pond fish) benefit from sunlight, as it provides valuable vitamins.  Sunlight also reduces nitrates in the water and helps pond plants grow.  Don’t worry if your pond is in the shade.  We recommend adding some shade-loving plants to help balance the water.  Bucks County pond fish health is also dependent on aquatic plants.

Pond plants that tolerate shade include Taro, Papyrus, Horsetail, Cardinal Flower, Lizard’s Tail, and Water Forget-Me-Not.

How deep does your pond go?

 

Bucks County pond fish aren’t picky when it comes to pond depth.  The pond just needs to be deep enough to allow the fish to hide from predators as well as give the fish a place to go into Torpor (hibernation) for the winter.

Proper Balance is Everything!

 

Your water garden needs to be balanced for optimal fish health.  Your ecosystem needs the proper mix of plants, filtration, fish, rocks and gravel and circulation,  When you learn to work with Mother Nature instead of against her, you’ll spend less time maintaining your pond and more time enjoying it1

Consider adding the Aquascape Automatic Dosing System to keep your pond water balanced and your fish healthy throughout the season.  For more information on Bucks County pond fish health or any other ecosystem pond questions, please call us at 215.880.6811 or contact us here.