Category Archives: Ponds 101

Philadelphia Fall Pond Care

Philadelphia Fall Pond Care
Philadelphia Fall Pond Care

Follow our simple Philadelphia Fall Pond Care tips to ensure a healthy pond next spring

 

Philadelphia Fall Pond Care : Remove leaves and debris

 

Putting a pond net over your water feature before leaves start   falling from trees is the easiest way to contain and manage leaf control  and an important part of  Philadelphia Fall Pond Care.  Once all the leaves have fallen, simply roll up the net, discard the leaves, and put the net away until the next time it’s needed.

If you didn’t install netting, you’ll probably have a build up of leaves and debris that need to be removed. A long-handled pond net makes an easy job of scooping the debris from the bottom of the pond. If you leave the debris on the bottom of the pond, you’ll be creating a bigger mess to face in the spring.

 

Philadelphia Fall Pond Care: Trim dead or dying foliage

 

Trimming dead foliage helps remove excessive organic debris that would otherwise decompose in the water. Cut back hardy waterlilies just above the base of the plant and cut back marginal plants that could droop over into the water.

Philadelphia Fall Pond Care : Add cold water bacteria

 

Add cold water bacteria to help keep pond water clean and clear. Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria contains concentrated strains of beneficial bacteria designed to work in temperatures lower than 50 degrees.

Regular use of Aquascape Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria will help maintain water quality and clarity, as well as dramatically reduce spring maintenance by digesting debris that may accumulate over the winter months

For More Information

 

Contact us for Philadelphia Fall Pond Care of your own.  We’re always happy to help!

Low Maintenance Ponds: a True Ecosystem

 

Low Maintenance Ponds
Low Maintenance Ponds

Want a Low Maintenance Pond?

What makes an ecosystem pond a low maintenance pond?  There are five things that make an ecosystem pond run:

#1 Low Maintenance Ponds: Filtration

A biological filter, which provides an area for beneficial bacteria to colonize while removing excess nutrients from the water, is one of two types of necessary filtration for a koi pond. The second is a mechanical filter, like a skimmer. The skimmer will filter the water and also house the pump, it will also skim debris from the water’s surface to prevent organic material from accumulating.

#2 Low Maintenance Ponds: Rocks & Gravel

Rocks and gravel provide a large area for beneficial bacteria to colonize & break down excess nutrients. And the rocks and gravel added to your pond will protect your liner from UV rays.

#3 Low Maintenance Ponds: Pump

A system to recirculate water will keep the water moving and provide the necessary oxygen to keep fish and plants healthy. There are many types of pumps, so make sure you have the right size for your pond!

#4 Low Maintenance Ponds: Fish

Possibly the most exciting part of having a koi pond! Fish are one of the most important parts when it comes to an ecosystem pond, because they feed off of the algae. Pond fish are fun to watch and a big benefit to your pond.

#5 Low Maintenance Ponds: Aquatic Plants

Plants add beautiful color and texture to your pond…but they also are nature’s true filters. Aquatic plants thrive on excess nutrients and deprive algae of its food source.

 

Put together, these give things working together give you a Low Maintenance Pond, one that you will enjoy for many years to come.  Contact us to see how we can help you get a Low Maintenance Pond for yourself!

Montgomery County Pond Maintenance

Montgomery County Pond Maintenance
Montgomery County Pond Maintenance

How much Montgomery County Pond Maintenance does your pond actually need? While our ponds are low natural ecosystems and easy to handle, we want to make something very clear.  There is no such thing as “maintenance free”, everything requires some maintenance, including a koi pond or other water feature. Our ecosystem ponds  are not maintenance free– they are low maintenance. And the maintenance that we recommend is actually quite simple when compared to a pool or concrete bottom pond.

Ecosystem Elements

Make sure Montgomery County Pond  has all the elements of an ecosystem pond first; skimmer, biological filter, aquatic plants, rocks & gravel, and fish. These elements work in harmony together, creating the low-maintenance koi pond.

Montgomery County Pond Maintenance: Spring Pond Cleaning

 We highly recommend getting a spring pond cleaning, this gets out any debris that collected at the bottom of the pond over fall and winter, and washes all the gunk off the rocks.

Montgomery County Pond Maintenance:  Fall Pond Cleaning & Winterization

We also highly recommend a fall pond cleaning or winterization of your koi pond or other water feature. This will help prevent problems that could happen if your ran your waterfall over winter. And no, you don’t need to move your koi indoors during winter.

We also recommend as part of your Montgomery County Pond Maintenance program, you get an Ionizer.  These are great for string algae, helping string algae from ever starting.  If the algae is already there, you will need to work to remove it before the IonGen can take over.  You will need an algaecide, but don’t ever put in more than the recommended dosage—it could really hurt your fish.  You can also remove the algae by hand, or contact us to help you out.

Whatever your Montgomery County Pond Maintenance  needs are, AquaReale is sure to be able to take care of your pond.  Contact us today to learn how we can help you.

Philadelphia Spring Pond Maintenance

Philadelphia Spring Pond Maintenance
Philadelphia Spring Pond Maintenance

Philadelphia Spring Pond Maintenance time is upon us!

The maintenance tasks listed below can help prevent future problems from arising throughout the pond season. Some pond enthusiasts enjoy performing their own maintenance, but you can always hire a professional to take care of it for you.

Do a Philadelphia Spring Pond Maintenance Cleanout

whether that means a full cleanout or just picking up a bit and rinsing things off. Enjoy our easy-to-follow instructions on how to clean out our own pond.

Check your pump to make sure that it’s clean and functioning correctly.

Your pump is the heart of your water feature and needs to be in tip-top shape at all times. Learn more about water feature pump maintenance.

As part of your Philadelphia Spring Pond Maintenance , fix any leaks in your water feature.

Constantly adding tap water to make up for a loss of pond water means the constant addition of nutrients which will eventually promote algae growth.

 Remove algae, leaves and other debris left over from the season before.

This is crucial because an excess of decaying debris will add to the nutrient levels and the algae in the pond.

Add plants to control algae when you do your Philadelphia Spring Pond Maintenance.

Since plants directly compete with algae for nutrients, they are the most important addition to the pond. Using a wide variety of plants will not only add to the natural look of the pond, but will reduce algae growth as well.

DO NOT overfeed your fish.

Fish food that is not eaten will add more nutrients to the pond, helping feed the algae. See our What to Feed Fish in the Spring article for more information. 

Contact us for more information on Philadelphia Spring Pond Maintenance.

Types of backyard pond fish

Backyard pond fish– What are the most popular?

Let’s be honest– one of the best reasons to get a backyard pond is for the fish!  Even if that is not your first thought when building a pond, the backyard pond fish will soon be the family favorite!

Most of the ponds AquaReale work with are well suited for backyard pond fish and a full ecosystem. And remember– fish do better in ponds with proper balance and filtration.

Here are some of the most popular types of backyard pond fish:

backyard pond fish koi
backyard pond fish koi

Koi Fish

The most well known and popular type of backyard pond fish is Koi Fish.  Koi are a domesticated version of common, not so colorful carp. Over time they have become selectively bred to get the awesome colors and patterns they have today.  The Japanese are the masters of developing koi to have the best colors and patterns.  Koi come in all colors and sizes and can grow up to three feet, depending on their living conditions.

Koi really begin to thrive in ponds of around 1000 gallons or more. The more water for them the better.  They are very friendly and they eventually are able to be hand fed.  They develop personalities and you’ll ending up falling in love and even naming them.

 

backyard pond fish-- butterfly koi
backyard pond fish– butterfly koi

Butterfly Koi (A.K.A. Dragon Koi)

Butterfly Koi are known for their unique look and beautiful longer fins. .  They originated in the mid-20th century as a result of an attempt to increase the hardiness of traditional koi. Japanese breeders interbred traditional koi with wild Indonesian longfin river carp.  Their body shape is more slender than regular koi which are more oval.

Backyard pond fish-- Goldfish
Backyard pond fish– Goldfish

Goldfish

The small sized goldfish is very common for backyard ponds and they make great starter fish.  They resemble Koi, but don’t require nearly as much space as Koi do, so they are great for smaller ponds.

Goldfish as they look today were developed in China over 1000 years ago and are known to be very resilient. Comets are plain orange and white goldfish.  Shubunkins are goldfish that usually have black, orange and bluish coloring.

Backyard pond fish -- Calico (Fantail)
Backyard pond fish — Calico (Fantail)

This fish is also a member of the carp family.  The fish have black, orange and red markings against a pearl white background.  This fish is easily recognized by a forked caudal fin (at the tail part), which forms a symmetrical pair that looks like butterfly wings. All of its fins are well proportioned and slightly rounded.

Backyard pond fish-- Golden
Backyard pond fish– Golden Orf

Golden Orf

Golden Orfes are long, slender, bright orange fish.  They range to dark silver in color.   They are fast growing and fast swimming.  They like to swim together in groups which is great for encouraging other fish to join them .  Although not as popular they do very well and add excitement and character to any pond.

What backyard pond fish will YOU get??

The fish you put in your pond is completely up to you!  Have fun.  Enjoy your pond and your fish.  Be sure not to overdo it with too many fish– the right balance is the key to happy pond life. Contact us to see which fish are best for your pond!

 

Philadelphia Spring Pond Cleaning

 

 Philadelphia Spring Pond Cleaning
Philadelphia Spring Pond Cleaning

Philadelphia Spring Pond Cleaning

So it’s spring time and you are wondering what maintenance is needed for your backyard pond.  Every pond is unique and will look different.  A few questions to start…  How do you want your pond to look?  Some people prefer pristine while others prefer a more rustic, natural look.

Spring is the best time to clean your pond or have your pond professionally cleaned.  A Philadelphia Spring Pond Cleaning will ensure your entire pond ecosystem is healthy and looking great for the months ahead.

We recommend full pond cleanings, whether we do it or you do it yourself.  A Philadelphia Spring Pond Cleaning full cleaning would involve storing the fish, draining the pond and power washing the rocks.  During this time, it’s easy to check for loose edges as well as check the pumps and filters for debris and any potential issues.  This is now a good time to cut back dead plant matter as well.

Philadelphia Spring Pond Filter Cleaning

If you greatly prefer the rustic look, you may prefer not to do a full Philadelphia Spring Pond Cleaning.  if that is the case, we recommend at least cleaning the filters and filter media.  It’s usually possible to clean the filters without draining down the pond.  However, without draining down the pond you won’t be able to do the other important things like cut back plants, check lights, make rock adjustments, etc.

If your pond does not have a filtration system, we highly recommend one.  Contact us to explore the possibility of adding one to your pond.

 

Ready to Enjoy to Pond

No matter what level of Philadelphia Spring Pond Cleaning pond you choose, a little pond maintenance in the springtime goes a long way to enjoying your backyard paradise in the warm months to come.  Contact us to see how AquaReale can get your pond up and running into the pond of your dreams.

Philadelphia Pond Leak

So you think you may have a Philadelphia Pond Leak?

Philadelphia Pond Leak
Philadelphia Pond Leak

Leak vs. Evaporation

Before fixing the leak, make sure there really is a leak! Every water feature has splatters and evaporation.  Evaporation happens when atoms or molecules escape from the liquid and turn into vapor. Hot weather and wind are two factors that affect the evaporation rate of a pond or water feature.

Evaporation is inevitable and can be misleading. It’ s normal for a pond to lose anywhere from 1-3 inches a week in the Philadelphia area during summer.

Of course this varies from pond to pond. Water features that have a lot of surface area, big streams and multiple waterfalls tend to lose water faster due to evaporation and splatter out too. It is important to understand that some water loss is normal, but excessive water loss can mean problems!

Troubleshooting a Leak

Always start troubleshooting a  Philadelphia Pond Leak by narrowing down the causes.  You start by noting how much water loss there is when the system is up and running and then how much loss there is when the system has been off for 24 hours.

Turn off or unplug the pump.  Next, let the area sit for 24 hours (without rain)  If it’s hot and you have any fish, add an aerator to the pond to provide oxygen.  After the 24 hours mark off the water level if the level has dropped and then let sit another 24 hours. Repeat this until the water has stopped draining. If the pond continues to drain to dangerous levels for the fish they will need to be relocated to a separate holding tub. If the water never dropped at all, or dropped just a very small amount during the first 24 hour time period then the pond / basin is holding can be eliminated from the search.

You Have a Leak in Your Pond– Now What?

When the water level has stopped dropping check along that  level for the source of the Philadelphia Pond Leak (low edge, liner tear, concrete crack, failed skimmer seal, etc.). Always check first for the obvious: large rocks that may settle and weight down liner, wet mulch areas, wet gravel, even the skimmer to liner connection.

Low edges can be adjusted by the homeowner, but often anything like a tear, crack or failed seal most often needs to be serviced by a trained professional  Note that  your  water feature could be leaking in multiple areas. So just because one Philadelphia Pond Leak is fixed doesn’t necessarily mean the problem is fixed. Check the streams, waterfalls and all the hardware to be sure.

In a lot of cases water loss is simply a low edge or water diversions from leaves, debris, or overgrown plants.

In situations that aren’t so obvious it may be time to call a professional to have it looked at or fixed.

Contact a Professional

AquaReale is a professional pond company servicing the Greater Philadelphia County, including Bucks and Montgomery Counties.  Contact us with a photo to see how we can help you!

Philadelphia Koi Pond Myths

Philadelphia Koi Pond Myths
Philadelphia Koi Pond Myths

Philadelphia Koi Pond Myths

Philadelphia Koi Pond Myth #1:  I should locate my pond to  the lowest part of my yard!

Reality:   This is probably the worst location for your investment because of the run-off that can creep its way into your pond. When your pond is positioned near your house, you can take in the beauty and tranquility of your pond when entertaining friends or lounging on your deck.

Philadelphia Koi Pond Myth #2It’s necessary to drain and clean your pond regularly.

Reality: If you decide to work in harmony with Mother Nature, then draining and cleaning your pond should take place only once a year (at most). Clean-outs should occur in the spring, before the weather gets warm and the bacteria has an opportunity to set up.

Philadelphia Koi Pond Myth #3The more filtration, the better the pond.

Reality   Believe or not, you can over-filter a pond. Tight filter pads in your skimmer pick up the smallest particles of debris, causing you to be cleaning the filtering mechanism out constantly. Fish in the wild certainly don’t swim around in bottled water. If you can see a dime on the bottom of the pond, then the water clarity is just right for your fish and filtering past that create headaches instead of eliminating them.

Philadelphia Koi Pond Myth #4You can’t be a koi hobbyist and a water gardener.

Reality   Not true! You can raise koi and have a beautiful water garden. The koi can grow up to be just as beautiful and just as healthy as they are in traditional koi ponds – and you’ll love them just as much!

Philadelphia Koi  Pond Myth #5The presence of rocks and gravel make it difficult to clean your pond.

Reality   Rocks and gravel offer a natural place for aerobic bacteria to colonize and set up housekeeping. This bacteria breaks down the fish waste and debris that would otherwise accumulate in the pond and turn into sludge. Regardless of your pond’s location (i.e. close to trees and loads of leaves), or how many fish you have in it, you’ll find that having rocks and gravel in your pond not only makes it look better, but it makes it healthier as well. So contrary to the myth, having rocks and gravel on the bottom of your pond actually allows Mother Nature to clean up after herself.

Philadelphia Koi Pond Myth #6: Your pond must be at least three feet deep in order to keep koi.

Reality   There are thousands of two-foot deep ponds around the country, full of happy and healthy koi. The water in a two-foot deep pond will generally only freeze eight inches down, even in the coldest of climates, because of the insulating qualities of the earth that surrounds the pond.

Philadelphia Koi Pond Myth #7:  Koi can’t be kept in a pond that also contains plants.

Reality   In a naturally balanced ecosystem, koi and plants complement and need one another. In nature, fish feed on plants. As a result, the fish produce waste, which is broken down by aerobic bacteria on the bottom of your pond, which, in turn, is used as fertilizer by the plants to grow and produce more natural fish food.

Philadelphia Koi Pond Myth #8:  You have to bring your fish inside for the winter.

Reality   Fish do fine during the coldest of winters as long as you give them two feet of water to swim in, oxygenate the water, and keep a hole in the ice with a de-icer, allowing the naturally produced gasses to escape from under the ice.

For more answers or to see what we can do for you, please contact us!

Pond Pump Repairs fish pond

Your pond pump is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your pond, so why not learn how to take care of it properly via Pond Pump Repairs?

Oftentimes, pumps burn out or die prematurely due to improper care and installation. By knowing how to take care of Pond Pump Repairs, you can ensure it will last several years.

Pond Pump Repairs
Pond Pump Repairs

Pond Pump Repairs case #1 : Pump Hums but Pushes Very Little Water

Possible Cause: Impeller may be seized by debris

Troubleshooting: Unplug and remove the pump from the pond and inspect the pump intake to ensure there is no debris restricting the impeller. Remove any debris, like rocks or sticks, which may have become lodged around and above impeller.

While the pump is still out of the pond, lay it on its side and plug in the pump to see if the impeller spins. If the impeller does not spin, use a screwdriver or similar tool to kick start the impeller.

Possible Cause: Pump may be air-locked.

Troubleshooting: Air has gotten into the impeller chamber. Tilt the pump while it’s in the pond to allow air to be released from the chamber or remove the pump from the pond and re-install, ensuring that the impeller chamber is flooded with water.

Pond Pump Repairs case #2: Pump Pushes Very Little Water

Pond Pump Repairs case # 3: Possible Cause: Plumbing clogged with debris.

Troubleshooting: Disconnect the pump from the pipe. This will allow the plumbing to drain. Clogged debris may back-flush out of the plumbing and into the pond during this procedure. Inspect the plumbing to make sure no debris is lodged inside.

Pond Pump Repairs case # 4: Issue: Pump Is Not Running

Possible Cause: Poor electrical connection, tripped breaker, blown fuse, or other interruption in power supply.

Troubleshooting: Check to make sure all electrical connections are working and that a qualified electrician installed and tested it. Note – Long extension cords may cause voltage drop at the pump and the amps to rise above maximum level. This can cause the pump to heat up and burn out the motor.

Pond Pump Repairs case #5  Issue: Pump Operates Intermittently

Possible Cause: Not enough water in the pond.

Troubleshooting: Most pumps must be submersed in water to operate properly. Low water levels may cause the pump’s internal thermal shut-off to activate. The thermal shut-off will deactivate once the pump is cooled down. The proper water level must be established in the pond for the pump to work properly.

Possible Cause: The pond is too small to support the volume of water needed for the stream.

Troubleshooting: The pond must be designed to provide enough water to the stream and waterfalls for proper circulation. When the pump is first started, it may be necessary to add a few inches of water to the pond in order to account for the water used to feed the stream and waterfalls. Upper pools and “check” dams in the streams are also very effective at holding water upstream when the pump(s) are not operating. Ponds that are too small may not be able to supply enough water to start the streams and waterfalls. This will cause the water in the pond to drop below the opening of the skimmer upon initial start-up and starve the pump of water.

Enjoy!

Remember, your pond should not be an endless source of frustration and confusion to you. If you continue to have problems with your pond, regardless of the troubleshooting steps you performed, it may be time to call in the help of a professional.   That’s where  AquaReale can step in and help.  Just reach out!

But please, don’t consider routine, general maintenance to be a burden on you. After all, how many tasks do you get to perform in the warm sun, with the sounds of frogs and birds all around you, and your friendly koi nibbling at your fingers?

And how often are you tempted to take your shoes off and dip your toes in the bathtub when you’ve been cooped up in the house washing windows? Not often. That’s why you installed your pond. Enjoy it!

Watch our Pump Troubleshooting video for more tips on maintaining your water feature pump

Garden and Pond Lighting

Do you have Garden and Pond Lighting?

The days are shortening in anticipation of the fall season and now is the perfect time to install your own Garden and Pond Lighting.

Check out this video to see how Garden and Pond Lighting can work for you….

 

Contact us for more information on how AquaReale can create beautiful Garden and Pond lighting for you!