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Montgomery County Pond Cleaning

Montgomery County Pond Cleaning
Montgomery County Pond Cleaning

How much Montgomery County Pond Cleaning do you need? While we do visit some ponds monthly, most of the ponds we work with are serviced three times a year.  For our Montgomery County Pond Cleaning (as well as the entire Philadelphia area), the spring opening, summer checkup and fall shutdown are our most used services and keep our company busy for months.

AquaReale prides itself on getting to know each customer and developing a maintenance plan that is best for their pond.  Here are each of our maintenance services and what we do for each service:

Montgomery County Pond Cleaning Spring Opening

We recommend each client get a spring opening each year. This is  when we check everything in the pond.  Depending on the pond, our services may include:

  • clean skimmer net
  • clean skimmer filter mat
  • check pump for proper flow
  • check and adjust automatic water fill valve
  • trim and remove any dead plants and water lilies
  • trim and remove any debris
  • replace any gravel and rock as needed
  • apply bacteria or S.A.B. as needed.

Montgomery County Pond Cleaning Summer Check Up

Perform a brief visual checkup to make sure the pond is running smoothly. Bacteria and algae fix will be added as needed.

Montgomery County Pond Cleaning Fall Shut Down Service

Mid to late fall is a good time to winterize your water garden. We ensure an easy startup int the spring b doing the following (not all tasks are applicable to all ponds):

  • check the pump and filtration media
  • check edges
  • bleed out auto-fill lines
  • rim back your aquatic plants
  • net the pond
  • return for net removal

Here are some tips on what you need to do for a Spring Montgomery County Pond Cleaning

  1. Clean out your pond, whether that means a full cleanout or just picking up a bit and rinsing things off
  2. Check pond pumps 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 pond pump maintenance.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Start adding beneficial bacteria treatments and continue to do so regularly throughout the season. It competes with the algae for available nutrients, starving the algae of its food
  6. Add plants to control algae. 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.
  7. DO NOT overfeed your fish. Fish food that is not eaten will add more nutrients to the pond, helping feed the algae. See 5 Tips for Feeding Fish article for more information.
  8. Last but not least, have fun with your water feature! Spruce it up with new landscaping, add a fountain within your feature, add lighting or just change up some of the rock work! Get creative because after all, your water feature is your masterpiece to enjoy and show off to others.

Contact AquaReale for all of our pond maintenance needs.  We’re always happy to help!

Four reasons You Need a Philadelphia Exploratory Pond Cleaning

 

Philadelphia Exploratory Pond Cleaning
Philadelphia Exploratory Pond Cleaning

Why an Philadelphia Exploratory Pond Cleaning?

An Philadelphia exploratory cleaning is a lot like a traditional Philadelphia Pond Cleaning – it’s just more detailed and we offer more information at the end.

Exploratory Philadelphia Pond Cleanings are done for quite a few reasons.  Usually, one of these four:  Your pond has not been serviced regularly; you purchased a house with a pond and don’t know much about it; there is a leak in the pond; or you don’t really know what your previous person did.

Reason #1 for needing a Philadelphia Exploratory Pond Cleaning– Your pond has not been serviced regularly.

You may have had your pond for quite a few years or built it yourself.  Whatever the reason, your pond has not been cleaned in quite a while.  There is a lot of sediment at the bottom of the pond at this point, and it is going to take longer than regular to get it all out. Regular pond service is best for optimum pond health, and without it, an exploratory is usually in order.

Reason #2 for needing a Philadelphia Exploratory Pond Cleaning: You purchased a house with a pond.

Whether you purchased the house because of the pond or in spite of it, you are now the proud owner of your very own water garden ecosystem!  While you may have been told your pond was “maintenance free” all water features benefit from yearly maintenance.  An exploratory will give you all the information we can find on your pond—how old it is, what brand equipment it has and if everything is in good working order.

Reason #3 for needing a Philadelphia Exploratory Pond Cleaning: there’s a leak in the pond.

Unfortunately, it is very challenging and potentially expensive to fix a leak.  A lot of times, there is more than one hole or problem with the liner.  There are a few issues that could be causing a leak, and with an exploratory cleaning, we are able to look at the liner and rock placement and liner edges to see if we can find the problem.  This does not always solve the issue, if there is a larger problem, but it is a good start to finding out what is causing your pond to leak.

Reason #4 for needing a Philadelphia Exploratory Pond Cleaning?  You don’t know what services the previous service person performed.

Your pond may have been serviced in the past, but there are no good records.  You are not sure what the company or person did or what type and age of equipment you have.  Without an understanding of what we are getting into, an exploratory cleaning is often needed.

If you have one of the four issues mentioned above, it is likely you need a Philadelphia Exploratory Pond Cleaning.  The cost of the service runs from $1000 to $1500 and up, depending on the size and condition of the pond.  Send us a photo of your pond and we can let you know exactly what type of cleaning we recommend.

Pond Algae Removal in Bucks County, PA

Pond Algae Removal in Bucks County, PA
Pond Algae Removal in Bucks County, PA

Pond Algae Removal in Bucks County, PA seems impossible at times.  Algae is the most basic plant on the planet and can seem like the biggest problem to many pond owners. Algae is particularly heavy in the spring, when temperatures are warming, nutrients are plentiful, and the days are lighter and longer. Add those factors with the fact that plants like water lily or water iris, have not really “woken up” from their winter slumber so they are not challenging for those nutrients and you have the recipe for a lot of algae!

Steps for Pond Algae Removal in Bucks County, PA

1. Physically Remove String Algae

This is your best method for removing string algae. Though it may seem dirty, it is essential to do before treating so you can reduce the amount of decay. Pull the biggest bits of string algae near the base, pull hard, and put it into a bucket. It can sometimes be difficult to pull out a lot at one time since it is soft and malleable. Physical removal is the fastest way to get algae out of your pond and take the next step to crystal clear pond water. Winding around fingers/hands is the best approach aside from a toilet or long lint brush to roll it up with. The hand approach is easier because the thin strands are difficult to clean away from brush bristles. Wearing gloves are not required but may keep you cleaner. Use a long handled brush to pull out the algae at depth.

2. Treat Water and Kill Off Remaining Algae

Some sources suggest using a pond algaecide for Pond Algae Removal in Bucks County, PA, but we never recommend unnatural chemicals even if the labels state they are safe for fish and plants. We stick to natural solutions for algae control and recommend a combination of Aquascape products with bacteria/enzymes to speed up the process. Normal green hair-like or carpet/blanket algae which grows on pond walls and some rocks is best left untouched and completely acceptable.

3. Add Extra Plants and Remove Decay

Place quick growing and reproducing plants in your pond to increase oxygen content. Make sure you take out the decaying plants first, as they will not help your fight against algae. Choose plants that will grow larger, consume a lot of nutrients, and will not require a lot of upkeep. We recommend Water Lettuce, Irises, and Cattails for the spring and summer. You can solve many problems as a pond owner by placing plants to out-compete algae and suspend algae for excess nutrients. Just be careful to not add in any plants that already have string algae attached!

4. Find the Cause of the Algae Growth

– Look for potential causes of string algae by testing your water quality. If algae is growing at a problematic level than it is time to look beyond the algae and mat and deeper into the pond chemistry. High pH and Phosphorous levels are the leading cause of string algae. Examples of what can cause high pH are the clearing of algae blooms, excessive plant growth, overstocking of fish, and the introduction of foreign materials (untreated concrete, rocks containing limestone or calcium/granite). The most common cause of high phosphorous is from fertilizers that have leaked into the pond water. Iron is also a major contributor as well as grass clippings that find their way into the pond after mowing the lawn. Scoop green grass blades out immediately.

5. Feed Koi & Fish Less to Reduce Excess Nutrients

One of the most common errors by fish pond owners is to overfeed their fish, thus adding excess nutrient to the water. If there is any food left in the pond uneaten, you’ve fed your fish too much. By feeding less you also increase the fishes’ appetite for other substances in the pond. Like algae!

If you can’t (or don’t want to) take care of your Pond Algae Removal in Bucks County, PA, we certainly can. AquaReale specializes in pond algae removal as well as all other water features items in the Philadelphia area. Contact us to see how we can help you.

The Top Pond Builders in the Philadelphia area

The Top Pond Builders in the Philadelphia area
The Top Pond Builders in the Philadelphia area

The Top Pond Builders in the Philadelphia area

So who are the The Top Pond Builders in the Philadelphia area:and why would we recommend companies besides ourselves to build ponds?  Because we can’t do them all and these are the best companies around!  There are quite a few Top Pond Builders in Philadelphia we would recommend, along with some we would not.  AquaReale is not the best fit for each consumer, and we want to give you viable options.

There are many landscapers and others who present themselves as pond builders.  A true pond builder will have experience and certifications in pond building.  It’s a whole different thing then landscaping.  Most of the ponds we repair were put in by landscapers

Before hiring anyone, we recommend you ask them how many ponds they have built, what their certifications are and how often they are trained and educated in pond building techniques.   You should also ensure they hire a legal workforce and have all the appropriate insurances they need.

Here are the Top Four Pond Builders in Philadelphia that we recommend (in alphabetical order)

The Top Pond Builders in the Philadelphia area: Across the Ponds Aquascapes

This company is run by Chris and Diane Baker and they do beautiful work.  According to their website, “We believe that when you have passion for what you do it shows in your work. We are not a “do it all” landscape company for whom water features are but a small part of our business.”

The Top Pond Builders in the Philadelphia area: Cedar Run Landscaping

Cedar Run is owned by Alden Zove, an all around great guy.   According to their website, “Cedar Run Landscapes is a design-build residential and commercial North Wales landscape designer. With more than 30 years of experience, our landscape design principals embrace the concept of sustainability and the long-lived relationships between the landscape and their users.”  Alden and his team are very involved in stormwater management in the Philadelphia area.

The Top Pond Builders in the Philadelphia area:  Turpin Landscape Design Build

This company is run by the Turpin Family; two sons and their mother.  Their work is exceptional, and they are a true full-service firm.  According to their website “Turpin Landscaping is a full-service landscaping company dedicated to creating outdoor lifestyles…. Our specialties include design and installation of water features, masonry, landscaping and lighting, which we incorporate into beautiful custom projects.”

The Top Pond Builders in the Philadelphia area:  Pezzotti Brothers

Paul Pezzotti is one of the nicest people we have ever met, and an excellent landscaper and pond builder.  According to their website, “We are a third-generation company located on the Main Line, just west of Philadelphia. Quality is our landscape theme! We have passed on an old school work ethic that demands high quality. Contact us today to schedule your consultation. “

All of the above companies are exceptional pond builders are people we highly recommend.  Remember to make certain your pond builder has the proper certifications.  All of the people mentioned above ( as well as AquaReale) are part of the Aquascape Contractor network and are all Certified Aquascape Contractors.

No matter which Top Pond Builder in the Philadelphia area you choose, we wish you luck and success.  If we can be of further help, please contact us. 

Philadelphia Pond Fish: How many is too many?

Philadelphia Pond Fish
Philadelphia Pond Fish

Philadelphia Pond Fish Ratios

Most Philadelphia ponds include Philadelphia Pond Fish.  Do they say water or wooder?  (Philadelphia humor).  In fact, fish are often the reason people get a water garden in the first place!  Fish are fun to watch.  Many kids, including our own, name their fish.  It did make for an awkward experience when our daughter named our fish for our neighbors and then a fish died and she proudly told the neighbor her namesake was dead!

While Philadelphia Pond Fish create a memorable experience, they can also bring headaches to water quality if you go overboard when stocking fish. Too many fish in the pond creates an imbalance in water, so you’ll want to make sure you’re smart about the number and size of fish that you place in the water garden.  If you have too many fish, they won’t be healthy.

How much water per Philadelphia Pond Fish?

Philadelphia Pond Fish typically need 10 gallons of water for every inch of their length, but keep in mind they will grow larger over the years. So no matter how tempting it might be to add just a few more fish, be careful not to overstock! Some pond experts even go so far as to recommend only ½ inch of fish per 10 gallons of water as a maximum stocking density.

If you’re a fish fanatic, you may find yourself with a pond containing 2 or even 3 inches of fish per 10 gallons of water and the fish seem to be fine. However, the density and ecological strain of this loading can turn your pond into a fragile system. The pH tends to sag, the fish tend to grow more slowly, and disease can become a common occurrence.

Too many Philadelphia Pond Fish

It’s very difficult to salvage sick fish in a pond that’s overcrowded. Most likely, Mother Nature will sadly pick off your favorite fish to achieve her ideal stocking density based on the system the fish are in, and then the remainder may recover.

So before adding another fish to your koi collection, make sure you have ample space so that all your fish are ensured a happy, healthy home! Contact us for more information.

 

How to Find a Philadelphia Pond Leak

Philadelphia Pond Leak
Philadelphia Pond Leak

While some water loss in a water garden is normal due to evaporation and sometimes splash out, significant loss can be a problem and is often due to a Philadelphia Pond Leak. The first, and usually most difficult, step in fixing a leak in a pond is to actually find the leak. Follow these steps to make the job of finding a pond leak little more efficient.

Step A in Finding a Philadelphia Pond Leak
Turn off the pump. If the water level continues to drop skip to Step C to continue the search for your pond leak. If the water level stays the same see Step B.

Step B in Finding a Philadelphia Pond Leak
You have now determined that the leak is not in the main basin pond. Now you need to narrow it down a bit further. The pond leak is either in the plumbing or in the waterfall / stream. Closely inspect your plumbing, particularly at any joints, make sure there is no leakage here. Next, inspect your waterfall and stream for leaks.

Most of the time, the problem is caused by plant matter or other obstructions raising the water level behind the weir and causing an overflow over the liner. Perhaps a stone has settled, or your pond liner has slipped below water level in an area. If it hasn’t rained in a few days, check around the perimeter for a wet spot. If you find one, you have a good idea of where to look closer for the source of the leak. If you still have not found the problem, use the ideas in Step C in the stream bed.

Step C in Finding a Philadelphia Pond Leak
At this point, you have determined that the leak is in the pond itself. Leave the pump off and allow the pond to continue to leak until it stops. If it does not stop before reaching a level dangerous to fish and plants, you will need to temporarily remove them from the pond. While the water level is dropping check around the edges to make sure that the pond liner has not sunken down or rocks have not been displaced.

When the water reaches the point where it is no longer dropping it will be necessary to closely inspect the liner all along this water level to find the source of your pond’s leak. You should be looking for any irregularity in the pond liner from a large gash or a tiny pinprick. For fast leaks you can try putting some milk in a squirt bottle and spraying into the water at the edges of the pond. The milk will cloud the water where there is no hole. It will flow toward the hole, if there is one. This method will not work for slow leaks.

Once you have found the source of your pond leak it is time to make repairs. If it was just a displaced liner, move everything back into place. If a hole was found in the pond liner, you can try to patch it yourself or reach out to AquaReale to get a new liner put in.  We often find when there is one liner hole, there are many more.

 

 

What do Philadelphia pond fish do in the Winter?

Philadelphia pond fish
Philadelphia pond fish

What do Philadelphia pond fish do in the Winter?  It’s the question we get asked the most, so here are some answers:

The warm weather is obviously the best time to be able to enjoy Philadelphia pond fish. During this time, pond fish and koi are active, lively, and highly visible. Many pond fish and koi become downright interactive with their keepers and will follow them around the pond, stick their faces out of the water or practically climb out of the pond to celebrate feeding time.

During this time, we all know exactly what is going on with our fish and all it takes is a quick peek into the pond.

Then the cold weather sets in and we slowly lose our ability to see what’s happening with our pond fish. Their activity slows down, they tend to keep themselves concealed, and once the ice and snow come; well, we lose touch with our fish. So what’s going on underneath those layers of ice and snow? What do pond fish do in the winter?

Well, What do Philadelphia pond fish do in the Winter?

In short, not too much. But pond fish not being up to too much is an interesting behavior all the same, given that they are so lively throughout the rest of the year. Koi and pond fish are poikilothermic animals, a fancy way of saying cold-blooded.

This basically means that their body temperature is regulated by the surrounding temperature of the water, and their body functions respond and change according to the water temperature. The activity and metabolism of koi and pond fish is greatly reduced which is why they do not feed during the cold periods.

What do Philadelphia pond fish do in the Winter? : Fish Hibernation

Koi and other pond fish go into a state of torpor.  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/torpor.   Torpor is not quite full hibernation, because it is of a shorter duration than hibernation, but otherwise it is a very similar state of being: reduced body temperature, slowed metabolism, slow reaction times, reduced breathing rate and primary body functions.

Torpor allows the animal to save the energy that would otherwise be needed for higher levels of activity. Because of the state of being in torpor it is a very good idea to keep things as calm as possible around the pond. If you need to open the ice in the pond find a quiet way to do it like using boiling water to open a hole, don’t chop it open with a pick ax!

Even using a hand-held drill with a hole saw is actually pretty quiet compared to other methods, and if the ice is too thick to open with boiling water the hole saw is a great tool to have. To maintain an open area in the ice try using a floating de-icer or an aerator. This open area in the ice will allow noxious gases, like ammonia, to escape from the pond.

Contact us for more information or to get a de-icer for your pond.

 

Philadelphia Pond Maintenance

Philadelphia Pond Maintenance
Philadelphia Pond Maintenance

Philadelphia Pond Maintenance

As we approach the dog days of summer, there are five things that you need to remember about Philadelphia Pond Maintenance to  keep a balanced ecosystem pond along with happy fish! Take a moment to refresh your memory with these important tips:

Philadelphia Pond Maintenance: Add oxygen to your pond

Place an aerator or in your pond. or you can also install a fountain with a pump if your pond doesn’t have a waterfall or stream built in. The more water is moving around, the less algae will occur.  Oxygen is very important in the summer months.

Philadelphia Pond Maintenance: Fish feeding

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. Also, feed your fish only as much as they eat in three minutes. That’s as much as they need.

Philadelphia Pond Maintenance: Decaying leaves

Be sure to remove dying leaves and flowers before they have a chance to decay in the warmer water. This will help prevent pump clogging and additional algae growth.

Philadelphia Pond Maintenance: Aquatic plants

Aquatic plants such as waterlilies help provide fish with shade from the heat of summer sun, cooling the water and making algae control easier too.

Philadelphia Pond Maintenance: Is there really a leak?

Often, people do not realize how much water can evaporate from a pond during the dog days of summer.

The Eastern states typically lose 1 to 1.5″ of water each week..

Remember, these are averages. Some ponds may not experience evaporation levels this high. Other ponds with large pumps pushing high volumes of water, or ponds designed with multiple waterfalls and a lot of cascades and splashing may have evaporation rates much greater than these.

AquaReale offers summer checkups and services.  Contact us for more information about how we can help you with your summer pond maintenance.

Main Line Water Features: Tranquility at Home

Main Line Water Features

Bring Tranquility to Your Outdoor Living Space  

Main Line Water Features
Main Line Water Features

AquaReale has installed many Water Features, including the above photo at the Inn at Villanova University.  From large urns to small rocks and basalt columns, we have Main Line Water Features to fit into any landscape and budget.  Water Features and Fountains bring tranquility to any space.

Main Line Water Features: Garden Fountains and Urns

Main Line Water Features
Main Line Water Features

We sell beautiful, elegant stacked late urns in three sizes

Small Urn—25” diameter by 32” high– $3000

Medium Urn –27” diameter by 45” high– $3750

Large Urn– 38” diameter by 56.5 ” high– $4500

 

Main Line Water Features: Basalt Columns

Main Line Water Features
Main Line Water Features

Water adds life and movement to any outdoor area.  From a  front yard wow factor toa small bubbler or basalt column,  there is space for water in every home.

Front yard water features can include anything from large, elegant fountains to greet people at your home entrance to beautiful bubbling rocks greeting you and your guests as you enter and enter your home.

There here is something for everyone.  From single columns to a spectacular groupings. , we install Basalt Columns throughout the Main Line.  Prices start at just $3000

 

Main Line Water Features: Custom Water Features        

Main Line Water Features
Main Line Water Features

AquaReale has worked with a lot of different water features throughout the years, including bubbling rocks, Buddhas and rainwater harvest systems with pondless waterfalls.  Contact us or call 215.880.6811 to see what we can do you help bring tranquility to your outdoor living spaces.

Main Line Water Features
Main Line Water Features

Villanova large pond repair, part two

How to handle a Villanova large pond repair? Join part two of Tom’s explanation of the work we are doing in Montgomery County, at the Inn at Villanova.  Tom rows through the large pond at Villanova and talks about the pond depth and next steps. as well how to handle Villanova large pond repairs  in general.  If you did not get to see Tom before he goes into the water,  here’s part one

Tom explains that a Villanova large pond repair is a unique fix, taking into account size and condition of the large pond.  He needed to know the exact depth of the large pond before he could determine which large pond repair solutions are needed. He knows we will need monthly treatments, but we also need an aerator to help move water to help handle our repair.

AquaReale handles large pond repairs in the greater Philadelphia area, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County and Montgomery County.

 

Here are the fountains we created for another part of the Inn of Villanova.

Villanova large pond repair
Villanova large pond repair