Paradise can be yours. Call us today! (215) 880-6811

How to care for your pond in the winter

Winter Pond Care
Winter Pond Care

Winter Pond Care
Frequently Asked Questions

So many questions come up here on the East Coast regarding Winter Pond Care . Here are a few of our top questions, along with answers from AquaReale owners Matt and Laura.

1. What does my fish pond need in the winter?

Winter Pond Care is pretty simple.  Ponds really only need one thing during the winter and that is air. As long as a pond is at least 18 inches deep, it shouldn’t freeze all the way to the bottom, so the fish will be OK. (link) You will need some way for the harmful gases to get out of the pond at all times. We recommend an aerator or bubbler.
Toxic gases caused by decaying matter and fish waste can become trapped under the ice by releasing harmful pond gases. An aerator or bubbler will leave a small area of the pond ice-free, which will allow the gases to escape. That’s all your pond needs!

2. When should I stop feeding my fish in the winter?

When the water temperature hits 50 degrees. This is usually around Thanksgiving. Don’t feed the fish when it gets below 50%, because their bodies are already shutting down and they can’t metabolize the food.

3. Can my pond keep running in the winter?

That depends on each individual pond. We can’t give one basic answer. If you has a submersible pump, the pump can stay running all winter. If you have an external filter system, you cannot run your pond during the winter. Other factors include length of stream, waterfalls and other variations in each individual pond. We recommend an aerator or bubbler even if you do keep your pond running all winter. For specific answers for your pond, please contact us.

 

 

Football and flagstone…kitchens, that is

We recently created a Main Line, PA flagstone kitchen.  Here’s a video walk through of the project…

What do pond fish do in the winter?

What do pond fish do in the winter?
What do pond fish do in the winter?

What do 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 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?

So what are the fish up to?

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 pond fish do in the winter?  For the most part they sit on the bottom of the pond in the “warmest” pocket of water they can find. During winter months the warmer water is on the bottom of the pond as opposed to warmer months when the warmer water is at the top of the pond!

Fish Hibernation

What do pond fish do in the winter?  Koi and other pond fish go into a state of 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.

A wetland filter renovation

Doylestown, PA Wetland Pond Filter

How did the R. family end up with a Doylestown, PA Wetland Pond Filter? Patrice and Michael R. wanted their pond to be clear. They spent five years trying to achieve that goal, until AquaReale gave them exactly what they wanted.  They had three different companies try to fix the pond clarity issues within five years, with no success.

The Doylestown, PA Wetland Pond Filter

When AquaReale met the family, their 20x 12 pond had an external filter system. AquaReale suggested installing a wetland filter along with the external pump and filter to help clear the water.

Wetland filters work with graded gravel and plants to help trap sediment and consume excess fertilizer.

AquaReale’s Matt and Eric both worked on this project featured below…

About Wetland Pond Filters

Wetland filters have many uses, including being highly effective at removing sediment (suspended solids) from the pond. They also improve clarity and reduce algae, without any additional physical or chemical maintenance. Wetland filters can easily be retrofitted onto existing pond and it is possible to create a waterfall and stream by designing the wetland filter system off the perimeter of the pond

For the Doylestown, PA wetland pond filter, we also also added a  bottom intake to draw the water from the bottom of the pond to get extra sediment moving and not stagnating.

The Doylestown, PA Wetland Pond Filter  Challenge

The challenge for this job was trying to keep the overall look of the pond when doing the renovations. The R. family loved their pond and waterfall just as it was. AquaReale’s job was to add the bog and other water-clearing solutions while keeping the integrity of the original pond along with the shape of the waterfall.

In the end, the R. family has a clear pond and they are thrilled. “After all this time, we are finally happy with the pond, ” says Mrs. R. “I wish we had known about AquaReale years ago.”

For more information or to see how AquaReale can solve your pond needs, contact us!

Take a video tour of our CH Festival display

Join Matt in Chestnut Hill, PA as he explains our booth set up at a recent outdoor festival there.

Abington Township, PA Flagstone

We just completed an Abington, PA Flagstone wall video.   Check it out and see what Pete has to say in our very first AquaReale video blog.

An inside look at a recent new pond installation in Chestnut Hill, PA

after
Chestnut Hill, PA Pond Renovation after

Ready for a Chestnut Hill new pond installation ?

After 20 years of living with their broken down pond, Mr. and Mrs. J. were certainly ready for a change. They reached out to AquaReale after seeing our display pond at Primex Garden Center.  Mr. J called AquaReale to see if we could replace their current non working pond, keeping with the Japanese feel of their garden, which he and his wife lovingly care for themselves.

J before

After meeting Mr. and Mrs. J and seeing their space, we were confident we could give them the water feature they were looking for. They had a very particular aesthetic, which AquaReale was able to respect and work with.

Chestnut Hill new pond installation  Challenge

The pond was located between large trees, making it a challenge to stay within certain spaces and still give Mr. J the natural looking stream he was looking for. According to AquaReale employee Tom, the most challenging part was creating a natural looking waterfall within such tight confines.

Chestnut Hill Pond new pond installation  Solution

“Mr. J. had very particular ideas of what he was looking for and it was an interesting challenge to work with him to make sure he was happy with the look of the stream. “Being able to understand and replicate what Mr. J was looking for was such a great feeling. When things came together and he saw the product being finished, he was so excited,” said Tom.
#

stream
Chestnut Hill, PA Pond Renovation after

Tom made sure to ask for photos of pond ideas as well as to keep the customers informed as the process went along. “That way there were no surprises along the way. Mr. J saw things and made comments before we went too far along. This collaboration really helped the entire process, “adds Tom.

The new pond installation :End Result

The final product does a great job of creating the Japanese zen feel the Js were looking for and offers a beautiful relaxing pond and stream in this urban backyard. The best part of all? The Js are thrilled. That’s after all, what it’s all about!

 Contact us to see what we can do for you!

Get your pond ready for fall with these easy steps!

Fall is finally here and chill is in the air. Get your pond ready with these easy steps!

Fall Pond Care  require a little TLC before winter comes in. Here is a checklist to getting your pond ready for winter in 10 easy steps:

Fall Pond Care
Fall Pond Care

Fall Pond Care 10 Easy Steps

  1.  Decaying leaves and foliage produce toxic gases that can harm your fish so you want to remove this debris before winter rolls into town. You don’t need to remove every single last leaf, but try to remove the majority.
    #
  2.  If you put protective pond netting over your pond before the leaves started to fall, your job is easy. Carefully roll up the net and discard the leaves that were caught.
    #
  3. If you didn’t use a net over the surface of your pond, you’ll need to remove the build-up of leaves from the bottom of the pond. Use a long handled pond net to scoop them out. Check your skimmer basket and remove any leaves that are still caught inside.
    #
  4. Fall Pond Care is important with water.  Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria to the pond once the temperature drops below 50 degrees. Use twice weekly for two weeks, and then once per week until the water starts to freeze.
    #
  5. Stop fertilizing your aquatic plants after the first frost.
    #
  6. Trim back hardy marginal aquatic plants to 2″ above the water to keep the dead foliage from drooping over into the pond.
    #
  7. Trim back waterlily leaves and stems to 2-3″ above the base of the plant. This keeps dead foliage from decomposing in the pond.
    #
  8. If you left hardy waterlilies in their pot, drop them into the deepest part of the pond to over-winter. Do not bring them indoors as they need a period of dormancy.
    #
  9.  All Pond Care requires you to bring tropical waterlilies indoors if you want to over-winter them. Keep the pot in 50-degree water or take them out of the pot and store in sand. Be advised, even trained horticulturists lose a lot of tropical waterlilies when storing them indoors, so you might simply want to treat them as annuals.
    #
  10. Once temperatures drop to 50 degrees, stop feeding your fish. They need to get ready to hibernate and you’ll want to avoid any metabolic complications. You can feed them Cold Water Fish Food until the temperature drops below 50 degrees.

Want more info? See how Aquascape does it!

Any questions? Contact us for questions and assistance.

 

Have you heard any koi pond myths?

Have you heard any Koi Pond Myths?

One of the biggest reasons many people get a water garden is so they can have fish.  Don’t let Koi Pond Myths keep you from getting a few of your own finned friends of your own! Here are some common myths with replies from Aquascape, Inc.
#

Koi Pond Myths
Koi Pond Myths

Myth:

Aquascape Says:

“Fish will just create more pond maintenance.” Actually, fish are a crucial part of the ecosystem. Koi reduce algae by feeding on it, and they fertilize plants with their waste. So, fish actually create less pond maintenance.
“Koi cannot live in a pond with rocks and gravel.” Koi originated in nature, where rocks and gravel cover almost every pond on earth. We build rock and gravel lined ponds almost daily, which house perfectly healthy and happy Koi.
“I don’t want to lose all my fish to predators.” If constructed properly, one can virtually eliminate the risk of predators with a few simple precautionary techniques.
“Koi need at least three feet of water to survive.” 95% of the ponds that we build are two feet deep in the center, and the koi are happy and healthy as can be.
“I don’t want to be troubled with bringing my fish inside for the winter.” Koi are an extremely hardy fish, whose ancestors over-wintered in freezing conditions, and still do. Just keep the water circulating and maintain a hole in the ice and they’ll never know the difference.
“I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on my fish.” Actually, pet quality koi start at $5.00 each with show quality koi going for one hundred thousand dollars or more. Since fish food is also very inexpensive, how much you want to spend on fish is your decision.
“You can’t have koi in a pond that has rocks and gravel” Koi are actually just a fancy variety of carp, and all carp are bottom feeders. They love to swim along the bottom and scavenge everything that is available on and in-between rocks. In nature, it’s not uncommon to find ponds, lakes, or rivers with rocks on the bottom.
Contact us for more information

What does the average pond cost?

What does the average pond cost?

The average pond “shopper” may see this as a simple question, one that any landscaping expert could tell off the top of his or her head. In reality, a true expert will take this question and ask the shopper for a definition of “average.”

what does the average pond cost?
what does the average pond cost?

What does an average pond look like to you?

Sure, technically and mathematically, average equates to the sum of numbers divided by the amount of numbers, but an expert will ask the buyer to punch in those digits. The concept of “average” is difficult to define when playing with custom designed products. When it comes to ponds, each is individually crafted to fit the new environment, and as a buyer, you should keep in mind that the average numbers will fluctuate to your particular pond. But really– you might be asking– what does the average pond cost?

Common costs

For the sake of giving a ballpark number, we will implement the most commonly built ponds in our particular market, which would mean a pond about 10’ x 15’ in size. Given these numbers, the “average” will begin around $8,500 but commonly rounds up to about $12,000-$17,000. Now this range depends on how many custom features the pond aspires to have. A pond alone may be around $8,500 (at that particular size), but add-ons that many people envision in a pond, such as plants, lights, waterfalls, fish, etc., will add to the base price.

what does the average pond cost?
what does the average pond cost?

 

Customize-able features

Why would the final price tag of a pond be vastly different than the base model? Ponds, like cars, are very customizable. Certain people only want the car with roll up windows and an AM/FM radio. While others want the leather seats with a navigation system and an engine push start button. So when you ask for a basic pond, it doesn’t  include the add-ons that most people like in a pond. This will include fish, plants, lights, etc.  This can change the definition of what the average pond costs.

What can we do for you?

Before getting attached to these numbers, if you’re considering adding a water feature to your home, give us a call and let’s begin at a drawing board. We can provide you with details, options for your particular design, and digits that are worth contemplating. Who needs average when you can have it personalized?