All posts by Laura Reale

A recent Pond Installation in Chestnut Hill, PA

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Chestnut Hill, PA Pond Renovation after

Ready for a Chestnut Hill new pond installation ?

The J Family was certainly ready for a new Pond Installation!  After 20 years of living with their broken down pond, Mr. and Mrs. J. were ready to move on!  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.

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.

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.
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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!

Philadelphia pond renovation

Quick breakdown: pond renovation vs. pond repair

Many people question the difference between a pond renovation vs. a pond repair.  Though they sound similar, renovation requires much deeper intervention. Repairing something means fixing or replacing a small part that is broken or malfunctioning – renovation is a complete overhaul and redo, resulting in a practically brand new end product.

A pond is no exception to these terms of home improvement– take a look at the before and after of this pond renovation!

pond repair

When a pond leaks, you have the option to make a pond repair or completely renovate the pond – these options depend heavily on the extent of the problems. If the causes don’t inherently interfere with the structure of the pond or the health of the pond wildlife, you can likely troubleshoot and fix the specific issue. Problems that can be repaired include holes that leak or the liner detaching from the skimmer or biofalls, just to name some things that are more common. The possibilities are endless – without the guaranteed standards of a Certified Aquascape Contractor, there’s no telling what happened during construction. If the leak is caused by a hole in the liner, it can sometimes be patched. A broken pipe means you need to replace the pipe. Repairs are self-explanatory.

The most difficult part of even the simplest pond repair is identifying the problem in the first place. We usually hear,“why is my pond leaking?”  This opens a variety of potential causes, which can be narrowed through a few key tests.
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  1. Walk around pond, checking for visible wet spots for possible leaks. A simple issue could be a low liner, allowing for a water to flow over the edge.
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  2. Fill up the pond and determine the water level
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  3. Turn off the pump and come back 24 hours later to check for a change in water level.
    • If the water level is unchanged, the problem arises somewhere in the pipe or filter.
    • If the water level has decreased, the problem lies somewhere in the pond or skimmer.

If none of these are the causes, your issue lies somewhere in the pond or stream and a renovation is likely the best solution.

pond renovation vs. pond repair

Pond Renovation

Renovation is considered a complete pond replacement. This means we remove the pond and replacing all parts. This is the perfect opportunity to change anything you didn’t like, and address any issues, even minor ones – you could add more tunnels for fish, install lighting, and use more plants to encourage a healthy ecosystem. You could increase or decrease the size of the pond, or add an additional or larger waterfall or other feature.

Many pond renovations we encounter come from homeowners who had a landscaping company come in and build a pond, or new homeowners who don’t know their pond’s history. Renovations can seem daunting, but are a great opportunity to save time and energy that will be spent making temporary repairs on a flawed or dissatisfying pond design.

pond renovation vs. pond repair

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance
Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance

Bright bursts of gold, orange and red in the trees signify an important event for your pond–  It’s time for some Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance.   Preparing your pond for the winter greatly reduces the amount of work you need to do in the spring to get your pond in tip-top shape.

Fall’s lacy, colorful leaves look pretty floating on your pond’s surface, but eventually they’ll sink to the bottom where they’ll decay and wreak havoc with your water quality. As leaf matter decomposes, the balance of your water changes and can become toxic for your fish.

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance Option: Netting your Pond

Netting your pond is an easy, obvious choice for addressing leaf control. It doesn’t take much time to set the net up over your water garden, and the hours of future work it saves you is priceless. AquaReale can net your pond for you, as part as your Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance.

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance Options: Checking the Skimmer Basket

If you choose not to net your pond, you’ll need to make sure that you’re checking the pond’s skimmer basket every couple of days to remove the pile-up of leaves. Luckily, this is an easy task and doesn’t take much time. Once you pull the leaves out of the basket, be sure to toss them in your compost pile.

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance Options: Clean the Debris from Your Pond

Finally, if you failed to net your pond and all those colorful, floating leaves have found their way to the pond’s bottom, you’ll want to remove them before they decay into ugly sludge that has to be cleaned out in the spring. Grab a long-handled pond net and scoop the debris from the floor of your water garden. Or if you don’t mind getting your feet wet, wade on into the pond and fish them out by hand.

Whatever your strategy to combat the onslaught of beautiful fall foliage that floats into your pond, you can rest assured that your efforts to control it now, will be well rewarded come springtime. With some Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance, you will have all the help you need to head into a beautiful spring season with your pond.

For more information on Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance, contact AquaReale.

 

Pond Plants in the Fall

Pond Plants in the Fall
Pond Plants in the Fall

What do you with Pond Plants in the Fall?

How do you handle Pond Plants in the Fall?  Here on the east coast, the seasonal change from summer to fall is apparent by the beautiful, multi-colored leaves and the dip toward cooler temperatures. How will that chill you feel in the air affect the plants in your aquatic paradise?

Hardy Marginals

 As with terrestrial, perennial plants, 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 OK 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.

Tropical Marginals

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.

Waterlilies

Waterlilies will also 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 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.

Lotus

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.

Caring for your Pond Plants in the Falll will mean less work and healthier plants come spring.  Contact us for more information on Pond Plants in the Fall.

Horsham, PA pond installation

Horsham, PA pond installation
Horsham, PA pond installation

 

At AquaReale, all of our clients are special.  We do our best to bring their visions to reality.  In some cases, the client reaches out to us.

When Gary contacted us, he had just bought a house.  He had always had ponds at previous locations, and knew he wanted another pond.  His research on Horsham, PA pond installations led him to AquaReale.

In a word, Gary was thrilled with his Horsham, PA pond installation by AquaReale: “They were so easy to have around.  I think what I liked best about the process was the openness of AquaReale.  They involved me in everything.  Matt told me what he was thinking. I didn’t feel like people descended upon my home and did it TO me.  It had to do with atmosphere.  They kept me abreast every step of the way, and asked questions.  Matt started it and the guys continued.  And let me tell you, they are perfectionists.  I never had to say just leave it.  I mean, they did a WOW!! job.  Absolutely meticulous, the whole job.  I had no doubts or concerns, and there was open discussion about everything.  They had all the answers.“

A true success

Gary W. loves his Horsham, PA pond installation created by AquaReale.  “I love the placement, and I love that I can walk around barefoot.  It just feels like it’s been there forever.  And because it blends into the landscape, it feels like another room.  It has inspired me with so much creativity and serenity.  Another feature I love is the rock work.  It is a work of art.   I also love knowing my fish have caves for protection from the birds!  I think the best part about my Horsham pond by Aquareale is that everyone who comes to visit wants to sit on the back porch just a little while longer.  Friends and family gather to listen to the sound of the water moving over the rocks.

“One amazing thing about my new Horsham, PA pond installation by AquaReale is that it has become a silent memorial to my mom.  I put a memorial to her outside at the pond.  It was almost as if she knew, because on Thanksgiving Day, cardinals began to appear…as though she had sent them.

Thanks to Matt and AquaReale, I am outside more than I have ever been.  My Horsham, PA pond installation brings me closer to nature.  AquaReale is my water feature professional for life.  I couldn’t recommend anyone higher.”

 

Contact AquaReale to see what we can build for you!

clean pond water in six steps!

clean pond water
clean pond water

Six steps to clean pond water

Most pond owners know the importance  of clean pond water.  Not knowing how to get or keep clean pond water can be quite a challenge.  But we can help!  Follow the six tips below to help ensure clean pond water:

1. Maintain a healthy fish population

If you have more than 10” of fish for every 100 gallons of water, your pond is likely over-populated. Excessive fish waste can cause an imbalance in pond water. Consider finding some of them a new home.

2. Don’t over-feed your fish

When you feed fish more than they can eat, the uneaten food is left to decay in the pond. Be careful not to feed your fish more than once per day, and no more than they can eat in 2 to 3 minutes. Remove all excess, leftover food

3. Create a proper balance of plants

At season’s peak, you should have no more than 40% to 60% of the surface area of your pond either covered or shaded by plants. Too many plants can cause oxygen deficiencies at night due to the photosynthetic process, when the plants take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide.

4. Choose the right size pump for your pond

You should be circulating the entire pond’s water volume a minimum of once every hour. Make sure your pump’s flow isn’t restricted by debris and be careful not to pump water higher than it was intended. Every pump has its flow limitations. Refer to the chart on the outside of the pump’s box to make sure you’re making the right choice for your pond.

5. Choose proper filtration for your pond 

Your filter should match the size of your pond. Remember, most manufacturers rate their filters based on ideal circumstances, and if you exceed those, your filter becomes less effective. Always up-size your filter so that it can handle more than the capacity of your pond. Also remember to clean your filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

6. Keep your clean pond water cool during the dog days of summer 

When clean pond water exceeds 75º Fahrenheit, it has a more difficult time retaining acceptable levels of dissolved oxygen. This is why it’s important to have your pond shaded by aquatic plants (see tip #3). Fish need oxygen to survive. If you see them at the pond’s surface gasping for air, add an aerator to help them during times of extreme heat.

 Contact us for more information about keeping your pond water clean.

 

 

Hot Ponds= Big Problems!

Hot Pond
Hot Pond

Cool off that Hot Pond!  

Hot Pond problems are not good problems to have.   Many people are attuned to the problems of snow and freezing temperatures when it comes to their ponds.  There is another problem too, though—heat!

When it gets very hot, your water temperature rises as well. When the water gets above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, changes might occur.  You might notice your plants looking a little worse for the wear, not to mention your fish. Fish may gasp for air close to the water’s surface or appear a little stressed out.  Why is this happening and what can you do?

Hot Pond—Plant Problems

Just like fish (and humans!) pond plants can show the effects of extreme heat.  Water lettuce and water hyacinth can turn yellow and burn.  The pads of your prized hardy waterlily might also begin to turn a brownish color and start to decay. Since the leaves of a waterlily help shade the pond and keep it cooler, maintaining the plant’s health is a priority.

Hot Pond—Fish Concerns

Cooler water can hold much more oxygen than warm water.  With warmer water, your fish become more active, leading to a Catch-22.  Your fish require more oxygen due to their activity than when there is less oxygen available!

Fish aren’t the only pond inhabitants who increase their activity in warmer weather. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites also tend to increase which means diseases can spread quicker. Just like humans, stressed fish are more susceptible to diseases when they’re not feeling up to par.

How to beat the heat

Ponds with a depth of two feet or more have an advantage over shallower ponds, as the bottom of the pond will remain cooler and the fish can hang out at the lower depth.

Aquatic plants help cool a pond provided one-third to one-half of the pond’s surface area is covered. Waterlilies, mosaic plant, and water lettuce are all great options for shading the surface of your pond. Of course, natural overhead shade from trees, bushes, and even your house will help.

One of the most important parts of pond design is circulation. Your biological and mechanical filters should be placed across the pond from each other so that all areas of the pond are skimmed and the water circulated.

Keep in mind that your waterfall or stream plays a huge role in the oxygenation of pond water. Oxygen enters the water when there is air and water interacting. Streams and waterfalls create turbulence which increases oxygen levels.

Cooling Off

You can use a pond thermometer to check the temperature of your pond water. If you find the water nearing 80 degrees, you can increase oxygen with a pond aerator. You can also perform a partial water change and add cooler water.  Just remember to detoxify the pond after adding municipal water – for the safety of your fish.

Keep in mind, you don’t need to take your pond’s temperature every day – especially if you have an ecosystem pond with proper circulation and filtration. Simply watch for tell-tale signs like fish gasping for air at the surface of the water or near a waterfall. That’s typically the first sign that the pond is overheated and needs oxygen.

Summer is a great time to enjoy your pond – and you may have noticed it’s also the coolest spot in your yard! Keep your fish and plants healthy, and you’ll enjoy a low-maintenance pond throughout the season. Contact us for help on cooling your Hot Pond!

How to keep koi from eating your Philadelphia aquatic plants

Philadelphia aquatic plants
Philadelphia aquatic plants

How to keep koi from eating your Philadelphia aquatic plants

Local pond owners love two things most of all: their Philadelphia aquatic plants and their beautiful koi. Yet koi and pond plants aren’t so happy to live in unison. Is it possible for there to be harmony in the same pond?

Your picked through waterlilies? Eaten away?

Your first issue?  You may have too many fish. The key to the plant-eating koi dilemma is to make sure you have the correct koi-stocking density for your water garden. If there are too many koi, there will not be enough food and the hungry koi will then eat the plants. If there is enough food, there’s a better chance they will leave the plants alone.

In general, the rule for koi stocking is to have no more than one inch of fish per 10 gallons of water. You can have 150 inches of fish in 1,500 gallons of water, which is about five koi.

Remember, when buying small fish, they’re going to get bigger. Choose fish based on how large they’re going to grow. If you don’t provide koi with enough room, you risk plant health, water clarity, and the fish will suffer.

Understanding and Feeding Koi

Koi are quite the “Kurios Koi”

Koi like to look for things and tend to explore with their mouths.  If you see the koi eating around the base of your Philadelphia aquatic plants, try installing large rocks around the base of the plant.  Fish can’t move rocks as well!

If your koi are well fed, they won’t eat many Philadelphia aquatic plants. What will they eat beside your plants?  How about koi food?  Koi love food pellets.

Although they love dining on your favorite waterlily, they prefer koi food even more. Given the choice between a pelleted food and green vegetation, they’ll opt for the taste and high-energy of a pelleted food.

When choosing fish food , the pellet size should be close to the size of the fish’s pupil (the black part of the eye). Feed your fish once or twice a day, no more than they can eat in two minutes or less.

Excess food is caught in the skimmer and will decay, which isn’t ideal for the water quality of your pond. This is why it’s preferably to toss in a few food pellets at a time, as opposed to a large handful.

Aquatic plants and fish are made to go together.  When they are combined, the result is a cleaner, healthier pond that’s easy to maintain.  Pond plants remove toxins better than any chemicals and also offer coverage against predators and oxygenate the water during the day.

Your job?  Don’t overstock the pond and feed your koi a quality fish food on a regular schedule.  Your reward, a beautiful place for your Philadelphia aquatic plants and your koi.  Living together.  In harmony.

Contact us for more information.

Ready for a Philadelphia Pond Upgrade?

Philadelphia Pond Upgrade
Philadelphia Pond Upgrade

Ready for a Philadelphia Pond Upgrade? 

Here are five great items to add to your current pond for a Philadelphia Pond Upgrade, creating a new looking pond for you and your outdoor living space!

Water Lilies

Who does not love flowers blooming on water? If you want an additional natural touch in your pond, consider planting water lilies. Yellow water lilies are a lovely choice, as they beautifully blend with other flowers, and will liven up your pond. You can choose from a number of different colors to suit your outdoor space.

Philadelphia Pond Upgrade—Koi Fish

Water features like ponds are great for adding marine life to your outdoor living space. If you want to add more natural beauty to your pond, get Koi fish. They will add a splash of beautiful color to your water feature, add movement and enhance its aesthetics. Plus, kids and adults will love feeding them!

Rocks

Rocks are an important part of your Philadelphia Pond Upgrade.  They not only naturalize and make your pond beautiful. Rocks enhance the ecosystem in your pond by providing 12x’s the surface area for beneficial organisms to compete with algae and keep your pond water clean and clear. There are many choices of rock types to choose from to place in and out of the water.

Aquatic Plants

There are many aquatic plants that are suitable for ponds. You can add natural splendor to your pond by letting these plants grow in and around your pond. You can mix and match different plants to create an almost wild look, or line different ones neatly around the edge of your pond to create a uniform look. No matter what style of pond you have, you can be sure that there are aquatic plants that will complement it perfectly.

Philadelphia Pond Upgrade : Waterfall or Fountain

Do you think that waterfalls are only for large water features? You are wrong! You can add a waterfall or fountain in your pond. It will not only enhance the appearance, but also have a calming effect on mind – with its soothing sound, and by cutting out the external noise to a great extent.

These are just some of the ways to do an Philadelphia Pond Upgrade.  Try a combination of the items above for a unique look to your ecosystem pond or water feature.  AquaReale is specially trained in all the items listed above, and we would be happy to work with you to come up with the best personalized solution for your space.  Contact us today for more information.

What is a Philadelphia water garden?

Philadelphia water garden
Philadelphia water garden

What is a Philadelphia water garden?

A Philadelphia water garden is a man-made water feature, typically a pool or pond, which is designed to complement the natural environment. Water gardens typically incorporate aquatic plants, ornamental fish, statuary, waterfalls, and other decorations. They can be found in residential backyards, courtyards, and parks, to compliment the landscaping, and as an enhancement in existing gardens.

There are several different types of Philadelphia water gardens, including container gardens, raised and sunken ponds, and bog gardens. A container water garden is typically small and easy to care for and can be placed on a patio or balcony with ease.

Raised and sunken ponds are built directly into the ground and require more maintenance than other types of water gardens. Bog gardens are the most natural of the three and are designed to attract wildlife. They are generally dug into the ground, lined with plastic, and filled with native plants and fish.

What are water gardens for?

Although a water garden’s primary focus is on plants, they can house fish as well.

How big is a water garden?

They can be almost any size or depth, they are typically small and relatively shallow, generally less than 24 inches deep. This is because most aquatic plants are depth sensitive and require a specific water depth in order to thrive.

Why a Philadelphia water garden?

A water garden is an aquaculture system – a diverse aquatic ecosystem, one of the most productive and efficient systems around.   In an aquaculture system, aquatic plants have a constant supply of water that has nutrients dissolved in it, which they can easily take up. The waste from fish and other animals in the system provide additional nutrient to the plants, making for a very efficient and productive system.

What do I need in my water garden?

Plants are an important part of a Philadelphia water garden. They add life to the feature, and create a natural ecosystem, which promotes the health of the fish.  A well-stocked water garden will include several different types of plants and fish. The plants may be submerged, marginal, or floating varieties. It is recommended that a combination of these plant types be used to keep the water garden in optimal health.

More questions?  AquaReale is happy to help!  Contact us at 215.880.6811 or email [email protected]