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Philadelphia Winter Pond Maintenance

Philadelphia Winter Pond Maintenance
Philadelphia Winter Pond Maintenance

Need help with your Philadelphia Winter Pond Maintenance questions?  We have answers.  Have you ever noticed that your pond water is clearer in the fall?  This is typically due to cooler temperatures and full, lush plants. To keep your pond looking its best throughout the fall and winter season, follow our helpful, easy-to-follow Philadelphia Winter Pond Maintenance tips.

Philadelphia Winter Pond Maintenance

  • Prune yellowing leaves off all of your plants. Your lilies – tropical and hardy – should still be going strong, at least until the first heavy frost.
  • Stop fertilizing plants when the weather becomes cooler. This lets the plants know the season is coming to an end.
  • When the water temperature is around 50 degrees F, stop feeding your fish. If you continue to feed them, you might create health problems for your finned friends, since their digestive systems are beginning to slow down for the winter.
  • As leaves falls from nearby trees, you’ll need to empty your skimmer’s debris net every day to keep up with the influx of leaves. Some leaves will undoubtedly sink to the bottom of the pond; try to remove as many as you can. However, a few left in the pond will give insects and frogs a place to over-winter.
  • If you leave too much organic matter in your pond, the water may turn brown. If this happens, remove the excess debris and add activated carbon to clear the water.
  • As the temperature gets colder and your plants expire, cut back the dead plant material and remove the tropicals. Cut back the cattails above the water level, or better yet, leave them up to see how magnificent they look in the winter.
  • If you’re fortunate enough to live where it stays warm all year-round, you’re set for the winter.

Philadelphia Winter Pond Maintenance—Shutting Your Pond Down

  • To shut your pond down, first unplug your pump and pull it out of the water. The pump should be stored in a frost-free location, submerged in a bucket of water to keep the seals from drying.
  • If you have fish, a small re-circulating pump or pond aerator that bubbles at the water surface is necessary to oxygenate the water. In all but extremely low temperatures, the bubbling of the pump will also keep a hole open in the ice to allow for a gas exchange, keeping your fish alive. It is not necessary to oxygenate the water or keep a hole open in the ice if you don’t have fish.
  • If your area experiences long periods of extremely cold weather, you may consider adding a floating pond heater and de-icer. Controlled by a thermostat, the unit only runs when the water temperature is at or below freezing, heats the water to just above that, and then shuts off again. Ask your installer or local supplier for products to help your pond during the winter.
  • If you use a floating de-icer, place it away from the bubbler. The movement of the water from the bubbler can move the heated water away from the de-icer, making it run more than necessary.
  • You can also choose to keep the waterfall running. This will require a little babysitting to make sure an ice dam does not form, which could cause water to run out of the waterfall’s basin. You will also still need to replace water loss so the pump can continue to function properly. This extra effort during the winter will reward you with the most beautiful ice formations and patterns around the falls and stream beds.

The most important thing is to have fun with your water feature all year long. Keep some of these key maintenance issues in mind, and it will be smooth sailing.  For more information or any questions, reach out to us today.

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.

 

Tips for a Healthy Philadelphia Koi Pond

Philadelphia Koi Pond
Philadelphia Koi Pond

Tips for a Healthy Philadelphia Koi Pond

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

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

Health of Your Philadelphia Koi Pond Fish

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

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

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

Philadelphia Koi Pond: Beat the Heat

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

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

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

Additional Philadelphia Koi Pond Summer Tips

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

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

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

How to plan a Philadelphia pond renovation

Philadelphia pond renovation
Philadelphia pond renovation

How to plan a Philadelphia pond renovation

Now that spring has FINALLY arrived, you are back outside and possibly thinking about what you want to do as a Philadelphia pond renovation.    If your pond or water feature is still in the dreaming and wishing stage, now’s a great time to start planning!

Some people view ponds as simply a part of their house, like an addition. When it is done, it’s done.  While this is true with some projects, a pond is always evolving and changing as a living organism.  Don’t be afraid to plan a Philadelphia pond renovation for your pond to make it what you want right now.

Maybe you want the water to go in a different direction or you want a blog filter.  Philadelphia pond renovations can also include a stream or waterfall addition or even a pondless waterfall in another part of your yard.  Ponds revision possibilities are endless!

What to do now?

Get your ideas on paper!  While your dreams and wishes are still fresh in your mind, it’s the perfect time to get your thoughts down.  How to start?  Let’s think about what you want and how you plan to use your pond. What does your perfect Philadelphia pond renovation look like?

Items to consider when planning your Philadelphia pond renovation:

  • What’s speaks to you when you’re out? A spring in the woods? A stream at the mountain?  A bubbling rock at the beach?  Once you know what you like, it’s easier to recreation these on a much smaller scale.
  • What do you enjoy most about water gardening – the plants, fish, frogs, turtles, birds, or terrestrial landscaping? Build your dream pond with that as your emphasis.
  • What do you like (or dislike) about your existing pond?
  • What places have you visited that look and feel “perfect” to you? A stream in the mountains?  A spring in the woods?  Recreate aspects of these places on a smaller scale.
  • Where do you spend most of your time when you’re at home?  Will you spend more time outside or inside?  Plan with that in mind.
  • What would make your yard a “paradise?”
  • Would you like to be able to swim with your fish in a natural swimming pond?

When you answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to enhancing or creating your own aquatic paradise. AquaReale is here for all your pond needs—for everything from a Philadelphia pond renovation to a full pond installation. Reach out today to see how we can help make your dreams a reality.

How much is a Philadelphia pond cleaning?

 

Philadelphia pond cleaning
Philadelphia pond cleaning

Do you need a Philadelphia pond cleaning?

Do you need a Philadelphia pond cleaning?  Does your pond have green or murky water? Is the algae taking over?  Is there a buildup of sludge or mulch?  Are your fish being eaten or sick?

Ponds of all sizes need to be cleaned at least once a year.

How much is a Philadelphia pond cleaning?

We get asked that a lot.   The true answer is—it depends (we have average pricing listed at the bottom.) Pond cleanings are a vital part of the maintenance process.    The more time you wait between cleanouts, the more time, effort and money it will cost to clean.

The pond cleaning in Philadelphia cost depends on three main factors:

 

#1—The size of the pond.

#2—The condition of the pond

#3—How long it has been since your last cleanout.

#1:  Pond Size.

The larger the pond, the more expensive it will be to perform a Philadelphia pond cleaning.    Larger ponds also can be retention ponds or mud bottom ponds, which need to be dredged and have a whole different cleaning process. Most ponds run from between 8 x 8 feet to 11 x 16 feet.  Ponds can be much larger as well.  We work on smaller ponds as well, some as small as 2 by 2 feet.

#2: Pond Condition

Aside from size and regular maintenance, the overall condition of your pond will be an important factor in determining how much your Philadelphia pond cleaning will cost.  Certain physical characteristics of your pond can factor in as well, including the type of filtration and whether you have a bog, wetland or negative edge environment.

#3: Time since last cleaning

Pond cleaning prices also vary depending on when you last had maintenance on your pond.   The better a pond is maintained, the less work it will take to do a full clean out.

Anything cleaned longer than a year ago will be charged a higher price to account for the extra time and materials needed to clean the dirty pond.

 Philadelphia pond cleaning cost

Philadelphia pond cleanings start at $700 for an 8.5 x 11 pond that was cleaned the previous year and increase from there.  Most cleanings are in the $850 range.

No matter when you choose to do your clean up, the important thing is not to wait too long.

Remember, starting your water garden season with a clean slate will cut down on in season maintenance down the road.

Contact us to schedule your pond cleaning and start enjoying your pond or water feature today!

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.

 

Philadelphia Koi Pond Myths Debunked

Philadelphia Koi Pond
Philadelphia Koi Pond

Philadelphia Koi Pond Myth #1The 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 in your Philadelphia Koi Pond.   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 #2The 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 #3:  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 #4: 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 #5You 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 #6:  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!

Philadelphia Koi Pond Myth #7:  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.

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

 

Main Line, PA Pond Plants

Pond Plants!

Main Line, PA Pond Plants
Main Line, PA Pond Plants

What to do you with your Main Line, PA Pond Plants in the fall? Falling leaves and cooler temperatures tell us that fall is here.  How will that chill in the air affect your pond plants?

Main Line, PA Pond Plants: 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.

Main Line, PA Pond Plants: 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/  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.

Main Line, PA Pond Plants: 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.

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