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A Guide to Fixing a Philadelphia Pond Problem

Philadelphia Pond Problem
Philadelphia Pond Problem

A Guide to Fixing a Philadelphia Pond Problem

Do you have a Philadelphia Pond Problem?   Leaks can be the most frustrating part of owning a pond.  They are often misdiagnosed and misunderstood. Understanding how leaks work and how to detect them will save you time, money, and headaches.

What is Evaporation? 

First, let’s have a look at what evaporation is and what it isn’t. Evaporation is caused by water turning into a vapor and escaping from your pond. The amount of water loss will vary according to the region of the country and the time of year.

Ponds that are located in areas of the country like Philadelphia, with moderate temperatures and high humidity can expect to see 1 to 1 ½ inches of water loss per week during the spring and summer.

Evaporation is not filling your pond up all the way one evening and waking up the next morning to find the water six inches lower. That’s a leak! If your pond is experiencing a loss of water at a more rapid rate, you either have a leak, or your frogs are drinking the water. Seriously, let’s figure that it’s a leak. What do you do then?

Philadelphia Pond Problem: Low Edges 

Look for any low edges. Settling at the pond’s edge is the most common cause of a leak, especially in a new pond. Typically, the low edges are found around the stream and waterfall where settling may have occurred after a few rainfalls. These areas are usually built up during the construction of the pond using the soil from the excavation and are prone to some settling.

Carefully inspect the edges of not only your stream and waterfall, but also the perimeter of the pond. As the dirt around the stream or waterfall settles, it can create low spots that may cause water to escape over the edge of the liner. Keep your eyes peeled for wet mulch or gravel, or muddy areas around the perimeter of your pond. If you find a spot that’s leaking, all you have to do is lift the liner up and push some soil under it in order to raise the edge. Bingo – leak fixed!

Low edges can be built back up by simply backfilling and compacting soil beneath the liner in order to raise the edge of the liner above the water level.

Obstructions in the Stream and Waterfalls 

In addition to checking for low edges, you should also check your stream and waterfall. Rocks and excessive plant or algae growth in the stream or biofalls  can restrict the flow of water and divert it over the edge of the liner.

Plants and algae should be maintained by trimming them back in order to let the water pass freely. All in all, these leaks are extremely easy to fix.

Still Leaking? 

You’ve spent 15 minutes or so following the suggestions listed above and you still can’t find the leak. What do you do next? It’s time for a little more work, and some drastic measures. You’ll have to shut your pump off for a day. By doing this, you’ll be able to determine the approximate location of the leak.

  • Make sure the pond is filled to the appropriate level.
  • Unplug the pump.
  • Let the pond sit for 24 hours.
  • If the water level drops, then you know the leak is in the pond.

When the Water Drops

  • To find out where the Philadelphia Pond Problem is occurring, allow the water level to continue to drop. The level where the water stops dropping is the level where the leak is located.
  • Concentrate your search around the perimeter of the pond at the level that the water has stopped dropping.

Now the fun begins! At this point, you may want to consider calling in a pond professional, but in order to reveal the exact location of the leak, you’ll need to:

  • Remove any rocks around the entire perimeter at the level where the water stopped. You can then carefully check for some sort of puncture, or hole in the liner.
  • When you find the hole, you simply patch it with a liner patch kit available at pond supply retailers.
  • Now you can replace the rocks, fill the pond back to the top, and enjoy!

Steady and Level 

If the water level remains the same, then it is safe to assume that that the leak is not in the pond. Now you’ll need to check the pipe, the plumbing fittings, and the pump connections for leaks.

Another possible culprit is the faceplate of your skimmer, if you have one. If the water level stopped dropping above the bottom of the faceplate you should investigate the skimmer. It may not have sealed correctly.

If the Leak Is in the Skimmer

  • Investigate the skimmer faceplate without disassembling it.
  • Simply move a few rocks around the front of the skimmer and slide your hand behind the liner, feeling for wet soil around the opening of the skimmer. If the soil is saturated, then the faceplate may have not been installed properly and might be the source of the leak.
  • Remove the faceplate, clean all of the old silicone off the liner, and refer back to the instruction manual on proper procedures for sealing the skimmer faceplate to the skimmer. Hopefully, you’ve solved the leak.

It’s not fun to have a Philadelphia Pond Problem.   It can be a time-consuming and frustrating process to locate the leak. Hopefully with these steps and tips, you can quickly locate the source of the leak and get right back to enjoying your water garden.

If you still have a leak, reach out to us and we’d be happy to help!

 

 

The Top Pond Builders in the Philadelphia area

4 things to consider for your Philadelphia Fish Pond

Philadelphia Fish Pond
Philadelphia Fish Pond

Four things to consider for your Philadelphia Fish Pond

Before you dig your Philadelphia Fish Pond, you need to do a decent amount of planning.  Logistics are just as important as dreams when it comes to your beautiful water feature.

We recommend considering these four things when planning your own Philadelphia Fish Pond:

Terrain

Some water features just aren’t good matches for some land. Digging a pond out of bedrock probably isn’t your best option. And a steep incline might be better suited to a waterfall than a large pond.

Consider what would make the most of the area’s natural beauty by taking an honest look around your property . Many folks start out thinking they want one thing but discover the ideal water feature for their yard is something different. Don’t be afraid to adapt your plan.

Visibility

When planning your Philadelphia Fish Pond,  think about the views from inside the home. Watching cascading water through a large window can be amazing, even when weather conditions are less than terrible.

Also consider where you’ll be viewing your water feature from when you are outside.  You may have a neat hill towards the back of your yard, but the further away from your home, the less likely you’ll use and enjoy your water feature. We suggest finding an area where you regularly spend time that’s close to your house. Areas near a patio, a deck, or even a hammock can be ideal spots.

Filtration

A healthy pond ecosystem strikes a delicate balance, and filtration is an important part of the cycle. Mechanical and biological filtration components remove suspended debris and excess algae that cause toxic gases like ammonia.

Rocks and gravel in the pond provide places for beneficial bacteria to live.  A skimmer will protect the pond pump, which helps keep the water circulating. Beneficial bacteria will cultivate in areas of your filtration like in the media mats. too.

In turn, these bacteria help keep the water clear of fish waste and organic debris. Finally, aquatic plants will absorb nutrients that algae feed on and will release oxygen into the water. This keeps fish happy.

Philadelphia Fish Pond: Sun vs. shade

This can be a tricky one, especially in winter when the trees are bare. But envision your space in summer. How does the sun move across the land? Is the area heavily shaded or in full sun?

A water feature amidst a shade garden can be beautiful, but consider the amount of leaf debris coming down in autumn. Excess leaf buildup in your water feature can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

A water feature in full sun may be less susceptible to leaf debris, but algae can thrive in these conditions even with adequate filtration. Remember, too, that your fish will want a break from the summer sun’s heat. Incorporate aquatic plants to cover some of the surface or install a fish cave to provide respite from the sun. A balance of sun and shade is a good thing, and you probably want to create your feature where it will get at least a little bit of both.

No matter what your Philadelphia Fish Pond plans call for, AquaReale can  help. We can design, build, and maintain the water feature that’s right for you. Call us at 215.880.6811 for more information or contact us online.

 

What is a butterfly koi?

Butterfly Koi
Butterfly Koi

Some basic facts about butterfly koi

Some people don’t see the charm or uniqueness of butterfly koi and think of them as the “black sheep” of koi.  We have even heard people say butterfly koi are not real koi fish!  Simply not true!  As many other DO know, butterfly koi can be some of the best koi in any koi collection!

How did the butterfly koi originate?

Brown and grey carp with long fins were found in Indonesia in the early 1980s.   A NY company heard about them and bought some but then they thought they were too ugly to sell.  But, a group of curious breeders at Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery heard about them and decided to order some too.  They took their odd-looking long-finned fish and bred them with their finest traditional koi fish.   They actually turned out great!

The long finned koi ended up being robust and disease free.  They could also be bred in many beautiful colors.  An original Blue Ridge breeder was named Wyatt LeFever.  When his young son first went to see the fish, he said “Dad they look like butterflies.”  The name is still used today for the fish.

Butterfly koi size

Butterfly koi become more and more impressive as they grow.  Their fins keep growing until the blood vessels can’t sustain the fins to be any longer. The older the fish, the longer and more impressive the finnage. A full-grown koi can almost like a long, slinky dragon moving through the water..

The fish may not be as large as traditional koi, but they can run from 36-40 inches in the right pond with the right food.  Butterfly koi are pleasant and graceful and a delight to watch swim.

Is a butterfly koi a “real” koi fish?

Yes, they are.  In the past, Japanese koi enthusiasts did not appreciate the long-finned  koi.  Over time, Japanese breeders started seeing the beauty and value in the fish, partially from their immense popularity in the United States.  Now the butterfly koi are a very popular koi fish pond choice.   For more information on koi ponds in the Philadelphia area, contact us.

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.

5 Ways to Hire the Right Philadelphia Pond Contractor

Philadelphia Pond Contractor
Philadelphia Pond Contractor

Finding the Right Philadelphia Pond Contractor

What makes someone a reputable Philadelphia Pond Contractor?  We got a call today that broke my heart.  And it wasn’t the first call we have gotten like this.  The customer called and said a certain contractor started building a pond for him this summer, charged all the money and then has disappeared

The contractor has left this customer with a half-finished pond and little money left for the project.  I have heard this quite often about this contractor, who used to own a retail location as well.

Unfortunately, in this situation, there’s a not a lot we can do except rip out the pond and start over.  But the bigger question is, how do you avoid this in the first place?  Here are some 6 ways to hire the right pond contractor:

Step 1:   Check out their contact info

Do they have a website and FB page?  Are they updated?  Check the dateline at the bottom of the web page.  If it is from 2012, that is not a good sign.  How about FB?  Are there recent pictures and posts?  That shows you their level of customer involvement at this time.

Step 2:  Check out online reviews

Google, FB and even Yelp allow customers to say how they really feel.  AquaReale has 23 google reviews—all positive.  This is important—we can’t pay for these and ask for people to say what they did.  It goes a long way toward showing credibility as a company.  How are this Philadelphia Pond Contractor’s reviews?  How many do they have?

Step 3:  A realistic budget

The cost of a pond installed the right way by a professional is not cheap.  Beware of contractors who offer the lowest bids, as they are probably cutting corners and the results will not be the same! It’s fine to do some bid comparisons, but don’t simply choose the lowest bid. The money you save initially could be lost…and then some

Step 4: A Legal Business

Make sure the Philadelphia Pond Contractor you hire has worker’s compensation and business insurance for all their employees.  It is important that anyone you hire to work at your home has these qualifications.

Step 5:  Communication: Getting Along

The most import item for any business relationship is communication.  With communication, we know what you are looking for and you know we can build it. It is important for companies to get back to you in a timely fashion with reasonable information.  In addition, great relationships are built on trust.  When you trust someone and communicate effectively, great things can happen.

 

The number one way to hire the best Philadelphia pond contractor? Hire AquaReale to do the job for you!  Our reviews and reputation speak for themselves.  Contact us to see how we can help you build the pond of your dreams.

Summer Pond Care

Summer Pond Care
Summer Pond Care

Summer Pond Care

Why is Summer Pond Care so important?  Your summer pond’s water temperature might feel just right to you as you dip your toes into it after a long day of work. But once the water temperature rises above 80 Fº, you may run into problems. An obvious sign of an undesirable issue is noticing your fish gasping for air close to the water’s surface or near a fountain or waterfall.  This and many other problems may occur as it gets very warm for your fish.

What can you do for Summer Pond Care?

Warm water has a low capacity for holding oxygen, while cooler water can hold large amounts of oxygen. Warm water and increased activity in the pond go hand and hand. That increased activity means your fish require more oxygen when less oxygen is available, thus creating a vicious cycle. Stressed fish often begin to develop diseases, and no pond owner wants to see that happen.

Summer Pond Care Tips

Here are some Summer Pond Care preventative measures you can take to keep your pond from becoming a warm, unhealthy mess:

  • Stock your pond with plants that provide shade. Water lettuce or the leaves of a waterlily are perfect in accomplishing this goal.
  • Aim to cover one-third to one-half of your pond’s surface with plants.
  • Add oxygen to your pond with an aerator or small fountain,
  • If you feed your fish, do so in the morning and be careful not to overfeed. Uneaten food decays faster in warmer water and can pollute the pond.
  • Remove dying leaves and flowers before they have a chance to decay in the warmer water.

Summer Pond Care is as easy as that. Enjoy your pond during the summer months, and keep it healthy by following our easy tips. Your fish and plants will thank you!  Contact us to see how we can help you with your Summer Pond Care.

koi pond

What is a koi pond and should I get one?

What is a Koi Pond?

A koi pond is a water feature which is designed to house koi, otherwise known as carp. Koi have selectively bred for centuries to achieve very large sizes and distinct patterns of white, black, gold, red, and orange on their bodies. Koi ponds are used as aesthetic features in gardens, atria, and other locations, and many people use them to add an Asian look and feel to their gardens.

What make a koi pond versus a traditional pond?

Some special features differentiate a koi pond from an ordinary garden pool or a pool filled with aquatic plants, because the pond is designed to house fish, and the fish have special needs.

While koi prefer dirty, muddy water and dense foliage, people usually like to look at them, so the pond may be equipped with a filtration system to keep the water clear, and the aquatic plants in the pond will be carefully managed. The pond also needs to be properly oxygenated to keep the fish healthy, and it may need to be fenced or covered with a screen to deter predators.

What do koi eat?

Koi enjoy eating plants, and when planning a koi pond, people generally select foliage that is safe for the fish to eat. Lilies are especially popular for koi ponds, although other types of plants may be used as well. Stocking must also be done with care, as larger koi will cheerfully eat smaller fish or each other, and the fish require regular feeding and inspections to check for general health.

 Where do you put a koi pond?

Many gardeners design a koi pond as a focal feature of a garden, and they may include seating around the pond or devise garden paths which all eventually lead to the koi pond.

Some koi ponds come complete with little islands, bridges, and similar features, and the pond is often designed to encourage people to linger and contemplate the colorful fish. Gardeners who like to meditate may construct a meditation platform near a koi pond, so that they can relax and clear their minds to the sounds of splashing water.

Gardeners who have not worked with koi before may want to consider hiring a professional to install a koi pond and establish the fish.

Koi Pond