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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.

 

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.

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.

 

 

Aquatic Plants in the Fall

Aquatic plants in the fall
Aquatic plants in the fall

Aquatic Plants in the Fall

The seasonal change from summer to fall is the most beautiful time of the year, but not for Aquatic plants in the fall. The leaves turn beautiful colors and create an array of amazing colors. However, with fall comes cooler temperatures. How will the cool air affect aquatic plants this fall?

Aquatic plants in the fall: Waterlilies

Waterlilies will 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 warm climates, tropical waterlilies are happy in the pond year round, as long as the water temperature stays above 60°F. 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.

Aquatic plants in the fall: Hardy Marginals

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 okay 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.

Aquatic plants in the fall: Lotus Aquatic Plants

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.

Aquatic plants in the fall:Tropical Marginals

In warm climates, tropical marginals will keep growing and will require fertilizer as usual. Water gardeners who live in Zones colder than 8 or 9 will need to 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.

Caring for your aquatic plants in the fall will mean less work and healthier plants come spring. Contact AquaReale for help with your Aquatic plants in the fall.

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.

Philadelphia Pool Waterfall Slide

Philadelphia Pool Waterfall Slide
Philadelphia Pool Waterfall Slide

Philadelphia Pool Waterfall Slide

A top NBA player and Olympic Gold  Medalist had a vision of a Philadelphia Pool Waterfall Slide.   He wanted a pool oasis for his kids, one that included his dream slide into the pool.   He had never seen exactly what he wanted, but he was able to describe it.  He had this dream for more than three years.   He is only at this house during the off season, so time was very important.  We had a tight timeline to make this dream come to life.  His kids wanted a cool water slide, and he wanted to make that happen.  A cool water slide coming out of a waterfall, to be exact…

Philadelphia Pool Waterfall Slide: The Challenge

We met the client through his pool contractor, someone we had worked with before.  Our client is a very busy athlete, so we never did get to meet him.  We had a long distance relationship, with him emailing through his team of assistants.  We were able to understand his vision, and emailed him a  rough sketch of what we could do.  He immediately agreed!

We only had one chance to make this right and we were up to the challenge.  Schedules had to be changed and pond builds put off so we could complete this project to be ready when his basketball season ended and his kids finished school.

Philadelphia Pool Waterfall Slide — The Solution

AquaReale built a large natural stone waterfall that holds a curved slide for maximum fun.  The slide is 10 feet and has water jets going down.  The waterfall is at its highest peak is 4 feet tall and took 40 tons of boulder and rock to create the large waterfall.  We also built a set of stone steps, going from the lawn area up to the slide.  These are natural flagstone slabs to match the waterfall.

For more information on pool slides or waterfalls or any pond project, reach out to AquaReale.