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Pond Ecosystem: Working with Nature

Pond Ecosystem
Pond Ecosystem

What is a Pond Ecosystem? A Pond Ecosystem is a pond that works with and for nature.   A Pond Ecosystem  works with the natural environment to provide food, shelter and protection to the wildlife around it.

HOW DOES A POND ECOSYSTEM WORK?

 

  • The fish nibble on the plant life (and everything else), including the algae.
  • In turn, the fish produce waste that, along with other forms of natural debris, fall to the pond’s bottom.
  • Debris is broken down by the aerobic bacteria and the other microorganisms colonized on the rocks and gravel all over the pond bottom.
  • Once broken down, these substances are absorbed as nutrition by the plants.
  • The plants grow and are once again nibbled on by the fish … ’round and ’round it goes, infinitely.

It’s important to have certain elements, however, and to use them together so that the system won’t become unbalanced.   There are five main elements needed by the pond for a low maintenance ecosystem.

Here are the five elements considered necessary for a low maintenance pond ecosystem:

1. Pond Ecosystem Filtration System

AquaReale installs a two part filtration system: biological filter and a mechanical filter.

  • A BioFalls® (biological filter) provides surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize and remove excess nutrients from the water.
  • A Skimmer (mechanical filter) will not only pre-filter the water and house the pump; it will also skim debris from the water’s surface to prevent the accumulation of organic materials on the pond floor.

2. Pond Ecosystem Rocks and Gravel

Rocks and gravel protect pond liners from UV light degradation. They also provide a large surface area for beneficial bacteria to break down excess nutrients in the water and dissolved organic debris on the pond floor. This is a important step in an ecosystem pond.

3.Pond Ecosystem Recirculation System

This is just another term for what we call the pumps and plumbing

The proper size pump and pipe diameter are extremely important for the aesthetics of a water feature. More importantly, an efficient circulation system will keep the water moving and provide the necessary oxygen levels for healthy fish and plants.

 4. Pond Ecosystem Fish

Fish are a huge part of any natural pond ecosystem. They eat algae and other items on the pond floor, helping ponds stay healthy and clean.   Fish are also very fun; Koi fish can even be trained to take food from your hand! Fish are exciting for children and can be a great introduction for kids and nature.

5. Pond Ecosystem Aquatic Plants

Plants act as nature’s true filter, doing many services to your pond. They add character, color and dimensions to a pond, as well as help with filtering. Plants are crucial to an ecosystem pond. They thrive on excess nutrients, naturally filtering the water to help keep algae to a minimum.

 

So, in a naturally balanced water garden, you have this never-ending aquatic circle of life where all parts complement the others, and play critical roles in the pond’s natural born harmony.

Contact us for more information and to see how we can help you create your own natural pond ecosystem.

Pond renovation in mind? Our top 3 suggestions

pond renovation
pond renovation

Is your pond a good candidate for a pond renovation?

Renovating a pond allows you to optimize an existing pond. It is cheaper than rebuilding the whole pond. On average, if the existing pond is ten years or younger it can be renovated easily. Ponds that are more than ten years old usually need to be rebuilt from scratch due to the older liner and parts and structural issues.

Other items we look at before renovating a pond is if the liner was completely covered with rock.  If so, the liner is in better shape then if parts have been exposed to the elements.

If a liner is unusable, we recommend basically building a new pond.   Since we are adding a new liner, that is the time to change the shape of the pond, adding or moving sections as you’d like.

THREE POPULAR POND RENOVATIONS

1. Redo the water fall box and skimmer

Adding a new waterfall box can give an old pond new life. Moving a waterfall alone can make it look like a pond renovation.  The eye is drawn to the waterfall, so putting it in a different place can make a big difference on how the pond looks. The price to redo a waterfall box and skimmer starts at $3500.

2. Add plant ledges

A plant ledge is simply a rock wall under water that holds planters of plants. Many older ponds do not have plant ledges. By adding or changing plants, you can really change the overall look of the pond. This can also help provide shade for the fish and slow algae growth. Adding plant ledges starts at $1500.

3. Add or revise lights

Adding or changing lights can change your pond’s complete look in the evening. Light up your water fall or adjust the lights to highlight certain plants– all ways to change the look of your pond. Pond renovation is possible by something as simple as redirecting your lights.  Lighting packages start at $1500.

 

Which renovation is right for you? Contact us to find out!

The Penn Museum Pond: How we helped make it better

Large Pond Renovation
Large Pond Renovation

Large Pond Renovation Challenge

Why a large pond renovation? When AquaReale first went to visit the pond at the University Of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, it was not in great shape. The large 25 x 60 foot pond had not been cleaned for a few years and years of people throwing food in to “feed the fish” had left the water looking green and murky. In addition, the pond was not a healthy habitat for its fish.

The Penn Museum pond is loved and appreciate by thousands of people each year, and AquaReale wanted to make sure it was operating at its full potential. It had originally been built as a reflecting pool, which is not the best environment for fish, since the water is shallow and heats up fast.

The Large Pond Renovation Process

AquaReale began by draining and cleaning the pond. The fish were placed in a portable koi tank with their own water. After the cleaning, the fish were put back in the pond and the next step began. We worked in the pump room at the museum, updating the pumps, bead filters and UV units.

We also developed a system to trap sediment and allow water to flow slower through the filter. The sediment tank helps the filtration media do their job by slowing the water down.

And finally, we added some plants, which are very important in fish ponds. The pond had massive amounts of open water, which promotes algae growth and makes the water warm quicker. Plants provide cooler shade for the fish, especially important in a large shallow pond like this one.

The Large Pond Renovation Results

The Penn Museum pond looks much clearer since the cleaning and pump renovation. The green water is gone and the filtration media is working as hoped. The fish have more shade and cooler water and the pond is back to its former glory.

We recommended and continue to offer a maintenance package for Penn to keep the pond at its maximum health and beauty.

What can we do for your pond? Contact us to see.

A koi pond fish relocation story

Bryn Mawr, PA—Koi Pond  Project

Mr. R. purchased a new house over the summer and he knew he wanted a Bryn Mawr, Pa, Koi Pond ASAP so he could relocate his fish from his old house to the new one.

Matt met with Mr. R. and they talked about what Mr. R. wanted from his pond. His number one priority were his fish. He had about 20 fish in his old pond and he wanted to move every fish with him to the new koi pond.   He also really wanted his new pond to blend in well with the current landscaping, and to seem a natural part of the outdoors.

Matt also reviewed the space for best viewing purposes. Mr. R. enjoys looking at his backyard from his second floor living rooms, so AquaReale made certain to have great views for that angle.

Mr. R.reached out to us in October, 2015. He needed his pond built before it got too cold to move the fish over before winter set in. For his budget of $15,000. Mr. R. got the following:

  • 14 x 18 foot pond
  • pond lights
  • two fish caves
  • plants
  • waterfall
  • skimmer and biofalls

The Challenge

The outdoor area is designed as a Japanese garden, with tight spaces and lots of plants. AquaReale’s goal was to create a welcoming environment for the fish while matching the pond to the general look and feel of the outside area. There were a lot of irrigation lines as well, adding to the overall challenges for the job.

The Big Fish Move

Once the pond was built and water quality tested, AquaReale moved the fish from the old pond to the new one in 60 gallon containers. Stress coat was added to the water when we moved the fish. This creates a slime coat on the fish that helps them with the transition.

The Result

Mr. R. and his son are both very pleased with the new pond, as are the fish we moved. Mr. R likes how the random sized rocks mimic nature and look organic “I love how the pond fits my space so perfectly,” said Mr. R.

How to care for your pond in the winter

Winter Pond Care
Winter Pond Care

Winter Pond Care
Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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

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

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

3. Can my pond keep running in the winter?

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

 

 

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

Stormwater Management: situation and solution

STORMWATER MANAGEMENT: Situation and Solution

ourpond

We already provide information about stormwater management on our site, but I wanted to share our story as well

Our house has always had water issues, with the roof, gutters, everything.  We got everything pretty much under control. but the rain water was still pooling on our front lawn.

AquaReale decided to do a stormwater solution that also looked great. The water comes down from our front roof, so we put a pipe underground which takes the water down to the front of our house.

We have a 500 gallon reservoir there , topped by a pondless waterfall.  The water recycles through the pondless waterfall , leaving us with a beautiful waterfall with our rain water stored underneath! Here’s a night photo with the lighting around it.

 

Let’s see what we can do to fix YOUR stormwater issues!

Fall is the best time to address many stormwater issues.  It’s easier to see problems and determine solutions when the ground is bare.

Pondless Waterfalls and Rainwater Harvesting

Pondless waterfalls provide the same relaxing melodies and attractive appearance as a traditional waterfall with a pond, using a fraction of the space and with much less hassle. Because there is no pool of water, there are also no safety issues that are associated with a traditional pond.

Working much like a regular waterfall, the pondless variety directs the cascading water into a deep rock-and-gravel filled hole where the water collects and is pumped back up to the top of the fall. A pondless waterfall is less costly than a pond to build and operate, and its size enables you to place one almost anywhere in your yard.

Maintenance could not be easier. All you need to do is fill the reservoir every few weeks to compensate for water loss caused by evaporation. Pondless waterfalls can also be part of a  RainXChange(tm) Rainwater Harvest System, which only adds to the benefits of a pondless waterfall. Capturing rainwater to operate the water feature creates true self-sustainability, drastically reducing the need for chemically-treated traditional water sources. A pondless waterfall which has been properly incorporated into such a system can also increase property value by as a beautiful addition to your yard.

The greatest thing about a pondless waterfall for many people may be that they can be made to fit in any size yard. They are a low maintenance, low cost water feature.

photo-7710

To learn more about pondless waterfalls or the RainXchange Rainwater Harvest System, visit our website!