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Innovative Pond Skimmer Created By The Pond Digger

With so many pond skimmers on the market today, which one do you choose? After 20 years in the trenches servicing and installing well over a dozen different pond skimmers, I decided to compile a list of all the pros and cons on a chalkboard for evaluation. In doing so, it became crystal clear I needed to design a new INNOVATIVE product specific to my needs and approach to pond construction.

I wanted a heavy duty, super rugged skimmer that’s easy to conceal in the landscape! This skimmer needed to be user friendly for submersible and external pump applications while being super efficient at creating surface tension, capable of handling a great deal of leaf debris and most important, fish safe! With the critical needs identified and a quote from Plato, “Necessity, is the Mother of Invention”, I set out to accomplish a goal.

Let me introduce you to The Helix™ Pond Skimmer, the next generation in Pond Skimmers! 35″ Tall x 19″ Wide x 18″ Long – This compact footprint is easy to disguise in the landscape. The Helix can handle a wide range of flow rates from 1500 gph to 8000 gph. With this wide range of flow rates it gives you extreme flexibility in your pond’s life support systems and design. Designed for use with submersible or external pump installations, this new pre-filter provides great versatility in pump selection.

The Helix is a fish friendly pre-filter designed for optimal surface skimming. The 12” wide mouth of the skimmer opening leading to the area around the circular weir is a “no trap zone” for your pond fish. The Helix boasts a 15″ circular, self-leveling, floating weir.

This compact circular weir competes with the largest skimmers on the market for optimum surface tension. A full 15 inches of surface tension within a specific diameter and an 8″ round x 8″ deep durable Debris Basket give The Helix a vacuum like effect that is capable of capturing a ton of wind blown debris and is super easy to clean.

Excellent for all styles of pond construction – Use The Helix for water gardens, koi ponds, lakes and hybrid ponds. The Helix is equipped with Stainless Steel Hardware meaning you’ll have no worries about hardware rusting if you need to salt your pond.Whatever style of construction you choose, liner, polyurea or concrete construction, The Helix will exceed your expectations while keeping your fish free from harm.

The Helix Pond Skimmer Pre-Filter is manufactured in the USA with a heavy-duty rotational molded HDPE material – This pond skimmer is SUPER RUGGED, overflow compatible with flat spots on the round body for plumbing an efficient overflow up to 2″ in diameter and is automatic water fill valve friendly. The Helix is roomy enough for the installation of a float valve without your typical issues of malfunction.

The unique design is perfect for AIR LIFT skimming applications. In Fact, you may see Airlift skimmer installations become commonplace for maximum energy efficiency.

Easy to install – Easy to maintain – Easy to see why we believe The Helix Pond Skimmer will set a new standard for skimming ponds. This is what people are saying about our new pond skimmer.

“The Helix Pre-Filter is the most innovate pond skimmer I’ve seen on the market in the last 6 years!” – Randy Stewart, UnitLiner.com – Shawnee, Oklahoma

“This skimmer is so simple and sweet. I wish I would have thought of it!” – Kent Wallace, Living Water Solutions – Las Vegas, Nevada

“I think you have a real winner in this skimmer!” “I can hardly wait to get my hands on them!” – Mike White, White Water Filters – Batavia, Illinois

“We’re super impressed with the performance of The Helix Skimmer on our pond!” “I’m excited to offer this clever & innovative new product to our customer base” “I have no doubt it will meet the demands of the discriminating buyer.” – Bill DeBrosky – In Motion Aquatics & Mystic Koi – Upland California

Get a Helix Pond Skimmer here: http://www.theponddigger.com/supplies/Skimmers-Fish-Friendly-Skimmers/c8_86/p831/The-HELIX-Pond-Skimmer/product_info.html

Pond Related MOLD Hits Southern California

Pond Related MOLD Hits Southern California

Heads up all you pond peoples! We landed our MOLD from the tooling company for The Pond Digger Brand Skimmer late last night as scheduled! The MOLD is being seasoned as we speak and it looks like we are right on target to REVEAL the first skimmer off the production line at this week’s Pond Contractor Focus Group!

MARCH TEN, TWENTY TWELVE’S Pond Contractor Focus Group will be anything and everything about POND SKIMMERS! Expect to be deep in discussion about skimming ponds.

Which manufactured brand pond skimmers have you installed?
Which brand pond skimmer is your favorite?
What brand skimmer is your least favorite?
Which skimmer holds the most debris?
Which skimmer installs the fastest?
Which skimmer is the most cost effective?

We will be discussing all the pros and cons of pond skimmers in the market place today. I plan to cover pond skimming philosophies, pond skimmer speed limits, installation tips, installation tricks, both basic & advanced plumbing techniques and I will show you how to run a super efficient pond skimmer with only 40 watts of energy! See how we’re running pond skimmers with flow rates up to 6000 gallons per hour with the use of an air pump!

This is not just a ME TO SKIMMER. Expect the unexpected. Don’t expect another skimmer box like the dozen other pond skimmers on the market today. I’m confident The Pond Digger Brand skimmer will stand up as a leading brand in the industry.

Very Special Thanks to Both Mike White and Kent Wallace for data and support in critical pieces in the design of this skimmer.

See you Saturday, March 10, 2012!!

Focus on Business Fundamentals once a month with Eric Triplett

Plan on meeting up at The Pond Digger headquarters the Second Saturday of every month bright and early for round table training sessions. Collaborate with other landscape contractors on how to grow your business. Focus on your business for 2 hours uninterrupted each month with a group of guys dedicated to improving their businesses.

We shut off the phones; grab a cup of coffee and talk about marketing, bidding, business and much more. We’ll get down to the basics but plan on bending your mind and learning about new products and sharing ideas to grow your business.

What you can expect. Good conversation, product reviews, manufacturer discounts, gift certificates, guest speakers, training, training and more training. Let’s learn together. Let’s grow together.

LOCATION:
The Pond Digger Headquarter
31710 Dunlap Blvd.
Yucaipa, Ca 92399
(800) 522-5043

DATE: March 10th, 2012

TIME: 7am to 9am

DOOR PRIZE: Someone at this month’s focus group will receive a Pond Digger Skimmer as a Door Prize!

BREAKFAST:
Served between 8am and 9am – We will be BBQing sausage breakfast sandwiches on the Weber Charcoal Grill!

RSVP:
Not mandatory to RSVP I know how contractors get busy. Just show up if you want but if you call or email to let us know you’ll be showing up we won’t run out of coffee and breakfast sandwiches.

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

Four Spring Pond Care Essentials Every Pond Needs Annually!

Understanding Spring Pond Care

Spring is sneaking up on us quick this year! Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the outdoors and all the wonder and excitement of your beautiful pond again. That brings us to the topic of preparing your pond for spring. Mother Nature has a fantastic way of preparing her natural bodies of water for each new season by flooding waterways with fresh rains and melting snow, recycling old water out and refreshing it with new.

In your rock and gravel eco-system ponds this service needs to be provided manually on an annual basis to help maintain its balance. This means; you’ve got to get in there, drain the pond, rinse the gravel, remove any heavy debris that may have accumulated durinpg fall and while you’re at it, clean the biological waterfall filter, thin out your aquatic plants, and replace the light bulbs your underwater lighting systems, among other things; all while ensuring the safety of your fish and other pond inhabitants.

Advanced ponds with supped up life support systems including aeration systems, UV clarifiers, Bio-Mechanical filters, Back Flushable Waterfall Filters, bottom drains, settlement tanks and such, the SPRING POND CARE procedures are much less painful and cost substantially less than traditional rock and gravel eco-system ponds. However there are many chores that shouldn’t be overlooked like replacing UV bulbs and cleaning quartz sleeves, inspecting air intakes and diaphragms on your air pumps, and the list of to do’s and don’t goes on.

Four Spring Pond Care Essentials Your Pond Needs Annually!

1. Livestock Evaluation – It’s important to take a serious look at your fish population each and every year. It only takes about three years for a new pond owner to begin putting a strain on a pond’s life support system without even realizing it.

In the third year of pond ownership your Koi should start to put on some size (and mass) if you’re doing things right. A 26” Koi can have 8 times the body mass of a 13” Koi. Yes believe it or not, a Koi that doubles in length can put on 8 times the mass! Imagine the food consumption and waste byproduct produced if all the Koi in your pond were suddenly 26”? How would that affect your maintenance and water treatment routines?

Much to often a pond owner will continue to do the same routine from day one of their pond, in the 3rd, 4th and 5th year. This is when things can start to go really wrong. Evaluation your livestock population each spring so you can make minor or major adjustments each year and enjoy your Koi as they mature in to majestic beauties.

2. Water Treatment Evaluation – Beneficial Bacteria, Barley Straw Extract, Algae Fix, Koi Clay, Flocculant, Pond Salt, and the list goes on. What treatments are you doing and how often? I’ve evaluated ponds for clients and have found entire cabinets full of different water treatment products all being used at the same time! Find clarity in your water treatment selection and in turn find clarity in your pond.

If your pond is heavily populated you might find that increasing your beneficial bacteria doses will help manage your water quality. You might find that when your Koi attain 18” you can reduce algae care products because an 18” Koi can eat a serious amount of string algae!

Did you know the use a Flocculant or Koi Clay could improve your pond’s water clarity in a big way! Reviewing your water treatment usage each spring is a great way to make improvements in your water quality.

3. Review Feeding Schedule Routines, Serving Sizes and Total Annual Poundage – Give this one some thought; think back to when you pond was brand new when you first populated your pond with Koi. Do you remember how much fish food you went through in your first pond season? Your Koi where still a bit shy and they we only a few inches long.

Chances are, you went through a pound or two of food in that first season. As your pond matures, so do the Koi and in the second season you certainly doubled or tripled that amount of food offerings. Before you know it you are into your third season, your Koi are even bigger, eat much more than last year and to top it off have become sexually active!

By the fourth season your Koi are pushing 2’ long and have 50 or 60 offspring swimming around the pond and they’re eating you out of house and home. I actually have a client with a 6000-gallon pond that purchased 250 pounds of fish food last year! That’s crazy when you think about it! It’s important to realize massive jumps that can creep up on you and understand the demand this can have on your maintenance and water treatment routines.

4. Life Support System Inspection – Biological filters, UV filters, aeration systems, ion generators, sieve filters, settlement tanks, bottom drains, check valves, knife valves, 3-way valves, filter pads, skimmer nets & pads… Now take a deep breathe! Go about it one step at a time and evaluate each component of your life support system.

Ponds are exposed to a great deal each year with the seasonal changes, population explosions and such. I’ve seen bio-mechanical filters so overloaded with pond muck that they barely even worked, and the homeowner didn’t even realize it.

Replace UV lamps, repair diaphragms on air pumps, replace old filter pads on your mechanical filters, replace holey skimmer nets and lava rock media bags. You get the picture now, right? Do a physical inspection of your life support each spring and rest easy while enjoying your pond the rest of the year.

It’s a dirty job, but somebody has got to do it! It’s really not as hard as it sounds and for the “Down and Dirty”, do-it-yourselfers that are a little nervous, The Pond Digger will be hosting a FREE Spring Pond Care Seminar at our headquarters in March. Let us personally walk you through spring pond care procedures and other routine maintenance to build your confidence for this task.

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty then have no fear, The Pond Digger has started scheduling work orders for Spring Pond Care and we’ll be flooding into your neighborhood soon! That will leave more time for you to plant your annual spring flowers and prepare for the barbeque Pond Party planning for family and friends; don’t forget to send us an invitation, too!

I hope everyone has it figured it out by now; The Pond Digger is not your ordinary Landscape Contractor. We are fish freaks turned Landscape Contractor, and Landscape Contractor turned Pond Digger! We are constantly striving for excellence in our field with continuous research and development. This enables us to make educated improvements on our product line, thus helping you with the maintenance and health care concerns of your pond and it inhabitants.

Our efforts benefit you because we love to share our knowledge. 2007 was a benchmark year for The Pond Digger Waterscape Design & Construction Company. We debuted our very own line of PROFESSIONAL STRENGTH water treatments, and PREMIUM fish foods! Stay tuned as we reveal The Pond Digger Brand pond skimmer and waterfall filter this Spring!

To secure a spot on our clean out calendar contact our office at (800)-522-5043 to be placed on our waiting list. Be sure to leave a daytime number so that one of our maintenance techs can contact you to review your spring POND CARE work order if necessary.

We’ve worked hard to gain your business and we’re working even harder, to maintain it. The finest compliment we could ever receive is a referral from you! If your have neighbors, friends and family that are constantly at your place marveling over your pond, PLEASE give me their names so I can build one for them too and get them out of your hair!

Grow Out of Control Pond Algae

Grow Out of Control Pond Algae

Out of Control Algae is not hard to achieve. I’m talking about pond algae seriously taking over you pond. Beautiful, florescent green string algae so long and thick you could sell it to The Aliens for wigs!

Pond algae so out of control you can walk across the pond on algae is what I’m talking about! Are you jealous of someone you know with so much pond scum and algae that the Creature from the Black Lagoon might actually live in their pond ready to emerge from the depths to do some bodily damage to the neighborhood?

I can literally teach you how to grow such dark shades of suspended green single-cell algae that you can reduce the visibility in your pond to less than an inch, so you don’t even have to see your prized koi fish! Imagine a pond so dense with pond scum & algae that on a cool morning at the break of dawn you see steam rising from the pond!

Converting a crystal clear and clean pond to a pond dominated and controlled by algae does not take much work. In fact, several items on our list of the Top Ten Things you can do to promote out of control algae in your pond involve doing absolutely nothing at all!

The Top Ten List of things you can do to get the algae in your pond to grow out of control. Guaranteed!
1. OVERFEED YOUR FISH! This is one really fun thing you can do to toss your pond out of balance real quick and promote the growth of some out of control algae. Feed you fish massive quantities of fish food three, four, five times a day. In fact leave the fish food in an easily accessible location right next to the pond so it’s easy for your family and friends to overfeed the fish too!
If you’re going away for the weekend, feed your fish EXTRA before you leave and then EXTRA when you get back. After you finish feeding the fish each morning toss a couple more random handfuls of fish food into the pond so the fish have something to eat while you’re at work. In fact, the more uneaten fish food you have floating around in the pond the better if you are looking to promote the growth of pond algae.
2. OVERSTOCK YOUR POND with Koi, mosquito fish, turtles, goldfish, tadpoles, frogs and hope for babies! This is also extremely fun to do! Buy as many fish as you think your pond can support and then buy a few more for good measure! No one likes a pond with a conservative amount of fish in the pond, right! Over stock it!
When you finally do have hundreds of baby fish in your pond commit to not giving away any of them! Name each and everyone of the baby fish! The more fish the better for promoting a great environment for pond algae that is difficult to manage!

3. DON’T DO WATER CHANGES! If you follow through with step one and two you will be promoting amazingly poor water quality. By NOT performing any water changes, algae will go crazy! String alga is one of Mother Nature’s ways of trying to manage water quality. If you do water changes you will be reducing phosphates and nitrates.

Pond Algae is dependant on phosphates and nitrates for optimal growth and vibrant color. If you get in a little routine and start actually doing small water changes on a monthly basis your water quality would constantly be improving and pond algae would be sad, so don’t do water changes if you are looking to grow fantastic pond algae!
4. DON’T CLEAN YOUR FILTERS! Ignore, neglect, forget, avoid, overlook, and or pay absolutely NO attention to your pond filters! Filters capture and collect pond scum, debris and muck. If you clean your filters regularly you will be reducing the necessary fuel to grow luscious pond algae.
5. DON’T INSTALL A POND SKIMMER ON YOUR POND! Pond skimmers capture surface debris in your pond, including but not limited to leaves, pollen, dust, uneaten fish food and other suspended organic debris. If you don’t have a skimmer then these excess organics will have the opportunity to become water logged, sink to the bottom of the pond and become FUEL for your beloved pond algae.
6. DO NOT INSTALL AQUATIC PLANTS! If you want The Swamp Thing Monster to come and live in your pond, DO NOT put aquatic plants in your pond and you will grow pond algae like crazy! Aquatic plants consume nitrates and excess nutrients in your pond. If you have a nice balance of aquatic plants in your pond then how in the world do you plan on growing massive quantities of string algae? The aquatic plants will be competing with your pond algae for fuel!
7. DON’T BLOCK THE SUN! Provide your pond with as much sun as possible! Algae love the sun so if you are looking to grow top quality pond algae then bring on the sun! No shade trees, no water lilies or floating aquatic plants! More sun equals a warmer pond and the warmer the water the better your algae will grow!
8. FEED DIRT CHEAP KOI FOOD! That’s right; don’t feed a real deal premium fish food to your koi if you want to grow pond algae like crazy! Buy the cheapest fish food you can get your hands on. You know the cheap koi food that sometimes clouds the water when you over feed your pond. Get the cheap koi STICKS that crush in your fingers like Cheetos. The floating koi sticks get wet & gooey when the koi chew them up and the food ends up squirting out their gills during feeding and the remnants of the koi stick goo end up on the bottom of your pond where pond algae can start to use it to grow like crazy!
9. TURN YOUR PUMPS OFF AT NIGHT! Oh this is a good one if you want to grow the best pond algae on the planet! You see when your filters are running on your pond they become a living organism that helps you manage pristine conditions in your water quality. When you turn your filter pumps off in the evening then the living filter dies. In the morning when you turn your pumps and filters back on you will be pumping all the DEAD organics from the filters into the pond and your pond algae will love it! Each morning your filter will try and regenerate into a living organism but by turning your pumps and filters off each night then you will never truly have a living & breathing life support system to combat algae.

10. DO STEPS 1 THROUGH 9 ALL AT ONCE and I promise you will grow the most amazing pond algae the planet has ever seen!

If you wish to thank me for sharing my successful recipes for growing the ultimate out of control algae, please send photos of you and your algae. Your success is my reward!

Dangerous Rules: How Many Koi Can I Have In My Pond?

Beware of the Dangerous Rules Of Thumb surrounding this question.

How Many Koi Can You Have In Your Pond?

This is certainly one of the first questions we inevitably get from new pond owners. Rules of Thumb are great to put you in the ballpark but they really shouldn’t be taken as the end all final decision. I hear this DANGEROUS old RULE OF THUMB from the aquarium hobby brought over to the pond world on occasion. “You can have 1” of fish for every gallon of water.”
Well, that’s great if you have a ten-gallon aquarium with 10 neon tetras and that’s great if you have a ten-gallon pond with ten mosquito fish. Not a good rule of thumb if you have a sixty-gallon aquarium with two 30” Koi! Or in the pond world that translates to thirty-three 30” koi in a 1000-gallon pond. Even a new pond enthusiast knows that’s ridiculously over crowded and a disaster waiting to happen.

So let’s get down to a RULE OF THUMB you can use to help you stock your pond and then we’ll review a few things to help keep you grounded when using a RULE OF THUMB.
If you are consulting with a high-end Koi keeper you will hear rules like one female Koi for every 1000- gallons of water in your pond or one male Koi for every 500 gallons of pond water. For those of you new to the hobby the female Koi gets much larger than the male fish and has much more body mass. This may seem radically conservative to the person that just spend a ton of money installing a 3000-gallon pond in their backyard. That translates to 3 female Koi or 6 male Koi for that 3000-gallon pond.
For most people, limiting yourself to one Koi per 250 gallons of pond water is still conservative assuming you have a quality life support system on the pond and you aren’t opposed to some routine maintenance. Cleaning skimmers, pre-filters and doing water changes would be a standard practice. That translates to twelve LARGE Koi in a 3000-gallon pond and since I don’t recommend even numbers in a Koi pond then your target would be eleven Koi in 3000 gallons of pond water.
Buying koi, especially if you are new to the hobby, is a ton of fun and can be incredibly addicting! Taking into consideration the average family with Mom, Dad, and a three pack if kiddios. Everyone wants to pick out a few of his or her favorites. Before you know it you have 25 or 30 small koi in your 2000-gallon pond.
That should be fine for a couple of years when the Koi are young but then all of a sudden you are grossly overstocked with to many fish. Algae is growing like crazy, the pre-filters need to be cleaned everyday or they stop working and the filters are not keeping up with the amount of fish poop! Let’s do the math using our conservative rule of thumb suggesting one Koi for every 250 gallons of well filtered & maintained pond water. A 2500-gallon pond translates to 10 full-grown Koi and you have 30! Obvious Solution – Get rid of 20 koi or build a bigger pond. Try telling the kids you are getting rid of their favorite Koi.
If you are starting with small Koi remember they will get big and it really doesn’t take that long. In just two or three years you’ll have a hefty size herd of Koi mobbing around your pond. In my travels I’ve come across a great deal of over crowded ponds with unhappy Koi. One of the worst I’ve seen was a 350-gallon pond with 13 very large adult Koi. It’s not pretty! In fact it was a rescue mission. Don’t put yourself or your Koi in that position.
Here’s a fun fact to help you wrap your arms around the demands of large Koi. A 13” Koi weights approximately 1 lb. Guess what a 26” Koi tips the scales at. Approximately 13lbs! When Koi double in size you are looking at tenfold increase in body mass! That’s an incredible burden on a pond’s life support system!
I can give you a rule of thumb to get you in the ballpark but I can’t express to you enough, the importance of a solid life support system for your pond. Now go do the math on your pond and tell me how your Koi Herd stacks up to this rule of thumb. One Koi per 250 gallons of well filtered and maintained Pond Water.

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

World’s Longest Running Pond Tour

 

The 365 Day Pond Tour

I’m talking about a pond tour running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year since January 1st, 2005!!! Don’t worry I did the math already. That’s 7 years, 84 full moons, 365 weeks, 3,693,600 minutes and 221,616,000 seconds.

I know that last number kind of resembles a deficit the city you reside in faces but let’s not go there; come back to me please! Pond Tours are a great way to gather ideas for your yard, meet pond enthusiasts and escape from your day-to-day routine.

We host two major pond tours a year and yet, it’s still not enough! We constantly get phone calls asking for the date of our next pond tour. To solve the problem we officially launched what will certainly go down in the books as the Worlds Longest Running “Waterscapes Pond Tour!”

Our unique pond tour is the ultimate testimony to our pond construction company. Visit water features we have installed at high profile locations anytime you want. Day or night, rain or shine, hot or cold these ponds will be standing tall waiting for you.

If you’re curious to see what a disappearing pondless waterfall looks like as it disappears into a gravel basin, wanted to hear the audio produced by stand of  5’ tall rock column fountains or watch a group of beautifully colored Koi swim gracefully without a care in the world, this can be experienced on our 365 pond tour.

Plan to attend our summer and fall Pond Tours that offer a special look into private residential backyards displaying other waterscapes and backyard waterfalls that aren’t normally open to the public! Feel free to call our headquarters for more information. (800) 522-5043.  Have a blast and we’ll look forward to your feedback.

http://www.theponddigger.com/365-pond-tour.php

Baby Turtles Saved From Certain Death

Red Eared Sliders

Baby Turtles get a helping hand

Mike LaCombe is the humble owner of perhaps the most well recognized turtle ponds on the Earth right here in California. A pond dedicated to semi-aquatic turtles consumes over a 1/3 of his back yard while the rest of the yard is heavily planted with some of the most exotic plants available in the region.

In this backyard that could compete with most botanical gardens you will come across everything from carnivorous Nepenthes Pitcher Plants, rare cycads, palms, succulents, and unusual ground covers to a wide varieties of cacti, rare clumping bamboo, at least a dozen varieties of elephant ear taros and even a token topiary.

The garden is planted in such a way that there is always something in bloom regardless of season. There are so many cool things going on in this backyard it’s literally impossible to see everything in once visit. In fact, even Mike who spends most of his free time relaxing in this amazing garden can’t catch everything.

More than two dozen semi aquatic turtles dominate the yard and roam freely to do as they please, when the please and with whomever they please if you know what I mean! Well if I must spell it out, the turtles are breeding and laying eggs in the garden when Mike is off to work.

Well late this Summer Mike just happened to be tilling a small section of the garden preparing the area for yet another rare plant. Mike drove a large round spade shovel with the force of a size 12 steel toe boot into hard soil and flipped it upside down and unveiled 13 red-eared slider hatchlings no bigger than a quarter!

Mike is convinced that the little hatchlings would not have made it out of the hard pan soil that he was loosening up for a new exotic plant and even more amazed he didn’t chop one of the little guys up during his work. It’s unbelievable not a single little aquatic reptile was harmed in the action.

The funny thing is, Mike went to a ton of trouble during the construction of this pond to provide a nice sandy beach area for female turtles looking to lay eggs. Mike reports that he frequently finds females wandering the garden looking for obscure places to lay eggs.

These watery little reptiles typically breed in the spring around March but may continue into July. Breeding typically takes place at the bottom of the pond and can carry on for up to 45 minutes! Females may lay as few as a couple eggs however large females can lay up to 30 eggs at a time!

The red-eared slider can lay up to 5 clutches of eggs in once season. Eggs typically hatch in two to three months but can hang on through a long winter waiting for warm weather if laid late in the season.

Watch for yourself how cool Mike’s TURTLE POND DESIGN is on our YouTube video that has over a ¼ MILLION views. The video was filmed a couple of years ago and showcases two little hatchlings that he ran across that year. They baby turtles in the video are completely unrelated to the baby turtles in the photo however might very well be related if you catch my drift. Enjoy!

Turtle Pond Design

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

Koi Face Predator Danger in The Fall

Japanese Koi

Koi in viewing bowl

Blue Heron Warning Report

We get dozens of phone calls each fall, right around the end of September into early October to inquire about an unusually large bird hanging around their pond. After I break the news, you can only imagine the horror on the face of the person that has no idea the bird is actually their too hunt their fish!

Let me just give everyone a friendly warning right here and now. If you have not been visited by a Blue Heron, YET, consider yourself lucky. However, make no mistake about it, these birds are everywhere and when they are on the move, migrating, they just might pit stop at your pond for a little snack; your favorite Koi or fish!

Do yourself and your fish a favor and take a couple of precautions to detour these pesky predators. Do a tune-up on your Scarecrow motion sensor device and if you don’t have one, install one ASAP. Other methods to deter the feathered fish eating predator include putting a net over the pond, stringing piano wire above the pond, installing a patio-style cover, installing fish tunnels or caves for the fish to hide in, putting a dog on patrol next to the pond 24 hours a day, by designing bigger, deeper ponds and I have even heard contrary to my belief, that the alligator decoy works wonders, even here in California!

It has been said that these birds do not tolerate each other, are extremely territorial and will not allow another Heron in close proximity. However, do not fall for; “A statue of a blue heron will keep the bird away”, because I have reports of sexually aroused herons, fornicating with heron statues! Seriously no joke, this is a TRUE STORY!

Now, let me share with you one of my scariest personal pond keeper moments! Several years ago, I was awakened just before dawn by my dogs outside barking franticly. Instinct overtook me; I just knew I had to get to my pond and FAST!

I ran outside, in my skivvies, around the bend, approached my pond and standing in the top shelf of my pond was this humongous, Great Blue Heron! My heart immediately sank. I waved my arms, yelling at the top of my lungs and just before this bird, possibly The Spawn of Satan Himself, displayed this massive wing span of over SIX FEET, the bird glanced behind me as it lifted off.

Freaked by this emotional visual in the birds face, I spun around just in time to watch, what I can only assume was The Spawn of Satan’s mate; lift off from a low branch in my Cedar Deadora Tree over hanging my pond. To add intensity to the already intense moment, the bird had to swoop in a downward motion, towards me, to navigate below the limbs of the tree as a part of its getaway plan! Further solidifying my doubt of the myth, that a statue of a Heron will protect your fish from predation by the Heron!

As you can only imagine, I dropped to my stomach in the cold wet dirt, remember in my skivvies! Oh you think that’s funny do you? Just think what the early bird joggers thought! This pond happens to be in my front yard.

It may seem like these nasty water fowl predators, i.e. egrets, night herons and blue herons, have not bothered your fish all summer, but let me remind you that your water temperatures and the metabolism of your fish are at their peaks in the heat of summer!

You will find that as your water temperature cools in the fall, so will the metabolism of your fish, equaling slower reflex movements from your fish meaning, your fish become much EASIER PREY for the Tyrannosaurus rex of the pond world!

I personally have had the most success keeping these pesky birds away with the use of a motion sensor sprinkler device called, a Scarecrow. Be sure you have a working Scarecrow motion sensor for every 100 square feet of surface area in your water feature to detour predators from hunting your scaled pets that deliver so much tranquility to you year round.

Understand that by design the Blue Heron hunts fish; that by design, camouflage extremely well, in natural ponds, lakes, rivers and streams with sometimes little to no visibility in the water! So you see why a small pond, with brightly colored fish, in crystal clear, two-foot deep water is like a dream meal for these birds.

You have to understand that as the Blue Heron flies over your home on the way to its local fishing hole and spies your pond; a smorgasbord is what crosses the bird’s mind.

Make no mistake; The Blue Heron is a very successful & persistent predator that will literally wait at your water’s edge, motionless, for hours on end, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. The bird even has a trick to lure your fish to the surface for easy pickins’. Regurgitation! That’s right the Blue Heron will often blow chunks, Ralph, barf, puke or whatever you want to call it, into the water, luring your fish to come up for a tasty snack and then, become the meal themselves!

The very latest breaking news I have on these crafty bird’s habits are hunting your ponds on the full moon cycle! These birds are crepuscular, which I have always thought meant that they were by your pond hunting at dawn and dusk! The actual meaning of crepuscular is; active in the twilight! I now have record of a Great Blue Heron hunting right here in my home town, Redlands, California at 10:30 PM on a full moon in September!

Consider starting a Pond Predator Neighborhood Watch Program with your pond buddies! One morning on my way to work I got a call from a fellow pond owner and he said frantically, “Hey Eric, a Blue Heron just left my place and it’s heading in your direction!”

I thought, Cranky! I couldn’t remember if I had turned my Scarecrow back on after feeding my wife’s goldfish pond that morning, so I immediately flipped a U turn, quite possibly illegally, and broke several speed limits headed for home!

As I pulled into the driveway, I couldn’t believe my eyes; the Great Blue Heron was standing right next to my pond and YES the motion sensor was OFF! As the bird took flight, off above the roof tops, I picked up the phone and called a couple pond owner buddies in the wayward direction of the Heron’s route!

Don’t forget to install fresh nine volt batteries to your Scarecrows on a monthly basis because these Feathered Predators will make daily rounds to your water feature testing your consistency! The day that you forget to turn your sensor on, turn off the water source or your battery dies, the bird will be there to capitalize on your forgetfulness.

Respect this amazing bird and focus on the legal things you can do to protect your prized pond fish. Shooting a protected bird species could cost you a fine of up to $20,000.00. Scarecrow motion sensors still cost under a hundred dollars.

Happy Pondering!

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

Dangerous Rule Of Thumb for Koi

How Many Koi Can I Have In My Pond?

This is certainly one of the first questions we inevitably get from new pond owners. Rules of Thumb are great to put you in the ballpark but they really shouldn’t be taken as the end all final decision. I hear this DANGEROUS old RULE OF THUMB from the aquarium hobby brought over to the pond world on occasion. “You can have 1” of fish for every gallon of water.”

Well, that’s great if you have a ten-gallon aquarium with 10 neon tetras and that’s great if you have a ten-gallon pond with ten mosquito fish. Not a good rule of thumb if you have a sixty-gallon aquarium with two 30” Koi! Or in the pond world that translates to thirty-three 30” koi in a 1000-gallon pond. Even a new pond enthusiast knows that’s ridiculously over crowded and a disaster waiting to happen.

So let’s get down to a RULE OF THUMB you can use to help you stock your pond and then we’ll review a few things to help keep you grounded when using a RULE OF THUMB.

If you are consulting with a high-end Koi keeper you will hear rules like one female Koi for every 1000- gallons of water or one male Koi for every 500 gallons of water. For those of you new to the hobby the female Koi gets much larger than the male fish and has much more mass.

This may seem radically conservative to the person that just spend a ton of money installing a 3000-gallon pond in their backyard. That translates to 3 female Koi or 6 male Koi for that 3000-gallon pond.

For most people limiting yourself to one Koi per 250 gallons of pond water is still conservative assuming you have a good life support system on the pond and you aren’t opposed to some routine maintenance. Cleaning skimmers, pre-filters and doing water changes would be standard practice. That translates to twelve Koi in a 3000-gallon pond and since I don’t recommend even numbers in a Koi pond then your target would be eleven Koi in 3000 gallons of pond water.

Buying koi, especially if you are new to the hobby, is a ton of fun and can be incredibly addicting! Taking into consideration the average family with Mom, Dad, and three pack if kiddios. Everyone wants to pick out a few of his or her favorites. Before you know it you have 25 or 30 small koi in your 2000-gallon pond.

That should be fine for a couple of years when the koi are young but then all of a sudden you are grossly overstocked with to many fish. Algae is growing like crazy, the pre-filters need to be cleaned everyday or they stop working and the filters are not keeping up with the amount of fish poo! Let’s do the math. 2000-gallon pond translates to 8 full-grown koi and you have 30! Obvious Solution – Get rid of 22 koi or build a bigger pond. Good Luck telling the kids you need to get rid of a few of their favorite Koi.

If you are starting with small Koi remember they will get big and it really doesn’t take that long. In just two or three years you’ll have a hefty size herd of Koi mobbing around your pond. In my travels I’ve come across a great deal of over crowded ponds with unhappy Koi. One of the worst I’ve seen was a 350-gallon pond with 13 large adult Koi. It’s was not pretty! It was a straight up rescue mission. Don’t put yourself or your Koi in that position.

Here’s a FUN FACT to help you wrap your arms around the demands of large Koi. A 13” Koi weights approximately 1 lb. Guess what a 26” Koi tips the scales at. Approximately 13lbs! When Koi double in size you are looking at more than a tenfold increase in mass! That’s an incredible burden on the ponds life support system!

I can give you a rule of thumb to get you in the ballpark but I can’t express to you enough, the importance of a solid life support system for your pond. Now go do the math on your pond and tell me how your Koi Herd stacks up to this rule of thumb. One Koi per 250 gallons of Pond Water.

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

Koi Fish

Mobbing Herd of Koi

Waterfall Recipes – Dazziling or Disasterous?

Waterfall Recipe for Success

A person in Santa Paula, California considering a waterfall in his backyard has concerns because a friend of a friend said they were a lot of work and had one removed. Please read the following email I just sent him. NOTE: My mother isn’t reading our blogs yet! Shhhhh. Enjoy………

Hey There,

It’s always hard for me to hear details of failed water features from a friend of a friend in a second hand fashion. I don’t tell this to many people, but my Mom is a terrible cook. She couldn’t produce a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies if her life depended on it! Seriously…..

Fact of the matter is, cookies are good, yummy, and delicious. They make my wife and kids smile just looking at one! They go crazy when they smell a batch of cookies baking at the perfect temperature. Touching a warm cookie fresh out of the oven is even a treat and the taste, ahhh that delicious taste.

It’s amazing how many senses a simple chocolate chip cookie touches. We can all be thankful that even though my Mother is a cookie killer, it hasn’t kept the rest of the population frightened of such a wonderful thing.

Now a pondless waterfall on the other hand; Well, 1 bad installation, 1 bad experience, 1 bad contractor deviating from a perfect recipe can produce horrifying results. You can certainly understand how easy it is to destroy a perfectly good thing in the water feature contractor arena.

Just a simple as it is for me to connect you with 1000’s of men, women and children that love chocolate chip cookies, I can literally connect you with 100’s of people that have disappearing waterfalls that couldn’t imagine owning a home without the sound of waterfalls on their property.

I didn’t let my Mother’s poor cooking keep me from the joy’s of eating as you shouldn’t let the poor experience of your friend’s friend keep you from the tranquility a properly installed water feature has to offer.

I will hold your hand through all your concerns and can assure you that it is very possible to have a beautiful, low maintenance disappearing waterfall that you will enjoy for years and years.

By the way, our company will travel to Santa Paula, California for new water feature construction. We have tools and will travel!

Touching People’s Lives With Water,

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

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