Pond Supplies, Waterfalls, & Koi Pond Construction

Posts Tagged Filtration

3 Horrible DIY Pond Builder Mistakes

3 Horrible DIY Pond Builder Mistakes

According to The Pond Digger, These Are The Most Dangerous DIY Pond Builder Mistakes

We spend a great deal of time helping Do-It-Yourselfers design and build their dream ponds. Its a great job, and the reward of seeing people get their hands dirty bringing their dreams to fruition is priceless. When we get pictures of clients standing next to their completed projects, with that ear to ear grin, so proud of the beautiful thing they have created with their own blood, sweat, and tears, it is the ultimate reward.

On the flip side, one of the most challenging conversations we handle, on the daily, is helping the DIYer with their problematic pond because they started their project without professional guidance. My husband, Eric Triplett, The Pond Digger spends a great deal of time with weekend warriors in their backyards after the fact. Wouldn’t you prefer to have Eric in your backyard before you start the project for pre-pond build guidance rather than after your project for post-pond build guidance?

Here is are the three most common DIY Pond Builder mistakes we experience on a regular basis.

1. FRANKENPONDS!!!

People see lots of ideas on the internet. They like a certain skimmer, the water clarity on this system, they want a bottom drain, plants, no gravel on the bottom, but gravel on the shelves, (WHAT??!!?!) purple elephants, pixies spreading wildflowers, and then they want all this random equipment they’ve gathered to function perfectly together.

They basically pull equipment they like, out of different pond set ups they like, smoosh it all together, and hope it will all work. By mixing parts of successful recipes for pond construction they are creating dysfunctional systems, just like Dr Frankenstein did in Mary Shelley’s novel.

The results are often as devastating for the pond owner and their fish, as they were for Dr Frankenstein, resulting in high ammonia, not enough oxygen, poor circulation, no water clarity, and out of control algae!

Pick a pond build recipe that works, and stick to it.

2. JUST ENOUGH INFO TO BE DANGEROUS.

At the beginning of their project, these weekend warriors spend their time researching all things pond, so they can be informed when it comes time to purchase the kit from us. The challenge of separating the wheat from the chaff of info on the ‘net in the pond world, is just like everything else on the internet. There is just too much, and soon enough, you must stop or lose your mind.

Now they are diving in without enough info to achieve the goals and expectations they have for their pond.

I recently had a DIY pond guy decide he would build a pond just like Eric did on Snapchat.

When he sent me his pond size, and equipment list, I had to put on the brakes.

While the components he had were generally correct, they were not correctly sized for his feature.

He would have been sorely disappointed with his results, because he thought he knew what he needed, but didn’t understand the specifications.

That’s okay though, I’m here to help.

3. GO BIG OR GO HOME.

Not just a suggestion, but akin to a command, maybe with a little less force. ūüėČ Reconsider your size.

Not going big enough in the first place accounts for over 30% of The Pond Digger Construction projects, because the homeowner didn’t want to get crazy and build a lake in their yard. I’m telling you, get crazy. In about a heartbeat, that 8 x 11 pond will be looking small.

You’re going to want to start with 3 or 4 koi, then someone gives you their koi because they are moving away, then you get a koi for your birthday, then you go to a show, and pick up a super cool koi like you’ve never seen before, suddenly your koi spawn and you want to keep the babies, and then…..you can see where I’m going here, right?

Don’t forget, these are living, breathing, critters that GROW. So, you bought 4 cute little six inchers, that are now a whopping 24 inches, and that’s not even counting the motley crew that were added by circumstance. See? Your pond is too small.

Just go big in the beginning, it will save you in the end.

Do It Yourself Photos from a few of our clients

Charla Hatch – Snowflake, Arizona

Geoffrey Hayes – Hampton, Illinois

Geoffrey Hayes – Hampton, Illinois

Thomas Banneck- Muskogee, Oklahoma

Theresa Corkill

Jaimie Russell – Hawaii, Hawaii

For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Leslie Triplett
The Pond Gal

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First Thing A Pond Pro Notices When He Sees Your Pond

First Thing A Pond Pro Notices When He Sees Your Pond

So, you know how when the house cleaner is coming over to clean, you pick up the house, or when you drop your car off to the mechanic, you wash it?

What would you do if The Pond Digger was coming to see your pond?  What you believe is bad or dirty may be significantly different than what he notices.

Eric does pond inspections all the time. ¬†Sometimes the owners know they have a particular problem, like the water is so green, you can’t see the fish, or the pump stopped working, or the pond isn’t holding water. ¬†But he also does inspections where the owners just want a “check up”, so to speak.

If you were having Eric stop by to check on your pond, what “house cleaning” would you do before he got there?

Empty your skimmer, clean the leaf trap, wash the filter pads, trim up the plants?

Well, while he will certainly peek at those things, what he is really going to look at is circulation, aeration, population, and Algae but for the sake of the rhyme, let’s say algification.

Those four things are going to tell him a lot about your pond, without lifting a finger to open a pond filter.

CIRCULATION

Circulation is nearly the be all, end all, of your pond.  

If the water is not moving through the life support and filtration equipment fast enough, and the pond is not turning enough times an hour, we know there will be water quality issues, without even running a test.

Your pond should be turning at least 4-6 times an hour if it is under 2000 gallons, 2 times an hour for 3000-6000 gallons, and at least hourly if larger than that.  Until to get to a pond that is nearly a lake.  Then the game changes.

We also want to avoid dead spots in ponds. ¬†Areas where the water doesn’t move will allow wind blown¬†debris to settle to the bottom of the pond, where it will decay, and create water quality issues.

AERATION

Aeration is important not only to help get oxygen in the water for the fish, but also to help break down debris in the pond more quickly.

Without getting too high school chemistry on you, the positive ions on the oxygen molecules bond with negatives ions on hydrogen sulfide molecules (rotting debris in the pond molecules) and through a chemical reaction, help to break down the debris.

Aeration can be provided either through air bubbles from an air pump, or from the waterfall pounding on the water, breaking the surface tension, and allowing oxygen to be pulled down into the water.

POPULATION

Fish population is a huge clue about your pond. ¬†If your fish are 5 years old, and still only 6″ long, we know that you have not been doing your water changes, so your water quality is poor even if all the tests say your water is great!

Fish, like people, release pheromones into their environment. ¬†Unlike a person’s environment, in a pond those pheromones can’t blow away on the wind. ¬†

They are trapped in the water like a closed up room traps air. ¬†Think of the smell in a teenage boy’s bedroom!!!! ¬†¬†Unless you do a water change, those pheromones stay put.

Pheromones tell fish a lot of things, but one specific thing they say is, to grow, or not to grow. ¬†If the pheromone level is high, they don’t grow. ¬†So, we know, if your fish aren’t growing, the pheromone level is high, so you haven’t been doing water changes.

ALGIFICATION

Now, this is a pond, not a pool, so we WANT algae.  Yup, you read that right.  Algae in a pond is good.  But, not ALL algae is good.  

A nice layer of algae coating the liner, ¬†rocks and gravel in your pond, is just what the Digger ordered, but if you have chunky, bubbly, algae floating on the surface, a boatload of stringy algae, or so much green algae you can’t see 2″ into your water, there may be something fishy in your set up. ¬†Pun TOTALLY intended.

These types of undesirable algae can indicate poor filtration, too much food, debris build up, proper maintenance failure, low oxygen, and much more.

So, go try to evaluate your pond like Eric would.  Assess your circulation, aeration, population, and algification, get it all in order, and you will be well on your way to celebration!

If you are interested in a personal pond Inspection from The Pond Digger himself, feel free to call and schedule an appointment at 800-522-5043.

Heading into fall is one of the best times of the year to schedule small tune ups on your water feature.

For daily pond pros tips follow us on SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Leslie Triplett
The Pond Gal

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The Worst Pond Myth, Busted WIDE Open

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The Worst Myth Pond Myth, Busted WIDE Open

I seem to start off a lot of these blogs with “I got a call from a client…” I do, I know, but answering the phone calls, and everyday questions that people have gives me the insight to answer the questions you may have also.

So, I got a call from a client the other day asking about enlarging his pond:

He said slotspie he thought it was about time since his 5 koi had been in one of those 100 gallon home depot ponds for the last TEN YEARS?!?!!??!?!!?

He tells me they’ve been fine in there, and they are healthy, so he doesn’t need much more in the way of filtration, or size really, but just a little bigger might be nice. And he truly believes this.

He thinks these fish, that should be 32″-36″ by now, with a girth the size of a dinner plate, are happy and healthy.

I do have to say, I think I held my poker face pretty well. My soul was dying, my brain was sizzling into a little pile of mush, and my heart was broken for those poor koi. After 10 years, they are only 12″ long.

thanksgiving-koi

Not only are these fish NOT healthy, but they are NOT happy, and they are seriously stunted. Perhaps for life now. They need a proper sized home, proper filtration, frequent water changes, and a good diet, STAT!

Okay, I’ll lighten up, I guess this is a “first world problem”, right? But still, if I can prevent this from happening to more koi, I will.

So let me try to bust this myth wide open, one more time:

Fish do not grow to the size of their environment

They are limited by the pheromone level and water quality in the pond.

The pheromone level is determined by the quantity of fish, and the frequency of water changes.

The more you change the water, the lower the pheromone level will be. Plus, water changes equal lower ammonia, nitrites, and more.

I’ve seen 24-30″ fish in a tiny child’s wading pool. They grew that large in just a few years with superb water quality due to excellent filtration and frequent water changes.

While they would’ve been happier in something larger, (which they did get) at least we knew they were healthy, because they had achieved proper size.

Pheromone level is what allows the fish to grow. Keeping them in too small a pond, without proper filtration, nutrition, and water changes not only stunts their growth, but also slowly kills them.

I’m not talking slowly like, ya, once we’re born, we’re all slowly dying. I’m talking, these gorgeous, amazing fish that can live for more than 100 years, are dying in as little as a few years.

thanksgiving-koi-underwater

So, if you want koi, plan on BARE MINIMUM 250 gallons per adult male koi, and 500 gallons per adult female koi in your pond.

For instance, if you want 10 female koi, you need at least a 5000 gallon pond. If you want a big herd of koi, build 20,000 gallons.

A 5000 gallon pond isn’t for everyone though, and I do understand this. But it is pretty simple. If you want a 100 gallon courtyard pond, don’t put koi in it.

Put some nice goldfish in there, like Shubunkins, Comets, or Black Moors. They stay relatively small, and while you still can’t have oodles in there, a couple of these guys in 100 gallons with proper filtration, and water changes will be A-okay.

For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, Instagram, FaceBook, and Twitter

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

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4 Simple Tricks To A Beautiful Pond

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4 Simple Tricks To A Beautiful Pond

Too much food, too many fish, no water changes, and poor filtration are the main reasons ponds get a bad reputation. Ugly, smelly, green, or with a ton of algae, these problems are easily solved with a few simple changes.

Getting clean, clear water is easy if you have a few important pieces of equipment, and some simple, routine maintenance tricks in place.

FILTRATION

cat-pond

Make sure you have enough filtration for the size pond you have. When I say enough, I really mean, add more…..more is better….basically, you can never get enough filtration.

Keep in mind that pond filters are designed to support the amount of fish life your pond is SUPPOSED to have. You and I both know, your pond, my pond, her pond, his pond, has waaaaay too many fish.

First, when it comes to filtration, you must understand this, if a filter says it is for a 3000 gallon pond, the manufacturer is expecting you to have about 6 koi in that 3000 gallon pond, so that filter is for a 3000 gallon pond with SIX koi. See what I mean?

Put filters on there like to support the quantity of koi you KNOW you will put in your pond, and then CLEAN them.

Don’t wait for the little light to tell you it’s time to clean.

Don’t do it once a month because someone told you.

Don’t wait until the pump slows down because the filter is clogged.

Clean it often. Test your routine by occasionally cleaning the filter between the normal cleaning times that you’ve set up, and see if the water comes out dirty. If it does, step up your routine.skimmer-dog

USE A SKIMMER

Plus, put a skimmer on your pond. If you have a pump in the bottom of the pond, it pulls every bit of debris that hits your pond’s surface directly to the bottom of the pond. Then all that debris sits there and decays. Does that make sense?

A pump in the bottom of the pond means your pond is designed to collect debris at the bottom.

A pump in a skimmer pulls the debris in to the skimmer into some kind of handy little device that allows you to take it out of the pond, and put it in the mulch pile.

AVOID OVERCROWDING and OVERFEEDING

You and I both know that we have too many fish in our pond, and we feed them more than we should. I mean, they’re so cute when they’re begging and sucking on your fingers or toes, you just can’t help it.

So, the first step is when your pond is full, and you know you shouldn’t put any more fish in there, stop putting fish in there. Just say no.

Don’t put yourself in the path of temptation!

Stay away from the fish that are for sale when you buy your koi food. Get your food, and go home.

The next step is to try to feed only what your fish need to thrive, and not what your heart wants to feed them.

The general rule of thumb is, the amount of food that they can consume in just a minute or two, or the equivalent amount of food to the size of their eyeball. I know that just freaked you out. I like feeding my fish too.

These are the toughest things to overcome, but if you succeed, your water quality will show it, in a good way.

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WATER CHANGES

The last tip is to do frequent water changes. Not the whole pond, not even half, but the equivalent of 10-20% on a monthly basis divided into small weekly portions will have a startling affect on your water clarity and cleanliness.

If your pond is 1000 gallons, try doing a 50 gallon water change every week.

See, that’s not much, you very likely can do this much simply when cleaning the filters correctly, and in the right time frame.

I’ve seen some grossly under filtered, crazily overcrowded, insanely overfed ponds in amazing shape due to regular water changes. It’s almost shocking.

These simple little changes will create a huge difference in your pond, and you will be back to loving it before you know it.

For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

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11 Things All Ponds Need, #2 Will Rock You

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11 Things All Ponds Need, #2 Will Rock You

1. ALGAE

I know this is hard to believe but algae..YES ALGAE! 9 our of ten pond owners see algae and assume they have a dirty pond! Algae has several important functions in your pond such as helping filter the water to keep it clear, giving your fish something to graze on, providing hiding spots for baby fish, giving your koi somewhere to lay their eggs, and making your pond look more natural.

2. SALT

Fish need salt. They use it in many bodily functions, just like people. It makes their heart beat correctly, as well as helping other internal organs function correctly, helps fish perform osmosis, fight off parasites, build up their protective slime layer, and can help reduce uptake of ammonia and nitrites. Use a good quality pond or aquarium salt, free of iodide. Buy Pond Salt Here!

3. BACTERIA

 

Yes, your pond needs bacteria. I’m not talking flesh eating bacteria here! We want “good” bacteria that helps to break down excess fish waste, plant debris, and fish food that can turn into undesirable algae, ammonia, and nitrites. All bothersome to either you or your fish.

Beneficial bacteria, can also help improve your filtration if your pond is overcrowded with fish, like mine! Check out the Professional Strength water treatments we use on all of our ponds! Buy Beneficial Bacteria Here

4. POND PLANTS

Pond plants are excellent at helping reduce the nutrient build up in your pond that allows undesirable algae to grow. While a nice biofilm of algae on the rocks is very beneficial, we want to avoid an outbreak of string, mat, or pea soup algae. Pond plants consume all the same nutrients the “bad” algae grows on, and can out compete it, reducing the growth of it. They take all those icky nutrients, and turn them directly into beautiful leaves and blooms. Plus, your fish like to chew on pond plants, especially beautiful, yummy, lily blooms.

5. BIO-FILTRATION

Filters capture the free floating debris that can settle out and cause your water quality to deteriorate. When you empty the filter the captured nutrients are removed entirely from the system, creating clean, clear water that you and your fish will love.

6. AERATION

Aerators help to agitate the surface of the pond, allowing oxygen exchange to occur. This oxygen exchange will help to break down undesirable nutrient build up, reducing ammonia and nitrites to keep your fish happy and healthy. This surface agitation also allows more oxygen to get into the water column for your fish to breath.

7. SURFACE SKIMMING

 

Surface skimming helps to reduce the debris that actually settles to the bottom of the pond. The skimmer will catch the debris in a handy little net or basket, that can be easily cleaned to remove the decaying material from the water column. The less debris that hits the bottom of the pond, the better your water quality will be! Our favorite pond skimmer of all time is The Helix Pond Skimmer! Buy The Helix Pond Skimmer Here

8. FISH

Fish, in moderate numbers, actually help perform a valuable service in the pond. As they swim along the bottom, they will stir up debris that has settled there so the filtration system has a second chance to remove them from the water column and they eat undesirables like mosquito larvae!

They also provide some nutrients, (poop) in a very easily broken down form for the plants to quickly absorb and make in to beautiful blooms.

Plus, koi over 16″ can do some serious damage to string algae. They suck that stuff up like spaghetti noodles!

9. SUN

Sunshine feeds your plants, and allows that beautiful layer of lovely biofilm algae to grow on your pond walls. So, you might say, sunshine helps filter your pond!

10. CIRCULATION

Proper circulation helps prevent debris from getting captured behind rocks, plants, and gravel. Captured debris begins to decay, creating problem algae, and undesirable water quality.

11. MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE

Designing a regular maintenance schedule for your pond, and sticking to it will help keep your pond from getting dirty. Weekly water changes, filter back washes, and skimmer basket cleaning, help remove decaying material from your pond before they get a chance to cause a negative affect.

Trimming plants regularly helps reduce leaves and stems in your pond, and checking on your equipment will keep your pond in tip top shape for years to come.

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For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, Instagram, FaceBook and Twitter.

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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