This is one topic that gets me super hot under the collar. The main reason is, while some pond newbies may repeat incorrect info to friends and family, all of these outright lies that you’re about to see were put out into the pond industry by experienced pond professionals. This means, they know what they’re talking about, but they tell you this so they can either cut corners, or make a job easier for themselves, without regard to how it will affect the future of your pond.
These are businesses trying to force their philosophy on you, the new pond enthusiast, who may not understand what a well filtered, well balanced pond pond needs or doesn’t need.
They try to use lies as a way to sell their “method” of building ponds to pond hobbyists that are new to the world of ponds. This is evil manipulation rivaling Hannibal Lector or Keyser Söze!
See? I get HEATED! Sorry, I’ll let you be the judge
Lie #1 CUTTING THE LINER VOIDS THE WARRANTY
Perpetrated by a contractor that didn’t want to install a bottom drain in a pond. It is not easy to do this properly, and it takes experience. So, while I do understand the motivation behind this lie, being honest with the customer would have been so much better.
A potential client, “Roy” comes to me and says, “I would like to get a quote on having you install a pond.”“Ok,” I say, “What kind of pond would you like; a bottom drain pond, an water garden pond, or an advanced filtration ecosystem pond?”
He responds with, “Oh no, no bottom drain! I don’t want to void my liner warranty.”
Well, I am silent for a moment, sort of in my own head, trying to process what he said, versus what he perhaps actually meant. Finding the true question behind what people ask is definitely high on my job description list.
Finally, unable to come up with what I feel is a logical reason behind his statement, I say, “What?”
Roy responds by explaining in detail, how cutting the liner to install a bottom drain voids the warranty on the liner, and he would never do something to void his warranty…(I am now back inside my head as Roy continues to educate me on liner warranty, trying to figure out how in the heck I am going to handle this situation)…when he pauses, likely having noticed the confusion on my face…and he asks, “Can you install a bottom drain?”
So, after I explained how the liner is cut off of a roll to fit the pond, we cut the liner to attach the skimmer/s, and the waterfall filter, and we also cut holes for the jets, he understands that the bottom drain attachment is just one more in a series of cuts we have to make to the liner, none of which voids the factory warranty, and he is elated.
Turns out, the contractor he nearly hired to build the pond for him, did not know how to install a bottom drain, so opted to outright lie to Roy abut the warranty. This lie did make Roy nervous, and he would have had the contractor put in a pond without a bottom drain, if he hadn’t gotten a bid from us, despite the fact that having a bottom drain was high on his pond priority list.
Lie #2 GRAVEL KILLS KOI
Perpetrated by bottom drain buffs to keep people from building gravel bottom ponds
Whether to have gravel or not is literally the lifelong battle between bottom drain people, and ecosystem pond people. It is like the Hatfields and the McCoys. One side believes that gravel kills koi, and the other side doesn’t. And there is no in between, it seems to be do or die on both sides.
The anti gravel sect believes that gravel becomes a holding place for toxic elements that poison the water and kill your fish. And this can absolutely be true. If you never cleaned your gravel. That said, there are a lot of people that don’t clean their gravel. There are also a lot of people that don’t clean their external filtration equipment on a bottom drain pond. This nets the same result as a pond with dirty gravel; bad water quality, and potentially sick fish.
The truth about gravel, just as with a bottom drain pond is, proper maintenance keeps your fish healthy, and your water clean and clear.
Where this lie bothers me the most is when the pond is brand new. Your pond is complete, you have filled it with water, and you are now adding your first fish. Within a few weeks they are jumping out of the water, appearing to scratch an itch on the side of the pond, getting cloudy eyes, and maybe red spots or even open sores.
If you talk to a koi professional or koi club that only believes in bottom drains, you will practically be flayed with a cat o’ nine tails. They will try to sell you on the story that the gravel in your brand new pond is full of toxic waste, and it is killing your fish.
This info sounds logical to the beginning pond hobbyist, after all, gravel is dirty, right? Well, yes, but not the kind of dirty that they would have you believe. So, they have you tearing down your pond, purchasing a bottom drain, UV, settlement tank, and more to get your pond free of that toxic gravel.
It is simply a sales tactic of the worst variety, because it requires someone that doesn’t fully grasp the way their new hobby works, and are susceptible to bald face lies.
Lie #3. BOTTOM DRAINS SUCK OUT YOUR BENEFICIAL BACTERIA
Perpetrated by a pond contractor to keep people from installing bottom drains, because he didn’t know how to install them.
This lie was so over the top, unbelievably devious, we literally called the company responsible and requested that they stop telling it.
The company claimed that when you use a bottom drain in a pond, the beneficial bacteria is drained away when the water goes through the bottom drain.
Now, after having answered this question a jillion times since we began building ponds, I found that people often picture a pond bottom drain working like a shower drain, pulling dirt and debris from the pond, and dumping it outside of the pond somewhere, and not simply recirculating the water.
The way a bottom drain actually works, is that the debris it removes is simply run through some sort of filtration system and then back to the pond. It is a closed system, and doesn’t actually drain water from the pond.
So, I completely understand that someone new to the pond world, could easily be led to believe that the bottom drain is pulling out poop, and flushing it out of the system, just like a shower drain, but it is simply not true. The bottom drain is designed to catch sinking debris, and then send it to a filter that pulls it out and holds it, sort of like the oil filter on your car. The debris doesn’t leave the system until you clean it.
Part 2 of this lie is that the beneficial bacteria is pretty stationary. After you add it to the water, it attaches on the pond walls, rocks, plants, light fixtures, literally everything that is underwater, and then it starts multiplying. It is not just free floating through the pond all the time. Some may be dislodged, but as soon as they get to the filter, they will attach to the media there, and stay put.
The professional pond company knew this, and yet released the information to get people to believe that the drain removes beneficial bacteria from your pond, so that consumers would not want a bottom drain installed. It is just monstrously inappropriate.
So, who can you trust? Where does that leave you….?
Do your research. Be thorough, and don’t believe everything you read. Even me! Don’t just believe everything you see on our site. Do the research to know that you are on the right path.
Have you been perpetrated in such a horrendous way by a Contractor? Hit me up on Instagram and let me know what happened!