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I think there is a leak in my water garden, but how do I know? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: I think there is a leak in my water garden, but how do I know?

Q: I think there is a leak in my water garden, but how do I know?

Abby – Pueblo, CO

A: What a conundrum! Determining whether you have a leak in your liner—and then finding and fixing it—can be a daunting task. But with a little detective work and these step-by-step instructions, your pond will be holding water again in no time.

A Leak or the Heat?

Let’s determine if you have a leaky pond in the first place. How much water are you losing per day? And what’s the temperature outside? On hot days, it’s common to lose up to an inch of volume from your water garden—but if it’s more than that, you may have a leak.

Finding the Leak

Common places for leaks to spring include around the pond’s perimeter, the area around your waterfall and pump, and your liner. When looking for the leak’s source, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Search for a Wet Spot: First, look for wet areas around the perimeter of your pond. Is water pooling somewhere? Are the weeds thicker or the grass lusher in one area than another? Check the low-lying areas where the liner may not be properly supported. If nothing looks amiss, head over to your waterfall pump.

Step 2 – Leak Check: The easiest way to determine whether the leak is in your liner or in your waterfall box is to turn off the waterfall pump (but keep your aeration going so the water stays aerated) and leave it alone for a few hours. When you come back:

  1. Is the water level the same? If so, your liner is not the culprit so you’ll need to check for problems with your waterfall box.
  2. Has the water level dropped? If so, you have a leaky liner. Jump to step 4.

Step 3 – Waterfall Worries: If your waterfall or waterfall box is the source of your leak, follow these steps to determine where the water could be escaping:

  1. Connections: First check the connections from the pump to the box. Are they loose and dripping, or are they tight?
  2. Cracks in the Box: Next, take a look at the waterfall box itself. Are there any cracks? Is the liner properly attached?
  3. Stream Leaks: Finally, inspect the rocks and liner around the waterfall and stream, making adjustments are needed. Try using some Waterfall Foam to stop water from flowing behind the rocks.

Step 4 – Your Leaky Liner: Finding a hole in a liner isn’t easy. But with a little perseverance, you can locate it and repair it. Here’s how:

  1. Track the Leak: Use Pond Logic® Pond Shade to visually track the leak. Simply add a few drops on the side and watch it as it finds its way to the leak. This will take some time, a few attempts—and patience.
  2. Let It Be: If you have trouble finding it with Pond Shade, let the water slowly go down. (Depending how low it goes, you may need to temporarily relocate your fish.) The water level should stabilize, which will allow you to visually inspect the first few inches of liner above the water surface for the hole.
  3. Repair the Leak: Once you find the hole, patch it up with self adhesive Liner Patch or use some Gold Label Pond Sealer.

Good luck with your search!

Pond Talk: Have you ever had a leak in your pond? How did you find out where it was coming from?

Control Water Flow - Atlantic® Waterfall Foam

Are there different steps for treating a pondless waterfall versus a pond? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: Are there different steps for treating a pondless waterfall versus a pond?

Q: Are there different steps for treating a pondless waterfall versus a pond?

Debbie – Johnston, RI

A: Easy care is one of the most attractive features of a pondless waterfall, particularly for those who have a penchant for ponds but no time to perform routine maintenance on them. You get all the benefits of a water feature—the sound of running water, the added aesthetics in your garden space, even the plants and wildlife that it attracts—but you don’t have to deal with those pesky seasonal chores.

As ideal as they are, pondless water features do require some attention. Here are three simple steps to keep your waterfall looking its best:

1. Keep Your Water Clean and Clear

With no body of water, your pondless feature may not require you to remove muck, fish waste, decomposing leaves or other collected pollutants, but you still should keep the water looking clean and clear. Plan to periodically add some beneficial bacteria, like those found in Liquid Clear™, to gobble through any fine debris that may discolor your water or feed algae blooms.

2. Remove Buildup from Your Rocks

Rocks and other surfaces in your pondless waterfall will no doubt become breeding grounds for string algae and other debris, so take time to remove any buildup with an algaecide, like Algae-Off® String Algae Remover or Oxy-Lift™ Defense®. These fast-acting solutions use the power of oxygen to lift and wash away accumulated algae and muck. For best results, plan to turn off your system’s pump to ensure the powder contacts every surface, restarting it after the product has time to work.

3. Check Your Water Levels

Because the water basin is hidden, you can’t always see how much water there actually is in your pondless waterfall. To prevent your pump from drying up, make sure you periodically check the reservoir — or, better yet, add an auto-fill valve, like the PondBuilder™ Automatic Water Fill Kit, that will refill any water lost to splashing or evaporation. It’s easy to install and can be adapted to any garden hose, ½-inch irrigation line or vinyl tubing.

If things have really headed south, try performing a partial or complete water change along with using some beneficial bacteria. They will get you—and your pondless waterfall—back on track and ready for summer enjoyment.

Pond Talk: What’s your favorite thing about your pondless waterfall or water feature?

Quickly Eliminate String Algae - CrystalClear® Algae-Off®

I am building a pond with a waterfall. With so many pump choices, how do I know what to choose? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

I am building a pond with a waterfall. With so many pump choices, how do I know what to choose?

Q: I am building a pond with a waterfall. With so many pump choices, how do I know what to choose?

Linda – Broomall, PA

A: Fun springtime project ahead! As you’re discovering, building a pond with a waterfall involves some planning and careful consideration—which includes selecting a waterfall pump. Your choice is important because it’ll determine how high you can make your waterfall and how much water will flow down it.

You want more than a trickle, right? Before you go pump shopping, crunch these numbers first:

1. Head Pressure

How high will your waterfall be? This measurement is your head pressure, which is the total number of feet from the top of your waterfall to the top of your pond’s surface. If you’re building a 5-foot-high waterfall, for instance, your head pressure is 5 feet.

Pro tip: If the tubing from your pump to the waterfall is longer than 10 feet, add 1 foot of head pressure for every 10 feet. So in the example above, if your tubing is 14 feet, the head pressure would be 6 feet.

2. Flow Rate

How much water do you want pouring over the falls? This number is your flow rate. The average flow rate is 1,500 gallons per hour for every 1 foot of waterfall width. If your 5-foot-high waterfall is 1 foot wide, you should go with a pump that moves around 1,500 GPH; if it’s 3 feet wide, you should go with a pump that moves 4,500 GPH or so.

Pro tip: If you prefer a lighter water flow, calculate 1,000 GPH for every 1 foot of waterfall width. For a heavier flow, use 2,000.

Going Shopping

With those numbers in hand, you should have a pretty good idea what kind of waterfall pump you’ll need to buy. To make the chore easier for you, we recommend:

For lower-flow waterfalls: If you’re designing a smaller waterfall, check out The Pond Guy® MagFlo™ Pump and The Pond Guy® SolidFlo™ Pump. The MagFlo™ line includes 290, 460 and 590 GPH models with maximum head of 6½ to 7½ feet; the low-profile SolidFlo™ line includes 600, 1,200 and 1,600 GPH models with maximum head of 8 to 11½ feet.

For higher-volume waterfalls: If you’ve got a mini-Niagara Falls in the works, you’ll need a beefier pump, like The Pond Guy® RapidFlo™ or the ShinMaywa® Norus® waterfall pumps. The RapidFlo™ comes in 3,000, 4,000 and 5,000 GPH models with 20 to 32 feet of maximum head pressure. The Norus line includes 3,300 to 11,000 GPH models with maximum head of 19 to 48 feet.

Pond Talk: What advice would you give to someone choosing a waterfall pump?

Vreate Breathtaking Waterfalls & Streams - ShinMaywa® Norus® Waterfall Pumps

Do I have the right filtration system for my pond, or do I need to upgrade? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Do I have the right filtration system for my pond, or do I need to upgrade?

Q: Do I have the right filtration system
for my pond, or do I need to upgrade?

Dee – Russell Springs, KY

A: Pond filtration can be tricky—and confusing. Mechanical filtration is designed to remove solid matter from your pond’s water, but because there are different types and sizes of filters, determining whether you have the right one can be a challenge.

In general, pond product manufacturers offer three types of filters:

  • Waterfall or BioFalls box filter, which works in a 1,000-plus gallon pond
  • Pressurized filter, designed for ponds up to 5,000 gallons
  • In-pond filter, ideal for smaller ponds up to 1,200 gallons

If your filter is correct for your pond’s size but you’re still not achieving crystal clear results, something else could be happening below the surface.

When most people install a pond in their yard, they add a few goldfish or koi for fun and color. The filtration system included with the pond will work just fine—for a while. But before long, Mother Nature will do her thing, and those “few fish” will multiply into a pond full of fingerlings!

All those fry are a sign of a healthy pond, but they produce a lot of waste. In fact, 40 1-inch fish equal one 12-inch fish in terms of waste production. So if that pond is going to be home to all those fish, the old filter will need a little help. It’s time to upgrade to a larger filter or add a second filter.

Pressurized filters, such as The Pond Guy® AllClear™ PLUS Pressurized Filters, are an easy way to add to an existing filter. They’re easily buried in the ground for minimal visual impact, they can be run in line with your existing plumbing if you have a small waterfall, and they come in a range of sizes to fit any size pond. Plus, many models have the option of an ultraviolet light to help fight green water.

Of course, filtration isn’t the only answer. Natural bacteria and aeration greatly help water quality, too.

Pond Talk: How have you upgraded your pond’s filtration system?

3 Types of Filtration, 1 Powerful Unit - AllClear™ PLUS Pressurized UV Filters

Can I continue to run my waterfall over the winter? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Can I continue to run my waterfall over the winter?

Q: Can I continue to run my waterfall over the winter?

Constance – Broomfield, CO

A: The short answer to your question: Sure! Many pond and water garden hobbyists keep their waterfalls running all year long—of course, those in warmer climates are probably more successful than those of us further north when the temperatures dip below freezing!

If you live in a colder region that freezes and you’re thinking about keeping your falls flowing through the wintertime, consider these important points:

  • Is your pump in a skimmer? If so, you may want to move it to a deeper area of your pond that doesn’t freeze.
  • Are you home to keep an eye on things? Ideally, someone should be home to periodically check on the waterfall and make sure it’s not freezing. If it does begin to freeze, the water may begin to divert out of the pond—leaving your fish high and dry.

Keeping your waterfall running during the wintertime has some definite benefits. Snow-covered and shimmering with crystals, a partially frozen waterfall can be a stunning attraction in your backyard. But that’s not all. You may also attract thirsty animals to your pond that decided to brave the winter elements!

Pond Talk: If you keep your waterfall running during the winter, why do you do so?

Protect Your Prized Fish - Pond Logic® KoiAir™ Aeration Kits

What is the difference between a waterfall filter and a pressurized filter? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

What is the difference between a waterfall filter and a pressurized filter?

Q: What is the difference between a waterfall filter and a pressurized filter?

Ryan – Houston, TX

A: Your pond or water garden needs some kind of biological filtration system to keep the water crystal clear. In general, you’ll find two basic types: a waterfall filter and a pressurized filter. Both are comparably priced and work well at cleaning the water and removing suspended particles, but there are some distinct differences.

Waterfall Filter

Typically installed during pond construction and connected to the liner, a waterfall filter, like the PondBuilder™ Crystal Falls Waterfall Filter, is buried in the ground at the top of your waterfall. This allows a place for water to pool, which then creates a smooth, even flow as the water pours down into the pond.

The filter box itself houses the biological filtration media, like bio balls and filter media pads, that are covered with nitrogen- and ammonia-eating beneficial bacteria. Overall, it’s a simple, easy-to-maintain system that can handle high volumes of water.

Pressurized Filter

Unlike the waterfall filter, a pressurized filter, like The Pond Guy® AllClear™ Pressurized UV Filter, can be positioned anywhere outside the pond. The unit holds water pressure, so the filtered water can be routed back to the pond or up to a waterfall, creating a flowing waterfall effect without taking up space at the top of the falls.

As with the waterfall filter, the filter box itself holds the biological filtration media, but it can also house an ultraviolet sterilizer and may even be configured to backflush for ultra-easy maintenance. Another benefit: The pressurized filter is an easy addition to an already-existing pond that needs filtration (or an upgrade).

Purchase Options

When deciding whether to invest in a waterfall filter or a pressurized filter, ask yourself these questions:

  • Given your current pond situation, which one is easier for you to install?
  • What type of filter can accommodate the intended water flow? A waterfall filter can generally handle more water flow than the pressurized model.
  • Do you wish to also use an ultraviolet sterilizer? If so, consider a pressurized filter, like the AllClear™, that includes a built in UV unit.

Pond Talk: What kind of filter do you have in your pond?

The Pond Guy AllClear Pressurized Filters - 3 Types of Filtration, 1 Powerful Unit

Should I build a pond or a waterfall feature? Which is better? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Should I build a pond or a waterfall feature? Which is better?

Q: Should I build a pond or a waterfall feature? Which is better?

Bill – Antioch, CA

A: Ahhh… during the heat of the summer, there’s nothing better than sitting nearby the cool, tranquil trickle of running water flowing from your own fountain.

Water features – whether a half-acre pond with a 6-foot waterfall or a small table-top fountain that sits on your deck – create a slice of personal serenity in your yard or garden, as well as drawing birds, dragonflies and other wildlife.

You know you want some of that tranquility for yourself, but before you rent the Caterpillar and start digging, run through these questions, below. They will help you choose the right type of water feature for you.

What kind of budget do you have?

First of all, consider what kind of money you want to spend. In most cases, the larger the water feature, the more expensive it will cost. If you’re unsure, call a pond-building professional in your area to help you assess your needs and determine your budget.

What kind of space do you have?

Next, take a realistic look at your yard. Is it large or small? How can you blend a water garden and fountain into the existing landscape?

If you have a sprawling backyard with room to build, consider The Pond Guy® 11-by-11 or 11-by-16 foot Pond Kit or the smaller Pondbuilder™ Serenity Pond Kit, all of which include everything needed to build a pond, including fish-friendly rubber liner, underlayment, skimmer, filter, pump, check valve, plumbing fixtures and hardware, and complete instructions with a how-to video. The package even includes some beneficial bacteria to jump-start your feature’s biological filtration.

If you have a postage-size yard or one that’s tightly landscaped, consider a smaller water feature, like one of the Pondbuilder™ Cascading Falls disappearing waterfalls. The kits come in three sizes – 10 inches, 14 inches and 22 inches – and contains a waterfall box, basin, pump vault, pump, liner, underlayment, tubing, waterfall foam, check valve and instructions.

Who will visit your water feature?

Do you have grandchildren or young kids running around the backyard? If so, a waterfall with no open body of water, like the Pondbuilder Cascading Falls, would be an ideal choice. You’ll be able to enjoy the sound of running water without the potential danger.

Perhaps, however, you want your pond to be open – thanks to a water-loving dog sharing your house, a blooming love for tropical water lilies or a brand new fish-keeping hobby. If that’s the case, then consider a Pondbuilder™ Serenity Pond Kit or one of The Pond Guy® Professional Pond Kits, both geared toward to do-it-yourselfers.

How much maintenance time do you have?

Finally, think about your schedule and what you enjoy doing. Do you work long hours and simply want a peaceful place for an occasional night on the back porch? Do you like to have the sounds of running water – but without all the maintenance? If so, Pondbuilder Cascading Falls is right for you.

If you’re a gardener, or someone who spends a lot of time outdoors working in the yard, tending your plants and improving the landscape, then one of the pond kits, like a Pondbuilder Serenity Pond or The Pond Guy’s Professional Pond, should be your pick.

Pond Talk: What was the first type of water feature you had?

The Pond Guy Professional Pond Kits - Create Your Own Backyard Oasis

How do I remove algae and debris from my waterfall? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

How do I remove algae and debris from my waterfall?

Q: How do I remove algae and debris from my waterfall?

Richard – Wexford, PA

A: Get out your hip waders. It’s spring cleaning and summer chore time in your pond! Getting rid of all that debris and gunk that has accumulated in your waterfall is probably one of the items on your to-do list, especially if you have patio and pond parties planned, right?

Don’t worry: Waterfall cleaning isn’t a backbreaking chore. And if you use a cleaning aid, like Pond Logic® Oxy-Lift™ Defense® Pond Cleaner, the task is made even easier. Here, we’ve outlined five simple steps for cleaning your waterfall using Oxy-Lift™.

1. Power down your pump. Before you begin, turn off your waterfall’s pump to stop the water flow and allow it to drain from the feature. Oxy-Lift™ works best when it’s undiluted and comes into direct contact with the gunk, so no-flow is the way to go.

2. Sprinkle Oxy-Lift™ over waterfall. Once the waterfall is drained, sprinkle some of the powder over the moist debris-covered rocks, using the amount recommended on the product label for your water feature’s size and/or the area you’re treating.

3. Wait 10 minutes. Go pour yourself a tasty beverage and enjoy it pond-side while the Oxy-Lift™ activates and starts cleaning. The bacteria-free product uses the fish- and plant-safe power of hydrogen peroxide to “lift” debris from pond liners, rocks, gravel and waterfalls – which means little or no work from you!

4. Add some elbow grease. For tough, stuck-on debris, you may need to lightly scrub the waterfall’s surfaces to help loosen it. A pond brush, like the one that comes with The Pond Guy® 3-in-1 Combo Net, can help – particularly as it’s attached to a telescoping pole that extends to 5 feet long. You can also use the net to scoop out larger chunks of debris.

5. Turn waterfall back on. When you’re happy with your (and Oxy-Lift’s) work, turn the waterfall pump back on and congratulate yourself for a job well done. If you use Oxy-Lift™ regularly as part of your pond maintenance routine, it will reduce or even eliminate yearly pond shut-down and clean-out.

A quick tip for those who spruce up their pond prior to a backyard shin-dig: Oxy-Lift™ will temporarily make the pond water cloudy, so do your chores the night before. That will give the product a chance to disperse and clear before guests arrive.

Pond Talk: How often do you clean your waterfall?

Pond Logic Oxy-Lift Defense - Remove Stubborn Debris With Ease

Does Filter Media Need To Be Replaced Each Year? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Does Filter Media Need To Be Replaced Each Year? Does Filter Media Need To Be Replaced Each Year?

Sandra – Granger, IN

There is an assortment of filter media out there in the pond world from filter pads to bio-ribbon to bio-balls. Knowing when to replace it or clean it is critical to keeping your pond in tip-top shape. Spring is the perfect time to inspect and, if necessary, replace filter media in the following 4 areas.

Skimmers: Your skimmer is the first line of defense in collecting debris and protecting your pump. Most skimmers have a filter pad to remove finer debris. Check the media for frayed edges or tears and replace it needed. Most skimmer manufacturers offer replace filter pads but if you’re like me and like to save a little money, it’s much easier and economical to cut your own. Check out our 1” and 2” filter media pads that you can purchase by the foot.

Waterfall Filters: If you have a waterfall filter, this is the main filtration area of the pond. Most standard filter media pads in the waterfall filter should be replaced once each year. You can get a little more life out of filter pads by going with Matala Filter Pads. These filter pads are built to last and can last usually 2 to 3 seasons. Also, the waterfall filter is a great place to add additional media such as bio-ribbon or bio-balls. These types of media rarely need replacing.

In-Pond Filters: If you have an In-Pond Filter, such as a Pondmaster Pond Filter or ClearSolution, have their own types of media. For instance the Pondmaster Pond Filter contains not only a filter pad, but also a carbon pad that should be replaced each season. The ClearSolution contains bio-media rocks that should be inspected and replaced every couple of seasons.

Pressurized Filter: This is similar to the In-Pond Filter, Pressurized Filter Media should be replaced each season to ensure the best possible filtration.

If you are unsure which media to purchase, simply give us a call, we are glad to help.

Matala Filter Media Pads

What Can I Do To Maintain My Pond This Season? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Can sidewalk salt be used to melt the ice off my pond?

This will be our first full season with our pond. What should we do for proper maintenance?

Joe – Aurora, CO

The first season with your new pond can be an exciting and relatively hassle free endeavor, as long as you take the right precautions to maintain it properly. Lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place to learn exactly what you’ll need in order to successfully maintain your pond for the season.

Remember, a balanced ecosystem is key. Listed below are the main elements used to maintain a balanced pond.

Filtration – Whether you have a waterfall, pressurized or gravity type filter, make sure the included Filter Media is clean and in good condition. Mechanical filtration like skimmer filters should be cleaned regularly to prevent clogging. Biological filter media, like the pads in your waterfall or bio-media in your pressurized filter, should be cleaned sparingly to promote an accumulation of water-filtering beneficial bacteria.

Fish – The highlight of many ponds, fish add color and life to your decorative pond. They also, however, add waste and nutrients that can quickly accumulate and unbalance your pond. 1-inch of fish for every square foot of surface area is a rough guideline for maximum fish load. Keep in mind that your fish are continually growing. That means your 3 inch fish that were added last year are now 4-6 inch fish which more than doubles the waste that needs to be filtered. The more fish you have and the frequency at which you feed them plays a large role in how much filtration you will need to remove this additional waste.

PlantsAquatic Plants are an enormous natural boon to your water garden or fish pond. Not only do they provide habitat for your fish, maintaining 40-60% plant coverage shades your pond and prevents dramatic increases in water temperature on sunny days. Plants also provide additional natural filtration as they extract nutrients from the water added by organic debris and fish waste.

Aeration – Proper aeration is another key factor for pond maintenance. An aeration kit like the Pond Logic® PondAir™ or KoiAir™ will provide extra circulation to keep debris from accumulating at the bottom of the pond while increasing oxygen levels for your fish and water-filtering aerobic bacteria.

Natural Pond Treatments – Natural products like those contained in the Pond Logic® DefensePAC® will greatly increase water quality by boosting aerobic bacteria counts, binding up phosphates from organic material and eliminating organic debris.

Including each of these key pond elements in your water garden or fish pond greatly reduces stress and guesswork associated with a troublesome unbalanced pond. Simply put, a stable ecosystem means less work on your part. If a problem does arise, you can then pinpoint and adjust whichever element above that is throwing your pond out of balance.

Pond Talk: Is your pond balanced? If not, have you discovered which of the key elements is missing or lacking?

Pond Filtration Media

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