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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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