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Five Part Recipe for a Balanced Ecosystem

Skimmer Pre-filter

The Skimmer Pre-filter reduces routine maintenance by removing debris from the surface of the pond before it sinks to the bottom. This allows pond construction at nearly any location, including directly beneath trees. Without a skimmer, the organic debris that sinks to the bottom of the pond decomposes, feeding algae growth and water discoloration. The skimmer requires only two to three minutes every other week cleaning while standing outside the pond-just empty the catch-net when it fills and clean out the filter mat when it needs it. The pump is hidden from sight in the bottom of a skimmer unit. With the pump in the skimmer, there is no risk of pumping all of the water from a pond, protecting fish, plant life and bacterial colonies. The skimmer protects the pump from debris such as fish, leaves, rocks, etc. by trapping waste in a catch area before it reaches the pump. The pump is easily removed from the skimmer by loosening one hand-tightened fitting on the discharge piping above the water line.

Biological Filter and Beneficial Bacteria

The Biological Filter creates a breeding ground for beneficial bacteria and enzymes to colonize. A waterfall filter box creates a perfect base for building a beautiful, leak-free waterfall. A biological filter like a waterfall filter box gets its filtration capacity from the high surface area media inside of it. A biological filter is useless without seeding it with some form of beneficial bacteria. The bacteria colonize and reproduce on the surface of the biological media, so more surface area means more biological action. As water passes through the bacteria colonies, they digest and consume nitrates, ammonia and other chemicals that promote algae growth. The bacteria compete for nutrients with algae and, being the simpler organism, wins out, leaving no nutrients for the algae to bloom from. Most self-contained biological filers such as pressurized or flow-through filters come complete with specially designed media. On the other hand, most waterfall filter boxes have a space intentionally left void and come with media bags for you to fill the filter with the media of your choice. When used in combination with a skimmer pre-filter, a biological waterfall filter box only requires cleaning once a year.

Rocks and Gravel

Rocks and Gravel lining a pond not only looks more natural than a bare black liner but they serve a number of purposes, too. Contrary to popular opinion, adding rocks and gravel actually reduces pond maintenance. Gravel, unlike a smooth pond liner, provides surface area for bacteria to colonize and thus increases biological filtration. Covering the pond liner with gravel also protects the liner from UV rays and damage from animals and other sharp objects. By lining a pond with rocks and gravel, you don't need to worry about your dog or kids jumping into the pond and springing a leak. The rocks and gravel also help hold down the liner during high ground water conditions and creates areas for fish to hide when predators cone around. Finally, a stone bottom is safer to walk on than an exposed slippery rubber liner, making clean-out efforts easier.

Aquatic Plants

Aquatic Plants soften the hard look of the rocks and have several benefits to a pond. Plants provide shade to reduce the amount of algae growth that would otherwise cause your water to turn green or the long strings of string algae that form on the rocks. Floating plants, marginal plants and submerged plants all help consume excess nutrients in the pond water, competing with algae and keeping its growth at bay in another way. We recommend always planting aquatic plants directly into the gravel, as it promotes strong establishment and vigorous growth and the plants will more effectively clean the water when their roots can wander through the gravel. To get rid of unsightly and large planting containers for water plants and plant them directly into the pond gravel, create plant pockets about 6” deep when excavating the pond. Fill the planting pockets with an aquatic planting media after the liner is installed, NOT top soil or clay, and then cover the plant pocket with gravel. We highly recommend that you enhance your aquatic plants diet by using aquatic fertilizer. Fertilizer will promote strong growth, bright and numerous flowers and help the plants establish.

Fun and Beautiful Fish

Beautiful Fish such as Koi and goldfish are enjoyable additions to any water garden. A common fear is that fish in a pond will increase the organic waste that builds up in the pond, but the truth is the opposite. They will enjoy rooting through the gravel and stirring up debris that can then be filtered out by your skimmer pre-filter. If your fish are not over fed, they will keep string algae at bay and remove sludge as they pluck it from the rocks and ingest it. The waste from your fish will be decomposed by the beneficial bacteria in the biological filter and the aquatic plants, providing a supplement nutrient for the latter. Fish can be successfully kept and even bred in water that is only two feed deep as far north as Zone 4.