Ecosystem Ponds are LOW maintenance!

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Ecosystem ponds are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful additions you can add to your property. A pond will become the focal point of your property, creating a tranquil and serene environment where you will enjoy countless hours of relaxation for many years to come. Some people will look at these ponds and start to wonder…. what is the maintenance like? Is it a lot? Can I handle this? That’s a great question! The good news, ecosystems ponds are actually very easy to maintain, and we are here to tell you what you need to know about them!

Our ecosystem ponds are constructed in a way that mimics mother nature, as we like to say, “we like to work with mother nature, not against her”. A properly constructed ecosystem pond is low maintenance, however that does not mean NO maintenance. Luckily ecosystem ponds have at most very low and simple weekly, if not monthly maintenance versus their traditional formal koi pond counterparts that have over complicated rotating drum filters or bead filters with over complicated plumbing that stand out like a sore thumb and are an eye sore to stare at, which also require cleaning and maintenance once a week or sometimes even more frequent than that, requiring you spending several hours of your day to do so. Whew, that sounds exhausting already!

Let’s get straight to the point, so you can make up your mind if an ecosystem pond is for you so you can start enjoying the pond lifestyle sooner than later. Because we grantee you, your only regret will be you didn’t get a pond sooner. If you don’t believe us, check out our YouTube channel of all our happy Long Island customers!

So, what does the homeowner’s maintenance on an ecosystem pond look like?

(Skip to the conclusion for a quick summary if you don’t want to read the whole article, which includes detailed information)

  1. Our ponds are either constructed with an aquascape skimmer or what we call an “intake bay”. Depending on where your pond is located and how many trees are near it will dictate how often you will need to empty your skimmer basket. This is a very simple task, if you are familiar with a pool skimmer, its exactly like that. All you need to do is open the skimmer cover, pop the basket out, empty it out and place it right back. If you have a constructed intake bay on your pond, you will simply take a pond net, and skim the leaves right out. Emptying the skimmer basket or skimming an intake bay will be a once-a-week routine if you have trees near your pond. If you don’t have a lot of debris falling near your pond, you may only have to do this once a month at most! Talk about simple. (PRO TIP: if you have a lot of trees and debris falling where you want your dream pond to be installed, our professionals recommend you a constructed intake bay over a skimmer for lower maintenance)
  2. One of the key components of an ecosystem pond is beneficial bacteria!!! Just like in nature, where beneficial bacteria exist, our ecosystem ponds need beneficial bacteria to be present for the pond to thrive and function properly. Remember, we are replicating mother nature right in your backyard at a smaller scale! What are beneficial bacteria and why is it important? Beneficial bacteria are microbes found in natural bodies of waters such as lakes and ponds, they are responsible for reducing fish waste, organic plant material, sludge, pond scum, and excess nutrients in your pond. SO YES, it’s important! What does this mean for the homeowner? As an owner of a pond, you will need to add the appropriate amount of liquid or powder beneficial bacteria for your pond’s size once a week. For homeowners that want to be completely hands off as they can over their pond maintenance, we do sell a dosing system we can install that will add the appropriate beneficial bacteria dosage daily just like an IV pump. All you must do is change the bag inside the dosing system for the size pond you have, which will eliminate the need of manually dosing the pond weekly.
  3. Cleaning the filter mat inside the skimmer. This is dependent on how much debris is getting in your pond, how many fish you have, how much excess fish food there is in the pond, etc. Basically, we like to keep things simple, you will clean this filter mat if you see the water flow of the waterfalls decrease, if there is a decrease in flow in your waterfalls you may want to look at your skimmer filter mat and see if it is clogged. If the filter is dirty and clogged all you need to do is remove the skimmer basket, pull the filter mat out and rinse it down, and put it back. While you do this, it is a good time to look at the pump to see if there is anything clogging or stuck on the pump which would cause decreased waterflow for the waterfalls. This can usually be a monthly or every couple of months affair, like we said, super simple and LOW maintenance.
  4. Cleaning the biological filter’s filter mats is something that should be done early in the spring and again in the fall. Sometimes depending on how much fish a pond has, how often they are being fed, how much debris gets in the pond you would need to do a mid-summer filter cleaning as well. Just like everything else, this is easy to do. All you must do is pull out the filter mats out of your biological filter, clean any debris stuck to them and rinse them down and place them back in. For those homeowners that don’t want to it themselves, we can take care of this for you during your spring clean out and fall winterization visits!
  5. A pond just like a pool, or any other body of water will experience evaporation especially during the summer. This means that the homeowner must add water to the pond. A pond can lose up to an average of 1-3 inches of water weekly during the hot summer months believe it or not! So, you may have to add water to your pond weekly during the hotter months of the season. As always, we have a simple solution for those homeowners who want to be completely hands off with the maintenance and just want to enjoy their pond! We can install an auto fill valve to your pond that will automatically fill your pond up when the water level falls below a certain level. Set and forget is the best!
  6. In the fall time we recommend homeowners to net their pond before the leaves on the trees start to fall, this will prevent excessive amounts of leaves decaying in your pond over the winter, causing poor water quality for your fish. After all the leaves fall off the trees, it is important to remove the net over your pond, you do not want to leave this net up over the winter! This is also a service we do provide, along with our winterization close outs! Let us take care of this work so you can just enjoy the pond!

***Important maintenance*** for your ecosystem ponds that should be done every year! We offer and highly recommend these services to make the homeowners life easier. Sit back and leave the dirty work to us!

Winterization close out

As the year comes to an end, you are going to want to winterize your pond properly. Just like a swimming pool, your pond needs to be shut down if you choose not to run the waterfalls over the winter. That is a decision every homeowner needs to make as there are pros/cons to consider, this is a topic that has been discussed on a previous article on our website, so go check that out if you haven’t.  Winterizing your pond should include removing the net of your pond once all the leaves have fallen off the trees, trimming back any aquatic plants in your ponds, cleaning all filter mats, removing your pump and check valve, blowing out and capping all plumbing lines, disconnecting/storing any additional equipment that your pond has (string algae eliminators, dosing systems, autofill valves, etc.). Turning on or setting your aerators to the appropriate level in your pond or placing a deicer to keep an open hole in the ice when your pond freezes over in the water allowing oxygen exchange, so your fish don’t die. Winterizing your pond properly is one of the biggest maintenances you must do for your pond during the year as well as the spring cleaning and start up. Luckily for you, this is a service we offer so you do not have to worry about it. But if your ambitious and want to tackle it yourself, feel free to do so! However, as a warning, just make sure it is done properly! Incorrect winterization can lead to dead fish or broken plumbing lines which can be a costly fix!

Spring Clean out/start up

Spring clean out/start up is the most important routine maintenance for ecosystem ponds that should be done yearly during early spring and should not be skipped. A spring clean out is important because it is the deep cleaning your pond needs every year. Keeping your pond clean by getting rid of the organic matter such as uneaten fish food, leaves, fish waste that has broken down throughout the year that turns into muck and sludge out of your pond. This will keep your ecosystem healthy which is important for your fish pets, as well as for your own visual pleasure, who doesn’t want to maintain crystal clear water all year round? A spring clean out includes draining your pond water into fish holding tanks, taking your fish out of the pond, and placing them in the holding tanks, placing an aerator/net to keep your fish safe while they’re in the holding tank. At this time all your filter mats will be cleaned, your pond and waterfall rocks and gravel will be carefully power washed, all the muck and sludge at the bottom of your pond will be rinsed out and removed out of the pond. This visit is also important because it allows a professional to lay eyes on your pond every year and point out any issues that may need to be addressed. If the homeowner has any water lilies, they would be repotted with new aquatic soil and fertilized. We would also plant any new additional aquatic plants at this time. Your pump and check valve would be reinstalled, and your system started up for the season. All water treatments necessary would be added at this time, or your doser (if you have one) would be reinstalled. If the water drained out of your pond was clear and healthy, we would reuse that water by pumping it back into the pond from the holding tanks. If the water was not reusable, we would have to fill up the pond using new water from a hose, remember to always add a pond detoxifier to the water and acclimating your fish before putting them in the new added water otherwise you could kill them. Once the pond is filled up, your fish would safely be transferred back into the pond. Now your pond is started up and ready to go for the season!

Recap: Ecosystem ponds are very low maintenance but are not NO maintenance. These ponds will require some level of low maintenance by the homeowner. As stated, a homeowner will have to make sure to add beneficial bacteria weekly, add water to the pond due to evaporation as needed, empty the skimmer basket weekly if required, clean all filter mats during early spring and fall time. As well keeping in mind netting their pond before the leaves start to fall in the fall time. Closing their pond down by winterizing it properly and deep cleaning their pond out yearly during early spring. As always, the maintenance of these ponds can be further reduced by adding additional options such as an autofill or dosing system.  Also, here at TranquilityScapes, we offer homeowners maintenance services, from bi-weekly to monthly visits, to just spring clean outs, winterizations, or nettings you get to pick what you want. We like to say, Let the experts at TranquilityScapes help you by leaving the dirty work to us!

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