The Importance of Biological Filtration

Over the years Pond manufactures have been working hard to give you the pond builders, a solution for the dreaded “Green Pond”. The answer? Biological Filtration! As I travel all over the US, I hear time and time again that pond builders do not use this filtration method because of the difficulties they have when it comes to camouflaging them. I am here to say, there is a way!

Before we get into the best way to disguise these black filtration boxes, let’s first talk about why they are important and why you should be using them.

beneficialbacteriaThese filtration boxes or FilterFalls, were designed to hold filter material to colonize beneficial bacteria and help filter your pond. Beneficial bacteria breaks down organic debris and fish waste, providing food for plants. Multiple pads or mats provide the oxygen rich environment for beneficial bacteria to flourish. The addition of biological media enhances beneficial bacteria growth by providing additional surface area for bacterial colonization. In turn making your pond clean, clear and a healthy eco-system.

The homeowner may still be weary about adding a filtration black box to their beautiful water feature, and educating your customer, is key. Having an up front conversation with the homeowner explaining why you are using the Filterfalls and why it is essential for the health and quality of the pond will help alleviate any concerns.

Another way to alleviate any concerns is to ensure the homeowner that they will not have to see any black box and their feature will look natural as long as it is camouflaged properly.

This will translate into a happy pond owner with fewer callback’s, saving you time and money.

Now that the customer is on board with using the FilterFalls, let’s talk about camouflage.

Line the inside of your Filter box with stone & plantings to help camouflage.

There are many ways to do this. First make sure that the area around the FilterFalls is or has been built up around the edge of the falls. Having higher ground is key to being able to easily camouflage the box. Trees, plants, rocks, logs, driftwood, floating plants are all great things to use for disguise.

Using plantings near and around your filter boxes will create more of a disguise.

Edge the inside of the FilterFalls with stones or rocks, you can also mix in some water plants for a more natural look. Logs or driftwood can be laid over top the FilterFalls for even more of a disguise.

By planting trees and bushes near your FilterFalls you can create even more of an illusion that the FilterFalls are not even there!

Another great trick is to angle the Filter box away from the viewing point so that the homeowner will not be staring directly into the filter box when they go to look at their feature. Remember, that like in nature, you never see where the water source is coming from. The same should go for the feature that you are building.

Hiding your FilterFalls

Angle the Filter box away from the viewing point so that the homeowner will not be staring directly into the filter box when they go to look at their feature.

 

If FilterFalls still aren’t your thing, Bog filtration can be used as an alternative. Check back for our next blog post on Bog Filtration by bog expert, Demi Fortuna.

 

 

 


About the Author:
Jim is the National Sales Manager for Atlantic Water Gardens.
JIM CHUBB

Jim is the National Sales Manager for Atlantic Water Gardens. With 26 years of sales experience and 16 years in the water garden industry, Jim is your go-to guy for selling water features.

How Does My Pond Work Anyway?

This is the number one question I hear as I travel around the country helping people with their water features. Usually there is a problem that brought me to the pond in the first place, but after a few minutes of talking, that question comes up. It is also accompanied with, “I thought this thing was supposed to be low maintenance!” Very quickly I can see that expectations have not been met and a little education is in order.

To many times, during the sales process of a water feature, too much time is spent going over flashy marketing brochures instead of just having an honest conversation about what to expect over the first three years of owning a water feature. Many installers shy away from what the maintenance will be due to a fear of scaring off the potential owner. The truth is, there is maintenance to be done, but it’s not any more than anything else in your back yard.

balanced ecosystemSo how does your pond work? Your pond works the same way any body of water works whether it’s a 1 gallon goldfish bowl or a seven acre lake. All bodies of water work off of the same basic biology, waste products are created, and bacteria consumes these waste products and converts them into nutrients for plants to consume. With a little maintenance everything will stay in balance and look like a perfect slice of nature. If it is out of balance you will have issues that need addressing.

Pond with plants and fishFirst and foremost Plants are the answer. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. If you have things growing in your water feature that are green and you didn’t plant them and you don’t like them. It’s because you didn’t plant enough green things you do like. Your grass is the same way, if you don’t re seed the yard, “other” green species will start to grow year after year. So the first thing to remember is plants, plants, plants.

Secondly, how many fish do you have? What size are they now compared to when you bought them? Fish grow and as they do their new size creates issues in the water feature. If your fish load doubles in size after the first two years but your plant base stays the same, you are out of balance and will have more maintenance to correct the issue.

Last of all, water flow and filter size. When your feature was created what fish load was use to size the bio filter, do you have enough water flow to filter the feature at least every hour, preferably much more if you have a heavy fish load.

Any of the above can create an out of balance situation for your water feature. There are a multitude of manufactured solutions on the market to aid in this as well. Water clarifiers, automatic dispensers for bacteria, and copper dosing units. Each have their place, and all of them are band aids and not real solutions except for one. Clarifiers only mask the issue, they do clear water, but string algae uses the nutrients and clear water to run out of control. Automatic bacteria dispensers simply take away the need to add bacteria once a week. Truthfully, once the system is in balance this need is reduced as well (more on that in a future blog post).

Then there is the copper system (triton ionizer), it works very good, but is a solution for a specific problem and not for every water feature. Some systems have water issues coming out of the tap and are going to be prone to issues not matter how many plants we add. Others are in an area of the yard where sunlight is great for algae but not plants. So it is a great addition if you find yourself dealing with buckets of algae.

Atlantic Water Gardens University

This is just a quick overview of how your water feature works, for a more detailed look please visit Atlantic Water Gardens University.


About the Author:
Sean is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast for Atlantic Water Gardens. Fish Geek and water feature enthusiast, Sean has managed one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company.SEAN BELL

Sean is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast for Atlantic Water Gardens. Fish Geek and water feature enthusiast, Sean has managed one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company. When it comes to water features, Sean is your guy!

How Many Eco-Blox do I need for my Pond-free Feature?

Pond-free System

Pond-free features, where a pond or waterfall recirculates from an underground reservoir, have become very popular because they are easier to build and maintain than fish ponds. The Pond-free basin is a hole lined with EPDM rubber to make it waterproof, filled with water matrix boxes called Eco-Blox that can support thousands of pounds.

This weight-bearing reservoir can be hidden under gravel, lawn, pavers – you can even build waterfalls right on top of it! The water in Eco-Blox basins stays clean and clear, so maintenance is much simpler. Pond-free water features are generally safer too, because there’s no way for anyone to fall in.

With the great popularity of these features,  we receive many questions. One of the main questions we get at Atlantic is “How many Eco-Blox do I need?”

Here’s how to figure that out.

First, find the volume of water needed to fill the stream and falls to overflowing.

Usually about 3” in the whole stream will do. Measuring everything in feet makes things easier, so convert 3” to a quarter of a foot. For a 6-foot by 2-foot stream:

Length x Width x 0.25 feet = 6’ x 2’ x 0.25’ = 3 cubic feet

We’ll want 3 times as much water in the reservoir as we need, so the level will only drop by a third when we turn the system on before it starts recirculating:

3 cubic feet x 3 = 9 cubic foot reservoir

Finally, we’ll divide by 4.3 cubic feet, the number of cubic feet in an Eco-Blox:

9 cubic feet ÷ 4.3 cubic feet/Eco-Blox = 2.1 Eco-Blox

With the addition of a Pump Vault to house and protect the pump, as well as providing a little extra water volume, 2 Eco-Blox will be perfect!

 

Now that you know how many Eco-Blox you’ll need for your next project, check out our video on how assemble one.


 About the Author:
Demi is the Direct of Product Information for Atlantic Water GardensDEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

Feeling lost on Facebook?

Recently, Facebook has updated their layout and basically the functionality of how users manage their business’ Facebook pages. Like a lot of you, I also asked myself the questions; “How do I do this now?” and “Where did that go?”

After spending some time navigating through my Facebook pages, I got a handle on where everything I use as a resource is for managing our Facebook page.

Figuring that it was a little difficult for me to find out where everything was, and learning how to use this new functionality, I’d like to share with you some things that have changed, and how to use them now.

How does my page, “Like” other pages now?

After spending too much time trying to figure this out on my own, I left it to Google. It took some time to find instructions for the most recent update, but I did end up finding what I was looking for. Since you now technically can only use Facebook only as yourself in a sense, you cannot just LIKE a page without “Liking” it as yourself, Facebook added an extra step.

How to "Like" a page

Once you are the on the page that you want to “Like”, you will have to select the button with the three dots, and then select “Like as your page”. A prompt may then appear if you manage multiple pages,  asking you which page you would like to “Like” the current page as. I know, very confusing.

Where did my pages feed go?home_sidebar

Yet another inconvenient process I had to go through just to find my pages newsfeed. Before you would simply select which page you wanted to use Facebook as, and voila! Instant newsfeed. Now, to find your pages’ newsfeed, you will need to begin on your own newsfeed or “home” and select your page from the left hand side.

If you only manage one page, you will be able to just select “Pages Feed” and your pages’ newsfeed should display, but if you manage multiple pages, this may not be specific enough for you. All of the Page’s newsfeed that you manage will show up. You will need to take a couple additional steps to see a single Page’s newsfeed.

Continue to select the page that you would like to see a newsfeed for.

Select "See Pages Feed"

From there you will be brought to your timeline of your business page.  On the left hand side, under your profile picture, you will see things like, how many likes your page has, check-ins, or your post reach. In this section you will also see, “See Pages Feed”. Go ahead and select it and up will come all of that pages that you have liked, posts where you can like, comment and share, which brings me to my next point.

 

Liking and Commenting

Like, Comment, Share as yourself or your page

Yet another time consuming update that you may or may not have noticed, is when you want to post a comment, like or share something, you need to choose which user you want to do so as. You can switch between users or pages by selecting the dropdown arrow in the bottom righthand corner of a post and selecting which account you would like to interact with the post as. Remember, you will have to do this each time you want to like, comment or share a post.

I hope these few tips help with how you manage your business’ Facebook page and don’t leave you even more confused than you were before. If you have any other suggestions on how to better use Facebook after this new update, comment below. Or comment any questions and I will do my best to answer!


 About the Author:
Meet Shelby, AWG Graphic Designer and Social Media ExtraordinaireSHELBY SCUDERI

Atlantic Water Gardens Graphic Designer and Social Media Extraordinaire, Shelby has been with Atlantic since 2011. In addition to keeping up with social media trends and ensuring that the website and all social networks are running smoothly, Shelby also manages Atlantic’s advertising and marketing programs.

Spring is in the Air, Algae’s in your pond…

For most of the country, spring has sprung. People have started opening their water features and Mother Nature is now beginning to wreak havoc on your creations.

Cleaning out your water feature at the beginning of the season can be a daunting task, but with these helpful tips, your feature will be up and running in no time, and will be as beautiful as ever.

Pond in the SpringtimeBetween the months of March and May, ponds need tender loving care depending on which part of the country you are located in.

For pond owners, this time of the year can be a bit complicated, but with a little more attention, it can be easily managed. When opening your pond, be sure to remove all the left over fall debris to give your pond a fresh start to the season.

Although unlikely, some ponds may need to be completely drained and cleaned, this is costly and may be unnecessary. A good clean up with netting out leaves, debris, and string algae may do the job.

Once you’ve done some clean up and your skimmer, pump and biological filter are running, you will need to begin beneficial bacteria treatments which should continue until you close your pond in the Fall.

You may be wondering why you have string algae in your pond after the winter months, this is due to the amount of nutrients in the water being greater than the things that consume them, like plants, fish and beneficial bacteria.

Once it becomes balanced again, the string algae should clear itself up. Liquid and granular algaecides can help reduce growth, but your main goal should be to have your filter system and plants with the aid of beneficial bacteria, remove algae, naturally.

Adding aeration to your pond is another way to enhance the water clarity and quality.

When it comes to Pond-free applications or Fountains, although they will be easier to maintain, will still need your attention from March through May. Like opening a pond, you will need to clean up any leftover fall debris, and re-connect your pump to get the stagnant water moving again.

You may have a slight rotten egg smell, but once you turn on the feature, this should pass after about 24 hours of water circulation.

Mother Nature takes its toll on these types of water features also! Algae will start to form in the streambed of a waterfall and on a decorative piece.

Liquid and granular algaecides can help reduce the growth and keep the feature clear. Another great option for these features is a copper ionizer, which releases a small dose of copper ions into the water to ward off algae.

Remember, very small doses are all that would be needed (around .02ppm), so make sure you are testing your copper levels if you are using an ionizer.

Feel free to add your tips and suggestions about what you do to get your water features up and running for the Spring season!

 

How do you work with Mother Nature versus fighting Mother Nature?

 

 


About the Author:
Jim is the National Sales Manager for Atlantic Water Gardens.
JIM CHUBB

Jim is the National Sales Manager for Atlantic Water Gardens. With 26 years of sales experience and 16 years in the water garden industry, Jim is your go-to guy for selling water features.

We Are Atlantic Water Gardens

Welcome to the new Atlantic Water Gardens Blog. We will be bringing you information on all types of water features each month to help keep you up to date on what is happening in the industry as well as what is happening with Atlantic Water Gardens. Don’t worry we will also be including the educational pieces that you have come to expect from us. Our entire Atlantic Water Gardens team will be contributing to this blog in an effort to give you a great variety of topics, as well as sharing our diverse areas of expertise.

You will hear from –

Demi Fortuna –Demi is the Direct of Product Information for Atlantic Water Gardens

Demi has been playing in ponds since 1966, building them since 1986, and teaching since 2006.

Since his first disastrous but educational foray into water gardening on Long Island in 1986, he has been solidly stuck in the muck of water gardening.  As the owner of August Moon Designs starting 1990, he developed an interest in innovative plumbing and large, low-maintenance ponds. Since 2006, he has been lecturing across the U.S. and Canada on pump selection, conservation of resources and pond design. He is now proudly the Director of Product Information for Atlantic Water Gardens, promoting innovative pond equipment and techniques that maximize safety, efficiency and profits while minimizing maintenance, callbacks and costs. Whenever possible, Demi is still tickled pink to work with his sons Edwin and Ely building all sorts of water features, under the strict supervision of the boss, his wife Susan, of course.

Sean Bell –Sean is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast for Atlantic Water Gardens. Fish Geek and water feature enthusiast, Sean has managed one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company.

Sean is our professional fish geek. He got his hands on his first aquarium in 1978 and never looked back. It was the beginning of a lifelong obsession that persists to this day. He has raised just about every type of fish you can have in the aquarium hobby and then some. His love of goldfish and koi came about in 2000. He was managing one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company. His love and knowledge of fish and water quality has led him to work with the top companies in the country and now he is the Regional Sales Manager of the South East here at Atlantic Water Gardens. His experience in retail, distribution and installation will show through with each of his blog posts.


Jim Chubb Jim is the National Sales Manager for Atlantic Water Gardens.

Atlantic’s National Sales Manager and Distribution Channel expert. Jim has been in the Sales Industry for over 26 years and over 16 years in the water garden industry promoting and training distributors and contractors on the how-to’s and selling points of water features. He got his start in distribution and has worked for top companies in the industry. We will hear from him as he travels the country on various topics on water features and selling. A pond owner for the last 12 years, Jim is a definite pond and koi lover and maintenance guru.


Shelby ScuderiMeet Shelby, AWG Graphic Designer and Social Media Extraordinaire

AWG Graphic Designer and Social Media extraordinaire. Shelby will be contributing various tips and tricks that she uses and has found useful when publishing social content and interacting with followers on different platforms. Her continued efforts can be seen on each of the various social media sites as she brings you updates on products and programs from Atlantic Water Gardens.

 

So stay tuned and check in with us each month. But don’t forget to check out Atlantic Water Gardens University and its growing content. Also remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel, AWGtv for the most recent content both in English and Spanish.

 


About the Author:


Sean is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast for Atlantic Water Gardens. Fish Geek and water feature enthusiast, Sean has managed one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company.SEAN BELL

Sean is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast for Atlantic Water Gardens. Fish Geek and water feature enthusiast, Sean has managed one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company. When it comes to water features, Sean is your guy!