Welcome to our pond information page. This page is designed to help answer many of our most frequently asked questions and to provide helpful tips on building and maintaining a successful pond.
To enjoy a healthy, crystal clear pond you will want to keep maintenance to a minimum. A properly sized filter will not only help keep the water clear, but it will also mechanically trap debris and through beneficial bacterial action it will also biologically eliminate toxic ammonia produced by fish waste and decaying plant matter. Please note that the small sponge "Pre-Filter" included with many pond pumps is NOT designed to filter your pond, but to prevent debris from damaging the pump.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT KIND OF FILTER
There are 6 basic types of filters on the market. We cover the key benefits and drawbacks to all of them below.
Pond skimmer boxes make the ideal pre-filter for your pump and filter system. The efficient design automatically traps up to 85% of the leaves and floating debris in a mesh bag before they can clog your pump and litter the bottom of your pond, thus greatly reducing pond maintenance time. Skimmers require simple 2 minute cleaning every other week while standing outside of the pond and they hide pump and plumbing from view. Click here to view our skimmers.
WATERFALL (UPFLOW) FILTERS
Upflow filters are used in most professionally installed ponds. They provide excellent mechanical and biological filtration through the use of a filter pad and bio-media (not normally included) and require very little maintenance. Upflow filters act as a waterfall box. As the filtered water flows upwards it spills over a lip to provide water flow for a beautiful looking waterfall or stream. Most installations of upflow filters are used in combination with a skimmer to produce a virtually maintenance free system, but a skimmer is not required. Click here to view our upflow filters.
Pressurized filters are now the most popular choice among do-it-yourself pond owners. These filters can be partially buried making them easy to hide and they run under pressure allowing them to direct filtered water up to the top of your waterfall. With this kind of system there is no need to have an unsightly gravity discharge filter box at the top of your falls! Most pressurized filters can also be purchased with an optional built-in UV clarifier for crystal clear water without the use of chemicals. Click here to view our pressurized filters.
GRAVITY DISCHARGE (BOX) FILTERS
Gravity discharge filters sit at the edge of the pond or at the top of a stream or waterfall. They are large and noticeable unless hidden with landscaping. The water is pumped up to the filter and the foam media acts to mechanically clean the water which then passes through a bio-media for biological filtration. The water is then forced out of a discharge hose, via gravity, back into the pond or stream. Some models are available with UV clarifiers for added water clarity. Click here to view our gravity discharge filters.
These units will reduce the frequency of pump foam cleaning. Laguna Powerflo pre-filters are designed with 2 large, coarse sponges, that will provide up to 25 times more clog resistance than the small sponges provided with most non-solids handling pumps. The Powerflo Max unit also provides enough biological filtration to keep up with the needs of smaller ponds, up to 250 gallons. These prefilters replace small foam prefilters and easily connect to a pump with a 3/4 to 1 1/4 inch intake (suction) hose. Click here to view our submersible pre-filters.
ULTRAVIOLET CLARIFIERS (UVC)
Ultraviolet clarifiers are the most effective method for keeping pond water crystal clear and eliminating green water problems. UVC units can be purchased as stand-alone units, or in many cases they can be purchased as built-in upgrades for pressurized or gravity discharge filters. The water is pumped through the UVC where it is exposed to high intensity UV light, thus killing the algae that causes green water. Most UVC units should have the bulbs replaced every 1-2 pond seasons, depending on the amount they are used, as the intensity of the UV light diminishes greatly even if the bulb is not burnt out. Click here to view our UVC units.
CHOOSING A PUMP
YOU CAN SAVE UP TO $800.00 A YEAR ON ELECTRICAL SAVINGS BY BUYING AN ENERGY EFFICIENT PUMP!
It is essential that the volume of a pond is turned over a minimum of once every 2 hours. If a pond is less that 3 feet deep, is in full sun, has plant coverage of less than 1/2 of the pond surface, has a large fish population or is located in a warm climate you will need to increase the minimum recommendation. Most ponds fall into one or more of the above scenarios and will do best if your pump will turn the entire volume of the pond over 1-2 times per hour.
STREAM & WATERFALL FLOW REQUIREMENTS
Many ponds now incorporate a stream or waterfall. A stream or waterfall will look best if the pump provides a flow rate of about 100 gallons per hour (GPH) for every inch of width. eg. An 8 inch wide waterfall should have a pump that can lift 800 gallons per hour to the top of the waterfall. Most pumps models show the maximum flow rate at 0 or 1 foot of head pressure. We have provided flow rates at different head pressure for most of our pump models. Always decide how high your pump will have to lift the water and then cross-reference the flow rates provided at the required head pressure before choosing a pump. Keep in mind that a long run of hose on the pump will also reduce the flow rate. For every 10 feet of hose required add 1 foot to the head pressure on the pump.
SOLIDS HANDLING PUMPS
Solids handling pumps have the ability to pump debris laden water without the use of a strainer or foam pre-filter. This will greatly reduce in pond maintenance. If you plan on running a fountain head you should not choose a solids handling pump, as the debris will clog the fountain head very quickly. Otherwise this style of pump is the best choice for powering filters, streams and waterfalls.
STANDARD MAGNETICALLY DRIVEN PUMPS
Magnetically Driven pumps offer excellent reliability and good to excellent energy efficiency. Most include a 2 or 3 year warranty (excluding impellers), but will normally provide at least 5-10 years of service life. These pumps are the most popular choice and although some of the larger models may initially cost more than an equally powerful shaft drive model, the electrical saving and reliability normally recover the higher initial cost within 1 year.
SUMP STYLE SHAFT DRIVE PUMPS
Sump style, shaft drive pumps usually offer the most pressure for high head applications. Most of these pumps only include a 1 year warranty and are far less energy efficient than an equally powerful magnetically driven pump. The lower initial cost makes them attractive, but in the long run they are always the least economical choice, costing up to $800.00 more per year to run than an energy efficient pump! If you already have a shaft drive pump in use you may want to consider replacing it with a more reliable, energy efficient pump. It can pay for its self in as little as 6 months.
Rectangular and Square pools:
Length x Width x Average Depth x 7.48 = Volume in US Gallons
0.785 x (Top diameter x Bottom Diameter x Average Depth)x 7.48 = Volume in US Gallons
Liters: Multiply cubic meters (m3) x 1000 to obtain liters.
U.S. Gallons: Multiply cubic feet (ft3) x 7.48 to obtain U.S. Gallons.
Imperial Gallons: Multiply cubic feet (ft3) x 6.23 to obtain Imperial Gallons.
WINTERIZING YOUR POND
WHEN SHOULD FISH BE BROUGHT INDOORS:
When the pond is less than 24" in more temperate areas such as New England.
When the pond is less than 36" - 48" in cold climates such as Canada.
When the pond is above ground.
OUTSIDE CARE OF YOUR FISH:
As the water temperature of your pond falls, the fish will require less food. As the water cools switch to a low protein Spring and Fall food with wheat germ. This food is easier to digest in cooler temperatures and allows the fish to maintain a healthy weight through the fall.
Watch their food intake and adjust your feeding. Stop feeding your fish completely when the water temperature of your pond reaches an average of 45° F. At 45° -50° F the fish hibernate at the bottom of the pond. Regardless of the outside temperature or if the fish come to the surface during the winter do not feed them. They are surfacing for oxygen not food. If you feed the fish during this period, the food will not digest; it will rot and will kill them. Begin feeding the fish when the average temperature of your pond is above 45° F degrees.
Skim your pond at least once a week, removing any leaves or plant matter. Installing pond netting will keep unwanted leaves out. Leaves or plant matter left in the pond will deteriorate over the winter producing organic waste. A patch of leaves left in the deepest part of the pond can help to provide shelter when overwintering fish outdoors.
A 10% to 20% water change is recommended. Add Laguna Water Prep to neutralize harmful metals as well as provide a protective "coating" to the fish's fins and scales.
Add Laguna Pond Clean or Microbe-Lift Autumn / Winter Prep at this time. Adding these beneficial bacteria will help break down waste.
Disconnect your UV sterilizer; clean & store it in a cool dry place.
Disconnect your waterfall.
Disconnect, clean and drain your external filter. Remove all the media. Buy new biological media and foam for the spring. It is not necessary to remove the external filter. Drain the filter. Do no keep water in the external filter over the winter, it will freeze and could damage the filter.
Completely take apart and clean your pump, especially the impeller. Check the owner's manual for instructions. Storing your equipment without cleaning it could result in damaged equipment or a broken impeller when you restart them in the spring.
Choose one of the following ways to keep your pond from freezing over. An air hole needs to be kept open to allow for gases to escape. If your pond completely freezes over the fish may die.
Option #1 Installing one or more pond heaters/de-icers is the most effective option. This can be an expensive option if you purchase the wrong de-icer. Be informed. We suggest using an energy efficient 100-350 watt de-icer to keep your electrical costs low. Click here to view our pond de-icers.
Option #2 Install an air stone with an indoor/outdoor air pump. You will need to winterize the pump and cords. Hang the air stone off one end of the pond just under the water level and let it bubble. Not the best option but if your pond is close to the house, you can have the air pump in the house and run tubing to the pond with a 8" or 12" air stone.Click here to view our pond air pumps.
Option #3 Using a de-icer and an air pump is the best option for larger ponds, ponds with excess debris or a larger fish population. The use of both devices guarantees the part of the pond will remain open and that additional oxygen will be added to support the demands of the fish and bacteria that consume valuable oxygen to digest waste and debris.
It is not recommended to keep the waterfall going. Cold winds could freeze the waterfall in odd positions and could drain your pond. If you have a windy winter the waterfall may freeze and the pond may ice over.
Trim lotus and lilies & drop them to the deepest part of the pond. Other hardy plants (grasses, cattails, and iris) do not need to be trimmed back, you can leave them on the shelf or drop them to the bottom of the pond. They should survive on the shelf. Remove and discard oxygenators and floating plants (lettuce and hyacinths). If you are limited on space, you can bring your plants inside. Place them in boxes (or plastic tubs) lined with trash bags and place them in your cellar. You do not need to provide any light. Keep the plants damp. Check your plants at least once a week to be sure they are damp. Bring tropical plants inside, they will not survive the cold. Tropical Lilies will not survive New England winters.
Snails and clams will not winter over.
RESTARTING YOUR POND IN THE SPRING
The snow's beginning to melt, signaling Springs arrival. As the warmer weather approaches, more time will be spent outdoors getting preparations underway for a new season. A time of rebirth and renewal - including the restart of a garden pond or pool. It's not difficult to renew your pond, if you follow these easy steps:
The most important task in preparing a pond for the new season is to eliminate any leftover organic residue. Use a pond net or skimmer to remove leaves, twigs and debris from inside the pond.
Early spring is a good time to consider a partial water change, depending upon the pond's condition (and what was done in the fall to prepare it for winter). The winter run-off may contain pollutants that may be carried into the pond, thereby creating havoc with the pond's environment. Use your pump to partially drain the pond. Before refilling the pond, let the water run a few minutes to flush the pipes. Once the water is replaced, make the new water safe by adding Water Prep to eliminate chlorine and chloramine, as well as to neutralize any harmful metals.
3) Starting the Pond.
The best time to start the biological system in the pond is right at the beginning of the season when pond temperature is above 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). Laguna Bio Booster provides powerful beneficial bacteria designed to eliminate ammonia and nitrite as they are produced. Phosphate Control is a second bacterial preparation that, like Bio Booster, is completely safe to add to the pond's ecosystem. It impedes algae growth, without employing algaecides or other toxins.
4) Starting the Equipment.
Pond equipment should have been cleaned and packed away for winter. If not, then make sure that they are cleaned of dirt and debris before replacing into position. Thoroughly rinse all reusable filter material before replacing. If pumps were allowed to run over the winter, they should be removed and cleaned. Reassemble any hoses and other water runs and inspect for damage. Repair and replace as required, then test to ensure everything is in working order.
5) Adding the fish.
Fish that have been kept indoors for the winter will need time to adjust to the pond's environment. A sudden change in temperature and pH level can have an adverse affect on the fish. That is why it is important to allow them to acclimatize gradually. Never "pour" or drop the fish into the pond. The first step is to net the fish as gently as possible and place it into a plastic bag for transportation. Once at pond-side, the bag should be untied (don't "pop" it) and allowed to float on the pond's surface. Wait about 10 minutes, or until the temperature of the bag and the pond water are about equal, then add a small amount of pond water to the bag and leave for another 10 minutes or so. Repeat the process once or twice more before gently allowing the fish to swim out of the bag and into the pond.
6) Watch your fish carefully for a few days.
Moving can have a traumatic effect on fish, so watch them carefully to ensure that they are adjusting to their new surroundings and that there are no losses. Also check ammonia and nitrite readings regularly to ensure that the biological filter is establishing rapidly and effectively