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Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Water Quality Problems with a Reflection Pool. Ftn. design, maint.  6/27/12
Hi Bob,
<Hello Bruce>
I live in Ottawa, Ontario in a condo with a large reflection pool in the courtyard.  The pool measures about 25' by 50' and there is room for the water level to be 7 inches.
<Ugghh! Hard to keep such shallow systems chemically stable... clean>
 Right now, however, there is a layer of small pebbles on the bottom so there is only about 4 - 5 inches of water.
<Yikes! Even worse!>

  The pebbles have trapped dirt over the years and they hold a bevy of sludge and other impurities.  The pool originally had new water added continuously with the old water going down the drain.

 When the city started to charge for water, the pool water was recirculated to avoid waste.  The pool is in the sun for most of the day. 
<Good gosh... do you have numerous ducks as well?>

We have a fountain in the middle of the pool that gives a nice effect but does little to circulate the water.  We have added a second pump to push water around the perimeter and we place chlorine pucks in front of it. 
<... one approach. You need to have... measure, maintain "conditioner" (see the pool folks, biz); and monitor pH and alkalinity as well>

 This has had little effect other than right in front of the outlet.  Needless to say, with the hot weather comes algae.  It is only June and we have had to empty the pool and start again.
The water does not circulate and the chlorine is not sufficient to stop any algae build up.

We are contemplating some changes to improve the water circulation but are uncertain of the effectiveness of each.  Both options include eliminating the pebbles in the pool.
<Yes I would... or at least mortar them with just half or less of their faces exposed... for ease of vacuuming, cleaning>

  The first option would be to replace the liner with one that would allow a water depth of 9 inches as we are told that this would allow for the introduction of plants that would help to purify the water.
<Mmm, not worthwhile; no. This is still way too shallow>
  This is somewhat problematic as we are told the plants would have to be stored somewhere over the winter.  The second option would be to increase the circulation with either a 6-7 inch depth or a 9 inch depth if necessary and introduce a chlorination system of some sort to keep the water clear.  Under each option, key to success, we believe, is to increase significantly the circulation of water in the pool.
<These would help...
We were wondering if you could provide any advice on the relative effectiveness of plants vs. chlorine in keeping the pool water clear and on an appropriate circulation system (capacity and type) to keep the water moving and clear.  Would either scenario require raising the depth from 6-7 inches to 9 inches?
<Won't help much... I wouldn't advise it. IF the area around the feature could be built up... above grade... to eighteen or more inches... this basin could be made biological>
 How effective would reducing the size of the pool to about 25' by 30' be in providing an effective solution.
<A percentage by volume...>
We would greatly appreciate any advice you might be able to give.
Thank you.
Bruce Irving
<Mmm, there are a few moda chemically to consider other than the current chlorine/pool/spa... Some are toxic to surrounding landscape... so if there's much splash, spray from the central jet... I might well propose abandoning this water feature altogether (it can't be made either serviceable or functional really... and replacing it with more garden... art... benches, a contemplation area. Bob Fenner>

Algae control in a small fountain and pond!   8/23/06 To whom it may concern: I have a six tiered water fall <A bunch of tiers> terminating an a approximately 75 gallon pond. I am experiencing a problem in controlling the alga formation on the bottom of the water fall and walls of the pond. My question to you would be, what copper compound would be suggested and in what concentration on a per gallon of water capacity? Thank you very much Dave Dillon, Topock, Az <Mmm... copper is not easily dosed in most ponds... and am hesitant to encourage its use here... w/o knowing the livestock you intend to keep... In this small volume of water, if you did not have live plants present, I might use Jungle Pond Blocks (active ingredient Diuron, Di-Methyl Urea Calcinate)... Do you have data re the make up of the water? Is this feature shaded at all? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdalgcontrol.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Copper fountain/water-effect algicide use  - 03/27/06 Dear Sir, I wonder if you can kindly help me. I have recently purchased a small indoor waterfall, and I wish to prohibit algae growth. Please see link below. The unit has a solid copper base, which contains the water - someone has told me that the copper is a good agent to eradicate algae. Could you tell me if this is true, or, do I need to take other precautionary measures ? I would greatly appreciate your advice, Thanks Steve Davies http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00015D7JU/qid=1143500993/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-0412159-4974247?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=A200W35O5U03O&s=home-garden&v=glance&n=1055398 <Mmm... I would not use a copper-based algicide here... nor the conventional halogen-based chlorine, bromine... too likely to stain, ultimately corrode the unit itself. You might look for Simazine-based "aquarium" algicides (e.g. Algi-gon) or Jungle Pond Blocks (Di-methyl urea calcinate) or equivalent... Whatever you use, I would take care to not have the water splash on, or incidentally be poured on living plant material... and I would frequently (twice a month or so), dump completely and re-fill the unit with new water. Bob Fenner>
Re: Advice please  - 03/27/06
Hi Bob, Thanks a lot - that is very kind of you. However, the water containing tray of the waterfall is itself made of copper - I was wondering if that would be sufficient to prevent the algae. <Mmm... depending on the water quality, principally pH and alkalinity, very likely so... Turns out that copper is much more soluble in lower pH and alkaline water...> I do not understand the chemical make up of these things - would Fountec be suitable ? <Not familiar with this> The unit has no live plants - it is only a small decorative unit , with a copper base, water pump, and slate backdrop. I greatly appreciate your time, Thanks Steve <I do think you'll be fine in any/all cases here... not hard to maintain.  

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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