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Garden Pond Components:


By Bob Fenner

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

For decades I've been accused of being "the little boy who cried Pond!" by folks in the pond hobby and business; no longer. Look around you, there are dozens of manufacturers offering full pond product lines; complete lines with liners, books, pumps, filters, chemicals... Ponds are BIG, and if you're into improving your home or even work habitat, should be part of YOUR environment. With the resurgence of thinking "green", innovative, simple construction and maintenance methods, more folks are modifying their living and laboring places, their landscapes with water gardening. In this volume we will cover the basics of aquatic garden products, and the wherewithal of their application.


Now! All but the beginning and dead of winter (in frozen over climes) are great times to be in action as a water gardener. Only when ice covers the systems, slowing fish respiration and halting photosynthesis is there no actual possibility of building, stocking, feeding, cleaning or chemical treatments. Even during winter you can plan and start accumulating your water gardening gear, and scheming about livestock.

Non-Seasonal Items.

Even in winter, pumps, related parts like impellers, gaskets, traps and baskets, bearings, plumbing and fittings are in demand all year and you should look into and stock a few replacement parts for your system should you have an emergency during inclement weather. You want my advice? Don't count on "fair-weather" stores or even mail order and Internet suppliers for immediate inventory for back-up replacement and repair items; get them and keep them on hand yourself.

While we're on the subject, some of the same lines of submersible and emersed pumps for reef and large freshwater aquarium systems (e.g. Little Giant, Calvert Engineering, Eheim, Quiet One, Iwaki, and others) are appropriate technology for both indoor and outdoor use; check their manufacturer inserts for use specifications. Larger direct-drive centrifugal pumps like the Sequence, RK2, and Aquanetics lines produce larger volumes and pressures and should be considered for larger systems.

Filters and media likewise are year-round needs. Along with pumps they often are run continuously even by some folks where there is freezing temperatures. There are several approaches to water garden filtering, and many of these units are bulky; so you'll need to develop your own strategy concerning which degree of clarity and biological "cleanliness" you intend. My real advice is to thoroughly investigate these matters, both ahead of actual construction and with ongoing reading to keep up to date on the simplest, least expensive means to accomplish what you have in mind.

Much of the filter media for ponds you probably are already familiar with, especially if you're an intermediate to advanced aquarium keeper. Those high technology wet-dry plastic which-a-ma-bobs for reef tanks, dacron pads and loose filter fiber, and natural aquarium gravel in bulk all have their place in pond filtration. There is a veritable fortune to be saved in selecting appropriate and replacement loose filter media and cartridges. You definitely should have extra of the latter on hand for all makes and models you yourself utilize, rotating out the old, cleaning and air-drying in-between use of your alternate set(s).

Books, Videos, and other inspirational and informational media are non-seasonal items. You're "missing the boat" by not keeping current via books and magazines all year long. They are easier and less expensive to learn by in many ways. Books don't die, they're not easily broken and they prevent many heart and back-breaking events. What better way of getting to know in such little space and amount of your time then by reading of other's experiences?

Tetra/Second Nature, T.F.H. Publications, Barron's and more have excellent water gardening titles. Check these out with your drygoods distributor and/or water garden outlet.

Liners and related construction tools and materials, may seem like warm months only merchandise, but consider what you might do for indoor uses during the winter. What do ponderers do with their fishes and much of their plants during the winter? Many of them "bring them inside" in a basement, patio or other room setting; in a "wading pool" aquarium... or liner pond! You can help them perfect such a set-up by offering technical expertise, manufacturers flyers, sales of materials, and possibly the services to clean out their outdoor system, construct a seasonal one inside, and move their livestock between them.

Precut and do-it-yourself liners are offered by several manufacturers in our interest; Tetra, and Danner Manufacturing (Supreme) among others. The informational packets accompanying their products are very worthwhile as well.

Spring, Summer, Autumn:

By late Winter you should have more than decided what your pond program is going to be for the upcoming season. Are you just going to put in a full blown koi pond, a lily garden, a simple fountain or reflecting liner pond'¦? If you already have a water effect, you may need to "gear up" on "maintenance" items like foods, chemicals and nets. Perhaps you need a temporary set-up to house your livestock while you effect a large scale Spring clean-up or effect in-pond repairs. At its simplest (and these are very easy to assemble, even fun) a temporary structure can be contrived, either of liner or pre-made materials.

Holy Lincoln Logs, some liner type arrangement calls for peeler poles, four by fours or other lumber that is stacked, drilled and fitted with threaded rod and nuts to hold it all together. These can be more than simple squares or rectangles; any number of side polygonals have been constructed. A suitable pond liner is draped inside, folded over the upper wood structure edge, and voila (!) instant pond. Pre-made plastic and fiberglass/resin units are even easier; place one on the floor and fill; with addition of decorative edging and some potted plants, you're done. These simple arrangements even make worthwhile permanent features. Ah, the sounds of spilling water, and splashing fishes.

Specialty, Construction and Hard to Find Items: Where can you get such items as electrical junction boxes, timers, G.F.I.s, conduits et al? Plumbing fittings like venturis and check valves? Chances are "hardware" stores in your area won't be carrying the types and sizes they need. How 'bout just oak half-barrels, with or without a fitted liner? These can be generally procured locally from pond-section-dedicated "tropical fish" stores or from aquatic garden suppliers if not located too freight-far away. You may even want to seek out outlets that carry pre-cast fountains and statuary. Is there anyone else offering these materials in your area?

Foods and Chemical Product Lines sales, with the possible exception of dechloraminators to treat new tap water, all these products use ends towards the end of "pond season", at the end of fall/beginning of winter. Pond fishes for the most part should not be fed when water temperatures drift and stay below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And most folks are bundled up inside and not doing much with their ponds water when it gets cold.

During the rest of the year you'll need pellets of animal and plant derivation, food sticks, medications, dechlorinators/dechloraminators, test kits, algicides, dips, defoamers... There are many companies offering these (Rena, Mardel, Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Jungle Laboratories, Fritz and others for chemicals; Tetra, Hikari, O.S.I., Ocean Nutrition, Wardley and more for foods).

Maintenance gear, where is it? There is a semi-missing gap of available products in this area in the business end of the pond interest. Sure, some manufacturers make gear that can cross over to pond use; like Python Products extended vacuum tube attachments. But where are the real nets, scrubbers and scrapers; or the pots and fertilizers for re-doing the plants in the Spring? Don't despair, they really are made and available. Let the a trip to your local gardening and pool centers be your starting point. Check out the yellow pages in your area and the Internet for suppliers of outdoor pool and pond supplies. Manufacturers include Aquanetics Systems, Aquatic Eco-Systems, Beckett Corp., Rainbow Plastics Filter Division and many more! Not finding enough? Consider a trip to the library to peruse the yellow pages of the nearest large town for "pool (as in swimming pool and spa) supplies". They have a great deal of gear that is useful/adaptable to water gardening use.

End of season; items include bags, containers to move and store livestock till next season, medications for treatment in moving, and equipment to clean, empty and over-winter the water garden during the cold down months of the year.


What are you going to do to plan for your water garden season? There's nothing better than actually working with ponds, but the fun of learning about, anticipating and gearing for the warm weather seasons is a close second. For aquatics for indoors and out.

The following sections expand on the major product groups listed above, granting you my insights (after more than thirty years in the trade) of the "what", "how" and even "why" of how to best go about acquiring and utilizing components of water gardening.



Filtration Concerns: Biofilter

Up-flow Filters

Filter Media

Ultraviolet Filters



G.F.I. Use

Liners In Pond Use

Wood-liner Ponds

Water Chemistry For Aquatic Gardeners

Test Kit Use

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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