By Hugh McElhone
By Hugh McElhone
A wide selection of water garden pond systems are available that are
well suited for the do-it-yourself garden centre operator, says Perry
Molema with Aquascape Designs in Woodbridge, Ontario. “Our aim is to
sell pond kits that work as a balanced eco-system. It’s more than just
A wide selection of water garden pond systems are available that are well suited for the do-it-yourself garden centre operator, says Perry Molema with Aquascape Designs in Woodbridge, Ontario. “Our aim is to sell pond kits that work as a balanced eco-system. It’s more than just a pond.”
Every system needs a pump, hoses and flexible liner with underlay. Two filters are also needed in the system, one being mechanical and the other biological.
The mechanical filter is the first stage of filtration and works very much like the skimmer-type found in a swimming pool system. Mounted at one end of the pond, water is drawn through the brushes of the weir by the action of the pump. This pre-filtering, or “scrubbing,” is done before the water reaches the pump and greatly lessens any chance of it clogging. “A clogged pump means greater hydro usage and reduced pump life,” he explained.
This water is then pumped to the opposite end of the pond for secondary filtration through the biological filter. The water enters from the bottom and passes through filter mats to reduce sediment, then through a bed of lava stones where beneficial micro-organisms break down the algae-causing nitrates and organic matter deposited from fish, leaf debris or fertilizers.
The water exits at the top and can be oriented to form an upper pool and waterfall with a 12-inch drop, or a long meandering stream through rocks. For in-ground applications, the filters, hoses and pumps can be buried to water level so they are out of sight yet accessible for service.
Ideally, you want the water to completely cycle through the filters at least once per hour, says Molema. With a 1,000-gallon pond, for example, a 1,500-gallon per hour pump would be needed. If the pond contains only fish, he suggests cycling the water at least twice per hour, and less often with plants.
“Plants are natural aquatic filters and they make a pond look better,” says Molema. But if fish are the main product you want to sell, you can get away without plants by using a bigger pump, he added.
An efficient system not only cleans the water but also generates oxygen for beneficial micro-organisms. “With clean oxygenated water, you will have happy plants and fish,” he said. Some of his customers want their pumps on a timer that shuts down the system at night but this is not good for water quality. The alternative is an ultra efficient pump that uses very little hydro while running 24 hours a day.
Of the systems available from Aquascape, Molema has a kit to recommend to garden centre operators; the system is 11 feet long, eight feet wide and two feet deep. It comes complete with hoses, pump, liner, filter, P.V.C. glue and D.V.D. instructions. “All of our kits have everything they need to satisfy their needs,” he added. This kit sells for about $1,200.00.
Smaller systems are also available through the NurseryPro line which has all inclusive kits ranging from 4 x 6, 10 x 12, to 12 x 15 feet for under $1,000.
Laguna offers larger systems, such as the 15 x 20 foot Laguna Pro Kit One for around $1,000. Again all inclusive, Pro Kits two through five get consistently larger until it reaches Pro Kit Six, which features two pumps for its 30 x 30 foot liner and retails for about $2,400.
Top-of-the-line pumps and filters can be had for between $800 and $2,300. from Laguna and B.C.-based Oase. The Laguna Maxflo pumps and the Oase Aquamax pumps will handle solids and greatly reduce the need for cleaning clogged intakes. They are also energy efficient with the longest guarantee available in the business.
For plants, Moore Water Gardens in Port Stanley, Ontario, specializes in water lilies and aquatic plants that are grown on site and tested for hardiness and vigour before being offered for sale. New varieties for 2007 include Perry’s Double White with its double blooms reaching five inches across. There is also Robinsoniana with its abundant deep orange-red flowers and red undersides. Also on offer is the miniature cattail that grows only 12 to 18 inches in height and produces small round, dark brown catkins.