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Lighting

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Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air!

Well maybe not quite, but soon! Soon enough that it’s time to start thinking about waking that water feature up from its winter slumber with some spring cleaning. Spring is one of the most exciting times of the year for pond owners, and there are a few things you should do to ensure your water feature starts the season off on the right foot!

First off you will want to assess the situation. Is your pond water quite dark and is there a thick layer of debris on the bottom? If so you will want to think about a full clean out. However, if the water looks decent and there’s minimal debris, you maybe be able to simply stir it up and clean out the debris with a net. The other determining factor will be the water temperature. Ideally you will want to do your clean out BEFORE the water temperature reaches 55F or about 13 degrees Celsius. This will ensure that you are not disturbing the delicate bacteria colonies that create your ecosystem once your feature kicks into gear.

If you’re doing a full clean out on an average sized pond (11’x16’), budget for 4-8 hours to do everything properly. If you have a pondless waterfall, a clean out will take much less time. Here are a few items that will make life easier during the clean out:

  • Cleanout pump with 20+’ of hose
  • Garden Hose with Nozzle
  • Pruners (scissors may do the trick)
  • A couple of buckets for leaves and debris
  • A large vessel (children’s pool or similar) to contain fish if you have them
  • A fish net
  • Pond Detoxifier
  • Cold Water Bacteria

Place the cleanout pump at the deepest part of the feature and pump the dirty pond water into your landscape. It’s filled with nutrients so don’t be shy to water your shrubs with it! If you have fish, pump some of the water into the large vessel for storage later. Once the water level is down to 1/3 capacity it will be much easier to catch your fish with the net. Gently transfer them to the vessel filled with pond water and cover in a shady area so they don’t jump out. Make sure not to leave them there for more than a few hours – if you have to leave them for longer make sure to aerate the water.

Now you can take your hose (or pressure washer if you have one) and spend 10-15 minutes rinsing down the inside of the pond. Working your way from top to bottom, try to blast heavy debris from the rocks and stir up what may be left on the bottom. You can periodically turn on the clean out pump to drain the dirty water. Please note that you DON’T have to get every little bit of algae – in fact leaving some behind will be beneficial later on as it will help re-establish your ecosystem.

As far as any filters go, you can manually remove any debris from the skimmers or snorkel vaults and clean any media nets or filter pads that may be present in the biofalls. You can now gently rinse these out in pond water. Again – leaving a little algae on your filter pads etc is a good thing. You don’t need to boil them!

You’re now ready to fill your pond back up but make sure to include Pond Detoxifier to take the chlorine and chloramines out of city water. This is very important for the safety of your fish. Also important is acclimatizing the fish to their new water. Scoop up your fish into a bucket of the old pond water in their holding tank; float the bucket in the pond for about 15 minutes and then splash a little bit of the new pond water into the bucket. By now the temperatures should’ve equalized and you can pour them into their new home!

PRO Tip: While your water feature is drained for spring cleaning, it’s a great time to prune and fertilize any deep water plants (like lilies, for example). It’s also a great time to reposition lights or change bulbs if need be and if you don’t have lights at all….. Well, get them in there now!

Contact Streamworks Designs for all of your water feature maintenance needs.

Got Lights?

Riddle me this. What one component of a successful water feature is completely unnecessary but absolutely essential all at the same time? The LIGHTS!

While it’s true that underwater lighting is not critical to the function of your pond IE the ecosystem and the way the fish, plants, rocks, pump and filtration all co-mingle. It IS however a key element in the aesthetics of your water feature and is guaranteed to increase your interaction and enjoyment exponentially! We know you lead a busy lifestyle and probably aren’t home to enjoy your feature during the day so why not enjoy it at night?

Do you know what an unlit water feature looks like? Me neither… because you can’t see it! If you have a pond with fish in it, then lights are a must. You’ll marvel at how active your fish are at night as the warm glow of the LED’s illuminate their every move. If your water feature is of the pondless variety and you have no fish a few well-placed lights will still create magic as your stream twists and turns causing the lights to dance across the rocks and onto the surrounding landscape. Maybe you have a bubbling rock or set of basalt columns that will be the focal point of any landscape when up lit. The possibilities are endless.

Gone are the days of inefficient halogen lighting. LED’s (light emitting diodes) are the new standard in underwater pond lighting as not only do the bulbs last much much longer, but at 1watt per fixture the power consumption is negligible. One further advantage of LED’s over their prehistoric counterparts is that by shedding the extra watts they remain cool inside or outside of the water making them ideal for any/all of your outdoor lighting needs.

Lighting may be the fastest growing segment of the landscape industry and never before have efficiency, cost effectiveness, and impact come together in such a simple solution. So what are you waiting for?! If you want to get more enjoyment out of your water feature, add a new dimension by bringing it to life at night.

We promise you won’t regret it!