It is best to leave your pump running continuously. Most of our pumps use very little electricity so the cost shouldn’t be too great. In addition, many ponds with waterfalls or streams will overflow the lowest pond if the pump is turned off. To return the pond to its correct water level, you would need to add water.
Due to design constraints, some ponds must be built with waterfalls and streambeds that have more moving water contained than the pond can hold when power to the pump is lost. When the pump is turned back on, the lost water must be refilled for the pond to function properly.
In the most extreme conditions, hot temperatures with low humidity, ponds can lose as much as one half inch per day to evaporation. Ponds with roaring or tall waterfalls may lose even more. Typical evaporation is one quarter inch per day, so a pond should be able to operate for a couple of weeks without having to add water. If we have rain then there are times that you might not have to top off the pond for a month or more.
Pond leaks are often very small and very difficult to detect. The surest way to track down a leak is the most obvious: look for a wet spot in the surrounding mulch or soil. Often, a leak is created by stepping on a rock at the pond’s edge that makes a depression of the pond liner. Even a trickle of water adds up to a significant amount over a day. If you see a low area that is leaking the fix is fairly simple; lift the liner and stuff rock or soil under it.
Many leaks are not quite as simple to detect and correct. The most common problem areas for leaks are streams, since they have shallow sides, and waterfalls, as elevations change and some water may be channelled out of the pond. When a leak is detected follow the same process to add material under the liner to correct the low area.
Although quite unusual, there are times when a pond liner is punctured. To determine if a liner is punctured and where, you will need to turn the ponds pump off. Depending on the amount of the leak, the water level will continue to drop until it reaches the level of the hole in the liner. Then all rocks at the water level must be removed and the liner examined for a hole. Once the hole is discovered, special liner patches must be used to assure a water tight seal.
Sometimes there is enough evaporation from a pond that it is difficult to determine whether water loss is from evaporation or a leak. If you are experiencing greater than one half inch per day of water loss, then the problem is almost certainly a leak. If your pond is still within the one year warranty period we will check the problem and fix it. If not in warranty, we can diagnose problems for our per man hour labor rate.
To determine if there is a puncture or a leak from a stream or waterfall, you must turn off the pump and wait for a day or two. If the water level remains full, then the problem is with the moving water (waterfall or stream). If the water level continues to drop, then a puncture is the likely problem.
For most of the year there is very little risk to your fish by turning the pond pump off. There is almost always enough oxygen in the water to sustain fish for days and weeks. The riskiest times of the year are during the hottest days of Summer or when a pond might freeze in Winter.
We have installed ponds for numerous clients with children without incident. Children are drawn to water features and should be supervised and instructed on safety around the pond. We recommend that children be warned not to walk on rocks or boulders that might move and cause them to fall into the pond. Also, if you are very concerned about safety but want a water feature, we can build a water feature with a waterfall and even a shallow streambed, but without the deeper pond area. These “pondless waterfalls” have become very popular. The pondless water feature eliminates having fish and some water plants, but they can be just as attractive, and perhaps even fit into a smaller area.
Some ponds experience problems with predators, with herons and racoons being the most likely to feed on your fish. They will continue to visit your pond until the food is gone unless you take steps to protect your pond. Be aware that herons are protected and can not be killed. However, there are a variety of effective methods to keep predators away. Pond nets, heron decoys, and motion activated water sprays have been proven to be effective.
It’s not unusual for a pond to take a couple weeks to clear up after the initial installation or after a yearly pond cleaning. Affer a short period the sediment will either settle to the bottom or be filtered and the pond will clear up. Ponds will oftern cloud up for a couple days after heavy rains, but will quickly clear up.
See the section above in Regular Maintenance for a description of string algae and how to handle the problem. The products and methods described have proven to be effective in minimizing or eliminating string algae problems.
Figure out the approximate square footage of water surface, multiply this times the average depth (usually around 18 inches or 1.5 feet), then multiply this number times 7.48 (the number of gallons per cubic foot.)
Length x width x depth x 7.48 = number of gallons
Occasionally, some larger debris will get into the pump area of the skimmer and be pulled into the suction end of the pump (the most common and messiest problem is frogs being pulled into the pump). To clear these blockages you will need to remove the pump from the skimmer and dislodge the blockage. Most of our pond installations have a rubber connector with a screw down clamp that can be loosened to remove the pump. Pull the pump and plumbing out of the pond, but do not pull the pump by the electric cord since this might damage the pump (and void the warranty). Debris removal is not a warranty problem, but our pond crews can handle this for you for our hourly pond crew rate of $65 per man hour.
Meadows Farms can order these items and often have them shipped directly to your home if its a repair that you can do yourself. If our services are needed we can quote a price. In some cases you can go to an internet pond site and order items yourself. In most cases this will not be a problem since there are many high quality pond product manufacturers and sellers. If you have a question whether a product is suitable for your pond please give us a call or send your question by e-mail.