FAQ

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Pond Kit Features


HOW DOES THIS WORK?

We pre-build your pond kit, put it in boxes, and ship it to your location. You just re-assemble, and add water. There are several sizes to choose from. Check out the video showing the easy set-up.

IS KIM'S PONDS THE ACTUAL MANUFACTURER OF THE KITS?

Yes, we build the frame, benches and pre-formed liner at Kim's Ponds in our pond shop. We start by hand selecting mill ends or salvaged lengths of western red cedar; which is sorted and air dried to achieve the optimal moisture content. The cedar is cut, ripped, planed, sanded, notched and stained on all sides. This seals the cedar and locks in its own protecting resins for maximum durability in any climate zone.

The Pondgard liner made by Firestone starts off in 30 foot wide rolls. We cut blanks to size, attach arena board to give the liner its own frame and the result is a perfectly fitting pre-formed liner that you simply open and place inside the frame.

We work directly with the pump manufacturer, Lifegard Aquatics, headquartered near San Diego, who supply us with the amazing magnetic drive pond pumps, fountains and filters that come with your pond kit.

DO I NEED TO DIG UP MY LANDSCAPE TO HAVE THIS POND KIT?

No digging! With the exception of the 600 gallon Pond Kit, which is partially dug into the ground, all of the other Kim's Pond kits set up completely on top of the ground, stone or concrete patios, wooden decks, or even inside. Just choose or create a fairly level space for your pond. You want your pond frame to sit fairly level as the water will show grade. Check out the easy set up video!

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE ME TO SET UP MY POND KIT?

'Ready for water in under an hour, without ever lifting a shovel' is our slogan. The first time you assemble one of Kim's Ponds kits, your pond should be ready for water in about an hour. Customers tell us that 'it takes longer to fill than to assemble'. Check out our video of a 100 gallon (64" x 55") pond kit that Mike has set up and ready for water, in under 6 minutes.

ARE THE SET-UP INSTRUCTIONS EASY TO UNDERSTAND?

Yes. There is video online showing the complete setup, and printed detailed set-up instructions are included in your Easy Pond Care Guide. And, for those who are not inclined to watch a video or read the directions, there is a one page sheet with 6 pictures showing the entire set-up inside box #1. We also have a toll free line to our office should you require assistance or have other questions.

I CHANGE RESIDENCES A LOT. CAN I MOVE MY POND?

Yes, and easily. Just pump out the water, gather up the interlocking frame, fold up the pliable liner, and off you go. With the benches still attached, you can lift the top off in one piece if you wish. One customer told us he moved his pond in under ten minutes, once the water was out. See our video on how to disassemble your pond kit.

HOW STRONG ARE THE BENCHES? CAN I SIT ON THEM?

Yes, all of Kim's ponds have benches sturdy enough to sit on. The pond frame is a stack of interlocking cedar rails, so you are sitting on an interlocked solid stack of wood! You can also place plants, decorations and other water features on the benches.

WILL I NEED TO STAIN OR PAINT MY POND KIT?

Kim's Pond kits come to you already finished with Behr Stain, a high quality wood protectant.

Easy Assembly


I'M NOT GOOD AT BUILDING DIY PROJECTS. HOW HARD IS THIS TO BUILD?

We do the hard parts and leave you with an easy-set up. You simply stack the interlocking frame rails together like a little log house. Drop in the pre-built liner. Attach the 3 benches by tightening 12 screws into pre-drilled holes, and add water with a garden hose. Check out the easy set-up video.

WHERE DO I GET THE WATER? DO I NEED TO RUN A PERMANENT PLUMBING LINE?

No plumbing required! Simply fill your pond one time with a garden hose. The pump re-circulates the same water after it is filled. Depending on your location, you may need to top up the water occasionally.

DO I NEED ANY SPECIAL TOOLS?

No. The entire pond kit is setup using only 12 square head wood screws. We even include a screwdriver for your convenience.

CAN I PUT MY POND KIT AWAY FOR THE WINTER, OR MOVE IT TO A DIFFERENT LOCATION?

Yes. Our pond kits have been designed to be taken apart easily and moved or stored. Once you have the water pumped out, you can quickly take the interlocking frame apart, and remove the flexible liner. We have a video online showing you how (see the video section at the bottom of this page).

Western Red Cedar


WHY WOULD YOU USE WESTERN RED CEDAR TO BUILD THE PONDS?
 
Western Red Cedar is renowned worldwide for its unique weather-resistant properties, and is considered a specialty wood product.
 
Cedar is a lightweight and dimensionally stable wood that lies flat and stays straight.  This means it resists the natural tendency to crack and check, as you might find in many other wood species, especially when exposed to direct sunlight.
 
Western Red Cedar's bacterial and fungal resistance, coupled with the fact that Cedar is 80% the strength of Oak, makes it the most desirable wood to use for building outdoor furniture.
 
Western Red Cedar fibers contain oils that act as natural preservatives to help the wood resist rot and decay making it an excellent outdoor material for moist or humid climates.  This is why Cedar is a very popular material for hot tub and sauna areas.
 
Western Red Cedar has an incredible thermal co-efficient, meaning even on hot days, it is cool to sit on.
 
Much of today's outdoor furniture consists of chemically treated materials.  These materials hold up outdoors because they are soaked in a "toxic stew" of chemical preservatives that are strong enough to require warning labels for those who handle it.
 
Cedar is an all around safer/healthier choice for any outdoor product.  We use Coastal Western Red Cedar, which grows in the rain forest like conditions of the Pacific Northwest.  Growing in such a high moisture area, 'Coastal Western Red' is considered the most durable cedar and will out perform other cedar species when used outdoors; even in the harshest of conditions.

Weather Proofing Wood Stain


WHAT KIND OF STAIN DO YOU USE ON THE PONDS?

Our pond kits are completely finished with BEHR's best wood protectant, Premium Transparent Weather Proofing All-in-One Wood Finish, in the Cedar Naturaltone color.

HOW LONG WILL THE WOOD FINISH LAST?

This advanced 100% acrylic formula penetrates deep into the wood to deliver complete protection from the elements for up to 4 years on decks and 6 years on fences and siding. The silicone fortified formula delivers excellent protection from the sun's harmful UV rays. How frequently maintenance coats are required on your pond will depend on sun and weather exposure levels. Often, when the ponds are in direct sunlight the benches may need refinishing more often than the side rails.

Periodically, you can clean the wood surface to remove dirt and residue. This will help with color retention, dimensional stabilization and effective water repellency. If fading or wear is evident and you wish to freshen up the look, simply prepare by lightly cleaning the wood surface (mild detergent and clean water); then re-apply one maintenance coat of stain according to the manufacturer's instructions.

This water based stain is absorbed into the outer layers of the wood, so no stripping or sanding is required prior to refinishing. If you have scratches in the surfaces from day to day use, simply lightly sand them out, and then reapply the stain.

EPDM PONDGUARD Preformed Liner


WHAT HOLDS THE WATER?

The liner is made from Firestone PondGard EPDM. This is the same material used for most large in ground ponds. PondGard is non toxic, and carries a 20 year warranty from the manufacturer against breaking down from UV rays of the sun or rupturing from the cold.

IS THE LINER SAFE FOR FISH AND OTHER AQUATIC LIFE?

Yes. The Japanese Koi Association considers PondGard to be the world's safest liner for fish. Our .45 mil PondGard liners are non toxic, easy to care for, and have a 50 to 100 year life expectancy. Check out the section dedicated to fish care and aquatic plants in our website.

PondGard is based on EPDM synthetic rubber, a highly flexible stable material that is long lasting and easy to work with. It has been used successfully in a variety of environmental containment applications for more than a decade.

The Unique Properties Of EPDM Give PondGard These Unique Benefits:

  • FISH FRIENDLY: PondGard is a highly stable material that is specially formulated to be safe for exposure to fish and plant life in decorative ponds.
  • WEATHER RESISTANT: PondGard shows outstanding resistance to the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation (UV), ozone and other environmental conditions - important characteristics especially along the water line of the pond where the liner can be exposed
  • HIGH ELONGATION: PondGard EPDM has high expansion and contraction characteristics which enable it to conform to objects in the sub-grade. This feature is especially important after the pond is in service when earth movement, or erosion, could cause roots and rocks to be dislodged beneath the membrane, placing stress on the liner. PondGard's high elongation properties will enable it to stretch over the object.
  • LOW MAINTENANCE: PondGard requires little or no regular maintenance once installed. Should the need arise, it is easy to repair in place with a self-adhesive Quick Seam Joint Cover Patch, minimizing cost and inconvenience.

Pond Pumps & Fountains


DOES A PUMP COME WITH MY POND KIT?

Yes. Your kit comes with a "Quiet One" Pond Pump. These magnetic drive pumps are submersible, so they live in the middle of the pond. Each has a foam pre-filter, 3 fountain styles, and a 20 foot power cord. They plug into regular 120V, although GFCI outlet is highly recommended.

HOW BIG IS THE PUMP?

As the pond sizes get bigger, the size of the pump supplied also increases. The pumps are sized to turn over the entire volume of water in the pond more than once per hour. The more you circulate the water, the more oxygen goes into the water. Bacteria doesn't like all the oxygen, so this makes it much easier to keep the water clean.

  • The Quiet One Model 800 pump is included with The Wall Pond, 60 gal. and 100 gal. Pond kits.
  • The Quiet One Model 1200 pump is included with the 165 gal. and 200 gal. Pond kit.
  • The Quiet One Model 2200 is included with the 300 gal. Pond kit.
  • The Quiet One Model 4000 is included with the 425 gal. and 600 gal. Pond kit.
  • The Quiet One Model 6000 is included with the 800 gal., 1000 gal. and 1200 gal. Pond kit.

WHAT KIND OF FOUNTAINS ARE INCLUDED WITH THE POND KITS?

The Quiet One pumps come with three fountain styles; a multi-spray (sometimes called daisy, blossom or flower), a water bell (dome shaped, like an umbrella) and using just the riser extension tube will give you a gurgle effect. You can also adjust the flow of the pump to control the height of the spray and the size of the water bell.

A note of caution, the higher you turn up the spray, the larger the "splash zone" will be. You don't want water landing outside of your pond.

ARE THE PUMPS ENERGY EFFICIENT?

Very efficient and quiet! Pond kits up to the 100 gallon size come with a pump which turns 220 gallons per hour using a 1/4 of one amp of electricity. About $1.00 per month running full time. The power gets them going but the magnets help them spin. These Quiet One pond pumps are inexpensive to operate, run a long time, and they are quiet! You get to listen to the sound of the water, and not the hum of a pump!

WHAT IS THE WARRANTY ON THE PUMPS?

Your pump comes with a three year warranty, and has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.  The impeller has a separate 60 day warranty.

HOW DOES THE MAGNETIC DRIVE PUMP WORK?

Basically, the power gets the pump started, and the magnetic drive turns the impeller, which uses very little energy.  The model 800 pump for example uses only 0.24 of one amp of current, to turn over 220 gallons of water per hour.  Runs 24/7 for about a $1.00 per month.

Internal re-circulation prevents overheating and ejects any obstructing debris.  Remarkable impeller technology and corrosion resistant bearings help ensure quiet operation and a significantly longer life expectancy.

WHAT IF I WOULD LIKE MORE FILTRATION?

For our larger pond kits, we offer an optional Lifegard All-in-One Pond Filter System.

The ALL IN ONE FILTER SYSTEM is a compact filter system for ponds, water gardens and fountains.  It's easy to install and is designed for easy maintenance.  Besides offering 2 different fountain spray patterns, it performs three different filtering functions:

  1. Multi-Layer, 2 stage high capacity MECHANICAL Filtration (2 types of sponges) to remove solids.
  2. BIOLOGICAL Filtration to promote beneficial bacterial growth.
  3. ULTRAVIOLET STERILIZATION puts out 13 Watts of intense UV light to kill free floating algae. The ultraviolet sterilizer has a separate 20' cord so that you can operate it only when it's required.  There is an indicator light so you can see when it is working.

The SINGLE filter system runs with a quiet, efficient QUIET ONE model 2200 pond pump.  It is rated for use in ponds up to 1,000 gallons and is available with our 300 gallon pond kit.

The DOUBLE filter system runs with a model 3000 pump and is designed for ponds up to 1,500 gallons.  The double system is best suited for our 425 & 600 gallon ponds.

The TRIPLE filter system runs with a model 4000 pump and is designed for ponds up to 2,000 gallons.  The triple system is best suited for our 800, 1000 & 1200 gallon ponds.

The water feature fountain attachment has a ball joint leveling device to keep spray vertical even when the bottom of the pond is not level.

The advanced features of this compact filter system allow efficient operation and if installed according to instructions, will keep the water in your pond crystal clear.

Fish & Pet Habitat


CAN I PUT FISH IN MY POND?
 
Yes, the liner that we use is fish and plant safe.  Fish add a wonderful element to your pond.  They are colorful and graceful and contribute to a balanced ecological environment.  Treat them carefully and they will repay you with many years of enjoyment.
 
 
HOW MANY FISH CAN I HAVE IN MY POND?
 
The size of your pond generally dictates the number of fish it will accommodate.  Overstocking will create an environment that requires more maintenance.  Too few are far better than too many. Fish will often reproduce and the can grow quickly in a pond environment.   A general rule of thumb is 1 inch (2 cm) of fish for every 10 US gallons (38 liters) of water. You can increase the number of fish by adding more filtration. Koi are more specialized than goldfish and typically need more space in a pond.
CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME TIPS FOR SELECTING FISH FOR MY POND?
 
* Clear, bright eyes
* Undamaged fins
* Scales should be smooth, not sticking out and no red blotches
* No ulcers or bumps
* Active, lively swimming
* No white spots (salt grain size) or white cottony growths on the fins or body
* Gills should be red inside, not faded or discolored, and not distended or puffy.
* Try to avoid selecting fish from a tank or pond that contains any sick or dead fish
 
Choosing fish that are healthy from the beginning will help avoid future problems.
WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR POND FISH?  
 
Goldfish can generally be kept in smaller ponds than Koi.  There is a large variety of different species available.  Goldfish can get quite large, up to 12 inches (30 cm) in length.  Common varieties include: Sarasa, Comets, Red Fantails and Shubunkins.
 
Koi fish are some of the most beautiful fish in the world. Because of this fact, koi are the fish most commonly associated with garden ponds.  Koi have been raised in the Orient for centuries, with the earliest colored varieties dating back two hundred years.  These fish can regularly live to be 60 years old or more, making them life-long pets.
WHEN AND HOW DO I ADD FISH TO MY POND?
 
You should wait at least a week before adding fish to your new pond.  This gives the pond time to settle in and to build up some good bacteria to deal with the fish waste.
 
Treat your pond fish with great care.  Any handling or transportation, even introducing them to your pond will cause stress.  Take it slow when introducing new fish to you pond.  Float the bag that the fish came in on the top of the pond.  This will change the water temperature to match the water in the pond.  Stay in a shaded area or work in the evening, as the sun can quickly raise the temperature in the bag.  Add a small amount of the pond water to the bag and let it sit for a few minutes, repeat this process for about 20 minutes, this will acclimate your new fish to the pond water.  Slowly release the fish into their new home.
 
Any fish that are to be added subsequently, should be quarantined before they are introduced to your existing population.
 
CAN I PUT MY TURTLES IN MY POND?
 
Yes, Kim's ponds make an excellent turtle habitat.  The liner is safe for turtles and is very durable.  Turtles enjoy the wide open space and it is really easy to build an island in the middle for them to bask on.  They end up with a very natural, comfortable, safe environment to call home.
 

Aquatic Gardening


The practice of gardening in water has records back to 5000 B.C. Paintings from the times of the Ancient Egyptians and Pharaohs show palace gardens filled with water lilies, lotus and other aquatic plants.

ARE THERE ADVANTAGES TO ADDING PLANTS TO MY POND?

Gardening with water plants can be a whole new world to even the most practiced gardener. Essentially one creates micro worlds full of flora and fauna. The general practice of understanding the balance of flora and fauna will result in a magnificent, low maintenance water garden.

Aquatic plants are an integral part of a garden pond. They not only give your pond a natural, beautiful look, but have numerous other benefits.

Plants provide a natural form of filtration and help oxygenate the pond. They play an essential roll in maintaining stable water conditions. Floating, submerged and marginal plants can bring an ecological balance to a pond. A proper selection of complementary plants can help you achieve a healthy pond environment. A general ratio, depending on how much sun the pond gets, is:

50% - 70% surface coverage and one bunch of oxygenators for every 2 square feet of open surface area. With this balance of plants and a moderate fish load, one can achieve clear water without the addition of filters.

WHAT KIND OF PLANTS WILL WORK BEST IN MY POND?

There are four types of aquatic pond plants. They include deep-water, marginals (also called bog plants), floating plants, and oxygenating plants.

Advantages of using aquatic plants:

  • plants absorb ammonium, nitrates, phosphates and some metals, helping to improve water quality.
  • Plants supply shelter and food for your fish.
  • Aquatic plants help reduce algae by competing with the intake of essential nutrients and shading the pond.
  • They help keep a biological balance.
  • By shading the water, plants help prevent the water from overheating.

Gardening with water plants can be a whole new world to even the most practiced gardener. Essentially one creates micro worlds full of flora and fauna. The general practice of understanding the balance of flora and fauna will result in a magnificent, low maintenance water garden.

Aquatic plants are an integral part of a garden pond. They not only give your pond a natural, beautiful look, but have numerous other benefits.

Plants provide a natural form of filtration and help oxygenate the pond. They play an essential roll in maintaining stable water conditions. Floating, submerged and marginal plants can bring an ecological balance to a pond. A proper selection of complementary plants can help you achieve a healthy pond environment. A general ratio, depending on how much sun the pond gets, is:

50% - 70% surface coverage and one bunch of oxygenators for every 2 square feet of open surface area. With this balance of plants and a moderate fish load, one can achieve clear water without the addition of filters.

WHAT KIND OF PLANTS WILL WORK BEST IN MY POND?

There are four types of aquatic pond plants. They include deep-water, marginals (also called bog plants), floating plants, and oxygenating plants.

DEEP WATER PLANTS

Deep-water aquatic plants like water lilies, take root in the bottom of the pond. They do not like flowing water.

Hardy Water Lilies are ideal for any water garden because of their perennial beauty, ease of culture, wealth of bloom, and range of color and form. They grow readily when provided with sunlight, rich soil, warm water, and are exceptionally hardy. Their purchase may be considered a permanent investment, with reasonable care they can be retained for many years.

Water Lotus are hardy perennials considered sacred in Buddhist's beliefs. This group of water garden plants are sold as tubers and the smaller varieties have leaves and flowers as small as 2 - 3". They require a sunny location and a little more care than water lilies, but the results are a spectacular plant that returns year after year.

 

 

MARGINAL PLANTS

Marginals, also called bog plants, live in three to six inches of water and are the most common plants in a pond. 

You can place the potted plants on top of bricks or up-side-down plant pots to get them to the correct depth.

Marsh Marigolds are one of the most popular marginal plants. It has heart shaped leaves with Buttercup type flowers, which bloom in April. They prefer to be in a bog setting, but can be placed in the pond as long as there isn't much water above the crown of the plant. This plant prefers part shade to full sun. This plant will bloom in the spring and fall.

The Water Forget-me-not is a highly recommended species for any pond. It is a lovely, untidy sprawling plant, with small sky blue (occasionally pink or white) flowers, that can creep over pond edges. It is a reliable and easy to grow marginal that prefers to be planted in full sun. It will grow about 6 – 9 inches in height.

Lizard's Tail has bright green heart shaped leaves with a display of an unusual catkin flower head creamy white in color with a slight fragrance. Flower heads usually appear during June and August. The plant height is between 1 - 2 feet. It likes to be planted in full sun to part shade in the bog or shallow water. This plant is lush and is a great addition to any pond.

The Dwarf Cattail is a smaller version of the common cattail and makes an excellent background plant. They are great for smaller ponds as well as tub and container gardening. The foliage is very narrow and grass-like in appearance and small, round, dark brown flower spikes add to its charm. This plant will grow to a height of between 12 to 36".

Aquatic Iris are available in many varieties, sizes and colors, including blue, purple, yellow, white, red and orange - or even a mixture of colors. Blossoms are at the end of tall stocks that lift the flower above the leaves. All bloom in spring to early summer. Grow in full sun to part shade. All have exceptionally beautiful blossoms.

The Chameleon is a great foliage plant that grows 8 - 12" tall. It has heart shaped leaves of blue-green with yellow and red variegation. It blooms from May through August with white white flowers with yellow centers. This plant requires full sun to partial shade. You may want to confine this aggressive grower to a container.

The Corkscrew Rush is one of my favourites because of the way the stems grow in a corkscrew fashion. The light green flowers are insignificant, as they are very small and sometimes missed when the plant blooms. The plant grows in a "mound" and it is a wonderful specimen plant. It prefers full sun, but will tolerate part shade.

The Micro-Mini Horsetail grows approx. 10" tall. Horsetail is an ancient, unusual plant with very distinctive dark green segmented stems. It is hardy and 'evergreen' in many areas. These plants are extremely low maintenance. They are a great conversation piece with their odd appearance. They make great shade plants when planted thick and prefer full sun to partial shade.

 

 

FLOATING PLANTS

Floating plants rest on the surface of the water and absorb nutrients from the water with hair-like roots that need no soil. 

Acting as nutrient sponges that use fish waste as a food source, they help reduce algae.

In addition to filtering the water, they also provide shade and protection for fish.

Oxygenating plants produce a lot of oxygen during the day. There are two types: submerged and floating.

Since submerged plants compete with algae for nutrients, they also help reduce algae.

Frogsbit spreads moderately by producing offsets. This floater has shiny light green leaves with sponge-like undersides and long white roots. Light green undersides show slightly for contrast Tiny white flowers appear in July and August. These plants are easy to grow, they float on the surface, so there is no need for soil. They prefer full sun to partial shade.

The Water Lettuce plant has pale, dusty green leaves that resemble the leaves of cabbage. This pond plant spreads quickly by producing subsets. It is excellent as a shade plant, but must be controlled. The roots can get up to 9" in length, which helps with the absorption of nitrates, helping to keep your pond water clear & clean. They prefer full sun to partial shade.

The Water Hyacinth is a free-floating perennial plant with broad, thick, glossy ovate leaves and striking light-blue to violet flowers. Very easy to grow, these plants are great for surface coverage and algae control. They also provide vulnerable young fish some protection from predators. They are great coverage plants that spread moderately fast by producing subsets.

Red Stemmed Parrot's Feather is a very adaptable plant. It has attractive red-stemmed foliage that grows up out of the water with brilliant color contrast; stems are red-blue which can intensify with sun exposure. It is excellent for oxygenating and cleaning the water. It also shades the pond and provides a protective environment for small fish.

Fairy Moss is an attractive floating fern with a tiny structure about 1/2" across. It is green in the shade, turning deep red with sun exposure. The leaves are covered in fine hairs that give it the appearance of being covered with velvet. It helps provide coverage and shade to help starve out algae. It grows quickly and fish love to eat it.

Hornwort is a unique 'oxygenator' in that it does not root; it floats under the surface of the water or at the bottom of the pond. It is bright green and feathery and is an excellent plant that not only provides oxygen to the water, but also acts as a filter. Hornwort combats algae by consuming nutrients in the water and secreting substances that inhibit the growth of algae.


SHOULD I FERTILIZE MY POND PLANTS?

Yes, especially if you don't have fish and you want to have big beautiful flowers. Fish waste is a natural fertilizer for plants and they will provide enough nutrients for most marginal plants. However, plants such as water lilies, lotus and many tropical plants are heavy feeders and require regular fertilizing to produce abundant blooms. Fertilize plants with aquatic plant tabs or spikes.
 
HOW CAN I GET RID OF APHIDS?
 
Simply spray them off the plants with a garden hose.  Fish love them and will soon learn that when you get the hose out it mean snack time.  Alternately, plants could be fully submerged in the pond for an hour, allowing the fish to dine upon the aphids.

Choosing a Location


WHERE CAN I PUT MY POND KIT?
 
Anywhere that is flat or fairly level, as the water will show the grade.  Most customers put these on decks, patios, or a flat spot out in the yard.  We have a section titled 'Choosing a Location' in Kims' pond guide that is included with each pond kit.
 
 

I WANT TO PUT A POND KIT ON MY DECK.  HOW HEAVY WILL IT BE WHEN IT'S FULL? 

The sizes are measured in US Gallons.  The water is about 8.65 lbs. per gal.  For example, the 100 gallon pond is about 865 lbs. of water, and the kit weighs about 100 lbs.  A total of 965 lbs. spread over an area that is roughly 4 ft. x 5 ft.
 
 
 
CAN I PUT MY POND KIT INDOORS? 
 
While these kits are designed to be outdoors, some customers choose to set them up indoors.  Some people in colder climates have these indoors (basements, barns, garages, sun rooms, etc.) to overwinter their pond fish, aquatic plants, or even for their pet turtles.  Others have placed these indoors to provide some humidity and tranquility.  Our pond kits are like large aquariums in a sense, but it can still be a lot of water to deal with if there is ever a problem, so choose your location carefully.
 
 

MY POND WILL BE IN A FULL SUN LOCATION, WILL IT GET TOO WARM?

One solution is to ensure that your pond has plenty of plants, as these shade the water and allow the fish to stay out of the direct sun.  There are also many ways to add some kind of sun shade to your pond area.  The photo shows a patio umbrella used to shade part of the pond.

I LIVE IN A VERY COLD CLIMATE.  WHAT DO I DO IN THE WINTER?

Our PondGard liner is very durable, (still flexible below - 40) and has a 20 year warranty against breaking down from the cold (or the sun).  Some people run their ponds year round in cold climates using a pond heater (like a stock tank heater in a livestock water trough or aquarium heaters), but many people simply pump out the water, and store the pump indoors for the winter.  You don't want to freeze the pump, but if it's not too cold, you can run your pump through the winter you just need to keep an eye on it.  We have a video online showing some tips.
 

What About Algae?


Managing algae has been the nemesis of pond owners for as long as ponds have been in existence. It is unsightly and can become a menace if not controlled. In extreme instances, algae can grow until it suffocates your plants and fish, and completely fills a pond. However, there are reasons this occurs and plenty of precautionary measures that can be taken to prevent such uncontrolled growth.

Think of algae as the "weeds" in your water garden. Algae thrive for the same reason the plants and weeds in your terrestrial garden thrive. They need light, nutrients, and warm water. Without any one of these three elements, algae will not be able to grow. Whether the problem is thick green string algae (sometimes called blanketweed) or water borne algae that turns your water into green "pea soup", you can keep it under control by managing your pond environment.
 
CONTROLLING LIGHT
 
Controlling the amount of light that your pond receives is an easier task to accomplish than it sounds. There are several ways we can limit the amount of sunlight that reaches the pond's surface. One way this can be accomplished is the location of the pond. The kind of pond you are planning on (e.g., a heavily planted water garden, or a fish-only koi pond) will determine how much direct sunlight per day your pond will require.
 
The fish-only koi pond will require far less sunlight than the water garden. Only several hours of direct sunlight each day is sufficient for a koi pond. The fish will benefit from obtaining some sunlight but do not need a full day's worth and can actually get sunburned if there is no shading or shelter available. The water garden on the other hand, will require a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight per day. This is an adequate amount of light for most of the aquatic plants.
 
A second way to control the amount of light that penetrates the surface of the pond is through the use of plants. Floating plants and other surface dwelling plants are a great way to minimize the amount of light that penetrates the surface of the water. Water Hyacinths and Water Lettuce are two of the most widely available floating plants that can be of benefit. Both of these plants are very aggressive growers and will reproduce in large quantities. They are very invasive and are considered a nuisance in some southern states. In harsher climates, this is not the case and neither plant is cold-hardy, so they will usually not survive winter.
 
Typically, these are inexpensive plants and therefore, they can easily be replaced each year without digging too far into your pocketbook. Good submersed plants to help block out sunlight would include Water Lilies or Lotus. Lily pads are normally seen resting on the surface of the water. Lotus pads, on the other hand, will grow out of the water and take their form resting well above the waters surface. By blocking the surface of the pond these plants limit the amount of sunshine the algae receives, slowing its growth and helping you maintain control of your pond.
 
NUTRIENT CONTROL
 
The most important factor to address in algae control is the nutrients the algae need to grow. The nutrients that feed algae come from many sources and anything you can do to minimize the influx of these nutrients will help you control algal growth.
 
Rainwater can be a problem since it carries air pollutants and particulates into the pond which can, in turn, increase the amount of nutrients in the pond water.
 
Fish food, whether consumed by your fish or not, is another source of nutrients for algae. Food that is eaten by your fish is digested and excreted. The excretion is a byproduct of the fish food and a source of nutrients for plants and algae. Uneaten food rots and decays, this process provides ammonia and other nutrients found in the food to disperse in the pond water and allows algae to use it as food.
 
Nutrients can easily be controlled using some simple procedures. Good feeding habits help in the control of algae. You want to make sure that all the food you feed the fish is consumed within about five minutes. Food not consumed within five minutes is adding harmful nutrients to the water.
 
Finally, the introduction of additional plants to your pond can be very effective in algae control, as plants and algae compete for the same food. With enough plants, you can starve the algae of nutrients as the higher plant life forms consume the nutrients first. The use of oxygenating plants can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the water, which is needed by both plants and algae. The oxygenating plants use the carbon dioxide in the water for fuel, and in turn, produce oxygen. Since the plants are using up the carbon dioxide, there is less of it available for the algae to feed. The increased oxygen content of the water increases the pond's ability to sustain life.
 
FILTRATION AND UV CLARIFIERS / STERILIZERS
 
Keeping your filter clean and working efficiently is equally important in controlling algae growth. Filtration is important for algae control for several reasons. Your filter traps debris. Although this debris is no longer visible in the pond, it is in your filter, and therefore, still in the water. If left in the filter, this debris will be broken down further and the remaining particulates will be small enough to pass through the filter and become part of the water. This in turn adds nutrients to the water.
 
Debris that is left in the filter can also clog the filter and kill off the beneficial bacteria that grow there. These beneficial bacteria are responsible for the breakdown of fish waste. When you lessen the bacteria's ability to consume waste products, it leaves that much more available for the plants and algae to consume. By keeping your filter free of this debris, you will keep your helpful bacteria alive and optimize their ability to consume waste. Without proper filter maintenance, algae growth will be left unchecked.
 
UV clarifiers & sterilizers use ultraviolet light to control and eliminate algae and disease organisms in garden ponds. If you have goldfish or Koi in your garden pond, a UV clarifier or sterilizer is a valuable addition to your pond. They improve fish health, as well as helping with algae control. UV sterilizers are often mistaken for UV clarifiers. Although both pieces of equipment have the same purpose, a UV sterilizer is a more powerful algae killer than a UV clarifier.
 
Neither UV clarifiers nor UV sterilizers kill the beneficial bacteria, necessary for all around pond health, that grow on rocks and in the filter. When water is pumped through the UV sterilizer, the ultraviolet light that is emitted will break down the cell wall of the algae and the algae will then die. Some UV sterilizers are designed specifically for outdoor use. Make sure to get the appropriate sized UV sterilizer for your pond. One that is too small for the pond will not provide enough benefit.
 
ALGAECIDES & OTHER TREATMENTS
 
We also have other means for controlling algae including water additives. Additives can take on many forms, with the most common being the algaecides. Most of the algae inhibitors available are very effective in controlling algae; however, they can also be very effective in killing your plants. There are a few products on the market that do not affect plants. One that I have had success with is D-Solv by Crystal Clear. It does not completely eliminate algae, but does slow its growth substantially. When using any of these products, always check the label to make sure that it is safe for the plants and fish in your pond.
 
Coloring agents, which typically color the water a dark shade of blue or black, work well for controlling algae growing below the water's surface. They simply color the water so that the sunlight is unable to penetrate to the depths of the pond. Without light, the algae starve.
 
Another solution that has been used for years in Europe and has started to become more popular here in the US, and that is the use of barley straw. Barley straw needs to be placed in a location with good water flow and must also have sunlight. Given these conditions, after several weeks, the barley straw will start to decompose creating hydrogen peroxide, which will then kill off algae.
 
Remember that algae growth is normal in all ponds, and a small amount can provide many benefits including being a source of food for the fish and helping to control nitrate levels. However, once the level of algae exceeds healthy limits, it can reduce oxygen levels, cloud water, and restrict circulation, not to mention being unsightly. By carefully planning your pond's location, maintaining a healthy compliment of aquatic plants, possibly installing a quality filter and a UV sterilizer, you can prevent the majority of algae blooms from occurring and make your pond a healthy home for your fish and a place of beauty.

Pond Kit Maintenance


HOW DO I KEEP THE WATER CLEAN, AND NOT GREEN?

Every pond kit comes with a pond guide that gives you tips on water care, specific to how you might be using your pond.  If you are creating an artificially decorated pond with no aquatic life contained in the water, you could simply use small amounts of bleach or chlorine to treat the water, and run a very low maintenance pond.  If you have fish or water plants, you are creating your own little biosphere.  Once established, many pond plants will help keep the water clear.  Check out our What about algae? FAQ section for more!
 
HOW HARD IS IT TO GET MY NEW POND ESTABLISHED?
 
The most important part of any pond is to establish a natural ecological balance, the same way it works in nature.  Once this natural balance is achieved, a complete cycle will take place.  The fish waste and dead vegetation will be consumed by bacteria, snails, & zooplankton.  They eventually convert the waste into a form of fertilizer that the plants can use.  This cycle is fairly easy to establish, but depends upon stocking a pond with the right amount of fish, plants, maintaining good water quality and enough sunlight for the plants to thrive.   There is more detailed information in our Aquatic Gardening section below.
 
I WANT A LOW MAINTENANCE WATER FEATURE.  WHAT SHOULD I DO?
 
The lowest maintenance is generally achieved by using artificial decorations, limiting exposure to direct sunlight, and adding small amounts of water treatments to control the bacteria which feed the growth of algae, etc.  With fish and live plants, the right combination can help filter and clean the water, while the wrong combination will have the opposite effect.
 
WILL MOSQUITOES BREED IN MY POND? 
 
Mosquitoes breed in calm water.  Having a pump in your pond to keep the water circulating adequately helps greatly.  However even with a large pump, small pockets of still water are often present in the pond where they can breed.  Not to worry, mosquito larvae are a favorite natural food for small koi and goldfish, so they will keep your pond free of mosquitoes.  If you choose to not have fish you can use Mosquito Dunks, a natural, safe way to control mosquitoes.
 
WHAT KIND OF MAINTENANCE DOES THE LINER REQUIRE?
 
The liner is designed to give you many years of worry free use.  There is no regular maintenance required at all.  When cleaning is required, simply wipe the liner with a damp cloth.  Never use any detergent or other cleansers if you have fish or plants, or ever intend to.

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