Pond Maintenance Tips...
The Aquascape's Pro-pond ecosystem has been designed to achieve excellent water quality while minimizing maintenance.
EMPTYING THE NET:
Remove the stone skimmer lid and set aside. The debris net is hung along the top of the skimmer for easy access. The debris net support bars rest in grooves found on either side of the skimmer. The front support bar is U-shaped and fits snug under the mouth of the skimmer. The rear support bar is straight and rests across the rear grooves. Lift the rear support bar out of the set of grooves. Now swing the front U-bar from underneath the skimmer mouth towards the centre of the skimmer. The skimmer net can now be removed. Empty the net by the "flip" method. Simply flip the net inside out and shake out the debris. The net is now ready to install back into the skimmer.
INSTALLING THE NET:
Swing the front U-bar underneath the skimmer mouth and rest the top ends of the support bar in the grooves found at the front of the skimmer. Now bring the rear support bar towards the back of the skimmer and rest the top ends of the bar in the grooves found at the rear of the skimmer. Replace the stone skimmer lid.
It is a good habit during your first season with the pond to periodically life the stone lid off the skimmer and check the quantity of debris in the net. This is especially true in the fall. Keep a mental note as to how often the net has to be changed. It is important that the debris net is not allowed to become to full. Too much debris can reduce the water flow to the pump and may eventually damage it.
CLEANING SKIMMER FILTER MAT:
The skimmer filter mat is designed to remove the fine debris that makes its way past the debris net. The filter mat does not require emptying as frequently as the debris net, but does require an occasional cleaning and rinsing.
Typically, if you notice a reduction in flow from your waterfall, it is time to shut off the pump and remove and clean the filter mat. To access the filter mat, you must first remove the debris net. Once the debris net is removed, you will want to reach inside the skimmer and pull the filter mat out. The filter mat should be rinsed off with a garden house until most of the fine debris has been removed. The mat can now be replaced inside the skimmer and the pump restarted. Note: the filter mat has a slot cut to fit around the discharge pipe. Install the filter mat correctly so the slot fits around the discharge pipe.
REPLACING YOUR FILTER MATS:
Skimmer filter mats are designed to last for about two years. Filter mats may be discoloured and appear dirty and old, but will work just fine in your skimmer and BIOFALLS®. Replace old filter mats if they begin to tear or fall apart. Ask your installer or local garden centre about replacement filter mats.
DECREASED WATER FLOW:
Even though the water has been pre-filtered by the debris net and filter mat, your pump may occasionally become clogged. If you notice that the flow from your waterfalls is still reduced after emptying the debris net and cleaning the filter mat, it may be time to clean your pump screen. Removing your pump will take about 10 minutes and a flat head screwdriver or 5/16" net driver.
REMOVING THE PUMP:
The first step to removing your pump is to unplug it from the electrical source. Now, remove the debris net and filter mat from inside the skimmer. The rubber coupling found at the top of the skimmer attaches to the pump discharge pipe to the underground pipe that delivers water to the BIOFALLS®. Find the adjustment screw on one of the rubber coupling clamps. Use a flat head screwdriver or 5/16" nut-driver to loosen the screw. Once the screw is loosened, the two pipes can be separated. Don't be alarmed when water starts to pour out your discharge line. The water will stop as soon as the BIOFALLS® has drained. Grab hold of the discharge pipe coming from the pump in the skimmer. Pull the pump out of the skimmer vault and set along side the skimmer.
CLEANING THE PUMP INTAKE:
The pump intake is typically found on the bottom or side of the pump. Remove any debris that has covered the intake screen of the pump. The pump can be placed back into the skimmer once the intake has been cleaned.
INSTALLING THE PUMP:
Set the pump in the skimmer. Attach the pump discharge pipe and the underground pipe using the rubber coupling. Use a flat head screwdriver or 5/16" nut-driver to tighten the clamps around the rubber coupling. Next, install the filter mat and net back into the skimmer. The pump is now ready to be plugged in. your ecosystem is designed to be run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Do not turn your pump on and off unless you're servicing it.
The BIOFALL® filter is the starting point of your waterfall. The filter is designed to require once a year cleaning when used in combination with a skimmer prefilter. The yearly cleaning should be completed in the spring. See section on Spring Clean-out to learn how to complete your yearly BIOFALLS® clean-out.
Every pond will experience a certain degree of evaporation. How much evaporation your pond experiences depends on factors such as waterfall height, stream length, amount of sunlight the pond receives and temperature of the region you live, to name only a few. Generally, a small residential pond will require weekly watering. During rainy periods, adding water to your pond may not be necessary at all.
YOUR PONDS IDEAL WATER LEVEL:
The water level of the pond can be monitored using the opening of the skimmer
mouth as a reference. The ideal water level should be set at approximately
3/4" below the top of the skimmer mouth. Make is a point to check your
water level when you are emptying your debris net. If the water level is
low, simply drop a garden house into the pond and add the required amount
of water. De=chlorinator does not need to be used when adding less than 20%
of the ponds total water volume.
FINDING WATER LEAKS:
If you notice that you have to add water on a daily basis or hear the "hissing" of your water fill valve constantly running, (after properly setting the water level) you may have a leak. WE have found that 99# of all leaks occur along the perimeter of the waterfalls and stream. Small leaks are generally due to the ground settling, this caused the water to trickle off the edge of the liner in the stream or waterfalls. Leaks such as these can be fixed very easily.
Damp or saturated soil is usually a good indicator that water is leaking off the liner.
Once you have found the leak, simply pack dirt, pebbles or a small rock beneath the liner in order to raise the edge above the water level. Hide the exposed liner by replacing the gravel and mulch.
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Ponds For Kids...
The Ponds for Kids program is run by the North American Water Gardening Society (N.A.W.G.S.), who has teamed up with Chicagoland's Brookfield Zoo and the National Wildlife Federation. They are aiming to place ponds in schools across the country so that all kids can grow up learning the naturalistic lessons that can only be taught with a naturally balanced, aquatic ecosystem on hand. Brookfield Zoo even sponsored a teacher's consortium designed to develop a curriculum guide to go along with each new Ponds for Kids Event.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE...
If you know of a school that would be interested in having a new aquatic learning lab on their premises, log on to www.nawgs.com or call 630-326-1824. To mail a request for information, write to Ellen Beaulieu, North American Water Gardening Society, P.O. Box 175, Batavia, IL, U.S.A. 60510. Interested schools should act right away since available projects can fill up quickly.