Have you considered installing a water feature at your home? Maybe you aren't sure where to begin. Modern Design Aquascaping is pleased to go over some of the benefits and considerations for homeowners interested in a water feature.
While water features have been a popular addition to outdoor spaces for many years, they are gaining ground in popularity and purpose. In the past, homeowners would add a water feature later on, but today, water features are often a focal point of a home's landscape right away.
What makes a water feature so special?
What should you consider before adding landscape water features to your property?
Here are some questions to ask:
What about environmental concerns?
Sometimes a homeowner thinks they would enjoy having a water feature added to their landscape, but are concerned about wasting an important resources like water. With the help of an expert, a well-designed water feature will consume less energy and water than expected, and it will actually benefit the environment by attracting and protecting wildlife like butterflies and other pollinators. In fact, a water feature is one of five elements the National Wildlife Foundation requires Backyard Wildlife Habitat certification.
Modern Design Aquascaping is here to help you enjoy a better, more naturally balanced and beautiful pond. We welcome your questions about maintaining or installing a pond or water feature. Please visit our website or call 865-995-1234 today to learn more about our services and fill out our online form for a free phone consultation.
When you think about pond fish, which varieties come to mind? You'll find that most pond owners are partial to three main types of fish: koi, goldfish, and shubunkin. Here at Modern Design Aquascaping, we love talking about pond life hope to help you better understand these popular fish for ponds and water features.
What's so great about having fish in your pond?
For one thing, fish are very low maintenance pets. Virtually everything they need will come from your pond. Because our water feature systems create a balanced ecosystem for your pond, feeding the fish is simple--you only give them as much as they can consume within five minutes to prevent excess food floating on the surface.
Pond fish are incredibly peaceful and gorgeous to simply watch. Watching your lovely fish and natural pond provides a wonderful stress reliever and tranquil escape from the comfort of your own property.
Most of us recognize the beautiful and various koi fish available for ponds today. Koi fish are carefully bred for vibrant colors and beautiful patterns. In fact, koi breeding is considered a long-standing Japanese form of art.
Many of us had a goldfish bowl as children. Goldfish come in a vast variety of shapes, sizes and colors--which can make them just as beautiful and fascinating as the famous koi. Goldfish also happen to be especially hardy fish--which makes them a very smart choice for new pond owners.
While these fish are not as well known as the others, they are another wonderful choice. Shubunkin have an appearance that resembles koi fish, but they are much smaller and do not have those infamous “whiskers” used to root through gravel.
Minnows, mosquito fish and carp are all other popular selections for water features. The more you learn about pond life, the more surprised you may be by the sheer number of varieties of fish you may add to your pond.
As always, Modern Design Aquascaping is here to help you enjoy a better, more naturally balanced and beautiful pond. We welcome your questions about maintaining or installing a pond or water feature. Please visit our website or call 865-995-1234 today to learn more about our services and fill out our online form for a free quote.
As summer time hearts up, do you know how to give your pond the proper care? Keep in mind that as temperatures push above 80 degrees, you might need to give your pond some extra TLC.
Because warm water has a reduced capacity for containing oxygen, it's not uncommon to see stressed or diseased fish in the summertime. That's exactly when your fish will need even more oxygen than usual. Signs of stress can include fish gasping at the surface of the water.
What's a concerned pond owner to do?
• Your very first line of defense against such summertime woes is to work with an expert pond contractor to proactively design your pool. A well-qualified professional will take logistics such depth, plant coverage, shade, and circulation all into account when designing your pond to better thrive through the worst of the heat.
• Your next line of defense, if you already have a pond, is to add plenty of aquatic plants to act as shade for your fish. One common rule of thumb is to provide plant coverage of one-third to one-half of your pond’s total surface area.
• Next, consider adequate pond circulation to help increase the availability of beneficial oxygen for your fish. Consider placing the biological filter and mechanical filter across from each other in your pond to optimize circulation.
Once you have the proper pond setup, consider these summer maintenance tips:
• When you feed your fish, do so in the morning hours and don't overfeed them since uneaten food will decay more quickly during the summer and pollute your pond.
• Always remove dying leaves or flowers promptly so they don't have time to decay in the warm water.
• In the summer months, pay special attention to the health of your pond. A balanced ecosystem requires little maintenance, but you'll still want to occasionally check up on the health water, fish and plant life.
This summer, if you have any need for professional pond care, call on the experts at Modern Design Aquascaping. You can visit our website or call 865-995-1234 to learn more about our experience and services for those in the Knoxville, Maryville, Blount County, Knox County, and East Tennessee Areas.
If you have an existing pond on your property, you might be thinking about adding fish to it. Here at Modern Design Aquascaping, we love the elegance and liveliness of a fish pond and hope to inspire you to take the plunge!
Here are some important considerations you'll need to make before you bring fish into your pond:
Is your pond big enough to support the fish?
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when determining whether or not your pond is big enough to accommodate your desired fish life. First, consider depth. If you plan to add koi, your pond should be at least three feet deep. If you'd like to introduce goldfish, you can get away with a pond that is two feet deep.
You will typically need at least 10 gallons of water in your pond for every inch of fish--keeping in mind that those fish may grow. Within a few years, your koi could double in side and require much more water than in the beginning, so it's important to consult with an expert for a proper calculation. The ultimate goal of any fish pond is that it be a healthy and happy environment for those gorgeous fish.
Do you need to add more aeration?
To maintain adequate oxygen levels in your pond means that your beautiful fish can breathe freely. The way you increase dissolved oxygen levels in the water is by adding aeration to your pond in the form of a waterfall, fountain nozzle, or aerator.
A few signs that fish aren't getting the oxygen they need from their pond? They may start to collect at the surface of the water, or you might notice they close their mouths even when they're not being fed. If you notice those things happening, it's a big hint that you need to add more aeration to your pond.
Have you brushed up on your cleanup?
As with any other pet, you still need to clean up after them. The way to clean up after fish is to use a high-quality filtration system. This is one of those areas where you can't have too much of a good thing. That means it's a wise move to select a filter that can handle a higher pond volume than what you have, and one that also uses UV Clarification to help reduce the need for algaecides when it warms up.
These are just a few of the beginning considerations you'll need to make when you decide to add fish life to your pond, but we hope it helps get you imagining the possibilities. All of us at Modern Design Aquascaping are well-qualified and happy to help guide you in the transformation of your pond. Would you like to learn more? Call us today and schedule a consultation 865-995-1234.
Here at Modern Design Aquascaping, we love aquatic plants! There are so many wonderful reasons to use aquatic plants in your pond. In fact, aquatic plants are a key component to a balanced ecosystem and offer far more than just additional beauty to your pond. In case you didn't know, they can help:
• Limit the growth of algae
• Naturally filter water and break down toxic pathogens
• Offer more surface area for beneficial bacteria
• Provide shelter for your pond’s inhabitants
• Add oxygen to your pond
Not sure that aquatic plants have a place in your pond?
Here are four main groups of aquatic plants:
Plants which grow completely underwater are called submerged plants. These make great hiding places to help protect fish from predators. You might also hear people refer to these as oxygenating plants because they are so effective at taking carbon dioxide out of the water and then releasing oxygen. Some examples of submerged plants are Eelgrass and Fanwort.
Also called bog plants, marginal plants are those that grow in shallow water around the margins of a pond. Marginal plants help extract detrimental nutrients from your pond environment before they accumulate and become a bigger problem. Some bog plants include Irises and Cattails.
Deep water emergent plants grow very deep roots on the bottom of a pond. The flowers and leaves of an emergent plant spreads out upon the surface of a pond and offers shade and hiding spots for fish and other pond creatures. Emergent plants include the more well-known aquatic plants like the Lotus and Water Lilies.
These plants sit on a pond's surface with roots that drift into the water and act as filters and help improve water clarity. They also offer additional shade and hiding spots for fish. Some floating aquatic plants include Giant Duckweed and Water Hyacinth.
If you're ready to add beneficial plants to your pond, call on the experts at Modern Design Aquascaping. You can visit our website or call 865-995-1234 to learn more about our experience and services for those in the Knoxville, Maryville, Blount County, Knox County, and East Tennessee Areas.
Maybe you have heard a bit about beautiful koi ponds, but do you know about their many benefits? It's true--koi ponds can bring much more to your landscape than just their aesthetic appeal. Let Modern Design Aquascaping help you explore some of those benefits.
Low Maintenance Animals
Most families know that any pet is a pretty big responsibility. But comparatively speaking, koi are a very interesting, low-maintenance family pet. Koi typically get used to people and will even interact with humans to eat food from a person's hand. Some koi will tolerate a little bit of light handling at the water's surface too.
A Mini Ecosystem
Did you know that a koi pond can create a miniature ecosystem within your yard? Filling your pond with aquatic plants and fish help keep mosquito larvae and parasite populations low and your pond to be mostly self-sustainable. Such ponds frequently attract birds, butterflies and dragonflies too.
Natural Stress Relief
Who doesn't want their home to be their sanctuary? With the installation of a koi pond, you can enjoy the psychological benefits that come from relaxing in nature. Simply sitting by your koi pond will become a favorite daily activity. You'll enjoy one serene way to alleviate stress and decompress as you watch the fish and enjoy the soothing sounds of the water.
Surprising Social Benefits
You might be surprised to discover how owning a koi pond may help you and your family connect with others who also share a passion for koi and nature. Homeowners with koi ponds enjoy sharing their landscape by hosting more social gatherings with neighbors and friends.
A Quick Transformation
Are you looking for a way to give your backyard landscaping a total makeover--without closing it off for the summer? A koi pond or water garden is a great way to transform your space in a short amount of time.
Do you have an interest in koi ponds? At Modern Design Aquascaping we are experts in the art and we would love to help you build your very own dream--whether in your backyard or for your business. Call us today to get your koi pond started - 865.995.1234
Have you been thinking about beautifying your landscape with water features? If you are interested in adding a natural-looking pond, a koi pool, waterfall or any other type of Aquascape, we're here to help. Discover the benefits of working with Modern Design Aquascaping for your next project.
Our team members are Certified Aquascape Contractors (CAC).
What's a CAC? CAC is by far the most valuable pond builder and installer certification available in the industry. That means that when you choose to work with a Modern Design Aquascaping professional, you're working with the most qualified and informed experts in the water gardening industry. Every CAC is required to continue their training with further education seminars on building ponds and water features, and keeping up with the latest industry trends. CAC's maintain a proven record of unparalleled work and offer dedicated customer service and maintenance support. Every contractor who wishes to become a Certified Aquascape Contractor must complete a thorough application that includes water feature referrals, a portfolio of completed ponds, and general questions about their business and water gardening philosophy. These applications are reviewed by the expert Technical Agents at Aquascape Inc. and a review board made up of other well-established CACs.
Our team is highly regarded across the industry.
Modern Design Aquascaping is well-known as a team of true water gardening experts. Our handiwork has been featured in projects of all sizes across the country, and other contractors routinely come to MDA for expert guidance and advice to give their clients the very best results. Our distinct attention to detail and design has gained our business industry-wide recognition and can be enjoyed at the Aquascape, Inc. headquarters.
Our passion for the industry in unparalleled.
Here at Modern Design Aquascaping, what we do is what we love. Our team members are absolutely passionate about delivering the best results and service to every client. Our passion for the art of Aquascaping has taken us to Africa to work with Aquascape’s nonprofit endeavors of delivering clean, pure water to those who need it most. We're proud of the work we do everyday, and you can see it in our designs.
If you're ready to learn more about our expertise and services, Call Us Today at 865.995.1234
Pond Cleaning Procedures Recommended by Modern Design Aquascaping Serving Knoxville, Maryville, and Surrounding Areas
Modern Design Aquascaping cleans, maintains, and repairs ponds Knoxville, Maryville, Farragut, Lenoir City, Blount County, Knox County and neighboring areas.
I wanted to give you all an in-depth look into your professional pond cleaning, what is included with our service, and what you will have to do after the cleaning is completed. There is a time here in East Tennessee when the water temperatures start to maintain above 55 degrees and that is when the team at Modern Design Aquascaping goes into full-time pond cleaning. During this season, our techs stop doing water feature construction and devote 100% of their attention to clean outs so that everyone can have their pond cleaned as near to the optimum time as possible! Many folks are unaware that the metabolism of your koi is slow and sluggish in the cooler temperatures and this is why we like to wait for it to warm up before we start clean-out season!
First of all let's clear up what the goal of a pond clean out is. It is simply to remove 80-90% of the accumulated organic debris from the previous year! We do not want to sterilize or sanitize your pond, just get it in great shape to set you up for a successful year of easy-maintenance on your water feature! Our process is what we refer to as a comprehensive cleaning and component inspection.
It all begins with setting up a holding tank to house your wildlife. Fish, frogs, tadpoles, salamanders, crayfish, and whatever other life has populated your pond will all need a place to relax while we clean house! We set up the proper sized tank(s) in a nearby, shady spot or under an umbrella. The clarity and quality of your water, combined with the amount of fish you have, will determine how much of your existing water we can keep. The more of the original pond water we can keep the better because the animals are already acclimated to the chemistry and temperature of the water they are in. We put aeration in the tank and add a detoxifier that removes ammonia and lightly sedates the fish. If the water is extremely dirty, we well add an external pump and filter to the holding tank to pull out some of the sediments while we are cleaning the pond.
We begin filling our holding tank with the cleanest water from your pond, right off the top, without stirring anything up. Again if your water is very polluted we will draw our holding tank water in through fine filter pads to help remove solids on the way to the holding tank. Once the holding tank is as full as we would like, or if we have run out of useable water, we pump the remaining pond water away to an appropriate location. As the draining of the pond nears completion and we get to the bottom of the pond, we climb in and carefully catch the fish in large bags and relocate them into the holding tank. We avoid nets so we're sure that we don't tear fins, tails, etc. The holding tank MUST have a net over it to keep fish from jumping out and something that floats for frogs to perch on while they wait! Once all of the animals have been moved, it is time to begin cleaning.
We begin our cleaning with the filters. If we are cleaning a pond when it is warm enough that the beneficial bacteria are active, we try to save any biological filter media like filter pads or bio-balls that are live filters. These filters need to be lightly sprayed with pond water to remove the large solids and then put into the tub with the fish. The live bacteria colonizing on these items can't be seen but they're there, and they require oxygen to survive the clean out. Once the filters have been cleaned, we begin on the rest of the feature. Large debris is gathered by hand and removed from the pond. Minimal pruning is done to the aquatic plants that are actively growing in the pond but now is the time to remove excess-unwanted plants and to divide and re-pot lilies or lotus.
Next we pressure wash. The goal is to get most of the junk off the rocks and loosen the sediments so they are easier to flush out during the rinse phase of the clean out. Be sure not to let the debris dry out between phases of the clean out as it rinses away much easier if it stays wet. By pressure washing from the top down, we allow a second person to begin the rinse phase in the streams and waterfalls while the pressure washing continues in the pond.
Once the pressure washing is complete, rinsing can commence in the pond. Again remember to go top to bottom on the walls. Once we finish wall washing, gravel is rinsed and swished around to remove that 80-90% we are looking for. Clean out pumps are running in the lowest part of the pond bottom to keep the dirty water moving out at all times during the entire clean out process.
When we are good on the cleaning, we take the time to check out all of the light fixtures for functionality and to be sure lenses are clean. Pumps are removed as well as check valves and inspected for debris, damage, etc. and are then replaced. Stones are re-stacked and gravel is spread around as necessary to cover up exposed liner areas at this time. Skimmer filters and pre-filtration pads are washed and re-installed properly. It is time to put the animals back.
The water in the holding tank is pumped back into the clean pond. If we didn't get to keep much of the original pond water, we added extra detoxifier to the holding tank and added fresh water slowly into the tank during the entire clean out process with a trickling hose. We want to have enough water to put back in the pond to ensure the immediate return of the fish. Again this allows us to use the bags and slip them right back into the pond. No need for acclimating them into new water, the process is smooth and easy on the fish. We always do whatever it takes to make sure this can happen.
We are done with our part at this point. We leave a hose trickling in the pond, add the proper dose of starter bacteria to the pond, return the filter media to its proper locations, and clean up our mess. It is the home owners responsibility at this point to turn off the hose when the pond is full and plug in the pumps. This needs to be done as soon as the pond is full. Skipping this step can be disastrous!
We recommend that our pond owners add the normal weekly dose of bacteria daily for the first week. Each day the filter pad in the skimmer should be removed, bacteria added into the skimmer to seed the biological filter, and the pad should be cleaned and put back. Do not put bacteria into the skimmer with the pad in, you will only kill it and wash it back out when you clean the skimmer pad! Future maintenance will include cleaning your pad and basket in the skimmer and adding your beneficial bacteria weekly. You will most likely also use something for string algae, there are many products to choose from. Please don't over-dose as many of those products can be harmful to your fish if you add too much. To determine pond gallons go (Average Width) x (Average Length) x (Average Depth) x 7.5 = Gallons Approximate.
Please note we take no responsibility for the health of your fish. We do everything we can do to ensure their health and happiness, but in the end, things can happen. If you accept our clean-out agreement, you also accept this fact.
Thanks & Happy Pondering ?
John G Adams
Facebook: Modern Design Aquascaping
Pond Professionals Build Rain Water Harvesting System To Help Bring Water to Africa
Before I describe this journey, I wish to wholeheartedly thank all of our friends who contributed financially, or with blood, sweat, and tears to the completion of this amazing project! It would never be possible to complete such a task without each and every one of you ;)
In early January, 2017 I was lucky enough to join an awesome team and travel back to Africa to install a RainWater Harvest System. This was my second visit to Uganda, and my third time to Africa, and once again we had big plans for this 10 day trip.
The trip was planned and coordinated by The Aquascape Foundation and The International Needs Network, two groups dedicated to bringing aid to those in need. The IN Network (INN) has set up various facilities in Africa, as well as many other countries to work their magic. For over 20 years they have been building and operating schools, placing orphans and abandoned children in loving homes, teaching under-privileged people trades, helping prevent the spread of HIV, and doing so while teaching about God's love!
The INN board has an annual meeting to discuss needs in Uganda and one of the issues that they address is to identify the locations where the greatest need for water exists. Places where the water is terribly polluted or simply unavailable. This is where Carla Wittstock from the Aquascape Foundation and the idea of a Rainwater Harvest System came in.
Working hand-in-hand with the INN, The Aquascape Foundation planned for a solution based on the needs set before them. This year it was a school with 500 students. With a high rate of water-borne diseases, I was told by Paul, the head teacher at the Buikwe school, that an average of 10 children per week were removed from school during the year to be treated for typhoid and similar sicknesses. The school had only a few water tanks to catch rain but they was only enough to last for a couple weeks when the rainy seasons end. At that point, the students and faculty were forced to collect water from other sources that were contaminated and unsafe to drink. We knew a RainWater Harvest would be of great benefit to this school and community.
The calculations for the RainWater Harvest System were based on needs of students and their two daily meals. These numbers called for a 20,000 gallon under-ground rain-water collection and storage system that would be cleaned by pre-filters, particulate filters, and UV sterilization. The system was designed to be fed by gravity and then the pumping and sanitation station was operated by solar power. Sanitized water was then fed into a 150 gallon tank where it could be accessed by a normal spigot.
I was part of a team of 20 volunteers (friends) who worked with some local men to complete the RainWater Harvest System in three days! Most of my time was spent on "Team Solar" installing the indoor filtration and the panel on the roof of the school house. We trained the staff on operation and maintenance of the system after the local police department sent out two truck-loads of water and that was that! I sit in the Amsterdam Airport on my 4 hour lay-over typing this and reflecting back at what a winning team we had and how grateful I was to be a part. We are so blessed to live in he USA and we take so much for granted.
I would like to close by saying that each of the schools we have installed these systems at identify children who are in the greatest need. Orphans of HIV, abandoned children, or children who simply come from poverty.
We have been sponsoring a child in Ghana for several years now. I met Silase when we were doing the Ghana project and he is 15 years old now. For about $40.00 a month this young man get two square meals, an education, and hope for the future. I have met many of the members of the INNetwork and have seen what they do. If you are able and have it in your heart I challenge you to make a difference as well, the world needs more givers! To learn more about how you can help, call John Adams at Modern Design Aquascaping 865.995.1234
So I get this question over and over and thought it would make sense to cover the basic processes that need to go on to prepare you pond for the winter time. First let’s cover what needs to be done before winter, preventative maintenance if you will. The first things we want to cover is filter cleaning, we will start with the skimmer.
First, you need to clean your skimmer filter and pump to ensure proper operation through the fall and winter months. This is accomplished by a few simple steps. First you will need to remove the skimmer net or basket, clean it and set it aside. Next remove filter pads that are situated between you and the pump, clean those as well (pressure wash if possible). At this point, if you are one of the lucky ones, you have a flap or door that covers the skimmer opening. Closing this will allow you to use the still-running-pump to empty the water out of the skimmer for easy cleaning. You can get the large debris that has collected in the bottom of the skimmer by simply letting the pump run until the skimmer is empty, unplugging the pump, and then removing all of the solids out of the bottom of the skimmer with your hands.
Check valves are simply devices that connect your pump to your plumbing with a back-flow preventer built into them. Check valves should either have a nut that you loosen by hand or a rubber coupling that comes off by using a screwdriver to loosen a clamp. Loosening the check valve will allow for easy pump removal. Be sure to un-plug the pump prior to loosening the check valve. NOTE: Loosening this connection will allow all of the water in your plumbing and biological filter to back-drain, so be careful not to get soaked and loosen slowly and expect water to drain out from above. Once the check valve has been separated completely, most skimmers will then have a support-rack that was holding up your filter pad, this may or may not need to come out with the pump depending on your skimmer and pump configuration.
Once the pump has been removed, ensure the inside of the skimmer is completely clean. Inspect the check valve for proper function and cleanliness. Faulty check valves are our the number one reason for pre-mature pump failures! You also need to inspect the pump. We normally make sure there are no blockages like gravel or sticks in the impeller of the pump by just spinning the impeller lightly with something other than your finger. It should spin freely without making any abrasive noises. This is the last step of skimmer maintenance other than putting it all back together. If you plan to run the feature during the winter, re-connect the check valve. If you plan to use aeration during the winter, we recommend storing the pump and check valve in a bucket of water in a protected area like a garage where it will not freeze. Do not store these items dry!
The next phase of winter preparation is cleaning out the biological filter or bio-falls filter. Your bio-falls should have been drained of water from the skimmer work so it is easier to clean at this point. If it was not, go ahead and drain it out as you remove all of the bio-balls, filter pads, and other biological media from your filter. Knock off the large chunks of organic matter from filter pads by banging them against a rock or such. These filters, along with your other media will need to be rinsed out with pond water in order to maintain biological function until the summer-time bacteria all goes dormant. City water is a no-no! If you are closing the pond down for the season, go ahead and pressure wash these filter parts and then put them back. We normally place some stones on the filter components to keep them in place once the system begins running again.
The final “work” of winter preparation is cutting back the plant material in your feature. Deciduous aquatic plants should be pruned back to prohibit unwanted biological mass from sinking into the pond, decomposing, and creating water quality problems in the winter months. Lily pads should be cut down close to the crown of the plant and other plants are cut back to just-above-water-level. You should also use a net and scoop as much of the leaves and bottom debris out of the feature as possible.
You are now ready to either install your aeration for winterization or to start the system back up. If you plan on running the system through the winter months, cold-water-beneficial bacteria is highly recommended for the health of your ecosystem. Also remember to follow feeding instructions based on water temperatures and do not feed fish if your ecosystem is winterized. I recommend that you have a conversation with a pond professional prior to shutting down a system and using aeration to be sure you understand and are comfortable with what that means!
Happy Pondering :)
John G Adams