The Modern Design Aquascaping team had the opportunity to travel to Nashville for an excellent six fountain build. In this video we're going to walk through the installation process for a 20-foot diameter fountain to show what's underneath the fountain. What's underneath the fountain is just as important as what's above. A 20- foot diameter fountain install might be more adventurous then you were thinking. Follow the link in the video to find the fountain for you.
The installation begins by putting together all the necessary parts and equipment. These materials didn't come pre-assembled and will have to be put together onsite. Once that is completed we turn our attention to the 20-foot circle drive at the front of the home and begin excavating the soil. No Job is without complications! First, the driveway with exposed aggregate driveway which requires caution not to grind the gravel with the heavy machinery. We used plywood as the mechanism to sit and consistently maneuver the plywood to ensure the protection of the driveway.
Secondly, there was nowhere to get rid of the dirt! The solution was to find a place in the back yard to burn through the soil, which means load after load of dirt being loaded into the dump trailer and hauling it to the back yard to be offloaded. The soil was then maneuvered by small machinery to where we want it. There's no way around it when you put a fountain in of this size there is a lot of soil!
The dirt has been removed, and the splash zone has been set 20 feet in diameter. The edges in the circle have been tapered to the center so all splashed water will run back to the middle. If we do any pitch at all, we level the whole thing slightly to the pumps located at the lowest point in the feature. The aqua blocks are perfectly level and fit inside tight together to create a durable surface to build the fountain.
The next step is to put a protective underlayment layer to keep from puncturing the waterproof liner. Another layer of the underlayment is added to the middle to cover any sharp corners of the blocks. This extra protection will make sure we have no holes and leaks down in the bottom.
The underground portion of the install is complete! Now we focus on the six fountains and all the pumping. Also, We'll drill holes in the fountains for lighting and place fountains at various heights to achieve the desired look. You want to make sure artistically it looks good from every direction. Once the fountains are situated, that will determine if each fixture gets three or one watt LED lights. Every light is put in with a specific purpose to create a particular effect.
To finish make sure the fixtures are level, and test run the pumping to make sure everything is running as you have ball valves to adjust in each fountain. With this complete, we add the rocks to create different elevations. To complete the look big natural boulders, mountain stones, and mix river rock are added. The addition of the stones will cover all the man-made stuff. The finished look will be fountains of different sizes and elevations running water that disappear into this natural stone.
We at Modern Design Aquascaping hope this install inspires you to do something water feature-ish in your own space.
This phase of the project is about enhancements. We’re taking the fountain at its basic level and amping it up to increase the water flow and the aesthetic appeal. To achieve this, we’ve added accent boulders, driftwood, custom lighting, and greenery for overall appeal. This phase will also explain why the same fountain can be at different price points. Think in terms of a car you have the basic model and then you have the model that has all the extras, in short, all the bells and whistles.
Let’s Get Started!
Upgrade The Pump:
First and foremost, we begin by upgrading the pump to the Aquasurge 2000 pond pump. This upgrade takes you from double flow 1000 GPH to 2000 GPH. This pump is our go-to-pump for fountain installations.
Upgrade The Intake:
Upgrade to the Auquasurge Low Suction Intake Attachment. This attachment allows the pump to run in low-water conditions and go longer without fill-ups.
Switch Out The Plumbing:
Replace the basic plumbing that came with the fountain, which is about ¾ of an inch to 1 ½ inch PVC pipe. More water can flow through bigger plumbing. The change to the PVC pipe will require you to take the bulkhead and drill a bigger hole in the top of the urn. When drilling the hole make sure you use the right size saw.
Once you’ve drilled a bigger hole to accommodate the bulkhead now you’ll need to drill holes in the side to recess the lighting at the top. The recessed lighting will cause the water bubbling at the top to glow. The current lights at the bottom of the urn give a nice glow to the outside but leave the top dark. The recessed lighting at the top will help to tie the whole look together.
Plumbing The Urn:
To install the plumbing and ensure a tight fit you glue these parts together, both the plumbing inside the urn and the PVC pipe your connecting. It’s important to cut the PVC pipe the right length to make sure that the bottom and the top of the urn slide together and lock in place. Important kids! This connection is a compression fitting only DO NOT GLUE. Otherwise, you’ll never get it apart again. Also, a single lighting wire was run in so that when gravel is added for stability, you won't have to borrow it out later.
Time For Enhancements:
After making the rest of the connects you’re ready to fire it up. Now that you have higher water flow and top lights installed it’s time to make the fountain more decorative. Accent Boulders are places; we’re using Missouri weathered limestone. The largest stone placed was so for stability — something to consider if you have small children or grandkids. Add driftwood at different lengths and contours. For the plant layout evergreens were used to surround and flowers for the front.
The video of the transformation from the basic fountain to the enhanced fountain gives you a better understanding of the amount of work involved and why the price can vary. Let the team at Modern Design Aquascaping take your fountain from the basic model to the enhanced model. If you like the content, subscribe to the YouTube channel and like us on Facebook for more content and live videos of projects and builds.
Modern Design Aquascaping wants to introduce you to its YouTube channel. If your already familiar with our YouTube channel, then you know about the amazing content and videos we have. We set up this channel to help you get to know Modern Design Aqcascaping and showcase the amazing work we do. Let us introduce ourselves this is who we are and what we do!
Our goal is to improve your life with water. We do this by building custom ponds, waterfalls, and fountains from natural stone and wood. Taking ordinary spaces and transforming them into places where you spend time with the people you love.
Our Passion is to give you an organic water feature that represents the natural splendor and beauty of the Smoky Mountains. If you’re looking for something formal then we’re probably not the right fit, because we make water features to be enjoyed, gathered around, and add value to your life.
What you can expect from our channel is 25 years of experience, pond tips, installation, and maintenance. Subscribe and like the YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on the latest content and projects.
We do quality projects built with quality products of any size. Here are a few of our projects to give you an idea of the quality of work we do and hopefully give you some inspiration for your next project. If Modern Design Aquascaping is the right fit for you check out our projects on YouTube and give Stacy a call today and get your next pond project started.
Call our office at Modern Design Aquascaping Inc. at 865-995-1234 or fill out the online form at http://www.mdaquascaping.com/contact.html and we’ll call you. We would love to give you a no-cost consultation right over the phone and help get your pond up and running this year!
John Adams and the team at Modern Design Aquascaping are going to walk you through their 4 step process to help prepare your pond for the winter. If you have a pond then you need to make sure your prepared for winter to ensure a healthy pond and fish for the winter.
Step 1: Effective Cleaning of your Biological Filter
The most important thing is cleaning the filter without sanitizing. Let John walk you through how to use the pond water to clean the filter and the accumulated debris. This process eliminates the use of chlorinated water (such as hose water), and uses the water from the pond. The use of the pond water allows you to remove 90% of the solids and the mass from the filter without losing the beneficial bacteria.
Step 2: Mechanical Filer – Skimmer Box
It’s important to do a complete cleaning of the skimmer box. This includes removing the ridged debris basket, filter pads, and checking the valves. Everything is removed from the skimmer. Once all those things have been removed you will need to remove the remaining debris out of the skimmer.
Step 3: Pruning Aquatic Plants
When pruning Pond plants you want to cut the plant off just above the water level. Anything that goes dormant in the winter time you want to remove to keep the water quality pristine throughout the winter. The fishes metabolism slows making them more susceptible to problems.
Step 4: Supported Net System
A well installed net will keep your fish happy through the winter. Installing a support system over the pond and stretching a net tightly across the support system will allow the debris to stay out of the pond.
Don’t feel overwhelmed by this process contact John and the team at Modern Design Aquascaping and let them help you get your pond ready for winter and a great spring.
Getting Your Pond Ready For The Winter!
Modern Design Aqcascaping Walks You Through Their Process To Get Your Pond Ready For Winter
Modern Design Aquascaping partnered with Second Chances Wildlife Education Center to build a new pond Habitat for a rescue named Justin Beaver. John and the team at Modern Design Aquascaping were excited to combine their passion for building amazing ponds and the conservation effort to create a great new habitat for Justin.
Justin was a new born orphan beaver when he came to the Wildlife Education Center where he has been for a year and a half. Justin has finally out grown his current water feature in the bath tub and is getting a pond of his own. Justin serves an important purpose at the center teaching tolerance and co-existing with wildlife.
The pond features a wetland filter to provide the water quality needed alongside a steam that connects down to the main pond. Since beavers build dams the team created a drainage system to allow water to overflow and provide a way for the excess water to flow back into the pond. The team also had to keep in mind that beavers chew through everything, and with that in mind on top of the rubber liner a concrete wall was placed to provide a barrier. For added measure the bottom of the pond was covered in stone slabs and many tons of boulders were added.
The end result was an amazing pond for Justin beaver, helping to continue the great work of the wildlife center, and one really happy beaver. Modern Design Aquascaping doing things that matter with people that matter.
Here at Modern Design Aquascaping Inc., we get so many calls from people who have water features and they think they may have a leak. Often the conversation goes, “I think my feature is leaking, can you have someone run by and see what they can find?” This note will cover the procedures we follow in order to be efficient with a clients time and money.
Let’s start by saying that having someone run by and take a look, while it sounds like a good idea, is a ways down the list of to-do’s in order to properly diagnose a potential water loss issue. The first thing we want to, in order to solve your issues, is to break the feature down into pieces. If there is a pond and stream, for example, we will turn off the pump in order to eliminate the stream and plumbing from the equation. We can then fill the pond to it’s capacity, take an EXACT water measurement, and then set a timer. Keeping a log of this information is invaluable to the technicians who are working on your feature.
The timer allows you to tell how much water level goes down per 12 hours. The more information we get, the better! Feel free to take measurements for 48 hours at least. Important: If you have fish and/ or a biological filter, there are precautions you need to take in order to maintain healthy oxygen levels. Reach out to us for more information on that if you need to. (LINK TO CONTACT FORM) What happens next is you will find out one of two things, the pond is loosing water (more than 1/4” in 12 hours) or it is not. If the pond is loosing water, you will have to let it leak down to the level where it stops leaking and then search for the problem and fix it. Remember that if the water level drops more than what is safe for your fish, you will have to deal with that as well.
If the pond is not leaking, you have successfully eliminated that portion of your feature from the problem. The next thing to test is the plumbing. In order to test the plumbing system, we simply cap off the plumbing where it connects to the pump, fill the filter system (from the top side) to the point of over-flowing, and wait some more. Twelve hours is enough time to see if the plumbing is holding water. If that level doesn’t drop, you have eliminated that from the equation. If water level in the plumbing system drops, you have located a potential problem and you can then look deeper into that area.
The next area to inspect is the stream. Look closely at all edges to ensure that there are no low-edges in the liner. Inspect the connection from the filter box to the liner. Look for blockages or obstructions in the stream that have made a dam and caused the water level to go up over your liner.
Each scenario here will give you insight into a problem that cannot be seen by just quickly looking at the feature. Folks often think we are trying to avoid coming out but I always ask, “What do you think we will see that you cannot?” If you have spent any effort at all to look for the obvious, we will need to dig deeper to find solutions! With a bit of time bantering back-and-forth on the phone, we can almost always diagnose a problem and come up with a solution. Some people even end up finding it with our help and don’t need hiring us to do anything. We are always available for free phone consulting for troubleshooting and answering questions.
Call our office at Modern Design Aquascaping Inc. at 865-995-1234 or fill out the on-line form at http://www.mdaquascaping.com/contact.html and we’ll call you. We would love to give you a no-cost estimate right over the phone and help get your pond up and running this year!
A lot of people are curious about what the buying process looks like when they are thinking about getting a water feature. This note will de-mystify how we, at Modern Design Aquascaping Inc., guide our clients through the journey of selecting, and ultimately acquiring, their perfect water feature! We have worked very hard to make the process a smooth, no-pressure approach, so that you can feel comfortable and know what to expect & how to proceed with your decision making process!
Here at Modern Design Aquascaping Inc. we are always getting calls from people who want to know, “What is the proper way to clean a pond?” In this article we will cover what are the different types of ponds are and how to properly clean each type. We will go over the "basic" tools needed and we will teach you how to properly handle your wildlife to ensure a smooth, systematic clean out for your pond.
Let’s begin with differentiating between the most common types of ponds. A traditional koi pond is only about the fish. The purpose of this pond is to raise & display champion-grade koi. This style of pond will be smooth lined with an external filtration system. By using bottom drains to capture sediment, waste, and debris, the traditional pond normally has no rocks, gravel, or other sharp objects that your fish may hurt themselves on. These ponds are normally free of aquatic plants as well. The filters will include external pumps, U.V. sterilizers, sediment chambers, and biological chambers. Cleaning of this type of pond is done by a routine of filter cleanings done by agitation and/or backwashing the system to remove the collected organics. Additional cleaning may be done using a pond vacuum or similar tool to push debris into the bottom drains.
The next type of water feature is an ecosystem pond. This type of pond is what we specialize in at Modern Design Aquascaping Inc. An ecosystem pond is an extension of the landscape that brings the sound of water and the beauty of fish and aquatic plants into your garden. Its purpose is to be simply enjoyed as a relaxing destination. The liner is covered by stones and gravel so there are no visible man-made components. Everything should just resemble a beautiful, natural ecosystem. This type of pond is filtered by multiple things. There is a skimmer, which resembles a pool skimmer, and its purpose is to capture large solids and to hide the submersible pump. There is also a biological filter disguised as a waterfall! The rest of the pond is the rest of the filter. The fish, plants, and beneficial bacteria all live together, as they do in nature, to create a natural habitat. Routine maintenance on this feature include weekly addition of beneficial bacteria, cleaning of the skimmer basket and filter pad, and pruning back of aquatic plants as needed. We recommend a once a year cleaning on the feature to be done in the spring time. So here is the low-down on our clean out process for the ecosystem pond. Let’s begin with the goal of the work to be done.
The goal of our clean out is simply to remove 90% of the accumulated organic debris from the previous year! We do not want to sterilize or sanitize your pond, that is too hard on a balanced ecosystem. We just want to get it in great shape to set you up for a successful year of easy-maintenance! Be sure that your equipment is cleaned and sanitized before you begin. Bad bacteria and pathogens can spread from one pond to the next so keep it clean! The cleaning 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 you’re cleaning house! Set up the proper sized tank(s) in a nearby, shady spot or under an umbrella. Be sure to have a net to secure the top of the holding tanks so your fish don’t jump out! The clarity and quality of your water, combined with the amount of fish you have, will determine how much of your existing water you can keep. The more of the original pond water you can keep the better because the animals are already acclimated to the chemistry and temperature of the water they are in. Put an aeration system in the holding tank and add a detoxifier that removes ammonia and lightly sedates the fish. If the water is extremely dirty, you can add an external pump and filter to the holding tank to pull out some of the sediments while you are cleaning the pond.
Set up a clean out pump with a 1 1/2” - 2” hose and begin filling the holding tank with the cleanest water from your pond, right off the top, without stirring anything up. Again if your water is very polluted, you can draw the holding tank water in through fine filter pads tied around the pump to help remove solids from the water on the way to the holding tank. Once the holding tank is as full as you would like, or if you have run out of useable water, pump the remaining pond water away to an appropriate location. We use 1/2” or 2” fire hose and an additional clean out pump. As the draining of the pond nears completion and you get to the bottom of the pond, climb in and carefully catch the fish in large bags and relocate them into the holding tank. Avoid nets so you're sure that you 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.
Start cleaning with filters. If you are cleaning the pond when it is warm enough that the beneficial bacteria are active, try to save any biological filter media like filter pads or bio-balls that are live filters. These filters need to be lightly swished or rinsed in 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, begin on the rest of the feature. Gather large debris is by hand and remove it from the pond. Minimal pruning should be 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 break out your pressure washer & 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, it rinses away much easier if it stays wet. By pressure washing from the top down, you 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 you 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 you are good on the cleaning, take the time to check out all of the light fixtures for functionality and to be sure lenses are clean. Pumps and check valves should be removed, inspected for debris, damage, etc. and 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 should now be pumped back into the clean pond. If you didn't get to keep much of the original pond water, you can use a garden hose to add fresh water SLOWLY into the tank during the entire clean out process just be sure to add extra detoxifier to the holding tank before hand to neutralize the chlorine and heavy metals. You want to have enough water to put back in the pond to ensure the immediate return of the fish. Again this allows you 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. Always do whatever it takes to make sure this can happen.
You are done with the major portion of the cleaning at this point. Leave a hose trickling in the pond, add the proper dose of detoxifier and starter bacteria to the pond, return the filter media to its proper locations, and clean up the mess. When the pond is full, plug in the pumps and double check everything is working properly.
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 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.
If you are interested in a quote for a pond cleaning, either simply call Modern Design Aquascaping Inc. @ 865-995-1234 or follow this link, http://www.mdaquascaping.com/contact.html fill out our form and we’ll contact you!
If you would like to have some more information on how we price our pond clean outs, please follow this link!
Thanks & Happy Pondering,
John G Adams
Modern Design Aquascaping Inc.
When you have invested in a water feature, of course you want it to look its very best, don't you? A common problem property owners with a water feature run into is discolored water. Modern Design Aquascaping has gathered a few tips for you, just in case you encounter less than clear and pristine water in your water feature.
Is your water green?
Green water means there's a problem with the clarity. There are plenty of products to treat green water--from fast-acting treatments which help floating particles clump together for easier removal, to beneficial bacterium which combat an imbalance in the water, and UV filters. You'll sometimes hear people refer to green water as a “new pond syndrome” because bacterial imbalances are common in new ponds.
Related: Overfeeding fish can make algae bloom!
Are you looking at tea-colored water?
Often, you get brownish water from debris like leaves falling into the pond. We usually recommend an ongoing Activated Pond Carbon to clear the water of the excess nutrients which are causing the murky color.
Has your water been looking a bit cloudy?
The first response is typically a round of Rapid Clear, which is another fast-acting treatment that causes the offenders in your water to clump together for better filtering.
Related: Here's a great resource for learning more about aquatic plants.
Have you brought in a professional?
Often when people think about clarity issues in a pond, they assume there's an algae problem. But algae overgrowth is only one cause of discolored water. It makes sense to bring in a pond expert if you're having clarity problems with no obvious source.
There are so many different contributing factors when it comes to water clarity. Temperature fluctuations, the amount of sun or shade, and surrounding landscape all play a part in the health of your pond. If you contact your friendly experts at Modern Design Aquascaping, we'll get pond back to its beautiful self with a stronger natural ecosystem to boot.
Every spring here in East Tennessee at Modern Design Aquascaping Inc. we get a barrage of callers who want to know, “How much does a pond cleaning cost?” In this article we will address this question as well as the variables that will affect it. This will allow you to know which type of service you would like and who you should call to arrange for your cleaning!
The term “pond clean out” is often used very loosely. There are obviously different levels of cleaning, as well as a variety of construction techniques that can make a water feature easier, or more difficult to clean and maintain. A “clean out” could be considered physically scooping out leaves and debris and cleaning out the pond filters. Another type of clean out could be simply vacuuming leaves out of an exposed-liner pond and rinsing out the filter pads. Here at Modern Design Aquascaping Inc. our preferred method of cleaning ponds is what we refer to as a complete cleaning and component inspection. This service is normally done in the spring. We would be happy to send you our list of procedures for this service but for now I want to focus on expense related concerns and not so much on methodology.
A large factor to consider in the cost of your pond cleaning is the company you are hiring. A lawn & landscape company will typically be less expensive than bringing in a company that specializes in water features. Retaining trained professionals (specialists) in a given field of expertise is much more costly than hiring general laborers. I can’t speak for other companies, but I know we spend over $10,000 per year just on training and education. Team members are taught about fish care and diseases, plants, plumbing, filtration, etc. by industry experts. This investment in personnel definitely raises the cost of our service and may or may not be a value to you. We have seen local landscape companies do pond cleaning for as little as $250.00. I’m not vouching for the quality of the service delivered, only the price. At Modern Design Aquascaping Inc., our starting price for a complete spring cleaning and component inspection starts at $650.00.
Another consideration that may be important to you is sanitation. Does a company sanitize equipment between cleanings? This is a big deal to some people! If you have koi or other fish in your pond you should think about this. Some clean out crews (ours included) clean multiple ponds each day in the spring time. Pond diseases, bacteria, and parasites can easily be transported from one pond to the next inside the holding tanks, pumps, and plumbing used to complete a clean out. Early in the year, when the water temperature is cool and the fish have slower metabolism it is the perfect time for problems to occur due to inadequate sanitation practices. Keep this in mind if you have fish you love!
You may also consider professionalism an important factor in choosing your service company. One guy/gal in a pickup with a hose, a pump, and a 5 gallon bucket may take a few days to clean your pond. The alternative is that a professional team of trained technicians shows up and has all the proper tools to do a fast-efficient clean out. Koi tanks that hold thousands of gallons of water are set up, team goes into action, pond is clean and fish are returned unscathed to their habitat in rapid fashion. The experience delivered by a professional team may or may not be an important factor to you.
The remaining variables in clean out cost are related to methodology (how well the pond is cleaned), the size of the feature, and other business related variables. Call our office at Modern Design Aquascaping Inc. at 865-995-1234 or fill out the on-line form at http://www.mdaquascaping.com/contact.html and we’ll call you. We would love to give you a no-cost estimate right over the phone and help get your pond up and running this year!
If you want more information on clean out procedures, click the link below!
Thanks & Happy Pondering,
John G Adams
Modern Design Aquascaping Inc.
John Adams is a professional pond artist and builder.