[an error occurred while processing this directive] Pond Troubles

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  PondStuff! Monthly Pond & Water Gardening Newsletter



A pond owner friend of mine encountered a very serious problem with his pond. The system could not hold enough water for twelve hours without shutting down, thereby leaving his fish without filtration. In the past eight weeks the fish have been treading water in a half-filled pond with only an aerator going night and day to keep the water from stagnating.

This is an Aquascape system, completely dependent upon the skimmer and waterfall to operate, and both depend on a certain water level. The whole system consists of a koi pond with a small stream filled with rocks, flowing into a smaller pond filled with plants and a skimmer to return the water to the waterfall and koi pond.

Last year when the pond level dropped a couple of inches in one day he installed an automatic water refill to assure the system would not fail while he was on vacation. But this spring the system began running dry and the automatic pump shut-off luckily activated before the pump burned out.

He checked the automatic refill, and it was operating, but the water loss was too great for the refill to compensate. He checked for wet spots around the pond, the stream and the waterfall. He found nothing especially soggy that would tell him that there was a leak in one spot.

He called the original installer who promised to check it out. He said he couldn’t come over right away as “This is our busy season.” (Have you ever heard this before, perhaps from your pond man??)

About two weeks later, he arrived while the pond owner was at work, looked at the pond and made his decision to simply replace the section of liner beneath the small stream. My friend told him that was not what he wanted.

He has been doing his homework and knows too much about these things! He knew that to glue liner-to-liner is not a suitable solution for a leak. He knew, and told his pond installer so, a new liner for the entire pond, stream and waterfall was what was needed and that was what my friend wanted to pay for. And about two weeks after that, the installer did what he said- he replaced the liner beneath the small stream, and glued it to the liner in the koi pond and the plant pond.

At least with my pond, two filter systems, a bottom drain, and external bubble bead filter that is not dependent upon a certain level of water, at least not to that extent, I do not have to worry about this problem. Leaks happen to all of us, but when they do, hopefully we will be able to find someone to help fix it before it becomes a lethal situation.

Needless to say, it leaked. By this time, my friend was in a quandary! And who can blame him?? He usually has the yard all planted by now, his pond cleaned and running, the fish happy and healthy. Instead, the pond was half-filled, the stream dry with no water running, no sound of a waterfall, no lovely flowers, most of the perennials were trampled carelessly, and the grass in the yard had not been mowed due to the “anticipated” work to be done. And his trusted nurseryman wasn’t listening to him. Etcetera, etcetera.

There is a happy ending to this story however. He finally got fed up with the mess and refused to let his poor fish suffer any longer. He had picked up some business cards at a recent garden show and made a phone call. When the man answered he gave a price and asked when my friend would like the work done.

He said, “How about tonight?” The man laughed. But he did arrive at 8:15AM, as he promised, the very next morning, with two workers. They installed new liner, on top of the old one, and refilled the pond, using de-chlor. The fish are happy, my friend is happy, the place is lovely and the sounds of the waterfall can again be heard in their yard! By tomorrow I believe the entire yard will be planted with annuals too! You go, guy!

And let that be a lesson to anyone out there who is getting a runaround from a vendor or pond installer: there is more than one fish in the sea! If your vendor is too busy to take your money, then you don’t need him. And if you don’t know where else to turn, ask your fellow koi or water garden club members!

- Carolyn Weise

** We use and recommend biological bead filters for your pond. For more information, please click here or email us for assistance in sizing a system for your pond: info@macarthurwatergardens.com

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