Tips And Maintenance

Maintaining a clean and healthy pond environment is simple and easy thanks to TotalPond. Our products allow you to clean your pond without the hard labor of draining your pond and starting over.

Location. When selecting a location for your water garden, consider how the garden will enhance your landscape. A location that can be viewed from inside your home is also something to think about. The size, scale, and other elements of your water garden should complement the features of your landscape. Safety. DIG WITH CAUTION. Call 811 or your local utility companies before you begin to locate buried pipes or power lines on your property. Ask local authorities about requirements for safety, permits, and inspections that concern backyard ponds and pools. Elevation. Your pond should NOT be built on a slope or grade. If it is located at the lowest elevation of the yard you will have rainwater runoff that will muddy the water, wash away fish, and destroy plants. Placing the pond just above the lowest surface will help avoid these problems. Sunlight. If you wish to include plants that require moderate to full sun, such as lotus or water lilies, you will need to choose a location with a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight
Digging the hole Choose a location that is level. If the sides of the pond are uneven, the water will look crooked. You can adjust the sides of your pond by using stakes and a leveling tool. Measure from several directions to ensure even sides all the way around. Groundwater If your pond is in an area with a high water table, you might need to dig a drainage trench to prevent groundwater from pushing the pond liner up from the ground. In most cases a few inches of gravel spread evenly across the bottom of the hole, then covered with sand, is enough to handle groundwater. We recommend adding an underlayment between gravel and liner to protect the liner from tears or punctures. If your water table is especially high, drainage trenches should be placed along the edges of the pond walls to draw away groundwater. Pond Depth Your pond should be 18" or deeper if it is in a region with freezing weather or if you are planning on including certain fish or plants in the pond. Some fish, like koi, need even deeper depths. Smaller and medium size ponds should have very little slope along the walls to create a natural look and prevent a lump or bulge along the edge once the pool is finished. A deeper pond has a few other benefits worth noting. The water temperature is cooler towards the bottom and this is good for fish during hot summer months. A deep pond also provides shelter for fish from predators. Plant Shelf Plant shelves provide a ledge for plants to rest upon and be easily seen. Many pre-formed liners include plant shelves in the design. If you are using a pond skins’ pond liner, a step along the edge can be dug as a plant shelf. How to choose a liner Our liners come in a variety of sizes so you should order a liner that is slightly larger than the hole as you can cut it down if necessary. Also note that you can seam together multiple liners together to form a large liner. Pre-formed liners are recommended for smaller ponds and first-time pond builders. They are made with very durable HDPE material, are rigid and retain their shape, and are generally easier to install. PVC Pond Skins liners are used for freeform ponds. They feature a 14.5 mil thickness, yet they are the same strength as regular 20 mil liners. They are lightweight and easier to handle, plus they feature a nylon mesh between layers of PVC material for additional strength. Pond liners should be bought as a single liner. Liners come in several sizes so you should order a liner that is slightly larger than the hole as you can cut it down if necessary. If necessary, you can seam together multiple liners together to form a large liner. To protect the liner from tears or punctures, add a layer of underlayment before laying the liner in place. Alternatives for pond underlayment: sand, old carpet (plush side up), any soft durable sheet of fabric. Allow the edge of the liner to overlap onto the ground. The liner can be secured with rocks, shale, or other natural material. Laying the Liner Once the hole is dug, place the liner into the hole. For preformed liners, use sand or soil to backfill the preform. If you are using a PVC pond skin liner allow the edge to overlap into the ground. The liner can be secured with rocks, shale, or other natural material. After your hole is dug, drainage is in place, and the liner is laid and secured, you'll be ready to fill the pond with water. It's time to setup the pump and filter systems.
Flow - Choose the Right Pump In order to maintain clean, beautiful water in your water feature, you need to keep the water moving. A pump will prevent stagnant waters that can lead to bad odors and mosquitoes nesting in your pond. TotalPond has a wide selection of pumps that matches your water feature and your individual needs. TIP: Electricity and water do not mix, so extra care should be taken when installing pumps and other electrical equipment. It's a good idea to place the outlet at least four feet away from your pond but no more than 100 feet for optimal energy efficiency. Some cities require lines to be installed by a licensed electrician. Fountain Pumps Choose a fountain pump to match the height of your fountain. Measure from the water level to the highest point of the fountain that the water reaches; choose a pump that has an optimal pumping height greater than the height measured. All of our fountain pumps have an adjustable flow control to fine-tune the flow rate to match your fountain's size and effects. If your fountain is in a windy, hot, or arid area, consider a pump with our patented low water shut-off feature. This prevents the pump from burning out when water levels drop. (link to products) Pond Pumps Choose a pump that will turn the pond's total water volume in one hour. For example, if your pond holds 200 gallons of water you should choose a pump with a GPH (Gallons per Hour) rating of 200 or more. All of our pond pumps have an adjustable flow control to fine-tune the flow rate. Here is how you determine the gallons in your pond:
  • For circular ponds, measure in feet the Diameter x Diameter x Depth x 5.9 = Total Gallons of Water (Total Volume).
  • For rectangular ponds, measure in feet the Length x Width x Depth x 7.5 = Total Gallons of Water (Total Volume)
Waterfall Pumps Choose a waterfall pump to match the height and width of your waterfall. Our waterfall pumps have high performance, wet bearing motors capable of moving large amounts of water to create dynamic effects. These powerful motors are energy efficient and are designed for quiet performance so you can enjoy the sounds of flowing water, not the buzz of the motor. All of our waterfall pumps include a barrier bag to protect it from dirt and debris, which will also extend the life of the pump.
  • There are three types of 'looks' a waterfall can have: Trickle, Sheet, and Niagara. In order for your waterfall to have the desired 'look' you want, you’ll need to do a few calculations to find the right pump, flow, and tubing.
  • The rule of thumb is for every 1 in. of weir width you need 100 gallons per hour flow to achieve a Sheet look. (Divide by two for a Trickle look; Multiply by two for a Niagara look). Check the pump’s specifications for the ideal pumping height of your pump at the head of your waterfall. Keep in mind excessive bend or in-line filters will reduce the flow.
Choose the Right Tubing All pumps must be connected with tubing. For pond and waterfall pumps we recommend using the largest tubing size option for max performance. (Read the product description to choose the right size for your pump.) Water gardening tubing is durable and safe for fish and plants. Tubing is not included with pumps and other equipment and must be ordered separately. If you notice a sudden drop in water levels, check your tubing to see if it is pinched by any rocks.
Once you’ve built the pond you’ll need to maintain it. Mechanical Filtration Systems Mechanical filter boxes are filtration systems that remove debris from the water and protect the pump by housing it, thereby leading to a longer pump life and better performance. These filters include the filter box, a coarse filter pad for collecting large debris, fine filter pad for collecting small debris, and bio-balls which promote positive bacteria. Ultraviolet (UV) Filters and Clarifiers Ultraviolet light sterilizes pond water by reducing micro-organisms and bacteria. UV technology is available as a separate system such as the UV Pond Clarifier, but you can also purchase a system that incorporates UV Technology such as the Pressurized Pond Filter with UV Clarifier or the Complete Floating Fountain with UV Cleaning Power. Pressurized Pond Filters Our Pressurized Pond Filters are a natural and complete pond filter system that cleans pond water while adding essential bacteria needed for a healthy environment. Pond water is cleaned as it’s forced through two filter sections a coarse filter and a fine filter, removing large and small debris. When the water leaves the filter it passes over the bio balls and picks up positive bacteria that adds to the pond’s natural balance. The good bacterium is a natural stabilizer which balances the nitrates that fish waste generates. Water Treatments Additionally, you can also clean and fortify your pond water with a variety of water treatments. We also recommend adding Chlorine Remover before adding any fish or plants to water. Chlorine Remover detoxifies heavy metals from water and instantly removes chlorine and chloramines. Other water treatments such as Water Clarifier and Sludge Remover work together to clear water and maintain a healthy ecosystem. Algaecide is used if algae growth takes hold and needs to be controlled. Always read the labels before use and only use the recommended amount of any water treatment. Aeration It's important to put oxygen back into the water for a healthy balanced pond environment as oxygen creates a healthy environment for fish and plants. Some recommended ways to aerate include:
  • Aerators add oxygen to the pond using a special pump.
  • Spitters are small statues that spit or squirt a stream of water into the pond. They are usually placed on or near the edge of the pond.
  • Nozzle kits offer you a variety of water displays which you can adjust to varying heights depending on the power of your pump.
Plants If you plan to turn your pond into a water garden, consider different types of plants that add texture, color, and variety to your waterscape. Plants can also provide shade from the sun, which can help to prevent algae growth. Plus they can provide protection for any fish or koi you might add. Fish You can add fish to both natural and formal ponds. Although fancy goldfish do fine in shallow ponds, koi usually need about 3 feet of water. Pond Blue adds a beautiful blue shade to the water that protects fish from predators and UV damage. If you plan on leaving your fish outside during freezing weather, use a pond de-icer or aerator to keep an area of the surface free of ice. In order to maintain a healthy environment for you fish, use the following rule of thumb: for every 265 gallons of pond water, do not exceed a total of 2 feet of fish length. An example is a 265 gallon pond with three fish, each six inches in length. Another example is a 265 gallon pond with 20 fish, each one inch in length. Both situations are well within the limit of the suggested fish load.
Always remember: Water temperature takes a long time heat or cool compared to the air. This is why it is important for pond owners to go by the water temperature and not air temperature when it comes to caring for your pond.   Spring
  • Give your pond a thorough exam including pumps, filtration, UV Clarifiers, and all tubing connections. Look for damaged parts that need repair or replacement; call our Customer Care Team for assistance.
  • Place the pump back in your pond; run for a few hours while checking on performance, ensuring there are no leaks.
  • Turn on the filtration system to clean the water and restore the pond’s natural balance.
  • Remove any organic material that accumulated over the past few months.
  • If an aerator was used during the winter, leave it in the pond to continue oxygenating the water all season.
  • Check the water level and add more if necessary. Be sure to always use Chlorine Remover when adding new tap water to remove harsh chemicals.
  • At 40°F, test the pond water for high ammonia and nitrites. If you notice high levels, perform a 25%-50% water change to help correct it.
  • Add beneficial bacteria like our Pond Cleaner Tablets to reduce problem nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus.
  • At a water temperature of 50°F, begin feeding fish a low-protein food.
  • At a water temperature of 60°F, begin feeding fish regular food.
  • Inspect and re-establish plants. Thin out and cut away dead leaves.
  • At a water temperature of 72°F, begin fertilizing plants.
Summer
  • With the high temperatures summer brings, algae can be a problem. Blooms are not completely avoidable, but checking to make sure your UV Clarifier is working properly is the first step to clear water.
  • Any time you clean your pond, disturb the filter, or clean a filter pad, drop in a Pond Cleaner tablet or a dose of Sludge Remover to jump start the growth of beneficial bacteria.
  • Always keep the water moving with an aerator, a nozzle kit, or a waterfall. Additional oxygen is key for a clean, clear pond in the summer.
  • Check the water level and add more if necessary. Be sure to always use Chlorine Remover when adding new tap water to remove harsh chemicals.
  • Continue cutting away dead foliage and removing debris from the pond.
Fall
  • At a water temperature of 72°F, clear out as much debris as possible, divide and repot plants. Replace 50% of the water in your pond and use a Chlorine Remover to remove harmful toxins from the tap water.
  • At a water temperature of 60°F, trim and move hardy lilies to deeper water, install pond netting, and start feeding fish food a low-protein diet.
  • At a water temperature of 50°F or below, stop feeding fish. Also, consider winterizing your filtration system.
Winter
  • Before the first frost, remove your pump and install an aerator and/or de-icer. Leaving the pump running in that temperature will lower deep-water temperatures, causing potentially fatal stress to fish. Aerators produce necessary oxygen for the ecosystem and also allow toxins to escape.
  • Store any removed systems in a bucket of water in a frost-free location to keep seals moist.
  • Add beneficial bacteria to your pond for a final boost.