pond plants that survive the winter

Pond plants that survive the winter

Pond plants that survive the winter | Morris County NJ

What Pond Plants Will Survive the Winter Months?

When the weather turns cold, you have two choices for handling delicate and tropical pond plants – you can either bring them inside for the winter or treat them like annuals and replace them each spring. However, what many pond owners prefer to do is plant cold-hardy perennials that go dormant beneath the snow and come back to life in the spring.

If this is the sort of setup you want, consider including the following pond plant species in and around your backyard water feature:

pond plants that survive the winter

Hardy Water Lilies: Most hardy water lilies should be planted in 12”-24” of water to make it through the winter. Shallower plantings may freeze and deeper ones take a lot of the plant’s energy just to reach the surface of the water, decreasing the number of blooms that you see each year. Hardy Water Lilies come in nearly every color imaginable, white, pink, yellow or red and now even purple.

American lotus: You’ll find this dazzling beauty in natural lakes as far north as Ontario and as far south as Florida. Hybrids like the “Empress” and dwarf “Momo Batan” are some of the most eye-catching varieties. Flowers come single or double in a wide array of colors: white, yellow, pink, “red”, “blue” and bi-colors. We recommend growing lotus in pots for easy maintenance. They require regular feeding through the growing season to support their large leaves.

American Lotus - pond plants that survive the winter in northern jersey
corkscrew rush - pond plants that survive the winter in northern climates

Arrowhead plant: Named for its arrowhead-shaped leaves, the tall, graceful stems of this perennial will add great interest to your hardy water garden. If you have a small pond, contain this vigorous grower in a pot.
Corkscrew rush: Plant this robust, upright grower in one section of your pond to mimic the quality of old-world reeds. These are great for creating a beautiful natural setting.
Purple Pitcher plants: A native plant and one of our favorites. Choose this low-growing perennial if you have a pond in full-sun. It takes a couple years to really take off, but when it does it is a remarkable specimen. We recommend planting marginal plants like pitcher plants in groups of 3-5.
Pickerelweed: The carefree growth habit and bold, upright foliage of this pond plant make it a popular choice for pond owners. Beautiful lavender blooms in summer will return year after year.

Lizard’s tail: This is a breathtaking addition to the edge of a natural pond. Characteristics include compact, upright growth and spiky, slender flowers that resemble a lizard’s tail.
Cardinal Flowers: A biannual (grows foliage one year and flowers the next) is a fantastic tropical looking native plant that adds color to your pond side. It blooms late summer into the early fall at a time when many other perennial aquatic plants have retired for the season. The cardinal red blossoms are also attractive to hummingbirds.
Acorus: Plant this hardy perennial in the boggy areas around your pond. The sharp clean cut leaves resemble that of an iris and come in a number of attractive varigations.
Marsh marigold: This brief bloomer from the buttercup family will delight you in spring. One of the earliest flowers with lovely yellow blossoms. Plant it in marshy areas around your pond.

small backyard waterfall with natural moss

Whatever hardy perennials you choose for your water garden, they still need a little care every fall. Remember to trim off yellow or brown foliage. Lotus pots should be moved to a deeper section of the pond for winter.

For more advice when selecting pond plants, or for help caring for your perennials, please contact Atlantis Water Gardens at 973.627.0515. We provide full-service pond design, pond maintenance and cleaning in Northern New Jersey.

Atlantis Water Gardens – Denville, NJ / Northern New Jersey (Morris County and surrounding areas)

973.627.0515

Recognized as an industry leader (Certified Contractor of the Year 2010, Artist of the year 2014 and Businessman of the Year 2018 and #1 Aquascape Retailer 2016 and 2018) With projects on three continents and across the country Atlantis Water Gardens has the passion, experience and expertise to help your bring your water garden dreams to life

https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/healthy-home/choosing-your-pondscape-ten-cold-hardy-pond-plants-will-survive-winter/
https://www.aquascapeinc.com/water-gardening/plants/caring-for-aquatic-plants-in-the-fall

Give us a call! 973.627.0515

Come on out to our Pond Store and pick out some plants for your own water feature! Get Directions

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Do I need a pond aerator this winter

Pond plants that survive the winter

Pond plants that survive the winter | Morris County NJ

If you have fish that you wish to winter over in your pond it’s necessary to use a pond aerator. A pond aerator or small recirculating pump that agitates the water’s surface will oxygenate the water. Why do you need to oxygenate your pond in winter? When people drown, their bodies are deprived of oxygen because their lungs fill with water rather than air. Fish obtain their oxygen from air that is dissolved in the water in which they swim. … Oxygen diffuses into the fish through their gills, without aeration your fish will drown! (Well…technically speaking suffocate may be a better term.)

do i need a pond aerator this winter
fish bones

If you don’t have fish in your pond a pond aerator can still be beneficial as it will help to continue to break down nutrients from leaves and debris in your pond and keep the water from becoming stagnant and foul smelling, but is not necessary.

Other options for winter aeration: a small recirculating pump may be used instead of an aerator. It will pump water up to the surface of the pond an agitate the surface (which adds oxygen to the water.)


Click the play button on the YouTube link to see what went wrong in my pond when I went out of town for a few weeks last winter….


recirculating pump for pond

A recirculating pump such as the one pictured above can be used to provide necessary oxygen to your pond in winter in place of an aerator.

pond aerator

Pond Aerators provide oxygen to your pond in winter and are necessary for keeping fish alive through the winter

Will a pond aerator alone keep my fish alive in winter?
No.  An aerator adds oxygen to the water.   If the temperatures drop you still need to be able to maintain a hole in the surface of the ice for gas exchange.   What is gas exchange?  Your pond slows down over the winter months, but it never completely shuts down. Leaves and debris continue to break down  too,  just at a slower pace than during warmer months.  The process of the plants and debris breaking down creates methane gas.  When the ice is allowed to completely cover the surface of the pond methane gas builds up and harms the aquatic life in your pond -including your fish.  To prevent this use a simple deicer.  The better ones are thermostatically controlled so that they consume electricity only when the temperatures drop.  The deicer keeps just a small ring around the unit melted in the ice and allows the harmful gasses to escape.  When installing a deicer for the winter be certain that it is placed a good distance from the aerator as the movement of water by the aerator may make it run more often than necessary.

Aquascape pond heater de-icer for fish

De-icers keep a small hole in the ice allowing for gas exchange in Winter.

pond de-icer and pond aerator

If you have questions about how to properly winterize your pond please don’t hesitate to call our pond shop (973)627-0515. We have the knowledge and supplies you need for proper pond winterization. Still feeling uncertain about how to winterize your pond? Just ask and we’ll winterize your pond for you!


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Do I need to clean my fish pond or fountain?

Pond plants that survive the winter

Pond plants that survive the winter | Morris County NJ

At Atlantis Water Gardens, we are often asked by our clients, “Do I need to clean my water feature this year?” (Water Feature can mean a pond, waterfall or fountain) There are certainly many factors that could bring about a yes or no answer to this question.

Typically, many of the concerns people have before purchasing and having a water feature installed revolve around the topic of how much maintenance will be involved. To be completely candid, from years of trade shows, garden tours and other events, when I am face to face with potential clients the first reaction when they see a water feature of any kind is, “That looks like way too much maintenance for me.” The good news is they are usually less maintenance than the lawn or garden they replaced. Better yet, manufacturers like Aquascape, Inc., have developed and tested many revolutionary tools to reduce the already low maintenance.

The topic of this article often creates a level of confusion because two terms are often used to describe the maintenance performed in the Spring months. One term is cleaning and the other term is opening, so lets dive into this a little deeper.

tranquility series koi pond by atlantis water gardens

Picture of the Tranquility Elite Pond Package offered by Atlantis Water Gardens in Morris County (Denville), NJ. Shown with backyard fish pond, meandering, natural stream and boulder style waterfalls.

WHAT DOES A POND, WATERFALL OR FOUNTAIN CLEANING ENTAIL?
We define the cleaning of a water feature as the process by which we restore the overall functionality similar to when it was originally installed.  The cleaning of your pond, waterfall or fountain may include the following:

-Drain the feature completely, remove the wildlife (Fish, Frogs, etc.) and safely place them into a holding tank.
-Wash the feature with a heavy spray of water (sometimes a power washer is required)
-Vacuum loose debris from the feature and trim back aquatic plants
-Move gravel, check lighting and install original supplied equipment
-Begin refilling the pond
-Safely acclimate and release wildlife
-Leave a detailed Water Feature Assessment for the customer.

For More Details On The Cleaning Process Click Here!

Water Feature Service & Maintenance, Denville NJ

What does a pond, waterfall, or fountain opening entail?

The opening of a water feature is usually a much simpler process than a full cleaning. Technically, the opening process is included in the cleaning process. The opening of your pond, waterfall or fountain may include the following:

(Pond debris being removed by hand during a pond drain & clean by Atlantis Water Gardens)

-remove debris from skimmer, pump chamber, or waterfall vault by skimming with a net
-install equipment and check lighting
-turn system back on and check the overall performance
-trim back aquatic plants if requested

There is less involved with the pond & waterfall opening as compared to a full pond cleaning. The water is not drained and any wildlife are not handled during the pond opening service. Usually customers choose the full cleaning unless the water feature was just recently installed or there was no debris in the bottom.

REASONS FOR CLEANING YOUR POND, WATERFALL OR FOUNTAIN

There are a multitude of reasons that customers request to have their water feature cleaned. Usually, the number 1 reason is that they’d like it to look as good as it did the year before and having it cleaned is normally something done at the beginning of each water gardening season. Here are some other reasons that you would want to clean your water feature.
(Picture of filamentous string algae)

holding string algae in hand

-The water color is brown from the breakdown of leaves or other organic debris (Looks like a giant cup of tea)
-The water color is green throughout from excess nutrients causing an algae bloom (Looks like pea soup)
-The water color is almost black with very little visibility, possibly from the death of wildlife (Looks almost like cola)
-When standing by the pond you smell a noxious odor similar to ammonia
-It was a very harsh winter and all wildlife, including your fish have died
-The size of the water feature has seemed to have shrunk from either excess plant growth or too much debris build up on the bottom of the pond
-You are constantly having to remove debris from your pump or filter media
-The flow of water in you fountain, waterfall or stream seems weak.
-You prefer to have an annual cleaning to keep the maintenance of the feature during the season as low as possible.
-It makes you feel much more comfortable to have a professional clean the pond, waterfall or fountain each year to make sure the equipment is functioning properly, the feature is in good condition and to fix an issues before they become much worse.
-You would like a new look, maybe redoing a waterfall or changing out some rocks
-And as stated above you really like when the pond, waterfall or fountain looks like it was just recently installed.

REASONS NOT TO HAVE YOUR POND, WATERFALL OR FOUNTAIN CLEANED

holding string algae in hand

(Small backyard fish pond with waterfall covered by green moss.)
There are many good reasons to have your pond or water feature cleaned each Spring, but admittedly there are also a few reasons why you might want to forgo a cleaning this year. Let’s take a look at a few scenarios that might deem it unneccessary to have your water feature cleaned this season:

-The pond or waterfall was installed late in the season the previous year and it just isn’t very dirty.
-The weather is too warm (Usually July & August) and it would not be worth the risk of handling your fish. Potential loss is possible in this scenario if special steps aren’t taken.
-You have a very old liner pond and stepping on the liner may potentially cause damage due to it being brittle.
-The cost of the cleaning is too much

Some of our clients choose to have the cleaning done biannually instead of annually.  We offer our best recommendations for the water feature and then the rest is up to you.  We keep detailed records of all our water features and the factors that may change the ability to keep the maintenance low.


WHAT IF I DON’T WANT TO HAVE MY POND CLEANED AND WOULD RATHER HAVE IT RENOVATED BY A POND, WATERFALL OR FOUNTAIN PROFESSIONAL?

Each and every year we are contacted by homeowners that have owned a home or just purchased a home with a pond, waterfall or fountain and seek us out for guidance. The typical inquiry that we get is, “Help! we have this water feature and have no idea what to do.” So here are some helpful tips to get you started with our consultation services.

1. Take pictures of the pond, waterfall or fountain for us to see and fill out our ONLINE CONTACT FORM where you can upload your pics and tell us a little about your water feature or space. (Typically we like a couple wide view pictures from different angles, shots of equipment, the closest electrical outlet or water faucet. Take as many as you think will be helpful for us to see.)
2. Try to take some measurements of the feature or be able to relate the size to something familiar. (i.e. It’s about the size of a mini van)
3. Try to have some measurements of the distance between the water feature and the power source and or water source.
4. Let us know what the access to the pond, waterfall or fountain is like so we know how easy it is to get to your water feature. (Do we have to pass through a gate? If so, how wide is it? Are there stairs to go up to access the area?)
5. The more information you can provide to us the better we will be able to advise you whether or not we would be a fit for your situation.

Owning a pond, waterfall or fountain certainly doesn’t need to be difficult, so be sure to contact us to see what we can do to educate you and set your mind at ease. For more educational information be sure to check out more of our Learning Hub or for more inspiration visit our Facebook page and start following us!

At Your Service,
Jaak & JoAnn Harju
Atlantis Water Gardens

Thanks for visiting our learning hub. As always, we hope you found this helpful. Please feel free to comment below.

gorgeous pondless waterfall by atlantis water gardens

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How to do a spring pond cleaning and opening

Pond plants that survive the winter

Pond plants that survive the winter | Morris County NJ

Winter is at last starting to gasp it’s waning breaths and releasing us from it’s icy grip, which means Spring is not far off! Finally, we’ll be able to free ourselves from our heated abode’s and enjoy all that a new Spring season has to offer!

how to do a spring cleaning and opening in denville nj
cranky sleepy bear

YOUR POND IS WAKING FROM ITS’ WINTER SLUMBER AND IT’S CRANKY!

Just like a bear coming out of hibernation, your pond is tired of the cold weather and SOMEBODY wants to EAT! That somebody is ALGAE and its’ food source is nutrients that have found their way to the bottom of your pond since the Autumn months.

Your filtration is completely ineffective in cold weather months so dead leaves, sticks, fish waste and other wind blown debris have had lots of time to decompose and transform into sweet, sweet pond sludge while you haven’t been paying much attention to your frozen backyard paradise (It was too freakin’ cold to go out there in my slippers and Superman pajamas!). A majority of water feature owners are coming out to their favorite aquatic sanctuary to find that they now have wall to wall carpets of algae in their fish’s underwater living room and they’re realizing that this won’t be a simple “Plug In The Pump and it’s Waterfall Time!” type of deal.

Don’t sweat it! Everybody’s got to do some sort of Spring Cleaning and that includes Mother Nature. Melting Winter snow flushes out natural bodies of water, sweeping away a lot of the “Yucky Stuff” that accumulates over the Winter in natural ponds. Backyard pond owners don’t have that luxury with our closed ecosystems, so it’s on us to get in there and kick a little pond scum butt!​

string algae in stream

TIME TO GET “DOWN & DIRTY”!

You’ve got 2 choices in this deal:

1. Kiss that new manicure goodbye, ’cause “Algae is a color that really goes with your eyes” and you’re going to give it a go on your own.

or

2. Give the Pros at Atlantis Water Gardens a shout and we’ll gladly do battle with the “Green Beast” in your backyard escape, ’cause we eat algae for breakfast! (well, sometimes it does get in your mouth when pressure washing….)

If you’re feeling froggy and don’t mind gettin’ “Down & Dirty”, here’s what you’ll need to know:

– It’s best to do your Spring Pond Cleaning when the outside temperature is still cool. It will be less stressful on your fish due to a lower temperature differential between your pond water and tap water.

– You’ll need a cleanout pump, pressure washer, waders, shop vac, nets, holding tank(s), aeration, fish net, gloves, detoxifier, plant fertilizer tabs, scissors and possibly replacement filter pads/media.

It sounds like a lot of stuff…..because it is! Most of it can be rented if you don’t have it and you could use a cheap, blow-up pool for your holding tank if you’re in a pinch.

cleaning a pond in morris county nj

FIRST THING’S FIRST, DRAIN THE POND
Start by setting up the holding tank with aeration for your fish and pumping it full of pond water (raise the pump off the bottom of the pond to avoid pumping debris into the holding tank.

Pump the water down to approx 6-8″ from the bottom to catch and transfer your fish to the holding tank. Trying to catch the fish with the pond full of water will surely stress them and possibly cause damage.

Fish Can Jump! Make sure to put a net securely over the top of your holding tank so that your fish don’t end up doing “The Bacon” on your patio. Find a nice, shady spot for your temporary fish condo and place bottom aeration in the tank to keep your fish happy for the next few hours while you get pond scum in your eyes, hair and teeth (and possibly some other hard-to-reach places….)

FIRE UP THE PRESSURE WASHER!
Listen, this doesn’t mean that you need to go all “Willy Nilly” with your pressure washer and strip the fossil layer off the rocks in your pond. A light pressure washing to knock off the heavy algae and pond scum is all you need to do. You actually want to leave a thin layer of bio-film on the rocks to help jump start the ecosystem in your newly cleaned pond.

Follow this up with manually removing any of the heavy debris in the pond and then using just the garden hose to rinse the pond down to the bottom where you can place your cleanout pump to remove the “Pond Scum Stew”. Once you have rinsed the pond down to the point where the water is now running clear by the cleanout pump, pull the pump and start filling your pond. You can add Pond Detoxifier at this point to neutralize any chloramines in the tap water.

pressure washing a pond in northern nj
cleaning an aquascape skimmer in nj

DON’T FORGET YOUR POND FILTRATION!
Take all of the filter material out of your waterfall filter and skimmer and inspect it. If it’s falling apart or looking kind-of worn out, now would be the time to replace it. If it’s still in good shape, use the hose from your cleanout pump to wash everything down pretty good, so that water is flowing freely through the filter material. Now you can use the vacuum to clean out the bottom of the skimmer and waterfall filter box, then re-install your filter material.

Make sure you give your pump the once-over and check the intake for any blockage or impeller problems. Your check valve should be inspected as well to see if the flapper may have been broken, if so you will need to replace it. Once you’re happy, re-install your pump assembly into the skimmer and get ready to fill your pond back up!

“OTHER STUFF”
If you have “Other Stuff” in your pond like an Ion Gen System, Auto-Dosing System, Underwater Lighting, etc.., spend the time to make sure it’s all in working order before you refill the pond. Draining the pond again to replace a few bad light fixtures is super fun, I know, but if you can avoid it you’ll have more time to listen to the sweet sounds of your waterfall instead of stomping your feet and cursing around the backyard while you kick over your fake, plastic heron because you forgot to see if the dang lights were working!

cleaning a pond in denville nj, atlantis water gardens

FILL ‘ER UP AND SEND THE FISH BACK HOME!
At this point the pond is clean, filters are back in place and you’ve started to fill the pond with your hose. Now you can start pumping the water from the holding tank back into the pond and re-introduce your fish. Check the temp in the holding tank and in the pond, as long as the difference is less than 5 or 8 degrees, you can net your fish and carefully place them back into the pond. Once everyone is back home and accounted for, go ahead and finish filling the pond, plug in the pump and watch that beautiful water start cascading again for another enjoyable water gardening season!

Pond by Atlantis Water Gardens - Mendham NJ-24

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How to properly winterize your koi pond and waterfall

Pond plants that survive the winter

Pond plants that survive the winter | Morris County NJ

Learn how to properly winterize your koi pond for the cold New Jersey winters!

Pond by Atlantis Water Gardens - Mendham NJ-24

PROPER WINTERIZATION BEGINS IN THE FALL
Getting your fish pond ready for the cold NJ Winter really begins in the Fall. Switching over to a high quality, cold water fish food when the water temperature drops below 65 degrees is very important for your fish going into the cold winter months. Having a pond thermometer is a great tool that will indicate when to switch the type of fish food you are using, when to stop feeding in the late fall and also when you can begin feeding again in the spring.
Generally, you want to stop feeding your fish once the water temperature stays consistently below 50 degrees. At temperatures below 50, the fish will not be able to properly process the food and it will remain undigested in their gut, possibly causing health problems during the winter months.

FALL NETTING IS THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL WINTERIZATION
fall pond leaf netting
Hopefully you installed a net over your pond for the Fall months to keep heavy leaf debris from collecting at the bottom of your pond. This is important because the buildup of organic debris in the pond bottom can turn to sludge, providing the perfect environment for fish parasites and other unwanted pond pests.

If you have a significant amount of organic debris that is still in the pond, you’ll want to get as much of it removed as possible. It may be necessary to perform a full pond cleaning if there is an excessive amount of debris left in the bottom of the pond.

NOW YOU CAN START YOUR WINTERIZING
cutting back dead aquatic plants in the fall
The process begins by removing all of your Fall netting materials and properly store them for the Winter. Leaving the net over the pond for the Winter months is not a good idea because it can not handle a snow load. It will become entangled in the ice and damage the materials and possibly harm your fish.

Now you can begin to cut back all of your aquatic plants to the proper height for their Winter slumber. Marginal aquatics should be cut 2″ above water level and lilies can be cut all the way down to 1″ above their crown. Tropical aquatics should be removed and disposed of, as they will not over-winter in the harsh New Jersey cold.

TO RUN YOUR WATERFALL IN THE WINTER OR NOT?
waterfall in the winter
We generally recommend shutting down your waterfall for the Winter. Leaving your waterfall running can produce some amazing ice formations and scenery, but if you are not going to be able to constantly monitor your waterfall during freezing temperatures, you can run into a problem with ice dams forming in the stream & waterfall which will force water over the top of your liner and out of your pond.

When shutting down your waterfall, be sure to install some form of aeration and a floating de-icer for your fish to allow for gas exchange and introduction of oxygen during the Winter. If you have a skimmer system in your pond, make sure you remove the check valve and filter material, clean them off and store them properly for the Winter. Also, if you have a Biofalls filter, make sure to remove the filter material, clean it off and store that as well.

INSTALLING AERATION & DE-ICER FOR THE WINTER
Aquascape pond heater de-icer for fish
To keep your fish safe during the Winter you will need to install some form of aeration to provide oxygen. Using a bubbler pump or aeration system are both acceptable methods, but you’ll need to make sure that your install the pump or diffuser plate aprrox. 10″-12″ above the bottom surface of the pond. Supplementing with a floating de-icer is also recommended to be sure a hole is kept open in the ice for proper gas exchange.

PROTECTING YOUR FISH FROM PREDATORS DURING THE WINTER
Even though the cold weather has set in and your pond is covered in ice (except the hole from your aeration/de-icer!), your fish can still be vulnerable to predators. Here in Northern New Jersey we have the great blue heron and mink that will fish in backyard ponds all Winter long. Taking measures like adding a dark pond dye monthly during the Winter months will make it difficult for predators to see your fish that are resting on the pond bottom.
blue heron in koi pond

NEED HELP WITH POND WINTERIZING OR POND MAINTENANCE IN NORTHERN NEW JERSEY (NJ)?
If you live in Northern New Jersey and need help with pond winterizing or any other pond related issues, contact us. Be sure to fill our your information and upload a few pictures of your pond, filtration, waterfall or stream and we’ll give you a call to see if there is any way we can help!


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Should I add bacteria to my pond?

Pond plants that survive the winter

Pond plants that survive the winter | Morris County NJ

As water feature artists we get asked a lot of questions. The question that may be the hardest to explain is how absolutely important it is to add beneficial bacteria to your water feature. Sometimes we get the feeling people think it is an expensive snake oil. While you can’t see the bacteria (Much like the air around you) you see the effects. A pond that has a complete system: proper filtration, aeration, plants and bacteria will be significantly cleaner.

Should I add bacteria to my pond?
The simple answer is YES!!! It’s important to remember that every piece of the ecosystem must be present in order for a true ecosystem to be in place. Eliminate one of these elements and you’ve got an unbalanced ecosystem that won’t be so low maintenance anymore. Beneficial Bacteria are hard-working aerobic microorganisms that do the job of keeping the pond clean by converting harmful substances like ammonia into less harmful substances like nitrites and nitrates. All of this happens without your having to lift a finger!

Bacteria should be added to your pond system twice a week after your pond is cleaned in the spring and once a week for the rest of the season.  Consistency is key.  An automatic dosing machine can add your bacteria to the pond at a regular pace and for most ponds only needs to be refilled
once a month.

What bacteria cannot do: 
Bacteria is a critical part of a healthy pond ecosystem, but no amount of bacteria can replace proper filtration and aeration in your pond. To learn more about proper filtration and aeration click here. If you have questions about your pond set-up email, call or swing by our pond supply store. We are happy to help!

pond nitrogen cycle
aquascape beneficial bacteria
will predators eat all my fish in my pond

​Other types of bacteria:
Sludge and Filter cleaner contains strains of bacteria that thrive in dark places—like under the gravel, in your filter or basin. It consumes the fish waste and other debris that accumulate in these out of the way corners of your water feature, minimizing opportunity for algae to grow and thrive. Best used in conjunction with beneficial bacteria for a more complex blend of bacteria.

aquascape sludge cleaner

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I ALREADY HAVE ALGAE IN MY WATER FEATURE?

First off, don’t panic! Algae is actually a part of your pond ecosystem. Algae removes the excess nutrient load from the water in your pond. While we don’t prefer to see it, it is performing an important function in your ecosystem. Think of it more as an indicator of high nutrient levels in your pond. Here is a basic checklist of things to do if you are experiencing an algae bloom in your pond:

​First be a detective!
Is this a problem you have all of the time? Is your water pea soup green? If so you may not have the proper filtration, aeration and maintenance for your pond system. Call us (973)627-0515 and we can help you assess the problem and come up with a solution.

Is your pond system brand new? If so congratulations!!! Your algae bloom is a rite of passage. As a new pond begins to mature you usually get an algae bloom as your bacteria and plants haven’t yet had time to take off. Don’t sweat it! Follow the simple steps to first kill and then remove the algae (that is if you just can’t stand to have it in your pond). Then you can use a pond gummy to give a quick boost to your bacteria colony and you should be good to go!

Is this a new trouble in an existing pond? If you have a good filter(skimmer) and aeration (waterfall) in your pond, but are experiencing an algae bloom it is usually due to an influx of nutrients.

The number one culprit? Fish food. Begin feeding fish when water temps have reached 50, consistently and end feedings in the fall as soon as water temperatures drop below 50. Use a cold water fish food in the early and late season. It contains the protein, vitamins and minerals that the fish need at this time of the season. Remember to only feed your fish what they can completely consume in two minutes time. Use a fish feeding ring to make certain that the food is completely consumed and not just swept into the skimmer or filter. Fish don’t need to be fed daily especially in an older pond as they will forage for plants and insects in the pond. If you are feeding them more than they are eating in two minutes time it is simply polluting the water they are living in.

The second culprit? Often, plant fertilizer. This can be a bit more difficult to find. If you recently added plantings to your garden landscape, fertilized a lawn, or added annual planters they may be the culprits. If rainwater travels through your lawn or garden and then runs into the pond this may be the cause of your troubles. The fix? Is a bit more complex. You can move the annual planters, if possible. Consider redirecting rainwater runoff to another area. Resist the urge to fertilize gardens and lawns that can run-off into the pond/water feature. If it is simply a new perennial planting you may have to just be patient as the time release fertilizer often present in the plants when they are purchased just needs time to wear out. You can follow the instructions for removing algae as necessary and double the dose of bacteria to your pond. Additionally, treating your water feature with a pond gummy may be just the boost your water feature needs to get bacteria levels high enough to handle the influx of nutrients. Also, consider adding water hyacinth to your pond. Water hyacinth consume a large amount of nutrience directly from the pond water. They are not an instant fix, but where nutrience entering the pond will be an ongoing issue they are a good part of the solution.

Second treat it:
If you have a string algae bloom in your pond and want to get rid of it here is what to do:

1–Don’t scrub it until it’s dead!!! If you begin to collect the algae or scrape/brush it off of the rocks you will break it apart. When algae breaks apart each small (even microscopic) piece will regrow to form a complete strand. By scrubbing/scraping and collecting it you are actually propagating (creating more) algae in your pond! Kill your algae first. Turn off the water feature let all the water come to a stop. Use a product like Aquascape’s Ecoblast, being careful to follow the package instructions. (TOO MUCH WILL DROP OXYGEN LEVELS AND KILL YOUR FISH). If it is super hot you will need to wait until early morning or another time when the heat has dropped (hot water has less oxygen and this product will remove a portion of the oxygen during use, potentially killing your fish). After applying ecoblast wait about 20 minutes. You will see the algae change color. It is now dead and safe to collect/scrape/scrub. Alternately, you can use an Iongen system to kill unwanted string algae. Simply turn it on when you first start to notice an algae bloom and then up to a week later turn the system off. The small amount of copper ions that the Iongen releases into the water inhibits string algae growth (not for pea soup algae).

2–When its dead, remove it. Physically remove the algae once it is dead. Collect it, scrub it, scrape it.

3–Prevent its regrowth. A complete ecosystem will have minimal amounts of algae, but not huge blooms. To attain this in your water garden be sure to have each component of a complete ecosystem: filtration, oxygenation, bacteria, plants and where applicable fish. Remember bacteria only works if you add it regularly to your pond system as it takes time to colonize. If you can’t or don’t want to maintain your water feature, we are happy to provide a maintenance service for you or install an auto-dose that only needs the product replaced about once a month.

4–Supercharge your pond. After treating for the algae bloom, super charge the bacteria in your pond with a pond gummy and water hyacinths (15-20 water hyacinths are a good start for a 300 sq.ft pond).

5–Should be number one—remove the source of the nutrient load– cut back fish feeding, resist the urge to fertilize terrestrial plantings where rainwater runoff may enter the pond/waterfall.

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Whether you need a new water feature installed, or you just need help keeping an existing water feature clean and functional, we are here to help you achieve your water feature dreams. With over two decades creating beautiful ponds and fountains in New Jersey, Atlantis Water Gardens can create the perfect water feature for your backyard, designed to meet and even exceed your expectations. Our design approach is to incorporate the relaxing properties of water into the existing landscape, making it a seamless component of the landscape around it. What’s more, we provide maintenance and repair services to keep your water feature beautiful and running smoothly. If you’re ready for a pond or outdoor water feature, or you need help maintaining your existing feature, call 973.627.0515 to ask as many questions as you want, and learn all we have to offer. You can also visit our website to see examples of our work and hear more about why we do what we do.


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How deep does a koi pond need to be Denville NJ

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What filter system should I use for my koi pond

Pond plants that survive the winter

Pond plants that survive the winter | Morris County NJ

What is the best filtration system for a koi pond?

Believe it or not, you can over-filter a pond. Tight filter pads in your skimmer pick up the smallest particles of debris, causing you to be cleaning the filtering mechanism out constantly. Now remember, we’re not talking about drinking water here. What we are talking about is water clarity and water that’s healthy for your fish. Fish in the wild certainly don’t swim around in bottled water. If you can see a dime on the bottom of the pond, then the water clarity is just right for your fish and filtering past that is overkill and will create headaches, not eliminate them.

Keep it simple. Trust us when we say we’ve been around long enough to learn that the setup in the photo to the right is NOT what you want to go with. We recommend a simple, eco-system type pond with natural biological filtration. Your fish will thank you.

Our experience is the nerds that insist on having the most complex system available, and look for excuses to justify it, have the most nightmarish expriences with their koi ponds.

This is an article from our Learning Hub. Want to learn more tips and tricks about water gardens?

How deep does a koi pond need to be Denville NJ
What is the best filtration for a koi pond
Are koi ponds a liability or safety issue

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Do high tech systems, tests and treatments make my koi pond better?

Pond plants that survive the winter

Pond plants that survive the winter | Morris County NJ

It depends what you are referring to in your question.

If you are wondering whether your pond is the equivalent to a science lab with tests, and more preciptions, treatments, and daily meds than your grandad had, then no. High tech in that regard is not the answer or something you want to get started in. More than anything else, being observant and learning from Mother Nature is what it takes to be a water gardener. Whatever she does naturally is what you should be doing in your pond. Whatever she doesn’t do is what you should be avoiding in your pond.

Now, that being said, there are some pretty cool “high tech” things available in the pond industry.

Such as iOT pumps, lights, water jets, Ion Gen for algae control, automatic dosing systems to feed your pond with bacteria. These things are high tech, and afford us some pretty cool features. Such as setting schedules for your pond lights, turning on that little frog spitter from your app on your phone, etc.

Give us a call if you’d like to see what’s available! Just tap the blue button below the picture.

This is an article from our Learning Hub. Want to learn more tips and tricks about water gardens?

How deep does a koi pond need to be Denville NJ
Are koi ponds a liability or safety issue
Are koi ponds a liability or safety issue

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Do I need to bring my fish in for the winter?

Do I need to bring my fish in my pond inside for the winter?

Bringing fish inside for the winter | Denville, Rockaway, Morris County NJ

Fish do fine during the coldest of winters as long as you give them two feet of water to swim in, oxygenate the water, and keep a hole in the ice with a bubbler or floating heater, allowing the naturally produced gasses to escape from under the ice. Otherwise, you let Mother Nature do the rest. The fish will spend the entire winter hibernating at the bottom of the pond and then they will slowly wake up as the water warms in spring.

How deep does a koi pond need to be Denville NJ
Do I need to bring my fish insode for the winter
Aquascape pond heater de-icer for fish

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How Often Do I Need To Test My Koi Pond Water?

Do I need to bring my fish in my pond inside for the winter?

Bringing fish inside for the winter | Denville, Rockaway, Morris County NJ

You might have been searching some Facebook groups for the answer: How often do I need to test my koi pond water? And you probably are getting every answer imaginable. The one answer we commonly see is that you need to test your water daily.

This myth comes from the aquarium industry and it has a lot to do with the fact that an aquarium is a much smaller body of water and the small size makes it more difficult to balance. Mother Nature never tests her water, and her ecosystem does just fine. A well conceived, naturally balanced water garden normally requires no testing either.  The only time there is an exception is if you are having a fish or water quality problem, and you need to get to the root of the problem.

Even then, keeping it simple is far more effective than turning your backyard into a science lab experiment. You see, these water features are literally small renderings of natural lakes and streams that Mother Nature herself creates. There is only so much we can do to manipulate the biological organisms at play. A far more effective approach is to set up biological filtration system where Mother Nature can grow a true biological system, just like in nature. The moment we start messing with it and dumping every treatment in the water we can find, we start messing with it and upsetting it’s balance. Your pond is a natural, breathing, living organism. Which means it’s not going to change overnight.

To recap, remember, set up your pond to support Mother Nature, not manipulate her. This means keep it simple. No need to test your water like a scientist. Mother Nature is far more effective and capable when we leave her alone.

Below is an example of how we build ecosystem ponds to support the organisms of Mother Nature in our backyard ponds.

How deep does a koi pond need to be Denville NJ
ponds by Atlantis Water Gardens
will predators eat all my fish in my pond

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