Pond Builder Vetting Checklist for finding a pond contractor in northern NJ

Pond Builder Vetting Checklist for finding a pond contractor in northern NJ

Vetting Checklist – How to find the Best Pond Builders in Northern NJ – Reviews & Ratings | Morris County NJ

If you are seriously considering a backyard fish pond, you’ve probably discovered there are a lot of decisions to make!

At the top of this list stands one glaring question:

HOW DO I SELECT A REPUTABLE POND BUILDER?

This question is so important because the expertise and integrity of your pond builder will play a huge role in determining the final outcome of your project.
To assist you in this process, we at Atlantis Water Gardens have put together a checklist to help you do your homework on potential pond builders. This checklist is based on our experience of not only working with over 1,000 pond and water feature customers throughout New Jersey, but also from helping hundreds of folks who found us through the internet find reputable pond builders in their area.

So, regardless of where you live or whether you are looking for a rubber liner, concrete or plastic tub pond this checklist will help you identify various criteria to look for when selecting your pond builder.

Let’s do this!

beautiful pondless waterfall

THE ULTIMATE POND BUILDER VETTING CHECKLIST

Contractor Name: ___________________________________

1. Business Information and Experience
– The company is licensed (if applicable in your state) and insured.
Note: ask if the name on the license is the same as the company name. If not, find out why.
– Find out how many years the company has been in business
– Years in business: _______
Note: 43% of contractors fail within the first three years after start-up


2. Customer References
Ask the following questions of the pond builder:
-How many ponds have you installed since in business? _________
-How many were installed last year? ________
-Of those installations, how many references can you provide? ________
Note: if the pond builder provides less than half of their customers as references we consider this to be a red flag. Our experience has been that the vast majority of people when asked are willing to go on a reference list. In our opinion, providing less than half of the customers as references equates to less than a 50% chance of being happy in the end.

Call at least 5 references


3. When Calling References Be Sure To Ask The Following:
-If you could do it over, would you use the pond builder again?
-What did you enjoy about the experience?
-What was least enjoyable?
-What pond/water feature, options, and accessories did you choose?
-What would you do differently?
-How did the pond builder handle challenges and problems when they arose?

Read the article below for more guidance regarding obtaining and calling references:
The Single Best Way To Choose a Pond Contractor Without Getting Hosed

4. Reviews and Ratings
-Collectively, the pond builder has at least a 5:1 good review to bad review ratio
-They responded reasonably to negative reviews when possible

5. Products Used By Pond Builder
-The products the pond builder uses have good reviews in the marketplace
-The customer references you called gave the products used by the builder positive ratings
-The products are backed by competitive warranties

6. Workmanship Warranty
Note: a workmanship warranty would cover issues that could arise such as pond movement, plumbing leaks, structural problems, etc. The minimum workmanship warranty by law in most states is one year.

-What is the duration of the pond builder’s workmanship warranty?_______________________________
-What specifically does the pond builder’s workmanship warranty cover?__________________________
-What happens in the event that a repair is needed? (who pays to replace water, repair yard, etc)?_____________________________________________


7. Installation Practices
-Does the pond builder have any installation or construction practices that distinguish them from the competition?_________________________________________________
-Are these practices relevant and in accordance with manufacturer’s specs? ____________________________________

8. Design and Project Planning
The Pond Builder will convey a plan to you before the project begins showing the following:
-exact pond location outlined in spray paint in your yard
-location of pump and filter system
-the elevation (or height) of the pond in relation to your existing yard
-access lane for construction
-retaining walls if applicable
-yard drainage if applicable

For a more detailed explanation check out:
Backyard Fish Pond Planning Meetings: The Key To A Successful Project

8. Pricing & Contract
-Whenever possible, the price for all work is included in the contract or at the very least as a formal quote.
-Estimated completion date is listed on the contract
-All “throw-ins” are listed on the contract


9. Things That Are NOT All That Important
-The size of the company: great pond builders come in all sizes 🙂
-In-house construction vs sub-contracted work: at the end of the day, great pond builders get it done either way and make sure you are happy in the end.
-Website and Marketing: Shiny brochures and updated Facebook posts are nice, but not necessarily an indication of integrity or expertise.


We hope you will find this helpful on your quest to finding the perfect pond builder. If you have any questions or comments feel free, as always, to leave them below.

If you live in Northern New Jersey and would like to RECEIVE A QUOTE for one of our backyard fish ponds, disappearing waterfalls or fountainscapes, click here.


To learn more about the cost of a professionally installed water feature:
How Much Do Backyard Fish Ponds Cost?

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Who are the best pond builders in northern New Jersey

Pond Builder Vetting Checklist for finding a pond contractor in northern NJ

Vetting Checklist – How to find the Best Pond Builders in Northern NJ – Reviews & Ratings | Morris County NJ

Each year, we at Atlantis Water Gardens, meet with well over 100 households in the Northern New Jersey (NJ) / Morris County area with respect to their backyard fish pond or water feature installation. And because so many folks know our thoughts and feelings (from this website) on all things “pond construction,” they often ask us who are some of the other builders and competitors we have in the area.

We’re never ones to shy away from being blatantly honest with respect to competition, and we want our customers to be as informed as possible. Here is a list of some of the companies that have a pond building history in the Northern New Jersey (NJ) / Morris County area.


1. A Frog’s Dream
A Frog’s Dream Aquatic Services is located in the Long Valley area, and is a full service Pond contractor & Pond Maintenance landscape company specializing in naturalistic water features. A Frog’s Dream was founded to fill a need for a full service water feature company that truly cares about the details of every project and service.

2. Auburn Sky Landscaping
Located in Augusta, Auburn Sky Landscaping, LLC. is a complete property maintenance company that has been creating beautiful, affordable, and easy to maintain landscapes across Sussex County and Northern New Jersey since 2000. They also build ecosystem water features and fountainscapes.

3. Full Service Aquatics
FSA designs, installs, maintains, and consults on koi ponds, water gardens, natural ponds, waterfalls, and all types of water features. FSA is recognized in the pond industry as a leading designer of unique water features that will compliment and add value to your real estate and your lifestyle.

4. Premium Aquascapes
Premium Aquascapes, located in Bergenfield NJ, provides Pond & Water Feature Installation, Maintenance & Repair services to Northern New Jersey and surrounding areas.
They specialize in the Design and Construction & maintenance of Eco System Ponds, Pondless Waterfalls and Streams, Fountain Scapes and RainXchange Systems.

5. Mountain Landscape Contractors
Since 1989 Mountain Landscape Contractors, Inc. has been servicing northern New Jersey with all encompassing commercial and residential landscape services. Mountain Landscape Contractors, Inc. offers a full complement of landscape services, including water features, providing everything you need to improve and maintain your property with one professional relationship.

So, there are 5 companies to consider if you’re getting quotes for your Northern New Jersey (NJ) / Morris County backyard fish pond installation project.

You may like to take a look at some of these great resources:

How to find a fish pond leak
Our Pond Packages
Our Water Feature Learning Center
Our Water Feature Youtube Channel

Also, here are some resources to help you select a reputable contractor:
The Ultimate Pond Builder Vetting Checklist
The Single Best Way To Prevent Getting Hosed By A Pond Contractor

CHECK OUT PRICING

Finally, we thought you’d like to know about our Water Feature Experience Park located at 3017 Route 10 – Morris Plains, NJ… A place where you can actually see several finished ponds and water features, experiencing it for yourself instead of basing this huge decision on a piece of paper or computer screen.

It’s only a little over a 15 minute drive from the Morristown area and most everyone finds it worth the trip

Or check out our Project Planner below to find pricing from the comfort of your couch.

Take The Plunge!

Schedule a phone call and get to pick the brain of one of our experienced designers about your project Schedule My Call Now

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How to do a spring pond cleaning and opening

Pond Builder Vetting Checklist for finding a pond contractor in northern NJ

Vetting Checklist – How to find the Best Pond Builders in Northern NJ – Reviews & Ratings | 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

If you’d had enough, and don’t even feel like reading or searching for more info, just give us a call. We’ll help you out.

Thinking there’s no way I’m using my weekend to follow these instructions?

No prob, get in touch with us.

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How to properly winterize your koi pond and waterfall

Pond Builder Vetting Checklist for finding a pond contractor in northern NJ

Vetting Checklist – How to find the Best Pond Builders in Northern NJ – Reviews & Ratings | 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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How to find a pond or waterfall leak, Denville NJ

Pond Builder Vetting Checklist for finding a pond contractor in northern NJ

Vetting Checklist – How to find the Best Pond Builders in Northern NJ – Reviews & Ratings | Morris County NJ

LEAK!
The four letter word that a pond owner fears.

Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, most backyard ponds can lose 1 to 2 inches of water a week to evaporation. This will depend on the amount of sun exposure and the volume of water flowing over your waterfalls. If you have a lot of both you may have a larger than normal amount of water loss due to evaporation.

finding a pond leak
low edge on a pond leak

Now, that doesn’t mean that if you fill your pond up to the normal level one day and then you see that the level has dropped 5”-6” the next day that you are dealing with normal evaporation. At that point you can rule out evaporation and assume that you are dealing with a leaking pond.


LOW EDGES:
The first thing you want to do is look for any low edges in your pond/waterfall liner. The most common cause of a leak is a low edge in the waterfall due to settling of the soil underneath the liner. Another area where you can find a low edge could be along the perimeter of your pond. Start by going over the edges of your whole pond including your waterfalls and stream. There could be areas where the dirt has settled and the liner has dropped below the water level.

An easy way you could find these spots is by looking for wet mulch or muddy areas around your water feature. If you find a spot like this around your pond, all you need to do is raise the liner above the water level. Simply lift the liner up and pack some soil under the liner in the area to raise it up. Leak Fixed!

OBSTRUCTIONS IN THE STREAM AND SKIMMER
Another thing you should check for in the stream and near the pond skimmer is an excess buildup of debris, algae growth or rocks that have shifted and are blocking water flow. These obstructions can divert the water flow over the liners edge, and also raise the water level in areas where the liner is too low. Simply moving the obstruction should alleviate the problem. Algae and Debris can be controlled by maintaining your water feature and trimming back any excess growth.

TRIED THESE STEPS, BUT MY POND IS STILL LEAKING!!
So, you have spent at least 20 minutes or so looking for the easier, tell-tale signs of a leak to no avail. Now it’s time for you to start digging a little deeper…

THE 24 HOUR LEAK TEST
Before you start digging up your pond and searching aimlessly for the source of the water loss, you’ll want to determine if the leak is in the waterfall or in the pond by following these steps to eliminate the pond from the equation:
-Make sure the pond is filled to the normal operating level.
-Unplug the waterfall pump(s)
-If you have fish, you’ll want to install a bubbler pump or sub-surface aeration during this test.
-Take note of the pond level and let the pond sit with the waterfall turned off for 24 hours
-If the water level remains the same after 24 hours, then you can assume the pond is in good shape and not leaking.

THE WATER LEVEL IN THE POND IS DROPPING
If the water level in the pond continues to drop, allow it to continue until its stops. You may need to remove your fish from the pond at this point and house them in temporary holding tank(s) with aeration). The level where the water stops dropping is where you are going to start looking for your leak.

THE WATER LEVEL IN THE POND IS HOLDING STEADY
If you have determined that the pond is not the source of your leak, the next thing you will want to do is go ahead and check the plumbing, connections and your waterfall/stream. At this point you may want to consider calling a Pond Professional, but if you feel comfortable with proceeding on your own with you fish pond leak, check out our videos and blogs on Advanced Pond Leak Detection or Advanced Waterfall Leak Detection

We know it is not fun when your pond is losing water, but if you take the time to follow these simple pond leak repair steps, you could possibly find the problem yourself. If you live in the Northern New Jersey area and need the assistance of a Master Certified Aquascape Contractor, be sure to contact us at Atlantis Water Gardens via our website contact page or give us a call at (973)-627-0515 and we will be happy to see if we can help!


If you’d had enough, and don’t even feel like reading or searching for more info, just give us a call. We’ll help you out.

Take The Plunge!

Schedule a phone call and get to pick the brain of one of our experienced designers about your project Schedule My Call Now

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

Learning make you tired?

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Should I add bacteria to my pond?

Pond Builder Vetting Checklist for finding a pond contractor in northern NJ

Vetting Checklist – How to find the Best Pond Builders in Northern NJ – Reviews & Ratings | 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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Learning make you tired?

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Can you be a koi hobbyist and a water gardener at the same time?

Pond Builder Vetting Checklist for finding a pond contractor in northern NJ

Vetting Checklist – How to find the Best Pond Builders in Northern NJ – Reviews & Ratings | Morris County NJ

Of course! Yes! Absolutely! Don’t believe anyone telling you otherwise.

You can raise koi and have a beautiful water garden.

There are koi hobbyists who have perfectly balanced pond ecosystems with no chemicals, no sterilization, and a nice assortment of plants. The koi can grow up to be just as beautiful and just as healthy as they are in traditional koi ponds – and you’ll love them just as much!

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
will predators eat all my fish in my pond
Are koi ponds a liability or safety issue

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What filter system should I use for my koi pond

Pond Builder Vetting Checklist for finding a pond contractor in northern NJ

Vetting Checklist – How to find the Best Pond Builders in Northern NJ – Reviews & Ratings | 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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Should I put a bottom drain in my koi pond?

Pond Builder Vetting Checklist for finding a pond contractor in northern NJ

Vetting Checklist – How to find the Best Pond Builders in Northern NJ – Reviews & Ratings | Morris County NJ

Should you put a bottom drain in your koi pond? If you’ve asked this question online anywhere, you’ll see endless debates on the matter. Some of the forums get pretty emotionally charged on this subject even.

The claim by many koi keepers is that the water will lack sufficient oxygen at the lower levels, and this insufficiency can be detrimental to your koi.

The real fact is that if you avoid making your pond any deeper than two feet, there is very little difference in the oxygen levels at the surface and at the bottom of the pond.

The problem we see with bottom drains is that they have a tendency to promote leaks, possibly leaving your fish land-locked. Now that’s a problem to avoid at all costs. We do not recommend them.

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

Pond Builder Vetting Checklist for finding a pond contractor in northern NJ

Vetting Checklist – How to find the Best Pond Builders in Northern NJ – Reviews & Ratings | 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

If you’d had enough, and don’t even feel like reading or searching for more info, just give us a call. We’ll help you out.

Take The Plunge!

Schedule a phone call and get to pick the brain of one of our experienced designers about your project Schedule My Call Now

Learning make you tired?

Don’t worry. Here’s some pretty photos you can look at to destress.