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How to Build a Pond

A pond is a great focal point for the yard. It brings nature to life, combining the sweet sounds of flowing water with the excitement of swimming fish. Ponds are incredibly peaceful. You can put a chair or bench by the edge, and feel the stress melt away while you read a good book. It’s exciting to build a relationship with your fish. You might even get adventurous and try to train them! Building a pond can seem daunting at first, but smartpond has designed products that make it an easy DIY project for any skill level. The hardest part is digging the hole, the rest is fun! You can get everything you need in one trip to Lowe’s! The process should be stress free from start to finish. It can cost thousands of dollars to have a “professional pond” installed and maintained, but smartpond makes it a budget friendly DIY with easy upkeep. Step 1: Plan Location It’s important to think about where you want your new pond to be. Consider the seasons, and how each spot in the yard is affected. Ideally you want an area that gets sunlight during the morning and shade in the afternoon. Be wary of trees that shed their leaves during the winter, it can create quite a battle in the fall! Research some pictures of different shapes and designs and try to imagine them in your yard. There are so many different options to go with! Some yards look nice with a classic oval shape, while others demand a chic rectangular oasis. The slope of the ground is also a big consideration. If your pond is built at the bottom of an incline, a heavy rain or melted snow will send runoff into the pond, and disrupt the water clarity. Size & Depth The size and depth of the pond are up to you. Winterization is an important consideration if you want to have fish. Depending on the severity of your winters, the pond must be deep enough not to freeze all of the way through for the fish to survive, unless you plan on keeping them indoors during the colder months. Fish can typically survive in the bottom waters of the pond as long as a section of the surface ice is kept open to allow the water to oxygenate. Eighteen inches is usually enough depth, but if your winters are extreme, 30 or more inches may be a better option. If you want to have koi, you need a larger space. The average koi grows 12 to 15 inches, but special variations of Japanese koi can grow up to 36 inches long! A good rule of thumb is a gallon of water for every inch of fish for the smaller varieties like goldfish and guppies. Research the type of fish and do the calculations based on the large end of how big they can grow to. Consider where you want to put the pump, skimmer, aerator, waterfall, fountains, etc.. This will determine the different area depths. You want the pond to look as organic as possible, hiding the cords, and pumps with plants and stones as needed. It adds to the mystique and allure to the pond. Think about plants; you may want to dig a shelf to put plants on around the surface of the water. Don’t forget to note power accessibility! Accessories: Most ponds require some sort of filter to help keep the water clear. Mechanical filters remove smaller debris, like dirt and waste from the water. Biological filters help remove contaminants that encourage the growth of harmful organisms. Some filters use UV technology to further eliminate harmful organisms and clean the water. Waterfalls and fountains are decorative, but also keep the water circulating. This helps with water clarity and reduced mosquito larvae, and also adds oxygen for fish. If you would like to install a waterfall, a simple option is the smartpond Waterfall Spillway with Filtration. It is easily disguisable and gives 16 inches of beautiful flow. It also has a built in filter, as well as bio-ball elements to help boost beneficial bacteria. You simply place the waterfall at the edge of the pond, hide using plants and rocks, and use tubing to connect it to the pump and voila! A pond skimmer helps remove debris such as leaves and sticks from the water, maintaining clarity. Water flows into the skimmer and the debris is trapped in the box, which is easy to remove and clean. The skimmer is easy to build into the pond and hide. It’s a great option for those who can’t scoop out debris every day or so. An aerator pumps oxygen directly into the bottom of the pond. As the oxygen bubbles rise, the water is circulated, and harmful gases are released at the surface. An aerator helps with low oxygen levels in the warm summer time, and will keep a section of the pond open during the winter so gases can escape. Step 2: Gather your supplies •Digging tools •Pump (click here for a pump picking guide) •Liner •Aerator •Skimmer •Tubing •Decor (waterfall, spitter, fountain, etc). •Rocks or stones (to create an edge around the pond and hold down the liner) •Plants Step 3: Start digging Digging the spot where the pond will be is the hardest part of the whole project. Dig a bigger space than what you want the finished pond to be. Once you start adding the liner and rocks, it shrinks down. Having too small of a pond can restrict the amount of fish and accessories you can use. You want the surfaces to be as smooth as possible; it will make cleaning easier. You do not want any spots for algae and bacteria to hide! Once the area is dug, you can lay out the liner, making it lay as flat as possible with a few folds to allow for the liner to expand as water is added. Make sure to choose a durable liner, as it will insure the area will hold water. You don’t want any rips, tears, or wear over time. Use your heaviest stones to hold the liner down, and create a barrier around the pond. Step 4: Add your pumps Add your pumps and connect them to the filter, waterfall, fountain, or spitter it will be powering. You do not want to turn it on until the pond is full of water, or you will damage the motor. Use more rocks to disguise the cords to make it look as natural as possible. Once you like the initial look, you can begin to fill with water and start decorating with plants and any other accessories you like. Step 4: Fish Prep Before you add fish, you need to treat the water. Tap water contains contaminants like chlorine which can be harmful to your new fish. A chlorine remover with a conditioner will help ease the transition and protect the fish. When rehoming new fish, let them stay in their bag and place the bag floating on the surface of the pond. This will help the water temperatures regulate. Do this until the temperatures are the same, so the fish do not go into shock. A pond can transform a yard or garden. There’s a pond for every yard, with endless design options fitting nearly any space. Ponds can be as big or small as you need them to be. You can even set up an indoor pond if you don’t have enough space in your yard. A simple hole in the ground is turned into a nature oasis, filled with fish and flowering plants. You may even find wildlife like deer taking a sip in the early morning. A pond will help give you another reason to get outside and reconnect with nature.
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How to Pick the Right Pond Pump

Choosing the right pump is essential for water clarity and overall pond health. The pump is the life force of the pond. Stagnant water quickly attracts algae and mosquito larvae. Water in a pond must be circulating and ideally filtered. A pump can be used to power a filtration system, waterfall, fountain, or water feature. Waterfalls, fountains, and other features are decorative, but also play a vital role in the pond’s ecosystem. They keep the water flowing and oxygenated. There are many different pumps to choose from, ranging in function, features, and strength. Pump strength is measured in GPH, which stands for gallons per hour (1 gallon equals 3.8 liters). Deciding what strength and kind of pump you need depends on how much work the pump needs to do. The smartpond calculator is an easy way to get an estimate of essential information such as pond volume, pump size (in GPH), liner size, and ideal stock level (how many inches of fish your pond can safely handle). In order to use the calculator you’ll need to know the shape of the pond, as well as the length, width, maximum depth (how many feet at its deepest point), minimum depth (how many feet at its shallowest point), and how often the pump needs to turnover the pond water. The turnover rate is how many times per hour the pump needs to push all of the pond water through the filter or waterfall. We recommend using a turnover of 1 to 1-1/2 times per hour. For example, let’s say you want to build a rectangular pond. It will be 6 feet in length, and 3 feet in width. At its deepest, it will be 4 feet deep and at its shallowest, it will be 1 foot deep. You want the pond to turn over the water 1-1/2 times per hour. According to the pond calculator, your total pond volume is 335.7 gallons. The suggested pump size is 220 GPH, and the ideal stock level of fish is 44 inches. You could safely run your pond with the smartpond 210 GPH pump, as it is closest to the 220 GPH recommendation. If you want to power a waterfall or fountain, your calculations are going to be a little different. As a rule of thumb for waterfalls, you need 100-GPH for every inch of waterfall width for a nice even flow. If you would like a greater flow use 200-GPH per inch or 50-GPH for a trickling effect. Be sure to add more power based on the height of your waterfall from the water level of the pond. If you’re looking to power a fountain, you should focus on the “lift” or “pumping height.” Measure how far the water will have to travel from the water level to the fountain itself and then find a pump that lifts higher than that measurement. For example, if it’s 12 inches height difference from the water in your fountain basin to the top of your fountain, you want to get a pump that has a pumping height that’s more than 12 inches. All smartpond fountain pumps are listed with an ideal pumping height chart on the side of the packaging. smartpond offers a wide variety of pumps that can be used for small projects, waterfalls, fountains, or to power filters. All of the pumps are oil-free, energy efficient, have adjustable flow control, and have a quiet operation, which is important for tranquility and fish happiness. What else to consider? Built in UV clarifiers maintain water clarity by reducing microorganisms and harmful bacteria. A pre-filter or Pumpshield™ will help with debris. Motors can be damaged or clogged by the intake of debris, and it can lower efficiency and require additional maintenance. Pumps can burn out and be damaged if they do not have enough water running through them. That is why it may be helpful to look for a fountain pump that allows for low water pickup or low water shut off are a great option. Low water pickup allows pumps to work in lower water conditions without burning out. Some pumps detects when water levels are too low and shuts itself off. A pump with a connected LED as an aesthetic option will illuminate water features at night. Choosing the right pump is important for pond health and aesthetics. The wrong pump can be too weak and not push enough water through the filter or circulate frequently enough. A waterfall, fountain, or spitter looks quite sad without enough power behind them. A pump that's too powerful can cause unnecessary water agitation. A little bit of measurement and research will make the choice easier. If you have any questions or issues, you can call smartpond representative at 1-888-755-4497, Monday – Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM.
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Spring Cleaning

Finish your home cleaning now so you can enjoy your pond all season long. Spring has become synonymous with cleaning. The longer days of sunlight and warmer weather subconsciously remind us it’s time to break out the mops and brooms. During the winter we get a little stir crazy spending more time indoors, and during the short, darker days, the house gets filled with dust and dirt despite our best efforts. Spring cleaning has become a movement, a cleansing ritual to help get out of the winter funk and prepare for the the rest of the year. It is good for our health and state of mind. We open our windows, get rid of junk we never use, and finally clean all of the nooks and crannies we promised ourselves we’d get to eventually. Spring cleaning can seem a little daunting at first, where do you even being? All you need is some good music, the proper tools, a plan, and soon you’ll have your entire house tackled. You want to get your house in order as early as possible before you switch over to full-on gardening mode as you get further into spring. Plan: Cleaning can seem quite overwhelming if you try to tackle the whole house in one day. Try to go room to room and make a list of what you want to clean, and try to make a reasonable schedule. Cleaning can be relaxing and fun as long as you don’t stress yourself out by trying to tackle too much at one time. A good playlist or station is essential to the cleaning process. Upbeat music can help set a good pace and keep your spirits lift as you slowly begin to resemble Pig-pen from the Peanuts. Deep clean: A good spring clean is more than the weekly chore routine. This is the time to go crazy and get rid of all of the hidden dirt, dust, and grime in the house. If you can, open all of the windows! It will help freshen the air, which is much needed when dust and dirt are being stirred up. Deep cleaning will help with allergies, by getting rid of pet dander, dust, and dirt. Many cleaning solutions are filled with chemicals, which can be harmful if ingested. Making your life more “green” is a win-win. Typically it’s healthier for you and the environment. Many cleaning solutions are filled with chemicals, which can be harmful if ingested. Supermarkets usually have an “eco swap” for nearly any kind of cleaner you can need. If you’re really feeling it, you can make easy DIY cleaning solutions for a fraction of the cost, using simple ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. Here’s a short list of spaces that get overlooked: •Mattress: Take off all of the covers and vacuum. After vacuuming, sprinkle some baking soda, let it sit for a few hours, and then vacuum it up. Baking soda helps with bacteria and odors. •Couch: Remove all of the cushions (if you can) and vacuum away all of the crumbs. •Kid’s toys: use soap and water on plastic toys, and throw plush toys into the washer on a gentle setting. •Oven & microwave: Most ovens have self-cleaning button. •Refrigerator & pantry: Double check expiration dates and clean up any spills. •Sinks & faucets: An old toothbrush will work great to scrub away any grime •Dust magnets: Light fixtures, blinds, bookshelves, fans. You’ll be amazed by the amount of dust that sneaks in. •Under the furniture: Watch out for dust bunnies! •Air vents & air filters: Do the filters need replacing? Air filters can be a major source of allergies if used for too long. Organize Most people can add a little organization to their lives. Organization helps reduce anxiety and stress. Clutter can send your brain into overdrive, as there is too much for your brain to focus on. It’s harder to read a book in a loud environment isn’t it? You try to focus on the page, but get distracted by the conversations and noises around you. Organizing helps reduce the “noise” by giving your brain less unnecessary distractions, increasing focus and productivity. When you’re unorganized and drowning in clutter, everything starts going missing. You end up being late for an event because you couldn’t find your wallet or keys. There are so many DIY organizing hacks for every part of your house. Do a little research and you’ll be amazed by the tips you can find to help get your house in order. Try and get rid of anything you don’t use or want. Finally throw out any containers that don’t have lids. An old mismatched sock can be turned into a rag with a few snips of a scissor, or an cat or dog toy. Go through the old junk drawers and only keep what you really need. Go through your closet and only keep clothes you actually wear. Your old sweater could be someone’s new sweater if you donate it to a thrift store. If you have any name brand items you never wear, throw them up on Ebay or Tradesy and get some extra cash to buy something you really love and will wear more often. Spring cleaning is a great way to start the new season off on a good note and is great exercise. The satisfaction from getting rid of dirt, grime, and clutter will boost your mood. You’ll feel your worries and stress melt as you donate and get rid of things you didn’t know you had! There are so many ways to get creative with DIY projects to clean and organize, it can quickly become addictive. You can repurpose many everyday items into master organization tools. You’ll be surprised by what you find cleaning, maybe something you lost three months ago, or an oddly placed dust bunny. Once the weather warms up and the ground thaws, you can open your pond and enjoy it all season long now that your spring cleaning is finished!
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What to Expect When Reopening Your Pond

The last few months have been spent bundled in sweaters, staring at bare, leafless trees, and grounds covered in snow. Winter is beautiful and quiet, nature seems to go to sleep as animals hibernate and trees lose their leaves. It’s a great time to reflect on life and plan for the upcoming warmer months. Spring is known as the season of new beginnings as nature reawakens. Plants begin to bloom, animals come out of hibernation, and soon little baby squirrels, raccoons, and rabbits will be wandering about. Once the ice and snow thaws and the temperatures warm, you can reopen your pond finally! The first step is spring cleaning. Your pond has most likely been dormant for the past few months, so your oasis may need a little help to get back to its former glory. Cleaning is important for water clarity and overall pond health. Leaves and runoff fertilizer make their way into the pond as the snow melts, and cause a buildup of muck and excess nutrients. This can be damaging to fish health, and lead to an algae bloom as we advance into warmer months. Adding beneficial bacteria to the pond can give the water a good boost and will help battle the algae as it warms up. When the water temperature is consistently above 50 degrees, you can slowly start feeding the fish. Even if they’re giving you the “feed me” eyes, you want to start slowly because their metabolisms gradually take time to get back to normal. They also may seem sluggish, but they’ll become more active as the weather continues to warm. Once the pond is clean and the water has warmed to at least 50 degrees, you can reintroduce your pump and filter once they are both cleaned. If you haven’t already, take a bucket of water from the pond and scrub away any dirt from the pump or filter. Pond water is better than tap water as it won’t place chlorine or chloramines into the pond. Avoid using any chemicals on the pump or filter because they can be harmful to the fish. Keep an eye on the pump and filter when you run them for the first time this season to make sure everything is in order. You do not want to come home to any surprises. It’s better to run the pump and filter once you’ve cleaned the pond so you don’t stir up any muck and debris. Test the water to check the overall health of the pond. An imbalanced pH or high levels of ammonia level can cause stress and hurt the fish. They are fragile as they warm back up, needing time for their immune systems to reach full strength. Adding a water conditioner can help reduce stress. Since the weather can be a little drastic in the spring, with one day being cold and the other hot, adding an aerator will help keep the temperature more consistent, which will also lower stress levels. If you moved your fish inside for the winter, make sure they have time to adjust to the new water temperature. First, place a few fish at a time in the a bag with their current water in it, leaving a few inches of air at the top. Tie the bag and let it sit on the surface of the pond so they can acclimate. Check the temperatures after 10 minutes, and if the water in the bag is the same temperature as the pond water, they can be released. It can be stressful on fish to move back and forth. The process is less stressful when the conditions are as similar as possible. As the weather continues to warm, you can begin gardening again. Plants will need fertilizers, and spring is a great time to introduce new plants to the garden. Make sure any fertilizers added have enough separation from your pond to not runoff into your pond at the first spring shower. You will need to wait until the weather is in the 60s and 70s before replanting any tropical plants. Reopening your pond can be a relaxing and cathartic experience. You’ve been waiting a long time to put on the gardening clothes and get to work! Cleaning and making sure you pond is in tiptop shape can help make the seasonal transitions easier. Your fish will soon be swimming with full-energy and greeting you each morning again. Your yard will be vibrant and alive as plants bloom and trees regain their leaves. You will once again be able to retreat to your peaceful oasis, crack open a good book, soak up some vitamin D, and listen to the beautiful sounds of running water and relax.
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