Feb 222014

Pond Liner Defects – Count the Cost by Doug Hoover
So you are considering building your own koi pond, or having one built? Do not add your name to the growing list of disgusted leaky pond owners.

120_12927_gXvPzPlease research all aspects of water gardening before proceeding. I am not suggesting you google pond liners, or koi ponds, or how to build a koi pond. Because what you will discover is hundreds of pond liner websites promoting pond liners. Besides promoting pond liners, they sell and install them, in addition to inferior filters and energy-sucking sump pumps. What is that all about?

First of all, the reason you find thousands of pond liner advocates on the web and only a handful of professional concrete and rebar pond builds is just one simple reason: Greed. You are thinking, “Good grief, this dude is radical!” You want radical? How about this: I will give you $5 for every website that promotes and sells liners and does mention all the negative aspects of liners, compared to concrete and rebar pond construction. You, however, must pay me only $1 for all those pond liner websites who are dishonest and do not mention that the factory warranty only covers factory defects, not damage from tree roots, gophers, ground squirrels, chipmunks, rats, mice and kids with sharp objects, not to mention liner installers who do not know what they are doing.2549693

In addition, do those websites that sell inferior, intermittent (rather than continuous use), energy-sucking sump pumps with one-year warranties tell you that you will need to pull the pump out at least once a week to clean it? An executive at Aquascape, Inc., once admitted, “…how would a customer react if he knew the truth, that they would have to pull their pump twice a week to clean it?” [Quoted from Water Garden News.] They even sell you expensive water leveler devices because they haven’t tried the new aquafills on the market.

I recently had someone argue with me about the difference in cost between a liner pond and waterfall, and a professional concrete one. A customer was given two bids: one for a liner pond for $12,000 and another for a professional concrete pond for $18,500. How can you justify a difference of $6,500? he asked me. Here’s how:

1. The project consisted of a 6 ft. waterfall cascading over a retaining wall. The liner proposal involved spilling over the top wall, which would require raising the liner on both sides to hold water. The professional approach was to notch the wall down by 3�”, tying the rebar for the waterfall into that of the wall. The waterfall would be coming through the wall rather than over the top, which is much more natural looking. The professional concrete and rebar construction carries a 30-year warranty and the liner guy only offered one year.

2. What if, after all those boulders are set in place with a bobcat, and the back and side yards are completed (meaning no more access for a bobcat), the liner springs a leak from the pressure of heavy boulders, tree roots, rodents, rats, mice, gophers, ground squirrels or chipmunks? Let’s say the hole is in an area where a boulder needs to be removed in order to patch it, how do you move it? And where is the leak? And is there more than one leak? See my point?

3. What will it cost, even if it could be done, to remove all the rock and boulders, patch the leaks, and rebuild the waterfall and pond? Less than $12,000? What if the client does not trust the patching idea and decides to rip everything out and do it right with concrete and steel? How will he get the bobcat in? See the point now?

The liner guy gets in and out in one or two days. The professional concrete pond and waterfall takes a week or two. Does the phrase, “You get what you pay for” ring a bell?

Douglas C. Hoover, CEO of Aquamedia Corp, Master Waterfall Builder, architect, engineer, freelance writer, author, designer & builder of over 2,000 waterfall and ponds in CA (30 years). Author of “Waterfall and Pond Construction Manual,” was $49.00 in bookstores, and for a limited time only $14.95 available as a downloadable e-book. Also “The Ultimate Training Course” has been reduced from $149 to only $39.95. http://www.watergardenauthority.com. Invented the AquaFill electronic water level control system for ponds, pools, fountains & spas. http://www.aquafill.com.
Article Source: U Publish Articles



Nov 082013

(BPT) – Parents and children enjoy spending quality time together, but it’s not always easy to find shared interests. The backyard, however, can provide the perfect place for generations to meet when parents help kids learn the delights of bird-watching and bird-feeding.

Interacting with backyard birds benefits children on many levels, including teaching them the responsibility bird cof caring for other living things to nurturing their appreciation of nature. Fall and winter are the perfect times to introduce kids to backyard bird care; as food sources dwindle in their natural habitat, birds will frequent a backyard where feeders serve up seed and suet daily.

The wild bird experts at Cole’s Wild Bird Products offer some guidance for families launching bird feeding lessons:

Feeder facts:

Different bird species like different types of feeders, but some styles, such as tube feeders, will attract a large variety of birds. Basic bird feeder styles include:

* Tube – Best for serving seed, tube feeders keep the contents clean and dry, providing birds with access to the food through feeding ports. They’re great all-purpose feeders and will attract the most variety of songbirds. It’s important to clean bird wtube feeders regularly, so choose a model that’s easy to clean. Cole’s high-quality tubular feeders are made with state-of-the-art materials to prevent warping, discoloration, and they feature Quick Clean removable bases that make cleaning fast and simple. Feeder bottoms pop off with the push of a button.

* Bowl feeders – If separating seeds into different feeders gets too complicated, bowl feeders can be an all-in, easy solution. Options like Cole’s Bountiful Bowl Feeder can accommodate a variety of feed types, from seed and suet to mealworms, fruits and nuts. Bowl feeders are especially good starter feeders for children since they are easy to fill and clean.

* Suet feeders – During cold winter months, suet is an essential source of energy for birds. Suet feeders can range from a simple mesh onion bag to a wire or plastic mesh box that affixes to a tree, or post. Woodpeckers, warblers, nuthatches, titmice, jays and chickadees love suet.

Whatever styles of feeder you choose – and a mix is ideal – be sure to select feeders that are sturdy enough to withstand winter weather and unwanted visitors, like squirrels. They should be tight enough to keep seeds dry, and easy to disassemble for cleaning. Most importantly, keep them maintained and stocked – if you neglect to feed them, birds will go elsewhere.

Food fun:

In order to attract birds, it’s important to serve high-quality food. Seed blends with too much cheap seed, known as fill, won’t satisfy birds, and you’ll end up with a mound of discarded fill under feeders and few feathered friends in your backyard. Here are some basic foods birds look for in winter:

* Suet – Long gone are the days when serving suet was a messy proposition. Kids can serve suet without messing up their little hands when you choose convenient suet cakes, kibbles, nuts and pearls. Many of these suet options are mixed with other treats birds love, such as nuts, grains and berries. You can even find options with habanero pepper infused in the fat to dissuade squirrels from dining on the suet. Nutberry Suet Blend, by Cole’s, mixes human-grade cherries, apples and blueberry-flavored cranberries, preferred nuts, nutritious insect suet kibbles and whole kernel sunflower meats into an energy-packed, powerhouse feed.

* Seed – Many songbirds favor seeds, and in winter it can be difficult for birds to find seeds in nature. From black oil sunflower seeds and Niger to seed mixes, it’s important to serve a variety of high-quality seeds. Choose mixes with large proportions of sunflower seeds and avoid ones with fillers like wheat, milo and corn; birds will pick out the appealing seeds and kick out the filler. You can learn more about seed mixes at www.coleswildbird.com.

* Dried mealworms – Although the name might imply an “ick factor” that appeals to kids, serving dried mealworms is easy and mess-free. High in protein, mealworms are favored by bluebirds, flickers, woodpeckers, siskins and nuthatches. Plus you don’t have to feed them or keep them in the fridge like with live mealworms!

Introducing kids to backyard bird-feeding is an enjoyable – and easy – way to connect families with nature – and to each other. All you’ll need is a feeder, bird feed and some time. The birds will come, kids will surely enjoy the experience, and you’ll all have some good family fun.


Oct 272013

Pond Liners: the Hole Story

Author: Doug Hoover

Sometimes I get calls from people who have purchased a new home with an old pond that has a big problem. The number one complaint is that it will not hold water; second is that the water is green; third is that the rock work is ugly – an eyesore!

At that point I ask if their waterfall and pond are constructed with a pond liner, and they are surprised that I knew that. However, eighty percent of all these types of calls pertain to a liner pond and waterfall. We have replaced over $80,000 worth of defective liner ponds. One customer in Rancho Bernardo, California, had spent $14,000 to have a koi pond and waterfall built by a large and well respected local pond liner supply company. They complained of needing to add water daily since the liner pond was constructed 9402237over a year ago.

The pond liner installer’s response was that the loss of water was from evaporation. The liner pond was fitted with a manual auto fill system and they discovered the solenoid was turning on every 15 minutes to replenish the loss. In addition to the annoying water loss, they could not enjoy their fish for half the year because of murky green foul-smelling water. They reported the pond liner company came out dozens of times dumping various concoctions in the pond with a promise of startling results. The results were startling all right – our client sued the pond liner store and contracted with us.

The first thing I discovered was that the volume of the liner pond was 8,000 gallons and the waterfall pump was only 1,000 gallons per hour. It was taking eight hours to run the total pond volume through the filter. Secondly, the filter was rated for a 2,000 gallon pond, not 8,000. (Filters are usually overrated by their manufacturers as it is.) Third, the ultraviolet light was also rated for a 2,000 gallon pond, making it only one-quarter effective (according to its ratings) at controlling suspended algae growth. Fourth, because the pump was only 1,000 gallons per hour, it was not strong enough to properly backwash the filter, which requires four times the flow to be back-flushed properly.

Consequently, the filter was overloaded with rotting waste material that was contributing to additional pollution of the liner pond. The fifth defect in design was caused by the pond’s large surface area, which was surrounded by several deciduous trees that were dropping their leaves into the liner pond. Needless to say, there was no skimmer installed. So all this debris ended up rotting on the bottom of the pond, contributing to the nitrate and ammonia overload.

The sixth discovery was that the suction drain on the bottom was at the same end of the liner pond as the waterfall. Consequently, the water was only circulating between the water returning to the pond and the water leaving it (from waterfall to drain). Half the liner pond was not circulating properly and was stagnating because the nitrifying bacteria were not receiving adequate oxygen to do their job of breaking down the nitrites.


We were asked to assess the condition of the liner pond and determine the cost to correct the problems found. We turned off the waterfall in the liner to test the evaporation theory and discovered (with the falls turned off) that the pond was losing 25 to 30 gallons per day, or 750 gallons per month! Installing a larger pump filter and UV was not going to solve all their problems.

I suggested that since a reputable pond builder and store owner was involved, he should get a second opinion. He was confident that, with our reputation of 22 years and 1,800 ponds under our belt (at that time), we knew what we were doing.

After finding a temporary home for the fish, we drained the liner pond and quickly made two discoveries. As the water was being pumped out of the pond, there was a small waterfall developing from the water that poured back through a hole in the liner created from a tree root. Also, water was leaking back through a loose seal around the bottom drain as fast as we could pump it out. (This continued for some time, revealing there were hundreds of gallons of water being stored in the sandy soil surrounding the perimeter of the liner pond due to the ongoing leaks.)

We offered to repair the faulty drain and patch the punctured liner and refill it, but the owner insisted we do it right, using rebar plus 3500 PSI concrete and skimmer. Unfortunately, not one single item in the entire system could be reused in

the new construction. Even the PVC piping had to be scrapped since it was undersized for the pump.

In the final analysis, because this project was not thought out or designed properly, the initial $14,000 spent was entirely wasted. Replacing everything and installing it correctly cost the customer $17,000. The new pond was constructed of 3/8″ and ½” rebar, 10″ on center with 4 ½” of 3500 PSI concrete and fiber mix added. The ugly fiberglass waterfall was removed and replaced with a natural looking waterfall constructed of concrete real granite rock.

A skimmer was installed on the opposite side of the pond from the waterfall. The bottom suction drains (two anti-vortex drains in series to prevent turtles or fish from getting sucked against the drain) were placed on the opposite side of the pond from the waterfall to maximize circulation.

Next, a Venturi valve was installed to add additional oxygen and create a circular current in the pond. This delivers oxygenated water to all areas. A 6000-gallon biofilter was installed with two 180-watt ultraviolet lights. The high efficiency filter pump, which runs 24 hours a day, and is rated at 4,800 gallons per hour.

We installed a second pump of the same rating to allow for twice the flow volume off the waterfall on demand. It is also operated by a timer that comes on twice a day for one hour. This keeps sediment stirred up in the waterfalls and pond to aid the filter in removing it. The skimmer now removes 90 percent of all debris falling into the pond before it can become waterlogged and sink to the bottom.

The electronic water level control we installed in the previous pond at the owner’s request was the only item that was reused in the new system. It is designed to add water to the pond automatically as needed due to normal water loss through evaporation and wicking around bog planters into adjacent soil.

This story has been repeated dozens of times over the past few years. Fortunately, most of them were on a much smaller scale.

Most of our business is word of mouth, so I imagine there are many people who, not knowing whom to call, simply gave up and turned their water feature into a rock garden. Think twice before investing too much money into a liner pond. Ask the contractor specific questions about the precautions he takes against leaks caused by roots and critters. Also, get several bids on concrete and rebar constructed ponds, they usually only cost 20% more and can be expected to last for decades.

My last word of advice, be patient, take your time and thoroughly investigate the contractor and his claims.

An ounce of prevention…  Watch a HowTo video at YouTube.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/landscaping-articles/pond-liners-the-hole-story-94806.html

About the Author

Douglas C. Hoover, CEO of Aquamedia Corp, master Waterfall Builder, freelance writer and author designer, architect, inventor, engineer, writer, author and builder of over 2,000 waterfall and ponds in California or the past 30 years. Inventor and manufacturer of the “AquaFill” T.M., electronic float control system for ponds, pools, fountains and hot tubs.  Read more. Aquamedia also manufactures the Solar Oven Dehydrator Kit.

Aug 292013

Want a Koi Pond? Get a Clue
By Douglas Hoover

Liner ponds leak, concrete ponds leach. Fish get diseases if they are not eaten first. Algae are a constant problem. And what about mosquitoes and West or East Nile Virus?

Ponds are high maintenance, so do I get a pressurized bead bio-filter? Do I get an up-flow filter or down-flow filter? Or a side-flow? How about a waterfall? Bio-falls? Pondless falls? Liner fall? Concrete fall?

I had 3524434a pond once, and you could not see the fish for the algae. Someone said to use algaecide, and somebody else said to get a U.V. Someone said to get more plants, and someone else said I had too many fish for the size of my pond. No problem…a crane ate half of them and last month a raccoon ate the rest.

Someone said I need a scarecrow sprinkler or a pond net. I asked, What for? I don’t have any fish, only lots of mosquitoes. So someone else said, buy some mosquito fish, you can get them free from the Department of Fish and Game. I got the mosquito fish, and my sump pump that the liner guy installed in my liner pond ate all my mosquito fish.

My pump was plugged with mosquito larvae and dead mosquito fish. Someone said I could scrape them off the pump screen with a kitchen knife. That worked well, but I accidentally stabbed the liner. I Googled leaky liner and found someone who calls himself The Fall Guy. He said I should get rid of my sump pump and liner and install a concrete and rebar pond with bottom drains and a high-performance, low-energy centrifugal pump, a pressurized back-flushable filter, a U.V. light, and an electronic auto-fill system.

He said that, unlike liners that have no warranty against acts of nature, concrete and rebar ponds which are built and sealed properly will last for decades. Plus, with the proper design and equipment, they will be next to maintenance-free.

I said, okay!

It cost me 20 percent more to do all this than what the original liner pond cost me to be installed.

It’s been 5 � years, I have a wooden deck built around my pond 14 inches above the pond surface. The pond is 3 feet deep in the shallow end, and 5 feet in the deep end. Raccoons hang onto the deck, lean over, and swipe at the surface of the water. Cranes stand at the edge wishing the pond was shallower or that they could bend down that far so they can scarf up a scaly snack. Their eyes are pathetic. I almost find myself sprinting to the kitchen to find them a snack. NOT!

Once a week I turn the handle on my bio-filter and back-flush the brown, nitrogen-laden waste water into several 5-gallon buckets from an attached flexible pool filter hose. Then I water my trees and plants with it. Talk about miracle grow!

After 1 to 2 minutes of back flushing, I pull the wiper plunger on my U.V. a few times to clean off the internal quartz lens housing the U.V. bulb. The film (pond scum) is instantly removed from the lens, giving the U.V. bulb 6 months of extra life.

The U.V. light kills pathogens that cause illness to my fish and other bacteria that cause the pond to stink. It also kills what is known as planktonic algae that turn the pond green. Twice a year I throw in some rock salt to keep the salt level at a specific gravity of 1.0. The fish have a healthy skin coat, my plants are happy, and string algae are virtually nonexistent. My water is crystal clear, and an electronic aquafill maintains the level of the water automatically.

Look before you leap and research before you weep.

Happy koi, peace and joy.

The #1 Best Seller- Waterfall and Pond Construction Manual; Bookstore price $49.95 is now for a limited time available for only $14.95 in a PDF download. The Ultimate Training Course has also been reduced from $79.95 to only $39.95. Read more at http://www.aquafill.com

Douglas C. Hoover, CEO of Aquamedia Corp, master Waterfall Builder, freelance writer and author designer, architect, inventor, engineer, writer, author and builder of over 2,000 waterfall and ponds in California or the past 30 years. Inventor and manufacturer of the “AquaFill” T.M., electronic float control system for ponds, pools, fountains and hot tubs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Douglas_Hoover


Aug 012013

Author: Doug Hoover

The pond liner advocates have maligned concrete constructed ponds and waterfalls for years by making spurious claims that concrete will crack and not hold up over time or in cold freezing climates. Here are 120_12927_gXvPzthe facts about the differences between the rubber liners versus concrete and rebar construction.

My first case in point would have to be the most obvious illustration of the practical application of concrete in relation to rubber liners as a worthy, reliable construction material with structural sustainability. Let’s use dams for my example and illustration.

There are four main types of dams: arch, buttress, gravity, and embankment dams. The type of constructionfor each dam is determined by the structure’s proposed use and/or application, the characteristics of the proposed location, volume of water to be retained by the structure, local construction materials available and last but not least, the budget limitations.

Arch dams are constructed in a horizontal arch facing upstream2549693 to most effectively resist the retained water’s force. Arch dams are most commonly utilized in narrow canyons and are almost always constructed ofconcrete.

Buttress dams are characterized by a set of angled supports on the downstream side that help to support the structure against the water’s force. The buttress dams are more suited for wide canyons that lack the availability of bedrock. This type of steel framework structure and the associated labor involved makes then unfeasible economically in the current financial market.

Gravity dams withstand the force of water by virtue of its own weight. This type of dam is constructed of cement or masonry, normally utilizing solid rock for its foundation.  But can also be situated over unconsolidated material as long as water can be prevented from flowing under the structure.

Embankment dams use locally available material (rocks, gravel, sand, clay, etc.) in their construction. For this reason alone, embankment dams or levees are the most economical to build. Similar to the gravity dams, these also use their own weight to retain the water’s force. The major drawback is that the materials are permeable, allowing water to seep into and through the structure. An impervious membrane of clay or rubber liner (the same as used in pond liner construction) must be built into them to lessen or minimize the flow through the dam which can weaken the integrity of the structure. Since all the construction materials are purchased locally, the construction of these dams is extremely less expensive, making embankment dams very desirable and popular.

Are you starting to see the connection between dams and their construction material with that of koi ponds and waterfalls? If not, let me help you.

Pond liner advocates promote their product by maligning the use of concrete as an effective, ­­term construction material for pond construction as opposed to rubber liners with plastic accessories. Straight to the point, of the four types of dam construction, the Hoover Dam is an Arch dam, straddling the mighty Colorado River, which forms the border between the states of Nevada and Arizona. Considered to be the world’s largest dam and an engineering marvel at the time of its construction in the 1930′s, Hoover Dam brings much-needed water and power to the Southwest. Was it constructed using a rubber pond liner or concrete and steel?

Now let’s look at the cheapest form of dam design, Embankment dams or levees. Many are constructed using rubber liners and loose earthen materials. In many cases, these type dams are compromised by burrowing animals such as ground squirrels, gophers, chipmunks, groundhogs, rats, or mice. Once any number of these animals chews through the liner, the water follows the burrows, washing away the soil until eventually, without the necessary support, the force and pressure against the liner causes it to burst. This is the same scenario for pond liners, but in these cases it is very difficult to find the hole, depending on its location.

Another ploy to discredit the use of concrete versus pond liners is to claim concrete cracks in frigid climates either from frost heaving or the hydraulic pressure of expanding ice pushing against the pond’s walls. This can be true depending on the engineering and shape of the pond’s shell. If the sides of the pond are slanted outward slightly as the surface water freezes, the ice is allowed to rise up the sides with the pressure being exerted in the upward rather than sideways directions. Also, depending on the local climate and how thick the ice gets on bodies of water, the pond can be designed deep enough to prevent it from freezing solid.

In this case, as long as the water level is deeper than the thickness of the annual freeze, the temperature of the water prevents frost, which will cause the concrete to heave, move or crack off. Another assurance against this situation is placing a horse tank heater in shallower ponds to keep them from freezing solid. If you drain your concrete pond for the winter, you are removing the very source of protection against frost and its damaging forces. You are now enabling the earth to freeze under the concrete pond shell which in turn, will expand the soil due to the freezing moisture contained within it.

In conclusion, proper engineering and construction methods and material can make all the difference in the performance and longevity of a project related to concrete pond construction. I would say that “You get what you have paid for” applies to the type of materials used and the construction methods applied — and last but not least, the choice of pond equipment installed.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/landscaping-articles/concrete-ponds-and-freezing-climates-4649888.html

About the Author

Douglas C. Hoover, CEO of Aquamedia Corp, Master Waterfall Builder, architect, engineer, freelance writer, author, designer & builder of well over 2,000 waterfall and ponds in CA (30 years). Author of “Waterfall and Pond Construction Manual” and developer of the “Water Feature Digital Design Library 4.0″ Inventor and manufacturer of the AquaFill electronic water level control system for ponds, pools, fountains & spas. Free downloads, no sign in.  Aquamedia also manufactures the dehydrator kit.

Jul 172013

Author: Doug Hoover

1. Liners will eventually leak. Manufacturers have varying warranties, ranging from 15 to 30 years, with a 75-year life expectancy. In reality, it will definitely last as long as the guarantee claims as long as you leave it in the box, and store it in your garage.

Once you place it in the ground, nature’s forces begin a contest to see which will break its water-tight integrity first. Vying for the title of culprit are gophers, ground squirrels, chipmunks, rats, moles, roots from trees, plants and weeds, sharp rocks, heavy rocks, sharp objects, and moose (if you live in Alaska).

If a leak does develop, it is next to impossible to locate it without removing all the rocks covering the 9087541liner, draining the pond, spreading the liner out on the ground, and inspecting every square inch. A tiny pin hole can lose five gallons every 24 hours.

2. Bottom drains cannot be utilized with liners. Liner advocates discount the use of bottom drains primarily because they would rather not, since approximately one half the sources for leaks in liner ponds are from bottom drains. When the liner is cut to install the drain, sealants are used along with pressure rings to make a water-tight seal. The sealants dry out or break down and seal collars warp, resulting in time-consuming, costly repair.

3. You cannot use out-of-pond pumps. Since liner advocates don’t use bottom drains, they can’t use above-ground pumps, which leave no other choice but to use sump pumps. These pumps were originally designed to pump water from sump pits in basements and cellars. They are not designed to save energy; in fact, they are the greatest consumers of energy per horsepower of all pumps. The largest retailer/wholesaler of liners, pumps and accessories sells a sump pump which produces 4200 gallons per hour at 704 watts for $339.00. This pump needs to be pulled from the pond to clean debris from its intake screen. It is a potential shock hazard to fish and humans and is filled with oil, which has the potential of leaking out and covering the surface of the pond.

In contrast, an above-ground pump that supplies 600 gallons more per hour (4,800) for less than half the energy cost (348 watts) and costs over $100 less. Running this pump 24 hours per day will result in a savings of over $500 per year over the sump pump. In other words, the energy savings would pay for the above-ground pump and put an additional $270 cash in your pocket the first year alone.

If that isn’t enough incentive, a second reason to use the above-ground pump is that there is never a need to worry about it clogging since we install two 8″ anti-vortex drains on the bottom. The only maintenance required is to occasionally remove the lid from the leaf basket on the pump and dump the debris from the catch basket. Because this is a high-efficiency pump, it is extremely quiet, and standing right next to it you can barely hear it running.

With liner ponds the sump pump is located at the outside edge of the pond, not in the middle as in professional concrete and rebar constructions. We place two 8″ anti-vortex drains in the middle of the pond, 24″ apart. As fish waste and other suspended particles and algae spores settle to the bottom, they are drawn into the drains and taken out by the filter. An ultraviolet light is placed in series between the filter and pond return in order to kill pathogenic bacteria which can cause disease and turn the pond green.

In deeper ponds that use liners, all the waste material settles and collects on the bottom and rots, creating ammonia that is toxic to fish and other aquatic life. Because a sump pump is located near the outer edge of the pond and not in the middle on the bottom, maximum efficient circulation cannot be reached. This creates toxic cloudy areas in the pond’s bottom. Most liner ponds I’ve seen are only 24″ deep, and circulation is not an issue in these cases. However, koi fish are not recommended in these kinds of ponds; koi experts recommend a depth of at least 3 feet.

4. You cannot use a high pressure maintenance free biofilter with a liner pond. When using a sump pump, you have to use a gravity feed bio-falls, down-flow or upflow filter. All of these are inefficient and result in high maintenance costs. They need to be cleaned often by removing all the waste-laden filter media. To say the least, this is a filthy, stinky, messy job which neither my female clients nor most of my male clients expect to perform.

Aqua Ultraviolet’s high pressure filter contains state-of-the-art technology enabling it to simply be back washed with a turn of the handle. The discharge hose can direct the fish waste and particulate debris down the drain, or it can be used to water the garden or lawn. The high pressure filter is designed to handle five to ten times the volume of water that a gravity flow unit or bio-falls can handle.

In addition to all this, the patented bead design of this filter allows for maximum surface area in which nitrifying bacteria can live and break down nitrites. The “Liner Guy” wants you to use his messy, dirty, stinky inefficient filter because it is his filter, and it costs very little to manufacture compared to the professional bead filter. My opinions about filters come from many years of experience, and trying nearly every one that is on the market. I even jumped on the “filter bandwagon” for a couple of years and used my own design.

Why? Because of the unbelievable profit margin! When I discovered the Aqua Ultraviolet filter advertised in several pond magazines, I gave it a try. I’ve been using it for over ten years with no problems whatsoever. My clients clean the filter with the turn of a handle and stay clean themselves. A great side benefit to this filter is that you can have twice the number of fish in your pond than when using the inefficient gravity filters. By the way, this is not a paid endorsement of their product!

5. Safety is a concern when pond liners are used. After a hole is dug, a pond liner is placed in the hole and then it’s filled with water. Rocks are then placed around the perimeter of the pond to cover up the edge of the pond liner, and more rocks are piled up on a mound of dirt covered with another liner to create a waterfall. From my 26 years of experience, I’ve learned that many adults are just like kids when it comes to ponds and waterfalls.

They inevitably climb on the rocks of the waterfall and the pond’s edge. Since the rocks are all loose, they can move, tilt or shift on the pond liner, resulting in someone falling and getting hurt or, worse, drowning. With professional concrete and rebar construction, all the rocks are cemented in place, providing a secure foundation to walk or climb on.

6. Pond liners limit pond shape and configuration. Why are most liner ponds circular or oval in design? Because pond liners are dispensed on rolls and therefore available only in square or rectangular shapes. If an L-shaped pond was designed, you would need to bunch up an inordinate amount of pond liner into the inside corner. Not only is it wasting expensive square feet of pond liner material, it makes it difficult to stack rocks on top of the bunched up liner so as to cover it up.

Oh sure, “Liner Guy” you’re thinking, why doesn’t he mention that special shaped pond liners can be custom made? Okay, I’ll mention it! Custom pond liners can be made to order. And now I’ll mention that this customized pond liner is going to cost you as much as constructing a professional pond with rebar and concrete that will last a lifetime. There, I mentioned it!

7. Last but not least, Integrity. When I read articles written by “the Liner Guy’s” disciples, bragging about the ungodly profits derived from pond liner construction, I can’t help but wonder how they sleep at night. The profit derived from one day’s work — digging a hole, dropping in a pond liner, covering its surface and perimeter with loose rock, and plugging in an energy-sucking sump pump — equals what I made in four or five days of labor. One big difference: their warranty is one year, if you’re lucky; but one built with concrete and steel is for a lifetime!

I’m the person that the past customers of “the Liner Guy” called two or three years down the road, asking me to fix the leak in their stinky green liner pond. A client in Poway, California paid $6,500 for a liner pond with a necklace of rock around the perimeter and a 3 x 4 foot fiberglass waterfall at its edge. I actually had to suppress a laugh when I saw it out of respect for my client’s grief.

This pond had a bottom drain that leaked; however, the major loss of water stemmed from a tree root puncture. In addition, it was obvious that this “Liner Guy” disciple did not have his customer’s long term financial well being in mind after I discovered a cheap, 7- amp energy-sucking “Jacuzzi pump. We replaced it with a 3.6 amp high-efficiency pump that supplied nearly twice the flow.

Next, we pulled out the liner, reconfigured the pond’s oval shape to serpentine, and constructed the pond and waterfall shell using rebar (8″ on center) and 3500 psi concrete with stealth fiber added. We installed two 8″ bottom drains, added a professional skimmer, a Venturi air supply valve, a natural rock waterfall, a turtle island that supported a 25 foot bridge spanning the pond, an “Ultima II” high pressure, back-washable filter, ultraviolet light, lighting in the pond and waterfall. plus an electronic AquaFill pond water leveler. All this took us eight days from start to finish and cost only $2,000 more than the client originally paid.

In Conclusion: Is it any wonder why I despise the “get rich quick” scheme of pond liner construction? The “liner guy” hates hearing me refer to concrete and rebar ponds as “professional construction.” They insist their liner ponds are professional construction. And if so, why do they sell the very same kits to do-it-yourself homeowners as to the construction business people for hire?

I am proud to claim over 1,900 satisfied customers over 26 years. Ninety-five percent of my clientele comes from referrals by satisfied customers. I don’t have to wonder why that is so.
Is there a place for liner ponds? Yes, if you’re renting and expect to move in two or three years. Or if you’re setting up a temporary display. No, I’m not totally against liners. They’re great for truck beds and cheap swimming pools! Actually, I have made thousands of dollars over the years from pond liners – by replacing them with concrete and steel!

An ounce of prevention is worth a [pond] cure. Happy koi, peace and joy. 

Watch a HowTo video at YouTube.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/landscaping-articles/pond-liners-7-reasons-why-i-dont-use-them-94698.html

About the Author

Douglas C. Hoover, CEO of Aquamedia Group Co., Master Waterfall Builder, architect, engineer, freelance writer, author, designer & builder of over 2,000 waterfall and ponds in CA (30 years). Author of “Waterfall and Pond Construction Manual,” $49.00 in bookstores, and for a limited time only available for $14.95 as a downloadable e-book. The “Ultimate Training Course” has been reduced from $149 to only $39.95. . Inventor and manufacturer of the “AquaFill” T.M., electronic float control system for ponds, pools, fountains and hot tubs.  Read more: http://www.aquafill.com. Aquamedia also manufactures the Solar Oven Dehydrator Kit at  http://www.solarovendehydratorkit.com

Jul 082013

Author: Doug Hoover

The get-rich-quick factor in the pond liner industry has forced up the price of pond liner 120_12927_gXvPzkits to equal the cost of concrete construction. If you search for the truth about concrete ponds and waterfalls from reading the literature of the greed-driven liner pond industry, you will not find it. Why? Because if the truth be known, no one in their right mind would invest good, hard-earned money in a pond liner!

The pond liner track record speaks for itself:

More than 37% of all waterfalls have serious structural damage within 3 years of construction.

57% of homeowners say they are rather unsatisfied with the way their waterfall came out after the project was completed.

One in three waterfalls and ponds are leaking water within nine months of completion.

63% of “do-it-yourselfers” say they wished they had the proper information from the “get go” or that they had hired someone.

These statistics are from the pond liner industry itself (Bob Wilder, 48-Hour Waterfall). I can confirm and attest to these figures myself. I have built over 1,900 concrete and rebar waterfalls and ponds over the past 26 years. I have ripped out and replaced dozens of defective liner ponds and replaced them with concrete ones with lifetime warranties.

Pond liner guys will not attach more than a one-year warranty. They make no guarantee against rats, mice, ground squirrels, gophers, tree roots and sharp objects.2575085

Let’s compare apples to lemons … First, let’s talk about apples (concrete waterfalls). We will construct a pondless waterfall that is 20 inches wide at the top by 20 feet long, becoming 24 inches wide at the bottom, to create a spillway 3 feet tall. At the bottom is a catch basin 4 ft. x 6 ft. x 3 ft. deep. The costs of excavation are as follows:

To dig a waterfall and basin takes two men 4 hours @ $20 per hour = $160.

The flexible PVC pipe is 35 ft. @ $1.25 per ft. = $44.

Concrete (3500 psi with stealth fiber)): 2 ½ yards = $250.

20 pieces of 20 ft. x 3/8 inch rebar = $100.

One 1/3 HP high efficiency pump, 2800 GPH, 356 watts = $429.

One anti-vortex drain = $10.

Four 2 x 4 ft. heavy plastic corrugated or galvanized plans to cover the collection basin = $35.

Setting the rebar: 3 man-hrs. = $225.

Pumping and finishing 2 ½ yards of concrete: 4 man-hrs. @ $75/hr. = $300.

Applying thoro-seal, 1 sack + 1 hour = $43.

Rock work + 8 sacks mortar mix: labor – 8 man-hrs. @ $75/hr. = $600.

Mortar: $40.


With this type of construction, no filter is needed. The water in the basin is not exposed to sunlight, so there are no algae. Plus the top layer of rock and the planks are easily removed for cleaning out debris about once a year. If a plastic screen is placed over the planks before the rock layer, cleaning is reduced by 90%.

Now let’s talk about the lemons (the liner folks). The pondless waterfall liner kit advertised by all the disciples of the “liner messiah” on their websites is $1,940 + tax & shipping, or $2,176.

And now for the math: One concrete/rebar construction pondless waterfall completed with high-efficiency pump = $2,236. One pondless liner kit to build a pondless waterfall of the exact same dimensions = $2,176. If I did the math correctly, the completed concrete pondless waterfall costs $60 more than the pondless waterfall liner kit; however, it is still in the box!

Concrete and rebar pondless waterfall has a lifetime warranty. Liner pondless waterfall: 1 yr. warranty on labor, lifetime warranty against factory defect. But there is no warranty whatsoever against holes caused by rats, mice, ground squirrels, gophers, tree roots, sharp objects, etc. Sorry Charlie!

Concrete and rebar pondless waterfalls use a high-efficiency above-ground pump that is easy to service (it has a 3 yr. warranty). The 1/3 HP pump is small, very quiet, and easily hidden behind a couple of rocks or plants next to the falls, or piped to another part of the yard. The liner pondless waterfall uses a submersible sump pump that is placed in the bottom of the basin, and then buried with hundreds of pounds of rocks. To service this pump (only a 2 ½ yr. warranty), all the slimy, stinky rocks have to be removed from the basin first.

The concrete and rebar pondless waterfall pump produces 5,800 gallons per hour at only 356 watts (retail $429). The liner pondless waterfall kit comes with a sump pump (they advertise as “the best pump on the market”). It produces 5,700 gal/hour (100 gal. less) at a whopping 911 watts of power (over twice that of the above-ground pump). You will pay $525 more per year for electricity (at $.12/kwh) for that extra 555 watts. Their pump costs $600 retail ($171 more than the above-ground). Oh, did I mention “the best warranty in the industry” is only 2 ½ years, compared to 3 years for the above-ground?

The concrete and rebar pondless waterfall’s rocks are all mortared in place. So anyone, especially small children, can climb on the rocks without them moving, with possible serious injury resulting. With liner pondless waterfalls, rocks will move and shift on their own without help. After a few months, the ugly liner is exposed in the falls and around the pond.

While building the concrete pondless waterfall, design liberties can be taken, such as altering the length, width or shape of the feature. With a liner pondless waterfall, the parameters have already been set by the manufacturer of the kit.

The concrete pondless waterfall can utilize the large, open basin to install an Aquafill automatic water leveling device. In addition, the basin can be made smaller because the space for water is not taken up by rocks as it is in the liner pondless waterfall basin. The only rock that exists is on top of the galvanized or plastic plank cover.

Wow! Concrete waterfalls are stationary, permanent, lifetime life-expectancy, cheaper to build, cheaper to operate, easier to clean, easy to maintain, longer pump warranty, safer and more natural looking! Apples or lemons? You be the judge!

I am sick and tired of these amateurs giving my life-long profession a bad name by their exaggerated, dishonest and sensational claims – only to be backed up by a nebulous warranty and, at best, shoddy workmanship. My disclaimer: There are professionals installing liners that do take measures to prevent rodent or root attacks by placing a think layer of mortar under and over the liner. I found that if you are going to go to all that extra work and expense, just build it with 3500 psi concrete to begin with!

Watch a HowTo video at YouTube.

Happy koi, peace and joy.

Get free info and photos.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/landscaping-articles/pondless-waterfalls-concrete-vs-pond-liner-94772.html

About the Author

Douglas C. Hoover, CEO of Aquamedia Corp, master Waterfall Builder, freelance writer and author designer, architect, inventor, engineer, writer, author and builder of over 2,000 waterfall and ponds in California or the past 30 years. Inventor and manufacturer of the “AquaFill” T.M., electronic float control system for ponds, pools, fountains and hot tubs.  Read more. Aquamedia also manufactures the Solar Oven Dehydrator Kit.

Jul 012013

Author: Doug Hoover

Q What is the ideal depth for a koi pond?

A In my experience of 30 years, 4 to 5 120_12927_gXvPzfeet is ideal. You need a minimum of 3 feet for koi fish for several reasons. Safety for fish from wading cranes they can not wade in 3 feet of water. Plus the water temperature in shallow ponds fluctuates too much with the changes in ambient temperature. The greater the volume of water, the longer it takes for the temperature to change. Warm water or fluctuating temperatures are unhealthy for fish.

Q What is the ideal size for a pond?

A The ideal size would be determined by the size of your yard. Its size should be proportional to the size of the yard. Also, the larger the pond, the greater the maintenance.

Q What is your opinion on using a liner to construct a pond rather than using a hard molded or concrete one.

A My recommendation is and always has been to use concrete. However, if you are on a tight budget or do not plan on living there for an extended period time, a liner would be recommended. In this case, you would have to add a thin layer of mortar between the liner and soil to prevent tree roots, ground squirrels, rats, mice, gophers or chipmunks from compromising the liner. The hard molded, preformed plastic ponds become brittle from the sun’s UV rays in just a couple of years. No good!

Q What type of pond filter do you recommend?

A That cannot be answered simply because many factors are involved. Do you have an existing pond with a submersible pump or above-ground pump? What’s the volume of the pond? Do you have fish, and if so, how many? What size plumbing pipe is being used? This is so involved, I have devoted an entire chapter in my construction manual to the subject. I have an 8000 gallon pond with above-ground pump and I use a pressurized biological bead filter. It takes 2 minutes to back flush with the turn of a handle and keeps my pond crystal clear.

Q I have tons of algae hanging from the rocks in my falls and growing in clumps in my hand. What can I do to get rid of it?

A When the first Polynesians settled in Hawaii between 300 and 600 AD,2549693 they were probably very annoyed by the aggressive, wild, pervasive taro plant, just like you are your algae. They tried to chop it down, burn it, stomp it, but to no avail. It just came back, so they eat it, and still do to this day. In fact, it’s a staple like peanut butter is to some Americans. Just kidding! However, if you told me it was watercress I would suggest eating it. Many pond stores will try to sell you a very expensive algaecide to solve your problem, but all you need to do is increase the salt content of your water. Some experts recommend one pound of rock salt to every 100 gallons of water. This will not hurt your fish; in fact, it will help to produce a healthy shine coat. However, it will harm most of your plants if you apply that dose all at once. Plus the dead and decaying algae will deplete the oxygen and this will harm your fish. Apply it slowly over a week or two, and be patient. It takes longer to kill it this way, but your fish will appreciate it! This topic is also a chapter in my construction manual.

Q Should I keep salt in my pond on a regular basis?

A If you maintain a specific gravity of 1.000, your fish will be less susceptible to ulcer and fin rot. And you will keep the algae from getting out of control.

Q I am considering building a waterfall between my house and my neighbor’s against the fence. Will the sound of the falls annoy them if I let it run 24 hours a day?

A The sound generated by a waterfall is called white noise, which is very relaxing and soothing, not annoying. I have several hundred clients who leave their falls running 24/7 and none have ever had a neighbor complain. In fact, they all appreciate the fact that they did not have to spend the money to enjoy the sound.

Q How many koi fish can I put in my pond?

A The amount could range from 150 to 250 gallons per fish. If you are starting out with small 6″ to 8″ long koi, they can reach 2 feet in three years, depending on how much food and how often you feed them. They could even grow to over 3 feet long! The overcrowding of fish produces stress and a lot of waste material. It can reduce the health of the fish and result in various diseases. Also, a less crowded pond is more pleasant to look at.

Q Do I really need a filter in my pond?

A Not in every case. If your pond is small and you have any guppies or mosquito fish and adequate water plants covering 1/3 to ´ of your pond, your pond will clean itself by means of the nitrogen cycle. The biological aspects of pond chemistry is well covered in my waterfall and construction manual.

Q How long do koi fish live?

A The average life span of koi in Japan is 70 years. Some have been known to live to 100 or more, such as the legendary Hanako, alleged to have lived for over 200 years. Unlike the amazing results of the meticulous care the Japanese give their koi, American koi live a fraction of that time, usually due to neglect and lack of care or proper environment.

Q How can I protect my koi against predators?

A Unfortunately, most people that come to me are frustrated people who already have a pond or a rather poorly planned pond. If your pond is shallow, less than 3 feet, or has a shallow end, the raccoons, coyotes, cranes, egrets, etc. have easy access to your fish. You may think your fish are safe because you have a deep end for the fish to retreat to. Well, you and your fish are dead wrong. A crane will stand perfectly still for 10 to 20 minutes waiting for the koi to forget he is there. Some will regurgitate chum into the deep pond, luring the fish to the surface. Your only solution is a net, or try the crane statue, scarecrow, or high-frequency sound emitters for smaller animals. However, one of my clients watched a crane land next to his crane statue. While the scarecrow was pelting him with a stream of water, it snatched up one of their prize koi.

A critter-proof pond is over 3 feet everywhere and has a raised deck 13″ minimum over the water surrounding the pond. Raccoons cannot swim and catch fish at the same time, and they or the birds will not be able to reach the water.

Q I would like to have a koi pond but I live in Michigan and every year ponds and lakes freeze over. Will they survive?

A There are fish in those lakes you are talking about: blue gill, bass, sunfish, carp, and they all survive. And guess what? Koi are in the carp family. Koi were originally raised for food in Japan. They would grow rice in the summer and then flood the rice patties and raise koi in the winter, cutting holes in the ice to catch them for food. However, your pond must be 4 ´ to 6 feet deep to ensure the water stays about 40 o the bottom. Turn off the waterfall and bottom drain, draw water from the skimmer to keep the bottom still. Place swimming pool solar blankets over the surface. If your pond is deep enough, you can let it freeze over. However, you need to install a horse tank heater to keep a hole open in the ice to allow any ammonia gas from rotting debris on the bottom to escape. If your pond is less than 4 ´ feet deep, take the koi indoors for the winter and place them in a garage or basement tank.

Q Can I keep koi and goldfish together?

A Yes, you can. They are both cold water fish and members of the carp family. Most other cold water fish can also swim together, such as shubunkins, rudd, orfe, blue gill, mosquito fish, guppies, sunfish, bass, etc. However, only in deeper ponds where the mean temperature is 65 degrees or less on the bottom for bass, sunfish and blue gill.

Q Should my pond have a bottom drain?

A First of all, a bottom drain is essential for a healthy pond. However, if it is exposed and the suction is strong enough, turtles or fish can get stuck to it and not be able to get loose. Therefore, two drains should be hooked in series to relieve the pressure between them, just as in a swimming pool. Bottom drains draw falling waste from the fish before it reaches the bottom, keeping it clean. Areas where it does build up can be swept to the drains for easy cleaning. If you are using a submersible pump or pulling the water from a skimmer, water is not circulating properly on the bottom of the pond. That is where rotting debris is producing ammonia and other toxic gases.

Q My pond water is very clear, but my fish are dying. What is wrong?

A Drinking water might taste good, smell good, and look clear. But some of the most toxic chemicals that are known to cause cancer are colorless, odorless and tasteless. I recommend that you purchase a test kit form a pond store and check your water regularly. Nitrates, nitrite and ammonia are all detrimental to fish. Ammonia and nitrite can, at high levels, be fatal to fish. These substances are dissolved in the water and consequently are impossible to detect by the clarity of the water and they can break down the fishes’ immune system.

Q What type of filter do you recommend?

A For any pond over 1000 gallons, I recommend a pressurized biological bead filter that can be back washed. I have used Aqua Ultraviolet Ultima II filters for years. Most larger pond suppliers carry them. Their filters range from 1000 gallons to 10,000 gallons. Up-flow and gravity flow filters require regular cleaning, which is a filthy job. The filter media is packed with stinky, putrid fish waste and decaying pond scum. As you handle the filter screens, media, scrubbers, etc., you will have little white feces-eating worms that are 1/16″ long crawling on your hands and arms. Not to mention the noxious smell that burns your eyes and lungs.

It cost pennies on the dollar to make, yet dealers charge a fortune. You pay the price for the filter and in the time it takes to maintain it you pay an additional cost for your time maintaining it. With a pressurized filter, it only takes the turn of a handle for 2 to 3 minutes and the filter is clean. The waste water is not wasted either. You can water your plants with it using the discharge hose. If you can imagine, that brown, colored, stinky water is packed with nitrogen. It’s better than Miracle Grow T.M. I have used my 6000 gallon Ultima II for over eight years and it works as well now as they day it was installed. Happy, happy fish!

Q How much does an average pond cost?

A What is average? It depends on whether you are talking about a liner pond or a professional concrete and rebar pond. A typical liner pond can be 6 feet by 8 feet, and depending on who is installing it, could cost between $2,500 and $3,500. The other dimensions are pretty much proportionate. Liner ponds are susceptible to leaks from punctures, gophers, and rats, etc. Concrete ponds last for decades and on the average cost only 20% more than liner ponds.

Q My pond is green and I can not see my fish. What should I do?

A Your challenge is algae (suspended planktonic algae), which does not directly hurt the fish. However, algae gives off oxygen during the day from photosynthesis. But unfortunately, it uses up oxygen at night. In addition, it is unsightly and blocks the view of the fish. You can increase the salt content or install an ultraviolet light, which not only kills spore algae but kills the bacteria that causes the water to become murky and stinky.

Q I heard that UV light will also kill the beneficial bacteria. Is that true?

A If I say “No,” I am calling many so-called professional experts liars. So I will put it this way. All the beneficial pond bacteria such as aerobic or anaerobic bacteria, nitrobacter, etc., reside in the filter or in the decaying debris at the bottom of the pond. They aren’t floating around in the pond. Bacteria and algae containing pathogenic disease are, and as they pass through the UV light, they are eradicated.

Q Do I need a waterfall for my pond?

A With no hesitation, YES! Most definitely. First of all, waterfalls are beautiful to look at. The sound is soothing and relaxing and the water moving over rocks generates negative ions which are added to the air. As you breathe negatively charged air, it relieves stress and anxiety. Waterfalls also add extra oxygen to the pond. Waterfalls are a must!

Q I heard concrete ponds will leach alkali into the pond. Is that true?

A Yes and no. A poorly constructed concrete pond will, but only until algae starts growing on the sides. Also if the pond is constructed of 3500 psi concrete and coated with Thoro-seal T.M., it is impossible for alkali to leach out. Plus, if you use Doug Hoover’s secret mortar mix formula, the mortar in the waterfall between the rock will not leach either.

Q What is the advantage of building a waterfall using concrete and mortar?

A A major reason is that the rock will be securely mortared in place, preventing a serious accident from rocks sliding, as with a liner waterfall. Trust me, some day, some adventurous child will climb onto it. That is a lawsuit in the making.

Happy koi, peace & joy. 

Watch a HowTo video at YouTube.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/landscaping-articles/koi-pond-waterfall-top-21-most-asked-questions-answered-96477.html

About the Author

Douglas C. Hoover, CEO of Aquamedia Group Co. master Waterfall Builder, freelance writer and author designer, architect, inventor, engineer, writer, author and builder of over 2,000 waterfall and ponds in California or the past 30 years. Author of “Waterfall and Pond Construction Manual” and developer of the “Water Feature Digital Design Library 4.0″ Free downloads, no sign in. Inventor and manufacturer of the “AquaFill” T.M., electronic float control system for ponds, pools, fountains and hot tubs. Read more. Aquamedia also manufactures the Solar Oven Dehydrator Kit.