Atlantic-OASE Distributor Consultant Spotlight – KOI SMART Pond Supply Store

Check out another installation of our spotlight series with our first Atlantic-OASE Distributor Consultant spotlight, KOI SMART Pond Supply Store from West Palm Beach Florida!

KOI SMART Pond Supply Store, Florida

Where you’re located: West Palm Beach, Florida

What do you specialize in: Koi Smart is a pond and water garden supplier that strives to be the best. We’re selling top quality pond and water garden supplies to our customer base since 2007. Koi Smart is a wholesale distributor for contractors and retailers. Our commitment is to provide exceptional service and excellent quality products.

At Koi Smart Pond Supply your satisfaction is our goal. Our mission is to provide the best customer service, a wide-range of availability, and quality products, to meet all of your needs in one call or trip. We are a complete service company, providing the highest quality water garden supplies, aquatic plants, lilies, rock, stone and Koi, along with a complete line of pond supplies. We offer prompt turn-around time for orders, which makes us the distinct choice for the products you need.

Koi Smart Pond Supply is a stocking distributor for Atlantic Water Gardens, Carlisle Aqua Tough Rubber Pond Liners, OASE Living Water products and many more trusted brands. From construction supplies and treatments to koi fish, food, and aquatic plants, we are confident that we will meet all your water garden needs. Competitive wholesale pricing available for all contractors and retailers. Check out our new website and give our team a call anytime

Website:  www.koismart.com

How long you’ve been working in the industry: 15 years

What you love about what you do: Your Pond is Our Passion. Our founder, Alexander Castro said “As a contractor, you’re always looking for a chance to get solutions to the challenges that come on daily builds and a venue to see new products in person to integrate into your builds. I refer to these things as tools in my tool box. It’s not a one size fits all approach, but rather a what works best for this client approach. I love being able to share these “tools” with contractors, pond professionals, friends and anyone who has a desire to learn more about the industry.”

Favorite Atlantic-OASE product: Our Favorite products are the Atlantic Water Gardens Tidalwave TT-Series Pumps and OASE FiltoClear Pressure Filters.

Anything new coming up in 2020: Pond Friend-ZY 2020! Check out the pictures from the 2019 Pond Friend-ZY below.

Anything else you’d like to share: Koi Smart Pond Supply would like to thank all contractors, customers, family, friends, and vendors who attended our second annual Pond Friend-ZY event November 13 and 14 2019. With the bar set so high, our Pond Friend-ZY 2020 event is one you’re not going to want to miss. Details will be announced spring of 2020 … Stay tuned!

Koi Smart will also be at the Central Florida Koi Show in March. Swim on out to visit them there!

You can find more from KOI SMART on their social media accounts. Facebook, KOI SMART Pond Supply Store and Instagram, @koismart.


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Do I Need To Drain My Pond Water To Clean Efficiently?

A common misconception is that “dirty” water needs to be drained before ponds can be properly cleaned. In-fact, the opposite is often true with water that appears dirty. In reality, dirty looking water can actually be very healthy and is working with the pond’s eco-system to provide a natural cleaning service.

Pond water is filled with micro-organisms and millions of beneficial bacteria, which are constantly at work to break down harmful substances, such as ammonia and nitrites. These are essential to ponds with fish, and form the basis of the “nitrogen cycle“, which helps keep the pond in balance.

Fully draining pond water should always be a last resort, and it’s certainly not something you need to do if you want to clean your pond. As a matter of fact, draining your water can actually make the pond dirtier in the future because the natural eco-system will be disrupted. This is especially the case in wildlife ponds. Even though heavily draining water may be required under some circumstances, in terms of general cleaning, it is rarely a necessity so long as you have the right equipment at hand. 

Using an OASE PondoVac will provide the right equipment to achieve a pond clean out without draining the pond. OASE PondoVacs feature powerful suction and a variety of attachments to tackle any of your maintenance and pond clean out tasks. PondoVac pond vacuums remove settled debris and waste from the bottom and sides of your pond to keep your pond clean without draining. It’s pretty similar to vacuuming your carpet at home!

Time is always looked at when doing a project like this but, the PondoVac will reduce the time you spend cleaning your pond.  Adding the use water treatments such as ClarityBlast, ReClaim and EcoSolv, to help maintain the clarity of your pond.


About the Author:

Todd Rosendahl

Todd has been in the water garden industry over 20 years. With extensive knowledge of water treatments for ponds and lakes he’s your go-to-guy for treating your ponds and water features!

10 Water Features You’ll Fall in Love with This Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day and what better way to celebrate the holiday of love than by showing our love for water features! See some of our favorites that we’d love to have in our backyards!

1. This pool and spa combo that would go on anyone’s dream house Pinterest board

Whitaker Waterscapes LLC (Franklinville, NC)

2. A calming koi fish pond that sits right outside your front porch

The Pond Monster (Winter Haven, FL)

3. A Pond-free waterfall that gives you the beauty of a waterfall without a pond taking up extra space in your yard

TLC Landscaping INC. (Solon, OH)

4. Gorgeous glowing copper bowls to give your backyard a cool nighttime entertaining space

Atlantic-OASE (Aurora, OH)

5. This modern spillway and patio setup that gives you the excuse to spend every Sunday afternoon outside

Green Ace Landscaping Inc. (Oakville, Ontario)

6. Custom waterfalls that will make all of your neighbors jealous

LCM Landscaping & Design (Peyton, CO)

7. A complete backyard oasis that you could spend all day exploring

Water Features by Gerard (Easton, PA)

8. A stunning waterfall blending into the landscape of your backyard

Premium Aquascapes (Bergenfield, New Jersey)

9. An architectural pond and patio masterpiece that has every art enthusiast drooling

Art of the Yard (Littleton, CO)

10. This beautiful natural looking waterfall that looks like you’re stepping right into the forest

Bulone Brothers Landscaping (Twinsburg, OH)

Want to see more amazing water features you’ll fall in love with instantly? Check us out on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration for your next backyard addition!


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Spotlight – Lloyd Lightsey

Join us in recognizing another “Monstrously” incredible Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) spotlight, Lloyd “The Pond Monster” Lightsey.

Lloyd Lightsey – The Pond Monster, Florida

How long you’ve been working in the industry: I have been in the industry for 46 years, I started when I was 13. There is a great article in POND Trade magazine on how Slocum Water Gardens birthed the monster. (You can read it here.)

What you love about what you do: Everyone loves a water feature and are always drawn to it. As your eyes catch the glimmer of the Water from a distance, it lures you to it. Also the sound of the water flowing always seems to mesmerize you and bring a calming to the soul. Case in point, if viewing pictures from a vacation there is always usually a fountain or a waterfall in the back drop.

Favorite Atlantic-OASE product: From Atlantic it is the PS15000 Skimmer and from OASE it is any of the Filtoclear series.

How long have you been an APC: 5 years

One of your favorite projects you’ve done: The “Living” the Pond Life build during the Water Garden Expo located at The Pond Shop in Shawnee OK, which was headed up by myself and the most awesome Demi Fortuna. This build maybe one that will never be duplicated as 5 different manufacturers came together and worked side-by-side to complete this build that is dedicated to those who have and have not lost their battle with cancer. I will be for ever humbled and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this as it made me love and respect every person and manufacture that was there. With a lot of appreciation for Atlantic Water Gardens for supplying the materials and of course to Pondliner Unit liner for allowing us to do it. My main goal for this build was to put an eternal flame at the top of this build for all those to be remembered. That was and always will be a very emotional build for me, as my dedication to this build was to my wife who won her battle with cancer and still stands by my side in this industry.

New projects I’m working on: I have a project coming up to which we will be installing a new filtration system at one of the attractions here in Florida that features a white alligator.

Anything else you’d like to share with your fellow APC’s: I feel very blessed with being in this industry with those who I have met and look forward to meeting. I do love what I do as we make friends one pond at a time. As for any advice I would have for anyone in the industry or about to get into the industry, I highly recommend PONDS services. When I was contacted by my good friend BJ Linger to help build my web page and to start putting me at the top of the Google list, my business has absolutely taken off phenomenally it is the best market in advertising that I have ever seen.

See more of Lloyd, The Pond Monster, on his Facebook page, Thepondmonster or visit his website www.thepondmonster.com.


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Water Loss is Only Natural

Look for the W.E.T.S. spots before you look for a leak!

One of the more confusing issues that pondowners and contractors have to deal with is the issue of “normal” water loss in what is supposed to be a closed system. Even if you’re 100% sure there are no leaks in your recirculating pond or fountain, the water level still drops. Why?

Well, the answer is that no outdoor water feature is really ‘closed’ at all. The natural processes of Wicking, Evaporation, Transpiration and Splash will cause water levels to drop. The amounts can be significant enough that they may seem to indicate a leak. 

The question is, how do you tell the leak from these ‘normal’ water losses? This is especially important when a final payment depends on a ‘leak-free’ water feature. Although you may explain that some water will disappear even with no leaks until you’re blue in the face, concerned homeowners will often ask you to “prove it”. Hopefully this article will help.

Here are the four main ways water is going to leave a pond, pond-free feature or fountain no matter what you do:

Wicking

Wicking is where water is drawn out of the feature by absorbent materials like wood, soil, mulch, underlayment, even waterfall foam touching the water, is very common in natural-looking ponds and pond-free features. The same soft edge treatments that make them look natural can wick water away. In fact, some of the best and most attractive edge treatments depend on a certain amount of wicking, especially to help marginal plants thrive. However, standing water or really saturated soil won’t do the feature any good. Usually the cause of excessive wicking is a flap of underlayment or a blob of foam that’s allowing water to wick over the liner

It’s difficult to estimate how much water is wicked away in natural-looking features, but you can demonstrate it by sticking a twist of underlayment into a full bucket of water and letting it trail on the ground outside the bucket. Explain this often-beneficial process to your customer beforehand and let them know that some topping off will be necessary to keep their feature looking as lush and natural as possible. As you might imagine, wicking is less often a factor in fountains and hardscape features with ‘hard’ edges and few plantings.

Evaporation

Evaporation, unlike wicking, is often a significant factor in low-volume fountains and hardscape features, and sunlight, air temperature, water temperature, humidity, wind, splash and even wave action can make it worse. The way to roughly measure evaporation losses is relatively simple. Set a tub in an exposed location near the water feature. Fill it to the top and give it a couple of days, then measure the water loss. The water should drop at pretty much the same rate in the tub as it does in the water feature, all else being equal. Bear in mind that ponds will almost always drop more than just evaporation can account for, because of the other two processes, such as…

Transpiraiton

Transpiration, sometimes called plant breathing. Plants in water features can suck up and ‘exhale’ a significant amount of water in planted features. Of all the water absorbed by plants, less than 5% remains in the plant for growth. The rest is passed back into the atmosphere through pores on the underside of leaves. Corn, for example, transpires 99% of all the water it absorbs during its lifetime. Whatever the specific amount may be, expect greater water losses due to transpiration in heavily planted ponds.

 Splash

Don’t forget about Splash! Any wet spots outside the pond liner – on stone, gravel, paving, vegetation, soil, mulch, etc – are lost water. To guestimate how much water you’re losing to splash, set a piece of paper towel on a wet spot. You may have to put something under the paper towel or shade it to keep the water from evaporating. After a set amount of time, squeeze the paper towel into a one-ounce sauce container like you find at fast food places, or weigh the paper towel to find the quantity of water using 1g = 1ml. Estimate the total quantity of paper towels you’d need to capture all the splash and do the math. I am always surprised at what it adds up to over a 24-hour period.

Shortcuts

A quick way to gauge what a water feature should be losing to the combined effects of evaporation and transpiration can be gleaned from charts like this one at the Northeast Regional Climate Center, Potential Evapotranspiration for Selected Locations, published by the National Regional Climate Center at Cornell University. These Monthly Average Potential Evapotranspiration (PET) Estimates are the theoretical maximum evapotranspiration possible off an unlimited supply of water, such as a lake or a water feature. Here on Long Island, I can expect to lose 4.41 inches (the reading at LaGuardia Airport) in the month of July, about one inch a week, just due to evaporation and transpiration. Once you add in wicking and splash, an average water loss of only a couple of inches a week is probably a guarantee that there is no leak at all.

So, before you start looking for the leak that’s causing that ¼” a day drop that your customer is so concerned about, check for the WETS spots and reassure them that it’s only natural.


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

Atlantic & OASE Products, A Perfect Compliment to One Another

Atlantic already had the broadest line of water feature products designed specifically to enhance Outdoor Living, and now we can offer even more to the hardscape contractor.

We already offered eight solid brass Wall Spouts to choose from, sixteen Spillways in acrylic, brushed stainless or copper finishes that combine to accommodate any width waterfall, the only self-contained WaterWalls on the market and a host of nozzles, basins and pumps.

Atlantic Wall Spout

Now we are delighted to present advanced fountain, filtration and maintenance products from OASE to the American contractor. From world famous Water Entertainment products to delight the senses in new ways, to pressurized filtration to keep installations crystal clear, OASE adds new dimensions to fountain technology. Multiple models of vacuums, in-pond skimmers and filters and clever accessories keep installations free of debris and lower fountain maintenance to a minimum. Cutting edge pumps thrive on a far wider range of water quality, from high alkalinity to marine salinity, at a far lower cost to operate than ever before. Some ‘perfect pairings’ spring to mind:

OASE Water Entertainment products, the Water Trio, Water Quintet and Water Jet Lightning pair up beautifully with Atlantic Fountain System products. The illuminated jumping jets and laminar streams all work well on a field of EPDM liner around the PV1700 Vault, in a pocket with its top at water level. With the liner set to hold just a few inches of water, the individual pump and lighting units can be spread widely to create a whimsical field of dancing jets or laminar arches of water up to 30 feet apart. The Vault allows for an easily plumbed Autofill to eliminate low water concerns, as well as a convenient location for a separate pump operating from one, three or many fountain nozzles. Pockets dug before the liner is spread can accommodate beautiful marginal plants like Iris and Hibiscus, while an Ionizer set in the Vault eliminates any worry of green gunk overtaking the shallow gravel beds that cover the liner.  

OASE Water Jet Lightning

OASE Pressure Filters, like BioPress and FiltoClear, are the perfect way to maintain great water quality in Hardscape water features with open basins. Water quality is often overlooked in fountain basins, but excellent water quality is easily attainable by routing some of the water from the pump into an OASE Filtoclear before returning it to circulation. Available for fountains of up to 8000 gallons, the only restriction is that the water be returned at a vertical height no greater than 7 feet above the filter. The filter can be hidden remotely, a great advantage with fountains where all sides are visible. Simply use 2” tubing to overcome any friction losses caused by distance. For larger fountains, multiple filters may be connected in series. For the ultimate in automation and connectivity, the ProfiClear will even notify the installer or homeowner when it has automatically finished cleaning itself, via the Cloud. 

 Whether you want to enhance a Water Entertainment system with the least maintenance infrastructure possible, or add advanced filtration to a Fountain or Formal Spillway, Atlantic-OASE has the perfect pairing for profit and performance.


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

Cleaning FilterFalls the Easy Way

Biofiltration is a truly wonderful process. Water entering the bottom of the filter passes through layers of filter media. As the water slows sediments drop out, settling in the bottom of the filter. The filter media traps small debris and particles suspended in the water. Bacteria thrive on the filaments of media, metabolizing ammonia and nitrites excreted by aquatic animals and fish, turning toxic wastes into harmless nitrates which are in turn taken up by the plants in the pond. As it flows clean and clear out of the top of the filter, the water is aerated as it cascades back down into the pond, the final step of the process. Excellent water quality, clarity and oxygenation, all from one simple device that saves time and effort and typically only needs cleaning once or twice a year.

But maintenance, infrequent though it might be, is messy. The 25 fist-sized rocks that cover the tray need to be removed, the pads pulled out, the top pad kept in pondwater to preserve the bacterial colonies. The sludge coating the  bottom of the filter and embedded in the filter pads is sticky and smelly, and tends to splatter all over when it’s hosed out of the pads. Considering all the work the FilterFalls has done all season, the hour-long odiferous ordeal is worth it.

But wouldn’t it be nice to eliminate most of the work, and just about all of the mess? With a little foresight and a couple of optional products you can make your FilterFalls practically maintenance free.

It all starts with the plumbing. To allow the FilterFalls to be easily backwashed without touching the filter at all, install a tee in the plumbing feeding the FilterFalls. The best spot is as close as possible to the filter, just before the bulkhead fitting into the falls box, so this is easiest to do before the filter is installed. However, as long as you can find the pipe from the skimmer to the bottom of the FilterFalls, it is relatively simple to cut in a tee. One leg of the tee will let the water continue flow into the FilterFalls as it would with a straight pipe. On the other leg of the tee install a valve then run a piece of tubing out to daylight. Put a scrap piece of vertical pipe large enough to provide access to the valve from above before backfilling around the valved tee.

The second enhancement not only makes the filter easier to clean, it also improves the filtration process. Consider replacing the dual polypropylene mats that come with every FilterFalls with a filter upgrade, the Matala Mat Kit. Matala is a rigid mat material that rinses more easily than the standard poly mats. The Kit comes with a Fine, Medium and Coarse Mat; each FilterFalls can accommodate up to two Kits. The Coarse mats go on the bottom, Fine on top and they greatly increase the filtering capacity. Better yet, Matala rinses clean easily, unlike poly pads that need to be washed under pressure with a jet of water.

The new cleaning procedure begins with turning off the pump. The check valve in the skimmer will keep the biofilter full of water. Open the valve to allow the water in the FilterFalls to backwash through the Matala Mats pads and out the inlet pipe, washing the trapped gunk (the technical term for settled organic solids) out of the filter.

Most of the muck in the pads just backwashes out when the valve is opened, without opening the filter or even removing the rocks in the tray. Rinse by closing the valve and turning the pump back on to refill the filter, stopping the pump as the filter begins to overflow and opening the valve again. Repeat until the backwash water comes out clear. If desired, you can ‘power rinse’ the filter by simply pouring a pail of water into the top of the FilterFalls. All done, no mess, no fuss.

For more information on FilterFalls click here.


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of its Parts – Why Atlantic and OASE Work so Well Together

Atlantic and OASE are great partners, in business and in the field, with complementary distribution models and product lines that dovetail perfectly to enhance water quality and reduce maintenance. 

Atlantic and OASE complement each other on a number of levels. Our differing customer focus is a good example. OASE has grown to be one of the largest water gardening companies in the world by creating an excellent product line that appeals to the end user. Dealers appreciate OASE because the products are easy to sell; the equipment performs extremely well and carries excellent warranties. Atlantic, on this side of the pond, has concentrated on the contractor market and the distributors that supply those contractors. Atlantic’s customers like our commercial grade products for the same reasons – performance, quality and service. Put the two companies together and we cover all the bases.

The lines themselves are complementary as well. Here in the States, where leaves and clippings are typically the major maintenance concern, we clean from the top, skimming the surface of the pond to capture floating leaves and debris before they can sink. The pump lives in the skimmer, sending the prefiltered water up to an upflow biofilter, where pads clean and clear water mechanically and biologically. In Europe fishponds are typically cleaned from the bottom. There, a solids-handling pump on the bottom sends fish wastes and small particulates to extremely efficient pressure filters that remove much finer suspended solids than upflow biofilters can. The two philosophies are yin and yang; one continually removes leaves and floating debris but requires periodic cleaning of settled solids; the other captures the settling solids but requires vacuuming to remove leaves and larger debris. Put the two together and you get top down, bottom up cleaning that dramatically improves water quality and drastically reduces maintenance.

Take for example any existing fish pond with a Skimmer and FilterFalls. Let’s say this pond is a few years old and the fish are happy. They have grown larger than when they were introduced; they have reproduced; their owners have added fish, just a few, here and there. Now there are more wastes than the pond was designed to handle. The excess nutrients have started to impact water quality and clarity, as algae take advantage of the nitrates in the water column. The homeowners have an aeration system, and are adding bacteria, but the pond just isn’t as clear and clean as it was with one tenth the fish load. Nor are the ‘parents’ willing to part with any of their ‘children’, which all have names and endearing habits. So there are more fish, and fish wastes, than the pond can metabolize naturally, and even an aggressive cleanout will only delay the return of the same conditions.

Atlantic Skimmer

The contractor now can offer a return to gin-clear water, guaranteed, without rebuilding the entire pond. A properly sized OASE FiltoClear Pressure Filter paired with an AquaMax Eco pump is the perfect drop-in solution and comes with the OASE Clear Water Guarantee. The system works in three ways to clean and clear the water. The pump, placed centrally at the bottom of the pond, begins removing wastes and passing them to the filter as soon as it is plugged in. The UVC Clarifier renders any algae in the water sterile, unable to reproduce, eliminating green water. Filter foams then separate out the organic wastes and suspended solids, returning clean, clear water to the pond. Maintenance is reduced to a minimum. The pump is designed to pass wastes without clogging, and the filter backwashes clean in seconds. 

Installation is straightforward. The pump at the bottom needs its cord and the return hose hidden from view, a matter of moving or adding a few stones. The filter can be hidden from view either by placement far from the pond’s edge, behind a raised waterfall or buried up to the top of the canister. The filtered water can be returned anywhere into the stream or along the pond perimeter. Two additional plugs will have to be provided, one for the pump and one for the integrated UVC, but neither draws much current and can usually be accommodated on the same 15 or 20 amp circuit powering the original pump in the skimmer. Even if a second circuit needs to be added, this solution requires little labor in contrast to a pond rebuild, or even a full pond cleanout, and takes far less time.

OASE FiltoClear

BioPress and FiltoClear provide a drop-in solution for ponds with water quality concerns that guarantees clear water in ponds up to 2000 gallons. For larger ponds, use OASE Screenmatic and ProfiClear Filters with the appropriate UVC Clarifier and pump to achieve the same results, with clear water guaranteed.


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

Rain Harvesting Then and Now

My wife and I zipped down to the Yucatan Peninsula last week for a friend’s wedding, down Thursday night, back Monday morning. Beautiful wedding, by the way. On Sunday our good friends Lidia Cepeda and Nacho Barroso arranged a very special tour to the ancient Mayan ruins of Uxmal on Sunday. The Director of Archeology of the site, José Huchim Herrera, Don Pepe as he is affectionately called by students and colleagues alike, honored us with a behind-the-scenes tour of the site.

Uxmal was a city of wonders, most of which have been restored under Huchim’s direct supervision. He is personally responsible for the exquisite restoration of the crown jewel of the site, The Palace of the Governor, considered the finest and most beautiful example of pre-Hispanic architecture ever discovered. Don Pepe explained the significance of the marvelous glyphs of the frieze that rings the building as thousands of bats whirled overhead at dusk. Magical!

But I have to admit that what impressed me most were the waterworks that made it possible for tens of thousands to thrive in the dry Puuc region where Uxmal is located, an environment with no rivers, no wells and no rain for nine months of the year.

We tend to think of rain harvesting as green vanity projects that don’t really make much of a difference, but in centuries past nothing could be further from the truth. Rain harvesting was the key to survival, and the Maya of the Puuc were masters of two distinct reservoirs very similar to the systems we employ today. The first was the chultun, a bottle-shaped underground reservoir carved into soft limestone, with plastered walls and a sloped apron around the small opening at the surface to capture water. 

Mayan rain harvesting chultun

Archeologists have demonstrated that these household cisterns could typically support a small group of people year round with as little as 1.2 cubic meters per person, about 317 gallons per person. I was immediately reminded of our own Eco-Blox, which store 31.5 gallons. At ten blocks per person, a forty Eco-Blox reservoir would sustain a Mayan family of four even today! And with an innovative Clean Rain first flush diverter to collect clean water off a roof, today’s system might even reduce reservoir maintenance.  

But Uxmal was a city of tens of thousands, without enough room for all the chultunob that would have been needed. How did the Maya live there with only three months of steady rains to depend on? Huchim discovered evidence of a sophisticated rain harvesting infrastructure just below the hilltop city. A natural depression was ringed with man-made berms and sealed with plaster to collect millions of gallons of rainwater during the short wet season, enough to sustain the city of 35000 people.

Again, we do exactly the same thing today. I pass the Meander Creek Reservoir near Youngstown Ohio when I drive in to the office. It was created in 1932 by building an earthen dam on the Mineral Ridge to impound the water of the Mahoning River. The Maya of Uxmal would have approved. 

Click here for more information on rain harvesting to learn how you can add a rain harvesting system to your landscape!


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

Tools That Don’t Suck – DMT Diamond Sharpener

Here’s a clever little tool that I don’t like to be without, at home or on the jobsite. I bought the Diamond Mini Sharp at the counter at Bissett, one of my favorite landscape suppliers here on Long Island. I needed something to touch up my Felcos (another Tool That Doesn’t Suck!) The pruners were too dull for the triangular ceramic rod to touch up, and the Mini was small enough to work the blade, so I bought the blue Coarse grit model. I remember it was under $20. I figured it wouldn’t last long but I’d probably get my money’s worth.

That had to be over 20 years ago. Not only does it still work, it hardly shows any wear. Over the years it has migrated from my keychain to my shoulder bag, as the keys have multiplied and my time in the field lessened, but I still keep it close by. 

I wanted to see what DMT said about the Mini, so I checked out the website www.dmtsharp.com. For all you tech geeks who like to know the details, like I do, what makes this little sharpener special are “micronized monocrystalline diamonds, precisely sized for a more uniform diamond surface.” According to DMT, other diamond surfaces typically offer “the lesser grade poly-crystalline diamond. Mono-crystalline is like an ice cube made up of one particle holding its form while poly-crystalline is like a snow-cone made up of many small particles that get sheared off during use.”

Okay, I can believe ice cubes sharpen better than snow cones. DMT also touts its manufacturing process assures the most diamonds per square inch in the industry, providing a more durable sharpening surface.

Well, after all these years, I can attest to its durability.

But what about the polka dots? you ask. Turns out the “Interrupted Diamond Surface” for which DMT is famous has slightly recessed holes that will collect metal fines (swarf) removed during sharpening to prevent loading.

Gotta love those dots. And here’s the kicker – it costs less now than I paid way back then! After all these years, it’s available online for only $8.95 plus shipping. Truly a Tool That Don’t Suck. I think I’m gonna go buy one of the big models for my kitchen knives.

For more Tools That Don’t Suck, check out some more of Demi’s articles! Cordless (Liner) Trimmers, Hypath Bags, Wiss W10TM Scissors, and many more!


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.