After years of draining ponds down to do major cleanups, with the hassle and risks of catching and containing fish safely, we’ve modified our fall cleanups to two shorter visits using Atlantic-OASE products to make things easier. Here are 4 innovations that cut the time we spend by more than 50%, spread out over two visits.
OASE Pondovac 5 – Instead of waiting for all the leaves to come down where we are on Long Island, we start the cleanup early with an initial visit to vacuum out the leaves that start to fall before Halloween. The Pondovac 5 effectively picks up leaves and debris down to about 4 feet without roiling up the water, so we can spot clean the heavier pockets quickly and easily. The vacuum is designed to pull debris into a leaf bag and pump out excess water continuously, no stopping until the large bag is full, and it takes only a minute or two to empty. If they haven’t already switched, we set our fish pond owners up with hi carb, low protein fish food to fatten fish and reduce ammonia loads. Find them here.
Atlantic Pond & Garden Protector – We then set up the second line of defense against leaves, the PGP. Great for ponds and water features up to about 12×18, which covers the majority, the Protector is a net system with fiberglass supports that arch over the feature, holding the net securely high above the water. Leaves tend to blow off the net instead of dragging it under water, and it’s a perfect support for spooky webs and other Halloween decorations. Find them here.
OASE FiltoClear Pressure Filter with UVC – To round out our first visit, we’ll clean out the skimmer and fall box and backwash the FiltoClear. This small, easy to hide filter backwashes with a few pulls of the handle and no mess at all, in contrast to the waterfall box, and clears the water after our visit in no time. We’ve added a FiltoClear and an AquaMax pump to our ecosystem ponds were clients demand perfect water quality, and the combo really delivers. We can even offer the Clear Water Guarantee as long as we follow the simple sizing guidelines. That’s our two-man, one hour October visit, which keeps customers happy until after Thanksgiving. Find them here.
Typhoon Air and Diffuser Kits – After Turkey Day, late enough so most of the leaves are down, we’ll go in once more for the pruning and final cleanup. The Pond & Garden Protector will have kept the leaves outside the perimeter; after we clear them away with a blower, we’ll set up our air for the winter. We move the diffusers from the deep spots where they were needed in the summer, to the edges where they keep a hole free of ice in winter without disturbing the “warm” water at the bottom. Cool fact – unless it freezes all the way solid, the densest water at the bottom will stay at a balmy 38 degrees, regardless of how cold the air gets. We’ll backwash and drain the FiltoClear, shutting off the intake for the winter. Finally, we’ll clean and service the pump, which stays in for most of our fishponds and pond-free features but gets pulled from fountains and stored for winter. Find them here.
Advantages – Cleaning up twice saves us the hassle of trying to schedule everyone before their Thanksgiving get-together but still brings in the same revenue. We don’t remove or even disturb the fish this way, which really lowers stress levels, especially with high value fish. The two visits do double the travel time, but we spend far less time total, and we charge the same, in two more palatable payments. And our customers seem to appreciate the extra visit even if we’re not there nearly as long total. It’s a win-win all around.
About the Author:
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.