So You Want to Put in a Koi Pond!

There are many good reasons to want to keep ornamental carp, known as koi fish. First and most of all, they are friendly, engaging creatures that will recognize and respond to you. It’s a great feeling to see a whole shoal of happy, HUNGRY jewel-colored fish churning the water to reach you. Yes they learn, quickly and well, to expect food, but they respond to you whether you have food for them or not, every time. It’s delightful. 

They are very beautiful animals by any measure. Their colors are marvelous, with hues from the deepest reds through orange, true gold, silver, pearly white, black, greys of every shade, even blues. Many varieties sport glittering reflective and metallic scales, in different patterns on their bodies, that literally sparkle in sunlight. Their fins can be equally enchanting, especially those of the type commonly known as butterfly koi. When they aren’t racing to you for food, their long flowing fins swirl around them as they dance gracefully in a synchronized ballet, the rhythmic, circular patterns they describe soothing, relaxing, almost hypnotic. One can get lost for hours just staring at their languid movements in a deep, clear pool, I can personally assure you. 

But to enjoy them at their best you must provide a healthy environment for them. The best koi ponds will ideally be large and deep enough for the fish to exercise in both horizontal and vertical directions; three feet is usually cited as the minimum depth for happy koi. The optimal volume per fish is harder to pin down, but experts and aficionados (koi kichi) like 100 gallons per inch of fish; bigger is always better as far as volume goes. That said, koi will adapt to smaller bodies of water, but they will not attain the same size and run the risk of greater mortality in smaller, shallow ponds for a number of reasons, including more exposure to predators and greater temperature and pH swings.  

Water quality is critical, especially with animals that feed (and defecate) with such gusto. In Japan many ponds have a constant source of fresh spring water to flush out wastes, but that doesn’t work here, so adequate circulation and filtration is a must. Figure on running the entire volume of the pond through the filtration system once per hour. A 5,000 gallon pond should optimally run 5,000 gallons per hour through the filter. Although quality and clarity are totally different issues, with some of the best koi in the world coming out of clay ponds with totally opaque water, that doesn’t work for our ponds. We want to see the koi in polished water, so secondary treatment by ultraviolet light helps keep algae suppressed and water gin-clear. 

Finally, for the healthiest, most vibrant koi, the pond shouldn’t be overcrowded. This is where we have to overcome our own nature, because koi keeping is a powerful addiction. We see an especially beautiful fish and we need to have it. Not only do we always want more of them, but they grow to a pretty impressive size. Forget the four-inch-long cutie you brought home from the pet store. Koi grow to 2-3 feet long and upwards of 30 pounds under ideal conditions, and if they’re happy, they are also procreating like crazy. If you’re not very careful and very disciplined, pretty soon you can walk across the pond on their backs. 

All that said, once you get the bug you’ll never be free of it, so remember these guidelines. 

  • Build It Bigger! The one comment we hear from just about every customer after a couple of years is, we should have made the pond larger and deeper from the start. 
  • Oversize the filtration. The largest skimmer you can install reduces the frequency of emptying the net or basket. The larger the biofilter, the less often you will need to clean it. The less maintenance the happier you will be, and the more filtration, the cleaner and clearer the water. (Plus, you will be able to better support that greater-than-optimal number of fish that you will almost certainly end up with.) 
  • DON’T OVERFEED YOUR FISH, even if they beg, and they will! Too much food means too many nutrients in the water, overloading filtration and vastly complicating maintenance. Also, no matter how much they seem to want to eat, the last thing you want is obese, unhealthy fish. Feed them once a day as much as they can eat in 5 minutes, turning off the pumps to keep uneaten food from accumulating in the skimmer.   

If you’re interested in koi keeping, Atlantic-OASE has everything you need, from kits that make pond construction easy, to advanced filtration that cleans itself and reports back to you via WiFi. You might start by checking out the information at the Atlantic Water Gardens University on our website, and remember, we’re always here to help. Good Luck, and Happy Ponding!  

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.

Fun Facts for National Koi Day

In honor of National Koi Day, I thought I’d mention some facts about koi that you may find as interesting as I do.

The term “koi” or “koi fish” is technically incorrect.

That’s right, just like the name of our favorite megamonster Gojira (not “Godzilla”), Westerners got the name wrong. Our finny friends are actually nishiki-goi, colored carp. If you look up the work “koi”, you’ll find the translation is “love”, and the word refers to the physical act, not the Platonic ideal. Oh well, too late to change now, but at least it’s good for lots of overseas giggles.

The fish we call koi have been cultured and bred for so long that their digestive tracts have partially atrophied.

Only about 60% of the food they ingest actually gets digested, one of the reasons they are such prodigious feeders. (And poopers!)

Koi are not only affectionate but intelligent.

They recognize their owner, come when called and can be taught tricks like ringing a bell for food. Our Miss Piggy was with our family for 17 years and knew all of us by our silhouettes and voices. She would race to us when we approached, lifting her head out of the water to be petted, eagerly taking food from our fingers. When she died after a major snowmelt dumped road salt into our front yard pond, we were devastated.    

Barring accidents or predation, koi can live a long, looooong time.

Here in this country 10-20 years is considered a long life; in Japan the average is closer to 50 years, but under ideal conditions colored carp can live for many decades, even centuries. The oldest nishiki-goi on record, a scarlet fish named Hanako (‘flower girl’) was born during the Tokugawa era of shoguns and samurai. Treasured for her unusual color and affectionate nature, her original owners the Koshihara clan built her a spring-fed pond at the foot of Mt. Ontake in the mid 1700’s. In the 60s, two of her scales were taken and analyzed in a lab. Just like trees, scales exhibit growth rings that can be counted to reveal age. The laboratory determined her birth date to be the year 1751, making her 226 years old when she died on July 7th, 1977 (7-7-77)! National Koi Day, July 7 was created in her honor.

If any of these fascinating facts about our favorite pond pets pique your interest in having a koi pond installed, find an Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor near you on our Find A Contractor page and stay tuned for our next blog “So You Want to Put in a Koi Pond!”

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.

Social Media Tips For Small Businesses

Most of the world’s way of communicating today is through social media. Today, June 30th, is Social Media Day, the day we get to celebrate the digital world of social media! In honor of Social Media Day, I’ve created a list of helpful tips and advice for all of our small business owners out there starting to take their businesses to social!

Quality Over Quantity

There’s always controversy on how many posts you should be sharing on social media. Everyone has different successes depending on the industry they’re in, their audiences and followers. And it varies between each social media platform from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter on how many times you should post. Instead of worrying about how much or how often you post, work on creating quality posts that reflect your business and show what you have to offer.

Whether you post once a day or only post once a week, do what’s easy for you and your schedule. Set a goal for yourself for how many times you want to post on your business accounts and see how easy or difficult it was to reach that goal.

Don’t know what to post? Think about what your followers would want to see from you and your business. Maybe that’s a progress update on a project you’re working on or sale you’re having. Don’t be afraid to get some inspiration from other companies in the industry and see what they’re sharing to their pages!

Add a Visual

When you’re scrolling through your timeline, what makes you stop for a second? It’s usually a picture or a video! Catch your viewers eyes more with a post that has a picture or a video attached versus just a post with text.

Schedule When You Can

Running your own business is hard work on it’s own. Throw social media into the mix and it’s another task to add to your day. There are plenty of scheduling tools out there to help ease the stress of making sure you post frequently! Check out some of the free tools I’ve listed below.

If you have a Business Facebook Page, you can use the scheduler already included on Facebook! At the top of your Business Facebook Page, there’s some very helpful tools to make running your page a little easier! Go to the Publishing Tools tab. You can then create posts and schedule them to post at a later date! And the best part about this is that it’s free! There are plenty of scheduling tools out there but not all of them are free. Utilize the free ones when you can!

Gain Audiences

When trying to get people to follow your social media accounts, your friends and family are the best free advertising you can get. Take advantage of that! Ask them to like and follow your pages and to share your posts on their pages. The more people who share your posts, the more people will see them!

Not only is it important to gain new followers on your accounts but it’s important to keep the ones you already have. Interact with your current followers. If they comment or recommend your brand and products, make sure you respond and thank them! Share and celebrate customers’ posts about your products or services. This encourages them to interact with you online in the future!

Free Helpful Tools

Scheduling Tools.

While most social media scheduling tools aren’t free, they usually have a free version with limited actions available. Give a free version a try and if you think you need more capabilities, then consider buying a plan. Most of the time, you should be able to use the free version just fine.

  • Buffer allows you to manage 3 social media accounts and schedule up to 10 posts at a time for free
  • Tweetdeck allows you to monitor your Twitter, different hashtags, users and search terms on Twitter for free.
  • Hootsuite offers a free plan to manage 3 social media accounts to schedule up to 30 posts in advance.
  • Later is another free scheduling tool that allows you schedule 30 posts per month on each social media platform.

Creative Tools.

There are tons of free websites and applications out there to make creative graphics for you to use on your social media accounts. Create some great artwork to post with some of these!

  • Over is a free app to design Instagram story templates and social media flyers, banners and logos.
  • Canva allows you to create free custom graphics for flyers, marketing material and more.
  • Adobe Spark Post is another creative app to allow you to create graphics, flyers and banners.
  • Adobe Premiere Rush is a free video editing app perfect for easy video editing.

I hope this helps get your mind turning towards social! Comment your social media questions below!

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.

Capturing the Perfect Water Feature Picture

Today, June 29th, is National Camera Day and in honor of National Camera Day, we wanted to share some tips and habits to take up on photographing your water feature projects!

Your Camera

You don’t need a fancy, expensive camera to take pictures that look professional! You have one of the best cameras in your pocket with your smart phone. Today, smart phone cameras are so advanced that you can’t tell the difference between a picture shot with your phone versus a camera, so use what you have available! If you have a physical camera, by all means, don’t let it go unused! Dust that baby off and start snapping!

Use a Tripod

If I recommend you buy anything to help take better pictures of your work with, it would be to purchase a tripod stand to put your camera or phone on. One of the biggest struggles people have with taking pictures and videos is keeping their hands steady to take the picture. Setting your camera or phone on a tripod allows you to capture exactly what you’re looking for and helps eliminate the blurry photos.

This is also a great tool to use when you want to capture videos of your water features and eliminate the shakiness. Put your phone on the tripod and just hit record! A tripod is the most simple tool to help you create professional worthy pictures and videos!

Move Your Camera

To give yourself the best range of photos, move your camera and tripod to different spots around your water feature! Take some pictures of the feature straight on, then move to the left and to the right to get some different angled pictures. Be creative with your photos, adjust the height of your tripod to be closer to the ground or high up for different view points. Take some close ups as well!

Form New Habits

I ask contractors and sales reps all the time for pictures of the projects they’re working on. Most of the time, I get the “I forgot to take pictures” response. I get it. When you’re out on the job, that’s the last thing you want to worry about. Time gets away from you and you forget to take pictures of your work. We want to change that! Because the best way to get more work is to show off the work you’ve already done!

Start trying to form new habits while out on the job site to include photography into your routine. Think of what you want to show your future clients. Homeowners want to see examples of what you can create for them. Take some before pictures, document the progress of the project and the crew helping on the job and then, of course, the finished job.

The easiest way to make sure you’re grabbing the pictures you need is to set times during the day to take your pictures.

  • Take pictures the morning of right before you start your project.
  • Take pictures when you stop to take a lunch break. This is will be great progress pictures!
  • Take pictures when you leave the job site.
  • Take the final finished project pictures.

Usually these are times where you’re not working for a moment and can snap a few shots. And let’s be real, when you’re not working, you’ve picked up your phone anyways. Why not make a habit to quickly take some pictures?

Make Time to Go Back and Photograph

To get some great final pictures of your water feature, schedule a time to come back and take some pictures once the water has settled and the flowers and greenery all have grown in! It makes such a difference in your photos and gives you an opportunity to show more before and after pictures!

Save Your Pictures!

There’s nothing worse than losing pictures of a completed project, especially for contractors who travel for their projects. We all know it’s not easy to get back to the same location to take pictures if you lose them. There’s plenty of ways to back up or save your pictures in more than one location to make sure you don’t lose them if your phone takes a plunge in the pond. Whether you simply just email yourself your pictures or have a system for uploading, find the best way to save, store and organize your photos so that they’re easy to go back and find what you’re looking for!

What other tips would you like to see from us? Leave a comment below!

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 – Mike Garcia

From all the way over on the west coast, join us in recognizing another outstanding Atlantic-OASE Professional contractor! Mike Garcia is a California landscape contractor that offers sustainable and environmentally friendly designs!

Mike Garcia, Enviroscape LA, California

Where are you from: Redondo Beach / Los Angeles

How long you’ve been working in the industry: 40 years

What you love about what you do: Building water features comes from inspiration at the deepest level. Tying these into aquaponic systems gives people the most nutrient dense food on the planet.

Favorite Atlantic-OASE product: This is perhaps the hardest question I have ever been asked! I originally learned about OASE about 15 years ago and instantly knew it was way different from anything else in the pond world. I love the new Koi pond filter that is app based and will be installing my personal one this year. I love the Quintet because you can break up the set and place them individually in the garden to create magic. Atlantic pumps are amazing for the American style water gardens. OASE pumps and filters put a pond contractor on another level compared to the average pond contractor who only uses conventional methodologies.

One of your favorite projects you’ve done: One of my favorite projects was the water garden that we built for my next door neighbor about 13 years ago. Atlantic Water Gardens provided the materials  and we did this in conjunction with the California Landscape Contractor Association (CLCA). This pond still looks amazing and the original AWG pump it is still working……AFTER 13 YEARS!!!!!!

Recent projects I’ve worked on: We were recipients of the 2019 California Landscape Contractor Association (CLCA) Best Pond of Los Angeles division at the annual pond contractor competition. We won’t 1st place! 

Anything else you’d like to share with your fellow APC’s: For the past century, our planet has been under assault from pollution, chemical insecticides, herbicides, global climate change and a plethora of other challenges that call into question whether mankind will continue to have a future on our planet. There is hope. We can change the course we are taking, but everyone must be a part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Ponds are truly a part of the solution because ponds help the natural cycles of life and create a water source for pollinators. Ponds also help reduce high blood pressure and it is encouraging to see ponds becoming a major part of the Aquaponic community.  Aquaponics grow food while recycling the same water over and over, which gives us hope for the future because one of the side effects of global climate change is drought. The case for pond building could fill a book. Ponds are a part of the solution for a better planet. Ponds give us hope!

For more from Mike and his team at Enviroscape LA follow him on Facebook and Instagram! Check out his YouTube channel as well!

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 Staff Picks: Three-Way Diverter

When our Social Media Director, Caitlyn, asked me to jot down something on a favorite product, I realized it might not be as simple a task as it sounds. There are so many Atlantic products that I personally find literally extraordinary, as in “beyond the ordinary.” I’m not alone. Contractors, especially those with little experience with our line, usually notice that our FastFalls, FilterFalls, Skimmers and Basins are all built a little differently than everyone else’s.

Thinking back, I remembered the first time I saw an AWG product that was definitely out of the ordinary. It was at the Winter Workshop for Pond Professionals in Lawrence, Kansas, presented by Water’s Edge, a deceptively small water garden specialty distributor that punches waaaay above its weight. Deb Spencer and Susan Davis have quietly promoted the highest ideals, standards and education in water gardening for decades. The Workshop presented the latest trends in water features to contractors from all over the country. Brandon Dwyer, the new product development guy at AWG, was doing the Pond-free presentation. I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me for info about my (competing) product line to include in his presentation. We started jazzing about a couple of his current projects. He waxed deservedly enthusiastic about his revolutionary new check valve and asks if I’d like to take a look at what he called a three-way diverter.

A little background, I had just built a small fountain requiring multiple water returns for a customer. The valved manifold I constructed separated the flow from the 1½” outlet on the pump to three ¾” spouts. It cost me $40 in fittings: two tees, two elbows, three close nipples, three reducing bushings, three valves and three barbed adapters. It took me 45 minutes to cut and glue, ended up 14” wide, was impossible to hide and looked like hell.

So, this thin, well-spoken bespectacled young man reaches into the bag on his shoulder, pulls out this polished piece of black plastic with two red handles and asks my opinion. My first thought is, I’ve met Skinny Santa Claus, and I musta been good, because this is a gift of genius. He’s stuffed an 1½” threaded inlet, three valves and three ¾” barbed outlets into a single fitting the size of my fist. I would be lying if I said I was impressed; I flat flipped out. This Brandon was not only thinking up terrific new products for contractors, he was actually building them!

Years before I landed at Atlantic, I knew I wanted to work with the skinny dude.

Still do.

By the way, those FastFalls, FilterFalls, Skimmers and Basins that are all built a little differently from everyone else’s? Right outta the same bag.

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.

Taking Koi Pond Building into the Future

With the new merger between Atlantic and OASE one concern always comes up, “will my OASE pump survive in the bottom of a pond?” 

I completely understand the concern about a pump in the bottom of the pond because traditionally in the US it has only spelled disaster. On the other hand, in Europe they’ve been building ponds for many years this way. They find it weird that the US uses large skimmers and FilterFalls to build our water features. One of the big advantages our company and OASE saw when discussing the merger was the opportunity to change how ponds would be constructed around the world.  

The American way of building ponds is what we’ve typically seen from Atlantic and other companies in the US. We utilize a skimmer to protect our pumps and to pull and trap the debris that floats on the top of the water. From there, the pump pushes water up to a FilterFalls where beneficial bacteria treats the water, removing toxins. But this still leaves one area untreated: we don’t ever touch anything on the bottom of the pond. The black muck that develops on the bottom of the pond has to be removed, typically via draining and mucking out the bottom by hand. Some contractors install bottom drains to easily flush everything out, but whether they pump it out or drain it down, basically they have to do a full restart of the pond year after year.  

The European way has been quite the opposite. They have designed and engineered their pumps to sit at the very bottom of the pond and have them pick up and push fish waste back to a UV/Filtration system that polishes the water. With the fish waste and debris going through the pump up to their filter systems that are cleaning the water, they do not see the need for a FilterFalls. The downside to this is they must use pond nets to clean the debris off the top of the water and are restricted in the types of water falls they can build because their pumps aren’t designed to do high flow at high head heights.  

The A-O merger presents an opportunity to bring both our practices together by incorporating the best aspects of each design. We now are building ponds with a skimmer to pull debris off the top of the water while also allowing us to build great falls using our FastFalls. Then, we are utilizing the OASE “Clear Water Guarantee” system by incorporating their pumps in the bottom of the pond feeding their filters that clean and polish your water. The result is a pond that can be customized to the highest level, cleaning and polishing the water without the need to ever fully drain your pond again. With the OASE PondoVac, we can go in and suck out leaves and debris that settles at the bottom that can’t pass through the pump to get to the filter. As for cleaning the filter, it’s as easy as turning a knob and flushing out the system twice a year, so easy you can do it in a suit and tie.  

And as for concerns about the pump at the bottom of the pond. These pumps are specifically designed to handle everything that a pond throws at it and they’ve been doing it for many years! 

This YouTube video made by a homeowner, who installed a brand new OASE system, shows all the mud and debris that was being put into the filter and how well the system works on day 1!

That is exactly what we want to see happening. It means we are cleaning the pond from top to bottom, unlike in the past when we, here in the States, would only clean from the top. OASE pumps are designed to deliver the debris from the pump to the filter system by utilizing a large intake pre-filter and Environmental Function Control (EFC), which will shut off the pump if it’s running dry or freezes or clogs (which takes a lot), to prevent pump damage. The large surface area of the wrap-around pre-filter allows small particles to pass through. It’s designed for water flow all around the pump, giving it multiple surface areas for the pump to pull water from. The pump also features a coated magnetic rotor for adverse water conditions and a proprietary grounding plate for unparalleled safety. These things make the pump very resilient from ever burning itself out or breaking.  

As Atlantic-OASE continues to grow we want to continue to push the envelope on how our industry creates incredible water features. Our company feels that we have an opportunity to define what a top of the line Koi pond should be built like and give our customers the best possible design available in the industry. We hope you will join us in creating state of the art water features that will be hassle free and allow anyone to enjoy a beautiful pond in their backyard! 

About the Author:

Kyle Weemhoff

Kyle is Atlantic-OASE Southwest Regional Manager and has been in the role for the past 3+ years. He started off working in the manufacturing facilities and shipping department. Kyle is a Koi dad and loves sitting out by his water feature with a cold beer. 

Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Spotlight – Andrew Marchael & Nick Swarts

Join us in recognizing another fantastic Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Spotlight from Kansas City, Missouri!

Andrew Marchael & Nick Swarts, Royal Pond Services, Missouri 

Where are you from: We are both born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri and have proudly serviced over 1,200 water gardens in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area!

How long you’ve been working in the industry: We started Royal Pond Services 14 years ago. 

What you love about what you do: Andrew says “I love helping people and this industry allows me to help people enjoy their water features. A lot of our clients have became friends and they know we are a phone call away for any help they need. This is one of the only service industries I know of that your clients truly become life long friends. We have even been offered vacation homes, sporting event tickets, gift cards, etc. just because of the relationships we have built with our clients and that’s a special feeling.”

Favorite Atlantic-OASE product: Our favorite Atlantic products are the TT Pump Series and favorite OASE product is the FiltoClear 8000 pressure filter.

One of your favorite projects you’ve done: One fun project we did was converting an old leaky pond to a pondless waterfall using TT6000 pump Atlantic Eco-Blox, Atlantic waterfall diffuser and Atlantic PV1700 pump reservoir!

New projects I’m working on: A summer 2020 project we’re working on is a rebuild of a 40 foot leaking stream on side a back yard hill. We always love being able to take a landscaper mistake and turn it into something the homeowner can enjoy for years to come! We will be using all Atlantic products on this project!

Anything else you’d like to share with your fellow APC’s: There are so many options with water features and I think we should always convey those to the customers. With  Atlantic-OASE together, we have more options than ever when it comes to filtration, lighting etc. We should let our customers know that there is multiple solutions and guide them to one that works and fits their budget. The other tip I would give would be staying on top of communication with your customers. I think that is the key in our industry. I don’t know how many jobs I have taken from other contractors by simply calling a customer back in a timely fashion. A lot of customers are waiting weeks and even months before we are on site, we need to be keeping them updated with our schedule.

For more from Andrew and Nick and the Royal Pond Services team, follow them on Facebook!

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.

Add a Water Feature and Save the Bees

In honor of World Bee Day, did you know that your pond or water feature in your backyard could help save the world bee population?

The world needs your contribution to the access of clean healthy water for our bees and you can do that by simply adding a water feature to your yard! The honey bee is more important that in just making honey. They are our pollinators for all of the grown food we eat in our daily life. The habitat that you create can help feed colonies of honey bees. Water feature fountains such as the OASE Quintet and Atlantic Basalt Columns are great pollinator fountains for bees!

Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor, Mike Garcia and his company, Enviroscape LA, do a great job of teaching us how to make pollinator fountains for bees and other insect life!

Mike shows us that you can even help the bees by making your Pond-free waterfall into a pollination water feature by adding some extra rocks to the water to give the bees a place to rest while getting a drink from your water feature!

You can create areas of shallow water, use rocks or twigs to make areas for bees to land on, collect water and not drown. Because pond water is chlorine free this makes the perfect environment for them.

Some fun facts on what bees use water for include:

Cooling – Water acts as air conditioning for the hive.

Humidity for the colony.

Utilize Stored Food – they dilute stored honey with water for food.

Larvae Food – Nurse bees feed the developing larvae.

Digestion – Water helps metabolization of their food.

So, if your pond is losing water it may not be a leak or splash evaporation, it may just be the bees surviving in our world! They can consume at least a quart of water every day, and even more when it is warm.

For more on our buzzing pollinators, see Kim Flottum, editor of the Bee Culture magazine and the book The Backyard Beekeeper.

About the Authors:

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.

Jim Chubb

Jim is Atlantic-OASE’s Midwest Regional Sales Manager and has 26+ years of sales experience and 16+ years in the water garden industry.

Tools That Don’t Suck: Bulkhead Fitting Oil Filter Wrench

As water feature installers, my sons and I are used to hard, dirty and sometimes dangerous work. We enjoy what we do, whether it’s digging ponds, plumbing pumps, rolling boulders or tweaking waterfalls. We also value anything that makes the job faster, easier or more fun. We’re always looking for tools, apps or gadgets that save time & effort, eliminate stress, add to our comfort on the job or are just fun to use. Often a buddy will turn us on to one. I’d like to return the favor by passing our favorite Tools That Don’t Suck along to you.

So, here’s a shout out and thank you to Shawn Rosen of Koi Market, a retail fish and pond supply here on Long Island in the village of Huntington New York. He turned me and the boys on to a nifty little repurposed tool that I wouldn’t be without now. You may already know how useful an oil filter wrench can be outside the garage, but if you don’t, you’ll like this one.

Built slim to fit into tight engine compartments, this particular style wrench is absolutely perfect for tightening bulkhead fittings, and the offset handle makes it easier to use in tight spots than a typical Channel Lock wrench.

This one, which even my grandson has learned to love, is a 12” long no-name model we picked up at an auto parts store. He needs both hands, but most folks older than three can open it one-handed up to 4” wide. That makes it easy to reach down deep to the bottom of a Skimmer or FilterFalls and tighten bulkhead fittings up to 2”.

You can find an oil filter wrench at just about any hardware store or online. It’s up to you to think outside the box and find more uses out of a single tool!

Do you have an awesome tool you use that totally doesn’t suck? We’d love to hear about it and let Demi give it a try! Read more of Demi’s Tools That Don’t Suck here!

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.