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 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.

10 Flowers To Add To Your Mom’s Water Garden This Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day and what better way to give thanks and show your mom your love and appreciation than by giving her the water garden she’s been asking for! Here’s 10 flowers perfect for in and around her water garden!

Hibiscus

Hibiscus grow to be big and bold flowers in a range of beautiful colors. They’re native to wet areas and are easy to grow. Plant these bright beauties pond side and give them full sunlight to flourish!

Japanese Iris

The Japanese Iris is a semi-aquatic plant that grows best in wet soil around the boarder of or in the shallow water of your pond. These pretty purple flowers may not bloom the first year they’re planted but will flower beautifully first thing in the following spring! Great to plant and look forward to for years to come!

Water Lily

One of the most popular floating pond plants is the Water Lily. Not only do Water Lily leaves provide coverage for your fish from the heat and sun in the summer, but their flowers bloom in a range of beautiful bright colors that pop on your pond. Whether you choose hardy water lilies that come back every year, or tropicals that bloom more profusely but don’t survive cold winters, plan on fertilizing them monthly and replanting every couple of years for the best display.

Lotus

You probably know the Lotus has been revered for centuries for its blooms, but did you know its seeds and tubers are a delicious and important ingredient in many Asian cuisines? You’ll treasure the elegant summer blooming flowers that come in a variety of stunning colors. Plant a dwarf variety like ‘Momo Bhotan’ in full sun unless you have a really big pond – full-sized Lotus can multiply like crazy and take up a lot of real estate. 

Astilbe (Goat’s Beard)

The Astilbe, also known as “Goat’s Beard” because of its resemblance to that furry creature feature, thrives in the moist soil at the edge of the pond. Although white is its common color, Astilbe brighten partially shaded spots in colors from reds to pinks and purples!

Hostas

The large two toned colored leaves and beautiful little purple flowers make the Hostas a great plant to add to the edges surrounding your water garden. Hostas do great in shaded areas and should be planted in wet soils around the edges of your pond!

Marsh Marigolds

The cheery, yellow, spring blooming Marsh Marigolds grow naturally in riverbeds and marshlands and make perfect plants for your water gardens. Marsh Marigolds are a hands-off plant that takes care of itself. Just make sure its soil doesn’t dry out!

Canna

Canna have gorgeous flowers and unique leaves that give a great pop of color to any water garden. These tropical looking plants can be fully submerged in your water garden or placed pond side and like most plants we’ve recommended, love full sunlight.

Cattail

What’s a pond without the traditional favorite, a Cattail! Did you know that Cattail can be used for more than just decoration in your water garden? These familiar plants are completely edible and can be used in a multitude of ways from medical uses, crafting and more.

“Water Lotus”

If all else fails, these “Water Lotus” are a pretty, easy, no-maintenance addition that come in a variety of stunning colors! These fool-proof eternal blooms are great for anyone who wants to add color to their water garden but doesn’t have the desire or ability to maintain living plants.


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.

To Every Pump, a Purpose

From my perspective, the newly combined and expanded Atlantic-OASE presents a welcome challenge, the task of assimilating a veritable abundance of new and exciting products. Today I’d like to talk about our greatly expanded pump line, and I’m including page numbers so you can follow along in the 2020 Catalog.

In Fountain Pumps, on pages 70 & 80 for example, the flow and head ranges of Atlantic and OASE lines are similar. Both series share built-in adjustability, suction feet and replaceable components. But, the OASE Fountain pumps also feature a grounding plate to direct stray current from any source safely out of the water; they are less expensive and carry a longer warranty. Although it’s not up to me, I might bet we’ll have less redundancy next year in this range.

In larger Magnetic Induction pumps, the story is different because the lines are complementary. AWG MD-Series (page 81) range from 250 to 1500 nominal gallons per hour. Their volutes rotate and their footprint are tiny, perfect for small cavities and close quarters, but these are no lightweights. MD’s are solid, heavily-built pumps that carry a 5-year warranty. Extending the range, the OASE Waterfall Pumps (page 88) are synchronous magnetic pumps that start where the MD’s stop. Larger in size and capacity, from 1650 to 5150 gph, Waterfall Pumps feature a coated rotor that does not allow lime to accrete easily and a self-flushing rotor chamber; they can handle the worst water conditions out there. Although the warranty is less at 3 years, their high efficiencies and integrated grounding plate make these a great choice for larger fountains and hard water applications.

The TT-Series, AquaMax and Neptun pumps are also complementary lines, built for entirely different tasks. TT1500 through TT9000 (pages 72-73) are compact clean water pumps built for use in skimmers. Featuring high flows and high efficiencies, all TT’s work with our Tidal Wave Variable Speed Control (page 78), to adjust pump flow from 20% to 100%. Easy to access, pull apart and clean, TT-Series pumps make maintenance a breeze.

The AquaMax Classic and Premium Series (pages 84-85) are designed to live at the bottom of the pond, where they push 1200 to 4000gph of mucky water at low head and very low wattage. When paired with a matched OASE filter and UV, these solids handling pumps qualify for the OASE Clear Water Guarantee, assuring you’ll be able to read the 1” mark on a tape measure extending three feet down into the water. Both the Classic and the Premium share a low restriction housing that can go for entire seasons without needing to be cleaned; the Premium features a second inlet to power a second satellite intake or an in-pond skimmer. All come equipped with a grounding plate for complete security against short circuits and stray current in the water.

The third pump series, Neptun (p81), is designed specifically for the rigors of fountain use. The stainless steel screen is designed to draw the shallow, clean water of fountains without clogging or vortexing, regardless of temperature. In fact, these pumps are frost-proof down to -4°F for extreme durability and can be used submersed or in-line.

Finally, there are the Eco Experts, Aquarius for fountains, AquaMax for water gardens. These powerful 220v pumps deliver massive flows from around 7000 gph to over 11000 gallons per hour, but sip minimal electricity – even the largest pull only 700 watts. The brushless DC motors offer more than just extraordinary flows and wattages; the fully electronic pumps can be programmed to vary their flows as well. The fountain iteration, Aquarius Eco Expert, offers a dance of 9 different speeds cycling at the touch of the blue button, to provide a captivating built-in fountain display. Combine the pump with an Eco Control or the full Electronic Garden Control system (p83) and choose from another 12 pre-programmed water patterns, or set whatever flow you wish. Fully thermally protected and frost-proof to -4°F, these are among the finest fountain pumps ever built.

For water garden use, the AquaMax Eco Expert (page 86-87) offers the same power, protection and connectivity but exchanges the water dances of the Aquarius for the more pond-useful Seasonal Flow Control. Now when you push the blue button the pump slows as the water cools, limiting circulation and automatically avoiding supercooling the water as it freezes.      


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.

Let’s Talk Spring

For most of the country, spring has sprung and you pond or water feature is up and running and waiting for Mother Nature to wreak havoc on your creations. Here’s some helpful start up tips and advice to help combat any issues Mother Nature causes in your ponds, pond free waterfalls and fountains!

Ponds

Ponds need tender loving care from March to May depending on what part of the country you are in. 

All ponds need the left over debris from the previous Fall removed to give your pond a fresh start to the season. Some may need a complete overhaul (costly and may not be needed) but, most will just need a good clean up. Netting out leaves, debris and string algae that are starting to form should do the trick.

Once you have done the cleanup and your skimmer, pump and biological filter are running, you will need to start your beneficial bacteria treatments which will continue throughout the year. 

Remember, the only reason you have string algae is because the food source (nutrients in the water) is greater than the things that consume nutrients like plants, beneficial bacteria and fish. Once you have a balance, string algae will be greatly diminished. Liquid and granular algaecides can help reduce growth, but the goals are to have your filter system and plants with the aid of beneficial bacteria do it naturally. 

Adding aeration to your pond is another way to enhance the water clarity and quality naturally. 

Pond-free Waterfalls and Fountains

Pond-free Waterfall and Fountains need the same tender loving care from March to May.  

Clean up any leftover Fall debris and hook up your pump to get the water moving. You may have a slight rotten egg smell once you turn your feature on after the winter months. Do not panic this will pass in about 24 hours with the water circulation.   

Mother Nature works on these water features also! Algae will start to form in the stream water and on the decorative pieces. Liquid and granular algaecides can help reduce the growth and keep the feature clear. 

Another option for these features would be to add a copper ionizer; which releases a small dose of copper electrodes into the water to ward off algae. Remember, very small doses are all that would be needed (.03ppm) so make sure you are testing your copper levels if using an ionizer.  

Feel free to add your tips and suggestions about what you do the get your water features up and running for the Spring season below in the comments! How do you combat what the the spring brings to your water features? Do you work with or against Mother Nature? 


About the Author:

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.

OASE Water Quintet and Trio

The Water Quintet and Trio from Atlantic-OASE will make a great addition to your landscape or pond. Both products, right out of the box, can be set up in a pond or water feature.

The thing that makes these units special is how you can use them in your own creative manner. First, remove the top cover by simply turning the nozzle cover on each nozzle and remove the top. Each pump is attached to plastic base with four screws, once screws are removed the pump is free from the base. Now the fun and creativity can begin. You can now vary the height of each nozzle with the extension tubes or leave them all the same height. Each pump is now able to be placed in any pattern you would like.

Each nozzle can be moved up to a 10-degree angle to give you a straight up or arched looked. It is best to secure each pump to a paver, thick pvc or a plastic plank to ensure the are stable.

The remote allows you to use them in 9 different patterns with the 9th  being a random pattern of the 8. You can also combine up to 5 units on one remote the achieve a larger display of nozzles. Using the Quintet and Trio in this manner will achieve a look and feel that will surely please anyone that is viewing it. 


About the Author:

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: Kershaw SpeedSafe Pocket Knives

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.

I won’t leave home without a pocketknife unless I’m going through Security. I’ve had dozens over the years, starting with my trusty Buck 110, the old school model with ebony wood scales. They all shared the same drawback; they were difficult, or impossible, to open safely with one hand. I tried going to fixed blades, but standard side sheaths were bulky and very noticeable. Cross draw sheaths, set horizontally on the belt at the small of the back, seemed menacing. These might not have presented too much of a problem on the worksite but both were certainly less than optimal in any formal setting. The same could be said of the one automatic knife I brought back from Italy. That raised eyebrows everywhere.

A few years ago I discovered Kershaw SpeedSafe knives. The assisted opening system, a beautifully engineered internal spring, allows a small flipper tab on the top of the blade to quickly open the knife with the touch of a finger. It is NOT an automatic knife, a switchblade or anything illegal; the spring just helps the knife open, safely, with one hand. The system is available on a multitude of models, some pricey, some very inexpensive.

I am a huge fan. I own a number of Kershaws, choosing between them depending on what I’ll be doing that day. My current favorite for field work is the sturdy, somewhat heavy Freefall tanto style blade. The textured scales offer a good grip even in wet hands, while the sturdy edge is easily sharpened and stands up to abuse.

At the office or going out I really like the lightweight Zing, which I find as attractive as it is functional. It is hardly noticeable when parked in my right front pocket, but always at hand when I need to open a package or share an apple. One last point that has kept me from getting into too much trouble with my very patient but always budget conscious better half, Susan. Many Kershaw blades retail for less than $35, including the two mentioned here. At work or play, Kershaw SpeedSafe knives definitely qualify as Tools That Don’t Suck.

Want to see more Tools That Don’t Suck by Demi? Read all about the DMT Diamond Sharpener for your knives or read more of his articles 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.

Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Spotlight – Jason & Tony Lenox

Join us in recognizing an Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) pair of brothers for another spotlight section!

Jason Lenox and Tony Lenox, Ponds Inc. of Illinois, Illinois 

Where are you from: Jason was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin and is now residing in Dundee, Illinois. Tony was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and is now residing in South Elgin, Illinois. Ponds Inc. of Illinois is based in Gilberts, Illinois currently.

How long you’ve been working in the industry: I’ve been working in the landscaping industry for 30 years. We’re proud to be two time POND Trade Magazine Water Artisans of the Year Award Winners. 

What you love about what you do: My Brother and I love helping others while helping ourselves through our artistry and passion of creating truly enjoyable outdoor spaces that soothe your soul allowing smiles to flow like the waterfalls we create!

Favorite Atlantic-OASE product: There are so many incredible products to choose from especially with the Atlantic Water Gardens products combined with the OASE North America products! 

I guess I would have to say must have favorite or a useful product for maintaining and servicing water features is: PondVac 5 it’s a very useful tool for us!

For creating incredible elements to any water feature design: the FastFalls Series is also impressive!

One of your favorite projects you’ve done: Key West, Florida was definitely a beautiful place for my Brother and I to build an incredible all Atlantic-OASE product water feature! What’s even more exciting about it is that we were able to build together with the #CrazyHappyIrishPondBuilder known as Gerard Touhey of WaterFeaturesbyGerard.com! How can building a large scale PondFree water feature in paradise with our great friend Gerard Touhey not be a favorite project? Even Lloyd Lightsey, ThePondMonster.com from Florida came down to participate in our shenanigans!

Gerard Touhey, Water Features by Gerard

New projects I’m working on: Ponds Inc. is currently designing a large water wall waterfalls feature in downtown Chicago working with David Montoya of StoneMakers.net utilizing incredible artificial rock work combined with Atlantic-OASE products to create a truly magnificent outdoor dining space at a well known Chicago restaurant! Stay tuned! 

Anything else you’d like to share with your fellow APC’s: Number one, the most important advice I can offer is to get your company’s website listed with the Team at www.p-o-n-d.services so you’re found on page one of search engines like Google! Encourage your distributors, retailers, landscapers and manufacturers to get connected also! The more our industry gets connected, the more beneficial it is to us all!

My next best advice is to learn and soak up as much as you can from other pond contractors throughout our industry. We all can always learn from each other through networking! This includes attending industry events and landscape shows. Get to know others who you can help which in turn helps you all to succeed in this industry that we all love!

Lastly, help each other out by participating in social media by sharing, watching, liking, subscribing and commenting on each others content from Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Houzz, Pinterest, Tik Tok, Twitter and Snap Chat! Give Google reviews, Facebook reviews and reviews on Houzz etc! Help each other succeed and others will help you succeed!

See more of the Lenox brothers on all of their social media! Facebook Ponds Inc. of Illinois, Twitter @PondsInc4you, Houzz Ponds Inc. of Illinois, Pinterest Ponds Inc. of Illinois and Hometalk Ponds Inc. of Illinois, Jason Lenox.


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.

Moving Water, It’s Therapeutic!

Our everyday lives are always on the go. With our jobs, family, friends and everyday life, it can add additional stress. We are always looking for ways in our fast pace lives to slow down and enjoy the things around us to help us destress. The things that can make a difference in how we feel. Water makes you happier, healthier, more connected to other people. Everyone just wants to relax, we know we do! One way you can do that is by having a water feature in your back yard! It is proven that the sounds of moving water has a soothing effect on your mind and body in a therapeutic form. Not only are these experiences therapeutic, it can also activate positive thoughts and memories such as taking you to your happy place. 

With everyone staying home, we are seeing them working on their landscape and improving their homes. Many look at putting in a water feature and what it would take to do so. Unfortunately the worry is that it’s too complicated or too involved or would cost too much. And they shy away from it. This is not the case at Atlantic-OASE! We have products that can help the DIY-er in yourself come out and provide cost affordable and easy installation of water feature products to create just about anything in your current landscape. 

We have a saying, “you are limited to your imagination on what you can create, you just need to be inspired.” Anything from a fountain, waterfall, pond to a large-scale project can be done. This will depend on the size of your yard or what you are trying to achieve. One of the many examples you can create for your future backyard oasis is the Pond Free system. Having a waterfall providing the sounds of moving water as it cascades down and then disappears into the ground allows you to have the sounds of moving water with a waterfall anywhere in your landscape without the worry of tending to a big body of open water.

Why is it that everyone travels to the beach for vacation to relax? It’s because the sounds, the smells and the atmosphere of being around water creates a calming affect on everyone in its presence! Imagine coming home from a long day of work and wanting to decompress. Step outside your back door and relax by your waterfall or fountain, that you customized to your backyard, and just listen to the water flow. It’s therapeutic! Pull up a chair, grab a drink and let the white noise of your water feature wash away your stress.

Having moving water in your landscape can help you relax and enjoy nature as it was intended. 


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!

If You Build It, They Will Come

In honor of National Save The Frogs Day I wanted to make our readers aware of just how desperate frogs are for decent places to live and breed, and how fast frogs will find a new water feature. It’s a direct result of there being so little high-quality habitat in the wild. Every little pond or water feature is a beacon, and I certainly don’t have to tell our pond builders out there how quickly the dragonflies and butterflies and birds and frogs respond. 

One particular example always brings a smile to my face. Many years ago we were asked to build a circular patio for a customer at this time of year, in the back yard of a new subdivision. With rain on the way, we worked furiously to dig out the clay in a 16’ diameter circle to about 10” deep before the storm. The rain hit just as we finished raking and tamping the soil. And it rained. And it rained. It rained for over a week. When we got back to the site to finish up almost two weeks later, as we were unloading the tools and wheelbarrows , we noticed our circular excavation was filled to the brim with rainwater. Not unexpected, but the water itself looked very strange indeed – it was jet black in color! 

We came closer, and the black water MOVED. Now we were really interested and dropped to our knees for a better look. Up close, we could see tens of thousands of tiny moving dots, only about an eighth of an inch long, wriggling furiously away from us. I rinsed out my coffee cup and scooped a few dozen up to take a better look. 

There were two shapes visible – the first, a black tear drop, round in front, trailing off to a tiny tail. The vast majority of the wrigglers were this shape. The others, far fewer, were tiny transparent footballs, fatter in the middle, with two black dots – eyes! They were tadpoles and fish fry! We couldn’t figure out how they got there in their thousands – still don’t know to this day. But we did our best to save them.  

We started late that day, after visiting three of our projects in the local area and dumping a bucket of wriggling tadpoles and tiny fry in each. The tadpoles turned out to be spring peepers which found their way out of the ponds and into the trees that season. We still have populations of the fish, a small native minnow, in many of my ponds, where they are excellent insect control. 

IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME! Celebrate Save The Frogs Day on April 25th!


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.