The Wearing of the Green – Algae in the Spring

Yesterday was Saint Patrick’s Day, when we mark the anniversary of his death by celebrating the Green Isle and all things green. What better time to talk about green water, right? Here are some interesting facts about that wonderful plant, algae, we all love to hate, and maybe even some more reasons to love the green!

pond algae

Algae are not plants. Many are single cells with a simple chloroplast, the machinery behind the magic of photosynthesis. They share that capacity with plants, that wondrous ability to turn carbon dioxide and water into sugar using the power of sunlight, but they don’t have stems, leaves, roots or organs. Neither are they bacteria, though it is thought it may have arisen when a bacterium stole a chloroplast from a cyanobacterium, creating the first algal cells over one BILLION years ago. The term ‘algae’ actually refers to many entirely different lineages of organisms, some of which are multicellular, others which thrive under the ice cap, or are red or purple in color, or live inside corals, or lichens or even the fur of polar bears.

This loose conglomeration of not-quite-plants is home to anywhere between 72,000 and 1 MILLION species, depending on who’s counting. Multicellular macroalgae come in three different colors – red, green and brown – and we know them mainly as seaweed, like kelp and sea lettuce. But the vast majority are microalgae, the little one-celled devils that make water green (or red or pink or brown), and there are tens of thousands of species of them.

Why do algae matter? Because the world runs on algae, in just about every sense. Need oxygen to live? Many of us do. Algae create 50% of all the oxygen in the atmosphere. Ever get hungry? You’d be a lot hungrier without algae. All seafood is ultimately sustained by it, the base of both marine and freshwater food pyramids. The Koi in your pond could live directly just on algae. And, since every land plant descended from algae, and every land animal depends on land plants for sustenance, either directly as an herbivore or omnivore, or indirectly as a predator of herbivores, you could say we all owe our existence to algae. On a more approachable level, the oil that powers our cars and industry is mainly the product of the decomposition of immensely deep beds of dead algae. And going forward, the biofuels of the future will be directly produced by – you guessed it – algae.

So the next time you see that tinge in the water, instead of shaking your shillelagh in frustration, maybe you should celebrate ‘the wearin’ of the green’!

Check out our blog for more articles on spring, algae and other helpful tips and tricks the water garden industry 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.

Spring Is For Sprucing!

It’s here! Spring! Well, meteorological Spring anyway. I personally can’t wait until the solstice, probably because it’s 23 degrees with a 40-mile-an-hour wind this morning. For those of us who endure winter without running water features, it’s time to start thinking about getting ponds started back up again.

Even if you don’t freeze for winter, Spring is the perfect time for seasonal maintenance. Pumps should be pulled, cleaned and serviced if needed. Diffusers in shallow water that kept ice from sealing the pond can be moved back into deeper water. Filter pads in pond systems can be cleaned if they weren’t in the fall. Remember to clean only half in chlorinated water. Rinse the others only in pond water, and don’t let them dry out, to preserve the bacteria living in them. Put the rinsed mats back into the bottom of upflow biofilters, to quickly reseed the cleaned mats above them.

Your plants will appreciate some attention too. They may just need pruning and feeding with Pondtabbs, or they might benefit from a replanting. If you’re careful, they may never realize they’ve been moved, but will reward you with better growth and blooms in season. To accelerate the growth of waterlilies, keep them close to the surface early in the season, so the leaves are in the warmest water. As the rest of the pond gradually warms, you can then drop them down into deeper water. 

Debris that builds up over winter is likely to contribute to nutrients in the water, just as water warms. Algae blooms can be common this time of year, before other plants wake up and compete for nutrients. Now is the perfect time to replace your ultraviolet lamps. They may still be emitting visible light, but they decline in UV output after a year and aren’t effective. A new bulb now keeps algae at bay, right when you need it most.

One thing I personally don’t like doing is a major cleanup in Spring. My fish have had to overwinter under ice. They started their fast fat and happy, but that was four months ago. They are thin and stressed and their immune systems are at low ebb – this is not the time to mess with them. We do our major cleanup in the fall, after the leaves are mostly down. I may go in with a PondoVac and pull out some lingering leaves, but it’s more likely we’ll wait until temps are higher and my fish are feeding again (above 55 degrees Fahrenheit).

Contractors, as for the spring major cleanup money that you may be giving up, there’s no shortage of work in the spring. A quick vacuuming in addition to the steps above can be quite satisfactory all around and a lot less time-consuming, at a time when all your customers want to see you. Set up a follow-up later in the spring for your needier jobs, and have your customers work on a wish list of extras. Two trips will be better than one.

Happy Spring! 


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.

Never Too Late To Add Aeration

Seasonal Tip – How how to install an aerator AFTER the pond ices over.


Winter presents a number of challenges in the water garden. Ice dams may divert water out of the stream. Ice drops the water level in the pond. The cold itself puts major stress on fish and plants, not to mention people. But the single most damaging effect of the cold happens when ice seals the pond off from the atmosphere.

When oxygen cannot diffuse into pond water, fish and the other animals in the pond will suffocate. Possibly even worse, toxic gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide, will build up and poison everything in the water. Luckily the solution is simple. Any hole in the ice will allow for gas exchange in both directions, keeping the pond and its inhabitants healthy over the winter.

It’s pretty well accepted these days by contractors and pond owners alike that aeration is the simplest, most effective and least costly way to keep a hole free of ice. Set at the edge of the pond in shallow water, the circulation caused by rising bubbles will maintain a small hole in the ice without cooling the water unnecessarily. But what happens if you forget to put a diffuser in before the pond ices over?

The last thing you want to do is smash a hole in the ice with a hammer! The shock waves in the closed system will transmit the shockwaves directly into the fish, stunning and perhaps even killing them. One less forceful and less damaging way of opening a hole in ice for gas exchange is to use hot water. You can pour hot tap water directly onto the ice.


For larger diffusers or thick ice use a pot or kettle with a diameter at least as large as the diffuser. Fill it with water and bring it to a boil, then set it on the ice near the edge of the pond. For very thick ice you may have to repeat the process. Once the hole is open and the diffuser set, you can relax for the rest of the winter, knowing your fish will be safe!


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.

Caring For Aquatic Plants For Every Season

Nature can be punishing when bad chemistry or persistent disease from an imbalanced ecosystem throws a pond into chaos. A slight miscalculation or delay in addressing the cause and all can be lost; life itself relies on knowledge of plants and how we take care of their aquatic environment.

With every season comes a list of must-do’s, can’t-it-waits and let’s-hope-it-doesn’t-happens. Creating an evolving things-to-do list, by season, should minimize risk to aquatic plants.

Spring

After spring blasts us from hibernation to assess our pond’s winter damage, we break out our work ethic and tools of the trade and begin the transformation of spring cleaning.

After all, your home extends beyond your house. Pond plants rely on a pond’s ecosystem to ensure a healthy environment during their most active months. Divide and repot plants, when applicable, and introduce new marginal, bog and floater plants—whichever might bring balance to the habitat. But take note: the pond also expects the plants to do their part. Plants with deep roots break down toxins and excessive nutrients into needed oxygen. So the entire ecosystem needs to be on its best behavior and work together.

Perhaps the most impactful spring chore is a thorough vacuuming of the pond from top to bottom. The PondoVac series from OASE—PondoVac Classic and the PondoVac 3, 4 & 5—will remove large debris including leaves and anything else that accumulated over the fall and winter months. This simple chore provides pond plants a good start to the season.

Summer

A good deadheading of aquatic plants, on a consistent basis throughout the summer, helps keep the pond neat and tidy. Remove any foliage that is browning, leaning or deteriorating into the pond. FlexiCut 2 in 1 with it’s adjustable head makes deadheading an easy chore without risk to the pond liner. This reduces debris build-up in the pond and provides room for new plant growth. Keep the pond free of debris with the OASE PondNet for skimming or OASE EasyPick pond pliers with a telescopic handle to remove leaves and small branches.

The summer season also demands maximum aeration to prevent mosquitos and algae blooms and a range of threats to aquatic plants. Water gardens are ideal habitats for a variety of freshwater plants and pond creatures, but only if that pond offers sufficient oxygen levels through aeration.

Waterfalls are effective for aeration and serve to beautify, too. Expect the waterfall to attract birds and other grateful inhabitants to pond banks. OASE offers energy efficient pond and waterfall pumps with advanced technology that ensure a clean and clear waterfall with stable oxygen levels. These pumps work to reliably circulate water with extremely low energy output. Try the OASE waterfall spillway—it’s durable, low maintenance and blends seamlessly into the background. But it’s impact is impressive.

Fall & Winter

Remove pond plants from plant shelves and place them in a lower/deeper section of the pond to ensure roots don’t freeze. Not all plants take kindly to submersion through the winter—some require a temporary new home until the spring returns and the sun and warmth are here to stay.

Fall is also a season to divide aquatic plants, including water lilies and iris. Continue to ensure your pond is free of debris from falling leaves—another task for the OASE EasyPick. Remove dying plant foliage from the pond with the OASE FlexiCut 2 in 1 as it can eventually pollute the water. After plants have ceased growing, cut back and lower the pot to the bottom of the pond.

Some tropical plants can bloom throughout winter if brought inside and kept in a tub container with at least six hours of light—or remove the tuber from the pot after the foliage has died.

All aquatic plants are different so it’s important to research the specific needs of each plant. Luckily, resources are aplenty. The 21st century has brought technology—efficient, economical, user-friendly technology. Solutions to every pond plant scenario are hashed out online by water garden enthusiasts.


Original OASE Living Water article can be found here.

Fall: Adjusting Your Maintenance with the Change in Seasons

Fall is a great time to prepare the pond for winter. In order to reduce gas build up during the winter months, more frequent or more thorough cleaning of the pond is recommended. An easy way to clean organic matter from all nooks and crannies of the pond is with a PondoVac. 

As the weather gets colder, feeding fish should be dialed back and appropriate foods used.

As the temperature falls below 45°F, bacteria activity stops and with it the biological filtration functionality of the pond filter system. It is now time to stop feeding fish and to consider winterization of the filter.

Clean Before the Mess

If leaves and debris sink from the surface to the pond floor, there is risk of the pond becoming unbalanced and murky. The SwimSkim, AquaSkim, and FiltoSkim skimmers keep everything clear, before murky water occurs.

Falling leaves and other organic matter cause a majority of the clouding issues in a garden pond. Initially they collect on the water surface, then they sink to the bottom and contaminate the pond floor.

Surface skimmers remove organic matter before it sinks to the bottom.

SwimSkim

  • Floating skimmers for pond surfaces up to 270 ft²
  • Particularly effective suction capacity thanks to patented flap technology
  • Aerates your water
  • Easy handling, easy cleaning
  • Automatic adaptation to any water level (from 16 in. water depth)

AquaSkim

  • Easy to install and use in existing ponds
  • Idea partner for the AquaMax Eco Premium pump series
  • Telescopic design allows for easy installation for a wide range of pond depths

Thanks to practical pond helpers, such as the the FlexiCut 2-in-1 pond scissors, the EasyPick pond pliers, and the PondNet, you are fully equipped for removing dead plants and algae from the pond or easily trimming plants.

  • EasyPick: Pond pliers for grasping and removing cuttings or leaves in and on the pond
  • FlexiCut 2 in 1: Pond scissors that simultaneously hold the cut plants when cutting
  • PondNet: Pond fish net with a telescoping handle for removing unwanted debris

Maintenance Made Easy

Sometimes you aren’t able to stop debris from falling to the bottom of the pond. To prevent the pond from being over-burdened later in the winter, remove organic matter from the water and clean the pond floor. Practical and powerful helpers, such as the OASE PondoVac 3 or 4, support you in this regard. With this innovative pond and pool vacuum, dirt, algae, fish waste, and plant remains on the pond floor no longer stand a chance.

  • Simple and fast way to remove debris and decaying organic matter
  • Different nozzle head options for every pond application
  • Debris collection bag ideal for returning cleaned water when suctioning larger particles
  • Compact design and built-in handle allow for easy movement and transportation
  • Maximum suction depth of 6-7 ft.

Seasonal Cleanup

Green leaves become classic autumnal hues then begin their journey downward, floating rhythmically past windows and serving as harbinger of crisper, cooler weather. Fall weather beckons us to enjoy comfortable outdoor temps and the array of colors before boots and parkas become the go-to.

For pond owners in many parts of the country, the season has an asterisk. Fall means leaves in perpetuity—begging to be raked up, sucked up and picked up. But for a season of pond-side enjoyment, trade an afternoon and a bit of elbow grease. Trust us—it will be worth it.

A treed landscape demands extra TLC for your pond this time of year. Keeping your pond leaf-free is about more than aesthetics—it protects its ecological balance. Decomposing leaves and other organic matter infuse the pond’s water with excessive nutrients, depleting oxygen levels. Consistent and prompt removal with OASE’s PondNet will help maintain the pond health. OASE’s EasyPick pond pliers are a must-have tool for extracting sticks, cuttings and other large debris too awkward for netting.

Tidy up by pruning pond-side landscaping with OASE’s FlexiCut 2-in-1 pond scissors. With a handle length of 5.2 feet, they are well-suited for overgrown vegetation in hard-to-reach areas. And feel free to jettison the waders—FlexiCut pond scissors stabilize while they cut so you don’t have to trudge through the water for strategic positioning.

If cleaning the pond daily with a net is not ideal, consider a surface skimmer. OASE surface skimmers work overtime to keep ponds clean and debris free. Choose a skimmer based on pond size, plug it in and put it to work. It aerates as it cleans, contributing to a healthy ecosystem for fish and plants. To remove organic buildup, silt and debris from the bottom of the pond, try OASE’s PondoVac 5.

Assess the plants. Depending on the type and variety, they may need to be divided or removed before the first freeze. Start your research, identify the species and devise a plan. As you inspect each plant, remove any dead or dying foliage.

Install netting over the pond toward the end of summer—it will not compromise its beauty but will serve as barrier to leaves and other organic matter. Netting will also protect your marine pets from predators.

As the mercury dips, fish metabolism slows and food requirements change. Any uneaten fish food floating in the pond will decompose, compromising the ecological balance. Reduce feedings to once daily and reduce the amount of food once the water temperature dips below 70 degrees. When it reaches the high 50s, feed two to three  times per week. If food is not consumed within five minutes, consider reducing the amount of food at each feeding. Once the water temperature dips below 50 degrees, refrain from feeding fish.

When your work is done—trade your lemonade for a pumpkin spice latte, grab a sweatshirt and enjoy fall’s crisp, cool weather. Relax in your Adirondack, listen to the robin’s roundelays, and look up at the falling leaves against the bright, blue sky. (Cross your fingers they land on the other side of the fence).


Original OASE Living Water article can be found here.

Atlantic-OASE Staff Picks: BioTec Screenmatic²

I was recently asked to write on my favorite Atlantic-OASE product. I did not have to give it a second thought. Immediately knew which product I was going to share my thoughts on. 

But first, a little background. I have had a pond in the back yard for many years. It was built with the American standard of filtration or equivalent to the ecosystem style pond. It has a skimmer, a large pump, and a filter falls (biological filter in the waterfall). The water has always been crystal clear, and beautiful. I have never seen a visible algae problem as the plants grow each season and out compete for nutrients. But in recent years an issue had become more and more recurring, and that is increased maintenance. It had gotten to the point of cleaning the skimmer every 4 days. This does not sound too tough, but when you travel for work as I do it can be problematic. 

Enter my new favorite product from Atlantic-OASE, the BioTec Screenmatic² filter with an AquaMax Eco Premium Pump. Let me tell you, when the idea of putting a pump in the bottom of the pond was first suggested, I did not react that well. Now six months later, it was the best decision I have made where the pond is considered. I have gone from always maintaining my pond to actually enjoying my pond. 

You see, the standard of just a skimmer and falls works just fine, but there is always going to be maintenance. Depending on the fish load and plants, the maintenance will vary from pond to pond. In my case, I have a medium to large fish load, a ton of plants and we like to see the fish eat. A simple helpful option would be to remove some of the fish and reduce the load, but if you know me, that wasn’t realistic. As I mentioned before, I never had water quality or clarity issues but, the skimmer net was clogging about every four days. The debris in the net was always a hair like substance and was fine enough to clog the net.

After adding the BioTec Screenmatic², it took about 2-3 weeks for the skimmer maintenance to reduce then go away. It has now been right at 4 months and the skimmer is still functioning properly with out fail. Prior to installation the skimmer would clog and not let water pass. 

The BioTec Screenmatic² is a flow through filter with biological and mechanical filtration. It automatically separates debris by using a self-cleaning screen depositing coarse debris into its removable tray. The intelligent cleaning sensor detects pollutant levels entering the filter and automatically activates the screen. It is very cool to watch your pond filter clean itself. 

This is not just an endorsement of a product it is a testimonial. This filter has changed my lifestyle. It solved two problems while enhancing my lifestyle. First was the question of what was clogging the skimmer net. By the time I cleaned the skimmer it was a black hairy substance covering the net. It turned out that I have a good growth of a carpet style algae on the rocks in the bottom of the pond. The fish would scrape the rocks clean and continually release the algae into the water column for the filters to remove. Now that there is a way to remove it from in the pond, the skimmer stays clear and ready for larger debris. I did not realize this until I checked the removable debris tray from the filter. 

The second problem it will be taking care of, my yearly cleanout. You see, with just a skimmer and falls and a medium to large fish load, my filtration was in efficient. Debris would build up in different areas of the bottom of the pond. Now a few months in, I do not see any debris areas and am estimating the yearly clean out can be pushed an additional year if not more.

By adding the BioTec Screenmatic² I was able to eliminate excess maintenance and keep all my fish. If there was room, I would just rebuild the pond larger but since there is not, it was the BioTec Screenmatic² to the rescue and I couldn’t be happier. 


About the Author:

Sean Bell

Sean is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast for Atlantic-OASE. Fish Geek and water feature enthusiast, Sean has managed one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company. When it comes to water features, Sean is your guy!

The Most Valuable Koi

So we all know what ‘koi’ are, and we have an inkling that there are serious collectors – koi kichi – out there. That makes them valuable, at least to some people. But how much could a fish, even a big fish, even a very pretty fish, actually be worth, and why? 

Well, there was once a very beautiful nishikigoi in Japan, of the type first developed over two hundred years ago. This stunning fish was a Kohaku, white with red patches pleasingly distributed over her body. What made her exceptionally lovely was the intensity of her colors, and the absolute crisp delineation between the white and red. All the borders were sharp and crisp. The red patches were perfect, all the same unvaried shade without blotching or faded areas. The white field they overlaid was equally without stain, a perfect white. She had no other markings, and no imperfections. At nine years old, the three-foot-three-inch fish had perfect fins and her body the ideal shape, swelling to its largest girth midway between her head and tail, perfectly symmetrical. Her breeders, Saki Fish Farm in Hiroshima Japan, auctioned in October of 2018. At the gavel’s drop, a young lady from Taiwan with a family background in koi, Miss Yingying, paid 203 million yen for S Legend, as the carp is called. 

That’s $1.8 MILLION BUCKS for a fish! What’s even more amazing is Miss Yingying Chung’s story, but that’s for you to look up.… 

And remember, when you’re ready for your million dollar koi, Atlantic-OASE has the pond equipment for you! 


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.

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 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.

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.