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.

Perfecting Pairings: OASE FiltoClear & Atlantic FilterFalls

Atlantic and OASE are great partners with complementary product lines that dovetail perfectly to enhance water quality and reduce maintenance. We complement each other on a number of levels, including filtration philosophies. Here in the States, where leaves and clippings are typically the major maintenance concern, we clean from the top, skimming the surface of the pond to capture floating leaves and debris before they can sink. The pump lives in the skimmer, sending the prefiltered water up to an upflow biofilter, where pads clean and clear water mechanically and biologically.

In Europe, fishponds are typically cleaned from the bottom. There, a solids-handling pump on the bottom sends fish wastes and small particulates to extremely efficient pressure filters that remove much finer suspended solids than upflow biofilters can.

The two philosophies are yin and yang; one continually removes leaves and floating debris but requires periodic cleaning of settled solids; the other captures the settling solids but requires vacuuming to remove leaves and larger debris. Put the two together and you get top down, bottom up cleaning that dramatically improves water quality and drastically reduces maintenance.

Let’s take for example any existing fish pond here in the States with a Skimmer and FilterFalls. Let’s say this pond is a few years old and the fish in it are happy and healthy. That means they’ll be big and fat from constant overfeeding and there will be way too many of them, both because they’ve reproduced and because their owners will have added fish – “only a few, here and there, really!” Yeah, right.

Now there are more wastes than the original equipment was designed to handle. Even with additional mats in the FilterFalls, the excess nutrients have started to impact water quality and clarity, as algae take advantage of the constant nitrates in the water column. The homeowners have an aeration system, and are adding bacteria, but the pond just isn’t as clear and clean as it was with one fifth the fish load. Nor are the doting ‘parents’ willing to part with a single one of their cherished ‘children’, all of whom have cute names and endearing habits. So, there are more fish and fish wastes than the pond can metabolize naturally and even an aggressive cleanout will only delay the return of the same conditions.

The contractor now can offer a return to gin-clear water, guaranteed, without rebuilding the pond. A properly sized OASE FiltoClear Pressure Filter paired with an AquaMax Eco pump is the perfect drop-in solution and comes with the OASE Clear Water Guarantee. The system works in three ways to clean and clear the water. The pump, placed centrally at the bottom of the pond, begins pulling in wastes and passing them to the FiltoClear as soon as it is plugged in. The UVC Clarifier inside the filter renders any algae in the water sterile, unable to reproduce, eliminating green water. The ‘foams’ or sponges in the filter trap suspended wastes, returning clean, clear water to the pond. Maintenance is easy; the filter backwashes clean in seconds. The pump is designed to pass wastes without clogging and can go entire seasons without needing to be cleaned. 

Installation requires hiding the pump, its cord and the return hose, a matter of moving and maybe adding a few stones. The filter can be hidden from view either by placement far from the pond’s edge or behind a raised waterfall. The filtered water can be returned anywhere into the stream or along the pond perimeter. Two additional plugs will have to be accommodated, one for the pump and one for the integrated UVC, with a combined draw of only about 2 amps, the circuit powering the original pump may be able to handle it. Even if a second circuit needs to be added, this solution requires much less time and labor than a pond rebuild or even a full pond cleanout.

Finally, a drop-in solution for ponds with water quality concerns that guarantees clear water in ponds up to 2000 gallons. For larger ponds, use OASE BioTec Screenmatic² and ProfiClear Filters with the appropriate UVC Clarifier and pump to achieve the same results, with clear water guaranteed.


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

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

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.

More Water Entertainment: OASE Water Jet Lightning

We have more entertainment in water for everyone! Let’s talk about the OASE Water Jet Lighting. The Water Jet Lightning fountain features pre-programmed jumping water effects with variations in jet length and height controlled with remote control unit that has a range of up to 250 ft.

Ready to use right out of the box!

Everything in the box comes ready to use. It comes complete with 2 jets, white or color changing lights, a control unit and remote, tubing and a pump to run the whole system. 

Get Creative!

Get creative with your placements! You can set your Water Jet Lightning up to jump water from the shore into your pond or set up in the water and make it look like water is jumping from a hidden corner of your pond. The look can vary depending on they angle or pitch of the jet. The range of the arch will vary but can reach out to about 6’ with a height of 3’. They’re very versatile as they can even be used in a vertical mode as well making them appear to be dancing fountains!

Want to light up your streams?

The flow coming from the jet is called a laminar flow, which will allow the transfer of light to flow completely through the entire stream of water. This will bring your pond to life at night with beautifully lit jumping water streams.

Can I have more than two jets?

Yes! The kit comes with 2 jets but, you can combine up to 5 kits giving you a total of 10 jets, which can be controlled with the one remote when synced together.

The water jet lighting will add fun and whimsical nature to any water feature. So in the future keep making water fun and entertaining so everyone can have a smile on their face. 


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.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.