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Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Fish Pond Fountain. Metal use in biological features        8/31/15
<"Woman of the sea">
My name is Andrea. I have a question regarding my Koi/Goldfish pond. We have a 500 gallon pond with a water-bog filtration system and waterfall. I would like to line the waterfall with copper sheeting but have been unable to see if it will harm my fish.
<No need to experiment; unless the copper is very carefully sealed, it will kill all life>

Every waterfall I have seen uses stainless steel, personally I find in gaudy looking. However, I do not wish to compromise the safety of my plants or fish and if the copper is a no-go can you suggest any other metal?
<All will require similar careful coating... there are clear treatments...
we had one done years back made of an olde mash tun at/for a brewery here in San Diego; though this was made into a abiological fountain>
Preferably one that does not stick out like a sore thumb.
Thank You
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Fountain pump throttling   1/20/11
Hello, I have a Syncra silent .5 pump
<Ahh, a Sicce product>
that I want to use for my fountain. As is, it's way to powerful for the fountain. So I want to use a ball valve to reduce the flow...Should it be installed on the return or outflow side of the pump? Does it matter?
<It does indeed... centrifugal pumps should only "push", never pull against restriction... You should put a "tee" on the discharge side and a ball or gate valve on the "extra" side of the tee... opening same to lessen flow, pressure>
And are all ball valves about the same in terms of quality?
If not, what brand do you recommend?
<Spears, Dura...>
I want good quality and don't mind paying more for it.
I also plan to run this pump externally/out of the water to reduce noise
<Mmm, if so, you will have to "drain" the discharge water back to the system. I would run this pump submersed>
caused from vibration and so I can wrap it with sound deadening material.
Are all sound deadening materials about the same or is there one that would be ideal for what I want to do here?
Thank you,
<Arranging the dilution of flow as stated will not result in cavitation, noise. Bob Fenner>

Fountain/pool conversion to fish pond   4/2/10
Hello, I need additional advice about filtration regarding a uv light, filter and pump for a pool/fountain at a nursing home that I want to turn into a gold fish pond (no Koi). The pool is 15 x 15 and 1 foot deep,
<Mmm, perhaps too shallow... is this basin located in a protected area?
Near a building let's say... and the climate pretty mellow year round there?>
above ground in a courtyard with sidewalks surrounding it. The fountain cascades from a height of about 10 feet, falling in 4 drops...Will aeration will be a problem particularly since the above ground pool is in full sun in a hot
<The sun, heat itself might be trouble... but perhaps shade can be easily supplied with floating plants>
The pool's volume is 1684 gallons. I have planted water lilies to shade the fish.
<I'd add others. Please read here re:
scroll down to "Plants">
Will goldfish be able to survive in coastal South Carolina in the direct sunlight?
<Possibly... another question might be what predators are thereabouts?>
Since I have last contacted you we have drained and pressure washed the pool to get the evil chemicals out and am currently aging the water, with plans to also treat the water. I am concerned about water temperature for goldfish as well as water quality as this fountain is a centerpiece for our facility and residents.
<Mmm, well, goldfish, particularly "Comets" have a very wide temp. tolerance... Just don't appreciate a good deal of change in short time periods... like diurnally>
What wattage uv light should we consider and are there specifics to look for with submersible filters.
<Mmm... depends on flow rates... Please see the Pond Subweb index mentioned above... Under "Filters...">
Thank you,
Scott Ewing
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: pool conversion to fish pond   4/2/10
Thank you for your prompt responses, it is very much appreciated. Will a 1200 gallon per hour pump and a 20 watt uv light suffice for a 1700 gallon pool.
<Mmm, not likely... I would plan/get both of at least twice this "size">
I will prefilter the pump and add more plants, currently cat tails and lilies are planted. I want to make sure I do it properly, maintenance is very dubious of this project.
Thanks again.
<Sounds like a very nice project indeed. Cheers, BobF>

water feature... repair of pre-cast ftn.  -- 12/15/09
hi, I
<... English?>
have a concrete water feature that my wife knocked over last night,
<!? With a car?>
the water reservoir part of the feature was broken into 4 parts 3parts make up a third of it the other part is whole the total size is 3ft across, my question is, is there an adhesive strong enough to bond it back together,
remembering it is also 5inches deep and can hold a decent amount of water, thanks
<Oh! There are a few types of epoxies, even (if the base is stable) thin-set mortars w/ adhesives added (see your local specialty masonry, stucco... supplier... Bring a piece of the ftn. for color matching) that will put "Humpty Dumpty" (and his fountain), back together again here.
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Hi looking for... fountain statuary
Hi, I'm looking for a fountain ornament (the part the water flows out of).
Could be an acorn, a mermaid, etc. The fountain is a round birdbath type, about 3' dia, made of cement-like lava rock (very old), water comes up the pedestal to exit in the center of a small 5" round flat platform...
ornament should rest thereon. Could be cast from cement, or bronze... should be roughly volleyball size, max about 1' tall. Any ideas where to find something like this? Thanks, Regards, Dean
<Mmm, yes... I'd start with some of the larger on-line etailers of fountain gear. Put the term: fountain statuary in your search tool. Bob Fenner>

Installation of Pre-Cast Fountains article, Link   4/19/08 Dear Bob, <Kerry> Greetings...My name is Kerry. I came across your Installation of  Pre-Cast Fountains page on your web site at  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pondsubwebindex/instftnarticle.htm while  researching landscape design for an article I'm writing.  I decided to write to you because after reading through your article on fountains, I got to thinking that my article on the Basics of Fountains at http://www.garden-fountains.com/articles/basics-of-water-fountains.html would be interesting supplemental reading for your page visitors. <Very nice> I would like to ask if you would consider placing a link on your page back to my page. Maybe just linking the words 'cut-stone fountains' as it appears in the text of the 2nd paragraph of the article "cut-stone fountains, basins, and statuary used in water features" As a gesture of our appreciation for your time in placing the link, I would like to offer $35.00 USD via PayPal. <No payment necessary. I'll gladly link your article on mine and place this corr. in our FAQs files> Thank you for your generous consideration, I'll look forward to hearing from you. <Thank you for your efforts. Bob Fenner> Warm Regards,  Kerry Christian http://www.garden-fountains.com/articles/basics-of-water-fountains.html

Fountains/// supply   12/23/07 Good Morning, My firm manages a large network of online businesses and private clients. During the year a number of our network members are searching for Fountains of all types: Indoor, Wall, Garden, Pond, Commercial, etc. Therefore, we are looking to find a quality source to direct our clients to for their Fountain and supply needs. We have reviewed your website and it was felt that you might be a good source to work with and to feature to our clients. Please contact me at XXXX so we may discuss this further Regards, Jon Thomas <For... physical structure itself? Installs? Maintenance... I take it someone else will supply. As far as I'm aware there is no one or two singular suppliers here... category killers... Many old and new timer producers do have websites... can be, should be searched. Bob Fenner>

Waterproofing Masonry/Concrete/Tiled Fountain  1/6/07 > Bob, > Here is the email I have been sending. Thanks for providing you hotmail address and sorry about your server issues, hopefully it is all working now. > <Yes> > I appreciate your help on this, I am at the point where the waterproofing and tiling needs to take place and am anxious to finish this. > Thanks, > George. >
Subject: Waterproofing Masonry/Concrete/Tiled Fountain
> Hello, > <Howdy> > Great website! I hope you can provide me with the help I need waterproofing a fountain. I have found a lot of info on the web site, but want to make sure I am putting together completely. > <Okay> > - Fountain dimensions are 12ft diameter, 24in wall height. > - Materials are masonry wall on 6in concrete footing and 6in concrete floor with #5 rebar. There is also an expansion joint between the foundation and fountain floor. > <I see it/this... not generally necessary in systems built of a "Class-2"  type footing... but worthwhile> > - Current condition of floor: installed less than a month ago, quite a few penetrations (nozzle piping, 24in sq sump, electrical conduit, vacuum, return, fill, overflow/drain). > <Yes... I would "paint" these completely a day or few hours ahead of casting  the bottom... to assure adhesion... with alkaline mortar or equivalent (I  see you mention Thoro below)... with a good amount of "white glue" adjunct  blended in...> > All penetrations include water-stopping flanges. > <I see these> > - Current condition of block wall: installed 18 months ago, previously primed/painted with some gaps in the seams (between blocks, between block/expansion joint/concrete floor). > <A year and a half back? You may have a bit of job here getting the new  cementaceous material to adhere to this non-green material> > - Final look: we intend to tile the entire inside of the fountain and install a cap (concrete, cantera stone, etc) on the top of the wall. There will be nothing alive in there, unless someone decides to jump in. I plan to filter the water and chlorinate it. The water level will be 16-18 in. There will also be ~ 10 lights, not shown. > <Sounds nice... Man ten lights! Some big budget now!> > I have attached two pictures before the concrete was poured. You should be able to see the penetrations, expansion joint, etc. > <Yes... nicely illustrative> > I was thinking of lining the floor an walls with PVC or rubber liner, extending it over the top of the wall where it can be held in place by the cap. After the lining is in, I plan to build up a mesh-reinforced mortar bed and on top of that lay the tile using Thinset or some other bonding bed (total thickness of liner, mortar bed, tile, binding bed 1.5in +/- 0.25in). > <Mmm, I wouldn't do this... I see the rebar is already set, stood-off, tied...> > Questions: > 1) I'd like to know what type and thickness of liner to use, given the 1.5in +/- 0.25in I have to play with. If a liner can't or shouldn't be used, how do you suggest I go about waterproofing, given the conditions and final look I want to achieve? > <Mmm, a simple nominal 22 mil PVC would do fine here... if you used anything... waterproof enough and flexible, easier to install than other materials...> > 2) I am not sure how to make the lining adhere to the block/concrete, how to make sure it is smooth over the floor and wall (so the mortar bed can be installed),  or how to handle the penetrations. > <Can be adhered with asphalt emulsions... ghastly... or simply caught/pinched twixt the capping...> > - If I use one large piece of liner (~ 15ft radius), is it possible to have it fit smoothly everywhere? Is there a way/need to form it (e.g. using heat)? > <Will lay down easily with surface coating... If you are adamant re going the liner route here, I would lay in "chicken wire" or stucco wire... in a  continuous piece around the inside... put a brown and scratch coat over this... over the liner first... then tile onto this... But, as stated,  unless there is some compelling reason... the ground moving, an instability  locally... I would skip on the liner> > - If I use smaller pieces of liner there are the best places to make my joints? > <Mmm, the fewer the better... like one in the middle...> > - Should I cut smaller pieces of liner (say 6" round) to slide over the penetrations and then install a large piece of liner over the floor? > <I would not...> > - If Thoro products have to/should be used, I assume I build up the mortar bed first, then use the Thoro products, then put the bonding bed and tile on top of that. > <You could use Thoroseal as a final coating over the poured floor and  buttered sides... the liner or no, the wire or no (depending on whether you  intend to use the liner), the brown and scratch plaster coats...> > 3) Do you see any other issues with what I am trying to do? The expansion joint was installed to handle the temperature changes and I am assuming it will not be a problem with the tile. > <Mmm, well... if the feature is water-filled, there will be very little  expansion... and even if it's empty... really not much... not enough to  crack the basin... IF the block wall was set every cell with re-bar, tied  lengthwise... which it appears to have been done by a competent mason...> > Thanks, > George Gerodimos > Scottsdale, AZ > <Please do write back if this isn't clear, complete. Bob Fenner>

Re: Waterproofing Masonry/Concrete/Tiled Fountain  1/6/07 Great, thanks. One thing I wanted to make sure you were clear on, is that the concrete is now in and I allowed ~ 1.5" for the liner, tile, mortar bed, etc. on top of the concrete. If I were to summarize the recommendation it is that: - I do not need the liner - I should build the mortar bed (with or without wire mesh) over the masonry walls and concrete floor Note: the walls will need some extra prep for proper adhesion. I saw something for this on the site. - Apply waterproofing (Thoroseal) over mortar bed - Apply Thinset - Apply tile Did I get it right? <Ah, yes... along with grouting, sealing the tile of course. Bob Fenner>> Thanks, George,

Algae control in a small fountain and pond!   8/23/06 To whom it may concern: I have a six tiered water fall <A bunch of tiers> terminating an a approximately 75 gallon pond. I am experiencing a problem in controlling the alga formation on the bottom of the water fall and walls of the pond. My question to you would be, what copper compound would be suggested and in what concentration on a per gallon of water capacity? Thank you very much Dave Dillon, Topock, Az <Mmm... copper is not easily dosed in most ponds... and am hesitant to encourage its use here... w/o knowing the livestock you intend to keep... In this small volume of water, if you did not have live plants present, I might use Jungle Pond Blocks (active ingredient Diuron, Di-Methyl Urea Calcinate)... Do you have data re the make up of the water? Is this feature shaded at all? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdalgcontrol.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Copper fountain/water-effect algicide use  - 03/27/06 Dear Sir, I wonder if you can kindly help me. I have recently purchased a small indoor waterfall, and I wish to prohibit algae growth. Please see link below. The unit has a solid copper base, which contains the water - someone has told me that the copper is a good agent to eradicate algae. Could you tell me if this is true, or, do I need to take other precautionary measures ? I would greatly appreciate your advice, Thanks Steve Davies http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00015D7JU/qid=1143500993/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-0412159-4974247?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=A200W35O5U03O&s=home-garden&v=glance&n=1055398 <Mmm... I would not use a copper-based algicide here... nor the conventional halogen-based chlorine, bromine... too likely to stain, ultimately corrode the unit itself. You might look for Simazine-based "aquarium" algicides (e.g. Algi-gon) or Jungle Pond Blocks (Di-methyl urea calcinate) or equivalent... Whatever you use, I would take care to not have the water splash on, or incidentally be poured on living plant material... and I would frequently (twice a month or so), dump completely and re-fill the unit with new water. Bob Fenner>
Re: Advice please  - 03/27/06
Hi Bob, Thanks a lot - that is very kind of you. However, the water containing tray of the waterfall is itself made of copper - I was wondering if that would be sufficient to prevent the algae. <Mmm... depending on the water quality, principally pH and alkalinity, very likely so... Turns out that copper is much more soluble in lower pH and alkaline water...> I do not understand the chemical make up of these things - would Fountec be suitable ? <Not familiar with this> The unit has no live plants - it is only a small decorative unit , with a copper base, water pump, and slate backdrop. I greatly appreciate your time, Thanks Steve <I do think you'll be fine in any/all cases here... not hard to maintain. BobF>

Fountain installation/gear 10/26/05 I just found your article on the installation of a pre-cast fountain.  We are doing one similar to the wall fountain pictured, and are being told by the fountain plumber to place the pump in a 12x12 box to be constructed in the foundation below the basin with a tile that will lift up in the floor of the basin for access.  <One approach> He wants to put an over fill pipe and water fill line with an adjustable bubbler head up against the front of the basin that will be hooked into the irrigation line in the planter (a hard pipe drip system that will come on every couple of days) as well as a light. My concerns are 1. Is this the way these are typically installed? <Mmm, not atypical> 2. Is there a way to accomplish these things without all this visible pipe in the fountain basin? <Yes... can be remoted... accomplished distally... with remote sensor for water level, cammed valve for re-filling... The pump can be located outside the basin... should be in many cases...> 3. If we didn't plan for a light niche in the wall of the basin before it was made, is there a way to create one? <... Not easily> My husband is a very impatient "let's just get it done" kind of guy, <What is "done?" I would ask... if poorly, inferiorly... is this better?> but since neither one of us knows anything about this subject, I feel we might be missing a better way to accomplish what we want and have it be aesthetically appealing at the same time, minimizing visible pipes, light sources, etc. Your help is greatly appreciated. Kind Regards, Cynthia <So... yes, what you list as "means to an ends" (i.e., having a fountain that works) is possible, likely the more common method... in-pond pump, pipes/plumbing for overflow, re-fill visible in the basin... These can be accomplished in other ways, but do take a good deal of planning, modification of the basin, other gear. Bob Fenner> 

Reflective pools 6/29/05 Hi We want to set up an exhibition with a reflective pool at its centre. The aim is for people to see themselves totally reflected in the pool once they reach the centre. The pool to be about 3 to 4 feet in diameter will be housed in a yurt type tent and open to the sky. We want to get the best reflection possible. Is there an optimum depth of water for such a pool? <Mmm, a few inches is best... more shallow is hard to "keep steady"> Is black the best base colour for a pool? <Yes> We are thinking of a black PVC bucket ( well hidden). What materials would you recommend to provide the best reflection. The exhibition will be traveling so needs to be portable. <There are pre-made basins that would do you well here. Look on the Net for "Rainjet" fountain...> Thanks for your help and a great service John Brown   <Welcome. Good luck with your project. Bob Fenner, who spent a couple months with a friend in Nepal who was studying yurts.

Working url for Submersible Pump PP-333LV Hi Bob, I came across your helpful post in my search to replace the pump on my cat watering fountain. (Of course, now that I'm here the aquarium info looks much more interesting!) Anyway, I did find the pump: there was a character missing in the homepage URL for Chrystella USA: https://www.chrystella.com/xcart/customer/home.php?cat=248&js=y The pump is almost as expensive as a replacement fountain: $15.99 for the pump (+S&H?) v. $19.99 for a new fountain at PETsMART (including a new filter). Anyway, just thought I'd share this in case you get beseeched by more distressed cat people. Cheers! Jennifer <Thank you for this... bunk links are a bane of this info. world. Bob Fenner>

Fountain Installation ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/instftnarticle.htm ) Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 Robert, <Mike> I am setting up a wall fountain  http://www.online-flowers-pottery-shop.com/store/PPF/parameters/281_50/more_info.asp , and have used your page as a manual to do so. I was wondering if you could give some more details. <Okay> What kind of mortar is used? <Thin set> Must the pieces be set with concrete/mortar if they are heavy enough to remain solidly in place? <Mmm, best to mortar... sometimes even pin AND mortar all elements together... and set on at least a Class II foundation.> What is the best way to fill joints between the concrete pieces (mortar or grout)? <If cast concrete the former, if cut stone perhaps the latter> Does only the basin need to be sealed? <Mmm, maybe not... please excuse my caution here... as this correspondence is archived and must suit most all circumstances... Often it is best to seal all elements... to protect their finish, reduce damage from the elements, recirculated water... but at least all water containing basins should be waterproofed> Thanks for your time. Sorry about the novice questions! Mike <Not a worry. Bob Fenner>

Reflecting pool Dear Mr. Fenner, <Hi there> I am architect in Karachi, Pakistan. I would appreciate your input on the most effective construction methodology for reflecting pools. <Okay> The project is the headquarters of a large pharmaceutical company (Aventis). The landscaping includes a generous sized reflecting pool in the front of the building. The concept is to have a "as clear as possible" reflection of my main facade. <I understand> The pool is about 1'-6" deep. My main question to you is whether the tiles I am using at the bottom of this pool should be a dark color or a light one for the sharpest reflection on the water surface? <Lighter... though more of a maintenance problem. More light reflected with light color... but more algal growth as well.> I look forward to your response Thank you, Sincerely, Amina Nasim Jan Senior Architect Ahed Associates. <Send along your specifications on filtration, circulation if you'd like. Bob Fenner>

Jebo Submersible Fountain Pump AP-355A I have just blown up a very small  Jhongshan Jebao Electrical Appliance (motor) fitted to my frog water fountain Q01113  IPX8  Jhongshan Jebao Electrical Appliances Co. Ltd.  Would you know where I can purchase another one in Melbourne, North Fitzroy area please.  I can see on the web page that it is manufactured in China. Please advise Helen <You might have some luck tracing down the manufacturer through the Net and in turn contacting them re who their master distributor is in Australia, and them in turn re retail outlets... but if it were me, my fountain I would just seek out another suitable size (pressure, flow rate) and suitable diameter discharge line (or adaptor, tubing to fit what the fixture has now) from whatever source there is in town (or online). Bob Fenner>

Pump selection for a fountain  8/2/04 Hi, I am building a fountain for the front yard of my house. I'd like it to work similar to a fountain that I saw inside the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. <Me too!> I am looking for water pumps that work as follows: The pumps shoot a stream of water into the air. The water stream shoots in an arc and lands on the ground 10-12 feet from the pump. The pumps can be turned on and off instantaneously via an electric signal, a command from a computer or some other way, such that the stream of water suddenly stops and starts. <Yep... a few Disney (as in Walt) patents here> In the lobby of the Bellagio, the pumps are turned on and off to the beat of music. I'm not sure if we'd use music but perhaps we would. I called the company that built the Bellagio fountains and they told me that their products are proprietary and they can't tell me who makes them. Do you know who makes such a pump and what it's called? <Do a bit of looking under the terms "fountain" and "imagineering" and "Disney"> <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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