No one really wants to think about pond repair. But eventually, every water feature will develop some sort of hiccup. Perhaps it’s a leak, a malfunctioning pump, or an issue with water quality. You might see reduced waterfall flow – or not see it because the lights aren’t working.
How to Guide for Repairing Your Pond
At Good Earth Water Gardens, we’ve seen it all. And we want you to learn from our experience. Here are some common fixes that can help get your pond back to its glorious self.
OK, let’s start with leaks. Most ponds are built with EPDM rubber liner, so that’s what we’ll cover here.
First thing’s first: if you think your pond has a leak, step one is finding it. If you have a stream and waterfall away from the pond, first look at the outside area around the stream. Are there any unusually wet areas? It’s easiest to see this during a dry period. If you don’t notice anything, fill the pond and turn off the pump for at least 12 hours. Make sure you take care of your fish with some kind of bubbler. But after those 12 hours, check to see if the water level dropped. If it did, your leak is in the pond. If not, the leak is above the pond.
If the leak is in the pond, fill the pond. Then, carefully expose the edge of the liner around the pond to see if the soil has settled. You can raise the liner by pulling it up and placing additional soil underneath. Replace the rocks and you should be good to go. It’s also wise to go completely around the pond – you might have more than one leak. If the pond drops but then stabilizes, that’s a sign that you have multiple leaks.
If the pond is in good shape but you’re still losing water, move to the area above the pond. If you have a stream, do the same exercise: expose the liner along the perimeter with the water running and see if you find an area where the water is going over the liner. If you find a spot, build it up with soil, compact it down, and be on your way. We always like to see liner three to four inches above the water level.
Sometimes settling causes these leaks. Or, debris like fall leaves can make the water level rise, causing leaks. In winter, ice dams can also be responsible.
If everything looks good with the perimeter of the liner, expose the gravel in the stream in different areas. Press your thumb into the liner to see if the soil underneath is hard or soft. This could indicate a hole in the liner or a leak at the waterfall area where the liner attaches. Work your way down the stream. If you find an area that’s soft, that could be your leak.
If you find a hole or rip in your liner, all is not lost. Here’s how to fix it, courtesy of our friend The Pond Digger.
These techniques will help you find and repair 90% of pond leaks. If the pond is still leaking, it may be time to call in a professional.
If your pump isn’t working, it’s possible that the pump is DOA. It could be burned out and need to be replaced. However, that’s not always the case.
Sometimes debris gets in the way of the impeller. So, before you write off your pump as a goner, take it out of the water. Inspect the pump and clear out any gunk that might be causing problems. And don’t forget about your power source. The issue may just be an electrical problem. Make sure your outlets are GFI protected, too. For more information, read our blog on four common pump problems and how to fix them.
Water quality can be a big issue with ponds. Algae are a natural element in a pond. But there are many reasons why good algae can go bad, terrorizing a pond and creating unsightly masses of string algae.
There are two main culprits when algae go wild:
- Sun. Algae are stimulated by the sun. So, the sunnier your pond, the higher the chances of an algae problem.
- Excess nutrients. Algae love to eat. If your pond has too many fish or too much food, you’re creating a buffet of algae delights. Water runoff and not enough plants can impact nutrient levels, too.
We strongly recommend consistent treatments with beneficial bacteria to help keep algae under control. Algaecides aren’t a great option. They’re pesticides and can cause problems for your fish. Plus, algaecides don’t do anything for the problem long term.
When you understand the pond ecosystem, you can work to keep it balanced. Learn more about algae and your pond ecosystem here. But if you have a history of string algae problems, there’s help. We have a solution that will virtually eliminate string algae problems. If your pond has sufficient water flow and filtration, installing an IonGen system will reduce the amount of string algae.
Enhancing your pond
This one isn’t so much a repair but a desire. We often work with people who want to make their ponds look more natural. Other folks want to create more visual interest, better sound, or a more varied water flow. These are all possible! Whether it’s a minor enhancement or a total overhaul, smart pond renovations can help you meet your goals.
One valuable addition to consider is lighting. Call us biased, but we think pond lighting is a must! A well-illuminated water feature is impressive and extends your enjoyment well into the nighttime hours. We recommend using LEDs, which we’ve found to be more reliable than incandescent bulbs.