Water Features
by Curt Nuenighoff
July 1, 2009
Fountains, spitters, waterfalls and streams provide necessary aeration, oxygenating the water and keeping fish healthy.



Water features enhance the beauty and tranquility of a water garden. They also provide health benefits to the pond in terms of water quality and the overall ecosystem. Fountains, spitters, waterfalls and streams provide necessary aeration, oxygenating the water and keeping fish healthy. If there is not enough water movement, oxygen levels can drop too low to sustain all of the fish. Large fish have a very high oxygen requirement due to their size, increasing the demand for oxygen availability in the pond.

There are many water feature products available, in various types and price points. Talk to customers about the size of their pond and what they are looking for. Then brainstorm to come up with some ideas and help them make the best decision for their needs. Whatever shape, type or size, if the feature creates moving water, it’s good for the pond.

And by inspiring customers to add a water feature or two, retailers will help them add a whole new dimension of fun and interest to their pondkeeping experience–and will keep them coming back to the store for expert advice.


Spitters

A spitter is a statuary figure that shoots water back into the pond. Adding a spitter is a very simple way to add circulation to a pond. Designs can vary from realistic birds, fish, amphibians, amphoras or glass orbs to whimsical creatures. Retailers should stock several styles, sizes and options so customers can choose based on their preferences and space constraints. Some spitters do not come with tubing, so have several sizes on hand.


Fountains
Fountain kits offer customers all of the equipment necessary to add this water feature to their pond. In some fountain kits, customers will receive the fountain, several fountain head options, a filter and a pump. Suggest this alternative to pondkeepers to help take the guesswork out of what equipment they will need to add a fountain to their pond. If a customer’s pond has water lilies, help them select the best spray pattern and placement to keep water spray away from the floating leaves.


Streams and Waterfalls
Waterfalls and streams add surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize, which helps to convert harmful ammonia into relatively harmless nitrates. This is important, especially if the pond houses fish.

A waterfall can have several levels or a single drop, and a stream can meander from a smaller pool to the main pond. The variations are endless. To create the desired look, suggest incorporating a waterfall filter–they are easy to install and can be built into the landscape of the pond. Some provide mechanical and biological filtration, which will keep the water healthy and clear.

Help customers choose a pump that matches the capacity of the filter, and advise them to keep it running 24 hours a day.  Additionally, suggest adding a second more powerful pump dedicated to running the waterfall as a way to conserve energy. Lastly, to reduce pond maintenance, recommend a pump that handles debris and resists clogging.

There are many water feature products and styles available. Ask manufacturer partners for advice, brochures and videos on how to add these features to a pond.


Curt Nuenighoff is TetraPond brand director.