Archives for March 2008

Sealing Your Pond – A Simple Checklist To Prepare You For The Task Ahead

The big day is soon to arrive.  You’ll finally get that pond of your back into waterproof shape.  You will be able to bust this job out in a day.  Well hopefully you will.  Best intentions and all that huh?

Well to ensure that you have a better chance at accomplishing your task in the time frame you want to, I have assembled a list of things you will want to go through and make sure you have completed before that day arrives.  This way your mindset can be on the project and not on what you may have forgotten.

Items Before Coating Day

Your new coating material – This is obvious.  You cannot start your project without the main material.  Also, you should think ahead.  Scheduling to waterproof your pond on a Saturday and ordering materials on a Friday might not produce the results you were thinking.  There could be issues with product availability as well as increased freight costs.

All instructions – You should read through all of the instructions prior to actually applying the coating.  This way if you have questions, you can ask the manufacturer for assistance.  Support may not be available on weekends.

Friends – Hit your friends up at least a week ahead of time.  You know as well as anyone that nice weather means people don’t hang out at home.  They go places and enjoy the outdoors.  If you need help, ask friends but give them plenty of time to schedule you in.

Preparation – Are all of your preparation steps completed?  Repairs, acid etching or anything like that will definitely slow you down on the day you plan to apply the coating.  Get this stuff done ahead of time.

Weather Forecast – Is it not always like this?  You get up to start that outdoor project only to find it raining cats and dogs.  Check your local weather forecast and make sure you have suitable weather.

 

On Coating Day, Prior to Coating

Consumable Products – Have you purchased all of the consumable products that you need for the job?  Paint brushes, squeegees, rollers, mixing buckets, cleaning solvents, cleaning materials, paint trays, are all part of the consumable products that you’ll need and not want to have to chase after once you have started your application.

Tools and Equipment – Drill and mixing paddle for the coating, gloves, eye protection, old clothes, extension cords, thickness gauges, any spray equipment you might be using along with an air compressor and tarps, are all of the tools you would need to complete the job.

You can download a checklist I created, by clicking here.  It is in PDF format so you’ll need Adobe Acrobat to read it.  Just visit adobe.com to get Acrobat.

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Creating My Backyard Water Feature – Building a Wooden Pond

This article is about a 70-foot-long water feature I built.  It has 3 ponds and 4 waterfalls.  You can see my photo diary of the building process.

My pond will not hold water
I did just about everything right.  However, I made a few mistakes.  One of those mistakes resulted in a number of pin holes in the lower pond.  As a result, half of the volume of the pond is drained every week.  This article specifically tells how I plan on replacing the leaky pond liner with a properly-built wooden pond.

I contacted Butch, the Pond Armor guy who maintains this blog.  He very kindly gave me suggestions on what to do about the lower pond.

What I will be doing is building an 8’ x 8’ x 4’ high wooden box and painting the inside with Pond Shield.  This article tells what Butch told me about how to build the box.  There are more detailed instructions on my Yard Gardener web site.

I will be making the box out of a good 3/4″ exterior grade plywood.  (Exterior grade has water resistant glue.)  The plywood will be butted together using about 10 biscuit joints for each 8′.  (You may need a Lamello or some such grinder tool to make the pockets for the biscuit joints.)

Strengthening the wooden pond
The pressure of the water can cause the boards to bow over time.  That will cause leaks even if I plan on having the boards flush against the earth.  With rain seeping into the earth & other types of shifting, I have to assume that not all of the boards will always be flush against hard-packed earth.  It will be necessary to make lots of wooden ribs (3 – 4″ apart).     The ribs around the sides and the bottom should be held together with some type of angle iron.   (That is like the iron bands that hold the staves in a wooden barrel together.)

Because plywood can delaminate over the years, I will line this box with a half inch concrete board (Hardie plank).  Hardie plank joints will be covered with fiberglass tape.

Then the outside of the box will be painted with tar.  Otherwise, over the years, I will have insects & rain water eating into the wood. Sealing the rubber liner to the wooden pond      The water course leading to the pond is lined with rubber.  The seal where the tank is attached to the rubber liner must be absolutely water proof.  The board that will attach to the rubber will have dried Pond Shield on it.  The rubber in that area will be abraded to resemble 60-grit sandpaper so that the Pond Shield  will adhere.  Bolt holes will be drilled.  The rubber will overlay the board and be attached with stainless steel bolts.  Attach it so that there are no perceptible pin holes.

It is hard to find paint that will adhere to stainless steel bolts.  So, go to an auto store and buy a quart of self-etching primer.  Prime the bolts that stick out and then apply the Pond Shield, making sure that there are no pin holes whatsoever.    I will be working on this project later on this month.  Look for a photo diary of it in my website.

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Written by Peter Enns ~ Peter currently owns and operates the Yard Gardener.  This website grew out of a passion that Peter & his wife have for landscaping, especially water gardening.  The Yard Gardener is a great place to learn a wide variety of pond related information as well as cash in on some great deals at our online store. Come visit us and see how you can make a beautiful water garden.

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Carbon Dioxide – Lurking Danger in Your Pond?

Carbon DioxideIf you have not taken the steps necessary to add oxygen to the water in your pond, the carbon dioxide levels may be higher than you think.  If they are, then the chances are that the concentrated levels of carbon dioxide in your fish’s blood streams may also be high.

You see carbon dioxide is more soluble in water than oxygen.  In fact oxygen levels in water become saturated at 9 ppm at 68F where carbon dioxide becomes saturated in water at .5 ppm.  In comparison to blood, the saturation levels are pretty close to being the same.

Fish will start to have problems breathing when saturation levels of carbon dioxide reach 5 ppm.  I bet you did not know it, but for every pound of oxygen a fishes breathes in, it exhales about 1.38 pounds of carbon dioxide.  That ratio alone puts the water oxygen levels at a deficit.

So what can you do about it?  Well remember we talked about proper pond aeration?  That is correct.  Pumping air into your pond will increase the oxygen to carbon dioxide ratio in your pond water and make things a heck of a lot easier for your fish.

There is also a by product of proper aeration.  As the air you pump into the water floats to the surface in the form of bubbles and pop, there is a gas exchange going on.  This is where carbon dioxide is released in the process which is good fro the pond.

So basically, it really is as simple as that.  I bet you were thinking this was going to be all complicated or something huh?  Well there is one more small detail that you might be interested in.

For those of you that have an indoor pond or store your fish in an indoor pond, you need to think about where all that diffused carbon dioxide goes after it leaves your pond.  Think of all of your family members plus yourself exhaling carbon dioxide.

If you combine that along with what is expelled from the pond, you too could find yourself in danger.  You might consider some sort of air ventilation to expel the carbon dioxide outside where it won’t be harmful to you indoors.  More elaborate systems could include a degassing column.

Degassing columns will strip the carbon dioxide from the expelled gas and return fresh outdoor air back into the closed environment.

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