Barrelponics and Hydroponics – What’s the Difference?

Barrel-ponicsWhat is the difference between hydroponics and Barrelponics?  Really, there is no difference.  In fact they are the same thing.  The only thing that makes them different is the name Barrelponics which was coined by Travis Hughey in 2005.

Essentially, Barrelponics uses what could probably be considered as the least expensive materials one could obtain to build the finished system.  To start with Travis recommends using 55 gallon plastic drums for all of the water containment in the system.  As long as you have a source for these, they are a great choice for someone wanting to build a hydroponics system cheap.  The only thing you really need to be sure of is whether or not the plastic barrels are going to be food safe.  It would be a shame to build one of these out of plastic barrels that essentially leech toxins into your system.

Where can you find plastic barrels suitable for a Barrelponics system?  The first place to start would be any company that deal directly with packaging food.  Consider a ketchup manufacturing company for example.  They may very well use plastic barrels of vinegar as part of their processing.  Another great source might be a winery or an olive packaging company.

All in all Travis has assembled a working system.  If you take a look at the Barrelponics PDF file Travis gives away as instructions for building a system like his, there are some things you can do to modify your own system.  Basically all of the plumbing would stay the same, but you could dress up the system by making wooden containers much like Kijani Grows makes.

Kijani GrowsNot everyone might like the aesthetics of plastic barrels as a hydroponics system which is why using wood for the grow boxes might actually be a more pleasing look.  The outside could be stained and lacquered while the inside could be waterproofed with a coating like Pond Shield.

While Travis’ system essentially is controlled by what appears to be a more mechanical means using floats and valves that are assembled to work with one another based off of the current state of the system itself, a system like those built by Kijani Grows utilize a more computerized way of maintenance.  Either will work.  You would just have to decide at the start which way you would like to go with your system.

The final thing that I did notice between the Barrelponics system and the Kijani Grows system is that the Kijani Grows system seems a little less complicated in the end.  If you take a look at the materials list for each system Kijani Grows system just uses less material to construct.  Because of this, it very well may be cheaper to put together in the end.

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3 Things to Look for In a Quality Epoxy Sealer

I get a lot of calls each day from people asking me about Pond Shield epoxy.  I receive questions about almost anything but the one thing the majority of them have in common is whether or not Pond Shield epoxy is the right product for the project in question.  So I will try and clear some of that up for you here by giving you three things to look for in a quality epoxy sealer.

As long as your project is sturdy in construction there is no reason why an epoxy sealer will not work for you.  The biggest problem though is that most people do not understand what makes a good, quality sealer.  Knowing that puts a pond builder that much closer to finishing a successful pond.

The first thing you need to find out is whether the sealer is designed for under water use.  This is probably the most important thing to find out.  An epoxy sealer that is meant to just provide nominal sealing to the surface applied does not mean that the epoxy or the bond will not break down after being subjected to an under water environment.  You would be surprised how many epoxies there are on the market today that cannot stand up to the punishment of an underwater service environment.

The second thing to consider is how much of the epoxy is made up of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  For lack of a better analogy, these are the amounts and types of solvents that are present in the epoxy sealer.  What happens with these volatile organic compounds is they will evaporate from the epoxy as the sealer cures.  Guess what happens when that evaporation takes place?  The coating can lose some of its body and can shrink.  The problem with shrinking is that if you are counting on the sealer to waterproof the surface applied, there can be repercussions if that coating surface diminishes after it has cured, especially in joint areas.

Finally, you have to consider how a sealer works.  A proper coating is not just applied like paint.  What I mean by that is when you apply a coating you are not just putting whatever color you chose onto the pond surface.  Because of this, you have to consider the minimum application thickness of the coating after it has been applied.  The reason there is a minimum thickness is because the sealer is going to be put under very specific stresses and has to be thick enough to take the punishment.  A mere 2 mil thick sealer, just is not going to withstand the forces placed against it and the pond will have problems.  Sometime people ask if they can stretch a kit that covers 60 square feet to 65 square feet.  The answer is no because if the kit is stretched to cover more area than it is intended to cover, then somewhere the coating is not going to be at the recommended minimum thickness and that area will have problems.

So keep these basics in mind when you are getting ready to coat your pond or water feature.  You will find that following the basic rules of coating will give you a much better outcome and greater chances of a successful project.

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Setting Goals for a Pond Shield Epoxy Project

With as many things that could possibly be happening during the life of any project, things can quickly get out of hand and disorganized if an over-all plan is not in place.  That is why it is so important for setting goals for a Pond Shield Epoxy project. It is very easy to do, in fact as easy as making a shopping list.

The first thing that needs to be done is to divide the over-all project into pieces that are better managed on a level alone. For example, the easiest breakdown would be to section of the project into three sections: surface preparation, coating application and inspection. Of course any of these tasks can also be broken into smaller tasks if it benefits the project.

Surface Preparation – The goal will more than likely be one of those items that require a span of days. It is best to check the calendar for availability of both crew and equipment depending upon your particular project. It is also recommended that the scheduling not be broken up over different parts of the week. Once the crew begins, breaking their momentum could quite possibly slow the surface preparation down. It is best to schedule work to be done over a consecutive set of days.

Coating Application – In regards to total days to coat, this will be dependant upon the size of the project. If the total surface area of the floor of the project is too large to properly apply the coating to in one day, then this process must also be broken up over a span of days. The only time this may not be a factor is if the crew performing the application has the equipment to traverse the surface of the coating while it is still uncured. It is in this manner that the days scheduled for the application process can be cut back. The step should also be scheduled as soon after the surface preparation is complete as possible so that extra time is not spent to clean the surface a second time prior to the coating application.

Surface Inspection – Any under water service coating will have to be inspected thoroughly before the project is put back into service. Goal setting here will mainly revolve around the total square footage of the project as it takes a varied amount of time to inspect every single square foot of surface area properly. Smooth surfaces can be completed quicker where rougher surfaces will take additional time. The general rule of thumb is that it takes approximately 3-6 seconds to completely inspect one single square foot of surface area. Unlike the previous portions of the project, this task can be broken into various days as needed, again this step being dependant upon the size of the project. However it is crucial that this step be completed correctly or the waterproofing project will have issues and no amount of goal setting with the project will correct that.

So set proper goals for the Pond Shield epoxy project that you are under taking. It will mean the difference between the project ultimately lasting longer than it should and being completed in a timely manner. Discuss these goals with all of the people involved with the project to ensure that they are all focused on the same time constraints.

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How to Make Smooth Concrete Rough

Under normal circumstances the issue pond builders are faced with in regards to concrete is how to make it smoother. However there are times when the surface is so smooth that there is not a lot of surface tension for a coating to hang on by and it will be necessary to make smooth concrete rough.

One of the most recognizable scenarios for smooth concrete is a water slide for a pool. Generally, these concrete surfaces are polished smooth enough to resemble nice polished stone work. When they are coated, the epoxy will have nothing to grab hold of and can eventually peel.

Most people think that the easiest way to make smooth concrete rough is by acid etching it with muriatic acid. The problem is that muriatic acid is not eating away at the concrete to make it rougher, but eating away at the calcium within the surface of the concrete. When that calcium is dissolved, the concrete will then have the appearance of having been roughed up. The problem is that the concrete did not actually become rougher. Instead the surface pores of the concrete have become clean, thereby making the concrete surface appear to have changed.

So when it comes to a polished concrete surface, the rock, sand, lime and cement have been polished so smooth that there really are not any surface pores to be exposed. Because of this acid etching a surface like that will not really accomplish t task of making smooth concrete rough.

There are only two ways to get a concrete surface to become rougher. This is accomplished either by grinding with a very coarse but flexible disk, or by sandblasting with a very aggressive media that is used to blast the surface. Once the task is completed, then the surface can be etched with muriatic acid. It is important to not forget this step as the grinding or sandblasting will expose new calcium that will also need to be cleaned off prior to coating.

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What to Look for in an Epoxy Paint Sprayer

If you have decided to coat your pond with Pond Shield and have determined that using an epoxy paint sprayer is the way to go, there are some equipment aspects that you should be aware of. Not all spray machines are the same and if you rent or purchase the incorrect one, it will cause problems during the application process. When you are in the middle of spraying, the last thing you need is problems caused by the equipment.

Machine Pump Size – It is important to look into the machine pump size because a epoxy paint sprayer with a pump that is too small will do nothing more than struggle the whole time the coating is being applied. That is not to mention the fact that a smaller pump may not even move the material to the spray gun. Machine pump sizes are usually a standard specification that can be found on any spray machine label.

Normally, the machine output should be as close to 3000 psi during normal operating. In some cases, the machine label will state this pressure as a range such as 250 – 3000 psi. This means that the normal operating pressure might really be somewhere in the middle of that range. In this example, the normal operating pressure might be about 1375 psi. That could be too little and the machine could struggle.

Spray Gun Tip Size – Because Pond Shield is thick, it is essential that the orifice in the spray gun tip be big enough to accommodate the flow of material. Just like the pump size, bigger is better. Most spray gun tips will measure at about .017 to .021 which is fine for lacquers and some latex paints. However, those materials have a much smaller viscosity that Pond Shield epoxy to the orifice should be bigger. A good place to start in regards to spray gun tip size is .023 – .027. Of course an even bigger tip up to .038 or .040 will assist even further.

Fluid Hose – Normally the hose on a machine will have an inside diameter of 3/8 inch. On occasion, a machine will come with a hose that has a ½ inch inside diameter. This is a lot better in regards to moving more material at a time. In some cases the hose size will also be an indicator that the machine can handle a larger volume as well, which may mean the pump is bigger and the spray gun tips are bigger.

If you have any questions about a particular epoxy paint sprayer that you are considering using, please give us a call.  We would be happy to assist you with that and get you moving forward with your project.

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How to Spot Repair Pond Armor Paint

From time to time it may be necessary to correct something that is adversely affecting the coating on a pond. For example, during a routine inspection of the pond, you find that somehow someone has managed to accidentally damage the surface of the Pond Armor paint. If it is dealt with now, it will be an easy fix, but if left alone can become more of a problem later. It is best to correct the issue now.

Spot repairing Pond Armor paint is a pretty simple task in itself. The biggest hurdle will be getting to the area needing attention so that the repair can be accomplished more easily. You must first drain the water level down to at least where the damage has occurred. At this point the surface can be cleaned and any organics like algae removed.

It must be determined now how bad the area needing repair is. In most cases, it will mean removing any of the coating that is damaged or loose. This can be done by scraping the area while attempting to keep the debris from falling in the water.  As long as the water level was drained back far enough, a small pan can be help against the side of the pond to catch falling debris. If the area is part of a waterfall, use compressed air to blow out any crevices between rocks in order to aid the drying time.

Once all of the loose material has been removed, use a piece of 60-grit sandpaper to rough up the existing coating so that the new Pond Armor paint can overlap by at least ½ inch. Afterward, wipe the area clean and allow the bare surface to dry. The dry time will be dependant upon how saturated the surface below the coating had been at the time of the repair. Usually the drying only takes a day during summer weather and a little more during winter months when the temperature is cooler.

After the repair area has sufficiently dried, the new Pond Armor paint can be applied. Mix up a small amount of material and either a brush or roller can be used to apply to coating. Take care not to apply the coating too thick as it could sag and end up running on a vertical surface. The coating only needs to be a minimum of 10mils thick.

Let the newly repaired are cure for 24 hours.  During this time, the coating surface can be inspected and touched up in the event flaws are found. If touching up after 12 hours, use a piece of 60-grit sandpaper to slightly rough up the area that is to be touched up. After the surface has cured for 24 hours and no flaws are present, the pond can be put back into service.

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A Checklist for Concrete Pond Repairs

Repairing a concrete pond can seem a daunting task. However, if you know what is needed prior to performing the repair, the task will be that much easier. The following list is made up of everything you could possibly need in order to get the job done quickly and correctly. Assuming the pond has been drained, you will need the following:

Cleaning tools – Scrub brushes, rags and pressure washer are the minimum cleaning tools needed. These will be used to scrub any organics off of the surface that requires repair. Buckets, a garden hose and any other item you think might aid in washing and rinsing the affected area are also helpful.

Trash receptacles – Trash bags and a good trash can will be needed to dispose of unwanted debris.

Scraper – Use a scraper to dislodge anything organic that was not removed with the pressure washer. It can also be used to scrap away failing coating around the affected area. If the concrete has cracked through and the coating has been compromised, it will need to be feathered back from the crack.

Angle grinder and cutting wheel – use and angle grinder and cutting wheel to cut straight down into a crack at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep depending upon the concrete thickness. This is to allow the new epoxy to get further into the crack where it can bond to and essentially glue the crack back together. If the repair consists of replacing a chunk of missing concrete, the angle grinder can be used to smooth the area and ready it for the addition of more concrete.

Sander – Usually and angle grinder can be used to feather back the existing coating but a sander will work just as well for this purpose.

Pond ShieldUse for fixing a crack in concrete to essentially glue the crack back together.

Fiberglass – 1.5 ounce chopped strand fiberglass mat is used in conjunction with the Pond Shield in order to give the surface of the concrete pond repair additional strength.

Concrete and bonding agent – If the surface being repaired consists of a missing piece of concrete, then concrete and a good bonding agent are needed. Because concrete does not stick well to concrete a binding agent is used to aid in the bond between the two. using a polymer concrete like hydraulic concrete or an accelerated concrete means the curing process will be quicker (7 days) at which point the surface can be cleaned and ready for the epoxy coating.

Muraitic acid – Used to clean new and old concrete before applying an epoxy like Pond Shield. Concrete hydrates and pushes calcium sulphate to the surface during this process. The acid is mixed 1 part acid to 3 parts water and applied over the concrete to clean away the calcium sulphate before coating.

Paint brushes and paint rollers – These will be used to apply the new coating prior to putting the concrete pond repair back into service.

There is a general walk-through in regards to fixing cracks in concrete that may aid you. It is called “Got a Crack in Your Pond? Easy Methods of Fixing a Crack in Your Pond” and can be found by clicking the link. if you have any questions, please contact us.

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Is a Plywood Pond Really the Wave of the Future?

Plywood PondWhen considering building a pond, most people think of using more conventional materials like concrete, rubber liners, stone, block or brick; but what about a plywood pond? Is it even possible? Of course it is. In fact there have been plenty of DIY pond builders who have successfully built plywood ponds and tanks and used Pond Shield to waterproof them.

Right now more and more people are building their own ponds and tanks with less expensive materials. For example a quick search on Google for DIY hydroponics tables or grow beds will yield a fair amount of web pages that revolve around creating your own system. Some of these search results even include instructions about waterproofing the wood prior to use.

There are also plenty of clubs and forums on the Internet that revolve around building a plywood pond or aquarium as well. This is mainly because the average do it yourselfer does not need a lot of specialized knowledge or skills in order to build these structures. The method of construction, as long as it is stout, will tend to last quite a while and at an extremely discounted cost.

The main thing to remember with wood is that it is going to bow unlike almost any other constructed surface. This means that you will need to take extra care when building your plywood pond. The last thing you want is all of your work to be washed away because of a faulty seam, for example.

There is a great starter article in the Wood pond section called “Building a Wooden Pond or Tank” that can give you a pretty good idea as to how to construct your own plywood pond. Though, the article describes a method of overkill in regards to construction, there are a lot of lessons that can be applied to your own construction method. Once the unit is built, it can be coated with Pond Shield and be put into service in as little as 24 hours.

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Things To Avoid When Using Fish Pond Sealer

Things to Avoid When Using Fish Pond SealerIf you have a new fish pond, have some leaks in an older pond or you are having problems maintaining the proper PH in your pond water, you may be contemplating a Do It Yourself weekend of applying fish pond sealer. There are several steps involved, even after first choosing the best sealer for the job; from preparing the pond for the sealer to applying the sealer and then curing it properly after it has been applied. Once you have the pond sealer, make certain that you understand all of the directions, asking questions if needed and also take the time to consider a few things to avoid when using fish pond sealer. This is actually a fairly involved project and understanding all of the dos and don’ts involved will help your project proceed smoothly.

  • Avoid applying sealant to new concrete until it has properly cured. You should plan on waiting at least 28 days for the concrete to hydrate and cure. This can be a very difficult task because you have been waiting for either the pond or the repair to be finished and now you must add almost an entire month to the wait. Concrete takes time to hydrate and you do not want to seal in any residual moisture. Cracking could occur if this process is hurried. The only sure way to speed the process is to add an accelerator to the concrete when it is mixed. Then this process is cut down to 7 days.
  • Avoid applying the sealer on cold days. Carefully read the instructions on the product. Pond Armor recommends that you do not apply the sealer in less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit even though it will still cure in lower temperatures. Check the local temperature for optimum results.
  • Avoid applying sealer in rainy, wet or overly damp conditions. It may not cure properly and if your concrete is wet, the moisture is liable to be trapped under the sealer and this can cause the sealer to improperly bond which can also cause crack issues due to expansion and contraction in freezing temperatures.
  • Avoid missing any areas that need to be sealed. Just as a chain is said to be only as strong as its weakest link, so too, a seal is only as good as its thinnest application. Any leak or exposure due to a missed or improperly covered area can allow water to leak out or the PH to fluctuate. Do not hurry or attempt any shortcuts. Take your time and carefully follow all directions.

Sealing your own pond will save you money as long as you use the correct products and follow all directions. As long as you do not attempt to hurry or to skimp on the amount of product required to do the job correctly and allow both the concrete and the sealer to properly cure, you will have a great fish pond that will prove entertaining and easy to maintain. Fish ponds are once again gaining in popularity and can be fun and educational for the entire family.

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7 Things to Keep in Mind About Spraying Epoxy Paint

Spraying Epoxy PaintThere are many different ways of applying epoxy paint and spraying epoxy paint is one of them. If you have a large enough surface or the surface is too uneven for more conventional methods of application, this guide will assist you along the way.

1. Be sure to have either enough surface area or the correct surface area to spray before you break out the spray equipment. The area should be at least large enough to spray a minimum of 3 gallons of Pond Shield if the surface is smooth. If the surface is too rough such as a very craggy type of surface, then it would also be beneficial to spray rather than brush or roll.

2. Because most spray equipment consists of a pump, hose and gun, some material will be lost during the application process. This material ends up being left behind within these areas of the spray machine at which time it is cleaned out before the machine is put away. It is important to be able to justify this loss of material before you begin. Some machines have enough hose and mechanical parts to cause a loss of up to a half to a full quart of material.

3. Spraying epoxy pain is best accomplished by two people. One person can constantly spray material onto the surface while the other can mix new batches of material having them ready as the person spraying runs out. This team work will keep the risks of epoxy hardening up in the machine to a minimum.

4. Use proper protective gear. When you spray epoxy paint, the coating is atomized into small particles that float in the air. These particles remain in an uncured stated for as long as the coating is not set up. During this time it is possible inhale these particles unless a proper spray mask is worn to prevent it. You should always protect your eyes and lungs when spraying.

5. Epoxy can get onto other surrounding items as well. Use plastic sheeting or tarps to cover any areas exposed to accidental overspray.

6. Be ready to clean the spray machine in the event something goes wrong. Epoxy will cure and if it is still inside the machine will do so there. This can ruin a machine very quickly.

7. Always pre clean the spray machine, especially if the machine has been rented. It is impossible to tell what was used in the machine prior to your use (if rented) and anything left in the machine can easily contaminate the epoxy.

Spraying epoxy paint is no different than spraying any other material except that the curing process of the coating is chemical rather then mechanical in nature from heat, ultraviolet, evaporative or pressure. Because of this, the mixture needs to be tended to more closely which is why a team is always more successful than a single person spraying epoxy paint.

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10 Reasons to Choose Pond Armor Pond Sealant

There is not a large variety of materials available to coat your water feature with. It is important to choose a sealant that will serve you well and last a decent amount of time. The last thing you want to get caught up in is reapplying the sealant year after year. Here are 10 reasons to choose Pond Armor sealant over others.

1. Very easy to apply – Anyone can apply Pond Armor pond sealant. Just read and follow the instructions and ask questions if you are unsure of any of the steps.

2. Multiple colors available – Pond Armor produces eight stand colors (Black, Clear, Tan, Gray, Forest Green, Competition Blue, Sky Blue and White) that are available in a variety of kit sizes. If one of these colors does not suit the project, a custom color can also be mixed.

3. Fish and plant safe – The sealant is safe for both fish and plants.

4. Excellent technical support – You are not alone in your endeavor to seal your water feature. If you have any questions or are unsure about any aspect of the process, Pond Armor staff is available to assist you.

5. Lasts for years – If applied properly and maintained properly, the pond sealant is designed to last for years. There is no need to recoat year after year.

6. Very versatile – The uses for other than water feature types of project are almost endless. It can easily be used on Koi ponds, waterfalls, fountains, pools, manmade lakes, streams, bird baths, aquariums (both fresh water and salt water), hydroponics systems and so on. if you have a project that needs to be waterproofed and are not sure if our coating will work, give us a call.

7. Tough and flexible – The sealant was designed to be both very tough and flexible at the same time.

8. Easy to maintain – There is not a lot of maintenance that needs to be done to Pond Armor pond sealant. It has a very smooth finished surface that can be cleaned with either a soft cloth or sift bristle brush.

9. Great price – Per square foot, Pond Armor pond sealant is roughly the same cost as a good rubber liner. Also amortized over the lifespan of the coating Pond Armor pond sealant will cost a lot less than other inferior coatings on the market too.

10. A 24 hour turnaround – Pond Armor pond sealant can be ready to be put back into service in as little as 24 hours. It does not need to be cleaned or rinsed prior to this either.

Please give us a call if you have any other questions. We will be more than happy to assist you.

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A List for Preparing to Use Pond Armor Epoxy

The last thing anyone wants is to experience what it is like to have forgotten one single item, especially after Pond Armor epoxy has already been mixed and is ready to be applied. The epoxy is going to start to cure and there is going to be absolutely no time to run back to the local hardware store for anything forgotten.

The best thing one can do is follow a plan and a good plan always starts with a good list. Tomorrow is the day planned for applying the Pond Armor epoxy. Here is a list things that could aid in getting the job done. Take note, this list is only for the coating application process, not the surface preparation or inspection.

Gloves – Needed for keeping your hands clean.
Safety glasses – Keep your eyes protected during any DIY project.
Proper clothing – There is no sense in ruining perfectly good clothing. Wear something old that you do not mind damaging.
Paint brushes – Perfect for touch up and hard to reach areas.
Paint roller handle and refills – If you plan to roll the Pond Armor epoxy, make sure you have spare refills and a good handle.
Squeegee – Only needed if you have a smooth surface to work with and you have experience using a squeegee.
Plastic tarp – Use this to cover and protect surrounding areas.
Masking tape – Use to aid in covering up areas not to be coated.
Paper or plastic containers – Used for mixing Pond Armor epoxy.
Measuring cups – Use these to measure specific amount of Pond Armor epoxy and alcohol.
Mixing sticks and a mixing wand – Use sticks for smaller batches being mixed and the wand on the end of a drill for larger batches being mixed.
Electric drill – See above.
Extension cords – See above.
Large plastic paint pan and refills – Use these to pour Pond Armor epoxy into while coating.
Denatured alcohol – Used for mixing with Pond Armor epoxy (see instructions and included recipes that came with the kit). In Canada, look for 99% Isopropyl alcohol in place of denatured alcohol.
Acetone – Use this to clean up any tools after coating.

Use the Clean Print feature found at the top of any article to print this list. Have it handy on the day you will be applying the coating. Check off any items that are already present and collect the rest.

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How to Choose the Best Blue Pond Liner

How to Choose the Best Blue Pond LinerLet’s face it.  There are many different shades of blue.  There are blues that are very dark, there are also light blues. Some blues lean more towards green where others tend to be on the purple side. The ultimate question really becomes how do you choose the best blue pond liner for you?

Have you ever been to a Koi show where judges are examining fish and awarding them for their coloring, size and shape? If not, you are missing something very interesting to watch.  You can learn a great deal about a particular fish just by being present at one of these shows. The one thing you will notice right away is that the fish being judged are almost always displayed in a blue container.

This is not just any ordinary blue container. These containers are made with a very specific shape of blue. The reason for this is because this particular shade of blue is not found in any type of Koi. Sure there are Koi out there with blue in them, but it is a different shade than the containers are made of.

The other reason is that not every part of a Koi has a distinct color. Did you know that some of the areas of a Koi’s fins can be transparent? Take a closer look at yours and you might just see that. It is because of this that this particular shade of blue works well too. Those transparent areas show up very well against the blue and allow a judge to look at the shape and edges of things like fins to determine quality.

Pond Shield Competition Blue is made for this reason. Not only does it have a specific purpose, but it looks good too. The pictures page shows several projects that have been completed using Competition Blue. You should have a look at them if the color blue interests you.

Bear in mind that we also make a Sky Blue which is perfect for pools and fountains for the most part, but also looks pretty good in a pond setting as well. If none of these colors works for you, you can give us a call and we would be happy to discuss a custom color mix for you as well.

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How to Choose a Pond Sealant

You have found yourself at the right place if you want to know how to choose a pond sealant. I have personally heard of people using all sorts of things to seal their pond or water feature with. I have heard of people using asphalt, tar, latex paint, liquid rubber paints, various unknown epoxies, polyester resins, deck sealers and even spray paint, just to name a few.

While there are all types of sealants available to make something waterproof, most of the list of products available generally has to be thrown away simply because they are toxic in nature to fish and plants.  If you are building a water feature that will house either of those two life forms, then you need to steer your project towards a sealant that will do the job and not kill your stock. So that is the very first thing you need to consider. Many sealants can actually leech toxins off into the water and cause serious harm. This can happen rapidly or in some cases over a long period of time which could also lead to misdiagnosing the illness being seen in the stock.

The next things you need to consider is what the pond sealant is made of. I keep using the word sealant here because generally that is a recognizable terms when it comes to waterproofing. What you should not confuse the term with is a type of material that is used to saturate a surface and repel water or moisture. These types of sealants are not really sealants per say but repellants that normally need to be reapplied on a regular basis.

What you are looking for is a pond sealant that will not only waterproof, but bond to the surface it is being applied to. Bond is very important because without it, the sealant will eventually fall off of the surface in which case you will see peeling. When peeling happens, water can get behind the sealant and the decomposition of organics in the water can actually expedite this process. Rubbers and latex materials are prone to peeling because their bond strength is inhibited by their flexibility.

You also need to choose a sealant that was specifically designed to work under water. Too many times people take this simple fact for granted. Just because the sealant is capable of waterproofing a surface does not necessarily mean it can withstand the rigors of existing under water. This is also a reason why so many sealants can fail.

Flexibility is also important. It should be considered very carefully because too much or too little can cause premature failure of the sealant. Rubber for example tends to have the highest amount of flexibility, but with that comes its inability to hang on to the surface it has been applied to. Epoxies on the other hand have exceptional bond strengths. This means that when they are applied, they tend to not want to come off. Arguably though, most people tend to think epoxies are a bad choice because they think epoxies are brittle and are prone to cracking through.  Generally with the average epoxy this would be correct. However, a good epoxy sealant will not only have great bond strength, but it also has a certain amount of flexibility built into it that allows it to move with the surface applied to and not be prone to peeling because of it.

Finally, the pond sealant should be designed to work properly for a decent amount of time. The last thing you want to be doing is recoating every year. The effort in preparation alone does not even equate to the stress cause on your stock each time you have to empty the water feature, clean it, recoat and fill it again. This does not even take into account the new cycle the water feature needs to go through in order to hold your stock again.

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Applying a Concrete Sealer

There are many things you should keeping mind when applying a concrete sealer. Generally these can be categorized into surface preparation, sealer application and inspection. This way it is easier to follow along because you will know what phase you ought to be in regarding any specific topic. The assumption is made that you already have your materials in hand and are ready to go.

Following that line of thought, the first thing you need to consider before applying a concrete pond sealer is how the surface ought to be prepared. Concrete, like many other surfaces has its own unique properties that need to be examined before applying anything to it. First and foremost is the type of concrete that is being sealed. There is some confusion at times in regards to what concrete is. Concrete is a mixture of sand, rock, cement, lime and water. The sand and rock components can actually vary in size some which will eventually determine the over-all strength of the concrete in the end.

Mortar is not concrete nor is cement concrete although these terms are by and large used synonymously to describe concrete. The fact is that mortar for example, is use mainly for adjoining brick or block but should not be used where concrete should be. Mortar has no rock and if used like concrete, will end up being too weak to perform properly.

With that said, it will now be assumed that you are working with concrete. The surface preparation for new concrete dictates that the concrete cure at least 28 days before preparing (7 days for accelerated concrete). Once cured properly, the concrete is cleaned using a mixture of one part muriatic acid and three parts water to clean the calcium sulphate from the surface. It is rinsed off and left to dry. Older concrete should be cleaned the same way.

Now you are ready to begin applying a concrete pond sealer. There are four types of tools that can be used to accomplish this:

Tool Pros Cons
Paint Brush Good for tight areas and cutting in Difficult to control sealer thickness
Paint Roller Excellent for moving material over
larger areas
Sealer applied thinner so multiple coats may be necessary to build up to the minimum thickness
Squeegee Great for smooth surfaces, coating can be applied in one coat Poor for uneven surfaces, can be tough to learn for new users
Spray Gun Perfect for larger areas both smooth and uneven especially when larger amounts of material need to be applied Not ideal for small jobs

While each of these methods is equally as effective if done properly, it is important that all instructions are followed.  In the case of Pond Shield epoxy, there are very specific recipes for mixing the sealer that should be used.

With that said it is best to take you time and really make sure that you have covered the surface well. After applying the concrete sealer, you need to inspect the surface. Most people tend to think that if the sealer looks good from afar that it must be completely intact. This is not true. The concrete surface may have small flaw that will allow a sealer to settle down into leaving very small areas that are not entirely coated anymore.

Because of this it is recommended that each square foot of surface be inspected for flaws and touched up as necessary. All it takes is one flaw to become a leak that will more than likely cause you more grief than it could have if the small amount of time was spent inspecting the surface before the sealer was put into service.

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Pond Armor Colors

We offer eight standard Pond Armor colors including Black, Clear, Tan, Gray, Competition Blue, Sky Blue, Forest Green and White. We also can mix any solid custom color that you choose.

Many people often ask what the best color is to choose. It is difficult for us to recommend a specific color because everyone’s tastes in color is going to be different. The simple answer is that you should choose a color that you think will compliment both the water feature you are coating and the surrounding area.

For example if you have a mostly natural setting, then the Pond Armor colors like Tan or Gray might suit you best. If the area surrounding your water feature is more artsy, then you might consider Competition Blue or Forest Green.

Clear is typically used when one is trying to maintain a specific look, like a concrete surface that is already stained, or a portion of a water feature that include either real or faux stone work. Waterfalls are another great use for Clear.

Sky Blue and White are almost always used for fountains and swimming pools, though there have been people who have coated their Koi ponds with these colors too. The reality is as mentioned above. Chose a color that you like and that best fits the water feature you are coating and its surrounding area.

Don’t forget that we can also mix customer colors too. The easiest way to accomplish that is to get a color chip of what you would like us to make for you. Please only choose a solid, single color.

If all else fails, there is always Black. Remember the days when you could choose any color pond liner that you wanted as long as it was black? Well we make Black also and contrary to what some may think, using Black in your water Feature will not affect the water temperature at all. That is unless you have virtually no water in the feature at all.

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Other Types of Projects Suitable for Coatings

You know, ponds are not the only types of projects that water proofing coatings can be used on.  There are a lot of other things that are perfectly suited for apply a coating like Pond Shield epoxy.

Remember that just because this coating was designed with ponds and housing aquatic life in mind, that does not mean that this is its only use.  Pond Shield epoxy is in comparison to other epoxies a very high performance type of epoxy.

It can be used in a whole lot of other situations and you’d reap the benefits of the coating in doing so.  So let me stop this paid advertisement type of speech right now.  I got carried away.  Instead let me just run down a list of things that you may never have thought of using the product for.  These are in no particular order.

  • Garage Floors – Garage floors need a coating that is chemical resistant and that can take a lot of physical punishment.
  • Hydroponics Tanks – Yes, growing your own vegetables these days seems to be a keen way of saving money.
  • Below Grade Waterproofing – Places with high water tables are susceptible to water seeping through concrete walls and into basement areas.  A coating with a high hydrostatic barrier rating can stop this.
  • Man Holes/Storm Drains – For you city engineers out there, most of these units are made of concrete so the bond of the epoxy to the concrete would be just like that in a pond.
  • Baptisteries – You’d need something tough enough to constantly walk on with some baptismal units.
  • Industrial Kitchen Walls – In any kitchen, especially industrial kitchens, the areas need to be easily cleaned.  Having an ultra smooth surface means less time getting the cleaning job down.
  • Public Showers/Restrooms – A very inexpensive alternative to stone tiling.
  • Rot Damaged Wood – In cases where a portion of a wood structure has rotted, Pond Shield can be used to repair those areas and put them back into service.
  • Broken Tile/Ceramic – The high elongation break strength will allow you to successfully bond broken pieces of tile or ceramic back together.
  • Abrasion Proof Decks – Use in conjunction with woven fiberglass to create an abrasion proof exterior deck.
  • Repairing Wood Trim – Some wood trim will have knots or other flaws that can be repaired with Pond Shield.
  • Sealing Plaster/Drywall – Especially useful when trying to keep a tub or shower area sealed against water damage.
  • Wooden Post – posts like those use on porches or for fencing would benefit from being sealed off from the environment.
  • Anchor Bolts – Used where extra holding strength is needed for anchor bolts in concrete.
  • Post and Beam Splicing – Any time you need to splice a new section of post or beam into and existing section.
  • Sagging Beams – Beams that have begun to sag over time can be reinforced and straightened out.

These are just a handful of ideas that you may be able to use around the house right now.  Yes, Pond Shield epoxy was created with ponds in mind, but it will definitely work better than any other epoxy you’ll find in your local hardware store.

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Pond Painting – Get Artistic!

This is just a brief article to get your creative thinking going.  I am the type of person that likes to construct things that are unique, things that people just do not see everyday, things that people take a look at and think, “Well there’s something you do not see everyday”.

This is not done for praise, but rather I like people to appreciate the finished effect and hopefully get ideas from what I have done to go and build something that is unique for them and that they can enjoy.  So with that said, I would like to talk about using paint in your pond.

If I have said it once, I have said it a million times.  You cannot just put paint on your concrete pond and expect it to stick.  Yep, but here I am talking to you about painting your pond.  Well there is a way to do it.

First consider what you plan to do with the paint.  Are you going to put some sort of mural down in the pond?  Are you going to paint it in a fashion that makes the bottom of the pond blend in with the natural surroundings?  I have seen golf courses put logos and such in the bottoms of their ponds.

So, if paint does not stick to concrete very well, how are you going to paint the pond and get any sort of life expectancy out of it?  That’s pretty simple.  You will end up sandwiching it between two coats of Pond Shield epoxy.

You prepare the surface for the first coat of Pond Shield epoxy and then let it cure for at least 24 hours.  If you plan to paint the entire surface, you can almost use any color of Pond Shield epoxy that you want.  If you want to maintain any natural rock for example you may want to use clear as your first coat.

After the first coat has cured for 24 hours, it can be sanded to give the surface some tooth for the paint to stick to.  What you use to paint the surface now will be a very important choice.  The first kind of paint that probably pops into your head would be latex paint.

Latex paint would probably be the worst choice in my opinion.  The problem is not how well it would stick to Pond Shield epoxy, but how well Pond Shield epoxy would stick to it.  This is because in attempting to prepare a latex surface for the purpose of sticking epoxy to it, you may inadvertently destroy the latex finish you have created.

Think about what the latex might look like if you accidentally sanded through it, especially if you have just finished a nice faux look to the paint job.  Trying to touch that up and make it blend properly can be very difficult to say the least.

You might even consider an exterior oil based paint.  While these pains are pretty good and can be prepared easier than latex, the real problem comes from how they cure.  Oil based pains have quite a bit of solvent material in them and it is the evaporation of this solvent that acts as the drying method for the paint.

When oil based paints dry, they tend to shrink.  This shrinking, not to mention solvent release can cause issues later when the project is complete.

So if this is something you really want to consider, I would recommend that you use an automotive type of paint; either an acrylic, enamel or a polyurethane.  Any of these types of paints are made to stick to other plastic surfaces too.

The trick will be this.  You will need to apply the paint to the prepared Pond Shield epoxy and if the painted surface is small enough apply Pond Shield clear over the top just after the paint has flashed.  By flashed, I mean when the paint has just cured enough to be hard but still susceptible to having a coating applied over top of it without sanding.  This flash time will be described in the instructions for the paint you purchased.

Now, if you surface area is large and you are forced to sand, sanding an automotive paint is pretty easy.  It’s harder than a latex type of paint so the likelihood of you sanding through is a lot less, especially if you’re careful.  Just sand it and then wipe it clean and the surface will be ready for the top coat of Pond Shield clear epoxy.

So that’s basically all there is to it.  If you do not know where to get automotive paint, just call a local auto body shop and ask them.  Usually there are one or two automotive paint stores in any given town or at least in a town close to you.

Remember to think out of the box here.  There’s a lot you can do with paint as long as you do it correctly.  You need a base coat of Pond Shield epoxy, then the paint and finally a top coat of Pond Shield epoxy clear.

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Using Pond Shield in a Bath Tub

Bath Tub Pond

Bath Tub Pond

You would be surprised how many people ask me if Pond Shield epoxy can be used in a bath tub.  Do you know which tubs I am referring to?  Yes, those old enamel coated iron tubs.  Sometimes people like to sink them into the ground and use them as small ponds; and why not?  They are perfect for it.

If this is an idea you have been kicking around for a while but really did not know where to start, hopefully this article will serve you.  Usually, you will find these old bath tubs in one of two states, with the enamel still intact and pretty much bare.

If the bath tub is bare, this probably means that there is going to be a little rust on the iron.  You are going to have to clean all of that up prior to putting any Pond Shield on it.  Once all of the rust is cleaned away, it is also recommend that you prime the bare metal with a self etching primer.

The difference between a self etching primer and a rattle can of primer you pick up at the local hardware store is that those rattle can primers do not stick to bare metal properly.  You need a self etching primer that will essentially burn into the metal and stick.  This is how you will get a better finish coat to stick as well.

You can purchase a self etching primer form just about any automotive paint and body supply store.  If you are not sure where to find one, call one of the local auto body shops and ask them where they purchase paints locally.  Those are the suppliers that will have the proper primer.

If the bath tub still has an existing enamel coating on it, you will need to abrade that surface to rough it up.  The coating is going to need some tooth to grab hold of after it is applied.

Once you have applied the primer and it has had time to set up, you can apply Pond Shield epoxy over the top.  After the epoxy has fully cured, you can put the new bath tub/pond into service.

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Building a Disappearing Waterfall

Disappearing Waterfall

Disappearing Waterfall

A disappearing waterfall is one of those perfect water features for someone who does not have a lot of back yard space, but still enjoys this hobby.

Building a disappearing waterfall is quite simple and if you have all of the components, can probably be completed in a weekend’s time.  They can be made from things as simple as a large terracotta urn that has been set in place that water flows from to an actual outcropping of rocks that water flows from.

You will need at least the following to build a disappearing waterfall:

Something that the water flows from – This may be a terracotta urn, several buckets, small concrete boxes, old wine barrel halves and so on.  You can even use stacked rock.  Think outside of the box here.  You can use almost anything that can hold water to create a unique look.

Fountain Basin – Welcome to the world of plastics.  Because of plastics, some of the world’s neatest things have been created.  These fountain basins can be purchased from pond stores and they are used to set your disappearing waterfall up on.  The water will flow out of the items listed above and over top of gravel, for instance, and down into this fountain basin where it is circulated back up to the waterfall exit point.

These fountain basins can also be filtered in order to keep the water as clean as possible.  The filters can be removed and washed on occasion with relative ease.  The top of the basin is grated so that you can pour large gravel over the top which will hide any evidence of the waterfall mechanics.
Pump – You will need a small pump.  Avoid just running out and purchasing any old pump.  You will need to make sure that the head pressure will be enough to at least operate your disappearing waterfall.
Refill Mechanism – One of the downfalls of a disappearing waterfall is that the splashing can cause the water to evaporate more quickly than standing water.  As such, you will have to fill the fountain basin often unless you install an automatic refilling mechanism of some sort.

Really, that is all there is to it.  Once a disappearing waterfall is up and running, the maintenance is pretty minimal.  Just make sure the filters are clean and that your refill mechanism is working properly.

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