The SkimmerThe skimmer is designed to sweep the surface of the water so this it is free from debris. The debris basket inside the skimmer is the first filter stage of the skimmer. The basket will collect leaves, twigs, seeds, and other debris that falls or blows into the pond. It only takes a few minutes every other week to empty the debris basket. More frequent changes will be required during the fall because of the quantity of leaves falling off the surrounding trees.
It is a good habit during your first season with the pond to periodically check the quantity of debris in the basket. This is especially true in the fall. Keep a mental note as to how often your basket has to be emptied. It’s important that the debris basket is not allowed to become too full as too much debris can reduce the water flow to the pump.
Filter MatThe filter mat below the debris basket is the second stage of the skimmer. The mat is designed to handle any debris that finds its way past the basket. The mat will not need maintenance as frequently as the basket, since the basket will remove the majority of debris from the water.
The water reaching the pump should be relatively free of any large debris, thanks to the debris net and filter brushes on the skimmer, and, if you have a Pondless® Waterfall, the fact that the water has to pass through layers of gravel in the basin.
Note: The filter mat may have a slot cut into it so that it fits around the discharge pipe. Install the filter mat correctly so the slot fits around the discharge pipe. Skimmer filter mats are designed to last for about two years. Filter mats may be discolored and appear dirty and old, but will work just fine in your skimmer and BIOFALLS® filters, or MicroFalls™. Replace old filter mats if they begin to tear or fall apart. Ask your installer or local garden center about replacement filter mats.
The PumpOn occasion, you may see a reduction in the water flow over the waterfall. This could be a sign that it is time to clean the filter screen on the bottom of the pump. This process should take no longer than five minutes. Simply unplug and remove the pump from the skimmer or Pondless® Waterfall Vault and physically remove any debris found on the bottom of the pump. You may also want to physically remove any debris with your hands that may have found its way to the bottom of the skimmer or Pondless® Waterfall Vault, where the pump sits.
BioFalls® FilterThe BioFalls® filter is the starting point of your waterfall. The filter mats and media provide a home for the beneficial bacteria that help clean the pond. It is designed for once-a-year cleaning when used in combination with a Signature Series™ Skimmer or Pondless® Waterfall Vault prefilter, ensuring that large debris is filtered from the water before it reaches the BioFalls® Filter.
Most ponds don't require the filter mats or filter media bag in the BioFalls® Filter to be cleaned more than once a year. Cleaning them, especially with chlorinated tap water, more often will reduce or kill the beneficial bacteria growing on these filters. Replace old filter mats after several years, when they begin to tear or fall apart. The filter mats can be removed for annual cleaning through the wider opening at the front of the rack.
Note: The Signature Series™ BioFalls® filter that comes with the Pondless® Waterfall system does not include filter mats or media bags. There is no need for these items since there is no pond. In addition, Aquascape produces a full line of products and educational materials designed to help you get the most from your new water feature. Ask your installer or local supplier for more information on purchasing these products.
The Water LevelEvery pond will experience a little evaporation. The amount of water loss due to evaporation depends on waterfall height, water splashing outside the pond, stream length, the amount of sunlight the pond receives, and the temperature of the region where you live.
During the warmest months of the year, most small, residential ponds will need a weekly addition of water to counteract the effects of water loss. During rainy periods, adding water to your pond may not be necessary at all. The water level of the pond can be monitored using the opening of the skimmer mouth as a reference. The ideal water level should be set at about ¾-inch below the top of the skimmer mouth. You can check the water level each time you empty the debris net.
When you notice that the water level is low, simply drop a garden hose into the pond and add the required amount of water. De-chlorinator does not need to be used when adding less than 20 percent of the pond’s total water volume.
If your pond is equipped with a water fill valve inside the skimmer, the water level of the pond will be maintained for you. The water fill valve can be connected to the garden spigot on your house or connected to the main line of an underground irrigation system. When the water level in your pond drops, the float on the valve drops also. Water is added through the fill valve until the float rises back to its original position.