Share |Welcome to Pond Boy's learning center. This easy to follow page is meant to be a quick reference guide to the most common pond or water garden and fountain terms. Feel free to browse below. Many of the terms will also make direct links to products associated with them.
Fountain Pump -- Device used to deliver and recirculate water to your fountain feature. These come in all sizes from a mini fountain pump less than 2" small to large fountain pumps capable of lifting water several dozen feet.
Indoor Fountain Pump -- These fountain pumps that can be used indoors typically do not need the 3rd prong on the plug. They are usually less expensive than their outdoor fountain pump counterparts, Although its not necessary to have a 3 prong grounded plug for indoor fountains, it is nevertheless recommended.
Inline Pump -- Fountain or pond pump that is used externally from the water feature where water is drained to the in-take of the pump. Used mainly where submersible pumps are not an option such as shallow water or a fountain design where the pump must be out of sight. Some inline pumps have submersible capabilities as well.
Outdoor Fountain Pump -- Most notable feature in this pump is that the plug has a third prong for ground on the plug. This along with a GFI outlet increases overall shock safety. These pumps can and should also be used for indoor fountains however they are typically slightly more expensive by comparison to their indoor fountain pump counterparts.
Statuary Fountain Pump -- Fountain pump that is used for garden concrete fountains. These fountain pumps can be inline or submersible and are typically medium in size and strength.
Submersible Pump -- Fountain or pond pump that will only operate under water, Operating otherwise will result in pump failure and permanent damage.
Table Top Fountain Pump -- Mini to small fountain pumps primarily used for small serenity type fountains that you find on an office desk or kitchen counter.
Wall Fountain Pump -- Usually compact to accommodate the narrow and shallow spaces that these fountains typically have.
Pond Pump -- Device that is the heart of any water garden. Pond pumps provide vital circulation that deliver water through your pond filtration system, provide air / water exchange and keep water temperatures at a constant.
Direct Drive Pond Pump -- Pond pump is typically spun on ball barrings and has lubricated seals which are NOT harmful to plants and animals. They deliver heavy volumes of water when you compare them to their magnetic driven pond pump counter parts so its a reason why they are used in tall waterfalls or complex winding streams. The drawback is that they typically use twice the power as a magnetic pump.
Inline Pond Pump -- This pond pump is operated externally from the pond. You will often find this kind of pump when using pressure filter systems or when the pond is made of concrete and hiding a submersible pond pump is not practical.
Magnetic Driven Pond Pump -- The impeller is driven on a magnetic shaft. Very energy efficient and and use no oil for lubrication. Using about half the power as their direct drive pond pump counter parts it also does not deliver quite the volume of water should the waterfall be really tall (above 5 feet) or the stream be very complex. In recent years however magnetic pumps have become what is known in the industry as hybrid pond pumps. These have the same benefits that you would find in magnetic pond pumps such as no oil and energy efficiency; however, they spin faster and with stronger internal components are now beginning to rival even the best of the direct drive pond pump counter parts.
Submersible Pond Pump -- This pond pump is used underwater. Ideally it should be used with a pond skimmer to protect from debris and reduce maintenance. easy to hide and require less room to house then external pond pumps.
Waterfall Pump -- As the name implies this pond pump powers your waterfall. Waterfalls can be just about anything. Lately in the past several years waterfalls have been serving more than just as a decorative feature. They also now function as the ponds filtration system by way of biological waterfalls. Waterfall pumps can be inline or submersible.
Pond Filtration -- All the equipment that keep your pond water clean and healthy. These can be simple or complex depending on the needs and population of your pond.
Biological Filters -- This pond filter functions to reduce the particles and waste produced in your pond. The way biological filters work is as the name suggest. Beneficial pond bacteria breakdown waste as the water passes through them. Biological filters typically carry something porous such as lava rock or bioballs to colonize the bacteria. There are several kinds of bio-filters the 2 most common on the market being waterfall filters and pressurized filters.
Mechanical Filter -- These pond filters are the most basic and are typically found in smaller backyard ponds. This simple system is an enclosure that have filter media in it. This box is then connected to the pump. As the pond pump draws water, the mechanical filter that is in between then catches particles clearing the pond.
Pond Aeration -- This pond filtration pumps air into the pond. The air is diffused by either air stones or perforated piping. This forced air and water exchange and releases the trapped gasses in your pond that is produced by decomposing waste at the bottom of the pond. Pond aeration is also used during the winter months in order to release the same gasses that may be trapped under the surface ice.
Pond Pressure Filter -- One of the common types of biological filtration systems. This pond filter is an enclosed chamber usually found outside of the pond. Water passes through these chambers and is then processed by the beneficial bacteria colonized inside. Periodically then you would preform what is called a back-flush in which all the collected sludge is purged from the pressure filter. This makes great fertilizer for your surrounding landscaping. Pressure filters can be simple or can be equipped with items such as UV filters. All work however in the same way of breaking down waste.
Pond Skimmer -- This pond filter is used to reduce the amount of floating debris that fall into your pond. Things like leaves and grass clippings will almost always find its way to your pond, and if there is nothing there to catch that, it will simply sink to the bottom. This then becomes very difficult to clean from your pond. Pond skimmers also protect your pond pump from becoming frequently clogged by this and other debris thus increasing the life of the pond pump.
Ultra Violet Filter -- A UV filter is one of the best methods to clear a green water pond. Water passes through this tube and is then exposed to an ultraviolet lamp. This lamp kills the algae that passes through this. Ultra violet clarifies are used when all other preventative measures have failed. You will mostly find that you must use this if your pond is in constant sun exposure , your beneficial pond bacteria is at a low count, or/and you have little or no aquatic plants in your water garden.
Waterfall Filters -- This pond filter combines the effectiveness of a biological pond filter with the beauty of a cascading waterfall. These work in the same way pressurized pond filters do. They typically will have a filter mat and porous material on top to colonize the pond bacteria. Water passes through this medium from the bottom and is then spilled back into the pond in the form of a decorative waterfall.
Pond Kits -- Complete pond system. A good pond kit will include a waterfall filter, pond skimmer, 45 mil epdm pond liner, underliner, plumbing, and a pond pump. Pond kits come in all sizes from mini pond kits to very large backyard pond kits.
Mini Pond Kits -- You will find these pond kits in small spaces such as patios or entry ways to a home. They are good for small fish such as gold fish.
Koi Fish Pond Kits -- These pond kits are usually larger to accommodate the large sizes that koi can grow to. These ponds are ideal for backyards.
Outdoor Pond Kits -- These kits come in all sizes and as the name implies must be installed outdoors as the pond liner system most of these pond kits are equipped with require excavating the ground for proper installation.
Pondless Kits -- Pond free kits are ideal if you want the beauty of a water feature without the maintenance required by a fish pond. These too come in all sizes. The way they work is a waterfall flows into a basin that is filled with gravel thus creating the illusion there is no pond. Since the basin of a pondless waterfall is just for water storage, you find there is no need for biological filtration or any pond skimmer.
Pond and Fountain Lights -- These lights look a lot like what you would find in landscaping only that the lights usually can be submersed. Some Fish Pond Lights can be both submersible and exterior. Low voltage, normal voltage and LED pond and fountain lights are the most common types you will see in the market.
Floating Pond Lights -- As the name suggest. These pond lights float are usually decorative and sometimes are mixed in with fog or mist making devices.
Halogen Pond Lights -- These pond lights have been the standard type of lamp for some time now. Usually low voltage is what you will find with these pond lights but there are some submersible lights can be as high as 250 watts.
LED Pond Lights -- These pond lights are the next generation in water garden lighting. Use extremely low watts typically 1 to 4 watts. They do not heat up and can be both submersible and exterior pond lights. LED lights now even come to resemble the warm light color that you usually find with a halogen pond light.
Submersible or Underwater Pond Light -- As the name suggest these pond and fountain lights will only operate under the water. They sometimes also allow you to change the lenses for different colors.
Pond Liner -- This material is what holds your water. More and more flexible pond liner is what's used for many reasons such as easier to work with than concrete, can be hidden much better for a more natural look, and lasts decades with no maintenance to name a few.
45 Mil Pond Liner -- This pond liner is what is mostly popular with contractors. .45 Mil means the thickness of the liner. 45 mil is typically the best because its not too thin to easily puncture yet its not to thick that it is not flexible enough for working with.
EPDM Pond Liner -- Most of the 45 mil liners you will see are made of EPDM, which is a very flexible yet tough rubber. Firestone pond liner is one of two companies in America that make this liner and they certify their Pondgard liner to be fish safe.
Fish Pond Liner -- This pond liner is made to be safe for fish. Often times you will here that roofing liner is used for ponds. Although it is essentially the same EPDM rubber material, they still contain an additive which can be harmful to fish. Make sure when you use pond liner that it is certified to be fish safe.
Pond Liner Adhesive -- This material is used to bind liner seams together. Pond liner comes in no larger than 50 x 100 size panels. For large projects that exceed these sizes or if you are making a stream that needs pond liner to be mended, you would use these products to do so. Once pond liner adhesive dries and cures; the bond will be as strong as the liner itself.
PVC Pond Liner -- This is another material used for pond liner. Instead of EPDM, PVC is used in the make up of this pond liner. It is usually thinner 20 mils as opposed to 45 mil pond liner. This liner is far less costly but can puncture easier and deteriorate faster.
Underliner or Underlayment -- Pond underliner is used to protect you pond liner above. This is laid down in your excavation prior to laying on the pond liner. Using this material will increase the puncture resistance of your pond liner by 400%. When you pond has water the downward pressure caused by the weight of the water can cause much stress to the liner. Especially if there are any rocks that may have been missed during excavation and not removed. Geotextile underlayment as is the industry name also help in even dissipation of trapped gasses. Burrowing animals also avoid this material because of its hard to tear material and thus avoiding your pond liner to be punctured as well.
Pond Water Treatment -- There are several products out there on the market that deal with issues of algae, sludge, chlorine, and discoloration. More and more you are seeing organic ways of treating pond water.
Pond Bacteria -- This pond treatment boosts the beneficial bacteria count in your pond. Mostly found in your biological filter, beneficial pond bacteria aide in breaking down impurities of your pond water as they pass through your filter. For best results pond bacteria is best colonized in porous material such as lava rock or bioballs.
Barley Straw -- Mostly used to treat string algae. As a preventative measure there are enzymes in barley straw that inhibit string algae growth. Barley straw is also available in concentrated liquid barely.
Sodium Bicarbonate -- What you find in oxy-clean type of products. This is an oxygen based cleaning powder. The way this works is you sprinkle this on your moist rocks that grown mold and mildew. This powder will literally scrub the surface of those rocks to its original color.
Dechlor -- Used to take the chlorine out of municipal water should that be the only source of water for your pond. Chlorinated water can cause irritation to fish gills which in turn leave open wounds for bacteria to enter and kill your fish.
Active Carbon -- This pond treatment is a binder. As water passes through the charcoal rocks the browning water that is mostly produced by dead leaves in the form of tannic acid which give pond water its tea color. Activated carbon rocks will help make the water more clear in that respect by binding that tannic acid.
Pond Winterizing -- The steps one needs to take during the freezing winter months.
Pond De-icers -- Prevents water from turning into ice. Will activate at 32 degrees F and deactivate at 45 degrees F. Most fish will handle even some of the harshest of winters. Unless you have tropical fish such as African Ciclids, you will not need to climate control by way of a heater. What is of importance is that the surface of your pond not freeze. This will cause gasses to stay trapped in the water and thus will suffocate your fish. A pond decier allows for an area in you pond to not freeze and allowing for this escape. There is also a product on the market called a thermal cube. Its an outlet that you plug into you house outlet. If you have just a strait pond heater with no thermal controls, you would use this cube nas it has an internal thermal control that work in the same way as pond de icers do.
Pond Aeration Systems -- In combination with a pond deicer, a pond air pump will allow the harmful gasses to move much quicker out of the pond water.
Pond Plumbing -- The veins of your pond. The plumbing is an essential and often overlooked aspect of your ponds hardware but should always be a consideration in light of which pond pump you select. You should always try to match the diameter of the outflow of your pond pump as close as possible. The smaller the tubing diameter the more friction loss will occur. That means that you can have the strongest pump on the planet hooked up to you system if the diameter of the pipe is too small you will only get a maximum flow based on what that diameter will deliver.
Flexible PVC Pipe -- Made of 50% rubber this pond tubing will work and use the same fittings that a standard schedule 40 PVC rigid pipe will use. This tubing is ideal for pond construction since most ponds are irregular in shape. This allows you to curve around the perimeter of your pond with minimal need for elbows and angles which affect and reduce the flow of your water.
Kink Free Tubing -- Also flexible like Flex PVC only this pond tubing uses barbed fitting and clamps to mend all the plumbing. The flexible nature also allows you to avoid many of the angles and elbows that slow water-flow down.
Clear Vinyl Tubing -- This tubing is ideal for fountain making. Many standard sizes easily fit right over the outflow of the fountain pump. Use this tubing to line the inner shaft of your fountain to ensure a tight water delivery system.
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