Waterfalls and Pond Fountains Compared
You can select from a wide variety of options when deciding on the type of water feature you want for you pond. If you have a small backyard pond, waterfalls are a great addition and pretty easy to create once you have the rocks. Building the actual pond is the hard part. It entails quite a bit of digging to get it deep enough to protect your fish from birds. And then there’s the adding of the underlayment and pond liner. Some people also like to cover the liner with concrete. The pond walls need to be leveled.
Building a waterfall is the easy part. The dirt you removed to dig the pond makes for a great foundation. You then decide on a path for your water to flow down. You add the underlayment and liner and start adding the rocks or boulders, placing bigger ones toward the bottom of the fall. Flagstone placed horizontally makes great spillways, whether you want one or several. If you want your waterfall to be long and extended, you just make the mound longer and clear a larger waterfall pathway. Think all the time about splash. Remember splash that falls outside of it will drain your pond of water. Tall waterfall drops cause splash, and also if there aren’t enough boulders placed around the pathway water is going to get out of the waterfall area and out of your pond.
Some people prefer fountains in their small ponds, so you would need to add a nozzle. Keep in mind that you do not want water from the pump nozzle splashing outside of your pond, which often occurs during windy conditions. And nozzles are typically fixed in a position above the pump, and if the pond water gets low they will submerge. The pump of the pond is submersible, which means that the workings are underwater. The fountain uses the pump to force water through the fountain head and shower water over the pond’s surface. This spray may be a fine mist, a heavy rain-like spray, or any mixture in between, depending on the nozzle you choose. Light features that will complement the water feature can also be included in fountains, making any pond spectacular at night.
For people who have large ponds, say one-quarter acre or larger, building a waterfall takes equipment, as large boulders are heavy and need to be lifted with backhoes or some other machinery. So most people opt for pond fountains, which typically float on the surface of the water, often in the center of the pond. The pump is suspended beneath the float and a nozzle is attached above the float. Rope or steel tether anchors the float in place, either by tethering to the shore or to the bottom of the pond with cinder blocks. The advantage of tethering to the shore is that when the unit needs to be dragged in for servicing or winter removal it is easy to do. The disadvantage is that if you boat or swim there will be lines running across your pond which can obstruct your path. The advantage to cinder block tethering is the lines are kept close to the float. The disadvantage is the difficulty to remove the floating fountain. You will need to tie some small floatation devices to the top of each line so that you do not lose it to the bottom of your pond. And you most likely will need to drag the fountain to the shore by boat.
When a waterfall is thoughtfully built, it provides the most natural look. On the other hand, pond fountains for large ponds are much easier to deal with. Lights can be added to either feature, but pond fountains often shoot water high and wide into the air, and lights reflect off the droplets at night, creating a dramatic nighttime display. A floating fountain, held in place by the float with ropes attached, stays in the desired spot but rises and lowers with water levels. Fountain Mountain sells pond fountains using from one-third horsepower to seven-and-a-half horsepower pumps, utilizing either impellers or propellers depending on the kind of fountain you choose. We sell a full line of Fountain Tech, Kasco, and Scott pond fountains. We sell our own line of Fountain Tech fountains for those on a budget.
How Pond Fountains Benefit Your Pond
A unique way to add dissolved oxygen to your pond water and character to your landscape is to add pond fountains. Oxygen is needed to keep your fish healthy and keep your pond from getting the rotten egg smell. Ponds naturally stratify as they go through the seasons. Stratification is the layering of water, often by temperature (ever notice the pond water is warmer at the top?) but also as a result of pond chemistry/structure and density. Here is a brief introduction to stratification terminology:
Thermocline is the name of the separation between the pond layers. It is often the transition from the top, warm water and the cold bottom water.
Euphotic Zone is the area of the water column that receives sunlight, or the top layer of the water.
Epilimnion is the term for the warm water layer at the top of the pond during the summer months.
Pond Turnover or simply Turnover is the process of a layered or stratified pond mixing once the density barrier is no longer present. This typically occurs in the fall but can also happen in the spring. It is often very abrupt and can be catastrophic to a pond environment.
Aeration keeps the water mixed year-round, so the pond isn’t suddenly shocked by a sudden turnover mix. Aeration evens out the pond’s temperature, and oxygen is spread around so fish can thrive at various levels of depth. Necessary, natural bacteria thrive and bottom muck is reduced. The water becomes clearer, pond scum and invasive plants are reduced. Also, without aeration, ponds can become shallower over time from a buildup of muck caused by a lack of oxygen. Plant materials need oxygen to steadily decompose, and if new plant life grows at a rate faster than old plants decompose (due to a lack of oxygen), muck accumulates at the bottom of the pond. In addition, this muck sends up gas bubbles, which can create a very foul smell like rotten eggs.
The pump of the pond is submersible, which means that the workings are underwater. The fountain uses the pump to force water through the fountain head and shower water over the pond’s surface. This spray may be a fine mist, a heavy rain-like spray, or any mixture in between, depending on the nozzle you choose. Light features that will complement the water feature can also be included in submersible fountains, making any pond spectacular at night.
There is no limit to the number of water characteristics you can have in a pond. Many experts indicate that the more oxygen is dissolved into the water for the fish and plants to use, the more water agitation and the better fish and pond health.
If you put it in your pond, a pond fountain is very pleasing to the eye and gives your pond a more attractive look. Just as important, though, is the fact that a fountain will make for healthier ponds.