THE AMERICAN POND
Have you ever been yelled at about algae? Have you ever been directly blamed for the growth of algae? I have.I am not sure at exactly which point in my life it happened that I became the guy responsible for algae growth; and I am not sure if that is something to be proud of or not either, but it is for sure that algae management is a huge part of my life in one way….or another.
Algae actually keeps me pretty busy as an American pond builder. In many parts of the world algae growth and green hazy water conditions are perfectly normal, accepted, even expected, but not here in the USA; the American pond has got to be clear water and algae growth kept to the minimum! This is the given expectation that I encounter with virtually all prospective clients who are considering a pond installation. My customers want to see the bottom of their pond! For the American pond 3-8 inches of visibility will not do, while in other countries this is the norm and even considered desirable. “Crystal” clear conditions are probably not really discussed in pond installation consultations in other parts of the world.
As luck, and filtration systems, has it these days clear water and minimal algae growth is pretty achievable but the American pond has another characteristic to it that is not a major issue in other parts of the world, and that is size. Yes, to Americans size matters, pond size that is. The American pond is bigger than most pond installations throughout the rest of the world. Why? Well maybe it is because we have the room to make our ponds bigger. In Europe and many other parts of the world there simply is not enough room to make a pond very big in your typical backyard. The American pond gets a little more leg room with an average size pond being about 8’ X 10’, and that number seems to creep up a bit more very year.
How about waterfalls? It is practically a must, a given, that the American pond will have a waterfall cascading down into it. For the last 15 years about every pond that I have put in has had some sort of waterfall…or 2, or 3 with lots of water volume moving through it. Each waterfall we design and install has at the very least 2000 gph of water moving through it and many customers ask for more! Can it go taller and wider is a pretty common waterfall design question with Americans. Ponds in other parts of the world often do not have any type of waterfall at all, they are smooth surface ponds that a waterfall has no place in. No crashing falls, no white water in their backyards.
The American pond has got to be deep! It is becoming common pond design advice that the American pond has to be at least 3 feet deep, at least! Meanwhile our pond keeping counter parts, who have been at it much longer than ourselves will rarely have a pond that deep or deeper in their backyard garden pond installations. The typical depth staying at about 18”, to maybe 24” for the more adventurous pond keeper. “Dig deeper…deeper!” is commonly heard on my pond installation jobsite.
All this bigger, deeper, stronger, more leads of course to overstocking. Yes the American pond is routinely overstocked with fish and aquatic plants of numerous varieties. Oh no, not 2-3 types of plants; how about 12 different types of plants or more. Oh no, not one type of fish how about 10 different types of fish. To the American eye, myself included, this is an awesome display; however, through other eyes our ponds might seem like a busy intersection in New York City.
So the American pond has some pretty profound characteristic differences when compared to our extended family of pond keepers throughout the world. Is all of the American pond attributes necessary to enjoy your pond? Probably not. Would pond keepers from other parts of the world find the American pond to be a bit loud and overstated…probably; but this is who the American pond keeper is! We like our ponds bigger, deeper, and more powerful. Give us more plants, more fish. Let’s rebuild our ponds and make them even bigger! Giddy up!
Oh, God bless us.
The LOVE YOUR POND blog is written by Mike Gannon of Full Service Aquatics. Mike is a professional pond builder and expert in the broad topics of fishkeeping and water gardening. Mike also produces THE POND HUNTER video series which can be viewed on Youtube. “In The Pursuit Of All Things Aquatic” the Pond Hunter videos provide how-to pond construction videos, pondumentaries, and videos of related interest. Mike resides in New Jersey with his wife and 2 daughters. To visit his website go to www.loveyourpond.com and visit The Pond Hunter at www.youtube.com/thepondhunter.
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