Is it time for a Refresh?

You had a water garden, the water garden of your dreams, installed in your yard. You had great expectations for what you wanted but it just didn’t turn out that way. Maybe your water garden was everything you dreamed, but it has been 20 years, and neglect has taken its toll. You may just want to upgrade your water garden's filtration or expand the size to accommodate your growing fish. Whatever the reason, a water garden refresh can solve all of these problems.

When I started Star Ridge Aquatics over 25 years ago, the water garden industry was much different. Many years ago, water gardens were built out of concrete or lined with a plastic material. Now we build them using a 45 mil EPDM rubber liner. This material allows for limitless size, shape, and depth. EPDM liner, produced by Firestone, has a 20-year warranty and is the material of choice. This material makes a durable pond that will last for decades. Commercially available filters were very primitive, pond skimmers were not yet developed and ultraviolet sterilizers were quite costly. We had to build our own biological filters and pond pumps were installed inside the pond. Now there are many filtration choices and pond pumps are installed inside a surface skimmer. Upgrading the filtration system to a biological filter will keep the water healthy for your fish. A biological filter utilizes beneficial bacteria to consume and break down fish waste and excess nutrients that cause ammonia and nitrate. These nutrients can cause health issues with your fish and will surely cause algae that will turn your water green. We certainly do not want green water since it inhibits our ability to see the fish. An ultraviolet sterilizer is a device that utilizes a type of fluorescent light bulb that produces ultraviolet radiation that will kill algae, fungi, viruses, and parasites. This is plumbed into the filtration system with the intent of “sterilizing” the water. This produces crystal clear water, eliminates most of the disease problems that plague fish and will keep microscopic parasites from reproducing and attacking the fish. This unit, in my opinion, is an absolute necessity for any water garden.

The last essential piece of equipment for the water garden is the skimmer. A skimmer is a device that is installed on the outside edge of the pond but attached to it. The submersible pump is housed inside. The process of pumping water up to the waterfall causes pond water to be pulled into the skimmer from the surface of the pond. As the surface water is pulled in, so is any floating debris such as leaves, pine straw and mulch that has blown or fallen into the water garden. This debris is then collected in a net so it can be easily removed. This skimming serves two purposes, collecting the floating debris before it sinks to the bottom and pumping the oxygen-rich surface layer of water through the biological filter. This mixes the oxygen-rich water back into the pond, helping both the fish and the living bacteria in the biological filter.

All of these newer technology items not only make the health of the water garden better, but they also make the upkeep of the water garden easier. Just as we remodel our kitchens and bathrooms, a water garden can use a refresh too. If you have a water garden that needs a refresh, whether cosmetic or mechanical, Star Ridge Aquatics can help. Star Ridge Aquatics inventories all the materials needed to perform these upgrades. They also offer design and installation services for water garden refreshment as well as new construction. For more information on filtration, ultraviolet sterilization, or surface skimming contact Joe Granato at Star Ridge Aquatics by calling 910-947-5333 or email

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  • We have a water feature, installed about 20 years ago, consisting of a stream with 3 waterfalls and 3 small ponds in our front landscape. Unfortunately during hurricane Michael last fall several large trees fell over it dislodging rocks. With the sunny front of the house instead of all shade, the house foundation shrubs/plants need to be replaced. Before replanting suitable shrubs I want the stream refreshed as it is a major feature of our front entrance. I am also hoping a large boulder may be installed on the top area between the stream and house. Would you please contact me about this to consider if it’s in our budget for a repair/refreshing of stream? Thanks, Belinda & John Hester

    Belinda Hester

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