It’s that time of year again! Winterizing your pond is an essential way to maintain your pond and keep your pump in good, working condition.
- As the water temperature drops below 50°F, Koi begin to slow down and do not require feeding. However, if you have fish that are still active and hungry, they should be fed a fish food designed for cold water feeding. Biological activity decreases below 50°F and will not break down the excess protein that is contained in most summer fish foods. In cold weather, we recommend purchasing Cold Weather Fish Food from your local Little Giant dealer.
- To ensure that your pond is healthy, remove all organic debris, such as leaves and excess plant material. Leaves break down, causing an excess of nutrients in the ecosystem when spring begins. This causes “pea soup” or green water (planktonic algae) to occur for a few weeks in the spring. Protect your pond from debris with Little Giant’s Pond Netting.
- If your pond is in a climate where the surface will freeze completely, it is important to provide a hole in the ice for gas exchange. Fish still need oxygen during the winter months, so keeping an opening and adding air allows for proper gas exchange. If gas exchange cannot occur, your fish could suffocate. De-ice your pond with Little Giant’s Pond De-Icer and add oxygen with our submersible air pumps.
- To minimize green water in the spring and ease the cleanup process, add winter bacteria. As the water temperature cools below 50°F, the summer bacteria begin to hibernate. You can continue the biological activity with cold water bacteria and enzymes. Make spring start up easier by adding Autumn and Winter Prep all season long.
- Your pump can run continuously over the winter season. A flow of 1,500 to 2,000 gallons per hour or higher is ideal. Be sure to adjust the stream and waterfall to prevent ice damns from diverting your water during the winter. Letting your water continue to flow is a great way to add oxygen to the system for bacteria and fish. Check out our selection of Little Giant F Series Pumps for increased energy efficiency.
- If you decide to remove your pump for the winter, take steps to ensure it will operate for you come spring time. For direct drive pumps with shaft seals, we suggest cleaning the volute and impeller if accessible and placing it in a bucket of clean water in a frost-free area. This protects the pump’s seals from drying and cracking. For wet rotor pumps, disassemble, clean, and dry the entire product and place on a dry, clean shelf inside for winter. For specific instructions on winterizing your pump, check our website by entering your model number in the search box and selecting the instruction sheet on the product page.
Franklin Electric is pleased to announce the launch of the Little Giant® Aeration System. This multi-functional aeration and fountain system is capable of moving up to 500 gpm – great for bodies of water up to half an acre in size. With the easy installation of a fountain nozzle, the aerator is transformed into an attractive fountain display. Whether the primary goal is aesthetics or biological pond health, Little Giant offers this easy-to-use, reliable, all-in-one solution to keep water clean and healthy.
• All-in-one packaged system (float, aerator, Franklin Electric motor)
• Ready out of the box
• Easy installation
• Simple sizing: 1/2 hp per 1/2 surface acre
• Aeration/fountain interchangeability
• Enhances biological activity
• Improves water quality
• Multiple visual options
• Simplifies maintenance in water
• Plug-and-play, no control box required
Easy Fountain Pump Conversion
• Optional fountain conversion kit includes: pump head, nozzle stem, and Sonata, Cantata, and Concerto fountain nozzles
• Easy nozzle installation
• Multiple nozzle options
It is imperative to the health of fish and plants to keep your ponds water clean and clear.
- Dechlorinate Your Water – Once you have filled your pond, remove harmful chlorines and chloramines that are inherent to tap water. Little Giant’s liquid dechlorinator will remove these harmful properties. Use the dechlorinator any time you add water to the pond. Follow the application instructions on the bottle.
- Test Your Water – Little Giant’s test strips will give you a reading on the pH level, nitrite level, and buffering capacity of your pond. The buffering capacity is the alkalinity level, which helps prevent large pH swings.
- Buffer Your Pond – Add Little Giant’s buffer to maintain a buffering capacity of 80-240 ppm (parts per million). A properly buffered pond will resist changes in pH due to acid rain and other external factors.
- Adjust pH Level – If the level is not above 6.5, apply Little Giant’s pH Increase by following bottle application rates. You should not change the pH level more than .2 points per day. A drastic change can cause stress and possibly harm your fish. A pH reading of 7.0 is optimal.
- Add Water Clarity Products – Flocculants will help clear and maintain the ugliest of dirty water problems. Be sure to clean your mechanical filter system multiple times after using a flocculant.
Along with a pump, the filter is one of the most important components in maintaining a healthy, clear pond.
- Mechanical Filter – Called a mechanical filter because it physically traps the pieces of debris and algae in the water. Most are designed to filter water before it enters the pump. This helps keeps fountain heads, as well as the pump, clear of clogging debris. This type of filter should be ran continuously while the pump is in operation.
- Biological Filter (preferred for ponds containing fish) – Called a biological filter because it provides an environment for “good” bacteria to colonize. These good bacteria work to break down harmful ammonia into nitrites, then nitrates, a great fertilizer for pond plants. This type of filter needs to operate on a continuous basis (24 hours a day), otherwise the colonized bacteria will decrease.
- Combination Filters – Some filters utilize both forms of filtration by having mechanical filter media precede the biological section of the filter. Therefore, combining the best of both worlds, you minimize negative debris clogging while maximizing plant and fish life.
Selecting the correct type of pump for your water garden is imperative to maintaining a healthy pond. Listed below are a few important tips for selecting the right pump for your needs:
- The pump is the heart of any water garden. Little Giant recommends that your water garden have two pumps if you are planning a water feature (fountain, waterfall, pond ornament, etc.): one for filtration and one for your feature. Larger pumps can support filtration and a water feature at the same time.
- For ponds larger than 1,000 gallons, the water should be filtered at least once an hour. This means that if you
have a 2,000-gallon pond, you should have at least a 2,000-gallon-per-hour (GPH) pump. Water gardens less than 1,000 gallons need to be filtered 2-3 times an hour. The smaller the pond the more frequent the flow. To calculate your gallons, use this equation: L x W x avg D x 7.48 = gallons
- The height at which the water is discharged above the pond affects the amount of water a pump will move. Normally, the higher the water is pumped above the water surface, the lower the amount of water it can pump. Therefore, if the top of your stream is 5 vertical feet higher than your pond, you should select a pump satisfying your flow needs at 5 feet. E.g. 2,000 gph at 5 feet.
- When selecting your ideal pump, it is better to oversize slightly than undersize it. For example, a pump rated at 700 gph can be reduced to 625 gph, but a pump rated at 500 gph cannot produce the extra flow needed.
Now that you’ve excavated your pond like a pro, the next step is installing the pond liner. When building a pond, liner sizing is crucial and, if done correctly, it will help you set the stage for the addition of water and overall pond decorations:
1. When building a pond, liner sizing is crucial. To calculate the required liner size for your pond, use the following formula:
Length of Pond + (Depth x 2) + 2 Feet = Length of Liner
Width of Pond + (Depth x 2) + 2 Feet = Width of Liner
Calculate your stream liner using the length and width of your stream. Add 10% to the liner square footage to determine your underlayment needs.
2. Make sure the interior walls and bottom of the pond are smooth and free of rocks or debris. If roots are visible, trim them back below the earth’s surface.
3. Underlayment will help aid in the smooth installation of your liner. Place the underlayment in first.
4. Encourage friends to come over and assist you in placing your liner into the pond. EPDM liner weighs a third of a pound per square foot. A 15x15 piece weighs 68 pounds. With friends on each side, lightly feather the liner to get air under it. Then “float” the liner in place.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect location for your new water garden, it’s time to start the excavation process. The steps below will help you set the foundation for a professional-looking pond:
- Use a garden hose, string, chalk powder and/or spray paint to lay out the shape of your pond for digging. Adjust as necessary to avoid roots, utilities, and other obstacles during installation. Don’t forget to call 811 before you dig!
- Excavate the soil to about 8 inches deep: Hint: that is the standard depth of a shovel head. Decide where the level shelf or shelves will be. Make them shapely large so you can enter and exit the pond safely…and don't forget a location to place plants. Paint the next level and dig it out 8 inches. Repeat this process until you reach your desired depth.
- As you excavate the pond, it is important to cut a shallow edge at about 1-4 inches deep and 12-15 inches wide beyond the pond rim for coping. This will allow you to place rocks around the edge, keeping the liner out of sight.
- A standard water garden depth is 24 inches (2 feet), but check your local codes for requirements. Use a string level to ensure that you will have a uniform water level with respect to your skimmer opening and the pond edge. If you are constructing a waterfall or stream, be sure to move the excavated dirt to its location and begin forming the shape.
It’s not too late to get your pond project started this summer! The following tips will help you plan where to build that special water garden you’ve always dreamed about:
- Learn how the sunlight travels across the yard and what direction water run-off drains to. The water garden should be located where you can interact with it by a patio or deck and have a pleasant view from a window inside.
- About 5 to 6 hours of sunlight per day is important for fish and plant life. When excessive amounts of sunlight are present, floating plants and lilies can help reduce exposure which could prevent algae blooms.
- Prevent site run-off from entering the pond. Chemicals and other debris from your yard can affect the natural balance of your pond. Also consider where the overflow from the pond will go after a heavy rain.
- Trees are a great shade tool in any landscape and their leaves and twigs can find their way into your pond. Design and install the proper filtration components, such as a skimmer, to ensure a pleasant ponding experience with minimal maintenance.
- Don’t forget to check your local regulations. There may be design restrictions in your area or a building permit may be required. Always remember to dial 811 before you dig. Know what’s below.
In 2016, Franklin Electric is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Little Giant®. Recently, at the employee celebration held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the company was recognized by Mick Cornett, Mayor of the City of Oklahoma City, with the issuance of a proclamation for reaching this historic milestone. In addition, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Gregg Sengstack and Franklin Electric Vice President and President of North America Water Systems, DeLancey Davis spoke about the longevity of the company and how it revolves around great people.
To view the video, click here.
2016 marks the 75th Anniversary for the Little Giant® brand of plumbing, HVAC, dewatering, utility and a variety of other pumps. Little Giant, a Franklin Electric brand, originated in 1941 when a plumber named R.M. “Doc” Wolfe found a solution to the quality challenges he faced with evaporative cooling pumps. The Little Giant Vaporizer was born and was considered the first electric motor-driven submersible pump of its kind on the market. Shortly thereafter, the Little Giant Vaporizer Company was created in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where 15 employees manufactured submersible vaporizers for evaporative coolers.
“Little Giant products and people have been an important addition to the Franklin family,” said DeLancey Davis, Franklin Electric Vice President and President of North America Water Systems. “Little Giant has provided a terrific base business in the wastewater, HVAC and outdoor living channels, and holds strong brand recognition with key areas of distribution in each of these markets. Much of this can be attributed to consistent product introductions, innovations, and a loyal customer base that has continued to make Little Giant their brand of choice for 75 years. The Little Giant brand was built on dedication to quality and availability and is a testament to our loyal employees who put their craftsmanship into every Little Giant product to support our customers’ craft. We are truly grateful to our ideal collection of employees, customers, and business partners who have teamed together for 75 years to make Little Giant the leader it is today.”
After World War II, Little Giant purchased an aluminum die-casting machine and started taking on die-casting contractor work in the 1940s to further increase sales and personnel expertise. By 1950, this expertise had grown so much that the company was able to develop and manufacture an upgraded Little Giant Vaporizer Pump that could be used anywhere water recirculation was a problem. This basic, self-contained electric motor-driven submersible pump was a small low-pressure, high-volume pump that was used specifically for the recirculation of water for evaporative coolers, minnow tanks, home garden pools and fountains, light coolant oils for machine tools, laboratory uses and many other water transfer applications.
In 1954, the development of the Little Giant C2 and C3 pumps signaled the company’s true entrance into the condensate pump business. In 1960, the company reorganized and changed its name to Little Giant Corporation, expanding its focus to battery chargers and steam cleaning machines that were later sold so the company could focus completely on water pumping. Over the next 20 years, the company continued to build its name around innovation with: condensate removal pumps (1958), sump pumps (1963), magnetic drive pumps (1968), sump/sewage/effluent pumps (1980), Eliminator Series 8E, 9S, 10S pumps (1985), aquarium pumps (1990), WRS-5 and WRS-6 sewage basins (1990), pool cover pumps (1996), decorative outdoor living products for the landscape industry (1997), the VCMA condensate pump (1999), grinder pumps (2000), Pit+Plus® sewage basins (2003), and outdoor living LED lights (2004).
Little Giant was purchased by Franklin Electric, a leading global manufacturer of pumps, motors, drives and controls for residential, commercial, agricultural, industrial and municipal applications, in 2006. With the combined Franklin engineering and manufacturing teams, the Little Giant brand has continued its focus on providing innovative products that solve contractor challenges in the pumping industry. Little Giant’s wastewater product expertise includes sump, sewage, effluent, dewatering, condensate, magnetic drive, and utility pumps, as well as low pressure sewer systems. The Little Giant Outdoor Living product line includes a variety of pumps and accessories for decorative water, hydroponics, aquarium, pool, and marine applications.
For more information on Little Giant wastewater products, visit www.littlegiant.com.