Optional - Solar Power Bubblers
Solar power bubblers add oxygen to the water during daylight hours. They are an effective tool when oxygenating plants haven’t fully established in a new pond. As the name implies, solar power bubblers don’t need electricity to work making them even more convenient. They’re also reasonably priced.
Solar power bubblers! Who would have thought? These are great!
Dreaming of ponds
Before I had my own ponds, I did a lot of dreaming. I was already thinking about how I would build my pond some day.
The idea that artificial ponds needed an electric pump and filter to properly function never appealed to me. In my mind’s eye, I pictured exactly how a natural pond could be laid out. I thought to myself, why can’t a smaller pond support aquatic life such as fish and amphibian larvae on its own? Why would I have to use electricity to complete an ecosystem? The few small ponds I frequented as a child didn’t need electric power to work.
The need for electricity
In certain situations, electricity is a must. If your wish is to include a water feature such as a creek, waterfall or fountain, it’s hard to do it without electricity. These three add-ons never appealed to me, but I can see why other people might want them. I certainly wouldn’t mind having a creek running through my property. The problem lies with the rate of evaporation during the summer in Florida. I’m afraid I’d be constantly adding water to it.
Enter the information age! Today we have solar power and our use of it has only begun. I’ve already researched the possibilities of solar-powered pumps with intentions of constructing a creek. So far, I haven’t come up with anything solid enough to invest in. I did, however, come across something I could use. Solar power bubblers, what a nice surprise!
Solar power bubblers
These wonderful inventions help oxygenate your new pond while new plants are first establishing. They also come in handy during the winter months when plants stop growing. Keep in mind that you may not necessarily need them. Out of my six ponds, only two used solar power bubblers. I had two of them for my largest pond which houses largemouth bass. Today, I no longer need or use them.
Solar power bubblers are reasonably priced and they’re easy to find online. Since they only work while the sun is out, I assume they lack the ability to store long-term energy. A need for improvement lies in this area. Daytime is the most important time for these bubblers to pump because the sun drains oxygen from a pond. This is especially the case on hot summer days.
Oxygen produced by underwater plants peaks during sunny days. Besides plants, wind and rain also add oxygen to the water of a pond. Rain exposure doesn’t seem to damage the motor of these bubblers. They’re surprisingly lightweight and only produce a slight humming noise while working. I’ve had mine for two years and they cost $40 a piece.
Only one problem has arisen in my experience with these solar power bubblers and it’s not a product defect. A raccoon, or some other animal bit through one of the wires at night. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to fix it the damage and my forty bucks got flushed down the drain. I came up with an idea of how to protect the unit that didn’t work for my particular situation. It could, however, work in your situation.
A halfway useful attempt
In trying to protect the solar power bubbler, I used a plastic shoe box bought for a few dollars at a local department store. Using a soldering iron, I poked a hole in it. I then worked the wire through the hole and closed the lid with the motor inside.
The soldering iron
These tools come in very handy if you’ve never had one. Just be careful, it’s very easy to get burnt.
Problems presented themselves in my attempt to protect the unit. First, a small part of the wire was still exposed to animals. The second reason the shoe-box trick didn’t work in my situation is because of the hot Florida sun. It simply gets too hot in Florida for this idea to work. When excessive heat builds up in the box, it causes the motor to overheat. When the motor begins to overheat, it temporarily stops working until it cools down.
If a pond is in a shaded area, or if it’s located up north where the heat is not as extreme, the plastic shoe-box trick might work. I’ve only had one incident where wire damage occurred and the unit was lost. So, that’s one out of four units. Not bad. I originally expected to get two years out of the remaining units but they’re now three and still going strong. A nice little product that comes in handy for any natural pond owner.
Speaking about the information age
When it came time to building my pond the second time around, I didn’t get much help from the internet. That may surprise you. The first time I attempted to build a pond, I went by what other people were saying on message board forums. None of their advice worked for me.
That’s one of the reasons why I built this website. I wanted to create an alternative – a simple resource that was available for free. That’s how I built my own ponds, so why not share the knowledge?
Some of the worst advice I took from the web the first time around was digging anchor trenches for the liner to tuck into. This is to help keep the liner in place. When I figured out how to do it myself, I found that anchor trenches were a complete waste of time and energy.
Trenches versus the speed bump
I busted my butt digging anchor trenches and they turned out completely useless when setting a pond liner. The purpose of the trench is to block rainwater from settling under the liner. I found that the weight of the water alone anchors the liner in place. If you secure the liner under a ‘speed bump‘ (as I discuss elsewhere in this website), rainwater is unable to settle under the liner.