Photo Shoot, Pose, Pose, Pose – It’s National Camera Day! 

It’s that time of the year again, it’s National Camera Day (June 29th)! Instead of going deep into the history of camera day, let’s go into how you can celebrate it to its full advantage in your own backyard.

Let’s start out with the obvious, we all have a camera in some shape or form. Whether it be a fancy DSLR or the magical rectangle in your pocket. So how can we use it to our advantage, especially on a day dedicated to it? Simple, find your muse, most of the time our muse is right in front of us and for some it can be in your own backyard, like your water feature!

Canon camera picture from National Camera Day article
Photo: Ringing in National Camera Day with … talk about cameras

We know social media is extremely prevalent in our society, from life hacks on TikTok to promotions from influencers on Instagram. If you’re a business owner and want to gain more traction on social media, nothing grabs the attention of people more than a well taken photo of a product, in this case a water feature. There are things to consider when setting up what you want to shoot, such as lighting or time of day and general composition. Your camera can help capture all of that, so let’s go into more detail about what to consider.  

Set the Tone with Lighting

Let’s start off by going into what the ideal time of day for a photoshoot of your water feature. That ideal time is known as Golden Hour or Magic Hour, it’s the time of day either right before sunrise or right after sunset when the light is softer and redder than when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. This lighting can tap into what kind of emotions you want to portray in your water feature, like tranquility, calmness, and overall aesthetic. If you want to highlight lighting in or around the pond, sunset is the perfect time to do so, especially as it gets darker, you’ll be able to make the lighting pop in the photo. Most phones have night mode so even if you don’t have a fancy DSLR camera you can still get amazing night shots.

For iPhone, open the up the camera app, for most low-light situations, Night Mode will automatically turn on. There’s a yellow icon at the top of the screen that will indicate when Night Mode is turned on, a number will appear next to it to indicate how many seconds the camera will take to shoot. You can experiment with this mode by tapping on the yellow icon and adjusting the timer. Tap on the Shutter button and then hold the camera as still as you can while it takes the shot. You can then go into your Adjustments settings and play around with the exposure, brilliance, contrast and more. For an Android, you have more of an advantage since most Androids have a manual camera setting, much like a DSLR. In the camera app, you can select manual and adjust the ISO and shutter speed.

Photo Composition is Key

Composition can either make or break your image, so if you want to crack into the algorithm and have your water feature center stage, take into consideration what you want to be the focal point of the image. This is the “rule of thirds”, break your frame into imaginary thirds on both the horizontal axes and vertical axes. Where the lines intersect are your points of interest, the key is to keep the composition clean. The rule of thirds is very helpful when capturing streams, waterfalls and surround areas around the feature. When capturing streams look for the “S” curve, that will help guide your image and keep the line of water as the focal point. Remember, your phone can help out too with a simple setting called “Live” when shooting a waterfall, you can tap on Live at the top of the screen, use the pull-down menu to find Exposure and wait for the image to convert from Live to Exposure and watch as the hard raw water becomes softer and gives a silky-smooth aesthetic.

If you are using a DSLR, have your F-stop at F/22 (sometimes F/11 or F/16 work well too), Exposure at 2 seconds and ISO set at 200. When taking a photo of a smaller feature, try highlighting it’s features instead of its general surrounds.

The rule of thirds may not always apply to these small feature situations and that’s okay! Is it a nozzle? If so, use an angle to give it height and grandeur, really show off the height of the spray. Angles help the composition and bring more dynamic into the shots. Something as simple as a Filtral UVC in a container can become something vibrant by shooting at a slight angle towards the nozzle, whether it’s Lava, Vulcan or Magma, zooming in slightly where you still see a little bit of the lip of the container and centering the attention on the spray. Remember to play around with the ISO and F-stop to get silky-smooth water flow!

On that note, happy National Camera Day! You’ll be amazed at what you can do, and the response receive. Get out there and get creative!

Read Leah’s blog on National Camera Day from last year! Ready? Set. Smile! It’s Camera Day!


About the Author:


Leah La Farciola

Like the elusive bigfoot, Leah enjoys the great outdoors. Hiking, biking, attempting to longboard, falling off said longboard, rollerblading, you get the picture. Leah attained a piece of paper from THE Ohio State University that states she can make drawings move on a computer. She is the Multimedia Coordinator for Atlantic-OASE, catch her work on the YouTube.

Aquaponics or Hydroponics?

A Historical Lesson in Efficiency

Stories of Depression era thriftiness have been handed down through generations, shared at the dinner table along with Grandma’s sweet potato pie. Now known as the “Greatest Generation,” those that lived through the Depression learned how to save, strategize and stretch a dollar. They had no choice. Generation Y has adopted the same approach. More aware of the economic twists and turns and the careless environmental impact of humanity, Millennials have learned to change—no—transform the way they live life.  

In the latest economic downturn, the 2008 recession, bits of advice were abundant. Reuse and recycle. Don’t waste food. Buy wholesale. Make it yourself. And we did. When things get tough, we know how to cinch our belts and trim the fat.  While we have turned toward a more efficient way of life, gardening has remained traditional, even old school. Seeds are still planted in rows and rows of dark rich soil. It makes us feel good, yes. But efficient it is not.

If we listened to our most resourceful cultures, we might understand that farming is about the perfection of symbiosis. It’s about avoiding waste and the elimination of redundancy.

Hydroponics and aquaponics have historically proven to be the most efficient options for gardening—at home or on the farm. Both methods are soilless systems that use water to grow plants. Both require a water pump, but that is where the similarities end.

Hydroponics vs Aquaponics chart explanation

Aquaponics

Aquaponics is—in part—a hydroponic system, but it grows both fish and plants—leveraging the symbiotic relationship between the two. The waste from fish in the aquarium water is pumped up to a growing tray with plants and growing medium. Plants rely on the fish waste for nutrients, and the relatively clean water is recycled back into the aquarium for the fish.

Considerations in setting up an aquaponics system are many. This method is completely organic. It requires no artificial chemicals, no pesticides—the right method for the eco-conscious.

Once the aquaponics system is built, the purchase of fish—and fish food, of course—is all that is required. The pH level should be carefully monitored—drastic changes in the pH level come with lethal consequences. Fish pull their weight—keeping algae growth under control, while it remains a common challenge with hydroponics.

Aquaponics requires regular flushing of fish waste, so it does require commitment. But root rot, a common issue in hydroponics, is rare.

Aquaponics requires a much cooler climate than hydroponics—below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Pest control with this method demands care. Fish exposed to pesticides can result in fatalities.

By nature, aquaponics takes at least a month to produce a tangible outcome. A bacterial colony has to set up shop—a process known as cycling. Kicked off with nitrate, “cycling” is when challenges most often arise. Research, a regular chemical check and a little bit of luck can mitigate disaster.

Hydroponics

Hydroponics, on the other hand, uses water and a soilless growing medium to provide plants with nutrients. Nutrients added to the water are fed to the plants.

Hydroponics can be simple or complex, depending on the need. A simple set-up—container, pump and stone—can handle a small number of plants. If a larger yield is the goal, a hydroponics system can grow both costly and timely. The nutrient solution requires regular flushing with the buildup of chemicals and salts.

Hydroponics typically demands a sterile environment. Not just clean but actually sterile. Pests are rarely an issue.

Hydroponics plants growing
Photo by Jatuphon Buraphon

For quick results, consider hydroponics. Commercial nutrients provide plants what they need, so growth is quickly evident. But monitor that temperature—an exact temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit is required.

Due diligence before making a choice—aquaponics or hydroponics—will translate to success or failure. Do research. Be realistic.

Now woven into the fabric of our global culture, we have embraced sustainability. Sharecroppers, gardeners, chefs and homeowners have committed to growing their own food. Self-determination and a changed mindset have shed new light on old methods.

Stay tuned for more blogs on Aquaponics and Hydroponics!


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Eco-Friendly Products & You

Little Changes, Big Impacts

Climate change has become a prevalent topic across the globe. As a result, consumers, like you, are more conscious about their carbon footprint. This mindset has driven companies and their product development teams to become more eco-friendly. Those who own a water feature can rest easy as OASE offers great options to help lower your energy requirements, benefiting the natural world and your wallet simultaneously.

Environmental awareness and efficiency are values at the epicenter of OASE’s innovations. Our eco-conscious products put the health of the pond at the forefront by offering powerful technology combined with sustainable outputs. Our powerful technology increases the overall efficiency of the nutrients in the pond habitat, providing a healthier ecosystem for people and wildlife to enjoy. The proper pond system can be an unstoppable force against pollutants, giving pond owners peace of mind.

OASE employee showing couple the AquaMax Eco Premium Eco-Friendly Synchronous electronic pond pump

When you use energy efficient products, you help the environment and enjoy the benefit of saving money. On average, the OASE AquaMax Eco Premium saves consumers up to 40% on their electricity bills when compared to our competitors. The Eco Premium is one of our most economical and effective products. The Eco-Leaf on our packaging indicates which products are particularly easy on the environment.

OASE Eco Plus Eco-Friendly leaf icon

Pond owners are one step ahead in regards to benefitting the environment. Ponds are an easy source of drinking water, a habitat for an abundance of wildlife, and a place to collect rainwater in times of drought. To provide such amenities, we need to be able to guarantee clean, clear water – and we can! OASE systems are at the top of the water gardening industry, promising crystal clear water in your feature for you and Mother Nature’s beautiful creatures to enjoy.

Being eco-friendly in the 21st century isn’t always as easy as it seems. With OASE you can be confident that your pond will be “green” in the best way possible. From tangible savings to lending nature a helping hand, OASE has what you need to reduce your carbon footprint one water feature at a time.

Celebrate World Environment Day (June 5th) with us our line of Eco-Friendly products! Read more about Atlantic-OASE products on our blog!


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Mosquito Prevention: Moving Water, Moving Mosquitoes

Moving Water, Moving Mosquitoes

Some are drawn to the warmth and promise of spring, others, the cool colors of fall. Those that love the extremes of summer and winter are fewer, but no less dedicated. We are driven outdoors with varied purpose—falling snow, shining sun and sounds of nature. But one thing unites us all — our common dislike of the pesky mosquito.

These tiny organisms are more than annoying with a hefty bite. From yellow fever to malaria to zika, humanity has, time and again, waged a war against the mosquito. Know thy enemy. Mosquitoes are small flies that lay eggs in or on stagnant water. Once hatched, larvae live in water and feed on debris until reaching adulthood. Timeline from egg to adult? One week.

Mosquito

If that’s not enough to get you playing defense, this should—the mosquito is responsible for more human deaths than any other animal on earth, including humans. Just like other threats, there are clear strategies to adopt—and it starts with prevention. More specifically, it begins with water.

Take a good long look around your property. Anything that can hold water is suspect—cans, tarps, tires, birdbaths—even saucers that cradle flowerpots. Each a potential breeding ground for mosquito larvae. Remove, drain, fix—eliminate. Address the issue and check it off your list.

Remember…timeline from egg to adult is one week.

After a heavy rain, check if ditches dry up swiftly—puddles, too. Just the barest amount of water—one quarter of one inch—can play host to mosquito eggs.

One Easy Solution – Make Your Water Move!

In honor of June 3rd being Insect Repellent Awareness Day, we’re sharing one of the easiest and most organic ways to help protect your yard of mosquitoes.

Birdbaths and ponds serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes only when the water is still, a requirement for mosquitos ready to lay eggs. When the water’s surface is broken, mosquitoes are unable to lay eggs, and they move on.

There is the good news. The organic solution is also the simplest—add an aerator (either a Typhoon Aeration Kit or an OASE AquaOxy 450) or a small fountain pump to your birdbath. Moving water will eliminate the mosquito threat. For larger bodies of water in your backyard, position a water pump on the floor of your pond to keep the water moving and break the breeding cycle.

Adding a simple, yet visually stunning, fountain to your pond or water garden, like the Aquarius Fountain Set, is an easy way to get your still water moving with the benefit of your choice of fountain nozzle options.

Atlantic-OASE’s long line of pond and water feature pumps are quiet and effective in creating efficient water movement in various sizes and bodies of water. Ensuring water circulation throughout a pond or water feature, pumps help to inhibit mosquito reproduction. High humidity. Spring thunderstorms. Piled-up snow. The outdoors provides challenges that can damper the experience. But mosquitos are more than a mild nuisance, they are a disease delivery system that can wreak havoc throughout communities and across countries. Difficult to control, impossible to eradicate, prevention is the only strategy that can be the sole difference.

Read more on the blog here!


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Hop into Spring with Irises for Mother’s Day

Today is both Iris Day and Mother’s day and I’ve been thinking about Irises a lot over the past couple of weeks. Our latest project is a 150’ long pond with a Grand Vulcan fountain nozzle at one end, a stream section and a couple of four-foot-deep, 25-foot-wide pockets occupying the last eighty feet at the other end. That’s where the koi will live. The water is drawn through 4” bottom drains under the koi end and pushed into a row of gravel-topped Eco-Blox submerged around the inside perimeter of the fountain end. Marginal aquatics planted in the 4” – 6” gravel help filter out wastes from the fish. This is in Louisiana, so naturally, I thought of Louisiana Iris for the marginals.

Iris fulva, the Copper Iris

While three of Louisiana’s five species (and three varieties, according to the USDA Forest Service) of native Iris come in shades of blue, Iris fulva, the Copper Iris comes in colors rarely found in other flowering plants – rust, brown, near-black, even copper. There are many amazing red hybrids – Red Velvet Elvis is crimson and mauve, you have to look it up, and it brings in hummingbirds! All of them are perfect choices for the gravel beds over the Eco-Blox. I’m hoping to see masses planted.

Japanese Iris ensata

Two mainstay marginals of more northern water gardens, Siberian Iris sibirica and Japanese Iris ensata,  once graced almost all of my ponds. I admit I still love them but, I’m trying to go native. Not all Iris are created equal. My Mom’s favorite were German Bearded Iris germanica, in royal purple and gold. Fitting for Mother’s Day. They thrived in her garden’s rich but dry garden soil. Submerged, they would rot in days.

Iris pseudacorus, Yellow Flag Iris

Another species, Iris pseudacorus, Yellow Flag Iris, once ate a pond I built. I made the mistake almost thirty years ago, before they were recognized as invasive. I dropped 5 one-gallon plants in an 85×40 pond. Five years later, half the surface area of the pond had vanished. The irises had created vast rafts that moved off the 18” deep shelf all the way around into the deeper water that dropped to five feet in the middle, the only place the iris hadn’t yet reached. It took another five years to get rid of them.

With all the different types and colors of irises, you’re sure to find one that Mom will love for Mother’s Day! Do your research and you may even find there’s a native iris to your region that will bloom happily in Mom’s garden!

Read more blogs from us on Irises and Mother’s Day here! An Iris-istible Flower To Add To Your Pond and 10 Flowers To Add To Your Mom’s Water Garden This Mother’s Day


DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

Earth Day, April 22, 2022

This Earth Day I find myself thinking about the changes I’ve seen from years ago. Anyone else remember the commercial with Iron Eyes Cody, the “Indian Chief” who shed a single tear as he gazed out over a fouled and polluted landscape? I’ll bet everyone who was watching TV fifty years ago does remember. That thirty-second spot by Keep America Beautiful, Inc. aired on Earth Day in 1971. The Hudson River he overlooked from the Palisades was a mess. Swimming in the East River, like the Bowery Boys used to do in their films from the Thirties? No way. We just knew the water would kill you, you could smell it was toxic. Well, that silly tear, which Lady Bird Johnson had to talk him into, actually just a drop of glycerin, that tear changed my world. New Yorkers can once again swim in the Hudson, and the striped bass fishery is thriving. Littering, which was a way of life that EVERYONE practiced, almost disappeared. Talk about positive impact. Wow. 

As a pond builder, I’ve always felt the need for sustainability. Like the rest of the industry, I started moving away from high energy pumps and massive filtration, taking advantage of the new technologies that have revolutionized motors in all fields, from cars to vacuums to computerized variable speed pumps. The features we build these days use a fraction of the electricity we used to need for the same flow. But I’m thinking even the ponds themselves can do more with less. Most of my past projects were purely ornamental features, meant as a panacea to sooth the souls of onlookers and nothing more. And that was a lofty goal, one I am proud of. Lord knows we all need all the soothing we can get these days. But, I’m beginning to feel that my ponds should do more than simply delight the families I built them for. 

Pond with white lilies
Photo by Pixabay

Aquaponics makes sense to me as the next step. With food costs spiraling, and no end in sight, why just look at the fish? I’ve started thinking about raising different species of fish, not just nishikigoi. Have you ever seen a Mozambique Tilapia in its breeding finery? Gorgeous. And tasty. And before anyone starts to protest, don’t forget that the fish we call Koi were at first just dinner, until they were reprieved because of their pretty colors. I’ll bet they still taste good. Now, I’m not saying you should eat your prized Tancho. Just that you could. Can you say gefilte fish? Carp were until recently a prized delicacy here in the States, as they still are pretty much everywhere else around the world. Caught and ate them all the time as a kid, floured and fried in butter. Don’t knock ‘em until you try ‘em. 

It’s not just fish that could be… ”utilized”, shall we say? So-called “dirty” pond water is full of nutrients, it can grow a lot more than algae and waterlilies. Ever since the Nelsons of Katy Texas showed me what could be done, we’ve been experimenting with all sorts of plants in graveled streams and headwater pools. Want a bumper crop of tomatoes? Swap out the pond grass and rushes in your veggie filter. You won’t believe the yields. Not only do most plants, not just “water plants”, grow prodigiously in submerged gravel beds, they also clean the water crystal clear. And that muck at the bottom of our ponds? Black gold for the garden. Nowadays, at botanical gardens, we build collection beds outside the pond that we can drain the sludge into to dry with the turn of a valve, then harvest it to supplement store bought fertilizer. 

On a final note to these random musings on Earth Day, I’m really impressed with the company I work for. As a representative of the world’s leader in ornamental water feature equipment, I’m proud to note that Oase has always focused on sustainability, and that focus has only broadened over time.

Maybe there’s hope for us yet. Happy Earth Day!


DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

National Pet Day at Atlantic-Oase

Today (April 11th) is National Pet Day and what better way to celebrate than looking at a bunch of cute pet pictures on the internet? So, to brighten everyone’s day, I present to you all the adorable honorary furry co-workers here at Atlantic-Oase!

black and white cat sleeping
Tyler’s sleepy kitty, Hilda!
two collage pictures of a dachshund
Erica’s dachshund, Watson!
black and white cat looking up
This curious cat, Zorro, loves to have photoshoots with our camera-pro, Leah!
collage of two pictures of a corgi
Kendahl’s backpack-traveling corgi, Thor is all smiles everyday!
two black and white dogs
Ashley’s dogs, Nova & Luna are best buds!
collage of two dogs
Cynthia’s two cute pups, Ziggy and Buddy!
golden doodle dog sitting next to a stuffed Scooby Doo
Peter’s pup, Scooby, on a day off from the office. Scooby visits us in the office a few times a week! It looks like he approves of his stuffed doppleganger!
two dogs laying next to each other sleeping
We wish we could nap all day long like Priscilla’s hounds, Bexley & Calla.
collage of two pictures of a tabby cat
Calypso is Kyla and Mason’s fearless feline!
dog picture
All smiles from Brinda’s dog, Bear!
collage collection of pictures of 3 pugs and a horse
Judy’s house is full of furry family members! Socks (horse), Miss Beans, Doodle Bug & Mr Bear
fish
How can we be a water feature company without someone having a pet fish? We love the coloring on Sean’s fish, Bubba! Bubba loves to watch TV in the living room with his family!
collage of a dog wearing sunglasses and a black cat in a red hat
Jim’s pets, Dodge and Mr. Shivers are rocking it out with their outfits!
long haired German Shepard
Good vibes from Todd and his long-haired Germain Shepard, Duke!
collage of cat pictures
Maui and Moana are always up to no good at Caitlyn’s house!
black cat sitting on a laptop
Megan’s kitty, Harrison, disapproves of working from home. Such a needy co-worker!
collage picture of two dogs and two cats
Debbie & Kristin have lots of love to share with all their clothes-wearing cuties!
dog sitting on a patio next to a rock fountain
Kyle’s water feature-loving pup, Bailey, loves to spend time by her pond and waterfall!
collage picture of a German Shepard, two bunnies and three cats
Cats, dogs, bunnies oh my! The cuteness! Gina’s house is full of cuddles!
boxer dog sitting on couch and eating a pup cup from Dunkin collage pictures
Tyson makes himself comfortable on Jeff’s office couch and loves pup cups from Dunkin’ with Jay!
collage picture of two dogs and a cat
How adorable are Carrie’s fur babies?
dog wearing a orange sweater
Oreo is always happy to see Wanqi after a long day at work!
collage picture of two dogs wearing Christmas candy cane pajamas
Tim’s pups love wearing their Christmas pajamas!

If you’ve made it all the way to the bottom of this blog, thanks for reading! We hope all of these pet pictures made your National Pet Day even better! Share your pictures of your pets with us on Facebook and Instagram! We’d love to see all the furry friends you share your days with at home!

Read our National Pet Day blog from last year here: Celebrating National Pet Day with Your Water Feature’s #1 Fans


Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

2021 Atlantic-Oase Virtual Conference Award Winners

Atlantic-Oase held its annual Professional Conference virtually again this year with over 150 attendees present on Zoom. The one-day Virtual Conference brought presentations on what’s coming in 2022, from new products to future training schedules to a chat on Recreational Ponds. Like every year, we ended the Professional Conference by presenting the annual awards. Join us in recognizing the following contractors for their awards this year!

Zoom screenshot of attendees from the Atlantic-Oase 2021 Virtual Conference

Atlantic-Oase Professional Contractor (APC) of the Year Award

The Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) of the Year is awarded to those who exemplify the finest attributes in our field: the creation of top-quality water features, a dedication to the industry and a helpful attitude towards our fellow contractors. 

Josiah & Anne Crousore of Specialty Water Gardens, the Atlantic-Oase Professional Contractor of the year award winner

This year, we’re proud to announce that Josiah Crousore of Specialty Water Gardens and Landscapes of Columbia, Missouri, embodies everything we look for in an APC. 

Since 2007, Specialty Water Gardens and Landscapes has offered the highest-quality ponds, waterfalls, fountains, landscape and waterscape design, installation and upkeep in the greater Kansas City area. Recently, Crousore and his wife Anne added a pond supply retail location that they run together, and it has earned stellar reviews from their customers. In addition to an admirable and impressive body of work, Josiah is always sharing his knowledge with fellow contractors, making videos and tutorials with tips and techniques on building water features. Josiah was recognized for installing top quality water features and for his willingness to help others.

Atlantic-Oase President’s Award

Landon Malave of LCM Landscape & Design Atlantic-Oase Presidents' Award winner

This year’s President’s Award went to Landon Malave of LCM Landscape and Design of Peyton, Colorado. Landon always pushes the limits in his water-feature creations. With years of study and practice under his belt, he has trained to create some outrageous faux rock features, but he’s equally at home with the natural rock that abounds in his Colorado stomping grounds. His video work is as exceptional as his innovative designs, sharing his work far and wide across the internet. 

An avid family man, he is also currently training the next generation of innovative water feature artists — his two talented entrepreneurial daughters. 

Atlantic-Oase Monster Award

Joe Adams of The Pond Butler winner of the Atlantic-Oase The Monster Award

Finally, Lloyd Lightsey, the Pond Monster himself, presented the Monster Award, recognizing those who have gone above and beyond, who have given back to those around them, and who have made a difference in their community. Lloyd was the first recipient of the award in 2019, which was named after him for his and his wife Karrie’s contributions in the fight against cancer. Every year following, Lloyd has passed on the award to a participant he feels embodies the values of the Monster Award.

The Pond Monster presented this year’s Monster Award posthumously to Joe Adams of the Pond Butler in recognition of his huge impact on the many who knew, respected and loved him. Joe was honored and the award was presented to Joe Adams’ wife, Kim, at the 2022 Water Garden Expo in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

We want to thank all the participants for attending the 2021 Virtual Conference in December and we can’t wait to see everyone in person in the future!


DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

How to Install an Atlantic 24″ Color Changing Colorfalls Project Bundle

Create a water feature with ease with Atlantic’s Formal Spillway Project Bundles! You provide the hardscape materials and we’ve got the rest. Atlantic’s Project Bundles include all the Atlantic components you need, ready to be assembled into the water feature of your dreams. Build a beautiful Color Changing Colorfalls water feature using your choice of stone.

Color Changing Colorfalls hardscape water feature built from the 24" Color Changing Colorfalls Project Bundle

What’s Included in the Color Changing Colorfalls Project Bundle?

Formal Spillway bundles are customizable to your project! Choose your Color Changing Colorfalls size from either the 12″, 24″ or 36″ size in length and we’ll send the correct sized Basin to match.

How to Install

The Color Changing Colorfalls Project Bundles, with two people, should take less than a day to install! We’ve created Quick Install Guides and how to install videos to help walk you through the process.

You can see our Quick Install Guides here: Color Changing Colorfalls Bundle Install Guide

In our install videos, we show you how to complete this water feature, step by step: preparing the base, building the structure, installing the plumbing and capping the columns. The only exception to our videos is that we dry stack the block, you’ll be gluing your blocks together with construction adhesive according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Watch our how to install video here!

Tools You’ll Need

For the Layout

  • Markout paint
  • Tape measure
  • 2-ft level
  • 4-ft level
  • A straight 2×4

For the Excavation

  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel
  • Tamper

Most stone manufacturers recommend setting their stones on a 4″ bed of tamped sand, stone dust or screenings. You’ll need about 8ft³.

For the Stone

  • Lump hammer or mallet
  • Grinder or chisel

For the Plumbing

  • A large wrench (Channellock 16.5″ tongue and groove pliers)
  • Screwdriver or nut driver
  • Tubing cutters or PVC saw

For the Hardscape

You will also need your hardscape stone and the manufacturer’s recommended construction adhesive. Atlantic’s Flexible Basins are sized to accommodate the most common engineered stone dimensions. For this installation we installed the Color Changing Colorfalls Project Bundle to an already existing wall and used a trapezoidal block curved wall solution by Belgard but, you could also create a rectangle enclosure.

Color Changing Colorfalls hardscape water feature built from the 24" Color Changing Colorfalls Project Bundle

Step-By-Step: Installing the Color Changing Colorfalls Bundle

Preparing the Base

Man tamping out sand for water feature base

If you’re starting from scratch, prepare the base by digging out a 4′ x 6′ area, about 6″ below final grade. Tamp the subsoil and then add 8 to 10ft³ of screenings or damp sand. Tamp again and carefully level the base to about 2″ below grade.

To demonstrate how versatile the Color Changing Colorfalls Project Bundle is, we added the bundle to an already existing wall.

If you’re also starting with an existing wall, remove the soil to a depth of about 2″ below the bottom of the wall. Tamp the subsoil and then add the screenings and tamp again. Carefully level the base to end up at the same level as the bottom of the existing wall.

Building the Reservoir

Man installing flexible pvc pipe and funny pipe through a stone wall for a water feature installation

Pass a length of 1.5″ flexible pipe from the bottom of the wall to the back side, about 8″ in from the left corner. We removed a section of block but, you could also dig the pipe under the wall or drill through the wall with a 2″ core bit.

If you’re installing an autofill, which is strongly recommended, pass the fill line through or under the wall about 8″ from the right corner at the same time.

Installing & Plumbing Basin

Man installing an Autofill Kit into an Atlantic Formal Spillway Basin for a Colorfalls water feature installation

Set the Formal Spillway Basin in place to check that the pipes fit in the molded channels in the bottom of the basin. Then, install the plumbing. It is easiest to install the plumbing before installing the block surround.

Drill a ⅞” hole in the basin, where indicated, for the Autofill. Remove the retaining nut on the Autofill, leaving the washer in place, and apply 3 to 4 turns fo sealant tape to the threads. Insert the Autofill into the basin from the inside out and reinstall the retaining nut. Then, thread the ½” funny pipe adapter onto the Autofill and push the funny pipe onto the barbs of the adapter.

TT3000 pump being installed to a bulkhead fitting and into a Formal Spillway Basin for a water feature installation

Disassemble the single union valve and apply 3 to 4 turns of sealant tape to the threads of the male end with the retaining ring. Install the male end of the vale assembly into the bulk head fitting, making sure the retaining ring is in place. Install a male thread adapter to the outlet of the pump. Then, glue in the 90° elbow. Glue the nipple into the elbow and glue the valve to the nipple. Reassemble the valve to complete the plumbing inside the basin

Refer to the included instructions provided in the box as needed.

Man installing the plumbing in a Formal Spillway Basin for a Color Changing Colorfalls formal spillway project bundle

To finish the plumbing outside of the basin, apply 3 to 4 turns of sealant tape to the threads of the threaded elbow and install in the outside of the bulkhead fitting, oriented downward. Cut a 6″ length of pipe and glue it to the remaining 90° elbow, then glue the other end of the short pipe to the threaded elbow that’s connected to the bulkhead fitting. Finally, glue the bottom elbow into the pipe that’s going into the wall.

Building the Reservoir Walls

Atlantic’s Formal Spillway Basins accommodate most engineered stone dimensions without cutting. We used a curved wall solution by Belgard for our installation but, you could also create a rectangle enclosure.

Man hiding the pump cord of a TT3000 pump in the back of a stone wall for the installation of a Colorfalls water feature

Set the first course of block around the Formal Spillway Basin, then bond the next course of stone with adhesive. Follow manufacturer’s recommended adhesive and adjust or cut as needed. Build up and finish the four wall courses to 16″ tall.

You will eventually need to remove the pump for service or replacements so, you must make provisions for the cord at this time in your construction. In the back wall, cut a groove or leave a space large enough for the plug of the pump to pass through the back of the wall either in the fourth course or between the fourth and fifth course.

Diagram showing the 48" needed to be left open for the installation of a Color Changing Colorfalls hardscape water feature

Build the back wall up another course and the columns up another five courses. Carefully measure to leave 48″ between the columns. In the space between the columns, stack the outer stones flat, leaving space for three vertical stones.

Man placing the hardscape blocks into place for a Colorfalls water feature

Before installing the three vertical stones, cut ½” off of the long dimension to make each 11½” long. Set them side by side, broad side to front, in the center of the wall, 1″ back from the front edge. This will create a relief panel and a ½” deep notch for the lip of the Colorfalls.

Image showing the support blocks needed to support a Color Changing Colorfalls body on the back wall of a hardscape water feature

Be sure to support the body of the Colorfalls behind the three vertical stone wall. We used extra wall block to support the body of the Colorfalls.

Man installing a Color Changing Colorfalls onto hardscape stones

To install the Colorfalls, apply 3 to 4 turns of sealant tape to the threads of a male adapter and install it in the center inlet of the Colorfalls. Test the Colorfalls for fit in the ½” notch then, measure and cut a 1½” piece of flexible pvc pipe. Glue the short pipe into the elbow and install the elbow into the male thread adapter. Finally, glue connections to the long supply pipe to complete the plumbing.

Man capping the stone columns of a hardscape water feature

To secure the Colorfalls, apply silicone, NOT permanent adhesive, to the front lip and block the Colorfalls is seated on. The silicone will allow you to remove the Colorfalls in the future if desired. Apply silicone, not adhesive, to the top of the Colorfalls and secure it with capstones to complete the center wall. Then, cap the columns with 6 blocks each. Measure to ensure the overhang is even all the way around.

Fill the Formal Spillway Basin until the Autofill float rises. Check for proper function and adjust as necessary. Then, cap the pump chamber and install the splash mat.

Man installing the lighting plugs for the Color Changing Colorfalls
Color Changing Colorfalls project bundle light testing of the Colorfalls before turning on the water to the water feature. The light on the Colorfalls is red

To finish off your Color Changing Colorfalls installation, download the InfiColor App on your smart phone or tablet. Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play, this app will allow you to fully customize the lighting colors and sequences for your Color Changing Colorfalls.

Apply a dab of the provided dielectric grease to the plug of the Colorfalls and securely tighten to the outlet of the InfiColor Module. Apply another dab of dielectric grease to the plug of the Module and connect securely to the transformer. Plug in the Module and test. You’re now ready to program your InfiColor Color Changing Colorfalls. See manual for details if needed.

Color Changing Colorfalls hardscape water feature built from the 24" Color Changing Colorfalls Project Bundle

Plug in the pump and enjoy your beautiful new Atlantic water feature!

Be sure to check out our YouTube for videos on the other Formal Spillway Project Bundles and read more on the blog!


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

What Happens to Turtles and Frogs in the Winter?

Today was a reminder of just how brutal Winter can be – the car said it was a balmy 1° this morning on my way into work. Add in the wind chill and my freezer at home would feel positively comfy in comparison. When temperatures drop this low, some may wonder what happens to fish, turtles and frogs in the winter?

The cold is bad enough for us, and we have the equipment and technology to keep ourselves from freezing. Other warm blooded animals cope with the lack of warmth and food by hibernating. A bear will store up enough calories in fat to stoke her inner fire for months, find suitable shelter then go into suspended animation, lowering her temperature and metabolic functions to the very minimum needed to stay alive. She will ‘sleep’ thus until she runs out of stored fuel. She’s bet the farm that it will be warmer by then.

Cold blooded critters don’t generate inner heat. Their core is going to be the same as the temperature outside. So what happens to the various crawling, hopping and swimming critters in your pond when temps drop below freezing? They have to deal with freezing temperatures very differently than us warmbloods.

Frozen pond in the winter
Photo by Monica Malave on Unsplash

Fully aquatic animals and fish can hibernate in much the same way as warmbloods if the water is deep enough that it doesn’t freeze solid around them and there is sufficient oxygen. They take advantage of water’s unique properties. First, water can hold a lot more oxygen the colder it gets, so they can simply absorb it through gills and skin without physically moving to breathe. Then, the water at the bottom of the pond is always warmer than the ice on top, because unlike every other compound on the planet, frozen water is less dense than liquid water. Ice floats, right? Water is actually at its densest, and therefore heaviest, at a balmy 39 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s cold enough to slow the metabolism of fish, frogs and aquatic turtles way down, decreasing oxygen demand, but warm enough for them to simply hang out under the ice.

I watch my Koi just float, mostly motionless, through the icy window covering my pond. Turtles need so little oxygen they can sleep burrowed in the muck. Native Leopard Frogs need their skin exposed to absorb oxygen; they just sit on the bottom staring, waiting for Spring.

But how do terrestrial cold bloods deal with cold winters? They can’t take advantage of those ‘warm’ bottom waters insulated under ice and snow, they’d drown. They can’t hibernate because they don’t produce any inner heat to keep from freezing. These guys have to ‘brumate’. Their metabolism drops to near zero, they don’t breathe, their hearts may even stop beating and they partially freeze – then revive themselves in the Spring.

The challenge they face is to keep ice from forming inside the cells of their organs when temps drop. Ice crystals are sharp, and water expands when freezing, which would damage or destroy cell structures and burst cell membranes, killing the animal. Frogs, turtles and a number of other animals can partially freeze without damage the same way you winterize an RV – by filling the most critical structures with antifreeze.

Turtle with head sticking out of pond
Turtle Photo by Chris F from Pexels

As temps drop, they dump excess water inside their cells, expelling it into the spaces between the cells. Then they flood the cells with glucose, creating a concentrated sugar solution that resists freezing well below 32 degrees F. At the same time, special proteins bond to ice crystals in the water around the cells, blocking the individual crystals from attaching to each other. The water around the cell can freeze but the ice crystals stay in suspension instead of clumping together, keeping the ice from solidifying and harming the animal.

Frog sitting in pond
Photo by Fatih Sağlambilen from Pexels

In this way, frogs can literally be 70% frozen, cocooned in mud all winter, not breathing, heart stopped, looking dead to the world. When Spring arrives they defrost, their lungs and hearts resume activity and they pop out of the mud unharmed. In fact, the sight of frogs and toads emerging from the ground as it thawed gave rise to the ancient notion that they were literally made of mud, a myth that wasn’t dispelled until the 18th century.

So, don’t worry about that frogsicle you thought croaked – chances are he will rise to croak again.  


DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.