The Natural Ecosystem Water Feature

There are all kinds of water features out there. From small little paver fountains to giant, man-made, multi-pond structures, there’s no shortage of an inclusion of water into everyday life. However, many water features are treated with harsh chemicals, requiring constant maintenance to keep clean. Even then, these features will still get dirty and eventually break down. Why? Because of the harsh chemical treatments used to keep these ponds, waterfalls, and fountains clean. At BR&D Landscape, we have a different approach

Natural Water Filtration

All water features regardless of their setup require some kind of filtration to keep the water running clear. In many complex water features, the filtration is a bunch of pipes leading to different filtration devices that may or may not work. Of course, filtration is necessary to provide as much water clarity as possible, so some kind of filtration device is necessary; but if man-made filtration is complicated and often inefficient, what is the best option? At BR&D Landscape, we believe that the best filtration for a pond or pondless water feature is what nature already gave us: plants

Water plants of all types use nutrients like phosphates and nitrates in the water in order to grow large and healthy. Some plants like to grow their roots into the main structure of the pond, pulling nutrients from the bottom or along the walls. Other plants will grow at or near the top of the water, skimming nutrients from that level. And still other plants will float directly on the surface of the water, taking nutrients from the very top level of the pond. Regardless of how they absorb the nutrients in the water, water plants are the most critical part of a natural ecosystem water feature

The Wetland Bog Filtration System

Since ponds hold a lot of water, they need a lot of filtration to keep the water looking clean and clear. For this, BR&D Landscape utilizes the best natural filtration mechanism of them all: the wetland bog filter. This filtration system works by moving the pond water through layers of rock and plant roots which filter out all of the nutrients that would otherwise go toward feeding algae and making the water cloudy


If you were to cut the wetland bog filtration system in half, it would look something like this:

We start by pumping the water from the skimmer up to the top of the feature and then down underneath the wetland bog filter. From here, the water rises up through layers of rock that gradually diminsh in size. Plant roots grow into these rock layers, grabbing all the nutrients that pass by. The water that comes out of the top is cool and clear, ready to move on to the rest of the water feature

The Role of Bacteria

While plants are efficient filters for the water, there are often too many nutrients in the water for plants to filter out fast enough. Left alone, these nutrients will feed algae growth and cloud your water. To aid the plants in filtration, beneficial bacteria is a critical component in the natural ecosystem water feature. Beneficial bacteria target the same nutrients that plants absorb, consuming them and converting them to gasses that float out of the water. There are different strains of bacteria for different parts of the water feature as well; some bacteria float freely in the water, consuming particles and nutrients that would make the water cloudy; some bacteria live on the surfaces of rocks, eating whatever nutrients happen to float by; and yet others are anaerobic, living in muck and sludge that may build up at the bottom of the pond and eating away at it. Wherever they live, bacteria are critical to keeping your water feature clean and clear

Water Treatments

You might be wondering why you would need water treatments in a natural ecosystem pond. After all, don’t the plants and bacteria do all of the filtration work? The answer is yes, but sometimes they’re not enough. Some ponds get filled up with runoff water every time it rains, bringing nutrients from the surrounding area directly into the pond water. Other water features may have lots of plants surrounding the water, making it so that plant matter falls into the water and decays, adding nutrients that way. Regardless of how it happens, many ponds and water features have nutrients put into the water from the outside regularly, which undoes all of the work that the plants and bacteria do to keep the pond clean and clear


The solution to these problems? Natural ecosystem water treatments. Beneficial Bacteria by Aquascape contains 8 of the same strains of bacteria that are naturally found in pond water and can be added to your water feature to help boost the water clarity naturally. If algae growth is your problem, Aquascape’s Algaecide kills algae and contains a phosphate binder to remove algae-feeding nutrients before the algae can consume them. Both of these water treatments are critical to maintaining your pond’s water clarity; click the buttom below to find out how you can get some for your water feature

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