Aquatech Designs Pond Care BC, Pond Construction, Diagnosis. Expert Pond Care serving BC’s Lower Mainland: Surrey, Langley, Maple Ridge, Vancouver, Abbotsford, Richmond, Mission, Delta, Ladner and bmore. Owned and operated by Joe Richard.
Building aquascapes & koi ponds is a great way to add beauty, tranquility and balance to your surroundings versus the chemically fed death traps we sometimes call “lawns”
Rid yourself of your boring and toxic conventional lawn-scape and replace it with an Aquascape. It’s a great compliment to all of your gardens, and is a great way to diversify on your hydroponic skill set. A lot of what you need to know about water quality, and things like pH and aeration for maintaining healthy hydroponics reservoirs all comes into play when it comes to aquascaping and koi pond construction and care
Aquatech Designs is a BC-Canada based company owned and operated by Joe Richard that specializes in transforming landscapes into moving and flowing “Aquascapes”; he is also an Aquaculture specialist, and is well known in local aquatics circles for his micro-biological skills in diagnosing and treating a variety of ailments and disorders for pond fish like Koi.
GZ-knowing that you started a career in the retail hydroponics trade in the late 90’s, when and how did you start to make the crossover to Aquascaping?
JR-I was living at a property where there was an inland-fish hatchery around 2001-it caught my attention right away, because I always loved the moving water aspect of active re-cicrculating hydroponic systems-at the time drip tables were very popular here. So I started out with small pond I dug out and lined, then dropped in a few aquatic plants because they kind of blew me away compared to land plants for looking so…well, “extra terrestial”.
It made me happy, and from the there it grew into adding some Koi-that’s what really set things in motion.
GZ-What do you mean, the Koi “lit the match”, so to speak…how so?
JR-Like most people who do their first pond, and are excited and do it in a hurry, I ended up making a lot of mistakes. The Koi likely had parasites to start with-it’s kind of like buying clones. You have to know what to look for and buy from reputable sources. So with my first pond akin to a novice built hydro system planted with sick clones I quickly realized that if I wanted my water gardens to flourish like my hydroponic gardens, I needed to do some more learning.
Luckily, there was guy on site at the fish hatchery who took pity on my first pond-he seemed to warm up to me after I started discussing Carbonate values; something I had picked up on working at the retail hydroponics shop. He was Pro-and taught me how to use a micro-scope and do a micro-scopic biopsy. It was a real eye-opener, as it opened up a whole new world that was living in my pond the whole time.
GZ-So, it sounds like that was foundational for you?
JR-Yes, absolutely. It taught me that it doesn’t matter whether you are growing land plants or aquatic plants and fish-you must understand the nature of their environment and how it’s all interrelated to be able to make any kind of real effective treatment.
GZ-OK, so here we are at present day, and you with an impressive portfolio of completed jobs and projects (-click-here to see some)
JR-Actually, I do a fair trade in maintaining Aquascapes, besides just the initial installation. I also offer specialized services, including removing sick fish from a system, quarantining and then returning them once they are 100% healthy again.
GZ-That’s definitely worth mentioning, thanks. Alright, so what does it take to get started, budget wise? Let’s say I have a small yard that I would rather not maintain a lawn and toxic chemicals and a gas mower, but would rather have something a little more Zen, like a modest Aquascape-I’ve got a shovel and a strong back, what’s it going to cost?
JR-Initially it’s probably going to cost more of your time than anything, but if you are willing to do the back work and can research and learn the basics, you could probably get started with a decent sized pond, complete with pump, filtration system etc for under one thousand dollars. After that sky is the limit but like hydroponic systems, it’s about economies of scale. The bigger you go, the lesser the cost typically on a square foot or per gallon basis. Believe it or not, Koi can cost as much as a car-but just a few goldfish is a great place to start if you want to add fish to a modest .aquatic plant garden.
GZ-For space allowing, let’s let your work speak for itself with the awesome images. Any closing thoughts?
Erik Biksa has been writing about and discussing hydroponics growing, related technologies and cropping methods since 1999 in a variety of professional publications and platforms globally Erik has travelled the world learning and teaching modern growing techniques and technologies and is appreciated by many growers for his informative yet hands on approaches. Presently, he is the Editor at Grozine Hydroponics Mag.