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By Mike Gannon

WaterShapesFrom postage-stamp miniatures to lake-scale behemoths, it’s no stretch to say that ponds come in all sizes.  While it’s certainly true that big ones give their owners boundless options when it comes to creating large ecosystems that support plenty of fish and plants, we’ve learned through the years that ponds don’t need to be expansive to be satisfying.
In fact, if a project is appropriately scaled for its setting and has all the features required to make fish and plants happy, even a pond of relatively modest size can become a spectacular showplace – one that will give its watergardening homeowners pleasure year after year after year.
Take the compact pond covered in the video linked below as an example:  It’s not very large, but it fits beautifully within the available space, and we were able to include enough volume and depth for the fish and enough pockets for aquatic plants that both will thrive together far into the future. 
Two important points:  
First, I can’t understate the value of hosing off rocks and boulders before they’re placed in any pond.  Cleaning them speeds up the initial filtration cycle and helps the water clear faster; it also helps in spotting boulders that will look their best fully immersed – and which have enough character to stand up for themselves out of the water.
Second, I’m a huge proponent of installing multiple fish caves and tunnels.  Not only do these features give the fish a place to hide when the sun’s high in the sky or when predators come calling, but it’s also true that the mere presence of these refuges make the fish more confident about spending time in the open parts of the pond.  In fact, it’s likely they’ll be visible more often rather than less.
As I work with ponds and pond owners, I am increasingly aware of how important it is to pay attention to these sorts of details.  In this project, I think we pulled a lot of what we’ve learned together in one great package.         
To watch a video on the installation and completion of this project, click here.
Mike Gannon is owner and lead designer at Full Service Aquatics, a pond installation and service specialist based in Summit, N.J.  A certified Aquascape contractor, he may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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