Koi ponds are increasingly popular in Central Florida yards. For those with enough property to accommodate an aquatic home for these exotic fish, a koi pond elevates the outdoor environment and provides a tranquil setting. However, the serenity level can quickly drop if the water level in your pond suddenly does likewise. Our blog post – “Is Your Koi Pond Actually Leaking?” – previously covered this topic, but it is worth revisiting as a growing number of people join the ranks of koi pond owners every year.
There are several possible reasons for your koi pond to lose water, which we will soon cover. But should the process of elimination fail to solve the issue, it may have a leak.
The first reason is evaporation – especially during the heat of Florida’s summers – which could be in the range of 1″ to 2″ per week. Afternoon thunderstorms aren’t always guaranteed. A dry week or two – or the same time period with low precipitation – can result in water loss due to evaporation.
If your koi pond is more elaborate and has at least one waterfall, the quantity and size of your waterfall(s) will also affect the amount of water loss. According to an article by PondScape, regardless of the climate, a 4′ x 6′ pond with a 20-foot stream and five feet of cascading waterfalls may lose as much as 2″ or more every day. This is because splashing and moving water has greater exposure to additional evaporation than the still water in the pond itself.
Other reasons include such factors as wind, relative humidity, cloud cover, aquatic plants, wicking, lack of shade and pond surface area. Your pond can also lose some water due to such design-related issues as splash-out, waterfall design flaws, the type of water feature and the length of the stream.
Where to Start if You Suspect a Leak
Leak detection is a challenge if you don’t know where to begin. A leak may develop in the pond equipment, external filters, skimmer filters, waterfall filters and pond liners – as well as in the stream and/or waterfall, if applicable. Checking randomly for leaks can waste a good deal of time while allowing the problem to become worse.
If your pond has a stream or waterfall, PondScape recommends starting there. Check the edges carefully. Dirt settles around the waterfall or stream, creating low spots that can cause the water to ooze out through the edge of the liner. Look for gravel, mulch or muddy spots around the perimeter of the pond. If you see the location of the leak, you can fix it easily. Just lift the liner and put some soil under it to raise the edge.
Water splashing out is another way a pond loses water. You can fix “splash leaks” by adjusting some of the rocks around and under the waterfall. Adjusting the rocks will solve the splash leak issue easily.
Your pond can also develop leaks when the water level rises too high in the waterfall filter box. When the water level rises too high, it starts flowing out from the sides or back instead of flowing out from the front. A filter box that is not level or a thick slate rock piece sitting on the lip of the waterfall filter are some of the common reasons that can cause the water level to rise too high.
To resolve this issue, Paradise Ponds and Waterfalls suggests removing the waterfall slate piece from the lip of the filter. Next, you can carry out a 24-hour leak check. If the leak stops, you can install a thinner slate piece with the help of waterfall foam. Alternatively, you can also choose to leave the piece out altogether.
You also need to check the pond liner and filter faceplate connection at the waterfall filter for leaks. The screws and silicone holding should be in good condition and firmly in place.
Looking at the pump
If your waterfall/stream is clean, you need to look at the pump. According to PondScape, take the following steps to detect a leak in your pump:
- Fill up your pond to an appropriate level.
- Unplug the pump.
- Let the pond sit for 24 hours.
- Check the water level after 24 hours. If the water level doesn’t drop in the pond after 24 hours, the leak is not in your pond.
- To rule out a leak in the plumbing, check all fittings, plumbing, and pump connections.
- If the water level drops, there is a leak in your pond.
- To locate the leak, let the water level drop till it stops dropping. The place where the water level stops to drop is the place of the leak.
Remove the rocks around the border of the pond so that you can see the place where the water has settled. Check the liner for a leak and patch it up if you see it. In case the water level doesn’t drop, it means the leak is in your plumbing or equipment. The kink-free tubing can also develop a leak, so check that, as well.
You also need to check the PVC connection fittings, barbed tubing connections, clamps, O-rings and gaskets for leaks. Also, examine the filter base for water and the plastic filter housing for cracks. In the case of a leak, the external pond filter could become wet. Pond filter connection cracks can occur due to seasonal changes, equipment age and sun exposure.
Detecting Leaks in the Liner
If your pond leaks only when the pump is on, it could indicate a leak in the liner. Take the following steps to determine if this is the source.
- Measure the water level in the pond and recheck the same after 24 hours for three days. If possible, measure the water level at the same time of the day each day.
- Turn off the main pond pump if your pond loses water quickly and continue to measure. If the water level keeps falling, it means the leak is in the main pond liner.
- If your main pond liner is leaking, keep measuring the water level until the water level stops falling. Next, carefully check the inside of the pond liner for a leak where the water has leveled off. If you can’t find a leak on the first attempt, you may have to fill up the pond again with one or two inches of water.
Burrowing animals and the spread of tree roots are some of the other possible causes for leaks or holes.
Let Your Koi Pond Relax You
A koi pond that leaks defeats its purpose of serene relaxation. Keeping it in top condition is essential to protect your investment – not the least of which are your koi – as well as to prevent high water bills and wasting this precious natural resource!
However, if your pond is still losing water and you’re unable to find the reason, give us a call! Certified Leak Detection is experienced in leak detection and repair for fountains, swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs, as well as slabs and foundations. Serving areas throughout Central Florida – including Orlando, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford, Kissimmee, Clermont and Winter Springs – our team is ready to help. Contact us for quick, reliable service.