Thursday, April 13, 2017

Preparing Your Pond for Spring

Spring is here! The ice is off most ponds and lakes here in the U.S. and it’s time to start preparing for optimal pond health. It can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are dealing with an older water body, but it doesn’t have to be!

3HP SS2 Display Aerator - Daffodil Spray Pattern
Ponds with a little age on them tend to accumulate muck on the pond bottom. This muck forms over time as leaves, weeds and other organic materials settle on the pond bottom. Ponds that lack aeration tend to have anaerobic conditions on the pond bottom which leads to more muck!

Muck is a lot like composting (if you don’t turn the heap). Muck is nutrient rich (i.e. phosphorous, nitrogen…) and works like a fertilizer. It can increase algae bloom, cause excessive vegetation growth and create murky water.

Creating a Plan of Action for a Healthy Pond in Two Simple Steps!


1.  Aeration
Aeration is key to a healthy pond. Get that water moving! Whether it be diffused aeration from the pond bottom (AirPro, AirEco or Shallow Pond Aerator) or a display aerator (SS2 or Endur), the key is getting that water on the pond bottom to mingle with the rest of the pond. Once your pond bottom gets circulating and becomes an aerobic environment decomposition of the organic materials in your muck is going to happen at a much more rapid pace.

2.  Biological Treatment Products
Biological products add additional microbes and aerobic bacteria to the water. The microbes and bacteria in these products consume excess nutrients and aid in the breakdown of muck while restoring balance to your water body. Aqua Control’s Predator Line of biological products consist of three separate products formulated for maximum efficiency based on water temperatures, guaranteeing an earlier start to treatment and therefore quicker results.

It is good to remember that if you are dealing with a big aquatic weed or algae problem it sometimes is necessary to use an algaecide or aquatic herbicide initially and then follow it up with a biological treatment plan. Anytime you kill a significant amount of vegetation off your pond has to work in overtime to get back in balance. Biological products aid in the decomposition of the plant matter and consume the nutrients so they don’t aid in regrowth.
Are you ready to tackle your pond preparation? Contact Aqua Control, Inc. or your local Aqua Control Distributor to get started!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Lexington Green - A Project of Giant Proportions

The Vision: 

The journey to Lexington Green all started in November of 2015. Long time ACI Distributor, John Hadlock of Diamond Pond/Kentucky Garden & Fountain contacted our National Sales Manager, Mary Jo Credi to discuss the possibility of ACI creating a multiple nozzle fountain display. John had a landscaping contract for a mall in Lexington, Kentucky, 'Lexington Green', that had a pond on site. Lexington Green wanted to give their outdoor areas a major face-lift and it seemed common sense to use the pond and a water feature as 'wow factor'. The initial design discussed by ACI was a single pump floating system operating four geyser style nozzles around a center nozzle, all with lights. The original idea of John Hadlock was a 50' arced row of 20 nozzles. As discussions between ACI and Diamond Pond progressed the magnitude and complexity of the job evolved. Lexington Green expressed their desire for an oval (or 'ring') of nozzles.


Narrowing Down the Field: 

By December 2015 the original simplistic (in hindsight) designs proposed by ACI and John Hadlock were merely a memory. The project was at a point where the desire for a mini-Bellagio style unit was set in the end-user's mind. A unit with 29 nozzles total between two rings and a center point nozzle reaching 15' in the air was envisioned to incorporate dancing lights and water. After much discussion, engineering and design work, the final design was settled on in mid-February 2016. ACI would be building a unit with a 24 nozzle outer ring powered by (2) 5HP Angel Waterfall Pumps. The outer ring would measure 20' by 15' across and the spray height of each nozzle would be a maximum of  25'. Each nozzle in the outer ring would also include an advanced RGB LED ring light. Within the outer ring would be a row of (5) 2HP SS2 pumps with a 15' spray height maximum, each equipped with a 3 light set of advanced RGB LEDs. A total of (7) VFDs would be used to control pumps. 



With the decision on unit design set, it was time to start brainstorming the control options that would be necessary. ACI reached out to a System Engineer for control panel design assistance. He (the System Engineer) is an expert in working with interface electronics which would be needed to coordinate the valve channels, lighting and music. He used his own software to program the unit and he set up a three panel system to operate the unit; 

The Fuel: The Power Panel simply houses the basic pump controls that supply power to the VFDs. 
The Brain: The PC Panel contains a laptop that runs the programming and outputs DMX controls to the VFDs, lights, and valves. It also controls the dual stereo amplifiers and (4) outdoor speakers.
The Muscle: The Control Panel holds the components that are receiving the DMX signals from the PC Panel for operation. 

Test Day:

Months passed with Aqua Control working closely with John and the end user to make sure the unit was built to their specifications and that the site would be properly prepared for install. In May ACI was at a point in which we were ready to get the unit in the water for factory testing. We flew in the System Engineer to ACI to hook up and test the panels. ACI personnel launched the (5) center units into the pond and constructed the outer ring on the blacktop at the test ponds edge. With everything set, we brought a Terex T340 crane in from a local company Cattani & Son, a division of Barnhart Crane & Rigging. We utilized the crane to lift the outer ring, swing it out and lower it over the 5 center units into our test pond. Once the outer ring was in place, ACI staff  attached the (2) 5HP Angel waterfall pumps to the outer ring and hooked up power cables. A total of 22 cables power the lights, pumps and valves on this unit. As each cable was rolled and hooked to the unit, the System Engineer and Adam Pacholski (our General Manager & Electrical Engineer) were working diligently to wire the panels.

After a long day of hot and exhausting labor we were finally ready to power on the units and see the finished result. That evening, as dusk settled, ACI employees and their families gathered at the test pond to see the months of planning, design and building take life. While the display was quite impressive the need for a few slight adjustments was identified. The outer ring performed wonderfully while the inner row required added stability. A few bracketing changes among the 5 inner units solved the problem quickly. 

The now fully tested unit was ready to be broken down for shipping. The complete fountain was easily disassembled and packaged for shipping. Next, it was time to arrange installation in Kentucky. 

Arrival at Lexington Green: 

The unit was set to ship out to Lexington Green on a Monday. As the truck was backing into the dock to load the unit and head to Lexington, Adam and Willis Dane (ACI President & Owner) were jumping in the car to drive to Lexington to be on site for install. The System Engineer was also headed to Lexington to assist with panel set up and install. It was a long week in Lexington but thanks to John Hadlock and his team from Diamond Pond/Kentucky Garden & Fountain, Walker Electric (site electrician) and Rankin Peel (Site Maintenance Engineer) the install was achieved. A few bumps were encountered along the way but through communication and teamwork all were successfully handled. Saturday night the unit was up and running to wow the patrons of Lakeside at Lexington Green!

Aqua Control, Inc. would like to thank John & Kathy Hadlock and their team at Diamond Pond/Kentucky Garden & Fountain for the opportunity to build this water feature and the hardwork and organization they put into the installation. Thanks to Robert Langley (Owner/CEO), Scott Davidson (President) & Jennifer James (Property Manager) at Langley Properties Company and The Mall at Lexington Green for the vision. Thanks to Walker Electric for the site preparation, and Rankin (Maintenance Engineer at The Mall at Lexington Green) for bringing this project to life. Cheers to all! 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Light Up Your Summer with Aqua Control

Summer is quickly approaching and it has us dreaming of barbeques, summer holidays, festivals and an array of outdoor gatherings. It also has many of us scrambling to make sure our outdoor areas are spruced up and ready for the outdoor entertaining season. Don't forget your water feature as you prepare for summer fun!

Most water features are now up and running for the season. But are they being fully utilized as eye-catching features? Water Feature Lighting is a wonderful accent to any water feature and increases visual appeal. Imagine your outdoor gathering with a gorgeous, lit water feature as an accent.

Aqua Control, Inc. offers water feature lighting in a wide range of colors, wattages, fixtures and sequencing options. It can sometimes be hard to navigate and understand all the options available in lighting. Below is a step by step guide to our lighting options for 1HP to 40HP Units. (See end of blog for your Evolution Lighting needs)

Step 1: Select your bulbs

35W LED Bulbs- Bring a crisp brilliance to any nighttime water feature display! LED lighting is quickly sweeping the market as the number one choice in water feature lighting. LED lighting offers energy savings, allows for smaller gauge cable use (less expensive), provides illumination comparable to a 300W incandescent bulb and has the best color quality.
Fixture Type: Composite, Stainless Steel, Copper or Saltwater Bronze
Color Availability: Cool White, Warm White, Red, Green, Blue & Amber

300W Incandescent Bulbs- The traditional go-to for basic lighting needs.
Fixture Type: Stainless Steel*, Copper or Saltwater Bronze
Colored Lens Availability: Clear, Amber, Blue, Green, Red & Turquoise
*Colored Lenses not available for Stainless Steel Fixtures.

500W Halogen Bulbs- Traditionally used on large water features (Titan Series) and any application requiring colored lenses.
Fixture Type: Stainless Steel, Copper or Saltwater Bronze
Colored Lens Availability: Clear, Amber, Blue, Green, Red & Turquoise

Step 2: Choose your fixture

Composite- High strength ABS composite fixtures ideal for LED bulbs.
35W LED Bulbs
Freshwater or Saltwater Applications

Stainless Steel-
35W LED or 300W Incandescent Bulbs
Freshwater Applications

35W LED, 300W Incandescent or 500W Halogen Bulbs
Colored Lenses: Clear, Amber, Blue, Green, Red & Turquoise
Freshwater Applications

Saltwater Bronze-
35W LED, 300W Incandescent or 500W Halogen Bulbs
Colored Lenses: Clear, Amber, Blue, Green, Red & Turquoise
Freshwater or Saltwater Applications

Step 3: Choose Light Set Size

Aqua Control Lighting is offered in (2) to (4) fixture light sets. Check out ACI Lighting Recommendations* to assist you in selecting the proper lighting for your unit. Lighting recommendations are based off of unit horsepower and your selected spray pattern.

***Please note, the attached recommendations pre-date 35W LED Lighting. 35W LED lighting can be evenly swapped with 300W lighting and can replace 500W lighting in some applications with the addition of more fixtures.

Step 4: Special Effects

Aqua Control offers light sequencing. Light sequencing allows you to use 2 or more light sets to create dramatic color changing nighttime displays.

Random Light Sequencing-
The adjustable random sequencer is an economical device that easily and automatically creates a random 'on-off' light sequence for dramatic lighting effects. Light sequencing is a process that operates two or more different colored light sets so that one set, more than one set, or all sets are on or off in an adjustable random pattern to create a spectacular colored light show. Random Light Sequencing may be used with 35W LED, 300W Incandescent or 500W Halogen bulbs.

Ramp Light Sequencing-
Ramp Light Sequencing is available through the use of a fountain manager in the control panel. Ramping is the brightening and dimming of multiple light sets. For example, one light set may be brightening while the next set is dimming. This allows for a dynamic light show and the mixing of colors. Ramp Light Sequencing may be used with 300W incandescent or 500W Halogen bulbs.

***1HP to 7.5HP units in the Select Series, Select Series 2 and Endur Series can accommodate up to 12 lights. Titan Series units can accommodate up to 20 lights.

EVOLTUION Lighting- Evolution units are built to accommodate a 4-fixture light set.

4X3W LED Light Set-
Color Availability: Cool White, Red, Blue, Green, Amber or Warm White bulbs. (bulbs may be mix and matched)

4x9W Sealed Fixture Light Set-
Color Availability: Cool White, Red, Blue, Green, Amber or Warm White fixtures.

4x9W RGB Sealed Fixture Light Set-
New to Aqua Control, auto-changing 9W RGB fixtures offer a dramatic color changing light show that runs approximately 3 minutes in length. These lights are sure to steal the show! (see video below)

Contact your local Aqua Control Distributor today to get your water feature ready to light up the night at all you summer celebrations!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Why Aerate with Aqua Control?

Spring is here and if you haven't already put a maintenance plan in place for your water bodies, now is the time to do it!

Here in the Midwest, we have seen a lot of fluctuation in temperature over the past two months but the end result seems to be an early spring for us. The ice certainly receded earlier then usual from our test pond. With an early spring and water temps reaching 50F, it's time to start thinking about aeration.

Aeration is a very important part of any lake management plan. Not only does aeration benefit the aquatic ecosystem, it also has a big effect on the environment outside the water body.

Aqua Control offers multiple products to tackle aeration and water quality.

Display Aerators- 1HP to 7.5HP high performance units designed using propellers to produce high pumping rates for aeration while providing a spray pattern. Available in the Select Series 2 and Endur Series.  

Pond & Lake Bed Aeration- Designed to move large volumes of water from near the bottom of the water body to the surface where it comes in contact with air and becomes oxygenated. Little visible disruption of water surface occurs making this option discrete.

Pond Bottom Circulators- Placed on the pond bottom, these 1HP to 3HP aerator pumps circulate large volumes of water considerable distances within a water body. The water flow is angled upwards so deep, oxygen deficient water is slowly brought to the surface where it is oxygenated.

Aeration is all about transferring oxygen into the water body. Dissolved oxygen (DO) is a key player when it comes to water quality. It is needed for aquatic plant and animal life as well as by aerobic bacteria. Aerobic bacteria are a lot like a maintenance crew for a water body. They go to work digesting organic matter, in turn, balancing nutrient levels in the water column which deters overgrowth of plants and algae.

So, what if you don't aerate your water body? When dissolved oxygen levels are too low in a water body a whole host of issues can start to arise. Foul (stagnant) odors, algae and weed growth and poor water clarity are usually some of the earlier more noticeable signs of an oxygen deprived water body. As these issues worsen sediment levels rise and the aquatic life in the water body is also detrimentally affected also. Low enough dissolved oxygen levels are known to cause fish kills.

Another benefit of aeration is mosquito larvae control. This can be achieved thru surface disruption. Already this spring we are seeing a lot of concern over mosquito-borne illnesses. With concerns including West Nile, Encephalitis and Zika a big push is being made to control mosquito populations. Key in controlling mosquito populations is controlling breeding. To breed, mosquitos*** need calm, still waters. Adding a display aerator, fountain, shallow pond aerator, lakebed aerator or pond bottom circulator to a water body will create subtle wave action which kills (drowns) mosquito larvae.

***Disclaimer: Some species of mosquitos are classified as 'floodwater species'. These species lay eggs in low spots, flower pots, storm drains, birdbaths and other areas that will collect and retain water during rains. It is important to keep these areas in mind so they can be drained after rains preventing mosquito breeding.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Entering a New Era - The Endur Series

Aqua Control Inc.'s founder, chief engineer, and president, Willis Dane, has raised the bar in the water features industry yet again. After more than 4 years of development, the Endur Series Display Aerators and Fountains (patent pending) are set to continue ACI's progressive impact on the water features industry.

The Endur Series Display Aerators & Fountains focus on a high-caliber motor design smartly matched with the best of the Select Series and Select Series 2 pump components. Willis set about to design the Endur Series with one simple goal, to create a long lasting, submersible water feature motor. He sought to create a motor that would offer a superior life span and thus solve the longevity problems often associated the current water feature motors on the market. Willis could identify that the failure of most water feature motors was due to a single seal design. The popular single seal design left motors very vulnerable to permanent failure as a single seal does not allow for any back-up protections once the seal is compromised.

Willis eradicated this concern with the Endur Series. The Endur Series motor boasts 3 individual mechanical seals. The first (outer) and second (intermediate) seals are composed of a highly abrasion resistant SiC/SiC mechanical seal. The third (inner most) seal is a long life SiC/Carbon mechanical seal. In between each seal pair is a large oil filled reservoir specifically designed to capture any water or debris that may enter the reservoir if a seal failure occurs. The design of these reservoirs allows water and debris to be trapped at the bottom of the reservoir, therefore keeping any foreign materials from coming in contact with the seal within the compromised reservoir.

Another integral piece of Willis's design was finding a high-quality, long-lasting synthetic oil that offers excellent high and low temperature performance to meet the needs of Aqua Control's customers in all climates. This oil is also readily biodegradable and safe for use in marine environments as Aqua Control strives to be environmentally responsible.

At Aqua Control, we are so confident in the new Endur Series design that we have launched it with a 6 year warranty*. This is the longest warranty yet to be offered in the water feature industry!

Contact Aqua Control today and let us help you bring performance, appearance, and longevity all together in one with our Endur Series Units!

*Endur Series is currently only available in 60Hz North American markets.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Planning For Your Waterfall Project

Written by Ron Given, Aqua Control Technical Support & Waterfall Sizing Expert
3HP Niagara 2 Sled Mount Waterfall
 Waterfall projects present various challenges that are not encountered with display units.  When selecting a fountain, the pattern dimensions, based on horsepower are automatically supplied.  There are no unknowns.  The patterns have been tested and measured.  This is not the case with waterfalls or streams.  Each project is unique.  Each project requires a specific amount of water pumped a specified height through a specific piping system.  Usually, the piping system can be determined at design time.  Periodically, however, the pipe run is buried and is unknown.  This presents the greatest challenge in selecting a waterfall pump.

Over time, Aqua Control developed a procedure for selecting the proper waterfall or stream pump.  When working on a waterfall project I need the following information:

  1. The power available.  Some pumps are only available in specific voltages.  Periodically, there is only a limited amount of power available (amperage).
  2. The amount of water needed.  This is normally expressed as the width of the waterfall (weir) and the thickness of the flow over the waterfall.  This may also be expressed as gallons-per-minute, gallons-per-hour or cubic-meters-per hour.  With streams, additional pieces of information are necessary for this calculation: A) Stream length, B) The composition of the stream bottom.  A steep stream requires more water.  Streams with rocks or weeds require less water than clean streams.
  3.  The elevation that the water must be pumped.  This is measured from the source ponds surface to the highest point that the water is pumped or the destination ponds surface, whichever is higher.  This is referred to as “static head”
  4. The piping system.  This includes the pipe diameter, the length of pipe and the number and types of fittings.  This can be difficult to determine if the piping has been buried.  In this case a “best guess” is provided.  When guessing, it is prudent to select a solution closer to the center of a pump curve (see pump curve explanation below).  The piping system and the volume of water required determine the amount of “dynamic head”, pressure requirements due to piping losses. 

Using the above information, I can begin the selection process:
  1.  If the volume was provided based on weir width and flow thickness, I use a Bazin table to determine the amount of water needed.  This is not a linear calculation.  Tripling the flow thickness, quadruples the volume needed. 
  2. Once the target volume is determined, I calculate the amount of dynamic head generated by the piping system.  This value added to the elevation creates “total dynamic head”.
  3.  I compare the volume and head required with various pump curves.  Pump curves are either provided by the pump manufacturer or by Aqua Control.  These curves show the relationship between the volume pumped and the height achieved (head). This is an iterative process.  If there is not an exact hit, and there never is, I adjust the target volume and recalculate total dynamic head. I continue adjusting the volume requirements until I find one or more pumps that approximate the initial target volume at the required head.
  4. When the selection process reveals various pumps, I select one or more of these solutions for quoting the distributor.  I prefer selecting a pump nearer the center of the pump curve.  This is usually a more efficient area for running the pump. Additionally, if there was buried pipe, I will select a pump that runs nearer the center of the curve to allow for the greatest variance of dynamic head.
There are other issues that must be addressed prior to quoting:
  1. The type of mount (horizontal, vertical or sled) required.  Will the unit be installed in a wetwell  or will it be installed directly in the pond?  Aqua Control offers a patented sled mount design that allows the pump to be installed directly in the pond.
  2. The use of a flexible hose.  Flexible hose may be attached to the pump outlet.  This is mandatory if the unit is a sled mount.  This also may be used in wetwells to adjust for inexact alignment between pump and hard piping.
  3. The size of the check valve.  Check valves are required to prohibit the backflow of water through the pump when the pump it turned off.  This keeps the pump from running in reverse, possibly damaging the bearings, and it stops the upper pond from draining into the lower pond.

3HP & 5HP Angel Waterfall Pumps create this beautiful feature
on KoOlina Golf Course in Hawaii.
Although this pump selection process appears somewhat cumbersome, the use of a spreadsheet simplifies this.  Usually, a pump can be selected within moments.  Although we publish pump curves, it is always prudent to contact Aqua Control for assistance is sizing these units.

Ron can be contacted at for assistance in sizing and planning your waterfall projects.   

Pricing and sizing assistance can be obtained thru your local Aqua Control Distributor. Use our 'Find A Distributor' tool to locate Aqua Control Distributors in your area! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Selecting the Perfect Spray Pattern


One of the biggest decisions to be made when purchasing a display water feature is the spray pattern. It may seem like a trivial decision but let me tell you from experience, it is not. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when selecting the perfect pattern for your water feature installation. Don't get overwhelmed though, we at Aqua Control are always just a phone call or email away!

Here are my top three considerations when assisting someone in picking out the best spray pattern for their application. 


Aeration or Aesthetics

I always like to start with one questions, are you purchasing this unit predominantly for aeration or aesthetics? If the answer is aeration I know to direct the customer straight toward a display aerator. If the answer is aesthetics or both then it gets a little trickier. Logically, you would think to go straight to a fountain for aesthetics because they typically feature larger, more refined, spray patterns but there are some additional considerations to make.

Height & Visibility

Do you have limitations on how high your spray pattern can be? This is a big consideration for golf courses for example. A tall & full spray pattern could impede course visibility. You may have some unhappy golfers if you put a 5HP Crown Gusher in the middle of their line of sight from tee to hole. In this case, you are better off picking a lower spray pattern. The Daffodil, Lily & Super Lily are often favorites of golf courses with their low, aerating fans.

However, sometimes height is a requirement. There are situations where a water body may have high banks or the viewing point is a considerable distance away from the installation. In these situations it is important to consider height to ensure that the pattern is visible. You will find the highest spray patterns amongst the fountains.

Wind Resistance

When considering a pattern and pattern size, also consider the wind exposure at the location. If you are installing a large feature in a small water body consider passersby who may not want to be drenched by a sudden wind gust. If wind and overspray is a concern you should lean toward the thicker spray patterns of Display Aerators. If the customer is set on a fountain spray pattern keep in mind that the streams will be thinner and more susceptible to wind. In this case, you may wish to contact Aqua Control Customer Service and discuss the option of wind control on the control panel.

Of course, wind will not always be a consideration, some locations will be naturally calm and sometimes, because of the location, a blowing spray pattern may just not matter. For these applications, the sky is the limit when selecting your spray pattern.


Once you’ve covered these points, you should have a narrowed down list of the most suitable spray pattern options for the desired unit. Now the options aren’t nearly as daunting and you can proceed in quoting with confidence that you are truly offering the best options for your customer. 

***Remember, every install is unique and additional considerations may need to be taken