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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My business only averages 3 or 4 ponds a year, and we use the Aquascapes bio-falls, skimmer, and pumps. I went to a local Aquascapes dealer last month to purchase all of the components for a pond job. I had noticed 5 or 6 of the new style aquascape pumps in a pile on the floor. After inquiring about the pumps, I was told they were all returned pumps that had failed (under warranty). The problem (the pump shaft) has supposedly been corrected by the factory in China. With a 2 year warranty, I went ahead and bought the 3000 series pump. No problems yet.

While installing the pond, we couldn't get the bulkhead fitting for the bio-falls to tighten. After applying about 5 foot pounds of torque, the fitting breaks loose from the threads. I called the local dealer again, and he said all of the bulkhead fitting are like this.... try some silicone around the fitting, and the factory in China has corrected the problem. We ended up using an old (5 years plus) bulkhead fitting that worked fine.

So the pond is complete and running. Several days later the customer calls saying the Bio-falls empties within 3 hours when she turns the pond off. I go back and find a check valve that lets water go backwards through the plumbing. Called the local dealer again, and he said to bring the defective check valve back for a replacement. The replacement (and all of his inventory) also allows water to flow backwards. He said they have been having problems with the flapper valve, but the factory in Taiwan has corrected the problem.

Am I the only one having problems with Aquascapes products? Anyone out there using other brands that you are happy with?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just got back from the Penn Atlantic Nursery Trade Show. Lots of other pond supply manufacturers.

Thanks for the link Jason- I will spend some time checking out your site and stoneycreek.

Years ago I used a Cyprio green machine filter, completely buried. I was glad to see this filter still being produced when I was at the PANTS show. Anyone use this filter?

Gotta get away from Aquascapes!
 

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I have only put in 2 Aquascapes ponds both this year and Have had one cord on my pump was cut so it was throwing the breaker. When I called the first person I talked to said they would not replace it. So I called again and the next person would replace it go figure. I still cost me $15 to ship it back to them.
 

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I had to return every Aquascape pump I put in last year. One pump had to be returned twice. To make it worse I had to pay for shipping. :angry: I used to think Aquascapes was top notch but now I am looking at other suppliers. Could be they are getting too big too fast and not paying enough attention to quality. Bought some underwaterfall lights, put two in and one didn't work right out of the box. Glad I took an extra one that day.
 

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Yea, it's easy to rip on Aquascapes. I agree there are some problems there. But, I must say, without the Wittstock's there wouldn't be much of a pond building industry in this country today. Maybe Greg is lucky, maybe smart, probably both, but I for one am thankful for the impact his vision has had on my own business. You know the saying, "a rising tide lifts all ships?" Well, Aquascape Designs was a Tsunami for pond builder's "ships" in the 90's in my opinion. Greg Wittstock is to ponds what Joe Weider is to Bodybuilding, what Vince McMahon is to Pro Wrestling and what Martha Stewart is to... whatever you call what it is she does!

Sure, a lot of my water feature business is dedicated to "fixing" poorly planned out and installed Aquascape ponds, but, what the heck, IT'S BUSINESS! Aquascapes has done more to make people (1) AWARE of ponds and (2) DESIRE ponds than any one or any other company, period. That can only be good for all of us, don't you think? Anyone agree?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sonoran- The only contribution Aquascapes gave to the pond-building industry is Marketing, Marketing, and Marketing. There have been many other manufacturers of pond components (better quality and prices IMHO) around long before Aquascapes. Many contractors mistakenly think Aquascapes invented the pond- marketing genius from Wittstock.

I believe Aquascapes has traded their quality control for huge growth. Poor quality materials leads to poor quality installations, and ponds that do not perform up to a customers expectations. How can failing pumps and bad bulkhead fittings make a company look good?

I will probably get bashed for saying this.... But I really hate the volcano-look of a bio-falls and tons of rock spilling down an artificial berm of excavation spoils.
 

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I also agree.Homeowner pond building and professional installations of ponds have been going on for many years before Aquascapes showed up.
There are far superior pumps that's for sure.
I mean..who's eating the labor when you have to go back and fix a leak or pull the pump and replace it? ..
The installer that's who.
It would feel wrong to me to install a new pond then charge my customer for the new pump R&R.
I installed it.... if it does not work I have to eat the labor and time to get one in that works.
So I am going to use reliable pumps and parts in the 1st place.
 

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Hmmm, sure, Greg and his Dad (or vice-versa?) did not invent ponds. But like any other good invention, it ain't worth beans without marketing. Like the people I mentioned, he put ponds "on the map". If you look at the NUMBERS: how many people had ponds before the big Aquascape "Revolution" and how many people have ponds now? Before Aquascapes I don't recall EVER seeing a pond being built on TV, do you?

My point is/was I think that while maybe you CAN get better parts from other companies and several other companies have been around longer (heck the guy is only in his 30's), so what? I give credit where credit is due and love him or hate him, it seems that no one can deny his impact on the water garden portion of the landscaping market.

And incidentally, while it's easy to focus on Wittstock's marketing abilities, it it totally off base to say that his success is only about "marketing, marketing, marketing." I never heard of the "one day pond" or "twenty steps, twenty parts" before Aquascapes. No one wrote any book anything like the "Pond Builder's Bible" or his "How to Make Money Building Ponds" book. Who else was travelling the country teaching landscapers how to build ponds with waterfalls ("Build A Pond Day" seminars) before Aquascapes? Who was promoting using flexible spa hose instead of PVC Pipe before Wittstock? How about underlayment instead of carpet and newspaper? How about plant pockets? How about insulation foam, black even, instead of mortar and concrete? Heck, how about pond kits? COMPLETE pond kits! I have a lot of old pond and fish keeping magazines from over the years. None of this stuff was common practice before Aquascapes to my knowledge. And that's only a small, partial list.

You make it sound like if you return to the job to swap-out a pump it will break you! You should be making about two-grand profit in one day installing a pond. If you have to return a month later and spend 11 minutes swapping-out a pump, is that going to totally ruin your profit-margin?

I just don't get all of the Aquascape bashing...
 

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Aquascapes certainly offer a conveniant package. You can buy their kits and save a bunch of time versus sourcing around to multiple suppliers. They certainly have done some great marketing, and have made pond installations far easier for the general public and general landscape contractor.

That said, a lot of the strictly pond oriented business folks I have dealt with don't always say the best things about their systems.

My only real grief with the system is the emphasis on gravel bottomed ponds & streams. I sell a heck of a lot of river gravel to folks for this application, but I personally think putting all that loose small rock in the bottom of a pond creates a maintainance nightmare. It cruds up, collects fish $hit & plant debris, and helps contribute to massive algea blooms from all the fertilizer generated as that muck decomposes.

If you are in the pond maintainance business, you can probably make good money doing spring & fall thorough cleanouts. OTOH, if you own your own pond, & service it yourself, the hassle of bi-annual major cleanout is a PITA.
 

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In my opinion you can't beat the vertical mat method of PondSweep versus the horizontal Aquascapes. As far as gravel bottoms stoneseller,with proper plant coverage & filtration you can overpopulate a pond without any maintenance other than normal mat cleaning-as shown in these pics.This is my home pond-installed in 1999 (2,500 gal/4' deep/over 100 fish) & never cleaned.The close up of my big boys shows my riverstone as clean as the day it was installed. I also am not a big fan of the water mountain & try to use grade to my advantage whenever possible.

Plant Property Building Road surface Window


Water Water resources Vertebrate Liquid Koi


Water Koi Plant Fluid Underwater
 

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I had several AS ponds on my routes and unless they were in the shade and few fish, they were some of my worst ponds. Worst in water quality, worst in algae problems and the rocks all end up in the bottom of the pond within 6 months.
I do agree that Aquascapes helped the pond industry grow to what it is today.
But their product is not very good,
They DO know how to market thats for sure.
 

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Had a build a pond day at my house in feb. 2005 with 21 landscapers present.I've installed 3 kits thus far.My 3000 series pump went bad within 3 months but was replaced for free. I also bought the pond builders bible and have re-read it several times. If you get the proper ecological balance of plant and animal ratios the water stays fairly clean. Yes the volcano look is really fake looking but; if the designer of the pond does it properly you can mask this ( the bible does give suggestions). Is it perfect; no, but it does add a serious amount of fun profit between building the pond and selling lighting systems.I'll stay loyal until someone comes out with an extremely much better product. Their tech support could use some help. They seem to never return calls.
 

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Aquascape Designs, Inc. has the right method for getting the job accomplished, but they fail to make lasting, high quality products. Such as their skimmers.... They tend to cave in on the sides after a a few years period. EasyPro (probably aquascapes biggest compeditor) has got the right idea going.
 
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