Pond cleaning is done at the rate of $85 per hour, with a $200 minimum. The customer must be home for the entire appointment. No exceptions. Please call to schedule your pond cleaning at the main number.
First time customers are provided an introduction discussion (of a reasonable amount of time), discussing the pond cleaning approach and objectives, before the pond cleaning work begins, on the day of the pond cleaning, at no charge, to determine the best approach for the job. The pond cleaning job will then begin immediately following the introductory discussion.
Paul Des Roches maintains ponds twice monthly throughout the greater Las Vegas valley. Each customer is on a month-to-month basis without any formal contract or commitment required.
Paul works alone.
He works exclusively with goldfish ponds and koi ponds. He uses only natural methods, and has never used chemicals of any sort in achieving clear fresh smelling water in the ponds he maintains (see “Ecosystem” and “Algae” paragraphs below). He works long days, usually starting at 6 a.m., and often works untill dark, in wet dirty conditions. Therefore it is often impossible for him to return phone calls daily. He sometimes gets booked months in advance for pond work, so plan ahead if you want him to be your service provider. His approach for long-term success, utilizing only natural methods, results in problems being solved rather than problems being masked through using quick fix products which only temporarily cover up symptoms.
This long term, all-natural problem solving approach is not for everybody.
Therefore he does not return calls to customers asking for services which he does not provide (relating to adding chemicals, regarding UVB light bulbs, etc.) He does not involve himself with the liability, struggle and stress associated with the constant battle of testing for chemical toxins, adding corrective chemicals, adding clay powder, barley extract, enzymes/bacteria, flocculents, digesters, UVB light bulbs, biological filters, or any of the other store bought band-aids on the market designed to mask the problems caused by poor ecosystem designs, unrealistic fish loads, and etc..
Paul keeps it simple. His credo is “eliminate solid waste materials from customers’ ponds rather than treat the problems caused from this waste material”. In a pond with the solid waste removal established, the second objective is to create a living biomass (aquatic plants and naturally occurring aerobic bacteria colonies) to consume the dissolved chemical nutrients (amonia, nitrites and nitrates). His customers appreciate and understand his philosophy of working within natural limits, such as reducing the fish-load, take for instance, if it becomes problematic, to better maintain the rest of the healthy population of aquatic animals.
Not all customers are comfortable accepting this hard-line approach, and would be more compatible working with any of the other pond companies in the greater Las Vegas valley, who do promote and sell algaecide, sludge digester, UVB filters, bio-canister filters, and etc..
Pond algaecide is a good example of using an unnatural means to force immediate results.
The following is an educational link to an article that is well researched, which explains a 6 step process for properly using pond algaecide, that brings to light how contrary to a natural approach this product is, and it’s serious concerns regarding fish health.:
Paul’s filtration background includes touring multiple water treatment facilities, including a one-on-one tour of the Las Vegas Water treatment plant at Lake Mead, as well as commercial fish farm facilities.
The word “ecosystem” refers to a natural coexistence of living biomass (aquatic plants and naturally occurring aerobic bacteria) that completely consumes toxins (ammonia, nitrites and nitrates) in the pond water, so that a balance occurs, whereupon the water is stripped of these toxins.
This ecosystem concept requires first establishing a practice of regularly removing the solid particulate waste (the aquatic animal waste, dirt, leaves, and aquatic plants waste), before it decomposes, producing these aforementioned toxins,
If a pond design flaw limits the effectiveness of the ecosystem (take for instance, if the design allows pockets of particulate to accumulate), corrections will be suggested. Enhancing/creating shade, proper substrate, water turbulence and circulation, naturally occurring aerobic bacteria colonies’ living areas, and aquatic plant life living areas, are the cures for most ponds' ecosystem design flaws.
Often adjusting feeding habits or decreasing fish load is required.
Chemicals are never added.
With the natural ecosystem approach, patience and realistic expectations are required, for pond success.
There are two main groups of algae. One causes green water, and these cells are too small to be filtered out (microscopic planktonic cells). The other is string algae, and it is not microscopic. It has roots and attaches to substrates. Planktonic algae, string algae, and pond plants thrive on nitrates, and they are all competing for the same food (nitrates). Planktonic algae is suspended and does not attach to anything. It is the lowest form of life of the three and fortunately the easiest to out-compete, which is why most mature ponds, which have a carpet of string algae established, and plants plugging along all year, albiet mostly dormant, never have green water. When string algae grows in and is thriving, it will out-consume the planktonic algae (starve it out of existance) and pond water will clear. Plants such as water iris and hyacinth do the same thing to string algae during the pond plant growing season, as they are even more aggressive than string algae, and a higher form of life. Therefore, a pond might have green water in springtime, then string algae will wake up and get aggressively active and clear the water in late spring, followed by the aquatic pond plants bursting into action and consuming nitrates to the point where they out-compete the string algae for nitrates, causing the string algae to die back considerably, as it is a lower form of life than the pond plants, as the plants starve it out of existence. Planktonic algae grows at lower temperatures than string algae, thus why it is more of a springtime issue typically, and string algae grows at lower temperatures than pond plants. String algae doesn’t like heat. It dies back in Las Vegas around July 5th typically, whereas the iris are happy to grow rapidly throughout our hottest season. There is a lot of hype about seeding ponds with aerobic bacteria to aid in this out-competing process. Firstly, bacterial filtration (nitrifying bacteria) that is not performed in a “wet-dry” filter, is largely ineffective. Secondly, nitrifying bacteria doesn’t compete for nitrates, so it is incorrect to think that it will aid in out competing algae for nitrate food. Nitrifying bacteria consumes Ammonia and converts it to Nitrite, and it consumes Nitrite and converts it to Nitrate. It is beneficial in removing other toxins, but it does not decrease nitrates in a pond, which is the food source of algae.
Therefore, managing healthy underwater string algae growth is greatly encouraged, as it is preferred over green water algae, as this living algae plant is found to benefit pond success. When it grows to become ugly, floating, or in excess on a waterfall, customers are certainly encouraged to remove it for aesthetic reasons, but an underwater carpet of living string algae growth on the underwater substrate surfaces, is always greatly encouraged, as it is found to be especially effective in aiding the process of removing nitrates in the water naturally (clearing the water). The springtime excesses of string algae can be annoying to deal with, but it is performing an important task of consuming the nutrients released from any hidden winter accumulations of organic matter that is warming/decomposing. Once this task of helping clean the water of springtime toxins is completed, it dies back considerably (around July 5th of every year, or when our air temperatures reach highs of approximately 105 degrees). Removal of this excess dead algae (that drops to the bottom) as soon as possible, with a net, is important, before it begins to decompose. If this is not done, it then rots and adds to the solid waste, as well as greatly decreases dissolved oxygen levels (as it decomposes).
Healthy string algae is fibrous fluffy and strong like threads (similar traits of dry fluffy cotton candy). Once it dies, it gets soft and mucky, and is not fibrous, and is easy to pull apart.
Algae is therefore a cyclical beneficial plant. Throughout springtime, the fish snack on it, lay eggs in it, nap in it, and the babies hide in it (nursery) until they are big enough to come out from hiding. The living fibrous fluffy mass houses helpful aerobic bacteria colonies that help create more healthy water for the fish (nitrifying bacteria aiding in conversion of ammonia and nitrite toxins to plant digestible nitrates), In addition to that, string algae feeds aggressively on nitrate toxins, which is an important stage of getting pond water clear and fresh.
But there are no guarantees that your pond will cooperate with even your best efforts, and each year can bring a different result, as trees grow and drop more leaf litter, or maybe a highway was put in and more dirt is in the air, or maybe fish grew 10 percent from the previous year, or produced babies, and now the pond can no longer keep up with consuming the nutrients from the waste, at the same rate they are produced, as it once did. Therefore algae is unpredictable in a natural pond.
Virtually all other pond companies avoid all of this effort to create natural pond water, and they successfully avoid all of the complaining phone calls from customers about algae, by simply claiming that customers must add algaecide for pond success. Adding algaecide is completely fine for some customers, and it can reduce maintenance drastically if it is used constantly to prevent algae growth, but it is a bad idea to use it intermittently, as it then kills formed algae over and over, and drops it to the bottom, and creats more problems from more organic waste muck in your pond. So if you use it, use it correctly and don’t create more muck/toxicity, by using it carelessly.
This same website link I posted earlier should be thoroughly read by customers wishing to use algaecide:
In the first product they list, they state, and I quote “This kind of treatment is also very expensive and extremely toxic to most wildlife (snails, insects etc.), so more common oxidizing based treatments are preferred in most cases.”
There are warnings on these products which are designed for pond algae control, which state that you should not get the product on your skin, and you should not let domestic animals drink the water, and also that birds should not be allowed to drink the water. My customer base, who wants the natural approach, is possibly dealing with looking at algae in their ponds, but they are not putting our insects and bird populations at risk (consider the insects who pollinate our plants, who often drink from our ponds).
For the customer who wants to have a natural ecosystem, and who does not wish to have “Polyethylene” or “Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate” (both are strong oxidizing agents) or “copper based agents” (toxic to invertebrates in your pond), or other chemicals added to their pond water each week, they can expect varying algae growth yearly, as their pond and yard matures.
Also, the longer a pond works at creating a chemical free balanced life (ecosystem), the better it works. a new pond typically is more problematic than a one year old pond because an ecosystem is not yet established. A two year old pond with aquatic plants growing bigger, and string algae growth established, typically performs better than a one year old pond, etc.