ST. CHARLES, Ill. – Aquascape and a team of fifty Certified Aquascape Contractors installed a 16 x 18 foot ecosystem pond with six-foot stream on March 10, to provide a home for alligator snapping turtles at the Chelonian Research Institute in Oviedo, Florida. The newly installed water feature lowers the overall maintenance for the staff at the Chelonian Research Institute while providing a better home for the animals.
Ed Beaulieu, director of field research for Aquascape, designed the turtle pond using a skimmer system which manages excess organic compounds by removing them from the surface, which in turn controls the overall nutrient load. An Aquascape wetland filtration system was added to the design and utilizes a large sedimentation chamber to remove particulate matter. The water then flows up through several distinct layers of graded river rock which provide a home for bacterial colonization.
“The four turtles had been living in rectangular concrete pond enclosure with a greenhouse,” said Beaulieu. “Due to lack of filtration, the pond had to be drained and cleaned on a weekly basis. The new ecosystem pond is outside in a fenced area where the turtles have access to the water feature as well as a small planted area.”
The new pond is 24-inches deep at the deepest point, with a series of rock outcroppings and ledges, giving the turtles multiple areas of water depth for exploring. The pond is also home to a school of fish which helps to supplement the turtle's diet with a food source they would encounter in their natural habitat. A few cypress stumps and logs were added to the feature to create hiding places for the turtles.
Certified Aquascape Contractors who participated in the ecosystem pond build included All Aquatics of Allen, Texas; Aquafeatures of Tallahassee, Florida; Aquaria (Life Fish H2O) of the Bahamas; Aquatic Creations of Grantville, Georgia; Aquatic Edge Consulting of Jeannette, Pennsylvania; Bloom N Dales Landscape & Design of Brampton, Ontario; Chris' Water Gardens of Homer, Illinois; Clearwater Creations of Cobourg, Ontario; Dreamscapes Landscaping of Bartlett, Tennesse; Enviroscapes Property Specialist Inc. of Zephyrhills, Florida; Island Aquascape Inc. of Plainview, New York; Living Water Landscape Service LLC. of Battle Creek, Michigan; Living Waterscapes of Colfax, North Carolina; Modern Design Aquascapeing of Friendsville, Tennesse; Paradise Ponds and Waterfalls of Buford, Georgia; Pinellas Ponds and Waterfalls of Palm Harbor, Florida; Pond Pros of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey; Pond Science LLC. of Melbourne Village, Florida; Ponds, Patios and Waterfalls Co. of Millers, Maryland; River Bed Builders LLC. of Georgetown, Indiana; Sound Shore Pond of Wading River, New York; South Mississippi Aquascapes of Gulfport, Missouri; and Tropical Water Gardens of Deland, Florida.