Midwest Aquatics & Landscaping has been building water features, ponds, and custom landscaping since 2014. Even though our focus is on water features, we do all sorts of landscaping. Flagstone patios, natural boulder retaining walls, to pondless waterfalls. Our #1 goal is to assist you in creating your own serene place to relax, to make your home the weekend grill spot. Any idea you envision, we can make reality.
Our business progressed from growing produce for the local farmers market, to building ponds and water features. The produce we sold at the market was grown in our two local greenhouses. We found that was an expensive process and sought out alternative methods of growing healthy, organic produce at less of a cost. At the time, Marjorie, or Auntie M as she's known around here, had a fountain with a goldfish named Art. One day, Auntie M found herself reading an article about a technique called aquaponics.
Aquaponics is the science of combining conventional aquaculture with hydroponics to create a symbiotic relationship, using the water from the aquaculture environment to enhance the growth of produce. In the article, individuals were using tilapia because they were also able to be sold as "crop". Curious, Auntie M put one of her dying house plants in with Art to see if she herself could create a symbiotic relationship between the two. Within a week or so her house plant was far from dying, it was up and THRIVING.
And so began our venture in aquaponics, pond building and pond maintenance. We started off with a 300-gallon tank, two grow boxes and goldfish. A lot of goldfish. The boxes ran off of a pump that continually pumped water into the boxes. The boxes were equipped with a bell siphon, so when the box was full it would drained much faster. And as the water drained, the fish waste cycled through the box turning it into an amazing biological filter bog style.
Using this method its estimated at about 40% more efficiency. We gained a ton in plant growth, saved in water usage, plants didn't need spaced apart anymore,no weeding, and most importantly - with little supervision or extra maintenance. The quality of the produce that grew out of those boxes was just incredible, so we decided to try it on a bigger scale. We went from 300 gallons to 30,0000 gallons, a pond that supplied to both greenhouses continually and pumped out more plants and produce.
Sounds great, right? Dig a hole, put the pond liner in, stock it with fish and cycle the water through the boxes. How hard could it be?
We had the pond spec'd out by a professional and got the product ordered. We dug the hole, put the liner in, and stocked it with fish! When it was done we had cloudy water, waterfalls (sort of), pond liner weighed down by car batteries and 100 hand picked koi (carp). WE WERE READY TO GROW PLANTS. But I can't say it was that nice to look at and I became fixated on alternative ways to make the pond look better. To start, clearer water, nicer features, plants - you know, a pleasant aesthetic. Don't get me wrong, it worked, it was functional. But it was absolutely far from appealing.
Then one night I was complaining to my buddies who were over working on a school project, when one sarcastically said, "Just YouTube it, man; everything is on there." The computer came out, we googled "how to make a pond" and we found "Eric Triplett, The Pond Digger". The videos were unreal. The landscaping he was doing with rocks, turning ponds into beautifully eye catching works of art, was mind blowing. We spent a good four hours watching every single one of his videos (because what better way to put off doing a school project, right?). He made it look easy and I needed more information. I didn't realize it at the time but he was the inspiration and the spark to the flame I needed.
I emailed Eric Triplett, this pond guru, never thinking I'd actually get a response but much to my surprise, he ended up calling me! I was determined and inspired. I wanted to learn and he was the best, so I asked if I could just come work for him for a bit. He wasn't immediately receptive but he said, "a bunch of pond builders are meeting up in a week in Shawnee,Oklahoma for the Water Garden Expo (WGE), come meet me." And so I did.
During the weekend at WGE, I was FLOODED with LOADS of advice, and encouraged by the positive feedback I was getting on the little I had already done on my own, a 25,000-gallon pond with a bottom drain and "OK" filtration.
Those next few hours, sitting there talking to these guys - experts in this field I aspired to enter - taking notes on napkins and absorbing everything, was a blur. I made so many new connections and little did I know, met many whom I would eventually call my mentors. I didn't see it but to them I was already a "pond builder". I went home with a new passion, an idea for a company name and a network of pond builders who had taken me under their wings.
Back home, I started working immediately. That year following the WGE, I have worked on projects from California, down to New Mexico, out to New Jersey and Pennsylvania, a stones throw away in Illinois, and down south in Florida. The experience I've gained is invaluable and it's served our little pond, once full of cloudy water with a liner weighed down by car batteries well. Today, that pond has come far from where it was. It's a mini botanical center with water features, crystal clear water, an abundance of greenery and a happy ecosystem.
In addition to a beautiful pond and an evening getaway, we now have a store, grow and sell aquatic plants, spring cleanings, maintenance and pond construction. Each year our business grows and we're looking forward to seeing where we can take it and how many communities we can positively impact.