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Treating Common Fish Diseases: How to Treat Anchor Worms. – Water Garden Q & A

Picture of Koi with Anchor Word

Q: Treating Common Fish Diseases: Anchor Worm

A: What are Anchor Worms? Anchor worms are small crustaceans that start out their life as free swimming and find a fish to burrow their way into. The anchor worm will bury themselves into the fish’s muscles where they live for several months while developing. After developing, they make their way out of the fish, a process that often leaves bad wounds. Right before the anchor worm dies, it will release its eggs. The cycle is then repeated over and over again.

What are the Symptoms of Anchor Worms? First off, an obvious sign is a very visible parasite attached to the body of the fish. In early stages, it will look like a red sore or pimple. The fish will also “flash” or try and scratch the parasite off its body by running itself into rocks.

What Causes Anchor Worm and How can I Treat It? Anchor Worms are not caused by high levels of fish stress. Fish are usually infected by newly added fish already carrying the parasite or newly added aquatic plants that have anchor worm larvae on them. Since Anchor Worms’ larvae are free swimming in the water garden, the whole body of water must be treated to get rid of future cases. This can be accomplished with Dimilin. Dimilin is specifically designed to treat Anchor Worms. Although Anchor worms are a parasite in many cases a secondary bacterial infection will occur due to the open soars. To help fight against this secondary infection it is recommended that PimaFix be added along with the Dimilin.

There is an Oil Slick Film Covering My Pond. How Do I Get Rid of It? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Algae, Duckweed, Watermeal & Pollen Identification

Q: There is a brown rust-like film/oil slick covering my pond. Do you have an idea what this might be and how to get rid of it? - Several Customers

A: There are several things this could be: Algae, duckweed, watermeal or pollen.

Determining if Algae is a Problem: Filamentous Algae will float around the pond’s edges in mats while Planktonic Algae will make the whole body of water to look like a “pea soup” green color. If this is the case, using Algae Defense Algaecide will provide quick control. Follow up with Pond-Clear for long-term clear water.

Determining if Duckweed or Watermeal is the Problem: Duckweed and Watermeal are very rapid growers and will cover an entire pond if they get out of control. Looking to the pictures to the left, you can see that Duckweed is a small plant the size of a pencil eraser, while Watermeal is about the size of the tip of a pencil. If you determine that you have Duckweed or Watermeal, your only long-term option is WhiteCap Aquatic Herbicide. If you only require short-term control (3-4 weeks) for an event or party PondWeed Defense may be used.

Determining if Pollen is the Problem: What may look like a greenish, brownish algae, may actually be pollen. Pollen may even cause an oil-slick or film on the surface of the pond. There is no magic product that will give you a quick fix. Many times a heavy rain will settle it to the bottom. In many cases if your pond receives good circulation from an aerator or fountain you will not see pollen becoming much of a problem.

Why is One of My Koi Is Bumping Into Another? – Water Garden Q & A

Picture of One Koi Bumping Another

Q: I have koi in my pond and one of them is constantly chasing the other fish by bumping and nuzzling the other fish on their bottom side in front of the tail and behind the ventral fin. Is there a reason for this behavior?

A: Yes there is a reason for this. The fish getting bumped into is a female carrying eggs, while the fish doing the bumping is the male. The male fish is trying to knock the eggs out of the female so it can fertilize them. This is very common, but it is best to keep an eye on the fish during these times to make sure no injuries happen. Also, if you would like the koi to have babies, I would suggest making sure you have a sufficient amount of bog and submerged plants. Koi are known to eat their own young and adding aquatic plants will create hiding spaces for the babies to allow them time to grow.

Controlling Sago Pondweed – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of Sago Pondweed

Q: Sago Pondweed is taking over our pond! What can I do to get rid of it? - Sue of DePere, WI

A: We are hearing more and more customers having an issue with pondweeds that are taking over their ponds. One we hear a lot about so far this year is Sago Pondweed. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service describes Sago Pondweed as:

“[...] a perennial plant that arises from thickly matted rhizomes and has no floating leaves. The stems are thin, long and highly branching with leaves very thin and filament-like, about 1/16 of an inch wide and 2 to over 12 inches long tapering to a point. The leaves grow in thick layers and originate from a sheath. The fruit is nut-like 1/8 to 1/4 inches long and 1/10 to 1/8 inches wide.”

There are a couple ways to treat Sago Pondweed. These solutions will not only treat Sago Pondweed but also a majority of other pondweeds as well.

For spot treatments, the best product to use is Pondweed Defense. Its fast acting and works very well. One gallon of Pondweed Defense will treat up to 5,000 square feet of Sago PondWeed.

If Sago Pondweed is getting out of control, then the best product to use is WhiteCap. WhiteCap is a long-term solution and will treat the whole body of water. One 8 oz bottle will treat up to a 1/4 acre pond with an average depth of 4′.

After the Sago Pondweed has died off, it is very important to rake it out. If the dead vegetation stays on the bottom of the pond, over time it will break down into “muck” and create more food source for other algae and
pondweeds. The Easy to Use Pond & Beach Rake is a great tool to accomplish this.

Why Are My Aquatic Plants Dying? – Water Garden Q & A

Picture of Water Hyacinth
Q: My aquatic plants that I bought are turning brown and soggy around the edges. What could be the problem?
-Shelly of Jacksonville, TX

A: This is a very good question and it starts with testing your pond’s pH levels. The nuetral pH level in water 7.0, but if the pH gets up to 8.5 or higher it will have a harmful effect on plants. If your pH is high, you can use pH Drop to slowly bring it back down. Another thing to do is to test your tap water’s pH level. If this level is high, you may want to count on using pH Drop every time you do a water change or after it rains.

Controlling Duckweed & Watermeal – Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: I think I have duckweed and watermeal. It’s taking over my pond! I can’t seem to get ahead of it! What do I do?
- Several Customers

Picture of DuckweedA: Duckweed and watermeal are very prolific growers and can cover a pond before you know it. When covering a pond it can look like algae, but up close you can see it’s not (see pictures on the left). You can try to rake the duckweed and watermeal off the pond’s surface but more will be back within the week. The absolute best way to get rid of duckweed and watermeal is to use a product called WhiteCap. WhiteCap works by inhibiting the weed’s ability to produce carotene. Without this ability, chlorophyll is rapidly degraded by sunlight and the weeds die. The only water use restriction is a 30 day irrigation restriction.

WhiteCap will also get rid of many other submerged weeds in the pond and will produce season-long results in as little as 30-45 days.

Picture of WatermealFor more information on Whitecap and the aquatic weeds it will control, click here.

Do I Need an Aerator During the Warmer Months? – Water Garden Q & A

Picture of a water garden with a koi aeration system

Q: Does my water garden need an aerator during the warmer months of the year? -Several Customers

A: That depends on a two things: Fish Load & Depth.

Fish Load: The greater the fish load, the higher the oxygen demand. A water garden aeration system is highly recommeded for high fish loads.

Depth: If your water garden is deeper than 24″, it is important that the water towards the bottom is also being circulated. In a skimmer/waterfall filtration system, the water will circulate across the surface of the water and leave the water towards the bottom stagnant. Adding an aeration system will prevent any stagnation by lifting the bottom water towards the surface. See our selection of Water Garden Aeration Products.

What Type of Aeration System Do I Need? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: I know I need aeration in my pond, but I’m not sure what type of aerator is right for me? - Several Customers

A: We all know why ponds need some type of aeration system (If your not sure why ponds need aeration, read the article Aeration in the Summer Heat), but there are many types of aerators on the market from Bottom Bubblers to Fountains to Windmills. The type of aerator needed for a pond depends on a few factors.

Picture of the Airmax Aeration System

Airmax Bottom Bubblers: An overwhelming majority of ponds fit into the category of Bottom Bubbler aeration. This system comes with a cabinet that sits on the shore. The cabinet houses an energy efficient air compressor. This compressor is then connected to a 4-stone diffuser plate(s) that sits on the bottom of the pond. This 4-stone diffuser creates medium sized bubbles that not only allow for adequate aeration, but also circulation. Many pond owners assume that since power is not located by the shore of their pond, that a Bottom Bubbler will not work. Just to clarify, a Bottom Bubbler can be placed up to 1,000 feet from the pond using direct burial airline. To select which sized Airmax Bottom Bubbler aeration system will work for you, click here to read about it in our online catalog.

Picture of a Decorative Fountain at nightFountains: Fountains are a great aesthetic piece for any farm pond. Fountains rest on the surface of the pond, pull water from below and push it into the air to make a decorative spray pattern. Because of the way they are

designed, they will only pull water from about 6 feet down. When a pond is deeper than 6 feet it’s best to go with both a Fountain as well as a Bottom Bubbler to have adequate aeration. When the pond has a

depth of 6 feet or less then a fountain will act as both an aerator as well as a decorative piece. Please note: Depending on your pond’s size, you may need more than one Fountain to properly aerate.

Picture of a Windmill-Powered Aeration System

Windmill: Windmills are primarily designed for decoration. If a pond is located where no power is available, then a windmill is really the only option to allow for some aeration. It is important to keep in mind that windmills only come with one stone and do not cover a large area. Also, they need constant wind

to have constant aeration. Windmills are available in 12′, 16′ and 20′ towers. Windmills do not provide continuous aeration and should not be used as a direct substitute for electrical powered continuous aeration systems.

How do I treat Fin Rot or Tail Rot? – Water Garden Q & A

Picture of Tail Rot

Q: My mother-in-law has a water garden in her yard. One of her gold fish now has no rear fin. It looks like he had gotten stuck between some rocks or something had gotten a hold of it. The fish is now laying in the rocks, but having a hard time swimming. What do I do? -Faith of Granite Falls, NC

A: When a fish begins to lose their fins or tail, it is usually referred to as “fin rot” which is a bacterial infection. This can happen for many reasons such as stress, poor water quality and/or an over population of fish. Any one of these can all cause a fish’s immune system to become weak making it vulnerable to bacterial infections.

If your fish already shows signs of “fin rot”, the following is recommended: Melafix , Pond Salt and Anti-Bacterial Fish Food. This will treat both externally and internally. Depending on the size of your pond and your ability to isolate sick fish you can choose to treat your entire pond or set up a treatment tank.

Good Fish Keeping Tips to Prevent Diseases:

1.) Use Pond Salt to lower stress. Adding pond salt to your pond will lower stress as well as treat for almost 80% of the common fish diseases.

2.) Maintain good water quality! This can be accomplished by having an adequate filtration system, reducing fish population, less frequent feedings (and use high quality fish food) and by adding natural bacteria such as the DefensePAC to reduce excess nutrients.

3.) DO A SPRING CLEAN OUT!!! Empty the water out if possible, power wash and remove bottom sludge and algae. Oxy-Lift can be a great tool when doing a clean out or performing regular maintenance.

4.) Perform regular water changes. You should do a 10-25% water change every 1-2 weeks. When doing water changes it is always recommended to use Water Conditioner to remove and detoxify chloramines and heavy metals.

5.) Add floating plants such as Water Lettuce and Water Hyacinth to reduce excess nutrients.

Melafix Dosage rate:
You will need ¼ cupful (60 ml) for every 600 U.S. gallons (2,280 L) of pond water. Repeat dose daily for seven days. Results can be seen is as little as four days.

Dosage rate for Pond Salt when treating for disease:
Use 5 cups of salt per 100 gallons – Note at this rate you will have to remove pond plants from the treated pond. If removing plant is not possible, isolate the sick fish into another tank with vigorous aeration.

Dosage rate for Pond Salt to prevent diseases:
1-1/4 cups per 100 gallons (for ponds with plants) and 2-1/2 cups per 100 gallons for ponds without plants.

How Do I Get Rid of Muskrats? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a Muskrat

Q: How do I get rid of muskrats? They keep creating tunnels in the sides of our pond.
- Several Customers

A: Muskrats can be a huge annoyance when it comes to having a farm pond. A muskrat can lower the water level by building a tunnel from the side of the pond to a nearby ditch or by opening up veins underneath a clay base. Also, attached to this tunnel is a den for the family of muskrats which can cause unstable ground in those areas. So how do you get rid of these things? Well, there are a couple of different techniques.

1) Disrupt Their Diet: A muskrat eats aquatic vegetation like cattails, sedges, rushes, water lilies and pond weeds. In some areas it may also eat clams, mussels, snails, crayfish, small fish and frogs. Keeping your pond clear of excess vegetation such as cattails, grasses, rushes, etc will disrupt a muskrat’s diet. The best way to rid your pond of these emergent plants is to use Avocet & Cide Kick. Simply mix the two products together in a pond sprayer and spray directly on the target plants. Allow 1-2 weeks for complete control. When the plants are dead (they will turn brown) remove them with the Weed Rake & Cutter.
Dead vegetation makes a great nesting area, so be sure to remove it!

2) Disrupt Their Environment: Muskrats prefer ponds with four to six feet of still or slow-moving water. Although adding depth to pond may not be a simple option, adding an Aeration System is. An Aeration System will not only provide the circulation needed to deter muskrats but will help to disrupt their diet by reducing weed growth as well.

Muskrat Facts: The muskrat is a very good swimmer. Muskrats can stay underwater for as long as 15 minutes. In the southern states they may breed year-round. In the northern states the mating season runs from March through August. Muskrats have up to five litters a year, giving birth to up to nine young each time! The average lifespan of a muskrat in the wild is three or four years.

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