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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 is to use a product called Sonar™ A.S.. The best way to get rid of watermeal is to use a product called Clipper™. Sonar™ A.S. 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.

Both Sonar™ A.S. and Clipper™ 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 these herbicides and the aquatic weeds they 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-stick diffuser plate(s) that sits on the bottom of the pond. This 4-stick diffusers 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 Medicated 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™ Defense® 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 Shoreline Defense® & Treatment Booster™ PLUS. 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 Pond 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, but 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.

How Many Fish Can I Have? – Water Garden Q & A

Picture of a School of Fish

Q: How many fish can I have in my water garden? -Several Customers

A: There are many rules of thumbs out there regarding how many fish you can have in your water garden. Just remember, the old saying goes, “The more animals in the barn, the more doo doo to clean up.” With that said, if you have the number of fish that the picture to the left has…my guess is that you have algae! Below I am going to explain the 4-Key Factors in Maintaining a Clean, Clear & Healthy Pond Ecosystem. The way these factors work is this: If you plan to increase your fish load, then you must improve the other 3 to help compensate. Hopefully this helps!

1. The DefensePAC®:
The products included in the DefensePAC® provides beneficial bacteria, trace minerals, and a fish and plant safe pond cleaner. The DefensePAC works to breakdown fish waste, leaves or other organics that accumulate in the pond. These are essential to maintain a clean, clear and healthy ecosystem.

2. Fish Load:
When calculating your fish load think of it in pounds of fish or total inches. For example, one 6” fish can weigh as much as four 4” fish. The number of fish will affect the overall fish load, although 10 small fish may only produce the waste of one large fish. With this said, remember that your fish are growing and in many cases multiplying. Always plan for the future and be careful not to overstock your pond.

3. Proper Filtration:
The size and type of your filtration system will depend on your total fish load. If your filter is not properly sized for max potential, your fish will outgrow the filter. In most cases filters on the market are rated for ponds containing no fish or a minimal fish load. It is always best to get a filter that is rated for at least 2x the water volume of your pond.

4. Aquatic Plants:
A simple rule of thumb is to have 60% plant coverage. This should consist of submerged, floating and marginal plants. Floating plants, such as Water Hyacinths, pull their nutrients directly from the water. Rooted plants, such as water lilies and marginal plants, create a great place for your fish to hide from predators. Please note when aquatic plants are not present, algae will take their place.

Controlling Leeches – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a Leech

Q: How do you get rid of leeches?
- Richard of Waterbury Center, VT

A: The “muck” at the bottom of your pond is a great breeding ground for leeches. So the absolute best way to get rid of them would be to get rid of the “muck”. MuckAway™ Pond Muck Reducer is the best way to do this. MuckAway™ will eat up to 5″ of “muck” per year!

Another thing you can do in the short term is trap them. To do so, do the following:

1.) Start with a coffee can with a plastic lid.

2.) Poke holes in the sides of the can with a nail. Holes should be 1/8 to 1/4 inch in size. The nail holes should leave a sharp burr on the inside of the can (approximately 50 holes).

3.) Put about 1/4 cup of raw meat in the can (ground beef, liver, chicken or turkey giblets are recommended).

4.) Put the lid on the can and submerge it completely in your pond. A rock placed on top of the can will prevent it from falling over and will help prevent snapping turtles from tampering with it.

5.) Check the trap a couple of times a week and remove the leeches. Keep the trap in the pond until the leech numbers decrease, or you no longer catch any leeches in the trap.

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