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How Do I Know What Tubing Size to Use? – Water Garden Q & A

Flex PVC Tubing

Q: How do I know what tubing size to use? I want to increase the water to my waterfall from 1,500 gph (gallon per hour) to almost 4,000 gph. I currently have 1″ tubing will this work? – Matt of Vermont

A: No. Your pump and tubing are currently sized correctly, but if you increase the water flow to 4,000 gph you will need to increase the tubing to see the benefits of your new pump. I would guess that you would not see more than 2,000 gph if you leave the 1″ tubing. When using a 4,000 gph pump, the proper tubing size to use would be 2″. A good way to think about tubing size is to imagine drinking from a straw. If you were to try to drink a glass of water with a cocktail straw it would take much longer than if you were to drink that same glass of water from a standard size straw. Over the years we have developed a chart to help our customer’s size their tubing. Please see below. To see our selection of plumbing and accessories, click here.

Up to 500 GPH: Use 1/2″ Tubing
Up to 900 GPH: Use 3/4″ Tubing
Up to 1,500 GPH: Use 1″ Tubing
Up to 2,700 GPH: Use 1-1/4″ Tubing

Up to 3,600 GPH: Use 1-1/2″ Tubing
Up to 5,400 GPH: Use 2″ Tubing
Up to 13,500 GPH: Use 3″ Tubing
Up to 21,000 GPH: Use 4″ Tubing
Up to 42,000 GPH: Use 6″ Tubing

Plumbing Tip: Try to avoid 90 degree turns for this will cause friction slowing down and reducing your water flow. We always recommend flexible PVC to avoid connections that can not only leak but cause friction loss reducing your water flow.

Is It Possible to Have a Weed-Free Pond & Still Have a Good Fish Population? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Porcupine Fish Attractor

Q: I would like to kill off the weeds in my pond but I am nervous that the smaller fish will not have any place to hide from the bigger fish. Is it possible to have a weed free pond and still have a good fish population?
- Scott of Texas

A: Absolutely. In most cases, artificial habitat is more productive than the real thing. For example the porcupine fish attractor (pictured left) is a simple way to create a working ecosystem within your pond or lake. Due to their unique design they create a natural habitat allowing multiple places for small fish to hide. The porcupine fish attractor is made of a custom green thin wall PVC. The green color allows the habitat to blend into the pond and the diameter of the PVC provides a safe place for minnows to spawn. Another important advantages are the sustainability of the PVC material. PVC will not decompose, cause any water quality issues, and will not snag a fisherman’s hook.

Note: For those of us northerners that enjoy ice fishing, now is the time to make your own fishing hole. Simply place the porcupine fish attractor where only you can find it and you’ll be sure to be filling your buckets come this winter!You can also build your own structure out of PVC or create a structure with rocks and boulders or other materials. If possible stay away from materials that can rot and put unnecessary debris and nutrients into your pond. Read more about creating fish habitat here.

How Does A Pressurized Filter & Pump System Work? – Water Garden Q & A

The process of how a pressurized filter works.

Q: How does a pressurized filter and pump system work? – Jill of Massachusetts

A: Below is the path that water travels in a pressurized filter and pump system:

1. With the filter connected to the pump, water enters the unit through a water inlet.

2. Water then passes along an integrated UV lamp, where it is exposed to ultraviolet rays that inhibit the growth of planktonic algae (green water algae) organisms. (This can also happen at a later step depending on the pressurized filter you use)

3. It then passes through the mechanical & biological filtration stage, consisting of foam filters that intercept and trap dirt and debris. Also, beneficial bacteria will harbor here to help keep the water healthy.

4. Filtered water finally returns to the pond and the process is repeated.

How Would I Know If My Pond Has Sufficient Aeration? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Comparing No Aeration, Under Aerating & Sufficient Aeration

Q: How would I know if my pond has sufficient aeration? What would happen if my pond was “under” aerated?
- Joe of Michigan

A: The best way to test to see if your pond is sufficiently aerated is by taking the temperature of the water one foot below the pond’s surface as well as the bottom. If there is a difference of more than 3 degrees Fahrenheit, then the pond is not sufficiently aerated and you may need to add additional diffusers or relocate the diffuser that you have.

Next, to answer the, “What would happen if my pond was “under” aerated?” question, lets compare a pond with no aeration, a pond that is under aerated and a pond with sufficient aeration.

A Pond with No Aeration: With no aeration present, the water is stratified (aka has a thermocline). Meaning that the water at the top is warmer and full of oxygen while on the bottom the water is cooler, nutrient rich and contains no oxygen. This causes the fish to habitat towards the surface of the pond. As the seasons change from the hot summer to cold winter, the pond goes through a process known as “turnover”. This is when the cooler water at the bottom of the pond, mixes with the warmer water at the pond’s surface. Since the rising cooler water contains no oxygen, the chances of a fish kill are imminent.

A Pond that is Under Aerated: When a pond is under aerated, the thermocline is not eliminated, only dropped further down towards the pond’s bottom. This can cause constant problems. As the bottom bubbler aerates, the bottom, nutrient rich water is lifted to the pond’s surface. These nutrients are now constantly available for algae to grow. More importantly, the water that is being lifted by the bubbler also contains no oxygen, thus increasing the possibility of creating turnover and killing the fish.

A Pond with Sufficient Aeration: You may ask, “Since the nutrients are still being brought to the surface, won’t an algae bloom and turnover still happen even if a pond is properly aerated?”

When an aeration system is initially installed, it should be started at a slow pace to prevent creating turnover (See blog “When & How to Start Your Aeration System” for more information). As for algae, initially, when the nutrients are pushed towards the surface, algae will have the chance to bloom. As time progresses, however, the thermocline will be eliminated, the nutrients will be flushed out and the fish may now habitat the whole body of water.

Why Are My Fish Trying to Jump Out of My Water Garden? – Water Garden Q & A

Koi jumping out of the water.

Q: My fish are jumping out of my water garden. Is there any reason for this? How do I get them to stop? – Several Customers

A: Fish will jump out of the water for what seems to be no reason at all, but sometimes that isn’t the truth. One reason for this jumping is lethal ammonia levels. As fish excrete waste, ammonia levels begin to rise and if sufficient nitrifying bacteria are not present within your filter to breakdown this ammonia, it can become extremely deadly for fish. Constant high levels of ammonia will cause burns on the fish’s gills, thus causing them to want to jump out of the water to escape the pain. If your fish are jumping out of the pond, immediately test for high ammonia levels using an ammonia test kit. Doing a 20% to 25% water change as well as adding beneficial bacteria will help to bring ammonia levels down.

Another possible reason, is low oxygen levels. Usually the fish will seem to gasp for air on the water’s surface but they have been known to also jump out of the water as well. Use an oxygen test kit to test for proper oxygen levels and make sure during the warmer months of the year you have an aeration system running in your water garden. Another cause of low oxygen levels is after using an algaecide to kill off algae. When algae dies it takes oxygen from the water. If there is an abundance of algae and all of it is killed off in one treatment, there is a possibility for the oxygen levels to get extremely low. Doing a 20% to 25% water change is a quick short-term fix to get fresher, oxygenized water into the water garden.

As the above happens, the stress level of the fish can rise, it is always a good idea to add pond salt to your water garden. Pond salt will help the fish calm down as well as help to protect them against common fish diseases.

Will a Fountain Aerate My Pond? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a Fountain

Q: Will a fountain aerate my pond? - Several Customers

A: When it comes to fountains, I always tell customers that they are more for decoration than they are for aeration, but there are exceptions. Since fountains rest on the water’s surface, they tend to only pull water from 6′ of depth or less. Thus, if the pond is no more than 6′ deep at the deepest point, a fountain becomes an option for aeration. If the pond’s depth is greater than 6′ of depth than a bottom bubbler aerator would be our recommendation. The best aeration concept would be the use both. By placing a bottom bubbler underneath a fountain, you create the ideal conditional for total pond aeration.

How Do I Get Debris or Algae Off of My Water Garden’s Rocks, Streams & Waterfalls? – Water Garden Q & A

Q: How do I get debris or algae off of my water garden’s rocks, streams and waterfalls? – Several Customers

A: As the Summer progresses, the weather gets hotter and algae begins to grow on your streams, waterfalls and rocks. Sometimes using AlgaeFix just isn’t enough to remove the algae from the rocks. It will kill the algae, but the algae stays stuck to the rocks. It seems sometimes you need a steel wool brush to scrub the algae off.

My suggestion, when you have debris of algae on rocks, is to use a product called Oxy-Lift. Oxy-Lift is designed to lift these debris off of rocks for easy removal.

Simply turn your pump off and sprinkle the affected areas with Oxy-Lift. Wait 10 minutes and turn your pump back on. You may need a hose to spray away the additional debris, but no more scrubbing! If you have a skimmer installed in your pond, it will catch the debris as they are washed in by the waterfall. Or you can skim it yourself with a skimmer net.

What is This Black Mucky Stuff on the Bottom of My Pond & How Do I Get Rid of It? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Muck Boots Stepping in Muck

Q: What is this black mucky stuff on the bottom of my pond and how do I get rid of it? - Several Customers

A: Over time, organics such as leaves, aquatic weeds or twigs fall into the pond and settle on the bottom. These organics slowly begin to decay and will create a mucky layer on the bottom of your pond. As time passes, this muck layer will get thicker and thicker. Before you know it, you’ll step into your pond and sink a foot down in muck. Muck is also a food source for algae and pond weeds. As the muck layer grows, so will your problems with algae and pond weeds. So how do we combat muck? Below are a few suggestions:

The best way to combat muck is to use a beneficial, natural bacteria called Pond-Clear. Pond-Clear is an aerobic bacteria that instantly activates when put into water and will eat away the muck at an accelerated rate. When used with aeration, you can see up to 3-5″ dissipate per year.

Just remember, any organic matter that goes into your pond will create more muck. The more muck, the more food source for algae and pond weeds. Finding ways to reduce the amount of organics going into your pond is a must. For instance, cutting your grass away from the pond, instead of directly in it or removing twigs and tree branches that have fallen into the pond using a Pond & Beach Rake.

One more way to reduce muck is to use a bottom bubbler aeration system. Aerobic bacteria, like Pond-Clear, will break down muck at an even faster rate when there is saturated oxygen levels in your pond’s water. Aeration also has many other benefits besides breaking down muck, such as clearing the water column of sediments, reducing the chances of fish kills or turnover and eliminating a pond’s thermocline. (Read more about the benefits of aeration here)

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