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Bring Your Water Garden to Life After Dark with Pond Lighting – Water Garden Q & A

Give Your Water Garden Life at Night with Pond Lighting.

 

Q: I would like to add pond lighting to my water garden. Do you have any suggestions when placing pond lights for the best effect? Oh by the way I love your question and answer emails, keep them coming! – Cassandra of Illinois

A: Adding pond lights is a great way to bring your water garden to life after dark. There are a few things to think about when setting up pond lights.

#1 – Point Pond Lights Away From the Viewing Area. When placing your pond lights, it is always suggested to point the lights away from the viewing area (where you sit or stand to enjoy your water garden the most). This will prevent the lights from shining in your eyes when trying to enjoy the view.

#2 – Selecting the right light. Pond lighting is generally 12 volt. 12-Volt is much easier and safer to work with then standard 115v power. 12 volt power is produced by simply adding a transformer. There are basically two types of lights spot lights and flood lights. The difference is that a spot light will produce an intense light to directly light up a subject or feature, where a flood light can provide a glow on a larger target.

Tip: It is recommended to use only 90% of the total transformer output to maximize light potential. For example: a 300 watt transformer should have a maximum of 270 watts. That would be equivalent to (5) 50 watt lights and (1) 20 watt light. Please Note: Some pond lights will come with their own transformer.

#3 – Combo Underwater Lighting and Landscape Lighting. Don’t only think of adding pond lights to light up the water. Make sure to add some landscape lighting to show off your landscape and set the tone.

See our complete selection of Pond Lighting.

Be Proactive for Long Term Algae Control – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a Pond with an Abundance of Algae.

Q: I’ve treated my pond for algae with one of you Algae Defense, it works great although I have to do it almost monthly. Do you offer anything that would offer longer lasting results? – Jacob of Michigan

A: Algae Defense® is meant to be used as a reset button providing quick results. Algae Defense® is a great tool to get your pond under control especially during those hot summer months. The disadvantage is that the results are generally only short-term, because it only addresses the result of a problem and not the actual problem itself. To get the long-term results you’re looking for, you will have to take a different approach.

Think of it this way, you only use chemicals, when weeds and algae become a problem. This is a “reactive” approach. You need to think of your pond’s health proactively. Being “proactive” means treating for the problem not just the result of the problem.

Algae and pondweed growth are promoted by two basic things, sunlight and nutrients.

Sunlight can only be controlled by shade trees, surface structure and/or plants or by adding a pond dye such as Nature’s Blue™ Pond Dye or Black DyeMond™ Pond Dye.

Nutrients: Nutrients can come from many things such as, grass clippings, twigs, trees, fish waste, yard and farm fertilizers, runoff, etc. The majority of nutrients, especially those that have come from organics decomposing, are found at the bottom of your pond in what is known as black “muck”. The rest of the nutrients are free floating in your waters column sometimes causing murkiness.

Nutrients can be greatly reduced by eliminating “point source problems” such as:

#1 - Leave a buffer area around the pond when you fertilize. Use fertilizers low in phosphorus and/or organic ones.

#2 – Rake your pond using a Pond & Beach Rake removing dead vegetation, leaves and other organics that will eventually decompose on the bottom.

#3 - The next best thing is to introduce an Aeration System to your pond and following our proven 4-Step System.

Want to get rid of the Muck FAST? Use all natural, MuckAway™ . These pellets accelerate the decomposition of “muck”. Depending on the amount of nutrient intake your pond receives, MuckAway™ Pellets can eat up to 5 inches of “muck” per year.

My Koi & Goldfish Were Gasping for Air After I Treated for Algae. What Went Wrong? – Water Garden Q & A

Picture of String Algae of a Water Garden.

Q: My water garden looked like pea soup so I treated it with AlgaeFix. The product worked great although it took its toll on my fish. My koi and goldfish began gasping at the surface. I immediately did a water change and only lost one small goldfish. I have used AlgaeFix for years and never had this problem. What went wrong? – Lisa of Georgia

A: Oxygen. Oxygen. Oxygen. You must be careful when treating for algae, especially pea green water or planktonic algae. AlgaeFix® along with most algaecides on the market work very quickly. When the algae die, they begin to decompose immediately, robbing oxygen from your fish.

How to reduce your chance of fish loss:

#1 – Proper Aeration:Make sure you have an abundance of aeration before you treat for algae. Waterfalls, spitters and fountains all provide aeration. Although, the best source of aeration is generally an aeration system.

#2 – If treating for string algae, remove as much by hand as possible before any treatments. In the case of Lisa’s pea green water, I would have recommend that she do a 10-20% water change approximately 24 hours before her application.

#3 – Get to the root of your problems: Generally ,excessive algae blooms are caused by one or more realistically, a combination of the following: poor filtration, TOO MANY FISH or not enough aquatic plants.

#4 – Use natural products to provide clear water: Although chemicals, when used properly, are a helpful tool they should not be your only solution. For a healthy eco-system and more consistent clear water, turn to a natural remedy such as the DefensePAC® and/ or Barley Straw Extract.

Be Aware of Oxygen Levels When Treating for an Abundance of Algae – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of Filamentous Algae in a Pond

Q: My pond was almost completely covered in algae earlier this month. With the advice of a local store, I treated my pond with an algaecide. Needless to say I suffered a terrible loss! What killed all of my fish? – Marie of Florida

A: More then likely your fish loss was due to oxygen depletion. It is very rare that an EPA registered “Aquatic Approved” chemical will cause a fish kill.

What causes oxygen depletion?
After a chemical application, algae and aquatic vegetation start to die and begin to decompose. The decomposition process requires great amounts of oxygen and can sometimes, like in Marie’s case, be harmful to fish. The chance of oxygen depletion is much greater when a pond is not maintained on a regular basis or when water temperatures are at their warmest such as the dog days of Summer. The warmer the water, the less oxygen it can retain.

How to treat your pond and keep your fish safe:
We recommend that you treat your pond in sections. The generally rule of the thumb is to split your treatment in to 3 parts or thirds. Treat 1/3 of your pond starting from shoreline working your way towards the middle. Allowing 5-7 days between treatments will greatly reduce, if not completely eliminate the chance of fish kill.

NOTE: Always follow the label rates on the container!

Reduce Oxygen Demand with an Airmax® Aeration System Airmax® Aeration adds oxygen to your pond reducing fish kills, while improving the overall health of your pond and fish.

How Do I Get Rid of Brown Tea Colored Water? – Water Garden Q & A

Activated Carbon


Q: I have brown tea colored water and I can’t seem to get it cleared up. Is there something that will remove color from my water? – Karen of Oklahoma

A: Brown or tea-colored water is generally caused from “tannins” in the water. As leaves or other vegetation accumulate and decay in the water garden, they begin to leech these tannins dying the water a brown or tea-color.

The Solution:
Activated Carbon. Activated Carbon absorbs tannins and other toxins such as chlorine from city water. Place the activated carbon in a fine mesh bag and place in your skimmer or filter box. If you don’t have either of these, simply place it near your pump or in the area of your pond that receives the best circulation. The water must run “through” the carbon to work. Typically 4-6 lbs. will treat 1,000 gallons for 2-3 months.

Pond Netting

Use Pond Neting to stop leafs from discoloring your water and adding muck to the bottom of you pond this fall with a heavy duty leaf net.

Weed ID – The Difference Between Naiad & Chara (Algae) – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of Chara, a form of algae.

Q: I have a weed growing off the bottom of my pond. After looking at your catalog I think it is naiad. I treated my pond with Sonar A.S. and nothing seems to happen. I have followed the instructions on the label. What am I doing wrong? – Barbara of Indiana

A: This isn’t the first time I have had this question. To answer this we must first be sure what you are treating is naiad. After reviewing the pictures you have sent me I can see why the Sonar™ A.S.is not working…

The plant you are trying to treat is not naiad it actually is Chara which is an algae. Sonar A.S. is excellent for pondweeds although it will not touch chara. To your defense many people mistake naiad for chara. The good news is chara is much less expensive to get rid of! Algae Defense® is very effective on chara or any species of algae.

For those of you identifying pondweeds and think you may have chara too. Chara is sometimes also referred to musk grass due to its distinctive musky odor. Chara also has a gritty feel and can become almost crispy due to calcium buildup, especially when growing in hard water. Chara also does not have a true root system allowing it to me removed fairly easily in clumps.

Indentifying Naiad:
Naiad is very leafy. Leafs are arranged oppositely of one another or in whorls of three on the plant’s stem. If you determine you have Naiad use Ultra PondWeed Defense® or Sonar™ A.S..

Please Note: If your pond contains koi or trout with a hardness level less then 50 (hardness test kit link) we highly suggest using Clipper™ instead of Algae Defense®. Koi and trout are very sensitive to any copper based products.

All-Natural Algae Control with Barley Straw Extract – Water Garden Q & A

Barley Straw & Barley Straw Extract

Q: I have heard that barley straw will control algae. Is this true? Also I have noticed a product on the market called barley straw extract. Why can’t I just use a bale of barley straw? – Samantha of California

A: Barley Straw has been known for a long time to help in the control of algae. The concept is that as the straw decays, a chemical is released that will reduce algae growth. The problem with using actual Barley Straw is that it takes up to 8 weeks for the straw to decay and begin to work. It also “decays”, which means it puts nutrients back into the pond that will cause future algae growth.

We strongly recommend using an extract (liquid) such as Barley Straw Extract. The extract is the by product of rotting barley straw. This starts to work on contact instead of having to wait weeks for the straw to decay. It also will not contribute to the nutrient load and is all-natural and safe.

Another great benefit of using the Barley Straw Extract product is that it contains muck & sludge reducing bacteria.

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