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How to Acclimate Your Koi & Other Fish – Water Feature Q & A

Picture of a koi in a container.

Water Feature Q & A

Q: When is the water warm enough to add fish in the spring? I have some in a tank in the basement and can’t wait to add them. – Lorrie of Michigan

A: Spring is a great time to add fish to your water feature, but you have to be careful when adding fish not to simply toss them into their new environment. You must acclimate them first. I’ll explain:

Since Lorrie has a tank in the basement and a water feature outside, it’s good to note that these are two different ecosystems altogether. The makeup of the water is different, the temperatures are different, everything about them is different. Thus, moving fish from one environment to another without allowing the fish to become accustom to the new environment (aka acclimate) can put a heavy load of stress or shock on a fish. Here are my recommendations when moving fish:

1.) Fill a water tight container using water from the environment’s they are already used to. Make sure this container is small enough for you to carry if you’re doing this by yourself. I suggest adding some Pond Salt to the container to help keep the stress levels of the fish at bay.

2.) Carefully place the fish into the container filled with water and cover with Netting or Cloth to prevent them from jumping out.

3.) Slowly began to add the new environment’s water to the container. (Take note that if the new environment was just filled with fresh water, you want to add Pond & Fish Conditioner to remove any chlorine or heavy metals from the water before acclimating.) This process should be done slowly to ensure the fish adjust gradually. It should take between 15 & 20 minutes. After this time has past, release the fish into their new home. At first the fish may be skittish and hide, but in a few days they should adjust just fine.

When adding fish to a water feature I always suggest not to add too many at any one time. You must allow time for your pond and filter to balance the new fish load. Adding too many at one time can cause ammonia to reach lethal levels. Add only a couple at a time and use a Master Test Kit to make sure the water is fine before adding any more. It may take up to 3 to 4 weeks before you can add more.

Controlling Emergent Weeds – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of cattails with a pond in the background.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: What do I use to kill the emergent weeds on the shoreline? What sprayer should I purchase? NOTE: My kids swim in pond. – James of Wisconsin

A: At first sight or when controlled properly, cattails and other emergent weeds can add natural beauty, structure for fish and act as a buffer to reduce nutrients and sediment caused by runoff. But, beware! Emergent weeds can take over a pond very quickly if left alone for too long. It is best to pick an area of emergent weeds that you are acceptable with and mark it with boulders or other pieces of landscape. This will allow you to control only the emergent weeds that grow outside your acceptable boundary. There are 3 simple steps to control emergent weeds: 1) Spray… 2) Cut… 3) Repeat…

1.) Spray - Select the best product for the job. Avocet is best at providing long-term control for all types of grasses and cattails while Kraken is best for phragmites and/or purple loosestrife. Both Avocet and Kraken are sprayed directly on to the target plant with a tank sprayer (We suggest using the Airmax Pond Sprayer). This will allow you to control all areas or select areas that you have set aside for this type of growth. Also note: Both Avocet & Kraken have no swimming use restrictions.

2) Cut – Emergent weeds can sometimes have a root base deep within the ground so removing them before they are completely dead will allow them to come back very quickly. Most emergent weeds are best treated when the foliage is around 12″ high. This will allow enough contact for the aquatic herbicide. After a successful treatment, they will turn brown and become limp within 7-14 days. After this occurs, use an Aquatic Weed Cutter to cut the weeds at their base and then simply rake them out with the Pond & Beach Rake.

3) Repeat – Repeat these steps as necessary. In some cases it may take several applications to gain control.

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