Water Feature Q & A Q: I have a water garden that I built last year. Is there anything I should be doing in the Springtime to get it ready? – Maggie of Indiana A: Great question Maggie! With the onset of warm weather, now is the time to get outside and begin enjoying the water feature season. Your pond has been dormant all winter and needs a little care to make it beautiful. Follow these ten simple steps to prepare your water feature for success. 1. Inspect your pond. Check to see what affect the winter weather has had on the pond liner, skimmer or biological filter. Make repairs as needed. 2. Make a water change and clean-up winter waste build-up. Use the 3 in 1 Interchangeable Pond Tool or Pond Vacuum to remove dead leaves, debris and muck that have accumulated in the bottom of the pond over the winter. Oxy-Lift™ Defense® works great for lifting debris off rocks and bringing debris to the surface for easy removal. Water changes are also helpful in eliminating dissolved organics that have built up over the winter. You should make a 15 to 25 percent water change over several consecutive days to reduce stress to your fish. 3. Condition your tap water. When doing a spring start-up water change, don’t forget that you need to eliminate chorine and chloramines found in municipal water. Even small traces of chlorine will irritate fish and damage their gill tissue, and large amounts can be lethal. Use a Water Conditioner to accomplish this. 4. Start the biological filter. Clean or replace filter pads, seed them quickly with PL Gel and begin adding Seasonal Defense® Natural Bacteria to boost biological activity. For longer life span filter pads, try using Matala® Filter Pads. 5. Test pond water. It is not possible to know the condition of your pond water without testing. Using the Master Test Kit offers a quick and accurate way to evaluate pond water quality and stop problems before they occur. 6. Inspect your fish. If you see torn fins, blood streaks and/or ulcers, Pond Fish Treatment is a great all-in-one product for both koi and goldfish treating bacterial infections and parasites. 7. Feed your fish a low-protein food. As the temperature of your pond water approaches 40° F, your fish will start looking for food. Spring & Fall Fish Food is recommended as a good low protein, high carbohydrate, vitamin-enriched diet, specially formulated for all pond fish when water temperatures are between 40-50° F. 8. Provide your fish with essential electrolytes. Pond Salt provides all the essential electrolytes fish need to stay healthy and vibrant. Pond Salt can also help to reduce algae blooms. 9. Care for pond plants. Root bound plants should be divided and re-potted. Fertilize plants with Lily Tabs to provide the essential nutrients for strong growth and early spring blooms. Adding floating plants such as Water Hyacinths or Water Lettuce will provide your pond with shade and remove excess nutrients reducing algae growth. It is also a great time to add Pond Snails to begin consuming algae keeping your pond clean. Don’t have any plants yet? Consider one of our Complete Plant Packages. 10. Keep your water feature clean, clear and healthy all season. Digest sludge, reduce dissolved organics and keep you pond filter working its best with the all-in-one awarding winning package, the Pond Logic® DefensePAC®.
Pond & Lake Q & A
Q: Last year I had an uncontrollable case of duckweed in my pond. It covered my entire 1/2 acre pond! I’ve heard of your product called WhiteCap and wanted to use it this spring. I don’t see any signs of duckweed yet, but was wondering if it is too early to treat.
– Cameron of Michigan
A: Duckweed can take over a pond. This prolific grower can come from many sources although most commonly brought in on the feet of waterfowl such as ducks, geese or even herons. The small plant can stick to the feet or the feathers of such birds and be carried for miles. Duckweed can start out slow and in some cases take several seasons to become a problem, although I would recommend treating for it as early as possible.
There are a few options when treating duckweed. You can use a fast-acting aquatic herbicide such as Ultra PondWeed Defense® although this will only give you temporary relief and require multiple applications of spraying the duckweed directly. These are not usually suggested unless your treatment areas are not contained or you have heavy water turnover. When possible I always suggest Sonar™ A.S. since it is the least expensive method of treating an entire pond, is easy to apply and lasts an entire season.
We recommend to use 32 oz or 1 quart per surface acre (4-6′ deep) when treating for duckweed. This means Cameron’s 1/2 acre pond can be treated with just 16 oz of Sonar™ A.S.!
To answer the question above, treat with Sonar™ A.S. in the early spring before the duckweed even appears. This will allow you to get ahead of it before it reaches the surface. Although you don’t generally see it Duckweed is actually growing at the bottom of your pond long before you see it at the surface.
There are also other nice benefits to Sonar™ A.S. such as: It works very slowly so there is no chance of oxygen loss that could harm your fish or other aquatic life. Sonar™ A.S. is also very effective at controlling most other nuisance aquatic plants. So when your treat for your duckweed you will be controlling most other species as well.
Please Note: Sonar™ A.S. needs to stay in your pond for up to 90 days. It is not recommended to use it in ponds with a heavy overflow or when during times of heavy rain. If you are unsure of your pond’s turnover (or amount of water that is exchanged) use Nature’s Blue™ Pond Dye to shade the water column and track the time it takes for the color to disappear. You may also use Nature’s Blue™ Pond Dye during a Sonar™ A.S. treatment to track turnover and shade the pond from sunlight which can also reduce the life span of Sonar™ A.S.