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Do I Need To Fertilize My Plants And If I Do Will It Encourage Algae Growth? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Do I need to fertilize my plants and if I do will it encourage algae growth?

Do I need to fertilize my plants and if I do will it encourage algae growth? Ben – Shelley, ID

Here We Grow Again

Behind the scenes your Aquatic Plants are working hard to filter nutrients from the water in your pond, provide shelter for its residents, and keep algae blooms to a minimum. While this may seem impressive to some, it is hard for most pond owner to get excited about aquatic plants unless they can do all of this work while looking good. Whoever coined the phrase “Looks aren’t everything” obviously never owned a water garden.

If your aquatic plants are failing to impress you can use some plant fertilizer to give them the boost they need to ensure your pond has more buds and less duds this season. The type of fertilizer you use will depend on the type of plants in your pond and how they are implemented.

Liquid fertilizers like Microbe-Lift Bloom & Grow are mixed directly into your pond water, providing a readily available food source throughout the entire pond. This type of application is great for ponds with an abundance of scattered plants, Floating Plants, and plants that are in areas lacking Planting Media.

Concentrated fertilizers like TetraPond LilyGro Tablets and Laguna Fertilizer Pond Spikes are used for potted plants or plants with roots planted in media. Simply push these fertilizers into the planting media and they will gradually release nutrients that your plants. When you are using concentrated fertilizers in your pond, carefully read the directions for each individual product for specific application instructions and warnings. For example, when using LilyGro tablets you will want to place them about 3” away from the crown of the plant to ensure the fertilizer does not burn the roots or stem.

The amount of fertilizer you need and intervals at which you re-apply them will depend on which type you are using and variable factors such as average water temperatures and how many plants are in the pond. Applications can range from once a season to ever 2-4 weeks. Whichever type or brand of fertilizer you use in your pond make sure it is low in or completely free of phosphates which can encourage algae growth. Microbe-Lift Bloom & Grow is an entirely phosphate free product.

Fertilizing your plants will encourage increased growth and color in healthy plants to push them to perform at their best. Fertilizers will not be an effective substitute for gardening know how. If your plants are constantly dieing make sure they are being planted in the right Temperature Zone and are being used in the correct applications. Bog Plants like Dwarf Cattails for example should not be entirely submerged in your pond, tropical plants like Antares should not be planted in cold climates and so on.

Do some homework, read the descriptions and text included with your plants and fertilizers to ensure you select the correct products for you unique water gardening scenario. Once your aquatic plants are established and growing, you can then decide if you need fertilizer to give them a kick in the bud to bloom at their best.

Pond Talk:What aquatic plants do you use in your pond and which types of fertilizers do you use for them?

Fertilizer Pond Spikes

Do I Need To Treat My Pond Before Swimming? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Do I Need To Treat My Pond Before Swimming?
Do I Need To Treat My Pond Before Swimming? Alex – McCrory, AR

Stink or Swim

With summer quickly approaching pond guys and gals everywhere are getting ready to take the plunge into their ponds to beat the heat. Now that your water temps are on the rise it is a great time to whip your pond into shape for the swimming season to make sure you’re not stuck in the muck all season long.

Fans of our blogs already know, the best way to keep your pond clear and healthy all season long is to use beneficial bacteria like PondClear, Pond Dye, and EcoBoost in tandem with an Aeration System. If you are a new pond owner, or have just found our blog page, click HERE to learn more about these products and how they improve the quality of your pond.

There is nothing worse than diving into your pond only to land in a layer of muck. If you have an accumulation of muck around your beach areas or by your dock, use some MuckAway bacteria tablets to spot treat these troublesome areas. Keeping your pond clean not only prevents you from turning into a human lawn dart, it will help prevent unflattering skin irritations and illnesses. Conditions, like swimmer’s itch, are caused by flatworms larvae typically introduced into your pond by waterfowl. Swimmer’s ear is an irritation of the inner ear that occurs when water gets trapped inside your ear. While these conditions occasionally occur, they are avoidable. Keep the number of ducks and birds that frequent your pond to a minimum by using Decoys, especially when it gets closer to swimming season and try to rinse off thoroughly after a nice swim in your pond.

If you are worried about the overall quality of your pond water, you can get it tested through your local health department, where they can check for e-coli and other contaminants. There is no reason to feel uncomfortable in your own pond. While regular maintenance typically results in a perfectly swim-able pond, it never hurts to get a second opinion. Regardless, use your bacteria, aerate the pond, and enjoy another great summer at home in your back yard.

Pond Talk: Which products do you use to keep your pond clean and clear throughout the summer? Have you ever tested your pond water?

Got Muck? Use Muck Away® - Eats up to 5 inches of muck per year!

Why do people build water gardens? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Water Garden and Water Lily

Why do people build water gardens? Amanda – Clearwater, FL

More Than Just A Pretty Face

Maybe you’ve entertained the idea of constructing a water garden in your yard, but feel you are not quite up to the task. Perhaps you are one of those people who don’t understand what all of the “hype” is about when it comes to back yard waterfalls and pricey Koi. To those of you who have yet to experience the triumphs and challenges of owning your very own water garden, there really is more to pond ownership than fish, water, and rocks.

Thanks to the progression of the pond industry, both the process of selecting an appropriate type of water feature and the installation procedures associated with each style have been dramatically simplified. This broadens your selection to a wide range of water features from small pre-formed ponds for beginners, low maintenance and space saving Pondless Waterfalls, or large water gardens equipped with intricate streams and waterfalls for those of you with more experience or are daring. You can also take advantage of the cost savings of purchasing a complete Pond Kit which can save you the time and trouble of trying to purchase each component independently. Regardless of which type of pond you decide is best for you, remember to take your time and do your Homework. Being prepared will ensure that the entire pond process from design to finished product is an enjoyable experience.

When done properly, a water feature can become an outdoor retreat, providing soothing sounds and sights to create a calm and relaxed atmosphere. Your water feature will accent your home and the surrounding landscape creating an inviting appearance and an increased curb appeal. Implementing Aquatic Plants and Koi into your water feature is a great way to further increase its value. Having fish present in your water feature creates fun activities that you can do with friends and family. Witnessing a few fish antics alone provides a great source of entertainment, while feeding your fish is an excellent group activity that can create a little extra “together” time with friends and family. If you have children it is also a great way to teach them about the responsibilities of pet ownership.

Every person has their own unique story about how their water feature came to exist. For some it may just seem like a logical step and for others it starts with the gift of one small goldfish. Intentional or not, it is easy to fall in love with your water feature. While there is some time and expense associated with any water feature, it all seems trivial once you see the results of such a rewarding investment.

POND TALK: How has your water garden changed your lifestyle?

Pond Kits

How Can I Create a Fish Habitat Without Overtaking My Pond With Weeds? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Porcupine Fish Attractor
How Can I Create Fish Habitat Without Overtaking My Pond With Weeds? Tyler – Elmo, UT

There’s No Place Like Home

Your fish require adequate habitat to live, reproduce, and grow but who’s really keen on letting weeds overtake their entire pond to aid the cause. Fortunately there are some tricks to help control the natural habitat in your pond and even a few alternatives that can work just as effectively.

Most of us can agree that having a bit of plant life in our ponds is a good thing, but at what point does it get out of hand and become a nuisance? Aquatic Plants help reduce your ponds sun exposure and nutrient load which naturally encourages a cleaner pond with less algae blooms. Lillies can add some color to your pond while cattails will provide a natural wall around areas of your yard giving you a little extra privacy. When aquatic plants are appropriately implemented  they are both functional and attractive. The key to keeping your plants in check is by giving them boundaries. Mark the areas of your pond that you feel are best suited for aquatic plants, away from your beach area and dock, this way you will have a visual reference when checking if the plants are trying to spread out of control. You can then remove the plants that grow outside their appropriate areas with Pond Tools or Aquatic Herbicide when necessary.

For those of you with no interest in flexing their green thumbs, Fish Attactors may be the perfect habitat for your pond. These plastic spheres accept 1/2″ PVC pipe which you cut to a length of your choosing. The PVC pipes form a pattern that provides shelter for smaller fish while keeping larger predators at bay. The hollow ends of the PVC pipe also provide an excellent place for minnows to spawn. If you like to fish in your pond, these attractors have a huge advantage over natural habitat as they do not hang up your lure. Man made habitat like the fish attractor won’t contaminate your pond or bio-degrade so you don’t have to replace your habitat each season.

It is not uncommon for people to sink pine trees, pallets, cinder blocks, bricks, and other miscellanous items in their pond. These things will provide coverage to your fish but they may also have adverse effects on your water quality as well. Items that bio-degrade in your pond will add to your nutrient load, so if your are considering sinking a tree or some wood skids in your pond make sure you are compensating with additional PondClear or MuckAway to keep nutrients at bay. Also if you swim in your pond, keep in mind that while some products are degradeable they may be held together with nails or staples. Before adding objects into your pond make sure they are clean and they do not contain any contaminates that will pollute the water. Plastic containers, for example, may provide shelter to your finned friends but what were they previously holding? Oily residues or trace chemicals left that remain on these products can be harmful to your ponds ecosystem so use caution before you sink them in the water.

Advanced planning and considerations will make all of the difference in keeping your pond and its inhabitants happy and healthy. Choosing the habitats that work best in your unique scenario and implementing them correctly will ensure your pond is full of life for years to come.

POND TALK: What types of fish habitat do you use in your pond?

Porcupine Fish Attractor, Pack of 3 Spheres

How can I control Naiad in my pond? – Pond & Lake Q & A

How can I control Naiad in my pond?

How can I control Naiad in my pond? Kristin – Modesto, CA

Do You Know Who You Are Dealing With?

When faced with an outbreak of weeds in their pond some pond owners tend to rush into buying aquatic herbicides and algaecides in an attempt to clear up the pond as fast as possible. While we agree with the idea that your weeds need to disappear on the double, you want to make sure you take some time out to identify your intruder. When you know what you are dealing with your can then chose a product to treat it that will give you the best bang for your buck. If you are having trouble identifying a particular weed you can e-mail a couple close up pictures to The Pond Guy at mrwig@thepondguy.com or check out our Weed ID Guide.

What’s The Difference?

Knowing is half the battle in your war against aquatic weeds. So what do you need to know about Naiad to correctly identify it in a line-up of other unruly pond perpetrators? Naiad is an annual plant that branches profusely and forms very dense stands of rooted submerged vegetation. Leaves are dark green to greenish-purple, ribbon-like, opposite or in a whorl of three, mostly less than 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide. Single seeds are found encased in the leaf sheath. Southern naiad reproduces by seeds and fragmentation. Flowers are at the base of the leaves but so small that they can only be observed with magnification. While Naiad is often confused with Chara at first glance, Chara has a strong, unpleasant odor and a crunchy texture that sets it apart from its counterpart. Chara also is very easy to pull out since it has no attached root base.

Pick Your Pony

You will find a stable full of products available for treating Naiad each with their own application methods and water use restrictions. Hydrothol 191 for example is a granular that sinks to the bottom of the pond and is applied with a hand spreader. It carries water use restrictions such as a 3 day fish consumption restriction and a 25 day irrigation restriction. Pondweed Defense on the other hand is a liquid aquatic herbicide that is applied via a Tank Sprayer and carries no water use restrictions. Read each herbicides application instructions, water use restrictions and dosage rates to determine which product is best for you. In addition to Hydrothol and Pondweed Defense, WhiteCap and RedWing are also viable options for treating Naiad.

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Warm

For optimal results you will want to treat your pond when your water temps are above 50 degrees. Waiting for warmer weather in late Spring and early Summer ensures that the weeds in your pond are actively growing and will eagerly take the chemical you add to the water. Once the weeds are killed it is then safe for you to rake them out of the pond using a Pond & Beach Rake or something similar. Keeping your ponds nutrient load in check with MuckAway and PondClear and proper Aeration will make sure you spend less time wrestling weeds in your pond and more time enjoying your ponding season.

POND TALK: Tell us about your experience with Naiad and/or Chara.

Control Naiad with Pond Logic® PondWeed Defense® & Cide-Kick™ Combo

I Just Bought Some New Fish, How Should I Introduce Them To My Pond? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Pond Fish & Koi Acclimation
I Just Bought Some New Fish, How Should I Introduce Them To My Pond? Paul – Baytown, TX

Best In Show

So you’ve made the decision to invite a few new friends to your home, but are you getting more than you bargained for? As is true with any purchase, you want to make sure you are getting quality before you hand over your hard-earned dollars. Inspect the fish you intend to purchase for symptoms of illness or poor health. Look over their fins, mouth, and gills for blemishes, discoloration, or signs of fin rot and check their body for growths, loose or missing scales, or other blemishes as they may be an early indicator of disease or parasites. Take a few moments to observe your prospect’s behavior to make sure they are active and having no mobility hindrances.

Prep The Pond

Your newly purchased fish are typically handed over to you in an oxygenated plastic bag or container to allow adequate time to transport them to their new home. While it may be tempting to just dump them into your water garden upon your return home, you will want to make sure your pond is ready to accommodate its new inhabitants before you begin their acclimation process. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the water in your pond is free from potential fatal heavy metals and chlorine by adding Pond & Fish Conditioner during your water changes.
  • To help prevent disease and reduce fish stress in your new tenants, add Pond Salt to the water between your water changes. To ensure the well being of your Aquatic Plants, only add 1 1/4 cups per 100 gallons of pond water.
  • You can purchase a Master Test Kit to verify acceptable pH and Nitrate levels in the pond.
  • You can prevent many potential health issues throughout your fish population by simply maintaining a clean and healthy pond. You can read more about pond maintenance here.

Well, You Better Get Used To It

Now that the pond is ready for the addition of fish, it is time to get your finned friends ready for the big show. You will want to gradually equalize the temperature of the water your fish are currently occupying with that of the water in your pond. If the container carrying your fish floats, go ahead and place it in your pond. As the bag bobbles around in your pond, the water inside will start balancing with the outside water temperature. This process should take no longer than 30 minutes. During this time frame, slowly add small amounts of water from the pond into the container which will allow your new fish time to acclimate to the chemistry of your pond water. Most of us have, at one time or another, jumped into a pool too early in the summer only to find that the water is unimaginably cold. Those of you who’ve been in that situation understand why you will want to take your time with the acclimation process. Now that the water on both sides of the container is the same and the fish have had time to try out the make up of the water in the pond, you are clear to release them into their new environment! Take a few moments throughout the day to check in on the pond and monitor the behavior of the newly introduced fish. Active and curious fish are happy and healthy fish.

POND TALK: Are there any tricks that you’ve done to acclimate your fish?

Remove Heavy Metals and Chlorine with Pond Logic® Pond & Fish Conditioner

Why are my koi chasing each other? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Why are my koi chasing each other?

Why are my koi chasing each other? Christie – Moline, IL

The Thrill of the Chase

Just like any other pet, Koi provide pond guys and gals everywhere with entertainment and companionship. So now your new found finned friends are chasing each other around and being rather aggressive towards each other. This violent activity may seem disturbing to us but for your Koi it is actually a natural process. No your fish have not transformed your water garden in their very own fight club; this is their way of courting each other.

With Friends Like You…

So nothing says love like bashing your partner into a few plants and rocks right? What you are seeing is the male Koi(s) chasing the female around the pond trying to push the eggs out of her by pinching her between rocks or other males. It is during this process that the eggs are released into the water and fertilized. While we may have been a little slow to realize love is in the air … or in your pond rather, there are still a few things you can do to help your Koi have a successful spawning season.

Bring On The Plants: Adding Aquatic Plants like Hornwort and Water Hyacinth in your pond will provide excellent surface area for freshly laid eggs to attach to and will also provide coverage for them.

Keep It Clean: It is important that you keep the water in your pond clean and free from disease while the fry are developing. Perform regular water changes and use Pond & Fish Conditioner when adding new water to remove any chlorine and toxic heavy metals from your tap or well water. Make sure you are adding Pond Salt to the water to keep fish stress down and also help prevent diseases.

Survival of the fittest…

After the fry hatch, you may not see the new additions until they become big enough to fend for themselves. Once they hatch they hide and fight for survival. Koi are not loving parents, they tend to eat their own eggs and fry. Out of thousands of eggs koi lay, only a select few will survive.

As your new additions began to grow, there will be added ammonia and nitrates in the pond. If you plan to keep these new Koi make sure you are providing adequate Filtration in your pond and you are not deviating from a practical fish load for your size pond. Having more fish in your pond than your filtration can handle will lead to additional more severe algae blooms and muck accumulation. It is important that you keep adding beneficial bacteria such as Nature’s Defense or Muck Defense to break this waste down.

Pond Talk: Have you seen baby koi in your water garden?

Pond Logic® Pond Salt

Do I really need to feed my fish? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Do I really need to feed my fish?

Do I really need to feed my fish? Joe – Little Rock, AR

Come And Get It
Those of us pond guys and gals that own large farm ponds have been feeding our fish for ages. Over the years, some of us have pondered, “Do I really have to feed my fish?”

“Fish” Food Versus Fish Food
There are two ways to keep your fish well fed: properly stock your pond or use fish food. We suggest both.

Properly Stocking:
To properly balance your pond, you should stock the water body with 3 prey fish, like Perch or Bluegill, for every 1 predator fish, such as Bass. This will ensure that your predator fish will have a bountiful selection of prey, while still giving the prey fish a sporting chance to mature and reproduce. If you stock too many prey fish, you will experience a very small number of big predators and a ton of tiny pan prey fish. If you stock too many predators, you will end up with very small predators and only a few big prey. When your pond is properly stocked, your fish population tends to keep itself in check. We suggest starting out with 300 bluegills and 100 bass per acre. You can add some feeder minnows into the pond to provide a nice snack that will be able to replenish itself. However, it is not uncommon for the fish in your pond to make short work of the feeder minnows you add to the pond.

Fish Food Pellets:
So you feel your fish should have a little more selection than their regular diet of … well … each other? You can control what your fish are eating by feeding them quality fish food like Game Fish Grower. Foods that are high in protein and low in filler promote rapid fish growth and optimum overall size. Pellet feeding also provides an opportunity to turn feeding your fish into an opportunity to have some fun. Pellet training your fish takes some patience and persistence, and while it can be trying at times, it is truly enjoyable once you get it right. Try to establish a daily routine feeding time and place so your fish will begin to expect your pond side presence. Start by throwing some pellets in the water from a distance, waiting for the fish to venture to the water surface to take the food. Repeat this process until your fish willingly greet you at feeding time. As time progresses, you can close the distance between you and the pond’s edge. Avoid making sudden movements, as this will scare the fish and they will be more hesitant to approach you at feeding time. You can then begin placing your hand into the pond with a fist full of food, opening your hand slowly to release the pellets which will float to the surface. You may not have any takers the first few days you try this, but if you are patient, they will eventually figure out where this food is coming from. As they grow more comfortable to your hand being in the pond, they will start eating from it. If you do not have the time or desire to feed your fish by hand, you can place a feeder, like the AquaPro Directional Feeder, at the pond’s edge to release food at programmed intervals.|

What’s On The Menu?
While your fish always eat the food you throw in the pond like they haven’t eaten in years, the truth is, if your pond is stocked properly, they really don’t need any outside assistance. On top of having other fish in the pond to eat, they will also eat bugs from the surface of the pond, leaches at the bottom, and basically anything else they can find in the water. Try to catch some of the fish in your pond each season and record how many of each type you are pulling out of the pond while inspecting them for healthy color, weight, and size. Occasionally checking up on your fish will decrease the frequency and severity of population issues, while making your pond an enjoyable addition to your home with fun activities for the entire family.

POND TALK: How often do you feed your fish?

Pond Logic® Game Fish Grower - Fish Food

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