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Do fish drink? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

 Do fish drink?

Do fish drink? Kristie – Doglap, MS

You would think that your koi need a drink of water like the desert needs another grain of sand but just like us; they too need a little refreshment from time to time. Koi utilize water to maintain proper body functions the same as us but they just do it a little bit differently.

Koi don’t per say “drink” like we do. If we want a glass of water, we pour water in a glass and drink away through our mouths. Koi on the other hand absorb water through their gills and body in a process called osmosis. Osmosis is defined by dictionary.com as “the tendency of a fluid, usually water, to pass through a semipermeable membrane into a solution where the solvent concentration is higher, thus equalizing the concentrations of materials on either side of the membrane.“ In other words, koi have larger concentrations of water that contain salt in their body than does the surrounding water garden. Through osmosis water is constantly passing through koi’s semipermeable skin into their body to equalize these concentrations. Since water is constantly absorbing into their bodies they have to immediately excrete this water to prevent them from bursting. During the course of a day, they can excrete up to 10 times their weight.

Feed your fish with the best!

Are there any tips for treating my pond in the hot summer months? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Are there any tips for treating my pond in the hot summer months?

Are there any tips for treating my pond in the hot summer months? George – Horace, ND

A lot of our summer activities revolve around our pond. The warm sunny seasons see us hosting parties, swimming, fishing, or just unwinding at the end of the day lounging around outside. Regardless of how you enjoy your down time, you expect your pond to be in pristine condition when having guests at your home or before you decide jump in for a swim. Frustratingly enough, it is the warmer seasons that encourage weed and algae growth that can throw the proverbial wrench in the works. By laying out a few key points on pond maintenance you should be able to keep your pond in excellent condition by knowing what to expect when things go a bit south.

Know It’s Role
When you start to notice growth in your pond, properly identifying it will be the first step to effective treatment. We offer a great Weed ID Guide online that can help you pinpoint exactly what is trying to invade your space. If you are still unsure you can always e-mail pictures to us at mrwig@thepondguy.com or mail us a sample of the weed.

Plan Ahead
Having a party? Keep in mind that it may take up to a week or more to receive full results from a pond treatment depending on what you are treating. Waiting until the day before could result in swimming restrictions or floating growth that has yet to die off. Always read the labels on aquatic algaecides and herbicides for application instructions, dosage rates, and any water use restrictions that they may carry. You don’t want to buy a product that carries a 30 day irrigation restriction of you plan on watering your garden and lawn with your pond water.

Use Aeration Ahead of Time and Keep it Going
Customers who use Bottom Plate Aeration Systems typically run them all day every day to keep the pond circulating and infused with oxygen. Those of you who use a fountain or surface aerator may only run it when you are home and leave it off at night or when you are away. When treating with algaecides and herbicides make sure you keep your aeration running continuously for at least a few days after application regardless. This allows an influx of oxygen during this crucial time when the kill off process robs the water column of the majority of its dissolved oxygen. No aeration yet? If you are going to install an aeration system you will want to introduce it at least a week before you treat, running it in gradually extended increments as to avoid manually turning over your pond by rapidly mixing the bottom oxygen deficient water with the upper oxygen rich layers.

Treat in Sections
In the hot summer months as the water column warms up it will naturally hold less oxygen. In addition to water temperature, dying algae and weeds will also reduce oxygen content. This could potentially add stress to your fish. Treat the pond in quarter sections and wait 10 to 14 days in between sections to allow the pond time to maintain an adequate oxygen level.

Keeping your pond properly maintained with Dye, Beneficial Bacteria and Aeration will give you the upper hand at keeping unwanted growth out of your pond and will drastically reduce the time, effort, and cost of combating weeds when they do decide to make an appearance. With this extra bit of knowledge you can skip out on some stress and effectively treat your pond by choosing the correct products and having a better understanding of the conditions you want to work within.

POND TALK: Are there any other tips you’ve found to help out when treating your pond?

Breathe life back into your pond and lake!

Barley Vs. Chemical Algae Control – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Barley Vs. Chemical Algae Control

Barley Vs. Chemical Algae Control

While you don’t enjoy seeing algae in your pond you may also not be to enthusiastic about adding chemicals to remedy the problem. Fortunately you have another option when it comes to algae control additives before you resort to chemical treatments.

Simply put, the decomposition process of barley straw releases a byproduct that inhibits algae growth. When used proactively barley straw can prevent algae blooms from establishing in your water feature. One of the main drawbacks of using Barley Straw was that you had to wait 6 to 8 weeks for the decomposition process to start. It was also a bit messy and consumed a considerable amount of space. Over time products like Barley Straw Pellets and Barley Straw Extract Plus were developed to improve results in a shorter amount of time. Barley Straw Extract Plus contains the beneficial components of barley straw decay infused with a beneficial bacteria, which means once you add it to your pond it immediately goes to work against future algae growth while reducing muck and organic debris. Barley Straw products are a great first resort in water garden maintenance because they are natural eco friendly products that are safe for your fish, plants and pets.

Barley Straw products are an excellent first step in the fight for a crystal clear pond, but they are by no means a guaranteed solution in every situation. There are always cases where using an aquatic algaecide like PondCare AlgaeFix or TetraPond Algae Control. A prime example of such instances are in scenarios where your pond already has an established algae bloom. Using an algaecide will provide dramatic results in a short time which makes them highly desirable. Chemicals designed for use in water gardens are typically friendly for fish and plants but you should always read the product label before you make your purchase.

Both barley products and chemical products are effective means of fighting algae. Having the knowledge to choose the appropriate product for your unique situation will help keep more green in your wallet and less in your pond. Think of barley straw products as more of a proactive approach to algae prevention and your chemicals as a reactive treatment.

Pond Talk: Do you use barley? If so, how have your results been?

Keep your water crystal clear!

Reducing mosquitoes in my pond – Pond & Lake Q & A

Reducing mosquitos in my pond

A Cure For The Itch

A great way to spend your evenings at home is to sit out in your yard and enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery. It is nothing short of maddening to be chased back into your home by hundreds of swarming mosquitoes buzzing around your head and painfully biting your arms, neck, and legs. You can use citronella candles and bug spray to keep them at bay but you’ll have much more luck if you treat the source directly.

Mosquitoes use stagnant water as a breeding ground to produce millions of larvae. You may not be able to dry up every rain puddle around your home but by cleaning removing junk items and treating areas where water pools in your yard, you can greatly reduce the number if mosquitoes that multiply there.

Running an Aeration System in your pond will create constant motion and break the waters surface tension, which makes your pond an almost impossible breeding ground. You can apply Mosquito Bits to small water bodies or areas that only temporarily accumulate water to kill mosquito larvae. For long term results or to treat large water bodies use Mosquito Dunks. Both products are safe for your pets, fish, and plants as well yourself. The only types of water bodies you do not want to treat with Mosquito Bits or Dunks are those that are used specifically for household human consumption. You can re-apply mosquito bits ever 7 to 14 days to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Try to be thorough in your search for potential breeding locations and try to clean and maintain them as necessary, common areas like your house gutters and buckets hold water that mosquitoes use to multiply. Keeping your yard neatly trimmed and clutter free will reduce the number of mosquito bites you’ll get this season so you can actually stay outside and enjoy your handy-work.

Kill Mosquito Larvae Fast

How can I keep my waterfall free of algae and buildup? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

How can I keep my waterfall free of algae and buildup?

How can I keep my waterfall free of algae and buildup? Renee – Heber Springs, AR

While the warm sunny weather is great for enjoying the outdoors this summer, it can also create some headaches in your water garden. A lot of you may notice that your stream and waterfalls are growing a nice coat of green algae as we continue through the warmer summer months. In a lot of cases, especially if you are using beneficial bacteria such as Nature’s Defense your water is clear but algae and debris is attaching itself to your stream, waterfall and rocks. There is really simple fix to this green monster, in less then 15 minutes you can have amazing results.

It’s simple, use Pond Logic Oxy-Lift Defense direct to your waterfall, stream, or anywhere you have debris or algae accumulating. When used on damp areas, the Oxy-Lift Defense will lift stuck on debris and algae off their attached surface so they can be easily rinsed away avoiding the need for a pressure wash or tough manual labor. Simply shut down your waterfall and quickly remove any debris or algae with your hand, then sprinkle on the Oxy-Lift, you’ll be able to hear the Oxy-Lift working to break the debris off the rocks. After 10-15 min restart your waterfall. You can scoop the loose algae out of the pond or let your skimmer do the work. We recommend applying Oxy-Lift later in the day when you will not be viewing the pond as the pond may become a little cloudy or foamy for a short period of time. Regularly cleaning your waterfall will ensure that maintenance is short and sweet keeping you from having to spend hours trying to wrestle your stream and waterfalls into submission.

If you are having issues with algae not only on the stream but also in the pond itself you can also apply a dose of Tetra Pond Algae Control to quickly kill undesirable growth in the pond even if it contains fish and plants! Using the proper products to maintain your pond will save you time and money in the long run and ensure a faster turn around process should your pond find itself in an algae attack? While algae blooms can not always be prevented the duration and intensity of their visit can drastically be reduced when your pond is properly kept. For best results consider the DefensePAC it includes everything you need in one simple package such as Nature’s Defense, Oxy-Lift, Clarity Defense, Muck Defense, and Seasonal Defense.

Pond Talk: What is your favorite part of having a water garden?

Keep your Water Garden Clear!

Killing Algae – Liquid v.s. Granular – Pond & Lake Q & A

Killing Algae - Liquid v.s. Granular

Killing Algae – Liquid v.s. Granular

Those of you with at least a couple years of ponding under your belt know that beautiful summer sunshine comes as a package deal with algae and green water. While it can be painful to look at for even a couple days, when your pond is being properly maintained it can be a quick and simple process to whip your pond back into shape.

Before you select which type of algaecide you want to use you will want to identify what type of algae you have. Algae typically come in 3 great flavors, Planktonic (green water), Filamentous (floating mats or string algae), and Chara (a smelly bottom growing plant-like algae). If you are not too sure on which type you have or you think you may have a submerged weed instead, take a look at our Weed ID Guide.

It is important to know what type of algae you are dealing with because it will help you select the proper algaecide for the job. Liquid algaecides like Algae Defense are best used to contact spray floating algae mats, planktonic algae outbreaks, or to treat algae submerged in relatively shallow water usually 3 feet deep or shallower. Liquid algaecides are mixed with water and a Surfactant which is then applied using a Tank Sprayer. When dealing with bottom growing algae in greater depths you will want to use a granular algaecide like Cutrine Plus Granular or Hydrothol 191 Granular. Granular applications are great for getting rid of Chara and, by using a Hand Spreader, are very easy to apply. If you have Koi, Trout, or Goldfish in your pond or lake you will want to use Hydrothol 191 as it is not copper based. You can also benefit from the fact that Hydrothol works not only on weeds by on a variety of submerged weeds as well.

While both liquid and granular algaecides are great for killing existing algae, they will not prevent future growth. Properly maintaining your pond using Dye, Beneficial Bacteria, or Subsurface Aeration will help keep your pond healthy and reduce the chances of algae in the first place. Remember to always read product labels before doing any treatment.

Pond Talk: How successful has your fight with algae been?

Kill Algae Fast!

What is the real difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic bacteria? – Pond & Lake Q & A

What is the real difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic bacteria?

What is the real difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic bacteria? Bill – Mount Orab, OH

Know Their Role

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear that you have bacteria in your pond? You probably think that your pond is dirty, or it may cause disease or get you sick. The truth is while some bacteria are associated with negative effects, bacteria are present in any functioning ecosystem diligently working behind the scenes to maintain a healthy and balanced environment. If you properly maintain your pond you will create an environment that promotes the presence of beneficial bacteria.

There are two different types of bacteria to focus on; aerobic and anaerobic. Your anaerobic bacteria are those that exist in areas of your pond that lack oxygen. These bacteria work slowly to digest organic debris and release a smelly gas as a byproduct. Aerobic bacteria thrive in oxygen rich environments and digest debris at an accelerated rate in comparison to their anaerobic counterparts that results in the expulsion of an odorless gas. In a self contained pond with little to no aeration you would expect to find aerobic bacteria near the surface where there is a higher level of dissolved oxygen and a lot more anaerobic bacteria at the bottom of the pond where there is a very low amount, if any, oxygen. Due to the fact that these anaerobic bacteria are slow to digest debris, any leaves, plants, and fish waste that gather at the bottom faster than they can be decomposed, hence the accumulation of muck.

To help break down organic debris at a rapid rate and keep your pond clean and healthy you will want to ensure that your pond is populated with aerobic bacteria throughout. To do this you want to circulate the contents you your pond while infusing oxygen into the water column. If your pond is 6 feet or shallower this can be accomplished with a Fountain. Ponds deeper than 6 feet will see better results with a Bottom Plate Aeration System. With these units in place you now have an oxygen rich playground just waiting to be filled with beneficial (aerobic) bacteria. PondClear and MuckAway are perfect types of bacteria products you can implement into your pond. PondClear is in a water soluble packet that will release at the surface of the pond and travel throughout to find and digest any organic debris before they have a chance to settle to the bottom. MuckAway is a pellet that will sink directly to the bottom of the pond to help speed up the decomposition of any debris that have accumulated over time. The fact that you can directly place MuckAway pellets in specific areas that need a little extra attention makes them the perfect solution for treating sections of lake front property and beach areas.

Aerating your pond provides the perfect environment for “good” bacteria and will keep the “bad” bacteria at bay. Cleaning out or preventing mass amounts of organic debris from your pond will help keep your bacteria ahead of schedule and keep the pond cleaner for your recreational use. If you take care of your bacteria they will take care of your pond… and you.

Pond Talk: What do you do to encourage the “good” bacteria growth in your pond?

Pondclear

How do you spot a sick fish? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

How do you spot a sick fish?

How do you spot a sick fish? Sharon – Romeo, MI

You treat your pets like children so it is easy to understand how upsetting it can be when one of them falls ill or does not feel well. While your children are able to tell you where it hurts, it is a bit more difficult to figure out what ales your fish. For this reason alone it is a great idea to focus on prevention instead of waiting to cure. What can you do to prevent fish illness and how can you tell if your fish may be coming down with something?

Keep your pond clean and healthy by providing adequate filtration, aeration, and regularly cleaning and adding beneficial bacteria to the pond. A DefensePAC is a great tool to help maintain water quality and a Pond Vac cleaning your pond easier and more enjoyable. When performing water changes use Pond and Fish Conditioner to detoxify any chemical or heavy metal contaminates in the water as well as reduce fish stress and improve their slime coat which makes them less susceptible to disease. Dosing your pond with Pond Salt will also help improve their slime coat and gill functions further ensuring healthy and happy fish.

If your fish still manage to fall under the weather the will almost always show some inconsistency in their behavior that will give you a clue as to what is going on. When fish are stressed or ill they will tend to be lethargic and less social, often just floating in one area away from your other fish. If they have anchor worm you will see them rubbing on rocks or the wall of the pond which is known as flashing. You can also visually inspect your fish for signs of illness. Deterioration of their fins, mouth or gills can indicate poor water quality or parasites. Look for loose or odd looking scale formations and sores on the body of the fish.

There are three steps to follow to nurture your sick fish back to health. First, since most illness is due to stress or water quality in their environment you will want to provide some temporary relief from the source. Start by performing a 25% water change in the pond to get some fresh water into the system. If only a few fish seem to be affected you may also choose to set up an isolation tank and treat just the affected fish. Next add salt and be sure both the pond or isolation tank has adequate aeration.

Step two is to identify the fish sickness based on their symptoms. Take pictures, examine the fish for and cuts, redness or inflammation in the gills and record their habits. Once you’ve identified the symptoms you can choose the next course of action which may involve additional medications or treatments.

The final step is to reevaluate your normal pond routines. Go back to see if there is anything you should change to prevent illness in the future. When dealing with sick fish it is always important to focus on preventing issues before they have a chance to ruin your ponding season so you can spend the majority of your season playing with your pets instead of playing doctor.

Pond Talk: What have your experiences been playing doctor? Have you avoided sick pets? How?

Pond Logic Pond & Fish Conditioner

Can I create a Waterfall in my large pond too? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Can I create a Waterfall in my large pond too?

Can I create a Waterfall in my large pond too? Jason – Grand Junction, CO

You don’t have to own a water garden to enjoy the sights and sounds of a waterfall in your backyard. Although they are built a bit differently, it is completely feasible to construct a waterfall in your large farm pond.

Unlike a water garden, your waterfall feature does not have to boast filter media pads, lava rocks, or bio balls. Your farm pond waterfall focuses more on sound and appearance than it does productivity. All is not lost however; your waterfall will provide a small amount of aeration and circulation in the pond but not enough on its own to sustain the entire water body. Since your pond is not dependant on the waterfall for filtration or aeration you can turn it off and on at will and there is no need to run it 24/7. This is great as it can save you money in energy costs and wear and tear.

The materials required to construct your farm pond waterfall are similar to those of a smaller water feature with a few exceptions. You will obviously be building at a larger scale in comparison to a water garden so large high flow pumps are the weapon of choice to deliver water to the top of your falls. Professional quality pumps like the Norus 7,000 or Tidal Wave 10,000 are perfect for high volume, high head pressure applications. Instead of using a skimmer box to house your pump you will want to rely on a Pump Vault for protection. Available in multiple sizes, a pump vault will not only prevent solids from entering the pump but it will shield swimmers, boaters, or fishermen from coming in contact with the unit. You will want to put the pump in an area that is generally unused for recreation as well as in an area not in danger of running dry if the water levels drop in the warmer seasons. Just like a Koi pond, you will want to install a Pond Liner and Underlayment, for your water fall and stream to direct flow and prevent water loss. Your Black Waterfall Foam will come in handy for creating sealed areas between rocks and water fall boxes to further aid in flow direction. You will also still want to use a large Waterfall Box, or a couple smaller ones to provide a basin to collect water so the waterfall will spill evenly over the rocks instead of looking like a fireman’s hose. Because you will be dealing with a higher flow rate, a larger diameter tubing will be needed. Each diameter can handle a certain amount of flow; here is a handy chart to help you choose the best size tubing for your particular scenario.

Finding Proper Tubing Size for Optimum Gallons Per Hour (GPH)

Pump Size Tubing Size
500 GPH 1/2”
900 GPH 3/4”
1,500 GPH 1”
2,700 GPH 1-1/4”
3,600 GPH 1-1/2”
5,400 GPH 2-3/4”
13,500 GPH 3”
21,000 GPH 4”
42,000 GPH 6”

Maintaining your waterfall is as simple as using Oxy-Lift Defense to break debris free from the rocks and then rinsing the stream off with a hose or by running the waterfall pump.

Pond Talk: Have you installed a waterfall in your farm pond? Has it created any unique benefits or challenges in your pond?

Atlantic Tidal Wave Superflow Pumps

How can I make my water garden more enjoyable for night time viewing? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

How can I make my water garden more enjoyable for night time viewing?

How can I make my water garden more enjoyable for night time viewing? Mark – Schaumburg, IL

Tell Your Pond To Get A Night Life

Like so many other water gardeners out there, you’ve labored diligently throughout the seasons to build the perfect back yard oasis, but between work and errands you are never home early enough in the day to sit and enjoy the scenery! A few simple steps can make the difference between some night time relaxation or simply being stuck in the dark.

One of the best things about your pond is that it’s present both in the night and day. The soothing sound of flowing water is one of the most common and enjoyable products of your water feature. If you do not have a small fountain, waterfall, or stream, consider installing one to instantly up your pond’s enjoyment factor. For smaller ponds a pump like the Fish Mate 580 comes with both a fountain head attachment and a diverter to route water to a small waterfall making installation fast and simple.

With some soothing sounds added to your pond, we can now turn our focus over to the visual side of the spectrum. A somewhat obvious way to get some late night pond side time is to implement some cleverly placed lighting. Floating Solar Lights and a 10-Watt Waterfall Light can add soft subtle accents to the pond, drawing your attention to desired areas. 3-Pack Halogen and LED Kits can be used in or out of the pond to softly illuminate large areas of the pond. If you are looking for a little more power you can use a Multi-Color High Intensity LED to flood an area with light or a 50-Watt Warm Halogen light to spot light and accent a particular area or item.

Tip: When installing pond lighting underwater, make sure to wrap an appropriate amount of excess power cord around the light to allow the ability to replace the bulb if needed. This excess power cord will allow you to pull the light out of the water for a bulb change instead of having to either move rock or drain the water. Also make sure you point lighting away from where you will be viewing the pond.

Another less known but equally effective way to accent your pond in the twilight hours is to use night blooming plants. Night blooming lilies like the Trudy Slocum still possess the same shading and filtering properties as your other lilies; the only difference is the blooms open up in the evening and throughout the night so you can enjoy a little extra color when the lights go out.

Each pond is special and unique so there is never one specific layout when it comes to adding lights and plants. Select items that match the surrounding colors and landscaping of your pond and use lighting to accent them accordingly. With a little practice and experimentation you can achieve a beautiful and thoroughly enjoyable pond, even at night.

Pond Talk: What products do you use to make your water garden more enjoyable at night?

Light up your pond at night!

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