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Setting Pond Resolutions

Setting Pond Resolutions

Setting Pond Resolutions

It’s that time of year—the season when New Year revelers set lofty self-improvement goals and strive to stick to them. Unfortunately, many of these resolutions are long forgotten after a few short weeks. Sound familiar? (I don’t know about you, but my running shoes are still hidden away in the closet!)

Well, set those aspirations aside. Let’s refocus your resolution energy on improving your lake, pond or water garden instead. Here’s how to formulate some attainable goals—and actually reach them—when spring arrives.

1. Realistic Evaluation

First of all, realistically assess the situation in your pond and your experiences with it over the past year. What problems or challenges did you face? Did you have an out-of-control algae problem last spring? A fish population boom (or bust)? Wild water temperature fluctuations? Are you sick of looking at all the cattails?

As you’re brainstorming, make a list of these potential pond projects. Be as detailed as possible about what the problems were and the circumstances surrounding them.

2. Pick your Problem

With your list in hand, identify the problem (or problems) you’d like to fix—but pick only one or two to tackle. Then, research the topic(s) to get to the root of the situation and find out what’s causing the problem.

For instance, if you had crazy algae blooms last spring, perhaps you have excess nutrients in the water that need to be removed with a filter or broken down by beneficial bacterial. If a particular fish species is exploding in your lake, maybe you need to add some predator fish to keep the numbers in check. If your water temperatures are all over the place, aerating it could help. And if the cattails have taken over, it could be time to do some weed whacking.

3. Formulate a Plan

Next, develop a doable plan—complete with easily attainable goals so you don’t get burned out or overwhelmed. Think manageable benchmarks rather than big-picture dreams.

Let’s take on algae blooms. Your action plan would include removing dead vegetation with a pond rake and cutter; adding beneficial bacteria, such as DefensePAC® (water gardens) or ClearPAC® (pond and lake), to break down detritus and subsurface nutrients; adding or cleaning your mechanical filtration system; and setting up an aeration system, like an Airmax Pond Aeration System. These are all attainable goals that don’t take too much effort when they’re laid out in such a way.

4. Act on It!

Finally, take action before it’s too late. No pressure here—but time is of the essence, particularly with pond resolutions. Small problems, like the occasional algae bloom, can quickly become big problems and may even threaten the health of your lake or pond inhabitants.

Why wait? Before the weather warms, get a jump start to the season by identifying problems, developing action plans, and readying the tools you’ll need. Then you’ll be able to get a hold of these issues before they’re in full swing so you can enjoy the season!

Pond Talk: What are your pond resolutions for the New Year?

5 Steps to Clear Water - Pond Logic® DefensePAC®

Ice Formation Demystified | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Ice Formation Demystified

Ice Formation Demystified

Ice is cool. It’s fun to play on. And, to some, it’s a mystery. How in the world does ice form on your pond? Why does it expand when it freezes? Why does it float? And how is it possible that ice can actually support the weight of a vehicle?

Don’t glaze over just yet. Unlike lessons from those boring middle school science classes, this explanation will be simple—and as interesting as possible.

Lesson #1: Cold Water is Heavy Stuff

When the air temperature cools, the water on the surface of your lake or pond loses its heat and becomes heavier. This cold, heavy water sinks to the bottom while the warmer water from the bottom rises to the top and cools. The cycling process continues until the overall water temperature reaches 39 degrees Fahrenheit (or about 4 degrees Celsius). Before long, the water on top cools enough to freeze.

Lesson #2: Water Crystals Need Their Space

As the water in your pond freezes, the liquid molecules transform into solid ice crystals—and those things expand and space themselves out when they form, which is why ice takes up more room than liquid. Think of how freezing water can cause a pipe to burst when temperatures dip below freezing, or how expanding ice can crack a rock in two.

Lesson #3: Ice Floats

The spaced-out ice crystals are also less dense than liquid, which is why ice floats. As mentioned in Lesson #1, cold water is heavier than warmer water—but ice is lighter than them both. Confusing? Consider the ice cubes in your glass of lemonade: The crystallized water molecules float on the surface, the lemonade that’s cooled by the ice becomes more dense and sinks to the bottom, and the warmest liquid in the glass rises to the top where it’s cooled by the cubes.

Lesson #4: It’s Strong Stuff

When given enough time to form, the ice layer formed by this crystallized frozen water thickens—and becomes strong enough to support critters, humans and even vehicles! An inch of ice can hold a small animal without cracking, 3 inches of ice can bear the weight of an average person, and 6 to 8 inches of ice can host a hockey team or even a snowmobile. Once the ice layer grows to 8 to 12 inches, it can support a slow-moving vehicle—but we don’t recommend it!

Pond Talk: What burning questions do you have about ice formation and safety?

Taylor Made Life Rings - Promote Pond Safety

Ice Safety 101 | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Ice Safety 101

Ice Safety 101

Ice is fun—but it can be dangerous business.

Winter brings cold weather and snow to your pond or lake, as well as a perfect layer of ice for skating, ice fishing, snowmobiling and more. You may want to get out there and play, but it’s important to know whether your ice is safe and strong or a potential hazard.

Here’s how to determine whether the ice on your pond is thick enough and safe for wintertime fun.

1. Check Its Temperature, Formation

After about two to three weeks of freezing temperatures, a solid sheet of ice will begin to form on your pond or lake. But low temps aren’t the only thing that influence ice formation. Water currents, wind and snow coverage will also make a difference in the integrity of the frozen surface. So once the weather and temperatures stabilize after several weeks, you can venture onto the ice and inspect its thickness.

2. Check Surface for Quality

Ice quality matters. When you inspect the ice, you can visually gauge its quality by looking for bubbles, trapped snow and cracks. You can also determine its quality by color, as a solid blue ice sheet is much stronger than a white brittle layer, which is caused by air pockets and other flaws. Of course, new ice is stronger than old ice, too, as temperature fluctuations haven’t thawed and refrozen the ice, which can weaken its integrity.

In addition, if you’ve left your aeration system running while the ice has been forming, the ice layer will have air pockets—and be unsafe for winter recreation.

3. Verify Its Thickness

You’ve given the water time to freeze and the ice time to form, and you’ve ensured the quality of the ice sheet’s surface. The next step is to verify its thickness. You can either drill or cut samples—but make sure you do so in multiple locations as you work your way toward the center of the pond as the water won’t necessarily freeze evenly.

In general, a layer of ice less than 3 inches is too thin for most people to walk out on. It may be able to hold up lighter people or small animals but can easily crack. So if you plan to have a group of people on the pond or want to take your snowmobile out on your lake, an ice formation of 6 to 8 inches minimum is ideal.

4. Be Patient, Stay Safe

Winter recreation on an ice-covered pond is fun—but be patient and use extreme caution when venturing on the ice. Take time to inspect the ice quality and take samples because doing so can make all the difference between a blast and a disaster.

Always make sure you have a life ring or floatation device within reach in case someone accidentally falls through the ice. And always use common sense when venturing out—better to be safe than sorry!

Pond Talk: What is your favorite wintertime activity on your frozen lake or pond?

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