Posted on February 22, 2014 by thepondguy
Q: We had a couple of warm days. Is there anything I can do to get my pond ready for spring?
Jo – Armarillo, TX
A: We may have another month of winter ahead of us, but that doesn’t mean you can’t head out to the pond on sunny days and get a jump-start on your spring cleaning and maintenance chores. Here are a few ideas:
- Tidy Things Up
Rain, snow, wind and winter precipitation do a number on landscaping, so take some time to clean up the foliage around your pond. Remove fallen branches, rake leaves and debris, cut down cattails and pull out any pond weeds you can reach. Two great all-purpose tools to use for the task are the Weed Cutter and the Pond & Beach Rake. The cutter slices through floating debris like aquatic vegetation, weeds, cattails and phragmites; the rake, which works on land and in the water, allows you to mechanically remove those cut weeds, algae, muck and debris.
- Inspect Mechanical Parts
Sunshine is a perfect excuse to tinker with outside toys, like your aeration system. Head out to the pond and check your air filters. Do they need changing? How’s the airflow from the lines? Is it what you expect? Is your air compressor operating properly? If needed, install new air filters, clean out your lines, and tune up your air compressor with replacement washers and fittings from your maintenance kit. Keep your system performing optimally – even if it’s still winter.
- Check Your Pond’s Temperature
Using your water thermometer, check the water temperature in your pond or lake. If it reads above 50°F, you can start treating the water with ClearPAC® PLUS products like PondClear™ and MuckAway™. The beneficial bacteria in PondClear™ will go to work removing excess nutrients, clearing up suspended organic waste and preventing noxious odors from surfacing. The beneficial bacteria in MuckAway™ will digest stinky pond muck that coats the bottom of your pond or lake. Don’t start treating algae; however, until water temperatures top 60° F.
Pond Talk: What’s the first thing you plan to do with your pond or lake when spring finally arrives?
Filed under: Cattails, MuckAway, Phragmites, Pond & Lake, Pond Clear, Season-Long Control | Tagged: Pond Logic ClearPAC PLus; Pond Logic ClearPAC; Spring, Pond Logic MuckAway; Pond Logic Pond Clear; Pond Logic Weed Cutter; Pond Logic Pond and Beach Rake | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 22, 2014 by thepondguy
Q: We had a heron last year. How do I stop it from coming back?
Vicki- Maryville, TN
A: The bad news is, once a heron knows food is served in your pond, it’ll be back for more. Chances are pretty good that it’ll stop by for a bite to eat when it flies through this year, so be prepared with these surefire heron-proofing devices to keep the sushi lover at bay.
- Use a Decoy – Your first plan of defense should be setting up a realistic Blue Heron Decoy. Heron are territorial by nature, and when one cruises overhead and sees that one of its feathered cousins (fake or real) has already claimed the area, it’ll keep going until it finds its own pond to fish. Move the decoy regularly to make it appear even more realistic. Another expert tip: Remove the decoy during mating season, which runs from March through late May or June.
- Shore Up the Perimeter – Heron refuse to land in water and hate stepping over wires, so we recommend Heron Stop as a second line of defense around the perimeter of your pond. The impassable barrier – made up of simply nylon line and stakes – prevents the bird from approaching and protects up to 40 feet of shoreline without blocking your view.
- Set Up a Motion Detector – For a final layer of protection, set up a ScareCrow® Motion-Activated Animal Deterrent. Thanks to a built-in infrared sensor that detects movement up to 35 feet in front of it and up to 45 feet wide, this heron-scaring tool chases off unwanted visitors with a surprise spray of water. It works both day and night to set boundaries around your water garden or koi pond. But be warned: It doesn’t know the difference between an animal and a human, so you might get wet!
Pond Talk: What tips do you have for keeping herons away from your pond?
Filed under: Fish Population, Heron, Koi, Koi & Goldfish, Predator Control, Water Gardens & Features, Water Gardens & Features | Tagged: blue heron, Heron, predator, Predator Control | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 15, 2014 by thepondguy
Q: My koi didn’t spawn last year. How can I get them to spawn?
Judy – Springfield, MO
A: Sounds like your koi were being a bit coy last year! If you want your fish to get frisky this spring and produce a brood of colorful fry, break out the bubbly and try out these tips and techniques that will create the perfect mood for love.
- Create Ambiance – Your koi don’t need soft candlelight and rose petals for romance, but they do prefer an aquatic environment that’s as pristine as possible. Perform regular water changes – that’s changing out 10% to 20% of your water every two weeks – to help keep things clean and clear. Once water temperatures climb back up to 50°F, you can also begin adding the water-quality-boosting products found in DefensePAC®, like Seasonal Defense®, Nature’s Defense® and Clarity Defense®.
- Heat Things Up – Temperature and time of year matter when it comes to koi feeling amorous. The fish typically spawn when water temperatures are 65° to 70°F. In many ponds, this typically happens between May and June – in late spring and early summer, when the birds and bees start to get busy!
- Give Them a Love Nest – Like you and me, koi like their privacy when it’s time for them to mate. Before spring settles in, make sure you give them plenty of cozy spots and hiding places. Plants, tunnels, and Nycon Koi Kastle Fish Shelters will provide excellent coverage for them. In addition, give them a safe place to lay their eggs, like a fry mat or similar device.
- Know the Signs – When you see the male koi chasing after the females, you’ll know the game of love is on. Keep an eye on their behavior; however, because the males might try to run into the females, or push them into the rocks and the side of your pond to try to get them to release their eggs. Another telltale sign: Cloudy or foamy water accompanied by a distinct odor.
- Keep the Fry Safe – Once the fry emerge from their eggs, they can’t swim and will need a protected area that’s safe from natural predators, like tadpoles, frogs and koi. Make sure you give them plenty of coverage with water hyacinth, water lettuce and other aquatic plants. You might also consider using a fine mesh tent, like the Nycon Fish Spawning Incubator, to protect them and prevent them from getting sucked in and lost in your filtration system.
With a little staging and encouragement, it’s not too difficult to convince your koi to spawn. Follow these tips, keep the brood safe once they hatch and, before long, you’ll have a pond full of small fry! Good luck!
Pond Talk: Have you successfully spawned your koi? What worked – and what didn’t?
Filed under: Fish Population, Koi & Goldfish, Seasonal Care, Water Gardens & Features | Tagged: fish spawn, get koi to spawn, koi spawning season, spawn | 4 Comments »
Posted on February 15, 2014 by thepondguy
Q: I think my aeration airline is clogged or frozen. What should I do?
Ben – Franklin, PA
A: We all know how important an aeration system is in your pond or lake – but it doesn’t do much good if your airline is clogged or frozen! If you don’t see bubbles at the surface and your compressor is running, here’s what we recommend to troubleshoot a closed line:
- Gauge Check: First of all, check your air pressure gauge. Is it reading higher than normal? If so, your compressor is struggling to push the air through the blockage, which is creating increased pressure in the line.
- System Check: Next, disconnect the airline at the compressor and check to see whether air is coming out. If it is, your compressor works just fine – but your airline might have ice blockages. To melt them and open the flow back up, pour 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol through each airline (or the airline you believe is clogged or frozen).
- Maintenance Check: If no air is coming out of your compressor, you might need to do some maintenance on it. Over time, seals and moving parts will wear and break down, causing decreased system performance. The Airmax® SilentAir™ Piston Compressor Maintenance Kits include a range of washers, gaskets and hardware that will get your compressor humming again.
- Air Filter Check: While you’re doing maintenance on your air compressor, it’s a good idea to check your air filter, too. If it’s full of gunk and debris, consider replacing it with the SilentAir™ RP Series Compressor Air Filters. They’re designed to be replaced every three to six months for maximum system performance and longevity.
Pond Talk: Have you had a lot of trouble with frozen airlines this winter?
Filed under: Aeration, Pond & Lake | Tagged: aerate, airline, airmax aeration, airmax aeration systems, clog airline, clogged airline, deep water aeration, large pond, pond aeration, pond size, shallow water aeration | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 8, 2014 by thepondguy
Q: My pond has some filamentous algae growth around the edges. It’s too cold to treat, right?
Jeff – Hanahan, SC
A: Cold-weather algae. It’s the worst. And, unfortunately, you can’t treat it right now because the temperatures are too low. Your pond or lake’s water temps need to be higher than 60°F before you can start treating the green stuff with algaecide.
So until things heat up, you have two options:
- Rake It Out: If you can safely access and maneuver around your pond, grab your Pond & Beach Rake and get to work skimming and pulling that filamentous algae out of the water and up onshore.
- Add Some Color: Pond Dye will limit the amount of sunshine that reaches the algae. Without enough sun, the algae can’t survive. So toss a Pond Dye water-soluble packet or some liquid concentrate into your pond – and your problem is solved!
Once your water temperatures rise above 50°F, start adding PondClear™ & MuckAway™ to the pond. The beneficial bacteria will clear the water and start breaking down the debris and nutrients that are feeding that troublesome algae.
Pond Talk: How much time do you spend puttering around your pond or lake in the winter?
Filed under: Algae Control, MuckAway, Pond & Lake, Pond Clear, Pond Dye, Season-Long Control, Water Clarity, Water Quality | Tagged: cold temperatures, filamentous, filamentous algae, moss algae, treat algae in cold temperatures, winter algae, winter algae growth | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 1, 2014 by thepondguy
Q: When is the best time to install underwater pond lighting?
Lou – Winston, OR
A: Whether it’s illuminating a patio, a landscape or a water garden, outdoor lighting can have a dramatic impact on the area’s space. It creates a special mood and spotlights stunning features while adding ambient light to the environment.
Underwater lighting is best installed when your pond is empty, like while it’s being constructed or – in most cases – while you’re doing your annual spring cleanout. If you’re putting in lights this spring, here are four key tips to follow:
- Choose the Right Lights: Landscaping lights come in many different sizes and varieties, and so it can be hard to choose the best for your needs. Luckily, we offer three above- and underwater lights that will do the trick.
- LEDPro™ 6-Watt LED Light Kit: These lights highlight your pond and landscaping with energy-efficient LED bulbs. It shines with the same intensity as a 50-watt halogen but with a longer life span and lower energy costs.
- LEDPro™ 12-Watt Single Light: This spotlight also features an LED bulb, but it shines with the same intensity as a 70-watt halogen.
- LEDPro™ Rock Lights: Featuring a realistic stone finish, these small warm-white LED lights illuminate 10 watts per light but use only 2 watts of power. They’re perfect for accenting special features in your garden.
- Point Lights to the Pond: Rather than directing your landscape lights toward the patio or other viewing area, shine the light on pond instead. Your goal is to illuminate your water feature – not blind yourself while viewing it.
- Cast an Underwater Glow: Beneath the water’s surface, install lights that will spotlight your waterfall or stream’s cascading water. And don’t forget to include some that will highlight landscaping around and pondscaping in your water feature, too.
- Stash Extra Power Cord: To give yourself easy accessibility to the underwater lights when you need to change their bulbs, wrap some excess power cord around the light. This will allow you to simply pull the light out of the water and change the bulb without having to drain the water or move a rock.
Over time, algae and other debris will build up on your lights – and so you’ll need to add a new to-do item on your spring cleanout checklist! Each year, plan to give those lenses a good scrubbing and replace any burned-out bulbs.
Pond Talk: How do you use lighting effects in your water feature?
Filed under: Pond Accessories, Pond Cleanouts, Pond Lighting, Seasonal Care, Spring Cleanout, Water Gardens & Features | Tagged: landscape lighting, led, led light, light kit, lighting up your water garden, night, nighttime viewing, pond lighting, underwater lights, underwater pond light, underwater pond lights, waterfall lights | Leave a comment »