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I fill my pond with tap water. Should I be using water conditioner?| Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: I fill my pond with tap water. Should I be using water conditioner?

Q: I fill my pond with tap water. Should I be using water conditioner?

Mary – Sioux City, SD

A: Yes. The water that flows from your hose may be “clean” enough for humans to drink and use for household purposes, but it actually contains a cornucopia of contaminants that can be deadly to fish.

What are some of those pollutants? Besides the naturally occurring ones, like heavy metals and nitrogen compounds in soil, water can contain human-originated contaminants, including bacteria and nitrates from human and animal waste, fertilizers and pesticides, industrial byproducts, and chemicals that actually disinfect and treat the water—like chlorine, chlorinates or chlorine dioxides, according to the EPA.

That’s where water conditioners come into play.

Pond Logic® Water Conditioner removes harmful chlorine and chloramines from your tap water and detoxifies contaminants and heavy metals that may harm your fish. But that’s not all. A conditioner also clears away ammonia generated by the nitrogen cycle and adds essential electrolytes to the water that increase oxygen uptake.

So every time you add city water or hard water to your pond, be sure to add a dose of water conditioner to eliminate those contaminants. In addition, add some Nature’s Defense® . The beneficial bacteria in the additive further reduce ammonia and digest dead organics in the pond, such as phosphates and nitrogen.

To ensure your water is safe for your finned pals, perform regular tests with a Master Test Kit. Designed for water garden and backyard ponds, the kit includes tests for pH, ammonia, nitrite and phosphate.

Pond Talk: Do you pay attention to the way tap water is chemically treated in your area?

Debris Lifts Away in Seconds - Pond Logic (r) Oxy-Lift™ Defense®

We had a heron last year. How do I stop it from coming back? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: We had a heron last year. How do I stop it from coming back?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

Protect Your Prized Fish From Predators - Pond Logic(r) Blue Heron Decoy

Predator Control | Learning Center

There is nothing more frustrating that losing fish to a predator or stepping in bird droppings on your way to your own swimming hole. Knowing your enemy is the best way to determine what control methods you should put in place.

Are you using your pond for fishing, swimming or decorative purposes? Adding decoys will be in your best interest. Between the extra waste and increased weed growth, you know some animals can be problematic.

Don’t wait for a predator to find your pond before utilizing predator control devices. Once geese, swans or other wildlife have claimed your pond as their own, it is difficult to get them to vacate.

Make sure you know your enemy. For example, if you are trying to keep geese out of your pond, you will want to use a swan, alligator or coyote decoy. These animals are naturally unfriendly towards each other. If the geese see one of these decoys as they fly overhead, they are likely to skip over your pond in search for a less crowded water body.
Some animals, like the Blue Heron, compete against their own breed for pond real estate. A blue heron decoy will deter a real heron from landing due to their territorial nature. Just be aware that late April to May (sometimes early June) is mating season. If used too early, your blue heron decoy may attract a heron searching for a mate.
Move your decoys regularly. A stationary decoy will only work for so long before potential predators notice that something’s fishy. Move your decoy regularly to give it a more realistic effect.

Want to learn about specific predators? Check out this article Specific Predator Control.

Specific Predator Control | Learning Center

Now that we learned the basics of predator control, here are some specifics about each nuisance pest.

Geese
Geese have several natural enemies including swans, alligators and coyotes. Using one, a pair or all three of these decoy methods will help to ensure your pond (and the surrounding area) stays geese free all season long.

  • Swans and geese make similar nesting areas (like your pond). Swans are very territorial and aggressive towards geese. Geese will see the swan decoy and fly over to find a less inhabited water body.
  • Using alligator decoys is also an effective method for geese control. An alligator decoy is effective in areas where alligators do not live; the fear of alligators is instinctive, not learned.
  • Geese do not like coyotes. The Coyote Decoy’s 3D build makes it visible from all angles making it superior to silhouette cut outs, not to mention its tail and body will move with the least amount of wind. This movement can be spotted by pesky birds from a great distance away. Nesting birds and other rodents will not want to seek refuge anywhere near your property if they spot this lurking predator in the open!

Blue Heron
Blue Herons compete against their own breed for pond real estate. A blue heron decoy will deter a real heron from landing due to their territorial nature. Just be aware that late April to May (sometimes early June) is mating season. If used too early, your blue heron decoy may attract a heron searching for a mate.

Muskrats
Muskrats can be cute at first as they frolic and play in your water, but beware you likely have a bigger problem than you think. Muskrats wreak havoc on your shoreline by digging tunnels around your pond to the den causing unstable ground. Here are tips to remove them from your pond:

  • Disrupt their diet. Muskrats are mostly vegetarians, eating aquatic vegetation such as cattails, grasses and pond weeds. Although, you may see them munching on snails, crayfish small fish and frogs in some areas. Removing vegetation in and around your pond is a sure way to limit a muskrat’s access to food.
  • Disrupt their environment. Muskrats prefer shallow ponds with still or slow-moving water. Adding an aeration system or fountain will provide circulation and, in most cases, enough wave movement to deter muskrats. You’ll get a cleaner pond out of it too!
  • Remove them from the pond. Muskrats can caught using a live trap baited with apples or other fruits and vegetables. Make sure you do not fully submerge the trap in case other wildlife accidentally becomes trapped. Monitor your traps several times per day. Check with your local DNR to determine rules involving relocating these pests.

Once you’ve trapped and released your muskrats, make sure you cave in their tunnels and den. You may need to backfill these spots with additional dirt or gravel.

Leeches
Leeches can be quite the nuisance pest in a swimming pond, but, thankfully, they do not do much harm. Leeches can be found in most ponds but a healthy fish population can keep their population in check. Redear Sunfish do a great job eating leeches out of their mucky habitat.

If you do not have fish, there are some prevention and removal techniques we can share with you.

  1. Control the muck. Mucky areas are a breeding ground for leeches. Rake out as much muck as possible and use MuckAway to reduce muck by up to 5” per year.
  2. Remove weeds and debris. You have the muck under control but what about weed growth? Another hot spot for leeches is among weeds and debris. Raking out weeds and any decaying dead weeds from shallow waters will also keep your leech population in check.
  3. Add fish. Redear Sunfish and Largemouth Bass will help to reduce the overall leech population.
  4. Set a leech trap. Punch leech-size holes in a coffee or aluminum can, bait it with raw chicken or fish and position it in a shallow area of your pond. When the worms go for the grub, they can get in – but not out. The burrs from the whole punch will prevent them from escaping. Remove the can once it’s full and repeat until the leeches are gone.

Water Gardens & Fish Ponds 101 | Learning Center

A healthy pond doesn’t just happen. It’s created and maintained by you. Imagine seeing your fish thrive, your plant flourish, and your pond water turned crystal clear!

You can achieve that kind of pond by understanding the five elements of a healthy pond. There is no need to be intimidated, The Pond Guy® has your back, so it’s virtually impossible to make a mistake. We know ponds, and we’re here to help you be the best pond owner you can be. So let’s talk pond balance. It’s achieved and maintained through the following elements: filtration, aeration, aquatic plants, healthy fish and beneficial bacteria.

Filtration – Keeps water clean, healthy and safe. There are two types of filtration: mechanical and biological. Mechanical filtration involves removal of visible solids like leaves, floating debris and fish waste. Mechanical filtration is often done by skimmers, filter brushes, foam pads and other tools. Biological filtration eliminates invisible waste (excess nutrients) by introducing a living tool – aerobic bacteria. Aerobic bacteria attaches itself to surfaces (rocks, plants, filter media, etc.) and eats away excess nutrients.

Aeration – Promotes pond and fish health. Waterfalls and fountain sprays alone cannot product enough oxygen but aeration systems like the Pond Logic® KoiAir™ and PondAir™ will do the trick. Subsurface aeration works from the bottom up, circulating water and increasing dissolved oxygen levels. When the sun goes down, fish and plants both use dissolved oxygen in your pond water. By providing subsurface aeration, oxygen levels stay high all day and night. Aeration is also great for freezing climates. Running an aerator and a deicer together cuts your electricity costs and keeps a hole open in your pond.

Aquatic Plants – Natural algae control. Aquatic plants are a key part of a balanced pond. They feed of “processed” fish waste and help reduce algae blooms. Fish waste (before it goes through filtration) can be toxic to aquatic life. However, once filtered, fish waste becomes fertilizer, which can be consumed by plants and produce exceptional plant growth. Approximately 40-60% of your pond’s surface area should be covered in plants. This is extra important if your pond is in direct sunlight most of the day.

Fish – Add color and excitement. It’s critical that your filtration system is the proper size to handle your fish population. Fish naturally multiple and grow. The more fish, the more waste, so fish loads must be controlled. General rule? With standard filtration and 60% plant coverage, allow 1-2 koi or 2-3 goldfish per 200 gallons of water. If you need help figuring out how much filtration your fish need, give us a call!

Beneficial Bacteria – Natural treatments for a balanced pond. Using natural treatments, such as those found in the Pond Logic® DefensePAC®, aid in keeping your pond balanced and happy. The DefensePAC® is designed to keep a pond’s ecosystem perfectly balanced by breaking down waste, removing excess nutrients and maintain clear water.

Prepare Your Pond For Winter | Learning Center

As the days and nights stay to get chilly, you may want to start thinking about getting your pond in shape for the winter months. The longer you wait, the colder it will be to remove pumps, UV lights and pressure filters. Here are some simple steps to follow for shutting down your pond:

    1. Start with a basic cleanup. Vacuum out debris from the bottom of your pond and skim out any leaves or twigs. We recommend refraining from a full cleanout because it can cause too much stress on your fish before the winter months.
    2. Remove the following products from the pond and do not forget to blow out and cap your tubing:
    • All-In-One Filtration Units
    • UV Clarifiers (Remove the entire unit, not just the bulb.)
    • Pressurized Filters
    • Pumps (Keep in a bucket of water to keep seals lubricated. Store in an area that will not freeze.)
    • Ion Clarifiers
    3. Raise your aeration stones or plates. This keeps the water moving at the top of the pond but calm at the bottom for your fish’s winter hibernation. Bring your deicer out to the pond. Don’t turn it on yet but you will be ready for the first cold spell.
    4. Put a net over your pond when the leaves begin to fall. Remember to net out any leaves that may have fallen in.
    5. After the first frost, remove all tropical plants from your pond and cut dead vegetation off from any hardy plants.
    6. If your pump usually resides in your skimmer box, pump the water down just below the skimmer door or weir. This ensures water stays in your pond and not filling the skimmer box.
    7. As your water temperatures dip below 50°, begin to use Seasonal Defense®. Begin to feed your fish Spring & Fall Fish food at this time. When water temperatures drop below 40°, stop feeding your fish and discontinue using Seasonal Defense®.

Creating The Perfect Pond With UV | Learning Center

UV Clarifiers are designed to destroy the ultra fine planktonic algae that cause green water. When algae cells are exposed to the bulb’s ultraviolet rays, the radiation destroys the cellular wall of the planktonic algae. As a result, the tiny particles of dead algae clump together and are removed by your mechanical filtration system.

UV clarifiers are a great addition to a pond suffering from green water caused by full sun exposure or too many fish. Please note, UV Clarifiers do not affect string algae.

Be sure to pay attention to the flow rates listed on each particular UV filter. If your pump’s flow rate is higher than recommended, algae will not be exposed to the UV radiation long enough to damage the cell. Thus, rendering the UV filter virtually useless. By using a pump that is too large, you also run the risk of damaging the UV unit by creating too much pressure. If your pump is too small, you run the risk of the UV clarifier acting like a sterilizer. With slowly moving water, the UV bulb will kill both the algae and any beneficial bacteria that floats by.

While a UV clarifier can work wonders on your water garden it is only a patch to the real issue. Make sure you are properly maintaining your pond, using an adequate amount of filtration, keeping a low fish population, and utilizing your bacteria products.

Fish Health – The Basics On Preventing & Treating Illness | Learning Center


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 ClearVac™ Pond Vacuum 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 Logic® 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

The Life Cycle Explained – Understanding The Changes In Your Pond | Learning Center

From small ponds to large lakes, all water bodies encompass an ever changing ecosystem struggling to find balance. To help you better understand the life cycle of your pond, we’ll break down the process into two basic stages:
Stage 1 – A freshly dug pond is free from weed and debris caused by wildlife, waste, plant decay and other organic material. The water is generally clean and clear and there is minimal algae and weed growth. New ponds typically remain in Stage 1 for 3 – 5 years.
Stage 2 – Over time organic debris begins to accumulate and the pond becomes overabundant with nutrients. These excess nutrients become an effective plant fertilizer, causing weeds and algae to grow prolifically. You may begin to notice emergent weeds, like cattails and shoreline grasses, growing along the shoreline and a foul smell emanating from the water. Pond owners tend to use reactive treatments like aquatic herbicides and algaecides during this stage to kill existing growth. These reactive treatments provide a temporary fix to weed and algae control. If left in the pond, the decaying plant material turns into nutrient-rich pond muck that continues to fuel weed and algae growth. The pond then enters a continuous cycle of reactive treatments, leaving you, the pond owner, to use chemicals to control growth.
Be Proactive – For long-term treatment, treat the source of weed and algae growth. Using beneficial bacteria, pond dye, and aeration can keep your pond clean and free of the organic debris that shifts your pond into Stage 2. Using the proactive approach to pond management can save you time, frustration and money by treating the source of pond weeds and algae.

Controlling Cattails – Reclaim Your Shoreline | Learning Center

Cattails and other emergent aquatic plants can add natural beauty to any pond or shoreline, but if left unchecked for too long, they can overtake these areas and create a maintenance nightmare. A consistent program is the most efficient way to combat excessive spread of unwanted weeds. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to keeping cattails in check. Follow these tips to maintain a pristine shoreline all season long.

Set Boundaries – Cattails are not all bad. They are nature’s solution to providing habitat for wildlife, preventing soil erosion and they make a great visual barrier to add some privacy to your pond. Like most things however, cattails are best in moderation. Highlight boundaries where you would like to contain cattails by using landmarks, rocks or other unobtrusive markers. Treat cattails that try to stray from these boundaries to keep their growth under control.

Spray Unwanted Growth – To maximize the effectiveness of your cattail treatments, wait until there is at least 12” – 18” of exposed growth to apply product. A systemic herbicide like Shoreline Defense® & Treatment Booster™ PLUS will kill the cattails down to the root to prevent the plant from re-growing. The roots of cattails are the most difficult part of the plant to kill. So, allow the mixture to absorb into the plant for one to two weeks. This will ensure the treatment gets into the root system. Do not try and stretch the application further than the instructions state. This will likely lead to unsatisfactory results and end up in more product used in the long run.

Remove Dead Cattails – Wait until treated cattails are brown and wilted to remove them from your pond. Cutting them down too early will prevent your chemical treatment from fully reaching and killing the cattail rhizome (root) resulting in a quick return of the weed. Don’t leave dead cattails, or any other vegetation, in your pond to decompose. This decomposition turns into nutrient-rich pond muck that fuels new weed growth. Tools like the Weed Cutter & Pond Rake exist to make the process as quick and simple as possible.

Retreat As Needed – Due to the fact that cattails have a robust root base, multiple treatments may be necessary to properly gain control. Once under control, they will make a nice addition to your landscape and encourage wildlife to call your pond home.

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