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Fighting Muck and Pond Odor – How to control and prevent muck accumulation and pond odor | Learning Center

There’s nothing worse than that musty, rotten egg, sulfur-type smell that’s pungent enough to ruin spring strolls by the pond. What causes it and what can you do about it?

Common Causes
Those odors are common in ponds that aren’t aerated, particularly during certain times of the year. In the summer and winter, non-aerated ponds stratify into layers of water with distinct temperature differences. This locks the bottom layer away for months.

While the water layer is trapped down there, the oxygen is used up quickly. It goes from an aerobic environment to an anaerobic environment – which is perfect for slow-moving anaerobic bacteria that use enzymes to ferment and digest the decaying muck on the bottom. Those microorganisms ultimately produce waste products, including carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, which is that lovely rotten egg smell.

In the spring and during strong weather events, the water column turns over; the anaerobic layers on the bottom rise to the top, bringing with it all those foul-smelling odors. That’s likely what you’re experiencing with your pond, which could be made worse by melting ice releasing all those gases at once.

Stink-Stopping Solutions
So what can you do? At this point, first test your pH and water quality, as pond turn-overs could cause pH shifts, dissolved oxygen crashes and algae blooms that could harm or kill your fish (which could add to the odor problem …).

If the water temperatures in your pond are 50 degrees Fahrenheit or above, add some Pond Logic® MuckAway™ and Pond Logic® PondClear™. The beneficial bacteria in the products will help break down the decaying muck on the pond bottom as well as clearing up suspended particles in the water column.

As soon as you can, install an aeration system and crank it on. Airmax® Aeration Systems product line includes aerators suited for any size pond – from shallow water bodies to ponds up to 6 acres. They each include diffusers, a compressor, cabinet, airline and Free Aeration Mapping Service that takes the guesswork out of diffuser placement.

Finally, cut and rake out dead and decaying organic material with a weed removal tool. The more you can eradicate, the better it’ll be for your pond’s water quality – and stink factor.

Snapping Turtles – How to identify and deter them from your pond | Learning Center

Snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) are large freshwater turtles that make their homes in ponds and streams with plenty of room and food. When encountered in the water, they typically slip quietly away from any disturbance – but because they can have fierce dispositions, it’s a good idea to get to know these shelled reptiles and their habits a little better.

Identification
C. serpentina has a look all its own. Resembling a prehistoric dinosaur, the snapping turtle has a large, muscular build with a ridged carapace (hard shell) that can grow up to 18 inches. They usually weigh between 10 to 35 pounds. Its most defining features, however, are its long, flexible neck and beak-like mouth that it uses to snap prey and defend itself from predators.

On the Menu
The omnivore’s preferred meals include just about anything it can capture and swallow, including aquatic plants, invertebrates, fish, frogs, reptiles, birds and small mammals. It’ll even eat carrion. In a farm or swimming pond, a snapping turtle might snap up some undesirable visitors, like snakes.

Night Life
A snapping turtle is mostly active at night, but it does venture out during the day to bask on fallen logs and scavenge and hunt for food. When C. serpentina is walking the terra firma, it can be aggressive, particularly when it feels threatened – and this is when you should avoid contact at all costs. A snap from a snapping turtle can be painful!

Remove and Relocate
If a snapping turtle is causing problems in your pond, your best bet is to safely and humanely remove it. Grabbing its shell with your hands is a bad idea; it can easily stretch its neck back across its own shell to its hind feet and snap your fingers, and it can scratch you with its sharp claws.

Instead, trap it in a turtle trap, like one of our Tomahawk Live Traps. The 32-by-18-by-9-inch trap made with 12-gauge wire comes pre-assembled and ready to use. Simply place it in the water partially submerged and bait with fish or meat. When you capture the critter, relocate it to a place that has a water body, food and shelter.

Starting up Aeration in the Spring – How to reintroduce an aeration system to your pond | Learning Center

Ideally, your aeration system should run all year long. By running it all year long, this will prevent possible winter fish kills. But if you shut your aeration system down in the winter for recreational purposes, you will want to start it back up when the ice starts melting off your pond. Follow the steps below to prepare your system.

  1. Re-level Your Cabinet: Take your cabinet and system back outside and get it on level ground again.
  2. Change Your Air Filter: Your air filter, which prevents debris from entering your air compressor, can be cleaned periodically to remove light debris – but it should be replaced every three to six months for maximum system performance and longevity.
  3. Check and Clean Side Intake Air Filters: Take a look at your side intake air filters on your cabinet, and make sure they’re clean and unobstructed.
  4. Ensure Cabinet Fan Works: To make sure fresh air will tunnel evenly through your cabinet, flip on your fan and verify that it’s working properly.
  5. Purge Membrane Diffuser Sticks: Though they’re virtually maintenance-free, these diffuser sticks, which deliver the air bubbles to the water, should be purged and inspected before they are turned on for the season. More information on this process can be found in your Owner’s Manual.
  6. Airlines Cleared: The water may still be icy in your pond, so check your airlines for ice buildup. To clear them, pour 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol through the airline running out to each plate, turn on the compressor and push through the line to free any tiny icebergs.
  7. Start Your Compressor – Gradually: To prevent shocking your pond, follow your aeration system’s initial seven-day startup procedure. On Day 1, run the system for 30 minutes and then turn it off for the rest of the day. On each day following, double the time: Day 2, run for one hour; Day 3, run for two hours; Day 4, run for four hours; and so on. On Day 7, begin running it for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  8. Pressure Check: Once your system is up and running, make sure that its pressure gauge stays within the normal range of 5 to 10 psi. An easy way to do this to mark the gauge upon initial start up and check it regularly to verify pressure has not significantly risen above or dropped below your initial reading. Please note, this does not apply to Shallow Water Series™ Aeration Systems.

Following these simple steps will guarantee a smooth start to aerating your pond this spring. If you’re ever in doubt, check out your owner’s manual or contact us at 866-766-3435.

Benefits of Owning a Pond or Lake – 5 Reasons a pond or lake is a great addition to your property | Learning Center

Lakes and ponds make wonderful additions to any property. If you have the space and the resources, a large body of water creates an instant habitat for wildlife, and a fun place for you and your family! Here are just a few benefits of digging a large pond or lake:

  1. Gives You a Nice Place to Sit and Relax: Imagine lounging in a hammock alongside your pond, swaying in the cool breeze. Picture yourself enjoying a cool glass of lemonade while sitting on your dock and watching your fountain cast rainbows against a blue sky. There is a reason why folks vacation at their favorite lake house! You could have one of your own in your back yard.
  2. Creates a Wildlife Habitat: If you like the great outdoors and all the critters in it, you’ll appreciate the variety of wildlife a lake or large pond will bring. Animals of all sorts gravitate toward water. Depending on where you live, you can expect to see wild birds and waterfowl, raccoons, turtles, frogs, butterflies and dragonflies, not to mention all the underwater life. These animals will call the pond and your property home, making it an entertaining ecosystem for your family and friends.
  3. Becomes your own fishing pond: If you’re a fishing enthusiast, you probably know that there are few things better than fishing your own stocked pond. You’d be able to set up habitats for them, feed them and monitor their behavior. Rather than getting up before dawn and driving to a favorite fishing hole, you can pull on your waders and head out to your own pond whenever the fish are biting!
  4. Provides water fun for everyone: From paddle boating and swimming in the summer to ice skating and ice fishing in the winter, a pond or lake will be sure to satisfy just about any outdoor adventure. But remember to always play safe, making sure you supervise children at all times and have a life ring and rope nearby.
  5. Stores water for farm animals, irrigation: A more practical benefit, some property owners keep a pond to water their horses, sheep, goats and cattle. It’s an accessible watering hole for them, as well as a habitat for wild animals. Others may use the lake or pond to hold water for crop or garden irrigation during the dry months of the year.

Small lakes or farms ponds make a useful and fun addition to any property. They benefit the local ecosystem, they provide a fun and relaxing place to gather with family and friends, and they offer practical benefits, too. It’s definitely something to consider!

Pond Leaks – Tips on how to find and repair a leak in your pond | Learning Center

A tiny hole in your pond liner or one loose plumbing connection could cause a leak that slowly – or quickly, depending on the leak’s size – drain your pond. And that leak could be anywhere. You’ll need to do some investigating to determine where the problem is and then get busy making repairs. Here’s what we suggest.

  1. Rock Steady: Because rocks can shift over time, the first thing to do is return them to their original position and lock them into place. As you move the rocks back, check to see if they tore the liner or shifted it out of place. If so, patch the hole and tuck the liner back in. Use PondBuilder™ PondBuild ‘N Foam to fill in gaps between the rocks, support them and prevent them from moving again next winter.
  2. Rule Out Evaporation: During the heat of summer, you can expect some evaporation – and it can cause your pond to lose up to an inch of water a day. If you have a long stream bed with a lot of surface area or a large pond with few floating plants, even more water could transform from liquid to vapor. To rule out evaporation, fill the pond back up and keep an eye on the water level. Any more than an inch or so of water loss could indicate a leak.
  3. Check for Damp Spots: If more than an inch or so of water is disappearing daily, one clear clue that could lead to your leak is a damp area around the pond’s perimeter. That water has to go somewhere, and a low-lying patch of wet ground is a great place to start looking for its source. Walk around the pond and carefully inspect the soil for signs of unexplained moisture.
  4. Rule Out the Liner: If you’ve ruled out evaporation and found no damp areas, there are two more possible leak culprits: your waterfall or your liner. Shut down waterfall pump and wait for several hours. If the pond’s water level stays the same, then you’ll know the leak is not in the liner itself. It’s likely in the waterfall or plumbing. Check your waterfall box and skimmer for cracks or if the liner isn’t attached, and inspect your plumbing for loose connections.
  5. Track, Repair Liner Leak: At this point, the bad news is that you probably have a hole in your liner, and finding it won’t be easy. But the good news is that it is possible to track it down and repair it.
    1. To find it, use Pond Logic® Pond Shade or some milk to visually track the leak. Simply add a few drops on the side and watch it as it finds its way to the leak. This will take some time, a few attempts — and patience. You can also let the water slowly go down. (Depending how low it goes, you may need to temporarily relocate your fish.) The water level should stabilize, which will allow you to visually inspect the first few inches of liner above the water surface for the hole.
    2. Once you’ve found the hole, patch it up with an EPDM Liner Patch Kit or use some Gold Label Pond Sealer. The 8-inch liner patch is easy to use on small punctures: Just peel off the protective film and press onto the liner. The sealer can be used in wet or dry conditions and will seal completely in 48 hours.

Good luck tracking down that leak and repairing it!

Predator Control – How to deter herons and other predators from your pond | Learning Center

There’s nothing more frustrating than hiding or skittish fish. Part of the joy of having a water garden is to sit by the pond’s edge, feed your fish and relax while you watch them enjoy their underwater world. When they dash off and hide at the site of anything coming near them it almost defeats the purpose of having koi or goldfish in your pond! The most common water garden predators are herons and they can clean up in one afternoon. It is important to know your enemy and using the tips below will help to discourage predators from your pond.

Use a Decoy
Your first plan of defense should be setting up a realistic Blue Heron Decoy. Herons 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 will 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 heron decoys during mating season, which runs from March through late May or June.

Make the Pond Perimeter Difficult to Access
Adding additional plants, rocks or objects around the pond perimeter makes it more difficult for predators to walk up and stand next to the edge of your pond. Herons 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 nylon line and stakes – prevents the bird from approaching and protects up to 40 feet of shoreline without blocking your view.

Provide Pond Coverage
Barriers like pond nets, prevent the birds from landing in your water feature and spearing your fish. Planting aquatic plants that cover the surface of your pond will also make your fish difficult to spot. The harder they are to find the harder they are to catch.

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.

Treating Your Pond – 6 Tips for keeping your pond under control | Learning Center

Many new landowners purchase property with a lake or a pond only to discover it hasn’t been well maintained. Of course, you want to reclaim that overgrown pond and turn it into a useable recreation or livestock watering area, but where do you begin? Treating a pond yourself can look like an overwhelming job but once you break it down to a few simple steps it can be more manageable. Check out these six tips for whipping your pond back into shape.

1. Evaluate the Situation
Your first task is to evaluate the pond itself and record what you find. What is its size, shape and depth? Is there an abundance of weeds? Can you find an aeration system? Are there fish living in the pond? Jot down as many details as you can, because they will be important when deciding what kinds of product to use to regain control of your lake. The more you know, the better.

2. Install Aeration
Next, install an aeration system. Aeration, which circulates oxygen throughout the water column, will go a long way toward improving the health of your pond while you regain control of the habitat and work to maintain it. Plus, your fish and the natural bacteria living in the pond rely on the mechanical water turnover to replenish the oxygen supply and remove harmful gasses like ammonia.

3. Identify Weeds and Treat Them
What weeds are growing in your pond? To help you identify them, check out weed identification guide. Once you have the plants identified, you can then select the proper chemicals and the right amount to handle the job. Start treating the weeds with a suitable algaecide or herbicide once your aeration system is well established.

4. Rake Out Dead Debris
Yes, it is a tough job, but you will need to rake out and remove dead debris, like fallen leaves, cattails and other decomposing organic materials with a weed cutter and rake. The hard work will pay off in the long run. The more large debris you remove, the less work your muck-destroying beneficial bacteria and aeration system will need to do – and the faster your pond will get into tip-top shape.

5. Continue Maintenance
To keep your pond or lake on the fast track to being clean, clear and usable, you must keep up on the maintenance chores. Remove the years of pond muck buildup with natural bacteria or phosphate binder, like those found in Pond Logic® ClearPAC® PLUS pond care package. Continue to remove dead and decomposing debris as your herbicides kill nuisance weeds. Add pond dye for aesthetic appeal and to shade the pond. Now that you have the overgrown pond under control, don’t let it get away from you!

6. Be Patient and Persistent
Despite your efforts, it will take time to reclaim your pond or lake – so be realistic about your expectations. Consider the pond’s age and the amount of debris it has accumulated over the years. If it took a decade or more for the pond to look it way it did, it will take more than one afternoon of hard work to make it pristine again! Be patient and persistent. You’ll have that gorgeous pond in no time.

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