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Can you add too much beneficial bacteria to your pond? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: Can you add too much beneficial bacteria to your pond?

Q: Can you add too much beneficial bacteria to your pond?

Michelle – Norman, OK

A: They say too much of anything is bad. In this case, too much beneficial bacteria isn’t necessarily bad – but your pocketbook might be getting a little lighter.

The Cycle of Life

Beneficial bacteria, those debris-gobbling microorganisms found in our Nature’s Defense®, Muck Defense® and Seasonal Defense®, lives just like other living things. They’re born (well, most bacteria come into the world via a kind of cellular division called binary fission), they eat food that’s available to them (organic debris in your pond), they divide to perpetuate the population, and they die when their life cycle is complete.

Survival of the Fittest

When too many bacteria live in your water feature, they battle and compete for resources rather than growing big and healthy and reproducing. A la Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, the weaker organisms ultimately starve and die. The overall bacteria populations drop, and the pond owner then needs to buy more to replace what he or she has lost to keep up on managing the nutrient load. Those repopulation costs could certainly add up over a while!

Too Much of a Good Thing

Having too much beneficial bacteria in your pond is safe for plants and fish in most cases. But if your pond has a lot of organic buildup, a lot of beneficial bacteria and inadequate aeration, could be a recipe for disaster for your fish. As those bacteria launch their full-scale attack against all that detritus, they deplete the water of oxygen – which the fish needs to survive. An aeration system, like the PondAir™ or KoiAir™Aeration Systems, can help in cases like that by supplying the oxygen and circulating the water column.

The Right Dose

Our advice: For routine maintenance, dose your pond according to the instructions on Nature’s Defense®, Muck Defense® and Seasonal Defense® labels. After clean-outs or treatments, you can use a double dose of bacteria to kick-start the repopulation process, but no more than that. And, if you don’t have one installed already, consider adding aeration to your pond. All your pond’s inhabitants – from microorganism to macro organisms – will appreciate it!

Pond Talk: Have you ever added too much beneficial bacteria to your pond? If so, what were the repercussions?

Maintain a Healthy Balanced Pond - Pond Logic (r) Nature's Defense (r)

Isn’t the Waterfall Enough? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: Isn’t the Waterfall Enough?

Q: Isn’t the Waterfall Enough?

Staci – Bethel, VT

A: As your waterfall gurgles and churns gallons of water, it would certainly appear that your pond is getting plenty of aeration. All that action does, in fact, help with gas exchange and infuse oxygen into the water. But it isn’t always enough, especially if you run your waterfall pump for a short time during the day.

If a pond isn’t aerated enough, expect to see these telltale signs:

  • Algae Battles: Algae thrive in calm water that’s devoid of – and in need of – oxygen and beneficial bacteria. If you regularly fight algae blooms, that means your pond is out of balance and could use some additional oxygen and movement throughout the entire water column.
  • Oxygen-Starved Fish: Fish that need more O2 will hang out beneath your waterfall, where oxygen supplies are the densest. They may also be coming to the water surface, gulping and gasping for breaths of air because there’s not enough in their environment.
  • Too Many Fish: The general rule for a fish population in a pond is to allow 1 inch of adult fish per square foot of surface area. If you have too many fish, or your existing population has outgrown their space, aeration is critical to their health and well being.
  • Stagnant Water, Mosquito Boom: Is the water stagnant in certain areas of your pond? Are you suffering through a mosquito boom in your backyard? These little pests prefer to lay their eggs and raise their young in still water – so you might have created a perfect mosquito habitat!
  • Muck Accumulation: Decomposing plant matter and fish waste build up when the water is still and your biological filtration system – beneficial bacteria – breaks down. That muck feeds the algae blooms, which create more muck. It’s a vicious cycle that can be remedied with aeration.

Do any of these ring true? If so, your waterfall or stream is not providing enough aeration for your pond. One of our aeration systems can help. The Airmax® KoiAir™ Water Garden Aeration Kit is designed for medium and large water gardens and koi ponds that are up to 16,000 gallons. The Airmax® PondAir™ Water Garden Aeration Kit is designed for smaller water gardens up to 2,000 gallons. Both whisper-quiet systems can be run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing your finned pals and beneficial bacteria plenty of oxygen and water movement.

Pond Talk: When did you know it was time to upgrade your pond’s aeration system?

Breathe Life Into Your Water Garden - Airmax(r) KoiAir(t) Water Garden Aeration Kit

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

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.

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