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Brown or Tea-Colored Water – How to remove brown or tea-colored water from your pond | Learning Center

There’s only one thing worse than green water—and that’s brown water. In some ponds or water features, the end of summer or beginning of fall brings with it this discolored water. It’s caused by one of two reasons:

  1. Debris Tea: When leaves or pine needles fall into your pond, the tannins in them create a type of all-natural debris tea, which turns the clean and clear water in your backyard feature a shade of brown. This is the most common cause of tea-colored water.
  2. Sediment Stew: If you have a lot of floating particulates or sediment in your pond, playful fish, wind or some other action can sometimes disrupt it, mixing it into your water column via your pump or aeration system.

How to Determine the Cause
To determine what’s causing the brown water, grab a glass jar from your kitchen, dunk it in your pond and fill it with the water. Let it sit for 24 hours and take a close look at the results. Is the water still tea-colored? Then you have tannin-colored debris tea. Do you see sediment settled at the bottom of the glass? Then you have some sediment stew.

How to Treat the Problem
Once you pinpoint what’s causing the brown water, here’s how to treat the problem.

  1. Clean It Up: Because both causes start with an abundance of organics in the water, your first course of action is to clean the bottom of your pond to remove any muck, leaves and remaining debris with a pond vacuum or skimmer net.
  2. Water Change: Next, do a partial (10 to 25 percent) water change, which will freshen things up and clear the water. Don’t forget to add a water conditioner to treat the water for your finned pals.
  3. Add Beneficial Bacteria: If you have sediment stew, add some Nature’s Defense® (if water temps are above 50°F) or Seasonal Defense® (if water temps are below 50°F). The beneficial bacteria will digest any accumulated organic debris and eliminate the brown water.
  4. Use Activated Carbon: If you have debris tea, toss a media bag filled with Pond Logic® Activated Carbon into your pond. The carbon will absorb the tannins, leaving behind clear water.

Prevention
To prevent the discoloration from happening again, keep the organics out of the pond. Clean up the muck regularly with a skimmer net or vacuum, and when the leaves or pine needles start falling, cover the water with pond netting, like the The Pond Guy® PondShelter™ Net Kit or The Pond Guy® Premium Pond Netting.

Types of Water Features – Finding the right type of water feature for your backyard landscape | Learning Center

Water Gardening has grown from the standard formal Koi pond into all type and shapes of water features. Rocks, fountains, statuary, waterfalls and streams can be combined with the pond to add visual interest or become its own feature. With so many types to choose from anyone can add a water feature to their backyard landscape.

Preformed Pond
Typical “Do It Yourself” beginner pond usually purchased as a kit at Lowe’s or Home Depot. A hole is dug into the ground with the same layout and the preform shell is inserted to hold the water. In-pond filtration systems are easy to install and can hold a few colorful fish and some aquatic plants. This pond type is where many customers begin before upgrading to a more custom pond design.

Liner Pond
Also a “Do It Yourself” Kit construction or an elaborate professional installation. These features use a flexible EPDM rubber liner. Rubber liners allow for more creativity when constructing the shape of your pond and are often decorated with rocks and waterfalls. These ponds are generally larger and utilize waterfalls, pressurized filters and bog filtration to provide circulation and filtration. These ponds can contain many colorful koi or goldfish as well as a variety of aquatic plants. With the flexibility of the liner these ponds tend to bland into the surrounding environment and look more natural.

Pondless Water Feature
Pondless features are just that, a feature such as a waterfall but without the pond. These features use a catch basin to gather water. These basins are filled fill rocks to allow water to pass through without seeing an open body of water. Customers concerned with safety, working with smaller areas or are on-the-go and don’t have time for a full pond love this option because of the ability to enhance their landscape with less maintenance.

Disappearing Fountain
This fountain feature also uses a catch basin to re-circulate water however instead of a waterfall a decorative fountain, pot or rock can function as the water feature focal point. This type of feature requires little room, provides the sound of running water and is less maintenance.

Container Water Garden
The smallest of water features this type of “pond” can make use of any type of decorative pot. Simply place a few potted aquatic plants, maybe a fish or two, and you are done. Great for decks and patios!

Pond Capacity – How to determine the water volume in your pond | Learning Center

Gallons matter. Knowing how much water your pond holds will help you determine the size of aeration and filtration systems you need. It will also help you properly dose your pond with commonly used pond products and determine how many fish your pond can house.

So how do you calculate this all-important figure? Put on your thinking cap, because we’re revisiting some high school geometry.

Rectangular Ponds
The easiest ponds to measure are those that resemble a rectangle. If you’ll recall from geometry class, you can calculate a rectangle’s volume by multiplying its length by its width by its height, so L x W x H.

First, to get your length and width, measure your pond at its longest point and its widest point. Figuring out its depth is a bit trickier, particularly if you have plant shelves or if the pond has a slope. If it is the same depth throughout, use that number in your formula. If you have a plant shelf or the depth varies, measure the maximum depth and cut it in half to create an average depth. For instance, let’s say the pond is four feet at its deepest but has some shallow areas for plants. Use half of that depth, or two feet, for your formula.

So let’s put this in real terms: If your pond is 15 feet long by 10 feet wide by 2 feet deep, your pond’s volume is 300 cubic feet. One cubic foot holds 7.48 gallons of water, so multiply 300 by 7.48 to get your total – which equals 2,244 gallons.

Circular Ponds
If your pond is round or oval, you’ll start by using the formula to find the surface area of a circle – which is Pi x Radius2 , or 3.14 x R x R. The radius of your pond is half the distance across, so if your pond is a 10 foot circle, the radius is 5 feet. Your formula will look like this: 3.14 x 5 x 5 = 78.5.

Next, figure out your pond’s depth, just like we did with the rectangular pond. If it’s 4 feet deep with plant shelves and sloped sides, use 2 feet. Then multiply that number by your surface area: 78.5 x 2 = 157 cubic feet.

Finally, convert that number into gallons. One cubic foot holds 7.48 gallons of water, so 157 x 7.48 = 1,174 gallons.

Irregular Shaped Ponds
The more irregular your pond’s shape, the less accurate your measurement will become – but it’s OK. In most cases, you don’t need to pinpoint its volume to the exact gallon. Use whichever formula best resembles your pond’s shape. For instance, if your pond is kidney shaped, use the rectangle formula and remember that the final figure will be slightly higher.

Playing with the Numbers
With your newfound numbers, head over to The Pond Guy’s® online calculator where you can plug in those figures and see how many boulders you need, how many fish your pond can hold, what pump size you need and more.

Fish Acclimation – Introducing new fish to your pond | Learning Center

Now that your pond is constructed and flowing, bringing home fish is the next step in bringing your pond to life. This process can be both exciting and stressful for you and your fish. Follow the steps below to ensure a safe transition for your fish.

Prep Your Pond
Make sure the water in your pond is ready for new occupants by treating for chlorine or heavy metals found in city and tap water. Chlorine can cause burns in fish and on their gills, which in turn will cause even more fish stress. You can accomplish this by adding Pond Logic® Stress Reducer PLUS. You should also test pond water for acceptable pH and Nitrate levels in the pond. Many potential health issues can be avoided by simply maintaining a clean and healthy pond.

Inspect Before You Select
It is easy to get attached to that perfect fish right from the start but be sure to make sure they are feeling ready to travel. Some common signs to look for are clamped fins, open sores or separating themselves from other fish in the tank. Choosing a fish that is healthy right from the start ensures a more successful transportation.

Transportation Home
Your newly purchased fish are typically handed over to you in an oxygenated plastic bag or container to allow adequate time to transport them to their new home. As you travel be sure to keep fish in a cool dim location to keep them calm and keep water cool. Cooler water will also hold more valuable oxygen that your fish will need as they travel.

Acclimate Your Fish to Their New Environment
You will want to gradually equalize the temperature of the water your fish are currently occupying with that of the water in your pond. If the container carrying your fish floats, go ahead and place it in your pond. The water inside will start balancing with the outside water temperature. This process should take no longer than 30 minutes.

During this time frame, slowly add small amounts of water from the pond into the container, which will allow your new fish time to acclimate to the chemistry of your pond water. Most of us have, at one time or another, jumped into a pool too early in the summer only to find that the water is unimaginably cold. Those of you who’ve been in that situation understand why you will want to take your time with the acclimation process. Now that the water on both sides of the container is the same and the fish have had time to try out the make up of the water in the pond, you are clear to release them into their new environment!

Take a few moments throughout the day to check in on the pond and monitor the behavior of the newly introduced fish. Active and curious fish are happy and healthy fish.

Fish Spawning – How to help your koi have a successful spawning season | Learning Center

There is a ton of information available for selectively breeding koi and raising fry. Purchasing fry holding tanks with separate filters, specific breeding media or even choosing the perfect fish to mate. If you are like most homeowners you are not looking to dive in to serious koi hatching, however, there are a few things you can do to help your koi still have a successful spawning season.

Provide Spawning Areas
The leaves, stems and root systems of underwater plants give your pond fish safe places to spawn and lay their eggs. And when those tiny fry hatch, the plants provide protection, food and a comfy place to call home.

Submerged plants are easy to add to your water garden or fish pond. Simply fill planting baskets, like the Laguna Planting Baskets, with planting media, add some oxygenators, and place the planted basket on the bottom of your pond or on a plant shelf on the side of your pond. The planting baskets allow the plant’s roots to branch out and find nourishment while containing it and preventing fish from nibbling on its root system.

Wait for the Right Season
Temperature and time of year matter when it comes to koi breeding. 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!

Time to Spawn
When koi prepare to spawn, you will see the males chasing after the females, nudging her sides with its mouth and fins. This is to encourage the female koi to lay her eggs. Once the eggs have been laid, the male koi will fertilize them, and the future koi will begin to grow and develop. You may also notice cloudy or foamy water accompanied by a distinct odor.

Keep Your Pond Clean
It is important that you keep the water in your pond clean and free from disease while the fry are developing. Perform regular water changes and use Pond Logic® Stress Reducer PLUS when adding new water to remove any chlorine and toxic heavy metals from your tap or well water. Be sure you are adding pond salt to the water to keep fish stress down and also help prevent diseases.

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 lost in your filtration system.

As your new additions began to grow, there will be added ammonia and nitrates in the pond. If you plan to keep these new koi make sure you are providing adequate filtration in your pond and you are not deviating from a practical fish load for your size pond. Having more fish in your pond than your filtration can handle will lead to additional more severe algae blooms and muck accumulation. It is important that you keep adding beneficial bacteria such as Nature’s Defense® or Muck Defense® to break this waste down.

With a little staging and encouragement, it’s not too difficult to convince your koi to spawn. Good luck!

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!

Dividing Aquatic Plants – Encourage new growth and blooms by dividing overgrown plants | Learning Center

After a long, cold winter, you’re probably ready to put your green thumb to work in your pond – and digging into your aquatic plants is a great place to start. Your potted bog plants and water lilies will need to be divided, but how you do so will depend on the type of plants you’re dealing with. In general, your bog plants will need to be divided every one to two years, and your water lilies will need to be divided every two to three years.

Below, we’ve included some simplified step-by-step instructions for how to do it. So pull out your waders, pruning tools, extra plant baskets, planting media and garden hose – and let’s get to work!

Dividing Bog Plants
Bog plants include species like corkscrew rush, dwarf cattails and irises. Some have clumping roots, some have runners and some have rhizomes. Regardless of the type of root mass, here’s what to do with them:

  • Step 1: First, lift the pot or container out of the pond and gently remove the root mass.
  • Step 2: Using your garden hose, wash the soil off of the mass and trim away any dead leaves and foliage.
  • Step 3: Divide the root mass depending on the type of root system. For plants with clumping roots like corkscrew rush, separate the roots into sections, leaving some roots intact with each section. For plants that divide by runners like dwarf cattails, cut the runner root and leave the root base with each section of the plant. And for plants that are rhizomes like irises, simply divide them into sections.
  • Step 4: Replant each section of plant in its own container and dispose of any plant overgrowth.

Dividing Water Lilies
Water lilies – both tropical and the hardy variety sold in our Grower’s Choice collection – are also relatively easy to divide. You’ll know it’s time to separate them when you notice fewer pads, reduced blooms or splitting pots.

  • Step 1: First, lift the pot or container out of the pond, locate the tuber and gently remove it.
  • Step 2: Rinse off the soil, and trim away root growth and old foliage.
  • Step 3: Identify the crowns, or the little buds where a new lily pad group will sprout, and cut between them with a sharp knife. Keep the pieces 3 to 4 inches in length. Each one of these will become a new water lily plant.
  • Step 4: Using aquatic planting media, plant each section separately at a 45-degree angle so that the growing tip is still exposed above the soil.
  • Step 5: Place your repotted lilies in a shallow area of your pond where only a few inches of water cover the plants.
  • Step 6: Once new growth appears, move the lilies to the deeper areas of your pond.

Fertilize and Tend
Once you’ve divided and replanted your aquatic plants, don’t forget to give them regular doses of fertilizer to ensure they’re getting the nutrients they need to thrive and produce vigorous blooms. And keep your colorful beauties looking good by keeping them trimmed and regularly removing dead foliage throughout the growing season.

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