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What is the difference between regular Bluegill and Hybrid Bluegill? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

What is the difference between regular Bluegill and Hybrid Bluegill?

What is the difference between regular Bluegill and Hybrid Bluegill?

Dan – Toldeo, OH

Ask any thoroughbred Bluegill, and they’ll tell you there’s a huge difference. But the truth is, a Hybrid Bluegill is simply a cross between a Male Bluegill and a Female Sunfish. As it turns out, that combination produces a population that’s between 80% and 90% male.

There are effects of a predominantly male population. First – and most important – it slows down reproduction, which in turn prevents overpopulation. If left to their own devices, regular, non-hybrid Bluegills reproduce very quickly. Left unchecked, this means overcrowding – and all the negative ramifications that come with it. Also, with a predominantly male population, there’s also a natural tendency for fish not to ask directions. Fortunately, in a small, backyard pond, there’s really nowhere to get lost.

There are, however, some drawbacks to stocking your pond with hybrid Bluegills alone. Because reproduction is slower, natural cycles and predator fish may result in dwindling fish populations over time. In those situations, restocking with additional Bluegills and/or other feeder fish like minnows may be required every few years.

But for many ponds, hybrid Bluegills are an exceptional choice. Once they arrive, however, it’s important to make them feel welcome. We strongly recommend the use of Game Fish Food to satisfy hearty appetites. And for both predator protection and shade from the summer sun, our Fish Attractor Spheres are the perfect complement to your pond’s natural habitat.

Pond Talk: What type of bluegill do you stock in your pond?

Fish Attractor Spheres

There are rakes, razors, cutters…skimmers…is there a difference and which works best to clean the pond? | Pond & Lake Q&A

There are rakes, razors, cutters…skimmers…is there a difference and which works best to clean the pond?

There are rakes, razors, cutters…skimmers…is there a difference and which works best to clean the pond?

Bryan – Pasadena, TX

Yes. You could sweep your garage with a toothbrush. It’s possible. Some people – who have a much lower tolerance for dirt than most – might even do it. But when the time comes to do the job, you’re much more likely to choose a push broom, or better still, a shop vac. Why? Because they’re the right tools for the job. The same principles apply when you’re cleaning your pond. If you pick the proper tool, the job will be a lot easier – and much more effective.

So what, then, is the right tool for the job? It all depends on the conditions of your pond – and on what you hope to accomplish. The following list gives a brief breakdown of the tools we recommend, and describes their respective strengths:

The perfect weapon in the fight against submerged, marginal and terrestrial weeds is the Aquatic Weed Cutter. Tackle everything from lily pads and pond weeds to cattails and phragmites with this double-sized, 28” wide weed cutter, featuring a two-piece, 11’ long aluminum handle for extended reach.

Weed Razer™ and Weed Razer™ Pro. This unique, v-shaped aquatic weed cutter features razor-sharp blades designed to shear almost any type of rooted aquatic vegetation, including milfoil, lily pads, pond weeds and cattails. It’s designed for maximum impact, and clears a 48” swath with each throw and retrieval. The Weed Razer™ Pro offers the added benefit of an adjustable cut from 12” to 62”, and makes it easy to cut nearly any aquatic vegetation in its path in no time flat.

The Pond Guy® Pond & Beach Rake. Whether you’re skimming floating aquatic vegetation from the water or looking for an effective way to remove weeds, algae, muck and debris from the pond bottom or beach, this versatile 36”-wide rake is indispensable. It comes with an 11’, two-piece aluminum handle for reach and a detachable float with 20’ of polypropylene rope, making it perfect for throwing and easy retrieval. As an added benefit, simply shorten the handle, and you have a professional-grade landscaping rake for dressing beach sand.

The Weed Raker™ is one of the longest and deepest-digging lake rakes in the industry, this rake easily removes submerged lake and pond weeds right down to the root. It’s also superb for removing dead, decaying matter at the pond bottom to make short work of muck.

In smaller ponds and water features, pond skimmers can also help to remove debris – but they’re ineffective at large-scale debris removal in larger ponds, where water levels fluctuate and surface area is too large to allow all debris to reach the skimmer.

When you’re through cutting and raking aquatic growth from your pond, it’s also important to remove the results. If left in the water, cuttings will sink to the bottom, where they accumulate, form muck, and provide a natural growing environment for — you guessed it – more weeds.

Pond Talk: Which tools work best to keep your pond clean?

Lake Rake/Weed Eradicator Combo

What’s the difference between MuckAway™ and PondClear™? |Ponds & Lakes Q&A

What’s the difference between MuckAway™ and PondClear™?

What’s the difference between MuckAway™ and PondClear™?
Missy – Birmingham, MI

Walk into a teenage boy’s room and, as often as not, you’ll be met by piles of dirty clothes, smelly sneakers, pizza crusts, apple cores, and other detritus of teenage life — an unsightly, smelly mess. A thorough clean-up usually involves several steps: first, you pick-up stuff until you find the floor; second, you put the stuff away; and finally, you dust, polish and vacuum. Let two weeks pass (or whatever your mess threshold happens to be). Repeat.

As pond owners know, there is a bit of the teenage boy in Mother Nature. She thinks nothing of dumping leaves, pollen, sticks and other organic material in your ponds, clouding the water and mucking up the bottom. Like the boy’s room, cleaning up your pond often involves a multi-pronged approach. Fortunately, we have the perfect products – MuckAway™ and PondClear™ — to meet your needs.

Both products release aerobic bacteria that digest organic debris, removing excess nutrients and leaving a clearer, cleaner pond. Both products are eco-friendly and easy to apply. Where they differ is the target area. MuckAway™ (as you, the saavy reader, might infer) is designed to remove the ‘pond muck’, organic debris that accumulates at the bottom of your pond. One scoop of MuckAway™ pellets, spread evenly, can treat 1,000 square feet of shoreline, beach area or anywhere muck has gathered on the bottom of your pond. Use every two to four weeks after water temperatures have climbed above 50 degrees until desired results are achieved.

Pond Logic® PondClear™ is intended to digest the floating organic debris that can cloud up your pond. Available in liquid or water soluble packets, PondClear™ goes immediately to work clearing up your pond water without ever impeding your pond use. Like MuckAway™, PondClear™ is NOT a chemical and has no water use restrictions on swimming or irrigation.

Like all great pairings – Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stockton and Malone, hydrogen and oxygen, peanut butter and jelly – MuckAway™ and PondClear™ are terrific on their own, but together they make an unbeatable team when it comes to promotion and maintenance of a clear, healthy, fresh-smelling pond.

Pond Talk: Have you used either MuckAway™ or PondClear™ in the past and noticed increase in results from using both?

Pond Logic® MuckAway™

What is EcoBoost™ and how should it be used? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

What is EcoBoost™ and how should it be used?

What is EcoBoost and how should it be used?
Andy- Cottrellville, MI

For too long, bacteria has been painted with a broad brush, taking the heat for everything from illness to itchy feet. We’re here to set the record straight – and to stand up for the good bacteria of the world. And some of that good bacteria needs – yes, needs – to be present in backyard ponds and water gardens to ensure the health of both plant and fish life.

So, in the interest of promoting good bacteria, while staving off the bad, we strongly recommend the use of EcoBoost™. EcoBoost™ is an innovative, all-natural product that binds phosphates in ponds to stimulate the growth of good bacteria that’s absolutely necessary for the health of your fish. Phosphates, it seems, cause all sorts of problems in ponds – from increased algae growth to toxicity in fish – that are best resolved naturally by hungry bacteria.

Phosphates accumulate in ponds that receive lots of runoff from lawns and fields – particularly when those lawns and fields are fertilized. When healthy bacteria are allowed to thrive, those phosphates are eliminated naturally, providing a safe, clean habitat in which fish and plants can thrive.

In addition to EcoBoost™, both PondClear™ and MuckAway™ provide a safe, ecologically-sound means to promote the growth of good bacteria. Used on a regular basis, the combination of all three products pack a powerful punch – and make your pond a perfect home – for perfectly healthy fish.

Pond Talk: Do you use EcoBoost™ in your pond?

Pond Logic® EcoBoost™

What type of aeration is best for you? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

What type of aeration is best for you?

What type of aeration is best for you?
Britney – St. Louis, MO

When you call a pond home, it’s the little touches – like sufficient oxygen – that make life worth living. In fact, you might say they make life possible in the first place. No wonder we hear from so many fish singing the praises of our Airmax® Aeration System .

Okay. We don’t actually hear from fish. But we do hear from customers. And they’re unequivocal in their appreciation of our versatile range of aeration systems, which leads to the critical question: how do you decide on the proper type of aeration for your pond?

Choosing the proper aeration system depends on a number of factors. First and foremost is the matter of pond volume. In order to ensure proper aeration, it’s important to choose an aeration system capable of circulating and oxygenating all of the water in your pond. With a system that’s too small, you’ll run the risk of both oxygen depletion and toxic gas buildup, resulting in the increased likelihood of fish kills, algae blooms and thickening pond muck.

Pond volume is determined a couple of key factors: pond depth and pond area. A third factor – pond shape – also plays into proper filtration. To address the issue of pond depth, we offer both deep water and shallow water aeration systems.

For deep water ponds, Airmax® Pond Series™ Aeration models PS10 through PS40 provide economical aeration designed to eliminate stratification, increase dissolved oxygen levels, decrease toxic gases, and prevent fish kills. By cycling water, these systems also help to fight algae blooms, while reducing bottom muck.

For shallow ponds, our Airmax® Shallow Water Series™ Aeration models SW20 and SW40 provide effective, efficient aeration, using energy efficient dual diaphragm pumps to eliminate fish kills, reduce muck accumulation and inhibit weed growth.

The final consideration – pond shape – also plays an important role in ensuring proper aeration. For simple, contiguous shapes like circles and ovals, a properly-sized aeration system will fully circulate all water without the risk of stagnation. In circumstances where multiple ponds are interconnected, full circulation may require additional pumps. When in doubt, we strongly encourage you to give us a call. We’ll help you to make the right aeration decision – for you and your pond.

Pond Talk: Have you been looking for aeration for your pond?

Airmax® Shallow Water Series™ Aeration Systems

Why do fish swim in schools? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Why do fish swim in schools?

Why do fish swim in schools?
Chris – Akron, OH

Most people are well aware that fish – most of them, anyhow – swim in tightly-knit groups known as schools. But when pressed for a rationale, few people know exactly why fish are so intent on sticking together. As it turns out, school is just as smart for fish as it is for people – but for some very different reasons. So, in no particular order, here they are.

There’s safety in numbers. When pond and lake predators look for a meal, they look for easy targets. And while a school of fish might seem like a logical choice, it’s actually easier to identify a single target – and track it down. Schools of fish, on the other hand, present multiple targets. And when a predator goes in for a snack, the school scatters, making it difficult to keep track of a single individual long enough to catch it.

But when survival’s at stake, group behavior can always use a helping hand. That’s why we recommend Porcupine® Fish Attractor Spheres. When placed in your pond, fish will enjoy improved spawning habitat, and young fish will have a great place to hide when predators are on the hunt. Using our Fish Attractor Spheres, you’ll see improved fish survival rates, healthier stocks, and, if you’re so inclined, better fishing.

The buddy system makes life easier. When a fish goes solo, he faces currents and resistance all alone. And when you have to fight resistance on your own, you have to work hard just to get where you’re going. In schools, however, a lazy fish can draft off the fish around him, significantly reducing resistance. By reducing the energy they need to expend, they can expend even less energy looking for food.

For a good paradigm, think of the Tour de France. During each stage of the race, a few aggressive riders typically break from the tightly-packed peloton. Those lead riders are often overtaken late in the race by riders who stuck with the peloton for the majority of the race to enjoy the benefit of riding behind and among other riders whose bodies reduced wind resistance and made the ride less fatiguing. The breakaway riders, on the other hand, are forced to work harder, making it tougher to maintain the lead. Migratory birds often employ the same tactic, flying in v-formations to reduce drag and conserve energy.

While schooling helps to preserve energy, it’s still important that your fish have the proper food to stay healthy, active, and capable of successful reproduction. We strongly recommend a scientifically-balanced food like Game Fish Grower Fish Food. Designed to promote optimal growth of game fish like bass, bluegill, trout and perch, the large pellets are high in protein, which helps to promote a strong, healthy fish population for more satisfying game fishing.

Having walked our way through fish that do school, it’s worthwhile to note that some simply don’t. In most cases, those fish have evolved with a different set of survival techniques – from hiding to aggression – that works just fine for them.

Pond Talk: Do you often see your fish swimming in a school in your pond?

Porcupine® Fish Attractor Spheres - 3 Pack

How often do I need to replace the air filter on my (Airmax) Aeration system? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

How often do I need to replace the air filter on my (Airmax) Aeration system?

How often do I need to replace the air filter on my (Airmax) Aeration system?
Mike – Flat Rock, MI

First, for people strapped for time, we’ll go with the short answer. Under ordinary circumstances, we recommend filter replacements every six months. If you live in a dry, dusty environment, it’s best to change the filter every three to four months. For Airmax® Filters, we strongly recommend Airmax® SilentAir™ Complete Filter Assembly, and Airmax® SilentAir™ Replacement Air Filter Elements for routine replacement.

Now, for those who want the rest of the story, here’s the long answer, which, incidentally, also makes for fascinating cocktail party conversation. To make sense of our recommended filter replacement schedule, it’s important to understand why it’s even necessary at all.

First and foremost, regular filter changes will prevent the premature failure of your filter compressor pump. As it turns out, filter pumps are designed to perform best with clean filters. When filters become clogged, the compressor is forced to work harder. When it works harder, its wear parts are subject to greater wear and tear. And if a filter is left unchanged for too long, an overworked pump is likely to fail. Accordingly, given the cost of replacing a pump, regular filter changes are a much more economical alternative.

In addition to the stress they place on pumps, dirty filters won’t allow the compressor to do the job they’re intended to do, circulate pond water. As a result, the entire pond ecosystem feels the effects. With regular filter changes, pond water is safer for fish and plants, and clearer and more enjoyable for the people who care for them.

Occasionally, our customers ask whether filters can be cleaned and reused. While it seems like a logical option, filters can’t be effectively cleaned – and their performance is significantly compromised. We also strongly discourage the installation of a wet element in a filter system, given the potential to further stress the pump and to unintentionally introduce foreign contaminants into the pond.

As an economical alternative to filter cleaning, we recommend the use of Airmax® SilentAir™ Replacement Air Filter Elements, rather than installing a complete filter unit. The savings are significant – and the filter system will be ready to perform flawlessly for another three to six months.

Happy aerating.

Pond Talk: Do you notice the performance of your aeration system begin to decline as the filter becomes clogged?

Airmax® SilentAir™ Complete Air Filter

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