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Fountain Basics – Spring Maintenance & Re-Installation | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Pond Season Has Begun!

Fountain Basics – Spring Maintenance & Re-Installation

When the weather warms and the ice on your lake melts, it’s time to kick off pond season! But before you dust off your boat and fishing pole, you need to do a little fountain maintenance and installation first.

If you didn’t perform regular upkeep on your fountain when you pulled it out last fall, now’s the time to do so. Here’s a quick list of to-do items before you put the fountain back in place:

  • Power wash the motor so built-up material doesn’t trap heat.
  • Inspect the cord for cuts.
  • If you have muskrats, protect the cord with ratcord.
  • Send the motor in for regular seal/oil maintenance if you haven’t done it in a few years.

Once it’s cleaned up an inspected, you can position your fountain. Be sure your mooring lines are snug enough to hold your fountain in place. If you’re anchoring it with blocks at the bottom of the pond, make sure they’re spread far enough apart so the fountain doesn’t spin from the force of the motor, which could cause the lines to get tangled.

Now is a great time to add that first dose of pond dye, too. Nature’s Blue™, Twilight Blue™ or Black DyeMond™ shade and protect the pond while enhancing its beauty. If you put the dye in at the same time as your fountain, the color will disperse evenly throughout the lake.

Pond Talk: What’s the first thing you plan to do once pond season begins?

Pond Logic® Pond Dye - Shade & Protect Your Pond

Is there anything I can do to prevent animals from chewing my fountain power cord? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Is there anything I can do to prevent animals from chewing my fountain power cord?

Q: Is there anything I can do to prevent animals from chewing my fountain power cord?

Barbara – Little Falls, NJ

A: Surprise, surprise! You’re doing your winter-prep chores and, lo and behold, you discover that a tiny interloper has been gnawing at your fountain’s power cord. Just about aquatic or semi-aquatic animal that can chew or break something open with its mouth could be the culprit—but most likely, your cord chewer is none other than the muskrat.

Muskrat Love

Muskrats, semi-aquatic rodents that are native to North America, live in wetlands over a wide range of climates and habitats (including your pond or lake). They measure 16 to 28 inches long—with almost half of that being their flattened, scale-covered tail—and weigh between 1½ to 4½ pounds. They’re double-coated in short, thick, medium to dark brown or black fur that insulates them from chilly water.

These furry little critters love to spend time submerged. Because they are less sensitive to carbon dioxide buildup that other mammals, they can stay under water for 12 to 17 minutes before they need to come up for air—giving them plenty of time to do damage to your power cords.

Born to Chew

As rodents, muskets must chew and gnaw on things to wear down their continuously growing incisors. In wild lakes and water bodies, they grind on cattails and other aquatic vegetation, along with the occasional crayfish, turtle and frog for sustenance.

In human-made lakes and ponds, however, muskrats also chew on cords, preferring the parts near a fountain’s motor or where it exits the pond. No one knows why muskrats like to sink their teeth into electrical cords, but they do. So what do you do?

Wrap It Up

To prevent muskrats and other water-dwelling chewers from damaging your fountain’s power cord, invest in some power cord wrapping (also called rat cord). This woven material limits or prevents animals from chewing through the cord’s plastic sheathing.

Now, while your fountain is pulled out of your lake or pond for the winter season, is the perfect time of year to cover your power cord in this protective material. A little maintenance and prevention will go a long way to stop those interlopers from damaging your equipment.

Pond Talk: What do you do to prevent muskrats and other semi-aquatic critters from moving into your pond or lake?

Remove Unwanted Guests - Tomahawk Live Traps

What should I do with my fountain in the winter? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

What should I do with my fountain in the winter?

Q: What should I do with my fountain in the winter?

David – Crystal Lake, IL

A: Do you have a decorative fountain in your lake or pond? If so, take advantage of the off season and do all your maintenance chores now rather than in the spring—when you could be caught without a fountain for that early-season party.

Any time before the ice begins to form on your pond, remove your fountain and perform these basic upkeep tasks:

1. Power Check: Check the fountain’s power cord for any cuts or cracks. If you find any, you may need to repair the cord or replace the unit altogether.

2. Power Cleaning: Next, pull out your power washer and clean the fountain’s float and motor to remove debris buildup that’s occurred over the past year (or however long you’ve procrastinated …). Built-up debris can act as an insulator, which can possibly cause your fountain’s motor to overheat during the summer months.

3. Routine Maintenance: Finally, contact your fountain’s manufacturer or call your local fountain dealer to have routine maintenance performed on the motor. Its seals and oil should be replaced every year or two to ensure good performance.

When spring rolls around, put your decorative fountain back in place—but until then, make sure you keep your pond or lake aerated with a diffused aeration system, like the Airmax® Pond Series™ Aeration System. It efficiently pushes tiny oxygen bubbles throughout your pond’s water column all winter long

Pond Talk: How often do you perform maintenance on your pond or lake’s decorative fountain?

Airmax® Aeration Systems - Eliminate Fall Leaves & Debris

Algae, Pollen or Both? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Algae, Pollen or Both?

Ah, spring. As the days get longer and the temperatures get warmer, trees and plants start flowering – which mean two things to pond and lake owners: algae blooms and pollen spores.

When those sneeze-triggering spores start flying and land on your lake’s surface, giving it a bright green, yellow or white oil slick-like appearance, it can be hard to tell whether you’re dealing with a troublesome algae bloom, a layer of pollen or a combo of them both.

A case like this calls for a little detective work, starting with a primer on algae types.

Know Your Algae

Planktonic Algae – the source of algae blooms, are floating, microscopic plants that color pond water shades of green, blue-green, brown or variations in between. In controlled amounts, this type of algae can actually be beneficial. It’s considered the start of the pond food chain as the tiny plants feed fish inhabitants, and it can also shade the pond’s bottom, preventing subsurface nuisance plants from growing. In uncontrolled amounts, however, planktonic algae can cause oxygen depletions and fish kill.

Filamentous Algae – single-celled plants that form long, visible chain, threads or filaments. These threads, which start growing along the bottom of the lake in shallow water or on rocks or other aquatic plants, intertwine and form mats that resemble wet wool. When these mats rise to the surface, they’re commonly referred to as pond scum. These mats make great homes for micro- and macro-invertebrates, like bugs and worms, but they’re also unsightly and can affect the oxygen levels and fish health in your lake.

Pollen Versus Algae

Unlike planktonic or filamentous algae, pollen simply settles on the water surface, creating an oil slick-like appearance on the lake or pond. When you run your fingers over a pollen-covered body of water, the green, yellow or white material will break apart. That doesn’t happen with algae. Instead, the tiny planktonic algae remains suspended in the water, while the filamentous algae can actually be grabbed and pulled out.

Clearing Things Up

The good news is that water circulation with a decorative fountain, such as Kasco’s 1/4HP Decorative Fountain, and subsurface aeration, such as an Airmax® Aeration System, will help remedy both the algae and pollen situations. The movement of the water breaks up the pollen layer and it will eventually go away. If your lake or pond has a significant algae bloom, you may need to treat the water with an algaecide, like Pond Logic® Algae Defense®.

Pond Talk: What have you found to be the best way to manage algae in your lake or pond?

Kasco Decorative Fountains - Sound, Beauty & Aeration

When should I remove the fountain from my pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

When should I remove the fountain from my pond?

When should I remove the fountain from my pond?
Fran – Lapeer, MI

While we’re not particularly anxious for winter to arrive it is in our best interest to start preparing for the cold that will inevitably come. Since you are working not only outdoors but in the water as well you may want to get a jump start on removing your fountain from your pond before you start feeling the full effects of winter.

Convenience aside, you can leave your fountain in the pond until ice starts to form. Surface forming ice may damage the float or other parts of your fountain and can potentially prevent water passing through the spray nozzle from returning back into the pond. This ice barrier can cause the fountain to run dry destroying your fountain’s motor.

Removing your fountain and preparing it for storage is a fairly simple process. Most fountains have a quick disconnect at the motor that lets you separate the fountain from the main power cord. Make sure you turn off the power to the fountain and pull your fountain ashore. Wash down the fountain and float assembly to remove any algae or debris that may have accumulated over the season, a pressure washer makes short work of even the dirtiest fountains. Inspect electrical cables for signs of wear or damage and, if your fountain has lights, check for burnt out or damaged bulbs and lenses.

Since the fountain is out of the pond and won’t be used for a few months, now is the perfect time to send it to a licensed repair facility for any routine maintenance it my require such as oil changes or seal replacements. Once your fountain is cleaned and inspected store it in an upright position in a climate controlled location like a heated pole barn or garage. Since there are many different types of fountains, it is very important that you read through your user’s manual for special instructions and maintenance plans to keep your fountain running at its very best.

If you are feeling adventurous and want to run your fountain throughout the winter you can minimize the risk of damaging your equipment by selecting a more suitable spray nozzle and regularly monitoring the environment. Choose a spray nozzle that throws heavier streams of water instead of a misty pattern. Water moving at a higher volume in a dense pattern is less likely to freeze than water sprayed in a finer pattern. Periodically check the fountain to make sure the spray nozzle is unobstructed and that the water can return back into the pond. If you are going to run your fountain in temperatures below freezing you will have to run it continuously or the water in the fountain head will freeze when switched off. Keep in mind that parts damaged by winter operation may not be covered under your manufacturer’s warranty.

If your fountain is your primary source of aeration you have a few alternatives to get you through the winter. Try to keep a hole open through the surface ice in your pond. This will allow toxic gasses formed by decomposing organic debris to exit the pond and let fresh air in. Since cold water holds oxygen easier and your fish are less active in cold water you may not need additional aeration. If you are concerned however, you can install a bottom diffused aeration system which can be run year round even when ice forms on the pond.

Pond Talk: Do you run your fountain in the winter? Send us some pictures of your fountain in action.

Kasco 1/2 HP Surface Aerators

What causes fog to form on the pond during the fall? | Pond & Lake Q&A

What causes fog to form on the pond during the fall?

What causes fog to form on the pond during the fall?

Grayson – Three Rivers, MI

When you make the decision to add a water feature to your backyard, the positives are countless. They’re calming. They’re beautiful. They’re satisfying. They’re challenging. And sometimes, they’re downright educational. Today’s post falls in the latter category. And for the next couple of paragraphs, we’ll discuss your pond’s potential as a weathermaker.

As everyone knows, fog is nothing more than a concentration of water vapor in the air. When fall rolls around, air temperatures cool faster than the water in your pond. When a cold layer of still air settles over your pond – typically during overnight hours – warm water vapor from the pond enters the cool air above it. The cool air then traps the concentrated water vapor in place, and fog forms. As the day wears on, and air temperatures rise, the water vapor evaporates and dispels – clearing the air until night falls, and temperatures follow suit.

Some people, particularly those who wax nostalgic about the Pacific Northwest or Sherlock Holmes-ian London, love the subtle mystery of their pond’s morning fog. But others like things crystal clear. Fortunately, with the installation of a Kasco or Aqua Control Fountain, the fog fighters can have things their way – all year ‘round.

Fountains serve several purposes. They provide vital aeration, enriching pond waters with the oxygen fish and plants need to thrive. They also create air movement above the water, preventing cool air from settling in, and eliminating the potential for fogging. So, whether you’re for fog or against it, you can always have your pond, your way, each and every day of the year.

Pond Talk: Have you noticed fog on your pond yet this year?

Kasco Fountains

My pond looks like an oil slick. Why and how can I get rid of it? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

My pond looks like an oil slick. Why and how can I get rid of it?

My pond looks like an oil slick. Why and how can I get rid of it?
Brandy- Naples, FL

Every year, Mother Nature unleashes a mass of pollen into the air to facilitate the fertilization of seeds in flowering plants. It’s an effective design, but not terribly efficient. Pollen ends up everywhere – just ask anyone who suffers from hay fever – and the surface of your pond is no exception.

Once settled on the surface, the pollen often mixes with algae to form a film that can give your pond that greasy, greenish look. If you’re unsure that the slick is due to pollen, run your finger through it. If the slick breaks up, you know your pond’s wearing an unsightly coat of pollen. And ‘unsightly’ defeats one of the purposes of having a pond to begin with, right?

So, what’s a frustrated pondkeeper to do? If you’re patient, you could wait for a heavy rain to come along and sink the pollen to the bottom. Or, depending on the size of your pond, a touch of artificial rain – think garden hose, here – might provide a temporary fix. However, to both fix the problem and prevent its recurrence, many of our customers have found that the installation of an Airmax® Aeration System is a great solution. Our Airmax® systems – available in models to fit your pond’s dimensions and needs – keep pond water circulating, which prevents the pollen from coalescing into an unsightly slick. Aesthetics aside, an Airmax® System is a great way to keep your pond – and the plants and fish living there – clean and healthy.

For a more elegant solution to the pollen slick problem, you may want to consider a Kasco Fountain, which sprays water up and over the pond’s surface, causing ripples that prevent the formation of pollen slicks completely. Kasco Fountains are offered with single or multiple pattern sprays, adding a dramatic element to your pond-scape.

So, if you find your pond wearing an ugly, pollen coat, let us help you take it off, and replace it with that fresh, shimmering surface it deserves.

Pond Talk: Do you ever notice a white or greenish slick look on your pond?

Pond & Lake Fountains

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