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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?
Cameron – Clarksville, VA

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 users 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 plate 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.

Keep your pond healthy all winter long!

How do I know if I have proper aeration? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Don’t Under Aerate
How do I know if I have proper aeration? Felipe – Moscow, ID

The bigger the better when it comes to aeration.

When purchasing your aeration system you were told it will promote a clean, healthy pond with less algae and clear water. With more and more customers installing aeration systems in their ponds now may be a good time to discuss some of the assumptions and mistakes made when choosing an aeration system.

An aeration system can make the difference when it comes to your pond’s health, so selecting the right system can be very important.  In the long-run there is no free lunch.  If you try to “Make Do” with a smaller aeration system than what is recommend, it may come back to haunt you.  When an aeration system is sized correctly it will eliminate any thermoclines (thermoclines are a separation of water based on temperature). Have you ever swam in your pond and felt very cold water at your feet? Most pond owners believe this is a spring, when in reality, it’s caused by a thermocline. Proper aeration improves water quality, breaks down organic debris (muck) and improves the overall ecosystem in your pond.  Aeration works by circulating the entire pond’s water column from top to bottom.  The tiny bubbles created by the diffuser forces cool oxygen deprived water from the bottom depths all the way to the pond’s surface. This circulation drives oxygen to the bottom of the pond allowing “good” bacteria to digest muck, reducing nutrients and increase the overall dissolved oxygen in the pond.  If the system is undersized it will not create uniform circulation and simply pump small amounts of the cool nutrient-rich water from the bottom of your pond to the top.  This is the equivalent of adding fertilizer to your pond.  This can result in additional algae growth, odors and even fish kills.  This can all be especially true during the warmer months of the year.

If you currently have an aeration system running and you are not sure if it is sized correctly, there is an easy way to tell with a thermometer and long string.  You will use the string to extend the reach of the thermometer taking temperature readings every 24 inches, letting the thermometer rest long enough to get the true temperature reading at your desired depth.  Take readings every 24 inches until you reach the bottom of your pond. If there is more then a few degrees difference in any of your temperature readings you are more then likely under aerating your pond.

If you haven’t purchased an aeration system yet take advantage of The Pond Guys and Gals, we offer free aeration mapping and technical support.

Don’t Under Aerate

I have a ton of this black muck in my pond. What can I do about it? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Got Muck? Use MuckAway®!
Pre-order For Fish Day Online… more info

Q: I have a ton of this black muck in my pond. What can I do about it? Sam – Little Rock, AR

Let’s See What You’re Made of, Muck
Nothing spoils your summer fun like jumping off the dock into your pond, only to become a human lawn dart… stuck in layer upon layer of pond muck. No longer will you have to battle muck for possession of your favorite flip – flop while walking along the shoreline of your lake. Gather your torches and pitchforks; together we will fight off the monster we call muck!

The first step to effectively treating any nuisance in your pond is to understand exactly what it is and how it works. Muck, simply put, is an accumulation of fish waste, plant decay, and other debris that makes their way into your pond. While some of the materials that make up muck result directly from the inhabitants of your pond, much more finds its way into the water body in the form of blowing debris (leaves and grass clippings) and runoff from surrounding areas. As this cache of organic waste decays, it breaks down into slime, or as we call it, muck.

So Long Slime
What is a collection of decomposing organic debris afraid of, you ask? Oxygen and bacteria of course! If your pond is not being aerated, chances are a thermocline has established in the water body. The upper portion of the pond that has exposure to air will contain some oxygen while the lower region tends to lack sufficient levels of O2. Implementing an aeration system into the water body will circulate the contents of your pond and infuse the entire water column with oxygen. If your pond is six feet deep or shallower, Fountain Aeration can provide sufficient aeration. If the pond is deeper than six feet, you would be better suited with bottom-diffused aeration like the Airmax Aeration System. This influx in oxygen aids the growth of aerobic beneficial bacteria. These bacteria then feed on this organic debris and assist in the decomposition process. Aerobic beneficial bacteria are efficient and thrive on oxygen and, when present, will fight against muck deposits like your own personal pond ninjas. If you supply your pond with aeration, and thereby oxygen, you will be setting in motion events that will ultimately lead towards a cleaner pond.

Send In The Bacterial Backup
While there are beneficial bacteria naturally found in your pond, the presence of muck is a sign that they are severely outnumbered and overworked. You can boost their numbers by adding beneficial bacteria products like Pond Logic® PondClear™ and MuckAway™ to your maintenance regimen. As you might have figured out by the name, MuckAway™ is designed to work against bottom dwelling pond scum. MuckAway™ is formed into precision release pellets that sink to the bottom of your pond or lake where they can start working in the areas you need bacteria the most. Due to their buoyancy (or lack thereof), they are great in areas that experience high water flow like canals and lake front property. When used with aeration, MuckAway™ can eliminate up to five inches of muck a year! To apply MuckAway™, simply use the included scoop to apply pellets to problem areas every four to six weeks. An eight pound bucket of MuckAway™ will treat up to 16,000 square feet.

…And Never Come Back!
Now that you have banished muck from your pond bottom, take some PROactive steps to ensure it remains a distant memory. Adding Pond Logic® PondClear™ in your pond every 2 weeks will help sustain a healthy bacterial count. These bacterial treatments, paired with constant aeration, will ensure you will feel more sand between your toes this season and less squish. For more information on treating your pond with bacteria click here or read our Aeration Articles to learn about the many other benefits of aerating your pond.

Pond Talk: Have you used MuckAway™ in you pond or lake? Were you happy with your results?

Got Muck? Use Muck Away® - Eats up to 5 inches of muck per year!

Should I leave my bubble aeration system running in my farm pond all winter long? – Pond & Lake Q & A

To keep your unit working properly, you should plan to inspect it several times per year.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: What do I need to do to maintain my fountain over the winter? – Roy in Texas

A: Display fountains provide outstanding pond and lake displays – not to mention helping to circulate the top layers of your water column. To keep your unit working properly, you should plan to inspect it several times per year, and what better time to do it when you’re doing your winterizing chores?

Your to-do list will vary depending on where you live and what your fountain’s manufacturer recommends, but here are some basic maintenance tasks to plan for as the cold weather approaches:

    1. Remove your fountain – including the motor, floats and hardware components – and wipe off the algae and muck from all the exposed surfaces. If you see algae collecting in the nozzles, clean those out, too, as well as your motor’s intake screen, if necessary.
    2. Check all your gaskets, seals and fittings that normally break down over time. If any of these show signs of wear, take your fountain in for service or call us for service parts.
    3. If your fountain includes lights, inspect those as well to make sure they’re working properly. Replace any bulbs or fixtures that may have burned out.
    4. Check your power cord for nicks or kinks that may have developed over the season.

If you live in an area that doesn’t freeze, you can put the unit back in the water once you’ve scrubbed it down and checked it over. If your pond does freeze over, plan to store your fountain components inside, away from the winter elements. Be sure not to cover your fountain. This will ensure your fountain and power cord are protected against any rodents that would otherwise consider it a cozy home.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing the oil (on oil cooled units) every 2-3 years of operation. This can prevent costly repairs in the future. For more information on fountain maintenance, call The Pond Guy® (Service Department: Monday—Friday: 9am—5pm | Phone: 810-765-9665) or visit the manufacturer’s website.

Doing these simple tasks can extend the life of your decorative display fountain and allow you to enjoy them for years to come!

Please Note: The Pond Guy® is an authorized service center for most fountains and aerators. Please feel free to call us at 810-765-9665 for maintenance parts or repair.

POND TALK: What do you do to extend the life of your floating display fountain?

Ensuring Sufficient Pond Aeration – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a Pond with an Airmax Aeration System.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: How do I ensure my lake or pond gets sufficient aeration? – Jack of Maine

A: Take a deep breath. Living things, whether they’re above water or below, require oxygen to thrive. If your pond or lake houses fish, then the aquatic environment needs to be rich with oxygen, and the best way to do that is by aerating the water. Pond aeration is simply diffusing life-giving oxygen into water evenly throughout the water column using surface aerators or bottom-mounted diffusers.

To determine whether your pond or lake requires aeration, take your pond’s temperature. Measure the temperature of the water 1 foot below the pond’s surface, and do the same at the bottom of the pond. If the results differ more than 3 degrees Fahrenheit, then your pond is not sufficiently aerated and it may need a little help. For a simpler test, JUMP IN! If you’re warm above the waste and freezing at your toes, it’s a good sign your pond is not being circulated or aerated enough. Here are the most common ways to churn up the water:

Bottom Bubblers: Bottom-mounted air diffusers, like the Airmax Aeration System, are ideal for ponds and lakes deeper than 6 feet. They aerate ponds from bottom up, pushing air into the water via air stones or diffusers. These systems generally feature a shore-side cabinet that houses an air compressor, which is connected to diffusers at the bottom of the pond. The air is forced through the diffusers, which create medium-size bubbles that expand as they surface, releasing oxygen into the water and circulating the water column. These bottom bubblers are by far the most efficient at circulation and aeration.

Surface Aerators: Surface aerators, like fountains, provide pond aeration from the surface down. They agitate the surface of the pond, pulling water up from below and releasing into the air, where the droplets explode into a decorative spray pattern. The surface area on each droplet of water is saturated with oxygen, which it delivers back into the pond. Fountains pull water from about 6 feet down. For ponds and lakes 6 feet deep or less, a fountain can act as both a pond aerator and a decorative feature. Depending on your pond’s size, you may need more than one fountain to properly aerate. When ponds are deeper than 6 feet, fountains become more for decoration and you need to think about a bottom bubbler.

Alternative Aeration – Wind Power: If power isn’t available near your lake or pond, you can go with a wind aeration system to keep the air flowing. Windmills are primarily designed for decoration and they  come with one air stones to aerate up to 1 acre. You’ll need constant  wind blowing at least 3 to 5 miles per hour for continuous aeration, but they are a great backup system to an electric air compressor or in a remote location. Windmills are available in 12-foot, 16-foot and 20-foot towers. Remember: Windmills do not provide continuous aeration and should not be used as a direct substitute for electrical powered continuous aeration systems.

Alternative Aeration – Solar Power: Solar powered aeration systems are another great alternative to aerating your pond without having to pay for electricity. Solar aeration systems are great for both remote
installation and environmental conscience applications. They are for aquatic environments ranging in size from small decorative water gardens up to ponds or lake up to 5 acres. These fully automatic systems are designed to run up to 20 hours per day under standard operating conditions. The battery backup system allows them to run like normal under less than optimal conditions. One of the biggest downfalls of solar powered aeration systems are their high price tag.

POND TALK: What do you do to aerate your pond?

Can a Fountain Provide My Pond Sufficient Aeration? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a "V" Patterned Fountain.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: I would really like to have a fountain in my pond and I know I need aeration. Will a fountain aerate my pond? – Nathan of Florida

A: Having a fountain in your pond is a great way to add tranquility to your home. To sit out on the deck and see a beautiful fountain

display as well as hear that relaxing sound of water. What more could you ask for? Many people are drawn to a fountain’s show-stopping appeal, but will they aerate a pond as well? The answer to this really depends on a couple factors: the pond’s depth and the type of fountain pattern the fountain is using.

Pond’s Depth: Fountains can be great aerators when the pond is less than 6′ of depth. The reason for this is because the best way to aerate is to circulate the whole body of water at the same time. A fountain will only draw water from the top of the water column, which is water that already contains oxygen from the air to water oxygen transfer. The pond’s bottom will remain untouched if it is deeper than 6′. If your pond is less than 6′ deep, then all you have to worry about is the spray pattern.

Fountain Spray Pattern: The spray pattern of a fountain makes a huge difference in how much aeration is produced. Usually the more decorative the spray pattern, the less likely it is to aerate your pond properly. This is because more energy is spent on creating the decorative pattern than there is moving the water. The best spray pattern to use for a fountain is a “V” patterned fountain like the picture above

If your pond is deeper than 6′ of depth, than the best method of aeration would be an Airmax Aeration System. The Airmax Aeration System diffuser will pump air down to the bottom of the pond, and the resulting column of rising bubbles lifts and aerates the water. By starting from the bottom, up, this will ensure that the whole body of water is properly circulated as well as aerated.

Can I Leave My Fountain Running During the Winter? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of Fountain Running in Winter.

Q: I have a decorative fountain in my pond. Can I leave it running for the Winter? – Andy of Minnesota

A: No. Just look at the picture to the left. Although it may look neat, the consequences are great. If you left your fountain running during the Winter, the ice, over time, will freeze around
it. This can cause severe damage to the fountain. The prop could freeze and burn the motor out or the float could crack causing the fountain to sink to the bottom!

Removing the fountain: Remove and store the fountain in a cool, dry place. This is also a great time to scrub and clean the fountain. Remove any debris or algae from anywhere around the prop. Once squeaky clean, store until the Spring.

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