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We’ve had a pretty hard winter. What can I expect when the ice finally melts? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: We’ve had a pretty hard winter. What can I expect when the ice finally melts?

Q: We’ve had a pretty hard winter. What can I expect when the ice finally melts?

Kevin – Downers Grove, IL

A: Yep, this has indeed been a long, cold winter for much of the country. We’ve shivered through frigid temperatures, shoveled and slogged through snow banks, and watched our ponds and lakes freeze over.

Unfortunately, that could mean trouble for your fish.

When the ice on your pond finally melts this spring, you might discover that your fish and other aquatic life haven’t survived the season. These winter fish kills occur when the ice prevents gas exchange and reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water.

Michigan DNR fish production manager Gary Whelan says that shallow lakes, ponds and streams are particularly vulnerable to winterkill.

“Winterkill begins with distressed fish gasping for air at holes in the ice and often ends with large numbers of dead fish that bloat as the water warms in early spring,” he explains. “Dead fish and other aquatic life may appear fuzzy because of secondary infection by fungus, but the fungus was not the cause of death. The fish actually suffocated from a lack of dissolved oxygen from decaying plants and other dead aquatic animals under the ice.”

You can’t bring your fish back to life, but you can prevent winterkill from happening in the future by aerating your pond year-round with an Airmax® Pond Series™ Aeration System. Here’s how it works:

  • It reduces the amount of decomposing debris in the pond, encouraging the colonization of beneficial aerobic bacteria, which prevents muck and nutrient accumulation and maintains clear water.
  • It keeps an air hole open in the ice, allowing harmful gases to escape while delivering fresh oxygen to your fish.
  • It pumps even more fresh oxygen into the water via diffusers that sit on the bottom of the pond.

A little pond preparation can go a long way, especially when it comes to unknown variables like weather. Let’s hope next winter is milder than this one was!

Pond Talk: Have you experienced a winterkill in your pond or lake before?

Airmax(r) Aeration is Easy to Install - Airmax(r) Pond Series(t)

When can I put my fountain back in my pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: When can I put my fountain back in my pond?

Q: When can I put my fountain back in my pond?

John – Pataskala, OH

A: Fountains do more than create an attractive splash in your pond or lake. They also allow for greater gas exchange at the water’s surface, expelling dangerous ammonia and drawing in healthy oxygen for your fish and other sub-surface critters.

When spring rolls around, it’s time to reinstall your fountain – but before you do, be sure to check your Farmer’s Almanac or with your meteorologist. Make sure there’s little chance of the pond icing over again.

Once you’re sure that temps will remain above freezing, perform some quick maintenance tasks before submerging the fountain and anchoring it into position, including:

  • Clean It Up: Pull out a power washer and spray down the motor so built-up material doesn’t trap heat.
  • Check the Cord: Inspect the power cord for cuts.
  • Make It Muskrat-Proof: Protect the cord with ratcord (power cord sleeve) if you have muskrats in your area.
  • Maintenance Visit: Send the motor in for regular seal and oil maintenance if you haven’t done so in a few years.

When you put your fountain back into place, make sure the mooring lines are snug enough to keep it secure. When anchoring with blocks at the bottom of the pond, make sure the lines are spread far enough apart so the fountain doesn’t spin from the force of the motor, which could cause the lines to get tangled.

As soon as you’ve put your fountain back in place, add your first dose of Pond Dye to the water so the spraying action will disperse the color evenly. Nature’s Blue™ or Black DyeMond™ will shade the water, minimize algae blooms and give your landscape a natural-looking pop of color

Pond Talk: What’s your fountain’s favorite spray pattern?

Convenient Water-Soluble Packets - Pond Logic(r) Pond Dye Packets

How do I start up my aeration system for the spring?| Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: My pond has some filamentous algae growth around the edges. It’s too cold to treat, right?

Q: How do I start up my aeration system for the spring?

Molly – Provo, UT

A: If your Airmax® Aeration System has been sitting idle for the past four months, it’s about time to get that thing cranking again. Here’s a seven-step checklist to follow when air and water temperatures start heating up this spring.

  1. Change Your Air Filter: Your air filter, which prevents debris from entering your air compressor, can be cleaned periodically to remove light debris – but it should be replaced every three to six months for maximum system performance and longevity.
  2. Check, Clean Side Intake Air Filters: Take a look at your side intake air filters on your cabinet, too, and make sure they’re clean and unobstructed.
  3. Ensure Cabinet Fan Works: To make sure fresh air will tunnel evenly through your cabinet, flip on your fan and verify that it’s working properly.
  4. Purge Membrane Diffuser Sticks: Though they’re virtually maintenance-free, these diffuser sticks, which deliver the air bubbles to the water, should be purged and inspected before they’re submerged.
  5. Airlines Cleared: It could still be icy in your pond, so check your airlines for ice buildup. To clear them, pour 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol through the airline running out to each plate, turn on the compressor and push through the line to free any tiny icebergs.
  6. Start Your Engines – Gradually: To prevent shocking your pond, follow your aeration system’s initial seven-day startup procedure. On Day 1, run the system for 30 minutes and then turn it off for the rest of the day. On each day following, double the time: Day 2, run for one hour; Day 3, run for two hours; Day 4, run for four hours; and so on. On Day 7, begin running it for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  7. Pressure Check: Once your system is up and running, make sure that its pressure gauge stays within the normal range of 5 to 10 psi. An easy way to do this to mark the gauge upon initial start up and check it regularly to verify pressure has not significantly risen above or dropped below your initial reading.

Following these simple steps will guarantee a smooth start to aerating your pond this spring. If you’re ever in doubt, check out your owner’s manual or contact one of the experts at The Pond Guy®.

Pond Talk: Are you planning to add any fish or plants to your pond this spring?

Protect and Shade Your Pond- Pond Logic(r) Pond Dye

What color pond dye will work best in my pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: What color pond dye will work best in my pond?

Q: What color pond dye will work best in my pond?

Brian – Kansas City, KS

A: Pond dye is great stuff. It not only enhances your pond or lake’s aesthetic appeal with hues that compliment your landscape, but it also shades the water from the sun’s rays, preventing pesky algae growth and helping you maintain a healthy pond.

Pond dye color is really a matter of personal preference, but different shades are better suited to different situations.

  • Do you have a decorative pond? Try Nature’s Blue dye – our customers’ favorite choice. It’s the ideal color for ornamental water features as it contrasts perfectly with lush green landscaping.
  • Do you prefer a more natural look? Try Twilight Blue dye. It maintains a neutral blackish-blue tint that shades and protects your pond without making drastic changes to its natural coloring.
  • Do you want to showcase your landscape? Consider using Black DyeMond dye. It creates a mirrored surface that reflects surrounding trees and natural rocky landscapes, making it perfect for natural ponds in wooded areas.

We recommend you use pond dye year-round. Pond Logic® Pond Dye is a concentrated formula that you simply pour in several spots along your pond’s edge. Apply it monthly or as needed to maintain the blue or black hue all year long. Pond Logic® Pond Dye PLUS is the same formula as our traditional pond dye – but we’ve added beneficial bacteria to the mix to help keep your pond looking crystal clear.

Pond Talk: What’s your favorite pond dye – and why?

Protect and Shade Your Pond- Pond Logic(r) Pond Dye

We had a couple of warm days. Is there anything I can do to get my pond ready for spring? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: We had a couple of warm days. Is there anything I can do to get my pond ready for spring?

Q: We had a couple of warm days. Is there anything I can do to get my pond ready for spring?

Jo – Armarillo, TX

A: We may have another month of winter ahead of us, but that doesn’t mean you can’t head out to the pond on sunny days and get a jump-start on your spring cleaning and maintenance chores. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Tidy Things Up
    Rain, snow, wind and winter precipitation do a number on landscaping, so take some time to clean up the foliage around your pond. Remove fallen branches, rake leaves and debris, cut down cattails and pull out any pond weeds you can reach. Two great all-purpose tools to use for the task are the Weed Cutter and the  Pond & Beach Rake. The cutter slices through floating debris like aquatic vegetation, weeds, cattails and phragmites; the rake, which works on land and in the water, allows you to mechanically remove those cut weeds, algae, muck and debris.
  2. Inspect Mechanical Parts
    Sunshine is a perfect excuse to tinker with outside toys, like your aeration system. Head out to the pond and check your air filters. Do they need changing? How’s the airflow from the lines? Is it what you expect? Is your air compressor operating properly? If needed, install new air filters, clean out your lines, and tune up your air compressor with replacement washers and fittings from your maintenance kit. Keep your system performing optimally – even if it’s still winter.
  3. Check Your Pond’s Temperature
    Using your water thermometer, check the water temperature in your pond or lake. If it reads above 50°F, you can start treating the water with ClearPAC® PLUS products like PondClear™ and  MuckAway™. The beneficial bacteria in PondClear™ will go to work removing excess nutrients, clearing up suspended organic waste and preventing noxious odors from surfacing. The beneficial bacteria in  MuckAway™ will digest stinky pond muck that coats the bottom of your pond or lake. Don’t start treating algae; however, until water temperatures top 60° F.

Pond Talk: What’s the first thing you plan to do with your pond or lake when spring finally arrives?

Keep Your Pond Clean and Clear All Season - Pond Logic(r) ClearPAC(r) PLUS

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

I think my aeration airline is clogged or frozen. What should I do? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I think my aeration airline is clogged or frozen. What should I do?

Q: I think my aeration airline is clogged or frozen. What should I do?

Ben – Franklin, PA

A: We all know how important an aeration system is in your pond or lake – but it doesn’t do much good if your airline is clogged or frozen! If you don’t see bubbles at the surface and your compressor is running, here’s what we recommend to troubleshoot a closed line:

  1. Gauge Check: First of all, check your air pressure gauge. Is it reading higher than normal? If so, your compressor is struggling to push the air through the blockage, which is creating increased pressure in the line.
  2. System Check: Next, disconnect the airline at the compressor and check to see whether air is coming out. If it is, your compressor works just fine – but your airline might have ice blockages. To melt them and open the flow back up, pour 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol through each airline (or the airline you believe is clogged or frozen).
  3. Maintenance Check: If no air is coming out of your compressor, you might need to do some maintenance on it. Over time, seals and moving parts will wear and break down, causing decreased system performance. The Pond Logic® SilentAir™ Piston Compressor Maintenance Kits include a range of washers, gaskets and hardware that will get your compressor humming again.
  4. Air Filter Check: While you’re doing maintenance on your air compressor, it’s a good idea to check your air filter, too. If it’s full of gunk and debris, consider replacing it with the SilentAir™ RP Series Compressor Air Filters. They’re designed to be replaced every three to six months for maximum system performance and longevity.

Pond Talk: Have you had a lot of trouble with frozen airlines this winter?

Maximize System Performance & Longevity- Airmax(r) SilentAir(tm) RP Series Compressor Air Filters

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