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I realized today that my pond seems to have a leak. How could I find out? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Put It On The Patch

I realized today that my pond seems to have a leak. How could I find out? Cindy – Kirtland, NM

This Blog Has A Lot of Holes

Having a leak in your Pond Liner can be frustrating at best, but not being able to locate the source of the water loss can be maddening. While repairing a leak in your pond is never your ideal way to spend time at your water garden, knowing how to locate and stop your leaks can change an extremely bothersome job into a relatively smooth process.

Now You See It … Now You Don’t

It is normal to experience some water loss in your pond throughout the season. This is due to evaporation. In areas with warmer climates it is not uncommon to lose a couple of inches of water each week. While evaporation is a natural process it can still be annoying at times as it will require you to add water to your pond to maintain your normal water level. Installing an Auto Fill Valve in your skimmer will keep ensure your pond is always at your desired water level without you having to go out and physically fill it. For those of you who experience small water loss like this during your warmer seasons, feel free to let out a sigh of relief, there will be no leak hunting for you today.

Learn To Locate Your Leaks

Alliteration aside, if you are losing more than a few inches a water from your pond in a short time span it is time to sniff out these leaks and seal them up. The best way to find the source of your water loss is to start with the obvious as it may save you the time and trouble of moving the rocks in your pond, or worse, pulling up your plumbing.

Look For Low Edges or Overspill: Inspect the edges of your pond, waterfall, and stream bed. Make sure there is no water spilling over the edges of these areas and if you have tight turns in your stream make sure the water able to follow the curve without splashing out. Check for damp areas or pooling water outside of the pond for indications of such leaks. If the water level exceeds the level of your pond liner you will want to adjust the level of the overflow drain in your skimmer to maintain a shallower water body. If you are losing water from the falls or stream bed re-arrange the rocks to remove obstructions and create gentler curves.

Shut Down Your Pump: If your search for the obvious turns out uneventful it is time to check the pond area itself. Shut down your pumps and turn off your auto fill valve if you have one. If you experience significant water loss from the pond then you have now successfully narrowed the search for the leak. If you have fish in your pond you will want to run an alternate form of Aeration while your system is shut down as the process can take a day or two. If the leak is in the side of the pond liner the water level will drop to the height of the cut in your liner and stop. If the leak is in the bottom of the pond the pond will eventually empty out so make sure you are periodically checking in on your project.

Inspect Your Skimmer and Plumbing: If the water is successfully being held in the pond with the pump off the leak my be in the Skimmer Box or the plumbing itself. Inspect the skimmer box and try to locate a crack or hole. Inspect and tighten the fittings going from the skimmer box or pump to the Waterfall Box. Follow the tubing path and look for any water dampness in the ground. If there is, there’s a good chance coupler fittings are loose or you have a leak in the tubing.

Got Milk?

For the areas that make sense, you can use milk or Pond Shade and an eye dropper to visually track the flow of the water leaving the pond. Go along the edges of the pond and apply drops to pinpoint the area of the pond where your pond water is making its great escape. Move any rocks or plants in that area and get ready to show this leak whose boss.

Does Your Pond Need To Quit Leaking? Put It On The Patch.

Once you have located the cut in your pond liner clean off any dirt or debris from the general area. If the hole is a small cut or puncture you can use Underwater Pond Sealer to cover the area and stop the leak. You do not have to drain the pond to use this type of sealant as it will cure underwater, just make sure that you apply the product in a bead and do not press it flat. You can use the Underwater Pond Sealer to patch holes in your waterfall box and skimmer as well. For holes up to 5” you can also purchase a Patch Kit. These kits will come with an adhesive patch that attaches directly to your liner after you have cleaned it and made sure it is dry. If you have opened the flood gates and put a puncture larger than 5” in the pond you can purchase additional Pond Liner and some Seam Tape to repair the damage. The use of seam tape will also require you to clean and dry the areas of liner surrounding the hole. After applying Seam Tape, we recommend using Cover Tape to ensure the leak is secure. Regardless of which type of repair you use you will want to overlap the cut, tear, or hole by at least 1” to ensure an adequate seal.

Pond Talk: Have you ever had a leak in your water garden? How did you go about fixing it?

Underwater Pond Sealer - Works wet or dry!

How Do I Stock Fish In My Pond? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Largemouth Bass

Q: How Do I Stock Fish In My Pond? – Ellie in Massachusetts

Where’s The Fish?
Both fishing enthusiasts and pond hobbyists alike can appreciate the presence of a healthy fish population in their pond. While they are fun to catch and entertaining to watch, they also help maintain a balanced backyard ecosystem. As is true with most aspects of your pond, the key to maintaining an enjoyable environment is balance. When stocking your pond, you will want to add a combination of both predator (largemouth bass for example) and prey fish (bluegill or perch). Your predator fish won’t fare too well without prey fish on their menu. If you stock your pond with prey fish only, there will be few factors regulating their population which can lead to an uncomfortably high fish population. When stocking your pond, aim for a 3:1 prey to predator ratio to ensure your predator fish have a reasonable meal selection. Maintaining a clean pond with plenty of aeration will promote a robust and healthy fish selection. Most man-made ponds lack adequate habitats, so make sure you provide options like a Fish Attractor that provides a retreat for the smaller up-and-coming fish.

Every Fish Has Its Day
Our local customers can take advantage of The Pond Guy semi-annual Fish Day, which takes place on the 8th of May. Fish Day is a great opportunity to meet with other pond owners, speak with the friendly and knowledgeable Pond Guy staff, and browse our wide selection of pond products from Pond Dye to Aeration. Customers can pre-order online or over the phone until May 7th; orders will be available for payment and pick-up on May 8th between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. There will be a wide selection of both predator and prey fish available for purchase, including Hybrid Bluegill, Perch, Catfish and Bass. Walk-ins are welcome, but selection will be limited by availability.

POND TALK: What types of fish do you keep in your pond?

The Pond Guy presents Fish Day 2010 on May 8th

My pond is covered in duckweed. What can I do to treat this stuff? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Duckweed

Q. My pond is covered in duckweed. What can I do to treat this stuff? – Tony in Indiana

Friend or Fowl
A: For the lucky pond guys and gals out there who have never experienced duckweed in their pond, or those of you who think you may have it but are unsure; duckweed is a very small floating plant with kidney shaped leaves and a small hair-like root hanging below. It is approximately the size of a pencil eraser and is frequently misidentified as algae. It can cut off sunlight to submersed plants and cut off oxygen to fish and other wildlife. Duckweed is an extremely prolific grower and can quickly cover an entire pond making it frustrating to treat and maintain. More often than not, duckweed is introduced into your pond by hitching a ride on the feet of waterfowl.

Don’t Go Daffy Over Duckweed
There are two great options available to you in your fight against duckweed. Choosing the product that is right for you depends on the time frame you have to treat your pond. For fast acting, short term results, you can use a contact herbicide like PondWeed Defense®. Treatments with these types of herbicides work best on mature aquatic plants that are in a contained environment. Multiple treatments are typically required for effective short term control. It is important to remember that whenever you are treating large amounts of weed growth, only treat one third of the pond at a time and implement aeration whenever possible to ensure safe oxygen levels. When treating with PondWeed Defense®, we suggest that you use a tank sprayer to apply the herbicide directly onto the weeds. PondWeed Defense® has no water use restrictions, but if you have koi or trout, make sure you test to make sure the carbonate hardness of your water is above 50 ppm (parts per million).

For long term treatment of duckweed, we suggest using WhiteCap™. By adding WhiteCap™ to your pond in early Spring, you will inhibit the weed’s ability to produce carotene, a pigment that protects the plant’s chlorophyll. Without carotene, the sun quickly degrades the green chlorophyll and the weed dies. WhiteCap™ must stay in your pond for up to 90 days for maximum results, so if your pond has a constant overflow or you are experiencing heavy rains, you may need to include additional treatments. WhiteCap™ is degraded by sunlight, so when applying, make sure you spray the product directly into the water and not onto the plant foliage itself. Also, adding Nature’s Blue™ Pond Dye after treatment will help prevent sun degradation as well as track water dilution from heavy rains. WhiteCap™ has a 30 day irrigation restriction.

POND TALK: Have you ever experienced duckweed in your pond? What did you use to treat it?

Kill Pond Weeds FAST with PondWeed Defense®!

I have a ton of algae growing on my pond. What can I do to get rid of it? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Pond Algae

Q. I have a ton of algae growing on my pond. What can I do to get rid of it? – Jeff in New York

The ice is finally off. You walk out to the pond for the first time, expecting to see your happy fish except….in their place is a happy, healthy sprout of algae! This may leave you thinking where do I begin? Here is a quick guide to get you started towards taking back your pond.

1) Give your pond short term relief. If you are in a climate where water temperatures are already above 50 degrees Fahrenheit you can begin doing algae treatments. The chemical choice will depend on the type of fish contained in your pond, whether the algae is floating or submerged and how much area the algae is covering. For more detail on choosing the right chemical view our Weed ID Guide.

2)  Add Pond Shade. By adding pond shade you can reduce the amount of sunlight reaching into your pond.

3)  Rake the Pond. Once the algae is dead you can rake out the dead matter in order to reduce the amount of accumulation of muck in the bottom of the pond. Muck is a major food source for algae.

4)  Treat with Natural Bacteria. Adding natural bacteria such as PondClear & MuckAway will aid in quickly decomposing any organic material that does reach the pond’s bottom. You can also use EcoBoost to give your natural bacteria a little extra oomph.
Dyed Pond with Aeration5) Aerate the Pond. If you aren’t already aerating, aeration is a great way to increase the oxygen contact for the bacteria to be more efficient and also to help keep your fish healthy for the upcoming warmer months.

If your pond hasn’t quite hit the 50 degree temperature you can still be proactive about algae reduction and prevention. Dye and aeration is not dependent on temperature and can be started at any time.

POND TALK: What are your favorite methods for keeping your pond clear and beautiful?

Use Pond Dye To Keep The Algae At Bay

How soon should I start treating my pond with bacteria? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Dyed Pond


Q: How soon should I start treating my pond with bacteria? – Justin in Minnesota

Baby It’s Cold Outside
The ice is melting away from the surface of your pond and Spring is already on its way, should bacteria be a part of your ponds Winter/Spring transition? Depending on your location, bacteria may be too busy singing the blues to work on the organics residing in your pond. Adhering to the general rules of thumb below will keep your bacteria working as efficiently as possible, keeping your pockets green and your pond crystal clear.

Aeration, Aeration, wherefore art thou Aeration
It may be cliché to quote Shakespeare in a blog post, but we’ve stressed the importance of aeration for so many seasons now he just may have heard of it himself. Aeration circulates the water in your pond adding oxygen to the water column. Beneficial bacteria, like those found in our ClearPAC®, thrive on oxygen. While we don’t plan on winning any awards for our astounding math skills in the near future, we have hit the nail on the head with this equation: water + oxygen = productive bacteria. You can still use beneficial bacteria in your pond without aeration, but you will definitely get more bang for your buck running an aeration system.

Getting Warmer
You know why to use your ClearPAC® but you are still unsure when to start adding it into your pond. This answer will depend on where you live. The bacteria in PondClear™ really flex their muscles when your water temperatures reach 50° and up. This means that areas with warmer climates will start adding their bacteria earlier in the season than those of us pond guys and gals who are still digging their cars out of snow drifts. Check your water temperature regularly and begin your applications accordingly. To really give your bacteria a boost, use EcoBoost™ along with every dose of PondClear™.

The Life of the PRE-Party
While your PondClear™ & EcoBoost™ are patiently waiting in their buckets, your Pond Dye is ready for action all year long. We strongly suggest adding Pond Dye—even if your pond ices over—as algae can grow in cold temperatures and can still utilize sunlight through the ice.

POND TALK: When do you start your bacteria applications in your pond? How do you kick off the opening of your pond for the season?

Does it matter what color pond dye I use for my pond? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Dyed PondQ: Does it matter what color pond dye I use for my pond? – Jen in West Virginia

A: With a wide variety of dyes appearing in the pond industry, how do you choose the one that’s best for you?

Black dye, blue dye, dyes with bluish green or blackish blue, concentrated dye, dyes with added bacteria…..some pond guys and gals may find themselves asking, “What does any of this mean to me?” or just plain “HELP!”.

One thing that we can all agree on is that these pond dyes are no longer perceived as singularly decorative or unimportant to maintaining a healthy pond. Although adding dye to your pond does enhance its visual appeal, it also plays a major part in preventing algae attacks by restricting the amount of sun exposure your pond floor receives. How many of us can truly say that less algae outbreaks is a bad thing?

Black or Blue……Why Not Both?

Now that we’ve cleared the air about dye’s importance in your pond, there is only one question left to ask: “What’s your favorite flavor?”

Previously, the process of adding color to your pond involved the simple process of grabbing what was on your retailer’s shelf taking it home and dumping it into your pond. Pretty easy right? How about pretty boring? What if you don’t want your pond to be bright blue? What if you don’t want it to look like a Caribbean oasis? This is where options become a good thing. So which to choose?

Black: Perfect for natural looking ponds in wooded areas where you want a reflective surface to show off the surrounding landscape.  Black DyeMondPond Dye

Blue: You have a manicured yard with lush green grass and the true blue color beautifully offsets the scenery. Nature’s Blue

Twilight Blue: So you wanted the best of both worlds? Now you can have it. Thanks to your input we are proud to present Twilight Blue. If you want a little blue in your water but you don’t want your pond to contrast its surroundings too much. You will achieve ample color while also creating an attractive, rich look. Twilight Blue

Aqua-Blue: The Caribbean color looks great with sandy beaches and tropical landscape and can turn your pond into our aforementioned oasis. Aquashade

POND TALK: So which is YOUR favorite color? Share with us pictures of your favorite colored pond!

What do I need to do to overwinter the fish in my farm pond? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Winter is coming, are your fish ready?

Pond & Lake Q & A

Recently, someone asked me a fantastic question regarding winter aeration and if it can “super-cool” your pond in the winter, possibly causing harm to your fish. I had one of our expert Fisheries Biologists, Justin McLeod, answer this question. Below are some easy solutions that he suggests to ensure a fish-safe winter for those of you in the colder climates. – Jason Blake, The Pond Guy®

Winter aeration (bubblers) can be very important in areas where ponds can freeze over. Along the Northern US border and into Canada, mid-winter temperatures dip well below freezing for prolonged amounts of time. This can put your fish into jeopardy if the pond freezes completely over. To answer your question regarding “Super-Cooling your pond, extremely cold surface temperatures cause ponds to stratify in the opposite way of the summer. Because water is most dense at 39 degrees Fahrenheit, the water beneath the winter thermocline stays around that 39 degree mark, while the water above the thermocline drops down near the 32 degree mark. This is a small difference, but it could mean life or death to a fish.

A “super-cooled” condition is created generally when surface aeration (fountains, High Volume Surface aerators, or really anything pump or pushing water into the atmosphere) is used during winter months. “Super-Cooling” happens when the colder water on the top is circulated to the bottom, leaving no warmer water refuge for the fish. Although it is uncommon to see “Super-Cooling” with sub-surface aeration (bottom bubblers), there have been instances when it has happened. With that said, I would never let this stop me from operating my aerator in the winter – my fish are just too important to me!

Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your aeration system and possibly avoid the chance of “Super-Cooling”:

    1. If you have multiple diffuser plates, it is ok to run only 50% of your diffusers. Even though the mixing power of your system is decreased, it will still add oxygen to the pond and allow gases to escape out through the hole it creates in the ice. Note: You only need 10% of your water surface open in the winter for gas exchange.
    2. If your pond is extremely small (1/8 acre or less), you may want to move your plate(s) out from the deepest area into a shallower spot. This will leave room for fish to winter in the deeper water.

POND TALK: What do you do to prepare your lake fish for winter?

Blue Pond Dye Versus Black Pond Dye – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of Blue Pond Dye & Black Pond Dye.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: I notice you have a black pond dye. Is there any reason why I should use black pond dye versus blue pond dye? – Nick of New York

A: We’ve received some calls lately about the difference between our Nature’s Blue Pond Dye & Black DyeMond Pond Dyes. What’s the best color for the pond? Is one better than the other? When would I use one of them and not the other? It really comes down to color preference as well as the environment surrounding your pond.

Nature’s Blue Pond Dye is the most widely used of the pond dyes. It looks very good in almost any situation. Our blue dye has a very deep, natural blue shade as opposed to some of the yellowish-blue colors you find with some other brands. Nature’s Blue Pond Dye works great in ponds that have a manicured and open landscape where the open sky can help reflect the color.

Black DyeMond Pond Dye is growing popularity extremely fast in the pond market. What we’ve found is that Black DyeMond pond dye fits very well in natural ponds in wooded areas. It gives the pond a pure, reflective quality that rivals some of Mother Nature’s best work.

Either way, whichever color you choose, blue or black, pond dye is an important aspect of keep your pond looking beautiful all year.

POND TALK: Do you use pond dye in your pond?

Using Pond Dye to Shade Your Pond – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of blue pond dye & black pond dye

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: How do you turn a one acre pond blue in color? My wife has fish in it and wants the blue tint? – Scott of Mississippi

A: Turning your pond a blue color is a great way to not only to provide your pond with a beautiful blue shade, but also will reduce the amount of sunlight that penetrates through the pond. Surprisingly enough, just one quart of Nature’s Blue Pond Dye will shade a one acre pond (43,560 sq. ft.) with an average depth of 4′-6′. I would use one quart, wait 24 hours and evaluate. If you would like a deeper color add another 1/2 quart. Also, with Nature’s Blue Pond Dye, there are no water use restrictions and it is safe for fish, birds, pets, horses, livestock and wildlife.

If you are more into beautiful reflections and a richer tone instead of the blue shade, I would recommend Black DyeMond Pond Dye.

Algae Growth During the Winter – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of Algae in Ice.

Q: That isn’t algae growing under the ice, is it?

A: A common question that we receive in the winter pertains to winter algae and what to do with it. In the northern climates, there are strains of algae that do thrive in temperatures down to freezing. The good news is that typically these strains do not reach nuisance levels in ponds or lakes. They tend to hang out in warmer locations, usually around an inflow of water, where it is nice and sunny. In optimal growing conditions, these algae can generate enough biomass to put your fish at risk. A sudden die-off caused by a sudden swing in temperature, overcast weather, etc. can deplete the dissolved oxygen levels under the ice which leads to unnecessary fish stress.

Solutions: Nutrient management in your watershed as well as your pond will slow down the growth of any algae or plant all season. Typically phosphorus is the key nutrient for algal growth, so try switching to phosphorus free fertilizers if you fertilize your lawn. Our Pond-Clear Packets and Pond-Clear Pellets eat away at the muck/nutrients found in the pond. Our Nutri-Defense Packets bind up any excess nutrients flowing in from the watershed. These are things to do in the summer, but what about winter? With the pond frozen over, your options are limited. Dying the pond a deep blue with pond dye will reduce the amount of sunlight that passes through the water column. If you can safely do it, I would suggest adding an extra dose through the ice to slow down growth.

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