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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

What causes pond odor? | Farm Ponds & Lakes Q&A

.What causes pond odor?

What causes pond odor?
Andy – Seattle, WA

When your pond starts to smell like old socks, there’s a very good chance that (a) it’s not well aerated; and (b) it’s full of decaying debris. The third alternative – that your pond is filled with dirty socks – is a long shot, so we won’t even bother to address it. But stagnant, debris filled ponds? We’ve got the answers you need.

First, and most importantly, we’ll turn to aeration. With the properly sized aeration system – our Airmax Aeration Systems are available in a range of options – the water in your pond circulates several times a day. The process of circulation helps to remove the gases produced by decomposing debris. Because those gases are responsible for the vast majority of the foul odors associated with stagnant ponds, this first step is vitally important – and extremely effective.

To complete the job, however, you’ll need to remove and/or break down the odor-producing debris. To accomplish that job, nothing is more effective than our PondLogic® PondClear and PondLogic® MuckAway. Comprised of beneficial, environmentally friendly bacteria, PondClear removes organics and excess nutrients from pond water, helping to stop foul odors before they start. As an added benefit, PondClear improves water clarity and enhances your pond’s overall health.

Like PondClear, MuckAway introduces environmentally friendly bacteria to your pond. The bacteria then gets to work on the muck at the bottom of your pond or lakefront, reducing it by as much as 5” per year. In the process of breaking muck down, MuckAway also eliminates odor-causing gases to keep your pond looking – and smelling – the way it should.

Pond Talk: Do you have issues with pond odor in your pond?

Pond Logic® PondClear™

How can I reduce algae growth in my pond? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

How can I reduce algae growth in my pond?

How can I reduce algae growth in my pond?
Ryan – Dallas, TX

As we progress through spring and into summer, it is important that you know how to treat algae growth should you experience an algae bloom. Persistent algae blooms will still flex their muscles even if you maintain a clean pond. There are really two approaches, a reactive approach-treating growth, and a proactive approach-treating the source.

Reactive Approach-Treating the Growth
You can provide a temporary relief from algae by treating these algae break-outs with an algaecide like Pond Logic Algae Defense or Cutrine Plus Granular. It is best to treat the algae first, making contact between the chemical and the target algae as much as possible and then raking out the debris once dead. If the algae mat is more then an inch or two thick, you may want to rake out some of the algae before treating. To apply use a Tank Sprayer or Hand Spreader to kill off the remaining algae particulate. Once the treated algae dies and browns out, remove the debris with an Airmax Lake Rake so it does not sink the bottom of the pond and decay, encouraging new growth.

When selecting the type algaecide to use you will want to observe any use restrictions the product may carry. Algae Defense and Cutrine Plus granular are a popular choice as they do not carry any water use restrictions. . These products do however contain chelated copper which will not harm the pond or most common gamefish but are not as friendly to koi, goldfish or trout if carbonate hardness is less than 50ppm. You can test your carbonate hardness before treatment with a carbonate hardness test kit. If these types of fish inhabit your pond and you are looking for another option you may want to consider using Hydrothol 191. This product does carry some water use restrictions however it does not contain copper.

Proactive Approach-Treating the Source
Proactively treating your pond before you actually experience algae blooms can save you time and money in the long run. Algae blooms tend to be a symptom of a much larger problem – a dirty pond. By using only algaecides for pond maintenance you allow your pond to continue to accumulate organic debris and fuel for bigger and more stubborn outbreaks.
If your water temperatures are already around 50 degrees or above you can enlist the help of beneficial bacteria and natural water treatments to reduce organic debris and bind phosphates. Pond Logic PondClear can be used to treat your entire water column and attack floating suspended organics that cause turbid water. Pond Logic MuckAway sinks to the bottom of your pond to eliminate pond muck. Pond Logic EcoBoost naturally binds the phosphates helps sink floating particulates to increase water clarity. EcoBoost also introduces trace minerals into your pond which improves the health of your game fish. Remember to also run your Airmax Aeration System. Aerating your pond will ensure a healthy and well balanced pond for your fish during times of added stress while treating for algae, as well as to promote beneficial bacteria like PondClear to continue to breakdown any debris you may have missed while raking.

Pond Talk: Have you already experienced an algae bloom in your pond this season?

Pond Logic Algae Defense

I shut my aerator off for the winter, will I have to introduce it slowly again in the spring? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

I shut my aerator off for the winter, will I have to introduce it slowly again in the spring?

I shut my aerator off for the winter, will I have to introduce it slowly again in the spring?

George – Albany, NY

As pond owners we buy aeration systems for our water bodies with the intentions of creating a cleaner and healthier environment for both ourselves and our fish. While aeration systems are great at eliminating water stratification and promoting the ideal environment for a healthy pond, the key to proper use is proper installation.

The surface of your pond reacts to the ambient air temperature and warmth from the sun considerably faster than deeper regions. As we head into spring the temperature will begin to rise as the sun shines down on your pond. The top layer of water in your pond will begin to warm up quickly while the bottom of your pond stays dark and cold. Furthermore, the surface of your pond is exposed to oxygen which is naturally wicked into the water column but remains only in the upper layers. This formation of warmer and cooler layers of water is known as stratification. Stratification can become a potential hazard as the two different layers of water will sometimes flip or “turnover” and mix together causing a sudden change in water temperature and dissolved oxygen levels which, depending on its severity, can make it difficult for your fish to adapt to the quickly changing environment.

Airmax Aeration Systems are designed to infuse oxygen into your water column from the bottom of the pond while continuously circulating the water. This constant action aids to prevent water stratification for occurring. However, when aeration is introduced suddenly and continuous to your pond you are, in essence, creating a man-made turnover by forcing all of the water at the bottom of your pond to the surface.

When installing an aeration system in your pond, or upon reintroduction of your system after winter removal, you will want to run your system in small increments that grow in duration over the course of a week. Think of this process as the same way you acclimate new fish to your pond. You wouldn’t just grab a new fish by the tail and toss them in your pond, you float their holding container in your pond and slowly mix some of the water together to give them time to adjust to the variations in each environment. By running your aeration system for only an hour the first day you install it and doubling the run time each day after, your aeration system will be running continuously by the end of the week while keeping your fish safe from pond turnovers.

Pond Talk: Have you ever experienced turnover in your pond? Share your stories with potential aeration newcomers and pond veterans alike.

Keep your pond healthy all year long!

Should I still be doing maintenance on my aeration system this time of year? | Pond & Lakes Q & A

Should I still be doing maintenance on my aeration system this time of year?

Should I still be doing maintenance on my aeration system this time of year?
Sharon – Farmington, MI

Your aeration system is a very important tool in keeping your pond clean and healthy throughout the entire year. Whether your are just starting your system up for the first time this season or have been aerating your pond all winter long there is never a bad time to do a quick maintenance check on your aeration equipment.

A lot of potential issues can be resolved just by visually inspecting your aeration unit. Regularly inspecting your aeration system’s pressure gauges, exposed airlines and cooling fans can help locate line blockages and worn or broken parts that could damage your aeration system if left unnoticed. If the airlines are blocked by ice or debris the pressure gauge on your aeration system will begin to climb. Once too much pressure builds up in the compressor a pressure relief valve will open to drain the air causing a loud “hissing” noise. No air is making it into your pond when this happens and your compressor will begin to overwork itself causing rapid wear and tear.
Your aeration system needs air to function properly. A clogged or dirty air filter will restrict the amount of air that enters your aeration system reducing performance. Furthermore, dust and debris that are allowed to pass through your air filter will travel into the compressor and wear out moving parts faster than usual reducing the life of your aerator. Check and clean your air filter regularly and replace the air filter element every 3 to 6 months.
When the ice completely thaws over your pond this spring it is a good idea to raise your aeration plates and inspect them for broken or missing parts. Airstones should be cleaned or replaced with membrane diffusers, and the connection between your airline and aeration plate should be checked and tightened if necessary. Compressor maintenance kits are available for Airmax® Aeration systems and should be installed every 3 to 5 years. These kits contain replacement parts for the wear and tear items in your compressor which break down and diminish performance over time. Each kit comes with instructions and images and is simple to install. If you do not feel up to the challenge or feel more comfortable having a professional install your maintenance kit you can contact a pond guy or gal toll free at 866-766-3710 to send your system in for maintenance.

Like a vehicle, your aeration system requires regular maintenance to keep it performing at its best. Keeping your aeration system clean and well maintained extends the lifespan of the unit and ensures your system is running as efficiently as possible.

Pond Talk: How often do you inspect and maintain your aeration systems. Have your regular inspections caught potential problems?

airmax® silentair™ air filter

If I can’t use bacteria, how can I defend my pond while the water is cold? | Ponds & Lakes Q & A

When should I remove the fountain from my pond?

If I can’t use bacteria, how can I defend my pond while the water is cold?
Mary – Hudson, CO

It is not uncommon for ponds to get a little out of control as the temperatures begin to drop in the late fall and early spring. As water temperatures decrease, your pond crosses a balancing point where your bacteria and algaecides can no longer remain effective enough to fight off excess nutrients and cold temperature plant growth. Customers tend to let their guard down at the end of the season as they venture indoors for the winter.

Pond dye is an effective year-round treatment that works flawlessly in the winter giving your pond a unique look even as it ices over. Algae and plants can still grow at the bottom of the pond in cold temperatures and they are continually exposed to sunlight even if there is a layer of ice on the pond. There are multiple shades of dye available to pond owners. Pond Logic® offers pond dye in a decorative Nature’s Blue™, natural blue-green Twilight Blue™, or reflective Black DyeMond™, so you can achieve a unique color that fits your particular setting. You can learn more about choosing the best pond color in our Pond Dye Blog.

Organic matter will continue to decay during the winter, and run off from melting snow and rain will contribute to an increase in phosphate levels which encourages algae growth. Using a water conditioner like Pond Logic® EcoBoost™ will continue to bind these phosphates rendering them useless to weeds and algae as well as introduce trace minerals into the water column which promote a healthier fish population. EcoBoost™ also enhances the natural bacteria found in your pond increasing their productivity when they are active.

Both EcoBoost™ and pond dye are considered “proactive” pond care treatments as they are designed to create a balanced ecosystem and prevent problems like algae growth or turbid water. You can save yourself a lot of work and money on difficult spring start ups or late season algae blooms by continuing to use these types of pond care products throughout the year even after your bacteria and herbicides are packed away for the winter.

POND TALK: Pond owners sometimes use pond dye in the winter to create unique ice colorations. Share your winter pond art pictures and stories with other pond guys and gals.

Season Long Pond Care

I’ve always been curious to know just what really lives down in my pond. – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

I've always been curious to know just what really lives down in my pond.

I’ve always been curious to know just what really lives down in my pond. Holly – Girdler, KY

The Company You Keep

Your pond is a beautiful and enjoyable addition to your back yard and just as it is full of water, it is also full of mysteries. Since we have at one time or another used our ponds for swimming, fishing, or maybe irrigation we can only wonder, “What really lives beneath the surface of my pond?”

While you won’t find any man-eating sharks or lost cities like Atlantis at the bottom of the pond, there is a surprisingly diverse selection of living creatures cozying up in your water. In your average back yard farm pond you can expect to find large creatures such as fish, frogs and turtles, snakes and muskrats. In regards to the smaller inhabitants in your pond you have tadpoles, a variety of insects, and don’t forget your microscopic bacteria in both aerobic and anaerobic flavors. Your pond also plays host to aquatic plants like Cattails, Algae, and submersed weeds like American Pondweed, Hydrilla, and Naiad. It is only natural that since your pond is choc-full of life, it will draw additional wildlife to its shores like birds and deer. The physical location of your pond will directly influence what kinds of creatures you will find frequenting the water as certain animal species are located in select regions in the US.

Now that you are certain you are not alone in your pond, rest assured that the majority of what is living in your pond actually helps create a balanced ecosystem at best and is a minor inconvenience to people at worst. Having a healthy and balanced fish population will help keep your pond clear of insects and leeches. Creating an ideal environment for beneficial aerobic bacteria like those in PondClear and MuckAway to thrive will improve your water clarity and reduce muck accumulation and weed growth. Click over to our Bacteria Blog to learn more about these microscopic maids.

With all of these animals in your pond who is responsible for room assignments? If you are not aerating your pond, then your pond is most likely broken up into layers or thermoclines. You may have experienced this when swimming in your pond. Your chest is nice and warm but the water your feet occupy is cold. Many customers confuse this stratification with their pond being spring fed. Oxygen and light can only travel so far beneath the surface of the pond without assistance. This means that the top layer of your pond is typically a warm, oxygen rich environment which is prime real estate for the ponds inhabitants. The lower layers of the pond are darker, cooler and have considerably less oxygen. Gasses released by decomposing plants and fish waste (thanks to anaerobic bacteria) are trapped in this bottom layer creating a toxic environment that is not a very ideal living space. Installing an Aeration System, you can infuse oxygen and circulate the entire water column allowing your fish and their roommates to utilize the entire pond. Aerating the pond will also cut down on those smelly toxic gases and encourage a cleaner healthier pond which makes it more enjoyable for not only the wildlife but for you as well.

POND TALK: What types of creatures have you found in your pond?

Get clear water naturally!

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

Killing Algae – Liquid v.s. Granular – Pond & Lake Q & A

Killing Algae - Liquid v.s. Granular

Killing Algae – Liquid v.s. Granular

Those of you with at least a couple years of ponding under your belt know that beautiful summer sunshine comes as a package deal with algae and green water. While it can be painful to look at for even a couple days, when your pond is being properly maintained it can be a quick and simple process to whip your pond back into shape.

Before you select which type of algaecide you want to use you will want to identify what type of algae you have. Algae typically come in 3 great flavors, Planktonic (green water), Filamentous (floating mats or string algae), and Chara (a smelly bottom growing plant-like algae). If you are not too sure on which type you have or you think you may have a submerged weed instead, take a look at our Weed ID Guide.

It is important to know what type of algae you are dealing with because it will help you select the proper algaecide for the job. Liquid algaecides like Algae Defense are best used to contact spray floating algae mats, planktonic algae outbreaks, or to treat algae submerged in relatively shallow water usually 3 feet deep or shallower. Liquid algaecides are mixed with water and a Surfactant which is then applied using a Tank Sprayer. When dealing with bottom growing algae in greater depths you will want to use a granular algaecide like Cutrine Plus Granular or Hydrothol 191 Granular. Granular applications are great for getting rid of Chara and, by using a Hand Spreader, are very easy to apply. If you have Koi, Trout, or Goldfish in your pond or lake you will want to use Hydrothol 191 as it is not copper based. You can also benefit from the fact that Hydrothol works not only on weeds by on a variety of submerged weeds as well.

While both liquid and granular algaecides are great for killing existing algae, they will not prevent future growth. Properly maintaining your pond using Dye, Beneficial Bacteria, or Subsurface Aeration will help keep your pond healthy and reduce the chances of algae in the first place. Remember to always read product labels before doing any treatment.

Pond Talk: How successful has your fight with algae been?

Kill Algae Fast!

What is the real difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic bacteria? – Pond & Lake Q & A

What is the real difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic bacteria?

What is the real difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic bacteria? Bill – Mount Orab, OH

Know Their Role

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear that you have bacteria in your pond? You probably think that your pond is dirty, or it may cause disease or get you sick. The truth is while some bacteria are associated with negative effects, bacteria are present in any functioning ecosystem diligently working behind the scenes to maintain a healthy and balanced environment. If you properly maintain your pond you will create an environment that promotes the presence of beneficial bacteria.

There are two different types of bacteria to focus on; aerobic and anaerobic. Your anaerobic bacteria are those that exist in areas of your pond that lack oxygen. These bacteria work slowly to digest organic debris and release a smelly gas as a byproduct. Aerobic bacteria thrive in oxygen rich environments and digest debris at an accelerated rate in comparison to their anaerobic counterparts that results in the expulsion of an odorless gas. In a self contained pond with little to no aeration you would expect to find aerobic bacteria near the surface where there is a higher level of dissolved oxygen and a lot more anaerobic bacteria at the bottom of the pond where there is a very low amount, if any, oxygen. Due to the fact that these anaerobic bacteria are slow to digest debris, any leaves, plants, and fish waste that gather at the bottom faster than they can be decomposed, hence the accumulation of muck.

To help break down organic debris at a rapid rate and keep your pond clean and healthy you will want to ensure that your pond is populated with aerobic bacteria throughout. To do this you want to circulate the contents you your pond while infusing oxygen into the water column. If your pond is 6 feet or shallower this can be accomplished with a Fountain. Ponds deeper than 6 feet will see better results with a Bottom Plate Aeration System. With these units in place you now have an oxygen rich playground just waiting to be filled with beneficial (aerobic) bacteria. PondClear and MuckAway are perfect types of bacteria products you can implement into your pond. PondClear is in a water soluble packet that will release at the surface of the pond and travel throughout to find and digest any organic debris before they have a chance to settle to the bottom. MuckAway is a pellet that will sink directly to the bottom of the pond to help speed up the decomposition of any debris that have accumulated over time. The fact that you can directly place MuckAway pellets in specific areas that need a little extra attention makes them the perfect solution for treating sections of lake front property and beach areas.

Aerating your pond provides the perfect environment for “good” bacteria and will keep the “bad” bacteria at bay. Cleaning out or preventing mass amounts of organic debris from your pond will help keep your bacteria ahead of schedule and keep the pond cleaner for your recreational use. If you take care of your bacteria they will take care of your pond… and you.

Pond Talk: What do you do to encourage the “good” bacteria growth in your pond?

Pondclear

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