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Do I Need To Treat My Pond Before Swimming? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Do I Need To Treat My Pond Before Swimming?
Do I Need To Treat My Pond Before Swimming? Alex – McCrory, AR

Stink or Swim

With summer quickly approaching pond guys and gals everywhere are getting ready to take the plunge into their ponds to beat the heat. Now that your water temps are on the rise it is a great time to whip your pond into shape for the swimming season to make sure you’re not stuck in the muck all season long.

Fans of our blogs already know, the best way to keep your pond clear and healthy all season long is to use beneficial bacteria like PondClear, Pond Dye, and EcoBoost in tandem with an Aeration System. If you are a new pond owner, or have just found our blog page, click HERE to learn more about these products and how they improve the quality of your pond.

There is nothing worse than diving into your pond only to land in a layer of muck. If you have an accumulation of muck around your beach areas or by your dock, use some MuckAway bacteria tablets to spot treat these troublesome areas. Keeping your pond clean not only prevents you from turning into a human lawn dart, it will help prevent unflattering skin irritations and illnesses. Conditions, like swimmer’s itch, are caused by flatworms larvae typically introduced into your pond by waterfowl. Swimmer’s ear is an irritation of the inner ear that occurs when water gets trapped inside your ear. While these conditions occasionally occur, they are avoidable. Keep the number of ducks and birds that frequent your pond to a minimum by using Decoys, especially when it gets closer to swimming season and try to rinse off thoroughly after a nice swim in your pond.

If you are worried about the overall quality of your pond water, you can get it tested through your local health department, where they can check for e-coli and other contaminants. There is no reason to feel uncomfortable in your own pond. While regular maintenance typically results in a perfectly swim-able pond, it never hurts to get a second opinion. Regardless, use your bacteria, aerate the pond, and enjoy another great summer at home in your back yard.

Pond Talk: Which products do you use to keep your pond clean and clear throughout the summer? Have you ever tested your pond water?

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

I have algae growing all over the place. I keep using chemicals but they don’t seem to last long. What else can I do? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

The best way to beat algae is with the Airmax® Ecosystem PROactive approach.
Pre-order For Fish Day Online…more info

I have algae growing all over the place. I keep using chemicals but it doesn’t seem to last long. What else can I do? Howard – Dallas/Ft Worth, TX

Beat Your Greens
As we approach our warmer spring and summer months, you may find yourself watching in awe as algae takes over your pond at an almost impossible rate. What is going on in your pond that is making it punish you so? Let’s take a look at the cause of algae and your approach on treating it.

Ready, Get Set, REact
Unless you find your new algae bloom a welcome addition to your pond, you will want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Algaecides like Algae Defense® and Cutrine Plus Granular are great products to eliminate existing algae blooms. If you have trout, Koi or goldfish in your pond, you will want to use a non-copper based product like Hyrdrothol 191 to do the job. While these products address the current outbreak in your pond, they will not treat the source of the issue or prevent future occurrences and they require repetitive treatments. Even after the algae bloom is killed, you will still have to do some legwork in terms of removing dead plant matter. Leaving dead algae in your pond will only hinder your quest for a clear pond by providing even more algae food in the form of decaying plant matter. For these reasons, using chemical applications to fight algae is referred to as a REactive approach.

Going PROactive
As the saying goes, “The way to algae’s heart is through its stomach”. While we might not be current with our sayings, this one still holds some truth. Eliminate the food sources available to algae and you will send it packing. Performing regular maintenance in your pond to prevent algae growth is a PROactive treatment. Algae can utilize both available sunlight and nutrients held in your pond to stage its backyard assault. By adopting a PROactive routine, you can keep your pond clean and clear all season long and save some money on repetitive chemical treatments.

The best step you can take in establishing a PROactive treatment plan is to implement aeration in your pond. Sub-surface aeration systems like our Airmax® series will circulate your pond’s water column and infuse it with dissolved oxygen, which on its own will promote the colonization of beneficial bacteria. These beneficial bacteria will break down that same nutrient load your algae utilizes, thereby discouraging continued growth. The bacteria in products like Pond Logic® PondClear™ and MuckAway™ will reinforce the natural bacteria in your pond, ensuring that your pond is able to break down nutrients faster than they are being introduced into the pond. Without an available nutrient load, algae will have to utilize sunlight to generate food. By adding pond dye, you can not only beautify your pond, but also limit the amount of light able to penetrate the water surface. Pond dyes like Pond Logic® Nature’s Blue™, Twilight Blue™, or Black DyeMond™ give you the option to choose the color that best suits your pond while still obtaining a natural look. If you would like more information on choosing the right shade for your pond, click HERE.

We have packaged a collection of products to take the guesswork out of completing your pond maintenance and appropriately named it the Pond Logic® ClearPAC®. The ClearPAC® contains PondClear™ Beneficial Bacterial, Nature’s Blue™ Pond Dye, EcoBoost™ Bacteria Enhancer and Algae Defense®. These products are designed to kill algae, clear water, reduce muck, and shade your pond combining the immediate results of REactive treatments with the economical preventative results of a balanced PROactive approach.

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

Pond Logic® ClearPAC® - DIY Complete Pond Care Program

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!

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 does winter affect my pond? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Winter PondQ:  How does winter affect my pond? – Steve in Michigan

A:  A Closer Look at Water in the Winter…

We field many questions about water and the way it works during the winter.  With such a range of questions, here is a quick course on the physical properties of water and how they relate to your pond.

Here’s a review on density.  On our planet, matter that is denser will always be pulled down (gravity) more strongly than matter of lesser density.  Density is temperature dependant in that warmer matter is always less dense than cooler matter.  A good example is a hot air balloon, which lifts up because the air inside the balloon is warmer than the air outside.

A water molecule (H20 – don’t worry that’s as technical as we’ll get) contracts as it gets colder, causing it to become more dense.  As water closes in on the freezing point, we run into one of nature’s great exceptions.  At 39ºF (4ºC) water actually starts becoming less dense as it prepares to shift from a liquid to a solid at the 32ºF mark.  Why is this so important?  This means that water at the bottom of your pond will always stay about 39ºF because it is the heaviest.  We refer to this as inverse stratification, where a pond has a thermocline that separates warmer water on the bottom from cooler water on top (FYI, normal stratification occurs during the warmer months of the year when the cooler water is at the bottom and the warmer water is at the top).

Winter PondHow does this apply to your fish?  Fish actually get quite sensitive to temperatures below 39ºF.  This warmer 39ºF pocket on the bottom of the pond is where they tend to hang out during the winter.  This is why it is recommended that an aeration system be installed a couple feet up from the bottom of the pond to keep the 39ºF water in tact. Should you worry if yours isn’t? No, not really, mortality due to water temperature is extremely rare and NOT aerating is way more risky. The more severe issue is the toxic gases under the ice. Continuing to aerate will vent these gasses while also infusing oxygen into the water keep your fish happy and healthy.

Why is it important to aerate my lake during the summer? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Airmax® Aeration

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: Why is it important to aerate my lake during the summer? – Eric in Texas

A: Though the hottest days of summer are nearly behind us, your pond or lake still needs proper aeration – especially as we approach fall, when temperatures shift and your pond water will turn over. An aerated pond is a healthy pond, and a healthy pond is one you’ll enjoy all year long.

Why Aerate?

Ponds and lakes go through two stages of life: Stage 1, when the pond has just been excavated and Stage 2, when the pond has had a chance to become established. During Stage 1, which may only last a year, the pond is virtually nutrient-free. It has little or no leaf and plant debris, the fish have produced little waste and the environment has leached almost nothing into the water. It’s like the honeymoon stage of your pond – all the beauty with little maintenance.

After a season or two, the pond enters into Stage 2. Nutrients, like leaves, plants, fish waste and plant fertilizers, build up in the pond. You’ll start to see large amounts of algae and weed growth. Under the surface, the water column becomes murky with debris; at the bottom of the pond, muck will start to develop. This decomposing organic waste adds even more nutrients to the water – which can cause even more algae and weed growth. Talk about a vicious cycle!

At the same time, all those decomposing nutrients create a rise in toxic gas levels. Ammonia and nitrites build up in the water while the oxygen level plummets, especially in the deeper depths of the pond. Because ponds without aeration can become thermally stratified, the toxic gases created on the bottom build up in the cool water underneath. A change in temperature, a heavy rain or sometimes even high winds can turn the water over allowing the toxic, oxygen-deprived water at the bottom to mix into the top layer leaving your fish without oxygen and causing a fish kill.

The Solution

Many pond owners will turn to fountain aeration or surface aerators to churn the water. While fountains are aesthetically pleasing, they will only draw surface water, leaving the bottom of the pond uncirculated and doing nothing to eliminate toxic gases underneath.

A bottom bubbler, however, will circulate the entire water column from the bottom up and eliminate the thermal layers that form in the pond or lake. In a permanent state of motion, the action caused by the bubbler will continuously vent gasses and provide oxygen to the bottom sediments, allowing the beneficial bacteria to break down the toxic gasses and muck and give off a little oxygen in return.

The best option for a bottom bubbler is the Airmax® Aeration system. In combination with aerobic muck-eating bacteria, like MuckAway™ Pellets or PondClear™ Packets, the system can eliminate up to 5 inches of muck per year – and keep your pond or lake healthy no matter the season.

POND TALK: Why do you aerate your pond or lake?

What’s the difference between PondClear and MuckAway? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Pond clarity results with MuckAway and PondClear

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: What’s the difference between PondClear and MuckAway? – Barry in Oklahoma

A: We can summarize the difference between the two in one sentence: PondClear works to remove excess nutrients from the surface down; Muck Away works to remove excess nutrients from the bottom up. Seems simple – or is it?

In general, water clarity problems occur when excess amounts of rotting vegetation, leaves, twigs and fish waste accumulate in the pond or lake. These tiny particles are either suspended in the water column, or they settle to the bottom of the pond.

PondClear packets, which are made of beneficial bacteria, are designed to break down waste and suspended organics in the water column. Imagine thousands of hungry bacteria, which multiply every 20 to 40 minutes, swimming through your pond or lake and gobbling through the excess nutrients. After just a few weeks of use, chemical-free PondClear will begin to clear up your water and dissipate any lingering odors.

PondClear comes in easy-to-use, pre-measured water-soluble packets that you simply toss into your pond or lake every two weeks. One pail of PondClear will treat a quarter-acre pond for up to six months. It’s safe for use around horses, livestock, birds, fish, pets and wildlife.

MuckAway pellets, which are also made of beneficial bacteria, are designed to sink to the bottom of a pond or lake to digest the detritus, which are their natural food source. As the bacteria start to work, the muck will begin to break down, noxious odors will dissipate and the water clarity will improve. It’s great for spot-treating troublesome areas, like beaches and shorelines.

When used as directed, MuckAway will break down up to 5 inches of muck per year. One pail of MuckAway will treat up to 16,000 square feet of pond. It’s safe for use around horses, livestock, birds, fish, pets and wildlife, too.

Whether you use PondClear or MuckAway, be sure to use when water temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you use an algaecide or herbicide treatment, wait at least three days before adding the beneficial bacteria.

POND TALK: What successes have you had with beneficial bacteria in your pond or lake?

Koi & Catfish Can Cause Cloudy Water in My Large Pond? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of Cloudy Pond Water.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: The water in my pond is very cloudy. I have some bass, bluegill and koi in the pond so I don’t want to use anything that will harm them. Any suggestions on how to clear this up? – Aaron of Illinois

A: The cloudiness of the water in your pond can come from many sources, such as heavy runoff from rain to constant sediments that fall into and around the pond. There is an element that causes cloudy water that many seem to overlook and it relates to a couple species of fish.

I’ve talked with some of you in the past and you’ve said one day the water looked clear and the next day it was cloudy. In quite a few cases the only factor that changed from one day to the next was adding either koi or catfish.

Koi Or Catfish Can Cause Cloudy Water?
Yes, these species of fish are bottom dwellers and love to stir up the bottom of the pond. Before adding these fish into your pond just understand that if you want clear water this may not be the best option. In a large pond or lake with catfish or koi it is almost impossible to clear up the water. The only way to do so would be to remove the catfish and koi altogether.

POND TALK: Do you have any koi or catfish in your large pond or lake?

The
cloudiness of the water in your pond can come from many sources, such
as heavy runoff from rain to constant sediments that fall into and
around  the pond. There is an element that causes cloudy water that
many seem to overlook and it relates to a couple species of fish.

What Can I Do To Keep My Pond Clear? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a Pond.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: What can I do to keep my pond clear? – Kara of Florida

A: When I ask my service customers what their top three goals are for their pond, clear water is almost always at the top of the list. Clear water is aesthetically pleasing and is a sign that your pond is healthy and balanced. Across the board, your first step towards clean and clear water is to aerate.

Airmax Aeration keeps the water in motion, allowing it to stay oxygenated while venting toxic gasses and clearing the water. Beyond aeration, there are a few easy steps to follow to clear up that water:

Start by finding the source of the problem. Dip a clear glass of water out of your pond and begin the diagnosis. Match what you see to the following problem/solution.

  • Pea Soup Colored Water: This is typically caused by a heavy bloom of planktonic algae. When treating for planktonic algae you must be very careful. Treating too big of an area at any one time could cause oxygen levels to deplete to a point where your fish could die. We highly recommend to have an aeration system running when treating for this type of algae. To help with this issue in the future, you must limit the nutrients that are entering the pond. Do this by limiting organics such as grass clippings, twigs, leaves, branches, etc. from entering the pond. Be careful of fertilizing around your pond as this too will cause algae blooms. Using Nutri-Defense will help bind any nutrients currently in the pond and begin using PondClear or MuckAway natural bacteria to help break down any organics that have already gotten into the pond. These bacteria work by eating any suspended nutrients and bottom muck in the pond to help keep your pond clean and clear.
  • Milky Gray or Chocolate Milk Colored Water: Most often this problem is caused by heavy runoff laden with silt and sediment. Aeration will typically take care of this problem within a week or two. If the problem persists, the soil in the water is probably clay. In this situation, apply a double dose of Nutri-Defense to try and help flocculate the suspended particulates.
  • Stained Brown/Black Like Tea or Coffee Colored Water: This color water is usually a result of heavy leaf litter on the pond’s bottom. When leaves sit for long periods of time, they can release tannins into the water column causing brown/black colored water. Use a Lake Rake to rake out the bulk of the material, and follow up with MuckAway to help accelerate the decomposion of the remaining leaves. As always, we recommend to aerate.

The recurring theme that we see here is that aeration is key when trying to solve pond problems. In nearly every case, your pond will greatly benefit from the use of Airmax
Aeration
. Aeration Systems will help create an environment for aerobic bacteria (like bacteria found in PondClear or MuckAway) to thrive. This aerobic bacteria will decompose organics at accelerated speeds and will help reduce the sediment at the pond’s bottom.

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