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My pond was clean but now it’s starting to turn green. What should I do? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: My pond was clean but now it’s starting to turn green. What should I do?

Q: My pond was clean but now it’s starting to turn green. What should I do?

Cynthia – Richmond Hill, GA

A: First of all, don’t panic! Let’s begin by taking a look at the three main causes of green water: too many fish, inadequate filtration and not enough plant coverage.

Control Your Fish Population

A booming population of goldfish, koi or other pond fish means an overload of fish waste, and all those excess nutrients actually feed the algae that’s turning your water green. To keep that waste in check, we recommend one 6- to 8-inch fish per 10 square feet of surface area. If you have too many finned friends, consider giving some away.

Provide Adequate Filtration

If your fish are family members and you’re not quite ready to bid them adieu, you’ll need to pump up your filtration with an AllClear™ PLUS filter. Adequate mechanical, biological and ultraviolet filtration will remove the excess waste from the water and help control the prolific green stuff.

Shade the Water

Algae are plants, and plants need sunlight to grow. A third way to control algae is to shade the water with plants like water lilies and water hyacinth. We recommend that you shade 40 to 60 percent of your pond for best results. The plants also provide all-natural biological filtration and make your water garden look great. Not sure what kinds of plants to get? Start with our Aquatic Plant Package, which includes a great selection of cultivars for your pond size.

Give It Time …

Most importantly, try to practice some patience. If you’ve just done a major cleanout, your biological filtration may need some more time to get established and working. Give it a kick-start with some beneficial bacteria like Nature’s Defense®. The microorganisms will get to work digesting those dead organics.

If you control your fish population, adequately filter and shade your water, and boost your biological filtration by adding bacteria, your pond will be clear again before long—and you can stop singing those green-water blues.

Pond Talk: If you’ve had to give away some of your fish, how do you find new homes for them?

Three Types Of Filtration, One Powerful Unit - The Pond Guy® AllClear™ PLUS Pressurized Filter

Do I have the right filtration system for my pond, or do I need to upgrade? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Do I have the right filtration system for my pond, or do I need to upgrade?

Q: Do I have the right filtration system
for my pond, or do I need to upgrade?

Dee – Russell Springs, KY

A: Pond filtration can be tricky—and confusing. Mechanical filtration is designed to remove solid matter from your pond’s water, but because there are different types and sizes of filters, determining whether you have the right one can be a challenge.

In general, pond product manufacturers offer three types of filters:

  • Waterfall or BioFalls box filter, which works in a 1,000-plus gallon pond
  • Pressurized filter, designed for ponds up to 5,000 gallons
  • In-pond filter, ideal for smaller ponds up to 1,200 gallons

If your filter is correct for your pond’s size but you’re still not achieving crystal clear results, something else could be happening below the surface.

When most people install a pond in their yard, they add a few goldfish or koi for fun and color. The filtration system included with the pond will work just fine—for a while. But before long, Mother Nature will do her thing, and those “few fish” will multiply into a pond full of fingerlings!

All those fry are a sign of a healthy pond, but they produce a lot of waste. In fact, 40 1-inch fish equal one 12-inch fish in terms of waste production. So if that pond is going to be home to all those fish, the old filter will need a little help. It’s time to upgrade to a larger filter or add a second filter.

Pressurized filters, such as The Pond Guy® AllClear™ PLUS Pressurized Filters, are an easy way to add to an existing filter. They’re easily buried in the ground for minimal visual impact, they can be run in line with your existing plumbing if you have a small waterfall, and they come in a range of sizes to fit any size pond. Plus, many models have the option of an ultraviolet light to help fight green water.

Of course, filtration isn’t the only answer. Natural bacteria and aeration greatly help water quality, too.

Pond Talk: How have you upgraded your pond’s filtration system?

3 Types of Filtration, 1 Powerful Unit - AllClear™ PLUS Pressurized UV Filters

Help! How do I get rid of green water? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Help! How do I get rid of green water?

Q: Help! How do I get rid of green water?

Linda – Gardnerville, NV

A: Nope, there’s nothing nice about a pea soup-colored pond. Just about every water gardener dreams of a clean, crystal-clear pond – not an algae-filled eyesore. During the warmer seasons, what do you do to prevent and get rid of that unsightly green water? By making sure your pond is in balance.

For a stable pond that inhibits algae growth, you have to strike a perfect balance (or close to perfect, anyway) between fishes, aeration and filtration. And to keep it that way, you have to keep it well maintained. Here’s what you need to know to get rid of that green water.

Watch Fish Load, Feeding

Yes, it’s tempting to take home a dozen or more of those tiny koi from your favorite water garden retailer. But remember: those fish will grow and excrete nutrients that feed the algae. The rule of thumb is to allow 1 inch of adult fish per square foot of surface area, so don’t max out your capacity with one impulse buy at the koi store.

Speaking of fish, take it easy with the food. Feed them a quality diet, like Pond Logic® Growth and Color Fish Food, once a day, and give them only what they can gobble down in a few minutes. Anything more than that just adds excess waste to the pond – which is food for the algae. You can feed your finned friends more often, but be prepared to do more partial water changes or add extra filtration to handle the job.

Add Some Aeration, Bacteria

When you circulate your pond’s water with an aeration system, like the Airmax® KoiAir™ Water Garden Aeration System, you deliver oxygen to the bottom where all the muck – a.k.a. algae chow – sits. This oxygen helps all the beneficial bacteria, like Muck Defense® that’s found in the Pond Logic® DefensePAC® Pond Care Package, break down and consume the material there and throughout the water column, resulting in cleaner, clearer water. Plus, the aeration is good for your fish’s health, too.

Filtration – the Bigger, the Better

Go big with your mechanical filtration system. Make sure it’s at least big enough to handle the amount of water in your pond. Manufacturers rate filters for minimal fish load, so if you intend to have a lot of fish, go even bigger.

Plants – floating, submerged, marginals and bog varieties – make excellent natural filtration systems that complement your mechanical and biological filtration. Plants also shade the pond, keeping temperatures cooler and sheltering your fish. So try to cover 40 to 60 percent of your water with plants.

If you still have a pea soup colored pond after getting your fish load right, your feeding routine in check, your aeration system in place and your filtration system humming and growing, it’s time for the big guns – an ultraviolet clarifier. A UV clarifier, like The Pond Guy® PowerUV™ Ultraviolet Clarifier, will help to bind the green water algae so it can be pulled out by your filter.

Keep It Clean, Kind Of

Normal maintenance, like regular partial water changes and debris removal, can go a long way to get rid of excess nutrient buildup. But don’t overdo the filter-cleaning chores. Too much – meaning daily or weekly – washing of the filter media will wear the material down faster and wipe out the beneficial bacteria that actually clean the water. If water is unable to pass through the filter, simply rinse it lightly with water.

And if you don’t already, it’s always a good idea to do an annual spring cleanout of your pond to get rid of organic materials that feed the algae.

Pond Talk: How can you tell when your pond or water garden is out of balance?

Pond Logic® DefensePAC® - 5 Simple Steps To Clear Water

Why Does My Pond Water Turn Green? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Why Does My Pond Water Turn Green? Why Does My Pond Water Turn Green? 

Joanne – Evans City, PA

Green water is a form of algae called planktonic algae and there are quite a few factors causing your water to be clear during the winter and green as the weather warms up. The main reason is the interruption of the nitrogen cycle.

In order for algae to grow, it needs a food source (nutrients) and sunlight. During the colder winter months of the year, nutrients within the water are less likely to increase due to the fact that the digestive systems of fish have slowed to a point where little, if any, nutrients (fish waste) are being added. Also, during the colder months, algae and aquatic plants are not as active at consuming nutrients.

As the weather warms up, fish become active, digestive systems kick back in and nutrients begin pouring in and if not held in check using aquatic plants, natural bacteria and filtration, green water will develop.

If you have chronic green water and still can’t keep it in check, consider a UV or Ion clarifier.

Aquascape IonGen Electronic Clarifier

Do I need a UV Filtration system for my pond? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Do I need a UV Filtration system for my pond?

Do I need a UV Filtration system for my pond? Benjamin – Dover, DE

Make Your Green Water Head Towards The Light

Spring is in full effect, the sun is shining, trees everywhere are in bloom, but now your pond water is as green as the grass that surrounds it. The water in your pond may have started off crystal clear this season but was it too good to last? Here at The Pond Guy we think not! If you can’t seem to gain the upper hand in your fight against green water it may be time to break out your secret weapon, a UV clarifier.

Some of you may be scratching your head at the idea of exposing your pond to even more light, but the truth is, when properly implemented, a UV bulb can work wonders on improving your pond’s water quality. The principal behind UV clarification is simple; expose algae to concentrated UV rays to damage and ultimately kill the plant. The trick to getting the best results from your UV clarifier is to pick a bulb that has a high enough wattage for your ponds volume and to pump the water past the bulb at just the right flow rate. All UV clarifiers are rated based on pond size. The larger the wattage, the larger the pond size the UV clarifier can handle. The other factor to take note of is the pump size. Pushing water past the UV light too fast can render it ineffective while pushing the water too slow can cause the UV Clarifier to act like a sterilizer, killing not only algae, but your beneficial bacteria as well. A great rule of thumb here is to push the water approximately half of what the UV is rated per hour. For the Tetra 9-Watt UV Clarifier that is rated for ponds up to 1,800 gallons a 900 GPH (gallons per hour) pump would be ideal.

The continued success of UV clarification has brought about many new styles of UV units; if you are currently building a pond consider purchasing a skimmer like the Savio Standard Skimmer which comes with optional built in UV. If your pond has been up and running for years you can use a Tetra GreenFree® UV Clarifier which installs in line with your plumbing, or the Pondmaster® Submersible UV Clarifier which can be plumbed in-line or submerged directly in the pond. There are even pressurized filters like the AllClear™ PLUS Pressurized Filters that come with a built in UV clarifier. Each type of UV is available in multiple wattages to best fit your specific needs.

While a UV clarifier can work wonders on your water garden it is only a patch to the real issue. Make sure you are properly maintaining your pond, using an adequate amount of filtration, and utilizing your bacteria products in your DefensePAC®.

If you are unsure on How To Create A Balanced Environment for your water feature, or need to brush up on your Filtration Basics you can learn tons of tricks and tips on our Blog page.

Pond Talk: Which type of UV clarifier do you use in your pond? Has it made the difference between a pond full of “pea soup” and a crystal clear water garden?

What does filter media do for my water garden? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Savio Skimmer

Q. What does filter media do for my water garden? – Debbie in Illinois

Keep It Clean
With all of the pads, balls and nets in this blog you might think The Pond Guy has hung up his waders and opened a sporting goods store. Not to worry pond guys and gals, we are of course talking about filter media in your water garden.

Hey! Nice Pad!
When you look inside your filter, whether it’s a waterfall filter or pressurized filter, you may notice there are assortments of pads, balls, etc. These are called filter media. This filter media serves a vital purpose in any water garden.

Bio Blox Filter MediaFilter media are specifically designed to help colonize a ton of natural bacteria in a small area. As fish excrete waste, ammonia levels began to rise. Without enough natural bacteria, ammonia levels can become so high your fish will become stressed which can eventually to death. Natural bacteria will grow in a water garden without filter media, but unfortunately it is very minimal and never enough to keep up with high ammonia levels.

Less IS More
Many pond owners often think that a clean filter pad will lead to a cleaner pond. This is not the case. As it takes several weeks for nitrifying bacteria to colonize, many pond owners often clean their filter media as soon as it gets dirty. This unfortunately defeats the purpose of the biological functions of the filter media. Some of our readers have written in telling us that this buildup is even blocking or restricting water flow. It is most likely debris or algae being picked up from the water, not the bacteria causing this issue. If necessary, to clean filter media we highly suggest removing the filter media from the filter and placing into a bucket of “pond water” and gently swish the media back and forth. Do not scrub, or use tap water to clean the filter pads. Again, this will cause a loss in natural bacteria. If you accidentally do clean your filter pads, you can use PL Gel on your filter pads to colonize the bacteria faster. It is known throughout the pond industry to reduce colonization by up to 80%!

To prevent blockages to your biological filters use a pump pre filter or a skimmer which includes a net or debris basket along with its own filter pad. This will prevent large debris from getting to your filter. Vacuuming will pick up debris and muck from the pond floor also preventing clogs. Placing these “pre-filters” as buffers will ensure a shorter, easier cleaning time as well as make certain that your beneficial bacteria are left alone to flourish and protect your water garden.

POND TALK: How have you tackled filtration in your water garden? How often do you find yourself cleaning your filters?

Filter media is a must for healthy ponds!

Controlling Pea-Green Algae – Water Garden Q & A

Q: I have a pea-green algae problem. What is the quickest, safest way to overcome this problem? -Ruth of Starkville, MS

A: When dealing with planktonic algae or “pea-green algae”, it cannot be simply eliminated using a product like AlgaeFix®. AlgaeFix works great on string algae or other patches of free-floating algae, but with planktonic algae, there is so much that you run the risk of depleting oxygen levels to a point that is unsafe for fish. One of the best ways to get rid of this type of algae is through the use of a UV Filter. As the planktonic algae passes throught the ultraviolet light, it will die. UV lights work so well that within just a few days your water will be crystal clear.

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