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We had a heron last year. How do I stop it from coming back? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: We had a heron last year. How do I stop it from coming back?

Q: We had a heron last year. How do I stop it from coming back?

Vicki- Maryville, TN

A: The bad news is, once a heron knows food is served in your pond, it’ll be back for more. Chances are pretty good that it’ll stop by for a bite to eat when it flies through this year, so be prepared with these surefire heron-proofing devices to keep the sushi lover at bay.

  1. Use a Decoy – Your first plan of defense should be setting up a realistic Blue Heron Decoy. Heron are territorial by nature, and when one cruises overhead and sees that one of its feathered cousins (fake or real) has already claimed the area, it’ll keep going until it finds its own pond to fish. Move the decoy regularly to make it appear even more realistic. Another expert tip: Remove the decoy during mating season, which runs from March through late May or June.
  2. Shore Up the Perimeter – Heron refuse to land in water and hate stepping over wires, so we recommend Heron Stop as a second line of defense around the perimeter of your pond. The impassable barrier – made up of simply nylon line and stakes – prevents the bird from approaching and protects up to 40 feet of shoreline without blocking your view.
  3. Set Up a Motion Detector – For a final layer of protection, set up a ScareCrow® Motion-Activated Animal Deterrent. Thanks to a built-in infrared sensor that detects movement up to 35 feet in front of it and up to 45 feet wide, this heron-scaring tool chases off unwanted visitors with a surprise spray of water. It works both day and night to set boundaries around your water garden or koi pond. But be warned: It doesn’t know the difference between an animal and a human, so you might get wet!

Pond Talk: What tips do you have for keeping herons away from your pond?

Protect Your Prized Fish From Predators - Pond Logic(r) Blue Heron Decoy

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

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

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

Ben – Franklin, PA

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

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

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

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

My pond has some filamentous algae growth around the edges. It’s too cold to treat, right? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

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

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

Jeff – Hanahan, SC

A: Cold-weather algae. It’s the worst. And, unfortunately, you can’t treat it right now because the temperatures are too low. Your pond or lake’s water temps need to be higher than 60°F before you can start treating the green stuff with algaecide.

So until things heat up, you have two options:

  1. Rake It Out: If you can safely access and maneuver around your pond, grab your Pond & Beach Rake and get to work skimming and pulling that filamentous algae out of the water and up onshore.
  2. Add Some Color: Pond Dye will limit the amount of sunshine that reaches the algae. Without enough sun, the algae can’t survive. So toss a Pond Dye water-soluble packet or some liquid concentrate into your pond – and your problem is solved!

Once your water temperatures rise above 50°F, start adding PondClear™ & MuckAway™ to the pond. The beneficial bacteria will clear the water and start breaking down the debris and nutrients that are feeding that troublesome algae.

Pond Talk: How much time do you spend puttering around your pond or lake in the winter?

Protect Your Pond in All Seasons - Pond Logic(r) Pond Dye Quarts

I am going to add an aeration system this year to my 1-acre pond. What are my options? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I am going to add an aeration system this year to my 1-acre pond. What are my options?

Q: I am going to add an aeration system this year to my 1-acre pond. What are my options?

Doug – Cordova, AL

A: Now that’s something we like to hear! Aerating a pond, which involves pumping life-sustaining oxygen into the water via a bottom diffuser, is good for your fish, good for your water quality, and good for minimizing algae blooms.

It can be tricky figuring out the right aeration system for a pond, particularly if it’s oddly shaped, but it’s important to get it right. If your aeration system is not sized correctly, you could risk reducing the oxygen levels and building up toxic gas in the water, resulting in an increased chance of fish kills, algae blooms and thick pond muck – not something you want in your pond.

We offer aeration options for ponds of all sizes and shapes. Choosing the best Airmax® Aeration System for your pond will depend on two basic factors: your pond’s volume and its shape.

Pond Volume

You need to know your pond’s water volume in order to select a unit that’s capable of circulating and oxygenating all the wet stuff in your pond. To calculate your pond’s volume, you’ll need to measure its length, width and depth.

Of those numbers, depth is the most critical component when choosing an aeration system. The deeper your pond, the more efficiently and effectively a bottom diffuser plate will aerate it. If your pond is shallow or irregularly shaped, you’ll need more diffuser plates to adequately aerate the water.

We offer made-in-the-USA aerators for both shallow-water and deep-water ponds of various sizes, including:

  • Shallow Water Series™ Aeration System: We suggest this system for ponds up to ½ acre and up to 8 feet deep that require multiple aeration plates due to depth restrictions. It’s designed to provide maximum aeration and circulation in even the shallowest water bodies via its powerful dual-diaphragm compressor and weighted diffusers.
  • Pond Series™ Aeration System: We recommend this single-plate to four-plate system for ponds up to 4 acres, up to 21 feet deep. It can be easily adapted to fit small or odd-shaped ponds for maximum aeration and even circulation.
  • Lake Series™ Aeration System: For ponds up to 6 acres, up to 50 feet deep, try this system that’s capable of aerating even the largest ponds and lakes. It features a more spacious Airmax® Composite Cabinet with enhanced cooling and minimal maintenance.

Pond Shape

Finally, pond shape plays an important role in ensuring proper aeration. For simple, contiguous shapes like circles and ovals, a standard aeration system like the Pond Series or Lake Series will fully circulate all of the water without the risk of stagnation. If you have an odd-shaped lake or one with interconnecting segments and angles, consider using a system with multiple aeration plates.

Now sure how to calculate your pond volume or choose the best aeration system for your pond or lake? Call us at 866-766-3435 for our free aerial mapping service, or use our Online Aeration Mapping Service for sizing. We’ll help you to make the right aeration decision – for you and your pond!

Pond Talk: What advice would you give to someone installing an aeration system for the first time?

Create the Perfect Pond - Airmax(r) Pond Series(tm) Aeration Systems

Making Our Website Even More Useful

Making Our Website Even More Useful

Making Our Website Even
More Useful

If you regularly use The Pond Guy® Website, you have probably noticed some changes happening on our product pages! We are in the process of updating every product on our website to make it better and more helpful for you. Below are some of the upgrades we’ve been doing:

  • Tech Specs Tab – You will find all of the product dimensions, manuals and how to’s on this tab.
  • Usage Tab – Need to know which size to purchase? You can look at dosage rates and application methods before you buy. Product Labels and MSDS are also available here.
  • Parts Tab – Not sure where to find replacement parts? Take a look at your original product page to see if we have the part available.
  • Videos Tab – We’re busy working on product videos to add to our website. Over time, you’ll see this tab populated.

We hope you find our website is becoming even more useful to you. We are constantly updating our pages to make them better for you. Keep checking back in during 2014 to see what we’ve been up to!

Pond Talk: What other recommendations do you have for us?

Take a Peek at Our Changes - The Pond Guy(r) - We Know Ponds

Setting Pond Resolutions for 2014 | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Setting Pond Resolutions for 2014

Setting Pond Resolutions for 2014

With the beginning of 2014 upon us, many people make resolutions. Let’s focus your resolution energy on improving your lake, pond or water garden. Here’s how to formulate some attainable goals—and actually reach them—when spring arrives.

Step 1 – Evaluate

First of all, realistically assess the situation in your pond and your experiences with it over 2013. What problems or challenges did you face? Did you have an out-of-control algae problem last spring? A fish population boom (or bust)? Did you slack off on your maintenance routine? Are you sick of looking at all those cattails?

As you’re brainstorming, make a list of these potential pond projects. Be as detailed as possible about what the problems were and the circumstances surrounding them.

Step 2 – Pick your Problem

With your list in hand, identify the problem (or problems) you’d like to fix—but pick only one or two to tackle. Then, research the topic(s) to get to the root of the situation and find out what’s causing the problem.

For instance, if you had crazy algae blooms last spring, perhaps you have excess nutrients in the water that need to be removed with a filter or broken down by beneficial bacterial. If a particular fish species is exploding in your lake, maybe you need to add some predator fish to keep the numbers in check. If your water temperatures are all over the place, aerating it could help. And if the cattails have taken over, it could be time to do some weed whacking.

Step 3 – Make a Plan

Next, formulate a plan—complete with easily attainable goals so you don’t get burned out or overwhelmed. Think manageable benchmarks rather than big-picture dreams.

Step 4 – Take Your Plan Into Action

Finally, take action before it’s too late. No pressure here—but time is of the essence, particularly with pond resolutions. Small problems, like the occasional algae bloom, can quickly become big problems and may even threaten the health of your lake or pond inhabitants.

Why wait? Before the weather warms, get a jump-start to the season by identifying problems, developing action plans, and readying the tools you’ll need. Then you’ll be able to get a hold of these issues before they’re in full swing so you can enjoy the season!

Pond Talk: Have you decided to make pond resolutions for the New Year? If so, what are they?

Happy New Year from The Pond Guy(r)

Top Blog Posts of 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, we sit back and look at all the amazing things that happened this year. We thank you, our wonderful customers, for a great year. Below are our Top Blogs for 2013! Your interest in our products and your thirst for pond knowledge truly makes us thankful to have you as a customer. We aim to give you the knowledge and products you need to make your pond great. As always, if you have questions or comments, please feel to send them our way! 
We wish you a safe and happy 2014.
From The Pond Guy® Staff

Top 5 Blog Posts in Pond & Lake

Top Blog Posts of 2013 - Pond & Lake

Q: After a really warm day, I have algae floating on my pond. How do I control it?

Q: After getting out of my swimming pond, I had a leech on my leg! How do I remove leeches from my pond?
Q: I see predator control options for geese and swans, but what about options for other animals, like raccoons?
Q: My fish population is growing rapidly, but how do I know if my fish population is balanced?
Q: How do I know if my pond is covered in pollen or algae?

Top 5 Blog Posts in Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens

Top Blog Posts of 2013 - Water Garden

Q: What do I need to do to perform a spring cleanout?

Q: How do I treat my pond fish for ich and other diseases?

Q: My water turned brown about this time last year. How do I stop it from happening again?

Q: My fish are looking for food. Can I feed them now? If so, what kind of food do I give them?

Q: My stream is already accumulating algae! Is there anything I can use to help clean it up?

Happy New Year from The Pond Guy(r)

If I run my aeration all winter, do I need to do anything special? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: If I run my aeration all winter, do I need to do anything special?

Q: If I run my aeration all winter, do I need to do anything special?

Jay – Gretna, NE

A: Running your aeration system through the winter is an excellent idea. Aeration helps to break down leaves and debris that make their way into your pond or lake, making cleaning and maintenance easier come spring. The water movement creates a hole in the ice, which allows for gas exchange and keeps water open and available for visiting wildlife. Aeration also circulates the water column, infusing it with oxygen for your fish and plants.

We highly recommend running aeration all year long—except if you plan on doing winter activities on your pond, like figure skating, ice fishing or playing ice hockey. The constant friction created by the water movement weakens the ice that forms, and that could be downright dangerous.

So if you plan to run your aeration system through the winter, here are three winter tasks to add to your to-do list:

  1. Move your plates into shallower water. Following your aerator manual’s recommendations, move the plates from the deepest areas of your pond to shallower areas. This will give your hibernating fish a warmer place to hunker down when the water temperatures get especially chilly. When the plates are closer to the surface, they will also help to keep a hole open in the ice.
  2. Check the aerator regularly throughout the winter. After a heavy snow or a storm, head out to the pond and inspect your aeration unit. Remove accumulated snow around it, particularly any that’s blocking the air discharge vent. If you lost power during a storm, check your GFCI; you may have to reset it.
  3. Be smart and safe. When your aerator is on during the winter, the ice that forms can be thin and uneven, so make sure you keep safety equipment out by your pond. A Life Ring or life vest, rope, blankets and a first aid kit are critical items to have on hand that can save someone’s life.

If you have more questions about running your aerator during the wintertime or need help with your system, contact one of our Pond Guys or Gals or post a comment on our blog page.

Pond Talk: What kinds of differences do you notice in your pond in the spring as a result of running your aeration system in the winter?

Be Prepared for Any Winter Scenario - Taylor Made 20 Inch Life Rings

I thought fish were dormant during the winter. So why do people ice fish? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I thought fish were dormant during the winter. So why do people ice fish?

Q: I thought fish were dormant during the winter. So why do people ice fish?

Keith – Commerce, MI

A: Not all fish go dormant in the winter. Some fish species, like trout, bluegill, perch and crappies, will happily bite despite the ice! There’s no reason to limit yourself to open-water fishing. With some gear and some know-how, you can sport fish or catch your dinner all year-long.

THE GEAR

Whether you plan to cast a line your own ice-covered lake or angle in a favorite fishing spot in your area, you will need some basic equipment. Here’s a quick list of expert-recommended must-have items:

  • Clothing: Water- and wind-resistant clothing is a necessity on the ice—particularly if you’re fishing in an area with biting winds and bitter cold. Make sure you have a warm hat, like a wool beanie, to cover your noggin, along with a warm parka with a hood. Dress in several thin layers, wear gloves, pull on some insulated rubber boots, and consider wearing some ice cleats to safely walk on the slippery stuff.
  • Shelter/Windbreak: In addition to wearing the right type of clothing, a shelter or windbreak will keep those cold winds at bay. It doesn’t have to be complicated: a frame with plastic, canvas or cardboard will do just fine. But there are some pretty upscale options for those who want to ice fish in style (while watching the big game on satellite TV!).
  • Hole-Drilling Tools: To get to the fish, you need a way to plow through the ice. Tools like a spud bar, or a pipe or a pole with a blade will allow you to cut through a 1-foot-thick sheet of ice. If you’re dealing with a thicker layer, consider investing in a 8-inch hand-driven or power auger with a spiral or spoon blade. It’ll slice through the ice like butter.
  • Tackle and Bait: Of course, you’ll also need tackle and bait. The kind of fishing equipment you use will depend on the type of fish you’re hoping to hook. Choose accordingly.

THE KNOW-HOW

With all your gear ready, the next step is to find the fish! As any angler will attest, this is an art in and of itself, particularly if you’ve never fished a particular lake before. A hydrographic map and portable depth finder can help you find fishes’ preferred hiding spots, and a fish finder or underwater camera can help you see them swimming about. So many gadgets, so little time …

If you plan to ice fish your own pond or lake, figure out where the game likes to congregate and plan to cast your line there. If you don’t have an established habitat yet, create one before the ice covers your pond by installing some Porcupine® Fish Attractor Spheres. When these 6-inch-diameter spheres are outfitted with 26 individual ½-inch PVC pipes, they create 5½ feet of coverage for fish to hide within—and a spot where you can successfully get a bite.

SAFETY TIPS

Safety is critical when ice fishing. As fun and relaxing as the sport may be, it can be dangerous when these basic safety tips aren’t followed:

  1. Ensure the ice is at least 3 to 6 inches thick to walk on, at least 7 inches thick to drive on with a car, and 10 inches thick to drive on with a truck. The thicker, the better!
  2. Avoid areas of cracked ice and listen carefully for loud booms or cracking sounds, which could indicate the ice is shifting.
  3. Never fish alone.
  4. If you bring pets or children with you, supervise them at all times and keep your dog on a leash.
  5. Have safety equipment, like a Life Ring or life vest, rope, blankets and a first aid kit, on hand in case of emergency.
  6. When you’re finished, mark or cover your hole with a branch to prevent anyone from stepping into your hole.

Pond Talk: If you ice fish, what’s your favorite part of the hobby?

Create a Winter Habitat for Game Fish - Porcupine® Fish Attractor Spheres

I heard you can lose fish during the winter. How do I prevent a winter fish kill? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I heard you can lose fish during the winter. How do I prevent a winter fish kill?

Q: I heard you can lose fish during the winter. How do I prevent a winter fish kill?

Jon – Little Suamico, WI

A: Imagine being cooped up all winter long in a room with no ventilation and no fresh air. Pretty claustrophobic, right? Now add the stench of decaying garbage and other waste buildup … it’s likely you wouldn’t last until spring.

It’s a similar situation with your fish.

In colder climates that freeze over the winter, decomposing vegetation and waste beneath the ice layer releases toxic gases that build up, displacing the oxygen that the fish need to survive. When that O2 is replaced with ammonia and other harmful gases, the result can be a winter fish kill.

So how to do you prevent this from happening? Aeration with an Airmax® Aeration System.

Open a Window!

An Airmax® Aeration System sized for your lake or pond moves the water below the frozen surface, which keeps an air hole open in the ice. This ventilation allows the harmful gases to escape while bringing in fresh oxygen for your fish. The aeration also injects oxygen into the water via the bubbles that come out of the diffuser or air stones.

Provide Year-Round Oxygen

For the health of your fish, we recommend you run an aeration system year-round—unless you plan to use the pond for winter activities, like ice skating or hockey, that require a solid and safe sheet of ice. In that case, follow the instructions in your product manual to safely turn off your system.

Create a Warm Zone

If you plan to run your system year-round, move the diffuser plates into shallower water during the winter months. This will allow your fish to hunker down in your pond’s warmer depth for the winter. It will also prevent the rare “super cooling” effect, in which the water temperature dips below freezing and over chills your fish.

Pond Talk: Have you ever experienced a winter fish kill? What changes did you make to prevent it from happening again?

Aerate Your Pond in All Seasons - Airmax® Deep Water Aeration

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