Posted on October 12, 2013 by thepondguy
Q: My pond is 18 inches deep. Can I overwinter my fish in my water garden?
Jessica – Hope Valley, RI
A: Great news! Unless you live in an extremely frigid climate, your pond is at the minimum depth required for overwintering fish in a pond. Though 24 inches or deeper is better, 18 inches should give your finned friends enough room to ride out the cold temperatures—as long as you keep a hole open in the ice.
Freezing winter temperatures will create a solid layer of ice on your pond’s surface. Below the ice sheet, decaying vegetation and organic matter release harmful gases, like ammonia, which can build up and kill your fish. A hole in the ice will allow for gas exchange. The oxygen will enter the pond, the gases will escape, and your fish will stay happy and healthy while they’re hibernating.
To keep that hole open, here’s what you’ll need based on your zone:
- Occasional Below-Freezing Temps: For temperature zones that get the occasional below-freezing day or low nighttime temperatures, use an adjustable air stone aerator, like the Pond Logic® PondAir™ (up to 2,000 gallons) or Pond Logic® KoiAir™ (up to 16,000 gallons). One of these units will infuse your pond with oxygen while remaining quiet and cost-effective.
- Long Stretches of Freezing Temps: For temperature zones that see long stretches of freezing temperatures, we recommend these options, below, based on how many gallons your pond holds. The aerator-deicer combo will give your smaller water garden the one-two punch it needs to vent harmful gases and keep your fish safe, while the more powerful KoiAir will sufficiently aerate larger ponds:
Is your pond not quite 18 inches deep? Be sure to check back next week for an article on bringing your pond fish inside for the winter!
Pond Talk: What do you do to ensure your finned pals stay happy through the winter?
Filed under: Aeration - WG, Deicer, Fish Population, Koi & Goldfish, Oxygen Depletion, Seasonal Care, Water Gardens & Features, WG-Winterizing | Tagged: fall prep, freezing pond, freezing water, overwinter, overwinter fish, overwinter koi, overwintering, Seasonal Care, water garden winterization, water garden winterizing | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 12, 2013 by thepondguy
Q: When should I remove my fountain?
Ray – McDermott, OH
A: Among your fall-preparation chores is removing the fountain and storing it for winter, particularly if you live in an area that endures freezing temperatures. Why? When ice forms, the cold stuff might damage the float. Or it could create a barrier that prevents water from passing through the spray nozzle, causing your fountain run dry and destroying your motor.
Your best bet: Remove the fountain before the ice begins to form. Sure, you could wait until a thin layer develops and then remove it—but that means you have to get wet and messy when it’s freezing. Not fun. Get a jump-start now before temperatures get too frigid.
Here are four easy steps to pulling out and storing your fountain for the winter:
- Pull the Plug: Turn off the power to the fountain and pull it ashore. Most units have a quick disconnect at the motor that allows you separate the fountain from the main power cord.
- Scrub Down: Wash down the fountain and float assembly to remove any algae or debris that has accumulated over the season. If you have a pressure washer, use it. It’ll make short work of even the dirtiest fountain.
- Electrical Check: Inspect wiring and electrical cables for signs of wear or damage. If your fountain has lights, check for burned out or damaged bulbs and lenses.
- Safe Storage: Once your fountain is cleaned and inspected, store it in an upright position in a climate-controlled location, like a heated pole barn or garage, until spring.
Now that it’s out and cleaned, you might want to consider sending your fountain to a licensed repair facility for routine maintenance tasks, including oil changes and/or seal replacements. Be sure to read through your user’s manual for special instructions and maintenance plans to keep your fountain running at its very best.
If you don’t plan on using the pond for ice skating or other winter recreation, now is a great time to install an Airmax® Aeration System to keep your pond oxygenated and healthy through the winter months. The aerator will circulate the water while keeping a hole in the ice surface, which will bring oxygen in and allow toxic gases to escape.
Pond Talk: How often do you have your fountain serviced by a licensed repair facility?
Filed under: Aeration, Fountain, Pond & Lake, Winterizing | Tagged: decorative fountain, how do i get my pond ready for winter, kasco fountain, pond winterization, remove fountain, running fountain, winter aeration, winter aerator, winterization | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 5, 2013 by thepondguy
Q: When should I stop treating algae?
Rich – Bartlesville, OK
A: It’s not so much a matter of when as it is what temperature your water is.
In theory, with the right equipment, algae can be managed all year-long. But if you want to treat it with chemicals, the water temperature in your lake needs to above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The active ingredients in Pond Logic® Algae Defense® that are used to control suspended, floating and bottom-of-the-pond algae require warmer water temperatures to work properly.
So when your water temperature is below 60°F, you’re out of luck for using chemical treatments.
Before cooler temperatures chill your water this fall, give any planktonic algae, filamentous algae or chara growing in your pond a dose of Algae Defense®. The best time to apply the fast-acting formula is in the morning on a calm, sunny day. Simply mix with water and spray directly onto algae with a pressurized sprayer. Once the green stuff is dead, don’t forget to remove it with the Pond & Beach Rake to prevent an accumulation of dead algae and muck.
So what do you do if you’re hosting a Halloween party but the water temperature in your pond—filled with spooky, pea green masses—is lower than 60°F? Try clearing things up with The Pond Guy® PondSkim™. Measuring 5 feet wide and constructed with a super tough screen, the skimmer floats on the water surface and collects floating algae as you pull it along with your boat. Problem solved!
Pond Talk: How do you manage late-season algae blooms in your pond or lake?
Filed under: Algae Control, Pond & Lake, Season-Long Control | Tagged: algae, cold weather algae, late season algae, Pea-Green Algae, treat algae in cold temperatures | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 5, 2013 by thepondguy
Q: My pond is mostly clean but should I do a fall cleanout?
Melanie – Ludlow, MA
A: Relax! Unless your pond really (and we mean really) needs it, we don’t recommend doing a total fall cleanout. Doing so would stress your fish out and compromise their health. Any amount of cleanliness you’ll achieve is just not worth the risk.
Instead, here’s a four-step to-do list to prepare your pond for fall:
- Get Your Plants in Shape: After the first frost, remove dead foliage from you aquatic plants, trim them back and sink them in the bottom of your pond to protect them from the cold temperatures. If you have tropical water lilies or other temperature-sensitive varieties, make room for them inside your garage or another place that will not freeze.
- Remove Algae: If you have a stream or waterfall in your pond, remove any algae or debris with CrystalClear® Algae-Off®, which vaporizes string algae, and Pond Logic® Oxy-Lift™ Defense®, which foams up and lifts debris from surfaces. These oxygen-based products are safe for use around plants and fish.
- Clean Up Debris: Using a brush and net, like those included with The Pond Guy® 3-in-1 Pond Tool, scrub down your rocks and liner and net out as much decaying debris as possible. Then use a vacuum, like The Pond Guy® ClearVac™, to suck up whatever’s left. This will minimize the amount of algae-feeding muck decomposing in the pond throughout the winter.
- Treat with Beneficial Bacteria: Finally, continue to treat your water garden with muck-munching beneficial bacteria until water temperatures dip to 50° Fahrenheit. Once the water is below 50°F, switch to Seasonal Defense® to continue breaking down any remaining debris. It’s formulated for use during the cooler months.
With these chores completed, your pond will be in good shape going into winter. Until then, relax and enjoy the fall colors and changing season!
Pond Talk: What do you do to prepare your pond for winter?
Filed under: Aquatic Plants, Pond Cleanouts, Pond Vacuums, Seasonal Care, Water Gardens & Features, WG-Winterizing | Tagged: fall prep, plant maintenance, seasonal, Seasonal Care, seasonal defense, winterizing aquatic plants | 2 Comments »
Posted on September 28, 2013 by thepondguy
Q: Why is there fog on my pond in the mornings?
Joann – Knoxville, TN
A: An enshrouding and ethereal harbinger of fall, misty morning fog conjures a sense of mystery—but why the fog appears isn’t so mysterious once you understand what it is and how it forms.
Fog is simply a concentration of low-lying water vapor in the air. In the fall, these tiny liquid water droplets often form over bodies of water like your pond or lake.
Fog forms when cool air and warm water meet and, more specifically, when the difference between the temperature and the dew point is less than 4° Fahrenheit.
You see, in your pond, the water, heated by the sun, stays warmer than the air temperature during the cool night. When the cold layer of still air settles over your pond, warm water vapor from the pond evaporates, entering the cool air above it. The cool air then traps the concentrated water vapor and fog forms. In the morning, as the sun heats the air and temperatures rise, the water vapor evaporates and dispels.
If you don’t like fog and prefer to use your pond early in the morning before the misty stuff dissipates, consider installing one of Kasco’s Decorative Fountains. A fountain adds oxygen to the pond—but that’s not all. It also creates movement above the water, which prevents cool air from settling on the water surface. This will help prevent fog from forming.
Pond Talk: Are you a fan of fog on your pond or lake? Why or why not?
Filed under: Fountain, Pond & Lake | Tagged: fog, fog over pond, Kasco, kasco fountain, morning fog, pond fog | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 28, 2013 by thepondguy
Q: Do I need to put a net over my pond?
Fred – Chicago, IL
A: With fall approaching, we’ve been talking a lot about why and how you should cover your pond with a net. A net’s purpose—to prevent leaves and debris from landing in your water garden and decomposing into muck—is fairly obvious, but is it a requirement?
Nope. Just because you have a pond doesn’t mean you need to cover it with a net.
When considering whether you should add one to your fall prepping kit, first take a look around. Is your yard (or your neighbor’s) filled with deciduous trees or needle-dropping conifers?
If so, you will need to cover your pond with The Pond Guy® Fine Mesh Pond Netting or a Pond Logic® PondShelter™ to protect it from the falling leaves and needles.
- Pond Netting: Made with clear, heavy-duty 1/8-inch mesh in a variety of sizes to fit most ponds, the Fine Mesh Pond Netting will keep your water garden protected from small, stubborn debris like pine needles while still allowing for sunlight penetration and aesthetic enjoyment. It comes with plastic stakes to keep it in place.
- PondShelter: In addition to its 16-foot-by-11-foot swath of ¼-inch mesh netting, the PondShelter™ Kit includes a fully adjustable aluminum frame that easily adjusts to most landscapes, along with 30 metal stakes to keep it securely in place.
If your skies are clear from leaf- and needle-dropping trees, you don’t need pond netting—but you will need to pull out your 3-in-1 Pond Net to manually remove any leaves and debris that do land in your pond. Even if you have no trees in your yard, stragglers will inevitably blow in, and so you should be prepared to fish them out with this handy-dandy telescoping tool.
Whether you need a net to shelter your pond or a handheld net to manually remove debris, make sure you keep yourself covered by using Seasonal Defense®. The beneficial bacteria in this cool-water product will go to work breaking down any muck that does wind up building up.
Pond Talk: What tips do you have for new hobbyists fitting a net onto their pond for the first time?
Filed under: Pond Netting, Seasonal Care, Water Gardens & Features, WG-Winterizing | Tagged: cover net, fall prep, falling leaves, leaves, Pond Netting, pondshelter, seasonal, Seasonal Care, seasonal defense | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 21, 2013 by thepondguy
Q: Do I need a heater to overwinter my fish in the pond?
Pat – Far Hills, NJ
A: Unless you house warm-water fish like Plecostomus in your water feature, you won’t need a heater to heat things up. Most pond fishes, including koi and goldfish, will overwinter just fine in their outdoor digs because they go into a pseudo-hibernation state when water temperatures fall. Their metabolisms slow and they’re able to tolerate cooler water—even water that’s frigid enough to freeze.
If you live in a climate that experience those freezing temperatures, what we recommend is a de-icer or aerator (rather than a heater) to keep a hole in the ice. This hole allows for gas exchange, through which necessary gases like oxygen enter and harmful gases like ammonia escape.
Which option is right for you?
- De-Icer: A de-icer’s purpose is to float on the surface and melt a hole in ice that has formed on a container of water, whether a koi pond or water garden. Unlike a heater that actually warms the entire body of water, a de-icer like the K&H™ Thermo-Pond 3.0 Pond De-Icer simply melts an opening in the ice sheet, thereby allowing for gas exchange.
- Aerator: Rather than create a hole in the ice from above, an aerator, like the PondAir™ Aeration Kit, circulates the water below the ice sheet. In areas with relatively mild winters, that subsurface water movement will keep a hole in the ice that allows for gas exchange—but when temps really dip, an aerator may not be enough to maintain a vent hole.
- De-Icer, Aerator Combo: An excellent and convenient option to consider is the PondAir™ & Thermo-Pond Combo. It combines both the Thermo-Pond and PondAir™ Aeration Kit, providing your water feature the one-two punch it needs to stay well-vented throughout the winter.
If temperatures in your area vary between above- and below-freezing, consider installing a ThermoCube®. The thermostatically controlled outlet turns on when air temperatures drop below 35° Fahrenheit and turns off when air temps rise above 45°F. This handy-dandy device will save you money, which is something we can all appreciate!
Pond Talk: What do you do to keep your finned pals comfortable in the winter?
Filed under: Aeration - WG, Deicer, Seasonal Care, Water Gardens & Features, WG-Winterizing | Tagged: de-icer, de-icers, Deicer, how do i get my pond ready for winter, pond winterization, Thermo Pond, thermocube, water garden aeration, winter aerator | 1 Comment »