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Why are water changes important? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: Why are water changes important?

Q: Why are water changes important?

Shirley – Warr Acres, OK

A: It’s nice to open a window on a warm spring day and let the fresh air flow through your house, right? Well, a partial or complete water change in your koi pond or water garden is the same thing: It freshens your finned pals’ environment, making them happy and healthy.

Here are five reasons why water changes are so important to your fish, plants and other aquatic life:

  1. Nutrient Removal: Muck and debris buildup happens in just about every water feature. A water change manually removes any excess nutrients and chemicals like nitrates, phosphates and ammonia that can be harmful to fish and other underwater critters.
  2. Healthy Fish: Fresh, clean water means improved water quality, which ultimately promotes your fishes’ health. Just as you need oxygen to thrive, your fish need clean water to thrive. Their well being is directly related to the liquid environment in which they live.
  3. Algae Control: Pea soup and string algae feed on all that decomposing waste, which they use as fertilizer. By removing those excess nutrients in the water column with a water change, you can discourage the growth of algae.
  4. Fights Foam: Foam forms when excess organic material has accumulated in your water garden. When this nutrient-laden water pours down your waterfall, the air and water collide, causing the proteins and other organics to be trapped inside bubbles rather than turning into ammonia and nitrites. A water change will quickly reduce that foamy buildup.
  5. Clears Water, Stabilizes pH: A water change will also improve the appearance of cloudy water and maintain pH levels, resulting in a pristine pond filled with healthy fish, lush greenery and clean water.

To keep stress levels down among your fish, we recommend doing partial water changes as soon as water temperatures reach 50° F. In addition, be sure to add some Stress Reducer PLUS and LiquidClear™ to your water. The Stress Reducer PLUS forms a beneficial slime coat on your fish and makes tap water safe for them. The LiquidClear’s™ beneficial bacteria helps to digest dead organics in the water, making it crystal clear.

Pond Talk: How often do you do water changes in your koi pond or water garden?

Builds Protective Slime Coating - Pond Logic (r) Stress Reducer PLUS

What kind of aeration maintenance should I be doing this season? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: What kind of aeration maintenance should I be doing this season?

Q: What kind of aeration maintenance should I be doing this season?

Bill- Cannon Falls, MN

A: With spring in full bloom, now is the time to tune up your aeration system. It doesn’t matter if you’re turning it back on after the long winter or if it has been running since last year – your aeration system is a very important in keeping your pond healthy, so keep it humming.

Spring Start Up
If you’re turning your aeration system back on in the spring, the airlines traveling from the air compressor to the diffuser plates may contain ice. Those frozen blockages will prevent oxygen from flowing into your pond. To break up the ice, follow these three steps:

  1. Measure 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol for each airline that runs out a plate.
  2. Turn on your compressor to push the alcohol through line and free any ice blockages.
  3. Follow initial startup procedure to avoid “shocking” in the pond.

Weekly Chores
Every week throughout the pond season, check the side cabinet’s air filter for debris, particularly if you live in a dry, dusty environment. Clean your air filter as needed because when it becomes clogged, your compressor and pump are forced to work harder – which means more wear and tear on those moving parts. When you clean the filter, make sure it’s completely dry before placing it back inside the cabinet.

Every 3 to 6 Months
Several times a year, block out some weekend time to perform these maintenance tasks:

  • Replace the air filter. Although you’ve been cleaning your air filter regularly, you will need to replace it every three to six months. We recommend Airmax® SilentAir™ RP Series Compressor Air Filter for Pond and Lake Series Systems. While you’re in the cabinet, make sure the aeration unit’s cooling fan is operating properly.
  • Check your pressure gauge. For Pond and Lake Series Aeration Systems, mark pressure gauge upon initial start up and check it every few months. Normal operation will range between 5 to 10 psi.

Every 12 to 24 Months
In addition to cleaning your aerator’s membrane sticks, you should also plan to do the following tasks depending on what aeration system you have installed in your lake or pond:

Your aeration system requires regular maintenance to keep it performing at its best. Doing so will extend the lifespan of the unit and ensure your system is running as efficiently as possible.

Pond Talk: What else do you do to make sure your aeration system is working well when you start it back up in the spring?

Kill Water Lilies and Other Emergent Weeds - Airmax(r) SilentAir(t) Piston Compressor Maintenance Kit

Why does my water garden turn green and can I prevent it? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: Why does my water garden turn green and can I prevent it?

Q: Why does my water garden turn green and can I prevent it?

Laurie- Bardstown, KY

A: Green water in fish ponds and water features are a common conundrum faced by hobbyists. What causes it, and how can it be fixed?

Algae Explosion
Green water is the result of an imbalance in your pond’s ecosystem. When too many nutrients – also known as decomposing plant material, fish waste and other debris – build up in your water garden, algae flourish because the nutrients act like fertilizer to those tiny plants. That thriving planktonic algae is what causes your water to resemble pea soup.

Finding Balance:
To achieve balance in your pond, you need to evaluate and correct the underlying problems that are causing your green water. Here’s a guide that can help you identify the problem and work toward a solution:

  • Problem: Too many fish.
    Solution: If your water garden is brimming with fish, it may be time to relocate some of them. Overcrowding is a common source for green water because your filtration system may not be large enough to handle the amount of waste being produced. A simple rule of thumb to ensure room for your fish is one fish (5 inches long) for every 10 square feet of surface area.
  • Problem: debris buildup.
    Solution: After a long winter, waste and debris may have built up in your pond. A good spring cleanout will remove those excess nutrients that are feeding the algae. Here’s an easy step-by-step spring cleaning guide to follow that will help you through the process.
  • Problem: Inadequate mechanical filtration.
    Solution: Mechanical filtration helps to remove the excess nutrients from the water column. As the water passes through the filtration system, debris is removed and collected in the filter box or skimmer. Check to be sure your filtration system is adequate for your pond’s size and fish population. If it’s not, consider giving it a boost.
  • Problem: Lack of beneficial bacteria.
    Solution: Beneficial bacteria, like those found in DefensePAC®, are microorganisms that eat through detritus and other algae-feeding nutrients. With little or no nutrients to feed the algae, the green stuff will eventually die off. Learn more about DefensePAC’s components and how to use them here.
  • Problem: Inadequate aeration.
    Solution: Those beneficial bacteria – as well as your pond’s fish – need life-giving oxygen to thrive, and that’s where aeration comes into play. Air being pumped into the water via a diffuser or air stone will circulate the water column and infuse the water with oxygen. Learn more about the importance of aeration here.
  • Problem: Too much sunlight and not enough plants.
    Solution: Because algae are plants, sunlight is essential for growth. You can block that sunlight by covering your water’s surface with floating plants. We recommend shading 40 to 60 percent of your pond with water lilies or other floating plants.

Going Ultraviolet
Once you’ve cleaned out your pond, checked your filtration and aeration systems, added some beneficial bacteria, adjusted your fish load and added some plants, you should be well on your way to clearing up that pesky algae. A final remedy to try is an ultraviolet clarifier, like The Pond Guy’s® PowerUV™ Clarifier. It’s designed to clear water. As a result, the tiny particles of debris clump together and are removed by your mechanical filtration system.

Good luck keeping that green water at bay!

Pond Talk: What do you do to clear up algae in your koi pond or water garden?

Eliminate Discolored Water - Pond Logic (r) PowerUV (t)

I had a bad duckweed problem last year. How do I prevent it this year? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I had a bad duckweed problem last year. How do I prevent it this year?

Q: I had a bad duckweed problem last year. How do I prevent it this year?

Alex – Alvada,OH

A: As you know, Duckweed is a persistent pond pest. Dense colonies of these prolific plants can completely cover the surface of a lake or fish pond, causing dissolved oxygen depletions and fish kills. These tiny invaders need to be managed before they take over.

ID Duckweed

Transported by waterfowl, Duckweed is a very small, light green, free-floating plant that sports a single hair-like root and three 1/16- to 1/8-inch long leaves, or fronds, that resemble a four-leaf clover. It tends to grow in dense colonies in quiet water that’s undisturbed by waves, and it’s often mistaken for algae.

Though Duckweed colonies can provide a habitat for microscopic critters and forage for hungry ducks, the plant can wipe out oxygen in the water if it grows to cover a lake’s or pond’s surface. That could compromise your fishes’ health and cut off sunlight to underwater plants.

Plant Pest Control

Because Duckweed is such a small plant that spreads very quickly, it can be difficult to control – and so it’s critical to treat your pond or lake early in the spring when the growth first appears.

To manage these aquatic bad guys, you’ll need an herbicide. We recommend Sonar A.S., a weed killer that provides season-long control against unwanted plants like Duckweed. It’s designed for water bodies that have no water outflow, as it can take 30 to 60 days to control established weed growth and up to 90 days for full protection of your pond.

Sonar A.S. degrades quickly in sunlight, and so you must add Pond Dye at the time of treatment. The dye will shade the water and allow the herbicide to work effectively.

Short-Term Solution

If you want to remove the Duckweed for a short period of time but your pond or lake has an outflow that prevents you from using Sonar A.S., you can remove the tiny plants with the Pond Skim. The floating tool, which is 5 feet wide, collects surface debris when dragged across the water.

Pond Talk: How do you remove duckweed from your farm pond or lake?

One Treatment for the Entire Season - Sonar™ Fluridone Aquatic Herbicide

I have a leak in my liner. How do I repair it? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: I have a leak in my liner. How do I repair it?

Q: I have a leak in my liner. How do I repair it?

Catherine – Ballwin, MO

A: Dropping water levels and wet patches appearing around your pond indicate one thing: a leaky liner. Don’t worry. It doesn’t mean you need to rebuild your water garden from the ground up. You just have to patch the leak.

Your repair process starts with determining the size of the leak. Smaller holes can simply be patched; larger punctures or multiple tears need a bit more attention. Here’s what we recommend based on the leak size.

For Smaller Holes …

If you have a small hole in your liner that’s 5 inches or less, you can use the EPDM Pond Liner Patch Kit. It contains everything you’ll need to fix minor tears or holes, including a EPDM rubber patch, solvent wipe, a scrub sponge, seam roller and pair of disposable gloves.

To begin, make sure the surface is both clean and dry. If necessary, relocate your fish in a holding tank while prepping the liner and performing your repair. After the patch is in place, you can top off your pond’s water level, and acclimate and return your fish to their home.

For Tears or Punctures …

To repair smaller tears or punctures without draining your pond, you can use Underwater Pond Sealer. Remember, however, that it has to be beaded on, not smeared on, because it’s a sealer, not an adhesive. When used as directed, it’ll start to be tacky in two to three hours, and fully cured in 48 hours. The sealer performs best in water that’s 60° Fahrenheit.

For best results, clean the surface and make sure it’s free of grease and algae. If necessary, relocate your fish in a holding tank while allowing the repaired area to fully cure.

Then place sealer directly onto the surface you wish to bond/seal. Put two 5mm diameter beads of sealer 100mm apart on the overlap. Gently run your fingers over the line to make sure the sealer has connected both pieces of liner. Do not press it flat, and don’t be tempted to pull it apart to see if it has stuck! Allow the sealer to fully cure before returning your fish to the pond.

For Multiple Tears or Large Punctures …

Larger punctures of multiple tears will require some work. You’ll need to put your fish in a holding tank, drain the pond and adhere a new piece of liner to the existing one. Here’s what you’ll need and how the process should go:

First, you’ll need to purchase a liner seaming kit, a new piece of liner and have some protective gloves on hand. After you’ve repaired the tears and ensured that the adhesive had done its job, refill your pond, and acclimate and return your fish to their home.

Good luck repairing your leaky liner!

Pond Talk: Have you ever had to repair your leaky liner? Tell us about your experience!

Repair Leaky Liners Without Draining Pond - Gold Label Pond & Aquarium Sealer

How often should I be changing my UV bulb? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: How often should I be changing my UV bulb?

Q: How often should I be changing my UV bulb?

Deborah – Providence Forge, VA

A: Your UV bulb is an important component of your pond’s filtration system. The bulb’s ultraviolet rays destroy the ultra-fine planktonic algae that cause green water by destroying the plant’s cellular walls. The tiny dead algae particles are then removed by your mechanical filtration system, leaving behind clean, clear water.

UV Ready

For maximum effectiveness, you should change your UV bulb at least once a year, such as when you perform your pond’s annual spring cleanout. If you’ve recently changed your bulb and your water is still turning pea soup green, you might need to simply clean off debris that has built up on the bulb itself.

Whether you have a standalone UV clarifier, like the PowerUV™ or one that’s part of a filtration system, like our ClearSolution™, use a soft cloth when cleaning or changing the bulb rather than using your bare hands. The oils on your skin can actually shorten the lifespan of your bulb.

Unfortunately, a UV clarifier does not affect string algae at all, so you’ll need to use AlgaeOff® or AlgaeFix® to rid your pond of it. But if your pond turns green from planktonic algae every year from full sun exposure or too many fish, a UV clarifier is an excellent solution.

Preventing Algae Growth

Though UV bulbs do a great job with green water, an even better solution is to prevent algae growth in the first place. Planktonic algae flourishes in ponds that have nutrient-rich water—meaning water that has lots of fish waste, leftover fish food, decomposing plant material and even fertilizer from your lawn.

You can tamp that green growth down by reducing the number of fish in your pond, minimizing the amount of food you feed them and cleaning up the waste they produce, as well as regularly removing the built-up detritus.

Consider using the Pond Logic® DefensePAC®, which uses beneficial bacteria to improve water quality throughout your water column, eliminate muck and built-up debris, and enhance fish health. With quick and easy application, you’ll see noticeable results in no time.

Pond Talk: Besides using a UV bulb, what do you do to reduce or eliminate planktonic algae in your pond?

Replace Your UV Bulb Yearly - Replacement UV Bulbs

I have a lot of water lilies in my 1/2 acre pond. How do I control them? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I have a lot of water lilies in my 1/2 acre pond. How do I control them?

Q: I have a lot of water lilies in my 1/2 acre pond. How do I control them?

Dan – Newnan, GA

A: In ornamental ponds, water lilies planted in pots are prized possessions—but in a shallow farm pond or lake, lilies living wild can be an invasive species that takes over the water surface in no time.

Of course, water lilies aren’t all bad. Their leaves and roots provide food for beaver, moose, muskrat, porcupine, and deer. Their seeds are gobbled by waterfowl, and their leaves provide protective coverage for largemouth bass, sunfish, and frogs. Left unmanaged, however, water lilies can restrict lake-front access, eliminate swimming opportunities and quickly take over shallow areas.

But before we get into how to control these beautiful but troublesome aquatic plants, let’s learn a bit about them.

Habitat, Growth

The water lily is a floating-leaved aquatic perennial herb that grows rooted in mucky or silty sediments in water 4 to 5 feet deep. It prefers quiet waters like ponds, lake margins and slow streams. When unmanaged, the plant tends to form dense areas covering hundreds of acres.

Each spring, new shoots appear from the rhizomes and grow up through the water until they reach the surface. The flowers appear from June to September. Each blossom opens in the morning and closes in the early afternoon for two to five consecutive days. After the flowers have closed for the final time, the flower stalk corkscrews and draws the developing fruit below the water.

The plant over winters underground as the rhizome. These rhizomes, along with the plant’s seeds, are how it reproduces. A planted rhizome can grow to cover a 15-foot-diameter circle in just five years!

Limiting Those Lilies

You can control water lilies with several different methods.

  • Mechanical Control: First, you can cut/harvest the water lilies or dig up the rhizomes to create open areas of water. If you cut the lilies, you must do so several times a year as these plants thrive in shallow water and grow rapidly. If you dig up the rhizomes, it can be an intrusive and costly though permanent process; they can be difficult to dislodge, but it can be done via rotovation (underwater rototilling) or excavation. Either way, mechanical control is a difficult method because the plant will likely regrow from seeds or remaining rhizomes.
  • Chemical Control: Another more effective method is to use reactive chemical treatment, like Shoreline Defense®, to manage lilies that are actively growing and have reached the surface. When applied directly to the foliage—along with some Treatment Booster™ PLUS to break down the plant’s protective surface—the herbicide’s active ingredient penetrates the lily and makes its way to the rhizome. Once it has turned brown, use a Weed Cutter to remove as much of the decomposing plant as possible to prevent an accumulation of dead material and muck. If you use this method, treat your pond in sections, dosing only half of the lilies at a time; if the weather is hot, decrease that to a third or quarter, waiting 10 to 14 days between treatments.
  • Preventive Control: In addition to mechanical and chemical control, you can also prevent—or at least slow down—the growth of water lilies by treating the pond’s water with Pond Dye. By blocking the sun’s rays early in the season, the lilies will not get the light they need to develop.

Controlling water lilies can be a challenge. But these methods, you can manage them and keep them contained in a particular area, making them a beautiful addition to your landscape.

Pond Talk: How do you control wild water lilies in your farm pond or lake?

Kill Water Lilies and Other Emergent Weeds - Pond Logic(r) Shoreline Defense(r)

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