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What steps should I do for a spring cleanout? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: What steps should I do for a spring cleanout?

Q: What steps should I do for a spring cleanout?

Carol – Beaverton, OR

A: Ice melting, sun shining, cabin fever driving you batty … yep, spring must be on its way. For water garden hobbyists, that means one thing: It’s time to head outside and prepare the pond for spring. With some basic planning and a handy-dandy cheat sheet (like this one below), you will have your outdoor oasis cleaned up and ready for fun in no time.

Gather your tools, pull on your hip waders and gloves, and let’s get cleaning!

  1. Evaluate the Pond. The first step is to take a look at the pond and determine what kind of work needs to be done. Did you do a great job cleaning out the pond last fall? Did you procrastinate too long and let those leaves build up? Is it time to give the water feature a top-to-bottom scrubbing?
  2. Minimal Work Required. If you adequately prepped the pond last fall and, after evaluating it this spring, discovered clear water and minimal debris, you’ll only need to do some light cleaning. Scrub the rocks with Oxy-Lift™ Defense®, replace filter pads in the waterfall filter or skimmer box, and perform a 20 percent water change.
  3. Drain Pond, Relocate Your Fish. If a complete cleanout is necessary, you’ll need to drain the pond. Siphon some of the water into a holding tank for the fish, and transport them safely to their temporary home with a pond net. Add some healthy oxygen to the water by submerging and turning on a bubbler or air stone in the tank.
  4. Check Tubing, Remove Debris. While you’re draining the pond, don’t forget to purge the water from the tubing and remove any large debris, like branches or dead foliage, by hand.
  5. Power Wash Away. To remove tough algae growth on rocks, liner and gravel, treat with Oxy-Lift™ Defense® and use a power washer to scrub away the debris if necessary.
  6. Skimmer, Waterfall Wash. Once the dirty water has been drained from the pond, clean out the skimmer and waterfall boxes using a garden hose, spraying away excess muck and buildup. If the filter media looks worn down, now’s the time to replace it.
  7. Check Lighting, Aerator. With the water drained from the pond, you have a perfect opportunity to inspect any underwater lighting fixtures, check the bulbs and clean the lenses – or, better yet, add some new Pond Lighting for dramatic backyard effect. It’s also a good time to check the aerator and make sure it’s working properly.
  8. Reconnect and Reinstall. If you removed and stowed the filter, pump and ultraviolet clarifier last fall, pull them back out and dust them off. Reconnect the plumbing and filters, and reinstall the pumps and UV clarifiers. While you’re at it, change the UV bulbs, too; they need to be replaced once a year for optimal algae-control effect.
  9. Refill, Prep the Pond. Once you’re done with the spring cleaning chores, refill the pond with some fresh water. In addition, be sure to add some Stress Reducer PLUS , which removes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metal from tap water. Then acclimate the fish to the new water and add them back into the pond.
  10. Boost Your Bacteria. Keep the water clean and clear by adding some beneficial bacteria to the pond. Test the water temperature to be sure it’s above 55 °F and add PL Gel to the filter media and Seasonal Defense® to the pond water to help jump start the growth of good bacteria.
  11. Add Aquatic Plants. Finally, be sure to add a variety of pond plants to the water feature. Bog plants beautify the circumference of the pond; floating plants, lilies and lotus provide shade and pops of color; and submerged plants release extra oxygen to the water. They all provide added all-natural filtration and habitat for all underwater pond dwellers.

A spring cleanout may seem like a daunting task, but the time and effort you put into it will pay off with a tranquil backyard oasis. Happy spring!

Pond Talk: How has this winter’s wacky weather affected your pond or water feature? Will you have major work to do in the spring?

Debris Lifts Away in Seconds - Pond Logic (r) Oxy-Lift™ Defense®

Why does my pond sometimes turn green in the spring? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: Why does my pond sometimes turn green in the spring?

Q: Why does my pond sometimes turn green in the spring?

Randy – Huntington, WV

A: After a long, dreary winter, the sight of spring’s green shoots and leaves are a welcome sign – but not in your pond. Green water means algae growth, and that’s not something you want to see flourish. Besides being unsightly, algae degrades your water quality and can actually harm your aquatic pets.

So what can you do to prevent your water garden from turning green?

Add Seasonal Defense®: As long as water temperatures are below 50° F, you can add Seasonal Defense® to your pond. It contains aerobic bacteria that are specially designed for cooler water. When used at this time of year, the waste-gobbling microorganisms will break down dead foliage, fish waste and other sediment that fuel algae growth in your pond.

Keep Up on Your Chores: Make sure you also keep up on your spring cleaning chores because all that decomposing debris feeds algae. Regularly check and clean out your skimmer basket, and remove any leaves or large pieces of debris that blow into the pond with your Collapsible Skimmer & Fish Net. This will encourage the beneficial bacteria in Seasonal Defense® to focus their energy on breaking down fine organic material and muck.

Add Barley Straw Extract: All-natural chemicals found in decomposing barley straw help keep your pond’s water crystal clear. If you add Barley Extract, you don’t have to wait for the straw to decompose. Simply add it to your water according to the label’s instructions and enjoy a clean and healthy water feature. For best results, use Barley Extract in conjunction with Seasonal Defense®.

Pond Talk: What upgrades will you be making to your pond or water garden this year?

Replenish Bacteria Loss This Spring- Pond Logic (r) Seasonal Defense(r)

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

Are Products With Beneficial Bacteria The Same As Products With Enzymes? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Are Products With Beneficial Bacteria The Same As Products With Enzymes?

Are Products With Beneficial Bacteria The Same As Products With Enzymes?

Jeff – Carol Stream, IL

Natural bacteria and enzymes each play a very different role in your pond or lake. Understanding how each item affects your pond will help make selecting the right products easier.

Natural bacteria, like those in PondClear™ and MuckAway™, are microscopic organisms that decompose organic material such as dead algae/weeds, leaves and pond muck. Don’t let the word bacteria scare you, especially when it comes to these natural bacteria additives for ponds. They are completely natural and 100% safe. These aerobic bacteria (bacteria that require oxygen) are preferred for pond applications because they decompose organic material and pond muck at a faster rate than anaerobic bacteria, which do not require oxygen to survive.

Enzymes, on the other hand, are catalysts that aid natural bacteria by speeding up the digestion of dead material. They help ponds by lowering the activation energy needed for natural bacteria to digest dead materials. PondLogic® PondClear™ and MuckAway™ are unique in the fact that they possess the ability to produce their own enzymes unlike other bacteria additives on the market. There is no need to add additional enzymes.

Our recommendation; don’t be fooled by products that focus just on enzymes. Aerobic natural bacteria must already be present in the pond for enzymes to be productive. Instead, stick with PondLogic® aerobic natural bacteria products that produce their own enzymes as this will save you time & money as well as give you the results you want…clear water.

Pond Logic MuckAway

Should I Use Beneficial Bacteria Pond Products In The Winter? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Should I Use Beneficial Bacteria Pond Products In The Winter?Should I Use Beneficial Bacteria Pond Products In The Winter?

Woodrow – Burlington, WI

Most people assume bacteria are a bad thing since they’ve spent most of their lives learning to avoid it. However, bacteria can be extremely beneficial to outdoor ponds, and are even recommended for a healthy and stable pond environment. But what exactly are we referring to when we say “bacteria?”

These helpful bacteria are called aerobic bacteria, and are used to consume organic waste, turning it into an odorless gas which escapes from the pond unnoticed. They are found in both PondClear™ and MuckAway™, which aid in keeping pond water healthy, clear of debris, and fresh smelling.

Products that contain aerobic bacteria work best at temperatures above 50 degrees, which is why you would want to stop adding bacteria during the winter months. In temperatures below 50 degrees, bacteria are not as efficient and therefore are not recommended for use. So save that bacteria for warmer days, and you’ll have a healthy pond clear of unsightly muck and debris.

Pond Talk: Have you seen a reduction in muck using natural bacteria over the summer months?

Pond Logic® MuckAway™

Can I swim in the pond if I add pond dye? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Can I swim in the pond if I add pond dye?

Can I swim in the pond if I add pond dye?
Sarah – Reno, NV

For a lot of good reasons – beyond the fact that blue skin isn’t terribly flattering on anyone – this is a question that begs for an answer. We’ll start with the basics. At The Pond Guy®, we sell a variety of pond dyes – including Pond Logic® Nature’s Blue™, Twilight Blue™ and Black Dyemond™, and Pond Logic® Nature’s Blue™ Pond Dye PLUS and Twilight Blue™ Pond Dye PLUS which both include bacteria. For the sake of safety, all of the pond dyes we carry are food grade – which ensures that they’re safe for recreational use, including swimming. Because our dyes are food grade, even an accidental slurp of dyed pond water is no cause for concern.

Since our dyes pose no health risks to people or pets, the second line of inquiry about pond dyes usually involves the potential for staining. In its concentrated form, pond dyes will stain pretty much anything. Clothes, skin, pets, rocks – you name it. When you put a lot of dye in one place, it’s bound to leave a mark. But when applied properly in a pond, and permitted to disperse for 24 to 48 hours, dyes pose little to no risk of staining.

In the event that you or your pet come into contact with concentrated dye, there’s no need to worry. Food grade dyes pose no threat to health whatsoever – even in concentrated forms. On the downside, however, it may take a while for you to shed your new hue. Over time, dyes will fade, and your skin – or Rover’s fur – will be back to its natural tint.

Pond Talk: Do you use dye in your pond?

Pond Logic® Nature's Blue™ Pond Dye Plus

What is the difference between adding bacteria and adding enzymes? | Pond & Lakes Q & A

What is the difference between adding bacteria and adding enzymes?

What is the difference between adding bacteria and adding enzymes?
Mario – Albany, NY

When searching for natural water treatments for your pond and lake you may have noticed products advertising beneficial bacteria and some labeled as enzymes, both claiming to produce the same results, a reduction in muck! So just what is the difference between adding bacteria and adding an enzyme?

Bacteria are commonly associated with illness or filth and many people wonder why pond owners are crazy enough to want to add bacteria to our ponds. Bacteria come in a wide variety of flavors and they each have their own unique agenda. Aerobic bacteria used in natural pond treatments like Pond Logic® PondClear™and MuckAway™ are the powerhouses behind digesting and removing the organic debris that muck up your pond. While they have little interest in you or your pets, they thrive on material like decomposing plant matter and fish waste, breaking it down into nothing but a natural odorless gas byproduct.

There is always a trace of beneficial bacteria in a natural pond ecosystem. However, there are typically more types of organic waste being introduced to your pond via plants, fish, wildlife and runoff than there are bacteria to digest it. It is this imbalance that causes organic waste to accumulate over time. Applying beneficial bacteria treatments to your pond is a natural way to keep your pond balanced and clean. Enzymes are the catalyst which allows bacteria to break down and digest the debris in your pond. While they don’t actually eradicate waste material from your pond on their own, they take some of the work load off of your bacteria’s proverbial shoulders by saving them the time of having to “prepare” their meal. As beneficial aerobic bacteria are actually capable of creating these enzymes on their own, products that consist of only enzymes can be considered a support tool to help enhance pre-existing pond bacteria, however they will not directly decompose the accumulated muck in your pond.

Adding natural water treatments that contain beneficial aerobic bacteria can keep your pond healthy, balanced and clean throughout the season. Running an aeration system in tandem with your bacteria treatments infuses your pond with oxygen, which is prized by your fish and aerobic bacteria. Maintaining your pond with aeration and natural water treatments that contain natural bacteria is considered a proactive treatment that will provide a quicker path to desired results of a clean and healthy pond.

Pond Talk: Have you used an enzyme product as part of your pond maintenance? Did you notice a difference?

Get clear water naturally with PondClear™ Natural Bacteria!

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