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Should I use just one type of filter media or are multiple types better? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Should I use just one type of filter media or are multiple types better?

Q: Should I use just one type of filter media or are multiple types better?

Christine – Mt. Clemens, MI

A: Filter media—or the stuff in your filter that holds beneficial bacteria—come in a range of shapes, sizes and densities. Some are plastic balls; some are fibrous mats and blocks; some are plastic spiral-shaped things that more resemble fusilli than pond products. With all the different types, it’s tough to decide which is best.

Well, we’ll make it easy for you: Try a little of each type. Just like plants, different filtration media provide different amounts of water filtration, so we recommend a healthy mix of media pads, like Matala® Filter Media Pads, and Filter Media Pads pre-cut and by-the-foot; ridged plastic balls, like Pond Logic® BioBalls™; and curly plastic strips, like Bacti-Twist® Biological/Mechanical Filter Media.

When choosing the filter media, regardless of type, look for these defining characteristics:

  • Durability: Your media should be able to withstand wear and tear. Pond Logic® BioBalls™ are more durable and longer lasting compared to similar products.
  • Density: Your media should be the right density for your specific needs. Matala® Filter Media Pads come in 4 densities to suit your particular pond.
  • Surface area: Your media should also have a lot of surface area, which will result in more places for beneficial bacteria to grow.

Your filter media’s density and surface area are particularly important because they determine how much beneficial bacteria grows and the rate at which water flows through the material. Dense material allows for more bacteria colonization, while less-dense material allows for more water flow. By using all different types of filter media, you’re encouraging optimal biological and mechanical filtration—and that’s always a good thing in an enclosed system.

Already have filter media in your system? You may be able to use it for another season or two, but first give it a visual inspection. Is it beginning to wear on the edges? Has it compacted over the last few seasons? Worn or compressed material should be replaced to give your pond top-quality filtration, but fresh, fluffy material can be reused.

Pond Talk: What’s your preferred filter media type—and why?

Keep Your Water Crystal Clear - Matala® Filter Media Pads

Which is better for my pond? PondClear™ or MuckAway™? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: Which is better for my pond? PondClear™ or MuckAway™?

Mitch – Syracuse, NY

A: PondClear™ and MuckAway™ have their similarities and differences. They both are chemical free, safe to use in recreational ponds, and contain aerobic bacteria that naturally work to break down dead organic material in your pond or lake. They differ however, by targeting different types of debris.

Pond Logic® PondClear™ Beneficial Bacteria focuses on debris that’s suspended in the water column. The floating material may cause your pond or lake to appear cloudy. The beneficial microorganisms in PondClear™ consume and digest that suspended organic matter, leaving you with clean, clear, odor-free water and a healthy ecosystem. It’s even safe to use in ponds and lakes that water horses, livestock, pets, birds and other wildlife, as well as those that contain game fish.

Pond Logic® MuckAway™ Pond Muck Reducer focuses on sunken organic debris – also known as pond muck – that has accumulated along the beach, shoreline or pond bottom. The MuckAway™ pellets sick below the water’s surface and dissolve, releasing hungry beneficial bacteria that instantly begin consuming and digesting the settled debris. The all-natural muck buster is perfect for spot-treating trouble areas or managing material in canals or lake-front properties. As with PondClear™, MuckAway™ is safe to use around horses, livestock, pets, birds, wildlife and in lakes that contain game fish.

When used as directed, both PondClear™ and MuckAway™ will begin working right away and, in most cases, you can expect to see real results within one month of use. Of course, each pond is different; the longer the muck has had to accumulate, the longer it will take to be devoured by the bacteria.

To give the microorganisms a performance boost, add an aeration system to the pond and increase the water’s circulation. Aerobic bacteria require oxygen to live, thrive and reproduce. An aeration system, such as the Airmax® Deep Water Aeration System or the Kasco Surface Aerator, will diffuse O2 into the water while increasing the water’s movement and exposure to surface oxygen.

So before you add PondClear™ or MuckAway™ to your pond or lake, make sure you choose the product that targets your particular situation.

Pond Talk: Which bothers you more: cloudy water or pond muck? Why?

Pond Logic MuckAway - Naturally Eliminate Pond Muck

Will Algaecides & Herbicides Harm My Beneficial Bacteria? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Will Algaecides & Herbicides Harm My Beneficial Bacteria?

Kenneth – Lawton, OK

Some chemical treatments can affect the performance of your beneficial bacteria. It’s best to wait 72 hours after a chemical treatment to add bacteria. Certain chemical treatments contain copper, and copper can reduce the effectiveness of bacteria. If you wait a few days, you’ll ensure no loss of bacteria from a chemical interaction and the bacteria will have a lot of newly killed weeds to feed on. If you can’t wait, apply bacteria away from the treated areas of your pond. For example, if you put chemicals around the edge of your pond, add bacteria such Pond Logic® PondClear™, to the center. This will prevent the chance of overlapping chemicals with natural bacteria.

Does Pond Dye Have A Temperature Restriction? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

How does ice form on a pond?

Does Pond Dye Have A Temperature Restriction?
Fred – Spring Branch, TX

While the colorant used in most pond dye is unaffected by temperature, there may be other included ingredients that suffer from diminished performance in cooler temperatures.

Pond Logic® Pond Dye & Pond Dye Packets contain food-grade dyes that can be used all year long as they are not temperature sensitive. Pond Logic® Pond Dye Plus however, contains water clarifying beneficial bacteria that become largely inactive once water temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Read the product label on your pond dye to determine the best times to treat. Furthermore, store your pond dye in a temperature controlled area to prevent accidental freezing as this can negatively affect performance and potentially damage the dye container.

Pond dye can also be affected by weather conditions other than temperature. Heavy rainfall can dilute the concentration of pond dye reducing its potency in your pond. Avoid applying dye before heavy rains and maintain your desired pond color by re-applying dye every 4-6 weeks to compensate for dilution.

Pond Talk: Do you prefer to use standard pond dye or pond dye with added natural bacteria?

Pond Logic Pond Dye

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 PLUS and Twilight Blue 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

When do the bacteria say it’s too cold to eat? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

When do the bacteria say it's too cold to eat?

When do the bacteria say it’s too cold to eat? Farrah – Rockport, KY

You’ve counted on your bacteria to keep your pond clear and muck free throughout the summer but they may soon be taking a breather as winter approaches and water temperatures drop. Although you will see a dip in muck eradicating productivity rest assured that your microbial mates are not saying goodbye for good.

Bacteria products like Pond Logic™ Pond Clear™ and MuckAway™ advertise that you should apply treatments whenever your water temperature is above 50°F. This is more of a target area than a temperature cutoff and lets you know you are approaching conditions that are less than optimal for your bacteria to work. Once your water temperatures frequently stay at or below the 50° mark you will want to stop applying bacteria treatments.

To monitor this target area, you can install a floating pond thermometer in your pond to take regular temperature readings. To get accurate readings push the thermometer beneath the surface of the water and closer to the bottom where the water is less affected by ambient air temperatures. Be sure to remove the thermometer before your pond ices over to avoid damaging the unit.

Your bacteria may not be too enthusiastic about the cold weather, but your other pond care products like pond dye are ready to go no matter what the forecast says. As some plants can still grow in colder temperatures while your bacteria and herbicides are out of commission, dye can be one of the cheaper and easier applications to help maintain your pond even as it ices over.

POND TALK: What time of the year do you stop using your bacteria?

Eliminate up to 5 inches of muck a year!

Are there any tips for treating my pond in the hot summer months? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Are there any tips for treating my pond in the hot summer months?

Are there any tips for treating my pond in the hot summer months? George – Horace, ND

A lot of our summer activities revolve around our pond. The warm sunny seasons see us hosting parties, swimming, fishing, or just unwinding at the end of the day lounging around outside. Regardless of how you enjoy your down time, you expect your pond to be in pristine condition when having guests at your home or before you decide jump in for a swim. Frustratingly enough, it is the warmer seasons that encourage weed and algae growth that can throw the proverbial wrench in the works. By laying out a few key points on pond maintenance you should be able to keep your pond in excellent condition by knowing what to expect when things go a bit south.

Know It’s Role
When you start to notice growth in your pond, properly identifying it will be the first step to effective treatment. We offer a great Weed ID Guide online that can help you pinpoint exactly what is trying to invade your space. If you are still unsure you can always e-mail pictures to us at mrwig@thepondguy.com or mail us a sample of the weed.

Plan Ahead
Having a party? Keep in mind that it may take up to a week or more to receive full results from a pond treatment depending on what you are treating. Waiting until the day before could result in swimming restrictions or floating growth that has yet to die off. Always read the labels on aquatic algaecides and herbicides for application instructions, dosage rates, and any water use restrictions that they may carry. You don’t want to buy a product that carries a 30 day irrigation restriction of you plan on watering your garden and lawn with your pond water.

Use Aeration Ahead of Time and Keep it Going
Customers who use Bottom Plate Aeration Systems typically run them all day every day to keep the pond circulating and infused with oxygen. Those of you who use a fountain or surface aerator may only run it when you are home and leave it off at night or when you are away. When treating with algaecides and herbicides make sure you keep your aeration running continuously for at least a few days after application regardless. This allows an influx of oxygen during this crucial time when the kill off process robs the water column of the majority of its dissolved oxygen. No aeration yet? If you are going to install an aeration system you will want to introduce it at least a week before you treat, running it in gradually extended increments as to avoid manually turning over your pond by rapidly mixing the bottom oxygen deficient water with the upper oxygen rich layers.

Treat in Sections
In the hot summer months as the water column warms up it will naturally hold less oxygen. In addition to water temperature, dying algae and weeds will also reduce oxygen content. This could potentially add stress to your fish. Treat the pond in quarter sections and wait 10 to 14 days in between sections to allow the pond time to maintain an adequate oxygen level.

Keeping your pond properly maintained with Dye, Beneficial Bacteria and Aeration will give you the upper hand at keeping unwanted growth out of your pond and will drastically reduce the time, effort, and cost of combating weeds when they do decide to make an appearance. With this extra bit of knowledge you can skip out on some stress and effectively treat your pond by choosing the correct products and having a better understanding of the conditions you want to work within.

POND TALK: Are there any other tips you’ve found to help out when treating your pond?

Breathe life back into your pond and lake!

Killing Algae – Liquid v.s. Granular – Pond & Lake Q & A

Killing Algae - Liquid v.s. Granular

Killing Algae – Liquid v.s. Granular

Those of you with at least a couple years of ponding under your belt know that beautiful summer sunshine comes as a package deal with algae and green water. While it can be painful to look at for even a couple days, when your pond is being properly maintained it can be a quick and simple process to whip your pond back into shape.

Before you select which type of algaecide you want to use you will want to identify what type of algae you have. Algae typically come in 3 great flavors, Planktonic (green water), Filamentous (floating mats or string algae), and Chara (a smelly bottom growing plant-like algae). If you are not too sure on which type you have or you think you may have a submerged weed instead, take a look at our Weed ID Guide.

It is important to know what type of algae you are dealing with because it will help you select the proper algaecide for the job. Liquid algaecides like Algae Defense are best used to contact spray floating algae mats, planktonic algae outbreaks, or to treat algae submerged in relatively shallow water usually 3 feet deep or shallower. Liquid algaecides are mixed with water and a Surfactant which is then applied using a Tank Sprayer. When dealing with bottom growing algae in greater depths you will want to use a granular algaecide like Cutrine Plus Granular or Hydrothol 191 Granular. Granular applications are great for getting rid of Chara and, by using a Hand Spreader, are very easy to apply. If you have Koi, Trout, or Goldfish in your pond or lake you will want to use Hydrothol 191 as it is not copper based. You can also benefit from the fact that Hydrothol works not only on weeds by on a variety of submerged weeds as well.

While both liquid and granular algaecides are great for killing existing algae, they will not prevent future growth. Properly maintaining your pond using Dye, Beneficial Bacteria, or Subsurface Aeration will help keep your pond healthy and reduce the chances of algae in the first place. Remember to always read product labels before doing any treatment.

Pond Talk: How successful has your fight with algae been?

Kill Algae Fast!

Do I Need To Treat My Pond Before Swimming? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Do I Need To Treat My Pond Before Swimming?
Do I Need To Treat My Pond Before Swimming? Alex – McCrory, AR

Stink or Swim

With summer quickly approaching pond guys and gals everywhere are getting ready to take the plunge into their ponds to beat the heat. Now that your water temps are on the rise it is a great time to whip your pond into shape for the swimming season to make sure you’re not stuck in the muck all season long.

Fans of our blogs already know, the best way to keep your pond clear and healthy all season long is to use beneficial bacteria like PondClear, Pond Dye, and EcoBoost in tandem with an Aeration System. If you are a new pond owner, or have just found our blog page, click HERE to learn more about these products and how they improve the quality of your pond.

There is nothing worse than diving into your pond only to land in a layer of muck. If you have an accumulation of muck around your beach areas or by your dock, use some MuckAway bacteria tablets to spot treat these troublesome areas. Keeping your pond clean not only prevents you from turning into a human lawn dart, it will help prevent unflattering skin irritations and illnesses. Conditions, like swimmer’s itch, are caused by flatworms larvae typically introduced into your pond by waterfowl. Swimmer’s ear is an irritation of the inner ear that occurs when water gets trapped inside your ear. While these conditions occasionally occur, they are avoidable. Keep the number of ducks and birds that frequent your pond to a minimum by using Decoys, especially when it gets closer to swimming season and try to rinse off thoroughly after a nice swim in your pond.

If you are worried about the overall quality of your pond water, you can get it tested through your local health department, where they can check for e-coli and other contaminants. There is no reason to feel uncomfortable in your own pond. While regular maintenance typically results in a perfectly swim-able pond, it never hurts to get a second opinion. Regardless, use your bacteria, aerate the pond, and enjoy another great summer at home in your back yard.

Pond Talk: Which products do you use to keep your pond clean and clear throughout the summer? Have you ever tested your pond water?

Got Muck? Use Muck Away® - Eats up to 5 inches of muck per year!

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