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I recently installed a small pondless water feature. How do I maintain it? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: I recently installed a small pondless water feature. How do I maintain it?

Q: I recently installed a small pondless water feature. How do I maintain it?

Paul- Moab, UT

A: I recently installed a small pondless water feature. How do I maintain it?

As you’ve likely discovered, a pondless water feature makes a fantastic addition to a landscape. Whether it’s a bubbling fountain, a colorful birdbath or a disappearing waterfall, pondless features deliver the tranquil sound of running water without the hassle.

Small water features are easy to keep, but you will need to do some simple chores. Here’s a quick checklist to follow:

  1. Remove the Debris: Dust will dirty the water feature, and debris may collect and start to break down, leaving behind a slimy mess. As needed, manually remove large debris and then add a dose of FeatureFix™ to the water as a cleaner. The highly concentrated product will safely eliminate accumulated debris and clear unsightly discoloration and stuck-on organic materials, often within 48 hours. (FeatureFix™ is not safe for use in features with fish, invertebrates or crustaceans, so use with caution.)
  2. Clear the Water: To keep your fountain flowing with clean, clear water, treat it regularly with FeatureClear™. The bacteria in this all-natural clarifier will digest organic debris to keep water crystal clear. Use every two weeks when water temperatures are above 50°F. Simply add one ounce for every 100 gallons of water for sparkling clean water without harmful chemicals. (FeatureClear™ is safe for use around fish, plants, pets and wildlife.)
  3. Top Off As Needed: In addition to keeping things clean and clear, also keep an eye on the water level in your pondless feature’s basin and top it off as needed.
  4. Inspect Mechanics, Connections: Periodically inspect your feature’s pump, tubing and connections to ensure that they are sound and functioning correctly.

With winter approaching, be cautious about running your pondless fountain. It will sure look cool, flowing or bubbling away in the frosty air, but freezing temperatures and ice formations can do some serious damage. If you decide to shut it down until spring, remove the pump from the basin, place it in a bucket with water and store it in a place that will not freeze. Be sure to leave water in the basin so the ground won’t shift.

Pond Talk: How do you winterize your pondless water feature?

Keep Water Features Clean - Pond Logic(r) FeatureClear(t) & FeatureFix(t) Combo

Can you add too much beneficial bacteria to your pond? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: Can you add too much beneficial bacteria to your pond?

Q: Can you add too much beneficial bacteria to your pond?

Michelle – Norman, OK

A: They say too much of anything is bad. In this case, too much beneficial bacteria isn’t necessarily bad – but your pocketbook might be getting a little lighter.

The Cycle of Life

Beneficial bacteria, those debris-gobbling microorganisms found in our Nature’s Defense®, Muck Defense® and Seasonal Defense®, lives just like other living things. They’re born (well, most bacteria come into the world via a kind of cellular division called binary fission), they eat food that’s available to them (organic debris in your pond), they divide to perpetuate the population, and they die when their life cycle is complete.

Survival of the Fittest

When too many bacteria live in your water feature, they battle and compete for resources rather than growing big and healthy and reproducing. A la Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, the weaker organisms ultimately starve and die. The overall bacteria populations drop, and the pond owner then needs to buy more to replace what he or she has lost to keep up on managing the nutrient load. Those repopulation costs could certainly add up over a while!

Too Much of a Good Thing

Having too much beneficial bacteria in your pond is safe for plants and fish in most cases. But if your pond has a lot of organic buildup, a lot of beneficial bacteria and inadequate aeration, could be a recipe for disaster for your fish. As those bacteria launch their full-scale attack against all that detritus, they deplete the water of oxygen – which the fish needs to survive. An aeration system, like the PondAir™ or KoiAir™Aeration Systems, can help in cases like that by supplying the oxygen and circulating the water column.

The Right Dose

Our advice: For routine maintenance, dose your pond according to the instructions on Nature’s Defense®, Muck Defense® and Seasonal Defense® labels. After clean-outs or treatments, you can use a double dose of bacteria to kick-start the repopulation process, but no more than that. And, if you don’t have one installed already, consider adding aeration to your pond. All your pond’s inhabitants – from microorganism to macro organisms – will appreciate it!

Pond Talk: Have you ever added too much beneficial bacteria to your pond? If so, what were the repercussions?

Maintain a Healthy Balanced Pond - Pond Logic (r) Nature's Defense (r)

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 The Pond Guy® 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. The Pond Guy® 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™

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