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I just installed a backyard water garden. How do I take care of it? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: I just installed a backyard water garden. How do I take care of it?

Q: I just installed a backyard water garden. How do I take care of it?

Cheryl – Charlotte, NC

A: Congratulations! You’ve just waded into a relaxing and exciting hobby that will give you joy for years to come—as long as take proper care of it. Here’s a quick rundown of what we recommend to new pond hobbyists.

1. Keep It Clean

First and foremost, it’s critical to keep your water column clean and your pond’s rocks and surfaces free from muck and debris. If you don’t, you’ll end up with a smelly, algae-filled hole in the ground, and who wants that—particularly if you plan on hosting backyard barbeques this summer!

We suggest you use the Pond Logic® DefensePAC®, an easy-to-use combo pack that includes Oxy-Lift™ Defense®, Nature’s Defense®, Clarity Defense®, Muck Defense® and Seasonal Defense®. These products work together to remove excess debris and promote a healthy ecosystem for your fish and plants all year long.

2. Beautify It

If you’re like many water garden hobbyists, you’ll soon be adding aquatic plants to you pond (if you haven’t already!). Water lilies, water hyacinth, irises and a host of other floating, submerged and marginal plants can do wonders to spruce up a backyard, adding pops of color and interest to your outdoor living space.

But that’s not all. Aquatic plants, like those found in our Aquatic Plant Packages, also naturally filter the water in your pond by removing harmful pollutants and gases, releasing oxygen and being a breeding ground for muck-destroying beneficial bacteria. Plus, your fish will use the plants as an underwater playground!

3. Add Some Finned Friends

Speaking of which, you may also wish to add koi, goldfish and other aquatic critters, like snails and turtles, to your pond. They’re fun to watch and care for, they add life and movement to your water garden, and they add another dimension to your new hobby. (If you haven’t been to a koi show yet, plan on it!)

A word of warning: Remember that fish grow, so don’t maximize your fish load from the get go. A booming population of goldfish, koi or other pond fish means an overload of fish waste, which can cause problems down the road. In general, we recommend one 6- to 8-inch fish per 10 square feet of surface area.

4. Beef Up Your Filter Media

Finally, let’s talk filter media. Where is it? Do you have enough of it? Filter media typically lives in your filter box, and its purpose is to mechanically remove large debris from your water as it flows through the filter, as well as provide a home for gunk-gobbling beneficial bacteria.

When it comes to filter media, more is definitely better. You can easily beef it up by adding BioBalls™ Filter Media to your waterfall box or some extra Matala® Filter Media Pads to your filter.

Enjoy your new hobby!

Pond Talk: What was your first water garden like? What changes have you made to it since then?

Season Long Pond Care Package - Pond Logic® DefensePAC®

When should I start using the Seasonal Defense® in my DefensePAC®? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

When should I start using the Seasonal Defense® in my DefensePAC®?

Q: When should I start using the Seasonal Defense® in my DefensePAC®?

Chuck – Essex, MD

A: Pond Logic® Seasonal Defense®, which is sold separately and as part of Pond Logic® DefensePAC®, contains aerobic bacteria that’s specially designed for cooler water. In the spring, it replenishes bacteria lost over the winter, jump starts the growth of the waste-gobbling microorganisms and breaks down accumulated waste. It’s a great way to kick off pond season!

Add It At 40 Degrees

Plan to start treating with Seasonal Defense® once your pond is up and running and the water temperature is greater than 40° Fahrenheit. You can expect to use it for about one month, or until the water hits 50°F. Once the thermostat tops 50°F, switch to Nature’s Defense®.

Distribute Evenly

Don’t just pile the Seasonal Defense® packets in one place in your pond. Put a packet in each corner to ensure even spread of the beneficial bacteria and breakdown of accumulated muck. Add some to the filter to concentrate and accelerate new bacteria growth on the filter media. Distribute them evenly—but, of course, follow the package recommendations for dosage rates.

Help the Bacteria Work

Don’t forget to aerate the pond and give it an old-fashioned cleaning to make those bacteria’s jobs easier. Along with running your pond’s pump and filtration system, keep your aeration system going to help move the water, add oxygen and disperse the bacteria throughout the pond.

And before you add the packets, clean out any large debris from the pond. Branches, dead foliage, fallen leaves and any other easy-to-remove organic materials that wound up in the water over the fall and winter should be removed so that the bacteria can better spend their time breaking down fine debris and muck.

Pond Talk: What changes do you have planned for your pond this year?

Jump Start Your Pond This Spring - Pond Logic® Seasonal Defense®

How early in the spring should I start using the Seasonal Defense® in my Pond Logic® DefensePAC®? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

How Early In The Spring Should I Start Using The Seasonal Defense® In My Pond Logic® DefensePAC®? How early in the spring should I start using the Seasonal Defense® in my Pond Logic® DefensePAC®?

Marilyn – Jackson, MI

When maintaining a crystal-clear pond in cooler seasons, Seasonal Defense® is your best friend. Seasonal Defense® accelerates the decomposition of leaves, scum, and sediment that create pond muck during the fall and winter months.

Using Seasonal Defense® to maintain your pond through the cooler part of the season will gives you a head start on summer pond management. Seasonal Defense® replenishes winter bacteria loss, jump-starts your biological filters and breaks down unwanted waste. Once your pond is running for the season and water temperatures are above 40 degrees, start using Seasonal Defense® every week for about a month, or until the water is above 50 degrees. At this point you can start using the rest of the DefensePAC®. Don’t have your DefensePAC® yet? Now’s the best time!

Pond Logic Seasonal Defense

How Early In The Spring Should I Start Using The Seasonal Defense® In My Pond Logic® DefensePAC®? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

How Early In The Spring Should I Start Using The Seasonal Defense® In My Pond Logic® DefensePAC®? How Early In The Spring Should I Start Using The Seasonal Defense® In My Pond Logic® DefensePAC®?

Marilyn – Jackson, MI

When maintaining a crystal-clear pond in cooler seasons, Seasonal Defense® is your best friend. Seasonal Defense® accelerates the decomposition of leaves, scum, and sediment that create pond muck during the fall and winter months.

Using Seasonal Defense® to maintain your pond through the cooler part of the season will gives you a head start on summer pond management. Seasonal Defense® replenishes winter bacteria loss, jump-starts your biological filters and breaks down unwanted waste. Once your pond is running for the season and water temperatures are above 40 degrees, start using Seasonal Defense® every week for about a month, or until the water is above 50 degrees. At this point you can start using the rest of the DefensePAC®. Don’t have your DefensePAC® yet? Now’s the best time!

Pond Logic Seasonal Defense

What Can I Do To Maintain My Pond This Season? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Can sidewalk salt be used to melt the ice off my pond?

This will be our first full season with our pond. What should we do for proper maintenance?

Joe – Aurora, CO

The first season with your new pond can be an exciting and relatively hassle free endeavor, as long as you take the right precautions to maintain it properly. Lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place to learn exactly what you’ll need in order to successfully maintain your pond for the season.

Remember, a balanced ecosystem is key. Listed below are the main elements used to maintain a balanced pond.

Filtration – Whether you have a waterfall, pressurized or gravity type filter, make sure the included Filter Media is clean and in good condition. Mechanical filtration like skimmer filters should be cleaned regularly to prevent clogging. Biological filter media, like the pads in your waterfall or bio-media in your pressurized filter, should be cleaned sparingly to promote an accumulation of water-filtering beneficial bacteria.

Fish – The highlight of many ponds, fish add color and life to your decorative pond. They also, however, add waste and nutrients that can quickly accumulate and unbalance your pond. 1-inch of fish for every square foot of surface area is a rough guideline for maximum fish load. Keep in mind that your fish are continually growing. That means your 3 inch fish that were added last year are now 4-6 inch fish which more than doubles the waste that needs to be filtered. The more fish you have and the frequency at which you feed them plays a large role in how much filtration you will need to remove this additional waste.

PlantsAquatic Plants are an enormous natural boon to your water garden or fish pond. Not only do they provide habitat for your fish, maintaining 40-60% plant coverage shades your pond and prevents dramatic increases in water temperature on sunny days. Plants also provide additional natural filtration as they extract nutrients from the water added by organic debris and fish waste.

Aeration – Proper aeration is another key factor for pond maintenance. An aeration kit like the Pond Logic® PondAir™ or KoiAir™ will provide extra circulation to keep debris from accumulating at the bottom of the pond while increasing oxygen levels for your fish and water-filtering aerobic bacteria.

Natural Pond Treatments – Natural products like those contained in the Pond Logic® DefensePAC® will greatly increase water quality by boosting aerobic bacteria counts, binding up phosphates from organic material and eliminating organic debris.

Including each of these key pond elements in your water garden or fish pond greatly reduces stress and guesswork associated with a troublesome unbalanced pond. Simply put, a stable ecosystem means less work on your part. If a problem does arise, you can then pinpoint and adjust whichever element above that is throwing your pond out of balance.

Pond Talk: Is your pond balanced? If not, have you discovered which of the key elements is missing or lacking?

Pond Filtration Media

What do I do to clean out my water garden now that the snow melted? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q&A

What do I do to clean out my water garden now that the snow melted?

What do I do to clean out my water garden now that the snow melted?
Brett – Delta, IA

Spring is the perfect time to perform a clean out on your water garden or decorative water feature and remove accumulated growth and debris from the winter months. Not only does this result in a cleaner better looking pond, it also promotes a smoother transition into the warm summer months where a unbalanced pond can easily be overrun with green water and string algae.

Once the ice melts from the surface of your pond you can begin your cleaning regimen. Start by pulling out as much muck and debris as possible. You can use a Interchangeable Pond Tool to safely remove your decorative pond fish and sweep debris away from the sides of the pond. Pond Vacuums are a great way to siphon muck and debris from hard to reach areas of your pond without the hassle of bending and scrubbing. Sprinkle Oxy-Lift Defense™ on your waterfall rocks and stream bed to lift stuck on debris without having to scrape at your rocks and liner.

After the majority of debris are cleaned from the pond you can perform a partial water change by removing around 20% of the ponds volume and replacing it with fresh water. Not only does this refresh the pond water, removing water from the pond with a pump or bucket will also eliminate some of the floating debris you kicked up during the cleaning process. While the pond is refilling mix in some Water Conditioner to remove the harmful metals and chloramines found in well and tap water.

Remove your Filter Media Pads from your waterfall filter, skimmer and pressurized filters. Inspect them for signs of wear and tear and replace accordingly. Thoroughly rinse your filtration media to remove built up debris. Apply PL-Gel to your new or cleaned filter media to seed them with beneficial bacteria and place them back into position.

Now that the pond is cleaned up and topped off you can start up your pumps and begin circulating the contents of the pond. Inspect the pumps, plumbing and power cords for signs of wear, cuts or leakage. Check your waterfall and streams for out of place rocks, splash-outs, and misdirected water. Black Waterfall Foam can be used to keep rocks firmly in place and route water where you want it. Inspect your pond liner for leaks and check the perimeter of your pond for damp areas or puddles.

If the water is still below 55 degrees apply your Pond Logic® Seasonal Defense® to balance the pond water and introduce beneficial bacteria to the water column. If the water warmer than 55 degrees you can apply your Nature’s Defense® instead. The Pond Logic® DefensePAC® bundles the water treatment and maintenance products you will need for the season while providing a price break compared to purchasing products individually.

Let the pond water circulate for a couple days before re-introducing your decorative pond fish back into the pond. This will give the pond water some time to balance without putting unnecessary stress on your fish. Add some Stress Reducer Plus to the water before you start acclimating your decorative pond fish back into the pond as it will help supplement their slime coat and reduce exposure to stress and harmful residual water contaminates.

While it requires a little elbow grease up front, a thorough spring clean out will save you time, money and hassles later in the season so you can spend more time enjoying your pond while the weather is nice.

Pond Talk:What are you tips for getting your water garden ready for the season?

DefensePAC®

How can I keep my waterfall free of algae and buildup? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

How can I keep my waterfall free of algae and buildup?

How can I keep my waterfall free of algae and buildup? Renee – Heber Springs, AR

While the warm sunny weather is great for enjoying the outdoors this summer, it can also create some headaches in your water garden. A lot of you may notice that your stream and waterfalls are growing a nice coat of green algae as we continue through the warmer summer months. In a lot of cases, especially if you are using beneficial bacteria such as Nature’s Defense your water is clear but algae and debris is attaching itself to your stream, waterfall and rocks. There is really simple fix to this green monster, in less then 15 minutes you can have amazing results.

It’s simple, use Pond Logic Oxy-Lift Defense direct to your waterfall, stream, or anywhere you have debris or algae accumulating. When used on damp areas, the Oxy-Lift Defense will lift stuck on debris and algae off their attached surface so they can be easily rinsed away avoiding the need for a pressure wash or tough manual labor. Simply shut down your waterfall and quickly remove any debris or algae with your hand, then sprinkle on the Oxy-Lift, you’ll be able to hear the Oxy-Lift working to break the debris off the rocks. After 10-15 min restart your waterfall. You can scoop the loose algae out of the pond or let your skimmer do the work. We recommend applying Oxy-Lift later in the day when you will not be viewing the pond as the pond may become a little cloudy or foamy for a short period of time. Regularly cleaning your waterfall will ensure that maintenance is short and sweet keeping you from having to spend hours trying to wrestle your stream and waterfalls into submission.

If you are having issues with algae not only on the stream but also in the pond itself you can also apply a dose of Tetra Pond Algae Control to quickly kill undesirable growth in the pond even if it contains fish and plants! Using the proper products to maintain your pond will save you time and money in the long run and ensure a faster turn around process should your pond find itself in an algae attack? While algae blooms can not always be prevented the duration and intensity of their visit can drastically be reduced when your pond is properly kept. For best results consider the DefensePAC it includes everything you need in one simple package such as Nature’s Defense, Oxy-Lift, Clarity Defense, Muck Defense, and Seasonal Defense.

Pond Talk: What is your favorite part of having a water garden?

Keep your Water Garden Clear!

Can Koi and Goldfish Breed? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Can Koi and Goldfish Breed?

Can Koi and Goldfish Breed? Sheldon – Huntington, KY

Would That Make It A Koldfish?

Your fish have finally spawned and after what seems like eons of waiting they are starting to grow into full grown Koi…or Goldfish…or…what are they? Your newcomers seem to have unique new patterns and colors that are difference than their alleged parents, is it possible your Koi and Goldfish have crossbred?

While it is possible to crossbreed the two types of fish, it is fairly uncommon for the process to naturally occur in your pond. The outcome of such instances yields sterile offspring that are unable to reproduce. It is much more common to produce new colors and varieties of fish due to two different types of goldfish reproducing. While some pond owners are curious about the potential to crossbreed their fish, many more would be happy to just experience the spawning process even once in their back yard water garden regardless of the results. If it has not happened for you yet, make sure you are providing adequate habitat in the form of submerged plants so if your Koi do spawn the eggs and fry will have places to attach and hide to avoid becoming an easy meal (yes Koi will eat their own young). Furthermore, maintain a healthy water feature by providing adequate filtration, aeration, and beneficial bacteria. Using the products in a Pond Logic DefensePAC will give you a wide assortment of products that simplify your pond maintenance and promote a clean healthy environment. Click over to our Koi Spawning Blog for a little more insight on the matter.

Pond Talk: Have you ever experienced this phenomenon?

Water Hyacinth

When should I start using my DefensePAC®? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Dyed Pond

When should I start using my DefensePAC®? – Sherry in Ohio

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your… Barley?
You’ve bought the products; you’ve read the blogs; now it’s time to get your feet wet. Whether you are starting your water garden up for the first time this season or your pond is operating through the Winter/Spring transition, it’s time to break out the barley.

Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Cold
For those of you pond guys and gals who experience freezing temperatures, you are probably waiting for the ice to melt to start up the pumps and filters in your water garden. When that glorious day comes, take some time and install new filter media, vacuum the bottom of the pond, and clean up the rocks and walls with you Oxy-Lift™ Defense®. Now that your water garden is up and running, it is time for some Seasonal Defense®, a natural bacteria that incorporates barley and is designed to work in cooler temperatures. This bacteria will jump start your biological filters and devour organic debris, allowing you to gain control of your pond earlier in the season. As we progress into late spring and the water temperatures begin to rise above 50ºF, you can switch over to your Nature’s Defense®.

Don’t Get Lost In The Mix
So, now we know Nature’s Defense® performs best in warmer temperatures, while Seasonal Defense® goes to work for you when it’s cold. When do you break out the Muck Defense® and Clarity Defense® to really get the party started? Clarity Defense® should be used whenever your water garden is open. It will work in any temperature, locking up suspended nutrients, resulting in clearer water and increasing the effectiveness of all natural bacteria. You can start using your Muck Defense® the same time you begin applications of Nature’s Defense®. While Nature’s Defense® is working on the organics floating in the water column, Muck Defense® will be at the bottom of the pond, eating away at sunken debris.

POND TALK: How do you use your DefensePAC® to kick off the season? Which DefensePAC® products do you feel go to work the best for you?

How do I control algae in my decorative pond, both long term and short term? – Water Garden & Features Q & A

All Rest, No Algae.

Water Garden & Features Q & A

Q: How do I control algae in my decorative pond, both long term and short term?
- Stefanie in Michigan

A: Algae blooms are the bane of most pond owners. All summer, they rear their green heads and turn a beautiful pond or water feature into a soupy or stringy mess. But with some planning, both the floating (pea-soup algae) and filamentous (string algae) species can be controlled in the short term and prevented in the long term. Here’s how:

Short-Term Solution

To get your decorative pond looking clean and clear right away, you’ll need to knock down the algae population by using a chemical herbicide, like AlgaeFix or TetraPond’s Algae Control. These algae-busters are safe for use in ponds with fish, but because they destroy algae so quickly, they can cause a drop in oxygen levels in your pond, especially during the warm summer months. Be sure that your pond is adequately aerated with a fountain, waterfall or underwater air diffuser.

Long-Term Prevention

To prevent that green goo from surfacing again, you need to limit its food source: Nutrients. Algae thrive on nutrients, which are the end product of the nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen cycle begins with ammonia released from fish waste and detritus. Nitrifying bacteria turn the ammonia into nitrites and then into nitrates (nutrients). The algae grow, the fish eat it and excrete it, and the cycle begins again.

So, how do you control the algae’s food source?
Try these approaches:

  • Keep your fish load to a minimum. Most pond owners love their fish, but if they plan to have 60 12-inch koi in a 1,000-gallon pond, they’re going to have an algae problem – which can be expensive to manage. So, when calculating your fish load, think of it in pounds of fish or total inches per gallon. Remember that your fish are growing and possibly multiplying, so plan for the future and remember: Less is best. Be careful not to overstock your decorative pond.
  • Increase the number of aquatic plants. Whether they’re submerged plants like hornwort, marginals like dwarf bamboo, or floating plants like water lilies and water hyacinth, aquatic plants consume the same food that algae does – nutrients. The more plants, the more the algae have to compete for those nutrients. Floating plants also shade the pond, which filters the sunlight and can slow the growth of sun-loving algae. You should try to cover 40 to 60 percent of your pond’s surface with floaters.
  • Check the filtration. The size and type of filtration system on a pond will depend on the fish load. If the filter is not properly sized for maximum potential, the fish will outgrow the filter and produce unhealthy amounts of ammonia, which could prove lethal to the fish. An inappropriately sized filter can also cause an algae bloom from the copious amounts of nutrients in the water. In most cases, filters on the market are rated for ponds containing no fish or a minimal fish load, so you should consider a filter that is rated for at least two times the water volume of your pond.
  • Toss in some beneficial bacteria. In addition to ensuring the proper mechanical filtration, you may also consider adding some additional biological filtration – beneficial bacteria – to your pond. These hungry creatures gobble through nutrients, breaking down fish waste, leaves and other organics that accumulate in the pond. One product to try is called DefensePAC® by Pond Logic®. It’s a combination of five products that provide beneficial bacteria, trace minerals, and a fish and plant-safe pond cleaner.
  • No pond will ever be completely algae-free, but the key to keeping the green stuff under control is to limit its food supply. Like any other living thing, if it can’t eat, it can’t survive!

    POND TALK: When was your worst algae bloom, and how did you correct it?

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