## We just purchased a house and it has a backyard swimming pond. How do we measure it? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: We just purchased a house and it has a backyard swimming pond. How do we measure it?

Rob – Hawthorne, FL

A: Surface area and pond depth are important measurements to know. They’ll help you determine dosage rates with chemicals like algaecide. They’ll help you calculate the right-size aeration system for your pond. And they’ll help you figure out how many and what types of fish to stock.

Finding those magic numbers isn’t difficult – but it does require some tools, the right equation and a little bit of work. Before you head out to your pond, grab a rope marked at 1-foot increments, a weight that’s heavy enough to sink to the bottom, and something for notetaking.

Calculating Surface Area

The easiest ponds to measure are those that resemble a rectangle, but you can figure out the surface area of a circular, triangular or odd-shaped pond, too. First, you’ll need to measure (with your marked rope) or pace off (one step is about 3 feet) some specific distances, depending on the shape of your pond. Then, plug those numbers into one of these formulas:

• Square/rectangle: Calculate length and width; L x W = Surface Area
• Circle: Calculate radius; Pi x R2 , or 3.14 x R x R = Surface Area
• Triangle: Calculate base and height; (0.5 x B) x H = Surface Area
• Odd-shaped: Use a handy online tool like Bing Maps to measure the pond. Online tools may be easiest, especially for irregularly shaped ponds.

To determine how many acres your pond is, you’ll then divide that surface area figure by 43,560 (one acre).

Calculating Depth

Figuring out your pond’s depth is a bit trickier, particularly if you have plant shelves or if the pond has a slope. Grab your marked string, the weight, something to write with, and a boat or canoe. Then, head out to the pond and follow these directions:

1. Securely attach the weight to one end of your string.
2. Climb aboard your boat or canoe with your weighted string and note-taking materials in hand.
3. Travel to at least five points in various areas your pond, more if your pond is particularly large.
4. Drop the weight into the water and note where you feel it hit the bottom. Repeat until you’ve gone to all the different spots and gathered a good sampling of your pond’s depth.

Why They’re Important

Now that you know your pond’s size, why are those calculations important?

You’ll need the numbers to determine dosage rates on chemical products like those found in Pond Logic® ClearPAC® PLUS. If the pond has been around more than three to five years, chances are good that you’ll need to address problems like muck accumulation and string algae growth in the spring.

Those numbers will also help you select the right-size Aquastream™ Fountain and Airmax® Aeration System. For instance, if your pond is less than 6 feet deep, our Shallow Water Series™ Aeration System is a good choice; if your pond is greater than 6 feet deep, our Pond Series™ Aeration System is the one for you.

Since you’ll be able to calculate how many acres your pond is, you’ll also be able to determine what types of fish you can have and how many of them you can keep. Finally, because you’ll know the various depths of your pond, you’ll be able to stake out safe swimming areas for children – but don’t forget to put out your life ring!

Pond Talk: What swimming pond maintenance tips can you offer to this new homeowner?

## Will my fountain be enough to keep my fish safe this winter?| Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: Will my fountain be enough to keep my fish safe this winter?

Holly – Gorham, ME

A: If your pond freezes over in the winter, a fountain won’t do you or your fish much good. It’s not designed to be run or left in the pond during icy conditions. The ice can damage the float or create a barrier that prevents water from passing through the spray nozzle. That could cause the motor to run dry and stop working. And that’s not good.

Before the Ice Forms

Autumn is the perfect time to remove the fountain from your pond before the ice forms. When unplugging the motor and pulling it ashore; inspect the cords, motor and lights for any damage. After sitting in a pond all summer, chances are you will have to clean the fountain and lenses from any algae, build up or debris. Once your fountain is ready to be stored, place it in doors until spring.

Below the Surface

Now that you have removed the fountain from the pond, it is a good idea to protect both your fish and boating dock from ice damage by adding an aeration system. Aeration keeps the oxygen levels up and the water circulating. Depending on how close the diffuser plates are to the surface or dock, aeration can also keep a hole open for gas exchange, and provide a place for ducks to gather when everything else is frozen over.

Keep your fish safe and happy this winter by giving them surface and subsurface aeration. They’ll appreciate it more than just your fountain!

Pond Talk: How much aeration do you have in your pond or lake during the winter?

## When can I put my fountain back in my pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: When can I put my fountain back in my pond?

A: Fountains do more than create an attractive splash in your pond or lake. They also allow for greater gas exchange at the water’s surface, expelling dangerous ammonia and drawing in healthy oxygen for your fish and other sub-surface critters.

When spring rolls around, it’s time to reinstall your fountain – but before you do, be sure to check your Farmer’s Almanac or with your meteorologist. Make sure there’s little chance of the pond icing over again.

Once you’re sure that temps will remain above freezing, perform some quick maintenance tasks before submerging the fountain and anchoring it into position, including:

• Clean It Up: Pull out a power washer and spray down the motor so built-up material doesn’t trap heat.
• Check the Cord: Inspect the power cord for cuts.
• Make It Muskrat-Proof: Protect the cord with ratcord (power cord sleeve) if you have muskrats in your area.
• Maintenance Visit: Send the motor in for regular seal and oil maintenance if you haven’t done so in a few years.

When you put your fountain back into place, make sure the mooring lines are snug enough to keep it secure. When anchoring with blocks at the bottom of the pond, make sure the lines are spread far enough apart so the fountain doesn’t spin from the force of the motor, which could cause the lines to get tangled.

As soon as you’ve put your fountain back in place, add your first dose of Pond Dye to the water so the spraying action will disperse the color evenly. Nature’s Blue™ or Black DyeMond™ will shade the water, minimize algae blooms and give your landscape a natural-looking pop of color

Pond Talk: What’s your fountain’s favorite spray pattern?

## How Can I Keep My Pond & Fish Healthy With All Of This Hot Weather? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: How can I keep my pond & fish healthy with all of this hot weather?

Cheryl – Cheshire, OH

A: If you’re feeling the heat, there’s a good chance the game fish in your pond are feeling it, too. Not only will they sense the temperature increase in the water, but they’ll also be affected by a decreased amount of dissolved oxygen in their environment.

So what can you do to keep the fish in your lake or pond cool and comfortable? Check out these four expert-recommended tips:

1. Provide a Cool Habitat: Like humans and other land-dwellers, fish like a place to hide to get out of the sun. They’ll slip under the shade of plants, swim inside logs and take advantage of spots like the Porcupine® Fish Attractor Spheres, which encourage plant growth and give them a place to feel safe, shaded and protected.

2. Keep the Water Moving: When the water moves and circulates with an aeration system like an Airmax® Shallow Water Aeration System or an above-surface fountain like a Kasco Decorative Fountain, it allows for greater gas exchange at the water’s surface, expelling dangerous ammonia and taking in healthy oxygen. This provides more “breathable” space for your fish to swim deeper in the pond – where it’s cooler.

3. Rake Out Dead Debris: To cut back on the dangerous gasses being produced in your lake or pond, remove dead debris and decomposing plant matter with a Weed Cutter and Rake. Less debris in your lake means less gas is being produced.

4. Be Cautious of Water Treatments: Dead or dying organic materials can reduce oxygen levels quickly, so be cautious when using algaecides or herbicides to treat algae and other weeds. Rather than dosing your entire pond or lake, treat one section at a time, waiting a week or two before treating another area. This allows the fish to remain in the unaffected areas.

With a little planning and a some regular maintenance, you can keep your recreational pond or lake healthy no matter the temperatures. Your fish will thank you for it!

Pond Talk: What do you do to keep cool during these scorching heat waves?

## I don’t have a pond, just a disappearing fountain is there something I can use for maintenance other then products designed for big ponds? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q&A

I don’t have a pond, just a disappearing fountain is there something I can use for maintenance other then products designed for big ponds?

Monica – Chicago, Il

In the world of water features, disappearing fountains are in a category of their own. Because they don’t involve fish and plants – and typically don’t have filter systems – many people assume they’re maintenance free. But like all backyard water features, disappearing fountains do get dirty, and often gather debris that aren’t eliminated through simple recirculation.

As a result, disappearing fountains are susceptible to water discoloration caused by debris buildup. Fortunately, Pond Logic® FeatureFix™ Water Feature Cleaner is formulated specifically to safely eliminate accumulated debris and clear unsightly discoloration – often in as little as 48 hours.

To prevent ongoing buildup problems, a disappearing fountain is a prime candidate for regular maintenance. We recommend the regular application of Pond Logic® FeatureClear™ Bacterial Water Feature Cleaner, which contains natural, beneficial bacteria that digests organic debris to keep water crystal clear. It’s true. Disappearing fountains do require regular maintenance. But with FeatureFix and FeatureClear, it’s one item on your “to do” list that’s downright easy to check off.

Pond Talk: Do you have a disappearing fountain that requires regular maintenance?

## What benefits are there to having a water feature and what types of features are there? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

What benefits are there to having a water feature and what types of features are there?
Peter, Savannah, GA

There are as many reasons to create a water feature, as there are people to create them. Whether you enjoy design and creation, are intrigued by Koi, or just love the sounds and sights of flowing water, there is a water feature available for you. Just as the saying goes for snowflakes, your uniqueness and the plethora of available options ensures that no two water features are alike.

Understanding the options that are available to you is the first step to falling in love with the type of feature that best fits your location and lifestyle. Water features can be as simple as a small fountain or as complex as a multi-level water garden with fish, waterfalls and plants. The three biggest factors that come into play when you choose the type of water feature you would like to install are: 1) how quickly you would like the feature constructed, 2) how much space do you have to accommodate your water feature, 3) how much you are willing to invest to construct your water feature.

Small water features like Aquascape Mini Fountain Kits or container type water features are great for people who are on the go, don’t have much time to invest in construction and pond maintenance but are looking to get their feet wet in the ponding field. These types of water features take up a very small area while providing the sights and sounds of flowing water. Container type water features can be created with any type of water-holding basin and can contain plants, water spitters and even a small fish or two. Creative pond owners have used old wash basins, sealed wood barrels and other materials for their container type feature.

If you have ever walked through the garden center of a DIY home or builder’s supply store you have surely come across those big plastic molds we call preformed ponds. These preformed basins provide the layout of your pond allowing you to simply dig a hole in your yard accordingly and landscape around the installed basin. These types of ponds require a little more homework on your part as you will have to install a filtration system like the All-In-One. These are a great starting point for people who are interested in starting their first in ground pond but aren’t ready to invest in large-scale construction.

For those of you who are looking to upgrade to a bigger pond or would like a more creative design, installing a pond using 45 mil rubber pond liner allows you the freedom to create virtually any size and shape pond you can imagine. Waterfalls and streams can also be created using rubber liner adding even more character to your water feature. Along with designing an entire pond from scratch comes the knowledge required to select and properly locate skimmer boxes, waterfall boxes, rocks and pumps necessary to sustain a balanced pond. Pond Kits are available to save you the time of having to select the proper parts for your project. Your pond will also require natural water treatments to keep it healthy and clean. If you want to enjoy a large scale stream or waterfall but are concerned about pond maintenance or have small kids, consider a pondless waterfall kit which retains pond water underground.

When constructed properly a water feature will blend perfectly into both your lifestyle and your home, allowing you to enjoy the tranquility and beauty these ponds provide, while boosting the value and appeal of your home. Take your time when looking at the different types of water features and choose what’s best for you, it will be well worth your investment.

Pond Talk: Share some of your feature construction experiences and reasons why you love your back yard retreats.

## Should I leave my bubble aeration system running in my farm pond all winter long? – Pond & Lake Q & A

To keep your unit working properly, you should plan to inspect it several times per year.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: What do I need to do to maintain my fountain over the winter? – Roy in Texas

A: Display fountains provide outstanding pond and lake displays – not to mention helping to circulate the top layers of your water column. To keep your unit working properly, you should plan to inspect it several times per year, and what better time to do it when you’re doing your winterizing chores?

Your to-do list will vary depending on where you live and what your fountain’s manufacturer recommends, but here are some basic maintenance tasks to plan for as the cold weather approaches:

1. Remove your fountain – including the motor, floats and hardware components – and wipe off the algae and muck from all the exposed surfaces. If you see algae collecting in the nozzles, clean those out, too, as well as your motor’s intake screen, if necessary.2. Check all your gaskets, seals and fittings that normally break down over time. If any of these show signs of wear, take your fountain in for service or call us for service parts.3. If your fountain includes lights, inspect those as well to make sure they’re working properly. Replace any bulbs or fixtures that may have burned out.4. Check your power cord for nicks or kinks that may have developed over the season.

If you live in an area that doesn’t freeze, you can put the unit back in the water once you’ve scrubbed it down and checked it over. If your pond does freeze over, plan to store your fountain components inside, away from the winter elements. Be sure not to cover your fountain. This will ensure your fountain and power cord are protected against any rodents that would otherwise consider it a cozy home.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing the oil (on oil cooled units) every 2-3 years of operation. This can prevent costly repairs in the future. For more information on fountain maintenance, call The Pond Guy® (Service Department: Monday—Friday: 8:30am—4pm | Phone: 586-336-7663) or visit the manufacturer’s website.

Doing these simple tasks can extend the life of your decorative display fountain and allow you to enjoy them for years to come!

Please Note: The Pond Guy® is an authorized service center for most fountains and aerators. Please feel free to call us at 586-336-7663 for maintenance parts or repair.

POND TALK: What do you do to extend the life of your floating display fountain?