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How often should I be changing my UV bulb? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: How often should I be changing my UV bulb?

Q: How often should I be changing my UV bulb?

Deborah – Providence Forge, VA

A: Your UV bulb is an important component of your pond’s filtration system. The bulb’s ultraviolet rays destroy the ultra-fine planktonic algae that cause green water by destroying the plant’s cellular walls. The tiny dead algae particles are then removed by your mechanical filtration system, leaving behind clean, clear water.

UV Ready

For maximum effectiveness, you should change your UV bulb at least once a year, such as when you perform your pond’s annual spring cleanout. If you’ve recently changed your bulb and your water is still turning pea soup green, you might need to simply clean off debris that has built up on the bulb itself.

Whether you have a standalone UV clarifier, like the PowerUV™ or one that’s part of a filtration system, like our ClearSolution™, use a soft cloth when cleaning or changing the bulb rather than using your bare hands. The oils on your skin can actually shorten the lifespan of your bulb.

Unfortunately, a UV clarifier does not affect string algae at all, so you’ll need to use AlgaeOff® or AlgaeFix® to rid your pond of it. But if your pond turns green from planktonic algae every year from full sun exposure or too many fish, a UV clarifier is an excellent solution.

Preventing Algae Growth

Though UV bulbs do a great job with green water, an even better solution is to prevent algae growth in the first place. Planktonic algae flourishes in ponds that have nutrient-rich water—meaning water that has lots of fish waste, leftover fish food, decomposing plant material and even fertilizer from your lawn.

You can tamp that green growth down by reducing the number of fish in your pond, minimizing the amount of food you feed them and cleaning up the waste they produce, as well as regularly removing the built-up detritus.

Consider using the Pond Logic® DefensePAC®, which uses beneficial bacteria to improve water quality throughout your water column, eliminate muck and built-up debris, and enhance fish health. With quick and easy application, you’ll see noticeable results in no time.

Pond Talk: Besides using a UV bulb, what do you do to reduce or eliminate planktonic algae in your pond?

Replace Your UV Bulb Yearly - Replacement UV Bulbs

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 Pond Logic® 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

Why Does My Pond Water Turn Green? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Why Does My Pond Water Turn Green? Why Does My Pond Water Turn Green? 

Joanne – Evans City, PA

Green water is a form of algae called planktonic algae and there are quite a few factors causing your water to be clear during the winter and green as the weather warms up. The main reason is the interruption of the nitrogen cycle.

In order for algae to grow, it needs a food source (nutrients) and sunlight. During the colder winter months of the year, nutrients within the water are less likely to increase due to the fact that the digestive systems of fish have slowed to a point where little, if any, nutrients (fish waste) are being added. Also, during the colder months, algae and aquatic plants are not as active at consuming nutrients.

As the weather warms up, fish become active, digestive systems kick back in and nutrients begin pouring in and if not held in check using aquatic plants, natural bacteria and filtration, green water will develop.

If you have chronic green water and still can’t keep it in check, consider a UV or Ion clarifier.

Aquascape IonGen Electronic Clarifier

When Should I Start Treating Floating Algae In My Pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

When Should I Start Treating Floating Algae In My Pond?

When Should I Start Treating Floating Algae In My Pond?

Jacquelyn - Pottsville, PA

 

Spring is just around the corner and in some areas, algae is already growing. But the question we hear quite often around this time is, “When can I start?” or, “Is it too early to treat?” The answer really depends on what the weather is like at your pond.

Getting a jump start on algae early in the season can help control growth as the season progresses. Fortunately, treating floating algae and preventing its build up is rather easy and really only one factor may stop you…temperature.

Is your pond above or below 50 degrees? This is important because aquatic algicides become less effective when temperatures fall below 50° Fahrenheit. However, understand that treatments will still work, just not as well. If you have an abundance of algae growing when the water temperatures are below 50° Fahrenheit, it’s worth a quick treatment to get it under control early. If the water temperature is too low, wait to use any treatment and instead use a lake rake to remove excessive algae if you are not able to chemically treat it. Another up-and-coming product that works very well to skim floating debris is the PondSkim™ Pond Deskuzzer. The PondSkim™ is a tool that contains a float and debris catcher. Simply drag across the surface of the water to collect debris.

If you have algae already growing in your pond we suggest that you get a jump start on it and you’ll be happy you did.

Airmax Pond & Beach Rake

How can I reduce algae growth in my pond? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

How can I reduce algae growth in my pond?

How can I reduce algae growth in my pond?
Ryan – Dallas, TX

As we progress through spring and into summer, it is important that you know how to treat algae growth should you experience an algae bloom. Persistent algae blooms will still flex their muscles even if you maintain a clean pond. There are really two approaches, a reactive approach-treating growth, and a proactive approach-treating the source.

Reactive Approach-Treating the Growth
You can provide a temporary relief from algae by treating these algae break-outs with an algaecide like Pond Logic Algae Defense or Cutrine Plus Granular. It is best to treat the algae first, making contact between the chemical and the target algae as much as possible and then raking out the debris once dead. If the algae mat is more then an inch or two thick, you may want to rake out some of the algae before treating. To apply use a Tank Sprayer or Hand Spreader to kill off the remaining algae particulate. Once the treated algae dies and browns out, remove the debris with an Airmax Lake Rake so it does not sink the bottom of the pond and decay, encouraging new growth.

When selecting the type algaecide to use you will want to observe any use restrictions the product may carry. Algae Defense and Cutrine Plus granular are a popular choice as they do not carry any water use restrictions. . These products do however contain chelated copper which will not harm the pond or most common gamefish but are not as friendly to koi, goldfish or trout if carbonate hardness is less than 50ppm. You can test your carbonate hardness before treatment with a carbonate hardness test kit. If these types of fish inhabit your pond and you are looking for another option you may want to consider using Hydrothol 191. This product does carry some water use restrictions however it does not contain copper.

Proactive Approach-Treating the Source
Proactively treating your pond before you actually experience algae blooms can save you time and money in the long run. Algae blooms tend to be a symptom of a much larger problem – a dirty pond. By using only algaecides for pond maintenance you allow your pond to continue to accumulate organic debris and fuel for bigger and more stubborn outbreaks.
If your water temperatures are already around 50 degrees or above you can enlist the help of beneficial bacteria and natural water treatments to reduce organic debris and bind phosphates. Pond Logic PondClear can be used to treat your entire water column and attack floating suspended organics that cause turbid water. Pond Logic MuckAway sinks to the bottom of your pond to eliminate pond muck. Pond Logic EcoBoost naturally binds the phosphates helps sink floating particulates to increase water clarity. EcoBoost also introduces trace minerals into your pond which improves the health of your game fish. Remember to also run your Airmax Aeration System. Aerating your pond will ensure a healthy and well balanced pond for your fish during times of added stress while treating for algae, as well as to promote beneficial bacteria like PondClear to continue to breakdown any debris you may have missed while raking.

Pond Talk: Have you already experienced an algae bloom in your pond this season?

Pond Logic Algae Defense

Do I need a UV Filtration system for my pond? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Do I need a UV Filtration system for my pond?

Do I need a UV Filtration system for my pond? Benjamin – Dover, DE

Make Your Green Water Head Towards The Light

Spring is in full effect, the sun is shining, trees everywhere are in bloom, but now your pond water is as green as the grass that surrounds it. The water in your pond may have started off crystal clear this season but was it too good to last? Here at The Pond Guy we think not! If you can’t seem to gain the upper hand in your fight against green water it may be time to break out your secret weapon, a UV clarifier.

Some of you may be scratching your head at the idea of exposing your pond to even more light, but the truth is, when properly implemented, a UV bulb can work wonders on improving your pond’s water quality. The principal behind UV clarification is simple; expose algae to concentrated UV rays to damage and ultimately kill the plant. The trick to getting the best results from your UV clarifier is to pick a bulb that has a high enough wattage for your ponds volume and to pump the water past the bulb at just the right flow rate. All UV clarifiers are rated based on pond size. The larger the wattage, the larger the pond size the UV clarifier can handle. The other factor to take note of is the pump size. Pushing water past the UV light too fast can render it ineffective while pushing the water too slow can cause the UV Clarifier to act like a sterilizer, killing not only algae, but your beneficial bacteria as well. A great rule of thumb here is to push the water approximately half of what the UV is rated per hour. For the Tetra 9-Watt UV Clarifier that is rated for ponds up to 1,800 gallons a 900 GPH (gallons per hour) pump would be ideal.

The continued success of UV clarification has brought about many new styles of UV units; if you are currently building a pond consider purchasing a skimmer like the Savio Standard Skimmer which comes with optional built in UV. If your pond has been up and running for years you can use a Tetra Green Free UV Clarifier which installs in line with your plumbing, or the PondMaster Submersible UV Clarifier which can be plumbed in-line or submerged directly in the pond. There are even Pressurized Filters like the FishMate Pressure Filter 2,000 that come with a built in UV clarifier. Each type of UV is available in multiple wattages to best fit your specific needs.

While a UV clarifier can work wonders on your water garden it is only a patch to the real issue. Make sure you are properly maintaining your pond, using an adequate amount of filtration, and utilizing your bacteria products in your DefensePAC.

If you are unsure on How To Create A Balanced Environment for your water feature, or need to brush up on your Filtration Basics you can learn tons of tricks and tips on our Blog page.

Pond Talk: Which type of UV clarifier do you use in your pond? Has it made the difference between a pond full of “pea soup” and a crystal clear water garden?

UV Filtration

Controlling Green Water Algae in a Water Garden – Water Garden & Feature Q & A

Picture of Green Water Algae in a Water Garden.

Water Gardens & Features Q & A

Q: I am having a terrible time with green water in my water garden. What can I do? – Abby of California

A: It’s that time of year again when the fish are playing, flowers blooming and your backyard is once again becoming your peaceful retreat, except for that green water in your water garden. Like most of us water garden owners the highlight of our yard is our water feature but what fun are fish if you can’t see and enjoy them? Here are some considerations that may help you take back your water garden.

Filtration: Early in the season your filtration system may not be up to par with the amount of waste and debris left over from the winter months. A good spring clean out may be needed if there is an excessive amount of debris in the bottom of the water garden. If your water garden is relatively clean use a pond vacuum or application of natural bacteria may help get you on your way. This is the time of year to wash out or replace your filter pads to prepare for the coming season.

Fish Load: Have your fish been busy? If your spacious water garden is becoming a full house, it may be time to find a few friends and share the wealth.  Overcrowding is a common source for green water since the filtration system may not be large enough to handle the amount of waste being produced. A simple rule of thumb to ensure room for your fish is 1 fish for every 10 sq. ft. of surface area.

Plant Coverage or Shade: We recommend 40-60% plant coverage in your water garden. This adds to your filtration, since the plants are up taking their nutrients from the water. They also provide the added benefit of shade to help protect your fish from predators. A variety of plants should be used, including: bog(marginal), submerged, water lilies or floating plants. If your not sure what to get, you can check out our aquatic plant packages.

Help Mother Nature Out with Natural Bacteria: Once you’ve checked your filtration, fish load and plant load, it’s time to add some natural bacteria. We recommend the Pond Logic DefensePAC. The DefensePAC is an award winning water garden care system that comprises of 5 products known in the water garden industry as the 5-Steps to Clear Water. They are:

  1. Oxy-Lift Defense: The Pond Cleaner.
  2. Nature’s Defense: The Pond Balancer.
  3. Clarity Defense: The Pond Clarifier.
  4. Muck Defense: The Muck Reducer.
  5. Seasonal Defense: The Autumn, Winter Prep.

The DefensePAC is an all-in-one source for water garden maintenance and will keep your water sparking clear all season….guaranteed!

What about a UV filter?: You might be wondering why UV filtration wasn’t mentioned as a solution to green water. Indeed, it is a solution but…it is also can be a band-aid covering up a deeper problem. Always be sure that your filtration is adequate and you don’t have too many fish! You should also be using your test kit to make sure your water is safe for your fish. If everything checks
out ok a UV may be a good tool as long as it is not the only one. Just remember if everything mentioned above is in check the green water should take care of itself and you will have a healthier overall ecosystem.

POND TALK: What kind of green water problems have you had? And what did you do to fix them? Please comment and let me know.

What Can I Do To Keep My Pond Clear? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a Pond.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: What can I do to keep my pond clear? – Kara of Florida

A: When I ask my service customers what their top three goals are for their pond, clear water is almost always at the top of the list. Clear water is aesthetically pleasing and is a sign that your pond is healthy and balanced. Across the board, your first step towards clean and clear water is to aerate.

Airmax Aeration keeps the water in motion, allowing it to stay oxygenated while venting toxic gasses and clearing the water. Beyond aeration, there are a few easy steps to follow to clear up that water:

Start by finding the source of the problem. Dip a clear glass of water out of your pond and begin the diagnosis. Match what you see to the following problem/solution.

  • Pea Soup Colored Water: This is typically caused by a heavy bloom of planktonic algae. When treating for planktonic algae you must be very careful. Treating too big of an area at any one time could cause oxygen levels to deplete to a point where your fish could die. We highly recommend to have an aeration system running when treating for this type of algae. To help with this issue in the future, you must limit the nutrients that are entering the pond. Do this by limiting organics such as grass clippings, twigs, leaves, branches, etc. from entering the pond. Be careful of fertilizing around your pond as this too will cause algae blooms. Using Nutri-Defense will help bind any nutrients currently in the pond and begin using PondClear or MuckAway natural bacteria to help break down any organics that have already gotten into the pond. These bacteria work by eating any suspended nutrients and bottom muck in the pond to help keep your pond clean and clear.
  • Milky Gray or Chocolate Milk Colored Water: Most often this problem is caused by heavy runoff laden with silt and sediment. Aeration will typically take care of this problem within a week or two. If the problem persists, the soil in the water is probably clay. In this situation, apply a double dose of Nutri-Defense to try and help flocculate the suspended particulates.
  • Stained Brown/Black Like Tea or Coffee Colored Water: This color water is usually a result of heavy leaf litter on the pond’s bottom. When leaves sit for long periods of time, they can release tannins into the water column causing brown/black colored water. Use a Lake Rake to rake out the bulk of the material, and follow up with MuckAway to help accelerate the decomposion of the remaining leaves. As always, we recommend to aerate.

The recurring theme that we see here is that aeration is key when trying to solve pond problems. In nearly every case, your pond will greatly benefit from the use of Airmax
Aeration
. Aeration Systems will help create an environment for aerobic bacteria (like bacteria found in PondClear or MuckAway) to thrive. This aerobic bacteria will decompose organics at accelerated speeds and will help reduce the sediment at the pond’s bottom.

There is an Oil Slick Film Covering My Pond. How Do I Get Rid of It? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Algae, Duckweed, Watermeal & Pollen Identification

Q: There is a brown rust-like film/oil slick covering my pond. Do you have an idea what this might be and how to get rid of it? - Several Customers

A: There are several things this could be: Algae, duckweed, watermeal or pollen.

Determining if Algae is a Problem: Filamentous Algae will float around the pond’s edges in mats while Planktonic Algae will make the whole body of water to look like a “pea soup” green color. If this is the case, using Algae Defense Algaecide will provide quick control. Follow up with Pond-Clear for long-term clear water.

Determining if Duckweed or Watermeal is the Problem: Duckweed and Watermeal are very rapid growers and will cover an entire pond if they get out of control. Looking to the pictures to the left, you can see that Duckweed is a small plant the size of a pencil eraser, while Watermeal is about the size of the tip of a pencil. If you determine that you have Duckweed or Watermeal, your only long-term option is WhiteCap Aquatic Herbicide. If you only require short-term control (3-4 weeks) for an event or party PondWeed Defense may be used.

Determining if Pollen is the Problem: What may look like a greenish, brownish algae, may actually be pollen. Pollen may even cause an oil-slick or film on the surface of the pond. There is no magic product that will give you a quick fix. Many times a heavy rain will settle it to the bottom. In many cases if your pond receives good circulation from an aerator or fountain you will not see pollen becoming much of a problem.

Controlling Pea-Green Algae – Water Garden Q & A

Q: I have a pea-green algae problem. What is the quickest, safest way to overcome this problem? -Ruth of Starkville, MS

A: When dealing with planktonic algae or “pea-green algae”, it cannot be simply eliminated using a product like AlgaeFix. AlgaeFix works great on string algae or other patches of free-floating algae, but with planktonic algae, there is so much that you run the risk of depleting oxygen levels to a point that is unsafe for fish. One of the best ways to get rid of this type of algae is through the use of a UV Filter. As the planktonic algae passes throught the ultraviolet light, it will die. UV lights work so well that within just a few days your water will be crystal clear.

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