How can I find out the size of my pond? | Pond & Lake Q&A

How can I find out the size of my pond?
Paul – Scottsdale, AZ

While most of us could take a quick guess at the size of our pond many times we don’t really know the true dimensions. Most products for pond treatment such as aquatic herbicides, algaecides, and pond dye are dosed based on surface acres or square footage. Being off by 30 ft. in pond measurement could mean reducing or increasing your pond size enough to make a treatment ineffective. So how should you go about getting the correct measurements of your pond?

It is important to understand that measuring your pond involves using a universal unit of measure like feet and inches. While you may know what you mean when you say the water comes up to your chin that will be interpreted differently from person to person. For measuring depth, tie a weight to some string and let it sink to the bottom of the pond, pull the string in just enough so there is no slack left. Mark the string at the surface of the water. Once you bring up your weight lay the line out on the ground and measure it with a tape measure for a more accurate reading. Take measurements in multiple areas as most ponds are not the same depth throughout. When measuring overall lengths and widths you can use a flexible tape to gather dimensions or measure your stride and pace off the dimensions. Typically one pace is around 3ft. If your pond is irregular in shape you can also use online applications like Google Earth and Bing to locate your pond and measure it from the comfort of your computer chair.

To calculate your pond size you must first figure the square footage of the pond. Multiply the length of your pond by the width to find your square footage. Let’s use a 200’ long by 100’ wide pond as an example. 200’x 100’ equals 20,000 square feet. 1 surface acre consists of 43,560 square feet. To find out how our 20,000 square foot pond measures up to 1 acre we can simply divide 20,000 by 43,560. You should end up with .45 surface acres or slightly under ½ surface acre. If your pond better represents a triangle or circle you can use the equations given below to help calculate the total surface area.

If you are unsure of the best method for measuring your pond or want a second opinion you can always contact one of our pond guys and gals toll free at 866.766.3710 or use our web calculator.

Pond Talk: Was your pond dimension “guess” accurate with your actual pond measurements?

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? 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.

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?

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

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?

How Do I Stock Fish In My Pond? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Q: How Do I Stock Fish In My Pond? – Ellie in Massachusetts

Where’s The Fish?

Every Fish Has Its Day
Our local customers can take advantage of The Pond Guy semi-annual Fish Day, which takes place on the 8th of May. Fish Day is a great opportunity to meet with other pond owners, speak with the friendly and knowledgeable Pond Guy staff, and browse our wide selection of pond products from Pond Dye to Aeration. Customers can pre-order online or over the phone until May 7th; orders will be available for payment and pick-up on May 8th between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. There will be a wide selection of both predator and prey fish available for purchase, including Hybrid Bluegill, Perch, Catfish and Bass. Walk-ins are welcome, but selection will be limited by availability.

POND TALK: What types of fish do you keep in your pond?

My pond is covered in duckweed. What can I do to treat this stuff? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Q. My pond is covered in duckweed. What can I do to treat this stuff? – Tony in Indiana

Friend or Fowl
A: For the lucky pond guys and gals out there who have never experienced duckweed in their pond, or those of you who think you may have it but are unsure; duckweed is a very small floating plant with kidney shaped leaves and a small hair-like root hanging below. It is approximately the size of a pencil eraser and is frequently misidentified as algae. It can cut off sunlight to submersed plants and cut off oxygen to fish and other wildlife. Duckweed is an extremely prolific grower and can quickly cover an entire pond making it frustrating to treat and maintain. More often than not, duckweed is introduced into your pond by hitching a ride on the feet of waterfowl.

Don’t Go Daffy Over Duckweed
There are two great options available to you in your fight against duckweed. Choosing the product that is right for you depends on the time frame you have to treat your pond. For fast acting, short term results, you can use a contact herbicide like PondWeed Defense®. Treatments with these types of herbicides work best on mature aquatic plants that are in a contained environment. Multiple treatments are typically required for effective short term control. It is important to remember that whenever you are treating large amounts of weed growth, only treat one third of the pond at a time and implement aeration whenever possible to ensure safe oxygen levels. When treating with PondWeed Defense®, we suggest that you use a tank sprayer to apply the herbicide directly onto the weeds. PondWeed Defense® has no water use restrictions, but if you have koi or trout, make sure you test to make sure the carbonate hardness of your water is above 50 ppm (parts per million).

For long term treatment of duckweed, we suggest using WhiteCap™. By adding WhiteCap™ to your pond in early Spring, you will inhibit the weed’s ability to produce carotene, a pigment that protects the plant’s chlorophyll. Without carotene, the sun quickly degrades the green chlorophyll and the weed dies. WhiteCap™ must stay in your pond for up to 90 days for maximum results, so if your pond has a constant overflow or you are experiencing heavy rains, you may need to include additional treatments. WhiteCap™ is degraded by sunlight, so when applying, make sure you spray the product directly into the water and not onto the plant foliage itself. Also, adding Nature’s Blue™ Pond Dye after treatment will help prevent sun degradation as well as track water dilution from heavy rains. WhiteCap™ has a 30 day irrigation restriction.

POND TALK: Have you ever experienced duckweed in your pond? What did you use to treat it?

I have a ton of algae growing on my pond. What can I do to get rid of it? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Q. I have a ton of algae growing on my pond. What can I do to get rid of it? – Jeff in New York

The ice is finally off. You walk out to the pond for the first time, expecting to see your happy fish except….in their place is a happy, healthy sprout of algae! This may leave you thinking where do I begin? Here is a quick guide to get you started towards taking back your pond.

1) Give your pond short term relief. If you are in a climate where water temperatures are already above 50 degrees Fahrenheit you can begin doing algae treatments. The chemical choice will depend on the type of fish contained in your pond, whether the algae is floating or submerged and how much area the algae is covering. For more detail on choosing the right chemical view our Weed ID Guide.

3)  Rake the Pond. Once the algae is dead you can rake out the dead matter in order to reduce the amount of accumulation of muck in the bottom of the pond. Muck is a major food source for algae.

4)  Treat with Natural Bacteria. Adding natural bacteria such as PondClear & MuckAway will aid in quickly decomposing any organic material that does reach the pond’s bottom. You can also use EcoBoost to give your natural bacteria a little extra oomph.
5) Aerate the Pond. If you aren’t already aerating, aeration is a great way to increase the oxygen contact for the bacteria to be more efficient and also to help keep your fish healthy for the upcoming warmer months.

If your pond hasn’t quite hit the 50 degree temperature you can still be proactive about algae reduction and prevention. Dye and aeration is not dependent on temperature and can be started at any time.

POND TALK: What are your favorite methods for keeping your pond clear and beautiful?

How soon should I start treating my pond with bacteria? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Q: How soon should I start treating my pond with bacteria? – Justin in Minnesota

Baby It’s Cold Outside
The ice is melting away from the surface of your pond and Spring is already on its way, should bacteria be a part of your ponds Winter/Spring transition? Depending on your location, bacteria may be too busy singing the blues to work on the organics residing in your pond. Adhering to the general rules of thumb below will keep your bacteria working as efficiently as possible, keeping your pockets green and your pond crystal clear.

Aeration, Aeration, wherefore art thou Aeration
It may be cliché to quote Shakespeare in a blog post, but we’ve stressed the importance of aeration for so many seasons now he just may have heard of it himself. Aeration circulates the water in your pond adding oxygen to the water column. Beneficial bacteria, like those found in our ClearPAC®, thrive on oxygen. While we don’t plan on winning any awards for our astounding math skills in the near future, we have hit the nail on the head with this equation: water + oxygen = productive bacteria. You can still use beneficial bacteria in your pond without aeration, but you will definitely get more bang for your buck running an aeration system.

Getting Warmer
You know why to use your ClearPAC® but you are still unsure when to start adding it into your pond. This answer will depend on where you live. The bacteria in PondClear™ really flex their muscles when your water temperatures reach 50° and up. This means that areas with warmer climates will start adding their bacteria earlier in the season than those of us pond guys and gals who are still digging their cars out of snow drifts. Check your water temperature regularly and begin your applications accordingly. To really give your bacteria a boost, use EcoBoost™ along with every dose of PondClear™.

The Life of the PRE-Party
While your PondClear™ & EcoBoost™ are patiently waiting in their buckets, your Pond Dye is ready for action all year long. We strongly suggest adding Pond Dye—even if your pond ices over—as algae can grow in cold temperatures and can still utilize sunlight through the ice.

POND TALK: When do you start your bacteria applications in your pond? How do you kick off the opening of your pond for the season?

Is there anything I should do for my pond/lake to prepare it for Spring? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Q: Is there anything I should do for my pond/lake to prepare it for Spring? – Dan in Illinois

Breaking the Ice on Your Spring Pond Projects
With the sun shining brighter than ever and the snow finally disappearing, most of us pond guys and gals are itching to throw on our waders and dive into our ponds — figuratively of course.

As the Saying Goes, “An Ounce of Prevention…”
Ok, so none of us really want to spend our spring and summer in waders pulling weeds and tending to unruly ponds. So what can you do to ensure your Winter/Spring transition is smooth and enjoyable? As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is especially true in the months to come. Following some easy procedures will keep those waders in your closest and a smile on your face.

Walk around your pond and pick up any debris that has made its way into your yard and around your shoreline. If left to sit, this clutter will turn into a food source for algae in the spring. Cut back any weeds or unwanted vegetation growing around the pond while it is still dormant, keeping it from taking over your pond as the temperatures rise. Now is also a great time to inspect and clean your aeration system cabinet and, if the ice has already melted in your pond, the plates as well. This would be a good opportunity to move the plates back to the deeper areas of your pond for summer aeration, if you happened to move them to shallower areas during the winter.

Shaken, Not Stirred
With all of the dye, beneficial bacteria, and occasional algaecide we’ve added to our ponds over the seasons, you just may be qualified to tend a tiki bar at your pond. While your PondClear™ and EcoBoost™ get the back shelf for the winter season, you should be adding dye to your pond year-round as algae can still grow under a layer of ice in the colder months. If you have not been doing so, add your dye now to reduce the amount of sunlight available. Preventing algae growth now will keep you from fighting an algae bloom in the spring. Your PondClear™ and EcoBoost™ treatments should continue once the water temperature is above 50º F. For those of us who suffer from Duckweed, as spring approaches, you will want to have your WhiteCap™ on hand and ready to apply come mid-April so it has a chance to go to work and prevent weeds from growing throughout the season.

Take Inventory
Kris Kringle is not the only one checking his list twice over the winter. Pond guys and gals everywhere should be checking their remaining ClearPAC® and necessary weed control products and replenishing these items for the upcoming season. Inspect your tools and decoys to make sure they are in working condition. With everything in working order and ready to use, you are now ready for anything spring sends your way. All that’s left to do now is enjoy your pond!

POND TALK: How do you break the ice on your Spring pond projects? What do you have planned for your pond or water garden this season?

Does it matter what color pond dye I use for my pond? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Q: Does it matter what color pond dye I use for my pond? – Jen in West Virginia

A: With a wide variety of dyes appearing in the pond industry, how do you choose the one that’s best for you?

Black dye, blue dye, dyes with bluish green or blackish blue, concentrated dye, dyes with added bacteria…..some pond guys and gals may find themselves asking, “What does any of this mean to me?” or just plain “HELP!”.

One thing that we can all agree on is that these pond dyes are no longer perceived as singularly decorative or unimportant to maintaining a healthy pond. Although adding dye to your pond does enhance its visual appeal, it also plays a major part in preventing algae attacks by restricting the amount of sun exposure your pond floor receives. How many of us can truly say that less algae outbreaks is a bad thing?

Black or Blue……Why Not Both?

Now that we’ve cleared the air about dye’s importance in your pond, there is only one question left to ask: “What’s your favorite flavor?”

Previously, the process of adding color to your pond involved the simple process of grabbing what was on your retailer’s shelf taking it home and dumping it into your pond. Pretty easy right? How about pretty boring? What if you don’t want your pond to be bright blue? What if you don’t want it to look like a Caribbean oasis? This is where options become a good thing. So which to choose?

Black: Perfect for natural looking ponds in wooded areas where you want a reflective surface to show off the surrounding landscape.  Black DyeMond

Blue: You have a manicured yard with lush green grass and the true blue color beautifully offsets the scenery. Nature’s Blue

Twilight Blue: So you wanted the best of both worlds? Now you can have it. Thanks to your input we are proud to present Twilight Blue. If you want a little blue in your water but you don’t want your pond to contrast its surroundings too much. You will achieve ample color while also creating an attractive, rich look. Twilight Blue

Aqua-Blue: The Caribbean color looks great with sandy beaches and tropical landscape and can turn your pond into our aforementioned oasis. Aquashade

POND TALK: So which is YOUR favorite color? Share with us pictures of your favorite colored pond!

What do I need to do to overwinter the fish in my farm pond? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Pond & Lake Q & A

Recently, someone asked me a fantastic question regarding winter aeration and if it can “super-cool” your pond in the winter, possibly causing harm to your fish. I had one of our expert Fisheries Biologists, Justin McLeod, answer this question. Below are some easy solutions that he suggests to ensure a fish-safe winter for those of you in the colder climates. – Jason Blake, The Pond Guy®

Winter aeration (bubblers) can be very important in areas where ponds can freeze over. Along the Northern US border and into Canada, mid-winter temperatures dip well below freezing for prolonged amounts of time. This can put your fish into jeopardy if the pond freezes completely over. To answer your question regarding “Super-Cooling your pond, extremely cold surface temperatures cause ponds to stratify in the opposite way of the summer. Because water is most dense at 39 degrees Fahrenheit, the water beneath the winter thermocline stays around that 39 degree mark, while the water above the thermocline drops down near the 32 degree mark. This is a small difference, but it could mean life or death to a fish.

A “super-cooled” condition is created generally when surface aeration (fountains, High Volume Surface aerators, or really anything pump or pushing water into the atmosphere) is used during winter months. “Super-Cooling” happens when the colder water on the top is circulated to the bottom, leaving no warmer water refuge for the fish. Although it is uncommon to see “Super-Cooling” with sub-surface aeration (bottom bubblers), there have been instances when it has happened. With that said, I would never let this stop me from operating my aerator in the winter – my fish are just too important to me!

Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your aeration system and possibly avoid the chance of “Super-Cooling”:

1. If you have multiple diffuser plates, it is ok to run only 50% of your diffusers. Even though the mixing power of your system is decreased, it will still add oxygen to the pond and allow gases to escape out through the hole it creates in the ice. Note: You only need 10% of your water surface open in the winter for gas exchange.
2. If your pond is extremely small (1/8 acre or less), you may want to move your plate(s) out from the deepest area into a shallower spot. This will leave room for fish to winter in the deeper water.

POND TALK: What do you do to prepare your lake fish for winter?