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How do you spot a sick fish? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

How do you spot a sick fish?

How do you spot a sick fish? Sharon – Romeo, MI

You treat your pets like children so it is easy to understand how upsetting it can be when one of them falls ill or does not feel well. While your children are able to tell you where it hurts, it is a bit more difficult to figure out what ales your fish. For this reason alone it is a great idea to focus on prevention instead of waiting to cure. What can you do to prevent fish illness and how can you tell if your fish may be coming down with something?

Keep your pond clean and healthy by providing adequate filtration, aeration, and regularly cleaning and adding beneficial bacteria to the pond. A DefensePAC® is a great tool to help maintain water quality and a Pond Vacuum cleaning your pond easier and more enjoyable. When performing water changes use Stress Reducer PLUS to detoxify any chemical or heavy metal contaminates in the water as well as reduce fish stress and improve their slime coat which makes them less susceptible to disease. Dosing your pond with Pond Salt will also help improve their slime coat and gill functions further ensuring healthy and happy fish.

If your fish still manage to fall under the weather the will almost always show some inconsistency in their behavior that will give you a clue as to what is going on. When fish are stressed or ill they will tend to be lethargic and less social, often just floating in one area away from your other fish. If they have anchor worm you will see them rubbing on rocks or the wall of the pond which is known as flashing. You can also visually inspect your fish for signs of illness. Deterioration of their fins, mouth or gills can indicate poor water quality or parasites. Look for loose or odd looking scale formations and sores on the body of the fish.

There are three steps to follow to nurture your sick fish back to health. First, since most illness is due to stress or water quality in their environment you will want to provide some temporary relief from the source. Start by performing a 25% water change in the pond to get some fresh water into the system. If only a few fish seem to be affected you may also choose to set up an isolation tank and treat just the affected fish. Next add salt and be sure both the pond or isolation tank has adequate aeration.

Step two is to identify the fish sickness based on their symptoms. Take pictures, examine the fish for and cuts, redness or inflammation in the gills and record their habits. Once you’ve identified the symptoms you can choose the next course of action which may involve additional medications or treatments.

The final step is to reevaluate your normal pond routines. Go back to see if there is anything you should change to prevent illness in the future. When dealing with sick fish it is always important to focus on preventing issues before they have a chance to ruin your ponding season so you can spend the majority of your season playing with your pets instead of playing doctor.

Pond Talk: What have your experiences been playing doctor? Have you avoided sick pets? How?

How can I control Naiad in my pond? – Pond & Lake Q & A

How can I control Naiad in my pond?

How can I control Naiad in my pond? Kristin – Modesto, CA

Do You Know Who You Are Dealing With?

When faced with an outbreak of weeds in their pond some pond owners tend to rush into buying aquatic herbicides and algaecides in an attempt to clear up the pond as fast as possible. While we agree with the idea that your weeds need to disappear on the double, you want to make sure you take some time out to identify your intruder. When you know what you are dealing with your can then chose a product to treat it that will give you the best bang for your buck. If you are having trouble identifying a particular weed you can e-mail a couple close up pictures to The Pond Guy® at weedid@thepondguy.com or check out our Weed ID Guide.

What’s The Difference?

Knowing is half the battle in your war against aquatic weeds. So what do you need to know about Naiad to correctly identify it in a line-up of other unruly pond perpetrators? Naiad is an annual plant that branches profusely and forms very dense stands of rooted submerged vegetation. Leaves are dark green to greenish-purple, ribbon-like, opposite or in a whorl of three, mostly less than 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide. Single seeds are found encased in the leaf sheath. Southern naiad reproduces by seeds and fragmentation. Flowers are at the base of the leaves but so small that they can only be observed with magnification. While Naiad is often confused with Chara at first glance, Chara has a strong, unpleasant odor and a crunchy texture that sets it apart from its counterpart. Chara also is very easy to pull out since it has no attached root base.

Pick Your Pony

You will find a stable full of products available for treating Naiad each with their own application methods and water use restrictions. Hydrolthol 191 for example is a granular that sinks to the bottom of the pond and is applied with a hand spreader. It carries water use restrictions such as a 3 day fish consumption restriction and a 25 day irrigation restriction. Ultra PondWeed Defense® on the other hand is a liquid aquatic herbicide that is applied via a Tank Sprayer and carries only a 5 day irrigation restriction. Read each herbicides application instructions, water use restrictions and dosage rates to determine which product is best for you. In addition to Hydrothol and Ultra Pondweed Defense®, Sonar™ A.S. can also be a viable option for treating Naiad.

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Warm

For optimal results you will want to treat your pond when your water temps are above 50°F. Waiting for warmer weather in late Spring and early Summer ensures that the weeds in your pond are actively growing and will eagerly take the chemical you add to the water. Once the weeds are killed it is then safe for you to rake them out of the pond using a Pond & Beach Rake or something similar. Keeping your ponds nutrient load in check with MuckAway™ and PondClear™ and proper Aeration will make sure you spend less time wrestling weeds in your pond and more time enjoying your ponding season.

POND TALK: Tell us about your experience with Naiad and/or Chara.

I Just Bought Some New Fish, How Should I Introduce Them To My Pond? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Pond Fish & Koi Acclimation
I Just Bought Some New Fish, How Should I Introduce Them To My Pond? Paul – Baytown, TX

Best In Show

So you’ve made the decision to invite a few new friends to your home, but are you getting more than you bargained for? As is true with any purchase, you want to make sure you are getting quality before you hand over your hard-earned dollars. Inspect the fish you intend to purchase for symptoms of illness or poor health. Look over their fins, mouth, and gills for blemishes, discoloration, or signs of fin rot and check their body for growths, loose or missing scales, or other blemishes as they may be an early indicator of disease or parasites. Take a few moments to observe your prospect’s behavior to make sure they are active and having no mobility hindrances.

Prep The Pond

Your newly purchased fish are typically handed over to you in an oxygenated plastic bag or container to allow adequate time to transport them to their new home. While it may be tempting to just dump them into your water garden upon your return home, you will want to make sure your pond is ready to accommodate its new inhabitants before you begin their acclimation process. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the water in your pond is free from potential fatal heavy metals and chlorine by adding a Water Conditioner during your water changes.
  • To help prevent disease and reduce fish stress in your new tenants, add Pond Salt to the water between your water changes. To ensure the well being of your Aquatic Plants, only add 1 1/4 cups per 100 gallons of pond water.
  • You can purchase a Master Test Kit to verify acceptable pH and Nitrate levels in the pond.
  • You can prevent many potential health issues throughout your fish population by simply maintaining a clean and healthy pond. You can read more about pond maintenance here.

Well, You Better Get Used To It

Now that the pond is ready for the addition of fish, it is time to get your finned friends ready for the big show. You will want to gradually equalize the temperature of the water your fish are currently occupying with that of the water in your pond. If the container carrying your fish floats, go ahead and place it in your pond. As the bag bobbles around in your pond, the water inside will start balancing with the outside water temperature. This process should take no longer than 30 minutes. During this time frame, slowly add small amounts of water from the pond into the container which will allow your new fish time to acclimate to the chemistry of your pond water. Most of us have, at one time or another, jumped into a pool too early in the summer only to find that the water is unimaginably cold. Those of you who’ve been in that situation understand why you will want to take your time with the acclimation process. Now that the water on both sides of the container is the same and the fish have had time to try out the make up of the water in the pond, you are clear to release them into their new environment! Take a few moments throughout the day to check in on the pond and monitor the behavior of the newly introduced fish. Active and curious fish are happy and healthy fish.

POND TALK: Are there any tricks that you’ve done to acclimate your fish?

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