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My fish are looking for food, can I feed them? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q&A

My fish are looking for food, can I feed them?

My fish are looking for food, can I feed them?
Arlette, Arlington, VA

Now that the rain and warmer weather has melted the ice away from your water garden you can see your decorative pond fish moving about the pond. After a long winters rest you would think they are hungry and ready to eat but it may still be too soon to feed your fish.

Temperature is a major determining factor in whether or not it is time to feed your fish and what type of food you should feed them. Install a floating pond thermometer within reach of the pond’s edge so you can readily check water temperatures throughout the day. Once the weather warms up enough to keep the pond water continually over 40°F you can start feeding your fish a wheat-germ based food like Pond Logic® Spring & Fall Fish Food. As your fish are still a bit chilly their digestive tracks are working at a decreased rate. Foods designed for cooler weather consist of easy-to-digest ingredients that can be broken down faster so they don’t sit inside your fish and cause problems.

Once water temperatures rise above 50°F you can switch over to your growth and color enhancing foods like Pond Logic® Growth & Color or Pond Logic® Professional fish foods. As your fish will be warm and fully active, they will have no trouble breaking down these denser high-protein foods.

Your decorative pond fish will naturally want to eat at any chance they get whether they are hungry or not. They commonly fool their owners into thinking they are starving as they splash around at the surface of the pond and fight for every last pellet you throw to them. Be sure to wait for the temperatures to rise before you give them food and rest assured that a small handful of food each day is all they need to maintain healthy diet.

Pond Talk: Is your pond free and clear of ice yet? Are you fish actively swimming around your pond?

Pond Logic Spring and Fall Fish Food

I’ve heard a lot about barley, some good and some bad. What do you think? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q&A

I’ve heard a lot about barley, some good and some bad. What do you think?

I’ve heard a lot about barley, some good and some bad. What do you think?
Jessica – Jackson, MI

Pond owners are intrigued by the prospect of being able to ditch chemical treatments for a natural means of algae control. While it is true that barley straw is capable of helping your pond fend off algae it still comes with advantages and disadvantages.

Studies have shown that as barley straw decomposes it releases agents that inhibit algae growth with no adverse effects on your water garden plants or decorative pond fish. Originally customers would place bales of Barley Straw in their waterfall filter boxes, skimmers or waterfall areas where they would decompose over time. As barley straw treatments continue to grow in popularity new types of barley products have been made available. Barley Straw Pellets are available for a cleaner and easier way to implement barley treatments into your pond or for even faster results, Barley Straw Extract. Barley Straw Extract is basically barley straw already broken down into its beneficial byproducts.

While barley straw can help keep your pond less green this season it is not 100% effective on all algae that may form in your pond. One of the biggest issues with using barley straw and pellets is that you have to put them in your pond early in the season as they will need time to start decomposing before providing any benefits. Some may also argue that you are also adding muck and nutrients to your pond in the process. You will gain some speed by using barley straw extract but it then becomes less convenient because you will have to continuously add it to the pond. Barley also does not directly kill algae so chemical treatments may still eventually be required.

Your best defense against algae has always been a good offense. Keeping your pond clean and balanced with adequate filtration, bacteria treatments, minimal fish loads and sun exposure you will reduce your dependence and need for algae treatments in general. It is when your pond is balanced and just needs a little extra kick to keep algae at bay that your barley treatments really begin to shine as their gradual release of anti-algae agents will help maintain clear water throughout the season with minimal or no additional chemical treatment.

Pond Talk: Do you use barley straw as a part of your pond maintenance? Have you noticed a cleaner pond while using barley straw?

All the benefits of barley straw without the mess!

What is the difference between adding bacteria and adding enzymes? | Pond & Lakes Q & A

What is the difference between adding bacteria and adding enzymes?

What is the difference between adding bacteria and adding enzymes?
Mario – Albany, NY

When searching for natural water treatments for your pond and lake you may have noticed products advertising beneficial bacteria and some labeled as enzymes, both claiming to produce the same results, a reduction in muck! So just what is the difference between adding bacteria and adding an enzyme?

Bacteria are commonly associated with illness or filth and many people wonder why pond owners are crazy enough to want to add bacteria to our ponds. Bacteria come in a wide variety of flavors and they each have their own unique agenda. Aerobic bacteria used in natural pond treatments like Pond Logic PondClearand MuckAway are the powerhouses behind digesting and removing the organic debris that muck up your pond. While they have little interest in you or your pets, they thrive on material like decomposing plant matter and fish waste, breaking it down into nothing but a natural odorless gas byproduct.

There is always a trace of beneficial bacteria in a natural pond ecosystem. However, there are typically more types of organic waste being introduced to your pond via plants, fish, wildlife and runoff than there are bacteria to digest it. It is this imbalance that causes organic waste to accumulate over time. Applying beneficial bacteria treatments to your pond is a natural way to keep your pond balanced and clean. Enzymes are the catalyst which allows bacteria to break down and digest the debris in your pond. While they don’t actually eradicate waste material from your pond on their own, they take some of the work load off of your bacteria’s proverbial shoulders by saving them the time of having to “prepare” their meal. As beneficial aerobic bacteria are actually capable of creating these enzymes on their own, products that consist of only enzymes can be considered a support tool to help enhance pre-existing pond bacteria, however they will not directly decompose the accumulated muck in your pond.

Adding natural water treatments that contain beneficial aerobic bacteria can keep your pond healthy, balanced and clean throughout the season. Running an aeration system in tandem with your bacteria treatments infuses your pond with oxygen, which is prized by your fish and aerobic bacteria. Maintaining your pond with aeration and natural water treatments that contain natural bacteria is considered a proactive treatment that will provide a quicker path to desired results of a clean and healthy pond.

Pond Talk: Have you used an enzyme product as part of your pond maintenance? Did you notice a difference?

Get clear water naturally with PondClear™ Natural Bacteria!

What is the difference between Pond Dye and Pond Dye Plus? | Pond & Lakes Q & A

What is the difference between Pond Dye and Pond Dye Plus?

What is the difference between Pond Dye and Pond Dye Plus?
Emma – Racine, WI

Adding pond dye to your pond maintenance regimen is a great way to keep your pond looking great all year long. The additional shade gives your pond the unique color of your choosing whether it be a decorative blue tint or a mirror like reflective surface while discouraging unwanted plant and weed growth. Pond Logic makes a new dye called Pond Logic Pond Dye Plus leaving pond owners everywhere wondering what all the “Plus” is about.

Aquatic weeds and algae utilize decomposing organic materials like waste, runoff, dead leaves or plant decay along with sunlight as fuel to grow and overtake your pond. Pond Logic Pond Dye Plus combines the Nature’s Blue or Twilight Blue Pond Dye you’ve grown to love with their powerful PondClear Liquid Bacteria.

The bacteria added to Pond Dye Plus actually digest the mucky organic debris that has built up in your pond. This not only discourages future weed growth but also improves water clarity by removing organic floating debris that cloud up your water. By combining both dye and bacteria in one product you can effectively reduce the time you spend treating your pond, and spend more time enjoying it. PondClear is a natural product and is safe for your fish, pets, birds, wildlife, and of course yourself. The beneficial bacteria in Pond Dye Plus is most effective when your pond can maintain a water temperature of around 50 degrees or higher. If it is still a bit chilly where you live, continue to use just your Pond Dye until later in the season.

If you are new to beneficial bacteria treatments or your pond needs a little help breaking down excessive organic debris, making the upgrade to Pond Logic Pond Dye Plus is a logical choice. If your muck situation is getting entirely out of hand or you are not a fan of using dye in your pond, Pond Logic also offers bacteria treatments without the dye in the form of Pond Logic PondClear and MuckAway.

Pond Talk: Have you tried Pond Dye Plus yet? Share your experience!

Year long pond protection!

What’s the Difference Between a Decorative Pond and a Large Pond or Lake? – Water Garden & Feature Q & A

The Difference: Decorative Ponds • Water Gardens • Water Features • Ponds • Lakes:

Water Gardens & Features Q & A

Q: What’s the difference between a decorative pond and a large pond or lake? – Laura in Maryland

A: A pond is a pond, right? Maybe not. Decorative ponds and large ponds or lakes do share several similarities. They’re both bodies of water, habitats for fish and wildlife, and they both require upkeep to maintain their pristine beauty. But that’s where their similarities end. Upon closer look, decorative ponds and large ponds or lakes differ quite a bit.

Size Matters

A decorative pond fits nicely in a back yard – a suburban back yard, that is. Rarely larger than a 1/8th acre, the decorative pond provides homeowners with a tranquil retreat where they can tend their aquatic plants, care for their fish and relax with a cold drink in hand. They are also usually no more than a few feet in depth.

A large pond or lake, on the other hand, typically takes up an acre or more of space. Rather than decorating a back yard, a lake is often part of a larger landscape and serves some sort of function, whether it be a water element on a golf course, a holding pond for a watershed or a stocked fishing spot. Depths can be 10’ or deeper.

Planned Inhabitants

Though wildlife is drawn to decorative ponds, the majority of the critters living there are introduced into the environment. Pond owners fill their features with koi, goldfish, shubunkin and oranda – fish not typically found in the wild in the United States – and they care for them as they would a pet, feeding them and keeping them healthy.

Many decorative ponds also feature potted and planted aquatic plants, like water lilies, bog plants or lotus. Pond owners sculpt and develop their waterscapes with plants, décor and fountains just as they would develop their landscapes.

A large pond or lake is a different story. It’s typically stocked with game fish like bass, catfish or trout, and although lake owners can feed the fish and provide habitats for them, the fish can fend for themselves. Plants and landscaping surrounding a large pond or lake also tend to require minimal human intervention – other than controlling invasive weeds or rampant algae blooms.

Clean, Oxygenated Water

Because they’re closed systems, decorative ponds require filtration systems to keep the water clean. As biological pollutants, like plant matter and fish waste break down, the mechanical and biological filtration systems remove the pollutants to create an ideal environment for aquatic life.

Many lakes or large ponds, however, are open systems fed by steams or springs that continually refresh the water. The water quality self-regulates, thanks to wild aquatic plants that naturally remove pollutants. Plus, the large bodies of water can be too large (and expensive) to mechanically filter.

Both decorative ponds and large ponds or lakes can benefit from aeration systems that pump oxygen into the water, but the methods differ. Decorative ponds can be aerated with air stones or small diffusers, like the KoiAir Aeration System. Larger ponds or lakes can be aerated with fountain aerators, high volume surface aerators, or larger underwater diffuser systems like the Airmax Aeration System.

POND TALK: What are some other differences between decorative ponds and lakes?

Why Are the Catfish in My Lake Changing Color? Pond & Lake Q & A

Catfish: Changing Color

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: Why are the catfish in my lake changing color? – Carlos in Texas

A: When summer sun causes water temperatures to rise in your pond or lake, you may notice color changes in your catfish. Sometimes, the changes are caused by natural reasons like age, spawning and temperature fluctuations. Other times, their coloring lightens from environmental causes like stress and disease.

Your pond fish likely looked darker in the spring or fall – for good reason! The cooler water holds more oxygen, which your fish need to thrive and look their best. In warmer water, oxygen levels tend to drop off. The lack of sufficient oxygen, coupled with poor water quality, can cause your pond fish to stress. When stressed, they’re more prone to disease and health problems, which can cause their color to lighten.

In worst-case situations, stressed fish can succumb to disease. One that commonly affects stressed and oxygen-deprived catfish is Columnaris (Flexibacter columnaris), also known as cotton-wool, cotton-mouth, flexibacter or mouth fungus. It is a highly contagious bacterial infection that appears as white spots on the edges of the fish’s scales, fins and mouth area. When one fish is affected, the bacteria causes death within days; when an entire lake population is affected, it will wipe out an entire population within hours.

As the saying goes, “Prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so the best way to keep your catfish healthy and deeply colored is by making sure they’re getting enough oxygen and proper nutrition. Pond Logic Game Fish Food helps by strengthening immune systems while promoting good health and longevity. An aerator, like the Airmax Aerator, breathes life-giving oxygen into ponds and lakes, ensuring a clean water column, even water temperatures and reduced sediment.

With a healthy diet and oxygen-rich water, your catfish should start to show their true colors again!

POND TALK: What do you do to keep your fish healthy?

Why it’s so special to own a large pond or lake – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a Large Pond

Pond & Lake Q & A

Why it’s so special to own a pond or lake.

A: Lakes and farm ponds make wonderful additions to any property. If you have the space and the resources, a large body of water creates an instant habitat for wildlife, and a fun place for you and your family! Here are just a few benefits of digging a large pond or lake:

Gives you a nice place to sit and relax: Imagine lounging in a hammock alongside your pond, swaying in the cool breeze. Picture yourself enjoying a cool glass of lemonade while sitting on your dock and watching your fountain cast rainbows against a blue sky.There is a reason why folks vacation at their favorite lake house! You could have one of your own in your back yard.

Creates a wildlife habitat: If you like the great outdoors and all the critters in it, you’ll appreciate the variety of wildlife a lake or large pond will bring. Animals of all sorts gravitate toward water. Depending on where you live, you can expect to see wild birds and water fowl, raccoons, turtles, frogs, butterflies and dragonflies, not to mention all the underwater life. These animals will call the pond and your property home, making it an entertaining ecosystem for your family and friends.

Becomes your own fishing pond: If you’re a fishing enthusiast, you probably know that there are few things better than fishing your own stocked pond. You’d be able to set up habitats for them, feed them and monitor their behavior. Rather than getting up before dawn and driving to a favorite fishing hole, you can pull on your waders and head out to your own pond whenever the fish are biting!

Provides water fun for everyone: From paddle boating and swimming in the summer to ice skating and ice fishing in the winter, a pond or lake will be sure to satisfy just about any outdoor adventure. But remember to always play safe, making sure you supervise children at all times and have a life ring and rope nearby.

Stores water for farm animals, irrigation: A more practical benefit, some property owners keep a pond to water their horses, sheep, goats and cattle. It’s an accessible watering hole for them, as well as a habitat for wild animals. Others may use the lake or pond to hold water for crop or garden irrigation during the dry months of the year.

Small lakes or farms ponds make a useful and fun addition to any property. They benefit the local ecosystem, they provide a fun and relaxing place to gather with family and friends, and they offer practical benefits, too. It’s definitely something to consider!

POND TALK: What are your favorite things about your pond or lake?

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