## 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?

## Can Aquatic Weeds Go Dormant? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: Can Aquatic Weeds Go Dormant?

Jackie – Kalamazoo, MI

A: Yes, those insidious aquatic weeds can go dormant in the cold season, lying in wait in your lake’s muck and sediment, until spring when the hours of sunlight and temperatures increase. The good news is that you can battle them – even in their overwintering state. Here’s how.

Growth Patterns

When temperatures drop and the sun hovers lower in the sky, you’ll start to see those aquatic weeds retreat and hole up for the winter. The duration of their dormancy will depend on where you live (the weed growth patterns in a California pond, for instance, will differ from those in a Minnesota pond!). But, in general, you can expect to see different pond weeds disappear and reappear at different times of year based on environmental temperatures.

If your pond or lake freezes over, the perennial weeds will typically die back in the winter and re-emerge in the spring. Some plants, however, will continue to grow throughout the cold season, though at a much slower rate than you’d see in the warmer summer months.

Controlling Winter Weeds

Because you’ll probably see little to no greenery growing, it will be a challenge to control winter weeds. Methods that work in the spring and summer – like treating with temperature-sensitive herbicides and algaecides – won’t work in the colder temperatures. So what can you do? Here’s what we recommend:

• Remove Weeds: If there’s no ice on your pond, you can pull on your hip waders and manually remove the weeds with a Weed Raker. This go-to tool efficiently pulls out aquatic weeds by their roots, slowing their regrowth, and also removes decaying matter.
• Pond Dye: Pond Dye, available in convenient liquid quarts, will shade the water blue or black and reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the weeds and algae growing at the bottom of your lake. Less sunlight means fewer weeds, regardless of the temperature or time of year.
• Aerate the Water: If you’re not using your lake as an ice rink, crank on your Airmax® Aeration System. The action created by the aerator will circulate the water and reduce the muck buildup throughout the winter.
• Feeding Fish: Your fish will enter into a semi-dormant state when the water dips below 50 degrees, so there’s no need to feed them. Doing so will add to the lake’s nutrient load (i.e. weed fertilizer …), which is not what you want to do.

If wintertime weeds are taking over your pond, consider trying some of these time-tested tricks. They’ll minimize the nuisance growth during the cold season and reduce the amount of work you’ll need to do in the spring.

Pond Talk: How do you handle aquatic weeds in the wintertime?

## How do I start up my aeration system for the spring?| Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: How do I start up my aeration system for the spring?

Molly – Provo, UT

A: If your Airmax® Aeration System has been sitting idle for the past four months, it’s about time to get that thing cranking again. Here’s a seven-step checklist to follow when air and water temperatures start heating up this spring.

1. Change Your Air Filter: Your air filter, which prevents debris from entering your air compressor, can be cleaned periodically to remove light debris – but it should be replaced every three to six months for maximum system performance and longevity.
2. Check, Clean Side Intake Air Filters: Take a look at your side intake air filters on your cabinet, too, and make sure they’re clean and unobstructed.
3. Ensure Cabinet Fan Works: To make sure fresh air will tunnel evenly through your cabinet, flip on your fan and verify that it’s working properly.
4. Purge Membrane Diffuser Sticks: Though they’re virtually maintenance-free, these diffuser sticks, which deliver the air bubbles to the water, should be purged and inspected before they’re submerged.
5. Airlines Cleared: It could still be icy in your pond, so check your airlines for ice buildup. To clear them, pour 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol through the airline running out to each plate, turn on the compressor and push through the line to free any tiny icebergs.
6. Start Your Engines – Gradually: To prevent shocking your pond, follow your aeration system’s initial seven-day startup procedure. On Day 1, run the system for 30 minutes and then turn it off for the rest of the day. On each day following, double the time: Day 2, run for one hour; Day 3, run for two hours; Day 4, run for four hours; and so on. On Day 7, begin running it for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
7. Pressure Check: Once your system is up and running, make sure that its pressure gauge stays within the normal range of 5 to 10 psi. An easy way to do this to mark the gauge upon initial start up and check it regularly to verify pressure has not significantly risen above or dropped below your initial reading.

Following these simple steps will guarantee a smooth start to aerating your pond this spring. If you’re ever in doubt, check out your owner’s manual or contact one of the experts at The Pond Guy®.

Pond Talk: Are you planning to add any fish or plants to your pond this spring?

## I think my aeration airline is clogged or frozen. What should I do? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I think my aeration airline is clogged or frozen. What should I do?

Ben – Franklin, PA

A: We all know how important an aeration system is in your pond or lake – but it doesn’t do much good if your airline is clogged or frozen! If you don’t see bubbles at the surface and your compressor is running, here’s what we recommend to troubleshoot a closed line:

1. Gauge Check: First of all, check your air pressure gauge. Is it reading higher than normal? If so, your compressor is struggling to push the air through the blockage, which is creating increased pressure in the line.
2. System Check: Next, disconnect the airline at the compressor and check to see whether air is coming out. If it is, your compressor works just fine – but your airline might have ice blockages. To melt them and open the flow back up, pour 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol through each airline (or the airline you believe is clogged or frozen).
3. Maintenance Check: If no air is coming out of your compressor, you might need to do some maintenance on it. Over time, seals and moving parts will wear and break down, causing decreased system performance. The Airmax® SilentAir™ Piston Compressor Maintenance Kits include a range of washers, gaskets and hardware that will get your compressor humming again.
4. Air Filter Check: While you’re doing maintenance on your air compressor, it’s a good idea to check your air filter, too. If it’s full of gunk and debris, consider replacing it with the SilentAir™ RP Series Compressor Air Filters. They’re designed to be replaced every three to six months for maximum system performance and longevity.

Pond Talk: Have you had a lot of trouble with frozen airlines this winter?

## I am going to add an aeration system this year to my 1-acre pond. What are my options? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I am going to add an aeration system this year to my 1-acre pond. What are my options?

Doug – Cordova, AL

A: Now that’s something we like to hear! Aerating a pond, which involves pumping life-sustaining oxygen into the water via a bottom diffuser, is good for your fish, good for your water quality, and good for minimizing algae blooms.

It can be tricky figuring out the right aeration system for a pond, particularly if it’s oddly shaped, but it’s important to get it right. If your aeration system is not sized correctly, you could risk reducing the oxygen levels and building up toxic gas in the water, resulting in an increased chance of fish kills, algae blooms and thick pond muck – not something you want in your pond.

We offer aeration options for ponds of all sizes and shapes. Choosing the best Airmax® Aeration System for your pond will depend on two basic factors: your pond’s volume and its shape.

Pond Volume

You need to know your pond’s water volume in order to select a unit that’s capable of circulating and oxygenating all the wet stuff in your pond. To calculate your pond’s volume, you’ll need to measure its length, width and depth.

Of those numbers, depth is the most critical component when choosing an aeration system. The deeper your pond, the more efficiently and effectively a bottom diffuser plate will aerate it. If your pond is shallow or irregularly shaped, you’ll need more diffuser plates to adequately aerate the water.

We offer made-in-the-USA aerators for both shallow-water and deep-water ponds of various sizes, including:

• Shallow Water Series™ Aeration System: We suggest this system for ponds up to ½ acre and up to 6 feet deep that require multiple aeration plates due to depth restrictions. It’s designed to provide maximum aeration and circulation in even the shallowest water bodies via its powerful dual-diaphragm compressor and weighted diffusers.
• Pond Series™ Aeration System: We recommend this single-plate to four-plate system for ponds up to 4 acres, up to 21 feet deep. It can be easily adapted to fit small or odd-shaped ponds for maximum aeration and even circulation.
• Lake Series™ Aeration System: For ponds up to 6 acres, up to 50 feet deep, try this system that’s capable of aerating even the largest ponds and lakes. It features a more spacious Airmax® Composite Cabinet with enhanced cooling and minimal maintenance.

Pond Shape

Finally, pond shape plays an important role in ensuring proper aeration. For simple, contiguous shapes like circles and ovals, a standard aeration system like the Pond Series or Lake Series will fully circulate all of the water without the risk of stagnation. If you have an odd-shaped lake or one with interconnecting segments and angles, consider using a system with multiple aeration plates.

Now sure how to calculate your pond volume or choose the best aeration system for your pond or lake? Call us at 866-766-3435 for our free aerial mapping service, or use our Online Aeration Mapping Service for sizing. We’ll help you to make the right aeration decision – for you and your pond!

Pond Talk: What advice would you give to someone installing an aeration system for the first time?

## Why Does Algae Keep Growing In My Pond, Even After I Treat With Algaecides? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: Why does algae keep growing in my pond, even after I treat with algaecides?

Cathy – Bagley, WI

A: Algae seems to take on a life of its own sometimes, doesn’t it? Once that green slimy, stringy or seaweed-looking stuff crops up, it keeps growing and growing until you wind up with a messy situation in your pond or lake. Even if you treat it with algaecides, it still grows back.

Turns out that all these tiny plants need to grow is sunlight and food source – both of which are abundant during certain sunny times of year and when there’s a healthy mix of detritus built up along the bottom of the lake. To make things worse (or better for the algae!), when a pond is treated with chemicals, the process just adds dead algae to the pond, which is actually a food source for the growing algae.

Rather than battle this green monster after it has a foothold, it’s best to take a proactive approach. After you verify that you’re dealing with algae and not weeds (read here for a quick lesson on chara and other types of algae), we recommend you follow these four all-natural steps for preventing algae attacks:

1. Use Aeration: Aeration systems, like Airmax Aeration®, circulates debris that has accumulated in the lake or pond so it doesn’t settle at the bottom and become algae food. Aeration also spreads the debris throughout the water column, making it more accessible to beneficial bacteria that break it down.

2. Use Natural Bacteria: Natural beneficial bacteria, such as Pond Logic® PondClear™ Beneficial Bacteria, power through nitrates, breaking down fish waste, leaves and other organics that accumulate in the pond. This naturally improves the water clarity as the bacteria devour the sediment.

3. Use EcoBoost™: Pond Logic® EcoBoost™ Bacteria Enhancer is an innovative product that binds algae-feeding phosphates in ponds and stimulates the growth of essential beneficial bacteria, which are essential when controlling algae in your lake or pond.

4. Use Pond Dye: Because algae thrive in sunlight, Pond Dye filters those rays and stops them from reaching below the surface, thereby preventing algae from growing. Plus, the cool colors mask the soupy green hue of the algae.

We can’t guarantee your algae problem will disappear, but if you follow these steps you’ll be creating a pond that’s inhospitable to algae invaders.

Pond Talk: How have your algae blooms been this spring and summer compared to last year?

## What Can I Do To Maintain My Pond This Season? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

This will be our first full season with our pond. What should we do for proper maintenance?

Joe – Aurora, CO

The first season with your new pond can be an exciting and relatively hassle free endeavor, as long as you take the right precautions to maintain it properly. Lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place to learn exactly what you’ll need in order to successfully maintain your pond for the season.

Remember, a balanced ecosystem is key. Listed below are the main elements used to maintain a balanced pond.

Filtration – Whether you have a waterfall, pressurized or gravity type filter, make sure the included Filter Media is clean and in good condition. Mechanical filtration like skimmer filters should be cleaned regularly to prevent clogging. Biological filter media, like the pads in your waterfall or bio-media in your pressurized filter, should be cleaned sparingly to promote an accumulation of water-filtering beneficial bacteria.

Fish – The highlight of many ponds, fish add color and life to your decorative pond. They also, however, add waste and nutrients that can quickly accumulate and unbalance your pond. 1-inch of fish for every square foot of surface area is a rough guideline for maximum fish load. Keep in mind that your fish are continually growing. That means your 3 inch fish that were added last year are now 4-6 inch fish which more than doubles the waste that needs to be filtered. The more fish you have and the frequency at which you feed them plays a large role in how much filtration you will need to remove this additional waste.

PlantsAquatic Plants are an enormous natural boon to your water garden or fish pond. Not only do they provide habitat for your fish, maintaining 40-60% plant coverage shades your pond and prevents dramatic increases in water temperature on sunny days. Plants also provide additional natural filtration as they extract nutrients from the water added by organic debris and fish waste.

Aeration – Proper aeration is another key factor for pond maintenance. An aeration kit like the Pond Logic® PondAir™ or KoiAir™ will provide extra circulation to keep debris from accumulating at the bottom of the pond while increasing oxygen levels for your fish and water-filtering aerobic bacteria.

Natural Pond Treatments – Natural products like those contained in the Pond Logic® DefensePAC® will greatly increase water quality by boosting aerobic bacteria counts, binding up phosphates from organic material and eliminating organic debris.

Including each of these key pond elements in your water garden or fish pond greatly reduces stress and guesswork associated with a troublesome unbalanced pond. Simply put, a stable ecosystem means less work on your part. If a problem does arise, you can then pinpoint and adjust whichever element above that is throwing your pond out of balance.

Pond Talk: Is your pond balanced? If not, have you discovered which of the key elements is missing or lacking?