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Now that my plants are gone, how do I protect my fish? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: Now that my plants are gone, how do I protect my fish?

Q: Now that my plants are gone, how do I protect my fish?

Vicky – Chatham, NH

A: This time of year, aquatic plants are tough to find in backyard ponds. Cold temperatures and fewer hours of sunlight make all the lush greenery die off or go dormant for the winter — and that leaves your fish high and dry and without any protection from hungry predators, like raccoons, herons and passing coyotes.

The lack of lily pads, hyacinth leaves and other plant cover also means more sunlight will penetrate the water. All those rays can lead to algae blooms and poor water quality, which is not something your hibernating fish will appreciate.

So how do you protect your finned friends from hungry bad guys during the sparse winter months? Here’s what we recommend.

  1. Create fish habitats: Because fish will naturally hide in crevices between rocks and other sunken debris, replicate that environment by creating fish habitats and caves. Prop up some slate slabs to make a fabricated lean-to. Build extra hiding places with clever rock placement. Provide an ecosystem that will encourage them to do what’s natural.
  2. Install fish shelters: In the winter, fish will intuitively head to deeper water where it’s warmer and safe from claws, paws and beaks. But to add another layer of protection — particularly if your pond isn’t that deep — give them plenty of sheltering options. Install a Koi Kastle or two. Lay down some empty flower pots or short lengths of 4-inch PVC pipe. Give your finned pals plenty of options to hide, just in case predators stop by the pond.
  3. Crank on your aeration system: As your aeration system bubbles and infuses oxygen throughout the water, it creates water surface movement that can help camouflage your fish from overhead predators. The aerator will also keep the water churning, and create a hole in the ice for gas exchange. If it’s not running already, now’s the time to crank it on!

Until your plants start growing again, keep your fish safe and sound with these simple steps – and do it before the frigid temperatures really kick in.

Pond Talk: Where do your fish hide when your plants die back for the season?

Provide Hiding Places For Fish - Nycon Koi Kastle Fish Shelters

 

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Now that my plants are gone, how do I protect my fish? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: Now that my plants are gone, how do I protect my fish?

Q: Now that my plants are gone, how do I protect my fish?

Vicky – Chatham, NH

A:  This time of year, aquatic plants are tough to find in backyard ponds. Cold temperatures and fewer hours of sunlight make all the lush greenery die off or go dormant for the winter — and that leaves your fish high and dry and without any protection from hungry predators, like raccoons, herons and passing coyotes.

The lack of lily pads, hyacinth leaves and other plant cover also means more sunlight will penetrate the water. All those rays can lead to algae blooms and poor water quality, which is not something your hibernating fish will appreciate.

So how do you protect your finned friends from hungry bad guys during the sparse winter months? Here’s what we recommend.

  1. Create fish habitats: Because fish will naturally hide in crevices between rocks and other sunken debris, replicate that environment by creating fish habitats and caves. Prop up some slate slabs to make a fabricated lean-to. Build extra hiding places with clever rock placement. Provide an ecosystem that will encourage them to do what’s natural.
  2. Install fish shelters: In the winter, fish will intuitively head to deeper water where it’s warmer and safe from claws, paws and beaks. But to add another layer of protection — particularly if your pond isn’t that deep — give them plenty of sheltering options. Install a Koi Kastle or two. Lay down some empty flower pots or short lengths of 4-inch PVC pipe. Give your finned pals plenty of options to hide, just in case predators stop by the pond.
  3. Crank on your aeration system: As your aeration system bubbles and infuses oxygen throughout the water, it creates water surface movement that can help camouflage your fish from overhead predators. The aerator will also keep the water churning, and create a hole in the ice for gas exchange. If it’s not running already, now’s the time to crank it on!

Until your plants start growing again, keep your fish safe and sound with these simple steps – and do it before the frigid temperatures really kick in.

Pond Talk: Where do your fish hide when your plants die back for the season?

Provide Hiding Places For Fish - Nycon Koi Kastle Fish Shelters

Why are water changes important? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: Why are water changes important?

Q: Why are water changes important?

Shirley – Warr Acres, OK

A: It’s nice to open a window on a warm spring day and let the fresh air flow through your house, right? Well, a partial or complete water change in your koi pond or water garden is the same thing: It freshens your finned pals’ environment, making them happy and healthy.

Here are five reasons why water changes are so important to your fish, plants and other aquatic life:

  1. Nutrient Removal: Muck and debris buildup happens in just about every water feature. A water change manually removes any excess nutrients and chemicals like nitrates, phosphates and ammonia that can be harmful to fish and other underwater critters.
  2. Healthy Fish: Fresh, clean water means improved water quality, which ultimately promotes your fishes’ health. Just as you need oxygen to thrive, your fish need clean water to thrive. Their well being is directly related to the liquid environment in which they live.
  3. Algae Control: Pea soup and string algae feed on all that decomposing waste, which they use as fertilizer. By removing those excess nutrients in the water column with a water change, you can discourage the growth of algae.
  4. Fights Foam: Foam forms when excess organic material has accumulated in your water garden. When this nutrient-laden water pours down your waterfall, the air and water collide, causing the proteins and other organics to be trapped inside bubbles rather than turning into ammonia and nitrites. A water change will quickly reduce that foamy buildup.
  5. Clears Water, Stabilizes pH: A water change will also improve the appearance of cloudy water and maintain pH levels, resulting in a pristine pond filled with healthy fish, lush greenery and clean water.

To keep stress levels down among your fish, we recommend doing partial water changes as soon as water temperatures reach 50° F. In addition, be sure to add some Stress Reducer PLUS and LiquidClear™ to your water. The Stress Reducer PLUS forms a beneficial slime coat on your fish and makes tap water safe for them. The LiquidClear’s™ beneficial bacteria helps to digest dead organics in the water, making it crystal clear.

Pond Talk: How often do you do water changes in your koi pond or water garden?

Builds Protective Slime Coating - Pond Logic (r) Stress Reducer PLUS

How Can I Create a Fish Habitat Without Overtaking My Pond With Weeds? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Porcupine Fish Attractor
How Can I Create Fish Habitat Without Overtaking My Pond With Weeds? Tyler – Elmo, UT

There’s No Place Like Home

Your fish require adequate habitat to live, reproduce, and grow but who’s really keen on letting weeds overtake their entire pond to aid the cause. Fortunately there are some tricks to help control the natural habitat in your pond and even a few alternatives that can work just as effectively.

Most of us can agree that having a bit of plant life in our ponds is a good thing, but at what point does it get out of hand and become a nuisance? Aquatic Plants help reduce your ponds sun exposure and nutrient load which naturally encourages a cleaner pond with less algae blooms. Lillies can add some color to your pond while cattails will provide a natural wall around areas of your yard giving you a little extra privacy. When aquatic plants are appropriately implemented  they are both functional and attractive. The key to keeping your plants in check is by giving them boundaries. Mark the areas of your pond that you feel are best suited for aquatic plants, away from your beach area and dock, this way you will have a visual reference when checking if the plants are trying to spread out of control. You can then remove the plants that grow outside their appropriate areas with Pond Tools or Aquatic Herbicide when necessary.

For those of you with no interest in flexing their green thumbs, Fish Attactors may be the perfect habitat for your pond. These plastic spheres accept 1/2″ PVC pipe which you cut to a length of your choosing. The PVC pipes form a pattern that provides shelter for smaller fish while keeping larger predators at bay. The hollow ends of the PVC pipe also provide an excellent place for minnows to spawn. If you like to fish in your pond, these attractors have a huge advantage over natural habitat as they do not hang up your lure. Man made habitat like the fish attractor won’t contaminate your pond or bio-degrade so you don’t have to replace your habitat each season.

It is not uncommon for people to sink pine trees, pallets, cinder blocks, bricks, and other miscellanous items in their pond. These things will provide coverage to your fish but they may also have adverse effects on your water quality as well. Items that bio-degrade in your pond will add to your nutrient load, so if your are considering sinking a tree or some wood skids in your pond make sure you are compensating with additional PondClear™ or MuckAway™ to keep nutrients at bay. Also if you swim in your pond, keep in mind that while some products are degradeable they may be held together with nails or staples. Before adding objects into your pond make sure they are clean and they do not contain any contaminates that will pollute the water. Plastic containers, for example, may provide shelter to your finned friends but what were they previously holding? Oily residues or trace chemicals left that remain on these products can be harmful to your ponds ecosystem so use caution before you sink them in the water.

Advanced planning and considerations will make all of the difference in keeping your pond and its inhabitants happy and healthy. Choosing the habitats that work best in your unique scenario and implementing them correctly will ensure your pond is full of life for years to come.

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

Porcupine Fish Attractor, Pack of 3 Spheres