FALL CLEANOUT, PREPARING YOUR POND FOR WINTER

Cleaning out your pond can seem daunting the first time around, but having all the right equipment will make the task surprisingly manageable. The first thing to consider is investing in some kind of vacuum. These three are top sellers, and vary from low tech to high tech.

The Muck Vac Perfect for use in small applications, no electricity is required to use it because it is powered by your garden hose! Amazing right, the hose water builds up pressure in the head piece of the muck vac which starts spinning the water and creates suction no water is added to the pond in this process and all discharge water can be used to feed a garden or flowerbed. Easy to use and very reliable. (requires a minimum hose pressure of 50psi)

The Matala Pond Vac 2 This is not your everyday ordinary pond vacuum, the Matala pond vac 2 is really more at home in medium sized ponds but can be used in pretty much any pond application. This unit really lives up to its nickname “Muck Buster” and with its powerful 2HP motor it is able to suck water up 5′ above water level. The Matala Pond Vac 2 does not run continuously and stops running as soon as the vac has been filled with debris then it discharges all the muck and sludge wherever you want it to go. (this vacuum requires electricity)

The Pond O Vac 4 The king of all pond vacuums, this amazing piece of technology is meant to handle any size pond, or swimming pool and it can even be used as a wet vac! Features:

  • Dual-chamber Vacuum System: Two cylinders alternate suction and drain cycle to provide continuous suction.
  • Sludge Drain with Drain Hose: Dual-discharge option for draining waste water directly into flower bed.
  • Aluminum Extension Tubes: Lightweight bend-resistant tubes. Safe, even in swimming pools with chlorine.
  • Transparent Extension Tube: Allows easy visual inspection of debris material.
  • Universal Multi-Tool: Removes pond sludge without taking in pond gravel.
  • String Algae Tool: Separates string algae strands for easy removal.
  • Brush Tool: Scrub away stubborn encrusted dirt and deposits.
  • Flat Surface Tool: Rollers and integrated brushes make cleaning large, level surfaces found in pools and swim ponds a breeze.
  • Wet Vacuum Tool: “Squeegee” away soiled water or residual water during use as a wet vacuum cleaner.

Taking Care of Your Fish

The most important thing you can do for your fish prior to the cold is to give them a clean environment in which to winter over. Koi and Goldfish are cold weather fish and their metabolism will slow as the water gets colder, making them inactive. During Autumn, be sure and switch to a wheat germ food which is easier to digest and will add some fat to carry them through the Winter. Stop feeding them when the water temperatures approaches 55 degrees. We carry a full line of Wheat Germ food products. Remember, your fish DO NOT require feeding during the winter months. To do so may cause stomach rot. You can resume feeding them in the Spring when the water temperatures are above 55 degrees. Save a little wheat germ to start your Spring season. It is much easier for your fish to digest than high protein foods.

Assuming that your fish are at least 4″ to 6″ in length and your pond is at least 30″ deep, your fish should be able to survive the winter. Again, the deeper the better. If you are in doubt, then net them and move them to a protected covered area. Use some of the existing pond water to reduce stress on your fish and treat them with Pond Stress Coat or Microbelift Aqua Extreme. Be sure to provide aeration in their new winter home and cover any temporary housing with a good fish net to keep them from jumping out. We carry several good brands of air pumps which can be used to prevent icing over in winter and promote healthier fish and can be used in the heat of summer for additional aeration.

If your pond freezes over in the winter then you will need a pond deicer which will keep a hole open in the ice so that toxic gases can escape. Otherwise, trapped gases will kill your fish. We carry a variety of different de-icers depending on the size of your pond. The most popular uses only 100 watts of power.

Cleaning your Pond

Treating your pond with the proper additives will greatly increase your chances of a clean, clear and healthy pond in the spring. Nitrifying bacteria (good bacteria) is what helps keep your pond clean. The problem, is, when the temperature drops below 55 degrees, it usually dies or goes dormant. Use a specialized product like Microbelift Autumn Prep which will continue to provide sustained biological activity in water temperatures down to 38 degrees water temperature. It also helps to jump start your pond to a healthier environment in the spring. Even when frozen, the good bacteria will remain effective after thawing out.

Covering Your Pond

While part of the pond should always remain uncovered for pond health, depending on your winter temperatures, you may want to keep most of your pond completely covered throughout the winter. This will insulate and protect your fish from both the cold and any hungry predators that happen by. You can add a pond net but even a piece of plywood would help. Covering just reduces the chance of problems occurring and gives you peace of mind.

Be sure to remove any built up leaves and debris that may accumulate on the netting or cover. Rotting vegetation emits gases that are toxic to fish so they must be removed to protect fish health.

Taking Care of Your Equipment

There are differing opinions on what to do with the equipment that filters, pumps and sterilizes your pond. One thing we know for sure, if you have fish, and there is a possibility of your pond freezing, it is NOT recommended to leave the pump running to power your waterfall or other water feature. While beautiful to look at, a frozen waterfall can divert running water out of the pond causing your pond to freeze solid. A pump designed to oxygenate the water can be maintained as long as it is not drawing water from the bottom of the pond, or it can super cool your pond water and kill your fish. In colder areas we recommend that you disconnect and clean all of the equipment in your pond. This means the pump, filter systems and UV sterilizers. Let them air dry prior to storing in your shed or garage. Keep in mind that water expands when it freezes, therefore your pump, filter and sterilizers are at risk.

7 Top Tips to Winterize your Pond

Winterized Pond

Wintertime is a relatively quiet time for your pond. Aeration, winter bacteria, and fish feeding methods are the main requirements for this time of year.However there are some things you need to pay attention too to keep your pond and fish healthy even in the off season.

7 Top Tips to Winterize your Pond

1. Stop feeding fish when temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Use a cold weather food above 50 degrees until mid or end of spring. Err on the side of less rather than more in ANY season: Excess food creates waste and impedes water clarity and fish health. (Saki Hikari multi season, Microbelift cold weather food).

2. Get a thermometer to know when to stop feeding your fish. (E-Z read thermometer).

3. In freezing climates stop running your waterfall because it causes the temperature to drop: Any water falling on ice drives temperatures down. In non freezing climates, keep the waterfall on because added aeration is always a good thing.

4. Check and change your air stones and diffusers if needed. Air stones tend to lose their effectiveness over time due to debris build-up and wear and tear. If you suspect build-up, remove them and soak in distilled white vinegar and baking soda for a couple of hours. Scrub clean, and reinstall in pond. (air diffusers, air stones)

5. Keep using your cold weather bacteria. It helps keep ammonia down, which accumulates due to decreased oxygen levels. (A/P prep.)

6. Consider investing in a generator. A back-up power supply is a good investment for any season, however, freezing temperatures lead to more power outages.

7. Start introducing barley extract, bales, or pellets. Barley needs time to activate, especially the bales and pellets. This will give you a jump start on water clarity and algae prevention come Spring.

PREDATOR--PROOF YOUR POND!

Predators can wreck havoc in your pond and decimate your fish population. Fortunately, there are simple and affordable precautions you can take to avoid hosting an all you can eat buffet.

KNOW YOUR PREDATOR:
Identifying which predator is stalking your pond will better equip you with which method of protection you need to implement.

  • AIR CRITTERS: BIRDS
    Herons, Egrets, Owls and even Hawks can pluck fish from ponds in one fell swoop. Running fishing line over the pond in a criss cross fashion prevents birds from swooping in. They land like a plane, not a helicopter, so, by limiting the runway they can’t effectively swoop or land in the pond. Decoys can also deter birds by fooling them into thinking “This spot has already been taken!” Be sure to move the decoy around periodically to ensure the real birds don’t catch on. The Floating Gator scares off a number of birds and is surprisingly realistic. With Halloween just around the corner the additional “boo” factor fits right in. Pond nets always work well, and we have lots to choose from in different sizes and mesh width. If your pond doesn’t have a built in hiding place for your fish or is to shallow, check out the Koi Kastles. They come in three sizes and offer immediate shelter if your fish are smart enough to duck for cover.
  • LAND CRITTERS: RACOONS, MINK, COYOTE, ETC.
    Raccoons in particular are clever critters. If there is a way to get to a tasty meal they will find it. One night my Dad witnessed two raccoons fishing together. One of them was actually holding the other’s feet in an attempt to reach further into the pond. Clever little critters!
    To deter Raccoons and other land animals, netting the pond completely will keep them out. While not the most attractive solution they do work and you can usually remove the net once the critters have moved on. Most land predators are nocturnal and are easily scared away by motion activated lights.

One of my favorite NEW products is the Predator Deterrent Light. We have received such good feedback on it that I put one in to protect my vegetable garden. I haven’t had an incident in 8 months and it was super easy to install. What is particularly great about it is that it is solar! It works by mimicking the eyes of other animals that triggers the flight response in wild animals. When night falls, alternating flashing red lights come on automatically and stays on until daybreak. Effective against: Raccoons, opossum, Coyote, Fox, Owls, Hawks and more!
Happy Ponding to you (not critters) !
The Pondbiz Family

THE 1# CAUSE OF ALGAE

High levels of phosphate in pond water are the #1 contributing factor to an algae outbreak. Most of us treat an algae problem with algaecides– which is basically fine. The only snag, though, is that we are just treating the symptom and not the cause. To eliminate persistent algae outbreaks it’s essential we look at phosphate control.

WHERE DO PHOSPHATES COME FROM?

  • As some of you know, phosphates are regularly added to our tap water in order to reduce pipe corrosion.
  • Non-Aquatic plant soil has higher levels of phosphate than Aquatic soil media.
  • Decaying leaves and debris that builds up on the bottom of your pond, creating a sludge, is a phosphate breeding ground.
  • Fish food contains the necessary nutrient phosphorus, which converts into phosphate once it has been excreted.
  • Run off from lawns and surrounding paving can wash in phosphates.

WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT HIGH LEVELS OF PHOSPHATE IN MY POND?

  1. Check your phosphate levels in your pond with a test kit such as Master Liquid Test Kit, or Refills for Master Liquid Test Kit.
  2. Check your tap water phosphate levels. If tap water is the culprit, you can top off your pond with rainwater collected from a storage tank. However, ponds should occasionally be topped off with tap water because it adds some essential hardness to the water. Be sure to use a Dechlorinator or Hose-end Filter when adding tap water.
  3. Use Aquatic Soil when adding or dividing pond plants Pondcare aquatic soil, microbelift aquatic soil. Aquatic plants in general are your best friend because they not only add much needed shade to pond water, but also slurp up the phosphates before the algae can. Be sure to remove spent leaves, as decaying matter leads to a spike in phosphates. To get rid of excess gunk, use a net or a vacuum. For in between cleanings use a sludge reducer such as Microbelift Sludge-away, Clarity Max, Pondzyme
  4. Feed your fish less rather than more. Use a high protein ‘growth’ formula during the Summer months, and look for a food that has a low phosphorous content such as Hikari Gold, Microbelift growth and energy, or Tetra growth
  5. Design, or re-design the edges around your pond to help prevent run off. Divert water from hillsides if it ends up in your pond.
  6. One of the most important things you can do is clean your filter or skimmer regularly. Backflush pressurized filters at least once a week, and clean out skimmer baskets. Doing this removes the phosphates that are bound to fine particles in the water. Use your beneficial bacteria consistently as this helps break down decaying matter.
  7. For instant, and continuous phosphate reduction use Microbelift phosphate remover or Laguna Phos-X granules.

4/23/2016 Review

I just wanted to tell you what a pleasure it was to order
from your store. So many times when people do business online they
miss the connection with the customer. Thank you for helping purchase
the right parts for my filter after I ordered the wrong ones. I would
recommend your company to everyone.

4/28/2016 Review

Thank you for the information, as we will return it tomorrow. You are a top notch business and we will continue to give you are business Again Thank You

5/03/2016 Review

Thanks for the speedy reply! I guess I assumed you were directly associated with Pond Master and had packed the kits and I couldn’t find a working website for them. I can’t seem to find my receipt but the box says my name so that is probably the organization I purchased through (likely found them on Amazon). I just sent them a message. I will purchase through you next time because I appreciate your speed and customer service!

5/05/2016 Review

Jeri: Last season my wife and I drove out to visit Pond Biz and we bought the two hardy lilies you had in stock that day. My goal was to have half the water surface of my pond covered with large lilies to cut down on evaporation for water conservation purposes. This is a photo of those lilies take a few days ago. Needless to say we are pleased. Thanks.

5/09/2016 Review

To Whom It May Concern,
Wouldn’t you know it… I sent that email and went home that night and there they were. I am very pleased with the items and your great customer service. I will remember you for my future purchases… I would love to hear about any coupon offers you may have as I have been seriously eyeing your great selection of lotuses.
Thank you very much

5/15/2016 Review

Thank you!

I’/m amazed you replied on a Sunday, evening.
Wow!