Now that pond season is coming into full swing, proper water care will make all the difference in keeping your pond in tip top shape. Adequate filtration is always at the heart of a healthy pond. The better the filtration, the better the pond. You shouldn’t have to rely on an extensive amount of water care products in order to keep your pond clean and healthy. If poor filtration is an issue, check into upgrading or supplementing with a Pond Filter or added Aeration. With that said, pond care maintenance products can pick up the slack, and reduce the burden on your filter.

How do I choose the right pond care product? Unfortunately, the term “water clarifier” has been so broadly used by the pond industry that the average or new pond owner often chooses the wrong product for their specific problem. Case in point: Beneficial Bacteria, and Flocculents are often referred to as “clarifiers,” which they are, yet they are also fundamentally very different. For example, Beneficial Bacteria Products seed and maintain biological filters, and “clarify” by dissolving sludge and waste. They also break down algae, reduce ammonia and nitrogen, and improve oxygen levels. Flocculents on the other hand, clump tiny suspended particulates so your filter can actually ‘catch’ them. Suspended particulates look like dust in the air, yet in water instead. Think of it as dusty water.

As you can see, these two “clarifiers” do very different things. To understand product labeling, keep this in mind: all Beneficial Bacteria products are referred to as ‘Clarifiers.’ Conversely, not all Pond Clarifiers are Beneficial Bacteria products. To help clarify
this issue (no pun intended), we have two categories on our website: Beneficial Bacteria Products and Pond Clarifiers. To keep it simple, Everyone should be using some type of Beneficial Bacteria product regularly. Microbelift Pl is still are favorite here at Pondbiz, but there are some great Pond Clarifiers like the Flocculents we just mentioned that target a specific problem such as Rapidclear and Microbelift’s Flocculent Plus . Some manufactures have taken Pond Clarifiers to another level by combining Beneficial Bacteria with other ingredients such as Enzymes, Barley, and/or Flocculents. See Crystal Clears Clarity Max for a combination of Beneficial Bacteria, Enzymes, and Barley, and/or Acurel-E for a combination of a Flocculent and Beneficial Bacteria.

We’ve seen the best results in pond clarity from our customers’ who use a Beneficial Bacteria product regularly, and supplement with a target product for their specific issue. If you’re not sure what the heck your specific issue is, give us a call at 1-877-766-3249

Stay tuned for Pond Water Care Part 2 when we discuss Chlorine Control and Conditioners.


Cleaning out your pond in the fall is essential for maintaining good water quality over the colder months. Any accumulated debris has a bigger impact in cold temperatures because beneficial bacteria and oxygen levels naturally drop in cold weather. The colder it gets in your area will determine what you need.

For a basic pond cleaning and fall water prep you will need 3 essentials:


A pond vacuum is one of the best things you can do for your pond. Our top sellers are the Muck Vac and Pond O Vac 4. Skimming nets work well if you have easy access to the bottom of your pond from all sides.


ensures sustained biological activity in water temperatures below 55 degrees. This ‘good’ bacteria and enzyme product is essential in maintaining healthy oxygen levels over winter. It works by consuming decomposed leaves and organic waste that are essentially oxygen thieves.

Shop for Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep


adds a protective slime coat and provides additional vitamins and immune supplements to help keep fish healthy over winter.

Shop for Pond Stress Coat

Shop for Microbelift Stress Relief

For those of you that get hard freezes, check your DE-ICERS and AIR PUMPS now to make sure they are in working order before you need them. Stay tuned for our next newsletter when we discus De- Icers and Air Pumps in depth.

If your looking for some fun and spooky Halloween decor, check out our FLOATING GATOR with glow in the dark eyes or our eerie POND FOGGERS.

Shop for a Floating Gator

Shop for Pond Fogger


With fall around the corner, it’s time to start preparing your pond
and fish for the Autumn weather.

Your pre fall checklist should include:

Protecting your pond from falling leaves will reduce sludge build up
from decaying matter. It’s good medicine for your pond, because
excess debris starves oxygen levels which already decreases in colder
weather. Any extra oxygen depletion creates an unhealthy environment
leaving fish vulnerable to parasites and bacterial diseases.
Shop Pond Nets/Covers

This biological formula of naturally “good” bacteria, enzymes, and
micro nutrients protect fish from pathogens before they have a chance
to colonize. It works by competing for the same nutrients the
pathogens feed on. In short, the pathogens have nothing to consume
and consequently can’t colonize. For maximum effectiveness, it’s best
to use this product in the Spring and Fall.
Shop for Koizyme

Start transitioning your fish from their regular food to a cold
weather (wheat germ based) food. Mix a 1 to 4 part ratio, gradually
increasing to a complete wheat germ based food. Low in protein, wheat
germ Koi & Goldfish food is easily digested, which is essential for
their health as they go into semi hibernation.
Shop for Wheat Germ Koi & Goldfish Food


We had a customer come in the store the other day lamenting over a severe algae problem, “I wasn’t going for the swampy look” she exclaimed. To effectively treat an algae problem, getting at the cause is much better than treating the symptom. In short, algae is just a result of something gone wrong. We always ask our customers a series of questions before recommending an algaecide in order to eliminate any equipment or maintenance issue. Once that’s done, we can target the algae with the appropriate product.

Check off the questions below and then we’ll discuss the different types of algaecides and bacteria products that will get rid of that “swampy look.”

  1. Do you leave your system on 24/7?
  2. Is your filtration system adequate in relation to your pond volume and fish load?
    Learn more about filtration here.
  3. Are you backflushing your filter weekly?
  4. Are you using beneficial bacteria regularly?
    Learn more about bacteria here.
  5. Does your pond have adequate aeration?
    Learn more about aeration here.
  6. Does your pond have some shade in the summer months
    Learn more about floating plants here to create quick coverage/shade.
  7. Have you replaced your U.V. bulb within the last 12 months?
    Replacement UV bulbs
  8. Is your pond relatively clean? No piece of equipment or product can compensate for built up muck and debris.
    Learn how to do a pond cleanout.

    If you passed the questionnaire test with flying colors, the only thing you need to know is which type of algaecide to use because not all algaecides treat all types of algae. Basically, there are 2 types of algae, string and green water algae. Deciphering the difference is easy: if you have stringy, hairy, or mossy algae, it’s string algae. Alternately, if you have water that is pea soup in color, then it’s green water algae.




    • A.Algaefix is effective against string and green water algae, blanket weed and hair algae. Use this product when you have a moderate case or combination of string and green water algae.
    • B. Tetra Algae Control combats string and green water algae, and contains a 5.4% active solution to get the job done.


    If any of you are wondering where Crystal Clear’s D-Solve9 went, it’s been replaced with Algae D-solve.
    It’s not as strong as the previous version, but contains the same active ingredient at 5.4% instead of at 9%. See all our algae control prodcuts

    PONDBIZ TIP: When temperatures are above 80 degrees, dose algaecides in the morning before it gets hot, and supply adequate aeration. Use a Beneficial Bacteria Prodcut the day after an algaecide treatment to “eat up” the dead algae.

    Happy Ponding!
    The Pondbiz Family

    Ken, Jeri, Dawn and staff


If you missed last months newsletter, Spring Pond Care Part One, you can view it HERE to learn about the difference between Beneficial Bacteria products and Pond Clarifier products. As we saw how product labeling can be confusing, understanding the difference between a Water Conditioner, and a Dechlorinator will make choosing the right one for your pond a breeze. But let’s first look at when and why you need to add a Water Conditioner or Dechlorinator.


As many of you know, chlorine and chloramines are toxic to fish. Any start-up pond should be dechlorinated before adding fish. If you just have a water garden, there’s no need to declorinate, it’s a fish issue.


Besides start-up fish ponds, you’ll need a dechlorinator when doing any significant water changes. If you have an AUTO FILL you don’t need to add a dechlorinator. It’s not a significant amount of water to cause any harm. One of our best selling products is our HOSE-END GARDEN FILTER. Great to use for topping off, or plumbing inline if you have an auto fill. We also like it for water gardens without fish because chlorine and chloramines kill off beneficial microorganisms that nourish plants. As a rule, it’s a good idea to always have enough dechlorinator on hand to treat your entire pond in case of any unforeseen emergency. A hose left on, or a dosage goof with an algaecide that requires an immediate water change can be remedied if you catch it in time.


The short answer is: just enough to be a little confusing. To keep it simple, WATER CONDITIONERS are basically souped up DECHLORINATORS. Microbelift’s AQUA EXTREME and Pondcare’s STRESS COAT are both good examples of a water conditioner. They do more than just dechlorinate. Aqua Extreme is unique in that it “ages” the water and reduces ammonia levels. Pondcare’s Stress Coat reduces stress and contains aloe vera that helps heal minor abrasions. Always look for a water conditioner or dechlorinator tailored to your needs. If your fish are stressed out, get one that contains a stress relief component. If ammonia is an issue, get one that helps reduce ammonia like Aqua Extreme. Switch back and forth depending on what’s going on. For example, you might want to use Aqua Extreme in the Summer when your fish are actively feeding, and thus actively excreting. Or if your fish are being stalked by a predator, choose the one with the added stress relief. Every manufacturer makes them a little different, so look for the one that solves more issues than one.


Depending upon the condition of your pond, you will either need a light clean out, or a major
clean out. Regardless of what category you fall under, the 2 necessary products you’ll need now and year round are a Beneficial Bacteria – and a Dechlorinator.

Use Microbelift’s Super Start – if you’re just starting up your filter, otherwise, use the bacteria of your choice. The Super Start seeds and colonizes the filter to jump start the biological filtration process. Dechlorinator’s are necessary for any water changes or when adding water to your pond. If
you have an Auto Fill Valve you don’t have to worry about adding a Dechlorinator since the amount of incoming water is minimal. But always use it when doing
significant water changes. You can also use a Hose End Filter to top off your pond that can be plumbed inline or attached to a garden hose. It’s good for about a year or up to 10,000 gallons.


If your pond is relatively clean, that is,
there is minimal gunk on the sides and bottom, just scoop out any
debris with a good Skimming Net or vacuum out debris with a Pond Vacuum. The Muck Vac is
a good low tech vacuum for small ponds that attaches to your garden hose. Scrub rocks with a bristle brush if needed. Do a 25-30% water
change and add a Dechlorinator and Beneficial Bacteria. Add
Pond Salt and/or Koizyme to
help keep fish healthy. Clean up your pond plants by cutting back dead debris. If plants are overgrown, divide and repot them (AquaticSoil, Plant Baskets, Aquatic Fertilizer). Skip
to ” Check Your Equipment” under Maximal Clean out. That’s it! Done! Just be sure to keep using your beneficial bacteria regularly in
order to keep accumulated gunk in check.


If you suspect any damage to your pond equipment, skip down to “check your equipment” before draining your
pond, otherwise, continue with your cleanout. Drain pond until it is almost empty and fish are easy to catch. Use a Skimming/Fish Net or Koi Sock to catch them with. Place the fish in a kiddie pool or holding tank with the water drained from the pond. Use the excess water for your garden or lawn, it has a lot of nutrients in it that act like a fertilizer. Be sure to put a Pump or Air Pump in the holding tank so your fish receive a steady supply of oxygen. Cover your tank with a Pond Netting/Cover to protect fish from jumping out.

Clean up your pond plants by cutting back any dead debris. If plants are overgrown, divide and repot them (Aquatic Soil, Plant Baskets,Aquatic Fertilizer).

Scoop out the sludge on the bottom with a good Skimming/fish net, or even better, vacuum out excess debris with a Pond Vacuum. The Pond OVac 4 is the best in class and reasonably priced. Scrub rocks with a
bristle brush, and rinse or power wash remaining debris. Vacuum or pump out remaining water.

Refill your pond, leaving room for the holding tank water. Add a
Dechlorinator – like Aqua Extreme or Aquasafe, and a Beneficial Bacteria like
Microbelift PL. Follow manufactures’ recommended dosage depending on water volume.

To calculate water volume: measure the length, width, and depth of
your pond. Then, times the length times the width, times the depth
times 7.5. In other words, L X W X D X 7.5 = your gallons of water.
Let the pond circulate for a few hours, and then check the Ph of the
new pond water with a Test Kit, and
compare it to the Ph in the holding tank water. If they’re in close
proximity, put most of the holding tank water back in pond, catch the
fish like you did in step 1, and place back into the pond.


This is the best time to clean and/or replace any filter media, or foam pads. The reason being that your beneficial bacteria most likely did not survive the winter, so your pond is starting from square one.

Rinse off your media well, but if it is too gunked up or deteriorating, replace it (Replacement Parts)
Check your UV BULB if you have one. You should replace your bulb once
a year even if it is still ‘on’ because it loses it’s effectiveness
past the 1 year mark. Check the sleeve for any cracks and replace it
if necessary (Replacement Parts).
Otherwise, clean it well with some distilled white vinegar. A bulb
will not work if the sleeve is dirty. For submersible pumps,
clean the pre filter and the pump intake. If there is excess debris
on the entire pump use Pumpguard to get it clean. If you stored your pump over the winter, test it
first in shallow water to make sure it is running properly. For
external pumps, clean the strainer basket and check for any cracks.
Many pumps have easy access to the impeller. Clean it. Small stones
or accumulated debris can severely damage your pump. Use a Pump Bag to protect your pump if necessary. Consider purchasing an extra impeller (Replacement Parts) or a
back-up pump. Check the Ph of your pond with a Test Kit to make sure it is around 7.5. Do this periodically throughout the year as well.

If you have any further questions about clean outs or products, give us a call at 1-877-766-3249. We are open Monday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 10:00- 4:00 pacific time.

Early Spring Pond Clean Out

Spring is the time when your pond comes back to life. Every region is different, but active fish, and aquatic plants sprouting new life are both indicators that your pond is coming out of dormancy. Before doing a Spring clean out, the following 8 tips will help you get off to a good start and keep your fish and pond healthy.

  1. Try not to show your enthusiasm for the warmer weather by jumping in the pond to clean it. Remember, your fish have been sitting near the bottom throughout the Winter, and their immune system is weakened. Wait a couple weeks before doing a major cleanout.
  2. Add Pond Salt at a rate of 1 pound per 100 gallons, and a Water Conditioner like Pond Stress Coat or Aqua Extreme. The salt will suppress any pathogenic bacteria, and the conditioner will replace the natural slime coat on your fish protecting them from disease.
  3. When your pond water reaches about 60 degrees, (Pond Thermometer) start mixing your Cold Weather Fish Food with your Regular Fish Food in order to transition them over into a high protein diet.
  4. Start using a Barley product to prevent future algae outbreaks.
  5. Start using your regular Beneficial Bacteria Product, like Microbelift PL, Microbelift Super Start, or Pondzyme, and stop using a cold weather bacteria. Save any winter bacteria product left over for next Fall.
  6. Spring is the time to use Koizyme. It is a natural treatment to reduce pathogenic bacteria, since fish are especially susceptible to these harmful buggers this time of year, and Koizyme will not harm your biological filter.
  7. Take stock of your Pond Plants. Ordering plants early in the season gives you more time to enjoy them. We are already out of stock on some plants, Lotus and Water Lilies are the first to go, so be sure to check them out.
  8. If you have been toying with the idea of adding Pond Lighting, now is the time to do it. Pond lighting adds a whole new dimension to your pond or water feature that evokes a magical quality. If you entertain outside, or can see your pond or water feature from inside the house, lighting it up at night is a must. They are reasonably priced, and easy to install. If you’re planning on doing a major cleanout, get your pond lights now so installing them will be even easier.


Spring is the time when your pond comes back to life. Every region is different, but active fish, and aquatic plants sprouting new life are both indicators that your pond is coming out of dormancy. The following Spring pond tips will help you get off to a good start and keep your fish and pond healthy for the rest of the season.

1. Try not to show your enthusiasm for the warmer weather by jumping in the pond to clean it. Remember, your fish have been sitting near the bottom throughout the Winter, and their immune system is weakened. Wait a few weeks before doing a major clean out. In the meantime, add Pond Salt at a rate of 1 pound per 100 gallons and a water conditioner like Pond Stress Coat or Aqua Extreme. The salt will suppress any pathogenic bacteria, and the conditioner will replace the natural slime coat on your fish protecting them from disease.

2. When your pond water reaches about 60 degrees, start mixing your cold weather fish food with your regular fish food in order to transition them over into a high protein diet.

3. Start using your regular Beneficial Bacteria, and stop using a cold weather bacteria. Save any winter bacteria product left over for next fall.

4. Start using a Barley product to prevent future algae outbreaks.

5. Spring is the time to use Koizyme, which is a natural treatment to reduce pathogenic bacteria, since fish are especially susceptible to these harmful buggers this time of year.

6. Take stock of your pond plants. Ordering plants early in the season gives you more time to enjoy them. Be adventurous and try something new like a night blooming water lily. They’re pretty darn spectacular; with huge flowers that open at night and actually stay open until noon the next day.

7. To create a whole new dimension to your pond or water feature, consider adding pond lighting. Submersible pond lights evoke a magical quality that brings a pond to life after the sun goes down. If you entertain outside, or can see your pond or water feature from inside the house, lighting it up at night is a must.They are easy to install, and reasonably priced.


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.