SUMMER POND MAINTENANCE

With Summer around the corner, sticking to your pond maintenance routine will make all the difference in keeping your pond healthy and clear. To make it easy, I’ve comprised a ‘to do list’ that will keep your pond in perfect balance and looking great.

  • 1. Backflush and/or rinse media in your filter once a week. This is your ponds engine, if it gets overloaded with too much gunk, so will your pond. If your filter media is thinning out, replace it now before summer really gets going. Make sure your UV bulb is working properly, and change it if its been more than a year since your last replacement. This is the time of year you need it the most!

  • ALL REPLACEMENT PARTS
    PONDMASTER REPLACEMENT PARTS
    LAGUNA REPLACEMENT PARTS

  • 2. Be vigilant with your BENEFICIAL BACTERIA. I always increase my usage of MICROBELIFT PL in the Summer to stay ahead of the increase in fish waste and plant debris. I also like to add a flocculent or barley straw product to help keep things really clear.

  • POND CLARIFIERS
    BARLEY STRAW

  • 3. Stay ahead of the algae brigade. In cooler weather, algae is much more forgiving, and doesn’t proliferate as quickly; but in the Summer, it can turn into the Incredible Hulk overnight. I had a customer once tell me that while he was taking a shower, the algae multiplied so quickly he was sure it was going to creep into his house and eat him. In short, it moves fast in the Summer, so stay on top of it before it eats you up. That’s why doing the first 2 maintenance points on this list are so important. If you start to see more algae than usual (a little is fine) nip it in the bud.

  • ALL ALGAECIDES
    GREENCLEAN (best for string algae)
    ALGAWAY 5.4 (best for green water algae).

  • 4. If algae is really getting you down, and you’re doing everything right; check your ponds phosphate levels, here’s why: Phosphate, which is caused by a decomposition of organic substances such as food surpluses, dead plant matter, and fish waste is only harmless in concentrations below 0.3 ppm in pond water. Excess phosphates lead to pond foam and supply nutrients for a spectacular algae bloom. Getting them under control will help solve your algae problem. Cleaning out your pond will help enormously since they occur primarily from decaying vegetation and debris. Unfortunately, most tap water has phosphate already added to it by your water company in order to preserve the pipes that bring the water to your house. Check your tap water phosphate levels too. Using a phosphate remover regularly might be necessary.

  • PHOSPHATE REMOVER
    POND TEST KITS.

  • 5.With Summer comes mosquitoes. Get free mosquito fish from your city, just call your local councilman’s office for info. If you have a water feature that you don’t want to put fish in you can use a MOSQUITO CONTROL PRODUCT.

  • 6. If you have water lilies or lotus, be sure to fertilize regularly. They will flower much more for you! Unfortunately, we already ran out of a lot of our plants this year. All our lotus, the night bloomers (my favorites) and most of our tropical lilies are gone. So if you have been thinking about getting some plants, get them now before they are all gone!

  • AQUATIC FERTILIZER
    AQUATIC PLANTS

ALGAE CHECKLIST

Algae season is approaching, if it’s not already here for some of you. Let’s get clear (pun intended) on the best ways to deal with this pesky green ghoul.

First off, and most importantly, if your pond is full of gunk and decaying debris, no amount of algaecide is going to work. Putting any algaecide in a dirty pond is just throwing your money away. See Our Spring Blog Post on how to do a pond clean-out.

1. STACK THE ODDS IN YOUR FAVOR:

Algae’s natural enemies are AQUATIC PLANTS, BENEFICIAL BACTERIA, AERATION, BARLEY PRODUCTS, and POND TINTS. Aquatic plants create shade, especially the quick covering kind like HYACINTH and WATER LETTUCE. They also add oxygen to the pond through photosynthesis. Beneficial bacteria eats up the gunk that algae thrives on. Good aeration is not only essential, but starves out algae as well. Any stagnant areas are a breeding ground for algae. Even just adding a DECORATIVE SPITTER can help. Barley products contain a natural enzyme that inhibits algae growth, and are very cost effective compared to algaecides. Pond tints are like sunscreens, in that they filter out the suns rays. They come in blue or black, and add drama to a water feature or pond. Word of caution: start with 1/4 of recommended dose, and then increase to desired effect. Pond tints do not evaporate, so if you don’t like it, doing a water change is the only way to diminish the effect.

2. MECHANICAL ALGAE CONTROL:

For string algae; you can just pull it out with your hands, (least expensive option!) or use one of these nifty tools by Nycon, THE STRING ALGAE TWISTER, THE ALGAE KIT, or THE ALGAE BRUSH. For a high tech fix, use the IONGEN SYSTEM G2 by Aquascape. It’s the best unit we’ve seen for string algae; treats ponds up to 25,000 gallons, and is extremely cost effective if your using chemical algaecides regularly.

For green water algae; UV FILTERS/CLARIFIERS are fantastic. They work by changing the DNA structure of the algae that inhibits its growth. If you’re lucky enough to already have one in your filter, just be sure to change the bulb once a year. REPLACEMENT PARTS.

3. CHEMICAL ALGAE CONTROL:

For string algae; GREEN CLEAN (POWDER), GREEN CLEAN FX (LIQUID) and GREEN CLEAN TABLETS are your best choice. ALGAEFIX, TETRA ALGAE CONTROL, and ALGAE-DSOLVE are other good choices. A cautionary note: any algaecide, if used over the recommended dosage, will harm or kill aquatic life, so be sure you know how many gallons your pond or water feature holds. Aquatic plants can be stunted or die if overused as well. See our POND CALCULATOR to determine gallons. If you have an algaecide that works well for you, stick with it! Only try something new when things aren’t working. SEE ALL ALGAE CONTROL.

For green water algae; MICROBELIFT ALGAWAY 5.4, AQUASCAPES ALGAECIDE, and MICROBIAL ALGAE CLEAN, all do a good job of decreasing green water algae. Pond Tip: do a 20-30% water change prior to using, especially if you have a severe case, and add a DE-CHLORINATOR accordingly. See all ALGAECIDES. Side note: Please always have a dechlorinator and HOSE-END FILTER on hand. Recently, my boyfriend forgot to shut off the water at his mother’s house overnight. When he rushed over there, he immediately put in a dechlorinator, and fortunately, the fish were fine. They also survived because the hose-end filter (which he always uses to top off her pond, and boy, did he top it off!) eliminated most of it. ALWAYS set a timer when filling your pond. Good intentions are no match for a distracting world (especially if you have kids!) Moral of the story: Avoid the doghouse, and be prepared!

SPRING POND CARE 2018

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.

2017 POND CLEAN-OUT

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:

1. A POND VACUUM or SKIMMING NET

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.

2. MICROBELIFT AUTUMN/WINTER PREP

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

3. PONDCARE’S STRESS COAT or MICROBELIFT”S STRESS RELIEF

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

PRE AUTUMN POND CHECKLIST

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:

1. POND NETS/COVERS
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

2. KOIZYME
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

3. WHEAT GERM KOI & GOLDFISH FOOD
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

POND ALGAE CONTROL

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.

    BEST TREATMENT FOR STRING ALGAE

    BEST TREATMENT FOR GREEN WATER ALGAE

    BEST TREATMENT FOR BOTH TYPES OF 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.

    BEST NATURAL PREVENTITIVE FOR ALGAE

    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

SPRING POND CARE PART 2

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.

WHY DO I NEED TO ADD A DECHLORINATOR TO MY POND?

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.

WHEN DO I ADD A DECHLORINATOR TO MY POND?

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.

SO WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A WATER CONDITIONER AND A DECHLORINATOR?

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.

SPRING CLEAN OUT 2017

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.

MINIMAL POND CLEAN OUT

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.

MAXIMAL POND CLEANOUT

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.

CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT

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.
PRE-SPRING CLEAN OUT

  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.

TOP 7 SPRING POND TIPS

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.