For some inexplicable reason, after 10 years, I had 4 different fish decide to go into my skimmers. Two of these ultimately resulted in deaths.
Of the major Skimmer manufacturers Atlantic Watergardens offers a product to keep fish out of the skimmer called the Gatekeeper
I came up with a little simpler do-it-yourself solution using some left-over shelving from a prior project. The coated finish should not affect the fish and it seems the perfect size to let debris through but keep out my prized koi.
Just cut to the size desired and as you can tell from the video, just hook it over the skimmer and the lid will hold it in place. Be sure to sand the sharp edges to protect the liner from puncture. Rubber caps would probably be a good idea too.
It’s almost that time again and we all wonder what steps we need to do to properly prepare our pond for the season.
Below are the steps that Aquascape advises for a thorough spring clean-out of a Skimmer/BioFalls pond:
- Drain the pond using a Clean-out Kit
- Pump some of water into container to hold fish during Clean-out.
- Disconnect Pump and Check valve in Skimmer and allow BioFalls to drain into Skimmer.
- Remove the filter mats and use the discharge water to rinse the mats (this keeps the bacteria alive in the mats).
- Walk up and down pond area and remove solid waste (leaves and other debris) by hand.
- Re-arrange rocks that may have fallen.
- Drain pond to 6″
- 8. Catch fish with Net and gently transfer to Holding Tank.
- Add Aerator to insure fish have enough oxygen
- Use Pond Net over container to prevent fish from jumping out.
- Finish Draing Pond
- Use Pressure Washer and start at the top and work down.
- Pump out water at the bottom from pressure Washing.
- Finish cleaning Skimmer and BioFalls by hosing them down.
- Rinse the rocks and gravel. This will be the most time-consuming part.
- Cover exposed liner with Rocks and Gravel that have made it to the pond floor.
- Replace the Filters and BioBalls or Lava Rocks in the BioFalls.
- Replace the Filter mat and Debris Net or Basket in the Skimmer.
- Before re-filling, Check your lights and replace any bulbs or fixtures as necessary.
- If you have the IonGen that completely eliminates mossy green string algae, check the probe to see if it needs replacement.
- Start re-filling pond.
- Use Pond Detox to remove Chlorine and other heavy metals and prepare the water for the fish (Number One cause of fish deaths during clean-out is putting fish back in chlorinated water)
- Using Fish bags, float the fish for 30-45 minutes to acclimate the water temperatures before releasing them in the pond.
- Enjoy your pond for the upcoming season!
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When we got two calls in the same week asking if we could make duck houses that were a little larger for geese or multiple families, we asked the Craftsmen at Heartwood if they could produce a taller Duckhouse with wider and higher doors.
To our (and our customer’s) delight, the first Over-sized Duckhouses have rolled off the production line.
Our good customer in Odessa Texas has created – what we call “Fowl Island” for her Geese and Ducks. Please note the differences between the traditional and the Over-sized Floating Duckhouses.
All of our customer’s have commented how easy to assemble these and orders typically ship within the week.Pond News | 0 Comments »
Although it is difficult to always be prepared for the things mother natures throw our way, there are a few simple steps to take to be prepared for the upcoming storm and its after effects.
Keep in mind that animals have their own survival instincts to handle these storms so we will focus on several of the ‘what if’s you might encounter.
If the power goes out, the largest concern becomes oxygen for the fish. One factor that is in our favor is that the water in your pond is relatively cool right now. Colder water holds oxygen very well. Note: most ponds fish populations will be fine with a power outage due to the cold water. You will want to watch your fish closely to see if they are gasping at the surface. This is an indication that the fish are stressed and struggling for oxygen. You will want to take immediate steps to add oxygen to your pond. A small air pump will provide the necessary oxygen to keep your fish alive. The problem is what to plug it in to. If you have a generator – great. A battery back up unit will also run a small air pump for several hours. Some customers use an AC/DC adapter and run it off of their car. All of these are great solutions. In case of severe emergency and lack of oxygen, hydrogen peroxide can be added to the pond to add additional oxygen molecules. One pint per thousand gallons will keep fish alive for several hours. Be careful not to overdose. In the case of HP, more is not better.
With strong winds, pond owners can expect falling branches or even uprooted trees around their pond. In some cases the branches can puncture your pond’s liner. When and if this happens, wait to remove the branch. In some cases the branch will keep the liner plugged and from losing water. It also gives you the exact location as to where the hole is located. These holes are easy to patch and repair.
Waterfall & High Winds
My suggestion is to turn off waterfalls that are used just for decorations. The high winds of Hurricane Sandy can and will blow much of the water cascading over your waterfall outside the pond and can drain your system in a few short hours. If you use your waterfall as the sole method for oxygen in the pond, keep it running for the safety of your fish.
Because of the timing of this event, there will be tons of leaves blowing around your yard and into your pond. At your earliest convenience, I suggest removing these leaves so they don’t create a long term problem. I would expect leaf nets to be full and some tenting to be collapsed after this event, but with a little clean up most ponds will bounce back and be fine for the winter. If you need help removing leaves, feel free to give us a call and our maintenance crew can provide assistance.
Catastrophic Pond Damage
Garden State Koi has several open tanks set up for customers that might experience severe adn catatrophic pond damage from the storm. We are prepared to move and hold your fish in the following cases: house collapse, pond collapse, severe pond leak wherein the pond cannot hold water, etc. Note: Power outage is not considered catastrophic although the results from losing power for an extended period of time can create a catastrophic situation for your fish – please be prepared to add oxygen to your pond.
I will be available on my cell phone for anyone that needs technical assistance throughout the storm. Please feel free to give me a call if you need help with your pond, fish or a catastrophic situation. We will be closed starting Monday afternoon at 12:00. We do not anticipate opening again until Wednesday morning – but that might be in question depending on the damage in our area.
Please keep safe during this unprecedented storm!!!
Garden State Koi & Aquatic Center
845-629-8662 (Emergency Cell Phone)
The type of pond netting you choose depends on what you are looking to accomplish. Pond nets are made to either keep leaves and debris out and/or protect the pond from predators. Nets can be elevated above the water but the majority are designed to float on top of the water. Some are very low profile and very thin, however some of those may only last a season or two. Others are virtually indestructible and will last forever. Some of the nets come with stakes and re-usable bags to store them.
And you thought it was going to be easy to pick a net?
Of course one of the main factors to keep in mind is making sure that the net you select comes in the size that you are looking for. Some of the nets may be cut but others may unravel should you decide to trim. Best to call us before you order if you are planning on cutting the net.
Click the link to see our full catalog of Pond Netting
The top-of-the-line Premium Pond Netting with tight 1/8″ mesh is virtually indestructible and keeps EVERYTHING out with Brass Grommets every 2 feet.
Heron and Critter Netting provides the widest weave — 2 inch netting with with heavy knots designed to keep out critters.
A good all-purpose netting at ½” which will keep out most leaves and even comes with 12 stakes is the Ultra Pond Netting by Atlantic Water Gardens
In summary, make sure that you order the correctly sized pond net that is going to do the job that your place and pond require.Pond Products | 2 Comments »
Are you paying your Pond Maintenance Contractor $400+ to clean-out your pond?
Now there is an affordable Pump Clean-out De-Watering Kit ($149) that includes a 3100 gph Alpine pump with a THREE YEAR WARRANTY and a 30 foot fire-hose-style hose that will let you drain your pond for a fraction of the cost that you are paying a professional to do.
It can even drain the pond down to One Inch of Depth!
Durable and compact de-watering pump
– designed for simplicity and use
Pond News, Pond Products | 0 Comments »
Would you like a nice fountain spewing water straight up in the middle of your pond with three different Fountain Heads to choose from? The new Generation Two AquaJet is the system for you!
Learn from Dave Kelly, The Tech Guy, as he gives you details on our new an improved AquaJet pump line; a complete solution for small to medium-size ponds. Other benefits of the AquaJet include its ability to be placed directly in the pond and the all-in-one kit that provides a stunning water fountain with the choice of 3 included fountain heads.
The cleverly designed AquaBasins can support heavy Basalt Columns easily in a space as small as 45″ x 45″. The new UltraPump Generation Three Pumps now come with all the fittings that you need to support as many as three fountains with one pump. The pumps even come with a THREE YEAR warranty! Make sure you order the new 6′ Lengths of 1/2″ (#88003) and 3/4″ (#98404) Kink-Free tubing and you have all the plumbing you will need
Aquascape has just released the new Generation Two IonGen and we have plenty available. The Generation Two IonGen has a newly engineered digital Control Panel (still only takes one watt to drive) as well as a new Flow Control Chamber which houses the probe.
To recap the IonGen’s history, the IonGen was first introduced on September 1, 2009 with high expectations. A number of the Aquascape employees tried out the unit in their own ponds that summer and were raving about it. FINALLY something that ELIMINATES string algae!
My 6,000 gallon pond in sunny Southern California was blanketed with string algae in the early years. I would do “harvests” about every 3 weeks and could fill up a garbage can with the stuff. I finally discovered that I could keep it somewhat at bay if I used EcoBlast, AlgaeFix, Green Clean, etc every 3 days for 2 or 3 weeks in the spring and then once a week thereafter for the duration of the summer. This was a royal pain as well as very expensive.
So it was in great anticipation that I installed the IonGen on September 6th, 2009/ Holy Cow – the algae turned red and then black and then was gone! In the past 3 years I have not used one grain of EcoBlast (I do continue to use the Beneficial Bacteria for Ponds-Dry by Aquascape).
We have sold an average of about 375 a year for the past 3 years and the feedback has been awesome. I would say that we have had problems with only about 3% of the applications and it is usually related to some strange water conditions (Gunite ponds, turning the pumps off for half the day, funky well water, etc).
There were a few units where moisture had compromised the Control Panel and some issues related to the connection between the Control Panel and the Probe. These have all been addressed with the new Gen Two IonGen and as a result, the IonGens now have a THREE YEAR WARRANTY!
The new units also have a 15′ cord between the Control Panel and the Probe as well as another 15′ cord between the Control Panel and the Transformer. The 25′ Extension Cables with Quick-Connects can be used for further distances.
Dave Kelly, Aquascape’s Tech Guy, reviews our next generation IonGen™ (G2) system in this week’s video above.
I was never a fan of annual cleanouts in my first 3000 gallon pond as it was perfectly balanced, had a light fish load, just enough trees to provide shade but not enough leaves to cause issues, and a pump that “turned” the water twice an hour. I went three years without even cleaning the BioFalls or ANYTHING and sold the house (had to buy another house with more space for my 6,000 gallon pond!)
Totally different circumstances this time. Three mammoth California Pepper trees shedding 365 days a year, initially under-pumped and filtered, and after two years so much sludge and crud had built up to GUARANTEE a massive algae bloom every year. (This was pre-IonGen – the IonGen completely eliminated the string algae. )
I was finally convinced that a complete pond clean-out each year would make a world of difference, and it has!
Join the Aquascape team as they walk you through the steps of a spring clean-out