10 Steps to Clean Pond Water

post time July 15th, 2014 member PondMeister

Clear water, beautiful pond

Water clarity is a major concern for all pond owners. We offer these suggestions for keeping your pond crystal clear.

1. Clean out any leaves, mulch, and any other debris that has collected in the pond. As the natural materials decompose they provide nutrients that feed algae. Net the leaves before they sink to bottom.
Recommended products:
Aquascape Skimmer Net with Extendable Handle
Matala Pond Vacuum II

2. Thin out your pond fish if you have more than 1 goldfish for every 50 gallons of water or 1 Koi fish for every 150-200 gallons on average. If you just can’t part with your pond fish, upgrade your filter and/or add an aerator to handle the extra fish. Another rule-of-thumb is no more than 1 fish inch per every 10 gallons of water.

3. Stop feeding your fish till the water clears! Or at least reduce feedings to 1-2 times a week and scoop out anything not eaten in 10-15 minutes. There should be plenty of natural food in the average garden pond for your fish to feed on.

4. Add or upgrade your filter system to a 2-step system.
Step 1 – Place a pre-filter where the pump is located to provide mechanical filtration.
Step 2- Install a proper size biological filter to convert fish waste into beneficial bacteria. The biological filter is often installed out of the pond, disguised as a waterfall. The biological filter will restore the ecological balance of your pond, and does not require cleaning all season long.
Recommended products:
E Z BioFilters (Versatile Pre Filters)
MicroFalls BioFalls Filter

5. Make sure your pond pump is located on the opposite side of your pond as far away as possible from the waterfall or stream it feeds. This ensures complete circulation and prevents creating stagnant areas. If you see an area where water is not circulating, you might consider adding another Skimmer or Biofalls.
Recommended products:
MicroSkim by Aquascape

6. Add the proper quantity of aquatic plants especially submerged plants and floating plants for your size pond. Place floating plants in a stream, near a pump, etc. where water is continuously pulled past their roots. These plants will rob the algae of nutrients and provide shade to block the sun which green algae thrives on.

7. Seed your garden pond weekly with beneficial bacteria. Dry formulas are more cost-effective than liquid, but many prefer the faster acting liquid bacteria.
Recommended products:
Beneficial Bacteria (Dry)
Microbe Lift PL

8. Add a single layer of fist-sized round stones across the bottom and on any shelves in the pond. This prevents fish from stirring up dirt that collects on the bottom of the pond.

9. Make sure your garden pond is not receiving runoff from the lawn or any surrounding ground. Raise edges a few inches with stone and foam to direct the runoff around instead of into the pond. Ban the use of fertilizers and pesticides in your yard. Remember – pond water is a more effective fertilizer than anything that you can buy in the store.

10. Do a 10-20% water change every 2 weeks. Be sure to purge the water from the bottom of the pond and add a de-chlorinator if you use city water to refill it.
Recommended product:
Pond Detoxifier

Category Pond Products, Pond Tips | 0 Comments »

Raising Koi: Facts and Myths

post time June 4th, 2014 member admin

Todd Williams shared his deep thoughts on caring for koi.

Myths and half-truths. They are everywhere. Only humans can take a small nugget of truth and twist it into something entirely different. And we all like rules-of-thumb. They help us simplify a world with lots of information. But these can get out of hand. I find this to be true with koi ponds. I’ve compiled a list of frequently stated “facts.”

-Ponds can hold a max of 1″ of koi per 100 gallons

Not only is a rule for this misleading but using inches over weight is ridiculous. How can four of my 6″ inch fish possibly equal a 24″? The latter’s weight is 500% more! But it gets worse: even if you used pounds, there are simply too many other factors to have a rule-of-thumb on this topic. We’ve all seen ponds twice as big as your own that can only handle half the fish. Things like pond water turn-over, proper balance, filtration, number of plants and type of plants all matter.
Bottom line: I say just don’t use any rule of thumb on this topic.
Conclusion: Myth.

-How fast do koi grow?

Once again I think it’s misleading to even give a number. It seems that most koi experts presume you live in the warmer half of the U.S. But why? I live only a few miles from the Canadian border. My pond water is only above 70 degrees for maybe 10-12 weeks a year. That is when koi eat more and grow more. I’ve been surprised pond people don’t simply give answers to this legit question using regions i.e. plant zones.
Conclusion: Half Truth only if you qualify the answer by zone. But even then there are variables for growth.

-Stop feeding koi after five minutes

Say what? This reminds me of people who are concerned about burning their plants from watering them. I’ve seen people not water their yard for days when it’s hot, thinking water would do more harm than good. Think of it like a baby. They eat slowly. Some more slowly than others. I must admit I can’t back this one up with any science except this just does not make intuitive sense. On one website it says “whatever food is uneaten after five minutes will likely not get eaten.” That is true! On another website it says “Don’t feed them for more than five minutes.” Mmmm. Did a fact get twisted into a myth? If you have time, it’s quite OK to let your koi nibble over time. Like a baby, you can tell when they get satisfied. Conclusion: Myth.

-Don’t ever ever ever put your hose directly in the pond.
It’s assumed that chlorine could kill the fish, and it’s best to have the water spray in the air and “release” the chlorine gasses. I am certainly no chemist. But this never totally added up to me (and I have a pool so the whole chlorine thing is not new to me). In my town the water report says we have 6 chlorine parts-per-million immediately after water processed. People get confused by large numbers. How long would it take you to count to a million using one second per number? Over 11 days! Six seconds of chlorine over 11 days isn’t hurting anything. But, for the sake of discussion let’s say 6 ppm is harmful. It never made sense to me that letting the water “hit air” for literally one second would make the water safer. Guess what? It doesn’t. To verify I called my local water treatment plant. This guy’s job is to process and test city water. I told him the rule of thumb. His response makes perfectly logical sense. He said “Chlorine does dissipate with time. However, tossing a cup of water in the air will not make the PPM-count lower by time it comes down.”

If filling up a pond from scratch, it would be 100 times more important to wait a day or two before adding fish than to have the hose not be in direct contact with the water. Meaning, aquarium people are correct to let water sit out for a day if they are doing a complete water change. If you are topping off your pond, go ahead and better be safe than sorry. Leave the hose out. But your concern would be much better served by checking chemicals regularly. And to add an interesting twist. My pool repair guy always reminds me to not put the hose directly in the pool. And in a pool we want chlorine. Why? Because you can easily forget and leave the hose running in the pool overnight causing many problems. But when you leave the hose out and have it splash in, you have a much better chance of hearing or seeing the water, thus avoiding a problem. Conclusion: True on hose rule, but a myth on the reason why.

-Koi food left in pond is same as fish waste.

Let’s just say that is silly. What goes in a cow is certainly not what comes out. Think of it another way; koi food does not give plants nutrients. Fish waste does.
Conclusion: Myth.

So enjoy your pond. And next time someone states a fact, it’s OK to “ponder” if it’s really true.
Todd is a hobbyist with pond-grade koi. He (barely) got C’s in science. But he does think about a lot of things while enjoying his pond. He was considering a Twitter campaign of #StopKoiMythsNow. But his family threatened to kidnap his koi if he did.

Category Pond News | 1 Comment »

My pump keeps tripping my GFI!

post time April 2nd, 2014 member PondMeister

Electr

Unfortunately I get this question all the time. Once water has seeped through the seals and gets into the motor, the GFI will trip and shut-off the electricity. When I told our customer today that her pump was “Fried” she responded:

The Customer responded:

“If the pump is fried, why does it work like a champ when plugged into a different gfi outlet?”

Not being an electrician, I forwarded her question to the Tech people at Aquascape who answered with the following:

Aquascape Tech responded:

I have attached two links that I hope will help this customer understand. 

Basically if they value their life and the life of their loved ones they will use a GFCI breaker.  Choosing not to do so places them at risk of electrocution in the event of an electrical malfunction. Which is exactly what they are doing by bypassing the GFCI. This has been required in outdoor receptacles since 1973.

 If the pump trips all the breakers it is plugged into it is discharging electricity into the water and they can potentially be electrocuted.  Sometimes you don’t even need to make contact with the pond, if the ground is wet enough, to get a bad shock if pump is malfunctioning.  The reason the pump works in non GFCI outlets is that GFCI are designed to “trip” when they detect an electrical bleed.  It is a safety thing. 

Now sometimes the GFCI go bad and need to be replaced.  It is recommended to check your GFCI monthly. 

Here is a link to the consumer protection safety commission.  Richard you may want to put this link up on your site or FAQ for others who have questions.

http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/118853/099.pdf

http://www.safeelectricity.org/information-center/library-of-articles/55-home-safety/317-ground-fault-circuit-interrupters-gfcis

Hope this helps answer their questions,

 

The Customer responded:

I have two outdoor gfci outlets.  It is the outlet on the pond that is tripping with the pump.  That outlet is still running the ion gen and the lights, however.  Once I plug the pump into it, it trips.  So, that outlet has enough juice to run both the ion gen and lights, but not the pump. 

I have plugged the pump into ANOTHER outdoor gfci outlet (via an outdoor extension cord) and it is running like a champ.   

My question: If the pump is bad, why does it run on ANOTHER gfci outlet just fine?

 

 To which Aquascape Tech responded:

Ah okay this is a different question.  There are a few possibilities. 

  1. The electrical line or quad box does not have sufficient amperage to handle running the extra pull from the pump.  A quick way to test is to plug a hair dryer into that outlet and turn it on.  Many hair dryers run a good bit of power.  I think mine is 1200watts, an Aquasurge 5000 pulls about 360watts.  If the dryer runs when the lights and iongen are on then it tells you the pump is bad but the outlet is sufficiently big
  2. It is not recommended to run the pumps on an extension cord because they can interfere with the “tripping” of a GFCI.  You could easily test pump at that other GFCI outlet by putting the pump in a large trash can with water in it and plugging it in.  If it runs like a champ still while submerged in water then I would assume the pump is fine and you might just have a finicky breaker and would suggest replacing the GFCI.
  3. Another possibility is that if the pump runs great in a trash can of water plugged into GFCI but trips once connected to plumbing, there could be an obstruction in pipe line that is causing the pump to work harder and pull more juice.  This is not very common, and would require that the pump was pulling almost to the limit of the GFCI.  I think this theory would be easily solved by the hair dryer test.
  4. Another option would be to unplug the lights and Iongen and just try and run pump…. If it trips that also tells you the pump is probably failing. 

I have had a few left field issues in my 10 yrs….  Sometimes breakers would trip and it turned out that the electrical line running to the pond was also running different appliances in the house, which would cause the circuit to overload.  I have also had people getting a shock when near the pond and they were convinced that it was the pump, but once the pump was removed they were still getting shocked.  It turned out to be an old live electric line that was for an old lamp post long gone.  The electricity was able to move through the wet ground (it was a spring issue)

 

My takeaway from this exchange and my experience, is that once a pump trips the breaker – BEWARE! Time for a new pump!

elec2

 

Category Pond News | 1 Comment »

Harsh Winter Fish Kill?

post time March 19th, 2014 member PondMeister

I have received more questions like this one below this year than ever before and asked Aquascape Tech for their response.

Frozen turtleQuestion:

“I lost a lot of koi this winter because of extreme cold conditions, thought I had enough aeration and de-icers apparently not  would like alot more info on how to prepare better for harsh conditions”

Aquascape Tech Answer:

“Hhmmm that is kinda of hard to answer with no information from that person. 

I think the best response is that this was an extremely unusual winter and the even the Department of Natural Resources has issued a statement that they are expecting to see large fish losses in natural stream and lakes due to this year’s extreme weather.  Aquascape will be reviewing their winterization suggestions, but sufficient aeration, and openings in the ice usually work.  When you have the 3rd harshest winter in 150yrs (Chicago) it is difficult to predict all possible scenarios.  

Low stocking levels and having healthy fish heading into winter is also beneficial.  If the fish are stressed going into the winter months they are even less able to handle a severe winter.”

The PondMeister’s Normal Answer:

“The fish are fine in freezing weather. It is not the cold that kills the fish – it is the gasses trapped by a frozen over pond that kills the fish.

The 3 ways to keep a hole in the ice are: 

1.            De-icer – These keep a hole in the ice allowing the gasses to escape

2.            Pond Aerator – A pump which sits outside the pond and pumps air into the water. The bubbles keep a hole in the ice

3.            Submersible Pump at Water Level – The bubbling effect of the water keeps a hole in the ice. 

In extreme winter areas, some people chose to select 2 or 3 of the above in case one method fails.

Of course once the water temperature drops below 55 degrees there is no longer any need to feed the fish as their digestive systems are unable to digest the food.”

Frozen pond

 

I thought Aquascape’s response was a great answer and illustrates that even if we take every precaution, sometimes our best efforts may not be rewarded.

Nature can be BRUTAL!

Category Pond News | 2 Comments »

Aquascape Rebate Offer!

post time March 15th, 2014 member Laura

2014rebate1736

 

 

 

 

Announcing the 2014  Aquascape Consumer Mail-In Rebate Program*
From March 15th – May 31, 2014, Aquascape is offering a rebate on various products.  Complete your purchase from ThePondOutlet, then fill out the rebate form and receive a gift card for $10-$50 depending on your purchase.
Eligible products include:

· AquaSurge® Pumps
· AquaSurge®PRO Pumps
· AquaForce® Pumps
· AquaForce®PRO Pumps
· IonGen™ System G2 (95027)
· 3-Watt LED Pond & Landscape Spotlight Kit
· 3-Watt LED Pond & Landscape Spotlight
· 6-Watt LED Pond & Landscape Spotlight
· 1-Watt LED Pond & Landscape Spotlight
· 1-Watt LED Waterfall & Landscape Accent Light
· LED Fountain Accent Light
· LED Fountain Accent Light w/Transformer

Category Pond News | 2 Comments »

Aquascape Waterfall Design

post time February 20th, 2014 member PondMeister

We have all the Aquascape products necessary for building a beautiful waterfall in your landscape.
Here is a great article from Aquascape. These useful tips will help you design and create a natural looking waterfall for your landscape.

Not only do waterfalls provide ambient sound for the garden, but they provide necessary aeration to keep an ecosystem pond functioning and looking its best.

Use a biological filter unit such as the Aquascape BioFalls® Filter
In addition to filtering the water, this type of unit is designed to make building the waterfall much simpler because it gives you a solid base or structure to build upon. You won’t have to worry about a leaky waterfall, and the extra support will allow you to naturalize your waterfall with larger stones.

Make your waterfall fit in with the surrounding area
If the terrain of your backyard is flat, a waterfall that pops up out of nowhere will not look natural. Keep your customer’s new waterfall in scale with the surrounding landscape and terrain by building a berm around the waterfall area. Several smaller drops of 4 to 9 inches or one drop – no more than 18 inches – will help blend your pond and waterfall seamlessly into the landscape.

The size of the stone should be proportional to the drop of the waterfall
The drop of the waterfall is the distance from where the water exits the biological filter to where it hits the pond. Some of the main rocks should be several inches larger than the drop of the waterfall. For example, for a drop of 12 inches, you should use rocks that are 16 inches in order for them to be in scale with the project.

The larger rocks should “frame” the waterfalls
Your waterfall will look more natural if you “frame” it with the largest of the rocks that you have chosen. As the water falls, it will hit the larger stones and find its path through the spaces between them – just like in nature.

The fewer, the better
Fewer rocks are better when building a waterfall. Three large stones are better than 12 small stones stacked up. Nature will provide you with some tips for designing and building your customer’s waterfall. You usually will see one very large stone, surrounded by few smaller ones, with the water running between them.

Twists and turns
Be sure to twist and turn the waterfall and stream so that there are new views and facets with every turn, which looks better visually. Take your time on this part – designing twists and turns can be the most fun part of building the waterfall.

Provide a room with a view
Ensure that you can see the waterfalls from inside different rooms in the house because no matter how much you love the outdoors, you will still spend most of their time inside. People often make the mistake of having their waterfall face the back of their yard. Try a view from the living room or kitchen – wherever your family gathers.

Softening the edges
The surrounding landscaping will cover most mistakes. The more plant material you can line the falls and stream with, the better. It will soften the hard edges of all the stone. Also, if you create a good, planted backdrop to your berm it will look as though it’s always been there. Make sure it flows into the rest of your yard.

Above all else, study nature
Be sure to study natural streams and waterfalls to find ideas and inspiration. That is where the greatest waterfall builders in the world gain their inspiration!

Now that you have read the information, watch the video! How to Build an Awesome Waterfall

Category Pond Products, Pond Tips | 1 Comment »

Aquascape introduces new UltraKlear UV Clarifier!

post time January 24th, 2014 member PondMeister


Scott Rhodes (Aquascape’s Product Guy)  introduces the new UltraKlear UV Clarifier which will be available in Mid-March.

This is quite a turn-about for Aquascape who have always preached an all-natural biological approach to keeping the pond clear. They still strongly believe in the natural approach but offer this as an alternative if all else fails to clear your water.

As most of you are aware green water and string algae is a factor of but not limited to in no particular order are:

• Too much sun
• Too many fish
• Feeding fish too much
• Not enough plants
• Fertilizer from the yard leeching into the pond
• Pump too small
• Poor filtration system
• Too much dead stuff at the bottom of the pond
• No annual spring clean-outs
• Not enough aeration

Please keep in mind that UV light ONLY addresses the green water issue and has absolutely ZERO effect on mossy green string algae. The IonGen is still the only product which absolutely eliminates all mossy green string algae

We recommend addressing the issues mentioned above first but if you are still having green water issues, this new UV Clarifier may be for you. It appears that Aquascape has improved on the UV light by making it much simpler to use and maintain.

We look forward to hearing your reviews of this new product on our site at UltraKlear UV Clarifier

Category Pond News | 0 Comments »

New 2014 Products from Aquascape

post time January 17th, 2014 member PondMeister

Scott Rhodes, Aquascape’s Product Guy, announces some of Aquascape’s exciting new products for 2014.

These include a new line of LED lighting with FIVE YEAR warranties and a new line of Pressure Filters.

These products are not available quite yet but should be arriving in February and will be posted onto our site as soon as they arrive.

Category Pond News | 0 Comments »

Blocking Fish from Skimmer

post time March 8th, 2013 member PondMeister


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.

Category Pond Tips | 4 Comments »

Spring Clean-out Tips from Aquascape!

post time March 2nd, 2013 member PondMeister

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:

  1. Drain the pond using a Clean-out Kit
  2. Pump some of water into container to hold fish during Clean-out.
  3. Disconnect Pump and Check valve in Skimmer and allow BioFalls to drain into Skimmer.
  4. Remove the filter mats and use the discharge water to rinse the mats (this keeps the bacteria alive in the mats).
  5. Walk up and down pond area and remove solid waste (leaves and other debris) by hand.
  6.  Re-arrange rocks that may have fallen.
  7. Drain pond to 6″
  8. 8. Catch fish with Net and gently transfer to Holding Tank.
  9. Add Aerator to insure fish have enough oxygen
  10. Use Pond Net over container to prevent fish from jumping out.
  11. Finish Draing Pond
  12. Use Pressure Washer and start at the top and work down.
  13. Pump out water at the bottom from pressure Washing.
  14. Finish cleaning Skimmer and BioFalls by hosing them down.
  15. Rinse the rocks and gravel. This will be the most time-consuming part.
  16. Cover exposed liner with Rocks and Gravel that have made it to the pond floor.
  17. Replace the Filters and BioBalls or Lava Rocks in the BioFalls.
  18. Replace the Filter mat and Debris Net or Basket in the Skimmer.
  19. Before re-filling, Check your lights and replace any bulbs or fixtures as necessary.
  20. If you have the IonGen that completely eliminates mossy green string algae, check the probe to see if it needs replacement.
  21. Start re-filling pond.
  22. 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)
  23. Using Fish bags, float the fish for 30-45 minutes to acclimate the water temperatures before releasing them in the pond.
  24. Enjoy your pond for the upcoming season!
 

 

Category Pond News | 0 Comments »
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