October 29, 2004

Ever Had an Univited Dinner Guest?

Here is today's Pond Q&A, with a question about what to do if you
have a Blue Heron as an univited dinner guest.

==

Question>

I recently had a visitor to my pond. Unfortunately he came for
dinner.

Since he wiped us out of fish. What can we do for next year to
prevent the heron from feeding out of our pond?

Bernadette Gibson

==

Answer>

Hi Bernadette,

Sorry to hear about your univited 'guest' -- it's always hard
losing fish, especially to predators!

There are a wide variety of different predator controls, for
keeping unwanted animals away from your pond. Some are
effective, and some are not as effective.

The most simple, is to place pond netting over the pond - and for
many, this is the only solution that works. Herons can be very
smart, and if they really want your fish, will be bold at times -
so netting the pond (although unattractive) may be a good idea.

Personally, I couldn't stand to have my pond netted, so I'm using
a heron decoy. However, they're not always effective. We've
been selling them for years, with pretty good success..

But I'll never forget one time when a guy came in a week after
buying one, and said that it worked great for a week - but then
he came out and saw the heron trying to MATE with the decoy!

So, nothing is 100%. The key with a heron decoy also, is to make
sure you move it around every week or so, so the heron doesn't
'catch on.'

There are also mini-electronic fences that you can buy, which
work best for racoons or other small animals who are eating out
of the pond - but probably won't work well for herons.

Some people also string fishing line across the pond, to try
and trip up the heron, which can be effective - but the best
preventative strategy is just to have a deep pond, with steep
sides, so the heron can't wade it for a snack.

Lastly, there's also a relatively new solution called a
'Scarecrow' which is essentially a motion activated sprinkler
head, shaped like a giant bird head. Once anything moves in the
field of view, it gets a nice long spray of water. I've also
heard these work very well...

I have one, but have never hooked it up. I can just see myself
walking out to the pond, half-awake on a Saturday morning, and
getting a nice ice-cold shower by The Scarecrow!

So, I'm saving that for a last resort...

Hope this helps.

Brett

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/
To learn how you can protect your pond from unwanted dinner
guests, and prevent them from getting eaten... Click here now:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/scarecrow
_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

Posted by bfogle at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2004

Important Teleseminar Announcement!

Hi,

This is Brett Fogle from MacArthur Water Gardens.

We sent out an important announcement over the
weekend - did you get it?

So many of you have been sending in your pond
questions, that frankly -- we just can't keep up
with them!

But the good news is...

I've setup a live teleseminar this coming
Saturday, October 30th at 2PM to try and answer
some of your most pressing questions about your
pond or water garden.

Since 'pond-season' is winding down, now is a
great time to 'sharpen your skills' and brush up
on your pond knowledge, so that you're ready for
Winter (and next Spring as well!)

I've just setup a special webpage for you to post
your questions to me here:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/askbrettfogle/

So why not take a few minutes and visit this
website, and enter in your single biggest question
about your pond that you'd like me to answer on
Saturday.

The call is free, and it's quick and easy to ask.
Just click on this link to submit your question now:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/askbrettfogle/

Then join us on this coming Saturday, October 30th
at 2 PM EST for a 60-90 minute tele-class where
I'll be answering all of the questions that come
in, and maybe even taking some live questions at
the end.

Here are the call details for you to dial in:

****************************************
What: Pond Q&A Teleseminar
When: Saturday, October 30th 2PM EST

Dial: 1-580-474-3600
Code: 222037#
****************************************

<< Please save and print the access phone
number and pin code above >>

This will be a one-time event that you won't want
to miss. We'll be covering all sorts of topics,
and giving away lots of tips and 'insider'
techniques that I'm sure you haven't heard
before...

So again, click on the link below - submit your
question, then join us this Saturday for an
informative live tele-class.

It will be fun, I promise!

Here's the link again:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/askbrettfogle/

Hope to hear from you,

Brett

Posted by bfogle at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2004

Pond Q&A - Now Archived!

We're a little behind in the Q&A emails, so we're going to look
at three questions today...

But first, here's an important update:

*************************************************************
For those of you who have missed previous Q&A articles, we've
decided to archive each days Pond Q&A on our weblog. Many of
your questions can be found and answered here, so before
sending us your questions, please review this page first:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/BLOG
*************************************************************

Question #1>

Hi Brett,

I would like your advice, I brought a Fish Mate UV+BIO
Pressurised Pond Filter to control the algae, It appears to work
fine, the pond is 8ft * 6ft * 2feet deep with a waterfall. We
have 6 goldfish in the pond.

My question is in two parts.

1: We live in England in the North East of Yorkshire and over
winter the water will freeze, a friend has told me I can leave
the pump running as 'running water' won't freeze, is this true or
should I turn the pump off.

2: If I turn the pump off over winter, what happens to the
biologically active critters?

Any help will be gratefully received. I've enclosed a photo of
the pond and waterfall,

http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/PondQA/images/MyPond.jpg

Regards

Malcolm Hills

==

Answer>

HI Malcolm,

You can leave your pump running, and the water may not freeze,
but this is really not the best way to do this. As we've covered
in recent Pond Q&A's, it's much better to turn the pump off and
not circulate the water, as the water at the bottom of the pond
in winter will remain slightly warmer than at the surface. If
you circulate it, it is then colder all over and for your fish.
So, we recommend a de-icer..

If you're not able to find one near you, one of our readers send
in an inexpensive alternative, which we haven't tested - but
sounds interesting. She suggested floating a common 'beach ball'
in the pond, and as the wind moves it around - the ice will not
form in the pond. You could try that also...

To answer your second question, your good bacteria, or
'biologically active critters' as you called them, will die off
during winter anyway. Some will remain dormant, and start the
process all over again in Springtime, but leaving your pump
running will do little to keep them alive once the temperatures
drop.

Hope this helps,

Brett

==

Question #2>

Hi Brett

I really get lots of info. from your Q&A time.

I have a question for you, i know we are supposed to clean and
take pumps out in cold weather. I need to know how cold before we
take the pumps out. When the water is freezing or before it gets
that cold.

About what temp should this be done? I live in wyoming and it 's
getting pretty cold. And i have fish in the pond.

Thanks for all of the info.

jeannette in cold wyoming.

==

Answer>

Hi Jeanette,

Well it sounds like it must be getting cold in many parts of the
country!

Down here in Florida, it must have dropped down to under 70 today
;-) Hey, I have to at least take a friendly cheap shot at all
your Northerners every once in awhile (I used to be one, so it's
ok). I paid my dues, living up in 'the land of ice and snow.'
for ten years was enough.

Anyway, on to your questions...

The best time to remove your pumps is when the water is getting
cold enough that your fish aren't eating and their metabolism is
slowing down going into hibernation. It's really a subjective
decision, but I'd recommend when the water drops below 40
degrees.

This way, it's still above freezing, but cold enough that the
fish don't really need as much oxygen. And if they haven't been
eating for awhile - they also not producing much waste to pollute
the water. Your beneficial bacteria are largely inactive at this
point anyway, so there's no use in circulating the water...

==

Question #3>

I have a 1000 gallon water tank set it my basement for my koi
fish, I have a bioloigical filter system for ponds up to 4000
gallons with a 25 watt uv sterilizer hooked to a 1200gph pump.

I check my ammonia levels twice aweek, at the beginning of the
week everything is fine, but by the end of the week I have to do
a 50% water change. Is this normal? Is there something I am
doing wrong, is there something that I can do so I don't have to
change so much so often?

Thanks,

Mary

==

Answer>


Well Mary,

It depends on how many fish you have in the 1000 tank, and how
old your filter is. The correct way to size any filter, is
really based on how many pounds of fish you have. However, most
koi keepers and pond owners have no idea - so filter mfg's make
it easy by giving a '# of gallons' rating.

The problem with this is, if you have 50lbs of fish in a 1000
gallong pond, it's going to be difficult to keep your Ammonia
levels down with ANY filter.

Also, many pond filters are very aggressive in their ratings of
what their filters will handle, in terms of pond size.
Especially, some of the less expensive and even mid-range
filters..

Why? Because they want to sell filters, and b/c everyone seems
to over-rate their filters capacity. The bottom line is, that if
you're still getting Ammonia readings, then your filter is not
big enough.

Some things you can do to help are: Adding a biological additive
like Microbe Lift-PL to help keep your good bacteria levels high
and to help digest any decaying organic waste in the pond -
another potential source for Ammonia.

Also, cut back on your feedings (or discontinue) until you can
get you Ammonia levels under control. High Ammonia levels can
cause undue stress on fish, which over time will result in a
weakened immuse system and possibly sick (or dead) fish.

You can also use a product called 'Ammo-Lock II' which basicaly
neutralizes the Ammonia, and makes it relatively non-toxic. It's
also great for de-chlorinating new pond water...

Hope this helps.

Here are links to the two products I mentioned above:

Microbe Lift:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/microbe-lift/microbe-lift-products.shtml

Ammo Lock II:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/Additives/pondcare_ammolock2.html

====

Happy Ponkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

>> To view past issues of our Pond Q&A, please visit our weblog
here:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/BLOG

© MacArthur Water Gardens
PO Box 3628
Alpharetta, GA 30023-3628


Posted by bfogle at 05:47 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2004

October 16th Weekend Pond Q&A

Here is the weekend edition ofour Pond Q&A. We're getting so many
emails, we're going to make this one a long one!

Seems like many of you are really enjoying these, so we'll keep
'em coming...

** Special Note **

We'll now be posting the daily Q&A on our weblog in case you
want to refer back to a previous Q&A for future reference. That
address again is http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/BLOG

***

Question #1>

"I have a small prefab pond only about 100 gals. I live in
Roanoke Virginia and it does get pretty cold here at times. Some
times in the teens.

My problem is at the time I didn't know Koi needed at least 3
feet of water, my pond is only 18 inches deep. I have 1 gold
fish and I understand now, that 18 inches is ok for them. But I
afraid my Koi will die. Can I put in a heater for the winter and
what would you recommend.

Also if the pond is heated would it be necessary to feed them all
winter."

Thanks

Joy Prosperi

==

Answer>

Hi Joy,

Yes, I'm familiar with the winters in Virginia.. We've weathered
many up that way before moving to Florida, so I know it can get
pretty cold. One hundred gallons is not very big as far as ponds
go, but 18 inches should still be ok as it's just below the frost
line there.

However, I would definately recommend a de-icer to keep the ice
from covering the pond and trapping winter gasses in the pond.
De-gassing is an important part of the winter cycle, and you also
want to make sure the fish don't run out of oxygen.

De-icer's don't heat the pond, they just keep the water above
freezing in the immediate area around the heating element - so
DONT FEED your fish in winter! We've covered this in previous
issues, but just to recap - you fish can't digest food in cooler
temperatures, so it's better for them not to feed them at all
during winter, even if they will eat.

At temperaturs between 65F and 55F, only feed a low protein or
wheat germ food, as these are easy for the fish to digest. Then,
when the water temps drop below 55F, stop altogether.

Hope this helps..

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Question #2>

"I have a 3000 gallon pond in Southwest Missouri. I have
neglected it with other projects and have algae growing in it
now. Itís almost time to close it for winter can I still use
Algae Fix to kill the algae?

I have adequate filtration and uv light and I keep my pond heated
all winter at 40-50 degrees and continue to run my filter. I
also net my pond from leaves. Am I doing the right things?

I have not had algae all summer and fall until this last week and
it is my fault but I canít help that now. Any suggestions would
be appreciated.

Cheryl Fanning

==

Answer>

Hi Cheryl,

Yes, you can still use Algae Fix but make sure to keep your pond
well aerated and also to remove as much dead algae from the pond
after using the Algae Fix. Decaying dead algae will add to the
organic load in the pond if left in, so it's best to remove it.

You may also want to do a partial water change before and after
dosing, just in case. I always like to give my fish a fresh dose
of new water (but not too much) going into winter.

Even a 10% water change will invigorate them, but a 25% change is
even better!

It's not really necessary to heat your pond to 40-50 degrees, but
if you do have a heater - I'm sure your fish will not complain
;-)

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Question #3>

"How low of temp can a pleacaustomas (probably misspelled that!)
survive outside? We have raised them in indoor aquariums, but
would be very interested in putting one in my pond.

We live in northwest arizona, we get cold in the winter, but not
many nights that freeze. Our pond is about 4 x 6 and 18 to 24
inches deep."

==

Answer>

Hi,

That's why we call them Pleco's for short.. Nobody's really sure
how to spell their name :)

They're great for algae control in ponds, but again - they don't
over-winter well, so plan on bringing them in when the weather
gets cold. But if you pond rarely freezes and is 24" dep, then
you should be ok.

==

Question #4>

Dear Brett,

I've got a 4500 gallon pond and wondered how many "sucker fish" I
should purchase. I live in Southern California. Also, how do
they get along with Koi and goldfish?

John

==

Answer>

Hi John,

Well that's like asking me 'how many fish can I have in my pond?
'... And the answer is: "SIZE DOES MATTER." For a 4500 gallon
pond, I'd recommend at least 8-10 decent size plecos (5"-10" in
length each).

Although these suckers (pun intended) will gobble up algae all
day and night long, they're slow moving and have a lot of surface
area to cover in a pond that size.. So, try to get enough to
effectively handle your pond. The good news is, in Southern
Cali, you won't have to worry about them dying off in the winter
and you'll only have to buy them once.

And once they get nice and big, you'll have extras to give away
to your friends! For those of you who have never seen a Pleco,
they're ugly enough as it is when they're small. Imagine a giant
Pleco -- they look almost pre-historic. Fortunately, they hide
most of the day, so you will rarely even see them in the pond
(until they get so big their tails are hanging out over the
side...)

Only joking there - but I do highly recommend them for
eliminating string algae in ponds.

==

Question #5>

Hi,

I am from Benoni, a city about 36km south of Johannesburg in
South Africa, I have just moved into a townhouse with a smallish
pond, attached to the pond is a little waterfall, I would really
like to keep some gold fish in the pond but I have no experience
in keeping fish.

The pond takes approximately 20 liters of water so I would say it
is quite small. At the moment there is nothing in the pond but
water and some black algae spots on the bottom.

PLEASE HELP ME !!!!!!!!!!

==

Answer>

Hi from South Africa!

Well, my liters to gallons calibration is a bit rusty, but it
sounds like a fairly small patio pond from what you described.
Regardless, I would probably change the water in the pond, since
you don't know how long it's been sitting, or what's in the
water.

Probably best to drain it, and clean it out with a hose. NEVER
use soap in any container that will have fish - it's very toxic
to fish and will usually leave a residue. Just spray it out with
your hose, and scrub out the algae stains with a brush. Then
re-fill, de-chlorinate, and let it run for a few days. At that
point, start witn ONE fish, and see how he does.

You could probably have 2-5 fish in this container, but I would
recommend a filter of some kind.

Hope this helps..

==

Question #6>

HELLO NOW YOU GOT MY ATTENTION:

I'VE BEEN READING YOUR E-MAILS FOR SOME TIME NOW AND YOU SAID
SOMETHING THAT HIT HOME READ THREW THE NAPALM JOKE ABOUT THE
BEES, BUT HOPPED YOU WOULD BE ON THE MARK WITH THAT ONE. BEES
ARE A BIG PROBLEM HERE IN SOUTH SAC. COUNTY, CALIF.

ALSO ALGAE WITH THE HEAT BUT THE USE OF PLECAUSTOMOS IN THE POND
IS A GREAT IDEA PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IS THE COOLIST TEMP THESE
LITTLE BUDDIE'S CAN HANDLE AND ARE THERE OTHER OTHER SUCKER FISH
THAT COULD BE PLACED IN THE POND MINE IS ABOUT 5000 GAL. TWO AND
A HALF FT DEEP.

GOT LOTS OF FISH TOO REALY OLD KOI & GOLD, WHAT I LIKE TO CALL
BUTTERFLY SHUBOINKINS - THEM BABIES ARE MY FAVORITE. THEY'VE GOT
SIX TO TEN INCH FINS. THE WATER HAS TO BE CLEAR AT ALLTIMES SO I
CAN SEE MY JEWELS.
I'VE GOT A REALY BIG GUY LIVING IN MY HOME THAT I'VE NAMED WARF
HE HAS HIS OWN TANK WITH A FEW BUDDIES THAT I'E NEVER HAD TO
CLEAN IN TWELVE YEARS.

I'VE OFTEN WONDERED IF IT WOULD BE SAFE FOR HIM TO LIVE OUT THERE
IN THE POND. IN COMPARISON, IT WOULD BE LIKE FREEING WILLIE BUT
WOULD'NT EVEN WANT TO CHANCE IT IF HE WOULD CHILL TO DEATH THERES
NO HEATER ON HIS 75GALTANK.
HE LIVES IN THE GARAGE
PLEASE ADVISE

==

Hi,

Another reader had forwarded us an email about dealing with bees,
I'll try to dig it up and forward it to you. Something about
covering yourself in honey, and dancing around bare naked
swatting the hive with a stick.. On second thought - don't try
that.

For the Pleco's, they can handle cool temps as low as 30 - 40
degrees for short periods, but definately no freezing water or
ice.

If you're curious, the fish you described are called Shibunkins
and can grow quite large. Yours sound like they're doing well,
send us some pictures if you'd like to share them.

Not sure what to tell you about 'WHARF' - normally, I'd never
recommend going 12 years without cleaning the tank, but if he's
happy and healthy, then don't change a thing!

==

Question #7>

Morning

I have a question...

I am writing from sunny Pretoria in South Africa. Our
temperatures range from 25 degrees Celsius in the summer upwards
to about 40, and in the winter from 10 to 20, very rarely below
that.

We are in the process of building a new pond (our first real pond
;-) ). I will be sort of indoors, with walls on all sides. We
are looking at building it +/- 4 m by 3 m, and approximately 1.5
m deep. That said... Where do we start?

I have been reading all your questions and answer, i came to the
conclusion that the most important thing is to do it right first
time. Were do we start?

I have tried to get the "bead" (as mentioned in one of your
previous emails on filtration) filter, but it is not available is
SA.

I love Koi, and would really like to build them a home to thrive
in.

Any suggestions would be most welcomed!

Thanks for you insightful emails!

Regards,

Anle-Marne Pretorius

==

Answer>

Hi,

Another reader from South Africa!

To answer your question, I would read everything you can get your
hands on regarding building and maintaining a new pond. Educate
yourself BEFORE building it, and save yourself lots of headaches
afterwards...

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Question #8>

"Can 'Plecaustomus' live in a sub-tropical climate in the middle
of the ocean?

This is what I wanted and was told they need at least 18C we have
gotten as low as 10-11C but never lower and not usually higher
then mid 20's the year round temp is 17C.

Thanks B-A

==

Hi B-A,

There's only one way to find out ;-)

Depending on how deep your pond is, and the severity and duration
of the cold - they may or may not survive.. Sometimes they will,
sometimes they wont. Sorry I can't give you a better answer, but
sometimes you just have to try it and see...

==

Whew, that was a lot of questions..

The hardback version of this weeks Q&A will available next month
(smile), but you can always review past commentary at our free
weblog located at http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/BLOG

Have a great weekend!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com
www.pond-filters-online.com

© MacArthur Water Gardens
PO Box 3628
Alpharetta, GA 30023-3628

Posted by bfogle at 11:00 AM | Comments (2)

October 13, 2004

More Winterizing Questions

Here is today's Pond Q&A, with more questions about winterizing ponds:

Question>

Brett,

We had an algae bloom that was pretty bad in our pond. I used a
flocculant and an enzyme and right now the water is crystal
clear.

However, when the water began to clear, and very much to our
surprise we found in the neighborhood of 2 dozen babies (Koi) in
the pond. Most of them are still there and growing, but I wonder
if they will survive the winter being so small.

We are in southern New Hampshire. I pland on buying the
winterizing kit you sell but will that be enough for the babies?

Sincerely,

Marty

===

Answer>

Hi Marty,

FYI - UV sterilizers are best to prevent algae blooms in the
future! If you had babies, you're doing something right, so
congratulations!

Sure, they should survive if your pond is at least 18" - 24" deep
in your region.

Either way, the de-icer will be important for creating a hole in
the ice. It's important so that decaying organics in the pond
(rotting leaves, fish waste, etc) can 'de-gas' from the pond
water. The fish will go into hibernation mode, and will slow
their metabolism so that they can survive just fine ... As long
as they don't freeze solid...

Hope this helps,

Brett

*** PS>> We've also had some questions lately about feeding fish
in winter. As a reminder, you SHOULD NOT feed your fish when the
water temperature drops to below 55 degrees F. This is because
fish don't have stomachs, and have much less digestive enzymes in
colder temperatures, so feeding them food can by very dangerous
for them.

Fish are little pigs, and will act hungry at times in winter -
but you MUST RESIST the urge to feed them. The food in their
intestinal tract will essentially rot, as it cannot digest
properly. So be fish friendly, and DON'T FEED at temperatures
below 55 degrees!

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To discover more little known tips and tricks for better pond-
keeping, pick up a copy of our new water gardening ebook called
'Water Gardens Made Easy' by clicking on the link below now:
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© MacArthur Water Gardens
PO Box 3628
Alpharetta, GA 30023-3628

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-


Posted by bfogle at 01:25 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2004

Pond Q&A - Pond Winterization

Here is today's Pond Q&A, with two questions about pond
winterization:

Question #1>

HELLO,

I have a pond approx. 8' x 13' (rubber pond lined) that
is 12- 14" deep. It is filled with 6-8" gold fish and a few
other small fish. would a heater such as your ultimate keep this
water from freezing and an opening in the top?

Any idea of electric useage ? Keep in mind we can get -10 to -15
F for weeks at a time.

Thanks for any help,

Darrin

==

Answer>

Darrin,

Your pond is not deep enough for them to survive that harsh of a
winter without a de-icer. You would need 18" - 24" minimun depth
fot them to survive without freezing.

So, in your case, I would have two. One for backup in case one
de-icer dies during the winter...

These de-icers are thermostatically controlled so they only turn
on then the temperature drops below freezing. In your case, that
may cause it to be on continuously, but without it - the fish
will surely freeze..

The only other alternative is to bring them indoors, but this can
be problematic as well.

Hope this helps.

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Question #2>

Thanks Brett-

Just love all of this info! But FYI:some of live in climes where
'winter' is like your summer....and summer is simply hotter!

In the sierras, that means possibly 90 in the summer-70 in the
winter. Perhaps an article or two devoted to tropical ponds would
be well received?

Thanks so much!

--Carrol

PS-- what product can I get to increase oxygen?

==

Answer>

Hi Carol,

Thanks for your your compliments.. You're right, and many of our
readers (rapidly approaching the 10,000 mark!) are in warmer
climates as well so Winter is not really a concern. If your
winters are still in the 70's, then you definatly won't need a
de-icer ;-)

Your suggestion is a good one, and since we are also in a
tropical climate (Florida), we're just finishing up a great
article on water lily fertilizing and dividing. When things
start to cool down after the hot season, is a great time to pull
out those lilies and divide the root, re-pot them, and let them
get over the shock of re-planting well ahead of Springtime when
you want them to bloom and grow!

So look for that article in this months newsletter (or sooner)...

For your oxygen question, Microbe-Lift makes a great product
called LIft-OX which improves dissoved oxygen levels. Here is the
description from the website:

Microbe Lift - LIFT OX-

"Use for immediate and continuous release of oxygen in overloaded
systems. Provides slow release of oxygen to ponds for weeks after
addition. Safe for humans, wildlife, and aquatic life."

You can find out more about it, and the other excellent
products by Microbe-Lift here:
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/microbe-lift/microbe-lift-products.shtm

<< The link above is a long one, so if it doesn't work, try
copy/pasting the full link into your browser instead>>

Hope this helps,

Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com


© MacArthur Water Gardens
PO Box 3628
Alpharetta, GA 30023-3628

Posted by bfogle at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2004

Heron Proof Your Pond

Save Your Fish: Heron-Proof Your Pond

Herons are beautiful, graceful, and . . . hungry. When you notice fish vanishing mysteriously, think ďheronĒ Ė especially in the spring and beginning of summer when new, baby herons need feeding.

Grown herons consume almost a pound of fish daily. That amounts to about three, seven-inch, $40 koi of the lower-priced variety. Colorful, flashing fish in a shallow pond tempt herons beyond any far-fetched capability to resist. If you donít do something quickly, your fish will soon be history.

Characteristically timid, herons usually make their feeding forays in the quiet hours of early morning or evening.

To hamper herons from feasting on your fish, here are some simple solutions. But donít lose your temper and harm or possibly kill one of these protected-species birds.

Erecting a net six to twelve inches above the water of your pond proves the most successful method in protecting fish. Tautness is critical, though. Some herons may try landing right on top of it, and when it collapses, will impale fish right through the netting.

Gadgets used to frighten herons are fairly effective. With some, when the bird trips a wire, noise scares it away Ė sometimes inaudible to humans, depending on the type. Infrared-detection devices spray jets of water to scare them off.

Some people try plastic herons because of the heronís territorial reputation and the fact that the birds donít like to feed near other herons. These work pretty well until mating season rolls around. Then these faux herons may actually serve as heron magnets.

Limiting heron access to your pond may be the best idea yet. Plant densely growing, tall marginal pond plants around your water garden and make the pond sides steep, with water at least a foot below the pond edge. If the birds canít reach the water, they canít reach the fish, and hopefully, theyíll fly off to better fishing luck elsewhere.

Posted by bfogle at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2004

Fire Ants, Napalm, and Frozen Fish?

In today's 'Pond Q&A,' we have two equally important questions
(smile), and at least one really good answer...

Question>

I enjoy reading your articles.

I have two 6500 gallon ponds with a large waterfall and a bog
that empties into a stream that flows to the lower pond. My
problem is FIRE ANTS! Those pesky little *&^%$*&)(&^ have taken
up residence in the bog and along the stream. I live in central
Texas and I have been able to control the fire ants in my yard
with various chemicals, unfortunately, I cannot use them in the
bog.

Is there anything I can do to eliminate them in the bog without
harming my fish and plants?? Any assistance would be greatly
appreciated.

Thanks
Harv Peterson

A>

Yes Harv,

NAPALM !!

That's how I feel about those suckers. Just nuke them out of
your yard once and for all. Other than that - I really don't
have a good alternative. (Let me know if you find one, so I can
rid my self of them also...) Or maybe one of our readers has
some good advice...


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keeping, pick up a copy of our new water gardening ebook called
'Water Gardens Made Easy' by clicking on the link below now:

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Q>

Hi,

I have a small pond and I live in Pennsylvania (southeast) so we
get cold weather.
The pond is 16" deep in most of the area with a slightly deeper
center (not 2').
I purchased a submersible pond heater for small ponds and also
have an air pump.
Between the two I am hoping that the water will not freeze solid
(as it did last year).

Do you think my fish and frogs will be safe with through the
winter this set up?
The pond is about 6' x 3'.

Thanks,

Joe

A>

Hi Joe,

Well the normal minimum for keeping ponds from freezing solid,
and wintering over fish and koi is around 18" - 24", depending on
how far North you live. So, either way - your pond is a bit
shallow.. But as long as you have a winter de-icer, that should
do the trick. Just make sure you bought one with a metal 'guard'
that keeps the hot heating element away from the plastic or liner
edge, unless it's a concrete pond - then you're all set.

For the aerator, I'd recommend lowering it to just below the
surface of the pond, so as not to necessarily circulate the pond
water. In winter, the pond will have 'thermal layers' of
different water temperatures, with the slightly warmer water at
the bottom, and the colder water near the top.

By having your airstone all the way at the bottom of the pond,
the rising air bubbles will create water circulation, and will
actually cool the warmer pond water at the bottom of the pond.
This is also why we don't recommend running your pump in winter.

Hope this helps...

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

© MacArthur Water Gardens
PO Box 3628
Alpharetta, GA 30023-3628

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-


Posted by bfogle at 12:51 AM | Comments (1)

October 02, 2004

External vs. Submersible Pumps. Which one should you Use?

For many people, it's never been a question of whether to use a submersible pump vs. an external pump because most people have smaller ponds and are used to just using a submersible pump. They're easy to install, and are pretty reliable - so why even consider an external pump?

There are a couple of reasons...

But before we go into that, let's briefly talk about the benefits of submersible pumps first. For obvious reasons, a submersible pump is named as such because it is designed to be placed in the pond, and submerged under the water.

These are the easiest of all pumps to install, just drop them in the water and plug them in - and youíre ready to do. Of course, you might have some quick plumbing to do, attaching a hose to the waterfall or to a submersible filter (another article entirely), but other than that - that's pretty much all there is to it.

Submersible pumps range in size or gallons per hour, from 50 GPH all the way up to 50,000 gallons per hour, but for most ponds - pumps anywhere from 350 GPH to 4000 GPH will do just fine...

So why might you also consider an external pump instead?

Here are a couple reasons. First, external pumps can much more energy efficient. Now, a typical swimming pool or spa pump won't usually fall into this category - so be careful not to compare apples to oranges! Pool pumps can also be huge energy hogs, so always check the amps to compare different pumps together. Anything over 10 amps will draw a significant amount of $$ out of your pocket every month in electrical costs.

The external pumps that we are talking about are designed specifically for ponds and water gardens, and are engineered for energy efficiency. I'm not sure why those folks in the swimming pool and spa industry haven't figured out how to this yet, but I'm sure they'll catch on sooner or later.

I'm inclined to think the average pond owner is a bit more intelligent than the average pool owner. Why else would someone choose a pool over a pond? Unless of course you have both, but at any rate - let's just assume that we're talking about external pond pumps here.

For comparison, a typical 4000 GPH (gallons per hour) submersible pond pump will typically draw anywhere from 10 amps all the way up to 15 amps, depending on the brand. This can really burn a hole in your wallet (or pocketbook) on a monthly basis, and in some parts of the country will run you $50 - $70 in energy costs.

In contrast, a comparatively rated external pond pump like the William Lim Wave I External Pump (https://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/Pumps/wave_pump_for_ponds.htm)
is rated at 4380 GPH at 3.47 feet of head, and only draws 2.3 amps - that's 3/4 less energy consumption than the submersible pumps.

When you start getting into larger ponds, 1000 gallons up to 20,000 and above - it's usually a good idea to look into these more energy efficient pumps. For example, the 3/4 HP Dragon pump (https://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/Pumps/dragon_pumps.html) will move 7,770 GPH at almost 5 feet of head (and under pressure) and only burn 6.2 amps.

External pumps are almost always better for using with pressurized external filters as well, as submersible pumps are not designed to handle all the back pressure. Other benefits of using an external pump include:

-> Easy to clean without getting your hands messy
-> Come with a removable leaf trap which clog less often
-> Easy to hook up to bottom drains or surface skimmers
-> Generally last longer, and easier to repair / replace parts

So that's it, more than enough information for you to make an educated choice.

Just to recap:

For smaller ponds, and for simple installation and daily use, submersible pumps are probably your best option. For larger ponds, 1000 gallons and above, it may be worth looking into an external pump for your needs. Although they cost a little more on the front end, the energy savings alone can often more than offset this increase in cost during the first year of use alone.

To view the complete article, with pictures, please click here:
https://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/Newsletters/September2004/external-vs-submersible-pumps.shtml

Posted by bfogle at 08:20 PM | Comments (1)