November 25, 2004

Here's the answer you've been waiting for...

Happy Thanksgiving!

And thanks to everybody who sent in their answers for last weeks
'Bead Filter Trivia' question -- I was surprised at how many
people knew it (or who were smart enough to do a little

In case you were wondering why we haven't emailed out the Pond
Q&A this past week -- it's because I took a much needed
mini-vacation to Las Vegas (to celebrate my 35th birthday!)

Since I'm usually up to my eyeballs in pond questions (and other
water garden related matters), this is a good time of year to
escape for some overdue R&R.

Now, don't ask me what's relaxing about a city that has more
flashing lights and shady characters than a Star Trek convention
(no offense to any trekkies), but it was still good to get

Ok, now on to our Bead Filter Trivia Question Answer (plus some
readers comments and questions!)

Here is last week's 'Bead Filter Trivia' question again:

Question: Who knows what University invented the first 'Bead
Filters' for use in commercial fish hatcheries?

Here is a reply from Denise Sezack who was just one of probably
ten readers who sent in her answer:

"Hi Brett,

Love the Q&A emails, thanks for taking the time to do them,
they're greatly appreciated and a lot of fun to read. As a
Penn State Master Gardener who is a pond nut I do a lot of
volunteer lecturing on pond care and I always recommend your
website. Hope you enjoyed your R&R. My guess for the answer
to the bead filter question is Louisiana State University??

Thanks again,

Denise Sezack


You are correct Denise!

Several people sent in the right answer (amazing, but true) and
will also be receiving a free copy of our water gardening ebook
Water Garden Secrets (a $37 Value)! Look for an email download
link soon.

The biological bead filter was invented at Louisiana State
University by Dr. Ronald Malone and his associates in the Civil
Engineering Aquatic Systems Laboratory. This technology was
designed to be an effective biological filter, as well as an
efficient mechanical or solids filter.

The unique design uses a unique gravity assisted backflush
sequence to flush out all the fish waste and organic debris,
BEFORE it has a chance to break down and pollute the water.
These funny looking filters are reliable and easy to use &
maintain. Great Job Dr. Malone!

Here's a picture of the original Bubble Bead design:

Now on to our questions...


I'm asvin.b from Mauritius (indian ocean) and i have a question
for you. I have a 1350 gallons pond in my yard and i had it for
over 3 years now.

Its summer time down here and my problem is with frogs. I have
been having problem with frogs ever since I had my pond. I had to
put up a chicken wire fence around my pond to stop them from
getting into my pond. well it work.

They normally come at night time and what I really hate about
them are the horrible noises they make. I have a lot of trouble
getting some sleep. it's a nightmare.. The fence stop the frogs
from getting inside my pond but they would still come over every
night, and making lot of noises and trying to get inside. what
should i do?





Hi Asvin,

Wow, another international reader! Well, I can definatly relate
to your problem. Not to long ago, I had a pretty big frog & toad
party going on out by my pond, that continued well into the
night. They would get so loud with their unusual symphony, that
I too had trouble falling asleep...

I remember one night, losing my patience - grabbing a flashlight
and an old FedEx box, then going on a commando mission at 4 AM
chasing and catching these little guys. I caught 12 or 13 frogs
and toads, in what seemed like less than 5 minutes... Then I
fired up the BBQ (only joking)...

AT this point, the box with all the frogs and toads in it had
taken on a life of it's own, and I had a hard time keeping it
from jumping out of my hands - so I walked down to the end of my
street and let them go. Granted, it wasn't that far for them to
find their way back - but the good news is they haven't!

So, try relocating as many of them as you can, and maybe they'll
take the hint and leave you alone.

For those of you who missed my frog and toad pictoral in last
month's issue of PondStuff!, here are the pages again:

That's all for now..

Enjoy your day off, and look for some possible specials tomorrow
(or even a SALE!) But I can't promise anything just yet..

Happy Pondkeeping,

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens

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:

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

Posted by bfogle at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2004

Sand filters vs. bead filters

Here is today's Pond Q&A, with questions about filters and winter

But first, some more readers reviews of 'The Scarecrow'


It works! So far. I received the scarecrow yesterday and
immediately set it up. This morning Mr. Blue Heron came in for
a landing in my pond and the little scarecrow creature went
crazy and Mr. Heron flew away.

He landed on my neighbor's roof and pondered the situation for
awhile. Then tried it again. Little scarecrow went crazy again
and Mr. Heron had had enough and flew away.

The only down side is that the scarecrow sprays joggers and cars,
too. I may get kicked out of the neighborhood...




Billy Newman

For Peace of Mind and Reliable Predator Control,
Check out The Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler
System for Ponds. Don't Lose Another Fish. Works
on Racoons & Herons, and is a great hangover cure!

Now on to today's Q&A...


HI THIS IS ANA in Pt. Charlotte Fl

Please Help me, what is the difference between a sand filter and
a microbead filter? I am in a rush, cause my dad wants a sand
filter and I don" think that is the right kind.

Thank you Ana in Pt charlotte



Well Pat, let's just say that 'Sand' Filters are great for
swimming pools, but terrible for ponds. In pools, they work
effectively to 'polish' the relatively clean water by filtering
it through very small granules of sand. Add some fish waste and
other organic waste to the equation, and you've got yourself a
mess. In ponds, they clog quickly, require almost daily
backwashing, and can also grow anaerobic bacteria (smells like
rotton eggs).

Bead filters, on the other hand, were designed specifically for
fish hatcheries and ponds. A Bead filter provides excellent
biological filtration, due to the large cumulative surface are of
the beads for colonizing beneficial bacteria, and they are also
excellent for polishing the water without clogging easily. They
are also easy to backflush, easy to maintain, and easy to use.
In short - we love 'em!

Bead Filter Trivia

Who knows what University invented the first 'Bead Filters' for
use in commercial fish hatcheries? Send in your guess to us at Winners will receive a
complimentary copy of our ebook 'Water Garden Secrets'
($37 value). We'll announce the right answer next week.

-->> Crystal Clear Water Guaranteed! <<--
Discover how to keep your pond clear and
healthy all year round, with an Aquabead
Pond Filter. Best Prices, and clear water.


Hello First of all i love your Q & A's. I cant tell you how many
of my questions/concerns have been answered just by reading
these. I live in western Pennsylvania. The change of seasons in
this area are so extreme that today could be 75 degrees and sunny
and tomorrow is 45 degrees with rain.

I know not to feed the fish (1 koi, 2 comets/shubunkins and 10
new babies) after the water temp drops to 50 degrees. But my
water temp changes as often as the air temperature. My question
is if the water temp fluctuates should I still resist the urge to
feed them until Spring? This is the first winter that I wlll have
left the fish outside. Thank you in advance. Kim Ladasky,
Pittsburgh PA.


Hi Kim, thanks for your compliments.

Ok, well it really depends. You wont necessarily harm them by
feeding them a little here and there, just use your best
judgement. But you definately don't want to give them a 'feast'
right before a cold spell. Again, fish don't have stomachs and
the good enzymes that digest their food are less present in
cooler temperatures, so excess food can actually rot in their gut
if they are feed too much when it's cold.

So, a 'light' feeding sporadically would be fine untill it cools
off, but then again - they will survive just fine without it.

Hope this helps..


Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens

P.S. There will be no Pond Q&A this weekend, we're off to las
vegas for a little R&R ;-)

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

Posted by bfogle at 07:44 AM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2004

This pie-eyed sergeant is on duty 24/7

Here are some quick readers comments that just came in, and then
on the today's Pond Q&A...


"The same thing happened to me today.

For the first time, a large blue heron landed in my pond. I
immediately chased him off by letting my Irish Setter chase him
across the yard.

Then I came in and ordered the scarecrow you are always talking
about. Hope it gets here soon! The heron is sitting on my
neighbor's roof."



B.F.> Hi Gail. Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, it's true...

The only thing more effective than The Scarecrow for scaring off
big ugly fish-eating birds is -- A BIG DOG! (Or a little one,
with a big heart...)

I with I had unleashed my 2 year old American Eskimo puppy
'Casper' on that big boney varmint when he tried to land in my
pond last week.

But all I could think of at the time was to run out there
screaming and clapping like a crack-crazed lunatic. But it
seemed to do the job (try that next time if your dog is asleep).

Your Scarecrow is on the way! We'll ship it right out pronto.

For Peace of Mind and Reliable Predator Control,
Check out The Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler
System for Ponds. Don't Lose Another Fish. Works
on Racoons & Herons, and is a great hangover cure.

"The Great White Egrets cleaned out my Koi ponds last fall. All
but two fish that is. This spring I found the head of my largest
Koi laying in the weeds near the edge of the pond. The fish were
replaced soon after with the WalMart variety. If I am going to
feed the predators of the neighborhood, they will at least be
eating low cost fish.

Reading about your Scare Crow I followed up with an order about
five month ago. This pie eyed sergeant has been on the job ever
since. I hear it go off from time to time during the summer when
the windows were open. It has faithfully chased away Raccoons,
and Egrets on several different raids. I am happy to report, I
have not lost a fish since he was put on the job.

Mr. Crow has also kept my dog from her morning swims. Which has
also allowed my dog to stay dry and the house clean.

Thanks for a great product"

Tom Gegenheimer


B.F.> Hi Tom,

Thanks for the story, that's great feedback. I haven't 'fired
mine up' yet, b/c I don't have the darn battery, but I'll get
around to it...

It's in the ground, all ready to go - and if nothing else, it
looks cool and is a great converstion piece for now.


"Interesting stories and usefull as well.

I may be interested in the product called Microbe Lift that you
mention. Is now a good time to apply it and how much should I use
to treat a 1400 gallon pond? I went to the web site but nothing
is said about how much to use, etc., only the price."


Ron Wasson


B.F.> Hi Ron,

The Microbe Lift works best in warmer weather, but can be used in
cooler temeratures like right now. For your size pond, a quart
of the PL or Autumn Prep should do it..

The instructions are on the box, and involve a larger initial
dose, followed by smaller 'maintentance' doses, but it really
does help to keep the pond clean and free of sludge, etc.

Here's the page for that:

Hope this helps.



I need to know if it is possible to transport my fish this time
of year safely and what is the best procedure. I live in the
northeast and the temp is in the 40`s and 50`s now.I may be
moving and i`m going to have to move them if i can. I have 7 KOI
and 30 to 40 goldfish of all varieties.


Hi Cindy,

Sure, it's actually best to move them when the water temperatures
are a little cooler as cooler water holds more oxygen and there
is less chance that they will suffocate in the bags, assuming
that's how you were going to move them.

The very best way, however, is to go ahead and rent a small
oxygen tank to fill your fish bags with pure oxygen. Fish will
use it up quickly, especially if many are in a bag - but you
really don't have to worry if there is pure oxygen in there.

Importers ship large KOI in bags barely big enough to hold water
in them with no problems using pure O2.

When re-acclimating, just float the bags in the new water for
10-15 minutes to equalize the temperature. Then slowly mix in
pond water for another 10-15 minutes (to equalize pH and other
water parameters) then let them swim out...



Greetings from the great state of TN. I purchased a home this
past spring and 'inherited' a pond that was in complete disarray.
Well, over the summer I was able to get my little 600 gal pond
going, have 1 koi and 2 really fat goldfish. Along with the pond
I also inherited a small pump with one of those small box like
submersible filter containers that you put the pump in along
with some bio balls and filter material. Well, this is just not
doing the job. I need something more powerful and efficient to
keep things in balance. I have always had a bad alge problem and
if I change the filter material (I don't mess with the bio balls)
because it gets really gross, my ammonia levels get really out of
kilter for several weeks. It really is a struggle to keep the
fish happy with this kind of system. What would you suggest? I
want a water bell for aeration and I also have a smaller pond
that sits higher than the main one and makes a little waterfall
and seems to be a nice home for frogs. I can't tell you how
large my pump is, but I think it is too small for the size of the
two ponds combined. I am kind of like 'Tim the Tool
Man'......more I am also thinking that I should
have an outside filter system that would possibly be partially
underground. Again, any suggestions? Of course all of this for
less than $100...big lol here :-) Kidding of course. Anxious
for your input. I enjoyed your website very much. Thank you for
your time, Regards, Cynthia Van Den Berge (new pondwoman)


B.F.> Yep... That's exactly how this one came in..

Folks, if you're going to send us an email question, please try
and be brief and not write your version of 'War and Peace' ;-)
My eyeballs are getting old as it is, and this one just makes me
want to fall out of my chair as I read it here at 12:30 AM.

But here goes...

Hope this helps, thanks for your compliments.

(See how concise my reply was, and how I used line breaks to make
it easy to follow?)



That's all for today.

Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens

"Is Your Drinking Water Slowly, Silently Killing You?"
Breakthrough New Technology Eliminates Harmful Chemicals
From Your Drinking Water -- While Providing Essential
Minerals For Good Health (At a Fraction of the Cost of
Bottled Water) ... and it Tastes Great, 100% Guaranteed!

NASA Technology Gives You Pure, Healthy Water...
-->> <<--

Posted by bfogle at 05:58 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2004

Should We Fire Him, and Send Him Packing?

Here is a quick Q&A about our Pond of the Month...





Yes, you're right Ana... The 'Pond of the Month' had not been
updated for several months now.

The reason is that the person in charge of this is just plain
lazy sometimes... If it weren't me, I'd probably have to fire
him! But since it is me, I guess I'm stuck with that no good lazy

Actually, we've just been so busy, trying to bring you new
content and information, that I just plain forgot.

But we have had some great pond pictures sent in this summer, and
so I just updated the last 3 month's of the 'Pond of the Month'
pictures which you take a look at here:

But that pretty much cleans me out of pond pictures!

So, if you have any pictures of YOUR pond, that you'd like to
share with the rest of our readers, then send 'em in. Just
forward those to me at brett@macarthurwatergardens, along with a
short description of your pond - and we'll pick the best one(s)
each month.

Now that we're getting closer to winter, we'd love to have some
winter photos too!

Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens


Pond Filters, Pumps, UV's and MOre...
Discount Prices at Our Online Store!

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

Posted by bfogle at 07:27 AM | Comments (3)

November 15, 2004

Holy Heron Crap Batman...

Hi Friend,

Here is today's Pond Q&A, with some interesting readers comments
but first, I have a hair-raising story to tell you of my own.

This morning, around 11:30 AM (I'm known for getting up at the
crack of noon on weekends) I'm having breakfast with my
girlfriend and an old friend from out of town, when I see a big
white blur fly by one of my windows!

Not realizing what it was, but fearing the worst - I run over to
the windows ... and guess what I saw?

I giant White Heron had swooped in from the sky, and was quietly
stalking my prize koi collection - apparently looking for some
breakfast of his own.

Now for those of you not familiar with Herons (Great Blue Heron
and the Great White Heron), they are notorious predators of fish
and koi ponds. A heron can gobble down a 12"-14" koi in a matter
of seconds, and be gone before you know it.

I'll never forget the one time a customer of mine years ago,
returned to my store a week after buying up $1000 of my best
Imported Israeli KOI - and almost had tears in his eyes as he
recounted how he came out one day to see a Heron polishing off
the last of his new fish! Talk about an expensive sushi bill.

But back to my story...

Let's just say that you've never seen a white boy run so fast,
without a seconds delay, I ran outside clapping my hands and
shouting at this monstrous bird, letting him know he was 'NOT
WELCOME!' Not being terribly aggressive birds, he flew up
into the sky, as I stood there in almost disbelief at his
gigantic, almost pre-historic appearance and giant wingspan.

If I had not been at the right place at the right time - I might
just as easily come out to an empty pond...

I also couldn't help but glance over at my Heron decoy, with my
worst look of disgust at his lack of usefulness this morning...

So, to make a long story short, I finally broke out the Scarecrow
automatic sprinkler decoy I had conveniently boxed up inside, and
installed it without delay!

Here are some pictures of this very cool new product:

To stop predators before they attack, check out The Scarecrow
motion activated sprinkler. Click here for more information:

Now on to our readers comments:



Our pond has been visited by a number of birds, egrets, blue
herons and the occasional raccoon. We keep it netted and have
not lost a fish.

Plus it keeps the leaves out. I also wanted to tell you how we
have been winterizing our pond. When it starts to get in the
30's I disconnect my filter, clean it and store it in the shed.

We run a hose from my pump to the side of the pond near the
surface of the water. This keeps part of the pond ice free. We
have not lost any fish doing this.

I really don't think it matters to the cold blooded fish that I
am circulating the water and maybe making the bottom of the pond
a few degrees colder."

Rich and Patti Grimes



Thanks for the tips, use whatever works for you...

Sure, you can use netting, but in my opinion - it really takes
away from the appearance of the pond. I netted my pond once, but
couldn't stand how un-natural it looked, so I immediately pulled
it out and put in a decoy instead.

As far as circulating the water during winter, it won't directly
hurt the fish - but it will drop the temperatures vs. preserving
the thermal layers of the pond.



"I have a small pond (400 gallons), and because of the
surrounding vegetation, I get debris sinking to the bottom of the
pond. Putting your hand in the water to try to get it out only
disturbs it more, making it impossible to remove.

Any suggestions? Is there some sort of bottom vacuum I can
in order to alleviate the problem?"





Hi Doug,

Try to remove as much debris and organic matter as you can, as it
will only start to decay during winter, giving of potentially
toxic gasses.

Net out what you can, and don't worry about stirring up the pond
- it will settle out again. For an ongoing solution, we like a
product called Microbe Lift very much. It adds live naturally
occurring beneficial bacteria that will start to dissolve and
digest any organic matter in the pond, from sludge to leaves to
fish waste..

Fore more information about Microbe Lift, and their line of
microbial products, please click here:

Sure, there are also various vacuum systems you can buy, but I've
found that most are difficult to use, clog easily, and waste a
lot of water.

However, here is an inexpensive hand operated (non-electrical)
pond-vac you can try:

Hozelock Cypri-Vac:

Hope this helps..


Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens

Posted by bfogle at 05:35 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2004

The weekend pond Q&A

Hi [[firstname]],

Here is this weekend's Pond Q&A, with several different pond
questions to ponder...

Pond Filters, Pumps, UV's and MOre...
Discount Prices at Our Online Store!



We have a blue heron visiting our yard. Wow, what an awesome
bird. Problem is he's having a great time eating at our pond. A
landscaper said his mom put out a fake heron in the pond and the
problem was over. Very territorial. I thought of you guys first
but don't see anything on your site.
Any suggestions?




Hi Greg,

We've covered this several times over the past few weeks, so you
may want to review previous Q&A posts here: or on our archives page here:

Yes, you can add a Heron decoy, which is usually very effective..
But we did have one customer report back that after one week, he
came out to find the Heron trying to mate with is decoy!

So, from what we've heard and tested - the Scarecrow is the best
solution. You can find out more about the Scarewcrow by clicking

Hope this helps..



Dear Bret

In regards to the Scarecrow, how can they be used during the
winter? I know if the hose has been left out accidently with the
water left on it will freeze. Is a special hose available or
does the scarecrow just have to be put away for the winter?
Besides a net is there anything that can be used as a deterrent
to the predators?




The scarecrow is probably not effective during winter, as the
water may freeze inside the hose and unit, as you mentioned.
Other than that, a net is probably your best bet during winter.
Just cover the pond completely, and wait for Spring...



I live were it gets very cold during the winter time and I was
wondering what to do with my waterfall box and skimmer box during
the winter months.Do I have to take out the pump in my skimmer
box,and the filters in both boxes.And should I drain the water
out of them.

Thanks Mike




As we've covered in recent Q&A replies, we do recommend removing
pumps and draining filters during winter. Yes, it's probably
best to remove your pump from your skimmer, and sane it on your
garage or in the house. The pumps will survive fine outside, but
it's just best to bring them in if possible..



I'm wondering if you can help me locate a possible hole in my
preformed pond. I have a plastic preformed pond and I fill it to
the top and in a couple days it's about 4 inches lower, can you
tell me how to locate a leak? It's only my 2nd year and it's
been a struggle to say the I'm just preparing to
take the pump out and purchase a water circulator in preparation
for winter...and this! I'm in Syracuse, NY and the snow has all
ready started to fly. Thanks for your help and the wonderful

Kathy Kirwan



Hi Kathy,

Sure, just fill it up and shut off your pump and observe. If the
water level still drops, then wait until it stops dropping and
check that water level for leaks. But 9 times out of 10, it's a
leak in the line from the pump to the waterfall. So if your
waterfall does not drop when the pump is off -- then this is your
problem and you need to check your lines...



Am going to buy a UV STERILIZERS but do I need anything else
to go with it.. such as a TetraPond Filter or Skimmer???? My pond
is really really green and am hoping a UV Sterilizer will help..
Am not sure on which kind of UV to buy..

My pond is about 6'x10' and 4'deep gradually gets
shallower.. I have a filter with bio-balls and I clean it but
this year I have a new algae growing or something.. So please
help.. Thank you for your time, Jody



Hi Jody,

UV sterilizers are great for clearing green water, but you really
do need an adequate filter also, for removing the dead algae

Do you know how many gallons your pond is? Here's how to
calculate it:

Pond Gallons = L x W x Avg Depth x 7.5 gallons per cubic foot...
So, if your pond is 6' x 10' x 4' deep, sloping shallower - then
let's call it 3' deep on average, so we get 6 x 10 x 3 x 7.5 =
1350 gallons.

So, you might want to consider an all inclusive filter / UV combo
like the Bioforce UVC filters. These can be buried up to the
lid, and have a built in UV sterilzer. click here for more info:

Hope this helps,

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens

Posted by bfogle at 06:40 AM | Comments (2)

November 11, 2004

Who's Scared of a Scarecrow?

We have a few questions that were emailed to me, so I figured I'd
take a bit of time and answer them. I do appreciate all the
questions people send in, but keep in mind that we get lots of
emails and simply can't answer them all.

Jennifer scans through them and sends me the best ones, and I try
to pick the ones that will be most relevant to everyone on this list.

So, please, keep submitting your questions comments, and be patient
--hopefully we'll get to yours...

But first, here's a *TIME SENSITIVE* message:

Winter is fast approaching, and every year -- our distributor
sells out of pond de-icers! And every year, we have people
trying to order one from us, that we have to turn away because
our distributor is just plain out of 'em.

The good news is, that they currently have 77 in stock right now.

Since they got in over a thousand earlier last month, I expect
these last 77 to sell out very quickly (like in the next week or

So, as an incentive to help you avoid the rush, and not to miss
out on your chance to keep your pond 'ice-free' this winter - I'm
offering you FREE SHIPPING (a $10 value) if you order one in the
next 24 hours. That's the only way I can guarantee that yours
will ship in time.

To claim your free shipping De-Icer offer, just click on this
link before Midnight, Thursday November 11th:

<< Be sure to enter 'FREESHIPPING' during checkout! >>

Now on to our readers comments and questions...


"Thanks for sending Q and A, great stuff glad, you keep me on
your list, I am saving them per print out. Very helpful.

Again thanks,



Hi Heiko,

Glad you're enjoying the tips and Q&A. That's a great idea also,
of printing them out and saving them for future reference. I
recommend everybody either setup a special folder in their email
software to store our Pond Q&A emails, or print them out and save
them in a binder, because you never know when you'll need to
refer back to something...

And you don't want to be stuck with a problem, thinking 'I know I
read about how to solve this somewhere, but I can't remember

So for everybody else who ins't saving these - it's not too late
to start!



Do you still carry the motion activated sprinklers? I tried to
find them on your website, but couldn't. Please let me know, as
I am having a problem with a very large gray Heron that is fishing
out all of my fish.....


Rick Trenney

P.S. Any other suggestions as to how to keep this bird away would
be appreciated.


Hi Rick,

Well, we like to keep things interesting and challenging - so we
hide these really well (It teaches you to be resourceful).

Actually, the truth is that I'm just plain lazy sometimes and I
forgot to make the page that links to these. So, thanks for
bringing this to my attention, and here is the link for more
information about 'The Scarecrow':

However -- please also note that you can always use our handy
dandy 'Search' feature on the website. And after checking, sure
enough -- the Scarecrow Sprinkler comes easily on our site using
the 'Search Now' box on the website.

Hope this helps, sorry to hear about your un-invited guest. From
what I hear, the Scarecrow is the best solution...

Here's the link again:


That's all for now..

Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens

Posted by bfogle at 05:34 AM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2004

Snake solutions...

Snake solutions...

The other day, we posed a question to our readers about how to
get rid of snakes around the pond, and sure enough... Several of
our readers send in their ideas (see below).

Also included today, is a letter from a reader in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
I wasn't sure where that was, so I looked it up on the internet.

Kwa-Zulu Natal is apparently in South Africa, Rhino country! For
a quick cultural escape, click here:

Now on to our readers comments...

Snake Solution #1

"I live in the country and have a nice little pond with no
SNAKES,but I do have several cats and kittens that live outside.
I am real sure the cats keep the snakes away or kill them.
Besides the cats keeping the snakes away, they are fun to watch.

They drink from the pond and all the time they drink they are
watching the fish, as a matter of fact they drink more water
since I put the fish in the pond..."

Bev in Okla.


Snake Solution #2


In regards to Cliff's problem with garter snakes eating his fish,
I find there is nothing like a good old cat to hunt down and
carry away a squirming little snake.

My cats don't bother the fish, they are in water and what cat
wants to get wet. But a snake or frog in the rocks is just too
tempting to
let go by."



And now for our readers comments from South Africa...

If you are a PondStuff! subscriber from an interesting part of
the world -- we'd love to hear from you! Send your questions,
comments, or pictures to

"Hi there,

So far I am quite knocked out from all the information. I have
been printing out your articles at a rate and will be reading
this week end. I have decided that I want perfection when I
finish my Koi pond.

So we are going to plan plan plan and then start digging next
year during winter (June 2005). I have a very successful small
1000 litre pond with a biofilter that I made from previous
reading. So of course now I want the real BIG one that lasts a
life time and yes I want to own one of those Koi that look like a
killer whale. So as you see I am passionate about this.

So what I should be leading to is... I am thrilled that I have
subscribed to your website, and in time I will send you before
and after pictures of my pond.

I live in Kwa-Zulu Natal, in a small village called Hilton. If
you are ever in the area - drop us a line, you never know."




Hi Paul,

Thanks for your note. Sure, send us your pictures - we'll share
them with our readers. Glad you are enjoying the articles, and
my compliments to you for doing your research BEFORE building the
Most people do it the other way around...

Ok, next time im in the area, I'll drop by ;-)

Happy Pondkeepping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens

Discover The 7 Ancient Secrets for
Creating A Beautiful Japanese Garden
... in Your VERY OWN Backyard!


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

Posted by bfogle at 07:06 AM | Comments (0)

Fish suicide and fish waste as fertilizer...

In today's Pond Q&A, we have quesions from as far as Australia
and New Zealand...

Discover The 7 Ancient Secrets for
Creating A Beautiful Japanese Garden
... in Your VERY OWN Backyard! ($37)

Question #1>

Hi Brett,

I'm from Sydney N.S.W., about 18month ago I built a pond
3mtrx1mtr.x 40cm deep,with submergeble pump and filter ,pump
running 24hrs into a stream and back to the pond ,in the pond a
placed some water lilies and other surface floating green just to
protect the fish from preying birds.

when the pond was ready, I placed 8 fish (a mixture of carpand
goldfish) and they seem to be very happy breeding (at the moment
they have multiplied to 40)

The problem I'm facing is that the fish once they grow to about
20cm (8inch)long they seem to jump out of the water and land
outside the pond and when I found them they dead . do you know
what cause them to commit suicide?

Regards Mario



Hi Mario,

There are really to common causes for airborne escape attempts by
your fish. The first, is that there is something in the water
that they don't care for. Whether it be toxins, or elevated
Ammonia / Nitrite levels... fish will sometimes try to 'escape'
when their environment is too stressful or less than ideal. This
could explain your problem, because if it only happens when the
fish get larger (and pollute the water more), they might be over
contaminating our small pond and producing too much toxic Ammonia
or Nitrite. I'd suggest a good biological filter.

The other common cause for this, is if perpahs you have a return
line in the pond, directing a strong current sideways in the
pond. KOI often like to play in these currents, and sometimes
act like Salmon swimming upstream. On occasion, they get carried
away, and can leap out of the pond.

I lost my biggest and favorite koi (of course) just two months
ago, when I had turned off my waterfall and instead directed the
flow to my side return line. The fish loved to play in the
current, and sometimes swam so hard into it - that they left the
water. In this case, 'Big Red' as we called him, wound up
leaping right out of the pond 'free-willy' style and we found him
15 feet away from the pond later that evening. Now he's buried
on the island in the middle of the pond..

Nobody said KOI were the smartest creatures, they're just pretty
to look at...


Question #2>

Hi, A Q/A for you.

I'm from New Zealand, and we are going into our summer. I have a
question about getting rid of aphids on lily pads in the fish
pond. I am wanting to spray a very small amount of a systemic
insecticide used for roses on the pad, but well away from the
water. Would this work without causing harm to my fish?




Welcome from New Zealand..

Be very careful when spraying ANY type of chemical insecticide on
or near your pond. Pond fish are very sensitive to this, and
even a small amount of Pyrethrin or Permethryn can be very toxic
to fish. So when spraying roses or other plants nearby, always
be mindful of the wind and/or potential run-off of chemicals into
the pond.

In your case, I woulnd NOT recommend spraying the lily pad with
insecticide if you plan on putting it back in the pond.

There are some products, like one called Bladerunner, which are
all natural and are made up of ground up / powdered sea shells,
and that you can spray directly onto the lily pad safely. The
sea shell particles will actually cut open the exoskeleton of the
aphids, and they will dry out and die. See if you can find this

Hope this helps.


Question #3>

Could you please help me answer this question.

Is dirty pond water a good fertiilzer for my roses and other
plants? I figure that since my goldfish is always releasing body
waste, my pond water would be excellent fertilizer for my roses
and my other plants.

Is this correct?

I was going to use about 1/3 of my pond water every week to water
my garden.




Stan - YES!!

Pond water, and particularly your 'waste' water, is Excellent
fertilizer... Better than you can buy in your local garden
center. If you doubt me, try watering your favorite tree or bush
or shrub with pond water for one month, and see if it doesn't
outgrow everything around it substantially.

So yes, it's true. Fish crap is actually good for something.
Just don't share your 'secret' with anyone, they'll think you're


Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens

Posted by bfogle at 07:02 AM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2004

Here's why I'm hoppin' mad...

Here is today's Pond Q&A, with a question about snakes.

But first -- We have some very bad news...

Apparently, the conference call company that was 'supposed' to
record our Live Pond Q&A on Satruday, screwed up and starting
recording at 2pm PST. The call was at 2pm EST.

I've used them in the past, with no trouble - but you know what
Murphy said... As it is, we have no record of any of the 2 hour
call, where I was grilled with over 120 different pond related
questions, on a wide variety of different subjects.

So, those of you who made it -- thanks for joining us! For those
of you didn't... you really missed out. We had hoped to have it
up on the website for you to listen to at your convenience...

Anyway, on to the Q&A...




I'm new to your list but am really enjoying the great Q & A's.

I have other un-wanted dinner guests and so far from all the
people I have talked to there seems like nothing I can do. My
guests are garter snakes and have "lunched" on several of my
friendly fish. This last summer we caught 15 (at different times)
and removed them.

Is there a protective measure I can use to guard against them?

Thanks in advance,

Cliff Johnson



Hi Cliff,

Well snakes are a whole different animal to try and get rid of.
They don't respond to most decoys, netting, electric fences or
the like... so there's really not a whole that I know of that you
can do. Of course, you could try getting some bigger rubber
snakes - as most snakes are cannibalistic and will eat each
other. Yep, it's true - I saw it happen on the Discovery channel
just this past weekend.

Other than that, you're doing the best you can by removing and
relocating them (assuming you are re-locating them). If any of
our readers have any other suggestions, feel free to send them


The last time we asked for help from all of you, we were
overwhelmed with responses about how to get rid of fire ants.
There were so many, that we posted many of the better ones on a
whole new web page:

Click here to read what our other subscribers had to say about
fire ants:

Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens

Winter is fast approaching, but it's not too late to
order your winter pond de-icer. These usually sell
out early, so order yours today by clicking here:

Posted by bfogle at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

Beware of Scarecrows!

We've got some great emails to share with you today. I think
you'll find them pretty entertaining. Here goes:


Ha! Ha! Ha! I'm writing to tell you how effective the 'Scarecrow'
deterrent is!

It has worked very well on my husband and I. So far, he has been
'hit' 17 times to my 8. The funniest thing-there is a tiny little
"click" just before the blast of water goes off. What is your
first response to the click? You look back of course, only to get
a full spray of water right in the face! Right when you're
shouting the Oh S---! phrase.

This has been very entertaining for the neighbors but it HAS
stopped the neighborhood cats, children and yes, heron, from
fishing in our pond so it's worth it! And we're finally catching
on...turn off the scarecrow, THEN enter the pond area. And the
fish don't seem to be bothered any by the ruckus.

Pond Fanatic

Have a funny pond story? Send it in, and we'll share it with
our readers. We'll also include the funnienst stories in our
'Funniest Pond Story' Contest - Part II. For those of you
who are new subscribers, click below to read last years stories

Hi Mischelle,

Why do you think I never connected mine? ;-) I can only imagine
what it would be like to get a 'surprise' cold shower early in
the morning on a cold day - an abrupt end to my moment of
solitude out by the pond...

But of course, if I had a heron problem - I'd definately hook
mine up!

-> To order your Scarecrow, or for more information, click here:


Pond Q&A - Fall Pond Cleanings


You mention Spring cleaning of ponds, but what about Fall

I am trying to keep out leaves, but know there is a lot of
sediment in the bottom of my pond. The water is also dark. I
will soon be shutting off the pump and putting in the heater.
What would the fish make of a clean pond?

Thanks for your help.



Hi Maxine,

Great question. The answer is it really depends. Doing a full
pond cleaning during the colder winter months can be very
stressful on your fish. However, if the pond is really dirty and
full of 'muck' - then you may want to consider it because all of
the decaying organic matter in the pond can cause problems if the
pond ices over, and this begins to de-gas and rot.

So, I think the best solution, and what we used to do for our
clients was do a partial Fall pond cleaning.

Here's how to do it:

First, get a container that will hold roughly 100 gallons or so,
or up to half of your pond volume (bigger is better). Then take a
pump with a hose, and pump out the relatively 'clean' water from
your pond by holding the pump just beneath the water surface.
Keep as much of the 'old' pond water as you can. Then, catch your
fish (if possible) and place them into the holding tank of their
own (clean) water.

Then you can either net out your leaves and dispose of them,
along with any muck that you can get out also. Alternatively, you
can then pump out the remaining water and do a thorough clean
out, including vacuuming out the pond with a large wet/dry vac
(this works great!).

Then refill the pond back up to the level it was at before
disposing of the water, de-chlorinate the water, and adjust the
pH to match that of the 'old' water in your holding tank. At this
point, start pumping new water from the pond into your holding
tub, and then pumping the mixture back into the pond. Do this for
15-20 minutes until the new water mixture matches that in the
pond - and then pump the remaining water back into your pond
while netting your fish back in as well.

But it's very important not to expose your fish to new water
conditions too quickly as differences in temperature and pH can
cause extreme stress to your fish, affect the immune system, and
even cause shock or fish death. So always be careful when
changing water.

Hope this helps..


Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens

P.S. Interested in Japanese Gardens? I've got a new ebook
'just-released' called Japanese Garden Secrets. Click here to
pick up your copy today:

Posted by bfogle at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)