October 01, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

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Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- SPRING CLEANING - IS THERE AN EASIER WAY?

- BREAK IN THE LINER - HOW DEEP DO I HAVE TO DIG THE NEW POND?
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Question>

Hi Carolyn

I read your Q&A religiously! It is such a good way to learn
things about how to properly care for ponds and fish.

People mention vacuuming their ponds when doing spring cleaning.

Are there special vacuums for this?

We have a small pond and it does get lots of leaves, grass, etc
so I usually just drain it in the spring and clean it that way.

But if there is an easier way, Im all for finding out!

Thanks for the help!!

- Becky Fresia

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Answer>

Yes, Becky,

We have a few different types of vacuum for ponds. If the pond
doesn't have rocks on the bottom using a vacuum could be easier
than emptying the water and scrubbing it out. Besides, I
imagine it would be much easier on the fish. There are vacuums
that are pump-action and some attach to the garden hose. They
even come with brush attachments!

The loose debris on the bottom should not be allowed to
overwinter there and should be cleaned up in the fall with
perhaps a net to stop further accumulation in winter. It is the
accumulation of decaying leaves that is fertile ground for
parasite and bacterial colonies to overwinter in your pond. It
will further stress any fish you are keeping at a time they can
not really afford to deal with more stress. Even if you don't
keep fish in the pond, overwintering disease and plant parasites
are reason enough to clean it up for the winter.

You might want to also think about using Microbe-Lift/PL and/or
Sludge-Away to help break down any accumulated matter naturally.

In emptying the pond and scrubbing it you will remove the
majority of the beneficial bacterial layer on the sides and
bottom of the pond each year, so it is wise to seek alternative
methods to maintain the pond. Good for you! Check the website
for pond vacuums.

- Carolyn

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Question>

Carolyn, I hope you can answer my question. I think I have the
answer, but I need to be reassured.

Last year my wife and I bought a home at the beach. The previous
owners added a pond in the back yard. It had at the time no
plants, and no fish. Was approx 600 gallon pond give or take a
hundred gallons. August of 2004, I purchased 6 Koi. They made it
through the winter just fine, for the deepest end was about 3 1/2'
deep. I did install an electric heating element to keep the pond
open so the gases could escape.

Just a couple of weeks ago the liner cracked and the pond
almost emptied out. The liner was made of some sort of plastic
and the underlayment was mainly junk. I quickly dug a new pond
within a day, about 1000 gallon total. My problem is that I
didn't dig it deep enough. I'm sitting at about 16" to 18" deep,
instead of the recommended 2'. I'm on the east coast just south
of you in Delaware, near the beach where we really don't get
much snow.

Will I be alright leaving the pond as it is, or should I
maker it deeper? I don't mind doing it over again if I have to,
for I'll have a storage tank to drain the water into and reuse
again. Will my Koi be able to take the stress again? I really
put them through some transferring from the old to the new.

Sorry to be so long of a question but I need piece of mind.

Thank you!

- Rocco

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Answer>

Hi, Rocco

As far as I know you are in the same zone as I am, zone 7, so you
should have an 18" frost line. I never want people to judge by a
mild winter because there is always the brutal one that is
waiting just over the horizon. Prepare for the worst and hope for
the best.

At any rate, I would dig it deeper, preferably 2-4' deep for koi.
They will be able to take the stress if you take proper
precautions with them. Don't overfeed, use good filtration, make
sure the water parameters are consistently neutral, and shade the
temporary tank with styrofoam or tarp. Make sure there is a net
over the tank and it is out of direct sun.

Koi are surprisingly resilient. It is the netting that is the
hardest. Lower the water down so you can get them with the least
amount of chasing and use a sock net so you can transfer them
gently from one pond to the other. Check them for any sores and
treat it with iodine and/or a salt dip if you see anything wrong.

- Carolyn

==

Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at October 1, 2005 06:32 PM
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