October 20, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:




In a recent Q&A you said you plant your water lillies in
Microbe-lift rather than soil. Specifically, which Microbe-lift
product is used for planting water lillies?

- Gary

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Microbe-Lift has an Aquatic Planting Media in a colorful package
and comes it 10 and 20 pound sizes. MacArthur Water Gardens
carries it.

It is kiln-fired and contains no organic matter to break down in
the pond-- ever-- and is pre-colonized with nitrifying bacteria,
so it not only is sized to allow flow of oxygen to the roots, it
also will become part of the filtration in the pond.

I particularly appreciate the fact that it won't cloud the water
or add to sediment on the bottom should the pot become overturned
at some time by accident. Water plants derive their nutrients
from the water, so the actual importance of the planting media
is to anchor the plants. Microbe-Lift does this inequivocably in
my ponds.

- Carolyn



Hi Carolyn,

I recently installed a pond in July. The pond is 23x15x3, I have
a Savio system with a skimmer and waterfall. So it is my first
winter and I have questions. When I turn off and remove the pump,
will the skimmer freeze and crack if it still has some water in

I am going to put a deicer and aerator into the pond, but I am
worried about the skimmer. Is there anything else you can suggest
to do? Also how much salt should I put in? I never put salt in
because I didn't know that you had to and someone said to get
solar salt and put 1 lb per 100 gallons. Is this correct? I also
put in one treatment of the microbe left Autumn/Winter prep. Do I
continue adding this after there is ice on the water?

When do I remove the UV clarifier? I live in Milford
Pennsylvania, we have some rough winters. I'm sure there are
more questions, but I will email again.


- Barbara



Hi, Barbara,

Sometimes I forget how hard a new pond is on the owner! I will
try to help you. As for the Savio skimmer, I don't know if it's
in the same pond as the fish and will benefit from the de-icer
but I would ask the installer or a representative of the company
about that. I have never heard of a skimmer breaking because of
freezing, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen. I think
being underground it shouldn't crack.

As for the salt, the dosage rate you were told is the proper
rate, 1 pound per 100 gallons. However, I don't believe in using
salt indiscriminantly. I say that to mean salt used in the pond
for more than three weeks will work to your disadvantage. The
parasites will develop an immunity to .3% salt if it stays in
the pond over the winter. Another thing with salt is that when
you are ready to remove it do you have a safe place to dump it?
You wouldn't want it on your lawn or garden and salt does not
evaporate in a pond. Our pond fish are not salt water or
brackish water fish, therefore it is my contention that salt
should be used for medicinal purposes-- only.

Microbe-Lift/Autumn Winter Prep is wonderful and will remain
active in the pond even under the ice and snow. The strains of
bacteria were chosen specifically for their cold hardiness and
that they do not require photosynthesis to perform. As you will
be dosing only once a month for four treatments, if the pond is
frozen by the last treatment, find a hole and dump it in (like
where the de-icer is should work fine).

And lastly, the UV light should be disconnected and bypassed for
the winter as soon as you get your first frost. When you are
shutting down the system might be an ideal time to disconnect
the UV also. Then clean it and change the bulb in readiness for
next season. I should mention, do not touch the bulb with your
hands or it will implode from the oils in your skin. Use gloves
or wipe it with alcohol after installing it, before turning it
on again.

- Carolyn

Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens

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

Posted by bfogle at October 20, 2005 06:36 PM