October 31, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- GOLDFISH IN POND - OR KEEP IT AS A QUARANTINE TANK?

- FALL / WINTER FEEDING - DO I STEP AT 50 DEGREES?
-----------------------------

Question>

Hi Carolyn,

I live in north central Texas near the Texas/Olkahoma border. I
currently have a 90 gallon pond that I have three koi in. I am
building a 16,000 gallon pond for the koi , that should be ready
by late spring early summer My question is this: If I decide to
put goldfish into the 90 gallon pond can they survive a Texas
winter.

The 90 gallon pond is about 2 feet deep. i have a filtering
system with a pump that recycles the pond water several times a
day, also an air pump line with an airstone attached. For the
winter I put about a 12 inch wood box around the pond area and
then put two storm windows on top of that. On warmer days I just
move one of the windows over to let the hotter air out. Kind of
works like a green house. The pond is sheltered from the wind
and can maintain a fairly constant temp all winter. Still cold
enough for the fish to go dormant though.

Can goldfish survive winter in this?

Thanks

- John in Texas

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Answer>

Hi, John,

What you have is an ideal quarantine tank, well, about 10
gallons short of idea1. But rather than fill with goldfish,
which could no doubt live through the Texas winters easily in 2'
water, you could keep one goldfish in there as a "companion"
fish for when you need to hospitalize a fish, or if you buy a
new one.

I have a similar set-up here, although my tank is larger I keep
one old goldfish as my companion fish which also keeps the
filter primed. Just something to think about.

I used to live in Paris, TX. I live in NY now, so I know
goldfish can live in 2' of water in winter! They do it up here
all the time.

-Carolyn

==

Question>

Hi Carolyn,

I have a 4500 gallon pond with about 15 smaller koi. In am
located in Virginia so the temps are starting to fall into the
40s at night. I have switched to the Wheat Germ fall food but
when do I stop feeding my fish completely?

Currently when I go to feed them they are still very active and
consume all the food I feed them within 5-10 minutes. The
directions on the food says that as long as they are comsuming
the food you should continue to feed them but, I was recently
told by my local pet store that when the pond temps hit 50 or
below you should stop feeding regardless of the fish activity.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks for all the great
information you have provided to me in the past,

- Melanie

==

Answer>

Hi Melanie,

You should listen to the pond store. They are absolutely
correct. The fish are still begging but they don't realize they
aren't metabolizing their food as fast as they were at 55 or 60
degrees. It is the ambient water temperature that determines
whether the feeding is over or not.

I might add that once you discontinue feeding, please don't go
back to feeding if you have a warm day.

It takes a full 4-days for the food to process normally and be
eliminated from the fish's system. You don't want ANY food left
in there when the temperature drops again. It will putrefy and
cause a disease called Sepsis-- the fish will die.

Many unexpected spring deaths from otherwise healthy-looking
fish are caused by feeding in colder weather. The deeper your
pond is, the more stable the water temperatures, so a shallow
pond will fluctuate greatly between daytime and night. Keep this
in mind when deciding to feed.

You are a good koi-mom!

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- FOAM - WHAT IS CAUSING THAT?

- MICROBE-LIFT OR AQUA ONE - WHICH IS BEST FOR MY POND?
-----------------------------

Question>

Hi Carolyn,

I recently installed (2 weeks ago) a bead filter and a UV lamp.
My pond water is nice and clear now. However I seem to have a lot
of foam on the surface of the water now. I do have a waterfall.
What is causing that?

- Frank

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Answer>

Hi, Frank,

Generally the foam on the top of the water is what we call DOC,
or dissolved organic carbons. In other words, something that is
in suspension, being dead organic matter, perhaps fish poop or
dead algae, and in the process of being absorbed by bacterium in
the pond. The UV has begun to kill the free-floating algae and
bacteria, both of which have substance that has to be eliminated
now.

The bead filter will take a couple more weeks perhaps (now that
the weather is cooling down) to build up enough bacterial
colonization to "eat up" these organic carbons. Then you should
not be bothered with foam anymore. If it should be a problem
next season, there are foam fractionators that you might look
into that speed up the process while the bead filter is working
on other detritis in the pond.

-Carolyn

==

Question>

Hi Carolyn,

This is my first year with my pond and I'm all ears listening to
professionals for advice ...

Which of these products is best for clarifying a pond all year
round ... Microbe-Lift PL or Aqua-One ... seems as though choice
of product is purely subjective depending on who you talk to ...

Aqua-One Pond Clarifier can be dispatched all year long to handle
all pond issues ...

Microbe-Lift products have different items suggested for
different times of the year (Spring/Summer, Fall/Winter, etc.)
...

Also ... can you recommend a good ... reasonably priced ....
"Pond Vacuum" for fall and spring cleanups ... would an all
purpose wet/dry vacuum do the same thing ...

Thanks for all your help ...

- Marty

==

Answer>

Hi Marty,

Well, you happen to be asking someone who is very partial to
Microbe-Lift and I know that their PL product can be used
throughout the year in addition to the others.

Microbe-Lift PL has been called an "ecosystem in a bottle" in
that it is able to recreate the healthy self-supporting
environment for both plants and fauna. It takes a little while
to build up in the pond because it is a live bacteria, but once
it becomes established it keeps a balance of nutrients like no
other.

The ML/PL is the only product that is grown IN the bottle rather
than grown and then bottled, so you get the full effect. The
Autumn/Winter Prep is a modified PL with cellulase enzyme
product in little packets to target any leaf matter through the
winter months, and is especially capable of functioning in cold
temperatures and without sunlight (under ice and snow). I really
do not believe any other product can compare.

As for the vacuum, there are quite a few to choose from. I use
to use one that attaches to the hose which met my needs before I
installed the bottom drain. Now I have no more need for
vacuuming. But MacArthur Water Gardens also sells one that is a
"pump-action" and doesn't require anything other than a little
manpower. You can go to the website to see what is available and
see what might meet your own needs. A clean pond is a healthy
pond!

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 12:58 AM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- TRICK OR TREAT - PROTECTING FISH ON HALLOWEEN

-----------------------------

TRICK OR TREAT by Carolyn Weise

Time to start planning for the fall holidays. Before long it
will be Halloween and for that day we have to be especially
watchful for anybody traipsing through our yards. We don’t want
visitors falling in the pond. We wouldn’t want any “tricks” on
our ponds either. It was one thing when teenagers would “toilet
paper” a house, or throw raw eggs at your house (which don’t wash
off the next day) but to play a trick on our ponds would be
murder.

I can never get the picture out of my mind of the overflowing
soap suds which was once someone’s koi pond about 15 years ago in
my neighborhood. It sickened me then and it sickens me today. I
have 10’ hedges around my yard to somewhat prevent something like
that from happening to my pond, but the fear is always there.
Once you have seen the terrible things people can and will do,
you cannot return to blissful naivety, no matter how much you
would like to. I personally was never that sort of child but I
suppose I knew ones like that when I went to school. Better to
be safe than sorry.

I suggest you remain watchful, have the pond well-lit and
fenced. On a night like Halloween, I can’t tell one child from
the other in my own neighborhood. I can’t watch both gates at
once. What I do is stay at the front door and hand out pennies,
nickels, and quarters which seems to keep all the children happy.

It also keeps them focused better than candy. So, keep your
yard lighted and remain vigilant. It may prevent a really bad
experience.

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 12:57 AM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- FISH DEATHS - CAN IT BE THE FOOD?

- INDOOR WINTER ACCOMMODATIONS FOR KOI IN SASKATCHEWAN
-----------------------------

Question>

Hi Carolyn,

I had been slowly cutting back on the amount of food I had been
feeding my fish with the onset of winter. Pond temperature is 58
degrees. Since everything I have read said I could feed them
until about 50 degrees I was continuing with a small amount
every couple days. Suddenly I had one of my small fish end up in
my skimmer.

At first I thought I hurt it removing it. A couple days later I
had another small fish show signs of distress. (Not being able
to swim) I took both fish to a place here I had bought them and
had them examined. No parasites or other obvious problems. A few
days later, they died.

I hadn't feed the rest of my fish for three days so I thought I
would give them a little. All most immediately my last small
fish (all about 8 inches long) started showing the same signs as
the others. Water quality is good and the remaining four larger
fish are fine. 2500 gallon pond, beaded filtration system, and
waterfall.

Question: Can the smaller fish just not eat at these
temperatures?

- Rick, Washington state

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Answer>

Hi, Rick,

That is a difficult question to answer. It kind of depends upon
the type of food, the consistency, the ingredients, the size of
the pellets, how fresh it is, what the nutritional make-up is,
and stuff like that. I can't give a solid answer. I general,
small fish aren't any more susceptible to food than larger fish.
However there are some diseases which hit the smaller fish first.

I guess when you say you brought the fish in and had them
examined by the place you got them, the fish was already dead,
right? If so, there wouldn't be any parasites to find. You cannot
diagnose parasites on a dead fish. You need to examine a live
one, do a scraping and look at it under the microscope. If they
scraped and scoped a dead fish, they are just kidding themselves.
As soon as a fish dies, the parasites drop off.

Always, when you get a new fish, quarantine it (them) for at
least 2-3 weeks to make sure they are healthy before putting them
in with your other fish. My guess is the deaths had nothing to do
with the food at all. See about taking in a live fish or two (or
three) and have them scraped for parasites. Then you will know if
you need to treat the pond or not. My guess is you do. And I am
almost betting on costia.

Good luck.

-Carolyn

==

Question>

Hello,

I have been reading all the e-mails with instructions on how to
winter koi outdoors and felt it was time for someone to come up
with at least a few arguments for wintering your fish indoors in
cold climates.

I live in Saskatchewan Canada and have wintered my fish
successfully in my 3,000 gallon outdoor pond in the past. One of
the drawbacks I noticed right away is that hibernation or
dormancy also retards growth and I prefer to let my koi grow at
the rates they were intended too. The other noticeable problem is
that the koi seem to forget over a winter of dormancy who their
friend the "food guy" is and you can spend the whole summer
taming them again just in time to winter them.

I have now wintered my Koi in the basement of my home for 3
years. They grow year round, are extremely tame and are close at
hand for me to enjoy while active all winter.

If you have the space and the equipment to do so, I urge you to
consider wintering your fish indoors. There are cost effective
alternatives to pre-formed ponds and expensive liners that make
great indoor ponds. One of these is to use poly livestock troughs
available at most agricultural outlets and feed stores. They are
much cheaper than the pet store alternatives (I pay $85.00 US
funds for 150 gallon Rubber-maid stock troughs).

TODD NELSON
GARDEN RIVER RANCH
PRINCE ALBERT SASKATCHEWAN

==

Answer>

Todd, that is a great message! I have friends here in New York
that have been carrying their koi indoors every fall for years
and some have very elaborabe 6,000-gallon ponds in their
basements, complete with concrete structure, liner and
underlayment, high filtration and aeration, and large fluorescent
lights 12" above the water for correct lighting.

I have gotten feedback from other experts, pros and cons, about
heating ponds and keeping koi active year round. One drawback is
that this actually shortens the life span of the koi, perhaps by
half. It seems that the winter rest is not such a bad thing for
the koi.

By heating the pond outside one might save a little labor of not
having to carry koi, which can become quite heavy in time.
Saskatchawan, I imagine, has a short summer, so it would probably
be best for the fish to be able to get enough nutrition in this
manner. So, I'm with you on this.

I also like your idea of remaining friends with the koi by
keeping them awake during the winter.

As I haven't seen any real hard statistical facts about the life
span being shortened, I stand neutral on this. I would also
caution anyone bringing fish indoors to make sure they cover the
tanks to prevent the fish from jumping out, as koi are wont to
do.

Thanks for the input!

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 12:57 AM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- POND FILTERS? WHICH ONES TO GET AND WHERE TO GET THEM?

- BULL FROG - CAN IT OVERWINTER SAFELY?
-----------------------------

Question>

Dear Carolyn,

I enjoyed reading your article in the Water Gardening Magazine
for April-May-June. I am looking to buy a bubble bead filter for
my fish pond. It is a 1,000 gallon pond with 30 goldfish and 10
koi fish. I would like to know your opinion about which of these
filters would be the best for the money.

One company has a Bubble Bead - model BBF-XS2000 and another has
the Aqua Ultraviolet filter (Ultima II Filters). I have heard the
pros and cons of both. Most dealers want to sell me the Aqua Dyne
or Aquabead Filter, which can be very expensive. I was just
wondering which one you use and if you could tell me which would
be the best one to purchase. If you know of a specific dealer
and their phone number, that would also be helpful. Thank you
for your help and expertise.

Sincerely

- Richard Everhart

========== @SK Carolyn =============
Have a pond question? Just send it
in to: Carolyn@macarthurwatergardens.com
and our own in-house pond expert will
try and answer it for you!
====================================

Answer>

The Bubblebead filter I have is a basic "no name" that I bought
from Suburban Water Gardens about 6-7 years ago. Works great. You
should buy a filter for the fish load, not the gallons in the
pond. You also have to have the right sized pump to go with the
filter. I am not keen on either of the low-grade BBF filters you
mentioned. The Aquadyne and Aquabead are excellent middle-priced
filters. Believe me, they can cost much, much more when you get
right down to it. Never scrimp on a filter. Cut costs somewhere
else.

As for the fish load, to have 30 goldfish and 10 koi in a 1,000
gallon pond is asking for trouble right off the bat. I hope you
aren't too attached to the goldfish because you can probably make
it if you only have the koi in that amount of water. At least for
now.

What most people don't realize is that as koi grow they actually
need much more room than you'd expect. Think about one 8" koi
needing 50 gallons of water, but when that same koi reaches 16"
it will need 200 gallons. And when it is 24", it needs 600
gallons!

So, you can kind of figure where your fish stand in the way of
having enough room. To overcrowd a pond is a ticket to disaster,
if not this year, then surely next. Definitely go for the bigger
filter. Ultima is okay, but don't cheat your pond. You can go to
the MacArthur website at www.macarthurwatergardens.com and get a
bubble bead filter that is right for your pond.

Hope this helps.

-Carolyn

==

Question>

We have a 90 gallon solid pond. We have several fish and a
bullfrog .With winter coming ,Is there anything special we
should do with the frog. We have a round pond heater. This is
our 2nd year for the pond but it's only the 1st to have the
frog.I thought that they hibernated in cold weather but with the
pond being a solid liner they only have a small layer of muck
to dig into.We have several plants in pots, would they
hibernate in them? Any info would be appreciated.

Thanx

- Camille, Mark & Tom

==

Answer>

Hi, Camille, Mark & Tom,

Bullfrogs will hibernate in winter, however they do not
hibernate under the water. In nature, they dig into bogs or
sandy areas, deep enough to escape the frozen ground. They can
do the same anywhere in your yard. Perhaps it will dig in next
to your pond considering the pond might be warmer than the
surrounding area, with the heater in it.

As for the muck in the pond, if you care about the fish in
there, you will clean all that out before the winter really sets
in. Bottom grunge is the ideal place for parasites and bacterium
to proliferate, and will feed on your poor unsuspecting fish
through the winter. Not a good thing for the fish. A clean pond
in winter, with two weeks of salt treatment to eliminate most
common parasites, will be the most loving thing you can do for
the fish.

After a thorough cleaning or vacuuming, start adding NON-IODIZED
salt at 1 lb per 100 gallons. If you have plants in the pond,
you may want to remove them. Otherwise, do not add any more than
2lb/100 gallons of NON-IODIZED pond or kosher salt. Add the salt
over a two-three day period and leave in for two weeks. Then do
water changes until all the salt is out. This will give the fish
a great start for the winter.

Certain plants are hardy in up to 3 lbs/100 gallons of salt,
such as lilies and cattails. But others will be burned by the
salt. Check with the local nursery to see how to handle this
with your pond plants. Remember, your plants can carry parasites
too. So putting them back into a cleaned pond might just undo
what good you just did, unless you clean the plants well too. In
fact, frogs are common carriers of parasites. He is the least of
your problems.

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 12:56 AM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- KOI COLORS - HOW CAN WE IMPROVE THEM?

- CATFISH - WILL THEY BE GOOD COMMUNITY FISH OR NOT?

- USING SALT - IODIZED OR NOT?
-----------------------------

Question>

I have been enjoying reading your articles in Water Gardening.
Since you are the koi expert, I would like to ask you a couple of
questions.

We have a 10' by 16' water pond in the last 5 years. In the last
few years, we found baby fish like koi and goldfish surviving the
northeast winter. Some of them are now 6 inches long but they are
still black in color even the goldfish. Other fish that were
given to us while small turned to gold or red & white like
sarrasas. Would the baby koi turn color by now (after 1 - 2
years)? How about the other fish that are not koi? Do we need to
do something to make them change in color?

Last spring we had 3 adult fantail goldfish along with a catfish.
We bought them when they were small and they seem to get along
for at least a year. This summer the 3 fantails disappeared
completely without any trace. Around the same period, the catfish
did not show up for feeding. Is it safe the assume that the
catfish (now about 12") had a feast on those fantails? Or, do you
think they faced some other fate? We have not seen any predators
near or around the pond. We are planning to transfer the catfish
to a natural pond next spring during the spring cleaning. We
would like to replace the fantails because we like them but
afraid they may end up like the others.

Thanks for your time reading and answering this email.

- Fred Samala

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Answer>

Hi, Fred,

Thanks for writing! Sorry to say that although koi do change
color as they mature, they don't usually change all that much. If
they start out black (Magoi) there is little they can change
into. They can develop white accents and become Kumonryu, but
they aren't going to turn red or any traditional coloration. The
red and white koi start out red and white. With koi, black is an
unstable color which generally develops later in life. But a
black koi, at birth, probably isn't going to be anything else. I
have a whole pond full of them! Makes me something of an expert
on Magoi..... And there is absolutely nothing you can do to
change a fish's color. Goldfish will all begin life as a black
fish and will lose that as they grow, but koi do not. The best
(sometimes the only) way to tell the difference between koi and
goldfish, when they are young that is, is to look for the barbels
at the mouth. Koi have them and goldfish do not. If these fish
are in a sizable pond and have grown for 2 years, and are still
only 6", my guess is they are all goldfish carp and not koi. Take
a closer look to find out for certain.

As for the catfish-- I had one of those too! I learned that they
are great community fish with fish the same size or larger than
themselves. BUT they grow so quickly they usually outgrow
everything else in the pond. That makes everybody else "food". I
would think about moving the catfish now instead of the spring or
you might not have anything left by then. Have you seen him
lately? Getting big? I'll bet he is! If you go to the website
www.watergardening.com and go to my column, ask Carol, which I
was just looking at today (I just happened onto it) there is a
Q&A about catfish in a pond!

-Carolyn

==

Question>

thanks for responding so quickly. Your answers and suggestions
make a lot of sense. We will now stop hoping and wondering what
color the black kois will change to. Just found 3 more baby fish
about 2" long, again black. We were surprised they spawned this
late. Is this normal? Is it safe to say if they do not change
color in a couple months that they will remain black? Regarding
the catfish, we will try catching him this weekend for
transferring.

I read in Pond Doctor book that adding salt once in a while is a
good preventive practice for the fish. True? Is it better to use
regular salt with iodine or plain kosher?

I read your Q&A regarding the filters for ponds and very
interested about your filtration system.

We have an Aquascape kit with biofalls and skimmer containing the
2600 gal/hour pump and just foam filters with lava rocks. It's
hard to keep the water clean and I end up spending a lot of time
cleaning and adding beneficial bacteria a lot. The water is clear
but at night I can see particles suspended in the water(thru the
light). The water volume is about 2000 gallons with gravel bottom
but no bottom drain . I usually have a major spring cleaning and
a monthly cleaning of the foam filters. Without spending a lot of
money, how can I keep the water cleaner and less maintenance? If
I decide to spend the money, who or what company should I call
for a system like yours - vortex and bubble bead?

Again, thank you very much for your help.

- Fred

==

Answer>

Hi, Fred,

As for the salt, NO IODINE! Make sure to use non-iodized salt. It
can be "pond salt", sea salt, kosher salt, or regular table salt,
but you don't want iodine.

The reason salt is therapeutic for the fish, although they are
not salt-water fish, is that a 0.3% solution (3lbs/100 gallons
administered over a period of several days, a little at a time)
will kill most (not all, but many) common pond parasites and will
reduce stress on fish. The way to use it is for a 3-week bath,
then do 50% water changes until the salt is gone. That is done,
for those who choose to do it, in the fall and again in spring.

I personally do not use salt in my pond for several reasons. I
don't want to jeopardize my bog plants and when doing the 50%
water changes on a 15,000 gallon pond, that is a lot of water
going down the street. You wouldn't want to dump any salted water
into the garden! I prefer to do salt dips on new fish and
quarantine regimen. What I prefer in the way of parasite
protection is to use potassium permanganate, and then only if I
see definite signs of trouble and have been able to catch, scrape
and scope a few fish to identify the problem as parasites.

I believe in using Microbe-Lift/TheraP as the "shot in the arm"
for the fish instead of salt in spring and fall and to keep the
pond clean all year long. I do water changes at 10% weekly even
into the winter as weather permits. But when the ground is
covered with snow and I cannot get out to purge the tanks, I do
drag a hose out from the house and refill the pond on a weekly
basis. Seems like the winter brings all the wildlife in the area
to my pond to drink!

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 12:55 AM | Comments (0)

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- WINTER PLANT QUESTIONS - POTTING SOIL AND BOG PLANTS

- WATER LEAK - SHOULD I GUNNITE THE POND?
-----------------------------

Question>

Hi, I love your pond Q&A's and have two for you if you have
time...

First: I was wondering what it the best way if any, to try and
over winter my pond plants. I'm in Maryland zone 7. I know lilies
can stay in the pond under the freeze line but what about my bog
plants like mare's tail, Lizard's tail and Dwarf Papyrus and
others? Can they survive somehow? I have a hard time finding
local water plants and the ones I did find have grown
tremendously quadrupling in size some of them and I'd hate to
lose them and have to start all over again if there's anyway to
prevent it.

And Second: I am confused about planting soil for water plants,
and the best way to plant them. The plants usually come in some
type of potting type soil and/or with a squishy clay pellet type
material but when I try to find planting soil to re-pot all I can
find is very small dried clay chips? What should I use and where
can I find it?

Thanks very much in advance for any help,

- Willa Scharch

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Answer>

Hi, Willa,

The hardy bog plants, like the lizard tail, will do okay if the
bog is deep enough. Is the root zone below the freeze line? If
not, you can dig a hole next to the pond and put the potted
plants in, cover them with leaves and mulch for the winter, and
that will carry them through. but I believe the dwarf papyrus is
tropical, no? At least I don't think it is hardy for this area,
so it will probably need to come indoors. A sunny window and a
tub of water will work.

For yourself, to prevent stagnation of the water, you will need
to either filter or aerate the water while it is indoors. You may
just do water changes, which should also work. Fertilize very
sparingly. All we want is for the plant to get through the
winter. By mares tail, are you talking about horse tail? It is
one of the oldest plants on the planet and probably prehistoric,
so it has the ability to overwinter in any area just so long as
the root zone can be below the freeze line.

If you wanted to work on another bog, a real bog, that you could
plant these into and leave them, it should be at least 3' deep
and 1/2 filled with sand. Let the water stand between 2-12" above
the rocks.

Cover the next 6" with smooth stones and you will have a durable
and beautiful bog garden!

-Carolyn

==

Question>

Greetings,

I have found this newsletter invaluable and I have found the
MacArthur site to be an excellent source for products.

I self-built my pond in May of 2004. It is roughly round and
about twenty two feet in diameter. It ranges from a foot in depth
at the edges for the more marginal type plants to a maximum of
four feet deep directly in front of the waterfall. Its filtration
system is 100% biological with lava rocks inside mesh bags spiked
regularly with bacteria and placed within the waterfall unit. The
waterfall is about a total of six feet high with several huge
(and heavy!) rock shelves which gradually extend further out as
they get closer to the surface of the pond.

There is an island roughly in the middle of the pond with an
opening in the liner at the top for allowing plant life. My Koi
grew from near fingerling size in May of 2004 to the point that
the largest one must be at least eight pounds now. There were
three separate spawnings in the spring and I estimate there must
be a total of at least 100 fish in there now. I shall be either
giving away a lot of fish or else selling to a couple of local
nurseries who don't seem capable of maintaining a large stock. I
have some VERY weird appearing Koi. I have two who are absolutely
solid dark indigo blue. The blue is so deep that they appear
black unless I am snorkling in the pond. I have some wee ones
which remind me of bees as they have solid colored heads and
strtiped bodies ! I have never seen anything quite like them. My
favorite of all is a deep rust color with each scale thinly
outlined in blue. Are these varieties truly weird or am I just
not well versed on Koi color variations.

I know the Japanese favor torpedo shaped fish with patterns that
I can only describe as reminiscent of Sumi ink paintings which
subtly depict mountains, clouds, etc. So, I doubt my weird babies
are really all that valuable unless there exist groups of
collectors who eschew the traditional in favor of the unique.

No matter.

Here comes my problem: A major leak.

To the tune of a water bill topping $300 per month. I cannot keep
that up indefinitely.

I have tried everything including relining etc. My neighbor, an
architect, suggested gunite as a definite cure. Made sense. Have
an informal contract with a cat who claims considrable experience
at fixing just such problems. He will charge $3200 and provide a
written two year "no leak" warranty.

Sounds reasonable to me.

Now for my question: What should I seal Gunite with to prevent
leaching into the refilled pond and driving the pH through the
roof? Would the latex concrete sealants be safe?

I will be starting this project in about 2 weeks and want all my
ducks in a row before getting started.

Thanks for this newsletter, your site, and any advice you might
have. Now gotta go to your shopping area and stock up on some
supplies!

Thanks in advance,

- Dr. Michael K Vetter, RN, Ddiv

==

Answer>

Hi, Michael,

I am not sure and will have to check further, but I thought
gunnite didn't have to be "cured" the way concrete does. There is
a website/forum of "pond-heads" at www.koiphen.com and they would
love to answer this question.

However, whenever there is a leak you can bet your britches it is
either a waterfall or a stream. First, shut off the waterfall to
see if the leak stops. If not, then shut the system and wait till
the water stops leaking. Generally it isn't the bottom drain, and
G-d help if it is. So keep a close eye on the pond! but when the
water stops, you can find the leak somewhere on the edge of the
water level. But my guess is the waterfall will be your culprit,
before you spend that much money redoing the entire pond (which
is a nice thing, but just might not be necessary) only to find
you didn't fix the leak.

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 12:55 AM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- WATER PLANTS - HOW TO OVERWINTER TROPICAL BOG PLANTS

- REPOTTING WATER PLANTS - HOW TO USE CLAY
-----------------------------

Question>

Hi Carolyn,

My question is concerning wintering water plants. Taro, dwarf
palms, hyacinths, water lettuce and sensitive plants.
I bring alot of my tropical plants in for the winter. We have a
250 gallon corner pond we have created in our basement family
room. Last winter I had trouble with an odor, I think the
aquatic soil was getting sour.

We had a fountain with filter and I occasionally put a bacteria
in for the few fish we had in it.

Could you give me some advice this winter as to what I can do to
eliminate the odor and keep the pond fresh. The odor was like a
stale smell.

We plan on putting some of our very small koi in it
again this winter, and I'm sure it can't be good for the fish.
Also do you recommend heating the pond water, or what degrees
should the water be to keep the plants and fish healthy.

Thank you

- Linda

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Answer>

Hi, Linda,

The Taro and other plants you mentioned require high light
conditions. Hopefully you can provide enough sun or
sun-equivalent to sustain them. I don't use soil in my potted
pond plants. I use Microbe-Lift Aquatic Media-- a soil-less media
which is pre-colonized with nitrifying bacteria. All soil
contains about 97% organic matter, and living organisms which
will decay and/or proliferate in the pot under water. Ergo the
malodorous conditions you mentioned.

The only thing a water plant needs from soil is as an anchor. It
derives all its nutrients from the water, so it doesn't need
anything from the soil. Although the plants do not suffer from
the offensive decomposition in the soil mix, it is unpleasant
when you think about the poor fish that are subjected to this.

As the organic matter is decomposing, gases (nitrogen and sulfur
dioxide) are produced. Perhaps try the soilless mixture this
year. Use Microbe-LIft/PL and Ensure for the plants and the rest
of the indoor pond environment. The cellar is probably warm
enough without heating, with the lights overhead. Good luck.

-Carolyn

==

Question>

Carolyn,

Love your question & answer e-mails my question is ,you said to
use clay to repot your water plants but how do you get the clay
clean so it don't muck up your water I have my plants all ready
to repot but the clay kept clouding the water, Thanks

Thank you

- Virginia

==

Answer>

Hi, Virginia,

I see no way to wash clay that you will not have it cloud the
water. Clay has been used for eons as a potting medium. Even
kitty litter, the one with no additives and no clumping
ingredients, but all of these will "melt" and send an initial
cloud into the pond.

I have a better idea-- use Microbe-Lift Aquatic Planting Media.
It is not clay or soil. It is completely inorganic and will not
cloud the water. I noticed some slight dust but that settles
quickly. It is also pre-colonized with nitrifying bacteria, so it
will be very helpful to the pond or whatever water you are
putting it into.

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 12:54 AM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- AMMONIA - HOW DO YOU BRING IT DOWN?

- FROGS - HOW CAN I HELP THEM OVERWINTER?
-----------------------------

Question>

Hi Carolyn,

I have a 600 gallon pond with about 10 fish. I am having problem
keeping the ammonia level where it should be. The guy at the pet
store told me to add baking soda to bring it down and it does but
it doesn't stay. I have to keep doing this.

Please help.

- Brenda in S.C.

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Answer>

Hi Brenda,

You didn't say how big these 10 fish are, or what type. The fish
are the ammonia producers in any pond, so if they are producing
too much, maybe you need to stop fueling them. The less you feed
them, the less ammonia they will send into the water. Baking
soda isn't a cure for ammonia. It is a buffer for pH. If your pH
is not stable, or is high, and then you have ammonia spikes, you
could lose your fish.

My suggestion is to do up to 50% water change today. You can do
that again tomorrow if needed. Use some dechlorinator before
adding the new water to prevent poisoning the fish with chlorine
or chloramine. Cut back on feeding (or stop for a few days) and
do water changes. Test your water every day and see how it goes.

-Carolyn

==

Question>

Hi Carolyn,

I have a question that I hope you can help me with. This past
spring I purchase some tadpols and of course they have changed
to cute little frogs. I would like to know if they will survied
the winter months. My pond is two feet and never have had any
problems with my fish in the winter. I also would like to know
what the frogs eat in the colder weather. they're getting very
big and I would like to know if there is any special care that
they require. I also would like to know how I can clean my pond
in the spring and how to catch the frogs as they move quit fast.
Hope that you can help me! I also want to let you know how much
I enjoy your news letter with questions and answers.

Thank you

- Wilma

==

Answer>

Thank you, Wilma!

Frogs will overwinter in the dirt and sand around or near the
pond, not really in the pond. I have had them drown in my pond,
but the majority will live and breed in your pond next spring.
Frogs, like the fish, do not eat over the winter months. They
will also become dormant, safe under the elements. They live on
earthworms, sowbugs, ants, spiders, and any bugs they can find
whenever they wake up. They are rapacious predators and probably
the most desirable additions to a woodland garden in the way of
pest control. They dine during the evening when pesky mosquitos
are most active.

When you clean out the pond in spring, any frogs in there won't
be living, so they won't be a concern. It is very important to
clean the pond bottom, in fall as well as spring, because the
fallen leaves are where the parasites and bacteria (bad guys)
will colonize throughout the winter and will prey on your fish!
So, please don't leave anything in the bottom of the pond for the
tadpoles/frogs. You will be pleasantly surprised at how large
your frogs will be by next year.... you will hardly recognize
them! Leave them alone. They are fine without human assistance.

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 12:52 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- DE-ICER - DIY INSTEAD OF BRINGING THEM INSIDE

- RACCOONS - HOW CAN WE PROTECT OUR FISH?
-----------------------------

Question>

Carolyn,

Here is a comment in response to the question about taking the
fish indoors for the winter from the person in Ohio.

I live in Michigan and also have a very small pond that is only
about 30 inches deep. I lost all my fish the first two winters
due to the pond freezing over solid. But last winter I smartened
up (a bit) and bought a pond de-icer and it worked beautifully.
It kept the entire pond from freezing, and all of the fish made
it through the winter, including an albino catfish. The water was
still cool enough that they went dormant, but it never had a
single patch of ice on it. So for an investment of about $50, I
spared the time and aggravation of moving the fish indoors.

Just thought this might help.........

Regards

- Diana R.

========== @SK Carolyn =============
Have a pond question? Just send it
in to: Carolyn@macarthurwatergardens.com
and our own in-house pond expert will
try and answer it for you!
====================================

Answer>

Thanks, Diana,

It helps, except if there is a power outage.
Then nothing helps.

-Carolyn

==

Question>

I had a sneak attack from a raccoon the other night. Luckily he
didn't get any of my koi and wasn't able to open the fish food
containers! But he trampled all my bog plants and made an awful
mess out of the pond. Is there anything I can do to keep these
pests away? I am afraid of them because they carry rabies and if
I let my dog out, he might get bitten and then I would lose him
too.

Thanks for any help you can give!

==

Answer>

The only sure way of discouraging raccoons is the low-voltage
wiring that is sold rather inexpensively, but I don't know where
you are, so can't refer you to a place to get it. Please look
into this. I got 150' of wire and the transformer, which was
very simple to install (I did it myself!). I only turn it on
when I am going to bed so it doesn't shock my own dogs by
mistake. Nothing else really works because these pests are so
domesticated. They live in our big cities, in the sewer systems!
Just like they own the place!

I also set out food in another area as a trade-off, and if
that doesn't work, the wiring should.

Good luck!

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 12:51 AM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- OVERWINTERING IN MISSOURI - I DON'T WANT FISHCICLES!

- BLUE WATER - THOUGHT HE'D LIKE IT, BUT DIDN'T WORK OUT
-----------------------------

Question>

Hello,

I have a couple questions. We live in Lees Summit, Missouri. This
is our first complete season with our pond and have gotten
conflicting information from every pet store in town!

Our pond is 17" deep and approx. 6' x 3'. We have 2 black moors,
2 shebunkins (they just had babies), 2 fantail goldfish & 2
butterfly koi.

As long as we have a good heater in the pond and keep an eye on
it (in case of power outage) do you think they have a good chance
of survival for the winter?

Soon we will be getting the pond & plants ready for winter. Is it
safe to leave the pump in the pond and just turn it off for the
winter? I love our pond and have grown attached to the fish. I
couldn't bear to turn them into fishcicles! I have a friend who
has a pond about the same depth as ours and her fish have been
fine throughout the winter.

Seems like a gamble either way!

Any information is appreciated.

Thanks

- Hollie

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Answer>

Hi, Hollie,

I think you summed it up in your last sentence- "it's a gamble
either way." But with the heater, and no power outages, they
should do fine. If they were my fish, I might bring in the fancy
goldfish to overwinter in an aquarium. It can be done, but it's
still your choice.

As long as the pump doesn't freeze, it too should be fine. In
fact, it is best not to let a pump dry out, so even if you took
it out of the pond it should be kept in a pail of water. The
gaskets can dry rot otherwise.

I have to say though that the two koi are going to be pretty
demanding shortly. In reality, those fancy goldfish don't really
have the same requirements as the koi, but the fact that the koi
will readily (and quickly!) outgrow its environment will be
something I hope you are preparing for now. So when you get to
digging a second pond, a bigger one for the koi (and the
prolific shubunkins), maybe it would be good to keep the smaller
one for the fancy goldfish. I'll bet you'll be happier too.

- Carolyn

==

Question>

I put some blue tablets in my pond to change the color. They are
not harmful to my fish or my plants, or so the package says. I
have had them in there for about two weks and I was wondering,
how do I turn my water back clear? I thought that it would look
really godd, guess I was wrong. Help.

- Steven

==

Answer>

Hi, Steven,

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Try water changes. Eventually
the water should lighten up, but nothing works like water
changes!

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- MICROBE - LIFT PLANTIND MEDIA FOR LILIES - WHERE DO
I GET IT?

- FIRST WINTER - HOW DO I PREPARE FOR FREEZING?
-----------------------------

Question>

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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Answer>

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

==

Question>

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
it?

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.

Thanks,

- Barbara

==

Answer>

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
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 06:36 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- FEEDING AND ULCER QUESTIONS FROM SOUTH ENGLAND

- LEECHES IN THE FILTER - AN ADDITIONAL NOTE FROM READER
-----------------------------

Question>

Hi Carolyn,

Please can you advise me with regards to two things.

1. When do you stop feeding fish ponds or should you reduce
feeding gradually during the winter months.

2. I have about an 900 gallon pond and use a boiforce 9000 with
UV filter and an OASE15,000 pump.

All through the summer the water has been crystal clear and
could actually see the bottom which is 3ft deep in places but
now seems to be milky looking.there are about 40 goldfish and 5
koi of about 10inches in length and noticed that about 12 fish
seem to have huge blisters or ulcers on them.

On noticing this i have tried various medications in liquid form
but to no avail.

I have also changed 80% of the water but no change. One aquatic
center suggested i put some salt in but this has not helped but
it is since i have put the salt in that the water has gone
milky. All the water tests are all spot on except pH which is
9.0 but we do live in a hard water area. I have also have
several new born fish this summer and even four of these have got
these huge chuncks missing on there sides.

The pond was only put in march this year and now i seem to be
loosing interest because i cant quite resolve any of these
problems.

Please help I am getting seriously concerned now with my failings
and should I isolate the infected fish.

P.S. I live in south England, Great Britain and the winters are
fairly mild here.

- Andy

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Answer>

Dear Andy-

That hurts!! Let me talk about the easy part first and get it
out of the way- feeding.

When the water temperature at night gets down to 55F you need to
cut out the high protein foods and up the vegetable protein,
like wheat germ which is a good staple food for spring/fall. As
the temperature drops, which it it may do (up and down for a
while before actually going down) nearer winter, and reaches
50F, stop feeding altogether.

Then, even if you have a couple of sunny days, do not start
feeding again until the late spring! That is very important. Many
people lose their fish because they forget that the food takes
4-days to go through the fish's digestive tract and out the
other end and any food left in there when the weather drops
again will putrefy and poison the fish. So in spring, this fish
turns belly up for no apparent reason, but we will know what
happened, won't we?

Okay, now, the epidemic you have on your hands- It certainly
isn't due to improper filtration. You have provided your pond
and fish with the best. What usually happens in a new pond is
"new pond syndrome" and the pond itself, in a year's time, will
become part of the filter too. It takes time to develop the
slime coat on the sides and bottom of the pond. That will
consist of beneficial and nitrifying bacteria, same as your
filter.

But I would recommend RIGHT NOW to isolate the affected fish.
Take them out and treat them separately, as it looks contagious.
I don't think blisters and ulcers are the same thing, but
whatever it is needs to be examined under a microscope for an
accurate diagnosis. More fish are killed by treating
speculatively.

The pH 9 is very dangerous and adding so much stress to the fish
now that they are unable to resist any infection whatsoever. They
should all be dead at that level pH. Most domestic fish can
withstand pH to 8.5, and even that is in the highest parameter.
The symbol pH stands for "power of hydrogen" in the water and
indicates whether it is acidic or basic. The ideal is in the 7.0
- 7.5 normal range. Yours is very high which makes ammonia
extremely toxic for the fish-- any ammonia. Adding salt to the
water was a good thing to do, but what amount did you add? The
proper amount should be .3% or 1# per 100 gallons, provided you
do not have plants in the pond. How does this happen? Although
there is no one way, by adding new fish without proper
quarantine, by buying from disreputable dealers, by adding
uncleaned plants, snails, frogs, turtles, or other visitors to
the pond, by water run-off after storms, poison from pesticide
spraying in your vicinity, and etcetera.

Knowledge is a good thing. Don't lose hope. Join a watergarden
or koi club and get some good help. One more thing, you have good
filtration, but only 900 gallons, so there are too many fish in
there. If we overload our ponds, nature will remove some for
us...

Are you willing, knowing what you now know, to take that chance?

- Carolyn

==

Question>

[In reference to a previous Q&A about worms in the filter]

Hi Carolyn,

Barb might be referring to worm-like leeches.

These are very contagious and harmful, and live off the fish
blood. They are in the same category as hook worms.

One author suggested soaking the fish in salt water (3%) for 10
mins

I have experimented killing these with salt, on a small scale.
- 1% no effect
- 1.5 % after 8 hours :some died but the rest survived with
fresh water.
- 2% kill all in <8 hrs
- 3% Kill all in <10 mins

These leeches are parasite and came with the red blood worm that
I bought.

Happy killing

Best Regards

- hmWong

==

Answer>

Hi, Gail,

However, at least from all the pond owners I have contacted,
which is many, our filter pads all contain leeches and nobody
knows from whence they come, but there they are. None have ever
been known to infiltrate the pond as yet and had they, the fish
would have eaten them, according to the koi club experts. Hook
worms which we call Lernaea cyprinecea are a different story
entirely and can be seen without a microscope, on the fish. And
yes, they are successfully treated in salt as you suggested or
Dimilin in the juvenile stage. Had Barb said there were worms on
her fish, the response would have been different, but leeches,
tubifex and bloodworms seem to be regular inhabitants in filter
matting and a normal part of the ecosystem.

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 06:35 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- ANCHOR WORMS? NOT SURE IF ITS WORTH IT

- NEW POND OWNER ASKS - TO CLEAN THE FILTER OR NOT TO CLEAN
THE FILTER?
-----------------------------

Question>

Hello Carolyn,

You were so helpful before, I beg your indulgence to permit one
more question. About 10 days ago, I noticed my yellow koi has a
dark, rice shaped/size speck on its side below the dorsal fin.
There's also a tiny pin dot in the same color on top of his head,
but nothing else looks out of the ordinary. The specks have not
moved in all this time nor increased in size or number. I can't
get close enough to the koi to catch or look at it with a
magnifying glass. The fish all swim about and eat like pigs, as
usual.

Since several gold fish have changed colors over the years, I'm
not sure if this is a pigment thing, although at times it looks
like the "rice" has legs, but never worm tendrils. Fearing an
infestation of something, I did some web research and then
purchased Dimlin when we couldn't find Anchors Away for leaches
or anchor worms.

The pond has a biological filter, a UV light, water lilies and
other plants for filtration. Since we also have at least 2 frogs
in residence and birds use the waterfall pools for bathing, there
could be pests in the pond.

If we treat the pond (no goldfish have this problem) with the
Dimlin in my 6.3 ph water, will it harm the fish if it's NOT a
leach or anchor worm on my one koi?

Thank You

- Sue

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

Hi, Sue,

I am quoting from Doc Johnson's book, Koi Health and Disease:
beginner to advanced life-saving technology" on the topic of
treating with Dimilin for Argulus and Lernea (fish lice)-
"Some references suggest that the Argulus organisms can actually
inject a toxic or inflammatory compound into Ulcer sites that
also causes Ulcers." He goes on to say that this is not a
serious problem in ponds where Dimilin has been used.

"Dimilin", according to Dr. Erik Johnson, DVM, "is a gyrase
insecticide, that inhibits the formation of the crustacean
(Argulus) skin. When the Argulus tries to mature, it simply dies
out. That is why the Dimilin is so much more effective against
immature forms of the parasite than against the mature forms.
Even still, the Argulus adults are cleared within 3-4 days under
normal conditiions anyway."

However, even more important to your question is that "Argulus is
potentially devastating, but in reality, usually only a temporaty
scare, and a dose of Dimilin away from being a memory." Yes,
Dimilin is the treatment of choice for fish lice, whether Lernea
or Argulus, and if you see it on one fish, you have it on many
that you do not see. It is the one parasite visible to the naked
eye and surprisingly overlooked quite often since the fish
continue to "act normal". Signs of infestation would be
flashing, appearance of secondary ulcers or bacterial infections.
Fish lice are sucking crustacean parasites that will attack and
proliferate in your pond no matter what condition your koi are
in. Immunity has no effect on them. Argulus lays about 500 eggs
on the surface of rocks, or even on amphibians, such as frogs.
Eggs hatch in 4 weeks. In exchange for a blood meal, they inject
bacteria, toxic substances, fungi and other undesirable
substances in the feeding process.

Are you willing, knowing what you now know, to take that chance?

- Carolyn

==

Question>

Hi Carolyn,

I enjoy receiving the question and answer emails. They are so
informative.

I am a new pond owner and have some concerns regarding the
filter. The landscaper that installed my pond told me that he
installed a crate like filter filled with lava rock. When I
asked him how to clean it he told me it wasn't necessary.
Is this the case?

Also I have floating plants (lettuce) and it seems that a dirt
like substance attaches to their roots.

When I pull them out of the water, the water around the roots is
brown. The rest of the pond is clear, can see the bottom. Any
ideas?

- Gail Cushman
Rochester, NY

==

Answer>

Hi, Gail,

Are there rocks on the bottom of the pond also? I suspect the
landscaper was not given the right information. The system you
have should be cleaned thoroughly once a year. Most people do it
in the spring by taking out their fish and power washing the
whole thing. It's a big job. Maybe the landscaper is planning
on doing it for you?

If it's an Aquascape pond, then he's knowledgeable about the
maintenance of one. There is no such thing as a filter that needs
no cleaning, period. Those plants will die off soon, as they are
annual.

Don't worry about the dirt on their roots. They are filtering the
water also. And the fish should be eating those roots at some point.
Maybe next year. We call it "silt:" and it attaches to everything
unless there is enough of a strong waterflow to keep washing it to the
filter.

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 06:33 PM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- NO BABIES YET - IS THIS NORMAL?

- LILIES - WHEN DO YOU DIVIDE THEM?
-----------------------------

Question>

Carolyn I have had a pond for a year and half and there has been
no young fry. Four of the fish are about eight inches long. Is it
possible that all my fish are the same sex? I live in south
Jersey and my fish made out fine during last winter.

It is 60 gallon pool and about 2 feet deep. I installed a 12 inch
airstone and it did freeze over a few times. I spend the winter in
Florida so I don't know how long it froze over. I only have my
nephew's word

Thank You

- Carl Miles

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

Gee, Carl, consider yourself lucky! Especially considering your
pond is only 60 gallons, you wouldn't want a population explosion
in there. it generally takes fish about 3 years to come into
sexual maturity, and this is not a hard and fast rule, but I am
guessing you have goldfish and not koi. When they are about 12"
they will be acting differently.

The size of the container can have something to do with it also.
the fish give off hormones that will limit their growth and
maturity in a small size container. If they were in 6,000
gallons, they would have spawned by now in all probability. To
have more fish in the 60 gallon pond would probably mean oxygen
starvation for the larger fish, and possible death. Guess they
want to survive.

- Carolyn

==

Question>

I enjoy your Question and Answer emails, keep them coming.

I have a question on dividing lily bulbs. When is it ok to
divide the bulb, without harming the whole thing and how do you
divide it?

Thank you for your info.

- Linda

==

Answer>

Hi, Linda,

Lilies can be divided either in the fall or spring. Spring is
possibly the best time, but either will do.

To divide, make sure you cut with a sharp knife so there are no
ragged edges. Take the plant out of the pot and rinse all the
soil (or potting medium) off, then cut pieces with root and
growing tips. Plant these up separately in new medium. I don't
suggest putting soil in ponds so look into using a soilless mix
or pure clay for any submerged pond plants.

In the spring, start putting fertilizer tabs into the pots as
soon as the water warms. It is for the fertilizing that spring
makes the best time to divide. To fertilize in fall would
encourage growth too late in the season.

Lilies are heavy feeders. In the fall, as during the year, you
could use Microbe-Lift Ensure to encourage good root growth (not
a fertilizer) and enable the plant to better use the nutrients
that are in the water.

- Carolyn

==

Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 03:29 AM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- WATER CHANGE - OVERHAULING DIRTY POND?

- NEW POND - CAN I INSTALL A WATERFALL THIS LATE IN SEASON?
-----------------------------

Question>

My 14000 gallon pond has gotten very dirty this summer I changed
the water twice so far. Is it OK to change it again just before
winter so my koi have clean water to winter in? I plan on
getting a different filtering system for next summer. I have 2
very large Green Machine biological filters that are not doing
the job they were sold to me for.

I also use 2 ultra violet lights and do not have any alge just
dirty water. There are only 20 fish in the pond now and they
winter very well as the pond is 4 1/2 feet deep. What chemical
do you suggest I use to take the chlorine out of the water when
I fill the pond again?

Thank You

- Joe

PS- One other reason for my water change is a suggesting from
one of Brett's previous tips that there should not be and stones
rocks or anything on the bottom of the pond. Well, when I had my
pond built 3 years ago they dumped in about 3 ton of gravel and
dirt and not the cobble stones they said they would. I now want
to take it all out.

I will take my koi out of the pond and put them
in a holding tank with a very good oxygen supply and clean the
pond to the very bottom. I also will power wash the sides. Then
refill with clean water. With a couple of men this job will take
one day to clean and 12 hours to refill.

I lost all my big koi last winter as they were eaten by a otter
that went through the large air hole in the ice. The koi I have
now are the fingerlings that hatched during last winter. They are
now 8 inches long already and come to the top to eat when they
see me walk to the edge of the pond. As I said before the pond is
so dirty that I can't see the fish 6 inches from the top.

Thanks again

========== @SK Carolyn =============
Have a pond question? Just send it
in to: Carolyn@macarthurwatergardens.com
and our own in-house pond expert will
try and answer it for you! Write "POND" in
the subject line for immediate attention!
====================================

Answer>

Hi, Joe,

The suggestion here is to do partial water changes at 10% weekly
throughout the spring/summer/fall and 10% monthly during the
winter. The primary reason for these water changes is not to
clean the pond, but to remove built-up phosphates. Filters do
not remove phosphates in the pond. Filters should remove debris
and chemicals such as ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Rather
than doing drastic water changes, I recommend using another
tactic- why not try Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep? It contains
enzymes and bacteria that are cold-weather strains and will keep
working on dirty water through the winter months.

For dechlorination, most de-chlor products on the market would
work, or you can use a spray (above the pond) to refill it, and
let the air take out the chlorine. I had occasion to set this
up for a friend this week and it works great. In this case, the
friend was away and the pond had an ammonia spike. I did the
water change by leaving the water spray for two days. I call
this a gentle, gradual water change. It won't work if there is
chloramine in the water, so find out what you have first.

It is so sad that people who bill themselves as koi pond builders
do not have a clue as to what is required! But as to the otter,
I would see about installing low-voltage wiring. Nothing else
will stop it from returning for the rest of the fish.

I wouldn't power wash the sides or bottom. It's okay to remove
all the rocks and rinse it, but to power wash it would remove all
the bacterial slime layer which is part of the ponds "maturity".
It is part of your biological filtration. Everytime you do that
you set back the whole thing. Clean the water, not the liner.
Whatever bacteria has become established already you will want to
keep. If you scrape a fingernail on the side you will come up
with some black stuff, which is the important slime layer of
which I am speaking. And any algae that exists in the pond is
needed through the winter for the fish to nibble when they are
not being fed.

- Carolyn

==

Question>

I have just put my first pond in the ground. It's very small -100
gallon, hard liner. The shelf around the pond is about 8" deep &
the center of the pond is about 18" deep. I intend to have a
small waterfall coming off natural rocks (about 3 feet high) on
one side. I have purchased a pump & tubing for this.

I guess I'll have to wait til spring to add plants but I'd like
to enjoy the water now. I'm anxious to get the thing up & running
as the weather here (north Alabama) is getting really nice in the
evenings. I can't wait to be able to sit relax (there's a nice
sitting area around the pond) by my little pond & listen to the
water sounds!

I am ready to place rocks to hide the lip of the pond which rises
about 2" above the ground & to stack the rocks for the waterfall
(OK, maybe it will be more of a large trickle than a waterfall).

Anyway, will I need to add anything to the water to keep it clean
& clear? Any suggestions and/or comments would be greatly
appreciated! I have enjoyed reading the Q&A's about other ponds.
Mine seems like a tiny project compared to all the others I've read
about. Guess you have to start with your little piece of Heaven
somewhere though!

Thanks

- Susan

==

Answer>

Hi, Susan,

Congratulations on your new pond! I see no reason why you can't
enjoy a waterfall this year. When building up a waterfall be
sure there is a liner under all the rocks or the water will leak
out.

A waterfall probably would have to be shut off for the winter if
your temperatures go below 32F, otherwise the hosing might freeze
and break but you should have plenty of time to enjoy it this
year before it freezes.

Plants can go in now, if they are hardy varieties. Are you putting
fish in there? Although fish are not a necessity in a water garden,
some people want to add a goldfish or two. I would hold off until
next season for fish.

- Carolyn

==

Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 03:28 AM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- WORMS IN THE FILTER - HOW DO I KILL THEM?

- WINTER INDOORS? - BUT WHEN AND HOW DO I DO IT?
-----------------------------

Question>

Hi Carolyn!

I was cleaning out my pond filters yesterday and noticed for the
first time small red worms in the filters. They are about the
size of a fingernail clipping.

Do you know what they might be and how I should treat the water
to kill them? I put pond salt in the water so hope that will do
the trick but if I should do something else, please let me know.

Thanks

- Barb

========== @SK Carolyn =============
Have a pond question? Just send it
in to: Carolyn@macarthurwatergardens.com
and our own in-house pond expert will
try and answer it for you! Write "POND" in
the subject line for immediate attention!
====================================

Answer>

Hi, Barb,

They aren't any harm to your pond. These are the small
bloodworms you would buy in the pet shop if you were looking for
live food for tropical fish! If you try to kill them you might
just upset the balance of nature in your pond, so I would leave
them alone. We all have them.

It's not a nice thing to look at but they are harmless and normal
to be there.

- Carolyn

==

Question>

Hi again Carolyn.

A few weeks ago you advised me to take my fish in this winter
because my pond is so shallow and the winters here in
northeastern Ohio are pretty cold. I still have a few questions
to ask you.

The first is, how cool should the pond water be till I have to
bring them in? Also, should I use pond water to fill the aquarium
inside or can I use tap water or a combination? Also, should we
keep the same feeding habits as if the fish were still outside?

I think that's all for now unless you can think of something I
may have missed as you obviously know alot more about this than I
do. Thank you again for all the knowledge you bring with your
pond q&a's. I appreciate it and I know my fish do as well as it
helps me in keeping them alive.

Pondfully,

- Mike Malcuit

==

Answer>

Well, Mike-

I think the fish will do best if you don't shock them with 100%
new water, for starters. A 50/50 mix should work. The
temperature should be the same, or within two degrees in both
places when you transfer them, and make the move slowly, as you
would from a pet shop, gradually allowing them to acclimate to
the new water. The chemicals and minerals are different in the
new water.

I would not wait until the water is too cold before bringing them
inside. It is still warm now, but whenever your area weather
starts to cool off at night is when the transfer should take
place. Remember, in a shallow pond the temperature fluctuates
rapidly, creating more stress for the fish from day to night.

As for the feeding, that depends entirely upon the indoor
temperatures and environment. Do you have a good filter system
in there to process and nitrify the ammonia produced by feeding?
Will you have easy access for water changes? If not there could
be a nitrate or phosphate build-up which is not healthy for them.
If the temperature is around 72-76 like most homes, I think they
are going to be metabolizing and needing fuel. Hope this helps.

- Carolyn

==

Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 06:33 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

-------------------------------
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?
-----------------------------

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, I’m all for finding out!

Thanks for the help!!

- Becky Fresia

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/
Pond Filters, Pumps, UV's and More...
Discount Prices at Our Online Store!
http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com
_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

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

==

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

==

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 06:32 PM | Comments (0)