December 21, 2005

Winter pond cover?

Q.>
My pond is 4 foot by 6 foot and is about two and a half feet deep. I have
three Koi fish that remain in the pond over winter. The pond gets direct
sun most of the day. For the winter I would like to know if covering the
pond with a screen to keep out debris would have the desired effect. Is
there such a screen that may be purchased? How would it stay in place
without falling into the pond? I am learning a lot from your
letters...Thank you!

====

A.>
There are a number of ways you can suspend a screen above the pond. One is to stretch the net over the pond and float something like beach balls on top to keep it off the water, or inner tubes (if you can find them anymore! Or did I just date myself?) Another way is to build a PVC frame out of straight pipes and corner angles, over which then can be stretched and tied the net. This is the best one and it can be pegged down beside the pond for sturdiness. You have to make sure it is framed in such a way that snow won't collapse it (not a flat top).
I also had great luck with a simple cover, not a net, using corrugated roofing material made from clear fiberglass, but it is seasonal so you probably will be very lucky to find any at this time of year. I laid a couple of these sheets of fiberglass material across my pond (when I had the 6' x 8' pond) and secured it with 4x4" lumber on each side and a lathe strip across both ends so the wind wouldn't pick it up.
==========
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

Should I clean the pond in Spring or Fall?

Q.>
Hi there pond experts,
My question is do I clean my pond in the fall ( I live in Vegas) or wait until spring. I've talked to many people, and they're split about 50-50 on the spring or fall question. I've has my pond a year and have not had anything done to it. Also, is there a special fall (or spring) food I should be using now, it still gets pretty warm here in the day - 75 - 85. Thanks for your help.

====

A.>
To start with, I would like to see the pond clean all the time. Does it have any debris on the bottom now? If so, I would say not to wait until spring. If you have an Aquascape pond, you HAVE to clean it annually. But all ponds should be kept optimally clean.

In the fall, you could use MICROBE-LIFT/Autumn Winter Prep which will work in cooler water temperatures and the little water soluble packets contain cellulase enzymes to eliminate any leaf matter or other organic waste that is in the pond over the winter months. Most people do the real clean-up in spring, but consider what your fish are "sleeping" in over the winter months. I would prefer to see them in clean water while they are semi-dormant! Remember, parasites do not hibernate or go dormant. They remain active on the bottom in whatever grunge is in the pond and will feed on your fish while the fish sleep.

Judging by your temperatures now, I wouldn't say you need the cold weather foods yet, but Wheat Germ is what you should have on hand when-- if-- your water temperatures ever dip below 60F in Las Vegas. That is the same type food to begin feeding in the spring, after the water temps are consistently above 50F.

==========
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

Koi doesn't look right

Q.>
I just discovered a bump on my oldest (3 yrs) Koi! What could it be? I also noticed some of his color is turning a bright gold too. This fish is very fat. He is probably is as wide as he is long. My pond is 55 gal. Do you think he is too big for the pond? Thank you for always answering my queries

====

A.>
Although I have no way of knowing what that bump is on your koi, I can definitely say the pond is waaaay too small for the fish. When we get fish for a pond, especially koi with their voracious appetites, we can tend to over feed. In feeding normally in a large pond the fish would grow accordingly. But by feeding normally, the same amount as we would in a large pond because they are the same fish after all, the fish does not have the opportunity to grow, so it gets fat. Fat in fish is as unhealthy as it is in humans. It affects their internal organs, its immune system and the overall lifespan of the fish. Does the fish have a tumor? Possibly. It is also possible that the fish is egg bound. It can also be parasites under the skin. But 55 gallons is not a suitable pond for a 3 year old koi.

As for the color, it is not significant of any problems. It will continue to refine and develop as the fish matures. Koi can take up to 10 years to assume their true colors. The right food, good nutrition and good water quality will help the fish develop the best color. Summer sun is helpful also.

===========
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

Freezing winters

Q.>i put a small pond in my garden last spring and when i had every thing right i purchased 12 young fish 4 shubunkins which my little girl calls chuppa chupps don't ask. 4 usual goldfish and 4 smaller goldfish with lots of black on them anyway i am a little worried that they might not make it through the winter ,see my pond is only 5ft by 4ft by just under 2ft deep in the deepest part .I live in the northwest of England and the winters aren't extremely bad so i am just wondering if there is anything i can do to give them a fighting chance i.e. put some sort of heater in with them or something like that i would hate to have to tell my little girl that her little chuppa chupp has turned from a lollypop into a lollyice. hope to hear from you this time

====

A.>I would definitely use a floating de-icer, which you can order through MacArthur Water Gardens website. I don't know how deep your frost line goes up there, but I have an 18" here, and anything that isn't deeper than 18" should be considered expendable. So, we either dig deeper and pray, or we use a de-icer (much easier and cheaper than a heater) and pray! Some sort of wind barrier will also help keep it a bit warmer.

=================================================

Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)

Algae problems

Q.>I have a 2,500 gal pond with two skimmers and a 4ft high biological filter waterfall. This was the 1st full summer since we put in the skimmers. We use to have our pumps at the bottom of our 4ft deep pond. We have some very large koi - many 15 years old. The problem is the water has turned florescent green about 2 months ago when one of the pumps needed to be replaced. We made the mistake of turning off both pumps and of course all the organic debris from the bio falls went right back into the pond. My husband cleaned out the biofalls filters (which of course looked clean since it all backflushed into the pond). We have been running both pumps but this florescent green is staying. We live in Nebraska and get some major weather fluctuations. Two weeks ago it was 75 degrees now it is 20 degrees. The florescent green as made for some really pretty ice formations this week!! I can not believe with the cold weather that the algae has remained. I'm sure we will have to just wait for spring but I was wondering if you have any idea why it is so persistent even in below freezing weather? Any ideas, thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated.

====

A.>
Unfortunately, algae is one of those things considered "pests" and that simply means it survives and thrives when all else fails. It grows when we would like it to die, so we generally resort to all sort of means, but it goes on anyway.

Some things you can do, even in the snow, are to use (here I go again) Microbe-Lift Autumn Winter Prep, with the combination liquid and water soluble packets, which are made especially for extreme cold weather conditions and their sole purpose is to remove (biodegrade) organic waste matter in the pond, even under ice and snow. That may not remove the algae you are seeing now, but as it dies, it will biodegrade that too. Another thing is to get a UV light and add that to the pond for next season. Check the MacArthur Gardens website, www.macarthurwatergardens.com and see what size would work for your pond. They will be the two best investments you can make.

==================================================

Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

Murky Water and fish load

Q.>I have a pond that is ~4800 gallons. The pond is 2.5 years old and my Koi are doing great. The problem is that since the pond was 2 months old I have been unable to see my Koi unless the swim to the top…… that applies to winter and summer!!! The deep end is 5 feet and the shallow end is 2.5 to 3 feet. I have an Ultima II Filter that is supposed to be able to filter 20,000 gallons………….I am using a 1.5 hp pump…………..what is the problem??? Why won’t the water clear up?? I have talked to the person that put the pond in for me and he has not been able to come up with a solution that works. I paid a lot for this pond and am so disappointed. Any suggestions??

====

A.>
I need to ask a few more questions because I don't see any obvious reason for the lack of clarity. How many koi are you keeping in the pond and how large are they? And is the pond situated where it can collect runoff from rainwater? Where are you located? The only other thing I can think of is the water itself. Did you have a water analysis done to see what chemicals and minerals are in your water? If it is high in iron or other heavy metals it can cause a big difference in the water quality, but the fish might have shown a reaction. Do you have any overhanging wood structures? Is the pond situated in a low spot in the yard where ground water would affect the pond? What are the local surroundings? If there are houses or businesses that pollute the air it can also affect the water quality. I have not seen a northern pond that didn't clear in winter, so this is really confusing to me. If possible, I would like to see a photo or two of your pond. Can you do that?

====

Response> I have ~45Koi in the pond............only about 12 large about 14" and the rest are various smaller sizes. There are also about 100 little mosquito fish and 2 Catfish ~ 10 Goldfish..............No water runs off into the pond.......except for the waterfall that recycles the water. I live in Lancaster, California

Here a couple of shots of the pond...........I live on 2 acres and there are two dogs..........a Lab/Shepherd Mix and a Shihtzu.......they both drink out of the pond.

Pics 8 and 9 are both of the shallow end of the pond........the pictures were taken in May of this year.....the water at the time I thought was starting to clear a little..........you can see them on the top of the water............I have two bottom drains and a skimmer.............it is a concrete pond ..............how many Koi should I have?? I have no problem getting rid of some of them...........

====

A.>
Remember, when figuring fish load, count those mosquito fish too. Each one should be around 1", right? Put them into the goldfish category. And catfish are the only ones I know that can outgrow koi in a short period of time.... As for the concrete being cured, don't worry about it now because after all this time it's cured. But please test for the ammonia and pH. Do the rest of them also because Nitrite can kill too. Got any plants in there?? It might help. Go to MacArthur website and check out the Microbe-Lift products for mosquitoes too. Maybe you don't need all those mosquito fish either.
PS, your dogs have nothing whatsoever to do with the cloudy water. And a little MICROBE-LIFT, if you are not already using it, could help a lot in clearing up the water. It's also safe for the dogs.

=================================
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

Green Water

Q.>
I have a 4000 gallon pond that is 10 years old. I have always had clear
water using a UV filter and plants and shade. Now the trees are gone near
the pond and it sits in full sun and the water is green green all year long.

what do I need to do to manage the green water?

====

A.>
I see you have been using a UV already and the only difference now is the loss of the trees. Have you replaced the UV bulb? Although they still emanate a light, the UV rays are generally ineffective after one season. I would recommend replacing the bulb or adding a larger unit.

==================================================
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

Aerators in winter

Q.>Is it a good idea to run an aerator all winter. This would seem to stir the water more, bringing the coldest water down to the lower levels.

====

A.>
Not if you don't put the aerator on the bottom. Situate it so it only aerates the top third of the water.

===================================================

Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

Muck and parasites in winter pond

Q.>
I have two ponds, one about 2000+ gallons and the other 3000 gallons, live on Long Island NY. Stopped feeding my fish, since the temperature went below 55 degrees. Within the next few days will stop my waterfalls and only keep my air bubblers on, first, it will supply oxygen and will stop it from freezing. Last winter I had the smaller pond going with an air bubbler, it never froze, air always had come out, to make sure, I poured some hot water over the area and when the snow melted, noticed it was all OK. To mention I used the PONDMASTER AP-20 it only uses 20 Watt my cost for it was $69.00. Laguna has one for halve the price, uses about 18 Watts, but does not look any thing as PONDMASTER as per housing and overall appearance. I like to pass this on to fellow pond friends, stay away from the expensive heater ring, with this years energy cost, will cost you a good penny. I have a question, my ponds are in depth over 40 inches, I know some debris settled at the bottom, but my catfish, which I have in it, besides koi and gold fish, love to winter in it. What I like to ask is, doe parasites survive cold waters, in this muck? by adding salt from time to time, which would kill parasites, do I need to do a water change after? Since my plumbing is disconnected. Thanks for listening to me and by the way, it is great, what you send us this Q and A, I print most of them and keep a folder good stuff, keep it up. PS, with an air pump going all year throughout, you can keep a few extra fish in your pond and don't worry about over populating, a good filtering system and a lot of oxygen, will remove most of the ammonia.

====

A.>
I too live on LI, so I am familiar with the winters here. First, thank you for the info on the bubblers. We all need to be energy conscious right now. I also found a 200-watt de-icer that I am going to try this winter instead of the 1,000 watt I have been using.

Your question about the muck and parasites: Yes, parasites are still alive and active in cold temperatures and do thrive in the muck layers of the pond. So it is not advisable for fish in a dormant state to share the same quarters with them over the winter months. As for salt, it is effective in parasite control for 9 out of 12 of the most common troublemakers, but salt will not dissipate. Therefore the only way to remove it is by doing water changes. If you continued to add salt you would eventually have too much in there without removing some. I personally don't advise leaving fish in salt all winter. It's just my personal opinion. There are others who do. I believe if you keep salt in the pond you will wind up with salt-resistant parasites too. My advice is to clean the bottom of the pond before the really bad weather sets in. It does not benefit the fish in any way. You can use another type hide-out for the fish, such as flower pot on its side or 4" diameter PVC pipe. They have KoiKastles that you can buy and fish love, that give them a sense of privacy and security in winter.

=================================================

Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

Overwintering Water Iris and Lilies

Q.> I was told when winterizing my pond I should cut my water iris down to about 6" above the pots. the same for the water lilies. and put them in the deepest part of the pond. was this the right thing to do? Will they grow back in the spring?

====

A.>that is what I do and I live in NY. The lilies do just fine provided they are the hardy types and not tropicals. They should be planted below the frost line, which here is 18", so if sunk into the bottom of the pond, that's how deep it needs to be. As for the iris, as long as they are below ground and not in an above ground stream, they will do fine. As a general rule I cut back my irises, even the German Bearded out front.

===============================================

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

Is there anything I can do fairly cheap to aid filtration in keeping new pond clean?

Q.>
I have an above ground pond approx 9' by 9' that I built last year out of
block and cement.I put in three 3" koi and 8 2-3" goldfish.It has done the
trick nicely although it is shallow at the deepest only 18" and now that my
koi is about 16" long and I have 3 as well as 8 various goldfish about 6-8"
and 52 babies 1-3" long.I have not had too many problems with except for
cleaning on a monthly basis.I run it only naturally except for a submerged
sump pump.It pulls water from the deepest end of the pond up to a smaller
pond with crushed lava rock which overflows via a small waterfall into the
pond.This has run this way with many successful breedings for 18 months.
Now for my problem we are moving and I will construct a new pond much
bigger.the size is done for me as rock walls are already in place it will be
12' by 30' and it will be 5' deep so I think I should be able to safely fill
with 4' of water.Again I will cement the inside of the pond and can build a
waterfall for filtration.But is there anything I can do fairly cheap to aid
in keeping it cleaner.I have never had a fish die in my pond so I think
health wise I am ok. I live in the Azores. I had lava rock on the bottom until
I read one of your E-mails advising against it so now I only have it in the filtering
pond, But it is not enough and the new pond will be considerably bigger and
will be very expensive and time consuming to empty and change the water
every month as I have been. I did think of painting the inside with pool
paint but am not sure if this is a good idea or just leave the bare cement as
I did with the small one.

====

A.>
I recommend you install a bottom drain in this new pond. That will make your life much simpler. With the bottom drain and upgraded filter system, you will be able to manage the new pond much easier than the old smaller one. I recommend you dig the pond instead of building it above ground, use an external pump and filter, and the bottom drain. In order to connect these, put the bottom drain connection to a vortex or settling chamber (cone shaped to settle out larger debris), and then to go to the pump (with a pre-pump strainer basket). After the pump it should go to a filter, maybe a bubblebead filter (Ultima I I would be a good choice) and then the nice clean water will flow back into the pond. That will eliminate a lot of water maintenance and all you will have to do is 10% water changes weekly during the summer and 10% monthly in winter. If you can add a skimmer, you can put a submersible pump in there.

===============================================

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

My first winter with fish

Q.>
I built a 1,000 gal pond last autumn and added goldfish in the spring. I have a bio filter box which keeps the pond clear and have had to net it to stop the herons.

My question is --- I live just north of Manchester in England, we very rarely get prolonged frosts and the temperature goes up and down at regular intervals. I understand not to feed the fish below 4C and it takes a few days for food to pass through the fish system, I have 15 goldfish, no koi. Should I feed in the winter if the temperatures are above 4C forecasted for a length of time or should I not feed at all until the spring?

I have not fed them for a week now as we have had a few days frost.

I have learned a lot from you Q & A - thank you

====

A.>
As for feeding, when you say you do not feed below 4C, I believe that equates to 38F, but I don't really know. You should not feed the fish anything below 50F. The reason for this is that the fish's metabolism slows down at these temperatures and the food will not be processed adequately, not expelled timely. It therefore can become septic and kill the fish. It is important that you are using the water temperatures and not air temperatures because there can be a big difference. Generally the water will be warmer by a few degrees. My advice? I recommend no feeding during times of fluctuating temperatures and if that means the entire winter, so be it. The fish will be fine.

====================================

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

Pump Question

Q.>Hello Carolyn,

I am getting ready to install a new pond and I am trying to figure out what
size pump I need. I am going to have two different pools, a lower one and
higher one. The lower one is going to be about 3,000 gallons and the top one

(approx. 600 gal) will have a waterfall 2' wide, that flows directly into
the bottom one. What size pump do I need?

Another question, I have heard that an old piece of carpet works fine for a

underlayment for the liner. Is this true or will it eventually start
molding and smelling?

====

A.>

About the pump, it depends on how many fish and how big the fish will be. If they are koi, you need to double the pump and filter capacity for the amount of water you have. So shop for a 6,000-7,000 gph pump if there will be any koi in there. If only goldfish, no koi, you can install something that moves 2,000-3,000 gallons per hour. You didn't mention how high the pump will have to pump from the bottom pond to the waterfall. It makes a difference in buying a pump. If you are pushing water up 4-8' for instance, you need to take that into consideration (high head versus low head). I don't entirely understand these myself, but if you either go to the website, www.macarthurwatergardens.com or talk to someone who knows about plumbing and pumps, they can tell you the difference and you can pick what you need.
Now for the underlayment. We used to use old carpet and newspapers for this, but have found the glue attractive to rodents and pests. So I don't recommend using it. If you need it because of tree roots or rocky ground, they sell actual underlayment for liners.

======================================

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

Today's Pond Q&A

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

In this issue:

- WATER REFILLS IN WINTER - CAN I USE THE WELL WATER?

- FEEDING IN WINTER - I LIVE IN LAS VEGAS, IS IT SAFE TO FEED
HERE?
-----------------------------


Question>

I live in a suburb of Chicago so we are in Zone 5 and I live in
an unicoroporated area so we have well water. I have an
Aquascape pond which we dug ourselves and we keep the pond and
waterfall running all year long which was suggested by the
Aquascape people. Also have a unit in the pond to keep an air
hole so the gases can escape.

My husband has made it so when the water level is low in the
summer due to evaporation the water automatically comes on in
the skimmer and fills it to the proper level and then shuts off.

My problem is in the winter time all the outside water is shut
off (forgot to mention that the water that goes into the pond is
directly from the well) so in the winter we have to carry out
buckets of water from the house to replace the water that has
frozen so the pump can keep on running and not burn out. There
is no problem when the ice melts as my husband has built an
overflow valve so I won't lose any fish that way. I have 4 koi
and 1 goldfish and a baby that was born this summer and
survived. I have one faucet that is directly hooked up to the
well so I can water my inside plants as we have a water softner.

My dilema is can I use the water that is processed through the
water softner which has salt added to fill the pond when it gets
low. I can use the direct faucet but it takes so long to fill
the buckets because it does not have the pressure like the
regular faucets.

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Answer>

I believe water softening salt is non-iodized, so it is safe for
the fish. I don't think it should be at any dangerous level
that would build up in the pond, so why not use it? Did you say
you water your plants with this water? If so, it cannot be
enough salt to be of any consequence at all. Salt and plants
don't mix. In fact, the salt can be beneficial for the pond and
fish by increasing their resistance to the cold and maybe even
kill off any parasites, if the salt level ever reaches
noticeable ranges.

==

Question>

HI there, I live In Las Vegas, so do not have to worry about
freezing. I quit feeding when my water temp hit 50, and it's
stayed pretty consistently at 50 (49 - 51 ) since. Was I right
to stop the feeding, even though the fall and spring food
package I have says it's OK to feed down to 42?
I love reading all the questions and advice you give - please
keep up the good work.

========== @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 quick response!
====================================

Answer>

You were right. However, if the fish look for food, I don't
think it is as harmful to feed once or twice weekly, small
amounts, if the temperatures in your area don't go below that.
But I would only consider feeding at all if they are actively
searching for food. This is why it's difficult to have "one
rule for all" because we all live in different environments and
have to be able to adapt to our own pond needs. The scary thing
is that if I were to tell you to go ahead and feed, and somebody
in Wisconsin read that they would think I said to feed in
winter. Go figure. I presume in your area the winters are
brief, so fasting will not harm the fish at all. Let the fish
be your guide in warmer climates.

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)

Today's Pond Q&A

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

In this issue:

- LEAKS - HOW TO REPLACE THE LINER AND NOT LOSE THE FISH

- POND PLANTS - CAN I OVERWINTER THEM?
-----------------------------

Question>

After four years of having a pond with a water fall, I've noticed
the depth of water has decreased over the past couple weeks.
I've added water, only to have it decreased again. Since we are
going into winter I figure I should wait until spring to fix the
problem. I do have Koi and goldfish, and a few snails. How do I
house my fish to empty and replace the liner??

The Koi are as old as our pond. We would love to keep our Koi and
not start over!

I have learned alot with these Q&A emails. Sure hope you can
help.

Thank you

- Linda

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Answer>

Hi, Linda,

Many of us have great success in using kids pools for temporary
holding ponds. Pump the pond's water into the pool to fill it,
put the fish in, then cover with a net to prevent any jumping
accidents. Set a filter up on this temporary pond. Then when
all is done, pump that water back into the pond so you will have
some "aged" water to start off with instead of 100% new water.

-Carolyn

==

Question>

Hi Carolyn,

Thank you and your fans for so many interesting and informative
subjects that are offered for the Q&A.

My question is about moving plants inside with fish.

After much deliberation, we decided that we would have more
problems winterizing our pond and bog than moving the fish
inside.

They now live in an 8’ (across) x 2’ stock tank in our garage.
Initially I was going to move our 5 water lilies into buckets,
but when I pulled them out of the pond they had outgrown the pots
I transplanted them to during the summer. I cut them all back,
divided them, in some cases, and discovered that the roots were
covered with black gunk -- which I hosed off – removing the roots
that easily fell away, repotted them in washed pea gravel and
water garden “media,” with one tablet of lily food, and they
are growing back quickly. We had a real problem with string
algae. This is our first year with a bog, lined pond and fish --
it has been an “interesting” summer.

I put the pots along one side of the tank and the fish really
enjoy them. I have seen your reference to plants wintering over
with fish and don’t want to ask for trouble and am now wondering
if the plants should be removed, as I would hate to jeopardize
the fish. We have only goldfish now, but they have controlled
our lives this past summer. They have a bio falls (one that has
a bag of light weight material with two mesh pads below the bag
that we clean weekly), and one aeration brick. We do a 15 minute
water change weekly, but the water is still green (same as it was
in the outdoor pond).

I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Thank you,

- Donna Browne from Colorado

==

Answer>

Hi Donna,

I think the plants will do alright in the pond indoors if there
is adequate sunlight (or simulated sunlight equal to what they
had outdoors). Plants are different than fish when brought
indoors. But if I remember right, we might be talking about
annuals, such as water hyacinths, that I spoke about before.
Those are a different story than potted plants. The hyacinths
tend to die, but potted lilies should make it through. Not sure
if we are talking about lilies, or whether tropical or hardy,
but if they start to look like they are not going to make it,
with leaves turning yellow, then I would suggest removing them.
It would be helpful to suspend fluorscent light fixtures about
6-12" above the water, with grow-lux bulbs, to help both the
fish and the plants survive the winter indoors.

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

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

In this issue:

- HEATED POND - WHAT IS BEST TEMPERATURE FOR YEAR ROUND?

- WATERFALL - LEAVE IT ON IN WINTER?
-----------------------------

Question>

Hi Carolyn,

Your Q&A's are great. I learn something every time I read them.

I have about a 1800 gallon pond and it is heated, it has both Koi
and Goldfish. My question is: what is the temperature you
should try and maintain the pond year round? Last summer and
winter I kept it between 73 and 70 This summer I kept it between
68 and 65 and plan to do so all winter. I live in Reno NV so the
winters can get cold, also at night I put four large pieces of
cut-out 2" thick insulation on top of the pond and cover the
small openings with pieces of bubble wrap to help keep the heat
In.

Also I feed the fish the same year round is that OK? I haven't
been able to find anything regarding heated ponds.

Thanks

- Rebecca

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Answer>

Hi, Rebecca,

The primary reason you haven't read anything about heated ponds
is that they don't follow the rules of other ponds. All the rest
go by seasonal water temperatures. You will go by water temps
too, but the temperature being constant, so will your fish care.
The rules of feeding, for example nothing under 50F, wheat germ
foods between 51-65F, and high protein between 66-85F water
temperatures. Just remember, consistent is the key word and
that it takes the fish four days to eliminate the food they ate
today, so if the temps are going to drop in the next three days,
it could be a problem, such as a power failure in a real cold
spell. I think that is the reason I never heated my pond.
That and the fact that I am cheap. But it sounds like you have
a nice system there.

Let me say something about heated ponds and year round feeding.
The fish will grow twice as fast but may live half as long. As
they can outlive most of us, that shouldn't be a big problem if
they only live as long as we do instead of twice as long. What
you have there, with the heated pond, is an entirely different
fish hobbyist "culture". There are lots of heated ponds, and
indoor winter ponds and outdoor summer ponds out there that you
haven't heard about, but rest assured, they are there! Just
monitor the water temps and do according to what you learned. I
would think temps around 70-75 should be good for them year
round, if possible. (With the cost of heating today, they could
do with less.)

It's important to keep up the bacterial additives and water
changes, filter maintenance, and all the other summer chores as
long as the fish are active. You do use Microbe-Lift, don't you?

-Carolyn

==

Question>

Hi, Carolyn,

Thank you for your response. So you say the ideal temp for them
is between 70 and 75 year round correct, but can be lower if
needed. The initial cost of installing the heating system was
high, but now it has only increased my heating bill by about $50
to $100 a month, well worth having them to enjoy all year round.

The answer to your question is yes, I use Microbe-Lift every two
weeks, Alge Fix every week, and on the alternate week of don't us
Microbe-lift I use Eco Fix. I do a 10% water change every week
or a 20% every two weeks. I also check the water once a month on
PH, Oxygen, Nitrate-rite etc.... It seems to keep things clear
and healthy. When I first started I had a problem with
parasites.. ick (infected new fish hard lesson on that one) and
the only thing that really helped it was a salt treatment, which
I now do every spring. Question. In the Winter I obviously do
not run my larger water fall (about 3' high), but I have a
smaller one (about 1' high) which I run 24/7. I also have a pump
in the skimmer that runs 24/7 that puts a stream out under the
high water.

Question is, is it better to have the water flow closer to the
surface or closer to the bottom of the pond . I also have a
small oxygen pump that runs 24/7 Hope you don't mind I have
attached three photos that were taken in the spring of my pond.

Thanks for your help... Rebecca

==

Answer>

Hi, Rebecca,

I love photos! Thanks for sharing your beautiful pond with me.
As for the waterfalls in winter, I have friends with Aquascapes
ponds that keep theirs going 24/7,and since yours is heated, I
would suggest keeping the one closest to the water running. Not
sure what you meant about closer to the bottom. Did you mean
you have a return jet at the bottom of the pond? Not sure that
would work because it would just keep stirring up debris. I
have a winter drain and return, mid-water, but I don't use them.

I stopped using them because on warmer winter days when the
fish are up and swimming around, still dopey from the cold, they
tend to swim into my filters and then can't find their way out
again. I lost a couple like that. I would keep the water flow
closer to the surface of the pond. That should work. And the
aerator should not be on the bottom either. Place it just below
the surface.

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

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

In this issue:

- LEAVES ON BOTTOM - HOW DO I CLEAN IT OUT SAFELY?

- GRUNGE AND VACUUMS - WHAT REALLY WORKS?
-----------------------------

Question>

Hi Carolyn,

Your pond help is wonderful. I learn a great deal from reading
about other people's ponds and their issues. Knowing is always
better!

I have a new 1,800-2,000 gallon pond, about 22" deep (to the
river stone at bottom). We currently have 2 Shubunkins, 4 Golden
Orfes, 7 comets and 2 Red-capped Orandas. I am thinking of adding
just 2 more Shubunkins and 2 more Orandas next spring and no
more.

At this time of year, leaves are starting to fill the pond every
day. Not a problem to clean out but I am wondering about debris
on bottom. I can stir up lots of the leaves with a net and then
capture them for removal. However, is there any sort of
inexpensive pumping device that will bring up water and debris
and simply filter it through a porous bag of a sort and allow it
to be released back into the pond. This would easily help keep
the bottom clear.

By the way, the builder of the pond suggested that we keep it
running all winter (zone 6, central New Jersey). We have a 17'
stream leading from the falls, forking into 2 parts about 6 feet
before entering the pond in 2 places. I will be using a 1,250
watt floating heater (starting soon). He also suggested that
because the filter is at the bottom of the Savio SkimmerFilter,
it need not be removed during the winter even if it's turned off.
Any thoughts about this?

Thanks so much for the excellent advice.

Rich Wolfert
East Brunswick, New Jersey

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

Hi, Richard,

I have used a bottom cleaner that attaches to the garden hose and
has a leaf bag attached to actually collect leaves. That would
probably do the job for you. It comes with a pole, a brush that
looks like a broom assembly, and the bag. You supply the hose.

The problem cleaning leaves off the bottom of a goldfish pond,
especially in the cold weather, is that we tend to throw out the
fish with the leaves, so be very careful when emptying the net or
bag. During summer when fish are warm and active they have no
problem getting away from us, but are easily collected with the
debris in the cold weather. Again, you should be using
Microbe-Lift/Autumn Winter Prep to help remove unwanted leftover
leaves that are still in the pond when winter really sets in.
But it's a 4-month regimen, so should be started now, especially
considering that you have rocks on the bottom to collect debris.

As for the filter, it should remain in water, either in the pond
or elsewhere. So, if you do turn it off, you can safely leave it
in the pond. By the way, the pond and stream all sound
wonderful. Would love to see pictures.

-Carolyn

==

Question>

Hi, Carolyn,

Do pond vac really work? Can I expect to draw the bottom grunge
up with any of the choices out there?

As to the parasites and bacterium. I have already changed out
the water for the winter. I have a 4500 gallon pond. So if not
salt, is there another way to treat the pond?

- Mike

==

Answer>

Hi, Mike,

If you have been able to clean the pond to some extent, you can
use potassium permanganate to exterminate existing parasites.
Then you can use LymnoZyme to maintain an Aeromonas &
Pseudomonas-free pond. I believe the regimen is a 6-week
application, but check the label. Potassium Permanganate is a
two-part treatment and what I particularly like is that if the
fish show any signs of stress when using it, all you have to do
is throw in some Hydrogen Peroxide (which practically everyone
has in their medicine closet) to reverse and neutralize the
effects instantly.

- Carolyn

==
Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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

Posted by bfogle at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)