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Spring has Sprung

Great Info For Your Pond! 
April 2015

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APRIL 2015 Q & A
Answers to help you get Clean water, Healthy Fish, Beautiful Ponds!

In this issue

  Spring Algae Blooms
  Spring Cleaning
  Using Additives
  Choosing a Pond Vac

Question:

As the temperature where we live is beginning to rise, we have been noticing more algae.  Since this is not our first spring with the pond, we were already aware that spring brings sunshine, rain, warmer temperatures and .... dah, dah, dah dahhhhh... algae!  Help!

 

Answer

Most ponds that experience a spring algae bloom do so because the biological filter is not conditioned for control of the rapid increase in organic waste levels in the warming pond.  Active fish are eating more and putting out more waste and ammonia, into the pond.  Algae will colonize a pond with rising organic waste levels in as little as 10 days.  The best way to control spring algae blooms is to ensure that the bacteria in your filter are thriving and ready for the rapid increase in waste material as the pond warms up.  Clean your filter thoroughly and regularly.  It is not a good idea to simply add algaecide to a fish pond without a biological filter. Check your UV Clarifiers and make sure you change the bulbs every season to keep them working optimally.  Using algaecides to treat blooms of aquatic algae can be a very quick and effective method as well.  Algaecides typically kill algae fast!  An algae bloom is to be expected in most ponds in the Spring... this event is no cause for alarm!  In fact, this bloom actually helps protect fish from potentially high levels of ammonia and nitrites.  If the Spring Cleaning was adequately done and the fish are not overfed, the explosion of green water will subside quickly as the plants begin to dominate!
 

Question:

It seems like the deep freeze is over!!  We bears are thinking of coming out of our caves to take care of our ponds.  This task seems quite daunting!!  What can you suggest to make Spring Cleaning a bit simpler for us this season?

Answer:

Welcome!  We here in South Florida feel your pain (ha, ha!)  We would suggest a partial water change, perhaps as little as 20% if you prepared properly before hibernating, or up to 50% if you notice a large accumulation of dead leaves and other debris in the pond.  100% changes should not be done on ponds with fish or plants.  Remove any debris that you can see.  While the water level is low, check and inspect all equipment.  Look for liner damage, pump (housing damage, leakage) or filter issues (media, debris), bulb mishaps and the like.  Check tubing (kinks, holes), cables (fraying, tears) and connections.  Inspect plants... discard any that have perished or weakened beyond salvation.  Do not add tropical plants until temps are expected to stay within normal range.  Fish should be examined at this time as well.  They are probably sluggish enough to catch and check for blotches, wounds or anything apparent. Then re-filling... a garden hose trickling new water in over a matter of hours, or even days would be ideal.  Test your water levels.  There are many strips and kits available to assist you in determining if dechlorinators or other additives are needed.  Once the pond is filled, circulation and filtration should be resumed.  Be careful not to give in to the temptation to toss handfuls of high protein foods into the ponds for the fish.  Much will go uneaten and become food for the algae growth.  There are foods especially designed for the cooler water.  Floating foods might be a good idea at this time, as you can see the uneaten portions more easily. 

Question:

I have heard lots of mixed reviews on using additives to adjust the levels of certain aspects of my pond (pH, ammonia, chlorine, etc.)  I have also heard mixed advice on how to use these products.  What is the best approach to using pond water additives?

 

Answer:

Indeed there are lots of additives out there and lots of different manufacturers of similar treatments... where to begin?  Once you have determined what the issue is with your pond water, take a look at organic answers...  is your pond in direct sunlight with lots of fish and plants?  Perhaps you don't have a UV Clarifier and should have one.  Has your media been changed and working optimally in your filter?  If it is additives you seek, choosing the right one can dramatically increase your ponds health.  One thing for sure, DO NOT GET CRAZY when selecting and using additives!  Many products are on the market under different manufacturers and different catchy names.  Many of them can be used for similar issues... big thing here, DON'T OVER-USE, use them sparingly.  Take chlorine for example.  Many pond people will recommend doing nothing, and that over time chlorine will dissipate.  True, but how long do I have to wait?  What about the "fish killer" ammonia?  Is there a remover for that?  Yes, of course... pH too low?  There is an upper for that (and a downer too...)  Point is that if there is a problem, more than likely there is a solution (or two, or three...)  Get the picture?  Start somewhere with additives, but start slowly and make sure to read the dosing and instructions carefully... do I turn off the UV?  do I remove carbon media?  do I have to aerate?  Rely on the directions, and when in doubt... ASK!!

Question:

I
have been thinking about getting a pond vac to help clean the dirt and mess from the bottom of the pond.  What should I look for?

Answer:

Ah the Pond Vac!!  Indeed we have come a long way in the care and maintaining of our ponds. Pond Vacs have come a long way too.  There are some which work on the strength of the pressure coming from your garden hose.  Little pressure, little power... these tend to work best for fountains and smaller water features.  Look at capacity.  The larger the holding tank, the longer you can go between starting/stopping/emptying the vac.  Horsepower is usually a good indicator of strength of the motor.  Length of cleaning tubes and types of adaptors might offer insight to how much distance you can cover, what depths you can reach, and whether or not you will be able to get into all the nooks and crannies around your rocks.  All in all, a specific pond vac might work well for one type of pond and not for another.

 

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