It’s that time of year again…time to slip on the rubber boots or waders to clean out the muck accumulated in the bottom of your pond. Though it’s always nice to see our finned friends coming back to the surface to see us after a long Winter, there are also many things we can encounter in the pond that most of us would rather be left unseen. I’m talking about the nasty, writhing, wiggling creatures that take refuge in the muck and dormant filtration. While there are thousands of microscopic creatures in a pond that you will probably never have the opportunity to see, it’s the worms and larvae that you can see with the naked eye that can cause panic or alarm if you don’t know what you’re looking at. I’d like to take this opportunity to talk to you about a few of the common critters you may find in your pond to hopefully save you some worries in the coming weeks. Read More »
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Many other blogs have discussed (and will continue to discuss, I’m sure) the importance of testing various levels in your water and its effects on the overall health of your aquarium. But, how can you actually test it? For anyone who isn’t able to bring a water sample into That Fish Place or their local fish store for testing or who wants monitor their water quality at home, there are lots of options for what tests to use. While what to actually test for is for another blog, there are lots of options when it comes to how the tests are actually done. Here we’ll look at the pro’s and con’s of the three most common aquarium testing methods: Test Strips, Liquid Test Kits, and Electronic Testing Equipment. Read More »
Hey guys, Justin here! Its about that time of year when your pond may be turning into something resembling large vat of pea soup. The water turns green, the liner turns green, and thick green strings of algae grow on everything! It’s painful to see, because you work so hard on your pond to keep it nice, clean, and clear. Though I recommend using algaecides only as a last resort, it is very important to ensure that you are using them correctly if you choose to go that route.
The first thing to know when treating your pond is the size of you pond in gallons. This is imperative, as over dosing algaecides can kill ornamental plants, frogs, snails, and even fish. Under dosing, while not harmful, is wasteful and will obviousle make the product less effective in combatting the algae. If you are not sure of how many gallons your pond holds, there are many formulas to help you determine the volume. Rectangular ponds use the formula Length x Width x Average Depth x 7.5, Circlular ponds Width x Depth x 70.5. Make sure that all of your measurements are in feet. Oddly shaped or angular ponds may be a little tricky, but generally you want to calculate using the surface area x the average depth. Once you have the volume of your pond calculated, simply follow the directions based on the manufacturers suggested doses.
Once you have added the algaecide to the pond, it is important to remember the last half of algaecide is “cide”. This means that algae will in fact die, and those of us that have kept ponds and aquariums know that dead organisms left in water start to break down. As the dead algae is being broken down by bacteria in the water, Ammonia and CO2 will be released into the water. Ammonia is very toxic to fish even at low levels. It is important to add bacterial additives to your water in conjunction with algaecides. The additional bacterial additives will convert the excess Ammonia to less toxic nitrite, then again into nitrate.
As the bacteria are breakdown the dead algae, they also release CO2. As the CO2 is released, it will actually force the available oxygen out of the water. When treating your pond with an algaecide, it is very important to have adequate aeration and surface agitation to supply your fish with vital oxygen. This is especially important during the warmer water months, as warmer water tends to hold less oxygen than cooler water. CO2 build-up in conjunction with the demize of oxygen contributing (and unsightly) algae, will cause an instant drop in available dissolved oxygen! Be aware of treating in the evening, too. Oxygenating plants will not produce as much oxygen in the evening and through the night. Even if you have bunches of oxygenating plants in the pond besides the algae, fish may still suffocate if the pond is treated late in the day. It is best to treat early in the day when you are able to observe how your animals are responding and take steps if necessary to add more aeration. (Low oxygen levels may cause fish to become sluggish, listless, or cause them to gasp at the surface or congregate at a fountain head or waterfall where more oxygen is available.)
Remove dead and decaying algae as much as possible, before it begins to cause other problems. Once the algaecide has run its course, it is recommended that you do a water change to remove the remaining algaecide and free floating algar, and vacuum the pond bottom to remove the debris. There are also a variety of “sludge removers” to help breakdown the remaining debris before problems begin.
Following these simple steps and precautions will ensure that your pond remains clean and clear and help you to avoid any algaecide caused fatalities (except the nasty green invader). Good Luck and happy pond keeping!
Ok, so the makeover isn’t all that extreme, but it was much needed in the case of our outdoor pond display located at the corner of the store on the field end of the parking lot. As you may know, we periodically re-vamp our displays inside the store, and in this case it was time for this old pond to get dressed up. If you’ve visited our retail store you’ve probably seen this pond, the body of which is constructed of landscaping blocks with a cascade of natural stone on the back end. It’s been there for years, and though the structure has remained much the same, the plants really make the pond come to life. Read More »
Green water. Nuisance algaes. Cyanobacteria. Poor coral growth. Random invertebrate death. All of these are problems found in freshwater aquarium, ponds and saltwater aquariums and leave many aquarists stumped. Most of them can be diagnosed with one simple water test however – the often-overlooked Phosphate test.
What is a Phosphate and Why Should I Be Concerned?
Phosphate is a naturally occurring compound with several sources in aquariums and ponds. The most common may be the source water used. Some municipalities and well water sources naturally contain phosphates. It can come from the soil in the area or from run-off into the water sources, especially in agricultural areas or areas that use a lot of fertilizer (phosphate is one of the main ingredients in fertilizers used on farms and backyards alike). While the levels may not be considered dangerous or high to humans, it can accumulate in aquariums. Phosphates can also enter an aquarium through the salt mixes used in saltwater aquariums, in the rocks and decorations used, and in the thawed water from commercial frozen foods. Read More »