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Pond Tour 2013 Celebrating 15 years! (1998-2013)

Pond tour photo

This year’s tour will feature 9 local ponds and will feature everything from an earthen pond with fountain, a disappearing waterfall, and a swimming pool to pond conversion.  The tour will be held Sunday, June 23rd noon -5pm, rain or shine.  The $15 per person ticket will benefit our neighbor, Manna on Main Street.  The ponds are located in Audubon, Blue Bell, Collegeville, Harleysville, Hatfield, King of Prussia, Lansdale & Worcester.  Homeowners look forward to meeting you and sharing their pond or ponds, in some cases.
It is hard to believe that our first pond tour was back in 1998.  Our first tour was no charge and we had so many patrons opening up their wallets that day that we chose to make it an annual fundraiser for  local community charities.  Over the course of the years, we were able to raise over $19,300 for many local worthwhile causes including Variety Club Camp, Habitat for Humanity, Easter Seals, Victim Services, and MCAB and have showcased over 131 different ponds!

Thank you for supporting our tour over the last 15 years.  This will be our last annual tour.  We can’t believe it has been that many years!

 

My Pond Has Foam: What’s Going On?

Your pond looks great and one morning you wake up and it looks like a neighbor kid put laundry soap in your pond.  What happened?  Well, there is several reasons for the foam, but rarely and gratefully, it typically has nothing to do with the neighbor kid!  The foam is due to extra protein in the water.  Here are some common reasons for the foam on the pond.

1.  Your fish may be spawning.  During spawning, the females will lay eggs into the water while the male will fertilize them.  All this reproductive activity may cause a temporary foaming and very active fish.

2.  You are overfeeding your fish.

3. You have too many fish.

4.  You have lots of organic debris and fish waste in the pond.

To eliminate the pond foam, you can use a pond defoamer.  These products are safe for the pond, but it is only a temporary solution.  Try to take care of the cause of the extra protein in the pond.  You can back down or eliminate your fish feedings, reduce your fish population, or clean out the organic debris.

Green Water Algae- What to Do!

Algae growth which turns the water green or tan and can severely limit water clarity should not be a problem due to our pond system design.  After your pond is first installed, or anytime you need to walk in your pond, it is normal to stir up some silt, and have poor water clarity.  We are, after all, building a water garden, and are not seeking the artificial environment of a swimming pool.  If you do experience some green water and can no longer see the fish, do not be alarmed.  It can be common for new ponds less than 2 years old to have spells of green water as the pond finds a balance and becomes a living pond.

Remember, if you had just purchased cows and placed them in a fenced in parking lot, they would not be happy.  Luckily for us, when we place fish in a new rubber liner pond, mother nature helps us out by providing algae to make the environment a good place for fish.  Tinted water is not bad for the fish, it simply means there are more pond nutrients, such as fish water, than the pond plants can use up.  If your pond is planted and stocked appropriately, green water will normally clear all by itself.  We typically do not recommend chemicals to clear the water, unless you absolutely need a quick result, say in time for that party.  Remember when you use an algaecide to treat green water, you are killing the algae and allowing it to become more nutrients to grow more algae– Break the cycle by ensuring lots of plants!  Consult with us about your green water and we will make recommendations.  Some possible solutions include the addition of pond plants planted up in such a way that they use up the extra nutrients within the pond.  The most common way to cure green water is to shield the water from the sun with lily leaves, adding more filter plants, and beneficial bacteria.  Other causes of green water include over-feeding of the fish, inadequate filtration, recent rains bringing in new nutrients, or too many fish for the pond.

UV clarifiers or sterilizers will zap green water and serve a important place in the pond where the homeowner is not patient.    During the spring, when the fish have woke up and are producing waste and the plants have not yet had a chance to grow, the pond water will take on a green tinge.  However, with some patience and a well planted pond, UV lights are typically not needed.  They only cure green single celled algae and do not affect the more common string algae.  Up in a future blog- String algae.

Is this a pond leak or water evaporation?

As the temperatures spike to 95 this week, we often get questions about potential pond leaks.

If you have a skimming pump chamber, the water level should be kept at the second to the top screw head on the skimmer faceplate  so the pump does not empty out the skimmer filter faster than replacement water enters through the skimmer filter opening. Below is a picture of a skimmer with the ideal water level marked in red.

 

PSM

It is normal to lose 2-3″ of water in a week from evaporation.

Garden ponds from 500 to 2500 gallons and larger usually only require small weekly watering.  Refill water is less than normally required to nourish regular lawn grasses. If you feel your evaporation is unusually high, make sure you do not have any waterfall or stream leaks from someone stepping too hard on the edge of the liner and creating a trickle water loss. Also check your waterfall box to ensure plant growth has not blocked the flow of the water.

When evaluating a water leak, use the skimmer faceplate to determine actual water loss.  Again it is normal to have to put the hose in the pond once a week to refill for evaporation.  There are automatic water fills available if you prefer not to do this weekly refill.

If you pond water loss seems above the 2–3″ water loss in a week, you may have a pond leak.  Any pond is subject to losing water from small leaks around the water falls and stream. Such leaks are unlikely, but are easily fixed. As you plant the area around your pond, and especially around your falls and stream, be careful not to step directly with all your weight, onto the edge of the liner. If the liner along the water’s edge is lower than the water level, water can trickle out and lower the overall pond level fairly quickly. One way to find this during dry weather, is too look or feel for wet ground or mulch around the pond or falls edges. If you find a wet spot, and confirm a low liner level, it is very easy to simply raise the liner edge slightly with dirt, pebbles or a small rock. The liner can be again hidden from view by re-covering with mulch or another rock. Most leaks occur around the falls and stream, and one way to narrow your search is to shut off the pump, and see if the water level stays high. If the water level only drops when the water falls is running, you can be pretty sure the leak is limited to around the water falls or stream.  Sometimes children or dogs playing around the falls will depress the liner, creating a temporary leak. If you’re too busy to locate the leak, it is OK to shut down the pump for a while (unless it is warm and you have big fish), until you can reposition the low liner.  Also check the waterfall box since plants  in the box can dam up the waterfall and divert the water out of the back of the box.  This is easily remedied by thinning the plants in the box.

Until next time,

Happy Ponding:)

 

 

 

Prepare fish for winter

As the weather becomes cooler, you should switch to a wheat germ based fish food such as the Spring/Fall Monster Koi , Koi and goldfish food.  This fall diet is easier to digest as they become less active in the cold weather.  Gradually reduce the number of times you feed your fish per week.

You need to stop feeding all together when the water temperature is consistently below 50-55 degrees.  We stop feeding the fish because the food can remain undigested in the colder temperatures making the fish sick.  You may begin feeding the fish again in spring when the temperatures are above 50 degrees.

I don’t have a lot of trees. Do I need to cover my pond?

  Leaf netting is great for keeping out leaves, but it also keeps out the great blue heron.  In the fall when the plants are dying back, the fish do not have the normal plant cover and can be easily spotted by the big bird.  We reccommend keeping the pond net on the pond until early spring to keep the bird at bay.  We have pond tents that help keep the net off of the water and prevents the weight of the leaves from pulling the net into the water.  Netting and tents are in stock at the store.

Should I use a deicer, bubbler, or both to maintain a ice opening this winter?

 

You need to chose one method that is working. Deicers provide a small opening in the ice to allow the gases to escape from the pond.  Most units sold are low wattage and create just a small vent hole in the ice.  If the pond is large, multiple units may be used. The bubbler has advantages over the deicer in that it has lower energy usage and does a better job of degassing the pond especially when larger fish are present in the pond.  The compressor unit should be off the ground and covered to protect it from the elements and cannot tolerate being submersed.   Several deicers and aeration systems are in stock at the store.

Featured Product: Pond Monsta pond vac

Anchor

The Pond Monsta is on display & on sale at the store.  You can view a video of it in use at This is a continuous cleaning system that is faster tahn traditional pond vacuums that have to be emptied.  Leaves & other debris are sucked up through the system & pumped into a debris collector.  Water from the collector can be recycled back into the pond if sludge content is not high.  For high sludge content, water can be discharged onto the lawn or flower beds.  It includes a powerful . . .Read more

115 v, 350 w motor with a 40′ power cord

Remote control on/off button built into handle

Spare impeller included w/ every unit

submersible vacuum head

20′ discharge head

7′ telescoping aluminum handle

Debris collection basket 

 

 

Galapagos Tortoise Has Set Up His Home

g-turtle Galapagos Tortoise, who has yet to be named by the kids, has set up his home near our back pond.  While he is not quite native to the area, we think you will agree that he is a good fit for the pond:).  Weighing in at over 1,200 lbs, he will be a great photo opportunity during your visit!

Hot Weather Pond Advisory

We have been receiving calls regarding pond care in this extreme heat. It is of upmost importance to keep those pumps running. When the water temperatures are high, the water cannot hold as much oxygen. You can utilize water lilies and water hyacinths to help shade the pond from the sun. The submerged plants like anacharis which are beneficial can become a double edge sword. While this plants make oxygen during daylight hours, they reverse this process at night and take up oxygen. Because the water cannot hold as much oxygen, the oxygen levels may drop dangerously low overnight. We will also refrain from using algaecides during the high temperatures. Having a secondary back up pump or an aeration pump is ideal when pumps fail. A severe sign of low oxygen in the pond is the fish gulping at the surface as though they are hungry. At this point you must quickly establish more circulation/aeration in the pond.
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