The “CYCLE”

WATERGARDEN
ARTICLES

You
Know You’re Addicted to Watergardening When…

  • You
    have more pictures of your pond than of your children and family.
  • You
    started out with 1 pump and now have 4 pumps and the flow still
    isn’t good enough.
  • You
    started out with a small preform tub garden and now have 2 ponds
    that are still not big enough.
  • You
    stay up late at night “tweaking” the waterfall even
    if it means bringing out the portable lamp.
  • You
    remember the names of your fish but are tongue-tied at family
    reunions.
  • You
    repeat in your sleep… It’s still not deep enough… it’s still
    not deep enou…
  • You
    load up the car with rocks from “Up-North” or from scanning
    the fields, that HAVE to be around the pond.
  • You
    keep buying pond plants…when there is really no more room in
    the pond.
  • You
    saw a “Have to Have” fish while on
    a garden tour and beg on hands and knees to the homeowner that
    you cannot and will not leave without i… reminds me of the movie
    “what about bob”?
  • You
    rally up all the kids in the neighborhood and have them take an
    OATH that they will in fact feed the fish a specific
    amount of food at specific times of the day while you leave for
    vacation.
  • You
    take off work or spend all Saturday to drive 100 miles to save
    $40.00 in shipping costs for pond products…

  • (Now, I only bring this one up since I was subject to this too.
    Then it became apparent that it takes 5 minutes to order online
    and the products are at my house in a day or so. I calculated
    it, and I spent more time and gas on the road. Now I have more
    time to spend “tinkering” and enjoying my pond! Do the
    same! Save gas and time.
  • You
    built your pond, redid it, redid it again, and now have plans
    for the next rebuild.
  • You
    have several “NO FISHING SIGNS” around
    the pond.
  • You
    used your generator during the blackout in August of 2003? to
    run your pond and sacrificed all food in the freezer and fridge.
  • That
    one single leaf at the bottom of the pond drives
    you freaking crazy!
  • You
    keep buying fish to the point its so overstocked that you have
    to break the news to your spouse that you have to have a bigger
    pond. Plans are in the Works!
  • Your
    pond is immaculate and your vacuum cleaner is
    collecting dust.

Closing…
Well as you have read, I am a watergarden addict. I continue to
add these phrases as I hear & see the funny things pond owners
do and tell me. I will be the first to admit that I am right there
with them!

If
you can relate, then come join our crazy club. It’s free and you’re
under no obligation than to just enjoy you pond, and accept the
multi-dimensional” person it makes you
become!

Email
us with one of your “addictions”… we’ll add it on!

HAPPY
POND…ERING!


The
“CYCLE” Nitrification Cycle

This
is the process that brings a non-functional biological filter into
a biologically established filter. New ponds and ponds that have
been completely cleanout, as well as for ponds that are coming out
of winter dormancy are all ready to take on the challenge of becoming
biologically established ecosystems… healthy, balanced, ‘living’
ecosystems.

The
normal cycle takes approximately 6 weeks. Ammonia spikes, nitrite
spikes and pH move all over the range and can lead to poor health
of the fish as well as poor water quality. Actual toxicity levels
and the number of days required for completion of the cycle depends
on several factors. Pond Size, Size and amount of Fish, Amount of
Dissolved oxygen as well as the quality and efficiency of your biological
filtration unit. In any case, sometimes we need to help the cycle
along, but for starts, let’s understand how the cycle works.

For
any cycle to function fish must be introduced into the pond. In
these new pond habitats, we recommend starting with inexpensive,
hearty fish like goldfish, not feeder fish as they can not adapt
well to the fluctuations in the cycle.

Now
you are starting to “seed” your pond by adding your Beneficial
Bacteria to the pond. One strain of Bacteria that is in these products
is called Nitrifying Nitrosomonas.

These
“good bacteria” utilize Nitrogen that is that is given
off from the decayed matter, fish food etc. for energy. Note: It
can take from 3-6 weeks for these “nitrogen reducing bacteria”
or Nitrosomonas to proliferate to a number sufficient to reduce
and convert all the Ammonia to Nitrite in the environment.

“Let’s
stop here, back up, and take a look at where we are in the Cycle.
We have a pond, we added some fish, added Beneficial Bacteria to
seed the biofilter, you are feeding the fish, and before the Nitrosomonas,
“good bacteria” has established itself to, again, convert
toxic ammonia to toxic nitrite, along comes a test reading that
there is Ammonia in your pond!”

AMMONIA:
The #1 Killer of Fish.

Fish
waste, urine, their respiration, organic waste, and the decomposition
of the uneaten food you offer them all break down and produce ammonia.
Ammonia affects the fish by causing the blood to loose its ability
to carry oxygen. This creates stress and lowers the resistance of
fish to such recurrent bacterial infections as fin and tail rot,
body slime, eye cloud, mouth fungus, body sores, redness of fins,
general poor health, excess mucus production, flashing, and the
incurable Dropsy or Pinecone disease. Ammonia is extremely toxic
in its un-ionized form and non-toxic in its ionized form. This can
be controlled by keeping pond water at low pH levels. At low pH
levels ammonia will ionize and at levels higher than 7.2 ammonia
begins to un-ionize and becomes more and more toxic.

Toxic
ammonia is NH3 and non toxic is NH4

So
you tested for Ammonia with a Test
Kit
. Do not add any new fish to the water. By adding
Ammonia Eliminators/Detoxifiers to the pond, this will help bring
down the ammonia levels. Ammonia Eliminators will convert toxic
ammonia to nontoxic ammonia. Even if your test kits shows ammonia
present. It’s just in non toxic form. A salicylate
salt test kit
is the test kit for you if you are burdened
with ammonia problems in your pond. This will detect ammonia. If
you use an Ammonia eliminator/detoxifier in the interim until the
nitrifying bacteria “Nitrosomonas” proliferate, that’s
fine, Zoelite
can help as well. This dilemma can be diverted by simply applying
a good nitrifying bacteria such as TURBOSTART,
& Bioseed
Gold
which “eat ammonia & nitrite”.

These
offer a real boost of “Live” Nitrifiers.

Both
are FANTASTIC! In speeding up the break-in period or so called “new-pond-syndrome”.
They instantly “age” the water.

**Whether
you have a new pond or a pond just starting up in the Spring, TEST!
Until the bacterial strains have colonized and have proliferated
and can work on the Ammonia to Nitrite conversion, you need to test!

Damn
this NEW POND SYNDROME!

Ok.
Now that we have the Nitrosomonas establishing themselves in the
pond, they are multiplying like mad and working hard to convert
this toxic Ammonia (or non toxic if you used an Ammonia
Eliminator/Detoxifier
) to toxic Nitrite. Note: The
nitrifying bacteria don’t care what type of ammonia it is, it is
just ESSENTIAL to be in the Cycle.

Now
we are converting Ammonia to Nitrite

NITRITE:
Nitrite is also toxic to fish.

Nitrite
is a waste product produced by bacteria in the biological filter
as it breaks down ammonia. Nitrite is extremely harmful to fish
and can result in severe fish loss. Nitrite levels should be kept
at 0ppm. In the spring, the water starts to warm up and nitrite
can build up as the fish begin to eat and the type of bacteria that
converts ammonia to nitrate is performing only at halfspeed. The
deadly Nitrite passed through the gills and oxidizes the iron in
the fish blood, preventing it from carrying oxygen and causing the
fish to be in demand for oxygen. Salting
the water will help the fish resist the effects of nitrite and avoid
the low oxygen levels in the body. Salting
at a .5% can correct nitrite spiking problems but you cannot have
plants at this salt level!

Now,
remember the Beneficial Bacteria you added?. This same Beneficial
Bacteria
that you added to “seed” your pond
to introduce Nitrosomonas into the Ecosystem also contains another
strain of “good bacteria” called Nitrobacter, which reduces
the Nitrite into Nitrate. Again, it takes time for these “beneficial
nitrogen reducing bacteria” to develop. Under normal conditions,
it takes up to six weeks for the Nitrobacter to proliferate to number
sufficient to reduce all Nitrite in the environment. This Nitrobacter
Bacteria converts the toxic nitrite into relatively harmless Nitrate
(an excellent plant food).

NITRATE
is the byproduct of nitrifying bacteria in the biological filter
breaking down ammonia and nitrite. It is used by plants and algae
as a food source. High levels can lead to excessive algae growth
and damage to pond plants. Keep below 200 ppm

Algae
and plants use the Nitrate. An excellent plant food

There
are also strains on Denitrifying bacteria in the Beneficial Bacteria
that you put into your pond. The denitrification cycle is the biological
reduction of Nitrate to harmless Nitrogen Gas which exits the pond
into the atmosphere. This process is one that does not occur right
in the pond water but works in your Biofiler or filtration unit.

This
completes the cycle, allowing you to add additional fish and commence
regular and periodic partial water changes. If you perform water
changes, make sure that you add a chlorine/chloramine
remover
since chlorine not only a
detriment to the fish but will equally detriment the “good”
bacteria that have been seeded in the Biological filtration unit.

Fish
waste/food/excretions – Ammonia – Nitrosomonas – Nitrite – Nitrobacter
– Nitrate – plant food & algae – Fish eat the plants (roots,
stems and foliage in my pond!) – fish waste/excess fish food/excretions
– ammonia – the cycle goes on


HOW
CAN WE SPEED THE CYCLE UP?

NITRIFIERS
SPEED UP THE CYCLE…

You
are a candidate for Bio-Seed
Gold
or Turbostart
if.

  • Your
    pond was just installed and the fish are on the way
  • Your
    pond is being re-opened in the spring and you don’t want the hassle
    of waiting for the cycle to balance out.
  • You
    have fish in holding tanks and the pond is being scrubbed and
    scoured clean.
  • You
    have fish in quarantine and need a cycled tank and it needs Nitrifiers
    to maintain nitrogen reduction.
  • You
    got “stupid” with a formaldehyde based medication and
    “annihilated” your bacteria count in the pond.
  • You
    rinsed all filtration media with chlorinated water which just
    killed your beneficial bacteria.

Nitrifying
bacteria do have needs…

Salt
should be below .3% Salt
impedes their seeding.

Alkalinity
needs to be over 80 ppm. Nitrifiers do need phosphates to survive.
A buffer with is good if you need to boost the alkalinity.

Most
of the time the phosphates are provided by the food we feed the
fish.

Even
if you don’t have fish, use a Dechlorinator.
Your beneficial bacteria will love you for it. Chlorine will kill
the Nitrifiers;

Adding
Carbon
will help in fast colonization of these Nitrifiers.

Disable
UV lights.

Nitrifiers
are strictly aerobic autotrophs which utilize inorganic (without
carbon) compounds as their primary energy source (specifically ammonia
and nitrite). Nitrosomonas (ammonia-oxidizers) and Nitrobacter (nitrite-oxidizers)
are the most well known.

These
Products must be used at temperatures above 50 degrees.

Remember,
Dry formulas can NOT contain Nitrifiers; since true Nitrifiers are
not spore forming, they cannot be dried into powdered products.
Any microbiologist will confirm this fact. Nitrifiers cannot survive
the drying or freeze-drying process; Nitrifying bacteria
(Nitrosomonas, Nitrobacter,) can not be dry powder; it must be liquid
only.

The
Two TOP Products that we offer are Bio-Seed
Gold
and TurboStart.
These products are expensive, but you won’t regret it! What else
can speed up the cycle so fast? With our short season, I rather
spend more time enjoying my ponds than waiting 6+ weeks for an ecosystem
to balance.

1st
Product. “instant” colonization

TurboStart
can be applied to “new” systems and existing systems.
No other product I have tested could do this. The TurboStart is
fifteen times more concentrated, which presents the disadvantage
that they couldn’t put much else in the bottle other than Nitrifiers
– in other words, not enough food for them to live on without suspending
their metabolism by refrigeration. This product has to be shipped
super fast, like UPS RED or FedEx Next Morning, and it cannot freeze
or get anywhere near “hot”.

It
gives nitrification an even larger boost by introducing over thirty
million live nitrifying bacteria per ounce
, rapidly accelerating
the nitrification process. Ammonia and nitrite are quickly reduced
to safe levels. Both ammonia and nitrite are reduced by over 90%
in less than 5 days. Fish stress (induced by high levels of ammonia
and nitrite) is also reduced and moralities normally associated
with “New Tank Syndrome” are eliminated.

Many
products that don’t effect ammonia or nitrite claim to contain Nitrifiers,
these products actually contain species of heterotrophic Bacillus
and Pseudomonas bacteria – NOT Nitrifiers. Every bottle of TurboStart
is dated to ensure the freshest and highest quality product. A nitrifying
bacteria is alive and must be refridgerated!

2nd
Product is Bio-Seed
Gold
. This reduces the ammonia cycle time to 1 week
(Regular Bio-Seed cycle time is approximately 2 weeks.).
BIO-SEED nitrosomona/nitrobacter formula is state-of-the-science
technology at work. Our formula “eats” ammonia and nitrates,
and cuts the ammonia cycle time by 2/3. This product contains live
non-pathogenic, non-toxic bacteria in a freshwater preservative
formula. The preservative allows several months of shelf life for
this very fragile bacteria. Nitrifying bacteria should state Nitrosomonas/Nitrobacter
Bacteria on the bottle. Nitrifying bacteria can not be dry powder;
it must be liquid only. You can not mix this Bacterium in the same
bottle as Sludge Eating Bacteria. If ammonia spikes which it will
if you have a heavy fish load. Add Ammonia
Remover/Detoxifier
. This does not remove ammonia only
converts it to non-toxic ammonia because the Nitrifiers need this
nitrogen to live! Within 5 days the cycle is balanced!!!


KC
Nitrifier.
Pretty simple, does exactly as above, but
the cycle takes a 2-3 weeks for the system to balance. KC
Nitrifier
now comes in a 8oz. bottle that treats up
to a 8,000 gallon system. The nitrifying microorganism bacterial
count of KC Nitrifier is 1.8 billion/ml. KC
Nitrifier
should be used to start new bio-filters,
boost the performance of existing bio-filters and to get bio-filters
back to top efficiency after winter weather has taken its toll.
While under refrigeration, the product can last . 6 months refrigerated.
1/3 bottle per 1000 gallon- 8000 gallon pond every day for 3 days.
Shipping is ups ground and if ordered Monday you will have it in
2-3 days.! No cold shipping is required. I use this at our next
maintenance visit, 3-4 weeks after the cleaning or spring opening
of your pond. I consider it a supporting Nitrifier. **USE
IT IN CONJUCTION WITH YOUR NITRIFYING BACTERIA “GOOD BACTERIA”
THAT YOU ADD REGULARLY TO YOUR POND THROUGH OUT THE SEASON TO MAINTAIN
THE “CYCLE”.

Can be stored for 2 years but if opened the oxygen brings them to
life and there is a shelf life of 2-3 months

Now
that we have “Jump started the System” established the
Cycle and everything is in equilibrium. We can now continue on with
the supportive “Beneficial Bacteria” on a monthly basis.
You have read all this stuff previously, but a quick run down wont
hurt.

1.
Only use Microbe-Lifts
Spring/Summer
or Clear
Pond Fall & Winter Formula
to aid in sludge/debris
digestion in temps below 50 degrees. These are excellent as they
help accelerate the decomposition of leaves, scum, sediment, and
other organic matter that may have accumulated during the fall and
winter months. If we are opening the pond, not fully cleaning it
and the temps are below 50 degrees, this product offers the best
start for your pond.

2.
After you have cleaned the pond, you can either proceed with the
TurboStart
or
Bio-Seed
Gold
avenue. (My Fav’s) If you passed on the TurboStart
and Bioseed and want to play with the “cycles” trickery
that’s fine, sometimes its not all that bad. If you have a heavy
fish load definitely do not pass those 2 products up. But enough
said.

3.
Which ever avenue you do, It’s the goal to establish a clear, healthy,
balance, “living” ecosystem. The first application to
the pond to establish and sustain “beneficial bacteria”
and maintain the “cycle” we need to add what are called
“dormant” cultures of Beneficial bacteria. These are activated
when opened and oxygen wakes them up. They take a little bit longer
to get established, but they are cost effective, and are necessary
to add to the pond.

The
first product is Bacta-Pur
Klear, Nutripak, & Sludgebuster
. A 3 part dream
team! I apply it preferably in the evening when algae are least
active. Water Temperatures must be above 50 degrees.

  • Klear
    accelerates the startup and subsequent stabilization of nitrification
  • Klear
    offers 2 bacterial strains involved in nitrification. Nitrosomonas
    convert ammonia to nitrite and Nitrobacter convert nitrite to
    nitrate.
  • Klear
    is a community of beneficial microorganisms out completes algae
    for nutrients in the water.
  • It
    is a probiotic that outnumbers the pathogens and thus limits their
    growth
  • Nutripak
    assures the presence of essential minerals and trace elements
    which may be lacking in your water for the Klear to work.
  • Sludgebusters
    are micro-organisms that break down suspended solids in the water,
    as well as the sludge and silt on the bottom of the pond. Sludgebuster
    biodegrades organic waste sludge, fish wastes and reduces odor
    production methane, hydrogen sulfide, etc. They absorb these nutrients
    that otherwise would prompt algae growth.

Bacta-Pur
Products
can be stored for 2 years room temperature,
but if opened the oxygen brings them to life and there is a shelf
life of 2-3 months

Or
there is the Microbe-Lift
Pl Bacteria
that also provides “beneficial bacteria”
and

  • Reduces
    Ammonia and Nitrogen Levels
  • Reduces
    noxious odors from fish waste, algae, leaves etc.
  • Promotes
    fish growth
  • Helps
    break down existing algae and reduces new algae blooms
  • Improves
    dissolved oxygen levels.

Here’s
our recommendation to establish and maintain the “Cycle”.

Get
the TurboStart
or the Bio-Seed
Gold
right after temps of water are stable at 50-55
degrees. Flood the pond with these little guys whether it’s a new
pond, a just cleaned pond or just starting one up for the season.
Then continue with the maintenance dosage of Nitrifiers: KC
Nitrifier
used in conjunction with Bacta-Pur
3 part
, or the Microbe-Lift
Pl
. Then in the fall when temp of the pond are dropping,
start on the Sludge eating bacteria to maintain superb water quality
for the fall and winter months. Microbe-Lifts
Autumn Prep
or Clear
Pond Fall Winter Formula
.

KEEPING
THE POND IN CHECK TEST
REGULARLY!


Water
Quality & It’s Importance

Test
these regularly and keep a log book of your ponds water quality.

ALKALINITY
OR BUFFERING CAPACITY
determines the ability to
maintain a constant pH in the pond. If to low the pH will drop to
dangerous levels. Too high and the ph will also be high… very
difficult to lower. Alkalinity is the amount of carbonate molecules
in the water. The ideal is 100-180 ppm. Total alkalinity or Calcium
Carbonate is the energy source for our beneficial bacteria. Alkalinity
is the backbone of your pond. All biological products require TA
in order to do their jobs. Nitrifying
bacteria
in your biolfilter require TA to oxidize ammonia
to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. A high Alkalinity may reveal
that a Ph increase is imminent.

Raise
alkalinity or carbonate activity by adding oyster shells, concrete
blocks, and calcium carbonate (precipitate powder).

Low
alkalinity = no carbonate activity = buffering capacity is low =
ph swings

Alkalinity
is in range! = buffering capacity in range! The pH will stay rock
solid!

pH.

pH
is the measure if acidity or alkalinity in water.

A reading
of:

  • 7
    is neutral
  • below
    7 is acidic
  • above
    7 is alkaline
  • Ideal
    is 7.2 -7.6

An
Acid ph has a lot of free Hydrogen Ions. A high or Alkaline pH has
very little free hydrogen. These hydrogen ions are mostly contributed
from the Ammonia conversion to Nitrite.

Remember

Ammonia-Nitrosomonas-Nitrite
(Hydrogen released and oxygen is required).

During
the nighttime the plants take in oxygen and liberate carbon dioxide,
which becomes carbonic acid and drops the pH into the acid range
<>

During
daytime the plant now give off oxygen and take in carbon dioxide.
Without carbon dioxide in the water to make carbonic acid, the pH
will rise into the alkaline range >7

To
bring Ph down, do a water change out. Chemicals may take to long
and you may loose your fish. If fish seem ok, use Ph
Down
with pH
Buffer
.

To
Increase your Ph
Salts Up
.

AMMONIA:
The #1 Killer of Fish.

Fish
waste, urine, their respiration, organic waste, and the decomposition
of the uneaten food you offer them all break down and produce ammonia.
Ammonia affects the fish by causing the blood to loose its ability
to carry oxygen. This creates stress and lowers the resistance of
fish to such recurrent bacterial infections as fin and tail rot,
body slime, eye cloud, mouth fungus, body sores, redness of fins,
general poor health, excess mucus production, flashing, and the
incurable Dropsy or Pinecone disease. Ammonia is extremely toxic
in its un-ionized form and non-toxic in its ionized form. This can
be controlled by keeping pond water at low pH levels. At low pH
levels ammonia will ionize and at levels higher than 7.2 ammonia
begins to un-ionize and becomes more and more toxic. This dilemma
can be diverted by simply applying a good nitrifying bacteria such
as TurboStart,
& Bioseed
Gold
which “eat ammonia & nitrite”.

These
are a real boost of “Live” Nitrifiers. Excellent in speeding
up / eliminating the break-in period or so called “new-pond-syndrome”.

Both
are FANTASTIC!

Toxic
ammonia is NH3 and non toxic is NH4

Perform
a water change if ammonia is high or use Ammonia Eliminator/Detoxifier
so as to not disturb the “beneficial bacteria”& disrupt
the “cycle“.

NITRITE:
Nitrite is also toxic to fish.

Nitrite
is a waste product produced by bacteria in the biological filter
as it breaks down ammonia. Nitrite is extremely harmful to fish
and can result in severe fish loss. Nitrite levels should be kept
at 0ppm. In the spring, the water starts to warm up and nitrite
can build up as the fish begin to eat and the type of bacteria that
converts ammonia to nitrate is performing only at halfspeed. The
deadly Nitrite passed through the gills and oxidizes the iron in
the fish blood, preventing it from carrying oxygen and causing the
fish to be in demand for oxygen. Salting
the water will help the fish resist the effects of nitrite and avoid
the low oxygen levels in the body. Salting
at a .5% can correct nitrite spiking problems but you cannot have
plants at this salt level! Perform a water change if ammonia &
Nitrites are high or use Ammonia & Eliminator/Detoxifier so
as to not disturb the “beneficial bacteria”& disrupt
the “cycle“.

NITRATE
is the byproduct of nitrifying bacteria in the biological filter
breaking down ammonia and nitrite. It is used by plants and algae
as a food source. High levels can lead to excessive algae growth
and damage to pond plants. Keep below 200 ppm

Algae
and plants use the Nitrate. An excellent plant food.

HARDNESS
is a measurement of calcium and magnesium in the water. Most pond
fish and plants prefer hardness of 50-150ppm. If below 50ppm the
pH will be affected. Over 150 ppm, white mineral deposits will form
in pond.

DISSOLVED
OXYGEN
is a measure of oxygen in your pond water.
If your fish gasp rapidly at the surface and fish death is constant,
then add more Oxygen by increasing flow of your waterfall. Or add
an aerator to the pond. You should be able to hear the bubbling
and splashing from 15′ away!

If
you are not sure, TEST
for it.


Green
Water, How Do I Get Rid of It?

A build-up
of debris, too many fish, not enough aquatic plants, excessive exposure
to sunlight, excess nutrients, trace minerals, and insufficient
filtration will lead to green water. It’s just part of the Natural
cycle. Mother Nature goes through it and so do we! In the late spring,
as your “eco-system” is starting up, this is the opportunistic
time for Green Water algae to claim its stake in your pond! Again,
Not all ponds are the same, some Green Water algae goes away naturally
after 2-3 weeks if your system is in balance, Nitrates are in the
correct range and you have proper plant amounts in the pond. But
not always the case! These are avenues we recommend to our customers
to help eliminate or avoid these algae blooms.

First,
Observe the amount of sunlight your pond is receiving, if more that
6 hours a day, try and offer the pond 2/3rd’s coverage with waterlilies,
floating hyacinths, water lettuce, marginal plants, etc. NEW! GreenClean,
a granular algaecide… don’t be alarmed by the word algaecide.
It is a non-copper based algaecide. It works on contact! GreenClean
works through oxidation with provides for immediate control of algae.
Dead matter floats to the surface where you can use your skimmer
net to remove the debris. This product poses no threat to the pond
life or plants.

If
you need that extra “umph”, especially in the spring and
fall when plants are still not as “mature” and not covering
as well as they did during the summer, then add a Liquid
Water Clarifier
to your pond. This is a flocculent
that binds these suspended algae particles and then the skimmer
will collect these particles on your filtration media, where you
can then rinse the pads free. It is important to remove these particles,
wheather its algae particles, decayed plant particles, dirt, debris
etc., otherwise it will decay and therefore result in oxygen deficiency
and poor water quality. If there continues to remain a consistent
problem with Green Water, then we recommend a UV light Sterilizer.
A UV
(Ultra-Violet) sterilizer
will kill the algae cell
walls as it passes over the light. The dead algae are then collected
in your Biofilter filtration media where it can be cleaned from.
Another benefit from a UV Sterilizer is that it kills parasites
as well! UV Clarifiers do the same in killing the algae spores but
do not work against parasites.

See
article on UV Clarifiers/Sterilizers

A skimmer
is good to have as it continually “sweeps” debris from
your pond before it has a chance to settle on the bottom of the
pond. A biological filter or waterfall will help oxygenate your
water and process toxins in your water produced from fish.

To
prevent String Algae and Green Water Algae, see our ALGAE
TREATMENTS
in our Pond Store! Although I have Barley
in all our ponds, a good .3% salt
in all our ponds and GreenClean
used as needed, I also dose the ponds every 3-4 weeks with Algaefix
and Ecofix.
Along with my Beneficial Bacteria by my side, the Bacta-Pur
Klear, Nutripack and Sludgebusters
,”The dream
team”, Our water quality is Clear, our ecosystems are Healthy
and our fish are Happy!


String
Algae, How Do I Get Rid of It?

Filamentous
algae are string algae, resembling long strands of hair that attaches
to rocks, plants, waterfall, basically any item in your pond. It
doesn’t care. Excessive growth can remove essential oxygen that
fish need from the water. It can, if left untreated, choke the pond
and fish loss is inevitable. The nutrients in water are what algae
thrives on. The addition of pond plants will create competition
for these nutrients and guess who looses… The Algae. The plants
will continue to thrive on these nutrients as the algae fades away!
*Reminder… Try and remove as much of the algae as you can before
treatment to minimize the amount of decay.

One
natural way to prevent filamentous algae is to add Barley
to the Pond. Bales, Pellets and now Liquid can be used in your system.
These should be placed in an area where water flow exists. There
is also Barley Pads where barley is injected into the filter media
for your Biofilters! Barley releases an enzyme as it breaks down,
preventing the algae to grow. Sometimes we have seen the Barley
turn the water a bit tan-ish in color. This will go away within
a few weeks or we use on our ponds & our Customers ponds’ what
is called Activated
Carbon
. This helps establish Super Clean water quality.
Activated carbon is able to absorb a large amount of organic solids.
We also use the Carbon to remove the fish medications after our
treatments are complete. Salt
also aids in the suppression of Algae as well. See
our article on Salt.
See
also our article on Activated Carbon
.
High pH and Phosphorous are leading causes of String Algae. Check
these in you pond with your Test
kit
and add PH
down
followed by a Buffer
to stabilize the pH in your pond. If you are reading high Phosphorous,
use Phosphate
Remover
. (Place this in a filter media bag in the filter
unit.) NEW! GreenClean,
a granular algaecide… don’t be alarmed by the word algaecide.
It is a non-copper based algaecide. Your fish are not harmed. It
works on contact! GreenClean works through oxidation and provides
for immediate control of algae. Dead matter floats to the surface
where you can use your skimmer net to remove the debris. This product
poses no threat to the pond life or plants. I also recommend using
the two partners in crime Algaefix and Ecofix.

“Although
I have Barley
in the pond, a good .3% salt
in all our ponds and GreenClean
used as needed, I also dose the ponds every 3-4 weeks with Algaefix
and Ecofix.
Along with my Beneficial Bacteria by my side, the Bacta-Pur
Klear, Nutripack and Sludgebusters
, Our water quality
is Clear, our ecosystems are Healthy, and our fish are Happy!”

In
addition, always use a sludge eating bacterium such as Clear
Pond Fall/Winter Formula
, Microbe-lift
Pl
or Spring
Summer Cleaner
or keep on the Bacta-Pur
Klear, Nutripak, Sludgebuster
routine that offers the
full spectrum of “Benefical Bacteria” to breakdown and
consume the organic matter. Bacta-Pur
Sludgebuster
is an excellent bacterium strain that
works to breakdown this organic waste.


CLARIFIERS
Vs. STERILIZERS

UV
clarifiers
are added to ponds to control Green Water
Algae Blooms. The Ultraviolet light within the unit kills the Algae
as the water passes over the light. The dead algae are then collected
in the filter and can be rinsed once clarity of the pond is returned.
UV
Sterilizers
actually serve 2 purposes, They kill the
algae spores and they also kill parasites! We have several that
we recommend, just depending on your concerns, fish load, and pond
construction.

Carefree
UV Sterilizers

These
are designed from corrosion-resistant 316-L stainless steel, which
prevents toxic chemical emission into the water. All Carefree UV
units are made from heavy-duty pipe-not rolled lightweight tubing-to
allow for higher psi ratings and long-lasting, rust-free housings.
As an added bonus, Carefree UV’s are polished inside the reactor
chamber wall to a highly reflective luster/shine. This reflectivity
creates more killing power than other units. A bit higher in price,
worth the investment due to their construction and Kill Power!

Danner
Sterilizer/Uv

These
Clarifier/Sterilizer units are suitable for small ponds up to 6000
gallons using pumps up to 3000 gph.

They
are fully submersible units that control water borne algae
and spread of disease.

The
glowing monitor halo ring, visible from any angle immediately shows
that it is working.

Comes
complete with 9000 hour 40 watt lamp and water tight quartz sleeve.

Includes
transformer and 18ft grounded power cord.

Black
color is unobtrusive whether used in or out of water.

Tetra
UV Clarifiers

These
are plastic molded, green in color and Kill Algae spores that cause
green water blooms. Very cost effective and if superb water quality
is maintained, you may not wish to invest in the Sterilizer just
yet. But if you have a hefty sum of money ties up in fish. I would
opt for the Sterilizer! These cannot be submerged!


Salt,
Salt, Salt Your Pond!

Salt
added to your pond can offer many advantages. First, salt protects
the fish from disease and parasitism. Salt is basically an irritant
to the skin. The fish responds by building up a slime coat. This
slime coat is the fish’s protection against disease and parasitism.
The salt also reduces electrolyte loss during periods of stress,
or disease, promoting healthier gill function. During times of stress,
electrolytes are lost, including potassium, sodium, chlorides, calcium
and magnesium. All of these are essential for the uptake of oxygen
and the release of carbon dioxide and ammonia. It helps eliminate
the toxic effects of nitrite. Salt also assists in suppressing string
algae. Salt comes in many forms. It must have no additives. It is
imperative that the salt is diluted. No granules should be allowed
in the pond. Once salt comes in contact with the gills it will burn
and aggravate the gill tissue and eventual fish loss can occur.
Most ponds that we care for we add up to .3% or 3lbs per 100 gallon,
so a thousand gallon pond will need 30 lbs of salt.

Here
it is, simply put..based on a 1,000 gallon pond…

  • For
    a .1% salt concentration.= Take gallons of pond(1,000)x .01 =
    10lb of salt to be added to the pond
  • For
    a .2% Take gallons (1000) x .02 = 20 lbs of salt
  • For
    a .3% Take gallons (1000) x .03 = 30 lbs of salt

Many
suggest keeping the pond between a .2 & .25 will reduce and
suppress string algae.

With
sick fish or fish in quarantine, a recommended .3% is acceptable
to kill many parasites.

Any
amount over 3% will harm your plants. Fish can survive in up to
.8% but is not recommended as it is bordering the dehydrating of
the fish and can lead to death.

Many
keep their ponds salted to a 3% at all times, but be warned, do
not overdo that. Plants will suffer.

2 cups
of salt = 1lb.


Aeromonas
Alert! Stop Ulcer Disease

These
two pathenogenic bacteria kill more Koi each year than all other
pathogens combined. They are in every pond & I stress, They
are in your pond! They are the cause of deadly bacterial infections
i.e., ulcer disease, fin rot, mouth rot, etc. They are on the attack
as water temperature fall between the 47-62° mark! Be prepared to
combat the proliferation of Aeromonas and Pseudomonas population.
Koizyme
IS A MUST!


Koi?
Where Did They Come From?

tidbit
Koi is the Japanese word for Carp.

After
reading our “Pond Addiction” article, you then know that
Koi keeping can generate obsession. Its popularity is growing by
leaps and bounds all over the United States. Koi are intriguing,
mysterious and beautiful.

Many
believe that the common carp is the ancestor to these colorful Koi.
Carp were used as a source of food. This captivity and breeding
for a food source nevertheless caused mutations. These “so
called mutation” caused noticeably striking, colorful patterns
on the fish. Many were awestruck to how beautiful theses “mutations”
were. A whole new outlook on the Koi developed. Many kept them for
hobby instead of a food source. The name “Koi” dates back
to 500BC when a wild carp was presented by King Shoko of Ro to Confucius
on the birth of his first son. It was then the first mention of
Koi or Carp. At the Niigata prefecture in Japan during the early
1800’s, is when the first true-colored Koi originated. The preferred
name now in Japan for these single or multicolored carp is Nishikigoi,
then known as goi, or Koi.

The
average Koi will live between 25-35 years of age which some recordings
denote Koi living 200 years! They will reach 18″+ within the
first 3-4 years of life depending on water quality, food quality
and size of pond. The maximum length is 24-36″!

Koi
ponds should be a minimum of 4′ deep as these fish grow. They will
take up the space. Always keep this calculation handy. Remember,
your new baby Koi will grow! An 18″ Koi needs 100 gallons of
water or 10 gallons for each inch of fish.

If
you have 10, 18″ fish, you will need an 1800 gallon minimum
pond size. Excellent filtration and water circulation should be
achieved and maintained as well. These swimming gems need room to
grow.

So,
when designing and building a pond, keep this formula in mind! Plan
for how many fish you want and know how big they will get!

Here
are some beautiful pictures of Koi from Blue Ridge Hatchery.

See
Pictures of Butterfly Koi below to see the difference in appearances.

 
Standard
Koi
Premium
Koi
Mixed
Premium Select
Select
Kohaku
Select
Shusui
Select
Harewake
Select
Ogon
Select
Sanke

Butterfly
Koi…

Butterfly
Koi have been available in the United States for seven or eight
years. During that time they have become immensely popular and are
now being produced and sold by Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery. The history
of their development is an interesting story.

First,
let me state that they are not a hybrid of goldfish or Koi as many
people believe. I have seen it stated in books and magazines that
“the long fins and tail of goldfish have been transferred to
koi”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Koi and goldfish
being closely related will readily interbreed but the resulting
progeny are unattractive, mostly resembling wild carp with very
little color. In our experience so far, they are always sterile
and offer no hope of continuing selective breeding.

Now,
for the story of butterfly Koi development here at Blue Ridge Fish
Hatchery. About twelve years ago, we noticed an ad in a pet industry
trade magazine, of a firm in New York City offering long-finned
Koi for sale. This immediately piqued our interest since Blue Ridge
has been a national supplier of Koi, goldfish and other coldwater
ornamentals for a number of years. We had to see some of these so-called
long-finned Koi. An order was placed with some anticipation. As
I remember, we received about a dozen of these fish. They weren’t
koi at all, but appeared to be a wild carp with long fins and a
wild gray color. We have since learned that these fish came from
a feral population of carp that inhibited the ditches and canals
of Indonesia. No one seems to know the origin of these fish, their
exact species or how they acquired the long fins and tails.

Anyway,
on with the story. These long-finned carp weren’t very pretty and
didn’t appear to have much commercial value. However, we decided
to put them in a fenced and protected pond and grow them to maturity.
We had only three or four fish left two years later. They had grown
into brutes weighing six to eight pounds each. They were very unattractive,
even down right ugly. We thought these fish wouldn’t sell, but what
would happen if we cross- bred them with koi? Could we transfer
their long fins and vigor to colorful Koi? It was worth a try. We
stocked two female long-finned carp in a two-acre production pond
with two of our best ogon (metallic) male Koi. The males also had
gin rin or sparkle scales.

We
eagerly awaited the spawning and subsequent hatching of the fry.
These hybrid offspring proved to be very strong and of rapid growth.
But on close inspection when they were still very young, they looked
mostly like wild carp. We were very disappointed and discussed culling
the whole pond and putting it to better use, but finally decided
to let them mature to the end of the growing season. I am certainly
glad we did, as some very interesting fish were beginning to appear.
A small percentage of them turned into some extremely beautiful
fish with color and long fins and tails. Some of them had long fins
with a luminous metallic glow that could be described as pearlescent.
We were admiring them in a small pool when my son Randy said, “They
remind me of butterflies”. Hence the name. We realized we had
some diamonds in the rough. We were pretty excited about their commercial
possibilities.

We
would now select the very best, grow them to maturity and breed
them to each other to establish a strain. We were hoping these hybrids
wouldn’t be sterile as in the case of the koi/goldfish hybrids.
Of course we would have to wait two to three years to attempt to
breed our F1 butterfly hybrids. The selective breeding was pretty
much done by my son Randy and my brother Rick. The very best of
these first generation hybrids were stocked together in one of our
best ponds. We monitored the pond carefully. There was an excellent
spawn and hatch. The fry grew rapidly in spite of being rather crowded.
We noticed that they had hybrid vigor. However, by the time the
fry reached about an inch in length, the prospects didn’t look so
good. Again, they mostly resembled wild carp or bait fish, but we
decided they may yet develop long fins and color. Sure enough, by
fall, when they had grown to the length of three to four inches,
a good percentage of them had developed into beautiful butterfly
koi. Their commercial possibilities began to look very good indeed.
With further selective breeding, here was a Koi that, unlike regular
Koi, was beautiful when viewed from the sides as well as the top.
They swam with such grace and regal bearing. What a beautiful pond
fish they would make! Due to their hybrid vigor they are stronger,
more hardy, and more disease resistant than either common goldfish
or regular Koi.

We
subsequently learned that a very fine and beautiful strain of long-finned
koi had been developed in Japan. We learned that they also used
the wild Indonesian long-fin carp to develop their long-finned koi
or “water dragons”, as they are known in Japan. They probably
started their hybridizing program even before we did here at Blue
Ridge.

However,
the ZNA, which sanctions all Japanese Koi shows, as well as shows
in other parts of the world, refused to allow long-finned Koi to
compete in the shows. As a result, there are very few long-finned
Koi being produced in Japan at this time.

We
were able to obtain some of the long-finned Japanese stock and cross
breed them with our butterfly Koi. This resulted in some beautiful
new colors not yet seen in Koi at the time. The metallic underlay
in the skin and fins is carried to extreme; also the sparkling diamond
scale factor or gin rin really glitters. A good specimen appears
to have been literally dipped in metallic silver or gold paint,
then in turn, encrusted with sparkling scales. Stunning!

Butterfly
Koi start to develop elongated fins and tails at about six months
of age, but really start coming into their own at about a year.
After a year or two in an aquarium or small pool, their fins and
tail will be almost as long as their bodies. We have such an aquarium
in our office- quite a sight to see. Butterfly Koi need to grow
rather slowly, lest their bodies outgrow their fins and ruin the
butterfly effect.

Butterfly
Koi, no doubt, have a tremendous future and the supply is quite
good now. We continue to select and breed for new colors, particularly
the red shades, with great anticipation. With the rapidly increasing
popularity of garden ponds resulting in tremendous demand for pond
fish, it is truly an exciting time here at Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery.

Shusui
Butterfly
Butterfly
Kahaku
Butterfly
Matsuba
Butterfly

Wyatt
LeFever is the president of Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery, Inc. which
was established in 1958. He is known for introducing several fish
to the coldwater ornamental fish trade. Butterfly koi, rainbow dace,
and albino catfish are a few of the many. Mr. LeFever has been in
the hatchery business for most of his life, breeding both coldwater,
as well as tropical fish. He is a founding member of the National
Ornamental Goldfish Growers of America of which he served as president
from 1988-1990.


When
to Start and Stop Feeding…

First
off, Fish do not have stomachs! Secretions in their intestines digest
the food. Their ability to digest food is directly related to the
temperature of the water. Fish will not eat when water drops below
46 degrees. Any food you attempt to feed them on those nice days
that may occur in January or February will just decay and pollute
the water. Basically, your fish will go to sleep at 46 Degrees.
As the temperatures drop, the metabolisms in fish begin to slow.
They are unable to digest the food that they normally eat in warmer
months. If some fish go after the food you throw them during the
winter months, the food is not digested, therefore gut rot develops
and the fish will die. When temperature of the water linger at 48-50
degrees, the fish may come to the surface looking for food. Do not
feed them. As tempting as it is! To any owner of a pond, a pond
thermometer is a necessity as air to water temperatures can vary
dramatically.

In
September, days are getting shorter and winter is approaching, time
to prepare the fish for their long sleep. When Springtime approaches,
monitor your water temperature. Only when the temperature of the
water exceeds 50 degrees is it time to start feeding them daily.

Fish
food
is formulated to work with the metabolism of the
fish in conjunction with the seasons. They help your fish to adjust
from a dormancy stage. These spring
foods
are lower in protein, allowing for easy digestions,
and have vitamin C added to boost their immunity. Foods high in
Protein will be excreted by the fish as toxic ammonia, decreasing
water quality and detrimenting the health of the fish. Wheat
germ food is also ideal for fall and early spring
as
it is very easily digested.

Do
not feed them any corn based food products.

*Remember*
No part of your biological system is established or balanced in
the spring, its just getting started. That’s why it is important
to perform water
quality tests
for ammonia, nitrites, and pH.

  • >81°
    feed sparingly due to high heat
  • 78-81°
    three or 4 times a day
  • 72-77°
    five or six times a day
  • 66-71°
    three or four times a day
  • 63-65°
    two or three times a day
  • 59-62°
    one or two times a day
  • 55-58°
    two or three times weekly
  • 50-54
    ° one or two times weekly
  • <50° do="" not="">

Aeromanas
population, the “bad” bacteria are ready to inflict disease
on your fish in water temps of 47-65 degrees. Get Koizyne.

50-58°
Feed more grains, wheat germ and veggies – less protein (25% is
good) – less fat

63°
+ Feed less grains and veggies – more protein (35% is good) – more
fat

Fall/Spring
foods, Summer foods, Medicated foods.


Spring
Pond Care

In
the spring when the snow has melted and the ice has receded off
the pond. Still keep the De-Icer
and Aerator
in the pond as sometimes temperatures do fall at night. This is
the time that the Ecosystem is emerging out of dormancy and critical
that we take measures to prevent a disaster from occurring, with
this, I mean excess algae growth, imbalance in water quality parameters
and fish disease. First off, as the water temps rise, the fish become
a bit more active and since it’s too early still for a full cleaning,
whether you are planning a cleaning or not, we have to address several
preventative measures. The pond water is now between 45- 50 degrees.
Let’s get the system running to get the aeration, and filtration
needed. The filter pads, pumps, uv units, tubing etc. were thoroughly
flushed cleaned in the fall by us so that all you have to do is
plug it in. or if you do it, fine. Clean as best you can and start
up the system. Perform a water change. See
article on water changes
, and add the Dechlorinator/Ammonia
remover
to the pond. We need to add cold water enzymes
at this point to breakdown the organic load that may have accumulated
over the winter. Use your skimmer net to remove as much as possible,
stirring up the water may cause the water to “murk” up
but the filtration will remove that in a day or so Use Accuclear
to speed up the clarity. The remaining load that’s in the tough
to reach spots can be worked on by the Cold water Bacteria, Microbe-Lift
Spring Summer formula
or Clear
Pond Fall Winter Formula
. Both are Cold Water Bacteria
that eats away at the remaining sludge accumulation. Now let’s address
the Algae. I favor the GreenClean
Great stuff. Use this if string algae are growing excessively. If
you catch it midstream you can use this or we use Algae
Fix
& Barley
to control it from there. As the ecosystem comes into swing, here
comes the green water algae blooms. If the water is not gin clear,
get your UV
sterilizer/Clarifier
up and going. The Sterilizer will combat the Green Water Algae
and kills Parasites that could be proliferating right now. If in
the past the green water has not been a big deal but your pond from
time to time gets murky or blooms occur, then use Accuclear to remove
the suspended particles. I would opt to have a UV Sterilizer due
to the fact that it kills parasites! NOTE! Make sure you
turn off your UV Sterilizer/Clarifier for 3 days when adding Beneficial
Bacteria!
Once water temperatures remain stable in
the 50-55 degree mark, you are now feeding your fish, adding nitrifying
beneficial bacteria to the pond to seed the biofilter. Aeromonas
and Pseudomonas are on the attack right now. They are pathenogenic
bacteria, a “bad” bacterium that is afflicting disease
on your fish. Don’t think your pond does not have them… They are
in every pond! See our article on Aeromonas alert. Get KoiZyme
to control the population and keep disease from affecting your fish.
Add Bacta-Pur
Pro 100
a probiotic that prevents development of various
other diseases in your pond. And boosts the fishes eco-immunity.

Start
fertilizing the plants with Pondtabbs
and adding as needed due to possible loss over the winter. The pond
is now stabilizing out and the ecosystem is coming into balance.
Read articles: What
we use during our visits
, The
Cycle
and How to Speed up
the Cycle
for our recommendations on products. A quick
run down… For immediate seeding of the pond that eliminates the
break-in period, get TurboStart
or Bioseed
Gold
. Give an extra boost of Nitrifying bacteria such
as KC
Nitrifier
. If you don’t mind waiting, just stick with
the Microbe
lift
or Bacta-Pur
system
. Add Activated
Carbon
to the pond. Carbon offers a ga-zillion “hotel
rooms” for the Nitrifiers to proliferate. Add
Fritzguard to coat the bio-media for superb
adherence of the Nitrifiers to the various surfaces in the bio-media
as well as on the surfaces within the pond.

Keep
a Test
Kit
available to check for Ammonia, Nitrites, Ph swings,
as this is the time of year that they fluctuate drastically. Add
as needed pH
down
, pH
up
, pH
buffer
, Ammo-lock
2
, Dechlorinator/Ammonia
Remover
. Add or recharge your
Zeolite to continue its role in absorption
of trace Ammonia that can occur.

Your ecosystem is now balanced and ready for a beautiful
season of enjoyment!


Summer
Pond Care

IT’S
FINALLY HERE!!!! Warm weather, shorts, tee shirts, and VERY active,
very playful and Very Hungry fish! You have followed either our
recommendations in the spring pond care article, referred to what
products we use during our visits, or you had us perform our services
to the pond. Either way: Now its time to kick back and enjoy! You
have followed the instructions required for the Spring Pond Care
and now it’s a matter of keeping up with the regimen of adding the
Beneficial bacteria to your pond. Either Bacta-Pur
or Microbe-Lift.
I would keep on adding the KC
Nitrifier
for the additional boost throughout the summer
months. It does not hurt to ensure they are at the maximum population
in your pond. Add Activated
Carbon
to the pond. Carbon offers a ga-zillion”hotel
rooms” for the Nitrifiers to proliferate. Fritzguard
to coat the bio-media for superb adherence of the Nitrifiers to
the various surfaces in the bio-media as well as on the surfaces
within the pond. Aeromonas and Pseudomonas are still on the attack
right now. They are pathenogenic bacteria, a “bad” bacterium
that is afflicting disease on your fish. Don’t think your pond does
not have them… They are in every pond! See our article on Aeromonas
alert
. Continue on KoiZyme
to control the population and keep disease from affecting your fish.
Add Bacta-Pur
Pro 100
a probiotic that also prevents development
of disease in your pond and boosts the fishes eco-immunity.

Just
check the water quality periodically, say 3-4 weeks if all is well.
Add as needed pH
down
, pH
up
, pH
buffer
, Ammo-lock
2
, Dechlorinator/Ammonia
Remover
. Add or recharge your Zeolite
to continue its role in absorption of trace Ammonia that can occur.
Add Activated
Carbon
to offer the ga-zillion hotel rooms for the
Nitrifying bacteria.

Perform
your water changes as needed. Keep the UV
Sterilizer
on but turn it off for 3 days when you add
your Beneficial Bacteria! If the water is not “gin clear”
at this point, check your UV sterilizer/Clarifier bulb. Make sure
you replace this Every Year! The Sterilizer will combat the Green
Water Algae and kills Parasites that could be proliferating
right now. If in the past the green water has not been a big deal
but your pond from time to time gets murky or blooms occur, then
use Accuclear
to remove the suspended particles. I would opt to have a UV Sterilizer
due to the fact that it kills parasites! Check salt
level after your water change and add as needed. See
article on Salt
. Now let’s address the String Algae.
I favor the GreenClean
Great stuff. Use this if string algae are growing excessively. If
you catch it midstream you can use this or we use Algae
Fix & Barley

to control it from there. You are also feeding your fish per our
article on fish feeding Start fertilizing the plants with Pondtabbs
and adding as needed, I say this because my fish are Vultures! If
you read all the articles, followed the recommendations, followed
the instructions on the products, then your pond is now a clear,
healthy, balanced, “living” ecosystem!

Read
articles on what products
we use during our visits
, The
Cycle
and How to Speed up
the Cycle
for our recommendations on pond products.
Happy Pond-ering!


Fall
Pond Care, Why the Fuss?

During
the winter months, despite all outward appearances, the pond is
active even when the water is cold or even frozen. Dead leaves,
algae, insects and solid fish waste that have accumulated over the
summer slowly break down during the winter months. A build-up of
leaves and other organic matter can cause reduced oxygen to dangerously
low levels and release poisonous hydrogen sulfide, methane gas &
other toxic gasses.

Use
Pond
Netting
to cover the pond to prevent the accumulation
of falling leaves into the pond. It is imperative that the debris
not be allowed to sit in your pond during the winter months. Again,
Decomposition of all the leaves that fall in or are driven in by
the wind, uncut waterlilies and marginal plants, failure to remove
hyacinths and tropical floaters, etc., will just create a toxic
environment for the fish. If all left in the pond to rot, that once
beautiful pond that you enjoyed all summer, is now a toxic wasteland!

If
you need assistance, Email
us
. That’s what we are here for. We can have your pond
netted, plants trimmed, and appropriate Sludge eating bacterium
added to your pond to ensure the quality of the water and health
of your fish for the fall & winter months!

In
the fall, you should also reduce sludge build-up with a bacterial
“cleaning” product like
Klear
Sludgebuster
or Microbe-Lift’s
Autumn Prep
. All these products contain bacteria that
digest dead algae and sludge that accumulate in filters and at the
bottom of the pond. When water temps drop below the 50 degree mark,
we use Clear
Pond Fall & Winter Formula
, This product is excellent
in the early Spring and Fall. It is also a cold water bacteria strain
that works in a wide range of pH and in water temperatures below
55 degrees F. Clear Pond improves oxygen levels within the pond,
eliminates foul odors. It also reduces ammonia and nitrogen levels
to keep the pond environment healthy. Microbe-Lift
Autumn Prep
. is also a “Cold Water Bacteria”
that continues to breakdown the organic sediment, misc. leaves that
blew in the pond and sludge. These products are completely safe
and help keep the water garden clean. These products will help to
process the sludge and waste build-up that is hidden behind and
underneath rockwork. I use them all in our ponds as well as in our
customer’s ponds, I recommend them all!

Plant
care in the Late Fall

Floating
plants such as water hyacinth and water lettuce, however, are removed
from the pond completely as they begin to die off from the cooler
temperatures and frost. Leaving these in the pond will rob the water
of needed oxygen for the fish as the plant material decomposes.

Hardy
lilies and marginals are cut back and placed in the deepest part
of the pond- assuming your pond is 18-24″ or deeper. This should
be done before the first frost. If your pond is less than 18″
deep, I would recommend removing these plants and place them in
containers filled with water in an area that will not freeze.

Other
hardy water plants such as iris, sweet flag, grasses, cattails,
rushes, etc. should be left in place to over winter regardless of
pond depth. As water can fill the cavity and cause rot on these
hollow type plants, I recommend cutting back the foliage on these
plants in the spring rather than in the fall.

Performing
these simple maintenance procedures ensures you that you have done
everything you can do to prepare your pond, fish, and plants for
another successful season.


Winter
Pond Care, Why the Fuss?

A couple
things are important for your pond now that the leaves have fallen
and the pond and fish are ready for a long winters nap. The winter
is also a time of great fish loss for several reasons. If you run
your waterfall in the winter, you are exposing the fish to “ColdShock”
where they could die! Do Not Run Your
Waterfall in the Winter!
We do not recommend running
your waterfall and pond in the winter. Especially throughout Ohio,
Michigan, Chicago and Surrounding States. Intense circulation in
the winter can chill the warmer water at the bottom of the pond.
Why would one expose the warmer water at the bottom of the pond
to below freezing temperatures?

Another
reason to not run your pumps. One issue of operating your pump and
filters during the winter is the potential of damage to these components
should the power be interrupted for extended periods of time. The
seals and components of your pumps and filter can crack, wear and
as we all know..Pumps are not cheap to replace each year!

Some
systems are designed to allow the water to flow back into the pond
should a power outage occur. If you have a check valve on your system
consider removing it during the winter so that it doesn’t prevent
the water from flowing back into the pond.

**It
is also our experiences in zones 5 and 6 just a De-Icer is not sufficient
to keep a sufficient size hole open in the winter. Use an Aerator
and a De-Icer
in lieu of your pump. The purpose of the adding the Aerators and
De-Icers is to provide a hole large enough to facilitate gaseous
exchange between the pond and the water. This exchange will keep
dissolved oxygen levels up in the pond, vital for fish health, while
also allowing carbon dioxide or other gases caused by the decomposition
of pond debris to escape harmlessly into the atmosphere.

If
after our last visit with you more leaves blow into the pond, either
contact us or grab your skimmer net and pull out as many leaves
and debris that may have fallen in since our last visit. If left,
they will decay and rob the water of oxygen.

Use

Microbelift Fall/Winter Prep during the cold
season. These bacterial strains are “Cold Water Bacteria”,
key to accelerating the breakdown of leaves, sediment, and sludge
all winter long. We have had success with the pond in our ponds
with water temps of 35-37° temperatures. Clear
Pond Fall & Winter Formula
is also excellent in
the early Spring and Fall. It is also a cold water bacteria strain
that works in a wide range of pH and in water temperatures below
55 degrees F. Clear Pond improves oxygen levels within the pond,
eliminates foul odors. It also reduces ammonia and nitrogen levels
to keep the pond environment healthy.

Never
break the ice as the vibration can kill the fish! Use a tea kettle
filled with hot water with a rope on it and let it sit on the surface
of the ice. Let it melt the ice and free up a de-icer that may have
froze over during a power outage. If
you don’t have a De-Icer… get one
… your fish WILL
thank you!

Winter
Algae Control

A Test
study we conducted on our ponds. 2 treated with Algae
fix
, Barley,
& GreenClean,
2 without. The ponds treated with AlgaeFix,
Barley, & GreenClean
all reduced and combated string
algae during the winter months!


Water
Changes… DO IT!

Water
changes are necessary to replenish trace elements and minerals in
the water which fish need. “Topping Off” the pond due
to evaporation is not a water change. Solids in water do NOT evaporate.
Nitrates, phosphates, carbon dioxide, salt, minerals, never leave
the pond. They only accumulate inhibiting fish health and growth.
By a partial water change, you will notice that the fish perk up
as soon you add water back. Make sure you Dechlorinate.
By dechlorinating the water, you are removing all chlorine and chloramines.


Activated
Carbon

Carbon is a
crude form of graphite made from wood, coal, lignite and coconut
shell. The imperfect structure of activated carbon, which is highly
porous, is what differentiates it from graphite. These pours range
in size from visible cracks and crevices to microscopic dimension.
This structure gives the carbon its very large surface area, which
allows the carbon to adsorb such a wide range of components. Obviously,
the smaller the grain, the greater the surface area. One
tablespoon of a fine grained carbon will contain as high as one
acre of surface area.
Activated carbon the highest
volume of absorbing porosity of any substance known to mankind.
The most important thing is to be aware that there are large grained
“junk” carbon that we see out there being pawned off to
the hobbyist. Our
Carbon
is granulated for maximum surface area absorption.
It will not release phosphates or phenols and is designed for use
in variety of filters. At least you now know what you are putting
in your pond! I know what I am putting in my tanks!

This carbon offers you a blend of two forms of specially processed
bituminous carbon with millions of macro & micropore structures
in one package. The shiny, larger pieces were chosen for their ability
to adsorb tannins (discoloration from organic substances like fish
waste), dyes (from medications and foods), phenols (toxic compounds
produced by algae and fish waste), dissolved organics and odor.
The softer, dull black chunks were scientifically proven to be better
than any other on the market at removing inorganic toxic chemicals.
The mixture is perfect for quickly and permanently removing all
toxic, unwanted water contaminants. Both carbons are fast acting
& long lasting, with a 3-4 week active life. Virtually-zero
ash ensures that pH will never be effected.

Fritz
Carbon
is also the perfect substrate for growing beneficial
nitrifying and sludge-removing bacteria. Special processing creates
a much higher surface area and unique active sites for strong bacterial
adhesion.

Contrary to
popular belief, activated carbon cannot be reactivated by placing
it in the oven*.
Activated
carbon
is probably the most inexpensive and effective
tool available to the hobbyist.


Super-Activated
Zeolite

Super-Activated ZEOLITE
is an ion exchange resin which may be recharged and reused several
times by adding salt (see instructions for use.) An all-natural
product, ZEOLITE absorbs and binds ammonia, removes and prevents
ammonia build-up, and absorbs 2.5 times its weight. It is the best
value on the market! Recommended maintenance dosage: 1 pound per
5,000 gallons of water.


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