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AZPonds Frequently Asked Questions and Pond Help

Air Pump FAQ

Answer:

 

If you live in colder climates, you may have seen the surface of a lake or other body of water freeze over. While ice skating may be fun, and a frozen lake is entirely natural, a frozen fish pond is dangerous. 

Debris like trapped under the ice will continue to break down in the winter and release toxic chemicals into the water. If there is ice on the surface, it blocks the gases from escaping into the air, and the water becomes lethal. Lakes are usually large enough that it won’t stay frozen for long so that the gasses won’t reach deadly levels in time. But frozen fish ponds are much smaller, and the toxins will build up quickly.

One of the best ways to keep your fish happy and your pond from not freezing over is with a pond de-icer. Floating de-icers work by heating the surface of the water just enough so that ice won’t form. Keep in mind; they won’t increase the overall temperature in your pond; just clear enough ice to let toxic gasses escape.

What if your fish pond completely freezes solid because it is too shallow? In that case, a submersible de-icer is always your best bet.

Farm Innovators 1500 watt submergible pond de-icer is excellent if your pond is 18″ or shallower. It heats the water above so a hole won’t freeze over. The water underneath stays warm enough to allow the fish to hibernate, but also not freeze in the ice.

In other cases, people also combine a submersible de-icer with a  pond air pump. The air pump helps dispel even more harmful gasses and is useful if you have a lot of organic debris stuck under the ice. Some air pumps also come with their own built-in de-icer.

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Answer:

 

If you’re planning any change to your koi pond that involves removing your fish for an extended period, it is best to provide them some housing that causes the least amount of stress.

You don’t need anything fancy, even standard storage tubs or small children’s pools will work. Just make sure whatever you use has been well rinsed out beforehand. Only fill the container with water from the pond that housed your fish.

After you relocate your fish, place the tub in a shaded area with a net over the top to keep your koi from jumping out. The net also prevents predators from helping themselves to a free meal of your favorite fish. 

Be sure to provide something to aerate the water. I would suggest taking a small water pump and placing that in the holding tank so that you have plenty of circulation. Please don’t feed your koi excessive amounts of fish food while they are in the holding area. Limit the food to a small amount and only what they will eat in five minutes. Feed them only once a day as too much food will cause all sorts of health issues. 

When you are ready to move the fish back to the pond, make sure that the temperatures of the holding tank and the pond are about the same. Doing this helps reduce the amount of stress they will have to endure. Once the temperatures are roughly equivalent, you will want to re-introduce your fish back into the pond slowly.

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Answer:

Running an air pump year-round in your pond is an excellent idea as it will supply plenty of dissolved oxygen for your pond’s fish. Having a healthy level of oxygen in your pond will help reduce stress on your fish, and at the same time increase how active your fish are! Next to a water pump, I feel like an air pump is an important necessity for a pond. An air pump should be allowed to run 24 hours a day, and your best bet is to run one large size diffuser (air stone) in the deepest part of your pond. I suggest elevating the air stone off the bottom of your pond by about 8 inches. An easy way to do this is to use a terracotta pot that is flipped upside down with the diffuser placed on top. It is best to place the air pump about 6 to 10 feet from the pond and to place some sort of housing over it to protect it from the elements.

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Fall/Spring Maintenance FAQ

Answer:

Contrary to what some may think, pond de-icers will not increase the temperature of your pond. A de-icer’s purpose is to keep a hole in the water so that toxic gasses can leave and oxygen can enter the pond. They release just enough heat to dissolve the ice without affecting the water.

How do pond de-icers work?

Pond de-icers float on the surface of your pond and melt the ice around them to allow the transfer of gasses in your pond. Most de-icers we carry range from 100 watts all the way up to 1500 watts. The exact wattage you need will depend on the size of your pond, and your average temperatures. The more powerful the unit, the higher your energy bill will be,so don’t run it unless you need to.

Pond de-icers require you to plug them into an outlet for power. Depending on how far away your pond is from an open plug, you may need to pick up an extension cord.

When should I use a pond de-icer?

It all depends on where you live and often your pond freezes over. As a rule of thumb, if my pond will be frozen over for more than a few days, then I’ll turn on the de-icer. However, if you have a lot of organic matter buildup in your pond, then you really want to make sure your pond isn’t frozen over for very long.

Dirty ponds make it harder for your fish to survive, since all that waste is absorbing oxygen and excreting toxic gasses into the water. If your pond has higher levels of organic waste, I recommend using an air pump along with your de-icer. This will supply even more oxygen into your pond over the winter.

Can my fish survive in cold water?

Believe it or not, common pond fish like koi, goldfish, and other members of the carp family survive just fine in freezing waters. They go into a form of hibernation where their metabolism slows way down. This is also why we recommend you don’t feed them when the temperature gets too low. In fact, they benefit from freezing waters because it kills off bacteria in the water.

The only time you need heated water for your backyard pond is if you have it stocked with fish that need the water to stay above certain temperatures. This is usually for catfish or tropical fish that you would find in an aquarium.

Answer:

 

If you live in colder climates, you may have seen the surface of a lake or other body of water freeze over. While ice skating may be fun, and a frozen lake is entirely natural, a frozen fish pond is dangerous. 

Debris like trapped under the ice will continue to break down in the winter and release toxic chemicals into the water. If there is ice on the surface, it blocks the gases from escaping into the air, and the water becomes lethal. Lakes are usually large enough that it won’t stay frozen for long so that the gasses won’t reach deadly levels in time. But frozen fish ponds are much smaller, and the toxins will build up quickly.

One of the best ways to keep your fish happy and your pond from not freezing over is with a pond de-icer. Floating de-icers work by heating the surface of the water just enough so that ice won’t form. Keep in mind; they won’t increase the overall temperature in your pond; just clear enough ice to let toxic gasses escape.

What if your fish pond completely freezes solid because it is too shallow? In that case, a submersible de-icer is always your best bet.

Farm Innovators 1500 watt submergible pond de-icer is excellent if your pond is 18″ or shallower. It heats the water above so a hole won’t freeze over. The water underneath stays warm enough to allow the fish to hibernate, but also not freeze in the ice.

In other cases, people also combine a submersible de-icer with a  pond air pump. The air pump helps dispel even more harmful gasses and is useful if you have a lot of organic debris stuck under the ice. Some air pumps also come with their own built-in de-icer.

This doesn’t answer your question? email us at faq@azponds.com

Answer:

Winterizing your pond depends on all sorts of different factors like where you live, how long the water freezes over, and what kind of filters you have. For some pond owners, you will never have to winterize your pond because it rarely freezes over. There are even those of us who still enjoy running their pumps during freezing conditions because of the beautiful icescapes it makes, which I’ll talk more about later. First, it’s important to find out when you should winterize your pond, and some helpful tips on how to do so?

Should I winterize my pond?

If you live in warmer climates that rarely see freezing temperatures for very long, then I would say don’t bother. Warmer waters speed up the rate at which organic waste decomposes, so make sure you are providing enough oxygen for your fish. I recommend a cold weather bacteria additive to help in breaking down the extra dioxins in the water. One thing to keep in mind, by not winterizing your pond, your electric bill will be higher from running your pump all winter.

At what temperature should I turn off my pond’s pump?

For those in colder climates, always check your manufacturer’s recommendations since not every pump is designed to run in the winter. The last thing you want to do is break your pump. I recommend winterizing your pond when the water temperature dips below 48 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to winterize your pond pump

When winterizing my pond pump, I like to start by giving it a good cleaning. Remove any dirt and debris, and while you’re at it, check for any damages that need to be fixed. When you’re ready to store it for the winter, drop it in a bucket of water to keep the gaskets from drying out and keep it in a warm place. I like to store mine in my garage under my workbenches.

The next step is to make sure you drain the water out of your pond’s plumbing. This is essential to prevent water from freezing in your pipes and expanding, which causes cracks and preventable repairs.

If you have a pressurized filter or UV sterilizer, I suggest taking them offline and storing them away for winter too in the same location as your pump. Since you have to put them away, I recommend using a silicone lubricant on any o-rings or gaskets that the filter or UV sterilizer may have to prevent dry rot. You should also clean the quartz sleeve in your UV sterilizer so that it will be ready to go come spring. Here’s a quick tip: purchase replacement inserts and UV lamps now for next spring, since these items may be in short supply when you need them.

Running your pond pump in the winter

Some pond owners decide to run their pumps over the winter because of the beautiful ice-scapes your waterfalls can create. If you do decide to run your pond pump during the freezing winter, then the first thing you should do is make sure it is safe to do so. I said earlier that not all manufacturers recommend doing so. I also don’t recommend you do this since there is a lot of maintenance involved in running your pump over the winter. But, if you do insist on doing so, please keep a few things in mind:

Run your pump continuously

In order to prevent your pipes from freezing over, your pump must continually be pumping water through them, and this is easier to do if your pump has a high GPH (about 2,000 is recommended). If there are multiple days of sub-zero temperatures, then you may have to shut everything down since the ice can build up to fast for your pump. When the ice has melted, you can hook it up again.

Keep water in your pond

Even though you might not think so, water still evaporates even in the winter. Without access to water spigots, filling it up can be tricky. Some people have told me that they run a hose from their sink and out the window to fill up their pond. Do whatever works best for you, but just make sure you keep an eye on your water levels and top it off continuously.

Prevent Ice Dams

While the beautiful sights you get from the ice build-ups around your pond and waterfalls look stunning, you have to keep an eye out for ice dams. If the ice buildup becomes too much, it could divert water out of your pond. If the water drops too low, your pump could run dry which is never a good thing. Make sure to break up any ice that is diverting water out of your pond.

Expect higher energy bills

If you’ve got nothing better to do with your money, then running a pump all winter is a great idea. For a lower energy bill, I recommend running a de-icer to keep your pond oxygenated. Click here to learn more about de-icers.

Enjoy a beautiful wintery pond

If you do decide to rough it out over the freezing winter, you will be rewarded with some of the most beautiful photo opportunities of your pond. Not much beats seeing a natural ice sculpture in your own backyard. The great thing is, you can still winterize your pond at any time. Just make sure you follow the steps above to prevent ice from creating any unnecessary damage.

 

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Answer:

 

When water temperatures start to fall below 65ºf, then it’s time to consider bringing your UV Sterilizer in for the winter. Since cold water dramatically reduces the effectiveness of your sterilizer, you shouldn’t run it all year round. When you bring your UV lamp in for the winter, it’s also a good idea to go ahead and get it ready for next spring. 

I suggest taking out the quartz sleeve and cleaning that off with CLR (found in your grocery store). I find this best for removing water deposits and other buildups, but feel free to use whatever works for you.

Then take a silicone lubricant and apply that to any rubber o-rings or gaskets on your UV sterilizer. Using a lubricant will prevent the rubber from drying out. A dried rubber gasket is never a good thing as that causes leaks, which lead to other problems.

Next, clean out the UV vessel and get rid of any dirt that may be present.

Finally, consider replacing the lamp now. The reason why I suggest replacing the lamp now is so you can avoid shortages on new bulbs come springtime. I recommend you consult any documentation and warranties that came with your lamp to find out its expected operating life. If it’s getting close to replacing, you might as well do it now while everything is still in stock.

With the proper care now, you can extend the life of your UV sterilizer and save yourself the headache later.

Click Here to view UV parts by manufacturer

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Answer:

 

Contrary to what many people try to tell you, I feel most pond skimmers will winter over without a problem if water freezes inside the unit. The reason most skimmers have tapered sides is so that when water freezes inside the skimmer, it will expand and travel up the sides. As long as there is enough space for the water to expand inside, which for most skimmers there should be, then you’ll be fine. Two examples of skimmers with tapered sides are ones from Atlantic Water Garden skimmers and Easypro Pond Skimmers.

While I don’t feel like you need to remove the skimmer, everything inside definitely should be. Remove filter media and everything else from the skimmer, and make sure you drain any plumbing of water so the hoses won’t burst.

If you house your water pump in your skimmer, the freezing ice may cause damage to it. Submerge your mechanical pump into a deep section of your pond where the water won’t freeze. Alternatively, you can submerge it in a bucket of water in a warm location. If you have a magnetic drive pump, clean and store it in a dry place. 

While we are on the subject of skimmers, if you are thinking about installing one on your pond, make sure that you place two to three inches of sand underneath the skimmer as well as about two to three inches of sands along the sides of the skimmer. Believe it or not, frozen moisture in the ground can make it expand, even if just by a little. Sand can help your skimmer remain level when the ground thaws and freezes over again and again.

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Answer:

So your UV light was working fine last year, but you notice it’s struggling to keep up this year. Is it broken? Before you send it back to the manufacturer, the reason why your UV is probably not working this year could be because of a dirty quartz sleeve.

A quartz sleeve is a transparent covering that surrounds the UV bulb. This sleeve acts as a protective barrier preventing debris, water leaks, breakage, and other things from interfering with the performance of the lamp. Besides protection, it also evenly disperses water around the bulb so it can clean the water more efficiently. However, dirty water will build up gunk and residue on the sleeve over time.

If the sleeve is not taken out and cleaned regularly, the dirt buildup will prevent the UV rays from passing through to treat the water effectively. What you need to do is gently remove the quartz sleeve and clean it with CLR (calcium lime remover), or any other cleaner which powers through scum. A couple of sprays and a touch of elbow grease will effectively remove any mineral deposits on the sleeve.

Then, when you place the sleeve back into the unit, I suggest applying a silicone lubricant on any rubber o-rings or gaskets so that it seals properly. If your rubber gaskets dry out, they could leak water into the unit. Before you turn it on, I always suggest water testing the UV for a few minutes to make sure there are no leaks. If you notice a cracked quartz sleeve, or dried out o-rings, we sell replacement parts for most makes and models.

Now that you’ve taken a bit of time to clean your quartz sleeve properly, your UV clarifier will once again destroy that green water!

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Answer:

The answer is no, it is not covered under pumps warranty. All manufacturers of magnetic driven style pumps have the same policy. The reason for this policy is that impellers usually break because the pump was operated without the pump sock or pump bag over the inlet or the impeller was not taken out and cleaned. When a magnetic driven pump is operated with the protective sleeve off and a large object gets caught in the opening, it can easily break the impeller shaft which will then render the pump useless. The most common cause of impeller damage is pumps that are not maintained properly. When an impeller is not removed and cleaned each season, waste and minerals can build up on the impeller. This can then cause the impeller to seize up and eventually results in the impeller shaft breaking.

It’s real easy to remove an impeller and clean it. To start, you remove the impeller cover and then gently pull out the impeller. Then take the impeller and use Pondmaster Pump Guard Pond Pump Cleaner. After the impeller is cleaned, rinse it off with tap water. Next, you want to take a single edge razor and gently scrape the magnetic portion of the impeller to remove any minerals that may be left behind. Once you’re done with that, rinse again and place the impeller to the side. Now you want to clean out the impeller cavity. To do this, you will want to fill the cavity with Pondmaster Pump Guard Pond Pump Cleaner. Then take an old tooth brush and scrub out the cavity real well for a few seconds and when you’re done, rinse out the cavity with tap water.

You have finally completed cleaning the impeller and now it’s time to put everything back together. When placing the impeller back into the pump, you want to take your time and gently place the impeller back into the impeller cavity. Once the impeller is in, place the cover back on the pump and your ready to go. Doing simple maintenance like this will prolong the life of the pump’s impeller and will save you money in the long haul.

Click Here to view all pump parts by manufacturer

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Answer:

There are two types of pond vacuums available on the market today and they are electrical and gravity. Let’s start out with electrical since these are probably the most powerful of pond vacuums. The most common ones that you see offered are what I call the “R-2-D-2” units, like the Matala Muck Vac. These pond vacuums are great for ponds that are around 24 inches deep. I don’t really recommend them for ponds that are deeper than 30 inches as they generally lose their effectiveness at a depth of 30 inches. A new style electrical pond vacuum that is new to the US market that seems to have some power in deeper ponds is the Matala Cyclone Professional Pond Vacuum.

The reason why this vacuum can pick up at deeper depths then the other units is that it has 2 separate pumps, one for suction and the other for discharge. This feature allows for continuous vacuuming.

The other group of pond vacuums is gravity vacuums. This type of vacuum uses under water pressure from a hose outlet. These vacuums are only as good as the water pressure coming out of the hose outlet. Probably one of the best and easiest of these would be the Lifegard Pond Mini Vac because this vac literally pushes the waste out of the pond. (NOTE: Pole sold separately)

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Answer:

I definitely recommend cleaning your bio falls every four to six weeks. If you don’t clean your bio falls, then your mechanical filtration (filter mat) will become clogged with waste.

I compare this to replacing the air filter in your car. The more gunk it has to filter out, the faster it will build up and block the airflow leading to reduced engine performance. However, instead of air in a car’s intake, we are talking about pond water getting filtered through a mechanical spillway. A clogged mechanical filter mat will create back pressure on your pond’s pump as it tries to force water through the media. Besides overworking your pump, this also reduces proper circulation in your pond.

The first step to cleaning your spillway is to remove the filter media from your skimmer. If you have any biological filtration media, then you should rinse it off with pond water and put it in a storage container filled with pond water to prevent it from drying out. Remember, if your bio media dries out, then the beneficial bacteria inside will die and you’ll have to grow another colony.

Next, remove the mechanical filter media and give it a few good squeezes and rinses with a hose to get most of the gunk out. Keep in mind, however, that while coarser mechanical filter media is easier to clean and reuse, the opposite is true for finer media. You’ll need to replace a high-density filter mat more frequently.

Then, it’s time for some good, old-fashioned elbow grease. Take some paper towels or a clean rag and wipe out any waste that may be present on the bottom of the filter tank. Do not use household chemicals to clean your filter, just simply wipe off any gunk.

Once you complete all that, place the mat and bio media back in the pond filter and you’re ready to go! If you are currently using lava rock in your bio falls and would like to make cleaning easier, I suggest switching from lava rock to something reusable like bio-balls. Plus, bio-balls have more surface area than lava rock, and they weigh a lot less too making them the best choice for biological media. If you get tired of replacing the filter mat that sits at the bottom, consider upgrading to the coarse Matala media (black one) as that is re-usable.

This doesn’t answer your question? email us at faq@azponds.com

Answer:

Spring is right around the corner and you’re itching to get your backyard pond back up and running. If you’re a new pond hobbyist and this is your first spring opening, then congratulations! Owning a fish pond is a beautiful and rewarding experience. Whether this is your first rodeo, or you are just looking for some tips, keep reading below to see what I suggest for opening your pond.

The goal here is to start prepping your pond for Spring when the water gets just above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is prepared and ready to go by the time warm weather comes. This also all depends on the climate you live in. If the water doesn’t freeze over where you live, then you’re going to have to perform steps like cleaning out debris over the winter too. The last thing you want is to feed an algae bloom in the Spring. Make sure you have a pond thermometer so you know when to start prepping for Spring.

First, start prepping your pond for Spring by removing as much waste as you can from the bottom of your pond. You’re looking to get rid of dead leaves and nasty decomposing plant matter that has been building up over the winter. If you used a leaf cover and cold-water treatments over the winter, this step should be a lot easier. Because plant matter releases toxins in the water as it breaks down, get them out of the way first to keep your fish healthy and prevent your filters from clogging up. Start by skimming as much waste as possible out of your pond by using a pond skimmer net or pond vacuum.

After removing all the gunk from the bottom of your pond, you’ll want to do a partial water change. I recommend a 20% water change, but you can also go a little higher if your water was excessively dirty. When doing this don’t forget to use some kind of heavy metal neutralizer and dechlorinator. This is also an excellent time to clean up and re-pot your aquatic plants.

Now it’s time to get your pond filter back up and running. Check to make sure everything is running properly and that there are no plumbing leaks. I also suggest using new filter media pads for your mechanical filter every season. If you are also using a UV clarifier, be sure to remove the quartz sleeve and clean it with something like CLR and rinse well. Place a silicone lubricant on any rubber gaskets before you reassemble your clarifier to prevent leakage. It’s also a good idea to add your beneficial bacteria additive as directed now.

Lastly, if you have a pond filter that backwashes, I suggest performing a backwash at least twice a week for the first two weeks. Then only backwash once a week for the rest of the season.

This doesn’t answer your question? email us at faq@azponds.com

Answer:

Running an air pump year-round in your pond is an excellent idea as it will supply plenty of dissolved oxygen for your pond’s fish. Having a healthy level of oxygen in your pond will help reduce stress on your fish, and at the same time increase how active your fish are! Next to a water pump, I feel like an air pump is an important necessity for a pond. An air pump should be allowed to run 24 hours a day, and your best bet is to run one large size diffuser (air stone) in the deepest part of your pond. I suggest elevating the air stone off the bottom of your pond by about 8 inches. An easy way to do this is to use a terracotta pot that is flipped upside down with the diffuser placed on top. It is best to place the air pump about 6 to 10 feet from the pond and to place some sort of housing over it to protect it from the elements.

This doesn’t answer your question? email us at faq@azponds.com

Answer:

I’m glad you asked this question. Many people worry about feeding their fish too often or not enough. Did you know that if you start feeding your fish while the water is too cold, it can harm them too?

I suggest you stop feeding your fish while the water temperature is below 42ºf. I don’t like to feed my fish below that temperature because their metabolism is slowed by the cold weather. This is basically a form of hibernation the fish put themselves in. Don’t worry; your fish will survive on the fat they built up over the summer months.

Since their metabolism is so slow in cold water, any food you give them will not be digested in time and can lead to blocked intestines. Do yourself, and your fish a favor and let them fast until the weather gets warmer.

Some manufacturers will say you can start feeding your fish while the water temperature is in the high 30’s. I personally don’t agree with this advice because I just don’t feel it’s safe to go that low.

One thing to keep in mind is that the water temperature should be at a stable 42ºf or higher and does not run the risk of falling below that temperature for the next several days. I recommend keeping a thermometer in your pond at all times to help you keep an eye on the water temperatures throughout the year. Be sure to also monitor your water quality, mainly nitrites, ammonia, and oxygen levels with a test kit. I suggest reliable liquid test kits to do this. Your fish will digest their food better in healthy water, and they’ll have more energy too.

 

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Filter Media FAQ

Answer:

I definitely recommend cleaning your bio falls every four to six weeks. If you don’t clean your bio falls, then your mechanical filtration (filter mat) will become clogged with waste.

I compare this to replacing the air filter in your car. The more gunk it has to filter out, the faster it will build up and block the airflow leading to reduced engine performance. However, instead of air in a car’s intake, we are talking about pond water getting filtered through a mechanical spillway. A clogged mechanical filter mat will create back pressure on your pond’s pump as it tries to force water through the media. Besides overworking your pump, this also reduces proper circulation in your pond.

The first step to cleaning your spillway is to remove the filter media from your skimmer. If you have any biological filtration media, then you should rinse it off with pond water and put it in a storage container filled with pond water to prevent it from drying out. Remember, if your bio media dries out, then the beneficial bacteria inside will die and you’ll have to grow another colony.

Next, remove the mechanical filter media and give it a few good squeezes and rinses with a hose to get most of the gunk out. Keep in mind, however, that while coarser mechanical filter media is easier to clean and reuse, the opposite is true for finer media. You’ll need to replace a high-density filter mat more frequently.

Then, it’s time for some good, old-fashioned elbow grease. Take some paper towels or a clean rag and wipe out any waste that may be present on the bottom of the filter tank. Do not use household chemicals to clean your filter, just simply wipe off any gunk.

Once you complete all that, place the mat and bio media back in the pond filter and you’re ready to go! If you are currently using lava rock in your bio falls and would like to make cleaning easier, I suggest switching from lava rock to something reusable like bio-balls. Plus, bio-balls have more surface area than lava rock, and they weigh a lot less too making them the best choice for biological media. If you get tired of replacing the filter mat that sits at the bottom, consider upgrading to the coarse Matala media (black one) as that is re-usable.

This doesn’t answer your question? email us at faq@azponds.com

Answer:

Spring is right around the corner and you’re itching to get your backyard pond back up and running. If you’re a new pond hobbyist and this is your first spring opening, then congratulations! Owning a fish pond is a beautiful and rewarding experience. Whether this is your first rodeo, or you are just looking for some tips, keep reading below to see what I suggest for opening your pond.

The goal here is to start prepping your pond for Spring when the water gets just above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is prepared and ready to go by the time warm weather comes. This also all depends on the climate you live in. If the water doesn’t freeze over where you live, then you’re going to have to perform steps like cleaning out debris over the winter too. The last thing you want is to feed an algae bloom in the Spring. Make sure you have a pond thermometer so you know when to start prepping for Spring.

First, start prepping your pond for Spring by removing as much waste as you can from the bottom of your pond. You’re looking to get rid of dead leaves and nasty decomposing plant matter that has been building up over the winter. If you used a leaf cover and cold-water treatments over the winter, this step should be a lot easier. Because plant matter releases toxins in the water as it breaks down, get them out of the way first to keep your fish healthy and prevent your filters from clogging up. Start by skimming as much waste as possible out of your pond by using a pond skimmer net or pond vacuum.

After removing all the gunk from the bottom of your pond, you’ll want to do a partial water change. I recommend a 20% water change, but you can also go a little higher if your water was excessively dirty. When doing this don’t forget to use some kind of heavy metal neutralizer and dechlorinator. This is also an excellent time to clean up and re-pot your aquatic plants.

Now it’s time to get your pond filter back up and running. Check to make sure everything is running properly and that there are no plumbing leaks. I also suggest using new filter media pads for your mechanical filter every season. If you are also using a UV clarifier, be sure to remove the quartz sleeve and clean it with something like CLR and rinse well. Place a silicone lubricant on any rubber gaskets before you reassemble your clarifier to prevent leakage. It’s also a good idea to add your beneficial bacteria additive as directed now.

Lastly, if you have a pond filter that backwashes, I suggest performing a backwash at least twice a week for the first two weeks. Then only backwash once a week for the rest of the season.

This doesn’t answer your question? email us at faq@azponds.com

Answer:

You don’t have to be a professional to set up a professional pond filter. The process is pretty easy and you can have your Professional Bio Pond Filter setup in no time.

  1. If your filter does not include media, or you need to replace the media, you will want to choose a bio media that is lightweight and will not stick together. This media must have plenty of surface area for the bacteria to grow on. Probably the best bio media to do the job would be Bio-Cell Media. While it can be expensive to buy, it is important to keep in mind that it has a long life to it (at least 7 years) and provides a lot of surface area too. Plus, it will not stick together and works great in filters that backwash.
  2. Make sure the laterals inside your filter are installed properly so that the bio media will not pass through and clog up your filter’s return.
  3. You only want to fill the Professional bio Pond Filter up halfway with the bio-media. You do not want to go over half as that will affect the backwash mode. To find out how much media you will need to purchase, I suggest emailing us at mail@azponds.com and asking a salesperson for assistance here. When you email, you will need to have the make and model number of the Professional bio Pond Filter you are using available so that we can figure out how many cubic feet of bio media you will need.
  4. When you hook up your Professional Bio Pond Filter to your pump, I suggest making a by-pass system so that you can regulate the flow of water through the filter. The reason why you want the ability to regulate the flow is so that you can slow the flow rate down when running the filter in biological mode and then increase the flow through the filter when performing a backwash. If you happen to have a PSI meter on your Professional Bio Pond Filter, you want to make sure that it always reads 0 PSI when running the filter in biological mode. As far as determining the flow rate for your sand filter, it is recommended that you email or call us at mail@azponds.com so a salesperson can calculate this for you.
  5. These filters are like a septic system for your pond, so it is important that you supply a beneficial bacteria additive (ie Microbe-lift HC) on a daily basis. This will aid your filter with breaking down waste.
  6. Your filter should be back washed once a week. To do a proper backwash, start out by placing the filter in the backwash mode for one to two minutes. Then switch to the rinse mode and run that until the water coming out of the exhaust is clear.
  7. It is important to do a complete cleaning of your bio filter every year. You want to remove the bio media from the tank and clean it with pond water, and then clean the inside of the tank with pond water as well. Once you do this, be sure to return the media back to the filter right away. The media cannot be left out to dry as that will kill the bacteria that are already on it. If you have any additional questions on making your bio-filter, please feel free to give us a call, or email us at mail@azponds.com and we will be more than happy to give you a quick reply.
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Answer:

A pool is close enough to a pond right? So if I have a sand filter keeping my pool crystal clear, I can just as easily hook it up to my pond right? Let me ask you something, you wouldn’t hook a bio filter to your pool and expect it to do the job, would you? While a sand filter works to keep your pool clean, I really do not recommend trying to filter your fish pond with sand.

When it comes to pressurized pond filters, there are a few reasons why you don’t want to use sand.

  1. It will require a much larger pump to operate which can result in higher energy usage.
  2. Because sand is so fine, the waste produced by fish will build up on the surface and clog the filter from working.
  3. You need to backwash the sand filter daily to prevent waste from clogging it up.
  4. If the sand does get clogged, it won’t be able to backwash properly and will have to be cleaned by hand.
  5. Sand makes a poor living space for beneficial bacteria and therefore has no bio filter properties.

So now that you know why sand makes a bad filtration system, there are alternative media you can still use in your pressure filter. Bead media and micro bio filter media require less energy to operate, are easier to maintain, and have more biological surface area than sand. Just make sure you install a screen to cover the exit so the lightweight beads don’t get flushed out when backwashing. I recommend something that is just big enough to let out dirt and not the beads.

When you convert a pressurized sand filter to a bio unit, you only want to fill the tank up half way with biological filter media (I recommend using Easypro Ultimate Floating Media). Next, you want to watch your flow rate through the filter, if the water goes through the filter to fast, the filter will be ineffective biologically. I don’t advise hooking a pump up directly to the filter. Instead, you want to use a flow regulator so that you can control the pressure more. The water should go through slower when running in filter mode and the flow should be increased when backwashing. For flow rates, I suggest emailing us at mail@azponds.com and asking for some guidance as far as what you will need to push. Before you call in, please have the following information available: tank diameter and height.

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I say there really is no set-in-stone time when you must clean your filter. It really all depends on what the filter pad’s purpose is.

Biological filter media really shouldn’t be cleaned that often. This is because, unlike mechanical filters, bio-filters contain bacteria that work on a microscopic level to “eat” pollutants. You generally want to let them do their thing if you can. Only worry about cleaning your pond’s biological filter every few months if you are experiencing a decrease in performance.

If your filter media is being used as part of your biological filtration system, then you do not want to use tap water to clean them. Very similar to fish, the bacteria in your bio-filter are used to the chemical balance of your pond, not the tap water. The proper way to clean your biological filter inserts instead is to use pond water. What you do is take a 5-gallon bucket of pond water and take each insert and clean it in that bucket. You will want to give it a good dunk and then squeeze it out. Repeat this process a couple of times and then discard that water in a garden or drainage area. Make sure you do this for each insert. Now if the insert is strictly being used mechanically (to just collect waste), then you can wash it with tap water.

For mechanical filter media, I generally like to rinse them out every 4 – 6 weeks, depending on the load being placed on them. I find it helpful to rinse off my mechanical media with a garden hose on a jet setting. One thing to note, however, is that fine filter media will need to be cleaned more frequently than coarse media. This is because it is densely packed and traps a lot more debris. It will also require a little extra effort to rinse out.

I would also like to mention that if you see a lot of muck in or on your inserts, you may want to consider using a beneficial bacteria additive like Microbe Lift PL or Biosafe Xtreme as this will help aid the beneficial bacteria that is growing on your inserts breakdown organic waste. Lastly, I suggest changing your inserts each pond season with fresh new insert parts from the manufacturer so that you can get the most out of your pond filter.

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Fish food and fish feeding FAQ

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When it comes to choosing a pond filter for your pond, you want to consider the amount of fish your pond is housing and its overall size. Since many filters on the market are made for ponds with minimal fish, you could easily buy the wrong size for your needs. This is why I recommend starting with finding the size of your fish pond first.

Calculating Your Pond’s Size

If you have yet to build your pond and want to know exactly how many gallons your pond is and should happen to have a water meter on your house, then you’ll love this. Write the number on your water meter down and then go and fill your pond up. When your pond is filled up, go back to the water meter and write the number down again. Now subtract the first number from the second number, and that is how many gallons your pond is!

For those of you who already have your pond filled, I suggest doing the following: (LENGTH’ x WIDTH’ x AVERAGE DEPTH’) X 7.48

It is essential to use your average depth, and not the deepest point as that will give you more gallons than you have. I also suggest taking 15% off of this figure to get an even better idea of how many gallons your pond is.

How Many Fish Do You Have?

Now that you know how many gallons your pond is, the next step is to figure out your pond’s fish population. The standard rule of thumb is to add one inch of adult fish to every five gallons of pond water. For example, let’s say you buy some comets for your pond; they will reach an adult size of 12 to 14 inches in length. So, you will want to provide about 70 gallons of water for just one comet. Now, let’s say your pond is 1000 gallons in size. I would say 14 to 15 adult comets would be fine for your pond, and any pond filter that’s rated for a 1000 gallon pond will do. If you decide to have 40 adult comets in your 1000 gallon pond, then you will need a much bigger pond filter, probably something rated for a 3000-gallon pond will work well.

I like to think of pond filters as a septic system for the fish in your pond. Make sure you choose a filter that offers a lot of biological surface area. The bacteria that grow in this area will gradually feed on fish’s organic waste and break it down naturally. Just like a septic system, you will also need to use a biological additive that will help aid the filter with the breakdown of waste. Common bacteria additives that are sold on the market are Microbe Lift PL or BioSafe’s Xtreme.

Do I Need A UV Filter?

Should I buy a pond filter with built-in UV or pond Filter without UV? This is a question that I get asked a lot. If you have a balanced pond with 50% pond plant coverage, you won’t need a UV light filter, since the pond plants will work in controlling the nutrients that cause green water. If your pond is going to have very little pond plant coverage, then you really want to consider a filter with a UV. UV sterilizers can be tricky, and it’s important to have the proper one sized up for your pond. I see a lot of manufacturers that inflate their UV’s abilities, and it can be really frustrating at times as to why they do this. The two important things to keep in mind is, (1) matching the right wattage up to the amount of water you are going to treat and (2) providing the proper flow rate through the UV. My favorite UV manufacturer is Emperor Aquatics UVs since they use EPA guidelines to come up with their flow rates. That’s how they can make a clear water claim in 3 days. I wish everyone followed this as it would make things so much easier.

Choosing A Pond Filter

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices above, it’s time to pick out your new filter.

For a standard size fish pond between 1,000 – 2,000 gallons, I recommend our Aquascape Ultraklean pond filters. These biological pressure filters come with an integrated UV clarifier that can be programmed with a timer. These are perfect for minimal maintenance builds.

The best set up that I can recommend on ponds up to 5000+ gallons in size would be one of our Professional Filters hooked up to an Emperor Aquatic’s Smart UV Sterilizer. This set up would require the least amount of maintenance and would last for many years.

No matter what pond filter you decide to run with, AZ Ponds has a large product selection with everything you need, with free shipping options available.

 

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I’m glad you asked this question. Many people worry about feeding their fish too often or not enough. Did you know that if you start feeding your fish while the water is too cold, it can harm them too?

I suggest you stop feeding your fish while the water temperature is below 42ºf. I don’t like to feed my fish below that temperature because their metabolism is slowed by the cold weather. This is basically a form of hibernation the fish put themselves in. Don’t worry; your fish will survive on the fat they built up over the summer months.

Since their metabolism is so slow in cold water, any food you give them will not be digested in time and can lead to blocked intestines. Do yourself, and your fish a favor and let them fast until the weather gets warmer.

Some manufacturers will say you can start feeding your fish while the water temperature is in the high 30’s. I personally don’t agree with this advice because I just don’t feel it’s safe to go that low.

One thing to keep in mind is that the water temperature should be at a stable 42ºf or higher and does not run the risk of falling below that temperature for the next several days. I recommend keeping a thermometer in your pond at all times to help you keep an eye on the water temperatures throughout the year. Be sure to also monitor your water quality, mainly nitrites, ammonia, and oxygen levels with a test kit. I suggest reliable liquid test kits to do this. Your fish will digest their food better in healthy water, and they’ll have more energy too.

 

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General Pond FAQ

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It’s natural to be concerned when you see anything in your pond that is out of the ordinary. Fortunately, most of the standard frights I hear about are from harmless worms.

Blood Worms

Blood worms are little brownish-red aquatic worms that are harmless to both plants and animals. You may have seen groups of these small worms all clumped together seemingly appear out of nowhere. Don’t worry, the sudden appearance of these worms means they have recently hatched, and are relatively standard in ponds.

In fact, these little worms serve a purpose. When these worms are in your pond filter, they help break down the organic waste inside. These hungry little worms feed on decaying organic matter that could build up in your filter or break down into toxins.

Another great reason to have blood worms around is that they make lovely treats for your fish. Most pet stores stock supplies of these worms to feed to aquarium fish, reptiles, and amphibians. You can even buy them freeze-dried, but most fish agree that fresh is best.

Anchor Worms

Harmful parasites like Anchor Worms are fortunately not as common in fish ponds as blood worms. These anchor worms are actually not worms, but a parasitic crustacean instead. Either way, in the event that they do infect your fish, it’s important to know how to deal with them.

These parasites attach on to the fish’s skin and burrow their head into the fish’s flesh. You’ll be able to see their tails sticking out of your fish if you look closely. They cause redness and irritation, and the fish will struggle to try and remove them by brushing against sharp objects like rocks.

If you notice this, the parasite can be removed by slowly pulling them out with a pair of tweezers. You should then treat your water with an Anchor Worm Treatment to kill off any eggs still left in the water.

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Bullfrogs are not entirely bad for a pond, it just depends on the size of the frogs compared to the size of your fish. The reason I say bullfrogs aren’t always bad for your pond is that they can help with pest control. I basically describe bullfrogs as the disposal units of a pond, since they will eat anything that walks in front of them. Insects, rodents, small snakes, some birds, and even each other! However, if your fish aren’t’ big enough they can quickly become a tasty meal. So how do you keep bullfrogs from eating your fish?

Safely keeping bullfrogs in your pond

As long as your koi are large enough, there is a low chance of losing them to a bullfrog. I generally say six inches or bigger is a safe size. This also depends entirely on the size of your bullfrogs too. If you have some incredibly big boys in your pond, then I would try to relocate them away from your fish. Remember, bullfrogs will eat anything that can fit in their mouth. As long as your koi are larger than that, I think you’ll be fine.

What frogs are safe for a fish pond?

If you don’t want bullfrogs because of their size, then try wood frogs or chorus frogs as these guys only get about 5 to 6 inches in size. They also will winter over just like a bullfrog.

Probably the best way to keep them at your pond is to buy them in the tadpole stage. That way, they grow up around your pond, and they are more than likely not so inclined to wander off. Just be careful, since fish love to snack on tadpoles. My kids made that mistake once and saw firsthand how much fish love them. Yikes! If you don’t feel like sacrificing your baby frogs, I suggest separating them until they are large enough not to be eaten by your koi.

Caring for frogs in your pond

Frogs love lily pads. They prefer to ambush their prey and don’t like to move around too much if they don’t have to. If you want to keep bullfrogs around your pond, make sure you have plenty of plant coverage.

Another thing to keep in mind is that frogs, like other animals that have access to your pond, can introduce parasites to your fish. If you do decide to keep amphibians in your backyard pond, keep an eye out for parasites, worms, or sick fish. Make sure you quickly treat your pond with the appropriate medication.

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When you transport fish, it’s best to place them in a large plastic bag that will not leak. You want enough water in the bag so that the fish will be able to move about comfortably. Half the bag should be filled with oxygen; however, you do not want to blow into the bag to fill it up as that is a bad idea.

Then place the bag in a cardboard box with padding, which will help reduce stress while you transport the fish. Be sure to keep the fish in a cool area while you are moving them as you do not want them to overheat.

When you get your fish to their new home, you want to float the bag in the pond water for about 15 minutes. This helps reduce the shock on the fish by letting them adjust to their new water temperature slowly. Then open the bag and add a couple of cups of water from the pond to the bag. After that, tie the bag shut again and let it continue to float for another 15 minutes.

When the 15 minutes has passed, use a pond net to remove the fish from the bag and place them in their new home. Then discard the old water in the bag somewhere outside of the pond.

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The answer to this question is yes, provided the pond only has a very scarce population of fish, and at least 50% of the surface of the water has pond plant coverage.

Aquatic plants are nature’s water filters and were around long before we built pumps, skimmers, and other supplies. Pond plants provide food and shelter for fish, dissolve oxygen in the water, absorb toxins, reduce algae, and so much more. As long as you maintain a high plant to fish ratio, they will continue to dispose of fish waste with minimal effort from you.

However, there are a few things to think about if you plan on owning a natural pond. The first is the mosquitoes. If there is no pond pump circulating the water, your back yard becomes an open invitation to pests like mosquitoes. A simple solution is to install a small fountain pump, or my favorite, a waterfall spillway. You could also use biological mosquito control treatments.

The next thing to keep in mind is that pond plants need to be maintained similar to house or garden plants. If left unchecked, some species will overgrow to cover your pond completely. Try thinning out your pond plants during the early Summer or late Spring. Doing so should leave them with plenty of time to grow back to reasonable numbers. 

Finally, I would still suggest using a beneficial bacteria additive in the water. Since you aren’t using a filter, this will help break down organic waste much faster. 

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I wouldn’t suggest using an excessive amount of pond salt because this may effect the health of you koi as you could actually burn them and cause tissue damage. To the best of my knowledge, there is no effective leech treatment sold. Years ago I was told by another pond keeper to try a piece of red meat in a coffee can that has the plastic top with a 1″ hole on it. The red meat will act as a lure and will draw the leeches in without effecting the fish. I have actually used this method and found it to work, but you have to be patient and it does take some time. I would suggest checking your “LEECH TRAP” each day and to change the red meat out daily.

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I would suggest cutting your plant coverage down to 50% to 60% and the reason for this is that plants can affect your oxygen levels at night as they are pulling in oxygen during the night time. As far as safely removing excessive ones, the only thing I can suggest is going into the pond and physically removing the unwanted lilies.

If these are in pots, it would probably be best to remove the pot from the pond and then take the lilies you don’t want out on land. By doing this you will cut down on clouding the water with the pond plant soil. If the water does cloud up from removing the lilies, I would suggest using a water clarifier like OASE AquaActiv Water Clarifier or Pond Care’s AccuClear as this will clump up any free-floating materials.

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If the pond water is turning the color of ice tea, it may be turning this color due to run off or there may be pond plants in your pond that are planted in potting soil. Either one of these can lead to reddish-brown water. If the water turns this color after a heavy rain, then the cause is run off and you will need to divert the water away from the pond. If you just placed pond plants in your pond and the water has turned brown, then that would be from the soil that was used to pot the plants and you will want to consider re-potting your plants in a clay soil instead.

If the water has free floating particles in the water and it has a brown tint to it, then there is a good chance that your fish are digging in your pond plant’s pots. The way to solve that one is to use a clay pond plant soil, such as Aquascape Pond Plant Potting Media and then to add at least 2 inches of gravel over the potting soil. I would also suggest doing a water change of about 25% once a week for the next two weeks to help clear up the pond.

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This is a common question that I get often regarding pond water treatments. What I can say is that ponds treated with barley or beneficial bacteria’s are generally harmless to pets when applied properly.

As far as algaecides are concerned, I would suggest being careful here. I don’t think that these would be harmful when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I would try and discourage your pets from drinking water that was just treated to be on the safe side.

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One of the most common misconceptions out there in pond land is that a UV Sterilizer will help control surface algae (aka Filamentous Algae). The truth of the matter is, a UV only kills off green water (aka waterborne algae) as the algae have to pass through the UV in order to be effectively treated. The two most common forms of surface algae are Blanket Weed and Hair Algae. Blanketweed is free-floating and as it grows it will start to resemble a blanket and usually forms in clumps. Hair Algae resembles hair and attaches to just about everything in the pond. Because these algae are attached to rocks and plants, it can be a real nightmare to clean up and can affect your pond plant’s health (especially lilies).

So what causes surface algae you ask? Well it is mainly caused by a couple of things, like excessive amounts of organic waste and high levels of minerals like iron in your pond. To control surface algae, it is recommended that you do the following steps:

STEP 1. Provide a reliable biological filter that is properly sized for your pond. It is always a good rule of thumb to provide more biological filtration then what your pond calls for as you can never have too much filtration. The other thing that is important when it comes to biological filters is how they are maintained. You should never clean the biological media in your pond filter with tap water as that will kill off the beneficial bacteria that is living on the media. This goes for both well water and water from a municipality water source. What you should use to clean biological media is pond water. If you have a filter that uses foam inserts like the Laguna Pressure-Flo Series Filters, what you would want to do is take a 5 gallon bucket of pond water and squeeze each insert in that bucket several times to release the waste that is trapped on it. You want to repeat this process three times. Any biological media that is loose or in bags should be placed in a Rubbermaid container that is filled with pond water and moved around for at least two to three minutes so that you can loosen any waste that may be trapped on it. When you are finished cleaning, take the dirty water and discard. Do not pour the dirty water back into the pond.

If you have a bio waterfall, it’s a great idea to clean these (with pond water) every six weeks. A common misconception is to leave your bio falls alone and not to disturb it. The problem with that idea is that (1) sludge builds up under the mat that is being used for the mechanical filtration and will create a restriction on the waterfall’s output. (2) Waste can gradually build up on the biological media and choke off the nitrifying bacteria. It’s a great idea to take the biological media in your biofalls and rinse it real well with pond water. If you’re using lava rock in your bio falls, it’s a good idea to replace it each season with fresh lava rock. Using the same lava rock year after year is a bad idea as it will harbor dead organic waste. An excellent biological media to use in a biofall are bio spheres as they are easy to clean and are re-usable. To get the most out of your bio falls, it’s a great idea to hook up an air pump to your bio falls by running an air line with an air stone under the biological media. Doing this will increase the oxygen level to the media and that will increase the bio filter’s effectiveness.

STEP 2. Watch how often you feed your fish as this is a big contributor to the surface algae nightmare. Feed only fish foods that are high in fish meal and low in fillers as this will produce less waste. If you have a surface algae problem, it’s best to stop feeding your fish altogether and allow your pond fish to feed on the algae. Once the surface algae subsides, then begin feeding your pond fish again. When it comes to feeding your fish on a daily basis, it’s recommended that you feed them once every other day and only what they will consume in five minutes. It’s even a better idea to use a feeding point so that you can remove any uneaten food.

STEP 3. Consider using a beneficial bacteria (i.e. BioSafe’s Xtreme) in your pond as that will aid your pond filter in the breakdown of organic waste. If you have a real bad algae issue, consider using a sludge reducer (like Microbe Lift’s SA) and that will quickly digest the sludge that the surface algae is feeding on.

STEP 4. Small water changes once a month are a good thing. Simply remove 15% to 20% of the volume of your pond and then add fresh water to your pond. If you have a pressurized pond filter with backwash, it’s a great idea to perform a backwash once a week for about 30 to 45 seconds.

STEP 5. When adding water to your pond, we suggest using a dechlorinator that will also help neutralize heavy metals. Even if you have well water, it’s a great idea to do this as we are trying to neutralize metals like iron. One of the dechlorinators that do this is the PondCare Pond Chlorine & Heavy Metal Neutralizer.

STEP 6. Try and provide up to 50% pond plant coverage on your pond. Pond plants are more than just decorations, they too will also feed on the organic waste in your pond.

STEP 7. Test your water daily with a pond test kit! When it comes to algae, you want to watch Nitrates and Phosphate levels.

If you follow these seven steps, surface algae will not be a problem in your pond!

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Spring going into summer is the time of year when your pond may be turning a little green or cloudy. I bet you also notice this happening more right after heavy rain or a few really sunny days. All of this green, cloudy buildup is algae in your pond feeding on the extra sunlight and all the nitrates the rain washes into your pond.

With these problems occurring there is always a quick and easy way to get rid of algae and cloudy water so you and your family can enjoy the pond almost as much as the fish do! One of AZPond’s leading water clarifiers is called Acurel E. This water clarifier easily helps with green or cloudy water and allows for debris to settle to the bottom of the pond. After the debris settles to the bottom of your pond, it is super easy to vacuum or filter out. The best part about Acurel E. is that It’s made with extracts of renewable resources. Because it’s made from renewable resources, its much safer for fish, pets, plants, and wildlife.

When it comes to the nasty hair algae that form on the sides of your pond, in the waterfall, and maybe even floating in patches on the surface; nothing works better than Aquascape EcoBlast Contract Granular Algaecide. Aquascape Algaecide eliminates unsightly algae and debris from waterfalls, fountains, streams, and rocks on contact.

Algae Control chemicals are a quick and effective way of removing algae in your fish pond. Most clarifier chemicals will clear up your pond in as little as 72 hours. I recommend using these chemicals for quick treatments in your pond and using a Bio-Filter or UV Clarifier to prevent the algae from blooming out of control again.

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You can add a pond skimmer too your pond and it’s not really that hard to do when you follow these simple steps:

STEP 1. You want to make sure that you position the skimmer where it is opposite your waterfall so that you are able to get the most out of the skimmer as far as circulation.

STEP 2. Now that you have a location selected, you will need to drain your pond about half way so that you are able to pull the pond liner away from the area where the skimmer will go. Next, measure your skimmer and then dig out the area for the skimmer to fit into, add about 3 inches to the depth of the area where the skimmer is going to go so that you can add sand. Adding sand will help you level the skimmer and at the same time protect the unit from damage in the future.

STEP 3. Now that we have the skimmer in place, we will want to attach the pond liner. You want to make sure that the liner is clean on both sides with UltraClean PVC and EPDM Liner Cleaner where it is going to attach to the skimmer. On the face of the skimmer where the door is, you will want to place a bead of silicone sealant around the door. I would place the bead of silicon about an inch from the edge of the door’s actual opening. Then place your pond liner over the face the skimmer and then apply pressure to the liner so that the silicone spreads out evenly. Now attach the skimmer’s weir door and then cut out the pond liner that is blocking the door. This part is optional, but I suggest going around the weir door on the skimmer and placing a bead of black silicon on the inner lip of the door so that it is water tight. It also doesn’t hurt to place a bead of silicone over each one of the screws that holds the door in place.

STEP 4. On the outside of the pond you will want to back fill around the skimmer with sand and near the top you will want to place topsoil or mulch.

STEP 5. Install your pond pump and fill the pond back up. When you fill the pond, you want to make sure that the water level is about 1.5″ from the top of the skimmer’s weir door. You don’t want the skimmer door under water as that will not allow floating waste to effectively enter the skimmer.

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I always recommend a waterfall filter for a pond as they make great biological pond filters. This type of filter is commonly referred to as a “Bio-Falls” by most pond keepers. They are very simple filters as they usually consist of a filter mat of some sort and a biological media (i.e. lava rock, bio balls, etc). Each bio-falls filter will have a pond size rating assigned to it so that you will be able to match up what filter works best for your pond. You want to make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s suggested flow rate so that you get a nice sheet of water coming off the filter’s spillway. To get the most out of one of these filters, I suggest replacing the nylon filter mat with a piece of coarse Matala media as this is re-usable and will not have to be replaced. For the bio media, I would suggest loading up a media bag with bio balls as they can be re-used and offer a lot of surface area for the beneficial bacteria to grow on. To get the most out of any bio-falls filter, I suggest using an air pump and running an air stone under the biological media. Doing this increases the bacteria’s activity, thus making the filter more effective. I also recommend cleaning the bio-falls every 4 to 6 weeks. When you clean these filters, it is important to clean the bio-media with pond water and to hose the mats off with tap water. By cleaning these filters on a regular basis you will be able to get the maximum performance out of them without creating back pressure on your pond pump!

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How to Eliminate Algae in you pond FAQ

Answer:

One of the most common misconceptions out there in pond land is that a UV Sterilizer will help control surface algae (aka Filamentous Algae). The truth of the matter is, a UV only kills off green water (aka waterborne algae) as the algae have to pass through the UV in order to be effectively treated. The two most common forms of surface algae are Blanket Weed and Hair Algae. Blanketweed is free-floating and as it grows it will start to resemble a blanket and usually forms in clumps. Hair Algae resembles hair and attaches to just about everything in the pond. Because these algae are attached to rocks and plants, it can be a real nightmare to clean up and can affect your pond plant’s health (especially lilies).

So what causes surface algae you ask? Well it is mainly caused by a couple of things, like excessive amounts of organic waste and high levels of minerals like iron in your pond. To control surface algae, it is recommended that you do the following steps:

STEP 1. Provide a reliable biological filter that is properly sized for your pond. It is always a good rule of thumb to provide more biological filtration then what your pond calls for as you can never have too much filtration. The other thing that is important when it comes to biological filters is how they are maintained. You should never clean the biological media in your pond filter with tap water as that will kill off the beneficial bacteria that is living on the media. This goes for both well water and water from a municipality water source. What you should use to clean biological media is pond water. If you have a filter that uses foam inserts like the Laguna Pressure-Flo Series Filters, what you would want to do is take a 5 gallon bucket of pond water and squeeze each insert in that bucket several times to release the waste that is trapped on it. You want to repeat this process three times. Any biological media that is loose or in bags should be placed in a Rubbermaid container that is filled with pond water and moved around for at least two to three minutes so that you can loosen any waste that may be trapped on it. When you are finished cleaning, take the dirty water and discard. Do not pour the dirty water back into the pond.

If you have a bio waterfall, it’s a great idea to clean these (with pond water) every six weeks. A common misconception is to leave your bio falls alone and not to disturb it. The problem with that idea is that (1) sludge builds up under the mat that is being used for the mechanical filtration and will create a restriction on the waterfall’s output. (2) Waste can gradually build up on the biological media and choke off the nitrifying bacteria. It’s a great idea to take the biological media in your biofalls and rinse it real well with pond water. If you’re using lava rock in your bio falls, it’s a good idea to replace it each season with fresh lava rock. Using the same lava rock year after year is a bad idea as it will harbor dead organic waste. An excellent biological media to use in a biofall are bio spheres as they are easy to clean and are re-usable. To get the most out of your bio falls, it’s a great idea to hook up an air pump to your bio falls by running an air line with an air stone under the biological media. Doing this will increase the oxygen level to the media and that will increase the bio filter’s effectiveness.

STEP 2. Watch how often you feed your fish as this is a big contributor to the surface algae nightmare. Feed only fish foods that are high in fish meal and low in fillers as this will produce less waste. If you have a surface algae problem, it’s best to stop feeding your fish altogether and allow your pond fish to feed on the algae. Once the surface algae subsides, then begin feeding your pond fish again. When it comes to feeding your fish on a daily basis, it’s recommended that you feed them once every other day and only what they will consume in five minutes. It’s even a better idea to use a feeding point so that you can remove any uneaten food.

STEP 3. Consider using a beneficial bacteria (i.e. BioSafe’s Xtreme) in your pond as that will aid your pond filter in the breakdown of organic waste. If you have a real bad algae issue, consider using a sludge reducer (like Microbe Lift’s SA) and that will quickly digest the sludge that the surface algae is feeding on.

STEP 4. Small water changes once a month are a good thing. Simply remove 15% to 20% of the volume of your pond and then add fresh water to your pond. If you have a pressurized pond filter with backwash, it’s a great idea to perform a backwash once a week for about 30 to 45 seconds.

STEP 5. When adding water to your pond, we suggest using a dechlorinator that will also help neutralize heavy metals. Even if you have well water, it’s a great idea to do this as we are trying to neutralize metals like iron. One of the dechlorinators that do this is the PondCare Pond Chlorine & Heavy Metal Neutralizer.

STEP 6. Try and provide up to 50% pond plant coverage on your pond. Pond plants are more than just decorations, they too will also feed on the organic waste in your pond.

STEP 7. Test your water daily with a pond test kit! When it comes to algae, you want to watch Nitrates and Phosphate levels.

If you follow these seven steps, surface algae will not be a problem in your pond!

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Answer:

Spring going into summer is the time of year when your pond may be turning a little green or cloudy. I bet you also notice this happening more right after heavy rain or a few really sunny days. All of this green, cloudy buildup is algae in your pond feeding on the extra sunlight and all the nitrates the rain washes into your pond.

With these problems occurring there is always a quick and easy way to get rid of algae and cloudy water so you and your family can enjoy the pond almost as much as the fish do! One of AZPond’s leading water clarifiers is called Acurel E. This water clarifier easily helps with green or cloudy water and allows for debris to settle to the bottom of the pond. After the debris settles to the bottom of your pond, it is super easy to vacuum or filter out. The best part about Acurel E. is that It’s made with extracts of renewable resources. Because it’s made from renewable resources, its much safer for fish, pets, plants, and wildlife.

When it comes to the nasty hair algae that form on the sides of your pond, in the waterfall, and maybe even floating in patches on the surface; nothing works better than Aquascape EcoBlast Contract Granular Algaecide. Aquascape Algaecide eliminates unsightly algae and debris from waterfalls, fountains, streams, and rocks on contact.

Algae Control chemicals are a quick and effective way of removing algae in your fish pond. Most clarifier chemicals will clear up your pond in as little as 72 hours. I recommend using these chemicals for quick treatments in your pond and using a Bio-Filter or UV Clarifier to prevent the algae from blooming out of control again.

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Answer:

So your UV light was working fine last year, but you notice it’s struggling to keep up this year. Is it broken? Before you send it back to the manufacturer, the reason why your UV is probably not working this year could be because of a dirty quartz sleeve.

A quartz sleeve is a transparent covering that surrounds the UV bulb. This sleeve acts as a protective barrier preventing debris, water leaks, breakage, and other things from interfering with the performance of the lamp. Besides protection, it also evenly disperses water around the bulb so it can clean the water more efficiently. However, dirty water will build up gunk and residue on the sleeve over time.

If the sleeve is not taken out and cleaned regularly, the dirt buildup will prevent the UV rays from passing through to treat the water effectively. What you need to do is gently remove the quartz sleeve and clean it with CLR (calcium lime remover), or any other cleaner which powers through scum. A couple of sprays and a touch of elbow grease will effectively remove any mineral deposits on the sleeve.

Then, when you place the sleeve back into the unit, I suggest applying a silicone lubricant on any rubber o-rings or gaskets so that it seals properly. If your rubber gaskets dry out, they could leak water into the unit. Before you turn it on, I always suggest water testing the UV for a few minutes to make sure there are no leaks. If you notice a cracked quartz sleeve, or dried out o-rings, we sell replacement parts for most makes and models.

Now that you’ve taken a bit of time to clean your quartz sleeve properly, your UV clarifier will once again destroy that green water!

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Answer:

What is causing the surface algae growth is an abundance of organic waste in your pond. I would not suggest using any sort of algaecide on a pond this time of year as these treatments reduce the dissolved oxygen levels in your pond and that can harm your fish. If the pond has the possibility of freezing over, I suggest the use of an aerator of some sort instead of running a water pump as that will provide a lot more dissolved oxygen then say a water pump that is being used to just push water. There is an easy way to find out if your oxygen levels are okay in your pond by using oxygen test kits. The only quick fix I can suggest for the surface algae is the use of some sort of enzyme, like Microbe-Lift PL.

My advice for next season is to start prepping your pond for fall early (around late August) by using a fall program like Microbe-Lift Autumn Prep Winter Treatment and to also pull a water change of 30% and make sure that you have some pond netting over your pond so that leaves are prevented from blowing into the pond.

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Koi and Goldfish Care FAQ

Answer:

 

It’s natural to be concerned when you see anything in your pond that is out of the ordinary. Fortunately, most of the standard frights I hear about are from harmless worms.

Blood Worms

Blood worms are little brownish-red aquatic worms that are harmless to both plants and animals. You may have seen groups of these small worms all clumped together seemingly appear out of nowhere. Don’t worry, the sudden appearance of these worms means they have recently hatched, and are relatively standard in ponds.

In fact, these little worms serve a purpose. When these worms are in your pond filter, they help break down the organic waste inside. These hungry little worms feed on decaying organic matter that could build up in your filter or break down into toxins.

Another great reason to have blood worms around is that they make lovely treats for your fish. Most pet stores stock supplies of these worms to feed to aquarium fish, reptiles, and amphibians. You can even buy them freeze-dried, but most fish agree that fresh is best.

Anchor Worms

Harmful parasites like Anchor Worms are fortunately not as common in fish ponds as blood worms. These anchor worms are actually not worms, but a parasitic crustacean instead. Either way, in the event that they do infect your fish, it’s important to know how to deal with them.

These parasites attach on to the fish’s skin and burrow their head into the fish’s flesh. You’ll be able to see their tails sticking out of your fish if you look closely. They cause redness and irritation, and the fish will struggle to try and remove them by brushing against sharp objects like rocks.

If you notice this, the parasite can be removed by slowly pulling them out with a pair of tweezers. You should then treat your water with an Anchor Worm Treatment to kill off any eggs still left in the water.

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Answer:

 

When you transport fish, it’s best to place them in a large plastic bag that will not leak. You want enough water in the bag so that the fish will be able to move about comfortably. Half the bag should be filled with oxygen; however, you do not want to blow into the bag to fill it up as that is a bad idea.

Then place the bag in a cardboard box with padding, which will help reduce stress while you transport the fish. Be sure to keep the fish in a cool area while you are moving them as you do not want them to overheat.

When you get your fish to their new home, you want to float the bag in the pond water for about 15 minutes. This helps reduce the shock on the fish by letting them adjust to their new water temperature slowly. Then open the bag and add a couple of cups of water from the pond to the bag. After that, tie the bag shut again and let it continue to float for another 15 minutes.

When the 15 minutes has passed, use a pond net to remove the fish from the bag and place them in their new home. Then discard the old water in the bag somewhere outside of the pond.

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Answer:

As responsible fish owners, we always want to make sure our fish are cared for. If something just doesn’t look right, then it probably isn’t. So when your fish start to inflate, and I’m going to assume that you aren’t the proud owner of a pufferfish, it’s enough to cause alarm. This condition occurs in all kinds of freshwater fish species, but what exactly is it? 

Fish Dropsy: What is it? 

When we talk about inflated or bulbous fish, Dropsy immediately comes to mind. It is a disease that affects freshwater fish in ponds and aquariums alike. Dropsy is caused by a common bacteria in the water, Aeromonas, that infect fish with compromised immune systems. Most fish are already in constant contact with these bacteria and go about their lives without any harm done. But if a fish is under stress, like from poor water quality, inadequate nutrition, or poor living conditions, then they are more likely to become infected. 

Dropsy Symptoms

Dropsy causes your fish to swell up huge and look almost like a pinecone. This is because once infected; fluids will begin filling the abdominal cavity in your fish. Besides inflation, other changes in your fish may include:

  • Bulging eyes
  • A curved spine
  • Pale gills
  • Loss of appetite or refusal to eat
  • Lethargy 
  • And continually gasping for air at the surface of the water

Treating Dropsy

While not usually contagious, it is still a sign that something is wrong with your pond’s ecosystem. If the problem is not taken care of, more of your fish could succumb to Dropsy if they haven’t already. I recommend checking your water quality with a water testing kit. The PondCare Pond Master Liquid Test Kit is a perfect solution that contains everything you need for a thorough test of your water. If left unchecked, the stress from poor water quality can cause congenital heart, kidney failure, or an internal bacterial infection like Dropsy. 

To treat your fish that has contracted Dropsy, I recommend you isolate it to keep a better eye on it while you administer an antibacterial medication. This is the quickest method of treatment, but will still take some time. 

Prevent Dropsy

Sometimes, treating your fish won’t cure it. That is why it is extra important to take steps to prevent Dropsy from occurring in the first place. Remember to make sure: 

  • You always check your water conditions to ensure a healthy quality 
  • Make sure your fish are fed a healthy diet
  • Remember only to feed your fish in water above 42ºf and don’t overfeed them
  • If you need to transport your fish, do so correctly
  • Try to limit sudden changes in water temperature
  • Try to separate fish that are aggressive from your other fish
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Answer:

I would suggest testing your water quality with a test kit for starters to make sure that your ammonia and nitrite levels are low. If those check out fine, I would then check your oxygen levels by using an oxygen test kit. It’s always a very good idea to use an air pump over the winter months so that your dissolved oxygen levels are always high. It also does not hurt to use an enzyme to control dead leaves and waste over the winter months and I would suggest using a product like UltraClear Oxy.

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Lake Maintenance FAQ

Answer:

You don’t have to be a professional to set up a professional pond filter. The process is pretty easy and you can have your Professional Bio Pond Filter setup in no time.

  1. If your filter does not include media, or you need to replace the media, you will want to choose a bio media that is lightweight and will not stick together. This media must have plenty of surface area for the bacteria to grow on. Probably the best bio media to do the job would be Bio-Cell Media. While it can be expensive to buy, it is important to keep in mind that it has a long life to it (at least 7 years) and provides a lot of surface area too. Plus, it will not stick together and works great in filters that backwash.
  2. Make sure the laterals inside your filter are installed properly so that the bio media will not pass through and clog up your filter’s return.
  3. You only want to fill the Professional bio Pond Filter up halfway with the bio-media. You do not want to go over half as that will affect the backwash mode. To find out how much media you will need to purchase, I suggest emailing us at mail@azponds.com and asking a salesperson for assistance here. When you email, you will need to have the make and model number of the Professional bio Pond Filter you are using available so that we can figure out how many cubic feet of bio media you will need.
  4. When you hook up your Professional Bio Pond Filter to your pump, I suggest making a by-pass system so that you can regulate the flow of water through the filter. The reason why you want the ability to regulate the flow is so that you can slow the flow rate down when running the filter in biological mode and then increase the flow through the filter when performing a backwash. If you happen to have a PSI meter on your Professional Bio Pond Filter, you want to make sure that it always reads 0 PSI when running the filter in biological mode. As far as determining the flow rate for your sand filter, it is recommended that you email or call us at mail@azponds.com so a salesperson can calculate this for you.
  5. These filters are like a septic system for your pond, so it is important that you supply a beneficial bacteria additive (ie Microbe-lift HC) on a daily basis. This will aid your filter with breaking down waste.
  6. Your filter should be back washed once a week. To do a proper backwash, start out by placing the filter in the backwash mode for one to two minutes. Then switch to the rinse mode and run that until the water coming out of the exhaust is clear.
  7. It is important to do a complete cleaning of your bio filter every year. You want to remove the bio media from the tank and clean it with pond water, and then clean the inside of the tank with pond water as well. Once you do this, be sure to return the media back to the filter right away. The media cannot be left out to dry as that will kill the bacteria that are already on it. If you have any additional questions on making your bio-filter, please feel free to give us a call, or email us at mail@azponds.com and we will be more than happy to give you a quick reply.
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Answer:

The Pond Logic ClearPAC Plus ends the guesswork of pond management by combining essential pond maintenance products into 1 complete pond care package. The Pond Logic ClearPAC Plus allows pond owners to eliminate algae, improve water quality, reduce pond muck, promote fish health and maintain crystal clear water in a few simple steps.

Got Muck? The Pond Logic ClearPAC Plus includes Pond Logic MuckAway to combat excessive pond muck. Eliminate pond muck from high traffic beach areas and lake shorelines so you can spend more time enjoying your pond and less time wading in muck.

Designed for Golf Courses The Pond Logic ClearPAC Golf includes everything you need to keep your golf course pond looking its best. Pre-measured Pond Dye Packets simplify dye application while PondClear and MuckAway keep your water clear and shorelines clear of muck.

Your Season Long Pond Care Package Along with our essential pond maintenance products, the Pond Logic ClearPAC Plus comes complete with easy-to-follow instructions and is guaranteed to work or your money back! Live in a state that restricts algaecides? Not to worry, the Pond Logic ClearPAC Plus is available without Algae Defense so you can enjoy a crystal-clear pond regardless of where you live.

All-In-One Pond Care Package

  • Kill algae, eliminate pond muck and clear water all in one convenient package
  • Treats ¼ acre pond for up to 6 months. ½ acre pond for up to 3 months
  • End the guesswork of pond management

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Pond Construction FAQ

Answer:

You can add a pond skimmer too your pond and it’s not really that hard to do when you follow these simple steps:

STEP 1. You want to make sure that you position the skimmer where it is opposite your waterfall so that you are able to get the most out of the skimmer as far as circulation.

STEP 2. Now that you have a location selected, you will need to drain your pond about half way so that you are able to pull the pond liner away from the area where the skimmer will go. Next, measure your skimmer and then dig out the area for the skimmer to fit into, add about 3 inches to the depth of the area where the skimmer is going to go so that you can add sand. Adding sand will help you level the skimmer and at the same time protect the unit from damage in the future.

STEP 3. Now that we have the skimmer in place, we will want to attach the pond liner. You want to make sure that the liner is clean on both sides with UltraClean PVC and EPDM Liner Cleaner where it is going to attach to the skimmer. On the face of the skimmer where the door is, you will want to place a bead of silicone sealant around the door. I would place the bead of silicon about an inch from the edge of the door’s actual opening. Then place your pond liner over the face the skimmer and then apply pressure to the liner so that the silicone spreads out evenly. Now attach the skimmer’s weir door and then cut out the pond liner that is blocking the door. This part is optional, but I suggest going around the weir door on the skimmer and placing a bead of black silicon on the inner lip of the door so that it is water tight. It also doesn’t hurt to place a bead of silicone over each one of the screws that holds the door in place.

STEP 4. On the outside of the pond you will want to back fill around the skimmer with sand and near the top you will want to place topsoil or mulch.

STEP 5. Install your pond pump and fill the pond back up. When you fill the pond, you want to make sure that the water level is about 1.5″ from the top of the skimmer’s weir door. You don’t want the skimmer door under water as that will not allow floating waste to effectively enter the skimmer.

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Answer:

I always recommend a waterfall filter for a pond as they make great biological pond filters. This type of filter is commonly referred to as a “Bio-Falls” by most pond keepers. They are very simple filters as they usually consist of a filter mat of some sort and a biological media (i.e. lava rock, bio balls, etc). Each bio-falls filter will have a pond size rating assigned to it so that you will be able to match up what filter works best for your pond. You want to make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s suggested flow rate so that you get a nice sheet of water coming off the filter’s spillway. To get the most out of one of these filters, I suggest replacing the nylon filter mat with a piece of coarse Matala media as this is re-usable and will not have to be replaced. For the bio media, I would suggest loading up a media bag with bio balls as they can be re-used and offer a lot of surface area for the beneficial bacteria to grow on. To get the most out of any bio-falls filter, I suggest using an air pump and running an air stone under the biological media. Doing this increases the bacteria’s activity, thus making the filter more effective. I also recommend cleaning the bio-falls every 4 to 6 weeks. When you clean these filters, it is important to clean the bio-media with pond water and to hose the mats off with tap water. By cleaning these filters on a regular basis you will be able to get the maximum performance out of them without creating back pressure on your pond pump!

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Answer:

To keep rocks and stones in place on a waterfall, I suggest the use of black waterfall foam. This is safe to use and will hold rocks firmly in place. You can also use this to control the direction of water on your waterfall as well. I do not suggest the use of mortar to hold stones on your waterfall because of the lime content that is found in mortar. The lime will increase your pH levels greatly and will affect your fish and plants. The other problem with mortar is that in colder environments, it will tend to crack and come apart.

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Answer:

 

If you’re planning any change to your koi pond that involves removing your fish for an extended period, it is best to provide them some housing that causes the least amount of stress.

You don’t need anything fancy, even standard storage tubs or small children’s pools will work. Just make sure whatever you use has been well rinsed out beforehand. Only fill the container with water from the pond that housed your fish.

After you relocate your fish, place the tub in a shaded area with a net over the top to keep your koi from jumping out. The net also prevents predators from helping themselves to a free meal of your favorite fish. 

Be sure to provide something to aerate the water. I would suggest taking a small water pump and placing that in the holding tank so that you have plenty of circulation. Please don’t feed your koi excessive amounts of fish food while they are in the holding area. Limit the food to a small amount and only what they will eat in five minutes. Feed them only once a day as too much food will cause all sorts of health issues. 

When you are ready to move the fish back to the pond, make sure that the temperatures of the holding tank and the pond are about the same. Doing this helps reduce the amount of stress they will have to endure. Once the temperatures are roughly equivalent, you will want to re-introduce your fish back into the pond slowly.

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Answer:

It’s important to know the size of your pond so that you can provide the proper equipment as well as be able to apply water treatments with the right dosage. There are several ways to go about it and most folks follow the example of LENGTH times WIDTH times DEPTH then multiplied by 7.48. That rule is a bad one to follow because it tends inflate the ponds volume. Instead, I suggest my rule which is LENGTH times WIDTH times AVERAGE DEPTH multiplied by 7.48. Then take that number and deduct 15% from the original number. I do this to factor in uneven sides so that I get a more realistic number. This will give you a better idea of how many gallons your pond is.

If you have a round pond, I suggest doing the following: TOP DIAMETER times BOTTOM DIAMETER times AVERAGE DEPTH Multiplied by 0.785. Then take 15% off of that number to get a better idea of your ponds volume. Now, if you are just starting out or you’re just refilling your pond and you happen to have a water meter on your house, then you’re in luck because here is an easy approach that is very accurate: (1) Go to your water meter and write down the number that is on the meter. (2) Go fill your pond. (3) When your pond is filled, go back to the meter and write down the number that is on it. (4) Now take the first number and deduct that from the second number and that is how many gallons your pond is!

If you don’t have a water meter on house, here is another simple way to figure out pond volume: (1) take a five gallon bucket and time how long it takes to fill up that five gallon bucket. (2) If a five gallon bucket takes thirty seconds to fill then your flow rate is 600 gph. If it takes 15 seconds to fill, then your flow rate is 900 gph. Now that you know this, simply go and fill up your pond, but be sure to keep track of your start time and end time. Let’s say your flow rate is 600 gph and that it took 3 hours for your pond to fill up, then you would have 1800 gallon pond.

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Answer:

Pond diagram

Pond Installation

The most common materials with which to build your pond are flexible pond liners or solid preformed ponds. Whichever you select, we recommend you always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. However, this guide provides a brief description for installing a preformed pond or flexible pond liner.

Remember, ponds should be placed in a sunny location (with a minimum of six hours of sunlight a day) and away from trees and bushes, if possible. You may want to place the pond within easy view from your most used outdoor space. Your pond should be accessible to a garden hose and electrical line. Consult your electrician for proper electrical requirements.

Calculating the Volume of Your Pond

It is important to know the volume of water in your pond. Knowing the volume of water can help you determine the number of fish the pond can hold. Knowing the volume is most important when calculating partial water changes and using pond maintenance and feeding products. The easiest method to calculate the volume of your pond is to measure the amount of water used to initially fill your pond. Before you fill your pond, for the first time, note the time in seconds it takes to fill a five U.S. gallon (20 L) bucket with tap water at a constant flow rate from a garden hose. Then, fill the pond at this same constant flow rate, using the garden hose. Record the time (in seconds) that it takes to fill the pond. Then use the following formula to determine the volume of your pond.

Volume of pond
(in gallons or liters)
Time required to fill pond
(seconds)
     x     Volume of bucket
(Gal/L)
=
Time required to fill bucket (seconds)

If the pond is already filled, the volume can be calculated using one of the following formulas. Then, convert volume to gallons or liters.

 

Square And Rectangle Ponds
Length x Width x Average Depth (in feet or meters) = Volume of Pond

Example:

9’ (2.74m)L x 6’ (1.83m)W x 2’ (.6m)D = A pond volume of 108 cubic feet
(3 cubic meters)

 

Round Ponds

Top Diameter x Bottom Diameter x Height (in feet or meters) x 7.85 = Volume of Pond

Example:

(3’ (.9144m)TD x 3’ (.9144m)BD x 2’ (.6m)H) x .785 = A pond volume of 14.13 cubic feet
(.39 cubic meters)

 

Converting Volume to Gallons/Liters

Cubic feet (ft-3) x 7.48 = Gallons

Cubic Meters (m-3) x 1000 = Liters

Multiply 108 ft-3 x 7.48 = 807 Gallons or 3 m-3 x 1000 = 300 Liters

Note : 1 UK Imperial Gallon = 1.2 US Gallons or 4.5 liters. Use the above formulas to figure US gallons. Then divide that answer by 1.2, which will give you the UK Imperial Gallons.  (  __US Gallons / 1.2 = __ UK Gallons)

 

How to Build a Pond

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Pond Filter FAQ

Answer:

Winterizing your pond depends on all sorts of different factors like where you live, how long the water freezes over, and what kind of filters you have. For some pond owners, you will never have to winterize your pond because it rarely freezes over. There are even those of us who still enjoy running their pumps during freezing conditions because of the beautiful icescapes it makes, which I’ll talk more about later. First, it’s important to find out when you should winterize your pond, and some helpful tips on how to do so?

Should I winterize my pond?

If you live in warmer climates that rarely see freezing temperatures for very long, then I would say don’t bother. Warmer waters speed up the rate at which organic waste decomposes, so make sure you are providing enough oxygen for your fish. I recommend a cold weather bacteria additive to help in breaking down the extra dioxins in the water. One thing to keep in mind, by not winterizing your pond, your electric bill will be higher from running your pump all winter.

At what temperature should I turn off my pond’s pump?

For those in colder climates, always check your manufacturer’s recommendations since not every pump is designed to run in the winter. The last thing you want to do is break your pump. I recommend winterizing your pond when the water temperature dips below 48 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to winterize your pond pump

When winterizing my pond pump, I like to start by giving it a good cleaning. Remove any dirt and debris, and while you’re at it, check for any damages that need to be fixed. When you’re ready to store it for the winter, drop it in a bucket of water to keep the gaskets from drying out and keep it in a warm place. I like to store mine in my garage under my workbenches.

The next step is to make sure you drain the water out of your pond’s plumbing. This is essential to prevent water from freezing in your pipes and expanding, which causes cracks and preventable repairs.

If you have a pressurized filter or UV sterilizer, I suggest taking them offline and storing them away for winter too in the same location as your pump. Since you have to put them away, I recommend using a silicone lubricant on any o-rings or gaskets that the filter or UV sterilizer may have to prevent dry rot. You should also clean the quartz sleeve in your UV sterilizer so that it will be ready to go come spring. Here’s a quick tip: purchase replacement inserts and UV lamps now for next spring, since these items may be in short supply when you need them.

Running your pond pump in the winter

Some pond owners decide to run their pumps over the winter because of the beautiful ice-scapes your waterfalls can create. If you do decide to run your pond pump during the freezing winter, then the first thing you should do is make sure it is safe to do so. I said earlier that not all manufacturers recommend doing so. I also don’t recommend you do this since there is a lot of maintenance involved in running your pump over the winter. But, if you do insist on doing so, please keep a few things in mind:

Run your pump continuously

In order to prevent your pipes from freezing over, your pump must continually be pumping water through them, and this is easier to do if your pump has a high GPH (about 2,000 is recommended). If there are multiple days of sub-zero temperatures, then you may have to shut everything down since the ice can build up to fast for your pump. When the ice has melted, you can hook it up again.

Keep water in your pond

Even though you might not think so, water still evaporates even in the winter. Without access to water spigots, filling it up can be tricky. Some people have told me that they run a hose from their sink and out the window to fill up their pond. Do whatever works best for you, but just make sure you keep an eye on your water levels and top it off continuously.

Prevent Ice Dams

While the beautiful sights you get from the ice build-ups around your pond and waterfalls look stunning, you have to keep an eye out for ice dams. If the ice buildup becomes too much, it could divert water out of your pond. If the water drops too low, your pump could run dry which is never a good thing. Make sure to break up any ice that is diverting water out of your pond.

Expect higher energy bills

If you’ve got nothing better to do with your money, then running a pump all winter is a great idea. For a lower energy bill, I recommend running a de-icer to keep your pond oxygenated. Click here to learn more about de-icers.

Enjoy a beautiful wintery pond

If you do decide to rough it out over the freezing winter, you will be rewarded with some of the most beautiful photo opportunities of your pond. Not much beats seeing a natural ice sculpture in your own backyard. The great thing is, you can still winterize your pond at any time. Just make sure you follow the steps above to prevent ice from creating any unnecessary damage.

 

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Answer:

 

It’s natural to be concerned when you see anything in your pond that is out of the ordinary. Fortunately, most of the standard frights I hear about are from harmless worms.

Blood Worms

Blood worms are little brownish-red aquatic worms that are harmless to both plants and animals. You may have seen groups of these small worms all clumped together seemingly appear out of nowhere. Don’t worry, the sudden appearance of these worms means they have recently hatched, and are relatively standard in ponds.

In fact, these little worms serve a purpose. When these worms are in your pond filter, they help break down the organic waste inside. These hungry little worms feed on decaying organic matter that could build up in your filter or break down into toxins.

Another great reason to have blood worms around is that they make lovely treats for your fish. Most pet stores stock supplies of these worms to feed to aquarium fish, reptiles, and amphibians. You can even buy them freeze-dried, but most fish agree that fresh is best.

Anchor Worms

Harmful parasites like Anchor Worms are fortunately not as common in fish ponds as blood worms. These anchor worms are actually not worms, but a parasitic crustacean instead. Either way, in the event that they do infect your fish, it’s important to know how to deal with them.

These parasites attach on to the fish’s skin and burrow their head into the fish’s flesh. You’ll be able to see their tails sticking out of your fish if you look closely. They cause redness and irritation, and the fish will struggle to try and remove them by brushing against sharp objects like rocks.

If you notice this, the parasite can be removed by slowly pulling them out with a pair of tweezers. You should then treat your water with an Anchor Worm Treatment to kill off any eggs still left in the water.

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Answer:

I definitely recommend cleaning your bio falls every four to six weeks. If you don’t clean your bio falls, then your mechanical filtration (filter mat) will become clogged with waste.

I compare this to replacing the air filter in your car. The more gunk it has to filter out, the faster it will build up and block the airflow leading to reduced engine performance. However, instead of air in a car’s intake, we are talking about pond water getting filtered through a mechanical spillway. A clogged mechanical filter mat will create back pressure on your pond’s pump as it tries to force water through the media. Besides overworking your pump, this also reduces proper circulation in your pond.

The first step to cleaning your spillway is to remove the filter media from your skimmer. If you have any biological filtration media, then you should rinse it off with pond water and put it in a storage container filled with pond water to prevent it from drying out. Remember, if your bio media dries out, then the beneficial bacteria inside will die and you’ll have to grow another colony.

Next, remove the mechanical filter media and give it a few good squeezes and rinses with a hose to get most of the gunk out. Keep in mind, however, that while coarser mechanical filter media is easier to clean and reuse, the opposite is true for finer media. You’ll need to replace a high-density filter mat more frequently.

Then, it’s time for some good, old-fashioned elbow grease. Take some paper towels or a clean rag and wipe out any waste that may be present on the bottom of the filter tank. Do not use household chemicals to clean your filter, just simply wipe off any gunk.

Once you complete all that, place the mat and bio media back in the pond filter and you’re ready to go! If you are currently using lava rock in your bio falls and would like to make cleaning easier, I suggest switching from lava rock to something reusable like bio-balls. Plus, bio-balls have more surface area than lava rock, and they weigh a lot less too making them the best choice for biological media. If you get tired of replacing the filter mat that sits at the bottom, consider upgrading to the coarse Matala media (black one) as that is re-usable.

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Answer:

Spring is right around the corner and you’re itching to get your backyard pond back up and running. If you’re a new pond hobbyist and this is your first spring opening, then congratulations! Owning a fish pond is a beautiful and rewarding experience. Whether this is your first rodeo, or you are just looking for some tips, keep reading below to see what I suggest for opening your pond.

The goal here is to start prepping your pond for Spring when the water gets just above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is prepared and ready to go by the time warm weather comes. This also all depends on the climate you live in. If the water doesn’t freeze over where you live, then you’re going to have to perform steps like cleaning out debris over the winter too. The last thing you want is to feed an algae bloom in the Spring. Make sure you have a pond thermometer so you know when to start prepping for Spring.

First, start prepping your pond for Spring by removing as much waste as you can from the bottom of your pond. You’re looking to get rid of dead leaves and nasty decomposing plant matter that has been building up over the winter. If you used a leaf cover and cold-water treatments over the winter, this step should be a lot easier. Because plant matter releases toxins in the water as it breaks down, get them out of the way first to keep your fish healthy and prevent your filters from clogging up. Start by skimming as much waste as possible out of your pond by using a pond skimmer net or pond vacuum.

After removing all the gunk from the bottom of your pond, you’ll want to do a partial water change. I recommend a 20% water change, but you can also go a little higher if your water was excessively dirty. When doing this don’t forget to use some kind of heavy metal neutralizer and dechlorinator. This is also an excellent time to clean up and re-pot your aquatic plants.

Now it’s time to get your pond filter back up and running. Check to make sure everything is running properly and that there are no plumbing leaks. I also suggest using new filter media pads for your mechanical filter every season. If you are also using a UV clarifier, be sure to remove the quartz sleeve and clean it with something like CLR and rinse well. Place a silicone lubricant on any rubber gaskets before you reassemble your clarifier to prevent leakage. It’s also a good idea to add your beneficial bacteria additive as directed now.

Lastly, if you have a pond filter that backwashes, I suggest performing a backwash at least twice a week for the first two weeks. Then only backwash once a week for the rest of the season.

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Answer:

You don’t have to be a professional to set up a professional pond filter. The process is pretty easy and you can have your Professional Bio Pond Filter setup in no time.

  1. If your filter does not include media, or you need to replace the media, you will want to choose a bio media that is lightweight and will not stick together. This media must have plenty of surface area for the bacteria to grow on. Probably the best bio media to do the job would be Bio-Cell Media. While it can be expensive to buy, it is important to keep in mind that it has a long life to it (at least 7 years) and provides a lot of surface area too. Plus, it will not stick together and works great in filters that backwash.
  2. Make sure the laterals inside your filter are installed properly so that the bio media will not pass through and clog up your filter’s return.
  3. You only want to fill the Professional bio Pond Filter up halfway with the bio-media. You do not want to go over half as that will affect the backwash mode. To find out how much media you will need to purchase, I suggest emailing us at mail@azponds.com and asking a salesperson for assistance here. When you email, you will need to have the make and model number of the Professional bio Pond Filter you are using available so that we can figure out how many cubic feet of bio media you will need.
  4. When you hook up your Professional Bio Pond Filter to your pump, I suggest making a by-pass system so that you can regulate the flow of water through the filter. The reason why you want the ability to regulate the flow is so that you can slow the flow rate down when running the filter in biological mode and then increase the flow through the filter when performing a backwash. If you happen to have a PSI meter on your Professional Bio Pond Filter, you want to make sure that it always reads 0 PSI when running the filter in biological mode. As far as determining the flow rate for your sand filter, it is recommended that you email or call us at mail@azponds.com so a salesperson can calculate this for you.
  5. These filters are like a septic system for your pond, so it is important that you supply a beneficial bacteria additive (ie Microbe-lift HC) on a daily basis. This will aid your filter with breaking down waste.
  6. Your filter should be back washed once a week. To do a proper backwash, start out by placing the filter in the backwash mode for one to two minutes. Then switch to the rinse mode and run that until the water coming out of the exhaust is clear.
  7. It is important to do a complete cleaning of your bio filter every year. You want to remove the bio media from the tank and clean it with pond water, and then clean the inside of the tank with pond water as well. Once you do this, be sure to return the media back to the filter right away. The media cannot be left out to dry as that will kill the bacteria that are already on it. If you have any additional questions on making your bio-filter, please feel free to give us a call, or email us at mail@azponds.com and we will be more than happy to give you a quick reply.
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Answer:

A pool is close enough to a pond right? So if I have a sand filter keeping my pool crystal clear, I can just as easily hook it up to my pond right? Let me ask you something, you wouldn’t hook a bio filter to your pool and expect it to do the job, would you? While a sand filter works to keep your pool clean, I really do not recommend trying to filter your fish pond with sand.

When it comes to pressurized pond filters, there are a few reasons why you don’t want to use sand.

  1. It will require a much larger pump to operate which can result in higher energy usage.
  2. Because sand is so fine, the waste produced by fish will build up on the surface and clog the filter from working.
  3. You need to backwash the sand filter daily to prevent waste from clogging it up.
  4. If the sand does get clogged, it won’t be able to backwash properly and will have to be cleaned by hand.
  5. Sand makes a poor living space for beneficial bacteria and therefore has no bio filter properties.

So now that you know why sand makes a bad filtration system, there are alternative media you can still use in your pressure filter. Bead media and micro bio filter media require less energy to operate, are easier to maintain, and have more biological surface area than sand. Just make sure you install a screen to cover the exit so the lightweight beads don’t get flushed out when backwashing. I recommend something that is just big enough to let out dirt and not the beads.

When you convert a pressurized sand filter to a bio unit, you only want to fill the tank up half way with biological filter media (I recommend using Easypro Ultimate Floating Media). Next, you want to watch your flow rate through the filter, if the water goes through the filter to fast, the filter will be ineffective biologically. I don’t advise hooking a pump up directly to the filter. Instead, you want to use a flow regulator so that you can control the pressure more. The water should go through slower when running in filter mode and the flow should be increased when backwashing. For flow rates, I suggest emailing us at mail@azponds.com and asking for some guidance as far as what you will need to push. Before you call in, please have the following information available: tank diameter and height.

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When it comes to choosing a pond filter for your pond, you want to consider the amount of fish your pond is housing and its overall size. Since many filters on the market are made for ponds with minimal fish, you could easily buy the wrong size for your needs. This is why I recommend starting with finding the size of your fish pond first.

Calculating Your Pond’s Size

If you have yet to build your pond and want to know exactly how many gallons your pond is and should happen to have a water meter on your house, then you’ll love this. Write the number on your water meter down and then go and fill your pond up. When your pond is filled up, go back to the water meter and write the number down again. Now subtract the first number from the second number, and that is how many gallons your pond is!

For those of you who already have your pond filled, I suggest doing the following: (LENGTH’ x WIDTH’ x AVERAGE DEPTH’) X 7.48

It is essential to use your average depth, and not the deepest point as that will give you more gallons than you have. I also suggest taking 15% off of this figure to get an even better idea of how many gallons your pond is.

How Many Fish Do You Have?

Now that you know how many gallons your pond is, the next step is to figure out your pond’s fish population. The standard rule of thumb is to add one inch of adult fish to every five gallons of pond water. For example, let’s say you buy some comets for your pond; they will reach an adult size of 12 to 14 inches in length. So, you will want to provide about 70 gallons of water for just one comet. Now, let’s say your pond is 1000 gallons in size. I would say 14 to 15 adult comets would be fine for your pond, and any pond filter that’s rated for a 1000 gallon pond will do. If you decide to have 40 adult comets in your 1000 gallon pond, then you will need a much bigger pond filter, probably something rated for a 3000-gallon pond will work well.

I like to think of pond filters as a septic system for the fish in your pond. Make sure you choose a filter that offers a lot of biological surface area. The bacteria that grow in this area will gradually feed on fish’s organic waste and break it down naturally. Just like a septic system, you will also need to use a biological additive that will help aid the filter with the breakdown of waste. Common bacteria additives that are sold on the market are Microbe Lift PL or BioSafe’s Xtreme.

Do I Need A UV Filter?

Should I buy a pond filter with built-in UV or pond Filter without UV? This is a question that I get asked a lot. If you have a balanced pond with 50% pond plant coverage, you won’t need a UV light filter, since the pond plants will work in controlling the nutrients that cause green water. If your pond is going to have very little pond plant coverage, then you really want to consider a filter with a UV. UV sterilizers can be tricky, and it’s important to have the proper one sized up for your pond. I see a lot of manufacturers that inflate their UV’s abilities, and it can be really frustrating at times as to why they do this. The two important things to keep in mind is, (1) matching the right wattage up to the amount of water you are going to treat and (2) providing the proper flow rate through the UV. My favorite UV manufacturer is Emperor Aquatics UVs since they use EPA guidelines to come up with their flow rates. That’s how they can make a clear water claim in 3 days. I wish everyone followed this as it would make things so much easier.

Choosing A Pond Filter

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices above, it’s time to pick out your new filter.

For a standard size fish pond between 1,000 – 2,000 gallons, I recommend our Aquascape Ultraklean pond filters. These biological pressure filters come with an integrated UV clarifier that can be programmed with a timer. These are perfect for minimal maintenance builds.

The best set up that I can recommend on ponds up to 5000+ gallons in size would be one of our Professional Filters hooked up to an Emperor Aquatic’s Smart UV Sterilizer. This set up would require the least amount of maintenance and would last for many years.

No matter what pond filter you decide to run with, AZ Ponds has a large product selection with everything you need, with free shipping options available.

 

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I say there really is no set-in-stone time when you must clean your filter. It really all depends on what the filter pad’s purpose is.

Biological filter media really shouldn’t be cleaned that often. This is because, unlike mechanical filters, bio-filters contain bacteria that work on a microscopic level to “eat” pollutants. You generally want to let them do their thing if you can. Only worry about cleaning your pond’s biological filter every few months if you are experiencing a decrease in performance.

If your filter media is being used as part of your biological filtration system, then you do not want to use tap water to clean them. Very similar to fish, the bacteria in your bio-filter are used to the chemical balance of your pond, not the tap water. The proper way to clean your biological filter inserts instead is to use pond water. What you do is take a 5-gallon bucket of pond water and take each insert and clean it in that bucket. You will want to give it a good dunk and then squeeze it out. Repeat this process a couple of times and then discard that water in a garden or drainage area. Make sure you do this for each insert. Now if the insert is strictly being used mechanically (to just collect waste), then you can wash it with tap water.

For mechanical filter media, I generally like to rinse them out every 4 – 6 weeks, depending on the load being placed on them. I find it helpful to rinse off my mechanical media with a garden hose on a jet setting. One thing to note, however, is that fine filter media will need to be cleaned more frequently than coarse media. This is because it is densely packed and traps a lot more debris. It will also require a little extra effort to rinse out.

I would also like to mention that if you see a lot of muck in or on your inserts, you may want to consider using a beneficial bacteria additive like Microbe Lift PL or Biosafe Xtreme as this will help aid the beneficial bacteria that is growing on your inserts breakdown organic waste. Lastly, I suggest changing your inserts each pond season with fresh new insert parts from the manufacturer so that you can get the most out of your pond filter.

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Pond Liner FAQ

Answer:

It’s important to know the size of your pond so that you can provide the proper equipment as well as be able to apply water treatments with the right dosage. There are several ways to go about it and most folks follow the example of LENGTH times WIDTH times DEPTH then multiplied by 7.48. That rule is a bad one to follow because it tends inflate the ponds volume. Instead, I suggest my rule which is LENGTH times WIDTH times AVERAGE DEPTH multiplied by 7.48. Then take that number and deduct 15% from the original number. I do this to factor in uneven sides so that I get a more realistic number. This will give you a better idea of how many gallons your pond is.

If you have a round pond, I suggest doing the following: TOP DIAMETER times BOTTOM DIAMETER times AVERAGE DEPTH Multiplied by 0.785. Then take 15% off of that number to get a better idea of your ponds volume. Now, if you are just starting out or you’re just refilling your pond and you happen to have a water meter on your house, then you’re in luck because here is an easy approach that is very accurate: (1) Go to your water meter and write down the number that is on the meter. (2) Go fill your pond. (3) When your pond is filled, go back to the meter and write down the number that is on it. (4) Now take the first number and deduct that from the second number and that is how many gallons your pond is!

If you don’t have a water meter on house, here is another simple way to figure out pond volume: (1) take a five gallon bucket and time how long it takes to fill up that five gallon bucket. (2) If a five gallon bucket takes thirty seconds to fill then your flow rate is 600 gph. If it takes 15 seconds to fill, then your flow rate is 900 gph. Now that you know this, simply go and fill up your pond, but be sure to keep track of your start time and end time. Let’s say your flow rate is 600 gph and that it took 3 hours for your pond to fill up, then you would have 1800 gallon pond.

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Pond Plants FAQ

Answer:

I would suggest cutting your plant coverage down to 50% to 60% and the reason for this is that plants can affect your oxygen levels at night as they are pulling in oxygen during the night time. As far as safely removing excessive ones, the only thing I can suggest is going into the pond and physically removing the unwanted lilies.

If these are in pots, it would probably be best to remove the pot from the pond and then take the lilies you don’t want out on land. By doing this you will cut down on clouding the water with the pond plant soil. If the water does cloud up from removing the lilies, I would suggest using a water clarifier like OASE AquaActiv Water Clarifier or Pond Care’s AccuClear as this will clump up any free-floating materials.

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Answer:

If the pond water is turning the color of ice tea, it may be turning this color due to run off or there may be pond plants in your pond that are planted in potting soil. Either one of these can lead to reddish-brown water. If the water turns this color after a heavy rain, then the cause is run off and you will need to divert the water away from the pond. If you just placed pond plants in your pond and the water has turned brown, then that would be from the soil that was used to pot the plants and you will want to consider re-potting your plants in a clay soil instead.

If the water has free floating particles in the water and it has a brown tint to it, then there is a good chance that your fish are digging in your pond plant’s pots. The way to solve that one is to use a clay pond plant soil, such as Aquascape Pond Plant Potting Media and then to add at least 2 inches of gravel over the potting soil. I would also suggest doing a water change of about 25% once a week for the next two weeks to help clear up the pond.

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Pond Pump FAQ

Answer:

The answer is no, it is not covered under pumps warranty. All manufacturers of magnetic driven style pumps have the same policy. The reason for this policy is that impellers usually break because the pump was operated without the pump sock or pump bag over the inlet or the impeller was not taken out and cleaned. When a magnetic driven pump is operated with the protective sleeve off and a large object gets caught in the opening, it can easily break the impeller shaft which will then render the pump useless. The most common cause of impeller damage is pumps that are not maintained properly. When an impeller is not removed and cleaned each season, waste and minerals can build up on the impeller. This can then cause the impeller to seize up and eventually results in the impeller shaft breaking.

It’s real easy to remove an impeller and clean it. To start, you remove the impeller cover and then gently pull out the impeller. Then take the impeller and use Pondmaster Pump Guard Pond Pump Cleaner. After the impeller is cleaned, rinse it off with tap water. Next, you want to take a single edge razor and gently scrape the magnetic portion of the impeller to remove any minerals that may be left behind. Once you’re done with that, rinse again and place the impeller to the side. Now you want to clean out the impeller cavity. To do this, you will want to fill the cavity with Pondmaster Pump Guard Pond Pump Cleaner. Then take an old tooth brush and scrub out the cavity real well for a few seconds and when you’re done, rinse out the cavity with tap water.

You have finally completed cleaning the impeller and now it’s time to put everything back together. When placing the impeller back into the pump, you want to take your time and gently place the impeller back into the impeller cavity. Once the impeller is in, place the cover back on the pump and your ready to go. Doing simple maintenance like this will prolong the life of the pump’s impeller and will save you money in the long haul.

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If you’re planning any change to your koi pond that involves removing your fish for an extended period, it is best to provide them some housing that causes the least amount of stress.

You don’t need anything fancy, even standard storage tubs or small children’s pools will work. Just make sure whatever you use has been well rinsed out beforehand. Only fill the container with water from the pond that housed your fish.

After you relocate your fish, place the tub in a shaded area with a net over the top to keep your koi from jumping out. The net also prevents predators from helping themselves to a free meal of your favorite fish. 

Be sure to provide something to aerate the water. I would suggest taking a small water pump and placing that in the holding tank so that you have plenty of circulation. Please don’t feed your koi excessive amounts of fish food while they are in the holding area. Limit the food to a small amount and only what they will eat in five minutes. Feed them only once a day as too much food will cause all sorts of health issues. 

When you are ready to move the fish back to the pond, make sure that the temperatures of the holding tank and the pond are about the same. Doing this helps reduce the amount of stress they will have to endure. Once the temperatures are roughly equivalent, you will want to re-introduce your fish back into the pond slowly.

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Answer:

Choosing the proper pump for your pond or water garden can be a confusing and misleading process. Many retailers and dealers themselves are often unsure of how to make a proper pump recommendation. This often leads to incorrect information and the possibility of buying a pump not well suited for your unique water feature. Choosing the proper pump does not take much time, and is well worth the energy you put into selecting it. Among other things, the proper pump can save you money by consuming less energy, creating a healthier waterscape, and are often times less expensive and less maintenance than most people imagine. Factors to consider when choosing a pond pump are as follows.

  • Total pond gallons
  • Total dynamic head pressure
  • Width of spillway on waterfall (if you will have a waterfall)
  • Fish load
  • Voltage / Energy Consumption
    Total pond gallons can be figured out by using the following formula:
    Rectangular or Square Pond:
    Length x Width x Average Depth x 7.5 = Approximate Gallons

    Circular or Oval Pond:
    3.14 x Radius x Radius x Average Depth x 7.5

    It is important to know the approximate number of gallons in your water feature to be sure that insufficient circulation does not occur. Insufficient circulation can cause areas of stagnant water, unacceptably low oxygen levels, lack of proper filtration, and many other things, which will eventually lead to an unhealthy pond. Unhealthy ponds are not good habitats for fish and plants, and will become an unpleasant addition to the backyard. By choosing the proper pump, many of these harmful conditions can be prevented. Rule of thumb is to circulate the pond water a minimum of once every two hours. Generally, the more circulation the better, with exception to biofiltration.

    Total dynamic head pressure is the amount of total pressure put back onto the pump while the pump is in operation. The greater the head pressure, the less your pump will circulate water. Dynamic head pressure encompasses many things including the amount of tubing the water needs to be pushed through, the height from the top of the water level to the top of the push for the pump (eg: waterfall), the tubing diameter, any special bends or adapters including ball valves and gate valves and other special fittings. To make it simple and to find an approximate head pressure, calculate the following for your situation:

    A = The vertical height (in feet) from the top of the water level to the top of the water push. (e.g. waterfall)
    B = Total distance of tubing (in feet) the water needs to be pushed through.
    C = Number of 90 degree bends and reducers.
    D = Number of miscellaneous adapters such as ball valves and bulkheads.

    A + (B / 10) + (C / 2) + (D / 4) = Approximate Head Pressure

    For Example:

    A = Vertical Height = 4.5’
    B = Total Distance = 28’
    C = Number of 90 degree bends and reducers = 2
    D = Number of misc. adaptors = 12

    4.5 + (28 / 10) + (2 / 2) + (12 / 4) = Total Dynamic Head Pressure
    4.5 + 2.8 + 1 + 3 = Total Dynamic Head Pressure
    11.3’ = Total Dynamic Head Pressure

    Now that an approximate total dynamic head pressure is determined, you are better able to make a pump selection. The higher the number, the more pressure the pump is going to be under, which means it will pump less. Most pumps have a “flow chart,” indicating such specifications as Gallons Per Hour and energy consumption at certain head heights. For example, you have 12 feet of dynamic head pressure. You calculate the proper pump for the pond would need to push 5200 GPH at this head pressure. A recommended pump for this situation would be the Dolphin AmpMaster ES8500 External Pump. After referring to the flow chart, at 12 feet, this pump will push approximately 5220 GPH.

    Width of spillway on waterfall is the width of the sheet of water, which will be needed by the waterfall. If there is a stream, that can also be used as your spillway measurement. An example would be if there is a flat rock on top of the falls, the entire rocks width should be full of water spilling over when the pump is turned on. This is your spillway width. The width of the spillway should be figured in inches for the following equation. Once you know approximately how many inches wide the spillway will be, you can now obtain how many gallons the pump will need to push in order to achieve the desired look. The formula for GPH needed per inch is as follows.

    1 inch = 125 GPH

    If the spillway is going to be around 22”, a pump capable of at least 2750 GPH at that specific head pressure is needed. If a heavier flow is desired, increase the flow needed per inch to 150 or 175 GPH.

    Fish Load is the total inches of fish per gallons of water. There is no true definition on how to figure this value out, however, the more fish you have, the more filtration and circulation the pond will require. Generally speaking, it is acceptable to have five inches of fish per five gallons of pond water. It is valuable to keep the fish load below the accepted equation. If the pond is solely for fish, more flow and circulation is required than a pond that is filled with plants and fewer fish. Excluding bio filtration, the more flow the better, especially if there is a high fish load. Keep this in mind when choosing the right pump for your application.

    Voltage / Energy Consumption is the current of electricity your pump requires in order to operate correctly. Most pumps designed for ponds are wired for 110V, which can be plugged into any GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet in the USA. If you intend on having a 230V pump, the principle explained later will apply. For energy consumption, a pump with the lowest wattage possible is the most appropriate. Each additional watt helps to build on the electric bill, which may be surprising when a pump is running 24/7. Generally, external pumps use less energy than submersible pumps when you get to the 3000 – 4000 GPH range and up. Also, most external pumps last much longer than submersibles. A good 6000 GPH external pump should be capable of running properly using no more than 450 watts, where as a standard submersible pump can use anywhere in the 750 – 1200 watt range. Just remember when making a selection to consider energy consumption. Remembering this can easily save hundreds of dollars per year on electricity.

    Conclusion:

    There are many pumps available in the industry today. It is wise to consult with a pond professional from www.AZPonds.com before making a pump selection. Choosing the right pump can be complicated, but in the end, the time you spend selecting the most suited pump for your pond is well worth it for the safety of the fish, the beauty of the pond, and cost of the electric bill.

    If you are still confused or need some extra assistance, please call us at 1-800-722-8877 to speak with an experienced pond technician. While speaking with us, we can quickly and effectively select the best pump for the water feature, as well as explain how we came to our recommendation.

View Our Inventory of Pond Pumps

 

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Pond Skimmer FAQ

Answer:

 

Contrary to what many people try to tell you, I feel most pond skimmers will winter over without a problem if water freezes inside the unit. The reason most skimmers have tapered sides is so that when water freezes inside the skimmer, it will expand and travel up the sides. As long as there is enough space for the water to expand inside, which for most skimmers there should be, then you’ll be fine. Two examples of skimmers with tapered sides are ones from Atlantic Water Garden skimmers and Easypro Pond Skimmers.

While I don’t feel like you need to remove the skimmer, everything inside definitely should be. Remove filter media and everything else from the skimmer, and make sure you drain any plumbing of water so the hoses won’t burst.

If you house your water pump in your skimmer, the freezing ice may cause damage to it. Submerge your mechanical pump into a deep section of your pond where the water won’t freeze. Alternatively, you can submerge it in a bucket of water in a warm location. If you have a magnetic drive pump, clean and store it in a dry place. 

While we are on the subject of skimmers, if you are thinking about installing one on your pond, make sure that you place two to three inches of sand underneath the skimmer as well as about two to three inches of sands along the sides of the skimmer. Believe it or not, frozen moisture in the ground can make it expand, even if just by a little. Sand can help your skimmer remain level when the ground thaws and freezes over again and again.

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Answer:

You can add a pond skimmer too your pond and it’s not really that hard to do when you follow these simple steps:

STEP 1. You want to make sure that you position the skimmer where it is opposite your waterfall so that you are able to get the most out of the skimmer as far as circulation.

STEP 2. Now that you have a location selected, you will need to drain your pond about half way so that you are able to pull the pond liner away from the area where the skimmer will go. Next, measure your skimmer and then dig out the area for the skimmer to fit into, add about 3 inches to the depth of the area where the skimmer is going to go so that you can add sand. Adding sand will help you level the skimmer and at the same time protect the unit from damage in the future.

STEP 3. Now that we have the skimmer in place, we will want to attach the pond liner. You want to make sure that the liner is clean on both sides with UltraClean PVC and EPDM Liner Cleaner where it is going to attach to the skimmer. On the face of the skimmer where the door is, you will want to place a bead of silicone sealant around the door. I would place the bead of silicon about an inch from the edge of the door’s actual opening. Then place your pond liner over the face the skimmer and then apply pressure to the liner so that the silicone spreads out evenly. Now attach the skimmer’s weir door and then cut out the pond liner that is blocking the door. This part is optional, but I suggest going around the weir door on the skimmer and placing a bead of black silicon on the inner lip of the door so that it is water tight. It also doesn’t hurt to place a bead of silicone over each one of the screws that holds the door in place.

STEP 4. On the outside of the pond you will want to back fill around the skimmer with sand and near the top you will want to place topsoil or mulch.

STEP 5. Install your pond pump and fill the pond back up. When you fill the pond, you want to make sure that the water level is about 1.5″ from the top of the skimmer’s weir door. You don’t want the skimmer door under water as that will not allow floating waste to effectively enter the skimmer.

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Pond Vacuum FAQ

Answer:

There are two types of pond vacuums available on the market today and they are electrical and gravity. Let’s start out with electrical since these are probably the most powerful of pond vacuums. The most common ones that you see offered are what I call the “R-2-D-2” units, like the Matala Muck Vac. These pond vacuums are great for ponds that are around 24 inches deep. I don’t really recommend them for ponds that are deeper than 30 inches as they generally lose their effectiveness at a depth of 30 inches. A new style electrical pond vacuum that is new to the US market that seems to have some power in deeper ponds is the Matala Cyclone Professional Pond Vacuum.

The reason why this vacuum can pick up at deeper depths then the other units is that it has 2 separate pumps, one for suction and the other for discharge. This feature allows for continuous vacuuming.

The other group of pond vacuums is gravity vacuums. This type of vacuum uses under water pressure from a hose outlet. These vacuums are only as good as the water pressure coming out of the hose outlet. Probably one of the best and easiest of these would be the Lifegard Pond Mini Vac because this vac literally pushes the waste out of the pond. (NOTE: Pole sold separately)

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UV Sterilizer FAQ

Answer:

 

When water temperatures start to fall below 65ºf, then it’s time to consider bringing your UV Sterilizer in for the winter. Since cold water dramatically reduces the effectiveness of your sterilizer, you shouldn’t run it all year round. When you bring your UV lamp in for the winter, it’s also a good idea to go ahead and get it ready for next spring. 

I suggest taking out the quartz sleeve and cleaning that off with CLR (found in your grocery store). I find this best for removing water deposits and other buildups, but feel free to use whatever works for you.

Then take a silicone lubricant and apply that to any rubber o-rings or gaskets on your UV sterilizer. Using a lubricant will prevent the rubber from drying out. A dried rubber gasket is never a good thing as that causes leaks, which lead to other problems.

Next, clean out the UV vessel and get rid of any dirt that may be present.

Finally, consider replacing the lamp now. The reason why I suggest replacing the lamp now is so you can avoid shortages on new bulbs come springtime. I recommend you consult any documentation and warranties that came with your lamp to find out its expected operating life. If it’s getting close to replacing, you might as well do it now while everything is still in stock.

With the proper care now, you can extend the life of your UV sterilizer and save yourself the headache later.

Click Here to view UV parts by manufacturer

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Answer:

This is a question I get a lot, and the answer is no. You want to leave your UV sterilizer on 24 hours a day for it to keep your pond crystal clear.

UV Sterilizers work by killing off bacteria and algae in the water that easily passes through your filter because of their small size. However, just because the water flows into your sterilizer doesn’t mean everything is immediately killed. It requires a constant cycle, which will clarify the water over time. It all depends on the flow of water, the size of the sterilizer, the bulb’s age, and many other factors.

If you were to turn it off, it would only take about 3 or 4 days for the water to turn green again. Similarly, when you turn it back on, it could take a few days to clear up the water again. 

Since we are talking about UV’s, another popular question that I get is this one: “is it okay to put the UV on a timer?” The answer to that one is the same, no. It must remain on 24 hours a day if you want to see any benefits from its use. 

The only time you should turn your UV off is when you are adding a biological additive (like Microbe-Lift PL) to treat your pond. In that case, turn the UV off for 24 hours so that the beneficial bacteria have a chance to do their job.

Some final suggestions on UV’s I would like to leave you with: (1) always keep the quartz sleeve clean; (2) use a fresh UV lamp each season or as directed by the manufacturer; and (3) make sure your o-rings and gaskets are lubricated!

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Answer:

One of the most common misconceptions out there in pond land is that a UV Sterilizer will help control surface algae (aka Filamentous Algae). The truth of the matter is, a UV only kills off green water (aka waterborne algae) as the algae have to pass through the UV in order to be effectively treated. The two most common forms of surface algae are Blanket Weed and Hair Algae. Blanketweed is free-floating and as it grows it will start to resemble a blanket and usually forms in clumps. Hair Algae resembles hair and attaches to just about everything in the pond. Because these algae are attached to rocks and plants, it can be a real nightmare to clean up and can affect your pond plant’s health (especially lilies).

So what causes surface algae you ask? Well it is mainly caused by a couple of things, like excessive amounts of organic waste and high levels of minerals like iron in your pond. To control surface algae, it is recommended that you do the following steps:

STEP 1. Provide a reliable biological filter that is properly sized for your pond. It is always a good rule of thumb to provide more biological filtration then what your pond calls for as you can never have too much filtration. The other thing that is important when it comes to biological filters is how they are maintained. You should never clean the biological media in your pond filter with tap water as that will kill off the beneficial bacteria that is living on the media. This goes for both well water and water from a municipality water source. What you should use to clean biological media is pond water. If you have a filter that uses foam inserts like the Laguna Pressure-Flo Series Filters, what you would want to do is take a 5 gallon bucket of pond water and squeeze each insert in that bucket several times to release the waste that is trapped on it. You want to repeat this process three times. Any biological media that is loose or in bags should be placed in a Rubbermaid container that is filled with pond water and moved around for at least two to three minutes so that you can loosen any waste that may be trapped on it. When you are finished cleaning, take the dirty water and discard. Do not pour the dirty water back into the pond.

If you have a bio waterfall, it’s a great idea to clean these (with pond water) every six weeks. A common misconception is to leave your bio falls alone and not to disturb it. The problem with that idea is that (1) sludge builds up under the mat that is being used for the mechanical filtration and will create a restriction on the waterfall’s output. (2) Waste can gradually build up on the biological media and choke off the nitrifying bacteria. It’s a great idea to take the biological media in your biofalls and rinse it real well with pond water. If you’re using lava rock in your bio falls, it’s a good idea to replace it each season with fresh lava rock. Using the same lava rock year after year is a bad idea as it will harbor dead organic waste. An excellent biological media to use in a biofall are bio spheres as they are easy to clean and are re-usable. To get the most out of your bio falls, it’s a great idea to hook up an air pump to your bio falls by running an air line with an air stone under the biological media. Doing this will increase the oxygen level to the media and that will increase the bio filter’s effectiveness.

STEP 2. Watch how often you feed your fish as this is a big contributor to the surface algae nightmare. Feed only fish foods that are high in fish meal and low in fillers as this will produce less waste. If you have a surface algae problem, it’s best to stop feeding your fish altogether and allow your pond fish to feed on the algae. Once the surface algae subsides, then begin feeding your pond fish again. When it comes to feeding your fish on a daily basis, it’s recommended that you feed them once every other day and only what they will consume in five minutes. It’s even a better idea to use a feeding point so that you can remove any uneaten food.

STEP 3. Consider using a beneficial bacteria (i.e. BioSafe’s Xtreme) in your pond as that will aid your pond filter in the breakdown of organic waste. If you have a real bad algae issue, consider using a sludge reducer (like Microbe Lift’s SA) and that will quickly digest the sludge that the surface algae is feeding on.

STEP 4. Small water changes once a month are a good thing. Simply remove 15% to 20% of the volume of your pond and then add fresh water to your pond. If you have a pressurized pond filter with backwash, it’s a great idea to perform a backwash once a week for about 30 to 45 seconds.

STEP 5. When adding water to your pond, we suggest using a dechlorinator that will also help neutralize heavy metals. Even if you have well water, it’s a great idea to do this as we are trying to neutralize metals like iron. One of the dechlorinators that do this is the PondCare Pond Chlorine & Heavy Metal Neutralizer.

STEP 6. Try and provide up to 50% pond plant coverage on your pond. Pond plants are more than just decorations, they too will also feed on the organic waste in your pond.

STEP 7. Test your water daily with a pond test kit! When it comes to algae, you want to watch Nitrates and Phosphate levels.

If you follow these seven steps, surface algae will not be a problem in your pond!

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Answer:

So your UV light was working fine last year, but you notice it’s struggling to keep up this year. Is it broken? Before you send it back to the manufacturer, the reason why your UV is probably not working this year could be because of a dirty quartz sleeve.

A quartz sleeve is a transparent covering that surrounds the UV bulb. This sleeve acts as a protective barrier preventing debris, water leaks, breakage, and other things from interfering with the performance of the lamp. Besides protection, it also evenly disperses water around the bulb so it can clean the water more efficiently. However, dirty water will build up gunk and residue on the sleeve over time.

If the sleeve is not taken out and cleaned regularly, the dirt buildup will prevent the UV rays from passing through to treat the water effectively. What you need to do is gently remove the quartz sleeve and clean it with CLR (calcium lime remover), or any other cleaner which powers through scum. A couple of sprays and a touch of elbow grease will effectively remove any mineral deposits on the sleeve.

Then, when you place the sleeve back into the unit, I suggest applying a silicone lubricant on any rubber o-rings or gaskets so that it seals properly. If your rubber gaskets dry out, they could leak water into the unit. Before you turn it on, I always suggest water testing the UV for a few minutes to make sure there are no leaks. If you notice a cracked quartz sleeve, or dried out o-rings, we sell replacement parts for most makes and models.

Now that you’ve taken a bit of time to clean your quartz sleeve properly, your UV clarifier will once again destroy that green water!

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Answer:

Spring is right around the corner and you’re itching to get your backyard pond back up and running. If you’re a new pond hobbyist and this is your first spring opening, then congratulations! Owning a fish pond is a beautiful and rewarding experience. Whether this is your first rodeo, or you are just looking for some tips, keep reading below to see what I suggest for opening your pond.

The goal here is to start prepping your pond for Spring when the water gets just above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is prepared and ready to go by the time warm weather comes. This also all depends on the climate you live in. If the water doesn’t freeze over where you live, then you’re going to have to perform steps like cleaning out debris over the winter too. The last thing you want is to feed an algae bloom in the Spring. Make sure you have a pond thermometer so you know when to start prepping for Spring.

First, start prepping your pond for Spring by removing as much waste as you can from the bottom of your pond. You’re looking to get rid of dead leaves and nasty decomposing plant matter that has been building up over the winter. If you used a leaf cover and cold-water treatments over the winter, this step should be a lot easier. Because plant matter releases toxins in the water as it breaks down, get them out of the way first to keep your fish healthy and prevent your filters from clogging up. Start by skimming as much waste as possible out of your pond by using a pond skimmer net or pond vacuum.

After removing all the gunk from the bottom of your pond, you’ll want to do a partial water change. I recommend a 20% water change, but you can also go a little higher if your water was excessively dirty. When doing this don’t forget to use some kind of heavy metal neutralizer and dechlorinator. This is also an excellent time to clean up and re-pot your aquatic plants.

Now it’s time to get your pond filter back up and running. Check to make sure everything is running properly and that there are no plumbing leaks. I also suggest using new filter media pads for your mechanical filter every season. If you are also using a UV clarifier, be sure to remove the quartz sleeve and clean it with something like CLR and rinse well. Place a silicone lubricant on any rubber gaskets before you reassemble your clarifier to prevent leakage. It’s also a good idea to add your beneficial bacteria additive as directed now.

Lastly, if you have a pond filter that backwashes, I suggest performing a backwash at least twice a week for the first two weeks. Then only backwash once a week for the rest of the season.

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Answer:

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When it comes to choosing a pond filter for your pond, you want to consider the amount of fish your pond is housing and its overall size. Since many filters on the market are made for ponds with minimal fish, you could easily buy the wrong size for your needs. This is why I recommend starting with finding the size of your fish pond first.

Calculating Your Pond’s Size

If you have yet to build your pond and want to know exactly how many gallons your pond is and should happen to have a water meter on your house, then you’ll love this. Write the number on your water meter down and then go and fill your pond up. When your pond is filled up, go back to the water meter and write the number down again. Now subtract the first number from the second number, and that is how many gallons your pond is!

For those of you who already have your pond filled, I suggest doing the following: (LENGTH’ x WIDTH’ x AVERAGE DEPTH’) X 7.48

It is essential to use your average depth, and not the deepest point as that will give you more gallons than you have. I also suggest taking 15% off of this figure to get an even better idea of how many gallons your pond is.

How Many Fish Do You Have?

Now that you know how many gallons your pond is, the next step is to figure out your pond’s fish population. The standard rule of thumb is to add one inch of adult fish to every five gallons of pond water. For example, let’s say you buy some comets for your pond; they will reach an adult size of 12 to 14 inches in length. So, you will want to provide about 70 gallons of water for just one comet. Now, let’s say your pond is 1000 gallons in size. I would say 14 to 15 adult comets would be fine for your pond, and any pond filter that’s rated for a 1000 gallon pond will do. If you decide to have 40 adult comets in your 1000 gallon pond, then you will need a much bigger pond filter, probably something rated for a 3000-gallon pond will work well.

I like to think of pond filters as a septic system for the fish in your pond. Make sure you choose a filter that offers a lot of biological surface area. The bacteria that grow in this area will gradually feed on fish’s organic waste and break it down naturally. Just like a septic system, you will also need to use a biological additive that will help aid the filter with the breakdown of waste. Common bacteria additives that are sold on the market are Microbe Lift PL or BioSafe’s Xtreme.

Do I Need A UV Filter?

Should I buy a pond filter with built-in UV or pond Filter without UV? This is a question that I get asked a lot. If you have a balanced pond with 50% pond plant coverage, you won’t need a UV light filter, since the pond plants will work in controlling the nutrients that cause green water. If your pond is going to have very little pond plant coverage, then you really want to consider a filter with a UV. UV sterilizers can be tricky, and it’s important to have the proper one sized up for your pond. I see a lot of manufacturers that inflate their UV’s abilities, and it can be really frustrating at times as to why they do this. The two important things to keep in mind is, (1) matching the right wattage up to the amount of water you are going to treat and (2) providing the proper flow rate through the UV. My favorite UV manufacturer is Emperor Aquatics UVs since they use EPA guidelines to come up with their flow rates. That’s how they can make a clear water claim in 3 days. I wish everyone followed this as it would make things so much easier.

Choosing A Pond Filter

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices above, it’s time to pick out your new filter.

For a standard size fish pond between 1,000 – 2,000 gallons, I recommend our Aquascape Ultraklean pond filters. These biological pressure filters come with an integrated UV clarifier that can be programmed with a timer. These are perfect for minimal maintenance builds.

The best set up that I can recommend on ponds up to 5000+ gallons in size would be one of our Professional Filters hooked up to an Emperor Aquatic’s Smart UV Sterilizer. This set up would require the least amount of maintenance and would last for many years.

No matter what pond filter you decide to run with, AZ Ponds has a large product selection with everything you need, with free shipping options available.

 

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Water Treatment FAQ

Answer:

This is a question I get a lot, and the answer is no. You want to leave your UV sterilizer on 24 hours a day for it to keep your pond crystal clear.

UV Sterilizers work by killing off bacteria and algae in the water that easily passes through your filter because of their small size. However, just because the water flows into your sterilizer doesn’t mean everything is immediately killed. It requires a constant cycle, which will clarify the water over time. It all depends on the flow of water, the size of the sterilizer, the bulb’s age, and many other factors.

If you were to turn it off, it would only take about 3 or 4 days for the water to turn green again. Similarly, when you turn it back on, it could take a few days to clear up the water again. 

Since we are talking about UV’s, another popular question that I get is this one: “is it okay to put the UV on a timer?” The answer to that one is the same, no. It must remain on 24 hours a day if you want to see any benefits from its use. 

The only time you should turn your UV off is when you are adding a biological additive (like Microbe-Lift PL) to treat your pond. In that case, turn the UV off for 24 hours so that the beneficial bacteria have a chance to do their job.

Some final suggestions on UV’s I would like to leave you with: (1) always keep the quartz sleeve clean; (2) use a fresh UV lamp each season or as directed by the manufacturer; and (3) make sure your o-rings and gaskets are lubricated!

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Answer:

 

The answer to this question is yes, provided the pond only has a very scarce population of fish, and at least 50% of the surface of the water has pond plant coverage.

Aquatic plants are nature’s water filters and were around long before we built pumps, skimmers, and other supplies. Pond plants provide food and shelter for fish, dissolve oxygen in the water, absorb toxins, reduce algae, and so much more. As long as you maintain a high plant to fish ratio, they will continue to dispose of fish waste with minimal effort from you.

However, there are a few things to think about if you plan on owning a natural pond. The first is the mosquitoes. If there is no pond pump circulating the water, your back yard becomes an open invitation to pests like mosquitoes. A simple solution is to install a small fountain pump, or my favorite, a waterfall spillway. You could also use biological mosquito control treatments.

The next thing to keep in mind is that pond plants need to be maintained similar to house or garden plants. If left unchecked, some species will overgrow to cover your pond completely. Try thinning out your pond plants during the early Summer or late Spring. Doing so should leave them with plenty of time to grow back to reasonable numbers. 

Finally, I would still suggest using a beneficial bacteria additive in the water. Since you aren’t using a filter, this will help break down organic waste much faster. 

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Answer:

I wouldn’t suggest using an excessive amount of pond salt because this may effect the health of you koi as you could actually burn them and cause tissue damage. To the best of my knowledge, there is no effective leech treatment sold. Years ago I was told by another pond keeper to try a piece of red meat in a coffee can that has the plastic top with a 1″ hole on it. The red meat will act as a lure and will draw the leeches in without effecting the fish. I have actually used this method and found it to work, but you have to be patient and it does take some time. I would suggest checking your “LEECH TRAP” each day and to change the red meat out daily.

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Answer:

I would suggest cutting your plant coverage down to 50% to 60% and the reason for this is that plants can affect your oxygen levels at night as they are pulling in oxygen during the night time. As far as safely removing excessive ones, the only thing I can suggest is going into the pond and physically removing the unwanted lilies.

If these are in pots, it would probably be best to remove the pot from the pond and then take the lilies you don’t want out on land. By doing this you will cut down on clouding the water with the pond plant soil. If the water does cloud up from removing the lilies, I would suggest using a water clarifier like OASE AquaActiv Water Clarifier or Pond Care’s AccuClear as this will clump up any free-floating materials.

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Answer:

This is a common question that I get often regarding pond water treatments. What I can say is that ponds treated with barley or beneficial bacteria’s are generally harmless to pets when applied properly.

As far as algaecides are concerned, I would suggest being careful here. I don’t think that these would be harmful when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I would try and discourage your pets from drinking water that was just treated to be on the safe side.

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Answer:

One of the most common misconceptions out there in pond land is that a UV Sterilizer will help control surface algae (aka Filamentous Algae). The truth of the matter is, a UV only kills off green water (aka waterborne algae) as the algae have to pass through the UV in order to be effectively treated. The two most common forms of surface algae are Blanket Weed and Hair Algae. Blanketweed is free-floating and as it grows it will start to resemble a blanket and usually forms in clumps. Hair Algae resembles hair and attaches to just about everything in the pond. Because these algae are attached to rocks and plants, it can be a real nightmare to clean up and can affect your pond plant’s health (especially lilies).

So what causes surface algae you ask? Well it is mainly caused by a couple of things, like excessive amounts of organic waste and high levels of minerals like iron in your pond. To control surface algae, it is recommended that you do the following steps:

STEP 1. Provide a reliable biological filter that is properly sized for your pond. It is always a good rule of thumb to provide more biological filtration then what your pond calls for as you can never have too much filtration. The other thing that is important when it comes to biological filters is how they are maintained. You should never clean the biological media in your pond filter with tap water as that will kill off the beneficial bacteria that is living on the media. This goes for both well water and water from a municipality water source. What you should use to clean biological media is pond water. If you have a filter that uses foam inserts like the Laguna Pressure-Flo Series Filters, what you would want to do is take a 5 gallon bucket of pond water and squeeze each insert in that bucket several times to release the waste that is trapped on it. You want to repeat this process three times. Any biological media that is loose or in bags should be placed in a Rubbermaid container that is filled with pond water and moved around for at least two to three minutes so that you can loosen any waste that may be trapped on it. When you are finished cleaning, take the dirty water and discard. Do not pour the dirty water back into the pond.

If you have a bio waterfall, it’s a great idea to clean these (with pond water) every six weeks. A common misconception is to leave your bio falls alone and not to disturb it. The problem with that idea is that (1) sludge builds up under the mat that is being used for the mechanical filtration and will create a restriction on the waterfall’s output. (2) Waste can gradually build up on the biological media and choke off the nitrifying bacteria. It’s a great idea to take the biological media in your biofalls and rinse it real well with pond water. If you’re using lava rock in your bio falls, it’s a good idea to replace it each season with fresh lava rock. Using the same lava rock year after year is a bad idea as it will harbor dead organic waste. An excellent biological media to use in a biofall are bio spheres as they are easy to clean and are re-usable. To get the most out of your bio falls, it’s a great idea to hook up an air pump to your bio falls by running an air line with an air stone under the biological media. Doing this will increase the oxygen level to the media and that will increase the bio filter’s effectiveness.

STEP 2. Watch how often you feed your fish as this is a big contributor to the surface algae nightmare. Feed only fish foods that are high in fish meal and low in fillers as this will produce less waste. If you have a surface algae problem, it’s best to stop feeding your fish altogether and allow your pond fish to feed on the algae. Once the surface algae subsides, then begin feeding your pond fish again. When it comes to feeding your fish on a daily basis, it’s recommended that you feed them once every other day and only what they will consume in five minutes. It’s even a better idea to use a feeding point so that you can remove any uneaten food.

STEP 3. Consider using a beneficial bacteria (i.e. BioSafe’s Xtreme) in your pond as that will aid your pond filter in the breakdown of organic waste. If you have a real bad algae issue, consider using a sludge reducer (like Microbe Lift’s SA) and that will quickly digest the sludge that the surface algae is feeding on.

STEP 4. Small water changes once a month are a good thing. Simply remove 15% to 20% of the volume of your pond and then add fresh water to your pond. If you have a pressurized pond filter with backwash, it’s a great idea to perform a backwash once a week for about 30 to 45 seconds.

STEP 5. When adding water to your pond, we suggest using a dechlorinator that will also help neutralize heavy metals. Even if you have well water, it’s a great idea to do this as we are trying to neutralize metals like iron. One of the dechlorinators that do this is the PondCare Pond Chlorine & Heavy Metal Neutralizer.

STEP 6. Try and provide up to 50% pond plant coverage on your pond. Pond plants are more than just decorations, they too will also feed on the organic waste in your pond.

STEP 7. Test your water daily with a pond test kit! When it comes to algae, you want to watch Nitrates and Phosphate levels.

If you follow these seven steps, surface algae will not be a problem in your pond!

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Answer:

Spring going into summer is the time of year when your pond may be turning a little green or cloudy. I bet you also notice this happening more right after heavy rain or a few really sunny days. All of this green, cloudy buildup is algae in your pond feeding on the extra sunlight and all the nitrates the rain washes into your pond.

With these problems occurring there is always a quick and easy way to get rid of algae and cloudy water so you and your family can enjoy the pond almost as much as the fish do! One of AZPond’s leading water clarifiers is called Acurel E. This water clarifier easily helps with green or cloudy water and allows for debris to settle to the bottom of the pond. After the debris settles to the bottom of your pond, it is super easy to vacuum or filter out. The best part about Acurel E. is that It’s made with extracts of renewable resources. Because it’s made from renewable resources, its much safer for fish, pets, plants, and wildlife.

When it comes to the nasty hair algae that form on the sides of your pond, in the waterfall, and maybe even floating in patches on the surface; nothing works better than Aquascape EcoBlast Contract Granular Algaecide. Aquascape Algaecide eliminates unsightly algae and debris from waterfalls, fountains, streams, and rocks on contact.

Algae Control chemicals are a quick and effective way of removing algae in your fish pond. Most clarifier chemicals will clear up your pond in as little as 72 hours. I recommend using these chemicals for quick treatments in your pond and using a Bio-Filter or UV Clarifier to prevent the algae from blooming out of control again.

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Answer:

Spring is right around the corner and you’re itching to get your backyard pond back up and running. If you’re a new pond hobbyist and this is your first spring opening, then congratulations! Owning a fish pond is a beautiful and rewarding experience. Whether this is your first rodeo, or you are just looking for some tips, keep reading below to see what I suggest for opening your pond.

The goal here is to start prepping your pond for Spring when the water gets just above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is prepared and ready to go by the time warm weather comes. This also all depends on the climate you live in. If the water doesn’t freeze over where you live, then you’re going to have to perform steps like cleaning out debris over the winter too. The last thing you want is to feed an algae bloom in the Spring. Make sure you have a pond thermometer so you know when to start prepping for Spring.

First, start prepping your pond for Spring by removing as much waste as you can from the bottom of your pond. You’re looking to get rid of dead leaves and nasty decomposing plant matter that has been building up over the winter. If you used a leaf cover and cold-water treatments over the winter, this step should be a lot easier. Because plant matter releases toxins in the water as it breaks down, get them out of the way first to keep your fish healthy and prevent your filters from clogging up. Start by skimming as much waste as possible out of your pond by using a pond skimmer net or pond vacuum.

After removing all the gunk from the bottom of your pond, you’ll want to do a partial water change. I recommend a 20% water change, but you can also go a little higher if your water was excessively dirty. When doing this don’t forget to use some kind of heavy metal neutralizer and dechlorinator. This is also an excellent time to clean up and re-pot your aquatic plants.

Now it’s time to get your pond filter back up and running. Check to make sure everything is running properly and that there are no plumbing leaks. I also suggest using new filter media pads for your mechanical filter every season. If you are also using a UV clarifier, be sure to remove the quartz sleeve and clean it with something like CLR and rinse well. Place a silicone lubricant on any rubber gaskets before you reassemble your clarifier to prevent leakage. It’s also a good idea to add your beneficial bacteria additive as directed now.

Lastly, if you have a pond filter that backwashes, I suggest performing a backwash at least twice a week for the first two weeks. Then only backwash once a week for the rest of the season.

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Answer:

As responsible fish owners, we always want to make sure our fish are cared for. If something just doesn’t look right, then it probably isn’t. So when your fish start to inflate, and I’m going to assume that you aren’t the proud owner of a pufferfish, it’s enough to cause alarm. This condition occurs in all kinds of freshwater fish species, but what exactly is it? 

Fish Dropsy: What is it? 

When we talk about inflated or bulbous fish, Dropsy immediately comes to mind. It is a disease that affects freshwater fish in ponds and aquariums alike. Dropsy is caused by a common bacteria in the water, Aeromonas, that infect fish with compromised immune systems. Most fish are already in constant contact with these bacteria and go about their lives without any harm done. But if a fish is under stress, like from poor water quality, inadequate nutrition, or poor living conditions, then they are more likely to become infected. 

Dropsy Symptoms

Dropsy causes your fish to swell up huge and look almost like a pinecone. This is because once infected; fluids will begin filling the abdominal cavity in your fish. Besides inflation, other changes in your fish may include:

  • Bulging eyes
  • A curved spine
  • Pale gills
  • Loss of appetite or refusal to eat
  • Lethargy 
  • And continually gasping for air at the surface of the water

Treating Dropsy

While not usually contagious, it is still a sign that something is wrong with your pond’s ecosystem. If the problem is not taken care of, more of your fish could succumb to Dropsy if they haven’t already. I recommend checking your water quality with a water testing kit. The PondCare Pond Master Liquid Test Kit is a perfect solution that contains everything you need for a thorough test of your water. If left unchecked, the stress from poor water quality can cause congenital heart, kidney failure, or an internal bacterial infection like Dropsy. 

To treat your fish that has contracted Dropsy, I recommend you isolate it to keep a better eye on it while you administer an antibacterial medication. This is the quickest method of treatment, but will still take some time. 

Prevent Dropsy

Sometimes, treating your fish won’t cure it. That is why it is extra important to take steps to prevent Dropsy from occurring in the first place. Remember to make sure: 

  • You always check your water conditions to ensure a healthy quality 
  • Make sure your fish are fed a healthy diet
  • Remember only to feed your fish in water above 42ºf and don’t overfeed them
  • If you need to transport your fish, do so correctly
  • Try to limit sudden changes in water temperature
  • Try to separate fish that are aggressive from your other fish
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Answer:

As far as adding Pond Salt to your pond, it is recommended that you distribute the salt around the perimeter of the pond. I also suggest making sure that you have a good idea of how many gallons your pond holds. The way I figure out gallons on a pond is to use the following formula:

(LENGTH x WIDTH x AVERAGE DEPTH) x 7.48 = Gallons

Then I deduct 15% from the total gallons as I factor in the pond is not a perfect square and that the sides are tapered. If you have pond plants in your pond, you want to use a lower dosage of salt. It is suggested that you add 1 1/4 cup of salt to every 100 gallons of pond water. If you do have pond plants in your pond, then you can increase the salt level by adding 2 1/2 cups of salt to every 100 gallons of pond water. To figure out what your pond’s salinity level is, I suggest the use of a digital salinity meter. Just to re-cap, always remember that once salt is added to your pond, it will not evaporate and cannot be filtered out by a pond filter. Only add salt when you physically do a water change and watch the amount you add!

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Answer:

I would suggest testing your water quality with a test kit for starters to make sure that your ammonia and nitrite levels are low. If those check out fine, I would then check your oxygen levels by using an oxygen test kit. It’s always a very good idea to use an air pump over the winter months so that your dissolved oxygen levels are always high. It also does not hurt to use an enzyme to control dead leaves and waste over the winter months and I would suggest using a product like UltraClear Oxy.

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Answer:

As the warm summer months come to an end, our most common question is, “What do I do with my pond now?”. Winterizing your pond is an important step to ensure a safe and healthy start-up next spring. Here are some easy tips to help you on your way:

  1. Netting – As the leaves fall it is important to make sure they don’t accumulate in the bottom of your pond. You could skim them by hand every day, but to make things easier, simply place a large net over the entire pond. Clean it weekly to prevent the net from falling or from leaves slipping through and discoloring your water.
  2. Fish Food – As the days get colder, your fish will continue to go deeper into their dormancy state. Gradually reduce the amount of food the fish receive and when the water temperature falls below 60°F, feed your CrystalClear® WheatGerm. CrystalClear® WheatGerm contains wheat germ which is a natural vegetable and plant based food that is easily digested in the cold months when the fish’s digestive tract is slowing.
  3. Bacteria – Those of you who have been following our EcoPack™ schedule know the importance of keeping bacteria in the water column. Continue as the water temperature reaches below 55°F with our Spring & Fall Prep. This natural bacteria accelerates the decomposition of leaves, scum, and sediment that build up during the fall and winter months. In the spring, it replenishes winter bacteria loss, jump starts the filter and breaks down unwanted waste, making your pond water ready for a clean spring and summer.
  4. Oxygen Exchange – As organics decompose, they produce toxic gases. Normally these gases will escape out the pond’s surface, but if your pond freezes over in the winter, they will stay in the water column and could eventually kill your fish. It is important to keep a hole in the ice so these toxic gases may escape. You can do this by either running a pond aerator, or floating a pond de-icer. In some cases it is necessary to have both a pond aerator and a de-icer. Note: It is much less expensive to operate a pond aerator, like the PondAir™ or the KoiAir™, than to operate a pond de-icer. Another big advantage is that you pond aerator can be used during the warm summer months
  5. Equipment Maintenance – You may choose to run your system all winter, but be aware that circulating large amounts of water in the cold months can super cool the water. Water in motion can reach temperatures well below 32°F without freezing. Although colder water has more oxygen, your fish may not handle the freezing temperatures and parish. If you choose to shut down your pump system, be sure to drain all water from your pipes, skimmers, and waterfall boxes and/or filters. Remove your pump, wash it thoroughly, place it in a five gallon bucket of water (this keeps the seals moist), and store it in your garage or basement.
  6. Plant Maintenance – Every type of plant needs to be taken care of in a different way. To keep it simple, trim all hardy and submerged plants to six inches above the root system and submerge at least three feet deep. Treat tropical lilies and lotuses as annuals or bring inside to store in a heated aquarium with imitation sunlight. Use aqua gloves to keep arms and hands completely dry, thus avoiding muck stains on hands and nails.
  7. Fall Cleaning – AlgaeOff® will help remove string algae, attached debris from waterfalls, streams and rocks in seconds. AlgaeOff® kills string algae, cleans debris and helps bring dead leaves to the surface for fast and easy cleanouts. AlgaeOff® is a reliable and fast acting personal pond cleaner that saves you hours of time and effort and saves your fish the stress of being removed from the system while it is cleaned.
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Waterfall Spillway FAQ

Answer:

I always recommend a waterfall filter for a pond as they make great biological pond filters. This type of filter is commonly referred to as a “Bio-Falls” by most pond keepers. They are very simple filters as they usually consist of a filter mat of some sort and a biological media (i.e. lava rock, bio balls, etc). Each bio-falls filter will have a pond size rating assigned to it so that you will be able to match up what filter works best for your pond. You want to make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s suggested flow rate so that you get a nice sheet of water coming off the filter’s spillway. To get the most out of one of these filters, I suggest replacing the nylon filter mat with a piece of coarse Matala media as this is re-usable and will not have to be replaced. For the bio media, I would suggest loading up a media bag with bio balls as they can be re-used and offer a lot of surface area for the beneficial bacteria to grow on. To get the most out of any bio-falls filter, I suggest using an air pump and running an air stone under the biological media. Doing this increases the bacteria’s activity, thus making the filter more effective. I also recommend cleaning the bio-falls every 4 to 6 weeks. When you clean these filters, it is important to clean the bio-media with pond water and to hose the mats off with tap water. By cleaning these filters on a regular basis you will be able to get the maximum performance out of them without creating back pressure on your pond pump!

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Answer:

To keep rocks and stones in place on a waterfall, I suggest the use of black waterfall foam. This is safe to use and will hold rocks firmly in place. You can also use this to control the direction of water on your waterfall as well. I do not suggest the use of mortar to hold stones on your waterfall because of the lime content that is found in mortar. The lime will increase your pH levels greatly and will affect your fish and plants. The other problem with mortar is that in colder environments, it will tend to crack and come apart.

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Answer:

I definitely recommend cleaning your bio falls every four to six weeks. If you don’t clean your bio falls, then your mechanical filtration (filter mat) will become clogged with waste.

I compare this to replacing the air filter in your car. The more gunk it has to filter out, the faster it will build up and block the airflow leading to reduced engine performance. However, instead of air in a car’s intake, we are talking about pond water getting filtered through a mechanical spillway. A clogged mechanical filter mat will create back pressure on your pond’s pump as it tries to force water through the media. Besides overworking your pump, this also reduces proper circulation in your pond.

The first step to cleaning your spillway is to remove the filter media from your skimmer. If you have any biological filtration media, then you should rinse it off with pond water and put it in a storage container filled with pond water to prevent it from drying out. Remember, if your bio media dries out, then the beneficial bacteria inside will die and you’ll have to grow another colony.

Next, remove the mechanical filter media and give it a few good squeezes and rinses with a hose to get most of the gunk out. Keep in mind, however, that while coarser mechanical filter media is easier to clean and reuse, the opposite is true for finer media. You’ll need to replace a high-density filter mat more frequently.

Then, it’s time for some good, old-fashioned elbow grease. Take some paper towels or a clean rag and wipe out any waste that may be present on the bottom of the filter tank. Do not use household chemicals to clean your filter, just simply wipe off any gunk.

Once you complete all that, place the mat and bio media back in the pond filter and you’re ready to go! If you are currently using lava rock in your bio falls and would like to make cleaning easier, I suggest switching from lava rock to something reusable like bio-balls. Plus, bio-balls have more surface area than lava rock, and they weigh a lot less too making them the best choice for biological media. If you get tired of replacing the filter mat that sits at the bottom, consider upgrading to the coarse Matala media (black one) as that is re-usable.

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