Content Submitted by Nualgi Ponds.
It’s that exciting time of year again where ponds are beginning to thaw & people are starting to reopen their ponds for the year. As the word shifts to more environmentally friendly solutions, remember that Nualgi Ponds is the natural way to get a beautifully clear and healthy pond while barely lifting a finger.
Your customers can avoid endless maintenance by kick starting their pond’s natural ecosystem. Make the superhero combo of PondPatrol + Nualgi Ponds your secret weapon in the fight for a clean, healthy and hassle-free pond.
Getting your pond ready for summer enjoyment starts in the spring. For ponds in regions that have distinctive seasons, the change from winter to spring is the most dramatic of the year. A little planning and attention during this time, however, will make sure you have a happy, healthy pond you can enjoy all summer.
If you live someplace where the pond freezes over in the winter, then there are a number of important tasks to carry out once the ice starts melting. If there is more than a ½” of sludge at the bottom of the pond, remove as much of it as possible. Perform a partial (25%) water change. Treat fresh water to neutralize chlorine and chloramines. Inspect the pond – check the water level, patch small liner tears and punctures, ensure that any hoses are not kinked or ruptured, and examine the edging stones for cracking or movement caused by frost heave. Check all electrical wiring, and test each piece of electrical equipment. Pay particular attention to electrical cords that may be frayed or cracked. Start the pump and biological filter around mid-April. Some hardy marginals may have filled their containers so fully that they need dividing and repotting. Raise hardy water lilies to a warmer, sunnier position in the pond and fertilize them.
Nualgi Ponds has been tested in hundreds of small bodies of water, and even a few lakes and rivers! Nualgi Ponds is designed to promote healthy growth and restore balance to the environment by reducing nuisance algae and increasing dissolved oxygen, and has successfully done so in trial ponds since 2005. We also understand education is key so we offer all of our dealers and customers our exclusive Summer pond care guide.
As the water temperature rises, Koi will become more active, but be careful not to overfeed them. Overfeeding can lead to algae issues and chemical imbalances in your pond later on. When the pond’s water temperature reaches a steady 50 degrees, it’s time to start feeding with a cold weather food like wheat germ. At 60 degrees, switch to a summer food, but be careful to only feed fish what they will eat in five minutes.
Spring is also when you want to check on your fish and make sure they’re healthy after the winter. Examine Koi for signs of illness, including cloudy eyes, lesions, and ulcers, but be careful – the fish are still getting back their full strength and should be handled delicately. Hold off on adding any tropical plants until the water temperature is at least a consistent 69 degrees and the danger of frost has passed.
Finally, to make sure you’ll be able to enjoy your pond as the weather heats up, you’ll want to frequently check all your water parameters.
“We suggest testing water parameters at least 2 to 3 times a week for the first month when you start the practice of testing. This allows you to get to know what is normal for your pond. Testing then can be used as bio-feedback, if you spot a change in your pond and you test to find something is out of the normal range for your pond you can take appropriate steps to correct it and the next time you see those circumstances you will be able to recognize the issues and be better readied and able to take action. Once you have your pond “figured out” you can test once a week,” said Laura Engelsman from Koi Nursery & Water Gardens.
Summer Pond Care Starts in the Spring
Spring and summer are great times to open a new pond or add fish and plants to an existing pond. To make sure your pond is still healthy at the start of the season, there are a few precautions you need to take.
When starting a new pond or adding new fish, patience is key. Fully cycling a new pond can take over 80 days, and adding fish and plants too early is a common mistake that can lead to New Pond Syndrome.
Another common mistake is removing algae too soon. Green water is common in the first few months of a new pond and indicates a healthy ecosystem.
“During summer I test a lot of pond water for customers because they have a lot of algae in it and assume something’s wrong with the water. Almost all the time, the pond water is healthy, but the pH is high. Algae loves high alkalinity in water!” said Isa Webb of The Bloomin Bog Water Gardens.
Signs that should concern you and indicate that new pond syndrome has set in include dark green water, foamy water, and dark green or black slimy algae buildup. Fish developing ulcers, body sores, fin rot, mouth rot, and/or gill rot are other causes for concern.
Monitoring the oxygen in your pond becomes especially important the hotter it gets. As water temperatures rise, fish become more active and algae blooms spout up, both causing faster oxygen depletion.
“Proper aeration is critical as the pond temperatures rise. A minimum saturation rate of 6ppm is essential for proper growth and appetite. This can be achieved with the use of air pumps, flow meters, and waterfalls,” said Mark Anderson from Vermont Koi and Goldfish.
“Algae also consume a considerable amount of oxygen during the night, while producing carbon dioxide as waste. This can cause an oxygen crash overnight and a fish die off. Therefore controlling algae is very important in the summer months.”
Adding an aerator or waterfall to your pond can help keep the oxygen level up and assist in long-term algae maintenance, but choose what you add wisely. Whatever device you decide on should match up with your pond’s size – an under-sized aerator won’t give your pond the oxygen it needs, while one made for larger ponds will be a waste and could lead to oxygen supersaturation (a.k.a. gas-bubble disease).
You always want to have a sufficient oxygen level in your pond, but monitoring it in warm weather is especially important. Why? Pond stratification – which can lead to uneven oxygen distribution throughout your pond. In cooler temperatures, oxygen stays relatively evenly distributed from the surface to bottom of the pond. But as the temperature rises, water near the top of the pond becomes warmer and lighter and water near the bottom becomes colder and denser.
Oxygen levels in the colder, denser water decreases because it is not in contact with the air and doesn’t circulate due to the difference in water densities. As waste that settles on the pond’s bottom decomposes, the oxygen level drops even more for the lower layer of water. If the pond water is stirred up – often by rain – the oxygen from the upper layer of water is released into the air and the entire pond’s oxygen level can drop to deadly levels.
When you spot signs of oxygen depletion there are a few things you can do. Adding an appropriately sized waterfall or aerator will help disrupt water stratification. Regular maintenance, including water changes and keeping the pond full, assist in spreading out oxygen in the water. Water hyacinth and lettuce, lilies, and other surface plants give you a 2-in-1 solution. Thanks to photosynthesis, the plants give off extra oxygen and they provide shade, helping to keep the water at a cooler, more even temperature. Just make sure to leave at least one-third of the pond’s surface open.
“There are many issues that cause unsightly and poor water conditions. The biggest mistake is the lack of proper aeration. Nothing beats a good deep water aerator with ample flow rates and multiple diffusers.” -Laura Engelsman, Koi Nursery and Water Gardens.
Algae is essential to a healthy pond. Too much algae, though, discolors the water and can be an indicator of poor water quality. Not only is excessive algae unpleasant to look at, but it also can hurt your fish and aquatic plants.
Summer provides the perfect conditions for an algae bloom – excess nutrients in the water, plenty of hours of sunlight, and warm temperatures – so this is the season to be vigilant about algae prevention.
When it comes to pond aesthetics, there’s nothing like clear water. Clear water looks great and allows you to see your fish and plants. Using Nualgi will help keep water clear and balanced. If you have a natural pond bottom, consider switching to an artificial surface. You can add the nutrients to the water that a natural bottom supplies, but not get muddy water from fish disturbing the bottom. A good bio-filter will also help keep water crystal clear.
“We have been helping people make their own bio-filters for years,” said Lorraine Gregson of Forest City Pond Club. “We used to have 14 ponds in our yard where we imported, bred and sold Koi. We used the upflow filter system with lava rock 26 years ago, but in some of the ponds I still had hair algae and in others suspended algae. Then a friend of ours found the filter we are using now on the internet and it takes me next to no time to backwash them and I haven’t cleaned the bio-media in about 26 years.”
Whatever you’re doing to get your pond summer ready and keep it clean and clear, Nualgi’s patented water treatment + super-strength bacteria in PondPatrol work together to recalibrate your pond chemistry. With a small regular dose of both, you give nature the helping hand she needs to rebalance your pond’s ecosystem. The result? A beautiful crystal clear pond that is a haven to fish and wildlife – and a joy to sit beside.