SEASONAL CARE:

 

SPRING signals the start of the pond season, and there are a number of important jobs to do.

 

            Fish are susceptible to bacterial infection, disease and stress as the water warms up.  Check for closed fins, huddling, awkward swimming, or body sores.  Treat fish with ParaSalt as soon as you notice a change in their behaviour.  Perform a 25% water change.

            Until the water temperature reaches 12°C (55°F), you cannot use fish medicines.  ParaSalt is the only treatment that works in cold water.

            Feed goldfish and koi with wheatgerm whilst the water warms up to 12°C (55°F), then change to summer food.

            Filamentous and suspended algae are able to grow in much cooler water than aquatic plants.  Use barley (see pages 36 & 37) in April to help minimize string algae and blanket-weed problems, and use Microbe Lift or CrystalClear® Biological Clarifier™  to help clear green water.

            If there is more than ½” of sludge at the bottom of the pond, remove as much of it as possible.  Pond vacuum hire charge is $30/half day or $45/full day.

            Perform a partial (25%) water change.  Treat fresh water with CrystalClear® Vanish PLUS™ to neutralize chlorine and chloramines.

            Inspect the pond – check the water level, patch small liner tears and punctures, ensure that hoses are not kinked or ruptured, and examine the edging stones for cracking or movement.

            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.  To activate and kick-start filter media use CrystalClear® Spring & Fall Prep.

            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.  If you need a hand dividing your lilies, just drop them in to us and we’ll do it for you.

            Tropical water plants can be safely put in the pond once the danger of frost has passed.  Prior to 31st May, you do so at your own risk.

 

SUMMER is typically the season to relax and enjoy the pond.  There are only a few jobs, and they involve monitoring and maintaining the pond.

 

            Keep pond water topped up.  Evaporation is natural in a pond; even more-so if a waterfall or fountain is present.  It accounts for up to an inch of water loss per week.

            Monitor water chemistry and quality.  Hot weather, a high number of fish, and decaying plants can quickly alter the pond’s pH, phosphate, ammonia and nitrite levels.  Make a partial water change if necessary.  No more than 25% at one time.

            Remove filamentous algae by hand, or use Interpet Pond Balance (see page 40).

            Prune vigorously growing marginal plants, but resist pruning back submerged plants until fall.  The submerged weeds provide shelter for baby fish, spawning fish, snails and tadpoles.

            Continue to feed fish, and monitor their behaviour.  Check for spawning fish, new fry, or any indications of disease.

            Stormy weather (thunder and lightning) is problematic to a pond.  Oxygen levels are quickly depleted.  Add extra oxygen to the pond during these times (see Air Pumps pages 13 & 22).

  

FALL signals the end of the planting season in a pond.  It is perhaps the most important season for pond care and maintenance.  Neglect can result in serious pollution problems over winter, and fish viruses in spring.

 

            To keep leaves out of the pond, yet allow for sunlight and air to enter, lay protective netting over it.

            Pay attention to netting quality, durability, warranty, UV resistance, sizes available, and the price (see pages 48 & 49).

            Place beach balls on the water and stretch the netting over them.  This will stop leaves collecting in the center of the net and weighing it down.

            Netting can remain on the pond until spring thaw to protect fish from predators.

            Remove as much sludge as possible from the bottom of the pond.

            Partial (25%) water changes can be performed up until the end of October.

            Prune and thin out submerged plants.  Potted varieties should be cut back to water level.  Hornwort can be easily pulled out. 

            Prune back rushes, grasses, flags, and other shallow marginals.

            Cut back cattails leaving 12 inch stems above the water.  Their hollow stems feed oxygen to their roots over winter.

            Frogbit and duckweed sink to the bottom of the pond to over-winter.

            Remove old blooms and browned leaves from water lilies.  Hardy lilies will

              over-winter in ponds 18 inches or more deep.

            Following first frost, remove and discard hyacinths, lettuce, azolla and salvinia.

            To over-winter potted annuals indoors, remove the plants from the pond prior to first frost.  Treat as tender houseplants (good light and warmth).  Stand pots in shallow water so they have “wet feet” at all times.

            To over-winter cannas indoors, either remove the rhizomes from the soil, wash and store them in slightly damp peat moss in the basement; or place the plants in a sunny room in the house and continue to grow them (they must have “wet feet” at all times).

            When the water temperature drops to 57°F (13°C) start feeding fish wheatgerm.  Wheatgerm can be fed in water temperatures between 40°F - 57°F (4°C - 13°C).

            If moving fish indoors, it should be done prior to the first week of November.

            Switch off the pump and discontinue running the filter mid-October.

            The pump may be left in the pond if it is 2ft or more deep.  To store the pump indoors, clean it and place it in a bucket of water somewhere it won’t freeze.

            Some gravity assisted biological filters may be left outdoors during winter.  Others must be disconnected from the pump, cleaned, dried and stored indoors.

            A pressurized filter is best disconnected from the pump, cleaned, dried and stored indoors.

            An ultra-violet clarifier (UVC) must be stored indoors over winter.

            An IonGen must be stored indoors over winter.

 

 WINTER  is the dormancy period for a pond.  Provided you carried out the fall preparations, there is little to do over the winter.

 

            The fish are dormant outdoors and do not require feeding.  Fish that are brought indoors for winter require feeding.

            Ponds may be covered with plywood, styrofoam, etc. for short periods.  Ensure these materials do not touch the water and only cover 75% of the pond.  Prolonged darkness may be fatal to both fish and plants.

            Do not allow a sheet of ice to form completely over the pond for longer than a few days.  Carbon dioxide will be trapped under the ice, and combined with a lack of air will kill fish.  Maintain an air hole using one of the methods listed below.

            Never use a hammer to smash thick ice; the shock waves could harm the fish.  Instead use an electric drill, ice auger, or hot water.

 

Maintaining an Air Hole in the Ice

 

Aquascape 300W Pond De-icer:  3 year warranty; 300 watts; keeps a small hole in the ice; stainless steel construction prevents corrosion and cracking; integrated thermostat saves electricity; built-in LED light indicates when heater is in use; 22ft power cord.  $164.99

 

Perfect Climate Deluxe De-icer:  2 year warranty; floating or submersible de-icer; thermostatically controlled; safe in liner and pre-formed ponds; 12ft cord.  250W - $79.99     750W - $89.99

 

Pond Air Pump:  3 year warranty; energy efficient; quiet; includes airline and check valves, airstones; cover during winter months; 6 or 11 watts; 6ft power cord. 

2 stone:  $79.99     4 stone:  $139.99

 

Pond Logic Air Compressor:  3 year warranty; quiet operation; 17 or 35 watts; cover during winter months; 6ft power cord, requires airstone and airlines (sold separately).  KA-20 - $249.99        KA-40 - $299.99

 

OASE AquaOxy 450:  2 year warranty; 25 watts; membrane-based air injector; heavy-duty non-clogging air stones; airstone tubing and 12V outdoor safety transformer included; cover during winter months; 15ft power cord.   $239.99

 

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