Frequently Asked Questions
How many fish can I have in my pond?
New ponds can have one inch of fish per square foot of pond surface. Older, established ponds can have two to three inches of fish per square foot of pond surface. New ponds need to be declorinated.
How do I introduce new fish into my pond?
The pH of your pond should be between 6.5 and 8.0. All new ponds must be treated with a declorinator such as Tetra's Aqua safe or Chlorine and Heavy metal Neutralizer. Water temperature of the pond and water in the fish bag must be equalized. This can be accomplished by floating the bag of fish in your pond for 15 minutes (bag must be in the shade). After this time, remove and discard one cup of water from the bag and replace it with one cup of pond water. Repeat this process three more times at five minute intervals. You can then release the fish into the pond, however you should not dump the water from the bag into your pond.
In addition, if you are not sure the dealer where you purchased your fish employs preventive steps to insure healthy fish, you may want to do a salt dip for 15 seconds using 1 pound of pond salt per gallon of water in a separate container prior to releasing the fish. Do not use iodized salt.
How much do I feed my fish?
You should not feed your fish more than they can consume in five minutes. During the summer months fish food should be high in proteins. In the spring and late fall it is best to feed them wheat germ or other low protein food because it is easily digested.
What signs will indicate that the fish are having problems?
Not feeding, Gasping fish, Fins close to body, Isolated, Rapid gill movement, Flashing, Change in fins, White covering skin
What should I check if I have a fish kill or problem?
Make sure chlorinated water has been dechlorinated and then test the pH ,ammonia, nitrite and oxygen levels. In some rare instances electrical shock or toxic run-off into pond should be considered.
How can I protect my fish against the Blue Heron?
Cover the pond with a net.
Get a Blue Heron statue and move it every couple of days or so. Herons are very territorial and will not come around if there is already another heron there.
Place monifiliment fishing line about 2 to 3 feet off the ground around the perimeter of the pond.
Have a scarecrow, and as with the Heron statue you should move it to a different location every couple of days.
Let the dog out, some dogs will chase the bird away.
The most effective method is to cover the pond with a net, and remember these birds are on the protected species list.
Why use pond salt?
Pond Salt at the rate of 1 1/4 cups per 100 gallons of water is an excellent tonic for weak / stressed fish in a pond with plants. The salt reduces stress, adds electrolytes, and also improves gill function. In ponds without plants 2 1/2 cups of salt per 100 gallons is recommended.
How can I fight algae in my pond?
Oxygenating plants - one bunch for every two square feet of pond surface. Pot in pea gravel, wash gravel first, multiple bunches can be placed in the same pot. These plants thrive on the same nutrients that algae use to grow. Sufficient plants will greatly reduce algae in your pond. Plants should be fertilized with liquid aquatic fertilizer such as Tetra Florafin or Aquatic Plant Stimulant from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. Use as directed by the manufacturer.
Surface plants - 60% to 65% of your pond surface should be covered unless you are in the deep shade. Potted surface plants such as lilies need at least five hours of sun per day to flower and should be fertilized on a regular basis. Remember lilies do not like water splashed on them. Place them away from waterfalls and fountains.
Add a submersible, mechanical / biological filter, such as the M.A.N. filter or an external biological filter such as the Matala BioSteps sized to the gallons of water in your pond.
Pumps must run 24 hours a day. Good bacteria (Aerobic Bacteria) can die if the pump is shut down for as little as four hours.
Optional: UVC Light - see catalog for details.
What can I do about Blanket Weed/String Algae?
Blanket weed or string algae usually occurs in clear pond water. Remove manually or use an algae control product such as PondCare AlgaeFix.
How can I determine the square foot surface area of my pond?
To determine the square foot surface area of your rectangular or square pond simply multiply average length x average width = square feet of surface.
To determine square footage of surface area on your circular pond multiply (half the diameter) x (half the diameter) x 3.14 = square feet of surface.
How can I determine the amount of water in my pond?
To determine the gallons of water in a square or rectangular pond:
Multiply average length x average width x average depth x 7.5 = gallons of water.
To determine the gallons of water in a circular pond:
Multiply (half the diameter) x (half the diameter) x 3.14 x depth x 7.5 = gallons
How can I determine the cost of electricity to operate my pump?
To determine the cost of electricity per month to operate your pump.
Multiply amps x volts divided by 1000 x cost per kilowatt hour x 24 hours x 30 days = cost per month.
Your power company will provide the actual cost per kilowatt hour.
How can I control mosquitoes in my pond?
Mosquito larva will be consumed by the fish. If you do not have fish or if your fish are not doing an adequate job use mosquito dunks containing Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT). Float one dunk in the pond per 100 square feet, each dunk lasts about 30 days.
What can you tell me about hardy water lilies?
(Nymphaea species) Hardy lilies are perennials and frost tolerant. These lilies are produced from rhizomes and grow horizontally. They are sweetly fragrant and bloom on or just above the water's surface. Each bloom lasts 3-5 days and opens in the morning and closes in the late afternoon. Hardy lilies require very little care. Give them at least 5-6 hours of direct sunlight and still water 6-18" deep. They should be fed every 2-4 weeks from May 1 to September 1. Lily-Gro fertilizer tablets are recommended @ 3-4 tablets every 2-4 weeks. You will be able to enjoy these lilies year after year. Hardy lilies are available in pink, red, white, yellow, peach/orange and changeable, which starts yellow and changes to copper.
What can you tell me about tropical water lilies?
(Nymphaea species) Tropical lilies are exotic! They evoke romance and glamour. They are very fragrant and are exquisite as cut flowers. Tropical lilies are treated as annuals and are frost tender. They hold their blossoms high above the water and come in vibrant colors - blue, lavender, pink, green, purple, red, white, yellow and autumn shades. They grow from tubers and produce large leaves, some with frilly edges, some with striking mottling, all with spectacular blooms. They require 5-6 hours of direct sunlight and still water 6-18" deep over the rootstock. Fertilize freely, every 2-4 weeks from May 1 through September 1. Lily-Gro fertilizer tablets are recommended @ 3-4 tablets every 2-4 weeks. Day bloomers open mid to late morning and close mid to late afternoon. Night bloomers open at dusk and remain open until mid to late morning the next day. Dark cloudy days allow them to remain open later in the day. A pond containing both day and night blooming lilies can be enjoyed any hour of the day or night.
What about lotus?
Lotus are spectacular plants with large blossoms and magnificent foliage. These exotic plants are sure to be the focal point of any water garden. Lotus are hardy plants boasting colorful flowers in varying degrees of red, pink, yellow and white, lasting 3 or more days. The blooming season begins in summer and continues into the fall. Big leafy foliage that seems to float above the water's surface adds to the exotic appeal.
Lotus should be planted in large no-hole containers and submerged 2-6" below the water's surface. They require 5-6 hours of direct sunlight per day and should be fertilized freely during the growing season. Lily Gro tablets every 2-4 weeks are recommended. Once planted, you can expect blooms within one year, often sooner, depending upon how long it takes the plant to become established.
What about marginal plants?
Marginal, or bog, plants are aquatic plants which grow in shallow water and are commonly found along the water's edge. There are many varieties of marginal plants that will add height and texture to the water garden. Some stand above the water while others rest on the water's surface. Some marginals add a handsome display of foliage while others will create constant blooms throughout the season. Lush, green foliage, with accents of pink, white and yellow can be obtained. Plants must be fed regularly. Lily-Gro fertilizer tablets are recommended at 1 tablet per gallon every 2-4 weeks during the season.
What about surface (floating) plants?
Floating plants are desirable and fascinating as they add color and shade to a pond. They do not require planting, although some varieties perform better if planted first. Others, you can simply float in the pond. Due to the shade given by floating plants, they are ideal for ponds with an algae problem. Roots provide fish spawning beds and protection for newborns. All floating plants should be removed from the pond prior to frost.
What about oxygenating (submerged) plants?
Oxygenating plants are vital in a water garden. They absorb impurities from the water which helps to prevent algae growth. Oxygenating plants should be anchored in one gallon pots and placed on the bottom of the pond. They absorb carbon dioxide fish give off and liberate oxygen for the fish to live. Fish spawn and lay eggs in oxygenating plants. Baby fish use these plants for shelter.
What about winter care of water lilies?
Hardy Water Lilies:
Once winter approaches and the water temperature of the pond drops, the hardy lilies automatically go dormant. If any new leaves appear, they will be very small and will remain under the water, close to the soil. As the old foliage browns, simply prune and lower the lily to the deepest part of the pond. If a sufficient depth of water can be maintained so that freezing does not occur at the root level, the hardy lily does not need to be removed from the pond.
If there is a possibility of the pond freezing solid, there are several methods of protecting the lilies. If you prefer to leave the lilies in the pond, place boards, side by side, across the top of the pond. Cover the boards with mats or layers of straw or leaves, weighted down with stones. In the spring, as the ice thaws, all coverings must be removed to prevent premature growth.
You can also bury water lily tubers in the ground. The hole should be eighteen to twenty-four inches deep and covered with leaves or straw. Simply replant in the pond in the spring.
For indoor storage until spring, a cool basement or heated garage are possible choices.The lily tuber should be covered with moist burlap, peat moss or leaves. You could also cover the soil with newspaper and place the entire container in a sealed plastic bag. Check occasionally that the soil is moist.
Tropical Water Lilies
Tropical lilies are most often treated as annual. They continue to grow and bloom until several freezes drive them into dormancy.
If you choose to store your lilies through winter, a greenhouse is the most successful way. Provide only 10-20% of the space of your pond. A wash tub or tank is suggested. The lily should be kept small, therefore, do not fertilize.
Another method is to use an aquarium. Pot the lily in a 4-6" pot, plug holes, and place in at least a 20 gallon tank. Heat the water to 70 - 75 degrees F and place a florescent grow light close to the top of the tank. Do not encourage growth. Simply keep the lily alive.
Some specialists consider starving plants in late summer, causing the formation of tubers. Once all leaves are dead, feel under the crown for a hard tuber. Remove the tuber and wash it thoroughly. The smaller tubers generally make the nicest plants next spring. If there's any root or stem tissue still attached to the tuber, air-dry a few days and snap it off cleanly. Again, wash the tuber well and place it in a plastic bag or mason jar. Fill the container with distilled water or slightly moist sand store it in a cool dark place, at approximately 50-65 degrees F. Be sure to check the container regularly. If the water is foul or discolored, replace it with fresh distilled water.
Remember when spring returns a tropical lily should only be placed in water at least 70 degrees F. Do not rush the plant outside. It could return to dormancy or it may die.