With spring upon us its important to check on your fish. Its a critical time for them when they start coming out of dormancy. They are more likely to become vulnerable to illness unless proper steps are taken. When coming out of dormancy their bodies are low on the important nutrients needed to help ward of diseases.
First make sure you clean your pond out of all debris and sludge at the bottom. Microbe-Lift makes a good product called Sludge Away which can help. You can at this time replace about 30% of your pond water. If using tap water make sure you add a water conditioner to remove heavy metals, chlorine, and chloramines found in most tap water. If using tap water that goes through a softener this adds salt and its not necessary to add a water conditioner.
Its important to maintain a healthly ecosystem throughout the pond season. This will help maintain healthly fish and keep your pond clear and free of algae. Add a good beneficial bacteria, such as Microbe-Lift PL to your pond water regularly. Its amazing how this can help you keep your pond balanced.
Microbe-Lift PL is the product most often used to maintain the natural biological and chemical balance of your pond in all seasons. We've talked about the Spring/Summer Cleaner which works wonders in accelerating the breakdown of leaves, twigs and other accumulated dead organic waste. The Microbe-Lift PL is formulated for decorative ponds and is easy to use.
MicrobeLift PL creates a cleaner environment for your pond, promoting faster fish growth and reduces ammonia nitrogen levels. It helps dissolve away organic sludge and seeds and maintains biological filters. It reduces buildup of bird droppings, fish feed and dead leaves and will also break down dead algae. Reduces hydrogen sulfide, which creates strong, offensive odors. Improves dissolved oxygen levels and is effective over a wide range of pH conditions.
Its application depends on the size of water feature/pond you have. Shake the bottle well before using and add the amount of product indicated on the container for the size of pond you have. You can spread it around the edges of your pond or apply in one location. It will become distributed more quickly in a larger pond if applied in different areas.
The application rates depend on the size of pond you have. The recommendations are as follows:
SIZE OF POND/ 1ST APPLIC. NEXT 4 WKS MAINTENANCE
WATER FEATURE (ONCE WKLY) (ONCE MONTHLY)
50 - 200 8 oz 2 oz 2 oz
201-500 10 oz 3 oz 3 oz
501-1,000 12 oz 4 oz 4 oz
1,000-5,000 16 oz 6 oz 6 oz
5,001-10,000 18 oz 8 oz 8 oz
You can store Microbe-Lift PL for approximately 2 years if unopened and for 1 year if opened and store in a dark cool area.
By establishing and maintaining a healthy balance in the pond, and by removing organic waste matter, your water will obtain clarity.
Adding beneficial bacteria is essential for the water garden and seeding of pond filters. Once established the bacteria lives by eating fish waste and other organic matter in the pond. Bacteria converts ammonia into nitrites which are then converted into nitrates. This process known as the Nitrogen Cycle is an important part of water maintenance. It is essential to the health of your pond inhabitants.
When cleaning your filter pads, lava rock or bio blox, care should be taken as to not kill the beneficial bacteria living there. Never use chlorinated water to clean filter pads, or if it is necessary to do so, try to stagger cleaning different pads at different intervals. Rinsing the filter media in a bucket of pond water will allow some of the bacteria to remain alive. We recommend adding beneficial bacteria after cleaning, and monthly to keep a thriving colony of bacteria in your filtration media. Bacteria is available in either liquid or dry.
Microbe-Lift makes a bacteria for each season. Each is formulated to work in the water temperatures of spring, summer and fall/winter. Microbe-Lift Spring/Summer Cleaner is a seasonal approach to the proper organic balance in your pond. It contains cool weather bacteria that will help to jump start your pond to a healthier environmentin the spring. Once the water temperatures have reached above 55 degrees, Microbe-Lift P/L (liquid bacteria cultures) or Microbe-Lift Tac (dry bacteria cultures) can be added. Both are specially formulated for water gardens to promote clean, clear pond water. Adding bacteria to your pond this season will significantly improve water quality and appearance.
Time to spring forward, or at least turn the clocks forward! Things are beginning to warm up a bit here in the north and we are anxiously waiting for Spring to arrive so we can begin to add new plants to our ponds. Another couple of months and we will be sitting back enjoying our ponds once again. It won't be long now. For those in the warmer regions, zones 8 and above, you are putting pond plants in your ponds and starting to enjoy them, while those of us in the lower zones are still waiting. At least most of the ice has melted and we can begin thinking about our ponds once again.
Don't be fooled by Mother Nature. We need to make sure it is warm enough outside, and make sure our pond water is warm enough for the plants to survive. Knowing your pond temperature is crucial, so begin by checking your pond water temperature at different times of the day. The pond water is cooler in the morning and warmer in the afternoon but will cool down again in the evening. Knowing what the consistant temperature of your pond water is important before adding the pond plants.
The first plants most of us want to put in are those that will help us keep the pond clear, such as floating plants like water hyacinths and water lettuce. Cold water will kill both of these in a matter of days if the water temperature is still too cold. We need to make sure the water temperature is consistent and reaches 65 degrees and stays there morning, afternoon and evening before we add floating plants.
There are other things we must do first that will keep us busy, such as adding beneficial bacteria to help keep our pond clear. The good bacteria, such as MicrobeLift PL neutralizes ammonia and nitrites, and will start to work when the water temperature are 50-55 degrees. If you add bacteria, it will stay in the pond and start working when the pond water is warm enough. It acts on its own and will stay un-activated until it knows to start working. For those of us who use barley, now is the right time to start adding it. This will also help retard the growth of string algae in the Spring months.
The list goes on and on. While all of us are anxious to add the pond plants there are still several things to do prior to this. I will be posting articles in the next few days with spring tips for our ponds.
With March arriving, Old Man Winter should be packing his bags and moving on out! Those of us in the northeast, midwest and northwest can only hope that we have seen the worst of the 2009-2010 winter season. Those of you that live in the southern states are already able to get out and work on your ponds. Time to add Microbe-Lift Spring Summer cleaner if you have debris left from last fall and replace or clean your filter pads. Adding Microbe-Lift P/L when the water temperatures reach 50-55 degrees will also help seed your filter pads and improve water clarity. Meanwhile, those of us up north look out at our still snow covered ponds and hope things continue to melt, and Mother Nature is kind to us in the coming weeks.
You'll find MicrobeLift Products here.
One plague of summer can frustrate even the most diligent pond keeper - ALGAE. Best known as long stringy algae to those who have suffered its presence in their ponds, this noxious form of algae thrives in the warm water full of nutrients that receives even modest amounts of sunlight. Although algae is common to aquatic habitats, natural ponds do not have this particular form unless significant environmental problems exist, such as run-off containing fertilizers entering a pond.
Usually the typical fishpond that has high nutrients you can count on long stringy algae to show up each summer, and the worse the nutrient problem, the sooner it will appear. Having lots of fast growing plants helps combat this algae problem, but they can take up so much of the ammonia and nitrate available.
Remove as much long stringy algae as possible. It's much much fun - truth be told. This messy, unpleasant task has to be done. It would be better if you had managed the pond in the spring, the perfect time to create a healthy aquatic environment for the fish during the summertime. Once you have removed as much string algae as possible treat the pond with Green Clean, Algae Fix (by Pond Care) or Algaway (by MicrobeLift). Both Algae Fix and Algaway are similar but I tend to stick with all MicrobeLift Products since I know they have proven safe in my pond. Pond Care Algae Fix is highly recommended by alot of pond owners. The GreenClean works great also. See the article on Green Clean. After you treat your pond with the algae product next you would want to add MicrobeLift PL , active bacteria, which will help accelerate the decomposition of the dead algae so it will filter out. Once you have the algae under control you can add a weekly dose to maintain.
Having at least half the surface area covered with plants like water lilies, lotus and floating plants will help protect your water garden from summer-thriving algae by competing with it for nutrients. Floating plants and submerged plants help combat this evil menace of the water gardener.
The main goal is to try and prevent algae from growing. Aim to achieve a natural ecological balance in your pond, add more plants, and don't overstock with fish.