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    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.

    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.

    Microbe-Lift PL is specially formulated for decorative fish ponds, lagoons and smaller water features. Adding bacteria to your pond is important. It creates a healthy environment for your pond, promoting faster fish growth. Microbe-Lift PL also reduces ammonia nitrogen levels, dissolves away organic sludge, improves dissolved oxygen levels and helps break down dead algae. Adding Microbe-Lift PL on a regular basis will seed and maintain biological filters. Bacteria contains photosynthetic bacteria which helps eliminate cloudy water by promoting flocculation and settling of organic and inorganic particles.

    Now is the time to switch to Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep. This will help break down organic material in the pond before winter sets in. Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep will help accelerate the decomposition of leaves, scum, sediment and other organic matter during the fall and throughout the winter months. Also, Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep helps to maintain a healthy immune system for your fish during the winter months. Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep will help jump-start your pond to a healthier environment in the spring.  For those of you with large ponds, we have now have the Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep available in the gallon size.

    MicrobeLift Autumn/Winter Prep available here.

    We have been waiting all winter for spring to arrive and can hardly wait to spend time enjoying our water gardens again. The transition from winter to spring can bring new challenges in the water garden. However, with a little work and a lot of patience, your pond will again return to its sparkling, clear magical state.

    In the winter, your pond and its inhabitants sleep.  With the onset of spring, fish wake up, begin searching for food and the dreaded algae re-appears with a vengeance.  The water we had sparkling clear in the fall, soon turns murky green.

    If you were diligent in the fall, by keeping most of the leaves and twigs out of your pond, your task this spring will be much simpler.  (unfortunately for me, I was not diligent enough!) If not, the first thing you will want to do is net out as many leaves and debris as possible with a net.  Re-start your pumps and filter systems. If you have a skimmer and a puri-falls, now is a perfect time to clean them out thoroughly. Either clean your filter media or replace with new.  If you clean your filter media, it is always best to rinse it in pond water, so as not to kill the "sleeping bacteria" from last year.  After you have removed as much debris as possible, you can vacuum the rest with a Muck Vac or where vacuuming is impractical, such as in ponds with rock or gravel bottoms, adding Microbe-Lift SA will  help speed up the biological removal of slow to degrade organic waste matter from aquatic pond bottoms, that may become toxic to fish and plant life.  Microbe-Lift SA removes bottom organic sludge and helps clarify your pond water at the same time. Another option at this time would be to add Microbe-Lift Spring Summer Cleaner, it helps jump start your pond to a healthier environment in the spring, by reducing buildup of dead leaves and organic sediment. Microbe-Lift Spring Summer Cleaner is a seasonal approach to the proper organic balance in ponds.   The main thing you want to achieve is to get the bacteria started and growing again in your pond. As the water warms, the species of bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrite slowly awaken as water temperatures rise above 55 degrees.  The species of bacteria that convert deadly nitrites to harmless nitrate are slower to start in the spring, usually 2 to 3 weeks behind, depending on water temperatures.  As your fish awaken from the winter, begging for food, it is best to refrain from feeding them at this time. Food eaten at this time  will become toxic by products until the bacteria can catch up.  The higher the protein in the fish food, the more ammonia will be produced. If you feel you must feed your fish, it's best to feed Microbe-Lift Spring/Fall formula fish food, or Tetra Spring Diet, which consists mostly of wheat germ, and do so sparingly.

    Many people, when their ponds are full of sludge, leaves and algae, are tempted to drain the pond and start over.  Try to avoid this method, if at all possible, especially if you have a large pond. When you completly  drain a pond and start over, you destroy all of the good bacteria you have been growing and stress your aquatic life. It is always preferable to work with "aged water".  Although at times, a partial water change can be beneficial.  I would change no more than 10% to 30% of  the pond though. 

    In Ohio, we are still experiencing some unusually  cold  days, the greenhouses are warm though, plants are growing and blooming and I'm sure within the next two weeks,  I will be out tackling the leaves and muck in my pond.  Hopefully I will learn my lesson, and next fall, leave the pond netting on all winter! Hang in there everyone, Spring is just around the corner!