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FAQs on Pond Maintenance

Related Articles: Pond Maintenance, Spring Pond Maintenance, Winter Maintenance, Pond Plant CarePond Frequent Partial Water Changing,

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Typha angustifolia, one of the larger Cattail, Tule species used in lakes, ponds.

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Effect of salt water on lake animals      6/12/18
We live with a fresh water canal behind our house which empties into a small lake owned by the homeowners ass. We are putting up an above the ground pool and will use a salt water system filter rather than chlorine to keep the water clean. When we have to empty the pool at the end of the summer, if any of the salt water treated water gets into the canal, will it hurt the fish and turtles? We will be trying to empty it onto our land but wanted to be sure if some got into the canal what effect it would have on the wildlife in the water.
Thank you for your help
Judy Everett
<A matter of relative volumes here; but assuming the canal's is several times that of your pool, all should be fine. All life has a range of tolerance/use of salts (combinations of metals non-metals... I taught
chemistry, physics and life sciences). Some salt is fine. Bob Fenner>

How many goldfish for my pond?      5/5/16
My pond is irregular in shape.
Average width is 4.5 ft.
Average length is 11.9 ft.
Average depth is 1.6 feet
Deepest area is 3ft. L x 3ft. W x 3ft. D
It is 86 cubic feet, I think.
I think it is, 602 gallons
The ph is around 9
<Way too high... see WWM re>

679 gph pump
9 watt UV sterilizer
Filter can handle up to 1,500 gallons
No live plants. I can’t keep them alive.
<The pH... You need to drain, acid-wash this pond... >

I have plenty of fake plants in the pond and fish shelters to provide shade.
I live in Arizona and have naturally hard water.
<What hardness, pH?>
I am having trouble locating any specific information regarding my problem. I have 11 comets and 2 fantail gold fish in my pond. I have an Oranda and another yellow comet on the way. In total about 15 goldfish will be in this pond. Is that too many for this pond?
<Not too many of the types listed>
How many gallons does each goldfish need in a pond?
<Depends on a few factors... filtration, circulation...:
Thank you for your time.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

natural pond question; maint.       3/22/16
we live in Westchester NY and have had a pond for many years- issue- algae and cleaning-
we have used an anti algae product but summer seems to bring little green budding plants to the water surface( 2 rounded leaves attached to a short stem) - don't know if it is pollen that now grows in pond or another matter.
<Need to address root causes... nutrient availability, sunlight... algicides are a poor idea>
***Also husband wants to clean our pond (we have water lilies and some invasive grasses). We have rotting leaves and matter at bottom of 18-2ft deep pond- much more shallow 50% of the pond. Is there a product you recommend after we get rid of water and power wash the boulder/stone that makes the basin to line this natural rock so the muck at bottom doesn't stay - clogs the waterfall pump every now and then.
<A few products.... look into Nualgi and Tim's "Waste Away".... Need circulation, oxygenation... many possibilities. READ here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pondsubwebindex/pdalgcontrol.htm
and the linked files above.>
we have had koi but the blue herons go them- we were fortunate that they reproduced but the birds got all the fish over 2 summers.
Is there a number I can call to speak with you?
<Mmm; no... I do at times consult, but not over the phone.>
Laura Lavan
<Bob Fenner>

White bubble floating in my pond    3/13/16
Hi, we live in Southern California and have a 15000 gallon pond with gold fish, Koi and three white albino catfish. Had three bullfrog tadpoles, but haven't seen them in a while. Found this floating in the pond. Any idea of what it might be?
<Strange.... looks "biological", but what and from where? A bird passing over? Don't know. Bob Fenner>

Like a fish swim bladder?

How often do I clean my entire pond?       9/29/15
Hi. I have a 765 gallon pond. It is an oddly shaped pond. It has no drain. It has a filter rating of about 1,000 gph. It contains 12 very active an healthy comet goldfish. 10 adults (9 males 1 female) and 2 babies ( sex has not been determined with them yet). The babies were born just this year.
Filter gets cleaned every 2 to 4 months. Filter head gets cleaned every 2 weeks. Evaporated water gets replaced every 1 to 2 weeks, depending on how hot it gets.
<Need to take some out... as well as topping off. When water evaporates it leaves solids behind>

I live in the Arizona desert. We have naturally hard water here. My filter has a Ultraviolet sterilizer built into it. I also use algaecide
<See WWM re pond algae control. Have you heard of the product Nualgi?>

because we do not use snails in the pond. Between it, the uv, and the goldfish, the green algae is usually not a big problem. About how often should I clean out my entire pond? Thank you.
<Let me introduce you to how to use the site. See here:
Scroll down to the "Maintenance" tray and READ. Bob Fenner>
Re: How often do I clean my entire pond?       9/29/15

Thank you Bob! :) Your opinion is appreciated. :)
<What did you glean from the reading? BobF>
Re: How often do I clean my entire pond?       9/30/15

I need to clean my pond better. :) Thank you Bob! :)
<Ahh, good. Do write back if you have specific concerns, questions. BobF>

High ph and pond algae
I am having trouble with a high ph and pond algae in my pond.
<Ah yes; very common in the warming months... esp. given filtration technology and maintain practices that allow/promote the accumulation of fertilizing/wastes (N, P, K)... the one drives the other. That is, higher pH is beneficial to noisome algae proliferation, and they in turn drive the pH UP!!!>
My pond is 758 gallons with a ph of 9.0 It was higher before I put in a little new water a week ago. It is better now, but still high. We have naturally hard desert water. The fish in my pond are pond goldfish. Being summer I am feeding the fish every day. We did a total pond cleaning and put in new water about 3 weeks ago. The water is now brown and cloudy again. Would a beneficial bacterial additive help?
<Mmm; am a (new) fan of the Nualgi product for ponds... I'd try this...
Otherwise shading, use of chemical filtrants to remove nutrient, water change-outs... Have you read on WWM re Pond Algae Control? Do so>
Would algaecide help?
<No to this; again READ>
Would a phosphate filter help?
<Yes; likely so>

Would feeding less often help?
<You are correct here... less volume/weight of food and better foods (like Hikari) are of use>
Should I muck out the whole pond again?
<Some weekly mucking in warm weather months is of use. Not too much though... Cleanliness is not sterility>
What can we do to fix the problem?
<Further reading on WWM>
Thank you.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: High ph and pond algae       6/15/15

Thank you Bob! :)

How do you get algae off a EPDM Liner Pond?      3/17/15
I have a pond made of .45 mil EPDM pond liner. How do you get algae off the pond liner? Thank you.
<... in the pond itself? See WWM re pond algae control. BobF>
re: How do you get algae off a EPDM Liner Pond?      3/17/15

Thank you! Your advice was very useful. :)
<Always search, read on WWM first, then write us if there are specific questions, concerns. BobF> 

Kickstarter... Nualgi      11/25/14
Hello Robert,
I wanted to share our story that could have ground breaking impact on our water and food resources.
Nualgi is the first nano-technology based product that promises to address nutrient overload in our waters.
Nutrients from intensive agriculture and animal husbandry as well as our back yards are washing into our drinking water reservoirs,
causing harmful algae blooms in our waters.
To get to Nualgi adoption, we are trying to fund University level research so it can be certified as safe for our drinking
water and aquaculture applications. Here is the link:
A press release is also attached.
I would appreciate very much if you can take a few minutes to review the video and share it with your associates.
Anil Nanda,
100E San Marcos Blvd, Ste 400, San Marcos, CA 92069
<Will share on WetWebMedia.com. Bob Fenner>

Pond Preparations    2/26/14
Prepared the pond for pool construction. Got 2 blue tarps over it, held down by bricks.
Picture below.
<Good job>
How long can goldfish go without a filter in this situation? Thank you.
<? Leave the filter, pump/s on>

Re: Pond Preparations      2/28/14
My goldfish have their filter on again tonight. They all survived being without the filter for two and a half days and two nights. I gave them a little food today. I will now be feeding them once a day, every other day until  the weather warms. Will give them another feeding Saturday. Let me know if I have made an error somewhere. We are expecting rain tomorrow here in Arizona and this weekend. The pool has been dug. The pool will get rebar, after the inspector looks at the pool and gives it the all clear.
Then the pool gets the electric and plumbing placed. After that it gets coated with something, but not concrete. It is a substance meant to serve as an underlayment, I suppose. Then finally the concrete will come. Do I need to replace the tarps back over the pond at any point, when they are installing the rebar, electric, plumbing, underlayment, or concrete? Thank you.
<...? Ask the pool installers>

Pond Vacuum Questions   2/18/14
I have a 500 gallon goldfish pond, with hard water, and a submersible filter. The pond contains 4 goldfish. I just got a PONDMASTER BLACK MAGIC JET VACUUM FOR PONDS
It is a pond vacuum. It works by using pressure from a garden hose. It want to clean the pond without having to remove the fish.
Would this vacuum work to clean the pond?
Would this sort of vacuum suck up my goldfish?
The vacuum will apparently get large debris but not fine particulates.
Would a water change get rid of the fine particulates? Or will my filter take care of that? Also, how often should I change the water in my pond?
<See WWM re
I spilt some pea gravel of small to medium size. Would this vacuum remove it?
Thank you.
<Try it and see. Not a fan of these sorts of units. Too feeble to be of use. B>
Re: Pond Vacuum Questions

The vacuum should work fine and will not suck up the fish at all the suctioned not forceful to pick up fish just sediment and debris. Water changes will work to remove finer sediment. Water changes are good for the fish too. Water changes are good quarterly. Just be careful if you have chlorinated water. Then you will need to add chlorine remover.
See my web site at www.gardenpondservice.com
Download my free APP in the Apple Store
<Thank you Ed. Might I ask if you'd like to formally join us, the WWM Crew?
Bob Fenner>
Vacuum question update

The vacuum I wrote to you about has Powerful 4-jet suction. Is this too powerful for my goldfish in their pond? Thank you.
<Not too powerful. RMF>
re: Pond Vacuum Questions

Um.... I think there was an e-mail miscommunication or something. I never got your re answer to the pond vacuum questions. I got your "see re" message reply, but I could not see a link. If you sent me a reply before, I think it got lost. I'll keep searching your site for the reply. Thank you.
re: Vacuum question update   2/18/14

Thank you.
re: Pond Vacuum Questions     2/18/14

I could not find my question on your site for some reason. I could not locate any specific information on pond vacuums either. Is there a link you have, or a site you know of, where I can find specific information on pond vacuums? Thank you.
re: Pond Vacuum Questions     2/18/14
Answer to my question was finally found. I think we did have an e-mail miscomunication. Ed is my other go to guy when I cannot reach you quickly enough. And ed Solt has his own service site with an iPhone app. The app is free to download. His site is called Gardenservice. His e-mail is:
That is all the contact information I have on him. If you would like to contact him, you can look up the site or try the e-mail. I am sure he would love to hear from you. He also apparently sells pond supplies for those looking for a place to begin shopping for supplies. Hope this was useful to you. Thank you for your help.

Pond Construction and Care. Design, liner maint. f's     7/12/13
My round pond will be 3.4' in diameter by 3' deep.
It will have a butyl liner.
It will be shallow.
It will be 195 gallons.
It will have a surface area of 10 sq. feet.
It will contain comet goldfish.
It will have a 2' wide standard red brick edging.
It will have a submersible filter, 306 gph pump, and fountain kit.
The filter will have pea gravel media in it.
Would I need to wear a pair of waders to clean it?
<No; I would stay out of such a system (small volume, liner...)>

Would I need a pond vacuum?
<... some sort of cleaning tools. There's quite an assortment of possibilities>
What sort of uv should I use? Submersible? Inline?
<This... see WWM re>

Do I need to seal the bricks, to protect them from deterioration from exposure to the water?
<Nice to have some sort of hard structure for the berm for protection and to keep stuff and animals out. B>

Water Quality Problems with a Reflection Pool. Ftn. design, maint.  6/27/12
Hi Bob,
<Hello Bruce>
I live in Ottawa, Ontario in a condo with a large reflection pool in the courtyard.  The pool measures about 25' by 50' and there is room for the water level to be 7 inches.
<Ugghh! Hard to keep such shallow systems chemically stable... clean>
 Right now, however, there is a layer of small pebbles on the bottom so there is only about 4 - 5 inches of water.
<Yikes! Even worse!>

  The pebbles have trapped dirt over the years and they hold a bevy of sludge and other impurities.  The pool originally had new water added continuously with the old water going down the drain.

 When the city started to charge for water, the pool water was recirculated to avoid waste.  The pool is in the sun for most of the day. 
<Good gosh... do you have numerous ducks as well?>

We have a fountain in the middle of the pool that gives a nice effect but does little to circulate the water.  We have added a second pump to push water around the perimeter and we place chlorine pucks in front of it. 
<... one approach. You need to have... measure, maintain "conditioner" (see the pool folks, biz); and monitor pH and alkalinity as well>

 This has had little effect other than right in front of the outlet.  Needless to say, with the hot weather comes algae.  It is only June and we have had to empty the pool and start again.
The water does not circulate and the chlorine is not sufficient to stop any algae build up.

We are contemplating some changes to improve the water circulation but are uncertain of the effectiveness of each.  Both options include eliminating the pebbles in the pool.
<Yes I would... or at least mortar them with just half or less of their faces exposed... for ease of vacuuming, cleaning>

  The first option would be to replace the liner with one that would allow a water depth of 9 inches as we are told that this would allow for the introduction of plants that would help to purify the water.
<Mmm, not worthwhile; no. This is still way too shallow>
  This is somewhat problematic as we are told the plants would have to be stored somewhere over the winter.  The second option would be to increase the circulation with either a 6-7 inch depth or a 9 inch depth if necessary and introduce a chlorination system of some sort to keep the water clear.  Under each option, key to success, we believe, is to increase significantly the circulation of water in the pool.
<These would help...
We were wondering if you could provide any advice on the relative effectiveness of plants vs. chlorine in keeping the pool water clear and on an appropriate circulation system (capacity and type) to keep the water moving and clear.  Would either scenario require raising the depth from 6-7 inches to 9 inches?
<Won't help much... I wouldn't advise it. IF the area around the feature could be built up... above grade... to eighteen or more inches... this basin could be made biological>
 How effective would reducing the size of the pool to about 25' by 30' be in providing an effective solution.
<A percentage by volume...>
We would greatly appreciate any advice you might be able to give.
Thank you.
Bruce Irving
<Mmm, there are a few moda chemically to consider other than the current chlorine/pool/spa... Some are toxic to surrounding landscape... so if there's much splash, spray from the central jet... I might well propose abandoning this water feature altogether (it can't be made either serviceable or functional really... and replacing it with more garden... art... benches, a contemplation area. Bob Fenner>

garden pond clean up  6/19/10
Hello. I need some
help. We just moved into a house with a garden pond. The thing is disgusting! No pump, so it is just turning into a black/brown algae and mosquito larvae collector. We had some frogs, but they don't seem to want to spend any time in the pond anymore.
I have no idea what is on the bottom and there are no plants. I need help with how to get started. There is a ton of information available about maintaining it, but I need to know how to get it back to health. Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide.
<I would do a "complete clean out" of this pond... You should likely buy a pump that a garden hose can be fitted with (on the discharge side)... that has a "decent" intake screen (so it doesn't get too-clogged, too-often...). Pump all the water out... and get in the pond (careful! it may well be treacherously slippery!), and shovel out the solids... either on the surrounding area to dry, or cart off to somewhere they won't be too stinky... And once all is mostly removed, bleach wash the basin per the action plan here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/acidblchpds.htm
Do peruse the WWM Pond Subweb: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm
Re refilling this pond... including the sections on possibly adding filtration, circulation and livestock.
Questions, concerns, please write us back. Bob Fenner>
re: garden pond clean up

Thank you SO much! I can't express my appreciation for your advice! We'll get started right away by buying a pump!
<Ah, good... one with a long (enough) electrical cord... do plug it/this in via a GFI/GFCI protected circuit>
Thanks again and I'll be in touch!
<Do take care. BobF>

Pond Net Color  11/25/09
Hello good people,
<Howdy Dick>
Can you tell me what color net is best suited to chasing down Koi?
<Mmm, yes... something dark is better for all... green to black>
Does the color of the plastic rim make any difference?
<Mmm, nominally... Much more important is the skill and patience of the netter (you). One needs to develop a direct, slow, coming under approach to catching Nishikigoi out of hobby ponds. IF the systems are large/r, a fence net of sorts in addition to "push" the fish to a small area... perhaps two nets, people. For very large fish, getting into the pond and hand-lifting.>
Also, is there an optimum size and shape?
<Oval, and large-enough>
Should it be padded?
<Mmm, no, but not too deep... i.e. not a "fishing net" with a basket, but more like a pool leaf net (though of softer material)>
Do you know who makes the best one?
<A bunch of folks import good ones from the orient... See Dr.s Foster & Smith:
and other etailers with the descriptive terms in your search tools.
Bob Fenner>

Gravel... In a pond, helping yourself on/with WWM   11/1/09
I have a dug, lined pond of 300 gallons which contains approximately a dozen Comets and Shubunkins.
I have a submerged filter in it plus an combination aerator/ filter that I made that has a 300gph pump in it.
I lost 24 fish I had in the pond several months ago because in ignorance I bought a couple of diseased fish and added them to my pond. As a result I have had to start from scratch. I drained the pond, removed the
<No fun>
and plants I had in the bottom of it, cleaned the liner and filled it up again. That was 2 months ago and what I need to know is do I need to put new/cleaned gravel back in the bottom of the pond before winter.
<I would not. Makes for more mess and potential troubles than it's worth>
I doesn't get that cold here I am 20 mile west of Atlanta GA but it does get below freezing at times. This will be the first winter I have had fish in a pond. The pond is 32 inches deep in the center. Any advise would be deeply appreciated.
Thanks you!
<... see WWM re substrate use in ponds and overwintering... The search tool, indices. Bob Fenner>

Cleaning used equipment 8/27/09
Greetings Mike (or other wet web expert)
<Have to make do with Neale!>
Hope this finds you well. Since I last wrote (I've included our correspondence below) the fish are doing very well together and fighting at feeding time has diminished substantially.
<Very good.>
You may remember when I first started writing I had two goldfish and added a third into the pond. Two are now about 4" and the other is about 2.5". I plan to bring them inside in mid October because my pond is very shallow.
Even in MD it can freeze to the bottom.
<Good. In the UK we routinely overwinter Goldfish outdoors, but that does assume a pond at least 1 metre (a little over 3 feet) in depth. Ice acts as an insulator, and keeps the water below the ice from getting less than 4 degrees C in temperature, but that will only happen if the pond is deep enough it can't freeze solid.>
I picked up a used 55 gallon tank with what I think are three filters (they type that hang over the edge of the tank), lights and some other equipment I can't identify. Here are my questions. Thanks in advance:
1. What is the best way to disinfect and wash this used tank.
<You can buy commercial aquarium cleaners, but usually these aren't required. Simply allowing a tank and all objects (gravel, rocks, etc.) to dry out thoroughly will kill off any potential parasites such as worms or
Ick. The bacteria that cause most diseases will be in any healthy aquarium once the filter is matured anyway, so the use of antibiotics really doesn't serve any practical purpose.>
2. There appear to be 3 over the tank filters (there is no literature for any of them and there is no manufacturers name on any equipment either).
After I remove the old filter material what is the best way to clean the plastic boxes
<I favour a strongly salt solution, i.e., brine, if you want to kill off any germs, or a vinegar or lemon juice solution if you want to remove lime scale.>
3. 'What would be the best approach to identify the manufacturer of these filters. I'd like to make sure I have the right filter material to start them up.
<Well, most filters should have the brand embossed on them somewhere. But by default, a mix of filter floss and good quality ceramic noodles provides optimal filtration for most aquaria. Filter floss is good for trapping silt, and ceramic noodles are good for biological filtration.>
4. I plan to set the tank up about 6 weeks ahead of bringing the fish in.
I've read lots of books and articles about cycling the tank. Do you think if I started the tank with some of the pond water and some tap water that would be enough to start the bacteria process
<No. You need a source of ammonia. The best approach is simply to "feed" the tank every other day, just as if there were fish, for the six weeks before the fish are added. As the flake rots, it produces ammonia, and this gets the filter going. Adding some gravel from a mature aquarium (or even the pond) will help, as will adding some filter media from a mature aquarium.>
5. Any ideas for starting the cycle without introducing live fish are appreciated. I have some filter materials in the pond, they sit at the box opening where the pump is placed to keep algae and debris out. Perhaps I
should put a piece of that material in the tank
<Sure, this would work fine. If you can wedge such media into the aquarium filter, all well and good, otherwise simply floating the filter media in the tank should have much the same effect.>
6. would you recommend a canister filter in addition to the filters that have come with this set-up
<A filter rated at a turnover of 6 times the volume of the tank would be fine by itself, so anything at 4-6 times, i.e., 4 x 55 gallons per hour to 6 x 55 gallons per hour should be fine.>
Thanks so much. Deborah
<Cheers, Neale.>

High pond ph and water source 7/29/09
Hello, crew!
I've received great information from you before regarding my pond, so here goes another question...
<Fire away.>
My pond ph starts out at 8.0 in the early morning and rises to 9.0 in the afternoon.
<I see; presumably a combination of photosynthesis, respiration, and changes in temperature. Broadly speaking, pH goes up during the day as plants absorb more CO2 than they release, while pH goes down at night because plants don't absorb any CO2 while still releasing CO2, and the fish release CO2 as well. CO2 makes water acidic, so when there's more CO2, which is what happens at night, pH drops, and when there's less CO2, pH rises, as you see during the day. This is absolutely normal. There's a really good publication from the Southern Regional Aquaculture Centre that you might want to read, here:
It covers the science as well as what you can do to manage this.>
Of course, ph rising is normal through daylight hours. I'd really like to lower my ph as it is keeping my marginal plants from absorbing nutrients, therefore, they are not growing and they look very sickly. However, my goldfish are fine.
<Changing pH is tricky, and by default, I'd recommend against it. It's much better to select plants that tolerate high pH levels, and work from there.
As you observe, Goldfish don't mind these daily pH changes at all.>
I am not comfortable using ph down, and I know both low ph and large ph swings can be lethal to goldfish. My problem is that my tap water source's ph is 8.0, so water changes won't work either. Any suggestions?
<Your tap water is presumably reasonably hard if you have a pH of 8.0. As you know, carbonate hardness inhibits pH drops, so one thing to do is check your carbonate hardness. If the carbonate hardness is low, say, much below 5 degrees KH, then adding the Rift Valley cichlid salt mix at half or full dose could be helpful. A recipe is here:
Alternatively, you could use products like Seachem Pond pH Buffer, though to be honest, I'm leery of such products unless absolutely necessary. I'd strongly recommend reviewing your marginal plants, and either choosing species better suited to alkaline soil, or else put them in (buried) planters that would keep them isolated from the pond water, if you really think this is what's stressing them. I'm not actually all that convinced, though acid-loving plants will, needless to say, not like pH levels as high as 9.>
Thanks very much,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Pond on covered porch... but will it work?   8/20/08 Hello Crew-- I appreciate the invaluable service that all of you provide, and hope you'll have some tips to offer as my husband and I plan our next, larger endeavor. We have four Oscars, about ten inches each, as well as three Plecs, from thirteen inches to about seven inches, and (the real reason for this entire project) a (currently small and really cute) three inch South American Redtail Catfish. <"Egads what a monster"... Dune, in ref. to Shai-Halud> Not all are in the same tanks currently, and Guido (catfish) is in a 125, which should give us about six to eight months to complete this. What we would like to do is build a 1000 gallon concrete pond on our back porch, which is covered and has this weird screen/plywood deal that the previous homeowners probably thought was a grand idea. Anyway, it's there, and it basically creates a thin wall against the elements. And we want to build this pond for these fish, in coastal Virginia. I have several questions that I haven't been able to find answers to on the site, and I hope you have some pointers for us. 1. We are prepared to heat the pond; however, we're wondering about the maximum temperatures these fish will collectively thrive at. <The upper 60's F is likely the most reasonable lower limit for the Pimelodid> I know they are warm water fish. There are about two or three summer months where temps could reach 85-87 degrees in this pond; would this work? <Mmm, yes... with plenty of aeration, should be fine> 2. With this gallonage (calculated to allow us to still be able to navigate about the porch and get to the laundry room, so kind of important) could we add any additional fish? (More Oscars, or a Pacu?) <Could, but I'd be careful re overstocking... Should something go wrong (power outage, overfeeding...), your "window" of possible recovery will be too small...> 3. Do we need to cover this pond at 3.5 feet deep? <I would, yes... the catfish is a very powerful jumper> I am prepared to figure out some sort of screen/weight thing to do so, but I was hoping to get a turtle, and I can't imagine him wanting to bask under a piece of screen. <Not a problem, I assure you. Get, use screen of larger diameter openings> Again, I appreciate any help you can give, and if I've missed anything on the site that applies to our situation, please direct me to that location. I hope that with the correct (read: HUGE) filtration and stable temp (even if a little higher than ideal) we can offer these fish a large, happy new home. Thanks again. --Melinda <Sounds/reads like a very nice project indeed. Have seen some very nice ponds with these animals in them. Most recently the Moody Gardens in TX. Bob Fenner>

Fight Pond Sludge & Muck with ez Lake & Pond! <Advert>  7/22/08 <Thanks. Will post/share. Bob Fenner> Having trouble viewing this message? Please click http://www.greatlakesbiosystems.com/cms/index.php?option=com_sm2emailmarketing&task=showarchivemessage&id=30&Itemid=169 In this issue: * Fighting Pond Sludge & Muck * Distributor Spotlight: Weeder's Digest * 2008 Pondapalooza National Pond Expo & Conference ++ Fighting Pond Sludge & Muck Check out one of our newest and most exciting products, ez Sludge Control (SC) Value Added Pellets. These innovative pellets embed themselves into the sludge bed, putting the all natural power of enzymes, bacteria, and trace minerals directly into contact with the pond muck where it is most effective. This environmentally friendly, natural product is flying off the shelves! Make mechanical dredging a last resort... Read more about Fighting Sludge: http://www.greatlakesbiosystems.com/cms/content/view/171/188/ ez Sludge Control (SC) Value Added Pellets Product Information: http://www.greatlakesbiosystems.com/cms/content/view/47/75/#H749 ++ Distributor Spotlight: Weeder's Digest The WEEDERS DIGEST was developed for the purpose of seeking new and innovative ways to address problematic aquatic plant issues such as milfoil, Hydrilla, curly leaf pond weed and sediment or lake muck removal. Warren Franz, Lake & Pond Product Manager for Great Lakes Bio Systems, and Bruce Wahlstrom of Weeders Digest put together an excellent video about the sludge & muck digester pellets. And, don't miss Bruce's Web Log where he talks about his personal experiences testing ez Sludge Control (SC) Value Added Pellets. Visit WeedersDigest.com Home: http://www.weedersdigest.com Muck Digester Page: http://www.lakeweeds.eventwebsitebuilder.com/MuckDigester.html Bruce's Web Log: http://lakemuckdigester.wordpress.com/ Watch the video: http://www.mydeo.com/videorequest.asp?XID=67073&CID=198145 Would you like to be featured in an upcoming Distributor Spotlight? For more information, reply to this e-mail, contact us via the website, or phone us toll free (within North America) at 1-800-236-1366/(262) 884-9377. Contact Us: http://www.greatlakesbiosystems.com/cms/content/view/60/29/ ++ See us at the 2008 PONDAPALOOZA National Pond Expo & Conference See the latest innovations in enzyme, bacteria, & aeration technology for the Lake & Pond industry at the 2008 PONDAPALOOZA National Pond Expo & Conference August 4, 5, or 6, 2008 at the Radisson Plaza in Inner Harbor/Baltimore, MD, booth #43. More info about PONDAPALOOZA: http://www.www.pondkeeper.com/ Planning to go to the show? Stop at our booth for special show pricing! Installers, Retailers, Distributors, & other industry professionals - see us for opportunities in your market! Click below to schedule a meeting with a Great Lakes Bio Systems/MixAir Tech Representative. Schedule a Meeting: http://www.greatlakesbiosystems.com/cms/content/view/148/167/ Do you have a specific issue that you'd like to solve? Complete our ez Lake & Pond Questionnaire to see if we can help: http://www.greatlakesbiosystems.com/cms/content/view/147/156/ . ++ez Lake & Pond: A Complete Line of Eco-Friendly Products Are you or your customers seeking an environmentally friendly alternative to using chemicals in a natural pond? Are your customers aware of the alternatives? ez Lake & Pond Products offer innovative and extremely effective natural solutions using natural enzymes, bacteria, trace minerals to solve common pond problems such as sludge (muck), algae, and water clarity issues. For more information about the complete ez Lake & Pond product line, visit http://www.ez-lakeandpond.com. ++MixAir Technologies: The Revolution in Aeration MixAir Technologies, a sister company to Great Lakes Bio Systems, manufactures energy efficient fine bubble aeration systems for the Lake & Pond environment. MixAirTech diffusers are available in a variety of designs to accommodate numerous types of installations. Read more about MixAir Technologies at http://www.MixairTech.com . ++About Us Located just outside Milwaukee, WI, Great Lakes Bio Systems manufactures the most concentrated, non-bacterial broad-spectrum enzyme products available today. All formulations are made from natural ingredients and are readily biodegradable. For more information on the full ez product line, visit us at http://www.ez-lakeandpond.com.

Pond silt problems 03/04/2008 My parents have a pond consisting of one small 35 gallon area that flows into a larger 120 gallon area. They live in south Louisiana so there is plenty of warm weather and spring comes early. They've had it for 8 years and keep goldfish in it. It has filter/aerator/heater setup. My dad takes care of that end of things (including water and chemical additions when necessary). Currently they have two 3-4 yr old goldfish that appear to be breeding and five small goldfish (1-2 inches). They (the big fish) have done this for the past two years but they eat all of the fry. I thought I'd be smart and put them in the small pond to spawn and then put them back in the bigger pond so the little fry had a decent chance of surviving. Sounds great so far? Except there is a sludge/silt build up on the bottom of the small pond that they keep disturbing and my mother is afraid they will get this yuck in their gills and die. They were left in the little pond overnight and part of the next day. I've put the male back into the lower pond but the female keeps going to the bottom and getting into a spot that I can't get her out of. What can I do to keep her alive if this stuff is in her gills? <Mmm, best to siphon this accumulating muck out... once a week, during the warmer weather (the time when they're still purposely feeding these fish)... if the basin is too low situated to start a siphon (can be attached to a garden hose), there are venturi devices (see "Python" products on the Net) that can be used> P.S. my mother swears her two original Shubunkins bred and the female dropped live babies(18) and she caught them in a net and put them in another pond. Is this possible? <Mmm, not live... but some that may have developed from eggs...> I keep telling her for whatever reason the fry were just coincidentally swimming under her as they don't bear live young. Of course the male was on her tail gobbling them up when she noticed this and caught what she could. We would like to raise fry. Is this possible with this set up? Thanks for any and all help - GC <Please have a read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm Peruse the Articles, FAQs files on pond fish reproduction. Bob Fenner>

This Old House Magazine Inquiry  2/21/08 Dear WetWebMedia.com, This Old House Magazine would like to enlist your expertise in an upcoming project. We are looking for the #1 problem homeowners have encountered when it comes to an installed pond. Do their liners lift up? <Rarely, but does happen> Is the algae out of control? <Likely the most common complaint, yes> We¹d like to speak to one of your experts as well as receive any photos of failed ponds that could possibly be featured in our magazine. The article will concentrate on installing a pond properly and solving the homeowner¹s dilemma. Thank you for your time and we look forward to working with you. Sincerely, Jennifer Stimpson <I am a content provider in the field... Some examples of my work can be found here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm  Bob Fenner, WetWebMedia>

Murky soil-bottomed NY pond   9/7/07 Dear Robert, Could you please lend an ear to a distressed koi lover in new York state? <Sure> I have a mud pond, dug way before i ever knew i would fall in love with koi. <There are many such ponds around the world> the pond is 90 x 50 feet and about 9 feet deep, holds about 300,000 gallons, spring fed, garden hose augmented this time of year. <I see> the water is murky; starts clearish in spring, turns brown in June, is slate gray now. I cannot see more than 3 or four inches into the water. I started aerating this year and have five aeration outlets going into the pond. <Mmmm, hmmm> i do not wish to drain the pond and line it because of existing koi population, but am way open to any ideas on filtration that would be practical. <Yes... some biological means would help... regardless of the make-up of the water... but these might take a few years to have much/discernible effect. It would help greatly to know the physical and chemical make-up of your water, and the mud/muck on the bottom... How much soluble phosphate, nitrate... the alkalinity of the system and source waters... And any management history that is pertinent... Have you tried flocculants in the recent past?> would you be able to help or recommend a good pond person to work with me on this problem? I'm in duchess county new York. <Mmm, unfortunately I do not... Are there "pond" or koi clubs thereabouts where folks might be able to render a personal endorsement re?> Thanks for your ear! Maxine Paetro <How to proceed... What is the biological make-up of this system? Animals and plants? Bob Fenner>

Re: Pond in Duchess County, NY... murky... 09/08/07 Hi crew! I was reading the daily postings and may be able to be of assistance to the koi pond owner in Duchess County, NY. In addition to being a huge fan of this site, I am a Master Gardener through the Cornell Cooperative Extension program in Duchess (where I live). Your pond owner may want to contact the Co-op extension in Millbrook and speak to someone from the water department there. He can contact me directly at XXXX.com and I will do what I can to help him with the technical answers he needs about his pond. That is, if he needs/wants the help! Dianne (Hi to Alex!) <Thanks much for coming forward Dianne. Have Bcc'd Max here... and the further corr. below> Dear Robert, Could you please lend an ear to a distressed koi lover in new York state? <Sure> Bob, you are a kind soul. <<Perhaps a sole!>> my pond is 90 x 50 feet and about 9 feet deep, holds about 300,000 gallons, spring fed, garden hose augmented this time of year. <I see> the water is murky; starts clearish in spring, turns brown in June, is slate gray now. I cannot see more than 3 or four inches into the water. I started aerating this year and have five aeration outlets going into the pond. <Mmmm, hmmm> (to be more clear, small air pump with a manifold attached to hoses and from there, five diffusers, look like shower heads about 7 inches across. since writing to you, i have reduced number of diffusers to two.) i do not wish to drain the pond and line it because of existing koi population, but am way open to any ideas on filtration that would be practical. <<I am in agreement all the way around... the bio.-means I mention involves "steering a large ship with a small rudder"... i.e. using some "grass type plants"... that need to be legal in your area... and possibly some marginal emergents>> <Yes... some biological means would help... regardless of the make-up of the water... but these might take a few years to have much/discernible effect. It would help greatly to know the physical and chemical make-up of your water, and the mud/muck on the bottom... (I don't know, but it's a clay pond and too deep for me to ever touch bottom. suspect it's yucky.) How much soluble phosphate, nitrate... the alkalinity of the system and source waters... Bob, the water test kit purchased recently is one of those test strip things. I've tested the ph. independent of the test strips and it is about 7.9. the test strips show nitrate 0 nitrite 0 total hardness 150 (hard) total alk. 120 total ph. 7.6 <<Mmm, this last is likely consistent here... a bit high... but no fast, reasonable means to drop... the plant material will insolubilize much of the alkaline component over seasons time> And any management history that is pertinent... have tried EX1 or something. helpful bacteria. used consistently last summer. this summer, used a carton, a lot of 16 oz canisters, all at once, then recently another three. i realize this is not a scientific measurement! <<No worries>> I used four gallons of barley water product, same time as big bacteria dump. these products are all made by the same folks who make Clearz-all. <<I know of them>> Have you tried flocculants in the recent past?> yes, a few weeks ago. used four gallons of Clearz-all, then another two gallons. was able to see koi swimming for the first time, not just eyes and lips! it was amazing! effect of Clearz-all was over within a day. <<Yes>> <How to proceed... What is the biological make-up of this system? Animals and plants? Bob Fenner> entire pond is ringed with cattails. this is to prevent great blue heron from walking in. also the sides of the pond are steep, at least 6 foot sheer. <<Good>> a few containers of water lilies. the pads are coated white and not very beautiful. <<Is it the alkalinity source that is coating these?>> i have currently about 8 largish koi, 8 extra-large koi (over 17 inches) about 8 pond fish probably a cross between goldfish and koi, bronze scales, about 16 smallish koi (under 10 inches) about fifty small goldfish (2-6 inches) trying to net them out and give them away -- not easy! any thoughts on how to do this? crappie traps, minnow traps don't work. <<Not really able to be done w/o draining... sorting and drying... for a few weeks during the summer!!!>> that's it. if there is a snapping turtle in there, he is too wise to enter turtle trap or show face. no mammals. would you be able to help or recommend a good pond person to work with me on this problem? I'm in duchess county new York. <Mmm, unfortunately I do not... Are there "pond" or koi clubs thereabouts where folks might be able to render a personal endorsement re?> no, but I've now found something, FILE ATTACHED. these folks are "area inc." located in Fla. they build a aeration system per the specs of my pond, no filtration, no UV, just lots of air. promises to turn over all 240,000 gallons of pond water per hour! <<Yes... can be worthwhile... depending on source/s of such problems... to "use" up oxidizable materials... so they're unavailable to algae...>> don't get all of what they're telling me, but basically the aeration system will be at nine feet down, sitting above the actual bottom of pond; pump above ground. they say the addition of all this air will feed good sludge eating bacteria and will kill bad algae stuff. they say that i will be able to see the bottom of my pond in 3-4 weeks. it will be pond clear, not pool clear. they claim to do this for lakes and waterways all over the florida keys, etc, mostly commercial grade. I've attached the schematic for your information. if you have an opinion, bob, please weigh in. <<As stated, these aerators/destratifiers can be a boon... but not carte blanche... and the cost to operate must be factored>> I'm feeling very optimistic. either on the verge of a breakthrough or another sucker born. :) have sent them my credit card and expect custom kit to arrive in 7 days. <<We will see here... Please do write back re your experience>> meanwhile 19 huge gorgeous koi from Hawaii by way of Japan will be arriving next wed. and going into q-tanks. <<Do make sure and quarantine these for a good few weeks... weather permitting... Some real troubles (viral esp.) to be had with moving Nishikigoi about...> also, while you were out :), i found a place in Westchester county, near me who do golf course ponds etc. they sell a black dye. i have ancient history with Caribbean blue colored dye that did block algae growth but was at odds with English-style country garden. <<Am very familiar with "Aqua Shade" et al... we used to "make" alpha urine dye mixtures for such use... Again, you should refer to the gentleman above... seek his help in having others examine your water, system...>> these folks say black dye is much more aesthetically pleasing, koi will be fine, and this will protect them against predators -- the other side of coin, once water is clear. <<A worthwhile consideration...> have you any experience with black dye. <<I do... Looks like proverbial heck... IMO>> bob, thanks again, this time for both ears. papers from area inc, attached. wishing you all the best. max Paetro (my webpage is attached with photo of pond) <<I see this... again... please do chat w/, through Dianne above here... Send her your email addr. if you're amenable. Bob Fenner>>

Re: pond in Duchess County, NY   9/9/07 Thanks to you all for offering help with my murky koi/mud pond. I've purchased the aeration system offered by Area Inc. in Homestead Fla. who have promised that i will have clear pond water in 3-4 weeks through intense aeration with their unique system. I will keep the group posted! all best wishes, Maxine Paetro <I do know of this company and their products. They are reputable. BobF>

Re: pond in Duchess County, NY... koi source    9/9/07 Hi, Bob, thanks for posting my pond issues and for your comments to me. you are a sweetheart. I have written to Diane who must live about ten miles from me and hope to hear from her. <Neat!> as i mentioned, i have purchased Area Inc.'s system, should have it up and running in 10 days, and I will report back. <Appreciate this... as stated, I have used many of their, and other co.s similar products over the years doing lake management... IF your problem's roots are fixable by increasing DO, mixing water... this may make a big improvement. If this issue is a matter of suspended particulates... other means can be applied> if you have never been to kodamakoifarm.com, i can recommend it as a source of divine koi to be purchased at auction online. i visited their "plant" in Hawaii two weeks ago and was impressed by kodama's operation. <Thank you for this. Doomo. I grew up in Japan... and have a great affinity for Nishikigoi...> if you love koi and have an addictive personality :) be careful when you go out to the auction site, i speak from experience. the koi i have received so far were more beautiful and healthier than i had any reason to expect, i purchased these quality koi at excellent prices. if you're skeptical, i sure understand: http://www.kodamakoifarm.com see for yourself! thanks again, bob. i really appreciate your time and expertise. I'll let you know how the aeration system works out. all best wishes, <Doh tashi mashiite. Bob Fenner>

Pond water testing   7/15/07 Robert, <Craig> I'm writing to ask for some help reading my pond water test results. I've guide lines that came with the kit are so vague it has me confused as to what I need to be doing, if anything, to ensure the pond is in shape. I tested my water and have been trying to figure out the readings and was hoping someone could lend me a hand. The pond is 1.5 acre and 35' deep and the numbers are: PH 6.0, <A bit low> AM Nit. .3ppm, <Trouble, if so> Nitrite 0, ALK 168ppm, CO2 40ppm, <Spurious for sure> Hardness 44ppm. Thanks so much for helping me figure this out. Craig <Umm... I'd have someone come on out and look with other test gear... Maybe a member of an aquatic garden club... or a farm bureau rep.... You might have to pay for a lake management consultant to explain what is going on here... Do you have a destratifier/aerator at work here? I would... Have you read on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm Too much to walk you through what these numbers might mean... but something/s not right... Including your kits I hope. Bob Fenner>

Swimming pond smell like something dead in it - 06/27/07 Hello, My Husband made a pond 2 years ago for swimming, around 100' x 200'. This year we put some algae killing chemical in it. <What is the make-up of this product?> There is one fish in it, our gold fish. The kids were pond jumping and in the deep area and it smelled like something is dead in it. We see the gold fish and its alive and there is a lot of tadpoles and frogs. It looks really nice. We don't know if a wild life animal fell in and died and is at the bottom or something else is wrong. Or will the smell go away. Do you have any suggestion for us. Thanks Monica <The smell is likely from a lack of circulation/aeration, less than oxygen rich decomposition of material in the lower water of the pond... do you have a purposeful aerator/destratifier? Other means (e.g. a pump, water fall) for moving water near the bottom, exposing it to the surface? Do you have gear for checking the DO, pH, what have you in this basin? This data would give you, me a better idea of what is going on here. Bob Fenner>

Ponds, plants, filtration 06/08/07 Hello Crew, <Val> I recently have adopted a pond (it wasn't a stray, it came with the house I bought) <Heeee!> and I'm hoping you can help out a new owner get on the right track. I've waded through the articles posted here on ponds and have learned a lot. Thank you for the wealth of information you provide. I live in central Canada (=cold winters). The pond is in-ground with liner about 4 feet in diameter with a shelf about 1 and 1/2 feet or so covered in small rocks and a deeper hole in the middle. <Yikes... do you intend to empty it ahead of inclement weather, freezing each year?> I emptied water down to the shelf so I could get a look at the middle, and because it didn't look like any fall maintenance was done. Lots of leaves in the pond. I am not sure how deep the middle section is because it seems to be filled with rocks about 1 to 2 inches in size.  <Yikes... a maintenance nightmare... I'd permanently remove these> I started emptying the rocks so I could find out how deep the middle was, but stopped as it looked like I was disturbing a lot of matter and organisms. <I STRONGLY recommend removing all... setting up a temporary "kiddie wading pool"... using water from the pond, returning it after...> In the very middle of the hole is a flexible 1-1/4 inch plastic hose. One end is buried (still) in the rock, the other was below the water level pinned under a big rock on the shelf. Which leads me finally to the first question, would you have a guess as to what function this hose is serving? <Perhaps a useful drain line?> It is not attached to any pumps, no cords that I can see leading anywhere. I have looked around this site and others about pond construction and don't see any examples of this. Doesn't look like an overflow pipe or drain, as both ends are in the water. Do you recommend digging out all the rocks to find where the other end of this hose is? <I do> There doesn't seem to be any biological filtration units, outside or inside though there is a submersed pump attached to vertical water feature for aeration and surface turbulence. Remarkably the pond seemed to be doing OK, no signs of algae, and when I viewed the house last fall the pond contained 3 plump Koi fish. I did not test water parameters as I thought I should empty the pond to clean it out. I am thinking about adding the up-flow filter that is posted on this site. <Ah, yes... a good design... Heeeee! Okay my design!> It would be relatively easy for me to gravity feed this system, as I have land lower than the pond quite close. The article suggests that it could be gravity fed, although not recommended, but I did not find it clear as to why? <Clogs easily, with no real way to clean... upflow can be much more easily maintained> I see many benefits, especially for water changes. The gravity system was not elaborated on, so if you could help me clarify that would be great. From my understanding a hole a couple of feet down from water level would be required piped to the bottom of the container. The bottom of the container should be, I'm guessing, a couple of feet below where the pipe exits the pond. I am no plumber, does the gravity of water going into the barrel produce enough pressure to raise the water in the container above pond water level so that it may be returned to the pond via gravity as well? <Ah, no... you've got to pump from one level up to the other... in any arrangement> Does the container then indeed need to be two feet above pond water level? Can it be higher or lower? <Can be... much better to pump up, let gravity return... lest there be an issue with water level...> And lastly, the pond is in a very shady location, north west side of the house with no day sun and a big tree blocking any late day sun the pond might get. Searching through the plant section I found many suggestions about plants that would create shade for the pond, but didn't see any information on what could grow in very low light. The pond currently does not have any plants. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. <Mmm, there is another approach to your search here... Look around your local garden centers... to see what they have in-stock...> Thanks for any insight you can provide. I've been reading this site for many years for my marine aquarium, and have the book invertebrates. Really enjoyed it. I'm hoping the pond will be easier to take care of. Val <I do wish this pond/basin were larger, deeper... Much more stable... DO empty it to survey what you have... Generate that list of possible plants... and we'll chat. BobF>

Pond Issue, maint...    5/2/07 I noticed your article while trying to research a dilemma that I have.  I have a 10,000 gallon water feature, which includes a waterfall, creek, and pond area.  It has no plants or fish in it.  It sat for a year and did not get anything done to it.  It needs bleached. <... for?>   I would like to put bleach in the pond WITH the water still in it so it runs through the waterfall and creek and gets on the sides and start squeaky clean. Is this possible? <Likely so... but is it to be recommended? You will kill all... including beneficial microbes, insects, worms... And if this is a concern with algae, pest plants... W/o solving the underlying conditions that allow such, they will soon be back, perhaps worse. I would NOT do this. Instead, do read on WWM re control of such, maintenance of ponds, consider biological means, ozone... Bob Fenner> Patti VonBargen

Pond oxygen, aeration   4/27/07 I have a pond that is an 1/8 of an acre and it has water mill and the county agent said that the pond does not get enough air  and that a fountain or water fall would put in enough air how do I go about putting in a waterfall in an existing pond.. thanks Kellie <Maybe biologically... with the addition of plants (rooted and or free-floating), likely physically... by either pumping the water into the air (expensive but possibly aesthetically pleasing... like a fountain or waterfall) or for about an order of magnitude less in electrical cost, pumping air into the water... as with a device including a mechanical aerator, compressor, line... e.g. see "pond destratifiers" on the Net. Bob Fenner>

Expertise Required! Lake size algae issues   4/19/07 Good morning <And to you> We currently live in the countryside and have a large 50m x 35m man made lake.  The lake is two years old and we are now experiencing large algae levels.  Last year we were able to remove the small amount but this year it is never ending.  The lake is stocked with Trout.  We would be very very grateful for any suggestions or products which could help. Thank you in anticipation. <Mmm, practical measures to consider include dilution (do you have a ready, inexpensive source of clean water to overflow this basin? Chemical tests that reveal the nutrient make up of the water, soil in and around the water shed?), aeration (see Otterbine/Barebo on the Net) for encouraging chemical and biological oxidation of nutrient (depriving algae of same), competition (other purposeful plants... floating, emersed, planted... if these won't cause trouble by penetrating the bottom soil... Predation... depending on what the local laws allow, that you won't cause trouble if/when they get away if this basin overfills... Chemical means are NOT suggested... very likely to be ineffective, very LIKELY to kill your trout. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm the tray near the bottom on Algae, Vascular Plant Control... Bob Fenner> Jill MacDonald

Leeches? Nope   3/11/07 Hi, I have a small pond, approx.900 gallons, with koi and goldfish.  I noticed when I was cleaning the filter that there was small little reddish-brown "worms" but I don't think they are worms because they can hold onto the filter when I try to wash them off.  I caught a couple of my goldfish to see if they had any attached and they didn't.  I didn't try any koi because I didn't want to stress them.  Do you think they are leaches and if so are they harmful?  Thank You Sarah <Not likely leeches... as these are obligate parasites (would be on their host/s...) and most often black in color... What you have found are likely a species of useful oligochaete segmented worm... I would leave these be. Bob Fenner>

Trout Pond Maintenance Questions   9/30/06 Greetings, <Salutations> Two weeks ago, we purchased a farm north of Portland, OR, complete with two spring-fed trout ponds... <Congrats> One of the trout ponds was ill-constructed, and doesn't appear to hold water through the summer (dry) season...  We believe water is "short-circuiting" the dam via decayed tree roots at the base... <Mmm, happens... can this be repaired expediently/economically?> The second (larger) pond is in better shape.  The pond surface area is approximately 60'x30', with a maximum depth of ~14'.  The pond is currently home to approximately 5 x 16" rainbow trout, and a handful of salamanders...  No other aquatic life is present... We would like to ensure the continued health of the larger pond, and hope to repair the smaller pond in the coming years...  Since we are just getting our feet "wet" with the larger pond, we have a few preliminary maintenance questions - more pesky questions will follow as we better understand our situation... 1.  We found an old receipt for 70 x 12" rainbow trout...  This seems like a fairly large number for a pond this size... <Mmm, not... can be much more crowded... safely, if fed... the water monitored for oxygen...>   Are there any planning-level numbers we can use to estimate the number of trout we should consider for re-stocking (i.e. trout per thousand gallon)?  The previous owners were supplementing the natural food supply with fish food; we would be happy to do the same... <There are standard works (books) in the field of aquaculture that will likely list such per species. You don't list which this is... there are a few...> 2.  The pond water is fairly dark (visibility is currently approximately 3-feet through the water column).  The previous owners attributed this color to algae, and reported successful use of AQUA-SHADE,  a proprietary blend of blue/yellow dyes designed to block out specific light rays critical to algae photosynthesis (see http://www.aquashade.com/). <Yep... have used many gallons, even dry powder pounds to make up ourselves over many years...> They used this product in the spring to maintain clear water through the summer/fall...  But we're skeptical... <Me too... doesn't "last" forever> The bottom of the pond is not "slimy", nor is there any "stringy" algae on the bank or floating on the pond surface...  The water is simply "dark"...  We don't really have enough experience with the pond to know for sure, but our hypothesis is that this color results from deferred maintenance (i.e. overgrown/decaying grass along the banks, decaying leaf accumulation, etc...).  Any insights? <You're very likely correct here> We would prefer not to add any chemicals if they are not necessary. <Can likely be avoided> 3.  What is the best season for re-stocking the pond? <Spring> That's all we have for now.  Thanks in advance for your assistance/insights. Jude <Mmm... you likely want to invest in a DO and pH meter combo... I'd look into YSI (Yellow Springs Instruments)... and an aerator/destratifier down the line... good/cheap way to improve water quality, curtail much in the way of pest algae blooms... Are you feeding the fish currently? Not necessary in cold/er weather... Do give a look at Aquatic Ecosystems site re gear, books: http://www.aquaticeco.com/ Bob Fenner>

Green pond... Sludge adder...   8/3/06 Hello, <Hi there> First, about my pond. It's about 800 gallons, 6' x 6', Three and a half feet deep in the center (for winter). I'm using a in pond 1300 gph pump, 18 watt UV light with a gravel filter/spillway. <Likely of too-small size, volume for the "bio-load" here, insolation> I was using foam, was plugging up every other day. <Know what you mean...> There is <Are... change in number> seven koi, largest is 12". One small goldfish and two small Shubunkins. Anyway, About seven weeks ago, I had a sludge problem. Using a recommendation from a local pond supply/builder store, I used MicrobeLift. <Can work...> Followed the directions. Used 12 ounces at first dose. Then again four weeks later, 4 ounce dose. Each time turning off the UV light for five days. The sludge never reduced or went away. Now everything has turned green. The rocks, pump, liner, etc. But the water has remained very clear. I had it tested a few weeks back, They told me it was fine, pH, Etc.  I need help..... Thank you Jeff La Porte <Mmm, the incidents... the product addition, green may not be related... there are "many roads" to controlling algal profusion in biological ponds... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdalgcontrol.htm and the linked files above re my, others input here. Bob Fenner>

Pond Vacuuming, Water changes   7/31/06 Hi there, This is a fantastic site.  You guys were really helpful helping me combat the Ick in my pond, and figuring out how I might top it off   without extreme temperature fluctuations. <Ah, good> I will be getting a drip nozzle for my hose.  Now I have a couple more questions that I can't find answers to in the articles. Here's what I have: 1200 gal. pond. In its second summer. 3 large goldfish (6-8")  and 2 smaller Koi. 2-3" Several water lilies, water hyacinths, water lettuce, and a couple other plants.  Frogs and turtles have found their way into it so I   figure it's pretty healthy. <Likely so> I have a pressurized filter and a waterfall filter. My water tests very well daily in all areas. After the Ick spots fell off, I realized some of those "spots" must have been the beginning of something else, because now they are "bumps" and some have 1/2 inch "threads" extruding from them. <... Lernaea...> I'm assuming it's a parasite.   <Yes... Likely "Anchorworm"... should be treated... with DTHP or Dimilin... See WWM re these terms...> The fish, however, seem happy, behave normally, don't scratch (yet) and eat well. I purchased Jungle's  Parasite Guard, which recommends a 25% water change before putting it in. Here's where I'm confused.  What exactly constitutes a Pond water change? <Some percentage of the volume removed, replaced with new> And how often am I supposed to do them.   <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdmaint.htm and the linked files above> Do I vacuum water out with the Pond-o-Vac 2  I bought?   <Likely this is just a vac-tool for removing trash... better to vent "bad water" along with sediment...> I've only used it once because it only seemed to stir mud/silt/dirt up and make the water dirtier.  The pond's only in its second summer, so how much muck could be in there? <Little to a bunch...> And what exactly constitutes "muck"? <Ooooh, good question... can be little more than accumulated "dust" dirt that is blown in... but usually leaves, algal accumulation, unconsolidated wastes...> And how is it different than regular decomposed leaves, etc. <Mmm... more nutrient-laden, denser...>   I put netting over in the fall.   How much dirt and silt am I trying to get out off the sides and bottom? <Mmm, about half to 90 percent or so... a bit at a time, during the warm/er months...> I read that some was beneficial "algae" (it's not green)  and helps balance the pond.   <Yes> My pond water is not supposed to look like aquarium water, right? <Correct. "Cleanliness is not sterility"> Also, if I change 25% of the water,  how do I keep from creating another 3-5 degree fluctuation in temperature and not stress the   fish?   <Do on warm days... see WWM re... and drip/refill the system down the falls...> I don't want to wait too long before treating them for the parasite.  Can you please advise?   Thanks.    --Judy <Use the search tool on WWM for the chemical and organism names listed above. Much to relate re cautionary, related data. Bob Fenner> Water features - thanks   7/26/06 Hi Robert Thanks for posting the tip about chelated copper on the Internet.  You've saved me hours of scrubbing! Sandra Monks <Thanks for the thanks! BobF>

Re: Question re: article on Fish Body Slime, now Nishikigoi Courses/AKCA  - 06/07/06 Hi Bob, I had threaded some other responded down the page.  I'll highlight them in red for this message. Best, Spike PS, scroll down FAQ Crew wrote: >>Hi Bob, >><Spike> >>Thanks for the reply and the advice.  I have a fairly good library (and >>there may be something in one of my books that I haven't found!) but >>don't have good access to journals and other such periodicals.  I know >>and can find references to the fact that larval fish "breathe" thru >>their skin (no gills yet) but haven't found good references on adults. >><Mmm... I do scan the quarterlies when I'm down/about at the UCScripps Library, and do recall (over the years) various works that touch/ed on this field... Are you familiar with Jeff Graham's works on aerial respiration in (mainly S. American) fishes?>>No, sorry I'm not. But I'll try to look up some of his writings. >Worthwhile< >>BTW, I'm a koi hobbyists.  We started a program (about 6 years ago) to >>teach other hobbyists how to take better care of their koi.  We are >>always on the lookout for good information and for folks to teach >>continuing education courses.  Is that anything that might interest >>you?  See: http://www.akca.org/kht/kht.htm  (I have CCed our CE >>coordinator). >><Ahh... years back I gave talks at the AKCA's get-togethers... and have a few articles in some of their early collections... Was one of the original honko jin ZNA members as well... Looks like a very nice program replete with good instructors. Don't know that I'm "up to snuff" with the later/greater technology... as evidenced by my dated pieces posted on WWM's Pond subweb... But glad to be considered>> >There are some things that almost never go out of date, e.g., anatomy.   >And, if you're interested maybe we can talk about topics that may be of >interest to you. >Okay; let's do< >>Thanks again.  I'll try to hit a college or two. >>Best regards, >>Spike >><A short run at/on BIOSIS, the Zoological Abstracts should show what is current here. Bob Fenner>>Thanks again. I guess I'll just have to get off my computer and make a >trip to the colleges.  Scripps is right down the coast from me. I'm in >Mission Viejo, CA.  And, I know a lady who used to run the medical >library at UCI. >Best regards, >Spike >BobF<

Koi Attacking New Plants - 06/06/2006 We have a 3000 gal pond in the panhandle of Texas.  The fish are very healthy and seem to be doing well for over a year in this pond. We have moved some of the lilies from a previous and these plants and the fish seem to coexist without challenge.  However every time we introduce new plants from a local nursery, the fish attack the plants and the containers.  Usually in the first 24 hours, the plants are moved about the pond even when we put rocks in the container and many times the plants are pulled out of the containers.   The plants we are putting in are more lilies, cat tails, and iris.  Any suggestions on how to introduce plants without having a battle with the fish?   Do we need to change plants? Any suggestions would be appreciated. <This is a little bit odd.  I would think that the fish are actually interested in tasty tidbits that are on the plants and in the soil of the pots....  maybe bug larvae, snail eggs, bugs, microorganisms....  I think I would try feeding the koi heavily for a few days before introducing the plants and see if that gets them less interested in the new plants.  I would probably also like to suggest that you have a large tub of pond water set aside just in case the fish do attack again, so you can at least remove the plants to keep them from being destroyed.> Thanks  -Dennis Moses,  Amarillo, Texas <I do hope this works for you!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina Fullhart,  Santa Cruz, California> <<Actually, not atypical behavior... more so in the warming/reproductive months, but Koi/Nishikigoi/Carp often do this period... may need to be "fenced off", separated from the plants, planting containers. RMF>>

Pond problems? And English    4/20/06 Hi All, I'm new to this so you will have to excuse me if I'm a little long winded. <... no, just the lack of apostrophes and spacing is annoyingly backward> I have a variety of fish mainly goldfish, Shubunkins and Orfe. I'm having terrible problems with algia (think iv spelt that right) <You could educate yourself using your spellchecker...> my main concern is that I have a raised side in pond which is covered in algai and have recently noticed that almost all of the fish (you would think are dead) are lying still on the bottom amongst the algae for minutes at a time and then lively swimming away , is this due to lack of oxygen or are they spawning? many thanks for your help. Sue <... not good... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm the Articles, FAQs files on Maintenance, Disease, Algae Control. Bob Fenner>

Replacing Pond Liner:- What to do with existing fish?   4/18/06 To replace my pond liner I need to remove two 14 Inch Koi and 12 others sized 5 to 8 inches. I understand they will have to be put into a holding tank for about a week.    Is there any rule I could use to calculate how much water would be need to keep them alive for this period without any aeration system.   If not what can you suggest. Ken Brown <Mmm, the bigger the better... and covered! They can/will jump... out. And don't feed at all, really... but do need circulation, aeration... perhaps just a large "kiddie wading pool" (depth not important if protected from much of the elements (to reduce diurnal changes). Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/lnrspdabvh2o.htm and the linked files at top. Bob Fenner>

High pH in concrete pond  - 04/05/2006 I built a cement pond with cement from Home Depot. I sealed it with Thoroseal and had problems with the pH being 8.4. My pond shop suggested that I add vinegar for a couple of months so I did that and washed the pond out. The pH is still too high. The local cement dealer looked up Thoroseal information and suggested putting a 12% solution of salt in for one day. <Mmm, salt won't help...> This required 120 lbs salt but this did not work either. Do you have any suggestions? <Yes... You could try a good/strength acid wash: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/acidblchpds.htm and the linked files at top> Can I paint a rubber or neoprene paint on top of the Thoroseal? <You can/could> If not, how do I get the Thoroseal off? It actually seems like the second coat of Thoroseal has come off on its own as it was a slightly different color from the first and I can see that hardly any of it remains. George Strang <Can be chipped and acid-washed/etched away. Do pay close attention to the cautions/warning statements re this procedure. Might I ask what your intended use of this basin/pond is? It may well be that you'd be better off allowing "biological intervention" here to cure the high pH/alkalinity issue. Bob Fenner>

Pond catastrophe... just maint. or lack thereof  - 03/12/06 I wonder how many times I've asked you all questions. So here's another.   3 years ago my mom put this pond in our backyard. She put in fancy goldfish not knowing fancy goldfish are not very good pond fish, there is a canal in out backyard which very often gets herons... the fish got eaten. when there were fish there were also minnows (wild guppies I guess) the minnows didn't get eaten and multiplied and there are hundreds in there now. My mom found these plants that look like a stem with leaves all around the stem in the canal they multiplies too. After not being taken care of the pond got out of hand. Algae grew in the sides and like I said the minnows and the plant multiplied. my question is how do I get rid of the algae the minnows, but I can just catch them and put them back in the canal, <I would not do this. All non-native life should be destroyed/bleached, turfed out on "trash day"> and the plant thing. Could I get an apple snail or something big or a few Plecos? How would I get rid of the plants? <There are articles and FAQs files re these questions... posted on WWM. Bob Fenner> veronica

Pond biofilters  9/8/05 Hello Bob, Am interested in building a bio filter per your spec.s as shown on website. Question - what is down side when electrical outage stops pump? Does not the 'bad bacteria' enter the fish pond when the power comes back on? Thanks in advance Frank P.    <Can indeed be trouble... if much "gunk" is accumulated, goes anaerobic... regular backwashing, and discharging water over a falls or stream generally discounts any such possible disadvantage... though one could leave out a back-check valve or arrange a perpetual siphon... to drain the filter basin in the event of such a pump/ing failure. Bob Fenner>

Pond Cleaning Service Companies  9/2/05 Dear Bob, I was doing research on the Web and came upon your site.  I read many questions regarding pond health, etc.  I work at a Golf Resort and we have 3 lakes that continue to get excessive algae growth in the summer months.  Our new owners have instructed us to find a Pond/Lake management company that we can contract the lake cleaning to.  I have begun to search through the internet, but I thought you might be able to give me a lead as to who to call.  We are based in Central California, Carmel / Carmel Valley to be exact. I can be reached at XXXX. Thank you for your time. Respectfully, Catherine Nagel <Unfortunately, have been "out of a/the loop" for far too long to even know who is "in the biz" in your area. I would contact other golf courses, get their input on who they use... Including remediation... rather than treatment... the use of aerators, trading out water/irrigation and refilling... Bob Fenner>

Leeches in tank, actually leeches in pond 8/9/05 Hi there. I sure do hope you can help me. I have a outdoor man-made tank (or pond), with channel catfish, perch, crappy, and minnows.  The sizes range from about 15 lbs to little minnows. I live in North Texas.  I was needing to know if there is any thing I can put in the water to get rid of leaches. <Yes... Vermifuges, -cides...>   They are very small, look somewhat like a 1/4 inch piece of string.  I can see quite a few of them at the water line. Also I put some algicide in it about 1 month ago to get rid of all of the gunk. <Dangerous> It helped a lot with the gunk but now it seems like the water is more cloudy and seems to have a stronger fishy smell. What do you think may me causing that? <Death, decomposition> By the way we use well water in the tank and I run fresh well water in it about every three days. Oh and by the way my kids also swim in <Am obliged to mention that I'd have a public health inspector come by and check out this system>                                                       diameter  40 ft                            <_________________>                           (_____________________)          depth I       \                                      /          13  ft  I         \                                 /                   I             \                            /                   I                 \                     /                                          \               /                                            \______/ <Use the "vermi-" words on WWM's search tool. Bob Fenner>

2000 gallon pond with koi and goldfish, mainly maintenance 7/28/05 Hello, <Hi there> Our pond has been in operation for 2 years now and we have dealt with some parasites and loss of fish from birds. <Happens> We use Microbe Lift in the pond regularly and it stays pretty well off most of the time. We found two dead fish yesterday in the pond with no apparent reason for death.  The koi that died did have some reddish spots, but they were not ulcers.  The other fish was found in the skimmer and he could have just gotten stuck and beaten up from that.   <Mmmm...> I went to the store to get a test kit for the water after reading some on the site. The pH test only shows as high as 9.0 and ours tested that high. <Yikes... seasonal difference, elevation likely due to increased sunlight, temperature fueling photosynthesis...> The test showed that the salt was a little low.  I want to check to make sure that I should go out and buy more to balance the pH. <Mmm, do you understand the concept of alkalinity? Might study a bit here... on WWM re> We don't change the water regularly, but we do add water on a regular basis.  Is water changing necessary in an outdoor pond. <Is a very good idea in almost all ponds... Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdmaint.htm> (The pond was cleaned out and drained in early may of this year.  The temps here the past few days have been I the low 100s.) <Yeeikes... I do hope you have a shade cover> Thanks for your help! Shelly Wise <Bob Fenner>

Hotel pond, koi health, maintenance/personnel issues 7/21/05 Hello! I have a problem which  I  hope you can help me with.  I have spent countless hours pouring over your fantastic web site and many others and have been unsuccessful in finding answers.  I apologize in advance for the length of this. To begin, I work in a hotel that has a rather large indoor pond (about 4000 gallons).  There is a large waterfall and stream leading into the pond.  The pond was completed and filled in the middle of  March.   We  have 2 large canister filters,  a fluidized bed filter, and UV filter.  About the end of April we received the first  "load" of  koi.  (11) 8-10 inch koi and one (Stumpy) 3 inch.   At  this  point all was well.  Then a former employee shut the pumps down to change the canister filters (instead of using the by-pass valves) and failed to turn them back on for 3 days! <Yikes...>   Hello algae!!   After gaining control of that lovely little problem (mostly by me scrubbing the whole thing down by hand a little bit at a time every week) and increasing the frequency of the filter changes to daily instead of weekly, (the water would completely stop flowing on weekly changes) <Yes... the filters are not made for biological systems... but pool, spa with little solid matter in the water> we received the second batch of koi (end of May).  These were mostly "butterfly" koi, 9 of them, same sizes the first.  All of the fish are very active and eating well ( floating pellets, not sure of the brand). <Do check on this... real trouble trying to maintain a system with some of the junk aquaculture grade foods... Look to Hikari, Spectrum...> Within the last week, I noticed that one of the koi from the original batch is missing.  I even put the waders on and went in to the pond searching for any remnants of him, but no luck. Killed by others?? <Very unlikely... probably jumped out... or was stolen!> At that time, I noticed that 3 of the fish from the second batch have black, fuzzy-looking  tufts above their eyes. Two have it on both eyes, the other one seems to only have it over one eye.  They look like dark, mossy eyebrows.  Both of the fish that have it on both eyes are similar in color, ( golden with some black spots and black / gold fins) and they both have black "rings" around their eyes.  I  only noticed the rings on one eye of one of the fish when they arrived.  Are these "eyebrows"   normal, or do they have some type of fungus?   <Not normal... not a fungus per se, but a growth resultant from "poor water quality"> Could the algae out-break have caused it? <Possibly a contributing cause> So far in everything I've read, fish fungus is described as being white or lighter grey in color.  I have looked up as many pictures of butterfly koi as I can find to see if this is just a physical variation, but I have not seen a single picture with anything that looks even similar to this.  I checked the pH today-8.5. <Way too high... is this what your source/tapwater reads as well? You want to study, get the means to lower this... to about neutral ideally (seven or so)... slowly... by pre-treating new water> This is the extent of our testing   supplies, much to my disappointment. <Mmm, perhaps a visit here (WWM) would do them good? I would have at least ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, alkalinity, phosphate test kits> Apparently the "expert" my boss was dealing with told him nothing else was required.  *Sigh*.  This "expert" also said the pH could go as high as 9-9.5 with out a problem.  This seems a little high to me.  Am I wrong?    <No> I am working on my boss to get a test kit.   In the meantime should/can I do anything? <The addition of (aquarium) salt is advantageous, safe... inexpensive, will even help with algae control...> I have called around to local pet stores (we don't have strictly fish shops)  and have been told by one that we without a doubt have a fungal infection and told us to treat with Pimafix, another said "well, maybe, maybe not."  Again, *sigh*.  I am leery of putting any chemicals in the pond for fear of either treating when not necessary, or treating for the wrong problem. <You are wise here>   All of the fish came from a private breeder in Minnesota, ( the hotel is in Montana) ordered by our home-office in North Dakota. Another one of our hotels has a similar set-up with koi from the same breeder.  They have had problems with parasites and bacterial infections. Hmmm. They  have been using Melafix but they are having to treat quite frequently. <These "fixes" by Aq. Pharm. are not really effective "medicines", but leaf/tea extracts that have mild anti-microbial astringent properties... I generally discourage their use> This is their second round of koi.  The first 40 they had all died. I'm not certain of what killed them. <... need to be carefully quarantined for a few to several weeks before being placed... and never just casually introduced to an established/populated system... the causes/sources of most pond diseases are well-known, easily avoided, defeated... but principally excluded, detected and treated outside main/pond systems. Breeders, their systems have full complements of vectors, disease agents due to their very natures...> Needless to say, I think the hotel owners should have thought this all through a little more before building such large habitats. <We are in agreement here> They are relying on their regular employees to maintain the fish and ponds and none of us  have the experience or knowledge on our own. We didn't get an "owner's guide" or even a phone number of anyone to call with concerns.   I hope you can  give me some clues as where to start.  Any advice is infinitely appreciated! Thank you for your help! Carrie <Mmm, if you're interested/concerned "enough" you should read through a few stock "books" on koi, their care... there are some that are better than others... Look to the "Tetra"/Salamander Press titles IMO... and the scant topical coverage on WWM will be of help. If you have time, you might look about for a local "koi club" (there are many)... In all honesty and frankness though, I would compose a small letter to your supervisor (and consider sending in elsewhere) re the lack of preparedness, concern you have (valid) for this enterprise, and encourage the powers that be to hire outside help... there are folks that do aquarium and pond maintenance... I would sub-out this job. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish behaviour 7/4/05 Hi <Hello there> I have a very large garden pond - twenty foot by forty plus foot, four feet plus deep at one side, lots of goldish which do breed and so on.  However they do this every year and I now feel I need to know why. They are mostly just hanging suspended in the water, like they were asleep, although they did consent to eat a little yesterday and in the post dawn period they make little bubbles on the surface which linger most of the day. <Ah, yes> Can anyone tell me what they are doing and why?  No filter or oxygenator alas but I have lived here for more than ten years now and have managed so far okay. Thanks very much Angie Watts <They are experiencing changes in the pond due to the season... in essence being poisoned... changes in pH, mixing of bottom water... You might consider adding aeration, biological filtration... that will make this system overall more homeostatic throughout the year. Bob Fenner>

Re: large submersed pond pump 30 Jun 2005 Hi, thanks for the reply, my big pump is submersed, it's a med.-large one, I'm still not sure of the gallons it pumps.  My water is clear, not crystal, but I can see to the bottom good.  I think I will add a homemade filter box and put my pump in the box to pull the water in.  And I'll get an ammonia tester kit and do the water changes.  I have one question, do I have to do the "de-chlorinator" when I add 10-20% new water, or will it just "mix" in with the already de-chlorinated water and not be a problem? <I'd likely risk not adding anything... I do this myself... all the time... though there are cases when water suppliers "pulse" more disinfectant in to supplies...>    Thanks for your help.  You guys do a great job. Denise <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Very Large Pond Question, WetWebMedia Hello Bob, Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of the "conscientious marine aquarist" book for my 90 gal marine aquarium at home, and of the WetWebMedia website. I thank you very, very much for all the advice you give us there. <A great pleasure my friend> We are real estate developers in central Mexico (city Leon, moderately warm climate), and in one development we have a sort of a small "river" with about 300 koi carps in there. The "river" or pond, measures some 400 feet long, one foot deep and about 6 feet wide, with some variations in with up to 15 feet. I estimate it holds some 30,000 gallons of water. It is mostly under the shade of many trees, which also means it gets a lot of leafs and grass in it. <Yes> Along the 400 feet, the water starts out coming out of 2 waterfalls, each about 4 feet tall. and then finds another 3 falls of about 1.5 feet along the way. The water currently flows some 10 hours a day, the rest of the time the pumps are shut off. We take out about 5,000 gallons of water every day from this river for watering the gardens, and add the same 5,000 gallons of fresh water (plus evaporation top-off) from a water well we have. <Good plan, practice> Every month, we take out about half the water volume and replace it with fresh water, and have a beautiful looking river. for about 2 days. Then the water turns a cloudy brown-greenish. until you can't see the fish anymore. This despite the daily water change. <Yes...> We are currently not feeding the koi, as my LFS guy told me they would simply eat mosquitoes, bugs, or algae that grew there. <To some degree this is so... the fish won't be as robust, colorful...> I don't have plants in it yet, but I've now read we could use quite a few. <Yes, definitely worthwhile adding here> The question is regarding filtration: What sort of biological filter should we use? (an open one, I read. but size? Materials?), mechanical? and, would a UV help, or is it simply too large for one? <In this size, type system, the plants and ozone would be all I would use... all else are impractical... too expensive to install, operate...> How many watts would I need? <Again, I would look into corona discharge type (not UV lamps) from a larger company here. There are a few that make these for industrial applications...> Can I buy something that large at a reasonable price? <Would have to define "reasonable"... Again, the plants... lilies, some hyacinths (keep these corralled)... will get you likely 80-90 percent of where you want to be, at low cost...> I greatly appreciate any advice, Eduardo <Glad to offer it. Bob Fenner>

Pond, algae, illiteracy i have a 1,000 gallon outdoor pond it inhabits koi, goldfish, 1/2(fish got a little despite i guess) lilies, cat tales, and unfortunately in the season frogs mating in the plants. the problem is i have about 4" (maybe) of algae. i have used algae killer <Not smart> and something gets rid of the muck that i put in to the waterfall to circulate through the water. it's made a big difference but there is all the algae that not floating around laying on the bottom. WHAT DO I DO? thank you Christa <Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdalgcontrol.htm.  Learn to use your spellchecker... Bob Fenner> 

Vegetable Oil... In a Pond? Here's one for ya, <Ho boy> My step-son, in an attempt to prime a non-submersible pump went and poured a half of a bottle of vegetable oil in the hose per the manufacturer's instructions, <What the?> which is now in the pond. It's @ 500 gallon, 4" deep. I tried to skim off what I could with a pool skimmer net (which is now like paste) but it has coagulated into white clumps which is now on the bottom and covering the liner. Is there anyway short of draining and scrubbing with Dawn to get this out? Such as a natural biodegradable neutralizer or an  aggressively large cooking oil eating fish? James <Thank goodness you have a sense of humor. For this size system, I would drain all (including plumbing, filter...) and use a detergent as you mention. Do take a read through our Pond subweb re plumbing, check-valves... arrange for this conduit to stay primed when the pump is off, out... and no more vegetable oil! Bob Fenner>

Something re ponds Hello, <Hi there> We have a small pond at our plant, what do you guys sell that is non-metallic? We cannot buy anything with copper sulfate. <What? For algae control I take it... Please read re on WWM. Bob Fenner... we sell nothing but books that we write, publish.>

Re: Indoor Koi Pond Question/Problem Thanks for the quick response Bob. Your website was the only one I could find where there were actual people on the job and could contact someone with my question. Way to go! If I could ask you, would freshwater sponges be harmful to the pond, if in fact that is what they are, or would it be wise to try and get rid of them, and if so, how would I do that? <These very interesting organisms are not a problem in any sense as far as I'm aware... I once spent a day with a friend in the service side of our industry, in a cold pond stream... under a bridge, trying to get some decent pix of these... they "come and go"... Bob Fenner> 

Re: pond liner in tank http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdmaintwint.htm Just to clarify Given my situation, RO going cloudy is normal after a couple of days even if there is no substrate? <Yes, normal. Very likely the opacity is due to biological goings on, not simple physical or chemical reactions... microbes are populating the water to such an extent that they're making the water cloudy> (just water and the tank).  If this is normal this I'll begin cycling the tank. Again Thanks for the help! <A pleasure to serve. Bob Fenner>

Unknown pink substance on rocks near pond I have a fish pond in my backyard.  I have noticed a pink substance on the rocks around the pond.  This has a consistency of bubblegum when touched. When it dries it dries to a white powder-like substance.  Can you identify this for me? Thanks, Donna <Maybe... most likely a type of algae... but could be a combination of other organisms, mosses, lichens and such... You could tell if you either took a look under a microscope at a bit, or had someone else do this. Bob Fenner>

Question on toxicity of pond liner repair I have a question. I have a 100 gallon pond set up in my remodeled  attic with some of the smaller fish I bring in for the winter from my  outdoor pond. I had to fix a minor hole near the top of the plastic liner.  I was wondering if the epoxy glue that I used can affect my fish in any  way. Thank you for your time.   Len <Should be fine, non-toxic once the epoxy is set-up/cured. Bob Fenner>

Worms in a garden pond I have an outdoor garden pond which was activated within the last 3 months.   I do not have fish or plants in the water yet, as i was hoping for it to clear prior to purchasing; however, when i cleaned the filter, i noticed small tiny live red worms.  The largest i saw was nearly 1/2 an inch.  There appeared to be hundreds of worms stuck to the filter.  What are these, i would assume they are a parasite of some sort but i am not sure and most importantly how can i rid them from the pond? Thank You <Ahh, no need to worry or rid your filter of these worms. They are indeed completely beneficial and you are fortunate to have them aiding your systems filtration. They are likely some species of oligochaete... earthworm relatives, and not parasitic. Bob Fenner>

Re: yellow growth in stagnant water - no sunlight Hello, Do you guys have any idea what type of algae or growth (it's yellow BTW) we could have in a concrete pit that is filled with rainwater and no sunlight.  < It could be algae or a fungus feeding off the carbonates leaching from the concrete.> If you do, do you know how to kill the stuff? < Get some chlorine from a pool supply place and follow the directions on the bottle. This will kill everything. Then change all the water or vacuum all the crud from the bottom. If you have fish in there then obviously this won't work. You probably have some dust and organic matter that has accumulated in this pit and is feeding this yellow growth. The sediment needs to be vacuumed out to remove the food source for the algae. This will help but will not fix it for good . Only a filter and regular water changes can do that.-Chuck> Thanks, Winnie 

Acid washing? I've seen WetWebMedia refer to 'acid washing' several times.  What do you mean by this - is it simply using bleach (sodium hypochlorite) - or something else.  If its something else, could you give me the name/type/brand of 'washing' agent you are referring to?   Thanks! <Please delve a bit more into the articles posted on WWM here... you are correct in that this is a cleaning technique involving acid (usually dilute HCl, aka at 3 molar as Muriatic)... for ponds, fountains and such. Bleach as sodium hypochlorite is indeed a conjugate acid/base... but is not intended to be used as an acid in this regard... and NEVER together with an acid. Bob Fenner>

Overheated ponds (evaporative cooling arrangement) I thought the following may be of some help to you. I sent it to a friend who has resolved a problem with his fish pond overheating... Regards Peter <Thank you for sending this along. Will post. Bob Fenner> With regards to your fish pond overheating. If you wanted to you could make up the following system that I invented to keep my marine tank cool. I used half inch diameter black plastic hose, an assortment of joiners and elbows, some electrical tape and a small powerhead (only six litres per minute) so reasonably cheap. I dug a shallow trench 40 ft long under the house. I cut six 40 ft lengths of pipe. These I connected with elbows so the water would have to run along some 240 ft of pipe. The small powerhead is placed in the sump of my trickle filter or in your case the fish pool. The secret of the system is the fact that the pipe is only half inch black plastic it causes line drag on the water and so this has a coolant effect. The other great thing is that the small pump sucks in the water from your pool and only has to push it through the pipe up and over the upper edge of the pool. As soon as the water flows over the edge it runs down the pipe system, along the pipe and due to gravity and the siphon created it finds its way and climbs back up to the upper level of the pool. This means in theory you could have an aquarium up on the top floor of a ten story block of units and the system would still run with only the use of the six litre per minute power head. The return flow to your pool will only be about three litres per minute but this will be quite cool ( about 15 degrees or less ). If you really want to get sophisticated you can use an aquarium heater in the pool connected to a relay. This means when the heater switches off and cuts power to the relay the relay will then switch power to your cooling system. Then when the pool cools the heater will switch the on and cause the relay to switch on the cooling system. As you are only working with a few litres of water per minute this is a very slow process and when the weather is hot the heater may never switch on which means your cooling system will run continually. The service room for my marine aquarium when I was running it as a reef tank with 2 metal halite lights on all day, the room temp used to reach 34 degrees. However with the cooling system running the tank could be run at a steady 22 degrees. Another system a friend in Melbourne runs is he bought a second hand refrigerator and simply ran a plastic hose to the fridge from his aquarium and coiled the hose up inside it. Another I have done is use a small powerhead to a half inch pipe to 30 drippers suspended a metre over my 2000 litre freshwater aquarium. A timer switches this on three times each day giving the effect of rain on the surface and the cooling system can also be used on this aquarium, however it very rarely overheats. Along with the dripper system I use a air vented skylights above both marine and freshwater aquariums. Also for effect green and blue night spotlights. So at night with moonlight or coloured lights shining on the surface of the freshwater tropical aquarium and the raindrops falling on the surface of the water the overall effect makes great night viewing. Hope this may be of some help Regards Peter

Water Loss in a Pond, and Winter Hi, I was wondering if you could help me out, I have an outdoor fish pond.   <Uhm, not sure if I can help with that - I'm addicted to ponds, myself....  maybe a support group?  ;)  j/k> The fish are comets, the pond is approximately 460 gallons, 11 fish.  During the summer months I loose about 1 inch(5-10 gallons) of water every couple of days.   <Reasonable> I live on Long Island, NY and the weather is getting colder with some snow.  Lately I am losing about 2 inches of water every 48 hours.  Any suggestions as to why, I checked this summer and the liner has no leaks.   <Well, could be something's caused a leak in the liner recently, but I'd be more inclined to think there's a poor connection somewhere with the filtration/hoses/etc.> I run my filter all year round which sends a small stream up to the top of the pond and a small water fall on one end.   <Check everything doing with the waterfall, all hoses, every inch - hopefully it's just something loose somewhere.> I keep hearing mixed reports about whether to run the filter year round.   <A great article to help you with this:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdwintmaint.htm .  Unless the equipment is going to freeze and malfunction, I'd keep it running.  If any way possible, do not let your pond freeze over, or at least not fully.  Within that article are suggestions to help you with this.> Any help you can give me regarding this would be greatly appreciated.   <And further reading galore:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm .  Lots and lots of good stuff here, I'm sure you'll find some interesting fuel for your pond habit!  Not an addiction I'd want to cure, for certain.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Jeff

Pond aliens I have noticed a proliferation of 2-4mm shrimp-like creatures (copepods, as I have learned) in my pond in the filter net and such areas.  I have not examined my fish.  They don't look like fish lice and don't have a Y shape. They swim around inverted frequently. <Could very well be a copepod of some sort, like Cyclops, or perhaps water fleas (Daphnia), or one of many, many other tiny critters that show up in ponds.> Are they bad news? <Unlikely.> I am worried that they are parasitic. <Although there are parasitic copepods, and other parasitic tiny forms of life that will appear in ponds, chances are good that what you're seeing isn't parasitic.  Of course, it would definitely be a good idea to net out a couple of fish just to check on them, make sure nothing's amiss.  Also, while trying to identify pond organisms, I ran across this page/site that may be of use to you to identify what you've got:  http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/index.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/pond/insects.html .  Play around with the links and other pages in the site, and you'll probably be running out to your pond for a cup of goo to stick under a microscope.  Lots of fun.> Thanks for any comments,  Roger <No problem, Roger.  Have fun with your tiny pond life,  -Sabrina>

Bird poop in small goldfish pond II 8/27/03 Dear Anthony, Since I wrote you last week about what I though were bird droppings in my 44 gal in-ground pond with two comet goldfish and a sponge filter pump, I've now lost one of the fish. The "stuff" I'm seeing is bluish/green shreds or matter in the water attaching to the plants. <have you tested your water chemistry or had your local fish store do it. Its helpful to know where you stand in this regard. As far as the matter... we unfortunately cannot explain it from such a general description> In your responses you indicated a good bio filtration system. What could I add to the pond to create this? <there are many wonderful filters on the market... Supreme makes a nice submersible "Pondmaster" tray filter... and Tetra makes some nice external green barrel filters> Also, do I clean the sponge filter? <yes... but rinse in some aged pond water in a bucket during water changes... never tap water> I have been doing that (and that may be the problem) therefore washing away good bacteria. <no worries as long as you avoided tap water (even then not that big of a deal). Nitrifiers are stuck firm to the substrate and don't wash away easily. Water tests will indicate if you have enough filtration... or too much feeding/load> Oh boy. Please any help much appreciated. Marty <pond keeping can be fun and very easy... but it sounds to me like you really need to read up on the basics my friend. Did you follow the links in our archives I mentioned last time to you? Do consider if you did not have a chance: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm there are some excellent pond books too: Water In the Garden, by Allison... and Book of Water Gardens by Dawes (TFH). Best regards, Anthony>
Bird poop in small goldfish pond III 8/27/03
Thanks Anthony. Perhaps I'm a bit daft (I think that's a word) but I have read, and read. Everything seems to talk about a 1500 gal. pond or greater. I'm talking 44 gal., 2 little fish (now 1) and he's no more than 3-3-1/2", pond has constant circulation and lots of oxygenating plants.  Water levels read in the good to safe range, this has been constant. There is not a lot more room in this little container for bio filter but I am looking into it. <Ahhh... I see. Indeed... understood and agreed. These "patio" ponds/barrels really are quite handsome, but alas subject to a volatile existence for fishes (even the day night temperature swing of 4+ degrees is enough to weaken many fishes). Such ponds really work best fish-only... but do enjoy the plants. Some snails too> (I have a water lily and papyrus that hog the deep part of the pond. The "outside" filters seem pretty expensive, I know, whine whine. Anyway, obviously I'm doing something wrong or my other fish would still be with me. <no worries... tis the nature of the beast. The small volume of water is simply too unstable for many fishes outside> I'm working on it which includes reading. I know you are being very patient with me but I'm not getting something!! Marty <in part, you have been a victim of misleading marketing, I suspect. In this case, its all about size. My advice is to simply enjoy a handsomely planted pool instead. Anthony>

High pH pond 7/9/03 I put two layers of 10 mil Visqueen in my concrete pond five years ago when a tree root broke the concrete. This year I am having trouble controlling the rise of pH in the pond. I have never had this problem before and am wondering if it is the Visqueen causing the problem. <very unlikely. High pH is so common in the summer due to massive photosynthesis from unicellular algae (green water) instead> I have a 6600 gallon pond with a filter (bacteria) and two waterfalls and a creek that runs the filtered water over ten feet of river rock before returning it to the pond. I have searched the pond for any bare concrete or metals, etc. and have come up with nada. If you have any knowledge that would help me I would appreciate. <test to see how temporary your high pH is... leave a sample of water in the dark for a day or two then test it. If the pH is lower... then it is not a chemical increase> I only keep twelve Koi but would like to control the pH enough to introduce a few new ones. If I do a large water exchange the pH steadily climbs back up--when it gets to 7.9 or so, I do another large water exchange. Help!! Thanks, Maggie <green water is the likely cause... advise us if no. Best regards, Anthony>

Hot pond in the summertime Hi,      I live in Phoenix, AZ and want to stock a pond with fish at my school. I need a fish that can survive in the heat out here in the summertime where the temps. can go as high as 110 or higher. The would get the afternoon sun which is the hottest time of the day here. Hope you can help as this is supposed to a class project.       <You should look for ways to mediate the effects of the sun here. Likely some sort of shading mechanism (on poles, stretched above the pond) in the short term, perhaps trees or other structure in the longer time frame. Cooling by evaporation (as in water-sprayed-in-the-air destratifiers) or a bubbly waterfall will help a few degrees as well. Is the pond already built? If not, making it deeper (check with your local building codes for maximums here... perhaps having to put up a fence) to slow the effects of heating, diurnal fluctuation in temperature... do you intend to have plants? Some floating varieties like lilies or "grasses" (underwater) can add appreciable thermal insulation. Bob Fenner> Thanks,                                                                           Pat
Hot pond! I love it so
Hi Bob,    The pond is one that was bought for the school a couple of years ago and is one of the plastic ones. It does have a  pipe that sprays water in the air and did have plants which we will replace. The pond will have a south facing wall and a fence that faces west. I was thinking of putting some of that screening on the west side of the fence to help keep the heat down. <Sounds good> We start back to school in July and need to raise some money for the plants and fish and would hopefully not stock the pond until November. I was hoping that starting after the heat would help the fish to acclimate to the climate before the heat starts again. <This is likely the best time of the year to initiate stocking> If you could let me know of any other plants and fish I can use I then can get an idea of how much money we have to raise. <Many choices here. You need to decide on a general A or B grouping of tropicals that can handle the winter/variable conditions or temperate that can adjust to the Summer/hot weather... Please see the livestocking sections on the Pond subweb on www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>                                                                        Thanks,                                                                              Pat

Temporary housing for pond fish Hi Bob. I hope all is well with you and your family. You have greatly assisted me in the past regarding my 92 gallon reef set-up, but I now have a question regarding my outdoor pond goldfish. I currently have a 100 gallon preformed pond that I have had for about 5 years. In addition to various plants, I have around 5 Shubunkin goldfish that average about 1 to 2 inches. We have decided to have a new 300 to 400 gallon pond installed in our backyard in conjunction with a custom landscape installation. What would be the best way to temporarily house my pond goldfish? Because of the amount of work that will take place in our yard that will include application of grass killer, I will need to house them either in my garage or house for up to 4 weeks. Thank you. John Rowe <A Rubbermaid container of sufficient volume with an airstone/small powerhead should work. Cover it temporarily even in the garage while applying any chemicals. Good luck!  Craig>

Housing fish while new pond is built Thank you. Should 100% of the water be water from the pond?   Thank you again. John <Depending on how long this will be, you may want to transfer some pond filter media to a filter running in the temp holding tank to provide bio-filtration.  If shorter term (days and the end home being a plastic pond) then water changes (no chlorine/chloramine, temperature matched) will suffice. Pond water is fine if it's testing free of ammonia/nitrite/nitrate.  Craig>

Pond Maintenance Questions   3/5/03 Hi Guys, <Hey Sam, Phil with ya this morning!> One more time need your help and advice...<Lets crack this case!> I've had salt water aquarium for years. Live rock and fish but not a reef tank. Recently I moved into this house where they have a very nice Koi Pond with a waterfall. The previous owner told me that he really never did anything and that he only fed the fish once or twice a week and added some water once in a while. Having dealt with Saltwater for so long, I assumed that fresh water would be much less challenging and that it's less work. But I disagreed with the guy a far as not doing anything and just feed the fish only. How about water changes and so forth... Water chemistry??<I have a small pond, its about 500 gallons.  I use a small external filter for filtration.  I don't recommend an internal filter, algae always grows on them and makes cleaning them out a pain in the rear!  I top off any water loss as soon as I see it. I test my water chemistry every week or two.  All in all, no problems!> I have not had any problems at all but I wanted to hear from you the care that I need to take for this pond. It's a decent size and has about 30 fishes. Would like to take my steps before things start to fall apart. <The key is not to overstock, an overstocked/overfeed pond will have out of control algae and will not have clear water.  Please note that because ponds water is not 100% clear does not mean its a dirty pond.  The visibility on my pond is between 75-95%, meaning I can see the bottom and the fish, I cant see the liner very well.> Thanks again<Hope this helps!  Phil>

Re: Pond Netting SEASONAL SOLUTIONS, INC. 10,695 John Ayres Drive    Fairfax, Virginia 22032 703.691.8753      www.seasonalsolutions.net Dear Sir or Madam, Our company manufactures pond netting. Our suggested retail price for a standard 14' x 20' net is $14.95.  We have many other sizes and mesh openings. Our product includes turf staples, flag stakes, find-it button and cinches. Two years ago we supplied Danner with it's Supreme netting, and have been an OEM for TetraPond. <Both good companies> We would like to be your vendor. Thank you. Neal O. Weigel CEO <Thank you for this. Will post on WetWebMedia.com. Bob Fenner>

Screening Material or Other Protection for Pond Fish In searching your site, I see nothing that addresses what must be the most devastating danger to pond fish in my area.  At least it was devastating to me to find all five of my fish gone this morning after being attacked over night by raccoons. <Sorry to read of your loss> I am assuming the best (or perhaps only effective) protection would be a screen or mesh material either slightly submerged or placed over the pond and anchored down somehow.  I am leaning toward stretching a semi-rigid material with perhaps 1 to 2 inch openings across the pond and anchored by the large flat stone material I currently have surrounding the pond.  It's rather small (only 3 by 4 feet or so and 1 and a half to 2 feet deep). Can you suggest a material safe for the fish?  I was thinking of a vinyl clad heavy gauge screen or welded screen. <Some folks find that just having a light poly netting (like those sold/used to cover fruit trees to discount bird feeding) work well enough to discourage predators... others utilize an electric-shocking line strung up, around the pond edge... I have even seen light-activated alarm systems that triggered disco music and flashing spot lights! Bob Fenner> Please help! Thanks, Barry Codron
Screening Material or Other Protection of Pond Fish from Raccoons
Bob. Thanks for the rapid response. I have read and heard that no amount of noise or light, whether triggered by movement or left on, are effective in neighborhoods such as ours where those little bastards are so brave! <And smart> As bold as they were one night when I forgot the dog bowl out on the lighted deck just inches away from me and my dog watching TV on the other side of a sliding glass window persuades me that's correct. <Yikes> I am similarly convinced that the light poly material wouldn't be strong enough (they seem huge!), so I'm thinking of a vinyl clad welded sort of screen or grate that I would try and shape and/or lay beneath the surrounding flat rock.  I had hoped I could find another idea to avoid the effort on installation and later upon removal for cleaning, etc. Thanks again, Barry (Frankly, I'd rather use a baseball bat or poison, but I guess that's not too environmentally sensitive of me...) <There are have-a-heart traps, relocation possibilities. Check your property tax bill... it may be that you are paying for "pest control" or such... and that the county, city will come and help you out here. Bob Fenner>

Solar Koi pond heating Bob, I live in Mission Viejo and am considering using solar hot water panels to heat/cool my koi pond. Is this an insanely stupid idea, or what recommendations would you have? <Not warranted... Nishikigoi need a "chilling period" every year... helps with health, color richness... THE reason cited by many as the cause of less-red "Hi" and "Sumi" (red and black) in "warm water" koi> The "pond" is actually a 40,000 gallon swimming pool (about 13' x 32' x (3.5-8')D) and I would imagine circulating pond water through the panels during the day in winter, and at night during summer to moderate the pond temperature. This would involve many hours the water would be stagnant in the panels, unless circulated through an auxiliary loop for aeration. <Yes to having valves on solenoids, timer for diverting water during the dark parts of everyday> Otherwise, the panels would have to be vented/reprimed every time flow through them was required, requiring high pressure, electrically inefficient pumps and lower system reliability. Any suggestions? <This is a better choice than having the water "sit in them". Getting back to a/the basic question though, to do this or not... what is it you're trying to achieve? Faster growth? Not really a good idea... Of the four principal criteria by which most Koi are judged, body conformation ranks as number 1... you won't have proportioned koi by subjecting them to elevated temperature... especially during the winter... I would let the system cool down during the cold season. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your attention in this matter. Sincerely, Bob Farley

Pond parasites? Hello Bob, I have a small pond (preformed 125 gal) containing 7 goldfish and 1 koi. The biological filtration is good, water is clear, plants are flourishing and fish appear very healthy. No charcoal in the filtration. Question #1 I find tiny red translucent worms in the filter material when I clean it. I assumed they were anchor worms, <Not likely... adults of these crustaceans (they just look like worms) are not found on other than fish hosts> although none are apparent ON the fish. I treated the pond according to directions (twice, six days apart) with a product from "Jungle Laboratories" called Anchors Away. Ingredients are sodium chloride and Diflubenzuron. <Know the product> I still find the worms in the filter material and don't know what they are and how dangerous this situation is for my fish. Any info would be appreciated. <Not dangerous at all... analogous to earthworms in your garden soil, these are very likely very beneficial organisms. Enjoy them as they are allies. Bob Fenner> Lois L. Arnold Mo.

Pond maintenance information I live in a 55+ community, located in the high desert, that has 6 ponds in it that are approximately 2-5000 square feet in size. We are all amateur members of a coop that has poorly designed and maintained water systems.  <Well put> The ponds are overwhelmed with growth and we are seeking information on how to improve the situation. Can you steer us in an appropriate direction? <Yes... much of what I'll suggest is posted on the Pond Index part of our principal site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ponds.htm and beyond this, I will help you along in what ways I can/may. First off, you'll all benefit from understanding general system design concepts... you might want to read through the "example pond" pieces... and consider some of my suggestions for those systems...  Do you folks have livestock in these systems? What are they constructed of? What sorts of pumps, filters, plumbing, aeration...? A few times going back and forth with information and I will be able to detail what your options are.> Thank you so much for your interest. <You're welcome. Bob Fenner> Gordon Lewin
Re: Pond maintenance information
Just to answer your questions first. These ponds were designed to be water catch basins for fire prevention when first designed, about 12 years ago. Most did not hold the water and were lined with clay soil. <Ah... likely with Bentonite, older technology, mixed in to slow percolation> All of them leach lots of water and will need to be lined as soon as there are funds to do so. <Good idea... expensive to pump up, lose water... and one never knows (until it's too late) where the water may be going to> I got here 3 years ago and with the help of a few volunteers, got some material to line the bottom of one of the basins that was dry. Today, it is the only pond that does not lose water except for evaporation. There are Koi, catfish, and mosquito fish in most of the ponds. The ponds are set up so that there is 2 sets of 3. Each set fed by well water, <Do you have analysis of the make-up of the well water? Need this> recirculates water to a top pond, through a center pond, to the bottom one. There are no filters in place except to keep sediment out of the pumps (in each pond) that aerate or move water to the upper ponds. There was obviously no planning originally to make there basins into attractive water assets, rather for insurance purposes.  <Well put... and all too common... "We made it, now we're outta here!" Our facility is maturing now, and the current residents want to correct the problems. I know that we have a long way to go, but we need to understand what lies ahead. <Yes... done systematically, with knowledge, not a huge, dangerous or frightening proposition> Thank you so much for your prompt response. Our resource list for help has been totally empty. <We're soon to be good friends. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond maintenance information
I should have provided this before, but you can see our facility by going to the following address: http://www.jojobahills.com/  <Ah, thanks for sending this along... A concrete alligator? And can appreciate your work done to restore pond #5. Butyl rubber liners are best, but you folks might save some money, time from vinyl.. dimensions of the other five basins and the interconnecting runways (rock streams)? Did you get the #5 pond liner directly from Hecht? Do you want to start discussion in a general sense of "how to make, keep your water "clear"? What is the association's goal/s here, other than to stem water loss? Bob Fenner> Thanks again.

Question about Koi and air pumps Hello, <Hello Emily, Lorenzo Gonzalez here replying for Bob, who is on fish-business in Asia for a couple weeks.> I recently "adopted" a 20-gallon tank (18" deep) with three, 4-inch, animated Japanese Koi. (Their owner has to move to another country, and was going to flush the little guys!) <Hmmm. Animated fish should be easier to keep, and ya gotta love that Japanese anime... Oh! sorry.> I haven't a clue about taking care of fish, so I've been doing a lot of reading. So far, the fish look happy and healthy, however I'm not getting a bit of sleep! <Uh oh. Not good!> I live in a studio apartment in Brooklyn, and the Tetra Deep Water Air Pump 24-2 is keeping me awake! Do I need all those bubbles? The tank also has a BioWheel 330 that seems to move the water around a lot. The owner has two 3" airstones at the bottom of the tank operated by the Tetra Pump. Are they necessary? <Fold up a small towel and put it under the pump. Or better yet, get some plants in that tank, if there aren't any, and turn the pump off at night. Even get a cheap lamp-timer to run it only during the day, that would be fine.> If so, maybe I need a new Tetra pump? The current one is approximately 9 months old. Also, are the Rena pumps quieter? <No, if the little tetra is keeping you awake, almost any air pump is going to keep you awake! And air pumps last just about forever - they have a small replaceable diaphragm that costs a couple bucks at most pet stores - so don't replace it unless it doesn't do anything at all. Just unplug/turn it off at night.  Yours, Lorenzo>
Re: Question about Koi and air pumps
Hello Lorenzo, Thanks so much for the timely response. I'll buy some plants and a timer, and turn the air pump off at night as you suggested. Any suggestions about what plants to buy? And where can I get healthy plants? I've seen plants in Petland stores, but they don't look so healthy. <Yeah, you definitely want to find healthy ones. Try a smaller, more fish-focused store (sometimes "fish & birds", etc.), if you can find one. You'll get much better advice there, as well. In my experience the easiest plants to raise are the ones with broader, heavier leaves - like Amazon Sword, or certain Anubias - check Bob's plant articles on wetwebmedia.com for more information> Also, will they live more than a few days, and will they require me to change the water more often? <Actually, plants will greatly improve water conditions in most any system. By no means will you be changing water -more- often due to plants. If they get decent light (a fluorescent fixture is okay, a double tube is great, direct sun is very bad), they can live indefinitely.> Lastly, will the Koi eat them and, if so, is it healthy for them? <No, they won't eat them - but vegetables are good for everybody :-) > Thanks again. It's really nice that you guys are willing to take the time to answer questions online. <It's really a pleasure, actually. The last thing to note about your Koi is that they will eventually be much, MUCH too large for that little 20g tank... you'll probably want to start trading them in as they get big. Koi can get over 2 feet long and over 15 pounds. You could replace them with new, smaller ones, or different fish entirely as your interest directs... Yours, Lorenzo>
Re: Question about Koi and air pumps
Geez, there's no way in hell that I'll be able to fit a tank any larger than 20 gallons in my small studio apartment. (How did I get myself into this mess? hahaha) I figured that the fish would naturally limit their size according to the size of my tank, but I guess not. <So when they get too big, trade them for little ones, or smaller sorts of fish! Obviously I'm biased, but I don't think I could live in a 'small studio apartment' in Brooklyn, without at least a small aquarium to bring a little 'wild' into my living space...> I know it sounds weird, Lorenzo, but I want these little fish to have a good life! <grin>  <How is that weird? Believe me, in this circle of people, that's not weird at all. Maybe in Brooklyn that's weird? :-) > What if released them into a beautiful Koi pond at the Pepsi Corporate Headquarters in Purchase, New York? The pond is lake-size and contains tons of large Koi. <Yeah, you could do that.> If this is a possibility, how large should I let my fish grow before I release them into the pond? (They currently measure from 3 to 5 inches.) <Any time is probably fine. They'll stand a better chance if you let them all get about 6 inches long, but they'll be REALLY crowding your tank by then! If they're different sizes, maybe you could release them individually as they're ready.> Would the adult Koi in the pond eat my smaller Koi?  <No. Koi definitely aren't cannibals.> Also, would they know how to find food? The environs are wonderfully maintained and I've seen tons of wildlife in this private preserve, but I'm not sure if anyone actually feeds the Koi. However, I have visited the pond year-round, and the Koi look fat and healthy. <Somebody is feeding them. No doubt about it.> Thanks so much for your continuing advise. <My pleasure. And I sincerely hope you don't abandon the hobby just because your first fish are destined to grow into giant living water garden ornaments...! -Lorenzo>

Request For Guidance I have an existing waterscape at an apartment complex located in Southern California (West Covina) and I'm trying to find experienced and reliable sources who can help me understand what is required to restore and expand it. <Hmm, know the area... but not in touch for years with folks in "the trade" in the vicinity... Would do the following: read through the "Pond Index" on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com and goose me into adding sections on maintenance, repair, construction and/or graphics for what's there... till you understand about what can be done. Then, get out the local "Yellow Pages" and Internet equivalent and look under "WaterScapes", "Landscape" (the folks who specialize will list so)... and have a few of these companies come out and bid the job... say what they would do, and for how much, how long it would take...> The water is always dirty looking, and the waterscape is suppose to be a marketing feature which is suppose to be the focal point of for prospective renters. <I understand... and can help you with specifics going forward> Do you know any sources which I can go to find the company or person I need? Please advise. Scott Sternberg Ph: 310-385-XXXX / Fax: 310-271-XXXX <Will post your request in our FAQs as well... maybe someone will "come out of the woodwork"... Bob Fenner, who "did this work for twenty years", but not since more than a decade back>

Talking Trash... Pumps Hi Bob can you tell me where I can find one of the pumps that takes 0ut the trash in the bottom of my pond? thanks Denise >> >> How big a system? How large materials to pump out? Gravity/siphoning won't work? Take a look at the Grainger catalog or on line for small gas-powered trash (centrifugal) or if it's a BIG job, diaphragm type pumps (and hoses!) Bob Fenner

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon 

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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