Archive for the ‘Fish’ Category

Feeding Fish in the Fall

by Aquascape

You’ve enjoyed watching and feeding your fish all summer, and now it’s time to help them prepare for their winter’s nap. You want to make sure your fish are strong and healthy as Old Man Winter makes his way to your pond. A well-balanced diet is critical to the health of your fish.

Feeding Fish in the Fall

When pond temperatures fall below 60-degrees, your fishes’ metabolism and digestive system begins to slow down. Investing in a pond thermometer will help you determine when to change the eating regimen of your beloved finned friends.

Aquascape Premium Cold Water Fish Food has been scientifically formulated to provide quality nutrition to all pond fish, including goldfish and koi. The inclusion of spirulina and wheat germ helps make the food easier to digest at colder water temperatures. Feeding your fish the proper food will help ensure your fish survive their winter slumber.

When spring rolls around and you’re anxiously waiting to see your playful koi once again, you’ll be glad you took consideration in the fall to properly care for them. And remember, you can feed them Aquascape Premium Cold Water Fish Food up until the pond water rises above 60-degrees!

Posted on: September 9th, 2015 by admin | Comments Off

The Best Christmas Gift Ever….for your Fish!

- by Brian J. Horst

Sales Associate

Talking about winter already? I know it is hard to believe. But living in reality, the time is NOW for Pond Winterization, unless of course you won’t mind the headaches that are bound to come your way. But why deal with the headaches, when a bit of prepping will take you miles on your way this coming winter and spring.

The question, Why? is a fair one to ask when it comes to preparing for the cold winter months. I will share a couple of pertinent reasons for this winterization process.

1. The first and foremost reason is to ensure thriving living spaces for the aquatic life in your pond, primarily that of your fish. You certainly don’t want to take the risk of losing your trophy 14” koi that you have cared for these past 7 years. And at the least, you want to make sure he has a comfortable winter under the ice.

2. The second reason for pond winterization is to maintain your pond’s healthy ecosystem. You have worked hard all summer keeping beneficial bacteria colonizing in your water garden. Now that winter is around the corner, do you want to take 2 steps backward in the 3 steps forward you made this summer? And a major plus in this is that come spring, with maintaining your pond’s ecosystem this winter, you will be able to have an easy spring cleanout.

Now with those 2 primary reasons for winterizing your pond, let’s take a look at a checklist to help you on your way.

Winter-Ready Checklist

3. Clear out as many of the leaves and other debris or organic material in your pond. As leaves and other debris decompose in-house, the biological balance(ecosystem) will be upset. An excellent way to prevent leaves getting into your pond in the first place during the autumn season is to spread a pond net over your pond to catch the falling leaves. If you are too late for this, a long-handled pond net will help you scoop them out.

4. Cut back your hardy aquatic plants, including your lilies and marginals. This will reduce bio-decomposition in your pond as well. Allow some grasses to remain standing for winter appeal.

5. Remove tropical plants from the pond. You may treat them as annuals and discard them or move them indoors and treat them as houseplants.

6. When water temperatures reach 60° F, switch to a low temperature fish food. This food has wheat germ as a part of its ingredients and is designed to help your fish digest their food more easily when their metabolism switches to a lower gear in the cold water. When the temperatures reach 50° F, stop feeding your fish altogether.

7. When water temperatures drop to the 55-50° F range, add AquaMed’s Arctic Blend Beneficial Bacteria. This will help to maintain excellent water conditions throughout the entire winter, even when your pond is coated with ice. It will also reduce the work of your pond’s spring clean-out.

8. Decide if you are going to run the waterfall throughout the winter or shut down the pond. A winter waterfall can provide some beautiful ice sculptures, but you must be on the lookout for ice dams that could cause your pond to lose water over the edge.

    9. If you decide to shut the pond down, do the following:

         ♦ Remove the pump and store it in a bucket of water in a frost-free location.

         ♦ Remove the skimmer mats and brushes. Clean and store them in a dry location.

         ♦ Drain the biofalls filter by opening the check valve.

         ♦ Remove the biofalls filter mats and biomedia. Clean and store them in a dry location.

         ♦ Before the pond water freezes, place a de-icer in your pond to keep a hole opened in the ice for toxic gases to escape. Also install an Aquascape aerator to add oxygen to the water for your fish and beneficial bacteria. Both a de-icer and an aerator work together to allow for proper gas exchange.

Enjoy your pond this winter as you watch amazing ice formations happen before your eyes! And remember, if you take these steps this autumn, you will continue loving your pond like never before come spring!

 


Posted on: December 5th, 2014 by admin | Comments Off

Spring Pond Awakening

by: Aquascape Inc.

Frog in Spring PondNow that spring is here, you’re probably noticing some changes in your pond – your fish are coming back to life and you may even be able to see some plant growth.  Some changes that are taking place, however, aren’t so desirable, like that excess algae growth that you’re noticing. Understanding the transition that your pond makes from winter into spring and summer is essential in maintaining a healthy pond ecosystem.

You may have just spent your weekend cleaning your pond – or having your pond contractor do it for you.  A couple of days … weeks pass, and you notice an incredible growth of string algae.  “Not again,” you screech to yourself.  “I thought my pond was clean!”  Cleanliness does not necessarily mean algae-free, especially in the cool water of the early spring.

Some simple, important steps can be the difference between a balanced pond with minimal maintenance and a pond that requires unnecessary maintenance. Although bacteria and plants don’t start growing properly until water temperature reaches 55°F, there are still some simple steps you can take to maintain a crystal clear, trouble-free pond.

Aquascape SAB™ Stream and Pond Clean contains bacteria along with a powerful phosphate binder that will help prevent unsightly water conditions. This is extremely important when plants are not growing and utilizing phosphate. Excess phosphate is one of the leading causes of unsightly water conditions.

Fertilizing pond plants is also an important step toward balancing your pond. Strong healthy plants quickly utilize excess nutrients. Aquascape has two fertilizers, one short-term and one long-term. For optimal results use both fertilizers. The short-term fertilizer will jumpstart your plants in the spring and the long-term fertilizer will continue to feed your plants for one full year. Not only will you have beautiful vibrant lush plants, you will also have crystal clear water quality without the need to use potentially harmful algaecides that will not only disrupt the balance of your pond, but can also have harmful effects on fish, plants, and invertebrates. This short-term gain certainly comes with long-term pain.

Algae don’t mind cool water, but for the rest of your pond’s ecosystem, 55 °F is kind of the magic number. The plants and bacteria don’t jump into action, in the battle of the green monster, until the water temperature reaches, and consistently stays around 50° to 55°F.  At this time they start growing and are then able to use up the excess nutrients that the algae would otherwise be feasting on. This is the reason for the feared spring algae bloom.

The Plants

While growing, aquatic plants absorb a lot of the nutrients in the water, and this helps combat algae growth.  Until they are actively growing, they have no use for the natural fertilizer lurking in the pond.  But as they begin growing, they will naturally start to out-compete the algae for nutrients, the algae will be starved, and the pond water will become clearer.  Another benefit that plants provide, particularly water lilies, is that they shade the surface of the water helping to keep the water cool all while cutting down on the growth of string algae as well as green water.

The Bacteria

Bacteria also need warmer water to begin growing and colonizing, helping to provide crystal clear water quality as well as reducing maintenance.  You can help jumpstart the pond in the spring by adding supplemental bacteria such as Aquascape Beneficial Bacteriafor Ponds, and providing it with a place to colonize.  Since bacteria like lots of nooks and crannies, having rocks and gravel in the bottom of your pond will help provide surface area for bacteria to grow.  If you can’t, or don’t want to add rocks and gravel to the bottom of your pond, you’ll have less surface area for bacteria to colonize.

A biological filter containing a filtration media like Aquascape BioBalls® with lots of surface area, provides optimum conditions for biological filtration in the smallest space possible. The more surface area available for bacteria to grow, the more efficient your biological filter. Providing crystal clear water quality creates less problems, thereby lessening maintenance, which leaves more time to enjoy the pond and less time spent maintaining it.

The Fish

Fish are also sensitive to water temperature, and as it warms up, you will see more activity, and be tempted to feed them.  You’ve missed your fish all winter, but until the water temperature is consistently at 55° F, don’t feed them.  Their metabolism is still in slow motion and they are unable to digest the food properly. If you do feed them and food cannot be digested, this can result in food starting to decay in the body of the fish causing fish to become sick and possibly resulting in their death.  When you do start feeding them, begin with small amounts of a quality fish food formulated for colder water temperature, such as Aquascape Premium Coldwater Fish Food Pellets for all pond fish.

Patience Please…

You gotta have patience.  If you’ve stocked your pond with plenty of plants, the temperature’s just right, and you’ve started supplementing with Aquascape Beneficial Bacteria for Ponds, your pond will quickly balance. Beneficial bacteria need to be added to a consistent maintenance routine to obtain optimal results. Resist the urge to add traditional algaecides as your pond will never become truly balanced, and often ponds become dependent on their use. Help support Mother Nature with use of natural products from Aquascape, your pond and the environment will thank you!

If you have any questions or need anything we will be glad to help!! Most of the products listed above can be purchased right here at Tussey Mountain Mulch Landscape Center!

Posted on: March 14th, 2014 by admin | Comments Off

Give Your Pond a Spring Cleaning

by: Aquascape Inc.

Spring is simply the most exciting time of year. As things slowly awaken from their winter hibernation, there are some things that you can do to make sure your water feature gets off to a good start this spring.

Does your water feature need a full clean-out this season or does it just need to be tidied up a little? There are a couple of things that you can look for to help you decide. First, if there is a layer of “crud” at the bottom of the pond and the water is dark in color, it would be a good idea to do a full clean-out.Cleanout

On the other hand, if there is just a small amount of debris that you can stir up and capture with a net and the water looks clear, a little tidying up is all that’s in order. Plan on spending a half to a full day to complete a pond clean-out. A Pondless® Waterfall will take considerably less time.

The best time to perform a pond clean-out is the early spring, before your water garden completely awakens from its winter dormancy – ideally before the water temperature in the pond creeps above 55º F. If a clean-out is performed when the water is warmer, after bacteria colonies form, the balance of the ecosystem will again be thrown off and your pond will go through another “green phase” before the bacteria colonies re-establish themselves again.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

- A clean-out pump with approximately 25 ft. of discharge hose
- A high-pressure nozzle for your garden hose, or a power washer
- Garden shears for trimming plants
- A child’s swimming pool or a similar sized container to hold fish and any other critters you find during the clean-out
- A net or something similar to place over the fish container to keep them from jumping out
- Two five-gallon buckets to collect leaves and debris
- A fish net
Aquascape Pond Detoxifier to remove chorine and chloramines prior to putting fish back
Aquascape Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria

Drain the Pond / Pondless® Waterfall

1.  Place the clean-out pump in the deepest point of the pond (or in the Pondless® Waterfalls Snorkel™) in order to remove the water.
2.  Drain the water into the surrounding landscape. Be sure to relocate the pipe two or three times to allow the water to seep into the ground and not flood the yard.
3.  If you have fish, use some of this pond water to fill up the holding pool. The fish can be removed from the pond using a net once the water is low enough so you can easily catch them.
4.  Don’t keep the fish in the holding pool for more than several hours. Keep them in a shady spot with a net over the top of the pool to prevent them from jumping out.

Don’t Overdo the Cleaning

   1.  Rinse the inside of the pond. You can also use a pressure washer to help remove debris from the rocks and gravel.
2.  Don’t try to scrub all of the algae away. Some algae on the rocks will prove beneficial in developing your ecosystem. For an average size pond (11′ x 16′) this should take around 15 minutes.
3.  Use the gentle stream from a garden hose to rinse the rocks and gravel. Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom. Periodically turn the clean-out pump on to remove the dirty water. You can discontinue the periodic pumping once the water rinsing down to the bottom begins to look clear. Remove the pump and begin filling the pond.

Cleaning the Filters

1.  Remove any debris from the bottom of the skimmer and Snorkel™ Vault. This can be done by hand or by using the cleanout pump.
2.  Remove the media nets and filter pads from the BioFalls® Filter. (Not included with the Pondless® Waterfall). If you have the optional drain kit attached to your Signature Series™ BioFalls® Filter, you can open up the valve and rinse the media and filters. Once the filters have been removed rinse them free of accumulated debris.
3.  The filter media and mats can be put back into place and the waterfalls pump can be reattached in the skimmer or Snorkel™ Vault.

Putting Your Fish Back into their Clean Home

    1.  If you’re on city water, it’s imperative that you add a Aquascape Pond Detoxifierto the water so it is safe for fish.
2.  Dip a five-gallon bucket, or similar sized container, in the holding tank and fill it with water.
3. After you’ve caught a fish, place it in the bucket and set the buckets in the clean water.
4. After about 15 minutes, periodically begin splashing some pond water into the bucket.
5. By now, the temperature of the pond and the bucket water should be close to the same. You are ready to spill the fish into their spring-cleaned home.

If you have any questions or need anything we will be glad to help!! Most of the products listed above can be purchased right here at Tussey Mountain Mulch Landscape Center!

For additional spring maintenance tips, watch our video with helpful tips to get your pond off to a good start:

 

 

Posted on: March 14th, 2014 by admin | Comments Off

Winter Fish News

During recent record cold temperatures if for some reason your pond completely freezes over and you are tempted to break the ice, don’t do it! Physically breaking the ice causes reverberations within the pond stressing pond fish. If you need to reopen a small hole in the pond, use a thick bottomed pot filled with boiling hot water. Placing it on the pond will gently melt the ice below reopening a degassing hole. The hole doesn’t need to be large. About 12 inches in diameter is usually sufficient. If you notice the fish braving the colder waters to swim near the hole, this means not enough oxygen is in the lower levels. The hole needs to be bigger. We recommend the use of an aerator and / or pond heater to prevent the pond from completely freezing over. If you have any questions about your pond/pond fish please feel free to call us at 814-696-1920 or drop in for some free coffee! We are here to help!

Posted on: January 29th, 2014 by admin | Comments Off

Prevent Winter Fish Loss

Aquascape Pond DeIcerThe Aquascape Pond De-Icer prevents winter fish loss by keeping a hole open in the ice during the cold winter months.  The Pond De-Icer helps ensure there is sufficient oxygen levels and proper gas exchange in the pond helping to prevent fish loss…even during extreme weather conditions.

The Aquascape Pond De-Icer is energy efficient, requiring only 300-watts of electricity.  The low energy consumption of the Aquascape Pond De-Icer results in a heater that costs 5x less to operate than traditional Pond De-Icers you would find in the market.

The Pond De-Icers stainless steel construction is extremely durable and prevents corrosion, cracking or issues caused by extreme weather.  A built-in LED light at the top of the De-Icer allows you to look out the window of your warm home and see that the De-Icer is still operating.

Taking the time to properly prepare your water feature for winter will make sure the fish survive their winter slumber.

Watch this video and see how to properly install the 300 Watt Pond De-Icer.

Posted on: January 7th, 2014 by admin | Comments Off
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