Category Archives: Pond and Fish Care

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance
Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance

Bright bursts of gold, orange and red in the trees signify an important event for your pond–  It’s time for some Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance.   Preparing your pond for the winter greatly reduces the amount of work you need to do in the spring to get your pond in tip-top shape.

Fall’s lacy, colorful leaves look pretty floating on your pond’s surface, but eventually they’ll sink to the bottom where they’ll decay and wreak havoc with your water quality. As leaf matter decomposes, the balance of your water changes and can become toxic for your fish.

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance Option: Netting your Pond

Netting your pond is an easy, obvious choice for addressing leaf control. It doesn’t take much time to set the net up over your water garden, and the hours of future work it saves you is priceless. AquaReale can net your pond for you, as part as your Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance.

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance Options: Checking the Skimmer Basket

If you choose not to net your pond, you’ll need to make sure that you’re checking the pond’s skimmer basket every couple of days to remove the pile-up of leaves. Luckily, this is an easy task and doesn’t take much time. Once you pull the leaves out of the basket, be sure to toss them in your compost pile.

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance Options: Clean the Debris from Your Pond

Finally, if you failed to net your pond and all those colorful, floating leaves have found their way to the pond’s bottom, you’ll want to remove them before they decay into ugly sludge that has to be cleaned out in the spring. Grab a long-handled pond net and scoop the debris from the floor of your water garden. Or if you don’t mind getting your feet wet, wade on into the pond and fish them out by hand.

Whatever your strategy to combat the onslaught of beautiful fall foliage that floats into your pond, you can rest assured that your efforts to control it now, will be well rewarded come springtime. With some Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance, you will have all the help you need to head into a beautiful spring season with your pond.

For more information on Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance, contact AquaReale.

 

Pond Plants in the Fall

Pond Plants in the Fall
Pond Plants in the Fall

What do you with Pond Plants in the Fall?

How do you handle Pond Plants in the Fall?  Here on the east coast, the seasonal change from summer to fall is apparent by the beautiful, multi-colored leaves and the dip toward cooler temperatures. How will that chill you feel in the air affect the plants in your aquatic paradise?

Hardy Marginals

 As with terrestrial, perennial plants, dropping temperatures signal your hardy aquatic plants to prepare for their winter dormancy. At this time, you should stop fertilizing them as you see leaves begin to yellow and brown. It’s OK to leave these plants where they are in your pond to weather the cold of winter, just be sure to trim the dying foliage of your marginal plants down to 2” above the water level.

Tropical Marginals

Treat these plants as they would any garden annual by replacing them each season. A fun alternative to this is to treat them as tropical houseplants and bring them in for the winter. Most tropical marginals will do well potted in heavy garden soil in a sealed clay pot with no drainage holes. When kept wet, the plants do well in a sunny window or sunroom.

Waterlilies

Waterlilies will also begin to show their dislike for the cold with yellowing leaves and fewer flowers. When this happens, the leaf and flower stems of hardy water lilies should be cut back to about 2 to 3” above the base of the plant.

In areas where freezing is likely, plants should be overwintered indoors. This can be a difficult task; therefore many gardeners choose to simply buy a new plant each season.

Lotus

As with the marginals in your pond, the foliage of your lotus plants will need to be trimmed back after they have died back and turned brown. It’s important not to cut the leaves while they are still green because the freshly cut, hollow stems are susceptible to disease which can spread to the plant’s tuber, possibly killing the plant. Lotus tubers will not withstand freezing, so any plants that are growing in the shallow areas of your pond should be moved to the bottom, away from freezing water.

Caring for your Pond Plants in the Falll will mean less work and healthier plants come spring.  Contact us for more information on Pond Plants in the Fall.

clean pond water in six steps!

clean pond water
clean pond water

Six steps to clean pond water

Most pond owners know the importance  of clean pond water.  Not knowing how to get or keep clean pond water can be quite a challenge.  But we can help!  Follow the six tips below to help ensure clean pond water:

1. Maintain a healthy fish population

If you have more than 10” of fish for every 100 gallons of water, your pond is likely over-populated. Excessive fish waste can cause an imbalance in pond water. Consider finding some of them a new home.

2. Don’t over-feed your fish

When you feed fish more than they can eat, the uneaten food is left to decay in the pond. Be careful not to feed your fish more than once per day, and no more than they can eat in 2 to 3 minutes. Remove all excess, leftover food

3. Create a proper balance of plants

At season’s peak, you should have no more than 40% to 60% of the surface area of your pond either covered or shaded by plants. Too many plants can cause oxygen deficiencies at night due to the photosynthetic process, when the plants take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide.

4. Choose the right size pump for your pond

You should be circulating the entire pond’s water volume a minimum of once every hour. Make sure your pump’s flow isn’t restricted by debris and be careful not to pump water higher than it was intended. Every pump has its flow limitations. Refer to the chart on the outside of the pump’s box to make sure you’re making the right choice for your pond.

5. Choose proper filtration for your pond 

Your filter should match the size of your pond. Remember, most manufacturers rate their filters based on ideal circumstances, and if you exceed those, your filter becomes less effective. Always up-size your filter so that it can handle more than the capacity of your pond. Also remember to clean your filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

6. Keep your clean pond water cool during the dog days of summer 

When clean pond water exceeds 75º Fahrenheit, it has a more difficult time retaining acceptable levels of dissolved oxygen. This is why it’s important to have your pond shaded by aquatic plants (see tip #3). Fish need oxygen to survive. If you see them at the pond’s surface gasping for air, add an aerator to help them during times of extreme heat.

 Contact us for more information about keeping your pond water clean.

 

 

Hot Ponds= Big Problems!

Hot Pond
Hot Pond

Cool off that Hot Pond!  

Hot Pond problems are not good problems to have.   Many people are attuned to the problems of snow and freezing temperatures when it comes to their ponds.  There is another problem too, though—heat!

When it gets very hot, your water temperature rises as well. When the water gets above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, changes might occur.  You might notice your plants looking a little worse for the wear, not to mention your fish. Fish may gasp for air close to the water’s surface or appear a little stressed out.  Why is this happening and what can you do?

Hot Pond—Plant Problems

Just like fish (and humans!) pond plants can show the effects of extreme heat.  Water lettuce and water hyacinth can turn yellow and burn.  The pads of your prized hardy waterlily might also begin to turn a brownish color and start to decay. Since the leaves of a waterlily help shade the pond and keep it cooler, maintaining the plant’s health is a priority.

Hot Pond—Fish Concerns

Cooler water can hold much more oxygen than warm water.  With warmer water, your fish become more active, leading to a Catch-22.  Your fish require more oxygen due to their activity than when there is less oxygen available!

Fish aren’t the only pond inhabitants who increase their activity in warmer weather. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites also tend to increase which means diseases can spread quicker. Just like humans, stressed fish are more susceptible to diseases when they’re not feeling up to par.

How to beat the heat

Ponds with a depth of two feet or more have an advantage over shallower ponds, as the bottom of the pond will remain cooler and the fish can hang out at the lower depth.

Aquatic plants help cool a pond provided one-third to one-half of the pond’s surface area is covered. Waterlilies, mosaic plant, and water lettuce are all great options for shading the surface of your pond. Of course, natural overhead shade from trees, bushes, and even your house will help.

One of the most important parts of pond design is circulation. Your biological and mechanical filters should be placed across the pond from each other so that all areas of the pond are skimmed and the water circulated.

Keep in mind that your waterfall or stream plays a huge role in the oxygenation of pond water. Oxygen enters the water when there is air and water interacting. Streams and waterfalls create turbulence which increases oxygen levels.

Cooling Off

You can use a pond thermometer to check the temperature of your pond water. If you find the water nearing 80 degrees, you can increase oxygen with a pond aerator. You can also perform a partial water change and add cooler water.  Just remember to detoxify the pond after adding municipal water – for the safety of your fish.

Keep in mind, you don’t need to take your pond’s temperature every day – especially if you have an ecosystem pond with proper circulation and filtration. Simply watch for tell-tale signs like fish gasping for air at the surface of the water or near a waterfall. That’s typically the first sign that the pond is overheated and needs oxygen.

Summer is a great time to enjoy your pond – and you may have noticed it’s also the coolest spot in your yard! Keep your fish and plants healthy, and you’ll enjoy a low-maintenance pond throughout the season. Contact us for help on cooling your Hot Pond!

A Guide to Fixing a Philadelphia Pond Problem

Philadelphia Pond Problem
Philadelphia Pond Problem

A Guide to Fixing a Philadelphia Pond Problem

Do you have a Philadelphia Pond Problem?   Leaks can be the most frustrating part of owning a pond.  They are often misdiagnosed and misunderstood. Understanding how leaks work and how to detect them will save you time, money, and headaches.

What is Evaporation? 

First, let’s have a look at what evaporation is and what it isn’t. Evaporation is caused by water turning into a vapor and escaping from your pond. The amount of water loss will vary according to the region of the country and the time of year.

Ponds that are located in areas of the country like Philadelphia, with moderate temperatures and high humidity can expect to see 1 to 1 ½ inches of water loss per week during the spring and summer.

Evaporation is not filling your pond up all the way one evening and waking up the next morning to find the water six inches lower. That’s a leak! If your pond is experiencing a loss of water at a more rapid rate, you either have a leak, or your frogs are drinking the water. Seriously, let’s figure that it’s a leak. What do you do then?

Philadelphia Pond Problem: Low Edges 

Look for any low edges. Settling at the pond’s edge is the most common cause of a leak, especially in a new pond. Typically, the low edges are found around the stream and waterfall where settling may have occurred after a few rainfalls. These areas are usually built up during the construction of the pond using the soil from the excavation and are prone to some settling.

Carefully inspect the edges of not only your stream and waterfall, but also the perimeter of the pond. As the dirt around the stream or waterfall settles, it can create low spots that may cause water to escape over the edge of the liner. Keep your eyes peeled for wet mulch or gravel, or muddy areas around the perimeter of your pond. If you find a spot that’s leaking, all you have to do is lift the liner up and push some soil under it in order to raise the edge. Bingo – leak fixed!

Low edges can be built back up by simply backfilling and compacting soil beneath the liner in order to raise the edge of the liner above the water level.

Obstructions in the Stream and Waterfalls 

In addition to checking for low edges, you should also check your stream and waterfall. Rocks and excessive plant or algae growth in the stream or biofalls  can restrict the flow of water and divert it over the edge of the liner.

Plants and algae should be maintained by trimming them back in order to let the water pass freely. All in all, these leaks are extremely easy to fix.

Still Leaking? 

You’ve spent 15 minutes or so following the suggestions listed above and you still can’t find the leak. What do you do next? It’s time for a little more work, and some drastic measures. You’ll have to shut your pump off for a day. By doing this, you’ll be able to determine the approximate location of the leak.

  • Make sure the pond is filled to the appropriate level.
  • Unplug the pump.
  • Let the pond sit for 24 hours.
  • If the water level drops, then you know the leak is in the pond.

When the Water Drops

  • To find out where the Philadelphia Pond Problem is occurring, allow the water level to continue to drop. The level where the water stops dropping is the level where the leak is located.
  • Concentrate your search around the perimeter of the pond at the level that the water has stopped dropping.

Now the fun begins! At this point, you may want to consider calling in a pond professional, but in order to reveal the exact location of the leak, you’ll need to:

  • Remove any rocks around the entire perimeter at the level where the water stopped. You can then carefully check for some sort of puncture, or hole in the liner.
  • When you find the hole, you simply patch it with a liner patch kit available at pond supply retailers.
  • Now you can replace the rocks, fill the pond back to the top, and enjoy!

Steady and Level 

If the water level remains the same, then it is safe to assume that that the leak is not in the pond. Now you’ll need to check the pipe, the plumbing fittings, and the pump connections for leaks.

Another possible culprit is the faceplate of your skimmer, if you have one. If the water level stopped dropping above the bottom of the faceplate you should investigate the skimmer. It may not have sealed correctly.

If the Leak Is in the Skimmer

  • Investigate the skimmer faceplate without disassembling it.
  • Simply move a few rocks around the front of the skimmer and slide your hand behind the liner, feeling for wet soil around the opening of the skimmer. If the soil is saturated, then the faceplate may have not been installed properly and might be the source of the leak.
  • Remove the faceplate, clean all of the old silicone off the liner, and refer back to the instruction manual on proper procedures for sealing the skimmer faceplate to the skimmer. Hopefully, you’ve solved the leak.

It’s not fun to have a Philadelphia Pond Problem.   It can be a time-consuming and frustrating process to locate the leak. Hopefully with these steps and tips, you can quickly locate the source of the leak and get right back to enjoying your water garden.

If you still have a leak, reach out to us and we’d be happy to help!

 

 

Fall Pond Care Tips

Fall Pond Care
Fall Pond Care

10 Tips for Fall Pond Care

A nip in the air, shorter days, and the shedding of multi-colored leaves from the trees signifies a changing of the seasonal guard and mean its time for Fall Pond Care.

Fall Pond Care can vary depending on where you live, but there are some basic guidelines to help your aquatic plants and finned friends weather the chill of Mother Nature. Here is a handy check list to help ensure a healthy pond come spring time.

Our Top Fall Pond Care Tips

  1. Decaying leaves and foliage produce toxic gases that can harm your fish so you want to remove this debris before winter rolls into town. You don’t need to remove every single last leaf but try to remove the majority.
  2.  If you put Protective Pond Netting over your pond before the leaves started to fall, your job is easy. Carefully roll up the net and discard the leaves that were caught.
  3. Stop fertilizing your aquatic plants after the first frost.
  4. Trim back hardy marginal aquatic plants to 2″ above the water to keep the dead foliage from drooping over into the pond.
  5. Trim back waterlily leaves and stems to 2-3″ above the base of the plant. This keeps dead foliage from decomposing in the pond.
  6. If you left hardy waterlilies in their pot, drop them into the deepest part of the pond to over-winter. Do not bring them indoors as they need a period of dormancy.
  7. Bring tropical waterlilies indoors if you want to over-winter them. Keep the pot in 50-degree water or take them out of the pot and store in sand. Be advised, even trained horticulturists lose a lot of tropical waterlilies when storing them indoors, so you might simply want to treat them as annuals.
  8. If you didn’t use a net over the surface of your pond, you’ll need to remove the build-up of leaves from the bottom of the pond. Use a long handled pond net to scoop them out. Check your skimmer basket and remove any leaves that are still caught inside.
  9. Add Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria to the pond once the temperature drops below 50 degrees. Use twice weekly for two weeks, and then once per week until the water starts to freeze.
  10. Once temperatures drop to 50 degrees, stop feeding your fish. They need to get ready to hibernate and you’ll want to avoid any metabolic complications. You can feed them Cold Water Fish Food until the temperature drops below 50 degrees.

Reach out to see how we can help with your Fall Pond Care.

 

Aquatic Plants in the Fall

Aquatic plants in the fall
Aquatic plants in the fall

Aquatic Plants in the Fall

The seasonal change from summer to fall is the most beautiful time of the year, but not for Aquatic plants in the fall. The leaves turn beautiful colors and create an array of amazing colors. However, with fall comes cooler temperatures. How will the cool air affect aquatic plants this fall?

Aquatic plants in the fall: Waterlilies

Waterlilies will begin to show their dislike for the cold with yellowing leaves and fewer flowers. When this happens, the leaf and flower stems of hardy water lilies should be cut back to about 2 to 3” above the base of the plant.

In warm climates, tropical waterlilies are happy in the pond year round, as long as the water temperature stays above 60°F. In areas where freezing is likely, plants should be overwintered indoors. This can be a difficult task; therefore many gardeners choose to simply buy a new plant each season.

Aquatic plants in the fall: Hardy Marginals

Dropping temperatures signal your hardy aquatic plants to prepare for their winter dormancy. At this time, you should stop fertilizing them as you see leaves begin to yellow and brown. It’s okay to leave these plants where they are in your pond to weather the cold of winter, just be sure to trim the dying foliage of your marginal plants down to 2” above the water level.

Aquatic plants in the fall: Lotus Aquatic Plants

As with the marginals in your pond, the foliage of your lotus plants will need to be trimmed back after they have died back and turned brown. It’s important not to cut the leaves while they are still green because the freshly cut, hollow stems are susceptible to disease which can spread to the plant’s tuber, possibly killing the plant.

Lotus tubers will not withstand freezing, so any plants that are growing in the shallow areas of your pond should be moved to the bottom, away from freezing water.

Aquatic plants in the fall:Tropical Marginals

In warm climates, tropical marginals will keep growing and will require fertilizer as usual. Water gardeners who live in Zones colder than 8 or 9 will need to treat these plants as they would any garden annual by replacing them each season.

A fun alternative to this is to treat them as tropical houseplants and bring them in for the winter. Most tropical marginals will do well potted in heavy garden soil in a sealed clay pot with no drainage holes. When kept wet, the plants do well in a sunny window or sunroom.

Caring for your aquatic plants in the fall will mean less work and healthier plants come spring. Contact AquaReale for help with your Aquatic plants in the fall.

Tips for a Healthy Philadelphia Koi Pond

Philadelphia Koi Pond
Philadelphia Koi Pond

Tips for a Healthy Philadelphia Koi Pond

Want a Healthy Philadelphia Koi Pond this summer?  Ponds have a joy and beauty that make your summer even more relaxing and enjoyable.

You want to make sure your water feature is healthy and functioning at 100 percent during the warmer months.  And when the temperatures rise above 80 degrees, there are some things you can do to help.   Here are our recommendations:

Health of Your Philadelphia Koi Pond Fish

Keep an eye on your fish. Do your fish seem stressed out, gasping for air close to the water’s surface or especially close to a fountain or waterfall?

Increased activity and warm pond water go hand and hand, and that increased activity also means your fish require more oxygen when less oxygen is available, thus creating a vicious cycle. Stressed fish often begin to develop diseases, and soon enough you’ll have a domino effect.

We recommend adding oxygen to your pond by placing an aerator or AquaForce® pump in your pond. You can also install a fountain with a pump if your pond doesn’t have a waterfall or stream. Make sure all areas of the pond are skimmed and the water circulated. And keep in mind that waterfalls, streams, and even fountains play a huge part in the oxygenation of the water in your pond.

Philadelphia Koi Pond: Beat the Heat

There are certainly some preemptive measures you can take in order to keep your pond from becoming a warm, unhealthy mess. It all starts with a well-designed water feature. Depth, plant coverage, shade, and circulation should all be considered when designing and building a pond. A minimum depth of two feet is suggested; the bottom of the pond will remain cooler.

Of course, you’ll also want to stock your pond with a lot of plants to provide shade for the fish. A good rule of thumb is to provide plant coverage of approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the pond’s surface area.

And finally,  one of the most important parts of pond design is circulation. If possible, you’ll want to place your biological filter and mechanical filter across the pond from each other, so that your pond receives optimal circulation.

Additional Philadelphia Koi Pond Summer Tips

  • If you feed your fish, feed them in the morning and be careful not to overfeed. Uneaten food decays faster in warmer water and can pollute the pond.
  • Be sure to remove dying leaves and flowers before they have a chance to decay in the warmer water.

Each season has its own challenges and summer is no exception. The bottom line is that you need to keep an eye on your pond and let your fish and plants do the talking.

If you have a balanced ecosystem, you’ll find it much easier to maintain the health of your pond, fish, and plants. Contact us for more information or with any questions.

Bucks County pond fish

 Bucks County pond fish
Bucks County pond fish

It’s finally pond season,which means time for fish health for our  local Bucks County pond fish.

Does your pond promote the health of your fish? Several factors influence whether a pond is good for Bucks County pond fish  to live in  So before you add some new fish, take a few minutes to look at where your Bucks County pond fish  will be living and see if the space is healthy enough.

For Bucks County pond fish,  size does matter

 

The size of your pond is very important to fish health.  It needs to be large enough to support your fish and allow them to grow.  Pond fish generally need 10 gallons of water for every inch of their length, and you have to be ready for them to grow larger, so be careful not to overstock, no matter how tempting this may be.  Some pond pros even recommend only ½ inch of fish per every 10 gallons of water, for maximum space for Bucks County pond fish.

You may see ponds with a lot more fish—even as many as two or three inches per 10 gallons of water and the fish were OK.  Even if it looks OK for now, the ecological strain and density of this fish overload turns the pond into a fragile system.  This is not good for fish.  When the pH sags, the fish grow slower and there is much more chance of disease.

If you have too many fish in your pond and they get sick, there is nothing you can do.  Your fish will probably cull themselves to the best amount for the pond, so reduce the overstocking now to prevent fish loss later.

A sunny morning is great for  Bucks County pond fish.

Ponds (and Bucks County pond fish) benefit from sunlight, as it provides valuable vitamins.  Sunlight also reduces nitrates in the water and helps pond plants grow.  Don’t worry if your pond is in the shade.  We recommend adding some shade-loving plants to help balance the water.  Bucks County pond fish health is also dependent on aquatic plants.

Pond plants that tolerate shade include Taro, Papyrus, Horsetail, Cardinal Flower, Lizard’s Tail, and Water Forget-Me-Not.

How deep does your pond go?

 

Bucks County pond fish aren’t picky when it comes to pond depth.  The pond just needs to be deep enough to allow the fish to hide from predators as well as give the fish a place to go into Torpor (hibernation) for the winter.

Proper Balance is Everything!

 

Your water garden needs to be balanced for optimal fish health.  Your ecosystem needs the proper mix of plants, filtration, fish, rocks and gravel and circulation,  When you learn to work with Mother Nature instead of against her, you’ll spend less time maintaining your pond and more time enjoying it1

Consider adding the Aquascape Automatic Dosing System to keep your pond water balanced and your fish healthy throughout the season.  For more information on Bucks County pond fish health or any other ecosystem pond questions, please call us at 215.880.6811 or contact us here.