Thursday, June 5, 2008

Blooming Ponds, Means Blooming Algae (Green Water)

This is peak season for pond owners and garden pond builders. All the plants are blooming and the fish are very active. Our fish will come to the top of the pond when someone is around in anticipation of being fed. My son loves to feed the fish every morning when we get to the office. My other son says, "fish" every time we are close to the door or outside. We have a very pretty pond and waterfall here at the office that is very low maintenance. We are blessed with a good balance in the pond and the water stays clear. Unfortunately we are in the minority because most people call us this time of year begging for help with their Green Water.
Green water ("PEA SOUP") is caused by suspended algae in the water. The sunlight blooms this microscopic algae along with all the other plants in you pond. This algae also feeds off of waste products produced by the fish. The more fish you have the more likely you will have an algae problem. So what to do about this one will ask.
If you want to solve the problem and not keep treating it then a ultraviolet light is the way to go. The problem a lot of people face when choosing a UV is the want the cheapest unit they can find instead of properly sizing a correct size unit out for their application. There are a few things we like to know before suggesting a size. #1 how big is your pond and the second question we always ask is what size pump are you running. Obviously if you choose a small unit for a large pond it will not work. Also when considering your pump there are a few things to keep in mind. If you use a small UV unit with a large pump pressure you risk the chance of blowing the seals on the unit thus rendering it useless and voiding the warranty. Also if you run the water thru it too fast you will not get the clarification you need. Most UV units have 2 rates of flow. A clarification rate and a sterilization rate. For clarification the rate is usually a faster than for sterilization. The water needs to be slowly passed by the light in order for it to disrupt the life cycle of the blooming algae in the water.
Another thing to consider with maintenance of a UV light is to regularly change your bulb. It is recommend to change your bulb once a year, usually at the start of season. Sometimes it may still be burning but it will lose it effectivity. When using a UV, also remember if you add bacteria or other treatments you need to shut down the UV for 18 hours after in order to let the treatments work or bacteria to thrive. The light can also disrupt these treatments just like it disrupts algae.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Year, New Ponds!

With a new year comes ideas of wanting to build a new pond or water feature. In January the idea comes up and people may start researching the idea. Research is good. Get an idea of your plan and what materials you need. Keep in mind that when searching prices in January that they may change by the time you get ready to build. Most suppliers put out their catalogs the first of the year. Upon receiving catalogs, many times a retailer may have to increase their prices due to an increase in cost of products.
There is a lot of helpful information on the internet regarding pond building. Also remember their are many opinions out there. There is not 1 way that is correct but there will be a way that is best for each person. Ponds can range from very small to very very large. If you are planning your first pond the best thing to do is buy a pond kit. A Pond kit typically has everything you need to build your pond except a few things like rocks, fish and the labor of course! Pond kits usually have the liner, underlay, skimmer, filterfall, tubing, fittings, handifoam and bacteria. Kits range from economy to high end. They really are the way to go for a first time pond builder. There are many size kits available to fit what size pond you may be looking for. If you are not sure what you want or need, find a supplier out there who will take the time to talk with you and answer your questions.
Don't wait till the week before you want to start the project to order. Likely everyone else is wanting to build their pond in the spring just like you. Order your products several weeks before you think you need them. There is always a rush in the spring for pond products. While most suppliers try to keep a good stock, it is impossible to have everything all the time. Beat the rush and order early. You will more likely catch items in stock and receive them quicker.