General Hints and Emergency Suggestions
A simple small fountain pump or a small sump pump can be used as an aerator to provide oxygen in case the main pump goes out. This is particularly recommended if you have Koi, especially in the hotter months. Simply place the pump underwater, with the pump intake facing upwards, letting the stream trickle up then down. Having the pump positioned with a water flow going straight out and back in the pond is the best way to provide oxygen for the fish.
Water test kit
This simple and inexpensive test will let you know immediately the readings on such critical elements as ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, PH balance and chlorine levels. The readouts indicate healthy water or will show various levels of toxicity that need to be addressed.
Emergency holding container
In the event you discover water that is unsafe, its advisable to have a temporary holding container to transport your fish until you can drain and replace the water in the feature. This container could be something as simple as a ‘kiddie pool’. We also would recommend a small fountain pump be installed in the temporary pool while adding the appropriate amount of chlorine remover to neutralize the chlorine from the tap water.
Pond Nets (similar to pool nets)
Use to remove any accumulated floating debris before it breaks down and accumulates into sludge.
We would recommend keeping some of the basics at home. To start, make sure you have dechlorinator. Again, this is designed to neutralize the amounts of chlorine that exists in your normal ground/tap water. We would also recommend an Algaecide to help with string algae, however, we would also recommend you pay close attention to the usage as too much can harm or kill your fish. Other chemicals to consider might be PH down or PH increase (in the event you have high or low PH in the water and need a reduction or elevation in PH levels), microbe lift (contains bacteria that can help reduce cloudy water and helps dissolve sludge) and stress relief (if fish need help with coat slime). These are but a few of many chemicals available; as a rule, we use two regularly (dechlorinator and algaecide); the others we use as the situation requires.
Highly recommend fertilizing plants during the spring/summer seasons.
Pond Cover Nets
A net is useful for two main purposes: to keep debris out of feature (such as falling leaves in autumn) and discourages predators from depleting the pond of your fish. There are many different types of nets available; we like to usually refer the least expensive and easiest option. This a simple deer net and can be found at any hardware supply store. We do recommend however, if you net the pond, make sure you use a leaf blower daily to remove accumulated leaves, otherwise, the excess leaves and elements combines will cause a weight on the net and therefore a nasty collapse.
There are a few simple things that can cause a pump from functioning or have restriction in its water flow. One common example would be an electrical issue that has stopped the pump from running. Another would be that the pump is dead and needs to be replaced. If the pump is trickling, the issue is due to excessive debris clogging the intake of the pump. This can be fixed by physically removing the debris from the intake. If there is a heavy amount of debris that continuously causes this problem, the debris needs to be removed and the pond needs to be thoroughly drained cleaned.
As stated above, a dead pump can be contributed to either bad electrical or the pump simply needs replacing. A simple way to trouble shoot and eliminate any electrical issues would be to simply test the GFI or other outlet that the pump is physically plugged into. Either unplug the pump or find a free outlet on the same source, use an electrical devise that you know works (i.e. hair dryer, small night light, etc.). If the electrical devise works, you know that the issue lies with the pump. If however you cannot get any electrical devise to work, we would recommend perhaps plugging the pump in (via an extension cord) to an outlet that you know is operational until an electrician can be called to fix the bad GFI.
Notice Snakes around the Feature
We understand that there are a lot of pond owners that appreciate the dynamic of different species that are attracted to either a natural or a man made feature and might be trying to duplicate the natural state as best as possible, however we also acknowledge that there are other pond owners that are more concerned with the safety of their children, pets and themselves. As a result, we offer the following recommendations to those pond owners that may want to keep away dangerous and poisonous snakes. As a general rule, there is a direct correlation between the increase in temperature and the increased activity of snakes, especially poisonous ones that love water (water moccasins/cottonmouths and copperheads) plus some rattlesnakes and others. If you see a snake, notice dead snakeskin or just wish to put things in precaution to minimize the possibilities of encounters we recommend a few simple solutions. First, we would suggest putting mothballs under rocks surrounding the perimeter of the feature, not inside the pond, just hidden in the areas outside the feature. The mothballs should be a simple deterrent. If there is a more serious snake problem, consider using snake away, however prior to doing so, make sure you contact a pond expert as well as become as familiar with the chemical as much as possible as to not harm anything in your feature.
The loss of water can be a very frustrating nuisance with pond owners. As with any problem, the best way to approach a solution is by diagnosing, starting from the simplest to the more complex. First, the owner needs to establish if there is actually a leak occurring. As a rule, you should only lose 1.5” to 3” every 5-7 days due to evaporation. If the water loss is dramatically more than that, there could be a leak within the feature. The first step in diagnosing the water loss would be to note within a 24-hour period how much water loss occurs while the pump is running. Make sure the pond is full. Mark the water level with painters tape. After the 24 hours, measure and note how much water loss has occurred. Fill the feature back up to highest level. Disengage the pump. After 24 hours, measure to see how much water was lost. The answer tells us a few things, if you are losing the same amount of water within the same amount of time regardless is the pump has been running or not, we know the problem is somewhere in the basin, meaning it either needs to be re-sealed or the liner needs to be patched/replaced. If however, the water held without any loss, the loss could be associated with something occurring while the pump is running, i.e, somewhere in the streambed, something associated with the pump, liner that needs to be re-adjusted, etc.. Any issue with water loss can be either a simple fix or it could require a lot of diagnosis. As with any diagnosis, the best way to solve the problem is to eliminate as many general scenarios as possible and continue to chip away until a solution can be found.
There are two different types of algae that might attack your pond-string algae and algae bloom. These are both different in appearance as well as strategy to eliminate. The string algae are algae you can either scrape away with your finger or shovel out of your pond. The best way to combat the spread of these algae is by using an algaecide; keep in mind to follow the directions closely as too much can harm or kill your fish. The second type of algae is an algae bloom. This occurs when features are exposed to direct sunlight. The appearance of an algae bloom will turn your water into a ‘green pea soup’ color. The best remedy for this type of algae elimination would be to install a UV Light. This light kills the microscopic algae as it’s pushed through the container, causing the water to be clear and free from the bloom.