Pond Algae

Preventing Pond Algae

The sound of water has always been associated with tranquility. Having a pond in your space will bring you a place to create a sanctuary of relaxation. And if you already have a pond in your space then you know the importance of taking care of it. Knowing the proper care and maintenance for your pond will mean years of enjoyment. This is especially true if you have fish in your pond, because if your pond’s ecosystem is out of balance it can affect the health of your fish and the plant life in the pond. Without care and maintenance your pond will be susceptible to the threat an algae infestation.

Algae is a single cell organism often called green algae, string or hair algae, or blanket weed. Your ponds algae is actually vital to the health of its ecosystem, but when algae gets out of control then that is when your pond may be in danger. Usually fish, such as Koi, eat algae and can usually keep the amount of algae in your pond under control. Unfortunately, if your pond isn’t well taken care of then what is usually beneficial will become detrimental.

Problems with algae occur because algae can grow at an incredibly fast rate. This can happen for several reasons. If you happen to have a large supply of fish in your pond they are creating a large amount of waste. Excess fish waste provides more food than necessary for algae and this causes them to reproduce quickly. The same thing will happen if you overfed your fish. The food becomes additional fuel for the algae and will encourage growth. To stop this from being a factor in algae infestation, be sure to keep the number of fish you have in your pond to a minimum and do not overfed them.

Something to consider if you don’t have a lot of fish and aren’t overfeeding them is the possibility that your pond is getting contaminated runoff after a rainstorm. Most yards and gardens are cared for using fertilizers and other chemicals. Debris, fertilizers, and other chemicals from your garden can be food for algae.

Green pond Algae
Excessive Pond Algae

 

Unfortunately, an abundance of food isn’t the only thing that will encourage algae to grow. Like any other plant, algae need the sun to survive. If your pond is located in a very sunny spot this can aid the algae in growing. To minimize this being a cause for infestation ponds are best placed in partial sun where it is in shade for the majority of the day.

When algae get out of hand it will cause your pond to look like sludge. Algae, especially string algae, can clog your filters and other equipment. An infestation of algae can also suffocate your fish by depleting the oxygen in the water.

Thankfully there are ways to control pond algae. To naturally reduce the amount of algae present in your pond you can introduce two things to your pond. The first item that should be introduced are floating plants as well as submerged plants. Floating plants protect the water beneath from the sun restricting access by algae. The recommended amount is 50% so that you can take advantage of other means of assistance. Submerged plants also help the fight against algae because they often absorb the nutrients that fed algae before they can get to it.

The second thing that will reduce the threat of an algae infestation is the use of filters. If your filter is be able to move half of the water in your pond per hour this current will reduce the chance that algae will have more food than it needs and will, in effect, stop overpopulation. Part of the maintenance for your pond is taking care of your filter by keeping it clean. Filters should be cleaned once a year. When you service your filter it is also a good time to clean your pond. Regular cleaning will help keep the ecosystem of your pond in balance.

If your algae problem can’t be fixed using natural means then you may need to use your last resort; chemicals. Algaecides can work to well and kill almost all the ponds algae that, unfortunately, then become food for the remaining algae and your cycle of infestation will start all over again. Rather than using an algaecide to solve your problem, try using a microbial product. A microbial product added to your pond before an infestation can help stop it all together. Adding it will help maintain a healthy ecosystem.

When you know how to care for and maintain your pond you can rest assured knowing that your pond will be safe from algae infestation. You’ll be free to sit back in your tranquil space and enjoy the calming effects of the water. Enjoy the peaceful pastime of feeding your fish without having to worry.

Koi Pond Pumps

Choosing The Right Koi Pond Pump

Choosing the right pump for your koi pond
Danner 02527 Pondmaster 700GPH Pond Pump

One of the crucial elements to maintaining a Koi fish pond lies in finding the right koi pond pump. However, to begin this search would be to ask the question, “What are fish pond pumps in the first place”? Effective fish pond pumps are devices that regularly circulate pond water. For Koi ponds it is recommended that this be done at least once per hour for proper water quality. Water that is pumped is aerated, filtered and sometimes even treated to ensure the health and growth of fish, particularly that of Koi.

Needless to say, there are many types of fish pond pumps out there to confuse the search. Some pumps are submersible, others external. Submersible fish pond pumps are most commonly suited for smaller ponds and water gardens. They are generally easy to install and use, and are placed under pond water. Their highest flow rate is up to 3600 GPH (gallons per hour). Of these submersible fish pond pumps are the Direct Drive, the Magnetic Drive and the Statuary Pump:

Direct Drive Pump: The Direct Drive kinds are best used to pump ponds with large waterfalls and streams. Direct Drives employ a powerful electric motor that turns an impeller which pushes the pond water in one direction.

Magnetic Drive Pumps: Magnetic Drive pumps on the other hand are more efficient submersibles than Direct Drives but are not as powerful. They are called such because they use a magnetized impeller surrounded by an electric apparatus rather than an electric motor. This fish pond pump thereby uses less electricity and is best suited to create moderately flowing waterfalls or streams in ponds.

Statuary Pump: The least powerful of the submersible fish pond pumps is the Statuary Pump, which is used to power fountains, spitters, and other stand-alone pond ornaments. Hence, it is an optional choice in one’s Koi fish pond and not a necessary one.

In terms of longevity, however, External fish pond pumps trump any of its submersible counterparts. In general, all submersible pumps need regular maintenance and cleaning due to debris in the water that may eventually clog the motor. External pumps are easier to maintain and thus last longer than submersibles. Finally, external pumps are designed to move larger volumes of water and have flow rates ranging from 2200 GPH up to 9600 GPH.

This make it an ideal choice for serious Koi keepers who find that the larger the pond, the larger the number of Koi that can be nurtured. Larger Koi populations are in turn, said to produce the healthiest and best Koi variety. Now you can ask, “What is the best fish pond pump?” Determining the correct fish pond pump for your personal needs must take into consideration pond size and water volume. Keep in mind that for Koi ponds water must circulate once an hour.

So if you have about 4000 gallons in your pond, you would naturally need a 4000 GPH pump or better. It is also crucial to calculate your pond’s head pressure. This includes friction, vertical distance you want to lift water and resistance from fixtures in your pond that slows the flow rate of your water. Finally, you will know it is worth your while when you figure in the utility cost of running and caring for the pump you choose. If you can’t afford the proper pump, it is perhaps best to abandon your quest for caring for ornamental fish.

Koi Feeding

The Essentials To Koi Feeding And Nutrition

Learning the proper discipline for Koi feeding is essential in order to ensure that your Koi fish remain healthy and look their best. The first thing to know in this regard is what can be considered food for Koi.

Koi fish are omnivores; as such they will eat both plant and animal matter. They will eat duckweed, algae and soft aquatic plants. Of course, they will also eat bloodworms, shrimp, earthworm, even tadpoles!

Your role is to ensure that they eat what is best for them in a nutritional sense. The items mentioned above are acceptable provided that you balance their diet. Commercial Koi pellets make for a practical means for delivering a well balanced meal for your Koi. Supplementing this with some other treats, such as lettuce, garlic (which they adore) and oranges is fine; so long as you adhere to certain guidelines.

Feeding Koi Fish Pellets
Hand Feeding Koi Fish

 

First, never feed koi any food that has a casing or skin. Corn, cooked beans, even grapes, should be avoided as their digestive system is not geared for digesting such roughage. Intestinal blockages can also occur with Koi. If you feed them earthworms, bloodworms, shrimp, etc., chop them up into small pieces to avoid such maladies.

Knowing what is the appropriate food for Koi is the first step. Second comes knowing how much and when to feed them. The same rule of thumb used for aquarium fish can be applied to Koi. A Koi feeding should only last 5 minutes. Any food that was not eaten within that time frame should be removed immediately from the pond to avoid contaminating the water.

In the summer months when the water temperature is 72 degrees Fahrenheit and above, Koi should be fed 3 to 4 times per day. The food for Koi in this circumstance should consist of a high protein diet. This can be covered with 35% protein Koi pellets.

Koi Pellet Food
Koi Food in pellet form

 

When the water is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but below 72F, the feedings should be decreased to only twice per day and the diet should be low in protein. Low protein pellets are also available for this.

Temperatures between 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit call for feeding frequencies to be curtailed to only once per day with the low protein pellets. Once water temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit the Koi’s metabolism begins to enter a state of dormancy. During this time period koi feeding should be done once every other day.

Please take note of the following: if the water temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, Koi fish must not be fed. At those temperatures they simply will not digest any food that is consumed. If water temperatures remain below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 30 consecutive days, a small feeding, less than a quarter in volume of that of a summer feeding, may be given for one day. This feeding should consist of as little protein as possible. Cheerios are actually perfect food for Koi given this circumstance.

Adhering to the specific types of food for Koi that are permissible and avoiding those which are not, will ensure that your Koi grow large and strong. Ensuring that they are fed according to the seasonal schedule that is best for their own metabolism will make for a koi that not only looks beautiful, but that has a strong immune system.

In short, properly fed Koi are healthy Koi. In turn, healthy Koi are pleasant companions and beautiful centerpieces for any pond.

Buying Koi Guide

What you need to know before buying Koi

You have successfully built your Koi pond. You have spent weeks, perhaps even months waiting with intense anticipation for the moment to come when you would actually buy Koi fish. Before doing so, however, it is important that you are aware of some basic guidelines for selecting and buying Koi fish.

First, you must be aware that not all Koi fish are equal; not even those that belong to the same variety. This will become evident when you buy Koi for the first time and you notice a wide range of prices for Koi fish. The key factors that are used to distinguish individual Koi fish are size, grade and age. Koi fish prices can range widely. It is possible to find specimens in the $40-$50 range, just as it is possible to find others selling for tens of thousands of dollars.
Although there are exceptions, it can generally be stated that smaller sized Koi will be available for a much lower price than larger specimens. The smaller Koi are usually 3” to 6”. Above that, size classifications include specimens measuring 6”-8”, 8”-10”, 10”-12”, 12”-14”, 16”+ and so on, until reaching fully grown Koi surpassing 2 feet.

Likewise, the grade of the specimen is also reflected in the price. When you buy Koi fish, you must ask yourself what exactly it is that you wish to obtain from the fish. This may sound like a simple question. Your initial impulse might be to answer that you want a majestic animal to grace you with its beauty. To some degree, all Koi owners could include that in their answer, but in order to determine which grade of Koi is best for you, it is important to identify underlying and ancillary expectations for your Koi pond.

Koi fish are classified as either Pond Grade, Ornamental Grade or Show Grade. Remember, all Koi fish are technically members of the same species. They are all Common Carp; however, much as the domesticated dog has been selectively bred to develop desired characteristics among different dog breeds, so to is the case with the breeding of different varieties of Koi fish. It can help to draw another correlation from this analogy. View a Pond Grade Koi as a mutt, while a Show Grade Koi is your pure bred show dog. Just as one would expect to pay an enormous sum of money for a pedigreed dog of prized lineage and one would pay next to nothing for rescuing a mutt from an animal shelter, so too is the monetary difference when you buy Koi of different grades.

Bigger Koi Cost More
Remember: The Bigger The Koi, Generally The more Expensive It Will Be.

 

Pond Grade Koi are normally bred by hobbyists, they are sometimes sold informally, and their breeders may lack some of the quality control mechanisms to ensure healthy specimens; but they are also the cheapest of the bunch. It cannot be said that you should completely avoid Pond Grade Koi when considering to buy Koi fish. If your plans for your Koi pond are limited and you are not looking to invest too much money in populating your pond, Pond Grade Koi can be a good choice. Just keep in mind that Pond Grade Koi will likely never develop the bright full coloration of their higher grade cousins and that they may also be prone to ailments or diseases not found in the higher grades.

Ornamental Grade Koi are those bred to display good coloration and markings. They are commercially bred and are not intended to participate in Koi competitions, but they are the best entry level Koi for most first-time Koi ponders.
Show Grade Koi as the name implies are the upper-class elite of Koi. They are also priced accordingly. Unless you plan on participating in Koi competitions or breeding the next generation of Show Grade Koi, these specimens may be well out of the range of the average Koi pond enthusiast.

Of course, regardless of the size or grade of Koi that you purchase, remember to follow the same rules that are used when buying any fish. Before you buy Koi check out the dealer or pet shop from where you intend to purchase it. Preferably, observe the fish for a few weeks. Avoid specimens which seem sickly, pale or that do not display an appetite. If you buy Koi fish online, check out Koi forums and determine what reputation that online dealer has. Also, ascertain what, if any, DOA policy the online dealer has in place prior to making any payment.