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5 Simple Steps To Prep Your Pond For Winter

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5 Simple Steps To Prep Your Pond For Winter

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WINTER PREP

Winter is coming. That chill is in the air, crockpots are coming out of cupboards, and the barbecues are getting packed away. People are thinking turkey, sleigh bells, and “Auld Lang Syne”.

The pond plants are fading, turning brown and melting away for their winter slumber. Koi and goldfish are slowing down, parked on the bottom of the pond, dreaming of warmer days.

Before we get too far into winter, here are a few tips to help prepare your pond for a simpler seasonal transition next spring.

TRIM BACK ALL PLANTS

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As the plants begin to turn brown, and their leaves fall in to the water, they are brewing up next spring’s algae. Make your life simpler by cutting back all the summer plants before they die back.

Trim off all the remaining leaves and toss them in to your mulch pile. Leave the pots submerged, and your favorite blooms will be back in full force come spring time.

EMPTY THE SKIMMER BASKET

Fall is the most challenging time for your pond. Leaves dropping non stop can fill your pond with debris.

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Make sure you are cleaning your skimmer basket daily during fall, and remember to check a couple of times weekly during winter to keep your skimmer working at it’s best.

Until your trees are bare, adding a net cover to help with severe leaf drop is a great idea, and can help reduce your work load, and keep your skimmer from clogging.

CLEAN THE FILTERS

Make sure your filters are clean and pristine before winter. Even if your are in a climate that doesn’t freeze, you are probably not as likely to spend as much time tinkering with your pond as summertime months allow.

It is especially important if you have to shut your pond down for winter, to clean the filter out thoroughly before you close it down.

All that debris that the filter has so diligently captured, will harden into your media over winter, and then begin to decay next spring when the filter is running and it gets wet again.

That freshly released decaying debris will cause excessive ammonia and nitrite in your pond, causing a ton of undesirable algae to pop up next spring.

TREAT WITH BENEFICIAL BACTERIA

Before your water temperatures drop below 60 degrees, make sure you do an extra heavy dose or two of beneficial bacteria.

This will help eat down any debris that has settled in to your rocks, gravel, or planting media.

When spring rolls around, these areas should already be fairly clean, You’ll be six steps ahead right off the bat!

LIGHTS

If you are in an area where you can keep your pond running, check all your lights before it gets too cold to get in the water.

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Shorter days mean more evening hours of pond adventure, lights make a world of difference. Especially if it is already dark by the time you get off work, and night time is the right time for you to view your pond.

If you wait until December, even a wet-suit may not be enough to get you to crawl in that frigid water!

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Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

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5 Reasons Everyone Needs a Koi Pond In A Zombie Apocalypse!

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5 Reasons Everyone Needs a Koi Pond In A Zombie Apocalypse!

CLEAN, RUNNING WATER

Clean water will be compromised! Forget turning a faucet at the kitchen sink for fresh water! We all took that precious resource for granted now didn’t we?

Having a KOI POND established as a natural Eco-system on your property will secure yourself with a critical water source needed for your very survival!

Without water you will be forced to venture out into untold Horrific Zombilicious dangers. The Bigger & Deeper the KOI POND, the Better! More water!

FOOD

Your food supply would certainly be compromised like “real” quick during a worldwide Zombie Apocalypse!! Riots, Hoarding & Robbery! You’ll have to fend for yourself!

You can grow veggies and edible aquatic plants in your Koi Pond & if you really…. Really… REALLY had to; you could eat your beloved Koi Fish!

The Bigger the KOI, the Better! The MORE KOI the merrier!! Remember you’re doing it for the very survival of your family!

PERSONAL HYGIENE

You’re going to need a place to bathe your smelly self at least once a week! Can you just imagine how you’re gonna reek after slaughtering Zombies, running and hiding from Zombies after a weeks time? Blahhh…

Come on!! You can boil the water you take from the pond, for drinking, after you bathe! Get over it! You’re in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse for Pete’s Sake! You don’t even know what you’re capable of yet!

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EMOTIONAL ESCAPE

You’ll need that mental and emotional escape more than ever in the gory day-to-day Zombie Apocalypse World.

At least once a day you’ll need to stare into your KOI POND to find peace, sanity & tranquility in the mayhem of smashing Zombie Brains just to stay alive!

Shoot everyone needs a koi pond escape TODAY without a ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, so you’ll really need this ESCAPE once you see your best friend get his or her face eaten off right before your eyes!

KILLING ZOMBIES!

Pond Building Tools will be great for killing Zombies! Think about it! A shovel has nearly the perfect weight, length and a sharp edge for wrecking Zombies!

Shovels, Pick axes, and screwdrivers are just a couple of the hand tools that would come in handy for slaughtering Zombies in combat.

Let us not forget that the rock-work used in and around the pond & waterfalls would be perfect for smashing Zombie Heads over and over again.

If these compelling reasons don’t have you racing to install a KOI POND in your yard ASAP, don’t come running to my home for valuable resources when the seemingly inevitable ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE rears it’s ugly face.

If you care enough about your family and friends, do us ALL a favor and PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE email these CRITICAL REASONS Why Everyone Must have a KOI POND!

God Speed…

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

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Grow veggies without weeds for your smoothies?

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Grow veggies without weeds for your smoothies?

No more weeding your veggie garden?

The Amazing and Simple way to eliminate weeds and algae in one step, and get healthy too! <-- I like this one

EAT HEALTHY, REDUCE ALGAE, WEED FREE

Always wanted a winter veggie garden for your smoothies, but hated weeding? Want to reduce algae in your pond? Tired of eating McDonalds and ready to try a healthy alternative? We can do all this in one step by using these plants in your pond. Yes, you will be eating plants right out of your pond!

There are many pond plants that help reduce algae growth by out competing the algae for food. The beauty of growing these plants in your pond is that you don’t have to weed a garden, which is the worst part of gardening. But, there are only a few that will dress up your smoothie too!

PICK THE RIGHT PLANT

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By picking certain pond plants, you can grow a natural algae control, and smoothie ingredients at the same time! It’s practically the definition of sustainability. Feed you, keep the pond clean, no environmental harm, fast and consistent regrowth…everything you need. All this with no weeding!

Here are some of the best plants to support algae control, and give a healthy boost to your morning shake for better living. These guys do best in winter. If you want to know summertime plants, I’ll be back in spring with that list.

WINTER WARRIORS

Watercress (nasturtium officinale)-excellent in salads and smoothies, watercress has a slightly peppery flavor. It helps to boost your immunity and support thyroid health too. Plus, the seeds can be used as a natural alternative to mustard!

PennyWort (centella asistica)- called a “pharmacy in one herb” the benefits of consuming this plants raw are numerous. It is an antiviral, antibacterial, anti inflammatory, plus it can increase longevity, sharpen your memory, and fight arthritis. Raw, in a smoothie is the best way to consume it daily. AND, it tastes yummy!

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Water celery and Water parsley (oenanthe javanica & oenanthe sarmentosa) – these are exceptionally high in fiber and folic acid, with great antioxidant properties that help fight cancer.

Water mint (mentha aquatica)- known for its great taste in teas and cooking, added raw to your smoothie, it promotes proper digestion, and soothes upset tummies.

Memory Herb (bacopa monniera)- not my favorite taste, so hiding it in a smoothie is the best way to get a daily dose of this powerful antioxidant that promotes liver health, and as the name suggest, helps strengthen your memory, while combating stress.

HEALTHY POND = HEALTHY YOU!

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Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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11 Things All Ponds Need, #2 Will Rock You

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11 Things All Ponds Need, #2 Will Rock You

1. ALGAE

I know this is hard to believe but algae..YES ALGAE! 9 our of ten pond owners see algae and assume they have a dirty pond! Algae has several important functions in your pond such as helping filter the water to keep it clear, giving your fish something to graze on, providing hiding spots for baby fish, giving your koi somewhere to lay their eggs, and making your pond look more natural.

2. SALT

Fish need salt. They use it in many bodily functions, just like people. It makes their heart beat correctly, as well as helping other internal organs function correctly, helps fish perform osmosis, fight off parasites, build up their protective slime layer, and can help reduce uptake of ammonia and nitrites. Use a good quality pond or aquarium salt, free of iodide. Buy Pond Salt Here!

3. BACTERIA

 

Yes, your pond needs bacteria. I’m not talking flesh eating bacteria here! We want “good” bacteria that helps to break down excess fish waste, plant debris, and fish food that can turn into undesirable algae, ammonia, and nitrites. All bothersome to either you or your fish.

Beneficial bacteria, can also help improve your filtration if your pond is overcrowded with fish, like mine! Check out the Professional Strength water treatments we use on all of our ponds! Buy Beneficial Bacteria Here

4. POND PLANTS

Pond plants are excellent at helping reduce the nutrient build up in your pond that allows undesirable algae to grow. While a nice biofilm of algae on the rocks is very beneficial, we want to avoid an outbreak of string, mat, or pea soup algae. Pond plants consume all the same nutrients the “bad” algae grows on, and can out compete it, reducing the growth of it. They take all those icky nutrients, and turn them directly into beautiful leaves and blooms. Plus, your fish like to chew on pond plants, especially beautiful, yummy, lily blooms.

5. BIO-FILTRATION

Filters capture the free floating debris that can settle out and cause your water quality to deteriorate. When you empty the filter the captured nutrients are removed entirely from the system, creating clean, clear water that you and your fish will love.

6. AERATION

Aerators help to agitate the surface of the pond, allowing oxygen exchange to occur. This oxygen exchange will help to break down undesirable nutrient build up, reducing ammonia and nitrites to keep your fish happy and healthy. This surface agitation also allows more oxygen to get into the water column for your fish to breath.

7. SURFACE SKIMMING

 

Surface skimming helps to reduce the debris that actually settles to the bottom of the pond. The skimmer will catch the debris in a handy little net or basket, that can be easily cleaned to remove the decaying material from the water column. The less debris that hits the bottom of the pond, the better your water quality will be! Our favorite pond skimmer of all time is The Helix Pond Skimmer! Buy The Helix Pond Skimmer Here

8. FISH

Fish, in moderate numbers, actually help perform a valuable service in the pond. As they swim along the bottom, they will stir up debris that has settled there so the filtration system has a second chance to remove them from the water column and they eat undesirables like mosquito larvae!

They also provide some nutrients, (poop) in a very easily broken down form for the plants to quickly absorb and make in to beautiful blooms.

Plus, koi over 16″ can do some serious damage to string algae. They suck that stuff up like spaghetti noodles!

9. SUN

Sunshine feeds your plants, and allows that beautiful layer of lovely biofilm algae to grow on your pond walls. So, you might say, sunshine helps filter your pond!

10. CIRCULATION

Proper circulation helps prevent debris from getting captured behind rocks, plants, and gravel. Captured debris begins to decay, creating problem algae, and undesirable water quality.

11. MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE

Designing a regular maintenance schedule for your pond, and sticking to it will help keep your pond from getting dirty. Weekly water changes, filter back washes, and skimmer basket cleaning, help remove decaying material from your pond before they get a chance to cause a negative affect.

Trimming plants regularly helps reduce leaves and stems in your pond, and checking on your equipment will keep your pond in tip top shape for years to come.

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For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, Instagram, FaceBook and Twitter.

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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9 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Built My First Pond

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9 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Built My First Pond

People are always saying, “If I knew then what I know now…” This statement was never more true than in the world of ponds. If you are considering building a pond, read these helpful tips we’ve heard hundreds of times from our clients. Maybe they can help keep you from saying, “If only I’d known….”

1. I wish I would’ve known how much I love it I want to go bigger


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About 35% of our business is actually making ponds bigger for clients. Not only if you have more pond, do you have less weeds, but you also have less grass or other plants to water. Though ponds evaporate a little, they use up to 75% less water than the same footprint of lawn! Help with the drought, build a bigger pond!

2. I wish I would’ve known friendly the fish are, I want more

This common occurrence also results in needing a larger pond. The fish are soooo friendly, eating right out of your hand and even letting people pick them up, that everyone wants more!

3. I wish I would’ve known how many colors of lilies there are

Lilies are the ultimate pond plant. If you have a pond, you must have a water lily. The PROBLEM is, there are dozens of colors of lilies. In order to have room for every color of lily you want, you may need a bigger pond!

4. I wish I would’ve known about floating stepping stones

There are many cool features you can add to a pond, but floating steps are one of the most amazing ones, in my opinion. When you are out in the middle of the pond, surrounded by the clear, clean water, with dozens of fish begging for food, and lilies blooming away, you are transported to another world. It is an experience that once people have, they want in their own yard. So they need a bigger pond.

Are you sensing a theme yet?



5. I wish I would’ve known how much my family loves it

I’ve had many clients tell me that they are so pleased that their wife/husband and kids spend more time with them because they are relaxing by the pond together. It’s pretty cool to hear, and now they need a bigger pond.

6. I wish I would’ve known how big koi get

Koi get HUGE!!! They can easily reach a length of 28″-30″ with a breadth equivalent to a dinner plate!!! Imagine that swimming around in a little 11′ X 16′ pond. You’re gonna need a bigger pond.

7. I wish I would’ve known about Helix Pond Filtration

I have clients dreaming of the ease of maintenance Helix Life Support offers you. No dragging out heavy bags of lava rock that can tear and spill everywhere, or fighting with unwieldy pads full of decaying algae and fish waste. Helix has simple cleaning routines that don’t even require getting your hands wet, much less dirty. People love it. They want a bigger pond.

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8. I wish I would’ve known that you travel to build ponds

The Pond Digger has built ponds in nearly half of the state’s across the US, including Hawaii. After spending weeks or months of blood, sweat, and tears, building their dream pond, clients say if they had known Eric traveled to build ponds, they would’ve had him flown out to build their pond. And they would’ve made it bigger.

9. I wish I would’ve known about dojos and hi-fin banded sharks

After seeing the cool varieties of fish besides koi and goldfish that can live in a pond, people wish they had made their pond bigger so they could put more fish in.

For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, Instagram, FaceBook and Twitter.

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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Algae is beautiful

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Algae is beautiful

Yup, I said it. Algae is not only beautiful, but it can contribute greatly to the success of your pond. Algae is a natural part of a well designed ecosystem, and something that we actually like in a pond.

There are of course, several types of algae that are unattractive, undesirable, and down right icky that we do not want in our ponds.

THE BAD GUYS

HAIRY

Hair or string algae is a long, rough feeling algae that not only looks ugly, but can actually choke out some of your beautiful pond plants. It typically shows up more in the spring or fall, when the weather makes it harder for your pond plants to grow.

The best way to prevent hair algae from forming is to understand why it is there. Hair algae grows when there are plenty of available nutrients, but nothing to consume them quickly. In spring and fall, your pond plants are growing very slowly, so their nutrient consumption is greatly reduced. Over feeding is the number one contributor to an overabundance of nutrients. Be sure to reduce feeding in these seasons to help prevent string algae from gaining a foothold.

DON’T MISS THIS

PS, super secret tip; If you have koi over 16″ and you have string algae in your pond, you are feeding waaaaaaaay too much.

Huge koi like that consume hair algae like teenage boys eat potato chips. Cut back on your feeding and prepare to be SHOCKED as the algae disappears.

PEA SOUP

Green water algae, AKA pea soup algae, makes it difficult, if not impossible to see your fish. This is also an algae we want to avoid. With the exception of a new pond going through a beginning cycle, your water should be crystal clear to the bottom of the pond. Even if your pond is 6′ deep.

Green water algae typically grows when there is not enough filtration on your pond. If you have a water garden style, ecosystem pond, and you are sure the actual filter is large enough, you very likely need a bunch of plants. Add plants, and watch them work.

If you are unsure if your filtration is enough, my bet is that it isn’t. Add a pressurized bio filter, a second waterfall filter, an inline filter, basically whatever it takes to make it happen. Often on a dedicated koi pond, there is no choice but to run a UV clarifier. UVs, when sized properly kill algae DEAD in just a few days. Put it on, and clear that water up.

MATTING

There is also a “matting” type of algae that grows when there is too much debris building up on the bottom of the pond. This, of course, goes back to not enough filtration.

So, now that I’ve covered the bad algae, and how to prevent and combat it, let’s talk about the GOOD algae.

Every week, and sometimes every day, I get calls, and emails from customers concerned about algae in their pond. This is where it gets a little tricky. We spend a lot of time fighting algae, but some algae is good and we want it in the pond.

THE RIGHT STUFF

The good algae covers all the rocks in a layer, that seasonally gets up to an inch long. It can often be bright green in the middle of summer, dark brown to almost black during winter, and look like a lush little lawn during spring and fall.

We call this algae a “biofilm” and it contributes significantly to filtration. It helps keep your water clear, and your fish happy and healthy. It pulls out nutrients that can cause the bad algae and catches small particulates that float around looking icky.

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GET IN THE RIGHT MINDSET

Keep in mind, your pond is not a swimming pool or a fountain at the local shopping center. A pond is a living, dynamic ecosystem, that relies heavily on mother nature to get a nice balance going on. This biofilm algae is a very important part of this.

Let it grow and learn to love it. In the end, you’ll be happy you did.

Much like your Work/Life Balance, the trick with your pond is to find the right balance of algae in your pond.

For a list of water treatments we use to keep our ponds balance visit this link –
Water Treatments

For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, Instagram, FaceBook and Twitter.

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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Horses, Ponds, and Potato Chips

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Horses, Ponds, and Potato Chips

Here I go again, off on some crazy tangent, right? Horses and ponds have NOTHING in common! But I think they do. Let me know your thoughts.

Horses are like potato chips, you can’t have just one. You start off with a pony, then outgrow him so you have to get a trail horse. Then you decide you want to compete in horse shows, so you need a fancy show horse. Then you decide you want to do dressage….it goes on, but I’ll stop. 😉

AND SO IT BEGINS…..

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When it comes to ponds, people often start off with the Home Depot starter kit. It’s the equivalent of a pony.

A little pond to get your feet wet, barely large enough to house a few goldfish and a water lily, and BAM!!! You’re hooked like a trout on a line.

You love the gorgeous colors of the lilies, the friendly fish begging for food when you come home from work, the peaceful sound of the little waterfall lulling you to dreamland every night. It’s amazing, and suddenly your new, favorite hobby.

MR. UPGRADE

Very quickly, you outgrow this little pony, and it’s time to move on to a nice safe trail horse.

horse-faceYou build, or have built: a new pond big enough to house koi, (potato chips in their own right), plant 3 or 4 lilies; and begin to drive your friends and family crazy with non-stop koi pond talk and photos of your new obsession.

GETTING CRAZY

Now, you discover KOI SHOWS!!! How cool is it to be able to show off your gorgeous fish and hang out with other koi enthusiasts who, just like you, can spend hours talking about the ever changing color of their Shiro Utsuri.

Your family breathes a sigh of relief as you traipse off to a new show every month, and cease to plague them with “My koi is so cool” stories.

This means, you guessed it, a whole new fancy koi pond, for your fancy show koi.

horse-mouthSix feet deep, with bottom drains, external filters, UV for clarity, and the peaceful hum of the pumps that keep your precious wet pets alive, lulling you to sleep at night.

So, you see, much like horses, the obsession with koi can change your life.

If you have any horse-crazy people in your life that you think are just plain nuts, consider you may now be the crazy koi guy, spending hours consuming The Pond Digger YouTube videos like other people watch Netflix.

If YouTube isn’t enough, you can find daily pond pro tips from Eric on SnapChat, FaceBook, and Instagram. Embrace your obsession and have fun.

See Eric speak, LIVE, at the Inland Koi Club meeting , Sunday September 28th in Yucaipa California!!!!

For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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The Carnivorous Koi

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The Carnivorous Koi

Did you know Koi eat fish? Well, okay, maybe they don’t outright run around hunting down small koi or mosquito fish like a coyote eats rabbits….or do they?

“DUDE!!!! I just watched *Skeletor EAT Happy!” This was the panicked phone call I got from Joey Moss the other day after he watched his big Koi, Skeletor, eat his baby Koi, Happy, who was born in the pond.

Apparently, Skeletor was overly excited at feeding time, and sucked in Happy along with some pellets of Koi food.

This nearly tragic tale, had a happy ending since Skeletor spit Happy back out after deciding he wasn’t the right flavor, but it doesn’t always end this way.

Koi WILL eat fish. I have had clients watch their koi eat mosquito fish, small goldfish, small koi, frogs, and more.

NOTE: Koi are NOT carnivorous but they an are opportunistic feeders better know as omnivores. If you watch them for a few hours, you may see that they pick nearly everything up in the pond with their mouth, to test and see if it is edible.

If they like the flavor or consistency, they swallow it. Much like a troublesome 2 year old, they are always looking to see what they can put in there mouth.

People may be slightly at fault here, as one of the most abundant protein sources is fish, and any quality koi food you look at will have fish as the number one or two ingredient.

We’ve trained them to like the flavor. Weird, right? Not really. We just learned what to feed fish by watching what fish eat in the wild. Fish eat fish.

IMPORTANT DIETARY INFORMATION:

When koi are young and growing, they need more protein for making new cells.

A growth formula is the way to go. It provides a higher protein level to promote correct growth.

As they mature, they will need less protein, so they can be switched to an all season diet.

If you are trying to brighten color on your koi, there are color enhancing foods that can help. COLOR ENHANCING FOODS are often a higher protein level even than GROWTH FORMULAS, so please don’t feed this diet straight up. Mix it with an ALL SEASON or Growth Formula.

Too much protein for too long can cause kidney damage in your koi and shorten their life. ):

When the seasons change, the temperature fluctuations between night and day dropping the pond’s water temperature can cause problems with a koi’s digestive tract.

A quality COLD TEMPERATURE FORMULA fish food has wheat germ as the first ingredient because it digests easily. It is designed to be digested quickly, so by the time the cooler night time temps come, the morning meal is already digested, and not sitting heavy in their belly like Thanksgiving dinner.

A fun treat to try with your koi is watermelon. Cut the melon into discs like wagon wheels and then take a small 2″ diameter ring out of the center. Float the wheel in the pond, and put some pellets of food in that small open space at the center.

We do this because the koi sometimes don’t recognize watermelon as food. As the koi are eating the pellets they will end up tasting the watermelon, and then the fun begins!

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent, except for Joey Moss. Joey’s name is real!

For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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WHO ATE MY KOI LAST NIGHT???

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WHO ATE MY KOI LAST NIGHT???

“My koi are all GONE!” This is a phone call we have received too many times at headquarters. Not only is it awful for the client who’s koi have mysteriously vanished, but it makes us sad too. Usually the client wants to know what ate their koi, so they can prevent it from happening again.

There are, of course, several possible culprits when it comes to eating koi right out of your pond. Raccoons, egrets, herons, cats, snakes, dogs, and even hawks or owls, have been known to catch koi and eat them. Here are a few helpful hints to figure out who your hunter is, so you keep your fish safe.

pineconebirdANGRY BIRDS

Herons, egrets, and other water birds live almost entirely on fish.

Your pond maybe the easiest buffet they’ve ever seen. Let’s face it, their normal hunting grounds are big lakes, rivers, and even the ocean!

Imagine how much easier it is for them to catch a meal from your small backyard pond. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel…

Typically, when a pond has been raided by predatory birds, we see little to no sign they’ve been there at all.

If the plants are all in place, the water is still crystal clear and not muddied up, but your fish are MIA, you were probably hit by some type of bird.

They are very slow and methodical hunters. Even when we’ve seen hawks or owls hit the pond to snag a fish, they swoop down, and make a grab without disturbing anything in the pond, except for the fish….the fish are VERY disturbed.

racoonMASKED BANDITS

When a raccoon, or bear is hunting your koi, they create a complete disaster. You’ll find plants torn out by the roots, pots knocked over, and rocks pushed in to the pond.

They wreak havoc. It’s like drunken college students on spring break in Ft. Lauderdale, MESSY!

Snakes are also very sneaky, and you may see no sign of their visit, but it will be mostly smaller fish that are gone, The fish eating snakes do not grow very large, so the fish they take are smaller.

FAKE FURRY FRIENDS

Dogs can create quite a mess too, but not nearly as bad as raccoons or bear. They might just knock some plants or rocks down while chasing the fish around.

Cats also do little damage to the environment, but you will notice smaller fish missing.

curvyneckPREVENTION

Once the correct hunter has been determined, you can take steps to help prevent further raids.

For birds, about the only effective deterrent seems to be a good net. Cover the pond with a sturdy net, staked in place, and you should be pretty safe.

Unless you have a bird hunting dog. Dogs are awesome.

If you have a fat, lazy, couch dog, maybe not so much, but an active beagle will be worth his weight in gold when it comes to protecting your koi.

Even a tiny, yappy, determined yorkie or chihuahua will chase off many predators. I’ve also seen a good guard dog chase off a bear!

For raccoons, cats, and dogs, it seems the best deterrent is a “scarecrow”.

This is a motion activated sprinkler that squirts everyone that approaches the pond with a stream of cold water. When I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE.

The scarecrow doesn’t care if it shoots, a heron, a goat, or you. It is fully non-discriminatory.

It is a good idea to place it so you have a safe path to shut it off before you get hit.

Snakes are a conundrum. I am not sure how to prevent them from coming, or chase them away if you have them. If anyone has any brilliant, snake-deterrent ideas, send them my way!

redeyewhitebirdPLAN AHEAD

Our general rule of thumb is, eight by eight is a dinner plate. Basically we mean, if your pond is only 8′ x 8′ or less, it is very easy for predators to catch koi from your pond. We encourage you to build bigger than that as your first preventative step.

Deeper ponds are also very helpful, as the fish can swim down. We like to add a fish tunnel. This is simply a nice sized pipe built into the pond that the fish can swim in when they are being chased.

ALMOST NOTHING IS PERFECT

These hunters are all very wily. After all they make their living finding food, and they are good at it.

There is almost no way to insure the complete safety of your fish. An aviary around the pond is pretty good. Or you can build your pond in the house. I have seen this a few times. It is very effective, especially in the mountains, since how the heck does anyone keep a bear from going where it wants to?

Bigger is better, and deeper is helpful. And, by the way, there are some other methods I’ve heard tell of, but remember, most wildlife is protected, and killing them can result in heavy fines, so be careful what you do.

Try to build preventatively, and if you already have a pond that has been raided, I hope you can find some answers here.

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Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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3 Pond Myths EXPOSED!

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3 Pond Myths EXPOSED!

I hear all kinds of crazy stories. Most of them are even about ponds! Today, I thought I would expose some of the most commons Old Wife’s Tales I hear about ponds, that can help improve the quality of your fish’s lives.

MYTH #1 FISH ONLY GROW AS BIG AS THEIR PONDfish-square

This has become the platform for people that want to put a koi in their 60 gallon Home Depot, plastic, preform pond.

With proper feeding, filtration, and water changes, your fish are going to grow as big as they are meant to be, no matter the size of the pond.

I have personally seen several 3′ long koi in a 300 gallon pond. I once even saw a 28″ koi that had been grown in one of those 6′ wide, 18″ deep kiddie wading pools. Of course, filtration, and water quality in both of these instances was beyond reproach.

The real secret to koi growth is pheromones. Koi release pheromones in to the water all the time.

The pheromones in the pond tell the fish many things, such as who is ready to breed, who is sick, and most importantly, how crowded the pond is. If you keep the pheromone level low, the fish will grow more.

When the pheromone level is high, it tells the fish not to grow. The easiest way to keep the pheromone level low is to perform water changes.

Speaking of water changes….

MYTH #2 WATER CHANGES ARE BAD FOR MY FISHkoi-feeding

Water changes are good, great even. The more frequently you change water in your pond, the better. I’m not talking 100% water change every week, of course, but a nice small weekly water change would be a beautiful and very beneficial thing.

This one is a stumper for me. About the only way I can figure out how this one started was if someone forgot to de-chlorinate their water after a change, or it was high summer, 115 degrees, and they put ice cold water back in the pond after a water change.

In either of these cases, you are going to lose some fish. Otherwise, water changes help in so any ways.

A normal, reasonable, regular water change, does nothing but good for your pond.

It will help remove any waste build up, reduce ammonia and nitrite in the water, and add oxygen, magnesium, calcium, and potassium, all of which perform beneficial duties for your pond.

Removing all of the above contaminants will also help reduce your algae production.

Algae thrives on decaying materials in your pond, and regular water changes will help to reduce those decaying materials.

MYTH #3 PONDS ARE DIRTY, UGLY, AND A TON OF WORKcherry-dragonfly

There is some basis in reality for this myth:

If a pond is set up with incorrect filtration, has too many fish, and is fed like crazy, it very well could be messy, smelly, and a lot of work. I’ve seen this time and time again. Frequently with little, preformed, hard plastic, ponds from big box stores.

The reality is, these little puddle style ponds are not big enough for fish, except maybe a few mosquito fish.

They never have good enough filtration, and some have no filter at all. They are destined to fail.

When we design a pond, we always try to filter the same way we know people are going to stock the pond; more than needed.

Usually, by the time our clients finish stocking, they have just the right amount of filtration. And then they say, “Just one more koi I think”!

The reality is, you can never have too much filtration, and that is the goal to shoot for.

If you end up somehow not overstocking your pond, the koi in there will love the extra filtration they have. It’s a no-brainer.

For daily pro pond tips, follow us on SnapChat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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