Pond Supplies, Waterfalls, & Koi Pond Construction

Posts Tagged Filtration

The Worst Pond Myth, Busted WIDE Open

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The Worst Myth Pond Myth, Busted WIDE Open

I seem to start off a lot of these blogs with “I got a call from a client…” I do, I know, but answering the phone calls, and everyday questions that people have gives me the insight to answer the questions you may have also.

So, I got a call from a client the other day asking about enlarging his pond:

He said slotspie he thought it was about time since his 5 koi had been in one of those 100 gallon home depot ponds for the last TEN YEARS?!?!!??!?!!?

He tells me they’ve been fine in there, and they are healthy, so he doesn’t need much more in the way of filtration, or size really, but just a little bigger might be nice. And he truly believes this.

He thinks these fish, that should be 32″-36″ by now, with a girth the size of a dinner plate, are happy and healthy.

I do have to say, I think I held my poker face pretty well. My soul was dying, my brain was sizzling into a little pile of mush, and my heart was broken for those poor koi. After 10 years, they are only 12″ long.

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Not only are these fish NOT healthy, but they are NOT happy, and they are seriously stunted. Perhaps for life now. They need a proper sized home, proper filtration, frequent water changes, and a good diet, STAT!

Okay, I’ll lighten up, I guess this is a “first world problem”, right? But still, if I can prevent this from happening to more koi, I will.

So let me try to bust this myth wide open, one more time:

Fish do not grow to the size of their environment

They are limited by the pheromone level and water quality in the pond.

The pheromone level is determined by the quantity of fish, and the frequency of water changes.

The more you change the water, the lower the pheromone level will be. Plus, water changes equal lower ammonia, nitrites, and more.

I’ve seen 24-30″ fish in a tiny child’s wading pool. They grew that large in just a few years with superb water quality due to excellent filtration and frequent water changes.

While they would’ve been happier in something larger, (which they did get) at least we knew they were healthy, because they had achieved proper size.

Pheromone level is what allows the fish to grow. Keeping them in too small a pond, without proper filtration, nutrition, and water changes not only stunts their growth, but also slowly kills them.

I’m not talking slowly like, ya, once we’re born, we’re all slowly dying. I’m talking, these gorgeous, amazing fish that can live for more than 100 years, are dying in as little as a few years.

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So, if you want koi, plan on BARE MINIMUM 250 gallons per adult male koi, and 500 gallons per adult female koi in your pond.

For instance, if you want 10 female koi, you need at least a 5000 gallon pond. If you want a big herd of koi, build 20,000 gallons.

A 5000 gallon pond isn’t for everyone though, and I do understand this. But it is pretty simple. If you want a 100 gallon courtyard pond, don’t put koi in it.

Put some nice goldfish in there, like Shubunkins, Comets, or Black Moors. They stay relatively small, and while you still can’t have oodles in there, a couple of these guys in 100 gallons with proper filtration, and water changes will be A-okay.

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Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

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4 Simple Tricks To A Beautiful Pond

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4 Simple Tricks To A Beautiful Pond

Too much food, too many fish, no water changes, and poor filtration are the main reasons ponds get a bad reputation. Ugly, smelly, green, or with a ton of algae, these problems are easily solved with a few simple changes.

Getting clean, clear water is easy if you have a few important pieces of equipment, and some simple, routine maintenance tricks in place.

FILTRATION

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Make sure you have enough filtration for the size pond you have. When I say enough, I really mean, add more…..more is better….basically, you can never get enough filtration.

Keep in mind that pond filters are designed to support the amount of fish life your pond is SUPPOSED to have. You and I both know, your pond, my pond, her pond, his pond, has waaaaay too many fish.

First, when it comes to filtration, you must understand this, if a filter says it is for a 3000 gallon pond, the manufacturer is expecting you to have about 6 koi in that 3000 gallon pond, so that filter is for a 3000 gallon pond with SIX koi. See what I mean?

Put filters on there like to support the quantity of koi you KNOW you will put in your pond, and then CLEAN them.

Don’t wait for the little light to tell you it’s time to clean.

Don’t do it once a month because someone told you.

Don’t wait until the pump slows down because the filter is clogged.

Clean it often. Test your routine by occasionally cleaning the filter between the normal cleaning times that you’ve set up, and see if the water comes out dirty. If it does, step up your routine.skimmer-dog

USE A SKIMMER

Plus, put a skimmer on your pond. If you have a pump in the bottom of the pond, it pulls every bit of debris that hits your pond’s surface directly to the bottom of the pond. Then all that debris sits there and decays. Does that make sense?

A pump in the bottom of the pond means your pond is designed to collect debris at the bottom.

A pump in a skimmer pulls the debris in to the skimmer into some kind of handy little device that allows you to take it out of the pond, and put it in the mulch pile.

AVOID OVERCROWDING and OVERFEEDING

You and I both know that we have too many fish in our pond, and we feed them more than we should. I mean, they’re so cute when they’re begging and sucking on your fingers or toes, you just can’t help it.

So, the first step is when your pond is full, and you know you shouldn’t put any more fish in there, stop putting fish in there. Just say no.

Don’t put yourself in the path of temptation!

Stay away from the fish that are for sale when you buy your koi food. Get your food, and go home.

The next step is to try to feed only what your fish need to thrive, and not what your heart wants to feed them.

The general rule of thumb is, the amount of food that they can consume in just a minute or two, or the equivalent amount of food to the size of their eyeball. I know that just freaked you out. I like feeding my fish too.

These are the toughest things to overcome, but if you succeed, your water quality will show it, in a good way.

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WATER CHANGES

The last tip is to do frequent water changes. Not the whole pond, not even half, but the equivalent of 10-20% on a monthly basis divided into small weekly portions will have a startling affect on your water clarity and cleanliness.

If your pond is 1000 gallons, try doing a 50 gallon water change every week.

See, that’s not much, you very likely can do this much simply when cleaning the filters correctly, and in the right time frame.

I’ve seen some grossly under filtered, crazily overcrowded, insanely overfed ponds in amazing shape due to regular water changes. It’s almost shocking.

These simple little changes will create a huge difference in your pond, and you will be back to loving it before you know it.

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Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

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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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Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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