Pond Supplies, Waterfalls, & Koi Pond Construction

Posts Tagged Oxygen

KISS MY POND

KISS MY POND

The Kiss method of engineering has been used in many systems since it’s original debut by Kelly Johnson, lead engineer at Lockheed, regarding jet planes. The jet planes they built had to be repairable with hand tools, by mechanics in the field, under combat conditions. Simple was an imperative.

When it comes to your pond, superior filtration for brilliant water quality and clarity is the imperative. Simple is no longer the defining factor. We are concerned about making sure that your fish are happy, healthy, and visible for your enjoyment.

The Helix Life Support Pond Filtration System focuses on just that, keeping your water clean and clear, to keep you and your fish happy. We also want it to be easy to maintain in the long run, because we know, if it isn’t easy, you won’t do it. That’s ok, we get it, we don’t like to work harder than we need to either.

That’s why we’ve designed products to be easy to clean with simple valves to turn, or lightweight baskets to pull out and rinse. No more back breaking labor dragging out bags of lava rock and awkward media pads filled with water and laden with slimy ooze.

I have had people ask why Helix seems more difficult to install than the other pond filters on the market. It is true; it is not the easiest system to put in. This system was designed for FISH, by complete fish geeks, to keep your water as healthy as possible in an often uncontrollable environment, the great outdoors.

So, like most quality projects, there are some up front dues that must be paid for the long term goal, kicking back beside your pond. The initial extra few hours of work during installation, are well worth the reduction in maintenance for YEARS down the line.

So, the real answer is, it is a little harder to put in because we were more concerned with long term ease of use, than initial ease of installation. After all, you install once, but you do maintenance every week for the life of your pond. Helix wanted to make that “every week for the rest of your life” part easier.

While Helix is definitely more complicated to install, the Helix filters are designed for long term ease of cleaning. We use air blowing through the media to loosen up debris, which is then drained from the system using knife valves. The water can then be directed to your trees, garden, or ornamental plants for beautiful leaves, blooms, and veggies.

Not only does this make your plants happy, but you are performing a very important task each time you clean the filters. When you drain the filter, you are performing a water change. This water change does important things for your fish.

Here’s a quick science lesson. Water changes add fresh oxygen, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. These are the primary minerals in tap water. There are also small amounts of zinc, copper, and a few others. The beauty of these minerals is they all have positive electrons that really want to bond with the negatively charged elements in your pond.

These negatively charged elements make up the debris that builds up in the bottom of your pond, specifically the stuff that makes that nasty rotten egg smell when you stir it up, and ammonia, fish waste. So, each time you clean your filter, it works a little to help break down the icky stuff that is inside your pond too! Bonus!! Can you imagine if every time you flushed your toilet, it cleaned the shower too?

Additionally, the magnesium, and sodium are important in helping your fish to maintain healthy bodies. They use these elements to make their heart, kidney, liver, and other internal organs work properly, and to perform osmosis, a very important way for your fish to expel ammonia from their bodies at a cellular level. Is this too much chemistry? Hold on for one more tidbit.

The third thing the water change does is reduce any fishy pheromones that may be trying to build up in your pond. This allows your fish to get their “grow” on. Fish release pheromones, just like every other animal, including YOU!

A higher pheromone level tells your fish to STOP growing. Water changes reduce those pheromones. If you want great big, gigantasaurus koi, water changes will get you there, and Helix will make it happen, by simply turning some valves. See? EASY!

So, hopefully that helps you to understand how Helix works, why we designed and built it the way we did, and why, though it is a little more complicated to install, it sets you up for a lifetime of easy maintenance, and healthy, happy fish.

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Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Leslie Triplett
The Pond Gal

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First Thing A Pond Pro Notices When He Sees Your Pond

First Thing A Pond Pro Notices When He Sees Your Pond

So, you know how when the house cleaner is coming over to clean, you pick up the house, or when you drop your car off to the mechanic, you wash it?

What would you do if The Pond Digger was coming to see your pond?  What you believe is bad or dirty may be significantly different than what he notices.

Eric does pond inspections all the time.  Sometimes the owners know they have a particular problem, like the water is so green, you can’t see the fish, or the pump stopped working, or the pond isn’t holding water.  But he also does inspections where the owners just want a “check up”, so to speak.

If you were having Eric stop by to check on your pond, what “house cleaning” would you do before he got there?

Empty your skimmer, clean the leaf trap, wash the filter pads, trim up the plants?

Well, while he will certainly peek at those things, what he is really going to look at is circulation, aeration, population, and Algae but for the sake of the rhyme, let’s say algification.

Those four things are going to tell him a lot about your pond, without lifting a finger to open a pond filter.

CIRCULATION

Circulation is nearly the be all, end all, of your pond.  

If the water is not moving through the life support and filtration equipment fast enough, and the pond is not turning enough times an hour, we know there will be water quality issues, without even running a test.

Your pond should be turning at least 4-6 times an hour if it is under 2000 gallons, 2 times an hour for 3000-6000 gallons, and at least hourly if larger than that.  Until to get to a pond that is nearly a lake.  Then the game changes.

We also want to avoid dead spots in ponds.  Areas where the water doesn’t move will allow wind blown debris to settle to the bottom of the pond, where it will decay, and create water quality issues.

AERATION

Aeration is important not only to help get oxygen in the water for the fish, but also to help break down debris in the pond more quickly.

Without getting too high school chemistry on you, the positive ions on the oxygen molecules bond with negatives ions on hydrogen sulfide molecules (rotting debris in the pond molecules) and through a chemical reaction, help to break down the debris.

Aeration can be provided either through air bubbles from an air pump, or from the waterfall pounding on the water, breaking the surface tension, and allowing oxygen to be pulled down into the water.

POPULATION

Fish population is a huge clue about your pond.  If your fish are 5 years old, and still only 6″ long, we know that you have not been doing your water changes, so your water quality is poor even if all the tests say your water is great!

Fish, like people, release pheromones into their environment.  Unlike a person’s environment, in a pond those pheromones can’t blow away on the wind.  

They are trapped in the water like a closed up room traps air.  Think of the smell in a teenage boy’s bedroom!!!!   Unless you do a water change, those pheromones stay put.

Pheromones tell fish a lot of things, but one specific thing they say is, to grow, or not to grow.  If the pheromone level is high, they don’t grow.  So, we know, if your fish aren’t growing, the pheromone level is high, so you haven’t been doing water changes.

ALGIFICATION

Now, this is a pond, not a pool, so we WANT algae.  Yup, you read that right.  Algae in a pond is good.  But, not ALL algae is good.  

A nice layer of algae coating the liner,  rocks and gravel in your pond, is just what the Digger ordered, but if you have chunky, bubbly, algae floating on the surface, a boatload of stringy algae, or so much green algae you can’t see 2″ into your water, there may be something fishy in your set up.  Pun TOTALLY intended.

These types of undesirable algae can indicate poor filtration, too much food, debris build up, proper maintenance failure, low oxygen, and much more.

So, go try to evaluate your pond like Eric would.  Assess your circulation, aeration, population, and algification, get it all in order, and you will be well on your way to celebration!

If you are interested in a personal pond Inspection from The Pond Digger himself, feel free to call and schedule an appointment at 800-522-5043.

Heading into fall is one of the best times of the year to schedule small tune ups on your water feature.

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

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Leslie Triplett
The Pond Gal

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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!

planters

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!

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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Get on the Offense for the Best Success with your Pond

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Get on the Offense for the Best Success with your Pond

It’s hot. There’s no denying it. While we love this kind of weather for beaches, barbecues, and biking, your koi are not as thrilled with it. Don’t wait for the heat of the moment to ruin your fun in the summer time! Here’s the low down on the high temperatures.

A LITTLE CHEMISTRY

When the weather warms up, the oxygen content in your ponds drops. This means there is less oxygen for your fish to breathe. Koi fish are much more active in warm weather, eating, swimming, and breeding, so they need more oxygen.

On top of this, any excess food, fish waste, or leaf material decaying in the pond are using oxygen as well. Added together, this means that the already low oxygen content caused by warm weather, is further challenged by everyday summer fun in your pond.

While a waterfall is helpful, it often can not keep up with the demands set by summer temperatures and other oxygen demands. We suggest supplementing the pond with an aerator.

WHAT IS BEST FOR MY PONDPro Air Pumps

There are many different sizes and styles of aerators available, and the manufacturers offer suggestions for the size pond they should be used on. In order to choose the correct aerator for your pond, you should know how deep it is, at the deepest point, and the surface dimensions.

If you have a lake, you need to know the depth at the deepest point, and the size in terms of acres, (1/4 acre, 1/2 acre, etc.) to select the proper size. These units are typically much larger, and can run multiple air diffusers with a single compressor. There are special housing containers to protect these larger units from snow and floods too.

WHERE SHOULD I PUT IT?

The air diffuser, or the part that actually goes in the water, should be placed at the centermost, and deepest point of your pond. This will allow the bubbles to create a specific circulation pattern that brings the newly oxygenated water down to the bottom of the pond. The less oxygenated water will be drawn to the surface, to be loaded up with more oxygen, creating a great flow throughout the whole pond.

ADDED BONUSaerator-cat

One amazing side affect of this additional aeration is that it helps break down sludge on the bottom. Without getting too technical, here’s how it helps.

When the freshly oxygenated water flows to the bottom of the pond, there is a chemical reaction between all the yummy new oxygen in your water, and any decaying, icky, grossness, gathering on your pond floor.

The positive charge of the oxygen, frees the negatively charged molecules on the icky stuff, (like hydrogen sulfide) and a chemical reaction breaks them down into water and sulphur dioxide, a gas that can now leave the pond, improving your water quality.

TAKE HOME

I know that was a little like high school chemistry, and no one wants to revisit that class, but all you really need to know is this;
If you add aeration, your fish have more oxygen when they need it, and it will make your water quality better.

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

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Connect with The Pond Digger:

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