1) When may I start feeding my fish?
Once water temperatures are consistently 50 degrees F.
2) When do may I divide my plants and start to fertilize them?
Spring is the best time to divide your aquatic plants, except for iris-divide them in the fall. You may divide your plants once hard freeze has ended and up to a month prior to blooming. In Maryland we are in hardiness zone 6 and generally speaking mid-March to the end of April is the best time to divide your aquatic plants. You should start to fertilize once hard freeze has ended and continue to fertilize until one month prior to freezing. For an example in zone 6, generally you should fertilize your plants from April thru September. For estimate of your frost dates, click here. To know your hardiness zone, click here.
3) I brought my tropical bog plants inside for the winter, when may I put them back in my pond?
Ideally, tropical plants like water temperature of 70 degrees F and higher. That being said, they will tolerate water temperatures in the 60's. I would at least wait until water temperatures are consistently 65 degrees or higher. For example, in zone 6 generally the beginning of May is okay and waiting till the beginning of June is safest.
1) What do I do if I think I have a leak?
Depending on the size of your pond, the time of year and your waterfall/fountain you may expect to lose about 1 to 5 inches of water a week due to evaporation.
If you think you have a leak, the first thing that we recommend is to fill your pond and turn off your pump so that no water is actually leaving your pond. (If it is warm and you have fish, keep aerator running). If you don't lose any water with your water features, pump turned off, then you know you are losing water once the water leaves your pond, ie. hole in tubing, loss of water behind your waterfall, waterfall is splashing too much, etc. If you still lose water then you know the leak is in your pond itself. You'll want to prepare a place for your fish to be temporarily if needed, let the pond water continue to go down and the leak will be just above where the water stops. Good news is, is that if there is a tear in your liner, it is an easy fix with patching tape, which runs $5 a foot. Takes 24 hours to dry and then you are back to normal. If the leak ends up being once the water leaves the pond, you'll want to look for where it may be leaking, common areas to inspect are for leaks in your tubing. Sometimes tubing snaked along the landscape gets clipped by a weed eater. Or you may be losing water behind your waterfall, which you may not see any evidence or perhaps it is where your waterfall and pond meet. If it's your tubing, you simply need to replace the tubing. If it ends up being the waterfall or where your pond and waterfall meet, then most likely your waterfall will need to be replaced.
2) How do I control algae?
First, I have to say, that just like your home gets dust, your pond is sure to get algae! Your pond should have a moss-like fulminous algae along the sides of your liner, around your pots, covering anything in your pond. In addition, your pond water should appear to have slightly green or reddish-brown tinge to it, however, if you gather some of your pond water into a clear glass or water bottle, your water should be clear. If this is true, you have healthy pond water!
Your first defense against algae is to stock your pond correctly. See Formulas & Ratios Page. The next is to have plenty of oxygen in your pond, the more oxygen you have in your pond the harder it is for unwanted algae to grow. In the summertime especially, add an aerator in addition to your pump for more oxygen. Skimming your pond daily of debris that floats into the pond and pruning your plants regularly also helps. Using products such as ponsparkle, muck buster and barley straw extract on a regular basis will reduce unwanted algae. Lastly, having and maintaining the proper filtration system for your size pond including having a UV light, which zaps the bacteria that causes unwanted algae. For your UV light to be effective, change each season. Make sure you are not over-feeding your fish. Uneaten food will cause unwanted algae to grow and thrive.
3) My waterlily isn't blooming this summer and the lily pads are getting smaller, what's happening?
This is a sign that your waterlily needs to be divided. When your lily gets rootbound, it will stop blooming, the lily pads will get smaller and when really rootbound the pads will start to stand above above the water surface. The larger the pot you plant your lilies in, the longer you may go between dividing. In general, if you are in the warmer zones, you'll need to divide yearly, in mid zones about every two years and in the northern zones every three years.
1) How do I keep heron away from my pond?
The best way is to cover your pond with a net. Many customers have successfully kept heron away using a heron decoy. Noise or activity generally help as well, such as playing music, wind chimes, motion activated devices etc.
2) When do I stop feeding my fish?
When water temperatures are consistently below 50 degrees F.
3) What do I do with my plants in the fall?
Prior to frost, remove all tropical plants. If you have a heated greenhouse, move into greenhouse, Tropical bog plants may be brought into the home in a sunny room continue to keep soil moist and treat as a houseplant over the winter. Otherwise, discard tropical plants. Hardy plants, cut back to about 6 to 8 inches of the plant over the pot and lower in your pond so that the root is below the freezing level. If your pond is above ground or a container garden, you may overwinter your hardy plants, by cutting back to 6 to 8 inches over the container, place wet newspaper over the plant, wrap entire plant and pot in a plastic grocery bag or trash bag, place in an area that is dark, dry and cool (about 40 degrees). Generally speaking, an unheated basement or garage works.
1) How do I keep my pond from freezing?
You may either use a de-icer to keep an area ice free, keep your pump running, and/or use an aerator. If you have large fish and/or a large number of fish, we would recommend using a de-icer and an aerator.
2) Should I really not feed my fish during the winter?
Fish actually hibernate once the water temperature consistently is 50 degrees F or less. When they hibernate, their digestive system stops. So, yes, do not feed your fish once the water temperature consistently reaches 50 degrees F or less.
3) What should I do if I lost power and now my pond is frozen over?
Do NOT use blunt force to break the ice. This may cause trauma to your fish. The best thing to do is to boil some water on the stove and pour over the ice until you create an opening. Once you have at least softened the ice, you may place your de-icer in that spot, and it will continue to melt the ice.