Net your pond

Net your Pond for Fall

Have you spent a lot of time trying to get leaves out of your pond?  Net your pond for fall to keep organic material out of your pond!  Leaves and other material that blow in decompose all winter and when that spring time sun hits, will feed an algae bloom.  Help keep your pond looking great by netting it now.  Protecting your pump from additional material will also help keep the pump running and your fish healthy.

Domed Works Better

Colorado Pond Pros has put nets on ponds stretched taught across. But what we've found is that the weight of the leaves pushes down the net and the leaves get soaked in the water, adding tannins.  Pulling off a net with soaked leaves isn't easy either!  This year we have build domes over ponds to hold up the net.

This method is working well.  We recommend netting ponds and removing them once the leaves have all fallen and have been removed from your yard .

Want to read about more pond topics?  Click HERE.

industry event

Colorado Pond Pros Attends Aquascape Industry Event

Mike attended an industry event at Aquascape in Chicago last week.  He met with top pond companies in the United States to share secrets to building and servicing beautiful ponds. They built the beautiful pondless waterfall in the picture here. I put in an arrow so you can see Mike!

Pond De-Icer – Why you need one!

Pond De-icer

Did you know that the most common reason for winter fish loss is gasses getting trapped under the ice?  It's really a lack of a pond de-icer?  Yes!  Often referred to as a "floating pond heater", they are invaluable to a Colorado pond. Many people think it is because it got to cold or the fish froze.....no so.

Trapped Gasses

A de-icer or heater doesn't exactly heat up a pond like a warm swimming pool.  They actually keep one small area from freezing over.  Gases form in the water when decaying organic matter like leaves break down.  Gasses from the fish themselves build up in the water when it is iced over.   These trapped gasses can actually suffocate the fish!   A de-icer produces enough heat to keep the water from freezing around the unit.  This allows these gasses to escape the pond.   If you have lots of plants in your pond or more than 10 fish, you may want to consider using more than one de-icer to make sure there is enough ventilation.

Oxygen

Although fish don't do a lot in the winter, they do need oxygen.   When aerators are used in combination with a de-icer the fish have a good supply of air and a way for off gasses to get out.  This benefits the plants as well as the fish.  To have healthier fish, plants and a thriving eco system use both throughout the winter.

Placement of Aerator

It is important that aerators are not placed at the bottom level of the pond.  There is a thermo-climb temperature gradient with in the pond during the winter.  Simply said, the bottom of the pond is warmer during the winter than the top because the earth is not frozen so far down.  The more shallow the water gets, the colder the water gets.  If an aerator disc is placed at the bottom level of the water, the fresh and very cold air that it brings in will disturb the natural temperature and make is too chilly for the fish.  To avoid this, place aerators on a top shelf in the pond.  No shelves in your pond?  Tie the aerator disc on the side at the level it needs to be. Just use fishing line to attach it to something outside the pond.

Ok to Freeze!

It is actually ok for a pond to freeze over........as long as there is a hole for gases to escape.  When snow accumulates on a pond, it acts as an insulator from the harsh winter wind and dry Colorado air.  It keeps evaporation down and keeps the temperatures from fluctuating too much.  In the picture above, you can see the that waterfall does have snow on it, but that the moving water is still moving under it.  Moving water in pipes doesn't freeze!  The hole with arrow pointing to it is from an aerator bubbling up.  In very cold weather the water bubbbling can freeze over like a dome and may need to be broken up.

Very Big Fish or Very Harsh Weather

If you have very large koi or live in an area where the weather gets extremely cold, creating 8 inches of ice in your pond....you may want to consider adding a submerged water heater.  While this doesn't heat it up like a hot tub, it will keep the temperature more consistent and keep it from freezing all the way over.

Did you know?

Did you know that there are products like the ThermoCube that are Thermostatically Controlled Outlets?  That means they are outlets that you plug your heater into and they turn the outlet off when the air temperatures go above 35 degrees and turn it on when it gets down to 35 degrees.  If your heater doesn't have a temperature controlled on/off feature, this can save you electricity in the winter. 

Be Careful with Outlets!

Typical outlets have circuit breakers of 15 or 20 amps and are 120 volt outlets.  If GIFs are tripped during the winter, heaters, aerators and pumps can get shut off just when you need them to run.  Pipes can freeze int eh middle of the night when pumps suddenly turn off.  Be sure your circuit can handle the volts of equipment you need to plug in for the winter at the pond.  Remember, that the circuit might be carrying load from the house as well. We found a great article to understand how electrical outlets can be overloaded on Blain's Farm & Fleet's website.   Click HERE to check it out.

For more about getting your pond ready for winter, click HERE. 

Getting Your Pond Ready for winter

Getting your Pond Ready for Winter

Getting your pond ready for winter helps to keep it in the best condition possible and will help start the spring off on the right foot!

7 Steps to  Getting Your Pond Ready for winter:

 1. Decide if you will you be running your pond over the winter

  • Running the pond over the winter helps keep the fish healthy.
  • If you have fish, they need to have air!
  • Ponds and waterfalls look beautiful with snow and ice on them.
  • Leaving a pond dry is not always a great idea.  It can expose liner to the freezing, thawing and harsh sun and wind that is so typical here in Colorado.

2.  Leaves - Keeping them out of the pond

If your yard ends up with leaves in it, it is safe to say that your pond will too!  Leaves that blow into the pond could cause several problems.  They can muck up the skimmer basket or net, causing a blockage that could keep water from getting to your pump, and could even burn out your pump!  They also begin to decay in your pond.  Here in Colorado we have plenty of sunny days smack in the middle of the winter.  Leaving organic material in the pond over the winter will cause algae.

  • Rake up leaves and remove them from the yard - if not, they will end up in the pond!
  • Put a net over your pond to keep them out.  In our experience, a raised net that is over a sort of cage does much better than putting a net flat over the pond.  The weight of the leaves causes it to sink into the water, allowing those tannins to get in.
  • You can leave the net on until all the leaves have dropped.  Make sure to remove all leaves from your yard before removing net
  • Blow off leaves from your net every couple of days with a leaf blower.

3. Fish During the Winter

  • Many people wonder if fish can over winter in Colorado.  They certainly can!  Gold fish need only 18 inches of water to overwinter and Koi need a bit more than that.  24 to 36 inches is plenty.
  • When the water temperature reaches 50° you need to stop feeding the fish.  Their metabolisms slow down and they can no longer metabolize the food.
  • The fish will be fine if the pond freezes over....mostly.  There needs to be at least one hole in the ice for the fish gases to escape.  The running water from the waterfall keeps oxygen flowing and usually keeps the pond from freezing over 100%.  Many people add a floating de-icer to make sure.  It keeps a small area from freezing.
  • Refrain from breaking the ice by hitting it.  Imagine if you were underwater....basically taking a nap and someone broke ice over your head with a shove!  That would be a very loud noise and it can put added stress on your fish.
  • Snow on top of the pond - you don't need to remove the snow off a pond.  But you do need to make sure a hole is left open for the fish gases to escape.

4.  Pond Equipment

Some equipment needs to be removed for the winter, while other equipment will need to be removed.

  • UV lights need to be pulled out for the winter and stored in a place that they will not freeze.  Leaving them in will cause them to break.
  • Pumps - moving water does not freeze.  If you have fish it is ok to leave the pump in for the winter and run it.  Do not turn it off and leave it sitting or it can freeze, as well as the pipes attached to it.  If you choose to pull out your pump for the winter, store it in a place where it won't freeze.  Putting it in a bucket of water helps it from drying out and getting cracked seals.
  • IonGens - they can stay in over the winter, however, the IonGen control panel is a piece of computer equipment.  Taking it out and storing it in the garage will  keep it in better condition.
  • Autodose - These need to come out for the winter.  Their small tubes will likely freeze as well as the beneficial bacteria pouches.  Frozen bacteria is dead bacteria!  If you want to add beneficial bacteria specifically for 50 degrees and lower, you can add it weekly by hand.
  • Aerator - a great thing to add to the pond for the winter.  Helps ensure adequate oxygen.  Keep in mind that the air stone should be on the top shelf of the pond - putting it in the very bottom will disturb the temperature of the water as the air is coming in from the very cold.

5. Ice

  • Never crack or bang on the ice of the pond, it can stress out the fish.
  • Keep an eye on the waterfall or stream – remove ice that may form across it because it can divert water out of the system.

6. Plants

  • Hardy Lilies will come back in the spring.  If you have a lily pot on an upper step, it is a good idea to move the lily to the lowest part of the pond. This keeps it at a better temperature.
  • Marginal plants, the ones with their feet in the water will come back as long as they are hardy to zone 5.
  • Floaters like water hyacinth,

7. Evaporation

Colorado is very dry in the winter!  You will need to add water if it begins to get low to make sure your pump as enough to keep on pumping.  If you are adding small amounts of water (less than 20% of the total pond volume) then you don't need to worry about adding a de-chlorinator.  If you are adding a large amount at one time you will need to add de-chlorinator if you have fish.  Chlorine in the water can burn their gills!

Would you like to read about more pond topics?  Click HERE!

Would you like us to come winterize your pond or install a pond net?  Give us a call today at 303-775-0224 or click CONTACT US.

How Far to Fill up a Pondless Waterfall?

Are you wondering how far to fill up a pondless waterfall? Follow these quick steps to determine just how much water and to what level to fill it.

  • Turn off your feature.  You may have to um-plug it.
  •  Look into to vault after the water has drained back into it.
  • From this point you can fill the vault to the top with water.
  • Turn the feature back on.
  • Look again into the vault.  The water level with it running is the level you can put water into while it is running.

Don't Over Fill

Filling up the vault to the top while it is running could potentially cause overflow if the feature was to be turned off.

Think you may have a leak?  Click HERE to learn more about pondless waterfall leaks or pond leaks.

 

Protect your pond from hail!

Now and then here in Colorado we may experience hail.  Protect your pond from hail by making sure there is no exposed liner!  Colorado Pond Pros build ponds so that the liner is completely protected from the harsh rays of the sun, from the freeze and thaw cycle and from hail.  If you have exposed liner cover it with rock and gravel.  If you need help CONTACT US! 

Insurance -Protect your pond from hail

Have you already had hail damage and need a quote for the repair?  Start by texting us over some pictures so that we have an idea about the size of your pond.  We offer free estimates over the phone or in person estimates for the cost of a service call.  That amount can be applied to the cost of the repair work.

Looking for a landscape company to build your pond?

While many landscape companies may build ponds, we specialize in building ponds.  That's right, we only build ponds, waterfalls and waterfeatures!  If you are looking for a landscape company to build your pond - look no further!  Because of our focus, we are expert pond builders.  Check out these 10 common questions people ask:

1.  How long does it take to build a pond?

The time is takes to build a pond completely depends on how large the pond is.  However, it is very typical for a backyard pond to take 2 to 4 days to build.  Some smaller features can even go up in one day!

 

2.  Do you use concrete?

We choose not to concrete.  The freeze and thaw cycle can cause cracks to form in concrete, causing leaks.  We use underlayment, liner and natural stone to protect the liner.  This way the liner isn't exposed to the freezing temperatures and the hot sun, making it easier for the liner to last a very long time!

 

3.  What kind of equipment do you use?

When building a pond, we typically we use a Dingo that is narrow enough to fit through most backyard gates.  If the boulders used will be larger than usual we may bring in bigger equipment that requires a piece of fence to be removed during the build.

We use Aquascape products within the pond because they provide very well made and specialized pumps, aerators, skimmers, biofalls and other products that we have found to be very reliable over the years.

 

Natural pond - landscape company to build your pond

4.  Do you warranty your work? 

We warranty our work for 1 year.  The equipment we use is warrantied for 3 to 5 years.

 

5.  How much maintenance is involved with a pond?

When a pond is well built and is set up for the eco-system to thrive, they can be very little maintenance.  Some people feed their fish each week, while others prefer to feed them daily.  The skimmer basket will need to be cleaned out once a week, the filter pad could be washed out each month and beneficial bacteria will need to be added weekly and sometimes every few days if we have high heat or a lot of rain.  Did you know that rain contains nitrogen, which greens up landscape and sometimes can cause algae blooms?  Read more about that HERE. 

 

6.  Do I have to have fish?

No, you do not have to have fish.  However, ponds are small eco-systems within themselves and to keep it balanced a pond need 5 elements - of which, fish are one!  To read more about that click HERE.

 

7.  How much will my electric bill go up?

We use energy efficient pumps.  Customers report their electricity bills going up by roughly $30 a month.

 

landscape company to build your pond8.  Do I have to turn it off for the winter? 

No!  In fact, ponds and waterfalls can be beautiful during the winter!  If you have fish, we recommend running it over the winter for proper oxygenation.  If you choose not to run it you'll need to make sure aerators are in place and maybe even a floating pond heater.

9.  Do fish stay in the pond over the winter in Colorado?

Yes!  They over winter just fine as long as they have aeration and the pond doesn't freeze over 100%.  Even a small hole not frozen is enough for the fish gases to escape.  They basically go dormant (not quite sleeping) for the winter.  They don't eat because their metabolisms slow down so much.  Think about the fish in the natural ponds, they do just fine!

10.  Do ponds attract mosquitoes? 

While stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, the ponds we build are not stagnant.  The pump keeps the water flowing.  If a mosquito makes the mistake of thinking its a good place to lay and egg, the fish are right there for an afternoon snack!

landscape company to build your pond

pond

Pond Liner Hole – Could it be chewed through?

Have you found a pond liner hole?  Pond liners may last for decades if they are properly put in with good underlayment.  If it isn't exposed to the harsh rays of the sun and weather and isn't allowed to get dry for expended periods of time the pond liner should last a very long time.

If you've done some investigating you might have found a hole.  When the hole more than a puncture, and is a roundish hole, take a closer look. A hole 1 to 12 inches from the edge of the pond may be from a rodent.  Check for chew marks.  When there is a round piece missing from about the size of a quarter to a bit bigger, the evidence suggests you may have a vole or other rodent chewing on the liner!

Next Steps When you Believe you have a rodent chewing the pond liner.

  • Identify all holes present
  • Patch the holes you've found
  • Fill the pond back up without running the waterfall and see if it holds water over 24 hours.

If the problem persists you may have to call an exterminator.  Another option is to reline your pond completely and use extra tough geo-fencing that rodents can't chew through.

 

Heat can Green up a Garden Pond!

Are you seeing green cloudiness in your garden pond?  Here in Colorado we have had days on end of over 90° and several that hit 100°!  Heat can green up a garden pond!  Here's 8 things to know about the heat and keeping your pond healthy:

 

1. Oxygen

Did you know that cold water can hold more dissolved oxygen that warm water can?  That means that when the outside air temperature increases, it is more important that the pond have good aeration.  Waterfalls and aerators help provide oxygen.  Lack of oxygen can lead to slimy algae!

 

2.  Circulation

Do you notice certain parts of the pond get more algae on the rocks or the water just doesn't seem to move?  That is a great place to add are aerator.  Not only does it get more oxygen to the pond, but it is going to move that water.

 

3.  Water temperature

Did you know that although koi can be healthy in water from 35° to 85°, the ideal temperature is between 65° and 75°? When the weather really heats up you may notice your fish spending more time at the bottom of the pond.  It's cooler there at the sun heats the top of the water.

 

4.  Plants

Plants provide shade that can help keep the pond cool in the hot weather.  Lilies, once they are established, are great for added shade.  Submerged plants also add oxygen to the water.  Floaters like water lettuce and water hyacinth are fantastic for filtration!  If you have trouble with them floating into the skimmer tie some fishing line aroudn the roots and tie it in a circle. Then tie another piece of it around a rock (attaching it to the plant circle of fishing line) and put it where ever you like! Lettuce and hyacinth propagate like crazy, but don't worry, here in Colorado they aren't a nuisance because once a freeze comes they will die.

 

5.  Sunburned fish?

Did you know that if fish don't have somewhere to get out of the sun they can actually get a sunburn?  YES!  You might not be able to see it, but it can kill them.  Most fish don't get sunburned because they live in water deep enough that the sun's rays can't hurt them.  But if you have a more shallow pond, you might need to consider adding shade. If you don't have a shade tree or lots of lilies, try putting in a fish cave or adding a shade cloth over the pond that shades 1/2 the pond.  You can even take a bucket or trash can and cut it in half lengthwise and putting a rock on top to weight it down to create a shady place for fish.  Make it look good by covering it with rock.

 

6.  Not too much fish food!

Feed your fish in the morning, rather than the heat of the afternoon.  Overfeeding fish is a major cause of algae.  In warmer weather, uneaten fish food decays faster and can be fodder for algae.  Remember to feed fish only what they can eat in a few minutes.

 

7.  Exposed Liner

Make sure you don't have any liner exposed.  The sun and heat can make it brittle, leading to leaks!

 

8.  Evaporation

No matter the size of the pond, 2 to 3 inches of evaporation a week is normal.  If you have an autofill that is attached to your sprinkler system, it will be brought up tot he correct level each time that zone comes on.  If you are turning off the sprinkler system for repairs, make sure you don't forget about the pond.  Either leave that zone on, or be prepared to fill it up by hand.

Want to read more about pond health?  Click HERE for more topics.

 

Pond Foam

Pond Foam

4 Causes of Pond Foam

There are several potential things that could be causing this this white foamy stuff.  If it's green, it's algae!

  1.  Organic Material - The most common cause of foam build up is organic material in the pond.  Organic material build up is leaves, uneaten fish food, gunk or even a dead fish!  These things may not have dissolved into the water and can cause foam. Removing them is a good start to get rid of foam!  Make sure you are not feeding the fish too much.  THey should be able to eat what you give them within a few minutes.  Remember they can munch on algae and bugs too, so feeding them everyday is not mandatory. Adding Foam Free by Aquascape can help, but to really get your pond in balance, add beneficial bacteria on a regular basis.  If this is a consistent problem, you may want to check with a professional to see if you have the right filtration.
  2. New Liner - If you have recently had the pond or stream installed or relined, it could be the off gassing of the liner.  This will dissipate in a few days.
  3. Spawning Fish - If your pond is the perfect environment for fish.....they might be feeling a bit frisky.  This spawning can cause large amounts of foam.  Don't add products in the pond at this point.  You'll need to wait until they stop spawning.  Did you know the babies are called "fry"?
  4. Soap - Once in a while someone puts soap in a pond.  This gets crazy nuts with bubbles.  If this happens, you'll need to do a water change right away!

Want to learn more about keeping your pond in balance?  Click HERE! Scroll to the bottom to use the search function to find a variety of topics you may be looking for!