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Questions from Pond Owners:
Ask the Pond Experts

From time to time, and sometimes on a daily basis, we get some really good questions about Ponds. Here's where we put them. Maybe there's one here that can help you. If you have a question for us, please let us know.

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Just Click the Question to View Answer. Click to Open, and Click to Close. Or, Click the Check Box below to view all Answers.

* I noticed some correspondence between Brigitte and a customer from May 2005. This inquiry also relates to pond vacuums. I am interested in purchasing a high end pond vacuum like that Pondovac 3. I like the feature of two chambers that alternate filling and emptying. However, I note that in the description of this machine, there is a caveat mentioned that the deeper you attempt to vacuum a pond there is a substantial loss of suction. "At 3' this vac gets little suction."

I have two ponds one about 7000 gallons, one 1200 gallons. They run from 2.5 feet in depth to 4 ft deep. I need a device which has strong suction to vacuum up algae that is dying on the bottom after I used Algaefix, as well as the usual debris that accumulates.

I have other means of emptying out the water from both ponds, so water removal is less of an issue than sucking debris off the bottom.

What are your recommendations? Many thanks, RM Rose, MD
Click Here for Answer


Answer. Hello Dr. Rose. If there is a vac on the market I would recommend, it's the Pond O Vac 3. As with any pond vac, they do not operate like a Dirt Devil or Hoover in the living room. Pond vacs work very slow. As far as ease of use and workability, the Vac 3 is it. There is suction loss beyond 3' though. There is minimal suction after 6'. I have a pond that's 3.5' deep throughout most of the pond and the Pond O Vac 3 works well. I keep the motor on the pond edge, taking care that it doesn't fall in, to keep the actual distance from the motor inlet and the water surface as close to 3' as possible. From my experience, the vertical distance between the surface of the water and the vac motor inlet is the critical factor. There is minimal gravity in water, so the distance from the bottom of the pond to the surface of the pond is an insignificant factor. Now, if the motor is located 3-4' up from the surface of the pond, on a hill for instance, and the pond is 3-4' deep, then suction will be a problem. I hope this helps.

Thanks for asking! I am copying the staff as an FYI. AB.


Answer. Hello Gary, I understand how frustrating pH can be. Here are a couple of facts:
1. pH fluctuates throughout the day from photosynthesis.
2. Most fish safe acids (pH down, pH reducer, pH minus, pH salts down) are designed to safely lower the pH of pond water. This means that most will only lower pH 2 tenths of a point per application.
3. Most off the shelf pH test kits for pools and ponds read in 1/2 points. This means that if your pH is 9.5, it may take 10 treatments to see a difference on the average test kit.

Given the above statements, if your pH is higher than 9.0, most ponds are, you would have to treat your pond at least 5 times to see a noticeable difference on a tester provided that you were testing in the morning. I can promise you that all the pH reducers we offer work because I have used them. The first step to getting an accurate reading is to start testing your pH in the morning. If you have treated your pond several times, more than 10, then your pH is probably between 6 and 8. The most probable cause for pH increasing on the scale is adding tap water. Once your pH is between 6 and 7, you should only have to treat it once a month. The other important thing to remember is the buffering capacity of the water. Some test strips measure this. The higher the buffering capacity, the harder it is to adjust pH. Since fish safe acids only lower UP TO 2 tenths of a point per application, you could be up against 10-20 treatments before it comes down. Again, once it's down - it's down. Aaron


Answer. Hello Deb, with a waterfall/skimmer filter system it is absolutely essential in addition to what you are doing is that by this time of year about 3/4 of the surface is covered by plants. The easiest way to do this is with Water Hyacinths and Water Lettuce. Brigitte


Answer. Hello again, Debbie! We have found an easy way to keep floating plants out of the skimmer: Tie a fishing line tightly across the intake at the water level. The floating plants will not cross it. Brigitte


Answer. Hello Gary! Both Goldfish and Koi lay eggs. The eggs are very sticky, and they lay thousands of them. Although it is possible for some eggs to get sucked into the pump, there are usually plenty left to provide some baby fish for the pond. Brigitte


Answer. Almost any fish will eat small baby fish. Catfish are not recommended in the pond for other reasons, mainly because they are bottom feeders and will continually stir up the waste in the bottom of the pond, which tends to give it a murky appearance. Brigitte


Answer. Hello Kay! Ants close to the pond can be a bit of a problem, because we do not want to use anything poisonous that could wash into the pond and harm the pond fish. A natural remedy is the best approach here. There are a couple of things you can try:

1) Ants do not seem to like cinnamon, so you can sprinkle a generous amount on the ant hill and around the pond.

2) You can try dousing the ant hill with a high concentration salt water solution (this will kill any plants that are close by, though). Brigitte


Answer. Hello Charles!
Sorry to hear about your trouble with the Heron! They can be deterred, though, with a Heron Decoy (they are pretty cheap):

Click Here for Heron Decoy for Garden Ponds


Answer. Hello Dennis! This question is not so easily answered. The main purpose of the filter is to convert the toxic fish waste into harmless compounds to fish can live. It can be accomplished with plants alone, but it takes a lot of plants per fish. If you put in a lot of plants and only 3 or 4 Goldfish (and DO NOT feed them), then you may be able to do it without a filter. Otherwise, I would recommend you get a filter to make sure the fish can live. Brigitte


Answer. Hello Janice! I am afraid the whiskey barrel will not be enough to filter your pond (especially if there are fish in it). The general rule of thumb is that a bog filter has to have a minimum of 10% of the surface area of the pond. It should also contain plants that are very good at filtering water (Water Hyacinths, Louisiana Iris, etc). In hot climates and/or ponds with Koi even that may not be enough and additional filtration has to be provided. Aaron


Answer. Hi Dianne. Now that the algae is going away, you can feed the koi more often. Make sure your using a high quality food. Koi produce less waste with a higher quality food - in turn leaving less waste for algae to feed on. I use the Microbe Lift line myself. You can use the cool weather food this time of year - once a day. Hope this helps! Feel free to contact me directly if you have anything else. Thanks, Aaron


Answer. Yes ! The Tetra Back-Flushable Pressurized Filter can be lower than the water level (but outside the pond). Aaron

* Is it desirable to cover a garden pond with Plexiglas or at least shelter it with allowing light into it? Don
Click Here for Answer
Answer. Hello Don ! The type of winter cover to use for a garden pond depends in large part on its location, its depth and the type of fish in it. Generally, garden ponds and koi ponds are covered with netting to keep leaves and predators out and let oxygen get in. Netting with small holes is available for this purpose at our On-line Store- if the pond is located in colder areas then a pond de-icer is needed to winterize the pond. The de-icer will keep a hole in the ice to let carbon monoxide escape and oxygen in. We provide a wonderfully informative and FREE e-book that explains the pond winterization in detail and can be downloaded by clicking on any of the "eBook" links at www.pondmarket.com Brigitte


Answer. Hello Donna. Sorry for the delay in replying. You are correct. Your Savio Skimmer filter is designed to filter 1000 gallons of water independently. A filter falls will be enough to mechanically and biologically filter your water. Given your climate, I would recommend either a Savio Livingponds Waterfall Filter, or a Laguna Filtration System. These filters are oversized for your pond - they will increase your filtration by 5000 gallons capacity. This is a standard practice for ponds in your climate. Your water quality will improve and your maintenance will decrease. Smaller filerfalls are available, but, using a smaller filter will increase maintenance.

As far as adding a UV - if you experience problems with green water, a UV is defiantly the way to go. Savio has units that will fit right into the skimmer filter, 25 and 57 watt. I would recommend (2) 25 watt units. Savio rates the 25 watt UV up to 2000 gallons and the 57 watt up to 5000 gallons. 2 UVs provide more exposure than 1 - even if the combined wattage of the smaller UVs is smaller than the larger UV. This means that 2 25 watt UVs are better than 1 57 watt UV.

The Savio promos ended yesterday, but, I am late in responding so I will offer a couple of promos exclusively for you - you will not find them listed on the site.

Here's what we can do:
1) We can do a 20% off on Savio UVs, one time offer
2) Free Pond Scrubber Kit with the purchase of a Savio Waterfall Filter and Free Freight. The scrubber kit contains beneficial bacteria for your new filter and a powder to remove organic debris.

I hope this helps. Please contact me directly if you have any questions regarding the products, promotions, or any other pond questions you may have. Many Thanks, Aaron


Answer. Hello Tina. Both the Tetra Pond Fish Treatment and the Microbe Lift Anti-Fungal Treatment work in cooler water. The recovery period could be quite slow depending on the type(s) of infeciton. If you do not see any improvement in a week, switch the treatment regiment. Having a salinity of .3-.5% can speed up the healing process too - you can use Pond Salt in conjunction with the meds currently being used. Please contact me directly if you have any other questions. Thanks, Brigitte

Answer. Hi Paul. I think we can get you an easy solution to your problem. There are fittings that provide mechanical connections through pond liner specifically designed for hose hook-ups. You can view them at the below link. Simply stick the fitting into the hose, apply fish safe silicone, attach lock nut, and your done! The fitting has threads on the inside to thread in a hose connector. Thank you, Brigitte


Answer. ________ From Bonny

"Bonny @ PondMarket" <bonny@pondmarket.com> wrote:
Larry S., I am writing about your email. Originally, the Algae-off was out of stock at our location. I had to get it from our other warehouse. Unfortunately, that location was back ordered on that item. In the meantime, we received that merchandise at our location. I will have this sent out to you today. I apologize for the delay in getting the product to you. If you have any questions, please contact is at 1-800-577-5605 or pondmarket.com. Thank you for your patience in this manner.
Thank you,

________________________________________ From Larry

Hi Bonny,

Thanks for your email explaining what was going on with my order. I understand how things like this happen. The good news is I received the Algae-Off today as promised.

However, after reading the label and instructions I have a question/concern. I was reading the Environmental Hazards on the label and noticed that this product is TOXIC TO BIRDS. It FURTHER STATES THAT ONE SHOULD KEEP THIS PRODUCT OUT OF LAKES, PONDS AND STREAMS. (Emphasis added by me).

This is my concern. I have a koi pond/stream combination which is visited year around by a wide variety of birds. They bathe in and drink the water all the time. It also states that the product may be toxic to bees and other beneficial insects. If this product is intended for outdoor use for algae control, I really can't believe you would sell it if it is so hazardous to birds and other outdoor critters.

When I purchased this product, I was advised that this was exactly the same thing as the product D-SOLV. In fact, there is a sticker on the container I received that states it was formerly sold as D-SOLV(TRY Pondmarket Restor). However, when I compare the label on my old container of D-Solv D-SOLV (TRY Pondmarket Restor) I find that nowhere on it does the label indicate any environmental hazards of any kind.

Assuming that this is, in fact, the same product as D-SOLV
(try Pondmarket Restor) I'm now concerned about the environmental hazards of both. Is this really the same product? I guess you and I can only take the company's word for it.

I was serious about my statement of disbelief that you would sell this product for outdoor use if it is such an environmental hazard.

Anyway, I really don't want to use any water treatment that is hazardous to birds and beneficial insects. So, how do I go about returning this product and getting a refund?

Can you recommend any other product that is as good as D-Solv
(try Pondmarket Restor) for algae control but is not a danger to the environment? Maybe we can work out an exchange.

Please let me know as soon as possible what I need to do in order to return/exchange this product. You may email me or call me at my home telephone number that you have on file.

Thanks for listening. I look forward to your reply. Larry

________________________________________ From Aaron

Hello Larry. I appreciate your concern. Please allow me to clear the air a little bit here...

Here is the deal. D-Solv" and "Algae Off" are the SAME thing. The confusion with ...


... is from Uncle Sam. In order to market a product as an "Algaecide" or "Algae" remover, etc. it has to be registered with the EPA. In order to obtain a registration from the EPA for an algaecide - the above things MUST be stated on the product label.

There are different classifications for algaecides as well. That's where the "lakes and streams" comes into play. If it is a registered algaecide but not for lakes and streams - the product label must say so.

If a bird, dog, cat, human, or any other life form would eat the contents in the container - the product could be toxic.

If a pond were treated to the recommended dosage(s) on the bottle - there will be NO environmental concerns.

D-Solv was not marketed as an "algaecide". It was marketed as a product that "removes organic debris from ponds and waterfalls". Therefore, legally, it did not have to have ANY warnings.

The manufacturer of D-SOLV
(try Pondmarket Restor) changed the name of < D-SOLV (try Pondmarket Restor), changed the logo, and even changed the container size. The formula for the product is NOT any different. However, ANY product that says "Algae" in the product name, or says directly or hints of killing algae, removing "green" water, or anything of the sort - it has to be registered with the EPA and the EPA mandates what warnings must go onto a product regardless of the product.

Aaron Burchett
Vice President, Operations

________________________________________ From Larry

Hi Aaron, Thanks for your response. I really feel better knowing that this product is as safe as it ever was. Your explanation as to why this happened is very enlightening and not surprising when I realized the EPA was involved the the "language" on the label. They have their rules and hopefully most of the time the rules lead to the desired results.

I appreciate you taking the time to personally reply to my email regarding this matter. Thank you for caring. A refreshing trait these days. Talk with you later. Larry

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