One of our consultations is always helpful but you can also find the answer to many questions by reading information on our website starting at the home page.
If you are looking for a long term strategy I can probably help, and while I do feel that our consultation services can be beneficial we are moving towards offering our advice for free and then recommending products that we feel will help. We do make a small profit on the products we sell thanks to help from manufacturers and in this way we can offer help to pond owners like yourself and if you appreciate the knowledge and help we give you can purchase the recommended products from us to show your appreciation. We find this works well with our goal of helping people as we would often do a $100 consultation and people would not be satisfied...so we needed to find a better way to help without asking for a consultation fee.
We now do our consultations on a "pay what you want" system. We provide as much information to a pond owner as we can and if they want to show their gratitude they can send a payment to us from a secure Paypal/Credit Card payment link we send. I will briefly give you a summary of what you should do for a long term pond care program.
There is a difference in the blends of bacteria that are used in septics and in ponds. There are specific blends that work on various problems; some bacteria works on grease, some on organic waste and some on hydro-carbons and compost leachates. It is best to use a bacteria designed for a specific situation. Some bacteria that is used for septic fields and septic tanks may provide benefits to a pond but it is a bit like taking a headache medication when you have a sore back...there might be some benefits but it is best to use the right analgesic for the job!
1. If you have a natural Earth Pond, that is a pond with no liner, ensure your pond has proper growth around the edges and shoreline. You need to keep a buffer zone of vegetation growth of at least 3 feet to resist erosion and prevent runoff from entering the pond. This helps reduce the nutrients that cause algae from entering the pond.
2. Circulation/aeration. You must have water movement and aeration to support fish and keep the waters clean. Oxygen is one of the basic principal ingredients of a healthy pond. Bottom mounted, often called "lake bed aeration" is very efficient. Fountains and surface aerators can also help circulate and add vital oxygen to the pond. Waterfalls can help but they provide mostly circulation benefits and while they do offer some aeration it is not as efficient as other methods.
3. Aquatic vegetation. Adding aquatic plants and shallow shoreline dwelling species will add oxygen naturally to the pond and will help filter out nitrates and nitrites while providing beauty and shade to the pond. In ponds that are exposed to open sunlight the warmth of the sun can lead to algae blooms and steps should be taken, if no natural springs are feeding the pond, to reduce the sun's effects on the pond.
4. Beneficial bacteria. Organic material will accumulate on the bottom of the pond and this build-up will create conditions ideal for algae growth. Using a natural bacteria will help reduce this tendancy. Many bacterial mixtures, including the one we recommend and sell, contains barley straw which is a natural algaecide. This algaecide, combined with the bacteria that consumes muck and nutrients will help keep the pond water clear and reduce the growth of algae.
5. Algaecides. Any algaecide like Polydex, Copper-Sulphate, or other such products should be used with care as they can be harmful to certain organisms and have certain restrictions for usage. On our algaecide and bacteria page we have listed a good algaecide but even that should be used only in extreme cases. It is better to use natural plants, aeration and harmless bacteria to maintain a youthful pond but in certain cases where there is no choice but to rapidly eliminate algae we do recommend and sell certain safe algaecides.
6. Dyes and Floating Islands. Aquatic dyes and liquid shade can be helpful to slow or stop weed growth and algae proliferation. They work by blocking sunlight from reaching the depths of the pond where the rays would normally heat the pond bottom and release phosphorous and other elements like ammonia and nitrates which cause water problems. Floating islands can also be used to provide shade but these natural water filters can be expensive and while they do provide benefits such as filtration via plant roots to a pond the aquatic dyes are something more affordable that can be added every month to a pond to reduce the sunlight that hits the pond floor.
7. Triploid grass carp. Grass carp have proven to be effective in controlling a large number of different aquatic weeds, including Chara (stonewort), water plantain, sago pondweed, Canada waterweed, and filamentous algae. The young growth of pond cattails, sedges and rushes may be eaten and ultimately controlled, over time, as older plants die back. Adding the triploid grass carp into ponds and waterways is not legal in all districts and municipalities so it is best to verify with your local Environmental Agency if adding the triploid grass carp is allowed or rewquires permits. Certain algaecides, like Polydex, can cause the toxic accumulation of toxic copper in the organs of these fish which is why we only use non-copper based algaecides in our projects. These are fundamental issues we look at in any pond especially when it is plagued with algae.
Don't forget, Jason, that what gets washed into your pond can also have a major impact on how the water reacts and how much algae you have. I have seen people living 3 miles from a ranch and they were constantly having huge thick matts of algae growing every time it rained. It was from the rich nutrients in the horse manure being washed into the pond that caused the problem...cows, goats and duck manure can cause the same reaction. I think that the combination of bacteria, aerator, dye and possibly triploid grass carp could be a very good solution.
I hope this information helps you. I can go further if you would like a full consultation. For the $100 consultaion we will look at diagrams and photos of the pond and help create the best plan for a longterm sustainable plan for your pond. If this information has been enough you can also show your appreciation by offering a small payment based on what you feel my help has been worth.
The Pond Report