18 March 2017

Tony Roocroft
Water fish ponds, air pumps & oxygen

The following comments are really aimed at koi fish keepers rather than the casual garden water ponds enthusiast.  Nevertheless the points made are just as valid for small water ponds as well as
large water ponds. Based upon my experience few small water ponds actually use air pumps, neither do these water ponds need them.  The reason is that the demands for oxygen by both the fish and biofilter bacteria are less urgent.

Ponds, fish and oxygen ... the best kept secret in koi fish keeping

Before talking a little about air pumps themselves lets discuss the critical need for oxygen in water ponds in a bit of detail.

We survive on this earth because we can breathe oxygen.  Oxygen drives the human body. It is the same with most other life on this planet.  Koi fish need it and the bacteria that keep the water ponds clean need it.

It is probably fairly obvious why water ponds containing fish need oxygen but less obvious why the biofilter process needs it ... and in fact needs it in large quantities especially when fish are fed.

Ponds ... before feeding fish

If you imagined that you had an analyzer attached to the water ponds circulating pump system measuring oxygen and ammonia just before the biofilter and also just after the biofilter this is the kind of thing you would see on your results .... take this as a basic explanation and not the gospel truth.

Just before feeding the fish ammonia levels and oxygen levels at the water inlet side of the biofilter would be low and high respectively.
Now assuming the biofilter is working efficiently the outlet water side would show the ammonia level would be zero and the oxygen level would be a bit lower than on the inlet side of the biofilter.

The reason for this is that the biofilter bacteria controlling water purity in the pond's system need food (the ammonia) and oxygen to convert the food to useful energy and waste products (nitrite and nitrate).  Water ponds in good health achieve this result without your even knowing what is happening and your fish do not become stressed owing to high ammonia levels.  Plants for water ponds also help in the process.  Lets take a look what happens just after you feed your fish. 

Water ponds ... after feeding fish

All fish food contains nitrogen which when it passes through the fish's system is converted to ammonia. This happens very quickly. So if you repeat the measurements above for water ponds under feeding circumstances this is what you would see ...

At the inlet to the biofilter a much higher ammonia level with a normal high oxygen level would be observed. On the outlet side of the biofilter you would see a much lower oxygen measurement and a
significantly lower ammonia level.

What has happened in the water ponds system? .... the bacteria consumed as much of the ammonia as possible and absorbed lots of oxygen from the circulating water to be able to achieve this. However they could not remove all the ammonia in a single pass through the biofilter because the oxygen level was depleted too much too quickly.

For the bacteria to be able to do better at removing the remaining ammonia next time around the oxygen removed has to be replaced .... this is achieved in many ways such as using a waterfall, using a sprinkling or foam fountain effect, the action of wind on the water surface and of course by using air pumps. If you did not replace the oxygen removed then eventually the bacteria would die in large numbers and thus would not be able to convert ammonia. Your fish would also die in time as the levels of nitrogen based poisons built up.

This is why a water ponds pump must run 24 hrs per day in fish ponds.

Air pumps and how to use them in water ponds systems

Based on the above discussion it is obvious that biofilter bacteria need lots of oxygen and that oxygen is removed in the biofilter continuously in the biofilter process itself. Question then .... where is the best place in any water ponds system to add air or oxygen?

Correct answer .... directly into the biofilter system as close a possible to where the bacteria are sitting. This is why vortex filters and Japanese matting work so fantastically well together in any serious water ponds system ....but only by pumping copious volumes of air around the Japanese matting matrix.

It is also the reason why fluidized bed filters are better than box filters but not as good as vortex filters unless air pumps are used ... then they should be as good as vortex filters with Japanese matting.

So it is not the Japanese matting itself that is the secret to excellent biofiltration it is the fact that this medium lends itself to efficient contact between bacteria, food source and oxygen.

Conclusion to be applied ... all water ponds

Add as much air to water ponds as you can using air pumps and air stones to distribute the air if necessary (highly recommended for koi ponds and gold fish ponds that are heavily stocked). You can add the air directly to the pond, the filter, the waterfall and anywhere else you can think of.

A further conclusion from the above is .... feed fish small amounts often rather than a large amount at once to allow the biofilter to work efficiently.


20 October 2017

By: Mike Gannon | Posted On: December 30th, 2009 | No Comments on POND SAFETY AWARENESS | In: KOI PONDS, NATURAL PONDS, POND DESIGN, WATER GARDENS
Pond safety is a pretty tough topic to be able to come to any one solution as to what would be definite guidelines for safety. The difficulty in defining this matter comes from the fact that there are so many types of ponds, waterfalls, koi ponds, fountains, water features, and streams. Each one has its own safety issues that need to be addressed. Discussing some good general guidelines for pond safety should help any reader fine tune some pond safety guidelines for your particular pond installation. Safety is an issue/concern that is often expressed by people who are in the pond market looking at doing a constructed pond installation. Pond installation safety can be addressed regionally as well in that guidelines, regulations and codes of safety will vary from state to state or even town to town; a New Jersey pond installation will not be looked at as the same pond if it is a Pennsylvania pond installation.
In general it should be recognized that any body of water, regardless of the size, has the potential to cause a hazard. For this discussion we’ll try to keep the safety discussion in the realm of falling into or drowning. As part of our services for a pond installation we do a pond orientation for the new pond owner so they understand exactly what was installed, where it is, and how it works. We also make sure to point out the safety features of any pond installation. The shelves in a pond, for example, are not solely for housing aquatic plants, they are meant to function as “entry or exit steps” within the pond to avoid any sudden drops in depth, and this should be taught to the pond owners and any children that may come in contact with the water feature. It should be pointed out where is the best entry and exit for any given pond, the deeper areas should be pointed out as well as the shallows. The perimeter of the pond should be explored with the pond owners and kids to point out which areas are best for stepping on, sitting on, or standing; and which areas cannot be used for traffic. It is a good idea to even allow a supervised dip in the pond to familiarize oneself on how to navigate inside the pond.
All areas where equipment is housed should be pointed out and explained and these areas are best left to themselves apart from maintenance of the systems. A GFCI outlet should be used with all pond equipment and all equipment that needs power should be inspected frequently, especially after extreme weather, for its condition and to make sure all connections are tight and protected, DO NOT assume that once you plug in your system it is a walk away type of deal, check frequently the condition of your equipment, you never know when that cute little chipmunk has decided to chew a bit on the cord to your pump, which can represent a safety issue.

14 September 2017

Simple Tips for Fall Pond Care (aquascape)

08 September 2017

Maintenance and Care

Putting your pond to bed for winter doesn’t need to be an arduous process. Sure, it’s sad to say goodbye to your finned friends for a few months, but following our simple fall pond care tips will ensure that your fish joyfully greet you again in the spring.


Remove leaves and debris

Putting a pond net over your water feature before leaves start falling from trees is the easiest way to contain and manage leaf control. Once all the leaves have fallen, simply roll up the net, discard the leaves, and put the net away until the next time it’s needed.

If you didn’t install netting, you’ll probably have a build up of leaves and debris that need to be removed. A long-handled pond net makes an easy job of scooping the debris from the bottom of the pond. If you leave the debris on the bottom of the pond, you’ll be creating a bigger mess to face in the spring.


Trim dead or dying foliage

Trimming dead foliage helps remove excessive organic debris that would otherwise decompose in the water. Cut back hardy waterlilies just above the base of the plant and cut back marginal plants that could droop over into the water.


Add cold water bacteria

 Add cold water bacteria, such as Aquascape Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria to help keep pond water clean and clear. Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria contains concentrated strains of beneficial bacteria designed to work in temperatures lower than 50 degrees. Regular use of Aquascape Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria will help maintain water quality and clarity, as well as dramatically reduce spring maintenance by digesting debris that may accumulate over the winter months.


If you leave your pond running

Operating your pond and waterfalls during the winter will provide beautiful ice formations for you to enjoy throughout the frosty season. Keep in mind, there will be a bit of maintenance required this time of year, such as topping off the pond due to evaporation. Also, you’ll need to make sure ice formations don’t create dams that can cause unnecessary water loss over the edge of the stream.


If you shut down the pond

Many homeowners in northern climes choose to shut down the pond for the winter months. If you choose this option, remember to:

  • Remove the pump from your pond and store it in a warm place like the garage or the basement. Protection from the cold lengthens the life of your pump.
  • Drain the water out of the plumbing. This prevents standing water from freezing and expanding, potentially cracking the pipes that connect your filtration system.
  • Remove and clean the filter media and spray them thoroughly with a garden hose. Store them in the garage or the basement along with the pump.
  • Oxygenate the water by placing a small re-circulating pump, such as the AquaForce® on the top shelf of your pond. Oxygenating the water is not only for the sake of your fish, but it also helps keep a hole open in the ice when the surface of your pond starts freezing. This hole allows harmful gasses to escape, and oxygen to get in.
  • If it gets really cold where you live, you may consider adding the Aquascape De-Icer. At extremely low temperatures, the oxygenation of the water may not be sufficient to keep a hole open in the ice.
  • That’s where the De-icer saves the day. It compliments the AquaForce and, together, they’ll keep most any pond open.


Ensure healthy fish before winter

A well-balanced diet creates healthy, happy fish. You want to make sure your fish are in good condition before they go into hibernation. When the water temperature falls below 60 degrees, the metabolism and digestion of your fish begins to slow down. Aquascape Premium Cold Water Fish Food is scientifically formulated to properly nourish your fish during these lower temperatures. Be sure to stop feeding your fish when water temperature falls below 50 degrees.

Taking a little time and effort to prepare your pond for winter not only helps your fish survive their winter slumber, but makes your spring maintenance much easier. Be sure to follow these winter guidelines so you can experience the greatest joy from your pond when spring rolls around once again.