Friday, September 08, 2006

A fish out of water

When it is cold outside, we often need to net just one fish out of the water and no matter how hard we try we can't do it. We often end up cold and wet and covered with pond scum because we tried so hard to reach just a little bit farther. Why on earth would we need to know how to get fish out of the pond? Sometimes fish have some sort of disease and treating the entire pond is almost impossible, but treating a few sick fish is economically feasible.

Pour warm water into one end of the pond. The fish will come toward the warm water and right into the net you have conveniently placed there.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Pump use


I have heard that a pump will keep the water clear. How big should my pump be? Must it run all the time?

Pondlady sez:

A pump will never keep the water clear. A pump moves water and provides oxygen for the fish if you feed them and the pond is overpopulated. If you have a natural ecosystem there will be no overpopulation and therefore you will not need any pump if you don't wish to have one. Most folks like them because we all like the sound of moving water and waterfalls.

You ned a pump that circulates all the water once per hour. Most people run the pump all the time, but it is not necessary at all. You can run the pump on a timer or when you are outside to enjoy your waterfall.

No pump has to be turned on all the time unless you feed your fish or have koi.

And if you live in a climate where you have freezing weather, turn the pump off in the winter. Most pumps do not function well in freezing water. If you are worried about your pond freezing over, throw an empty plastic gallon jug or several in the water during the freezing weather. In the morning, remove the jug and there will be a hole in the ice so gases can move freely during the day. Be sure to put that jug back in the water when the freezing weather returns at night.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

More aquatic plants

I want to spend more time with submerged plants. They are the engine that makes the pond run properly. After submerged plants, I will talk about floating plants, marginals and emergents.

Submerged aquatics generally grow completely submerged. They are sometimes rooted in the pond bottom and sometimes float freely.

This is the anacharis or elodea we talked about yesterday. It is the most popular and widely used. It is invasive, but not as bad as hydrilla.

This is hydrilla, another underwater grass.

They look much alike, but if hydrilla is allowed loose in any fresh water anywhere, it will become a nuisance that will have to be dealt with by governmental authorities. If you see any anywhere for sale, please do not buy it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


We talk about needing submerged vegetation in almost every post, so let's see what it looks like:

Elodea canadensis, sometimes called Anacharis (a former scientific name) is widely known as the generic pond submerged vegetation.

In Louisiana we use primarily anacharis for our submerged vegetation. It filters the water, it survives on fish waste and it serves as fish food. Anacharis is the reason we do not need to feed our fish and the reason the water stays clear with no artificial filtration.

Elodea (anacharis) is native to North America and is banned in some states because of it's invasiveness.

The American anacharis lives entirely underwater with the exception of small white flowers which bloom at the surface and and look like somebody threw popcorn all over your pond.

It likes to have some shade and will turn yellow and die when in complete sun.

Please use anacharis responsibly. When you have too much, just compost it, do not throw it in any nearby body of water.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Enlarging your pond

One pond regret most people have is they made their first pond too small. So they now want a bigger one.

If you must make the pond bigger, get a new liner. Don't try buying another piece of liner and attaching it to the first piece. You cannot seam a liner successfully in the field. You just can't, so don't get frustrated AND lose money by trying. My method of dealing with the client who wants a larger pond after building the first one is to install a second pond abutting it with a rock wall between the two. I reinforce the walls with 28 or thicker 14” roofing flashing staked up with 1/2” PVC pipe. Doing that insures no collapse of the dividing pond side. Each pond has it’s own pump, it’s own liner, plants, fish etc. Our eyes are fooled because it looks as if there is just a wonderful bridge over the pond when indeed the ‘bridge’ is a divider between two ponds.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Good morning

Today is Sunday. The weather in New Orleans is beautiful for a change; low humidity with the high temps. The pond is behaving well. The lawn is mowed. Life is good.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fish eating critters

Here in New Orleans, lots of critters eat our fish. Raccoons, egrets, herons, cranes all tear through our ponds, eating fish and having a water lily salad with their sushi. As much as we might want to shoot egrets after losing a prize koi or goldfish, it is illegal. It does, however, seem to be perfectly OK to shoot humans and we do it daily, reducing the human population by at least one daily. But I digress.

Years ago, a client of mine was at his wit's end. Egrets were dining daily on his goldfish. This man was a sensible, middle aged guy, a successful and caring OB/GYN who cured, not harmed living things. But he had had it. One day, he got a shotgun and shot at the egrets while they were enjoying dinner. He missed the egrets. But he did manage to puncture his liner, mangle his lawn furniture and his neighbors fence. Luckily he was not caught by the local law enforcers; I don't think they would have understood.

Soon after, I talked him into Gator Guard, a pretty effective way of scaring birds and other critters away.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Bottom rocks

Many folks and one large pond building franchise advocate covering the bottom of the pond with rocks. I think they do this for two reasons. 1) They can charge much more money to build the pond and to clean the pond yearly, and 2) Some really believe that it will help the ecosystem. During my eighteen years of pond building, I never put rocks on pond bottoms, and in all of the ponds I built and maintained, I never, not one time, had green water.

Each and every time I saw a pond bottom covered with rocks, I groaned because I knew that I had to charge the customer much more money to shovel those stones off the bottom to clean the pond. I usually talked them into not replacing them with the promise that next year's cleaning would cost about half as much - because it took half the time and work.

If you think rocks look nice and don't mind the extra cost of cleaning or the extra work of doing it yourself, by all means put them there. But trust me, you do not need them.