Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Water hyacinths

I live in zone Georgia, zone 8a.
Water hyacinths grow well in my area...just not my pond?

My pond has koi.
My water hyacinths were in floating nets.

They all died in the winter.

Someone said seeds can live under the old hyacinths until spring and then grow.

Haven't seen any action yet.

Normal? Do I need to wait longer? Are they all just dead?


Your koi are eating the roots of your hyacinths. No matter what plants you have in with your koi, they will eat and love them.  The floating nets that supposedly keep the plants safe usually don't work very well and koi are pretty smart fish.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Frogs and Toads


I have a smallish pond (about 330 gallons) and each year we get many frogs and toads. Last year we had huge amounts of spawn, both frog and toad. The pond ended up teaming with tadpoles to the point where I was concerned for the health of my fish (lack of oxygen). The froglets then spread through my lawn making it unusable.
This year we already have even more than last year, and the 50+ frogs and toads continue to mate. Are there any organisations that would re-home the frogs/toads/spawn?

It seems my fish are too small to eat the spawn, causing an imbalance.

Toads and frogs are so very valuable. Not very many survive, so please allow them to stay in the resort you have built for them. Tadpoles will not hurt your fish and the fish will not eat the tadpoles either. Nor will fish eat the eggs. It's only for a few days a year and then the mosquito eating critters are off doing their jobs until they return to your house again next spring.

Monday, March 29, 2010

DIY Pond Filter

From Craig Hahn, veteran pond keeper and all around handy guy:

Just thought I might mention a solution that I have come up with - once the ice is off the pond here. (More snow here yesterday. yuk!)
I have a half wine barrel (~20gallons) that I fill with 3" lava rock (to handle the inflow) then use that fiber material that they sell for pillows - still can see the look of the sales lady when I told her I was using this for a bacteria medium). I tip the barrel so the water spills over into the pond and cover the top of that fill material with a layer of foam thick enough to lay flat. I cover this with small - medium rocks to make it look nicer. Then the pond water is forced into the bottom (lava rocks) and is filtered and nutrients consumed when it warms up a bit by the bacteria (I don't add any product - just use nature). You could clean the filter material if you like after the water is cleared but I don't - I love the natural way of things.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

GFI reset

Why doesnt my pond pump work anymore?
I cut my hedge and severed the electric cable causing a fuse to blow, after resetting the trip, everything worked except the pump, even though the socket it was connected to was live, I had not cleaned the pump filter for many months, but I cleaned it all up, I found the impellor will now move, but when I switch on there is no sound or movement at all from the pump, all fuses are ok, the make is Oase filtral 5000 D I need a new pump?

Try this: Plug the pump into something else. Put it into a bucket of water or somesuch. If it works, then the problem is in your electrical socket. Also check the outlet for a GFI. It should have one. It will be a red or black button that turns off the pump in case water gets to the outlet. Push it to reset.
If your pump still does not work, you will need a new one. It may be under warranty. Oase has great warranties. Check and see.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rock fountain question

Stone rock fountain question?
at a rock store I saw a fountain that was really cool but I can't figure out what it is called. It was just a elongated rock with a hole drilled through it standing up so that it was tall, hooked up to a pump. I just want to know what you would call it and also if you know of any good priced and reliable sites or places to buy them.

Most stone yards will drill a hole in any rock you find there. It will cost you a few bucks, but not much. If they specialize in pond rocks, they may have some with the hole already drilled. Just attach a hose to a pump, put the rock in the pond with the pump in the water and plug in the pump. You now have a great fountain.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Algae Control

Help with pond and summer algae?
I have a 2 acre pond surrounded by mostly trees red (swamp maples) and the pond is mostly fed by runoff at the bottom of a hill, the pond was built in a swampy area (there are a number of seeps in the area, so it is fed by seasonal seeps/springs also) I usually have overflow for 4 to 5 months of the year of at least 10 gpm (more when it rains)...

The trouble I have is in July/August when there is no overflow and I lose from evaporation 3 to 4 feet of water level and the pond develops green algae, I am aware of using barley straw to control the algae, Is there any other methods to help?

There are several products made by Microbe-lift that will keep your water clear. I have used many of them and they all work well.  I would start with Microbe-Lift Sludge and then use Microbe lift PL after that.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Keeping mosquitoes away

Hi. I have a small outdoor fountain. I'm not home a lot of the time, so I don't want it to run continuously. Where I live, Louisiana, we have a lot of mosquitoes, and I'm afraid the standing water will attract them. Does anyone know how I can keep the mosquitoes away without harming birds? Someone told me to use a small amount of bleach, but I'm worried about the birds. Thanks for any help!!

There's a product called Mosquito Dunks. Safe for everything and gets rid of all mosquitoes. You can get it at your nursery or maybe even a big box store.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pond installation cost

What does a 25 by 25 pond cost if put in by a professional?

Somewhere between $20,000 and $25.000, depending on where you live and what jobsite problems might be encountered.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pond Chemicals

I use Interpet also know as Blagden chemicals in my pond. I just wanted to know whether I can use several of them at a time, like can I use chlorinate when I refill my pond then also add some plant fertilizer (flora boast)?

You need no chemicals in your pond except dechlor to remove the chlorine. Never ever put chlorine in it. It will kill the plants and fish. If you have an algae bloom, you can use an enzyme - Microbe Lift PL if need be. If you fertilize too much at once, your pond will turn green.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Growing Lotus

I have a water lotus that is rooted and growing in still water but I am wanting to add running water that will agitate the water around my lotus plant. Will this water movement disturb the plants growth? I know plants like the water lily do not do good with water movement.

Neither lotus nor water lilies like moving water. If you can put the lotus far away from the moving water, you will be OK.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Floating plants

Are there any plants that float entirely on the water,with roots hanging down?(except duckweed & water sprite)?

Mosaic is one. Parrots feather can float without soil as well. Certainly water lilies and lotus need to be in pots or in soil.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

How to get a pond clear fast!

My pond has been murky for about a month now. We put algae killer in but it is still the same. we have fish and frogs in there. what can we do to make it really clear and FAST ?

To get your pond clear FAST, you can rig up a quick filter. Put a large plastic pot on top of something in your pond. Be sure it is out of the water. I have used a lawn chair. Put 4" of foam rubber in the bottom of the pot. Run the hose from the pump into the pot. Hold it down with a brick. Be ready to clean the foam rubber every couple of hours or when the water spills over the top of the pot. Your water will be clear in about 48 hours.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Swimming Pool Liner

Can i make a pond with pool liner?
I bought a 12'x12' pool last year and now it's in the basement put away -
those inflatable pools
Can I reuse it to build a 8'x4' pond with this same liner?
I'll put those rolls you have to put before the liner also.
So do you think it will work? Like I wouldn't see why not and how long would it last? How long would a normal pond liner last?

They get brittle when exposed to the sun usually within 2 years. Use a butyl rubber liner - they come with at least a 20 year guarantee. You could use your pool liner for your underlayment.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Concrete pond problems

How do I keep pond water from going away?
I cement the pond with 3 layers and Im not going to do another one. I have 2 roots in there that I cemented, but Im not sure if there taking in water still. I have 2 layers of brown paint in there and still, the water keeps going away. Help please.

Concrete is awful material to use for a pond. It is just too brittle. You need butyl rubber and not bought from a big box store. Google pond liners and have it shipped to you. It will be less than the retail stores sell it for. I would break out your concrete first tho so water does not get trapped between the new liner and the old concrete. And use an underlayment to protect your liner. Roofing felt works very well.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I think these plants are like little elephant ears. I need help?
I dont know what they are called but they are little bulbs they looked like little elephant ears but they are red and maybe black? Dark purple, something like that. I would like to know what they are called and also when I should plant them... any help would be awesome, I'm only 21 and im not the best at gardening yet. Thanks

It's taro. You can get it in dark dark almost black, striped, or solid green. I have them in the pond. They do have a tendency to jump out of the pond and travel far, so watch out.
The bulbs can be fermented and eaten as poi. Not by me, understand, but by many.
Plant them now if it's spring where you are, but they do come back after a winter....and back and back and back....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How to bid landscaping


How do I bid some landscaping?
I have some work that a friend wants me to do. He needs a couple flower beds put in with some brickpavers, top soil, and mulch. Should I bid by the square foot or figure out the cost of materials and then estimate the amount of hours it will take?

Cost of materials +10%
Labor + costs of insurance and other benefits. Usually 35% of labor costs will cover that.
Other overhead: Cost of gasoline, truck insurance, office costs, paper, pens, computer, etc.
Any other costs included in the job.
Add it up and add at least 15% profit.
That should do it for you.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Natural Pond

How to revive my natural pond?
We purchased a house about 2 years ago. The people who lived here before us did not take care of the property and left the place in pretty bad shape. There is a natural pond in the back that is scummy, full of all kinds of plant life, and during the summer can be pretty stagnant. It is a large pond about 5500 sq ft. There are lots of frogs and turtles and toads in it but really no fish. It is natural so there is no liner concrete, rubber nothing, just a dirt bottom. The tributeries leading away from the pond dry up and are just a hunk of scum during late summer. We were told that the people before us rerouted waterways dealing with this pond, but we do not know for sure. We really have a lovely piece of property and would like our pond to be clean and pretty. What can I do to fix this problem? I have searched on the web and only found things dealing with man made rubber bottom or concrete ponds.

Start by raking out all the old plant material. Wash it off and put back about half of it. After that, put in a floating pump to circulate the water. Plant around the edges with natural bog plants. If you put fish in, use goldfish only and do not feed them.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Growing calla lilies

How to grow calla lilies?
I'm going to try to grow some calla lilies this year...I already have the bulbs...and I was just wondering if you can give me some tips...

Put them in the ground as soon as you can work it. They love filtered shade and even more love to have their feet wet. I use them in shade ponds when possible. The flowers are incredibly gorgeous. Good luck.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pond pumps

Do I need a pump for a pond?
I am using it to grow lotuses, but I also want to add a few goldfish to it to make it more interesting. Would I need to buy a pump for the fish, or would the plants provide the oxygen needed?

You don't need a pump for your pond. If you add goldfish, you must add submerged vegetation for them to eat, but never feed them anything else or the water will get foul. The submerged vegetation (anacharis, hornwort, cabomba) will add enough O2 for the fish.
Add a few mosquito fish to keep mosquitoes away.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cal Pumps

Does a cal pond pump make noise when on?
We have a pond and bought a cal pump for the filtration of the pond and was wondering if we'd know that it was on. Does a cal brand pond pump make any noises, such as a running noise? Also, how do I work it? how to turn on, keep on, and how to get it working.

Calpump makes one of the finest pond pumps. It makes no noise at all. You can feel it humming if you touch it, but that's it. To work it, drop it in the water, and plug it in. Hook it up to the hose you want it to pump water through before you put it in the water. I would use a prefilter to keep debris out of the impeller.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Koi and filters

Is it possible to turn a pool filter into a filter for my Koi pond?
I know i can't use the sand in it, I will take that out. What type of media should i use?

Yes it's possible, even recommended. If you want to take it out, use lava rock, beads or bioballs instead.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fishing pond

Can i put a pond in my backyard? (for fishing)?
hello. i live in ohio and i want to put a pond in my backyard but i want it for fishing. what can i do to have the pond without hitting any lines of pipes?

It can be done, but it's not easy. First call your local utility company and have them mark where their wires and pipes are.
After that, find a local aquaculture place and ask for help as far as how deep it has to be, and what you can stock successfully, etc. Usually a local community college can help as well. Another resource is your local extension service.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Wetland Gardens

How do I create a wetland garden?
We live on a lake in Michigan and I want to start planning a wetland garden. We have an area by the lakeshore that is always mushy, so I'd like to embrace mother nature and plant a wetland garden in this area that will look better than muddy grass. And I would hope this area would improve drainage in my yard. How much maintenance does this type of garden require? What mulch or other bedding material would be best? The area is probably 30 ft long by 5-8 feet.

Here's an article I wrote about building a bog garden.
In Michigan, my home state, I would use cattails and hardy rushes. Drainage would indeed be improved and the area would look nice. Maintenance would be very little. I mulch mine a couple times a year.

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Ponds and pumps

Is it possible to have 2 ponds running off 1 filter & 1 pump?
i want to add a second pond ,but i would like to know if it is possible to use just 1 filter & 1 pump ? if so how do i do it or do i need to use 2 pumps & 2 filters i should also say that i want to run a waterfall flowing down into the bottom pond from the top 1 any info would be much appreciated many thanks

I suppose it is possible. You would have to use an inline (out of the water) pump and somewhere in the hose put a Y so each pond could have water moving. To get two waterfalls, you would need a HUGE inline pump, but they are made, I know. You could use one bead filter that was also out of the water. You are looking at lots of dollars. It would be cheaper to use two pumps, I think.
That idea of having one pond flow into another one is very very difficult to do. I built ponds for 20 years and when doing that sort of thing, I made each pond a separate entity, each with its own pump/waterfall.

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Oxygenating grasses

Can you plant just regular grass seed in a fish pond? Will it grow? Will it take oxygen from the fish?
I own some land in which I have started building a fish pond. If the grass doesn't grow, is there a special type of underwater grass to use?

Regular grass will not grow in water. Use anacharis, hornwort or cabomba and your fish will love you. All three give O2 to the fish and they, in turn, fertilize them.

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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Terra Cotta Fountain

What type of pump do you suggest for a terra cotta pot fountain?
It is going to be made of three pots staked on top of each other with a saucer on top.

You can buy a tiny one at some place like Hobby Lobby that costs less than $20.00. You will have to replace it often because those little ones don't have a long life. But anything bigger will send the water into your neighbor's yard. Have fun with your garden art.

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Friday, March 05, 2010

Koi pond filter

I have read a lot about building a koi pond but i am unsure of where to put the skimmer, filter and pump?
Does anyone have a diagram of where to put all the stuff, preferrably the pond would be L shaped. or can you tell me please because videos on youtube dont really say where the filter, etc. goes.


You don't need a skimmer at all. You do need a filter tho, but it doesn't matter where you put it. Put it where it is easiest to hide and to clean.
• Here's an article that I wrote about how to build a koi pond.

• Oh, and thoughts about skimmers:

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

How to build/buy a small raised pond?

Hi I bought my partner two goldfish and a fishtank for Christmas last year, one is your average goldfish (Betty) and the other a Sarsha comet (Bob) They have been living in a 10 gallon tank this whole time and as a random surprise I want to build a raised bond in our back garden. It has to be raised as we have nephews who visit and we own a lot of rabbits.

The garden has mostly been taken over by the bunnies but was planning on putting it near the patio part. Is there any like metal tub/plastic tub ponds that I can put there? And what sort of size should I be looking for and what sort of filter?

Thank you

You can build or buy most any size pond for the back yard. Here's one made of cinder blocks and fieldstone. Or you can use a circular horse trough, bury 24" of it and camouflage the rest.
Here's an article with photos for the cinder block pond.…

And here are some smaller and cheaper ones: find more pond information, go to

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Koi question

I live in miami fl. im building a 175 gal waterfall pond but can go only 20 inches deep. I have morning shade?
Question: I am concerned about the temp for goldfish or koi in summer. I have a concrete pond I bought as a foundation. It's only 45 inches round and 8 in deep, so I plan on dropping it under ground 1 foot and adding 1 foot around the circumference. This should take its original size of 65 gallons and add about 100 gallons more making it about 165 total make any sense got any ideas?

Answer: Your fish will be fine at 20". I would stick to goldfish rather than koi, tho, because koi need at least 3' of water depth. Cover 60% of the top of the pond with floating vegetation and put in one bunch of submerged vegetation per square foot.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Koi and pumps question

Can I turn off my pump in my koi pond in the winter?

I have a leak in my pond liner. I think it is at the bottom because a windstorm moved a large plant and my water level started to drop after that. The temperature where I live is from high 30's at night to 60's during day. Can I turn off my pump and let my water level drop without depriving koi of needed oxygen? Also, when I remove koi to completely drain pond, how long can they survive in small holding tank w/o pump

A Top Contributor is someone who is knowledgeable in a particular category.

If your temps stay under 55F, you might be safe turning off the pump, but I would probably throw an airstone in the water. Frankly, I suspect you will not find a leak at all. First turn off your pump and watch the pond overnight. I'll bet the water level will not drop and you will find that same wind moved hoses around and the water is dripping off the back or side of a waterfall.
With an airstone, the koi will survive in a kiddy pond for as long as you need, especially in cool weather.
See my article on leaking ponds:…