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  1. Garden Pond Protein Froth and Foam

    Garden Pond Protein Froth and Foam

    Garden Pond Protein Froth and Foam

    Protein Froth is an unsightly foam which sits on the water surface and can look like some one has tipped washing up liquid in to your pond. Protein Foam is normally formed where the water comes back in to the pond at waterfalls and filter returns, but can also happen around fountains and venturi’s. In most cases it is caused by Protein, which is an oil based chemical that floats on the surface of the pond and makes the bulbs last longer. This oil is a natural chemical and will eventually disperse by itself, the problem is it will take months to do so and your pond can look awful until it goes. Not only is it ugly, but it can be dangerous to fish as well. The surface of the pond is where most of the essential gas exchange takes place, allowing Carbon Dioxide out and Oxygen in to the water, if the surface is then coated in protein oil it can hinder or even stop the gas exchange. So solving this problem not only to improve the appearance of your pond, but also ensures the health of your fish. Thankfully this is one of the simplest things to eradicate in your pond, TAP Anti Foam will literally make it disappear in front of your eyes.

    Click here to go to our TAP Anti Foam Treatment Page

    TAP Anti Foam is designed to breakdown the froth in garden ponds, created by the excessive build up of protein in the pond water. TAP Anti Foam is non toxic, harmless to plants, all fish and other aquatic life and does not affect bacterial filters.

    Where did it come from?

    It helps to understand why it has occurred in the first place, because in some cases it is preventable. The two most common causes for Protein Froth are spawning from fish/ frogs/toads and feeding the wrong type or quantity of food. Spawning is not something you have control over, but you can control the amount and kind of food you feed. If the fish are fed too much in one go, they will wolf it all down, but it will pass through them quickly and much of it comes out as waste including Protein. In the summer month’s food should not last for more than 5 minutes, any more and you will be overfeeding. If you are not convinced that the fish will get enough food this way stick to the 5 minute rule but feed them several times a day. To help you keep an eye on how much food the fish receive you can use a floating feeding ring, these float on the surface of the pond and keep the food in one place. In the cooler Spring/Autumn weather, fish are programmed not to absorb Protein, so feeding them a growth or high protein food at these times of year will mean it passes straight through them and comes out in to the water. Use the low protein wheatgerm foods at these times of year.

    So the best way to prevent the protein foam from occurring is to feed your fish the correct kind of food for the time of year (and temperature) and to feed little and often.




  2. A Guide To How And When To Feed Your Fish

     

     Garden Pond Feeding Advice

    How And When To Feed Your Fish

    Fish have evolved over the years to extract the appropriate nutrition from the food they eat. Commercial foods have been designed to offer what they need when they need it. During the cooler temperatures fish do not absorb as much Protein, so Wheatgerm Fish Food has been developed to meet these demands, it is low in Protein, but higher in other nutrients. In the warm summer months, fish want to take on as much protein as they can, either for body growth or to help create eggs and so Growth Foods are available which are high in Protein. The table below offers a guide to which food type is best for the time of year or temperature. Knowing how and when to feed your fish is both good for your fish and your pocket.

    How And When To Feed Your Fish

    Summer Feeding

    During the Summer months your fish can seem to be ravenous and feeding them multiple handfuls of food, which they wolf down is very tempting, but this is not necessarily a good thing for them, the pond or your wallet. If you feed the fish a lot in one go, they will get full and the food will pass through their body quickly leading to much of the food coming out as waste. This will pollute the pond leading to foaming (protein froth), filters which need cleaning more frequently, added nutrients for algae and over weight lazy fish.  In the wild your pond fish would naturally look for food all the time and would eat little and often, so this is what we should try to help them do.  Feeding small quantities of food which can be consumed in 5 minutes only is ideal, this can be done as often as your lifestyle allows, but if you want to promote growth the more frequent the better.  By feeding in this way, not only do you ensure that most of the goodness of the food is used, but also it keeps the fish slightly hungry and they will explore round the pond looking for more food, this is good for muscle growth and general health.  You will also probably spend less on food.

    Using the little and often option for feeding will soon lead to your fish coming to you when you approach the pond.  This is ideal, it allows you to appreciate them better, to visually inspect them to ensure they are all healthy and can be the beginning of being able to hand feed them.

    One of the problems with feeding fish in a well planted pond is that the food can float off in to the marginal plants making it hard to know if it has been eaten or is just rotting away.  This can be avoided by using a feeding ring, this is a very simple floating ring which keeps the food in one place, so that you know what is being consumed.

    Click here to go to our Feeding Rings Page

    Keeping an eye on things

    One food to stay away from, or at least be very careful of, is flake food.  Around 50% of flake food sinks, which is fine in aquariums, but in ponds it can mean that you do not know how much is being eaten and can lead to a rotting pile at the bottom of the pond.

     

    In short the best thing for your fish is to feed them the correct kind of food for the temperature/season and do this little and often.

     




  3. Green Water Problem – Dont let it spoil your pond

    Greenwater Problems
    Green Water Problem – Dont let it spoil your pond

    As the sun comes out so can the algae which causes green water. This algae is a microscopic single celled plant which is so small it passes through most foam and filter material. In the height of the summer, provided it has sunlight and nutrients, it can reproduce at a fantastic rate, clouding a pond completely in days. It is normally more of a problem in fish ponds, because the fish waste (Ammonia/Nitrate) is being continuously converted by the filter in to plant nutrients (Nitrates). However, in addition to being unattractive it can also cause problems in the pond affecting the pH of the water and the oxygen content.

    Even though green water algae is small, like all plants it photosynthesise, this process in underwater plants gradually pushes up the pH of the pond which accelerates algae growth and if left to get very high can seriously affect the fishes health. The process of photosynthesis produces oxygen during the day, but at night the process is reversed, so a pond full of green water may suffer from lack of oxygen at night, which can be a real threat to any fish.

    So how can you solve the problem?

     

    In Filtered Ponds

    In most ponds, a correctly sized filter system, which is installed and maintained correctly, should easily deal with green water. Some of the common mistakes which can affect the performance of a filter system, are poor flowrates, poor flow patterns, old UV bulbs and poor maintenance.

    For a filter system to have a chance of winning the battle in your pond, it has to beat the growth rate of algae and in the summer this is very fast. As a guide the whole pond volume needs to be circulated through the filter once every 1½ to 2 hours. So a pond of 4500 litres (1000 gallons) needs a flow through the filter of 2250 – 3000 litre per hour (500 – 667 gallons per hour). Pumping water through hose, a UV, filter and maybe uphill will all slow the pump down and this needs to be allowed for when sizing a pump for filtration, so that the correct flow can be achieved at the end. If you have clarity problems try testing your flowrate. This is easier with 2 people, one with a stopwatch, the other with a bucket of a know volume. Simple time how long it takes to fill the bucket from the outlet of the filter, then divide 3600 by the time (in seconds) to fill the bucket and multiply by the volume of the bucket. The result is the flowrate.

    As mentioned ALL of the pond water has to pass through the filter system every 1½ – 2 hours, if your pond pump is in the wrong place you maybe circulating one end of your pond really well, but allowing the other end to pollute the rest of the pond. This can lead to a filter which is doing all it can to keep up, but a pond that can produce as much algae as it likes. Avoid locating the pump right underneath the outlet from a filter or even half way down the pond. Ideally the pump and filter return need to be at opposite ends of the pond to one another creating full circulation. To improve collection of particles it also helps if the pump is on the base of the pond, at the deepest point.

    Old UV bulbs are very common cause of green water. The bulbs are not especially cheap so everyone try’s to get the most out of them. But every UV bulb gradually loose power from the moment you put them on and so become ineffective within a set time scale. UV bulbs should be replaced every 6 months for the double ended fluorescent style or every 12 months for the low wattage PLS or PLL bulbs. The blue glow you see from the bulb is not UV light, our eyes can not see the UV rays emitted and as such the blue is just and indicator that the bulb is on, not a measure of whether it is still giving out UV light. To help with the price of bulbs we offer a buy any 3 replacement UV Bulbs and get the cheapest 1 free.

    Click Here to go to our replacement UV Bulbs page

    Clean UV’s. Most UV bulbs are protected from contact with water by a Quartz Sleeve, this quartz sleeve can become coated with limescale, just like your kettle. But the limescale will hugely impact on how well UV light will travel through the quartz and needs to be cleaned off. If this is done regularly then removing the quartz sleeve should be easy and you can use clear vinegar or lemon juice to soak in to the limescale and gently rub it off. If the UV has not been cleaned regularly then I would not try to remove it, but instead clean it inside the water chamber. This will involve filling the chamber with kettle descaler or equivalent and letting that loosen off the limescale, but you MUST thoroughly clean this chemical out before reconnecting your UV.

    Click Here to go to our replacement UV Quartz Sleeves page

    The last stage of the system is the filter medium. In most cases it is the foam that catches the green water particles, and it is vital that the water has to flow through this foam for it to be effective. If the water can find a way around the foam then it will and so will the waste, so make sure the foam is in good condition and a snug fit in the chamber it is in. The other issue with filters is cleaning, you maybe cleaning it too often or not enough. Although the foam is designed to catch algae, the particles are very small and despite being flocculated (clumped together) by the UV, they are still not much bigger than pinheads. New or very clean foam struggles to catch these particles and it is only as the foam gets dirtier and the holes and pathways begin to block will the algae get caught, so if the foam is not dirty do not clean in it. At the other end of the scale if the foam is too dirty water may be able to find away around it, either because the filter has a built in bypass or the foam is distorted with the amount of waste.

    Click Here to go to our replacement Filter Foam Sets page

    If you want to try to boost the system and get a quick result then Interpet’s Green Away is a very good treatment. It does the same job as the UV clumping the algae together so it can be caught, but one treatment can make sure the whole pond has been dealt with.

    Click Here to go to our Interpet Greenaway page

     

    In unfiltered ponds

    If the pond is not filtered then you are relying on natural competition from other plants to beat the growth of algae and it can be very difficult to hit the right balance. For the first couple of years of a pond life the algae will probably win the battle, but as all your plants mature they will create more shade and use up more nutrients and hopefully tip the balance in your favour. The plants which will have the fastest impact are shade producing plants like lilies and duckweed along with fast growing oxygenators. If you can create 60-70% surface cover then algae both green water and blanketweed should struggle. Lilies can take several years to become big enough to create this amount of shade and the fast reproducing duckweed can fill the gap very effectively, but a word of warning, duckweed is virtually impossible to eradicate, so you may just be swapping one problem for another. Virtually all oxygenating plants are fast growing and so consume large quantities of the nitrates and phosphates required by the algae to grow. More long-term areas of Reed’s and Iris’s are excellent at extracting the nutrients and as such they are a good idea to include in your planting scheme. If you can not wait for the plants to mature and want to give them a helping hand then the Oase Aqua Active Pond Clear and the TAP No More Greenwater are both very effective but gentle treatments.

    Click Here to go to our Green water Treatments page

    Click Here to go to our Pond Plant and Accessories Page

     

    Other Useful Links

    Click Here to go to our Pond Volume Calculator page

    Click Here to go to our Pump Flowrate Calculator page




  4. Solar Powered Products

    Solar Powered Products Banner

    Solar Powered Products

    With the sun out at last, our sales for solar products have shot up, but how useful is Solar Power and what can it be used for?

    As much as we would all love the quantity of sunshine they get from Spain or L.A. we don’t get it and this impacts hugely on the performance of solar powered products. However, in the right conditions solar power can make life much easier. As we have suggested, solar pumps need sunlight to work and the stronger the light the better. If the sunlight is not consistent then neither are solar powered pumps and as such they can not be used as the only source for fish pond filtration or oxygenation. However, they can be ideal for solar powered water features, moving water in wildlife ponds, or enhancing a fish pond which already has mains powered equipment. The beauty of solar pumps is that they do not need mains power which makes them very portable, easy to install and they cost nothing to run.

    Solar Powered Water Features

    If you want to install a water feature but do not want the hassle of mains cabling or mains power going in to the water, then solar may be the solution. There are many different designs which may fit, but we also offer pumps by themselves which allow you to create your own features. Solar pumps have their limitations when it comes to lifting water through hoses. Ask them to push water through a hose much more than a foot high and the results are much less impressive. If in doubt feel free to contact us. The links below will take you to the pages in our website if you would like to see the choices available.

    Click Here to go to our Solar Water Features Page

    Click Here to go to our Solar Fountain Pumps Page

    Using Solar Power in Wildlife Ponds

    Most wildlife ponds are natural ponds with no moving water and hence no mains power. The still water is ideal for some desirable creatures, Newts in particular, but also non desirable creatures such as Mosquito’s. If the balance isn’t right then they can stagnate and smell. Using a solar pump in these environments couldn’t be easier and can solve some of the problems. The Smart Solar range of pumps are supplied with floats meaning the pump is suspended a few inches below water surface. This means that it does not disturb the sediment and wildlife at the bottom of the pond but can still give you a small fountain spray which creates movement, adds oxygen and discourages Mosquito larvae. Alternatively, the Smart Solar Air Pump can also add additional oxygen and water movement during sunlight hours.

    Click Here to go to our Solar Air Pump Page

    Using Solar Power in Existing Ponds

    Solar pumps and oxygenators do not require any mains connections making them ideal if you want to add a little fountain or movement to your existing pond. As previously mentioned all the Smart Solar pumps are supplied with floats making installation incredibly simple.

    Using Solar Powered Lighting at Night

    Why limit solar power to just pumping water, with the use of a built-in battery which can be charge by a solar panel, underwater light sets can illuminate the night time world of your pond.

    Click Here to see the Smart Solar Underwater Light Set

    Click Here to see the Lotus Underwater Solar Light Set