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  1. How to Solve and Avoid Low Oxygen Problems

    How to solve and prevent low Oxygen Problems

    How to Solve and Avoid Low Oxygen Problems

    With the warm weather we have all been waiting for finally on its way you may need to make sure fish enjoy it as much as you do. As temperatures start to increase, the ecology of a pond will change. Increased temperatures will increase the activity of your fish and hence the consumption of Oxygen, whilst at the same time the rise in water temperature reduces it’s ability to carry oxygen, these factors in severe cases can be fatal to your fish.

    For plants, fish, amphibians, wildlife and even many forms of bacteria, an environment which is rich in oxygen is critical. Although oxygen is present in water and the air around us, ensuring a sufficient quantity of oxygen within a pond is not something that should be left to chance

    What happens in natural ponds, why don’t they need any help?

    In most wild ponds, nature has a very brutal way of establishing a balance. They normally have much smaller quantity of fish per 1000 gallons of water than there would be within a garden pond, allowing waste products from the fish to be diluted without causing them harm. Because of this low population, there is normally plenty of oxygen for the fish population. However in natural ponds sometimes things go wrong. If a very fast growing pond plant overtakes the pond (such as parrot’s feather or even blanket weed), or if the fish population suddenly explodes. It can cause a massive reduction of oxygen during hot humid summer nights and in extreme cases, kills most of the fish population (usually killing the largest fish first).

    Why do some plants have this effect, I thought they were Pond Oxygenators?

    Although plants don’t breath in the same way we do, the cells within plants continually use oxygen to help fuel growth and repair (this is called cellular respiration). This process happens 24 hours a day and carbon dioxide is given of as a by-product. Fortunately, during daylight hours another process called photosynthesis more than corrects the balance by producing oxygen as a by-product of absorbing energy from sunlight. So although plants can boost oxygen during the day, they do not at night and in fact are one of the oxygen consumers.

    Click Here to go to our Blanket Weed Treatments Page

    Can I add additional Oxygen to my pond?

    In garden fish ponds the balance between fish and plants is more commonly in favour of the fish, with plants often as decoration only. This is where nature needs a helping hand to keep the oxygen levels up. In addition to plants Oxygen is added to the water wherever water comes into contact with air, so the greatest quantity of Oxygen enters your pond at the surface, so ensuring a good circulation of the pond is the first step to keeping Oxygen levels up. Your pump should be at the bottom of the pond, where the oxygen content is lowest and should push water up to the surface and ideally spread it out across the surface of the pond. Adding a fountain or waterfall all increase contact time between the water and air and give more opportunity for the vital Oxygen to be absorbed.

    For more information on these products, click the following links

    Blanket Weed Treatments : Filter Kits : Pond Fountain Pumps : Pond Spitters

    There are also other ways to put water in contact with air. Pond air pumps can be a fantastic way to improve the oxygen levels within a pond. Although each individual bubble may be tiny, releasing millions of bubbles into the bottom of a pond with an air pump and air stones, keeps the air in contact with the water as the bubbles rise to the pond surface. In addition to the direct transfer of oxygen achieved by this process, an added benefit is that the rising bubbles will drag de-oxygenated water from the base of the pond back to the surface for re-oxygenation. The Oase OxyTex CWS air stone is particularly good at releasing thousand of very fine air bulbs and also acts as a boost to your filter system.

    For more information on these products, click the following links

    Pond Air Pumps : Air Pump Accessories

    The time of lowest Oxygen levels are normally at dawn and often the most common sign of an Oxygen problem is when the fish are up at the surface first thing in the morning with their gills moving quickly. If you see this then you need to act quickly as your fish maybe in danger and sadly it’s always the largest fish which die first. A very useful fast acting treatment is Oase’s AquaActive Oxy Plus, which actively releases Oxygen quickly straight in to the water because it is a hydrogen peroxide granulate fixed on a carbonate. When it becomes wet the carbonate goes into solution and the peroxide starts to react with the water. The result is pure oxygen and water. Due to the fact that the carbonate goes into solution very slowly we have a immediate but long lasting effect. This treatment can be added to your pond before a problem exists and will spring in to action as and when needed.

    For more information on this product, click the following link: Oase OXY Plus

    You can never have too much oxygen in a pond and many experts believe fish are healthier in environments which are rich in oxygen, and they would recommend adding air pumps to almost all fish ponds as a matter of course not just when and if the Oxygen levels are dangerous.

    The simple rules to follow are:

    A) DO NOT over stock your pond. As a rule of thumb a pond should be stocked with no more than 100” of fish (excluding their tails) per 1000 gallons of water (5.5cm per 100L). If you exceed this limit you should be very careful to ensure the level of oxygen in your pond does not fall too low (particularly at night) and be carefully of fish fry which as they grow will greatly add to the oxygen consumption.

    B) DO NOT allow oxygenating plants, blanketweed or green water to overtake your pond. Remember that although in the day plants produce more oxygen than they use, at night they don’t produce oxygen at all, but they do produce a lot of carbon dioxide.

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  2. Garden Pond Blanketweed

    Garden Pond Blanketweed

    What is Garden Pond Blanketweed

    Blanketweed is the common name given to filamentous (string) algae, but it actually comes in different forms, from a short (2-3mm) growth on the side of the pond which breaks up as you touch it to strong strands which can grow 3-4m long and allsorts in between.

    Although it is unsightly, it can have it uses.  Fish love to spawn in it, it makes a fantastic home for fish fry and is the first food for tadpoles when they emerge from their eggs.  However, it can also be dangerous.  Some large fish can get tied up in it and die, Sturgeon are well known for this but we have also heard of large Koi being affected.  It can also have a negative impact on the oxygen levels in your ponds.  Like most plants algae produces oxygen during the day, but reverses the process at night, so too much blanketweed in a pond may mean that the fish are starved of oxygen just before dawn.

    So how do you solve the problem?

    The natural way is to use pond plants to compete against the algae for the limited nutrient and light available. Any plants will compete for nutrients but the faster growing varieties are better, lily leaves will spread to block out light, and floating plants will compete for light and nutrients.  However, there can be problems with using plants. The first is that the blanketweed can start growing at much cooler temperatures and as such has a chance to get hold early in the season. Secondly not all fish are very plant friendly, the large species are well know for destroying lilies and other potted plants. Lastly the design of some ponds is not suitable for plants.  If you are just starting out or redesigning a pond then you may want to include a large bog or slow moving stream area which could be planted up and would work as a vegetable filter.  If the water from your filter is fed in to the planted stream, then the plants in this zone have a chance to remove the nutrients before they go in to the pond, effectively starving the algae of food.  I make this sound very easily but it is not always and some time and thought needs to go in to the design.

    Click Here to go to our Plants and Accessories Page

    Liquid and Powder Treatments?

    The most common way of solving Blanketweed is treatments and the choice of treatments is huge.  The more traditional Algicides have become less popular, with most customers preferring more eco or natural treatments such as Extract of Barley Straw and No More Blanketweed. We often get asked “Which is the best treatment” and to be honest they all have their merits and can have varying degrees of success depending on what kind of Blanketweed is in your pond.  I have stood in our shop while two customers have had a very heated argument about the effectiveness of one particular treatment, once singing it praises the other stating it is a total waste of money.  Our most popular treatment at the moment is the No More Blanketweed, but you may have to try a few until you find the best one for your pond. For any treatment to be effective it is vital that the pond volume is calculate accurately and the appropriate dose used.

    Click Here to go to our Blanketweed Treatments Page

    Electronic Treatment

    More recently a few manufacturers have launched electrical products such as the T-Flow Tronic, which slowly releases a small amount of copper in to the water to inhibit algal growth. These units once in place need very little work and can help avoid the regular dosing of the pond with a treatment.  A word of warning though, you need to be very careful with these products, because they have very strict guidelines.

    Click Here to go to our Electronic Blanketweed Treatments Page

    Blanketweed is a very basic plant which has been around for millennia, it comes in many forms and is a great survivor, don’t be surprised if it take you a few attempts to find the right solution. Be patient you will get there!




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