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Choosing Koi

When shopping for koi for your pond, it’s important to have an idea of what you’re looking for, how much you want to spend and more importantly, to go to shops and suppliers who know their stuff. Not only will properly trained and knowledgeable staff be able to answer any questions you have, but you can be confident the koi they sell are taken care of and in good condition.

Koi personnel will be able to help you choose the kind of fish you have in mind for your pond. They can help you to save yourself from making mistakes that will hinder you in the long run. One thing you will need to have somewhat of an idea of is how much money you’re willing to spend, and when you’re being ripped off.

When scanning over tanks of koi to choose from, first notice if there is a proper filtration system flowing. Then you can change your focus onto the fish. You’ll obviously want the best looking and healthiest koi. The healthy koi will be swimming all around the tank, have even healthy skin, clear eyes and flowy fins.

Once you pick out your favorites, you can usually ask the staff to isolate each koi, one at a time, to get a better look. This is the time to look carefully at the quality of fish you’re dealing with. Be sure to take advantage of the staff at this time so you can get as much information as possible to make a good choice.

Summer is the season where most action takes place in or around your garden pond. Plant growth is at it’s best and feeding demand is at it’s highest. As a result of this, you must deal with the heavy waste load.

Testing for ammonia and nitrate will show you if your filter is keeping up or not. If it is not, you may have to reduce your fish stocks and scale down on your feeding. Regular cleaning of pre-filter sponges or the equivalent should also be carried out during the season. High summer temperatures may cause fish to lose their appetite as a result of excessive metabolic demands in an environment where oxygen levels may be lower than normal.

Plant pest activity is at it’s worst in the summer. Keep a watch daily and take action promptly because under warm conditions in the summer, problems can spread very quickly. Remove all dead and damaged leaves. Even in healthy plants, dead leaves and blooms should be removed regularly. Healthy plants may also be thinned out as appropriate or desired. Water-borne and other predators may also be at their most active at this time of year.

Evaporation from ponds is a familiar summer problem, especially if there are streams or cascades of water. Water is lost from the pond in two ways, First marginal plants take up large quantities of water through their roots during the growing season and they lose it through their leaves. Second, high air pressure will cause water loss through direct evaporation from the pond surface. Regular top-off might be necessary.

Many fish species will continue to sprawl well into the summer. If the spawning occur during late summer, it may be necessary to prepare alternative indoor accommodation for at least some of the fry to enhance their chances of survival over the coming autumn and winter. This mostly applies to areas where the cold season temperatures are likely to drop towards the lower tolerance level for the species in question. Hatchlings from mid season spawning should be somewhat tougher by the time the colder weather begins to set in.

Longer days and relaxing summer nights equals more time to enjoy your koi pond and water garden. However, along with the temperature change means new challenges that you need to keep in mind this summer.

Avoid poor water quality

Pay attention to your fish and their eating habits. During the summer, koi and other pond fish will be more active than during the cooler months. This means they will want to eat more and will in turn produce more waste. Stick to your normal feeding habits to avoid poor water quality due to overfeeding. Consider an automatic feeder to take all the thinking out of it. Don’t feel as though you can’t treat your fish every now and then. You can get specific koi treats at any pet store or fresh fruits and vegetables are also great treats. Stick around for a few minutes after feeding so you can scoop out any left over floating food to keep waste to a minimum.

Bio-Filtration

Boost your current biological filter with supplementary filter media or bacteria. Bacterial additives break down toxic waste better when water temperatures are higher. Keep in mind that supplementing biological filtration during the summer months should only be done in conjunction with increased oxygen levels.

Add more oxygen

Installing an aeration pump will prevent havoc on your pond due to lack of oxygen. As water temperatures rise, your pond will lose more and more oxygen. The supply of natural oxygen will decrease during the summer while the biological demand increases. Aeration will allow efficient gas exchange to reduce buildup of harmful gasses while increasing oxygen levels at the same time. Healthy levels of oxygen in your pond will keep your fish healthy and happy.

When drawing up plans for a new backyard pond, it’s important to think ahead about what you’re going to need and want to achieve your goals. Planning ahead for plants is important because although they only require light and water, different plants need different amounts of each.

All ponds should ideally get sun for at least half the day. A full day of sun will promote plants to grow at their best but sun all day long can be fatal. Constructing different levels within the pond will be the best way to provide a variety of environments for different plants. Be sure to take in consideration the size and amount of plants you want to keep in your pond. Shelves should have a width that is deep enough to accommodate different plant basket sizes to avoid over-hanging.

Most marginal plants are suitable to grow on shelves. Building shelves on the south side of the pond will be of benefit to you in sunny weather because you can place plants there that will in turn provide shade to the pond and help cut down on green algae. Water lilies vary in size but most prefer up to 10-16 inches of water coverage so placing them on the bottom of most ponds will suffice.

If you see a waterfall or fountain in your future, keep in mind that many water plants, including lilies, don’t grow as well in moving water. Therefore, keeping waterfalls in a separate part of the pond, away from the plants, is something to consider. If a big part of having a pond is to grow water plants, know that space and plenty of room to grow is an important key in your plants future to grow to their best potential.

Lighting for your backyard oasis will add a relaxing feel and will make your garden enjoyable at all times of the day as well as night. Along with different styles and varieties, there are also different types of light sources made for outdoor use.

Standard Tungsten bulbs are usually the most least expensive and have a warm yellow glow. Unfortunately, they can get quite hot which limits the size of the bulb. These will generally be used in low-voltage lighting situations.

Halogen bulbs are becoming increasingly popular for their long time use. They are reasonably sized but cast a bright white light. Halogen bulbs are more expensive but give out much more light than equally rated tungsten bulbs. They are used for low-voltage setups.

Mercury bulbs give off a bright bluish white light that fortunately shows off colors and details well but tends to be rated as a little harsh.

Sodium bulbs give off a nice amber light and are fairly efficient to run. They are ideal for lighting vast areas and floodlighting for buildings and warehouses.

Metal halide bulbs give off an intense white light that can be compared to daylight. They are also useful for floodlighting large areas but are more expensive to buy than mercury or sodium bulbs. Mercury, sodium and metal halide bulbs all have a common disadvantage in that they each take awhile to heat up before reaching full capacity and they all require heavy duty starting equipment.

If natural remedies for your algae problem didn’t work to your satisfaction, there are chemical remedies that can be exercised with caution.

Remove as much algae as possible before starting chemical treatment. Maximum effectiveness of ridding algae occurs at 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just as sunlight will feed plants as well as algae, algicides will slow the growth of algae as well as other plants and high doses may kill them. A way of avoiding too high dosages is to perform a fifty percent water change and then treat the water with a half dose.

The algaecide Potassium Permanganate is only to be used on cool, cloudy days when the water isn’t too warm. If used on sunny days, the treatment will turn the water a murky yellow. A maximum of three applications on three successive days is usually recommended. At the end of the treatment remember to remove the dead algae.

Formaldehyde (37 percent solution) may be used in the rate of one drop per gallon of pond water to kill floating algae. A possible killer of lily cultivators, it is wise to remove plants before treatment. Fish will not need to be moved as the 37 percent solution is safe for killing fish parasites but will not kill the fish. The person handling the solution should avoid skin contact and breathing in the chemicals.

For larger bodies of water, Copper sulfate can be used. Dosages vary and will usually be used on alternate days over a two week period if there are fish in the pond. Use Copper sulfate with great caution because a too high dosage can kill your fish by way of asphyxiation.

Algae can certainly be an annoying problem to deal with while maintaining a water garden. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep an algae-free pond but a good place to start is with plants.

Under water plants such as Elodea, Hornwort, Sagittaria and Cabomba are some primary plants to consider in this equation. Ideally, one bunch for each square foot of the pond’s surface is enough. If you have a high population of fish in your pond, consider more plants to counter-balance fish waste and their grazing habits. Elodea is a great plant to help control algae because it breaks dormancy earlier than other submerged plants. Usually in bloom a month earlier than others, you’ll get a head start on controlling algae. Keep in mind that Elodea grows and spreads rapidly and will need thinning by summer.

If your pond water is already green with algae, it will take longer (usually up to six weeks) to get the problem under control. Under these circumstances, submerged plants should be moved closer to the water’s surface where they can receive more sunlight for faster growth. As the problem lessens, the plants can be moved back to their original settings. Ponds that have up to four inches of pea gravel at the bottom are ideal for the “tame” Dwarf Sagittaria that roots directly into the gravel. Ponds with Dwarf Sagittaria are unlikely to experience any green water algae problems at all.

Sunlight not only helps submerged plants grow but also greatly aids in feeding algae so covering your pond with floating plants is ideal. A general rule of thumb is to cover one-third to two-thirds of the water’s surface with plants such as lily pads and floating plants such as Water Hyacinth, Water Lettuce, Fairy Moss and Duckweed to name a few.

Surface shading isn’t necessary in keeping a pond clear of green water algae, however it is much more difficult to maintain a pond without it and will require many more submerged plants. As stated earlier, Dwarf Sagittaria carpeted along the bottom will help compete with algae for the available nutrients.

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