Aqua Scapes of CT
We sell pond supplies, koi, goldfish, and aquatic plants at our farm in Portland, CT. We install, service, maintain and fix ponds, waterfalls, and water features.
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Can You Put Turtles in Your Koi Pond?
Yes, but they don't always stay.
You can keep turtles in your pond, but if they are not confined, they will try to escape. For ponds with fish, know the turtles will try to eat small fish and sometimes go after bigger fish, nipping at their fins, which could lead to fin rot or a bacteria infection for the fish.
Sick Koi: What Should I Do?
If you suspect your fish might be sick, add a water conditioner (detoxifier), boost aeration, and do a 25% water change (at minimum). It is imperative to monitor sick fish and their symptoms. Sick fish generally show outward signs of illness; if nothing appears wrong on the outside, odds are your issue is water quality.
Ammonia - High ammonia, a byproduct produced by fish, can be deadly if not treated properly.
Leaching - Leaching is the osmosis of environmental solubles into your pond. Chemicals such as lawn fertilizers, weed killers and new mulch will leach chemicals into your pond ultimately posing a risk to your fish.
Bacterial Infections (Second Photo)
Ulcers - Do your fish have red, bloody patches on their sides?
Fin Rot - Are your fish's fins red and deteriorating?
Fungal Infections (Third Photo)
Pond Foam: What does it mean?
There are a few reasons a pond might become foamy. Although often harmless, it is important to monitor any build up of foam on the surface of your pond as it can require immediate maintenance for ponds with fish.
Are your fish more active than normal? Are your smaller fish chasing around your larger fish? Does your pond smell...fishy? If that's the case, your fish are most likely spawning. This usually happens from May to July. When spawning, fish expel gases (ie ammonia) which creates foam on the pond's surface (it is also responsible for the fishy smell). If this is the case, a 25% water change is recommended. We also suggest adding a water conditioner, or detoxifier, to remove chlorine, neutralize ammonia, and detoxify heavy metals that can harm pond fish. Increasing the pond's aeration and adding carbon/charcoal are also beneficial.
It is common to get surface foam on...
Should I Install a UV Filter in My Pond?
If you have a proper filtration system, adequate aeration, and healthy plant material, you shouldn’t need a UV filter. You should generally be able to keep your pond water clear without added equipment (ie UVs, Iongens, Dosing Systems, Chemicals). That said, some ponds thrive using UV filtration.
Clearing Green Water
A UV filter can help in clearing green water. Small single-celled algae will pass through the media in your biological filter. However, when this single-celled algae passes through a UV, these cells can become damaged allowing them to clump together forming a larger mass. This can then be filtered out in your bio filter.
Required Flow Rate
An issue I have with UV filters is that they require a specific flow rate (gph) to function properly. Most homeowners don’t realize this. You can’t install an inline UV onto your existing piping with a 3,000+ gph pump; it won’t be effective. Most UV's have a maximum...
Pond Plants 101: How to Plant Your Pond
As a disclaimer, we are located in Zone 6, so some of the following information might not apply to everyone. These are aquatic plants we like planting in our ponds and on our installations.
Pot or No Pot?
If you have a gravel bottom pond, plant your aquatic plants directly in the gravel. Take the plant out of the pot, rinse off any soil, and plant directly in the gravel. Use large boulders to stabilize taller plants while preventing koi from pulling them out.
If you have a liner/preform pond, keep your aquatic plants in pots. For best results, propagate and replant every 2 years; else the plant will become stunted (esp water lilies). Fertilize for optimum growth.
You should plant your aquatic plants in a dense soil, often mixing sand into the substrate. You want a soil that is dense enough to sink, but light enough to encourage root growth. Never use potting soil or soil treated with unfamiliar...
Koi or Goldfish?
If you spend the money to build an expensive koi pond, why cheap out on the fish?
There is a big misconception that koi are hard to care for, but with an adequately sized pond and proper filtration, koi are actually better for your pond than goldfish. Koi spend most of their time bottom feeding on both algae and debris while goldfish primarily eat, sleep, and poop.
Koi also love eating plant roots, thus eating most of their fertilized eggs resulting in fewer babies. Goldfish don't. This is why a goldfish pond with 8 fish can easily turn into a goldfish pond with 100 fish (under the right circumstances).
That said, koi can be destructive especially when it comes to pond plants. They also grow much larger than goldfish and other pond fish.
Therefore, if your pond is small, you have predators, or lack adequate filtration, goldfish might be a better option. But you don't have to settle for feeder fish; Sarasa Comets, Shubunkin, and Fantail...
Predators Keep Eating My Fish. What Should I Do?
To stop predators from getting your fish, it is important to have a hidy cave in your pond so your fish can hide from dangerous predators. A few round rocks with a flat stone on top will make a natural yet adequate spot for your fish to hide. It is also important to have good plant coverage (ie water hyacinth, pond lilies, and marginal plants) on your pond's surface to provide extra coverage.
Common predators include: heron, raccoons, fisher cats, hawks, ducks, snakes, bears, neighborhood cats, bullfrogs
Net Your Pond
Although not the most aesthetically pleasing, netting your pond is the best defense against herons. Pond netting effectively keeps debris and predators from entering the ponds, waterfalls, and other water features.
Motion Activated Sprinkler
A motion activated sprinkler will spray a burst of water when it senses motion thus scaring off predators.
Fishing Line Technique
How Deep Should My Pond Be?
Your pond should be at least 2' deep to survive the winter in Southern New England. Any depth more than 4' is excessive.
Do I Have Too Many Fish?
If you're asking yourself this question, odds are, you have too many fish...
A good rule of thumb is that you should have 1 inch of fish per 10 gallons of pond water. Meaning that a 10 inch fish should be housed in a 100 gallon pond.
Keep in mind, filtration and aeration play a large part in fish keeping so proper husbandry can result in keeping more fish in a smaller area.
Koi, although larger, are a cleaner fish compared to goldfish. However, goldfish are more hardy, so the type of fish you house will also affect the amount of fish you can safely house in your pond.
Should I Clean My Pond Every Year?
If your pond is less than 3,000 gallons, it is recommended that you fully drain your pond every spring. The buildup of organic materials (ie leaves, fish waste, and natural debris) will leach tannins into your pond ultimately turning your pond water tea color.
For larger ponds, we recommended a partial cleaning every year with a full cleaning every 2 to 3 years.
Pictured - Sara Della Rocco
Why is My Pond is Green?
As a disclaimer, all ponds are different and the following information may vary from pond to pond.
In general, a pond will turn pea soup green due to: inadequate filtration, lack of aeration, unbalanced water chemistry, not enough plant life, too many fish, lack of general maintenance, improper climate (ie full sun), and/or deficient good bacteria.
Wether your buying a professional pond kit or piecemealing your pond together; homeowners often make the mistake of skimping on the important stuff.
You should never undercut the pump size and filtration.
We recommend turning over your pond water three times per hour, meaning if you have a 1,000 gallon pond, you should have a 3,000 gph pump. I recommend doubling your ponds filter; for a 1000 gallon pond, you should have a filter rated for 2000 gallons. I cannot stress this enough. The two things you should never...
How Do I Find a Leak in My Pond?
To find a leak in your pond, you must first turn off the pump and let the pond sit for a day. If the water level in the pond drops, you know the leak is in the pond. If the water level of the pond does not drop, your leak is in the waterfall or plumbing.
If you determine the leak to be in the pond, leave the pump off and let the water level drop until it stops losing water. The leak is going to be found at this level of the pond. You will need to look for a hole or puncture in your pond liner. If you find a hole, you will need to patch it before filling the pond.
It is important to note that if your pond has a skimmer, the screws and inserts might have corroded away weakening the water tight seal between the pond liner and the skimmer (this usually happens about 10 years after installation). To confirm this, look around the inside and outside of the skimmer opening. If the screws or inserts show signs of erosion, they will need to be replaced.
How To Winterize My Pond?
When it comes to caring for your pond fish in winter, the most important thing is to always keep a hole in the ice on the pond's surface. This allows oxygen into the pond and prevents toxic gases from building up. The following options will keep a hole in the ice.
One thing to think about is that products can/do fail. Therefore it is important to always have a backup option. We recommended using 2 of the options listed below, plugged into separate GFI outlets. This way if one option fails, or trips the GFI, you have a backup option.
However, if your pond does freeze over completely, do not try to chop through the ice with an axe! This can be extremely harmful to your fish. Instead, use boiling water to melt a hole in the ice. This might take longer, but your fish will thank you for it.
Leave Pump Running
You have the option to leave the pump running all winter. This is because the moving water from your waterfall...
Lotus vs Water Lilies - They Are Not The Same!
Lotus grow up and out of the water. Water lilies grow on the water's surface. Lotus are tubers. Lilies are rhizomes. Plant your lotus plants in a mucky substrate a few inches below the waterline. Lotus prefer a dirt/sand substrate and should be fertilized to promote larger foliage and more blooms.
Water lilies grow well in 18" of water and love sunlight. The more muck & sludge in the pond, the bigger they will grow.
How We Build a Pond
Aqua Scapes of CT, LLC building a medium pond at the Westbrook Hunt Club in Westbrook, CT (2018)
Tips and Tricks for a Happy Pond
- The less you clean your filters (unless you have a canister filter) the better.
- Only clean Filter / Bio Media once a year, at the beginning of the year.
- Get your pond up and running in April or May. This way, your pond ecosystem will have a chance to get established before the weather gets too hot.
- It is common to get an algae bloom a week or two after a pond cleaning. This is because your pond has not had enough time to build up a strong colony of Beneficial Bacteria.
- Use Beneficial Bacteria one to two times a week for the first few months after you get your pond running. If your pond is staying clear and algae free, you can dial this treatment back to once every two weeks.
- A pond should be cleaned once a year, in early to late spring. Surplus nutrients cause algae growth. Beneficial Bacteria helps break down excess nutrients via the nitrogen cycle.
- Make sure you remove any dead...
I cut off my lotus pod about a week after they lose their flowers. When the seeds start drying up in the pods, its been too long.
After I remove the seed, I set them aside for a few weeks to dry out; then I sandpaper or cut into one side, not too deep, but enough to puncture the outter skin. I put the seed in about an inch of water, in a shady spot.
They start sprouting in 4-7 days usually. The seeds should look similar to the one in this picture, dark, plump, and should feel firm.