Tag Archives: backyard pond

10 Tips for Buying Healthy Pond Fish

Healthy Pond Fish
Healthy Pond Fish

Healthy Pond Fish

Adding Healthy Pond Fish to  your pond provides a whole new element to the overall experience of owning a water feature. In fact, many pond owners decided to install a pond for the sole purpose of fish-keeping.

When purchasing new fish, there are certain things that you should look for and ask about to make sure that you are receiving healthy fish.  

Cleanliness

Look at the cleanliness of the store. If the store is not clean and well cared for, more than likely, the retailer does not care about their fish either. You may not be getting Healthy Pond Fish.

Dead Fish

If you see any dead fish floating in the tanks – even just one – stay away. This can be an indication of a poorly maintained, diseased tank.

Quarantine

Does the retailer quarantine their fish and for how long? It is very important that all fish are quarantined for at least 14 to 21 days for salt treatments to ensure the fish are not carriers of disease or parasites.

Water Testing and Changes

Find out how often the water is tested and changed. Testing the water monitors ammonia and pH levels, as well as nitrites and nitrates indicating when the water should be changed.

Sick Fish

Look to see if any of the fish are hanging out alone, with clamped fins. This is a good sign that the fish is sick. Again, sick fish are not good to be around Healthy Pond Fish.

Parasites

Ask if new fish are tested for the presence of parasites with a microscope. Doing so indicates whether the fish are carriers of parasites and can be treated accordingly before they are sold.

Net Sharing

Make sure the clerk uses a different net for each tank. Using the same net for all tanks can spread disease from one tank to another.

Clear Skin

Look for fish with no marks, missing scales, sores, or broken or missing fins. Any of these are signs of a bacterial infection or parasite.

Sizes

You need to take the size of the fish into consideration so you don’t overstock your pond. Remember, 1” for every square foot of surface water or five gallons.

Knowledgeable Staff

You want to purchase fish from a knowledgeable and honest merchant that can help educate you about your pond pets. This is the best way to ensure Healthy Pond Fish.

Don’t be shy about asking a few questions. In the end, you’ll be glad you took the time to purchase the right fish for your pond.

Whatever type fish you choose to add to your pond, first and foremost you want to make sure they’re healthy. Contact us for more information on ponds and Healthy Pond Fish.

Types of backyard pond fish

Backyard pond fish– What are the most popular?

Let’s be honest– one of the best reasons to get a backyard pond is for the fish!  Even if that is not your first thought when building a pond, the backyard pond fish will soon be the family favorite!

Most of the ponds AquaReale work with are well suited for backyard pond fish and a full ecosystem. And remember– fish do better in ponds with proper balance and filtration.

Here are some of the most popular types of backyard pond fish:

backyard pond fish koi
backyard pond fish koi

Koi Fish

The most well known and popular type of backyard pond fish is Koi Fish.  Koi are a domesticated version of common, not so colorful carp. Over time they have become selectively bred to get the awesome colors and patterns they have today.  The Japanese are the masters of developing koi to have the best colors and patterns.  Koi come in all colors and sizes and can grow up to three feet, depending on their living conditions.

Koi really begin to thrive in ponds of around 1000 gallons or more. The more water for them the better.  They are very friendly and they eventually are able to be hand fed.  They develop personalities and you’ll ending up falling in love and even naming them.

 

backyard pond fish-- butterfly koi
backyard pond fish– butterfly koi

Butterfly Koi (A.K.A. Dragon Koi)

Butterfly Koi are known for their unique look and beautiful longer fins. .  They originated in the mid-20th century as a result of an attempt to increase the hardiness of traditional koi. Japanese breeders interbred traditional koi with wild Indonesian longfin river carp.  Their body shape is more slender than regular koi which are more oval.

Backyard pond fish-- Goldfish
Backyard pond fish– Goldfish

Goldfish

The small sized goldfish is very common for backyard ponds and they make great starter fish.  They resemble Koi, but don’t require nearly as much space as Koi do, so they are great for smaller ponds.

Goldfish as they look today were developed in China over 1000 years ago and are known to be very resilient. Comets are plain orange and white goldfish.  Shubunkins are goldfish that usually have black, orange and bluish coloring.

Backyard pond fish -- Calico (Fantail)
Backyard pond fish — Calico (Fantail)

This fish is also a member of the carp family.  The fish have black, orange and red markings against a pearl white background.  This fish is easily recognized by a forked caudal fin (at the tail part), which forms a symmetrical pair that looks like butterfly wings. All of its fins are well proportioned and slightly rounded.

Backyard pond fish-- Golden
Backyard pond fish– Golden Orf

Golden Orf

Golden Orfes are long, slender, bright orange fish.  They range to dark silver in color.   They are fast growing and fast swimming.  They like to swim together in groups which is great for encouraging other fish to join them .  Although not as popular they do very well and add excitement and character to any pond.

What backyard pond fish will YOU get??

The fish you put in your pond is completely up to you!  Have fun.  Enjoy your pond and your fish.  Be sure not to overdo it with too many fish– the right balance is the key to happy pond life. Contact us to see which fish are best for your pond!

 

Koi Pond Fish: What to feed in spring?

What should I feed my Koi Pond Fish in Spring?

 

Koi Pond Fish
Koi Pond Fish

Koi Pond Fish Diet in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware

Fish often are a big part of your pond and they provide a beautiful connection to nature and animals.  Just like people, Koi Fish  thrive with the right diet. Should you feed them the same Koi Fish food in the fall as you do in the spring?

What to feed your Koi Pond Fish in Spring

So now that you have a pond with fish you may be wondering how often and what do you feed them?  Does it matter what kind of food they eat?  Do you feed them the same food in the spring as in the fall?  Will the goldfish eat the same food as Koi Pond Fish?

If your pond is designed properly and is a well balanced ecosystem you may not need to feed them at all.  Fish in a well designed backyard pond can live off the nutrients in the ecosystem without ever having to be fed by the pond owner.  They can survive and thrive off of nutrients in the pond by eating foods like plankton, floating pond plants, aquatic plant roots, larvae of insects, worms, and even small animals.

But admit it– one of the main reasons you have fish is to interact with them.  It’s amazing to throw Koi Pond Fish food into your pond and watch the fish rush over to gobble the food up.  Since Koi Fish are often larger than goldfish, they eat more as well!

In general. feeding food products should only take place when the pond water ranges between 50° to 85°F.  So if you do decide to go out and purchase fish food here are some helpful tips.  Lately, fish  food manufacturers have come a long way in producing foods that take consideration to seasons and temperature change.  Koi Pond Fish food also come in different sizes to accommodate different sized fish.

Koi Fish
Koi Fish

Feeding in the Spring (cold temperature formula food) 

Each season brings its own nutritional requirements.  Spring is no exception.  Fish are coming out of their seasonal hibernation into 50ºF  water and they cannot metabolize all of the ingredients of the all season formulas.

As it gets warmer (maybe between 50-55ºF) in the spring, the fish will start eating more and they need food they can easily digest. You don’t want to overfeed your fish at this point, since they will fill the pond with waste.  Your Koi Pond  Fish are not yet operating with a full system as they ease into the warmer weather.   This makes it harder for them to digest food, leaving to more pond waste

Good luck with your fish  For more personalized information, contact us any time!

Healthy pond plants

First off, plants are a huge part of the pond ecosystem and need to be there to make sure everything lives harmoniously. Pond plants also enhance the beauty of any water feature. So, when your pond plants aren’t healthy, you know it. One sign that there’s something wrong is yellowing leaves. Here are some of the more common reasons why your pond plants are turning yellow.

Healthy Pond Plants
Healthy Pond Plants

Healthy pond plants love fertilizer!

Be sure to fertilize your pond plants. If your plants are potted (which is what we recommend) poke a hole in the soil and push the fertilizer down inside, then carefully close the soil over the hole. Fertilizer should also be added whenever re-potting your plants is necessary. For floating plants, remove them from the pond and place them in a container that will hold water. Add your favorite water-soluble fertilizer according to the directions. Do not add more than the recommended amount. Too much fertilizer can cause plants to turn yellow too.

Healthy pond plants and Insects

Aphids

Inspect your pond’s plants just like you do your other plants. Pond plants are not immune to insects, especially in the winter if you bring them in the house.

Spider mites love the dry winter environment our homes have. Any insecticide that you can use on houseplants is safe to use on water plants inside the home. Aphids are sometimes problems in the house, but mites are more prevalent.

Aphids are usually the main insects to attack pond plants. Depending on the plant, you may be able to wash them off in the water where they will become yummy treats for your fish. Floating plants like hyacinths, water lettuce and lily pads and their flowers are good candidates for this. When you do water changes or add water to your pond due to evaporation, spray the water on the plants. This will wash the insects off too.

Too Much Sun

Healthy pond plants can burn just like us. A sunburned plant will have a bleached look or brownish cast to the leaves, sometimes they will yellow. When moving pond plants outside, if they have spent the winter inside, do it gradually. Move them first to a shady spot. Set the pot in a larger container that will hold water. Gradually over a 2-week period expose the plants to more sunlight. Do this in the spring when the weather begins to warm so that they also get used to the cooler nighttime temperatures.

 

For more information, reach out to us! 

Pond Predators: How to win the battle

Pond Predators: How to win the battle

There are many Pond Predators that love to hunt fish. And when we give them shiny gold targets to go for, it makes their jobs even easier. Two of the usual suspects in the missing fish line-up are the raccoon and the heron. There are others, but these are the two most prevalent in the hobby.

For the raccoon, you have to first remember he doesn’t mind getting his hands wet, but will probably not purposely go for a swim to catch a fish. He can be held at bay by the way the pond is designed. A plant shelf that is too shallow will help him snag a fish every time.

Pond Predators
Pond Predators

Keeping Them Safe

For the heron, things get a little more challenging. They are very crafty and smart birds and you should not underestimate them. There are many methods available to keep them or scare them away from your pond – from plastic heron statue replicas to floating alligator decoys and motion-activated sprinkler. These options to ward him off all offer varying levels of success for every water garden hobbyist.

In early spring, these birds return to your area and look for feeding grounds. As they fly overhead to see where the fish are, your colorful fish stand out like a fast food restaurant. Your first defense is to use a decoy of some sort, whether it is heron or alligator decoy. They work better if you keep moving them around the pond to fool the heron into thinking they are real. Herons would rather not feed in the same water as an alligator, and if they see that another bird has staked out your backyard already, they are more likely to move on to the next available spot.

As we move into summer, just like us, Pond Predators develop a routine and may even forget about your pond. So the trick is to move the decoy about every three days in the spring and every couple of weeks in the summer.

Another decoy on the market is a motion-activated sprinkler called a Scarecrow. When the predator gets close enough the motion sensor will activate, and the visitor will get a quick blast of water.

Pond Predators: Alligator decoy
Pond Predators: Alligator decoy

Life Without Fish? Never!

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to have fun with your fish, and to remember that all of these occurrences are case specific. You may never see a Pond Predators such as a heron or raccoon in your backyard, your fish may be disinterested in your plants, and there may be no bullying in the pond.

Who knows, maybe you’ll be lucky and avoid all three. After a season or two, you will remember what your life was like before fish. You’ll undoubtedly realize that the pleasure of pond fish far outweighs a life without finned friends.

 

Contact us to see how we can help create your personal pond predator solution!

How to clean a koi pond

Sometimes it’s best to hire a professional, other times it’s fun to try something yourself.  Want to try cleaning your pond for spring?  Here’s what you need and some basic steps.

 Materials for Your  Koi Pond Clean-out

 

If you’re planning to get your hands dirty with a Backyard Pond Clean-out, here is a list of materials that may be helpful . Being prepared ahead of time will prevent the need to run to the store in the middle of your clean-out project. Here’s a handy list of things you may need:

  • Kiddie pool (or similar, large container to hold fish and frogs)
  • Net to cover fish container to prevent them from jumping out
  • Fish net to catch the fish before the clean-out
  • Lily tabs – might as well fertilize those lilies while you’re in there!
  • Two-five gallon buckets for collecting leaves and debris
  • Wading boots or old clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
  • Rubber gloves 25 feet of 1.5 to 2-inch discharge piping
  • A high-pressure nozzle for your garden hose or a power washer
  • Garden shears for trimming plants
  • Bacteria
  • Dechlorinator if you’re filling your pond with city water
  • Extra rocks/pebbles to cover exposed liner
  • Expanding foam to fill in any necessarily spots
  • New filter mats, if needed
Now that you have all your materials, you are ready to start your cleaning.   Don’t  worry – it’s really not as complicated – just a little dirty.

 

How to clean a koi pond
Koi Pond Cleaning

How to Clean a Backyard Koi Pond

 

  1. Start Draining the Pond – An inexpensive pump or a sump pump is sufficient. Be sure you use some of the pond water to fill a container with pond water for the fish.
  2. Disconnect the Circulation System – This will allow the water in the plumbing to drain out.
  3. Catch the Fish – Drain the pond down to the lowest shelf in order to catch fish easily and safely.
  4. Remove Debris – Once the pond is drained, remove the large debris like leaves and twigs.
  5. Wash the Pond – A 1,500 psi pressure washer or a high-pressure nozzle on a garden hose is recommended for pond cleaning.
  6. Rinse the Pond – Rinse the pond from top to bottom with a garden hose without the high-pressure nozzle. This will help wash any remaining pond debris from under the rocks. As the dirty water accumulates on the bottom, continuing to pump it out.
  7. Clean the Filters – Spray the filtration media until relatively clean and rinse down the inside of the filter units.
  8. Refill the Pond – Pull the clean-out pump out and begin re-filling the pond.
  9. De-chlorinate the Water – Most city water contains chlorine and chloramines and should be treated with a de-chlorinator before fish are introduced.
  10. Acclimate the Fish – A spring clean-out can be stressful to fish, so proper acclimation is suggested to decrease stress and avoid future health problems. In order to properly acclimate your fish, you’ll want to slowly introduce it to the water by floating them in the pond fish and adding pond water little by little before letting them in.

Still need help?  Contact us— we’d love to help!

Not just ponds: some other water feature options

Are you wondering which backyard water feature would work best for your outdoor space? Here are just some of the many options available for different yard sizes and goals

Backyard Water Feature: Basalt Columns and Spillway bowls

Sometimes flowing water is what a backyard needs. There are many ways to get backyard water features into a landscape, and basalt columns and spillway bowls are two of our favorites

Basalt Columns

backyard water feature basalt column
backyard water feature basalt column

Mongolian Basalt columns are mined from the mountains found between Russia and China. Small-volume basaltic volcanism has occurred intermittently throughout central Mongolia for the past 30 million years. Aquascape Mongolian Basalt is mined, shaped and then drilled to make a stunning semi-formal water feature.

Spillway bowls
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backyard water feature spillway bowls
backyard water feature spillway bowls

The Aquascape Spillway Bowl creates a beautiful spilling water feature that can be added to any pond or pool creating an instant waterfall. Spillway Bowls can also easily be linked together creating a unique modern standalone water feature.  Check out our link to exactly how these are built:

Backyard Water Feature: Pondless Waterfalls

backyard water feature pondless waterfall
backyard water feature pondless waterfall

If you are looking for the most convenient way to bring the soothing sounds of falling water into your life, it doesn’t get any simpler than a Pondless Waterfall.

Working much like a regular waterfall, the Pondless variety directs the cascading water into a deep rock- and- gravel-filled hole where the water collects and is pumped back up to the top of the fall. Because there is no pool of water, a Pondless waterfall is a great option if you’re concerned about safety issues associated with a traditional pond.

Backyard Water Feature: Traditional ponds
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backyard water feature pond
backyard water feature pond

An ecosystem pond is the most popular backyard water feature . An ecosystem pond offers a low-maintenance way to provide a graceful and environmentally friendly sanctuary for fish, wildlife and aquatic plants that works with, not against, nature.

We design each pond to take advantage of the natural features of your yard, and to reflect your unique sense of style. Waterfalls, streams, ledges and landscaping all add to the beauty and drama that a custom pond provides.

Which  backyard water feature is right for you?  Contact us and we’ll be happy to work with you to create your own outdoor paradise.  And be sure to check out Aquascape’s video on a backyard and patio renovation.

 

 

What is a Philadelphia water garden?

water garden

water garden

What is a Philadelphia water garden?

A water garden is a man-made water feature, typically a pool or pond, which is designed to complement the natural environment. Water gardens typically incorporate aquatic plants, ornamental fish, statuary, water falls, and other decorations. They can be found in residential backyards, courtyards, and parks, to compliment the landscaping, and as an enhancement in existing gardens.

There are several different types of Philadelphia water gardens, including container gardens, raised and sunken ponds, and bog gardens. A container water garden is typically small and easy to care for, and can be placed on a patio or balcony with ease.

Raised and sunken ponds are built directly into the ground, and require more maintenance than other types of water gardens. Bog gardens are the most natural of the three, and are designed to attract wildlife. They are generally dug into the ground, lined with plastic, and filled with native plants and fish.

What are water gardens for?

Although a water garden’s primary focus is on plants, they can house fish as well.

How big is a water garden?

They  can be almost any size or depth, they are typically small and relatively shallow, generally less than 24 inches deep. This is because most aquatic plants are depth sensitive and require a specific water depth in order to thrive.

Why a water garden?

A water garden is an aquaculture system – a diverse aquatic ecosystem, one of the most productive and efficient systems around.   In an aquaculture system, aquatic plants have a constant supply of water that has nutrients dissolved in it, which they can easily take up. The waste from fish and other animals in the system provide additional nutrient to the plants, making for a very efficient and productive system.

What do I need in my water garden?

Plants are an important part . They add life to the feature, and create a natural ecosystem, which promotes the health of the fish. A well stocked water garden will include several different types of plants and fish. The plants may be submerged, marginal, or floating varieties. It is recommended that a combination of these plant types be used to keep the water garden in optimal health.