The Do’s & Don’ts For Ponds

Pond keeping can be a mind field when it comes to knowing what you can and can’t do to achieve algae free, crystal clear water. One ‘expert’ will tell you to do this, another ‘expert’ will tell you to do that and suddenly it all becomes a very confusing, tangled web of conflicting information.

We are not claiming to be experts but we do know a lot about bacteria and how it thrives in ponds. Therefore, we have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts to help you create the perfect water conditions in your pond, keep algae at bay and maintain a balanced eco system.

DO treat your pond with a bacterial product on a regular basis.
Beneficial, aerobic bacteria is the foundation to any ponds eco system, it keeps algae at bay by eliminating any excess nutrients in the pond, prevents sludge from becoming anaerobic and releasing toxic hydrogen sulphide into the pond and helps prevent fish illnesses.
Bacteria needs to be topped up regularly. As with any living organism, it only has a certain lifespan and once it has died, it needs replacing.

DO use a hosepipe to wash your filters.
This is a very conflicting point within the pond industry but at Envii we recommend using a hosepipe to wash filters. The chlorine that is found in tap water is only present as a trace element and the amount that is left behind on the filters is so small that it will have a very insignificant effect on the bacteria that is present in the pond.
By using pond water to wash your filters, you will remove a lot more of the bacteria that is present in the pond and then have to replace the pond water with tap water.

DO check your water parameters on a regular basis.
Although your water may look clear, it may not be the quality, healthy water that your fish need. Check your water parameters every couple of weeks to ensure your pH, KH, ammonia and other levels are where they should be. If you don’t know what your water parameters should be, have a read of our Water Parameters post. Water parameters can change rapidly and can have severe consequences on your fish.
If you find that your water parameters are not where they should be, use Pond Equaliser to instantly stabilise them and create the perfect water conditions for your fish.

DO ask for technical advice.
Nobody wants to buy a product that they think is going to solve their problem, only to find out that they have purchased the wrong product or not used it correctly. We provide expert advice not only for our products, but for any other pond query either by email or phone. So, take advantage of us and give us a call!

DO treat your pond with a bacterial product all year.
We hear from more and more people every week who had a crystal-clear pond in winter that suddenly went green in spring. Algae won’t grow below 8°C which is why ponds look good during winter. However, bacteria also die when it gets below a certain temperature and with a lack of algae to feed on, come spring their numbers have decreased drastically. The depleted number of bacteria, coupled with the rise in temperature in spring quickly results in an algae bloom that will turn your water green.
Treat your pond with Winter Pond Treatment during the colder months to keep bacteria present in the pond and prevent an algae bloom in spring.

DO keep your pumps and filters running all year.
A lot of pond owners decide that once the temperature drops, the pumps should be turned off as the pond can no longer be enjoyed. However, by turning the pumps off, you will be creating problems that will not show themselves until spring. During winter, a lot of debris falls in to ponds and starts to break down. If this debris is not cleared out, it releases excess nutrients into the water that algae will feed on when spring arrives.
Keep your pump and filter running to remove any of this debris and keep the water moving.

DON’T empty your pond and start again.
One common misconception when a pond is struggling with algae or green water is to empty all the water out, clean the pond and refill it. However, this is possibly the worst thing to do in this situation. By removing all the water, you also remove any of the beneficial bacteria that was in the pond. When the pond is refilled it is filled with what is technically sterile water that contains chlorine, toxic heavy metals and little to no bacteria. Initially, the pond appears to be in a very good condition as the sterile water stays clear for a few weeks but then quickly turns green due to the lack of bacteria available to fight off any algae spores.
If for some reason you do have to empty your pond, introduce a bacterial product as soon as you have refilled to introduce bacteria into the pond straight away.

DON’T remove blanket weed whilst it is still alive
The most obvious thing to do when you see blanket weed appearing in your pond is to pull it out and throw it away. If you have ever done this, you will know that within days, the blanket weed reappears and you begin the cycle again.
If you remove blanket weed when it is still alive (green) the strands tear and release new spores back into the water.
Ensure that any blanket weed you remove has been killed first by using Blanketweed Klear. For more information on blanket weed, read our post on How to Get Rid of Blanket Weed.

DON’T change your filters
If your filters are getting dirty when using a bacterial product, it is because your pond is dirty. You should only clean the filters, not change them.
Bacteria anchor themselves on to the filters and digest any algae or sludge that gets caught. If you change the filters, you remove all the beneficial bacteria that has been added to the filters.
If you have to change your filters, be sure to apply a bacterial product directly to the new filters.

DON’T introduce plants without leaching out fertiliser
When buying plants to add into your ponds, the easiest place to buy them from is the local garden centre. However, these plants are grown in fertilisers that aim to speed up the growing process to allow the garden centres to sell them quicker. If these plants are added straight into the pond, the fertiliser leaches out and in to the pond, harming the beneficial bacteria.
Before adding plants to the pond, put them in a bucket of water for 7-10 days and change the water every day. This will leach out the fertiliser and they will then be safe to add to the pond. For more information on pond plants, read our post Should I Keep Aquatic Plants.

DON’T feed fish during winter
As the temperature starts to drop in autumn, you should consider changing over to a high protein food for your fish. When winter begins, stop feeding your fish all together. Fish don’t feed throughout winter, so the food that is thrown into the pond will break down and release nutrients into the pond to feed any algae spores when the temperatures rise.

DON’T allow your pond to freeze over completely during winter
You should avoid letting your pond freeze over during winter at all costs. If the pond does freeze over completely, it will create an air tight seal that will not allow any oxygen to enter the pond or any toxic gases to leave the pond. If this continues for an extended period, it may result in fish death. For more tips on caring for your pond in winter read our Preparing Pond for Winter post.

DON’T overstock the pond
It is very easy to overstock a pond, after all, who wants a clear pond and only two fish to look at. However, if a pond contains too many fish it can have a big effect on the water quality in the pond. Fish produce a lot of waste; this waste gives off ammonia which can in turn raise the pH in the pond and lead to illness or death among the fish.
As a rule of thumb it is recommended that a pond has 55cm of fish per 1,000 litres. The average fish size in UK ponds is around 6 inches so this would equate to 3-4 fish per 1,000  litres.

Do's & Don'ts Infographic

The New Way To Protect Your Plants From The Heat

Physical Plant Protection Is Past Its Prime

British weather is some of the most changeable in the world. While we don’t have a lot of ‘extreme’ weather, it’s nearly impossible to accurately predict, which can make life very difficult for gardeners.

That’s why we have so many physical methods of protecting our plants. Plant blankets for cover in the winter and greenhouse shading and water irrigation in the summer are a few of the most popular methods. But it’s always been hotly debated as to how well these methods really work.

This is why we have developed a range of products that can protect your plants from unpredictable weather more efficiently. We know that by bringing out certain qualities in plants, we can help them to help themselves by managing their natural reaction to stressful situations.

Here’s an example – When a plant is subject to high temperatures its natural reaction is to wilt and abort its flowers in a last ditch attempt to survive. This happens because the plant can’t get enough moisture from the soil in order to cope with the high temperatures.

This adds up to the risk of your plants dying when a sudden hot spell comes along.

However, by changing the plant’s natural reaction to heat stress you can save them from this fate. Envii Chill Out reprograms the plant’s natural reaction by redirecting a plant’s growth into its roots rather than growing upwards and suppresses the gene that makes a plant abort flowers and shoots. This means that when high temperatures come along, the plant has a much larger source of water and nutrients to survive on. Then, when the temperature drops to a normal level, the plant automatically returns to its normal growth and development.

The product was initially designed for glasshouses in the Middle East where temperatures soar to over 40°C. Then, having been extensively tested by the University of Nottingham, we decided to launch it to amateur and professional gardeners alike. This means that, without the need for complicated water irrigation systems, unreliable shading or constant tending to, gardeners can grow their plants without the risk of them dying from heat stress.

Click here for more information on Envii Chill Out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing Your Pond For Winter

For any enthusiastic gardener, autumn is a perplexing time. Your arduous work throughout spring and summer begins to fade away, with the promise of next season and another fruitful crop just on the horizon. Pond keepers are no different in this respect; they toil all year to fight off algae blooms and keep their pond in the best condition for its inhabitants, only to be bombarded with algae come spring. The thought of having to cover up the pond, no longer being able to sit around and enjoy it with a cold drink in hand, can be a little sad. However, with a little maintenance during autumn and winter, your pond will be match fit for the first sign of a warm spring day.

The main priority for any pond owner throughout the year is to keep the pond water ‘healthy’. If the water parameters are correct in terms of pH and KH (carbonate hardness), you will provide a healthy environment for aquatic wildlife, fish and beneficial bacteria. It cannot be stressed enough, that without the water parameters being correct, beneficial probiotic bacteria will struggle to deal with the unwanted organics added during autumn & winter that elevate the risk of fish & wildlife death and algae blooms in spring.

Without any care or maintenance over autumn and winter, ponds begin to form a layer of sludge on the bottom from unwanted organics such as leaves, twigs and faecal waste from fish and wildlife. Whilst frogs and newts love to lay in this sludge, if left untreated, it can cause an imbalance in the water, making it poisonous to wildlife and fish by discharging Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) gas from anaerobic bacteria inside the sludge.

Essential Autumn Care Tasks
To prevent an algae bloom in spring, complete these simple tasks during autumn:

Check your water quality

After a spring and summer of algae, acidic rain and fish waste your pH and KH levels will need adjusting. The pH should be between 7 & 8.3 and the KH level should be above 5. You can either buy a quality testing kit, take a sample of water to your local water garden centre or simply use Pond Equaliser to instantly stabilise the pH at 8, and KH above 5. Pond Equaliser will also remove any ammonia and heavy metals to create a safe and healthy environment for fish, wildlife and beneficial probiotic bacteria.

Add bacteria

Add quality, probiotic bacteria that are capable of working at temperatures lower than 08°C. Use Pond Klear for smaller ponds, Natural Pond Klear for larger natural ponds and Winter Pond Treatment for the colder winter months. Task-specific probiotic bacteria slowly digest any debris and unwanted organics and reduce the toxic H2S levels.

Tend to plants

Prune back any aquatic plants and remove any floating debris from the pond; this debris can be deposited in a compost heap as it is high in nitrogen and other essential nutrients for plant growth. Don’t forget to check for any wildlife that may be hibernating when removing aquatic plants or sludge; newts and frogs will hibernate in sludge and dragonfly larvae can lie dormant in plants for several months. When you remove any debris or plants from a pond, leave them at the side for a couple of hours to allow any wildlife to make its way back to the pond.

Cover up

Cover your pond with a net to catch leaves and twigs; leave gaps around the edge to allow wildlife to get in and out of the pond. The frogs and newts that may be hibernating at the bottom of the pond will be ready and waiting to eradicate slugs and snails in spring.

Put your fish on a diet

Feed fish less as the temperature drops, or consider moving to a low protein food. As temperatures drop, fish eat less, once it gets below a certain temperature they will stop feeding. If you continue feeding them, the wasted food will break down, release nutrients into the water to feed any algae and will add to the layer of sludge at the bottom.

Deep clean

If you have a filter, clean it thoroughly in autumn to remove any algae or debris trapped during summer and clean monthly throughout autumn and winter.

Keep it moving, slowly

Keep pumps and filters running all year; they will continue removing debris and prevent the pond from freezing over. If possible, turn the flow rate down to avoid cooling the water further. If water freezes over, it restricts the available oxygen for fish, and seals in the toxic gases that can be released from decaying organics.

Check your water quality, again…

Most important of all, get the water parameters right to increase the ponds biological self-cleaning ability, as this will reduce the amount of work required, and increase the enjoyment of your pond in spring & summer 2018.

For more information on why ponds go green in spring, read our blog post here.

Featured Product – SeaFeed Xtra

What Is SeaFeed Xtra?

This weeks featured product is SeaFeed Xtra.
SeaFeed Xtra is not your average seaweed fertiliser. Whilst it may appear to be at first glance, it contains almost double the amount of solid seaweed than its closest competition. We have also added extra micronutrients, extra Urea, extra Iron & extra Amino Acids to really improve the performance or our seaweed fertiliser.
A unique cold press manufacturing process allows SeaFeed Xtra to retain more of the biologically active compounds needed for your plants and produces a more concentrated liquid fertiliser.

How Does SeaFeed Xtra Work?

SeaFeed Xtra provides plants with essential micronutrients to help promote growth and create strong, resilient plants.
As well as containing all the usual nutrients that can be found in seaweed, SeaFeed Xtra contains a unique formulation that improves the plants uptake of nutrients without having to expend any unnecessary energy breaking them down.
It can be applied either by foliar spray, root drench or a combination of both on a wide range of fruit, vegetables, shrubs and lawns.

Don’t Just Take Our Word for It…

Two Thirsty GardenersHow To Revive Chilli Plants

Amanda Dobson – Great product have definitely seen the difference to trees and plants, so much so bought more of this product

Michael – Very good product. My pumpkins love it

How to Make Seaweed Fertilizer?

It is very simple to make seaweed fertilizer, simply throw some seaweed around your plants and over time it will break down and release nutrients into the soil surrounding your plants. However, unless you own the beach where you intend to collect the seaweed from, it is against the law to collect your own seaweed without permission. We strongly recommend buying a liquid seaweed fertiliser such as SeaFeed Xtra or buying seaweed from a trusted source.

What Is Liquid Seaweed Fertilizer?

Liquid seaweed fertiliser is a very simple product in theory. Seaweed is pressed and then the concentrate is diluted to produce the liquid fertiliser. Most seaweed fertilisers contain around 1-3% of seaweed and the rest is water and in some products, colouring. SeaFeed Xtra contains 5% solids, added nutrients and our unique nutrient delivery system that enables plants to easily absorb the additional nutrients without exerting any additional energy.

Is Seaweed Fertilizer Good for Plants?

Seaweed has been used for centuries in coastal locations as a natural fertiliser as it is rich in nutrients, it is cheap and because of where it grows, it is very resilient to harsh weather and disease. Seaweed is an excellent source of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and up to 60 trace elements, all of which are essential to a plants growth. It also includes amino acids and hormones to accelerate plant growth.
As well as providing essential micronutrients for plant growth, seaweed is great for preventing plant disease by producing strong, resilient plants.

Why Use Seaweed Fertilizer?

As mentioned above, seaweed has a whole host of benefits for your garden, from providing extra nutrients to improve plant growth, to encouraging strong, resilient plants. As well as the above-mentioned benefits seaweed also helps to deter slugs as it can make plants taste saltier, although this change in taste is so small that humans cannot taste it.
We have mentioned the benefits for plants but there are also huge benefits to your soil and compost. Seaweed is excellent in any soil type, but it has an added benefit in clay soil as it helps provide aeration and loosen the clay soil. This allows roots to grow deeper and access more water and nutrients. Using seaweed in your compost pile will speed up the composting process as seaweed is a natural accelerator.

Why Is Your Pond Losing Water

Why Is My Water Level Dropping?

We can probably rule out the baby emptying your pond! But lets have a look at some of the common causes of water loss.

Pond water levels dropping is a common problem that many pond owners come across and at first can seem quite worrying. Naturally, everybody’s first thoughts are “I have a leak in my pond” and “there must be a rip in the pond liner”. However, only about 5% of suspected leaks turn out to be leaks, so don’t panic just yet!

There are a few different reasons that could be causing the water levels to drop and we will go through them below so that you can diagnose what is causing your water to disappear.

Evaporation

This is the most common reason for water levels dropping although it may not seem possible as water levels can drop more than 1 inch per day. Depending on the time of year and where your pond is located in the garden, if it is exposed to long amounts of direct sunlight it is possible for significant amounts of water to evaporate.

Pond Plants

Depending on what plants you keep in your pond and what time of year they flower, this can also contribute highly to water loss. If you have plants that bloom during the summer months they will need to absorb high levels of water, couple this with the natural evaporation in summer months and it is easy to see how water levels can drop.

Splashes

If you have a waterfall, water feature or fountain pond pump in your pond setup, these could be the culprit to your disappearing water. If they are not perfectly aligned, they can splash or spray small amounts of water out of your pond. Spend a couple of minutes watching your waterfall, feature or fountain to see if you can see any obvious water splashes. If you see any splashes, adjust any rocks to direct water or change the flow rate to keep splashes to a minimum.

Leaking Pipework

Check all fastenings on pump pipework. These can sometimes be made of brittle plastic that overtime will degrade and possibly crack or split causing small leaks in pipework joints. If you do spot a leak around the filter box, try and diagnose where it is coming from and replace the part.

All the above reasons can contribute to the loss of water in a pond and unfortunately it is something that is likely to happen throughout the year. Where possible, top your pond up with water collected in a water butt, if this is not possible, use tap water. Either way, we recommend using Pond Equaliser to remove any harmful chemicals and stabilise the added water.

Featured Products – Feed & Fortify and Feed & Protect

What Are Feed & Protect & Feed & Fortify?

This weeks featured products are Feed & Protect and Feed & Fortify.
Feed & Protect and Feed & Fortify are both dual function slug and snail repellents that feed plants whilst deterring pests. They are both 100% safe for all wildlife, pets and humans and can’t be washed away in the rain like other slug products.

How Do Feed & Protect and Feed & Fortify Work?

Feed & Protect is a powder that is dissolved in water and applied to a plants foliage. The plant then absorbs the nutrients provided in the powder to improve growth whilst simultaneously making the plant distasteful to molluscs. The bitter taste that is created by Feed & Protect is so subtle that it cannot be detected by humans. Feed & Protect is a great alternative that will not harm slugs.

Feed & Fortify is made from diatomaceous earth and iron silicates. Diatomaceous earth is a coarse powder that feels like sand to humans but is extremely coarse to molluscs. When slugs or snails try to go over the physical barrier created by Feed & Fortify they receive lots of tiny lacerations that break down it’s slimy coat and cause it to dehydrate and die. The Iron silicates in the powder release vital micronutrients into the soil to improve plant growth.

Don’t Just Take Our Word for It…

Ms Christine J – Have used this in 2 small areas of the garden and so far so good will await to see what happens

Karen Bergeman – Very easy to use, we bought it as needed something that would not harm my cat and others that visit, and of course the Wildlife
Thanks

Bruce Murray – Easy to apply – so far no slugs!

Where Do Slugs Live?

Slugs live underground and this is where they spend most of their time. Whilst underground, they will digest any seedlings that have been planted, lay eggs and feed on the roots of developed plants. Feed & Protect makes the whole plant distasteful to slugs, including the roots and foliage but does not affect the flavour of plants to humans.

How to Stop Slugs Eating Plants?

There are two methods of stopping slugs eating plants, you can either deter them and keep them away from your plants or you can kill them. Copper tape is often used as a deterrent for slugs but people have mixed results with it and some say that if the slug really wants to get over it, they will! Feed & Protect makes plants distasteful to slugs and as a result they won’t eat them making it the perfect deterrent.
Poisonous slug pellets are often used to kill slugs and whilst these are fairly effective, they are very unsightly and can be fatal to pets, other wildlife and children. Feed & Fortify is a great way to kill slugs as it is 100% safe for pets, and children and acts as a dual product by feeding the plant whilst repelling slugs.

Best Way to Kill Slugs?

There are numerous ways of killing slugs. From poisonous slug pellets, to traps that are designed to lure in slugs, trap them and then kill them. Most of these methods are successful and will kill slugs, however, many of them are unsightly and spoil the aesthetics of your garden or allotment. Feed & Fortify is and effective slug killer that is made of diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is a natural product that is made up from fossilized crustaceans and sea creatures. To humans, pets and other wildlife, it just feels like sand, but to molluscs it is extremely rough and causes lots of lacerations to their wet skin. This essentially dehydrates them and causes them to die.

Featured Product – Pond Equaliser

What Is Pond Equaliser?

This weeks featured product is Pond Equaliser.
Pond Equaliser instantly stabilises key water parameters in ponds and aquariums such as pH, KH, GH and ammonia. It is crucial that these parameters are balanced as they determine the biological balance in a pond. Balanced and stable water parameters provide both fish and beneficial bacteria with perfect living conditions and reduces the risk of algae, sludge and blanket weed.
Pond Equaliser only contains ingredients that are naturally found in water and are completely harmless to fish, wildlife and humans.

How Does Pond Equaliser Work?

Pond Equaliser adds essential minerals to pond water to stabilise the key water properties such as the carbonate hardness (KH), the pH and the general hardness (GH)
It also adds calcium to the water to neutralise any toxic heavy metals (found in tap water) and eliminate ammonia which is a by-product of fish waste breaking down.
By improving the water quality, the biological capabilities of the pond are dramatically increased, ensuring bacterial based maintenance products work at maximum efficiency.

Don’t Just Take Our Word for It…

MJA – Pond colour has definitely changed from Pea Green and getting clearer – not fully there yet but is looking good.

Jules – Used in conjunction with Envii Pond Klear worked miracles. Within 4 days could see the fish again and green weed cleared.

Amazon Customer – Did what it said on the pack tested water and fish are happy now!

What Are the Ideal Water Parameters for Fish?

Oxygen levels in your pond should be a minimum of 5.0 mg/L and a maximum of 18mg/L.

Ph levels should be kept as neutral as possible at around 7, but they can fluctuate down to 6.8 and up to 8.2 whilst still be classed as healthy.

KH levels, or carbonate hardness levels, should be kept at around 105ppm but can fluctuate by 15ppm either way and still be classed as healthy.

Ammonia levels should be at zero as they can be very harmful to fish, Nitrite levels should be as close to zero as possible and Nitrate levels can be up to 50ppm.

For more information, read our blog on the Ideal Water Parameters.

Why Is It Important to Monitor The pH Of Pond Water?

It is essential to monitor your pH levels very closely as they can have fatal effects on your fish if you don’t. Your pH level should sit around 7, which is neutral on the pH scale. With every digit above this, your fish come closer to being exposed to dangerous levels of high acidity and alkalinity. High acidity and alkalinity can increase the toxicity of any ammonia in your pond. Ammonia can cause physical burns to your fish’s gills and if it becomes too high will cause ammonia poisoning.

How to Lower Pond pH?

Lowering your ponds pH levels is very easy. As you are reading this we will assume you have checked your water with a test kit and found that your pH levels are too high.

The next step is simple. Follow the instructions for Pond Equaliser and your water parameters (pH, KH, GH, Ammonia & Heavy Metals) will be stable within a few hours.

Why Is My Pond pH So High?

The first thing to do if you get a high pH reading is to take another. Make sure you take one reading in the morning and one later in the day, ideally with similar weather conditions. The reason for this is that algae is more active in the late morning and will be sucking up carbon dioxide which will in turn cause your pH to read high. The algae are less active first thing in the morning and later at night which is why it is best to take two readings.

If your pH level is still high, treat your pond with Pond Equaliser and then take two readings 24 hours later.