Monthly Archives: April 2016

Pond Klear – 10 Day Test in Fish Pond

Over the last two weeks or so, we’ve been testing Pond Klear in a real-life situation. A customer bought a bottle of Pond Klear Xtra and approached us for some advice and after hearing how green his pond was we saw a great opportunity to show what our product is capable of.

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This is the pond, complete with an unsightly metal gate to keep the herons out. Believe it or not there are a few beautiful fish hidden in there but we had to take his word for it! We put 150ml of Pond Klear Xtra into a bucket of pond water and distributed evenly over the pond surface. A normal dose for a pond of this size would be 50ml but we always recommend starting off with a double or triple dose to allow the bacteria to become established.

 

 

Pond Test Day 1

This picture shows the pond after 1 day. As you can see the bacteria has started to take effect. The fish are just about visible although it’s very difficult to see any of their patterns. The floor of the pond is definitely not visible and there is a strong green colour to the water.

 

 

Pond Test Day 5

This is after 5 days. There is a clear difference; the structure of the pond is visible; the fish are visible (but quite hard to spot in this picture); and the pond generally looks a lot healthier. At this point we gave the pond another standard dose (50ml) of Xtra and cleaned out the filter. It’s extremely important to clean the filter as often as possible because the bacteria in Pond Klear will dislodge a lot of organic material which will then get caught in the filter. While this is a good thing, if too much material gets stuck in the water it will stop working.

 

 

Pond Test Day 10

This shows the pond 10 days after first dosage. As you can see the Pond Klear Xtra has completely cleared the pond. The floor of the pond is visible and you can even see the frogspawn hidden beneath the surface. This really shows how effective Pond Klear can be if it’s used correctly.

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There are a few reasons Pond Klear has worked so well on this pond –

It has a working filter – The bacteria in Pond Klear (and all Envii Pond products) do two things. They eat some of the organic material and dislodge the rest. This means that the organic material that has been dislodged (or disturbed) will then be sucked into the filter. If you clean your filter every few days while treating Pond Klear will work considerably faster.

Started with a triple dose – You can’t really overdose with Pond Klear. While we wouldn’t recommend putting a whole bottle in, it’s perfectly safe to start with a double or triple dose. Bacteria reproduces logarithmically (1 becomes 2, 2 becomes 4 etc.) so by starting with a strong dose it will get to work much quicker.

Used Pond Klear XtraPond Klear and Pond Klear Xtra are exactly the same except Xtra is 3x stronger. For a pond as green as this one we’d always recommend using Xtra as it will get to work much quicker. At £27.99 you get the equivalent of 3 bottles of Pond Klear for the price of 2.

No UV lights – UV lights kill both good and bad bacteria. This means that, while they do help keep your pond clear, they will render any bacteria treatment useless. If you have any UV lights make sure to turn them off for 2-3 days during treatment.  

For more information on the Envii Pond Range click here.

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Protect against slugs with Feed & Protect

Slugs and snails are coming! Although slugs are active all year round, your garden is most at risk for the next few months when the conditions are warm and damp and there is plenty of new growth for them to feed on. In our last blog post – 6 Tips For The Fight Against Slugs And Snails – we listed what we think are the best ways to protect against slugs and snails. This is just a reminder about how Feed and Protect works and how it can help your plants.

Feed and Protect has two really important functions:

It Prevents Slugs and Snails

Feed and Protect actually makes the plant distasteful to slugs and snails. This means that, while it won’t keep slugs and snails off your garden, it will certainly stop them munching on your plants. Envii Feed and Protect wasn’t designed for this initially; it was just a spot of luck that makes it a really useful product.

It Feeds the Plant

By delivering essential micronutrients – like Potassium, Boron, Zinc, Iron, Copper etc – to the plant, Feed and Protect allows them to flourish to their maximum capability.

This makes Feed and Protect like no other product on the market. The Feed and Protect formula is used in large scale agriculture as a plant food. Envii have re-packaged it and made it available to the home gardener meaning that you can use what the professionals are using.

For more information visit www.bio8.co.uk

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6 Tips For The Fight Against Slugs & Snails

Slugs and snails are a problem in almost every garden. There are a million and one old wives tales that will supposedly stop the insatiable creatures but they rarely have any real effect.

Here we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks that actually work and we’ll also tell you about a few of our own products specifically developed to prevent slugs and snails.

Plant your seeds in raised beds

Okay, slugs and snails can climb up the side of your raised bed but it will certainly reduce your slug problem. You could even line the outside walls of the bed with copper to deter them even more.

Choose a good spot

If you choose a spot away from long grass and other plants it will mean the slugs and snails have further to travel. They’ll also be exposed and therefore easier to pick off for birds and other wildlife.

Physically pick them up

Perhaps not the most glamorous or enjoyable method but you could wait till dark and go round with a torch, picking them up. Be warned… more will come sooner than you think!

Encourage wildlife

Buy or make a birdhouse and/or birdbath. Make your garden friendly to slug eating wildlife and they will act as your first line of defence.

Use Diatomaceous Earth

Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around your plants to act as a physical barrier. As the slug or snail attempts to pass over the diatomaceous earth, it will dry out (desiccate) and die. Envii Feed and Fortify is a blend of food-grade diatomaceous earth that not only deters slugs and snails but also increases the plant’s uptake of nutrients to help it grow.

Treat with Envii Feed & Protect

Envii Feed and Protect is a pet safe slug repellent that delivers essential micronutrients to your plant. The perfect alternative to slug pellets and killer.

For more information visit www.bio8.co.uk. 

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The perfect storm in your pond

Last month we wrote an article for Koi Carp Magazine. Here it is –

 

This winter has been warm! The average temperature in December was a balmy 8°C and January wasn’t much colder. Plants are blooming months earlier than they should and insects don’t know whether to hibernate or pollinate.. It’s almost as though the difference between the seasons are becoming indistinguishable. But what effect will this have on our pond’s biological balance when the ‘real’ spring arrives?

Let’s start from the top. Your pond is naturally full of organic matter. Whether it’s the twigs from overhanging trees, droppings from an unwelcome pigeon or your beloved koi’s own bodily functions, every pond is full of organic material that will decay. This process of decay introduces substances such as phosphorous, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide into the pond water. Small amounts are fine, in fact they’re normal, but too much and they can easily affect water quality and the health of your fish. We call this the “organic loading” of a pond. The more organics, the more decay, the more adverse effects on water quality.

This is the essence of most pond water problems. If the pond’s biological balance is out of kilter, you open the door for excessive amounts of ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, phosphates, urea, faecal matter and dead organic waste. Therefore most owners use various pond treatments tackle this issue by introducing task-specific ‘good’ bacteria into the pond environment.

The reduction in these contaminants improves the quality of the water and that combats a wide range of aquatic pathogens and diseases such as: streptococcus, pseudomonas, aeromonas, vibrio and burkholderia. In essence ‘good’ bacteria tackle the ‘bad’ bacteria that are effectively feeding off the organic matter in the pond.

But surely a warm, mild winter is good for us and there will be less adverse effects in Spring?

This is where the answer gets a little muddy (pun very much intended). Organic matter decays as low as 6-7°C, which means in the very cold weeks of the year, the pond becomes almost dormant and you can almost leave it alone. However, this winter has been very different. As I said before, the average temperature for December was 8°C… an ideal temperature for organic matter to decay without any competition creating sludge that builds up into an anaerobic environment to emit toxic gases such as hydrogen sulphide.

To add insult to injury, this winter’s been one of the wettest (and probably windiest) on record as well. Gale force winds have distributed a veritable smorgasbord of organic detritus around our gardens and some of it will have inevitably found a home in your pond.  High levels of rainwater, which is packed full of nutrients such as sulphur (think acid rain) and minerals provides a readily available (and this year plentiful) supply of nutrients to help organic matter decay. Consider how much better your plants grow when fed with rain rather than tap water! Or how when you collect rainwater in a water butt, invariably there will be a layer of algae over the top. The ‘bad’ bacteria in the pond thrive off this free buffet of nutrients, which only speeds up the decaying process and helps generate sludge.

So we have in essence the makings of a ‘perfect storm’. Lots of organics and nutrients being added to the pond, mild temperatures of around 8°C aiding decay and the fact that almost all traditional pond treatments are only effective from above 10-12°C.

 

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This is why you can expect to see some real problems when spring eventually starts.

There are a few tried and tested methods of reducing the impact of green water, sludge and other algae problems in spring –

  • Physically removing as much sludge and organic matter from your pond – You can do this with a net, bucket or even with your bare hands but it’s not always practical.
  • Keep your filters clean – so you can catch as much organics in the water column as possible
  • Add plants – In a natural pond, plants will absorb a lot of the bad nutrients, but they can’t cure the issue and too many and you can’t see your fish!
  • Add plenty of task specific bacteria at the start of spring – Providing the bacteria in question is safe in large amounts, add a double or triple dose for the first few times in spring. Bacteria grow logarithmically – 1 becomes 2, 2 becomes 4, 4 becomes 8 – so the more you add the quicker the results.
  • Avoid adding any materials that can act as a nutrient to the ‘bad’ bacteria – with the high organic loadings the last thing you want to do is add a nutrient.

Have pond treatments kept up with our evolving climate?

Bacteria can be genetically modified (although there are ethical and moral question marks with this) but it’s far more common that new strains are discovered in natural occurring environments. In many ways it’s a game of chance, thousands of strains can be examined without finding anything that can improve on the strains you already have. This means that when a new strain is discovered it can be a big deal.

In late 2013, a strain of bacteria was sampled in a stream in Pennsylvania. Like many others it was catalogued and its characteristics examined and it showed signs of very good activity at low temperatures. In fact, it showed the same activity at 4°C as similar bacteria do at 10-12°C. It was so unique that the unusual step was taken to patent it!

Its natural environment was in water which made it incredibly suited for water treatments and was very active in breaking down organic waste, therefore just what you would want in a bacterial based pond water treatment.

This activity means that it’s food source are the same organics that create problems in your ponds and also provides a stable and continued treatment even during temperature spikes. Why you may ask is this important? Well imagine going for a run. It’s much easier to run for longer and with less effort if you keep a rhythm, rather than stopping at traffic lights, crossing the road or opening a gate to a field. Well, it’s the same principle for bacteria – In spring we see periods of really warm weather (24°C on one day in May 2015) which raises the water temperature in our ponds above the 10-12°C allowing traditional bacterial strains to become active, but periods of cold weather stops any activity. In fact the mean averages in the UK last year were; March – 5.5°C, April – 7.9°C and May – 9.6°C!. For the best bacterial activity you want the bacteria to concentrate on digesting organic matter rather than wasting energy stopping and starting due to temperature fluctuations, as they become much less effective.

 

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These new low temperature strains look to be the ideal answer as they provide you the pond owner with more constant and reliable bacterial activity much later into the year, and arguably more importantly much earlier in the year to tackle the inevitable build-up of organic matter that the warmer and wetter winters are bringing.

Bio8 Ltd exclusively manufacture the new Envii Pond Range which incorporates unique patent pending bacterial strains that are fully active at temperatures as low as 4°C and more information can be found at www.bio8.co.uk or contacting them directly on 01246 240880.

 

 

How to protect plants against spring frost

Spring is here. The clocks have gone forward, beer gardens are full and the most fruitful stretch of the gardening calendar is upon us. But the sunny days and cloudless nights have a downside… frost.

Clouds act like a blanket for the sky at night when there is no direct sunlight; on a cloudless night this blanket is gone and the earth is exposed. This means that the glorious sunshine is causing us frosty mornings which, in turn can ruin our early efforts at planting out.

Frost damage can be particularly bad in spring when the plants are young and less hardy. We wrote this blog post in the winter about How Cold Weather Affects Your Plants. Now the winter is over, many gardeners have forgotten about the dangers of frost, leaving their plants at risk. Frost damage can catch out even the most experienced gardeners because it’s very difficult to prepare for.

Here are some methods of protecting against frost –

Plant blankets – You can buy these from any garden centre or online. Very effective but expensive when you have a lot of plants.

Avoid frost pockets – Frost tends to gather in sunken areas so avoid these like the plague. Could be worth using raised beds where possible.

Choose hardy plants – This is your first line of defence. Read the back of seed packets and only choose plants that are suited to this time of year.

Cover with an upside bucket – Or anything else for that matter. You can be a bit creative with alternatives to plant blankets.

Water soil – Wet soil is more resistant to frost than dry soil so water it one or two days before frost is forecast.

Apply Envii Early StarterEarly Starter is a bio-stimulant that protects plants against cold weather. It effectively reprograms the plant to generate more root growth, rather than aerial growth, so that it has better access to water and nutrients. Most importantly this means you can plant earlier in the spring and later in the autumn without the risk of your plants dying.

Terry Walton, BBC Radio 2’s Allotment Doctor said he would “strongly recommend it to any gardener looking to grow in the early season when the weather is cold.” To read the full review, click here.

For more information or to buy Early Starter, click here.

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