What Are The Ideal Water Parameters For Ponds?

They are often overlooked, but having the correct water parameters is one of the most important factors to a successful, healthy pond. Providing your parameters are correct, your fish will be healthy, aerobic bacteria will be able to thrive and do its job properly and any pond plants that you may have will be able to contribute to the condition of your pond.

Correct Oxygen Levels in Ponds

The maximum amount of dissolved oxygen that can physically be held in water is 18.0mg/L. The minimum that you should let that figure get to is 6.0mg/L, anything lower than this and your fish will start to suffer. Some fish will be able to tolerate lower oxygen levels than this but it is advisable to try and keep the minimum at 6.0mg/L. Cold water can hold almost twice as much oxygen than warm water so keep a close eye on your oxygen levels throughout the summer months.

There are a couple of things you can do to maximise oxygen levels in your pond. Keep plenty of oxygenating plants, install a waterfall as this will bring in oxygen with the water and if needed, install an air stone or fountain to inject further oxygen.

If you need to make a partial water change for something, it is important to test your oxygen levels as tap water naturally has very low levels of oxygen in it.

What Should Pond pH Be?

Ph levels in ponds are very important but first we are going to have a quick chemistry re-cap on what pH is. Ph is a numeric scale that is used to determine the acidity or alkalinity of a substance, in this case pond water. The scale ranges from 1-14 with 7 being neutral, 1 being the most acidic and 14 being the most basic, or highest alkaline level. Battery acid has a pH of 1.0 whilst Lye (used in household drain cleaners) has a pH of 13.5, both can be just as dangerous as the other and give you a good indication as to why keeping a balanced pH level I so important.

Now that we have gone over what pH is, lets cover why it affects your pond, what it should be and how to change your pH level. A fish’s natural pH level is 7.4 so it is best practice to keep your pond as close to this level as possible. Fish can tolerate slight fluctuations in the acidity or alkalinity of the water but only down to about 6.8 and up to 8.2. When testing your pond’s pH level, be sure to test it twice in the same day, once first thing in the morning and once late in the day, preferably evening and preferably during similar weather conditions. The reason for testing twice is the algae that will be lurking in your pond. Algae is only active during daylight hours and when it is active it absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide found in your pond causing your pH to read high. If your pH level looks a bit too high or low, you need to gradually bring it back down, you can do this by using Pond Equaliser.

It is crucial to keep your pH as neutral as possible. High alkaline levels in the water will increase the toxicity of any ammonia that exists in your pond, leading to possible Ammonia poisoning.

What are KH Levels?

KH is the measure of carbonate hardness in your pond and carbonate hardness is the amount of calcium carbonate in your pond. Calcium carbonates are very important as they feed the nitrifying bacteria that remove harmful ammonia and nitrates from your pond water. These bacteria are part of your ponds bio-filter, without this, your pond would be under great threat and would rely heavily on your mechanical filtration system. KH levels should be around 125ppm but they can fluctuate safely by about 20ppm either way.

Unfortunately, as with low pH levels and low oxygen levels, the effects of low KH levels can’t be seen by eye. You may notice that your ponds condition will deteriorate, Ammonia and Nitrate levels will rise and your pond will become more susceptible to pH swings which will ultimately lead to a pH crash!

Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates

Ammonia is released into your pond when your fish excrete waste. The nitrifying bacteria that are fed by calcium carbonate then break down the ammonia and turn it into Nitrite. Nitrite is then broken down further, to its final state, Nitrate. Nitrate is the final by-product of Ammonia. All three of these can be dangerous to your fish and should be monitored carefully. Ideally you should be removing any Ammonia in your pond to avoid it damaging your fish or breaking down further. Ammonia can cause Ammonia poisoning that can lead to death, Nitrites and Nitrates are not as dangerous but if your fish already have Ammonia poisoning they will be weak and susceptible to the irreversible effects of Nitrates.

Ammonia levels should be kept as low as possible, ideally at 0ppm but they can be okay at 0.5ppm if your pH level is neutral. Remember, the higher your pH, the more toxic Ammonia becomes so it is best practice to keep the level low. Likewise, Nitrites should be kept as low as possible around 0.25ppm but ideally at zero. Finally, Nitrate levels should be around 20-60ppm.

To summarise, water parameters are one of the most important things to monitor in your pond and they should be as follows;

Oxygen – Minimum of 6.0mg/Litre

pH – Keep your pH level as neutral as possible, around 7/7.5

KH – Keep your level between 95ppm and 150ppm

Ammonia – Should be at zero but can go up to 0.5ppm depending on the pH level

Nitrite – Like Ammonia, it should be as low as possible

Nitrate – Can be in-between 20 and 60ppm

You can stabilise pH, KH and ammonia levels with Pond Equaliser and stabilise Nitrate levels with Nitrate Klear.

Common Fish Diseases

In our last blog, we spoke about some of the reasons fish jump out of water. One of the issues is due to diseases, which can cause the fish to jump out of the water to escape the pain.

Below we have listed some of the most common fish diseases along with their symptoms and how to treat them.

Common Diseases Symptoms How to Treat
Ammonia Poisoning Red or inflamed gills
Fish could be jumping out of water to escape pain or inhale more oxygen
As mentioned in the previous post, high ammonia levels are easy to avoid by keeping your water levels right with Pond Equaliser. There is no treatment for fish suffering with ammonia poisoning, other than levelling ammonia levels in water.
Fin Rot Fish’s fins appear jagged and may have a milky substance around the edges Like ammonia poisoning, Fin Rot is caused by incorrect water qualities. We would advise using Pond Equaliser and then monitoring the infected fish.
Camallanus Worms Serious infections can be seen in the form of a pink/red worm protruding from the fish’s anus. They may also be lethargic and lose their appetite A de-worming medication such as Levamisole is the recommended treatment.
White spot White spots will be visible on your fish’s fins and possibly body This is a very common disease and there are many remedies available at your local pet shop.
Hole In The Head Quite literally, the fish will appear to have small holes or indentations on their head and may lose their appetite A common method used to treat this disease is to add the antibiotic metronidazole into your water and then monitor water levels very closely. It is also thought that an improved diet (frozen fish food or vegetable based foods such as seaweed strips) can aid in the recovery of the fish.
Nitrite and Nitrate Poisoning Symptoms are not obvious but they can include erratic swimming and loss of appetite Although nitrate poisoning is not a disease, as we discussed in the last blog, it can be deadly to your fish. Ensure your water has low levels of nitrate by using Nitrate Klear.
Pop-Eye Eyes are abnormally sticking out of the fish’s head and may appear cloudy in colour Ensure water quality is perfect to avoid infecting any other fish. Remove the infected fish and keep in quarantine whilst treating with antibiotics.
Swim Bladder Disease Fish will be floating on their side or back and will be unable to dive The easiest treatment is to not feed the effected fish for 24 hours. Swim bladder is caused by fish taking in too much air when eating.
Velvet Fish will have yellow or grey dusty spots on them Copper and quinine-based medications are very effective, but these can be toxic to certain fish so check before treating

Why Do Your Fish Jump Out Of The Water?

Why do my fish jump?

Fish jumping out of water is not very common but when somebody sees it, it can initially look quite impressive. Fish can just be jumping out of the water for fun or to escape a mate but there could also be more concerning reasons.

There are many reasons and theories as to why fish jump, so we are going to go through some of the more concerning reasons.

High Ammonia Levels

One reason fish jump out of water is because of high Ammonia levels in the pond. If Ammonia levels are not monitored they can quickly rise and become very dangerous.

As fish excrete waste into the pond, it creates Ammonia. These high Ammonia levels can result in burns to the fish’s gills which could explain why they are jumping. When fish experience pain, they will either swim into the pond walls, to “itch” the pain, or they will jump out of the water to try and escape the pain.

Fortunately, this is very easy to treat with Envii Pond Equaliser. Equaliser instantly stabilises the chemical balance in your pond and creates perfect water conditions. Equaliser will adjust pH, KH and GH levels in your pond, as well as reducing levels of Ammonia and heavy metals.

We recommend using this product to all our customers as it provides the perfect conditions for fish, plants and beneficial, aerobic bacteria as well as allowing you to get the most out of any of your bacterial pond treatment products.

High Nitrate Levels

Nitrates are a by-product of the bacterial reduction of Ammonia. If the Ammonia levels in your pond have been high for a while, the chances are that they have reduced to their final product, Nitrate. As with Ammonia, Nitrates can cause irreversible damage to your fish, including their liver, spleen, nervous system and kidneys.

Nitrate levels are easy to neutralise and can be done so within hours, using Envii Nitrate Klear.

Parasites and Diseases

Parasites and diseases can cause damage to your fish and this damage may not always be visible without taking your fish out of the pond. Unfortunately, there are many diseases that can affect fish, however, most of these diseases can be diagnosed via visual symptoms. Use our Common Fish Diseases post to help determine what may be wrong with your fish.

As with High Nitrate Levels and High Ammonia Levels, the common denominator that is causing your fish to jump is damage/pain so take action as soon as you see you fish jumping.

To conclude, the first thing you should do is to check your pH, KH, GH, Ammonia and Nitrate levels in your pond using a test kit. If these are all okay, isolate the jumping fish and inspect it for any visible damage, parasites or diseases.

How To Prepare Your Garden For Spring

To save you wondering what to do in your garden this winter, we’ve compiled some advice that will help you get your garden ready for spring. Gardening isn’t just for the summer time; there’s a lot you can be doing while the nights are short and the air is cold.

 

Create a space for composting

If you don’t already have a designated spot for your compost, pick one now before the season kicks in. Ideally, you want a space where the conditions are constant; finding some cover from rain and sun will improve the quality of the compost.

Compost bin –  A purpose-built compost bin will provide the best conditions for composting.

Open air compost – While it’s more difficult to control the environment factors effecting an open-air compost spot, it will still compost eventually.

Envii Compost Accelerator is our very own high strength compost accelerator. It’s task-specific bacteria and fungi improve the speed of the composting process whilst improving the fertility of the end-result. Read this review on The Middle-Sized Garden.

 

Tidy up your garden

When there isn’t much else to do on the gardening to-do list, get out there and pick up dead leaves, trim any herbaceous perennials and remove any other debris from your borders. If possible, wait till late winter/early spring to do this because all sorts of creatures may still be using the debris for shelter from the cold.

 

Prepare your soil

  • Remove weeds from the soil
  • Dig, lift and turn all your soil – this gives it better access to air and improves the fertility.
  • Spread compost, manure or fertiliser to your top soil.
  • Add our soil improver:  Envii Foundation – It has beneficial bacteria that improve the germination and growth of young plants and protect against plant diseases.

 

Order your seeds early

Decide early what you want to grow this year and order. This will give you the chance to plan when you are going to plant in advance and take all the stress away.

 

Prepare your defence against garden pests

Cleaning up your garden is the first step to defending against garden pests. It is also worth encouraging birds into your garden by putting up bird feeders etc. These will eat slug and snails and act as your garden patrol.

Use Envii Feed & Fortify as a physical protection against molluscs. As a form of diatomaceous earth, Feed & Fortify dries the molluscs out and kills them. It also included iron silicates that improve the fertility of the soil.

 

Start growing plants indoors

Plants that have a longer growing cycle – like tomatoes and peppers – can benefit from being started indoors. Plant them indoors around 8 weeks before the last expected frost and then re-pot them into deep containers before finally planting them in the ground. This will improve your success rate dramatically. Envii Foundation can still be used on plants started indoors in order to improve the germination and growth.

Click here for any more information on the products mentioned

 

 

 

How To Keep Your Bed & Mattress Smelling Fresh

As a general rule, most advice says you should change your sheets once a week or once every two weeks. However, when you’re leading a busy life – maybe you’re working 80 hours a week or even worse have young children! – it can be difficult to find time. This is why we’ve developed a product called Bed Fresh that will keep your mattress and bed smelling fresh and staying clean for much longer.

Throw Off The Covers In The Morning

Instead of making your bed as soon as you wake up, throw the sheets off the bed for half an hour or more. Letting some air get to the mattress and sheets will help dry up the moisture naturally exuded by our bodies at night. For even greater effect, hang the sheets near a window or a radiator.

Sprinkle Baking Soda Over Mattress

An age-old trick is to sprinkle baking soda over the top of your mattress and the vacuum off a few hours later. Baking soda attracts odours and removes them from the mattress leaving it smelling fresh.

Rotate Mattress Every Six To Eight Weeks

This is a great way to get a longer life cycle out of your mattress. Some mattress manufacturers have a suggested rotation schedule but if not, just flip it on every side and the flip it over and start again.

Wash Sheets On The Hottest Setting

This is important as it will kill any bacteria or bed bugs still living in the sheets. Make sure to check the sheets washing labels so you don’t put it too hot.

Use Envii Bed Fresh

Bed Fresh is our new super-effective mattress and bedding deoderiser that tackles the source of bad odours in your bed sheets rather than just masking them. Bed Fresh uses bacteria to digest the organics that your body naturally exudes in the night. These organics are what causes the bedding or mattress to smell and therefore by digesting and removing them completely, your bed will be cleaner than ever before.

To buy Envii Bed Fresh or for more information click here.

Why do septic tanks struggle in winter?

 

Septic tanks are a great alternative to mains plumbing, but they sometimes need a little helping hand to stay in the best working order. This is particularly true over the cold winter months. To understand why winter is tough on septic tanks and cesspits we need to delve into how they work.

Really useful bacteria
A septic tank does more than just store sewage from your toilet and wait to be emptied. A septic tank contains millions of microscopic bacteria. This work to physically digest the waste just leaving water and carbon dioxide.  Undigested waste settles to the bottom of the tank as a thick sludge waiting to be digested. Over time, if there are too few bacteria or they are not active enough, the sludge can build up, this is one of the main causes of bad smells that can carry back into the house.

septic-tank-with-bacteria

 

What effect does winter have on septic tanks?
The bacteria which live in a septic tank are incredibly sensitive to temperature. Most of the indigenous bacteria tend to work at 10-12°C. At temperatures below this they start to slow or even stop completely. If the bacteria are dormant the waste is not digested and sludge will build up.

The issues that your septic tank may suffer over the winter are further compounded by our festive habits.  Over the Christmas period we are more likely to host a family gathering which can put an extra strain on a septic tank. We also prepare/eat a larger percentage of fatty foods at this time. These fats easily solidify in colder conditions causing harmful blockages.

Simple things you can do.
Ensure you have bacteria that works in low temperatures – bacteria digests organic waste and converts to CO² and water. It keeps a septic tank ‘fluid’ and prevents it from going anaerobic where smells can develop and noxious gases are emitted.

Use cleaning products that are biological – new cleaners have to be biodegradable but this doesn’t mean they aren’t harmful to bacterial colony.

Avoid acids and bleaches/sanitisers – acids in toilet cleaners breakdown limescale but damage pH levels in the septic tank/cesspit.  Bleaches kill bacteria and surface sanitisers are applied by trigger spray and cloth – but the cloth is washed out down the sink…..in to the septic tank. Even washing up liquid now boast of anti-bacterial activities!

Empty your septic tank before cold weather – start with an empty tank BUT MAKE SURE YOU SEED THE EMPTY TANK WITH TASK SPECIFIC BACTERIA. You are introducing task specific bacteria that starts working and can dominate tank from beginning – do a double or triple dose to get high bacterial colonies.

Keep regular dose of bacteria monthly – keeps bacterial levels topped up and creates competition with indigenous bacteria – run faster when someone competing with you, same for bacteria – competition for food source improves performance.

Choose the right bacteria – most important question is the operating temperature of the bacteria you are buying. If the temperature drops below 10-12°C then your bacteria will slow down at best and more commonly stop working, therefore adding bacteria that is active at low temperature is vital.

How does bacteria work in a septic tank?

There is a lot of confusion between enzymes and bacteria. Enzymes act like a knife and fork to breakdown solids, therefore they are ideal as a drain unblocker.

Bacteria generate their own enzymes which breakdown solids into a format that the bacteria can then access for food, they use this food to replicate/grow logarithmically i.e. 1 becomes 2, 2 becomes 4, etc. Through this growth process they convert the waste back to CO² and water, therefore they liquefy solids and keep septic tank systems flowing well and reduce the heavy build-up of solids which create blockages and smells.

A simple equation of the more bacteria you have and the faster they replicate/grow the more waste they digest and the more efficient your septic system is.

2 types of bacteria –

Indigenous – These are the strains of bacteria already resident in the organic waste – you get what you get, you have no control.

Task-Specific – These are strains that have been sampled, isolated and tested for their activity against specific waste streams.  Essentially the fittest most active strains are selected for the specific task or waste stream

What’s the difference?
Indigenous are the cheapest! They come free with your waste!

However, it is a game of luck in terms of the how active and efficient they are. They could be plentiful and fast workers but at the same time they could be very slow replicators or not very efficient and lack competition from other strains.  This can lead to a build-up of the solids and odours and blockages.

Task specific bacteria provided in products like Envii Septic Klear have been sampled from many different environments and isolated, tested for their activity and ability to breakdown waste streams, but also to work in different environments.  By adding these strains, you guarantee that you are adding strains that have proven activity against the waste steams being added to your septic tank on a daily basis, guaranteeing your septic tank stays healthy!

What does it cost to add these bacteria?

Far less than pumping out your septic tank due to a build-up of solids and odours is the short answer.

Envii Septic Klear delivers 75 BILLION fast acting bacteria per tablet and this costs £20.95 per year, £1.75 a month or less than 6p a day!

Pumping out a septic tank can cost between £150 -400 depending on where you are in the country.

How To Protect Your Plants From The Cold – Gardening Tips

Today is the first day of meteorological winter, which is the perfect excuse to tell you about Early Starter – our plant treatment that protects plants against the cold.

In England, where Bio8 is based, the weather can be unpredictable. This is because we’re on an island and the weather is affected by the sea surrounding us. We don’t get a lot of extreme weather – it’s not too cold and almost never too hot, but unfortunately, unlike Goldilocks’ porridge, it’s not just right either.

This is why we developed a range of products to help serious gardeners protect their plants. Early Starter is an advanced bio-stimulant that adjusts the biology of the plant to encourage the roots to grow deeper and stronger over the cold period. Basically, it tells the plant to stop growing aerially and concentrate on root growth. This gives it better access to nutrients and water from the soil which makes it more resistant to frost damage.

 

IMG_0916.JPG

The pièce de résistance of Early Starter though, is the improved growth that it gives the plant. Because of the improved root structure, the plant benefits from the nutrients and water it couldn’t access before which means that, even if the cold never comes, your money isn’t wasted!

We launched the product just over a year ago and have seen some really positive responses from customers and even from some celebrities of the gardening world. We sent a bottle over to BBC Radio 2’s Gardening Expert, Terry Walton; who said:

“This is definitely part of my ‘armoury’ in future. Based on my results I would strongly recommend it to any gardener looking to grow in the early season when the weather is cold.”

We’d still recommend using plant blankets and other frost protection methods because, when it comes to your plants, you can never have too much protection! For more information on Early Starter or to buy it for just £11.95, click here.