Pumpkins on front porches and cornstalks on the lampposts, these are universal signs that summer is over. For pond owners, this means that our days of getting a tan while lounging by the pond are on hiatus for the next six months. It'll be a while until we resume our evenings of outdoor dining by the water and watching the sunset after dinner.
Despite the downsides of our off-season, the dawn of winter brings new joys for a pond owner. With the night coming on before most of us are even home from work, there is new opportunity to enjoy the dancing glow of underwater lighting. If your pond isn't illuminated, you're missing out. A well-lit pond becomes the focal point of your evening landscape. Picture yourself glancing out the window as you sip from a mug of hot cocoa and you catch a glimpse of your koi's shiny scales flashing gold in the spotlights. Imagine the dancing reflections on the water ripples as the wind whispers. Add some spotlights pointing up from beneath the trees and you'll have a magical atmosphere that will warm your soul on a cold night. And with the new color-changing lights by Aquascape (coming out in early 2019), you'll be able to dress your pond in any combination of colors to suit your spirit, whether it's red and green for Christmas, orange for Thanksgiving, or Eagles Green for Philly's reigning Super-Bowl champions.
Let's not forget the fish! When the leaves are falling and it's starts getting dark outside before Jeopardy begins, you'll know it is time to switch their food to a cold-water formula. This kind of fish food is lower in protein to accommodate the slower metabolisms of a cold-blooded animal in cold weather, and higher in wheat germ to help your fish bulk up before their winter torpor. Pay attention to your pond thermometer and your fishes' feeding habits. We recommend switching to the cold-water food when the water drops below 65°F. Continue feeding them until the water descends into the low 50's, as that's when they will simply stop eating. Any uneaten food in the water after that point will just sit and rot, but if you feed up until that point you can maximize your quality time with your koi and get the pleasure of knowing they are going into winter in optimal condition.
Another fun way to enjoy your pond beyond flip-flop season is spice it up with some seasonal decorations. Jack-o-lanterns and gourds along the waterfall, mums and hay bales around the pond, maybe a spooky scarecrow in a patio chair... Whatever tickles your fancy! The fun doesn't have to stop at thanksgiving, either. Hang up strings of lights from the trees and create the perfect backdrop for a snowman. Replace the spooky scarecrow with a jolly Santa Claus or Jack Frost.
Lights and decorations are lots of fun, but we can't forget about my favorite part of winter ponds: the stunning ice formations! To get them you'll need to have falling water, preferably from a fountain. A freezing waterfall will do some cool stuff to the ice now and then, but a freezing fountain will be a continually morphing piece of art. Living art. Check out these videos to see the kinds of beauty you might discover forming on your fountains in the winter...
To all of the pond owners that are in the path of a hurricane, our thoughts are with you. Having lived thru a few big hurricanes, here are some things we've learned regarding preparing your pond for a storm:
Finally, be safe. The next few months might be a challenge. We can't control mother nature, but we can do our best to minimize the impact of extreme weather events.
A backyard pond is a lovely thing to enjoy, especially when it is full of colorful koi fish. Watching them swim around your pond is one of the best parts of having a pond. In order to admire the fish, however, it is important to have good water clarity. We get a lot of calls from people who are unhappy with the green water in their pond. Fortunately, we are very familiar with this and have learned how to efficiently deal with it.
As we've said elsewhere, the easiest way to avoid green water is to set up your pond correctly from the start. To see what we mean by that, read this article. If you are well-beyond the initial set up, read below for some tips on what you can do today to clarify the water in your pond.
Before we begin making adjustments to our pond, we must first determine the cause of the green water. It could either be single-celled algae, or it could be tiny particulates (dead string/carpet algae) suspended in the water.
(This part is very important) Take a sample of the pond water in a clear container and place it against a white background:
It's a beautiful time of the year when the leaves are beginning to fall. But did you know that keeping leaves out of your pond is an important preventative in keeping your fish healthy thru the winter? Landvista Aquascapes services the South Jersey area to help you take care of your treasured gems of the pond. Call us today for your netting supplies or to schedule this service.
What occurs during a fall pond service and netting:
Note: I took the ‘Before’ picture after having already blown the leaves off the edge rocks and the surrounding planting beds, making my ‘before’ photos a bit less dramatic in these photos than it was in person.
June is the time of year when pond owners often call us up with questions or concerns about the string algae growing in their water feature. It can show up seemingly overnight, and without a solid plan of action, controlling it can become a regular chore. Fortunately, there are several proven measures you can take to combat the stuff, and there are quite a few products available that are designed to assist with that task. The main problem then seems to be a lack of education on how to use those products, and a misunderstanding of what causes string algae and the role it plays in an aquatic ecosystem.
Click 'Read More' down on the right to learn how the pros deal with string algae...
Springtime is when we start spending more time outdoors, and for water feature owners, this means you are probably looking at dark water full of the past season's leaves and muck. This is the best time for a little maintenance on your pond or waterfall. An annual spring cleaning not only beautifies your water feature, it can also prevent problems from arising later in the season. For those of you who are the hands-on type, read on for tips on a successful pond clean-out.
If you're in the South Jersey area and would like to leave it to the professionals, pick up the phone, and call the preferred team of local pond experts: Landvista Aquascapes at 856-768-9404.
If you don't live in SJ, but still want a professional to take of your pond, click here to find your local Certified Aquascape Contractor.
Click 'Read more' down on the right to see the rest of the article.
Although you wouldn't know it by looking out the window, we are merely five days from the start of Spring. This means it is nearly time to do some annual pond cleaning. Even if your pond was just cleaned last year, leaves and debris have probably been falling in throughout the winter and decaying into muck on the bottom. Performing a spring cleaning can help prevent future problems from arising throughout the pond season. Some pond enthusiasts are happy to handle their own maintenance, but you can always hire a professional to take care of it. For our neighbors in the Camden/Burlington/Gloucester area, Landvista Aquascapes has a team of pond experts that are trained by the best in the world to properly care for your ponds and water features.
Click 'Read more' down on the right to see the full article..
For koi living in South Jersey, the feeding months run from roughly mid-April through mid-October. This is the time of the year when the pond water is over 55-degrees, and koi metabolisms are actively digesting food. The first few weeks you should only feed them a small amount once every other day. When water becomes warmer than 65-degrees you can begin feeding them every day. Knowing how much food to give the fish per session is easy, just give them whatever they will eat within five minutes. One feeding per day is enough. In fact, don't do multiple feedings per day until June or when the water is safely into the 70's.
It is better to underfeed than to overfeed. Koi are foragers, and in an ecosystem pond there will naturally be lots of stuff for your fish to eat among the plants and rocks. To keep the system in balance, a good rule of thumb is to stay at 3" of fish for every 100 gallons of water in the pond. Adhering to this rule will ensure that you don't have more fish waste being created than the filtration can process.
If you would like to learn more about feeding koi, I suggest reading the following page by our go-to fish expert, Dr. Erik Johnson. He has written a very thorough article all about koi food, koi eating habits and recommended feeding practices.
Everything you need to know about feeding koi, by Dr. Erik Johnson.
When it comes to transporting and relocating fish in late autumn/early winter, a few people have asked us if it would be better to wait until spring when the water is warmer. The assumption being that as the temperature drops, fish become relatively inactive and their immune systems become suppressed, thus the added stress of a relocation would be bad for their health.
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As you probably know, winters here in NJ can get pretty cold. While you're inside feeling warm and cozy by the fire, you may glance out the window and wonder how your fish are doing out there in that frosty pond. Will they freeze? Do they have food? Are they bored?
This article should answer your questions and ease your mind. Fish are pretty easy to care for in the winter. Being cold-blooded, their activity level drops along with their metabolisms. During the cold season, they'll spend most of their time resting safely at the bottom of the pond where the water is warmest. The only things they're counting on you to do is ensure their pond stays oxygenated and doesn't completely freeze over. Some ice is fine, it adds a new dimension to the pond that will evolve throughout the season. You just have to keep a small hole open in the ice so unwanted gasses can escape the water.
The problem with the entire pond freezing over is that the gasses released by decomposing organic matter at the bottom of the pond then have no way to escape the pond, which leads to toxic levels of these gasses building up in the pond. Fortunately, preventing that from happening is as simple as maintaining a hole in the ice. This can easily be accomplished with the proper application of heat and aeration.
Click 'Read more' down at the right to see the rest of the article...
Landvista Aquascapes provides Pond & Water Feature Design, Installation & Maintenance -Repair services for South New Jersey Homeowners