22 Nov 2019

Get Your Pond Spring-Ready with Professional Fall Maintenance

As you know, your pond is a full, thriving ecosystem. It includes plants, fish, and bacteria. Yes, your pond is full of good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria keep your pond balanced and help your koi stay healthy. However, there are two types of bacterium, Aeromonas and Pseudomonas, that can be deadly to your koi if the population grows out of control.

As a pond owner, knowledge is your best defense against koi illnesses. Knowing what causes Aeromonas and Pseudomonas to flourish and how to keep the population as small as possible is key to maintaining a healthy home for your koi. In this article, we’ll explain how to manage the bacteria in your pond to keep your koi well.


What Are Aeromonas and Pseudomonas?

Aeromonas and Pseudomonas are harmful bacteria that flourish in cool water, usually from 42°F – 62°F. Your koi live side-by-side with Aeromonas and Pseudomonas year-round, and there’s really not a way to completely rid your pond of them. Most koi have some amount of the bacteria on their bodies and can even have them inside their intestines.

When your koi are healthy, their natural slime coat and immune systems protect them from the bacteria. However, in the spring, when your pond water temperature is ideal for Aeromonas and Pseudomonas, your koi’s immune systems are weak. After a dormant winter without eating, your koi are stressed and especially susceptible to parasites and bacteria.

Aeromonas and Pseudomonas cause ulcerative illness in your koi, such as mouth rot, fin rot, dropsy, and more. If left untreated, these ulcerative illnesses will eventually kill your koi.


Preventing Bad Bacteria Overgrowth

Heat is one of the best defenses to Aeromonas. However, most ponds rely on the sun for warmth, which is why the bacteria thrive in the cool spring water.

Aeromonas and Pseudomonas bloom in ponds that have a lot of decaying matter and fish waste after a long winter. One of the best things that pond owners can do is control the amount of waste that gets into their ponds. The less organic matter there is decomposing in your pond, the less food there is for Aeromonas and Pseudomonas.

You should also introduce good bacteria into your pond to fight the bad bacteria. Good bacteria blends include enzymes, natural microbes, micronutrients, and probiotics. The good bacteria eat the same thing as bad bacteria — decomposing organic matter and fish waste. Having a healthy dose of good bacteria means that bad bacteria have competition for their food. The result is that the good bacteria end up starving the bad bacteria so that they cannot bloom out of control in your pond.


Fall Maintenance with Oklahoma Ponds

Your pond is a magnet for falling leaves and blowing grass, which is exactly the kind of debris that Aeromonas and Pseudomonas love. The key to a successful spring and keeping your koi healthy is preventative fall maintenance. If you plan ahead and keep your pond water from getting too full of organic waste, then your koi will have less to fight against in the spring as they’re coming out of dormancy.

Oklahoma Ponds offers a fall pond service to preserve your ecosystem and protect your koi from Aeromonas and Pseudomonas. Our pond experts will trim aquatic plants to prevent decomposition, clean your pump, and check the filtration system to ensure that it is operating well. We’ll also introduce essential cold-water bacteria to help starve the Aeromonas and Pseudomonas throughout the winter. Finally, we’ll add a protective net to keep debris out of your pond.

By taking just a few steps to shut down your pond for the winter properly, your koi have a much better chance of getting through the tough spring months in good health. Give us a call right away to schedule your fall maintenance appointment.

05 Feb 2019

Essential Springtime Pond Maintenance

Winter is winding down. The days are getting longer; the weather is getting warmer. Now is the time to get your koi pond ready for summer.

Proper garden pond maintenance is essential to the health of your fish, plant life, and your pond’s ecosystem overall. A thorough springtime cleaning is the number one way to keep your pond looking beautiful well into autumn and to prevent serious issues with water quality or fish health.

Warm Weather and Your Pond

Hot Oklahoma summers can wreak havoc on a neglected backyard pond. As the temperature heats up and the water warms, your pond comes back to life! But the heat also causes faster decomposition of sludge, fish waste, and debris on the bottom of your pond and between the rocks and gravel. Without manual removal, these can overwhelm both your biofilter and the awakening beneficial bacteria. With your biofilter and beneficial bacteria overworked, unsafe levels of ammonia and nitrites begin to form, leading to unsafe levels of algae or worse – killing your fish and plants. A thorough springtime cleaning can prevent biofilter overload, keeping your pond healthy all summer long.

Why Koi Ponds Need Spring Cleaning

Backyard water gardens thrive on a balanced ecosystem. Springtime cleanings are a critical component to keep your garden pond thriving.

A healthy pond ecosystem relies on four factors working together in harmony. Here’s how spring maintenance affects each of these factors:

  • An effective filtration system. Everything starts with your pond’s filtration system. The biofilter pulls particles from the water and hosts beneficial bacteria that eliminate and convert toxins in the water.  A professional pond cleaning service will clean all filters and check that your filtration system is working correctly.
  • Beneficial bacteria. Fish waste, decomposing plant life, and other debris in and around a pond cause an increased level of ammonia. Beneficial bacteria work to convert waste into nitrates, an element that is essential for healthy plants and clean water. As a garden pond matures over time, more and more of these beneficial bacteria occur naturally. However, newer ponds need a little help. Springtime pond maintenance should include adding beneficial bacteria to your pond to jump start this conversion process. Ask your pond cleaning technician which product and dosage is best for your pond.
  • Fish and plant life. A pond’s ecosystem relies heavily on plants and fish. Aquatic plants work in conjunction with your pond’s beneficial bacteria to eliminate harmful elements from the water, prevent algae growth, and add oxygen that is vital to the survival of your fish.

    Koi not only look beautiful and add color to a garden pond but also give the beneficial bacteria the “fuel” it needs to work properly.

    As summer approaches, plants begin to grow, and fish become more active. Spring pond maintenance will check the health of your plants and fish, fertilize plant life, and start proper fish care. It’s an annual check-up to make sure all pieces of your pond’s ecosystem are healthy and ready for the hotter months ahead.

  • Pond additives. Newer ponds benefit from chemical additives that help the entire ecosystem function more efficiently. Over the years, as your pond matures, it should become mostly self-sustaining. But a springtime clean-out is an excellent time to assess a pond’s overall health and determine if any additives are necessary.

What’s Included in a Springtime Pond Cleaning Service?

We suggest pond owners schedule service as soon as the weather begins to heat up – usually between now and June here in Oklahoma. If you have larger koi then the sooner the better. Larger koi are at a higher risk for stress and changes in their water chemistry, the colder the water the calmer they are through the cleaning process. (If your pond has koi over 14” and you would like more information on how we specially care for them, please call 405-473-2042 and speak with a Pond Pro).  At Oklahoma Ponds, our springtime pond maintenance includes the following:

  • Carefully remove fish and plants, placing them in holding tanks with oxygenating aerators.
  • Drain all water, vacuum out any debris or waste, and pressure wash all surfaces.
  • Inspect and clean the filtration system to ensure proper functioning, and introduce beneficial bacteria as needed.
  • Inspect any installed lights and clean lenses.
  • Test existing water for harmful elements. Introduce additives as necessary.
  • Inspect hardy water plants for overgrowth and potential issues.
  • Reintroduce and acclimate fish into the freshly-cleaned pond and examine them for any health problems.

Garden ponds should be enjoyable, beautiful additions to your space. A thorough springtime cleaning will help your pond flourish all year long.

Contact the Pond Pros at Oklahoma Ponds today to schedule your cleaning.