Water Garden Calendar

Water Garden Calendar

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Water Garden Calendar

Here's a series of month-by-month topical tips to make sure your water garden keeps in good condition throughout every season of the year

January

Water Garden Management

Even in the depths of winter the welfare of your pond should not be left to chance. January is often the coldest month and even if precautions have been taken to keep a small area of the pond surface free from ice, in really keen frosts there is still a possibility of expanding ice damaging the pond walls. A pan of boiling water can be used to melt sections of the ice to avoid this problem.

Water Quality

Venting an area on the pool surface will avoid build-up of harmful gases becoming trapped under the ice and affecting Water Quality. Water can be vented by using a floating ball or an empty 2litre drinks bottle anchored with stones. Fish Care Under no circumstances should ice on a pond be broken up with a spade or hammer. The impact of these tools both causes stress to fish and the shock waves can concuss or even kill fish.

February

Water Garden Management

To avoid shortening the life of a submersible pump and to ensure it is always working at full capacity carry out these simple but essential maintenance procedures. Once every week or so remove and clean strainer (depending on pond conditions) Once a month remove and clean impeller assembly checking for limescale, which can seriously affect pump performance.

Water Quality

A well-maintained filter should quite easily be able to cope with conditions during cold parts of the year but it is still worthwhile to test the water occasionally for any deterioration. Any anomalies can usually be remedied by a 10% partial water change. Fish Care Fish will remain in hibernation at the bottom of pond all of this month.

March

Water Garden Management

There is no need to wait for better weather before undertaking an exciting little project like installing a pebble fountain. The Laguna range includes all of the bits and pieces you require and the only extras are pebbles and water plus a minimum amount of time in the cold outdoors.

Water Quality

It's not usual at this time of the year for losses to occur with pond fish as any entering the winter period that are sickly or undernourished usually manage to survive the coldest winter months as they remain dormant. They only fail to revive when temperatures rise. Keep an eye open and remove any dead fish, as, if left undetected, this will cause a build up of ammonia, thereby killing otherwise healthy fish. Fish Care Although fish may start to become active as temperatures begin to rise refrain from feeding as early as this in the year. Periods of mild weather can stimulate fish by raising their metabolism and encouraging them to feed, then temperatures fall and any food intake undigested begins to decompose in the gut leading to internal bacterial problems.

April

Water Garden Management

April is the best month for installing a new pond or water feature to be ready for the summer. Now is a good time to insert Laguna Plant Fertiliser Spikes into your planting baskets. These provide balanced nutrition for pond plants throughout the season with no effect on the Water Quality or fish.

Water Quality

Give the media in biological filter chambers a good rinse in pond water and wash any mechanical sponge filters in the system to make sure they are not clogged with debris. Dose the filter and the pond with a good biological formulation like Laguna Bio Booster, or if the pond is a little neglected Laguna Bio Sludge Control. These products will help build up and replenish beneficial bacteria and effectively remove organic wastes. Fish Care Water temperatures should now be approaching that all-important 6° - 8°C (43° - 46°F) level which heralds spring. Fish can now be fed sparingly until temperatures increase to 10°C (50°F) when a full feeding routine can continue.

May

Water Garden Management

As temperatures rise and days become longer the twin scourges of green water and blanket weed will soon start to arise. A UV steriliser offers the best control provided bulbs are regularly cleaned and replaced once they have been in use for more than six months. Water treatments can also help. Use Laguna Clear Fast if green water is the main problem or Laguna Phosphate Control for general control of both green water and blanket weed. A further easy method for green water control would be Laguna Barley Straw Pellets, which slowly release enzymes into the water and maintains clear pond water naturally.

Water Quality

Regular Water Quality testing should now continue. Testing especially for excess ammonia, nitrite and nitrate should now be a weekly event and continue throughout the summer months. A 10% partial water change should be beneficial if some deterioration occurs. Fish Care Fish are now actively feeding and able to metabolise properly so it's important to choose a good quality pond food especially as their nutritional needs are greatest at this time of the year. The highly advanced formulations of Laguna Goldfish and Koi food are ideal, based as they are on many natural ingredients including fish, vegetables, yeast, molluscs and crustaceans.

June

Water Garden Management

Remove debris from the surface of the pond with a pond net and trim surplus growths of marginals to avoid the water surface becoming overgrown with all of the lush growth which is a feature at this time of the year. Regularly check and clean pumps and filters to maintain good water circulation.

Water Quality

Topping up the pond to counteract evaporation losses using tap water can often lead to a build up of phosphates which will encourage nuisance algae forms such as blanket weed. Phosphate removers like Laguna PHOS-X will help control this problem. Fish Care Feed little and often, any uneaten surplus will only cause pollution.

July

Water Garden Management

Marginal and submerged aquatic plants have been growing strongly since early April and imbalances and deficiencies may be occurring that will inhibit growth. Plants use large quantities of minerals and other elements necessary to maintain healthy and vibrant growth. A dose of Laguna Plant Grow every two weeks during the growing season, which is a treatment formulated to replenish these vital nutrients, will ensure thriving aquatic plant growth.

Water Quality

pH, water alkalinity and hardness are all interconnected and correct levels of each are essential for the health of fish and plants. Laguna test kits and test strips are available to provide the necessary assessments and adjustments can be made using Laguna pH Adjustup and pH Adjustdown. Whilst these adjustments are easy to accomplish don't forget that there is a root cause. pH and water hardness anomalies may be due to inefficient biological filtration if pH and hardness are low or, if high, due to contaminants washed into the water from sources close by such as gravel paths constructed from alkaline materials. Fish Care Evaporation losses are at their greatest at this time of the year. Replenishing these losses can mean adding large amounts of chlorine and chloramines from the mains water supply. Always add a water conditioner like Laguna Water Prep to make tap water safe for fish.

August

Water Garden Management

Most forms of flexible pond liner are damaged by UV light rays in mid summer if the material is left showing above the surface. An easy and effective way to keep pond water at the correct level and avoid this damage is to fit a Laguna Float Valve connected to the mains water supply which works like a ball cock in a cistern.

Water Quality

Water temperatures are at their peak and fish will happily feed two or three times daily. It is essential that filtration systems are well maintained through this period and 10% partial water changes may be necessary on a regular one or two weekly basis if the filter is not fully effective. Fish Care High water temperatures reduce the capacity of the water to absorb dissolved oxygen and fish may be found gasping on the surface. This occurs mainly at night when the greenery in the pool ceases to produce oxygen through photosynthesis and oxygen levels are at their lowest. The surface of the pond is where the greatest gaseous exchanges occur and adding water movement by installing a fountain or cascade or even the water from a hose playing on water will increase the surface area in contact with the atmosphere and reduce the problem.

September

Water Garden Management

The bottom of your pond by this time of the year, may have become a collecting place for sludge, debris and dead leaves which, if left to accumulate, can lead to pollution and become a breeding place for the pathogens that cause infections to fish. It's not necessary to empty the pond to solve this problem as sludge can be removed using a Laguna Pond Vacuum. Laguna Bio Sludge Control, if used regularly throughout the summer months, will also minimise the build up of organic solids and pond sludge.

Water Quality

It is important to continue water tests as autumn approaches due to the risk of pollution caused by fallen leaves. Partial water changes may be necessary if a deterioration in Water Quality occurs. Fish Care Continue to feed fish little and often to encourage them to build up body reserves for the winter.

October

Water Garden Management

Falling leaves will become a problem and nets should be put in place to catch these. This is also a good time to clean out box and pressure filters using pond water to flush away accumulated debris.

Water Quality

Continue dosing the pool and filters with Laguna Bio Booster and Laguna Bio Sludge Control to ensure there are ample beneficial bacteria to handle any increase in organic pollution due to decomposing leaves. Fish Care Feeding can continue whilst water temperatures remain stable and above 8°C to 10°C (46°F to 50°F).

November

Water Garden Management

Water temperatures can fall below 6°C (43°F) by midway through this month and submersible pumps in fish ponds should be lifted up on bricks to within 15 to 22cm (6" to 9") of the surface to prevent cooling of lower water layers where fish will hibernate over the winter. Continual filtration through the whole year is of course necessary in ponds stocked with fish.

Water Quality

Remove all dead foliage and flower heads of both marginal and aquatic plants to prevent decaying plant materials causing toxins, harmful to fish. Fish Care Feeding should have ceased as water temperatures dip lower than 6°C (43°F). Avoid feeding in mild spells as this can cause internal disorders if food is retained in the gut undigested. Fish can be allowed to depend on their body reserves through to the next spring.

December

Water Garden Management

As this is a quiet time of the year with the fish dormant and plants having died back, ponds require little attention. If you are using some form of thermostatically controlled pond heater you will have no difficulty in keeping a small area of the pond surface free from ice in wintry conditions. A floating ball or empty 2 ltr size plastic soft drinks container anchored with a stone are alternative means. The purpose is to avoid a build up of harmful gases becoming trapped under the ice. Turn off fountains and cascades and the UV Steriliser to prevent frost damage during severe weather.

Water Quality

To maintain optimum efficiency from a biological filter during deep winter conditions it's worthwhile lagging the box filter with bubble wrap insulation and adding a small thermostatically controlled heater. Biological activity in the filter usually only occurs at temperatures above 4°C (39°F). Fish Care Fish will move into the deeper parts of the pond in order to survive the winter. Provided the pond is at least 60cm (2') deep they will be able to tolerate the coldest weather. Below 4°C (39°F) they will lapse into a torpid state and remain so until temperatures rise again.