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FAQ

This page contains questions frequently asked of the Lavaris Lake Team hotline. Eventually this page will contain a treasure trove of information of invaluable help to customers and anyone else interested in finding out more about pond care. You might find something of interest to you, or even the solution to a problem that is worrying you right now.
 

Question:

Over the last few days the water in my pond has turned dark green, and I can no longer see down into the pond. Why is this?

Reply from the Lavaris Lake Team:
Dark green, cloudy water is usually the result of a sudden increase in algae. This is normally caused by elevated pH values (sometimes greater than 9) and too little carbonate hardness in the pond water. In this case, it would be best to administer something to keep algae growth under control (such as AlgoClear) and then to stabilize the water and bring the pH value to an optimal level, e.g. by adding. OptiLake


Question:

My pond is 10 m3 in size, and 40 fish live in it. What is the greatest number of fish that should be in a pond that size?

Reply from the Lavaris Lake Team:
There is not really a fixed number of fish that should inhabit one cubic meter of water. However, we should point out that, the greater the density of the fish population in the pond, the more difficult it is to keep the pond clean. This is a logical consequence, since a greater number of fish means more feeding and a higher degree of water pollution, e.g. from fish excrement. If you do not wish to spend a great amount of time caring for your pond, you should plan the fish population accordingly. If two to three fish the size of a human hand inhabit one cubic meter of water, the pond should not require excessive care. If the fish are larger or smaller, the number can be increased or decreased accordingly.

Question:

I am planning to build a pond in my yard. When it is finished, I would like to put in aquatic plants around the banks. Can I use topsoil or potting soil?

Reply from the Lavaris Lake Team:
Topsoil and potting soil should never be used in a pond. These soils are too high in nutrients. They are detrimental to the water quality, and the excess nutrients cause algae to multiply. There are special pond soil substrates available, the composition of which is ideally suited for use in a pond. This type of soil should always be used when putting in plants near the banks.


This spring I planted water lilies in my pond. They are growing very slowly though. They are far from flourishing or producing any magnificent blossoms. What can I do?

Reply from the Lavaris Lake Team:
The sparse growth of your water lilies can be caused by two things. The bottom of the pond, where the water lilies are planted, may not provide the conditions that these plants need. This is particularly the case with older ponds. Because of the advanced decomposition of organic deposits, the sediment usually contains little oxygen (anaerobic). This means that the plants do not receive sufficient oxygen or nutrients around their roots. Another possible cause – even when the quality of the floor of the pond is adequate – is a lack of proper nutrients in the water. Pond plants need a balanced range of macronutrients and trace elements (such as iron, potassium, calcium, manganese, etc.). If there are not enough plant nutrients in the water, the plants will grow only slowly and have an unhealthy appearance (transparent, pale green to yellow leaves). When this happens, we recommend adding a balanced nutrient concentrate (AquaFloraEnergen) for water plants or water lilies to the pond. 


I have had a filter system operating in my pond for two years now. A friend told me that a pond filter not only removes suspended matter from the water but also accelerates decomposition of certain substances that are hazardous to fish. Is that true?

Reply from the Lavaris Lake Team:
Yes, basically it is true. Besides mechanically removing suspended matter and preventing the pond water from clouding, a properly functioning filter can decompose substances that, above a certain concentration, are hazardous to fish, such as nitrite or ammonium. After a short time, tiny microorganisms settle on the surface of the porous filter materials in the filter systems (foam rubber pads or special filter granulate) and activate the material. These colonies often look like a thin layer of mucous on the filter material. The tiny creatures are capable of decomposing ammonium and nitrite dissolved in the water as it passes through the filter. This process is similar to the biological tertiary treatment performed at a sewage treatment plant. So-called bacterial starter cultures are often needed for these microorganisms to settle on a new filter. As you can see, what your friend told you is right.

I have heard from several people that so-called UV filters may be effective in combating algae in my garden pond. What do I need to know before buying such a device?

Reply from the Lavaris Lake Team:
These so-called UV filters are conventional filters coupled with a powerful radiator that projects high energy ultraviolet light onto the water as it flows by. The benefit of these filters is that high energy light rays such as UV rays can quickly damage cells and small creatures (anyone who has had a sunburn can attest to the power of UV rays). In this way, UV units are surely effective in fighting algae. However, you should keep in mind that many of the small creatures and microorganisms that are useful in the water are also irreparably harmed by the light. UV light can not differentiate between good and bad microorganisms. For this reason, such filters should be used sparingly; in my opinion, a biological-ecological algae control measure is preferable. If you nonetheless decide to use a UV purifier, the unit should always be set to "bypass" mode, meaning that only part of the water flow is treated, or the filter should be operated only intermittently.

I have a large rain water reservoir in my yard to collect the rain water running off of the roof and divert it to my pond. Is there anything I need to keep in mind?

Reply from the Lavaris Lake Team:
Your question is definitely justified. The assumption that untreated rain water is the best pond water is a popular misconception. Rain water contains very few minerals. It lacks the quantities of calcium hydrogen carbonate, calcium carbonate and other essential components needed in pond water. At our latitude, rainwater is acidified by exhaust fumes from industrial production and traffic found in the atmosphere (Everyone knows about acid rain). This is why rain water – if it is to be used as pond water – should be treated with a suitable pond care product. If the pond is being partly filled, the water should be treated before it is introduced into the pond; if the pond is being completely filled then after filling. We recommend our product ClearLake for this type of application. To combat excessive phosphate, it is advisable to also add SeDox.

Question:

We do not want to drain the pond for the winter. What can we do to keep the pond from becoming unsightly during the winter months and to prevent harm to the pond inhabitants and plants?

Reply from the Lavaris Lake Team:
To best prepare the pond for the approaching winter months, we recommend applying SeDox(60 g/m³) in September/October to bond the phosphate. This will prevent algae bloom, which can happen even during the winter if there are a few sunny days. Also, SeDox accelerates sludge decomposition, which releases oxygen in the water and benefits the plants and organisms.
One OptiLake treatment (100 g/m³) should also be administered to stabilize the biological equilibrium and to break down hazardous substances (ammonium, nitrite, heavy metals).

Question:

Our pond keeps getting cloudy. Test strips for measuring KH and pH values indicate that the values are normal. Our fish are very active, and the plants appear to be fine. What is causing the cloudiness, and what can we do to remedy it?

Reply from the Lavaris Lake Team:
You fish are probably stirring up dirt particles (dead leaves, animal excrement, dead plants, etc.) from the bottom of the pond, causing the water to become cloudy. ClearLake would help solve the problem. The specially cultivated microorganisms in this product decompose dirt and combat decay and the formation of hazardous gas. If the residue at the bottom of the pond is excessive, applying SeDox is advisable. SeDox improves sludge decomposition, which in turn increases the oxygen content in the water. Also, SeDox bonds the phosphates – the main source of nutrients for algae – and prevents continued algae growth.
However, there may still be a problem with the water quality in your pond. Besides the comprehensive analysis provided by our laboratory, we offer the AquaCheck Set for precise measurement results. The test sets in the case can determine the exact pH, KH and nitrite values. The sets can be used again and again, so you can test regularly to detect deviations. This way changes in the water quality can be recognized quickly, and the quality can be restored by applying OptiLake.

Question:

I have had my pond for several years, and have never had problems with algae before. This past spring, we took some rocks from a torn-down barn and used them as decoration for the pond. This is when the algae problems started. Could it be caused by the rocks?

Reply from the Lavaris Lake Team:
Natural rock, as well as certain types of concrete and cement, can release phosphate into the water over the years. However, it could just be a one-time issue caused by eluviation. If this is the case, you can solve the problem by applying SeDox, to bond the phosphate.
If the problem persists after the 6 – 8 week period in which SeDox is effective, we recommend removing the rocks. If you wish to leave the rocks in place, SeDox should be added regularly to prevent the phosphate from the rocks  from supplying nutrients to the algae. You should also add AlgoClear to prevent algae from growing or to combat any algae already present.

Question:

We have a small pond that is filled mainly with rain water. Unfortunately, plant growth is sparse, and the goldfish are lethargic. Why is this? Rain water is good, isn't it?

Reply from the Lavaris Lake Team:
When rain water is the main source for a pond, the carbonate hardness tends to be very low, usually well under 5° dH. Since the KH value affects the pH value, a dangerous imbalance in the pond can happen quickly. Substances hazardous to fish form often. It is imperative to treat the water with OptiLake. Depending on the KH value, the dosage may need to be doubled to return the water to a safe biological equilibrium. We recommend applying AquaFloraEnergen to ensure that the plants receive a sufficient supply of nutrients. The water values should be checked regularly (e.g. with the AquaCheck Set)!
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