Castle Aquatics 2022 Product Catalog #30, August 1st edition now available!

The annual Castle Aquatics Product Catalog #30, updated on August 1st, is now available for download! The 2022 Catalog #30 features products features all of your favorite products and several new additions to consider adding to a dealer store.

With over 50 featured brands and 1000+ products, Castle Aquatics will be ready to stock a dealer store with all the products needed to help customers become a successful fish and water feature owners! 

Download your free copy of the Catalog by filling out the form below:

(P.S. If you would like to learn more about becoming an Authorized Dealer with Castle Aquatics to sell these products in your store, click here to contact us).

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Tips For Adding A Garden Pond To Your Yard

If you’ve been dreaming of adding an enchanting and relaxing outdoor feature to your yard, a garden pond would be the perfect addition. If you’d like to add a garden pond to your yard, spring and summer are the best times of year to build a new pond. Building a garden pond may sound like a big project, and you may not know where to start. Luckily, here at Castle Aquatics, we specialize in garden ponds and we can help you with all of your pond care questions and needs. Today, we’d like to go over tips for adding a garden pond to your yard.

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN ADDING A GARDEN POND TO YOUR YARD

It could be argued that one of the most important aspects of your garden pond is its location. You’ll want to pick a location for your garden pond that will make it a feature of your yard, and not something that is tucked away in the corner where you won’t really be able to enjoy the beauty of it. We have some tips for you on choosing the perfect location for your garden pond, as well as some other things you should take into consideration when you’re planning for your garden pond.

  • Choose ground that is level so that you don’t have any difficulty with drainage from your pond.
  • You’ll want your pond closer to your home so that adding electric wiring won’t be a problem.
  • You’ll also want to ensure that your pond is not over any existing cables, sewer lines, septic tanks, or pipes.
  • Again, the closer your pond is to your home, the closer it will be to a faucet to add water to the pond.
  • Don’t place your pond in an area with too much shade from the sun due to large trees or buildings. This way, you don’t limit yourself on the types of flowers you can add to the pond.
  • If you’d like fish in your pond, you’ll want to add things like shrubs, lily pads, and plants so that the fish will have shade for the hotter parts of the day.
  • You will also want to avoid having your pond near large trees to reduce the amount of leaves and other debris that could blow off of the tree and into the pond, which could result in clogging the pond filtration system.
  • Smaller ponds will benefit from shade, since algae tends to grow in higher water temperatures, and higher water temperatures will also increase the chance of water evaporation in small ponds.
  • Some plants are toxic to fish and can make your water murky, so be sure to do your homework on the best kind of plants to add.
  • Ensure that you pick a location in your yard where you can make your pond deep enough for the types of plants and fish you plan to have in your garden pond.
  • Adding water features such as a waterfall or fountain can benefit your pond by keeping the water oxygenated. Water features will keep the water circulating, which helps to decrease algae and can keep mosquitoes away.
  • Using natural native rocks to create an edge around your pond will make your garden pond look and feel more like a natural feature of your yard.
  • You’ll also want to ensure that you have some type of protection around your pond to account for rainwater so that your pond will not overflow.If you are part of a homeowner’s association, check to make sure that adding a garden pond won’t be a violation of your HOA.
  • If you don’t want a large garden pond or if you’d prefer not to dig into the ground, you can place a pond form on a raised bed and build out your added features around the pond form.

We hope these tips will be useful for you as you are plan for your garden pond. For more help with pond care and maintenance, but sure to check our blog regularly. And for your pond maintenance tools, shop our site now!

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Part 2: How To Reopen Your Garden Pond This SPRING

Now that the weather is changing and the temperature is rising, it’s time to start thinking about getting your yard ready for the spring and summer months. If you have a garden pond in your yard, you’ll want to be sure you follow the necessary steps to get your pond up and running in the best condition possible. In our previous blog, we went over the first six steps of getting your garden pond ready for spring. Today, we’d like to finish our step-by-step guide. If you should find you need any tools or products that are necessary for your pond care this spring, be sure to shop our products here at Castle Aquatics!

STEPS TO GET YOUR GARDEN POND UP AND RUNNING THIS SPRING CONTINUED

Step Seven

If you live in a climate that requires you to turn off your pond pump and filter during the winter months in order to prevent damage to the pump and filter from the cold, you’ll want to reconnect your pond pump and filter now. If you did not clean your filter pads in the fall before shutting down your pond for the winter, you’ll want to either clean or replace the pads. Do not clean your pads with soap or bleach. Simply rinsing the pads is best practice. If the pads are torn or worn-out, you should replace them.

Step Eight

In our last blog, we went over changing out either 25 percent of your pond’s water or 100 percent of the water, depending on the debris that built up in the pond over the winter. Regardless of how much water you change out, you’ll want to test the quality of the water. Both the nitrate and the ammonia levels should be at zero. If you only did a 25 percent water change, you may need to do an additional 25 percent change or change the water until the desired levels are reached. Your pond’s pH levels should be between 6.5 and 8.5. You can purchase pH solutions for your pond to help control the levels. If you keep fish in your pond, you’ll want to be sure that the salinity is between .1 percent and .25 percent. You can change the salinity of your pond by adding pond salt. Pond salt should be 100 percent pure salt in a large crystal form.

Step Nine

Now is the time you’ll want to add a sludge reducing bacteria to your pond in order to breakdown any remaining gunk from your pond if you did not do a 100 percent water change. This solution will help to re-colonize bacteria that is beneficial for your pond.

Step Ten

If you have a UV light clarifier, which helps to prevent green water, you’ll want to replace the bulb of your light and clean the clarifier. You should wait about 48 hours after you clean your pond to turn on your clarifier to ensure that the bacteria has colonized.

Step Eleven

If you don’t already have protective barriers set up for your fish in your garden pond, around the edge of your pond, you’ll want to install a fish tunnel or a pond cover net. It’s also a good idea to add rocks and safety barriers in the pond to provide a place for fish to hide from predators that may try to get into the pond. A motion detector deterrent system may also help to scare away predators.

Step Twelve

You won’t want to begin feeding your fish again until the water temperatures are at 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for at least a week. When water temperatures are between 50 and 65 degrees, feed the fish once per week. When the water temperature reaches 65 degrees or higher on a consistent basis, you can feed the fish every other day. You can purchase an automatic fish feeder that will make caring for your fish simple and effective.

At this point, your garden pond will be up and running for the season! For proper pond care and to keep your pond clean and healthy, be sure to get the cleaning solutions you need for pond maintenance throughout the spring and summer months. Shop our products here at PondMax & Castle Aquatics today!

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Part 1: How To Reopen Your Garden Pond This Spring

If you’re ready to get your pond up and running this spring, you’ll want to be sure that you take the necessary steps in order to have a well-functioning and clean pond. Here at Castle Aquatics, we have the necessary tools and products you need for your garden pond care. For pond filters and pumps, pond lighting, UV clarifiers, and more, shop our products today. To learn more about starting up your garden pond this spring, keep reading!

STEPS TO GET YOUR GARDEN POND UP AND RUNNING THIS SPRING

If you’re certain that you’ve experienced the last freeze of the winter, and temperatures in your area have been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than a week, you can begin your garden pond clean-up to get your pond ready for use this spring. Follow the directions below for a simple, step-by-step clean-up process for your garden pond.

Step One

Rake up any leaves and debris that have gathered around your garden pond. Ideally, you will have installed a pond net to place over your pond in the fall so leaves won’t have found their way into the pond. If you do have a pond net in place, you can now remove it.

Step Two

If there are leaves and other debris in your garden pond, you can use a pond vacuum to clean out the extra debris.

Step Three

Now is the time to start tending to any water plants that you may have. You will need to take the time to cut off dead debris and repot plants if necessary. If you have aquatic plants that need fertilized, late April or early May is the perfect time to begin that process.

Step Four

Ponds that do not have a significant amount of buildup should have about 25 percent of its water changed out. When adding new water, you’ll want to add a water conditioner to your pond to ensure that any chlorine or chloramines from your city water are removed.

Step Five

If your garden pond has one inch or more of buildup, it’s a good idea to completely change out your pond’s water. You’ll need to set up a temporary tank for a safe place for your fish during the process. You’ll want to be sure that the difference in water temperature from the pond to the tank are no more than two degrees fahrenheit. If the temperatures vary more than that, place the fish in plastic bags with water from the pond and then place them in the temporary tank. You’ll want to check the water temperature of their temporary water and the pond water when it’s time to put them back in the pond before you release them from the bags.

Step Six

Once you drain all of the old pond water, and before you fill the pond with new water, use your pond vacuum to thoroughly clean out your garden pond. If you have to step down into your garden pond in order to clean the bottom, be sure you keep your pond vacuum out of the pond. You may want to use a long brush with a handle in order to clean off any algae that has built up over the winter while the pond is completely empty. Once your garden pond is clear of debris and algae, you’ll be ready to fill your garden pond with water again.

Once you’ve completed the six steps above, you’ll be halfway through your spring cleaning for your garden pond, and you’ll be that much closer to having your pond up and running. Stay tuned for our next blog for the next steps in the pond cleaning process. If you’re in need of a pond vacuum, a new filter, or any other products for your pond care this spring, shop our products here at PondMax & Castle Aquatics today!

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Benefits Of Adding A Water Feature To Your Yard

Ponds and water gardens are quickly becoming one of landscaping’s most popular trends. Homeowners across the nation are opting out of a boring lawn by transforming part of it into a breathtaking water feature. Water features are a great way to make a yard and home unique, and adding a fish pond or water garden can turn your yard into your own personal oasis paradise. However, having a water feature installed does not only improve the look of your yard but also comes with other benefits. Check out three major perks of having a pond or water garden installed in your yard!

1. INCREASED CURB APPEAL AND HOME VALUE

Boring grass yards or rock patios won’t catch anyone’s eye anymore. However, installing a water feature in your yard creates a unique landscape in addition to a peaceful atmosphere that will not go unnoticed. Water features can be big projects like a Koi pond, or simple projects like adding a beautiful disappearing waterfall. The truth is, water features make your home stick out from the others in your neighborhood, as they create an attractive curb appeal. And, having a water feature in your yard will increase the value of your property.


2. ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY YARD

One of the greatest benefits of water features like ponds and water gardens. Having water features like these conserves water, which not only is beneficial for finances but the environment as well. If you have a plain and boring lawn, you’ll be using gallons of water per month in order to give the proper care to your lawn and plants. However, having a pond reduces that water usage. After a pond is filled once, it can be naturally filled with rainwater. Occasionally rain will not be a reliable source, meaning it won’t always be available. Your pond or water feature may have to be topped off every once in awhile, but other than that, ponds maintain a healthy ecosystem by relying on natural sources of water.

The moisture that ponds create can be beneficial to nearby plants, as they create a self-sustaining cycle of hydration. This keeps plants alive and healthy without having to constantly water them. The humid environment that is created by a pond can help moisturize your soil, especially during those hot summer days. Ponds, water gardens, and other water features will also consume your yard space. Which means you will not be using as much fertilizer, pesticides, and other lawn care products. Adding water features also take up yard space, which will result in less time spent mowing the lawn. While this is beneficial for time, it also reduces the number of pollutants emitted into the air. One of the biggest benefits of pond or water feature is that they can help indirectly support surrounding wildlife, whether birds, insects, or plants. By simply adding some native plants in and around your water feature will help attract wildlife native to the area by providing food and protection. Take a look at the common wildlife ponds and water gardens can draw:

Birds

Frogs

Dragonflies

Squirrel

Rabbits


3.HEALTH BENEFITS

Yes, you read that correctly. Water features can bring various health benefits. The white-noise-like sound emitted from water features is naturally calming. Water features can help you temporarily escape from the busy world, and the sound of water can help mask out the noise of traffic or loud next door neighbors. The sound of water has a calming effect on the brain, similar to what you would feel with meditation. Water features can help reduce anxiety and stress. In addition, water — whether in a lake or a pond — releases negatively charged ions into the air, which helps eliminate free radicals, purifying the air of dust mites, germs, pollen, allergens and other pollutants. And, negative ions are also believed to relieve stress and depression, and help increase energy, alertness, and focus. This purified environment is better for your body and health. Whether you choose to add a simple water feature or a koi pond to your yard, you’ll be able to relax and appreciate the calming sounds, visuals, and environment that water features bring.


READY TO ADD A WATER FEATURE TO YOUR YARD?

There are many more benefits of adding a water feature to your yard other than the three major ones we covered. If you are considering adding a pond, water garden, or another water feature to your yard, be sure to come up with a game plan to ensure that you have everything needed to make it beautiful and unique. And, when you need water feature or pond supplies you can rely on Castle Aquatics to have everything you need! From pond filters and pumps to pond care and water garden supplies. For more information about our pond and water feature products, find the closest Castle Aquatics dealers or contact us!

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Pond Predators To Be Aware Of

Having a garden pond is essentially like having a wildlife habitat in your backyard. As with any wildlife habitat, your garden pond will likely be subject to predators. While it may be impossible to keep every predator away from your garden pond, and subsequently the plants and fish you have in your pond, there are steps that you can take to ensure your pond can be better protected from predators. Here at Castle Aquatics, we have come up with some tips for you on how to protect your pond from predators, as well as the predators you should be most aware of. To learn more about pond maintenance and protection tactics that will help to keep predators away, keep reading!

GARDEN POND PREDATORS AND HOW TO KEEP THEM AWAY

Herons

Herons can be found across the United States, but the most popular heron that you can find hanging out near your garden pond is a Great Blue Heron. These herons can stand at well over four feet tall, and their wingspan is almost six feet wide. They also like to feed on frogs and fish, which makes your garden pond an easy target.

Heron can be territorial, so setting up decoys may be a beneficial tactic for keeping them away. However, people have reported that even with heron decoys near their pond, real heron have realized the ruse and ate the pond fish anyways. Motion detectors that squirt water or turn on a light have been proven to be more effective in scaring away herons, and if all else fails, leaf netting to place over your pond may be the best course of action.

Motion detectors may not be the most effective option for smaller birds that have the ability to swoop down and catch their prey. You can also attempt to place large decoy fish in the pond that would be an easy target that would deter the predator from trying again once they’re unable to get a meal out of your pond.

Racoons

Racoons are likely the most common predator you have to deal with when it comes to your garden pond. Since raccoons are nocturnal, they have the ability to make their way into your backyard at night with nothing to scare them away. Racoons have the ability to swipe at the fish in your pond from the edge of the pond or they may even wade into the pond if it’s shallow enough. The options listed above, the motion detectors and the leaf netting, are likely going to be your best option when it comes to racoons as well. Motion detectors can be great for the summer months, but you’ll likely need to put it away come winter so the water hose doesn’t freeze in the winter months. Netting over your pond for the fall and winter is usually the best way to go.

Other beneficial options for your pond fish is to ensure that they have plenty of places underwater to hide from predators such as under rocks, in deep water or lily pads that will look natural to the pond environment. In addition to keeping your garden pond safe, don’t forget to shop for the tools and products you need to keep up with your garden pond maintenance here at Castle Aquatics!

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Does Your Pond Have Healthy Ecosystem?

A healthy pond ecosystem doesn’t just happen. Imagine seeing your fish thrive, your plant flourish in well-oxygenated pond environment, and your pond water turned crystal clear! You can achieve that dream pond by understanding the five key elements: filtration, aeration, aquatic plants, healthy fish and beneficial bacteria. These five pieces work in sync with Mother Nature to create a sustainable environment that will thrive all year long. Better yet, you can achieve optimal health and beauty with little effort and no chemicals that can be harmful to animals, people or the planet. Let’s take a look at each of these five elements and understand why they’re important.

Filtration – Ensure your water crystal clean & safe

Our water garden experts are often asked, do we really need a filtration system? If your planning on keeping fish thriving in clean & clear then yes you will need one.

A good filtration system will include mechanical & biological components.

Mechanical – include skimmers such as Atlantic Pond Skimmer,  filter brushes, foam pads, and other tools. This will trap and remove all unwanted & visible debris and waste and makes things easier for the next stage of the filtration process which is biological.

Biological – Once all visible solids are removed, the biological filtration comes into place and reduces the invisible wastes in the water such as ammonia that is toxic to fish or excess nutrients and convert them to less harmful compounds. This filtering system introduces aerobic bacteria, which will attach themselves to surface such as rocks, plants, or filtering media and eat away debris. One of our PondMAX latest products, PondMAX Clear Water Kit will provide you with multi-stage cleaning with coarse black filter traps larger debris, a fine blue filter catches smaller particles, and multiple bio-balls contain helpful bacteria to promote a healthy ecosystem.

Circulation– Improve pond and fish health.

Efficient circulation helps to maintain appropriate oxygen levels for plants and fish to thrive. It also helps avoid that unpleasant sulfur-like smell that can accompany still water where methane and other gasses have accumulated. Stagnant water can quickly become a haven for weeds, bacteria, noxious gases & unpleasant sulfur-like smell, but circulation will maintain a pond’s natural balance and create a healthy environment. Water gardens alone cannot produce sufficient amount of oxygen, but aeration kits like Teton XA Aeration Kits OR PondMAX Aeration Kits will do the tricks. Subsurface aeration works from the bottom up, circulating water and increasing dissolved oxygen levels. When the sun goes down, fish and plants both use dissolved oxygen in your pond water. By providing well-designed aeration & pumping system, oxygen levels stay high all day and night. Aeration is also great for winter climates. Running an aerator and a deicer together cuts your electricity costs and keeps a hole open in your pond.

Aquatic Plants – Natural algae control.

Aquatic plants are like the perfect spouse: amazing to look at, likes to clean, and will provide food, shade, and shelter. They also consume “filtered” fish waste which will become fertilizer to create exceptional plant growth and help reduce algae blooms. Approximately 40-60% of your pond’s surface area should be covered in plants. This is extra important if your pond is in direct sunlight most of the day.

Fish – The beautiful habitants of your pond

Not only adding colors, fish and other aquatic animals also eat algae and move stagnant water around. However, the more fish, the more waste, and fish loads and waste must be controlled. Want some advice? With standard filtration and 60% plant coverage, allow 1-2 koi or 2-3 goldfish per 200 gallons of water. If you need help figuring out how much filtration your fish need or filtration solutions for your pond, give us a call!

Beneficial Bacteria – Natural treatments for a balanced pond.

Using natural treatments, such as those found in PondMAX Water Treatment products, aid in keeping your pond balanced and happy. This product range is well designed to keep a pond’s ecosystem perfectly balanced by removing excess nutrients and debris, and maintain pond water crystal clear.

It’s Possible To Have Too Much In Your Pond

Don’t add too many plants or fish to your pond’s ecosystem!

You’ll want to have right amount of fish and plants in your water garden . Too many fish will cause too much waste, plants and filters will be blocked, and the water will get…murky. 

If you avoid this, you can have a thriving ecosystem and an amazing pond.

A water garden that’s well planned out and designed with the right solutions for these key elements will save you tons of time for maintenance including ph tests or other water tests. You can enjoy more of your pond and work less.

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What Should I Do If My Pond Freezes?

Depending on where you are in the nation, you could currently be facing the harsh cold weather of the winter season. And, if you have a koi pond or a pond with fish in it, the winter weather could end up being a big threat. When the winter comes and the water in the pond freezes, it is essential for pond and water garden owners to take the necessary steps to keep a hole in the ice to allow for a constant gas exchange during these colder months. Many pond owners will utilize aerators or de-icers to keep a hole in the iced water surface, but in certain conditions, the cold can cause these holes to potentially close and stop the exchange of gases. In addition, pond equipment like an aerator or deicer can malfunction, especially in freezing temperatures. Gas exchange is essential for getting oxygen into the water and removing the carbon dioxide out of it. Plus, gas exchange disperses the pollutants that build up in the pond’s water. With an insufficient amount of gas exchange, pond fish can undergo stress and can even die. Gas exchange is essential for the health of your pond as well as the fish and plants within it.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY POND FREEZES?

If you find that your pond freezes over, whatever you do, do not hit the ice to attempt to make a hole. Maybe pond owners come to find their ponds frozen and immediately worry about the health of their pond and fish. To quickly resolve the issue of insufficient gas exchange, they will try making a hole themselves. However, this can cause more damage than most people think. Banging on the frozen surface can be hazardous to the health of the fish within.

HOW DO I PREVENT MY POND FROM FREEZING?

If you are using an aerator and a deicer to maintain the hole in the ice, you shouldn’t have to worry much. Having both pieces of pond equipment should be able to manage the hole in the ice during the winter season. Of course, you will want to check the aerator periodically to ensure that there is no snow covering the hole in the ice. As long as the hole in the pond’s ice is free from snow or is not frozen over and the aerator is still operating properly, you can rest assured that the gases are being exchanged properly and that your fish are healthy. As the winter weather dwindles, the aerator and deicer will eventually create another hole in the ice as the temperatures rise.

Castle Aquatics Tip: If you are only using an aerator in your pond, try adding a deicer as a backup, which will add to the pond fish’s well-being.

If you are using a deicer without an aerator, maintaining the howl may be a bit more difficult for you. To start, you will want to make sure that the area of the pond near the deicer is free from ice, snow, and debris and ensure that the deicer itself is working properly. The best way to make sure a deicer is functioning properly is by looking for the light that indicates the device is on and receiving power. If you don’t notice the light or suspect the deicer is working improperly, you’ll want to first inspect your electrical sources. If you notice that the power source is on but do not think it is working, it is likely that you need a deicer replacement.

ADDITIONAL METHODS TO TRY

If there are no holes in the ice and you suspect that the deicer is not working properly, you will have to act fast and create a hole in the ice to ensure that gases are properly exchanged. Remember, you should never bang, hit, or step on the ice to try to create a hole. If you ever find yourself in this predicament, consider trying these two methods:

METHOD #1: USE HOT WATER

If you find you pond frozen over, you’ll need to create a hole. An easy way to do this is to bring hot water to a boil and slowly pour it into an area of the pond. Depending on how thick the ice is in your pond you may have to do this a couple times. Once you create a new hole in the ice, place your new deicer or aerator in the thawed area to continue the deicing process.

METHOD #2: CONSIDER A DIFFERENT TYPE OF DEICER

If your pond seems to be no match for deicers, there are other options available. You can now find deicers that can be placed on top of your frozen pond. Once turned on, the device will melt a hole in the ice’s surface and continue to deice the pond once it is submerged. Not all deicers can do this, so be sure to carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions before use.

The two methods above will need to be used if you deicer or aerator ever stops working and your pond freezes over. It is best to consistently check the hole in the ice at least once a week to ensure there isn’t any snow covering it. By following these steps, you should be able to prevent any major pond problems from occurring this winter season.

When you need pond care products and equipment, like deicers and aerators from PondMAX, be sure to shop at Castle Aquatics! Castle Aquatics carries a wide selection of pond equipment and products, from pond pumps to pond lighting. To find great Castle Aquatics products near you, locate the nearest Castle Aquatics dealer!

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Common Types Of Pond Filters

Water quality is one of the essential factors to the long-term health of a pond or water garden. And, the health of a pond is critical to keep pond fish and plants healthy. In order to maintain pond water quality, especially ones that have fish, a pond filtration system is needed.

THE PURPOSE OF A FILTER SYSTEM

A pond filter system serves two purposes for a pond. First, is to act as a mechanical filter and the second is to act as a biological filter. Each type of pond filter can serve as a mechanical or biological filter for ponds; sometimes both. Before we get into the types of pond filters, let’s take a deeper look into the two kinds of filtration.

Biological Filtration. Just as it occurs in the wild, the biological process of beneficial bacteria also occurs in a pond. When pond fish produce waste, it can eventually turn into nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia. When ponds have improper biological filtration, the waste and bacteria in the pond can reach a point that it becomes creates an unhealthy environment for the fish and other pond inhabitants. Biological filtration utilizes beneficial bacteria to maintain healthy water qualities in a pond.

Mechanical Filtration. Mechanical filtration is one of the main kinds of pond filtration that happens in a pond. In this filtration system separates and removes wastes and solids, such as the ones produced by fish. That said, mechanical filtration strains solids from the pond water going through it, which is essential for the efficiency of a pond’s biological media.

 

COMMON TYPES OF POND FILTERS

Pond filters help remove algae, dirt, and debris in a pond while also helping it restore a proper balance by adding beneficial bacteria from a matured filter. If you are thinking about buying pond filters for your pond, there are many types to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of the common types pond filters.

Pond Skimmer Filter

A skimmer filter can be effective in just about any sized pond, from 250 gallons to larger than 100 gallons. Skimmer filters are mounted at water level outside of the pond liner. The main purpose of a pond skimming filter is to eliminate debris that falls or is blown into the water of the pond before it sinks to the bottom and decomposes. When debris decomposes, the pond water can become gross, mucky, and smelly. The filter works by continually taking in the surface water off the pond, collecting debris. Pond skimmer filters are a necessary part of a pond filtration system no matter the size of your pond.

Pre-Filter

Pond pre-filters, also known as filter boxes, are specially meant for smaller ponds, anywhere between 200 and 500 gallons. Pre-filters are typically sponge filters that sit in the middle of a pond, attached to the intake of the pond pump. Submersible pre-filters are designed to collect solid materials such as leaves, debris, fish waste, and string algae that is in pond water. Pond pre-filter installation is a cost-effective way to protect pond pumps and help them operate more efficiently by preventing clogs in the biological filter. In addition, pre-filters help ensure the safety of pond fish and other inhabitants by preventing them from being drawn into the pump.

Pressure Filter

Pond pressure filters are mainly used in small to medium sized ponds. These mechanical filters work by forcing water through a filter sponge that collects small debris and particles. Compared to other types of filters, these offer pond owners flexibility and convenience. Since these filters are pressurized they can be placed either above the pond’s water line or buried in the ground, making it easy to hide in the landscaping or behind a waterfall feature. Many pond pressure filters are equipped with a UV sterilizer which is effective at removing algae particles from the water. Most pressure filters also come with a back flush function, which allows for hassle-free cleaning of the filter sponge. Pressure filters work well simultaneously with pond skimmers as they handle the smaller pond debris.

Waterfall Filters

Unlike other pond filters, pond waterfall filters are not pressurized so they need to be placed above a pond’s water level. These filters can be used in any size pond, however small to medium sized ponds tend to benefit the most from the biological component. Generally, these filters will include biological and mechanical filter media to provide efficient filtration for enhanced water quality. Waterfall filters are multifunctional units used to create beautiful waterfalls, rambling streams, or even pondless waterfall features. These filters can help increase the aeration on a pond, making it cleaner and healthier.

UV Sterilizers

Although they technically are not a pond filter, UV Sterilizers play an important role in pond filtration. UV Sterilization is proven to be the safest and most effective method of preventing and eliminating green water problems in the pond. Pond UV Sterilizers help eliminate free-floating organic particles in the water, such as algae, fungi, viruses, and bacteria. This is done through the exposure of high powered UV lighting. The structure of tiny organic material is altered when exposed the UV lighting. UV Sterilizers can benefit any pond, helping eliminate gross green water and waterborne bacteria and viruses. UV Sterilizers are a great addition for pond maintenance, especially if there are fish in the pond.

All these common types of pond filters can help keep a pond clean and healthy. Before you purchase a pond filter it is important to consider the various types of filters, as well as the size of the pond and whether or not there are fish or other pond inhabitants living inside. Perhaps most importantly, you need to ensure you are buying quality pond filters. Cheap pond filters are not only inefficient, they also will not last very long.

If you want the best pond filters for your pond, PondMAX is your one-stop-shop. We carry a wide selection of pond filtration products, such as pond UV sterilizers, waterfall filters, pond pressurized filter, pond filter skimmers, and so much more! PondMAX has all the pond care equipment you need! Shop our selection of pond filters and other pond products.

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Part 2: How To Improve Your Outdoor Living Space

Your outdoor living space should be just as much of a place of solace as your indoor living space. If you don’t enjoy spending time in your yard, you may need some help in determining what you can do to make your outdoor living space a more enjoyable and comfortable space. In a previous blog, we began a list of the ways in which you can improve your outdoor living space. Today, we will finish our list of ways that you can transform your yard into an outdoor sanctuary, and we will give you a few more ideas on how you can make your garden pond the main feature of your yard. For all of your garden pond needs, including your pond filtration system, lighting, and more, Castle Aquatics can help.

FEATURES TO IMPROVE YOUR OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE CONTINUED

  • A Fire Pit – Whether you get a portable fire pit for your yard or you have a fire pit installed as a key feature in your yard, a fire pit is an excellent way to create a warm and inviting atmosphere where people will want to gather and relax.
  • Swings – Regardless of the kind of swing—patio swing, tire swing, hammock—even adults enjoy the many different varieties of swings, and adding one to your yard could be an enticing feature that draws you and your family and friends to the yard in order to enjoy the gentle rocking motion of a swing.
  • A Deck – if you’d like to really spruce up your yard, instead of having a patio or a small deck off of your home, a deck can be a large, multi-level feature that not only adds beauty to your yard if you choose a deck with a natural wood look, but it can also add to your yard’s functionality by creating a more defined space to place your outdoor furniture and other outdoor features.
  • Lights – Aside from the light on the exterior of your home for your yard, you should also consider installing additional lights on features such as your stairs, walkways, and tables. You can even hang twinkle lights between your trees to create a magical look.
  • Speakers – Installing outdoor speakers can greatly improve your outdoor space by allowing you to create the atmosphere you’d like with the sound of music. Your guests will love the addition of music to your outdoor space.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR GARDEN POND YOUR YARD’S MAIN FEATURE

Once you decide to add a garden pond to your yard as one of the key features that can improve your outdoor living space, we have a few ideas on how you can place your pond in order to make it your yard’s main feature. In our last blog, we already discussed features you can add to your garden pond in order to make it stand out, but you’ll also need to know where to place your garden pond to really make it your yard’s main feature.

If you really want your pond to stand out, you will want to place it near one of your other key features for your yard. Your garden pond shouldn’t be tucked away in a corner. You can add your garden pond to the middle of your yard or even close to your patio or deck in order to be able to view the pond when you’re at your outdoor table. Placing your pond in the middle of your yard or near other key features can actually add to the appeal of the pond. If your pond is placed correctly, you can add a stone walkway around it, a bridge over it, or you can even place a gazebo next to it to really maximize your ability to spend time near your pond and enjoy it as your yard’s main feature.

A garden pond can be such a beautiful addition to your yard in order to create a more enjoyable space. If you combine a garden pond with some of the other features we mentioned that can help to improve your outdoor living space, you may end up spending more time outside than you do inside. For all of your garden pond needs including your pond filtration system, Castle Aquatics has the garden pond expertise you need. Shop our pond products today!

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Part 1: How To Improve Your Outdoor Living Space

If you don’t love your outdoor living space as much as your indoor living space, you are missing out on utilizing valuable square footage that’s included with your home. While most people think of their home—the space that is boxed in by walls—as their place of refuge, there’s something that being outdoors can do for people that no interior space can ever provide. What most people don’t realize is that their outdoor living space can be equally, if not more, relaxing and enjoyable as their indoor living space. One way in which you can create an outdoor living space that is relaxing and enjoyable, is to have a garden pond built in your yard. Castle Aquatics can help with all of your garden pond needs, including your garden pond filtration system.

THE PERFECT GARDEN POND

If you’re looking to create an outdoor living space that you love, building a garden pond is a good place to start. Garden ponds can create an enchanting atmosphere for your yard, and it can be an interesting point of conversation when you have guests over. The perfect garden pond could include features such as koi fish, lily pads, a waterfall, rocks, and lights. However, the beauty of creating your own garden pond is the ability to include whatever features you know that you’ll enjoy the most.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES TO IMPROVE YOUR OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE

If your outdoor living space needs a complete makeover, you may want to add additional features to your yard that could really boost your enjoyment when you’re in your outdoor space. Here are some additional features that you can add to your yard in order to improve its functionality and enjoyment:

  • Patio Pavers – instead of boring concrete, update your patio to include pavers. Concrete pavers can be found in multiple shapes, sizes, and colors, so you can really get the design you want. You also have the option of choosing clay pavers for a more traditional look or flagstone for an all natural look and feel.
  • Furniture – in order to enjoy your outdoor living space as much as your indoor living space, you’ll want furniture that you find comfortable. Having a table and chairs is ideal for your backyard so you can enjoy dinner outside on a warm evening. However, if you really want to relax in your outdoor space, you’ll want to find a comfortable couch and chairs that you can sit back and relax on.
  • Trees, Shrubs, and Flowers – If your yard is bare—completely lacking in trees and flowers—you’ll want to invest in some plant-life to add beauty and privacy to your yard. While most garden ponds have some kind of landscaping around them, you’ll want the rest of your yard to have the same magical look as your garden pond.

If you’re interested in having a garden pond installed in your yard, Castle Aquatics can supply you with all of the supplies you’ll need to make your dream a reality. No garden pond is complete without a pond filtration system, lights, and of course food for your fish! Contact Castle Aquatics today to learn more about garden ponds, and stay tuned for our next blog where we will finish our list of ways you can improve your outdoor living space.

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Common Winter Pond Maintenance Mistakes

For pond owners, pond maintenance is always on their minds, especially during the warm summer months, when ponds are enjoyed the most. Many water garden and pond owners have the misunderstanding that once the temperatures drop, pond care is no longer necessary. The truth is, to maintain a beautiful and appealing pond, maintenance and care is required throughout the year, especially during the winter for those pond owners who reside in colder climates with harsh winters.

If you are a pond owner, is essential to maintain the health of your pond, especially during the winter. However, pond maintenance during the winter season must be done properly. To help ensure that owners care for their ponds the correct way, and avoid pond maintenance mistakes, we put together a list of mistakes pond owners should never make when performing pond maintenance.

MISTAKE #1: BANGING ON THE ICE

In the winter months, ponds are much more likely to freeze, especially in the colder regions of the nation. If you find your pond frozen and are unsure of which steps to take, be sure to check out our previous blog, What Should I Do If My Pond Freezes to guide you in the right direction. When ponds freeze, many pond owners know the importance of creating a hole in the ice to allow for proper gas exchange. However, what most pond owners do not know is that you should never hit or kick the ice in an attempt to create a hole. Banging on the ice of a pond can create sound waves that can be harmful to pond fish. Instead of trying to break the ice open, pond owners should use a de-icer to create a hole in the ice’s surface. If a person does not own a deicer, they can be found at almost any pond supply store, or instead of a de-icer, pond owners can create a hole in the ice by simply pouring boiling water on an area of the ice’s surface.

MISTAKE #2: FORGETTING POND WATER TREATMENTS

Pond water treatment is something that should be done during each season, not just the summertime. Just as pond maintenance is important year-round, a pond’s quality of water is just as important, if not more important in the winter than it is in the summer. Applying a quality bacteria blend to your pond at least once a month will help with preventing debris that normally collects in pond water during the colder seasons, leaving your pond fish happier and healthier.

MISTAKE #3: USING A CHEAP OR INEFFICIENT DE-ICER

As you now know, deicers can be extremely helpful in winter pond maintenance. Because de-icers play such an important role, it is important to ensure that pond owners are using a good quality, effective deicer with at least 1200 watts of power. Cheap deicers commonly fail or are not effective in ponds of larger sizes. However, purchasing a quality de-icer, pond owners can ensure that there will always be a  hole in the ice’s surface to allow for gas exchange, keeping your pond in good shape and providing pond inhabitants with a healthy environment.

MISTAKE #4: LEAVING A DEICER ON CONTINUOUSLY

Many pond owners have the misunderstanding that deicers need to be left running. The truth is, this actually is a bad idea. In the winter, deicers can consume a lot of energy. Pond owners who reside in colder climates may be tempted to leave their de-icer on to ensure their pond does not freeze over, but it is not really necessary. When using deicers, pond owners should periodically check on the hole. If the hole seems to be closing up, simply switch the de-icer on for a day or two to solve the problem and then shut it back down.

MISTAKE #5: FORGETTING TO TURN ON THE DE-ICER BEFORE GOING AWAY

Just as pond owners forget to turn off their deicers, many forget to turn them on. As mentioned above, it isn’t good for your de-icer to continuously be running, however there is an exception. If pond owners are going to be away from their pond, perhaps taking a trip to a much warmer area, for a week or more during the cold winter months, their pond’s de-icer should be left on. Forgetting to turn on your deicer before leaving for a while could leave you with a frozen and unfortunate situation upon your return. It is essential your pond has everything it needs, including a de-icer, before leaving. Ideally, if pond owners are going to be away from their pond, they should have a friend, family member, or neighbor care for their pond while they are gone. This way, a de-icer won’t have to run continuously and pond owners can save money on their energy bills.

MISTAKE #6: NOT SHUTTING DOWN WATER FEATURES

There’s nothing that adds beauty to a pond like an appealing, relaxing water feature, like a waterfall. However, for pond owners to ensure that their water features continue to run properly, they must first take the necessary steps to shut it down properly for the winter season. When shutting down a water feature, pond owners should:

  1. Remove the pump.
  2. Store the pump in a bucket of water
  3. Blow out the pipe and cap each end using a cleanout plug.

By following this shutdown process, pond owners can prevent pipes from bursting if the remaining water inside the pipes freezes.

MISTAKE #7: FEEDING FISH

Growing up, if your first pet was a fish, you were probably reminded to feed it over and over again. While it may seem counterintuitive to avoid feeding your fish, it is important to keep in mind that pond fish will naturally slow down their systems when the temperatures begin to drop. When this happens, fish are unable to digest food properly. While it may be tempting to feed fish during these cold months, giving them food can be harmful, it could even kill them.

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Guide To Winter Pond Keeping

Just because the chilly weather is here (depending on where you live) does not mean that you have to close your pond or water garden. In fact, there are a handful of benefits to keeping your pond running during the winter months, like the formation of gorgeous ice sculptures that collect on a waterfall or stream, turning your backyard into a winter wonderland. Although ponds and  water gardens can be breathtaking in the winter it is possible that the buildup of ice can act as dams, diverting water out of the pond. And, if you live in the North and Midwest regions, you have to be cautious of ice buildup as it is much more common in these areas.  

It is best practice to check on the water features and the water level of a pond or water garden during the winter. If ice starts to build up and you notice the water level decreasing, it may be time to turn off the pump until the spring. However, if you decide that you want to experience the beauty of winter ponds, and don’t mind the extra care and maintenance, your biggest concern is ensuring that there is enough water for the pumps to operate.

Keeping your pond or water garden running during the winter is possible, but it does have its challenges. If you’re a pond owner who is considering keeping your pond open throughout the winter, we put together a brief guide that will answer common questions when it comes to ponds, water gardens and the cold winter months.


Can Ponds Even Run Through The Winter?

This is a question we are often asked and there are two answers, yes and no. During the winter season, the usual water supply options are not available due to inefficiency. Automatic water fill valves and outdoor water spigots should be turned off. Leaving them run throughout the course of the winter season will increase the risk of the pipes  freezing and cracking. Without the use of these valves and spigots, water garden and pond owners who choose to keep their pond running will have to find an alternate source of water to help replenish their pond. Using a hose is a quick and simple way to supply water to your pond. That said, it is normal for pond owners to periodically add water to their pond during the winter season.


Will Waterfalls And Other Water Features Freeze?

The size of the pump plays a pretty important role in a water features ability to operate effectively during the colder months. For example, if your water garden or pond has a pump that kicks out at least 2,000 GPH it can easily be used throughout the winter as long as it is continuously running. Because the pump is continuously moving water, it will help keep a hole in the ice that is near water features and in front of the circulation system.

However, if you live in a climate that has repeated freezing temperatures it could lead to excessive ice build up. Having too much ice can cause the entire water feature to operate improperly. If you notice that the flow of water into the circulation system is inefficient at keeping up with the pump due to ice, it may be time to shut the system down. Once the ice breaks down and melts, restoring the normal water flow, the system can be turned back on.


Will Pipes and Filters Crack During The Winter?

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to keeping a pond open during the winter is if the cold will cause the pipes and filters to crack. Most open type pond filters are made out of polyethylene and are constructed to bend and bow along with the freezing and thawing that winter brings.  Pressure filters should be winterized and drained if full freezing takes place in your area.  The pipes also will not crack if you choose to keep the pump running throughout the winter as there will still be a flow of water moving through the pipe. And, moving water does not freeze. Pipes will only crack in the winter if stationary water is left in the pipe and allowed to freeze. 


Most ponds and water garden owners choose to shut down their system in the bitter winter months to avoid the maintenance and care it requires. However, keeping them open in the winter brings worthy aesthetics to your yard. We encourage pond owners not be afraid to keep their system running as long as possible, getting the most out of them!

When you need supplies to keep your pond running during the chilly winter months, from aeration kits to pond solutions and treatments, be sure to shop the wide selection of pond and water garden supplies at Castle Aquatics! Our professionals can answer your questions about pond care and maintenance, and are ready to help you find the products your pond needs to stay healthy and running properly. For more information, contact Castle Aquatics or find the nearest dealer.

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A Guide To Fall Pond Care

With fall right around the corner, it won’t be long before the season changes, bringing beautiful colors throughout nature, cool temperatures, football, apple orchards, and more! For a lot of us, fall is our favorite time of the year, but for pond owners, the cooler temperatures and constantly falling leaves can make fall a stressful time. Fall is a time that should be enjoyed by everyone, and if you own a pond, your fall can be stress-free by taking the following proper fall pond maintenance and a few precautions.

THE IMPORTANCE OF FALL POND MAINTENANCE

When fall officially arrives, most pond owners will likely find that leaves and debris will fall into a pond, potentially clogging the pump and causing build-up. Fall is a time when leaves are constantly falling and pond temperatures drop so the proper maintenance is crucial to your water garden. Plus, winter is right around the corner, which makes maintenance even more important to your pond’s health.

ELIMINATING LEAVES AND DEBRIS

Some pond owners don’t have to worry about getting leaves in their water garden, but for those who live in a colder region, or have a pond located under or around multiple trees, it can be more of a challenge. Some may think that having a skimmer filter will be able to handle the cleaning, but there will be times when your filter will not be able to catch all the leaves and debris before they reach the bottom of the pond and begin to decompose. The best way to keep debris from reaching your ponds bottom in the fall is to use a pond net to remove it. Keeping debris and leaves out of your pond will not only keep your pond healthy going into winter but will also make your pond maintenance in the spring much easier. Allowing leaves and other debris to reach the bottom of the pond will cause them to decompose and rot, which can produce gases that could potentially be harmful to you fish and plants.

Castle Aquatics TipOnce your pond or water garden is free of leaves and debris, consider using a pond cover net over your pond to catch the leaves and debris throughout the season.

It doesn’t matter if your pond isn’t in an area with a lot of trees, the fall is still a time where pond owners should keep on eye on the debris level of their pond. To stay healthy, ponds require significantly more maintenance in the fall than they do in the summer. As winter gets closer, the fall may be a great opportunity to take care of the plants in your pond as well.

POND PLANT CARE

With winter coming up, the fall is a great time to tend to any plants. Frost can end up killing plants, causing them to decay in your pond and feed algae. Pond owners should divide and repot plants that can be saved, and tropical plants, such as water lilies, can be brought inside and cared for, while hardy plants can be cut down and trimmed when they begin to brown.

FISH CARE

When the weather starts to cool down and pond temperatures begin to drop, pond fish, including koi, will begin to hibernate. It is important for pond or water garden owners to check their feedings. When temperatures are between 50-60 degrees, feeding should be reduced to once every one to two days. When the temperature drops below 50 degrees, it’s best to cut off feeding completely. When pond fish are going into hibernation, their digestive systems slow down, and feeding them could lead to health problems or even death. It may be beneficial to measure the temperature of your pond using a thermometer, so you can ensure you’re giving your fish the proper amount of food. If you’re unsure how much to feed your fish in the fall, it’s best to ask for a professional’s help.

GENERAL FALL POND CARE

As pond experts, a common question we are asked is which products should be added to a pond so that it will be healthy going into the winter. While there are many maintenance products and treatments you can add, we recommend using the following treatments to your pond:

  • Bacti-Pak The Bacti-Pak is formulated to reduce and eliminate organic and decomposing debris in the pond.  The combination of natural bacteria act as cleaners, help maintain a strong balance and reduce undesired gases in your pond while providing clear, clean, and healthy water conditions
  • NatureMax – Adding NatureMax to your pond or water garden will remove ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, dead leaves, and other organic debris, keeping your water clean and healthy.

Fall is a crucial time to maintain your pond with the amount of falling leaves and other debris, in addition to the cooler temperatures. When you’re countenancing your pond or water garden and are in need of pond care products, look no further than PondMAX! Whether you need pond treatments or accessories, with PondMAX’s huge selection of products, you’ll be sure to find exactly what you are looking for!

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A Guide To Ideal Seasonal Pond Temperatures

One common goal that many pond owners have is maintaining a healthy and beautiful pond all year-round. One of the main tricks to keep your pond looking great through the summer, fall, winter, and spring, is to maintain ideal seasonal temperatures. For most pond life, but especially fish, maintaining the right temperatures each season plays a huge role in their survival. Throughout each season, it is essential for pond owners to keep an eye on the temperature of the water. Compared to the air, water temperature takes a long time to heat up or cool down, so having a thermometer is vital to figure out the correct temperature for the health and safety of your pond.

In addition, the deepness or shallowness of your pond or water garden will play a role in the water temperature. When a pond is deeper, light is decreased significantly. That being said, when a pond is shallower, light from the sun is able to heat the water faster.  It is for this reason that when the air is cold, the lower layers of water may still have warmth — all of which is essential to the survival of pond life during the various seasons.

Maintaining ideal seasonal temperatures can be a challenge for some pond and water garden orders. To help, we put together a seasonal guide for ideal water temperature for your pond or water garden.

Winter

Since we are currently in the winter season, we are going to start here! It is recommended that pond owners try to maintain a 40-degree water temperature in their ponds and water gardens in the winter season. Of course, depending on what climate you reside in, this may be more difficult for some owners than others. On the water temperature drops down below 40 degrees, it is important to shut off and running water features, like waterfalls or fountains. You will want to make sure that your pond is deep enough so that when the temperature falls, the fish will be able to go to the deeper, warmer parts of the pond. If you live in a colder climate where water often freezes, consider reading one of our upcoming blogs, ‘ What Should I Do If My Pond Freezes?’.

Spring

After winter, when the temperature starts to increase, your pond will start to warm up.  During this time of year, pond water should be between 55 and 65 degrees, Fahrenheit. Spring is a stressful time for fish as they are coming out of a dormant state. This causes them to have weakened immune systems, but when the water temperature is around 65 degrees, Fahrenheit they will become stronger and cause the fish to be more active and have a better chance of survival.

Summer

The ideal temperature for pond water in the fall is around 68 to 74 degrees, Fahrenheit. When the water is around 85 degrees, Fahrenheit and above, the pond water loses most of its ability to contain dissolved oxygen. In addition, high temperatures can cause pond fish to be more active, using up a lot of oxygen. When all the oxygen is used up and no more remains, it can cause the fish to die.

Fall

Across the nation, most pond water temperatures will start falling around September and October. Around this time, the water should be around 70 degrees, Fahrenheit. As the temperatures start to get cooler in the fall, it should be a goal to have your ponds water temperature to drop to around the mid-fifties. Maintaining this temperature through the seasons will allow for pond life to properly adjust to the shifting seasons.

By following these guidelines, pond owners will be able to keep their ponds throughout each season of the year. In addition to maintaining the ideal seasonal water temperatures, part of keeping your pond healthy is having the necessary equipment and pond care products. When you are in need of pond supplies, there is no better place to get pond products online than Castle Aquatics! We carry a wide selection of some of the biggest brand names in pond care products. Whether you are looking for pond filtration products or submersible pumps, pond lighting, or pond UV clarifiers, you will be sure to find it at Castle Aquatics!

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Aeration for Cooler Weather

For many new pond owners, pond aeration sounds too technical, but we are here to make it simple!

So first: What is aeration and what will it benefit your water garden and fish?

We should point out, you don’t “need” to aerate your pond, BUT a well designed and installed aeration system with proper air pumps will greatly enhance the oxygen levels and water circulation in your pond – which helps make sure your pond has less muck and less maintenance, which is a win-win situation.

Pond aeration simply means that you add an air pump to your pond to help oxygen levels in your pond achieve sufficient amounts. A pond air pump such as the PondMAX Complete Air Pump Kit will benefit your pond and aeration system in many different ways, especially for these summer days.

And for winter days, a pond air pump such as the Teton Aeration Kit is a must. This aeration kit provides a stabilizing effect for your pond by allowing oxygen to flow and regulate the pond’s natural behaviors. This kit will move the air stone up to a shallow edge in ponds a foot deep and creates bubbles that will help to keep a small section of ice open in your pond. The circulation and bubbles created by Teton pump and air stone will also help with gas exchange since the majority of your pond may be covered in ice. The amount of oxygen and circulation from this process can really help retain the quality of your pond hence make it prepared for when Spring and Summer comes back around.


Improving the oxygen levels and water movement to your pond is extremely important during hot summer days or if your pond has a large population of fishes.


Let’s dive into the list of benefits for using an aeration system:

  1. Most air pumps and aeration kits come equipped with pond air stones, which creates small bubbles and as those bubbles rise to the surface they create water lift and circulation. This circulation will bring the bottom, low dissolved oxygen water up to the water surface where there is have more oxygen to mix with. This way, you are able to double the oxygen levels of your pond, which in turn helps fish.
  2. Fish require a well-oxygenated environment and with the use of an air pump, you can fix stagnation-related problems like algae bloom, excess debris, surface runoff and noxious gases formation.
  3. If your main pond pump fails, an air pumps will save the day as a emergency backup to keep your fish alive for days and weeks while you work on getting a new pump.
  4. Useful during winter months if you turn off your main waterfall pump due to harsh winter climates, by helping to keep a small section of ice open in your pond which aids in gas exchange between the air and water if the majority of your pond is covered in ice.

Pond Aeration is the Secret to a Healthy Pond Environment


While not all ponds need aeration, having air pumps or aeration kits in the water will greatly benefit the pond environment. Increased water movement and contact with air can help turn a stagnant body of water into a thriving, healthy and well-oxygenated ecosystem.

 

Check out these Aeration Kits to get you started!

PA8

PondMAX Complete Air Pump Kit

PondMax aeration kits offer the perfect solution for a quick fix to your lack of oxygen or need for an ice deterrent. They are well suited to the elements of winter and can reduce the ice build up in ponds in cold areas as well.

Teton Aeration Kits

The Teton Aeration system is a very cost effective way to add oxygen to your pond. The kits come with an air pump, air tubing and air stones.  The air pump supplies air to the air stone below the water surface.

 

In need of some pond supplies? Check our PondMAX and Teton product lines, and when you’re read to order, visit our Dealer Locator to find a store near you: castleaquatics.com/dealer

Want to become an Authorized Dealer with Castle Aquatics? Click here to learn more!

 

 

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Determining The Right Water Treatment Dosage for Your Pond

Longer days and cool summer nights create beautiful moments to enjoy your koi pond or water garden. However, higher water temperatures and more sun exposure welcomes uninvited debris and other challenges that can affect your pond’s water quality.

Treating pond water effectively with the right products is critically important to maintain and balance a healthy aquatic environment. This is where our PondMAX water treatment product range provides the perfect solution. PondMAX water treatment products are designed to reduce excess nutrients, fish waste, eliminate muck and remove debris – PLUS they are fast acting, easy to use, maintenance free, and safe for your fish and pond health.

But, one of the most common questions we receive during these summer days to keep ponds healthy is:

“How much water treatment should I use for my pond?”

Luckily, figuring out the right amount of water treatment doesn’t have to be difficult with our expert team at the ready to help!

We have created a quick and easy PondMAX Water Treatment Dosage Guide to show you the recommended dosage for each product while helping to maintain your pond health and get rid of unwanted debris.

Take the guesswork and time-consuming maintenance tasks out of your pond care by following the dosage table below:

Now, creating a healthy and crystal-clear aquatic environment is as simple as 1-2-3!

Download your copy of the water treatment dosage guide here.

Want to find PondMAX water treatment products for your water garden this summer? Contact your local store to check availability.

Have questions about which water treatment products you should use? We are here to help! Contact us to speak to one of our expert product specialists.

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Helpful Tips For Your Pond Design

One of the most popular backyard trends for homeowners is the addition of a pond or water garden to their property. Ponds are an easy and wonderful way to improve an outdoor living space as they provide a wonderful aesthetic addition to a home, plus they create a relaxing backyard oasis for those who want to get away from the rest of the world.

When homeowners are considering the addition of a pond or water garden to their property, one of the most important parts of the process is to think of a design that is not only appealing but functional as well.

Because designing a pond can be an overwhelming and stressful task, we thought it would be helpful to put together some essential tips for homeowners related to designing the perfect water garden or pond. While we won’t go too in-depth with the specifics of pond design and pond building, we will cover some crucial tips for homeowners to keep in mind as they lay things out and prepare to have a beautiful pond added to their yards.

Tip #1: Determine the budget

Like all home improvement or addition projects, the first thing to do is establish a budget. While homeowners may have varying opinions, we believe that homeowners’ budgets should be high on the list of factors that determine what they want to do and where they want to go with their pond design. Of course, the larger the pond the more money it will likely cost more for materials, landscaping, supplies, and mechanical devices, like pond filters and pumps. In addition, the bigger the pond is, the more pond supplies it will use over the long run.

Once homeowners are set on building a pond or water garden, it is a good idea to plan out a budget and determine what you can and cannot afford. Investing in building a pond and then not be able to support it, or being frugal on supplies and equipment in order to save a few bucks will not end up working well. Remember, ponds cost more than just than the initial cost to get it up and running. Additional money will have to be invested in pond equipment, supplies, and pond landscaping in the long run in order to maintain a healthy pond or water garden environment. Once homeowners have a realistic budget set for the pond they want, they can continue the pond design planning process.

Tip #2: Plan for space

Each homeowner’s yard size, shape, and terrain will often vary from others, which is why it is necessary to do the proper planning in regards to the size and shape of a pond or water garden. As a first step in the planning stage, it is best for homeowners to attempt to fit a pond in an area as accurately as possible. Building a large pond in a small area can cause a space to cramped and crowded while a small pond in a large yard can seem unusual and insignificant. It is best for homeowners to find a balance between yard and pond size, while maintaining a respect for their set budget, desires, and goals.

The choice of pond liner material will also have an impact of a ponds size and shape, as a preformed liner is set in terms of the layout it provides, while an EPDM pond liner has the flexibility to create a pond or water garden of just about any size and shape. In terms of gallon capacity perform liners are smaller, however, this doesn’t make them a bad choice for homeowners. In fact, for those who have a smaller yard or area when they are planning to have a pond built, a preformed liner will generally be the easiest and convenient option. And, for those who have the yard space and ambition, a larger pond will have fewer limitations than a smaller, or preformed pond. In the end, though, homeowners should strive to build a pond or water garden that fits well in their desired space.

Tip #3: Buy quality pond products and materials

As mentioned above, in order for a pond to operate properly and effectively, certain equipment, products, and materials are needed. Pond pumps and filters are the two most common pieces of pond equipment that work to help keep a pond clean, balance, and healthy and the quality of each piece can influence the way it performs. When building a pond, it is important to do some research and shop around for these items for a pond as prices can vary just as much as the level of quality. However, what’s most important for homeowners when shopping for quality pond equipment and products is to ensure the pond equipment they purchase or have installed is more than capable for the needs of their pond. Consider the following issues.

A common problem that many pond owners encounter is the growth of algae. When the weather warms up, algae may begin to bloom and grow wildly. Algae growth is caused by the presence of certain nutrients. These nutrients can come partly from fish waste, which is usually eliminated by a ponds biofilter. Using a filter that is cheap, undersized, or too small for the amount of water in a pond, or if the amount of fish in a pond grows beyond its capacity, certain elements will be left in the water that can cause algae problems or spiked ammonia levels which can be harmful to pond inhabitants. Using an undersized pond pump may cause future problems because they need to drive water through the filter and entire system to sufficiently circulate an adequate amount of water in a set amount of time. If the water happens to circulate through the system slowly, certain parts of the process will be unable to keep up, potentially causing the water quality to go down. Like other components of a pond or water garden, larger pond filters and pumps will likely cost more money, but purchasing a pump or filter that doesn’t meet requirements just to save some cash is not a good idea and will likely cost more money in the long run. It is best to overestimate the demand and size of these pond items accordingly.

Castle Aquatics Tip: When purchasing quality pond products, be sure to include the amount of fish that are estimated to be added later on, which can increase the demand for specific pond equipment, like filters and pumps.

Tip #4: Layout the pond formation

Once homeowners have finished some of the initial steps of planning a pond design, they can begin to layout the formation of the pond or water garden. First, to begin the layout they can use an unused garden hose or long rope and move it around until the shape of their ideal pond is defined. Homeowners can utilize this method as many times as needed in order to get the size and shape that they desire, plus it will help with the visualization of a pond. The layout of a pond can be changed as many times as needed until the digging begins, so it is essential for homeowners to choose a layout they will enjoy. Once homeowners decide on a shape they like, and one that fits into their yard space well, they mark the edges of the layout with spray paint. This will create the perfect stencil to use for digging out the area of the pond. This can be a fun do-it-yourself project for people, or the job can be delegated to a landscaping company or pond builder to help bring their pond project closer to completion.

By following these tips, choosing the right pond design will likely be less overwhelming for homeowners, making the process of adding a pond or water garden to their property much more simplified. Once a design is chosen and the pond installation process has begun, the proper equipment, materials, and products will need to be purchased to ensure that the pond is healthy. For quality pond equipment, materials, and pond care products, there’s not a better spot to shop for pond owners other than Castle Aquatics. Whether you need pond maintenance equipment, pond pumps, or UV pond lights, Castle Aquatics is sure to have the pond products you are looking for. Our certified dealers carry the best pond products, like the PondMAX filters. If you are installing a pond in your yard, get the essential pond products you need, shop at Castle Aquatics today!

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Preparing Your Pond For Cooler Weather, Part 4

You should start preparing for the cooler weather before it comes, therefore cleaning and maintenance is needed year round for the most part. Although it is most needed in preparation and throughout the cooler weather season, vacuuming your pond is a necessity for you to keep your pond in its best shape, and for the health of your koi.

Many overlook what’s on the bottom of their pond, and the buildup of muck can become detrimental to the quality of the water. It’s important to start cleaning before the pond reaches 50F because the fish will still be active and constantly moving during the warmer weather.  This makes them less likely to be affected negatively by the cleaning procedures, and lessens the chance of harmful toxins, fungi and parasites.

A Pond Vacuum is a maintenance device that has minimum disturbance and can suck up debris from the hard to reach areas of your pond. Just like a regular vacuum for your household, pond vacuums are simple and hassle-free to use, making your pond maintenance routine easier than ever before.

Why vacuuming is neccessary

  1. Leaves and debris land on the pond surface all year and sink to the bottom, which will create an increase of ammonia through the winter months. – The rotting leaves, tree branches, dead aquatic plants that fall into your pond through time ruins the oxygen levels of the pond, which can harm your fishes’ health. Using a pond vacuum can help you get to hard to reach areas to suck up debris and keep your water clear and in its best shape.
  2. Algae dying from cooler water temperatures sinks to the bottom. – The aquatic life also contributes to the debris that can build up at the bottom of the pond, which can cause ammonia for your fish from its alteration of oxygen levels. It is best to remove them from the bottom of the pond to prevent it in the best way you can.
  3. Excess fish food and fish waste sink to the bottom of the pond. – When feeding your fish, their diets can change throughout the cooler weather, and feeding the perfect amount every time is not guaranteed. The fish food and their waste can contribute to the debris as well.

TYPES OF POND VACUUMS

AUTOMATIC – The PV450L by PondMAX is an electric pond vacuum designed to provide high suction and a large capacity waste tank. When in auto mode the PV450L will suck until the tank is full and then automatically go into standby while it drains the waste tank for 30 seconds. Then it returns to suction mode and makes cleaning out the debris in the bottom of your pond or fountain a breeze.

MANUAL – The ProSucker from PondMax is also a great manual option. It makes it very easy to clear out the light muck that build up in a smooth bottom water feature. The ProSucker uses the pressure from your garden hose to create a vacuum and pull out the waste.

Consider these options from PondMAX and contact your local store to check availability.

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Preparing Your Pond for Cooler Weather, Part 3

When preparing for the cold weather, pond maintenance and koi care are equally important so that your fish will last through the colder months.

Koi and pond fish are cold-blooded animals, which means their bodies respond to how warm or cold they are according to their surroundings. Cold weather could cause loss in appetite and digestion problems.

When water temperature reaches lower at 60°F, it’s best to change their diet to a wheat germ base that has low protein, making it easier for your fish to digest. When water temperature drops to 55°F, the metabolism of your fish will begin to slow down and you should reduce the amount you feed them.

Benefits of Cold Weather Fish Food

  • Highly Digestible

The cold weather weakens their digestive systems, and having easy to digest foods will help them be able to consume the appropriate amounts.

  • Low In Protein

Proteins are harder to digest than other nutrients, and during this time of year your Koi and Goldfish need low protein diets to help the digestion process.

  • Vegetable Based

Low protein and wheatgerm foods are most ideal for feeding in cooler temperatures, and help keep the ammonia to a minimum.

Consider these Cold Weather/Wheat Germ Fish Food for fall and contact your local store to check availability.

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