By Joe Schneider (Owner of Sea 7) and Mike Gallagher (Durvet Aquatic Management Specialist)
Owning or managing a pond or lake can be really fun or really frustrating.
Most private pond and lake owners’ experiences probably fall somewhere in between. There can be problems associated with every aspect of a pond, even deciding what to call it…is it a “pond” or a “lake”?
Let’s clarify this first. There is no absolute definition between the two. The one used most often is the “5-acre rule”: Ponds are less than 5 acres while lakes are more than 5 acres. Since most ponds across the country are less than an acre, we will use the term “pond” for the sake of this blog post.
While ALL ponds are NOT created equal, there are some very common issues that can affect them.
The majority of pond owners use their ponds for recreation/aesthetic value so keeping them clean and free of vegetation overgrowth is paramount.
Aquatic Vegetation Management
Owners should tolerate some plants in the pond. Plants provide cover for fish, add oxygen to the water and attract waterfowl. Control is suggested when plants cover more than 15-20 percent of a pond.
Excessive plants can protect too many bluegill from bass predation, make fishing difficult and cause oxygen loss as the dead plants decay. Excessive shallow areas contribute to plant growth – your pond may need to be deepened or treated for depth issues.
There are four basic types of aquatic plants that require different chemical treatment and control. You’ll find these controls at Durvet farm supply stores, large nurseries or chemical suppliers.
Treat about 1/3 of the pond at a time and avoid excessive treatments during the heat of the summer. Always make sure you know the kind of plant you are treating before applying any chemicals.
- Filamentous, Microscopic and Chara Algae (“aka, Horse hair, pond scum etc.”): Green cotton-like or hair-like floating mats, pea soup and muskgrass that begin growth on the bottom.Treat with one of the following: AquaVet Liquid Algae Control w/ Stabitrol technology (30 day extended control) or AquaVet Copper Sulfate. There are no restrictions on water use with these chemicals. Triploid grass carp, stocked at a rate of six to eight fish an acre, can be helpful.
- Submerged (“seaweed” or “grass”): Visible growths underwater with stems, leaves and usually roots. These can be pondweeds, naiads or “coontail.” Some possible chemicals to use are AquaVet Submerged Weed products available in concentrated Diquat qts and gallons.Other chemicals available include Aquathol, 2, 4-D, Clipper, Sonar, Avast, etc. Triploid grass carp can be effective on pondweeds. Stock fish at three to six an acre for gradual control or eight to 12 fish an acre for quicker control.
- Emerged (rooted under water but with stems and leaves out of the water): These are cattails, creeping water primrose, lilies, lotus, floating leaf pondweed, arrowhead and rushes. AquaVet Shoreline weed control offers 53.8% Glyphosate to control these plants. A surfactant may also be needed. AquaVet Surf is available as well. Triploid grass carp are not a good control for these.
- Floating (plants float freely on the pond surface): Examples are duckweed and watermeal. These plants are very small, bright green and move from one end of the pond to the other on windy days. They are often confused with algae. These are the hardest and most expensive to control. Suggested chemicals are Submerged Weed Control (Diquat) Clipper, Sonar and Avast!. Triploid grass carp are not a good control for these.
Pond Management Tips:
- Drought conditions cause aquatic vegetation problems to be at their worst. Normal rainfall can reduce problems. Most chemicals can’t be applied until the water temperature is 60 degrees. These chemicals will not hurt your fish, but fish loss may occur because of oxygen loss if you kill too many plants at one time. Check labels on all chemicals for restrictions.
- Regular Maintenance is key: see Ponddaddy software for dosages and recommended intervals.
- If appearance is more important than fish production, commercial dyes for water plant control, such as AquaVet Blue or Black Pond Dyes, may be used if plants are in depths greater than 2 feet.
- Shallow water issues and muck accumulation can be mitigated with Aquavet Pond Dyes (see above) and Aquavet Biological Pond Cleaners. They are available in highly concentrated liquids and convenient toss packs.They are a safe way to shield the pond and remove waste buildup that can perpetuate pond issues. Many ponds can fill in with heavy muck very quickly. This can be problematic for ponds. The heavy nutrient loads can cause algae and weed growth and over time will take over pond surface area.
- These products are very safe and well tolerated with unique technologies making them a great choice for owners with animals.
Ponddaddy gives everyone at the store a new confidence that the pond owner can count on. Measuring a pond with accuracy is most important. Then, having a number of prescriptions available for that pond and a recorded script is key to long-term care of pond and customer satisfaction. It’s the difference between guessing and knowing. Pond dealers also find it very helpful that a team of knowledgeable staff are available to answer questions.
Karen Brewer (employee of Buchheits) is a believer in AquaVet and The Ponddaddy system. She experienced first hand how a well-coordinated prescription can fill the gap between pond owners and the professional results they desire:
“The folks at Sea 7 Technologies understand the dilemma pond owners face in trying to wrestle with algae and weed growth. They also understand the difficulty for store owners and their staff in trying to sort out the many issues pond owners face.“