The quiet winter season in the pond when the fish are dormant and plants die back is drawing to a close as the low temperatures of the winter subside and a new pond season begins.

Now is a good time to check on the health of your fish, as they ease out of their winter hibernation and treat any sores or fungal disease.
Fortunately populations of parasites (lice, leeches, etc. ) are low during the winter but some do hibernate also on any suitable host, ready to plague the pond once more in the summer. Look out for any of these and remove them as fish weakened by their enforced hibernation fast have few inner resources to share with a parasite.

Once water temperatures reach 6o- 8oC (43o- 46oF) fish can be fed sparingly with a good quality food. It is really important to choose a really nutritious, easily digested, balanced food formulae for these early feeds. Hagen's Laguna Pond Fish Food offers just that and also contains vital multi-vitamins including a stabilised form of vitamin C. When temperatures increase to 10oC (50oF) a full feeding routine can then be continued using the same excellent food formulae.

Water quality can also be variable at this time of the year and it may be necessary to undertake a partial water change. Test the water parameters using pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate tests to evaluate water condition and change up to 25% of the water in the pond if necessary. Use a water conditioner such as Laguna Water Prep to condition the tap water used.

Spring also heralds lots of new lines from pond equipment manufacturers and the Hagen Laguna range is no exception.
I was pleased to see that Laguna have done something to tackle the problem of the constant, regular maintenance that is required because of the universal problem that foam type strainers on pond pumps become easily clogged.
Some manufacturers offer pumps that pass solids, the intention being to prevent the need for this intensive type of maintenance. Unfortunately these kinds of design are not suitable if the pump powers a fountain or has a UV steriliser in line as they can clog very easily with solids passed by the pump.
Pumps that pass solids can also be bad news for many types of pond filter as the intensive maintenance required for the foam type strainer is just passed on to the mechanical filter media in the filter which then clogs much faster using pumps of this kind.

The Laguna answer to the problem has been to replace the foam style strainer on their range of pumps with a specially redesigned strainer housing which ensures that all water passes through anew type of filter media called a 'Powerscreen'.

This effectively traps large particles of debris providing protection without clogging. The Powerscreen will be fitted, as standard, on all Laguna Powerjet pond pumps from model 1000 upwards.

Talking pumps reminds me that Hagen have introduced a new super powerful Powerjet, 10,000 Water Gardening Pump which is excellent news for water gardeners with ambitions to install streams, rills or more ambitious large pond projects that would require 10,000 lph (2200 gph). The Powerjet 10,000 comes complete with Powerflo Mechanical Underwater Filter.

At the other end of the scale there is a new submersible Powerflo filter expressly designed for tiny ponds, round containers or even water barrels. The Powerflo-Round Underwater Mechanical/Biological Filter is really imaginatively designed, its 46cm (18") diameter 11.5cm ( 4 1/2") high dimensions fits into the smallest space. Easy connection to Powerjet 250 1500 pond pumps makes this a very useful and versatile filter for small areas.

The Powerflo- Round also makes a stable surface to attach PowerGlo Pond Lights and the filter is designed to accommodate these.
Laguna PowerGlo lights really add atmosphere to any night time setting and new features for 2003 include 11 settings to automatically turn lights on and off dusk to dawn allowing lighting to be controlled 1 to 9 hours after dark.

The improvements I have mentioned to Laguna products are by no means all of the changes to the range and I could go on and on. I would, though, like to mention the new product Pond Test Strips that have been added to the Laguna Water Test Kit range. You can find out all you need to know about pond water conditions in respect of pH, Nitrite and Nitrate and Alkalinity and Hardness almost instantly with these sampling test strips and there are backup products like pH adjusters to help in rectifying any negative results.

Re-published from the FBAS Bulletin by kind permission of the author

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Last updated March 2005

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