Hot, dry weather... what should we do?

A frog chills out in a puddle on a lily pad.

When the weather turns hot and dry, it's understandable that we would think mostly about our landscape plantings and maybe our lawn. But we should be thinking about our water features as well. Our water features need rain... not just to keep the water level up, but to flush out the toxins that build up. And heat isn't great either. Shallow ponds can get really, really warm in extreme heat. So warm in fact, that fish can be harmed. Even deep ponds in prolonged, extreme heat can get too warm if there's not enough shade. 

Let's go through some tips to keep our water features and the critters in then safe.

Shade, cool water, and aeration are the key in the heat.

Shade can be accomplished in many ways. Remember that fish can get sunburned too!
  • Plants on the surface of the water -- lily pads, water lettuce or water hyacinth.
  • Trees, shrubs or plants around the pond that provide shade on the pond.
  • How about a patio umbrella close to the pond. Don't cover the pond with anything -- there needs to be a lot of air circulation over the water.
  • For a quick fix, try a fish cave. We have fish caves in all our ponds and the fish love them in the winter and summer. These are so great and quick to make an impact.
  • Another quick idea is a floating plant island. Fish will be immediately drawn to the coolness underneath it as it floats in the pond.
See the photos above for the floating plant island and fish cave.

Cool it off
Put a little cool water in the pond each day. If you're filling no more than 10-15% you don't need to worry about the chlorine content of the water harming your fish. SET A TIMER WHILE THE HOSE IS RUNNING. We can't stress this enough. Have some dechlorinator available just in case. You don't want to add more than 10-15% -- too quick of a temperature change will stress the fish.

Aeration is extremely important. Warm water doesn't hold oxygen very well. Plus at night, aquatic plants which are thriving now, pull oxygen from the water. So have a supplemental aerator in your pond and make sure it is functioning at capacity. Even if you have a waterfall, we recommend an aerator as well.

Keep your water at the appropriate level and keep it circulating. You want as much water volume as possible, so keep the water topped off. Keep your pump running 24 hours a day. It might seem like you're adding more water when it's super hot -- you probably are. 

Don't use any product that kills algae. 
This is a good rule no matter what the temperature. When algaecides work, the decomposing algae pulls oxygen from the water. Our algae treatment Remove Away starves algae. It dies slowly, over time so the water stays healthy and there is no oxygen deprivation. 

Use these tips above to get through a heat wave. Your aquatic friends will thank you!


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