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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why buy from Pond Hobby?

Pond Hobby have been trading successfully since 1999 and our aim has always been to provide a first class service to all customers, giving the knowledge needed to maintain and enjoy their fish keeping and water gardening hobby.
Having achieved success within our retail centre we have now decided to offer the same service nationwide with our on-line store, we want this to be a reflection of the service that you would receive if you visited us in person.
Our Offer
We aim to provide a wide range of aquatic products delivered to your door safely and securely – we trade only with the leading manufacturers and sell only the products that we can trust and are totally reliable.
We will provide as much information as possible on products, enabling you to make the correct choice for your needs.
Our staffs are always at the end of the phone to give any further advice.
We will constantly strive to offer the latest deals available from our suppliers and keep our site updated with new and exciting products as they become available. Should you be unable to find what you are looking for please contact us and we will do our very best to obtain the item for you.
Our aim is to keep 100% of the products available in stock ready to be despatched as soon as possible, should we be unable to fulfil an order we will keep you updated as to how quickly we will be able to deliver.
Our Promise
Our promise to you is simple:
•    We will process and despatch your order as soon as we can.
•    We will be at the end of the phone to provide any further advice you may need and to resolve any issues you may have.
•    Our prices and offers will be the best we can provide.
•    
Online Payments
Online payments are processed by paypal (www.paypal.com). Pond Hobby do not record or store any credit or debit card details.

2. I have a lot of algae along the edges of my pond. What can I do to get rid of it?

If your pond is shallow around the edges you may end up having an ongoing problem. Try to increase the water circulation to those areas. You may need to clean the edges with a soft brush in order to move the algae into the rest of the water and be sucked up by your pump and sent to the filter. A certain amount of algae is expected, it just depends on your personal taste as far as how much is "too much". It won't hurt the fish but will just be unsightly. Once again, add some Waterlife 'Algizin G' or 'Blanket Answer ' and it should help reduce the algae you may have besides it's many other benefits.
click here
for water treatments

3. Do I need to have my pumps running all the time?

Pumps give your pond water circulation.  If they are the right size for your pond and are properly placed, they eliminate stagnant water and provide oxygen to your pond.   If they are connected or pumped to a filter, you reduce the effectiveness of the filter if your pump is not on and may end up having unsightly water and elevated levels of ammonia providing you have fish.  If you have multiple pumps, you most likely may not need to have all of them running as long as you have at least 1/2 the total gallons of your pond pumped every hour (there is a different formula for very large ponds - contact us and we will assist you in calculating proper aeration for your pond) for good water circulation.   So, as long as you have good circulation and enough oxygen in your pond, you don't necessarily need to have all of your pumps running all of the time.

4. Why do I need a filter?

There are 2 types of filters, biological filter and a mechanical filter with most filters actually being 2-in-1. Mechanical filters filter out debris and algae from your pond. Biological filters help break down pollutants and toxic ammonia from fish wastes and turns it into useful nitrates (see the nitrogen cycle). If you want a clear pond that isn't murky and full of debris, you should use a mechanical filter. If you have fish, frogs, etc. you will additionally want to have a biological filter. If you don't have a biological filter your precious fish that you expected to live and enjoy will most likely die from toxic ammonia. These are some reasons why you should have a filter and what benefits each of them bring to your pond.

5. What is a biological filter?

A biological filter is a filter or a living environment where beneficial bacteria live. This can be a filter, lava rocks or other fish safe media. The purpose for a biological filter is to provide an oxygenated environment where beneficial bacteria can live and thrive. These bacteria are responsible for breaking down and converting toxic ammonia from fish wastes into nitrites and then into harmless nitrates. The beneficial bacteria are essential to any pond. You can add live beneficial bacteria (Bacterlife P) in a liquid form to your pond to "jump start" the biological filtration system so your pond is equipped to handle fish. An important note to consider regarding biological filters is that chlorine kills the beneficial bacteria living there. So, if you have to add tap water to your pond, it is best to de-chlorinate the water first before adding it to the pond. You do this by simply adding (Waterlife 'Poolshield') or  letting the water sit for about 3 days. (Other ideas are to spray the water up in the air from the garden hose and let it spray down into the pond. This helps to evaporate the chlorine in the water before the water hits the pond. Another idea is to run the tap water through some Super Activated Filter Carbon which will help to dechlorinate the water before it enters the pond. You can cut out a hole in a bucket and put the Super Activated Filter Carbon in a media filter bag and tie the end so the Super Activated Filter Carbon doesn't float out into your pond. Next, put the garden hose into the bucket and the water will pass through the bucket and exit out the bottom and into your pond. Make sure that the flow of water going into the bucket doesn't exceed the flow exiting.

6. How do I plant my aquatic plants in my pond?

Bog and marginal plants are planted in soil in special pots and placed on "ledges" or areas within your pond's water.  Bog plants are placed in areas where there is approx. 4-6" of water.  Marginal plants are also planted in pots with special soil and are placed in the pond at depths of 18-24".  We carry Aquatic Plant Soil specially designed for planting aquatic plants in water gardens as well as different size of pots you need.  After you plant your plant in the pot, I recommend putting some gravel or cobblestones over the top so it helps keep the soil from going into the pond.   Floating plants on the other hand, like water hyacinths and water lettuce, are actual floating plants just like what is indicated in their name and they float around in your pond with their roots growing or "floating" in the surface of the water.   They don't require any pots and are just "thrown" into your pond.

7. Do I need to use special soil or pots when I plant my water plants?

Yes you do! You cannot use typical garden soil as it will cloud your pond water and if there are any chemicals or fertilizers in your soil, you will be adding them to your pond. Special pots may not be totally necessary but pots that are designed for ponds and water gardens have "slotted" sides that allow for water passing through. If water did not pass through it could create an anaerobic (without oxygen) environment and spur the growth of bad bacteria, which you definitely don't want. You can find our water garden potting soil and pots by clicking here.

8. My koi fish keep digging up my water lilies. What can I do to protect my plants?

Koi are pretty notorious for digging up water lilies and other plants. It can be a never ending battle depending on how aggressive your koi are.  .Alternatively you can place round cobble stone's 25-30mm in diameter in the basket around the base of plant. This is usually sufficient to resolve the problem.

9. My fish always seem to be up at the top of the water. Are they just hungry or is something wrong

Depending on the type of fish you have, your fish may be in need of oxygen.  If you see them gasping at the top, they are in dire need of oxygen and you need to get some to them immediately or they will not survive.  If they just casually swim about the surface of the water, they may be looking for food so offer them some food and see what they do.  If they don't eat it, they're not hungry.     You just don't want them gasping for air and if they are, you have to act quickly in order to save them. Install an air pump or divert water to a waterfall , any arrangement that agitates the water will provide oxygen . Oxygen depletion may be caused by many factors , one of the most important water parameters to check regularly is ammonia , this is excreted by koi and directly inhibits their ability to absorb oxygen from the water .Prolonged exposure to high ammonia or nitrite levels are very harmful to your fish and if left untreated your fish will become ill and most likely die.......click here  for ammonia treatments

10. How often should I feed my fish?

This is a pretty broad question since I don't know the type of fish you have nor the size of pond.  A rule of thumb is to feed a koi fish that is about 15 cm long about  6-10  pellets in the morning and night.  If you have a large pond that offers other things for your fish to "nibble" on, you may never have to feed your fish.   A very important note about feeding fish is not to overfeed them.  When you do feed them, your fish should come to the surface of the water and gobble up the food within a minute or so.   If it's left there for several minutes or longer, your fish are not hungry.   It is better to have slightly hungry fish than to have fish that are full all the time.  It's kind of like being a "couch potato" ( I have to add a little humor to these faq's! :o)) and munching all day long versus a person who is active, gets some exercise and eats moderately.  Who do you think is the healthiest?  Besides the health of the fish, by overfeeding them you naturally increase the amount of wastes they excrete and it puts more demand on your biological filter to break down  the toxic ammonia from these wastes into harmless nitrates. Your water can stay cloudy too, and you'll wonder why.  If you're feeding them too much, your filter may not be able to compensate and essentially your ammonia levels will go up and your fish may die not to mention the additional phosphates which will increase Blanket weed growth.  You may just have continuously green water too, as the nutrients from the fish wastes are providing nutrition to the algae.  So either way, don't overfeed your fish and test your pond water approx. once a week to check it's ammonia and other chemicals.

11. What should I feed my fish?

We carry Spring and Autumn Fish Food that is good for about any kind of fish you may have in your pond as well as Koi food, Koi Sticks, etc.   A rule of thumb is to sometimes offer a variety so the fish have a good chance of having all the right nutrients to be healthy.  Besides, it gives them something different for a change instead of having the same thing all the time.  You can also put a little lettuce out in the water and they'll like munching on it..  Again, don't over feed them.  To check out our fish foods, click here.

12. My water lilies and other plants don't seem to be growing much and never bloom. What's wrong

There are a couple things that come to mind as far as why your plants aren't thriving.  Either they don't have enough sunlight (they usually need at least 4-6 hours of sunlight/day) or they are in need of fertilizers.  We carry plant fertilizers that can be used continually (some plants require fertilizers every 3-4 weeks especially during the hot summer)  and are specially designed to be in ponds and water gardens without harming fish or other wildlife including your dog or cat who just may come and get a sip of water. These fertilizers come in tablet form and are pushed down into the aquatic plant's soil about 1" deep and covered back up with soil.  Small pots take about 2 tablets while large pots can use 3-5 tablets every few weeks.  We offer different quantities of these fertilizers. 

13. Do I really need to use a net over my pond?

No, you don't but I will tell you reasons why people do use a net.  Nets keep out the herons, kingfishers,  and other birds who love to eat fish as well as your neighbours cats, etc.  If you don't have fish, then I wouldn't worry about getting a net but know that you're going to be skimming out debris that may fly into your pond.  It's really nice to have a net covering your pond in the Autumn especially if you have leaves falling off the trees and blowing into your pond.  Either way, it's up to you if you want a net but it is not something you absolutely have to have.
If you do not like the look of a net then you have a new option called 'NetFloat' which will protect your fish from predators without disrupting  the visual appearance of your pond .

14. I live where it gets freezing temperature in the winter. Do I need to empty my pond or leave

This answer really is a matter of personal preference.  If you have a small pond and don't have any fish in it, then yes, you can empty it or leave the water in it as you had.  If there is no reason to have pumps running, etc. I would remove the pumps, statues, etc. and just leave the water in it.  You will probably want to clean it and add fresh water to it in the Spring so it doesn't matter what you do with it now.  If, however you have fish in it, your pond should be at least 45cm deep(for goldfish and 100cm deep for Koi)and have an aerator and pond de-icer for the fish to stay outside during the winter.  (We have complete information about over-wintering your pond.) An important note to consider about keeping fish outside during the winter is the size of the fish and if they are native to cold temperatures.  If you have small koi - approx. 10cm long and not much fat on them, they just may not make it outside for the winter and you take a chance of losing them.  Fish need a certain amount of fat on them to insulate them from the cold temperature and a koi fish that small may not have enough fat.  Gold fish variants  on the other hand,  can withstand the cold temperature because they are native to cold temperatures and they can have plenty of fat on them at even 2" long!      We have been asked many times about the possibility of keeping fish outside in ponds that are shallower than the recommended 45 cm.  An idea that you can try is to have a submersible pond de-icer as well as a floating pond de-icer but it will depend on your pond size as to how many you need.  This is done purely at your own risk of losing the fish.  The pond de-icers are thermostatically controlled and set so the water doesn't actually freeze but will not heat your water above freezing (above 40° F).   Technically, your fish should be where it's a bit warmer but if this isn't feasible then having a submersible de-icer and floating de-icer may be your only option unless you have a nice neighbor with a large enough pond to "babysit" your fish for the winter.

15. Do I leave my pump and filter in the pond during the winter?

If you have fish in your pond, you will need some source of aeration during the winter, so you will need your pump or an aerator.  Your filter, if attached to your pump in the water can remain in the water, too.  Outside filters can be cleaned and stored for the winter, this is assuming that you live where it has freezing temperatures.  The reason why the filters can be cleaned and stored is that the water in the tube transporting the water from the pump to the filter can freeze which will end up burning up your pump and ruining it.  Submersible pumps or aerators in addition to using a pond de-icer can work fine.  It's best to use an aerator and a de-icer, though.

16. Is there anything I can buy that can heat up the pond water during the winter?

We have pond de-icers that are floating heating elements that keep an area of the pond's surface from freezing.  This allows toxic gases to escape from the pond as things continue to decompose during the winter as well as provide an "opening" for oxygen to enter the pond.  (We also have actual "heaters" that will heat the water .  They are used primarily for aquaculture methods but you can find them here.) Your fish should have a bit of "fat" on them to withstand the cold temperature as well as be at a depth of at least 45 cm.  If not, you stand a chance of losing them.  You can bring the beautiful creatures inside and put them in an aquarium that you have prepared or find a neighbour who has a large enough pond who can "babysit" them during the winter.

17. How often should I test my pond water?

You should test your pond water approx. every week.   For small ponds it may be more often than that and for large ponds, it may be less frequent.  For new ponds, test it every few days for the first few weeks in order to get a good basis of where you're pond is at, chemically.  After that, you may be able to ween off a bit providing you don't add a big change to your pond such as a bunch of fish, eliminating a pump or filter, etc.  Sunlight will affect it a lot, too, so you want to have a good idea of how the sunlight and warm temperatures are affecting the pond's ecosystem.

18. Sometimes it's hard to read the test strips. Now what do I do?

First of all, make sure you read the manufacturer's suggestions on storing the test strips.  Most of them suggest you storing them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.  Read the bottle and make sure you are using the test strips before they expire.  After you have done all these things and are using a good test strip that has been properly stored, try doing 1 or 2 tests and see if you get the same results and follow the instructions for testing.  If they are still hard to read I would recommend going with our Master Pond Test Kit which is very accurate and easy to read.  You simply put the pond water in a test tube up to a certain level and add so many drops of a testing liquid to the water and then match the color of the solution to a chart.  All of these things are included in the kit (test tubes, testing liquid, chart, instructions, etc.) and are very reliable results.  We use these test kits on our fish tanks and have done well with them.   They're very easy to use.

19. My koi fish are always around the pump. Is there something wrong?

Two things come to mind when I hear that fish are "hanging around" the pump.  The first thing is questioning if they have enough oxygen.  If they are not at the top of the water gasping for air or around an air bubbler, then they are probably just fine.  Koi fish are pretty playful fish and like to hide in different things in your pond whether it is between plants or "hanging around" the pump.  They also may be hiding in the only shade your pond has. You can either provide more shade for the fish or give them some "toys" to play with!

20. Do I have to leave the waterfall on all the time?

If your waterfall is the only source of water circulation and oxygenation and if you have fish, then the answer is yes, you have to leave it on all the time.  If you have fish and your fish get enough oxygen from another source of circulation, then you do not need to have your waterfall on all the time.  If you have no fish or other wildlife in your pond then you do not need to have the waterfall on all the time but if it is your only source for water circulation, then you may end up having stagnant water which can attract bugs and more algae.

21. I'd like to get some underwater lights for my pond. Do I have to get some special electrical

All electrical wiring should be done by a qualified electrician.  The underwater lights are plugged into a transformer and the transformer is wired to a circuit breaker.  Everything must be GFCI.  There are possible electrocution hazards when it comes to water and electricity and an electrician who is familiar with local codes should be able to assist you

22. I get confused with what pump and filter size I need. Is there any easier way to figure it o

Unfortunately there is a bit of math's you have to do to figure out pump and filter size.  We have a lot of information on our website that explains the pump size you need for various size waterfalls, filters, and for water circulation.  The rule of thumb is that you should have 1/2 your total volume of water pumped every hour for good water circulation.  Filters require total volume of water pumped approx. every 3-4 hours but that is based on having no fish or staying within the recommended amount of fish for your pond size.  As fish grow and if you add more fish, then the filter size you have will be inadequate.  For more information about pumps and waterfalls, call or email us  and we will walk you through some steps you need to figure out waterfall  information.

23. Can I get just one pump to support my waterfall and water fountain?

In most cases, yes, but there are certain variables to consider.  First of all, the water fountain is probably a distance away from the waterfall for aesthetic purposes and the further away you go from a pump, the less pressure you will have.  If having less pressure is okay with you, you can get a diverter valve, tubing, and other pieces (contact us and we will help you with the list) and connect it to the pump.  By having one pump you will only need to have one electric outlet but will need to get a  more powerful pump than if you were to have two separate pumps.  Sometimes it is easier to have a separate pump for each water feature.  This also allows you a backup pump in case if something should ever go wrong with one of the pumps.  It really boils down to a matter of preference if you want to do plumbing in your pond, what and where your electrical requirements are, your budget, and the style of pump you select. 
Please feel free to telephone us /email or call in to our nursery and show rooms for professional one to one  advice and guidance . 

24. Who provides the best selection and quality information for creating and maintaining a water

Isn't it obvious?  I'll let you decide! :-)   I hope this information is helpful to you.  Please contact us at info@pondhobby.ie if you have additional questions.  We're more than happy to help .We have been sharing our extensive expertise with our customers for more than 15 years.

25. Our large pond has a lot of "muck" and sludge build up on the bottom and has a lot of

Yes, we can help!  First of all, the "muck" and sludge on the bottom of the pond is from decaying weeds and algae taking it's sweet o'l time decomposing.  This is like a huge "compost pile" on the bottom of the pond which is not only nasty to step in and stinks when you walk in it and stir it up, but it's providing MORE nutrients to feed all the pond weeds and algae that's growing.  What you need to do is get rid of that "compost pile".   How you can do that is either have the pond dredged (which can be costly, effective and very messy), get a plastic leaf rake and rake out the debris, and/or add beneficial bacteria and an aerator to break it down and decompose it faster.  Beneficial bacteria is absolutely vital in a pond and is naturally found in every pond and lake.  Some ponds don't have a properly balanced ecological system; that is, a balance in the number of fish, the quantity and types of plant, the amount of exposure to sunlight, volume of water, chemicals in the water, etc. which is why you have to add more beneficial bacteria.  You can add some of our Pond Bio-Solutions which is an all natural product that consists of several strains of beneficial bacteria.   This is used on a continual basis to keep decomposing the "compost pile" on the bottom of the pond.  

26. How do I find out where my leak is in my pond?

First you want to make sure there are no leaks in your outside plumbing. You can do this by feeling around in the soil or digging near where the plumbing is. Check for wet or damp soil. Remember that water travels along with gravity, so if you do find damp soil the leak could be there or anywhere up hill. If you're certain the leak is not occuring from any of the plumbing, next let the water level drop to where it doesn't drop any more. Make sure that you have adequate water for any fish and that the water level doesn't go below where you have a pump or anything that could burn out. Once the water level ceases to drop, look at the pond liner all along the edge just above the water level to see where the leak is coming from. If you've joined any liners together (in case for large ponds) check out the seam where you joined them together and make sure that is secure and not leaking. If you do find a tear we have a Universal Repair Kit that can be used to patch the leak. If your leak is in the plumbing, you may have to cut the hose and reconnect (and possibly glue it with pvc cement) it together properly. If you have leaks around a waterfall area, you can use expandable foam that will help to seal an area or 100% silicone caulk. Make sure you follow the directions with the caulk as the fumes are toxic and the caulk has to dry for at least 24-72 hours before pond water can go over it. The area must be properly cleaned and dried before applying either the caulk or the expandable foam.   By following any of these instructions, you should be able to find your leak.

27. Can I put a timer on my pump and just have the pump on during the day and off at night?

IF your pond has fish in it and IF and ONLY IF you have other sources of adequate aeration such as an aerator, then yes, you can have the pump turned off at night.  If your pump provides the ONLY source of aeration for your pond and you have fish in it, then no, you cannot.  At night time, aquatic plants consume a lot of oxygen and will rob the pond water of oxygen which will result in low oxygen levels and can cause death to the fish or other live animals.  During the day the plants give off oxygen in the water and adds to the oxygen during the day however the heat along with sunshine puts more oxygen demands on the fish who are trying to handle the heat just like you and I would outside on a hot, sunny day. So, we recommend pumps being on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  If you have a water garden (without fish) you can try not having a pump run 24 hours a day but the water only gets stagnant, can cause the pH to go up, etc. so again, it's really best for the pump to run 24/7.