Winter is a good time to lime your frozen pond

Frozen ponds are an opportunity to lime

If your pond freezes enough in winter you can spread your lime right over the ice

If you own a pond, you know the importance of liming. And if you own a pond in the far north, you know the nuisance of seeing your pond turn into a Popsicle. However, your pond-turned-ice-skating-rink has a special benefit that no other region does: You can lime it without the hassle of distribution.

If you live up north, and your water has been acidic (below a pH of 7.5) or you have a low Total Alkalinity (below 100 ml/g), right now is the ideal time to lime.  Fostering overall pond and fish health, liming definitely supplies the “biggest bang for your buck” for any pond practice. (And I don’t even sell it, so I’m not just trying to sell you lime)

Crushed limestone is cheaper than dirt. It can be purchased in 40 – 50 lb. bags from your nearby farm supply store for about $3 or $4 a bag, and even less if bought in bulk (ideal for large ponds).  Buy crushed or pulverized limestone, not hydrated lime (hydrated lime can kill your fish)

What prevents most people from liming is:

  • Weight:

o   You will need approximately one ton per acre (but check with your local Ag Extension Agent for the exact amount required for the soil under your pond)

o   If you have an acre pond, you can’t use your trusty ½ ton pickup truck, so you’ll need it delivered

o   One ton = 40 – 50 bags

  • Distribution:

o   Lime can’t be dumped all in one spot. That’d be too easy. It must be distributed evenly throughout the bottom of your pond, just like you would lime a garden.

o   A small boat or barge (a kayak or canoe is not the boat for this!) will suffice for this task, if the weather is warmer, however…

o   If you live up north, you can simply walk across the ice, distributing as you go.  All you have to do is wait for the ice to melt and the lime to sink for the process to begin.  Easy as pie.

So, for all you northerners, your job has been made drastically easier. Finally, a good liming will last for several years.  And whoever thought you’d benefit from that big old ice cube on top your pond?

Salt in Ponds

Salt as a pond Medicinal

Sal: Nature's Own Medicinal

Grandma’s salty chicken soup helped you get over your cold. Gargling with salt water cures your sore throat. Salt sprays clear up your sinus infection. So why not use the healing power of salt as a therapeutic for your pond? Salt can be used many ways, and in both tanks and large ponds.  Its benefits include reducing fish stress, reducing nitrites, and treating pond parasites.

Some Tips about Salt:

•             Caution: Whenever used, salt should be dissolved in a bucket of pond water, and not added directly – undissolved salt can irritate fish gills and lead to injury or death

•             Iodized salt should never be used, as iodine is toxic to fish.

•             Be careful when adding any kind of salt to an aquatic tank, as it can have detrimental effect on plant life

•             Before adding salt to a tank, make sure to remove all zeolite products

•             After using a salt treatment, test the water for ammonia spikes with Microbe-Lift Ammonia Test Strips, as fish tend to excrete high levels of ammonia after exposure to salt.

•             Dosing:

o             Small tank: ½ cup of salt per 10 gallons of pond water

o             Large tank: 5 cups of salt per 100 gallons of pond water

o             Stress reduction: 2 and 1/2 cups per 100 gallons of pond water

•             As a topical treatment for sick fish:

o             Mix salt with tank water until it reaches a thick paste consistency

o             Use a new basting brush to apply to affected areas such as excessive slime or reddened spots on the head, back, or underbelly

o             Take caution applying around the eyes and gills

o             Dispose of or sterilize the basting brush when finished to avoid cross-contamination

•             Salt does not evaporate from tanks and must be removed by water changes.

Remember this and you’ll always be a step closer to a healthy, happy pond with healthy, happy fish.