Is Your Unbalanced Pond Causing Fish Kills? What Not To Do...
Most ponds fit within one of two categories, “balanced” or “unbalanced”. Ponds that are unbalanced are often plagued with significant algae and vegetation growth. Those ponds are at high risk of a fish kill (aka fish die-off) on an annual basis. Low Dissolved Oxygen (DO) levels are often responsible for killing fish, but the low oxygen levels are simply a symptom of the real problem, which is excess nutrients, such as Phosphorus and Nitrogen, and high water temperatures. Until unstable ponds strike a balance with their nutrient load they will continue to experience undesired plant and algae growth and face the risk of a fish kill.
Even when professionally managed, ponds can suffer from an unbalanced fate. Pond management must include more than just weed and algae treatments if it is to be truly successful. We observe a few ponds every year that experience fish kills. Each of these ponds falls within the category of being unbalanced.
Temperature Outside Affects The Toxicity Of Pond Plant Matter
Plants and algae require proper temperature, nutrients and sunlight to grow. As favorable weather conditions allow plant matter to thrive, unbalanced ponds increasingly become more and more unstable. In addition to this, the need for oxygen in ponds is highest when water temperatures reach the 80’s. During these warm temperatures, waters ability to hold oxygen is at its lowest. These two factors team together to reduce the stability of the ponds oxygen supply, making the scenario of a fish kill more probable in the summer months.
Unbalanced Ponds Are Susceptible To Fish Kill
If a pond is continually in need of management to keep algae and vegetation at an acceptable level, it is naturally unbalanced and is susceptible to fish kills. Many algae species can grow very rapidly under the correct conditions and as result the biomass of algae can rapidly shift to a very dense population. Unbalanced ponds often require frequent algae and vegetation treatments. Even with treatments every couple weeks, unbalanced ponds can have algae densities reach the point where a fish kill is probable. This high risk of a fish kill is likely to reoccur over the years unless steps are taken by the property owner to break this cycle.
Balance Your Pond And See Results
Nuisance vegetation and algae growth are a symptom of the problem, not the problem. Nutrients are the problem. For water bodies that have difficulty maintaining balance, it is critical that other steps are taken to manage the nutrient load other than just treating undesired plant and algae growth. Simply treating the growth is only putting a band-aid on the actual issue. It is important to find ways to remediate the existing in water nutrient load while preventing future nutrient accumulations.
Lake and pond owners and managers whose water bodies experience excessive plant and algae growth should strongly consider the use of an integrated approach that utilizes many of these tools to aid in the overall pond management strategy. The results of your efforts will improve the aesthetics and the health of the pond, while providing your fish with a much less stressful life and lessening chances of a fish kill.
Tips On How To Balance Your Pond
SOLitude Helped Us Achieve Our Community Goals
As the manager of wetlands and open water for my community, I work with SOLitude Lake Management closely. They have helped us define our vision and achieve our goals. Every wetland area and body of water has different uses and different needs. SOLitude understands that and ensures those needs are met all the while keeping the budget in mind. We have annual fishing tournaments and they come out and talk with the anglers, explaining what we’ve done during the past year and what our future steps will be. Management of wildlife and waters is an ongoing and long-term commitment, SOLitude understands this. They have a dedicated staff that not only manages these areas but also helps educate their clients.
Our Fishery Is In It’s Best Condition Ever
Thank you to SOLitude for all your help at our Fishing Club. Our hydrilla problem is practically non-existent now. The fish survey you completed for us, the recommendations on slot sizes, and the stocking and feeding program you developed are producing outstanding results. Our club’s fishery is in the best condition it has ever been! Your presentation to our stockholders at our annual meeting was extremely well received. We are getting ready to enhance our fish attractors as suggested. We appreciate that a management program was developed that fits within our budget and that you are available to talk with us when we have questions. We look forward to continuing our association with SOLitude.
A Huge Improvement with SOLitude
I wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the results of the algae treatment. We noticed a huge improvement very quickly, and at this point, the pond looks really, really great. Also, the fish are thriving – some of the bass are over a foot, and the Bluegills have also gotten big. We are just thrilled. Thank you so much for your responsiveness.
From an Eyesore to Thriving Ecosystem
In one season, SOLitude Lake Management turned the two lakes on my Virginia property from dead, weed-infested, eyesores into thriving, fish-filled, ecosystems – and they have maintained them as such ever since!
Excellent Pond and Fisheries Management Experts!
After I had to drain my pond in 2010 to fix the dam, I took the opportunity to start from scratch. I contacted SOLitude to begin feeding the bluegill and to begin an electroshocking program to help guide my long-term management. Two years after my original stocking, we electroshocked for the first time. I was very surprised to find that the predator-to-prey ratio was dangerously lopsided and my pond goals were headed toward failure.
Based on the electroshock survey and Dave Beasley’s advice, I restocked 10,000 larger bluegill. Now I have 3 feeders feeding 3 times a day while the water is warm. My friends call me when they have “Daddy day” because they know they can come to my pond and their kids will catch bluegill bigger than my hand until they get tired of it. After 4 years, the bass are reaching 6 pounds and in an hour enough heavy bass can be caught that would beat a full day’s fishing on any lake in the region. Without SOLitude and Dave Beasley, despite all my research, my pond would be in an ever-worsening downward spiral. Now SOLitude and annual electrofishing surveys to keep me on track are a permanent part of my pond management plan.
What A Great Company!
When looking online for a new fish feeder, we had unpleasant experiences with two local fisheries. I decided to call a feeder manufacturer in San Antonio, who recommended SOLitude Lake Management. They were terrific! Paul Dorsett called me directly and was so kind and helpful. He arranged for a feeder to be delivered and set up for us. Although Paul was out of town, he sent his “ace” out, Ryan Young. Ryan and Alex Harrison were efficient, answered all questions, and were very nice young men. Paul even followed up to make certain that everything went smoothly. What a great company! Customer service is what it’s all about these days and SOLitude Lake Management knows exactly that.
In Awe of SOLitude’s Knowledge
I want to thank you all for coming out and for an excellent report and meeting. SOLitude’s knowledge about the industry and all of the different species, habitats, and needs was impressive. We were sitting there with our mouths open in awe of SOLitude’s command of the subject. You all really know your species and their requirements. It was excellent!
Proof Is In The Pudding
Paul Dorsett and the rest of the team at SOLitude have done an absolutely wonderful job in helping us to create Lake Willis! In just a few short years we have gone from having just a few baitfish and perch, to catching a nearly 9-pound bass (our new record). Now if we could just have more time to fish as recommended, we could take out the 300 fish that need to come out. As far as we are concerned, we followed SOLitude’s recommendations and our fish have averaged growing of 2 pounds per year…proof is in the pudding!
A Truly Valuable Investment
We began with two small lakes that were never managed 10 years ago. With SOLitude’s help and expertise we expanded both lakes from 2 acres to 6 acres and began a monthly management program. We went from a spotty fish population to trophy bass with some over 10 pounds! SOLitude is efficient and really cares about the lake ecosystem. Seeing my three-year-old granddaughter catch her first bass makes the investment truly valuable. Thanks, SOLitude.
From Frustrating to 100% Fishable
When we hired SOLitude, our 12-acre lake was about 1/3 full of lily pads and hydrilla which were frustrating to the fish. Within 4-6 months, the lake became 100% fishable and the coloring and bloom were much more attractive. The recent addition of 8 or so built brush piles has added much-needed structure for bait fish and is now a great target that is producing bass on every other cast! A very common afternoon will produce 100 fish a day.
The Best Choice Is SOLitude Lake Management
If you’d like to manage your waters (or watershed) professionally – then the best choice is SOLitude Lake Management. If you fish, then it’s more important. I had the good fortune to fish a property managed by SOLitude BEFORE I needed a pond management company…those excellent results made my final choice easy. I’m sure that every firm is good – but if the phrase “by fishermen for fishermen!” rings true with you – then there is one choice: SOLitude Lake and Pond Management. They care and it shows.
Got Ponds Back Into Shape
We have 5 water features on the property and before SOLitude Lake Management came, our ponds were full of algae and aquatic weeds, looking very unhealthy. In the past 7 years, SOLitude has cleaned out our ponds and got them back into shape making them look like amazing water features as they should be.
My “Go-To” Firm!
SOLitude Lake Management has been and will continue to be my “go-to” firm… The staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and willing to always go that extra mile. Their responsiveness to questions, concerns, or work orders is fantastic. They have taken the time to educate me and have worked to find cost-effective solutions that are sometimes outside of the box. Keep up the great work!
Responsive to Our Needs
SOLitude manages our 28 lakes at our Country Club and we have formed a great partnership with them and in particular Christina and Garrett. They are responsive to our needs and take the time to explain their process and ongoing management plans to staff, board members, and owners as well as answer their questions.
Professional & Knowledgeable
Working with SOLitude has been a great experience! Their professionalism, knowledge, response, and timing are the qualities that will give you peace of mind.
A Pleasure to Work with SOLitude
For the past 2 years as a member of our neighborhood board, I worked personally with Mitchell of SOLitude Lake Management. Our neighborhood has over 40 lakes & ponds. I can honestly say it was a pleasure to work with this vendor. Mitchell provided weekly updates and as our aquatics expert, he helped educate us and assisted in developing a restorative approach to our lake & pond management. It was a pleasure to work with such a knowledgeable representative. Thanks!
Reliable and Quick to RespondSOLitude Lake Management has been managing our lake/stormwater pond, and fountains since 2005. Their team has always been reliable and quick to respond to any issues. They are all very knowledgeable, able to explain what is happening with any situation and find solutions to problems as they arise. Overall, I have been very pleased with their work and would highly recommend them to anyone with lake, pond, and other BMP management needs.
The SOLitude Team Is Absolutely Fabulous!SOLitude consistently provides top-notch customer service and performance, whether it is over the phone or in person on-site. My questions are always answered promptly by your professional and knowledgeable staff. The SOLitude Team is absolutely fabulous!
SOLitude Helped Relieve the Pressure of Maintaining My Pond
Working with the team from SOLitude Lake Management took away the pressure of dealing with an issue that I had never specialized in. The knowledge of everyone involved helped keep the process moving, from engineering to local code compliance. They knew the course that needed to be taken and it was implemented in a timely manner, causing the project to come to completion well within our expectations.
Hat’s Off to SOLitude!
SOLitude Lake Management has consistently performed to a high standard within the three communities they currently service for my clients. Whether it is routine maintenance or a major issue, I can always be assured that when I call or email we will have almost immediate communication and actionable timelines. In a busy industry such as this one, having someone that stays in touch is critical and appreciated. Hat’s off to SOLitude for a job well done!
We Are In Good Hands with SOLitude
We were presented with the challenge of dealing with our stormwater basin, which is regulated by EPA standards that we were not familiar with. SOLitude came in and guided us through the entire process. Our basin went from an eyesore to a spectacular main selling point for our community. We are in good hands with SOLitude and cannot thank them enough!
Pleased with the Quality of ServiceWe’ve been working with SOLitude Lake Management since 2009 when an aggressive aquatic weed was becoming a problem and taking over our pond. The staff of SOLitude Lake Management identified the weed and treated the pond promptly with much success. Since that time, our ponds have been monitored monthly by their competent staff and precautions have been taken so that the pond weeds do not get out of control. We are pleased with the quality of service and their effort to work with us towards an organic approach to keeping our ponds healthy.
Thank You from Camp Holiday TrailsThank you for coordinating the restoration effort for our pond and donating labor for the aerator installation and watermeal treatment. This will ensure that hundreds of kids with special medical needs, and those who have the honor, joy, and inspiration of working with them, will benefit from the Camp Holiday Trails experience this year!
Top Notch Service
When one of our stormwater BMPs was overtaken by phragmites, we called SOLitude for treatment. From the bidding process to the follow-up, the service we received was top-notch. A year later, the Phragmites have still not returned. Considering how invasive this species is, this is quite an accomplishment!
Taken A Huge Burden Off My Shoulders
We used to struggle with many different issues on holes 15, 16, and 17 at our Country Club. It was not uncommon for us to see algae blooms appear out of nowhere along one of the most important focal points of the course. Since SOLitude Lake Management has been taking care of the pond for us, we have had very few issues with the aesthetic qualities of our pond. SOLitude has taken a huge burden off of my shoulders and now I don’t even have to worry about the appearance of our pond
SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty, preserve natural resources and reduce our environmental footprint. SOLitude’s team of aquatic resource management professionals specializes in the development and execution of customized lake, pond, wetland, and fisheries management programs that include water quality testing and restoration, nutrient remediation, algae, and aquatic weed control, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, bathymetry, shoreline erosion restoration, mechanical harvesting and hydro-raking, lake vegetation studies, biological assessments, habitat evaluations, and invasive species management. Services and educational resources are available to clients nationwide, including homeowners associations, multi-family and apartment communities, golf courses, commercial developments, ranches, private landowners, reservoirs, recreational and public lakes, municipalities, drinking water authorities, parks, and state and federal agencies. SOLitude Lake Management is a proud member of the Rentokil Steritech family of companies in North America.