Frequently Asked Questions

When seeking answers from the pond and water gardening industry, you will discover differing opinions. One source may tell you to build your pond bigger and one may say smaller. One source may say feed your fish regularly, some may say don't feed at all. On and on the difference of opinions continues. Therefore you will have some trial and error on certain choices, and sometimes there are exceptions to the rule. Here is a list of frequently asked questions that we get at Backyard Blessings:

How big should I build my pond?

The size of your pond or water feature depends on your space available, the function of your water feature, and your budget. Generally speaking, the larger the pond, the easier the pond can form a fully functioning ecosystem. We hear many times over from our customers that they wish they would have built the larger one from the beginning. If you have the resources, go with a bigger water feature.

How many fish can I put in my pond?

As long as you have proper biological filtration for your pond, as a general rule we recommend up to 1 inch of fish per 10 gallons of water. For example, if your pond is 3000 gallons, you could have up to 30 fish that are each 10 inches long, assuming that you have proper biological filtration.

How much food should I feed my fish? And what kind?

One of the major contributors of algae green and/or unhealthy pond water is from overfeeding fish. Try to feed your fish on a regular feeding schedule and less is usually better. Don't allow the fish food to get pulled through your pump or skimmer. Put in only enough food that the fish can eat within 10 minutes or less. Use wheat germ fish food in the early spring and fall. Use higher protein food during the warm and hot months. In Indiana, STOP FEEDING your fish in the winter, unless you bring them inside. Feeding the fish in the winter can be fatal. We always stock high protein and wheat germ fish food at our retail location.

Why can’t I see the bottom of my pond?

Especially after storms, a lot of times debris get stirred up or washed into your pond and may be cloudy for a few days. If you have a persistent issue with dark water, the reason is usually related to your filtration, aeration or circulation. Contact a Backyard Blessings specialist to find the appropriate solution.

My pond is green, what should I do?

Green water is natural to some extent. And then, there is excessive green water. Try not to feel like a failure if you are experiencing excessive green water, it literally happens to the best pond keepers. Algae forms due to excessive nutrients in the water, therefore make sure you have enough plants in your pond water to absorb many of those nutrients. Almost all pond keepers have to add additional algae treatment and preventative of some sort to their pond throughout the year. Contact Backyard Blessings now to create a custom treatment plan in order to keep your pond clear and thriving all year long.

Should I add salt to my pond?

If using any salt, we recommend a .05% to .1% salinity level in your pond. Do NOT add too much salt to your pond. Do NOT put iodized table salt in your pond. Use non-iodized salt, like sea salt. Make sure it has no additives. If using salt as a treatment for your fish, we recommend slowly bringing the salinity level to .3%.

Do I need to test my water and how do I test my water?

We recommend doing at least once a month testing on your pond water for nitrate, nitrite and ph. You can purchase a liquid test kit, or you can get the easy to use test strips, both available at Backyard Blessings.

Can I put frogs in my pond?

Frogs are fine to have in your pond, many times they will just show up. Be aware that they will sometimes eat smaller fish, and they can sometimes get stuck in the pump intake, depending on the type of pump. Most people, however, enjoy the frog residents and have no worries.

Are turtles ok for my pond?

We recommend that you do the proper research on the type of turtle that you want or that you have. Some turtles can actually puncture your liner because they have sharp claws and want to dig in the bottom. Any turtle questions get forwarded to our friends at Indiana Turtle Care in New Palestine IN.

Some crane or bird ate my fish, how can I keep it away?

The most common predator of your prized pond fish is the Great Blue heron. This big and beautiful bird is considered an enemy by many pond keepers. We recommend placing a heron decoy around the perimeter of your pond, this works in about 65% of the applications. We also recommend creating safe areas for your fish under the water surface, by creating flagstone ledges and other tunnel like structures. There are other options available, so contact us to help create a solution for your specific needs.

Do you guys fix ponds?

Backyard Blessings does pond repairs. We receive inquiries for everything imaginable when it comes to fixing a pond or water feature. Cracks, breaks, leaks, unknowns, what do I do's, pump replace, liner replace, waterfall repair, whatever it is we can fix it or replace it.

Should I clean out my pond? Do you clean out ponds?

We strongly encourage pond cleans. Most people like their pond fresh and clean in the Spring. We do pond clean outs and we recommend doing them in the Spring. After the clean out, our recommended treatment plan begins in Spring and keeps your pond healthy all year long, its vital to get started right for the year.

How do I know what pump to use?

Looking at pump size to pond gallon formula charts can be overwhelming and confusing. We can simplify this process for you. There is a right pump or pumps for your application, its best to consult with us in person, over the pone, or email to find out exactly what you are using it for. There simply is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to pumps, or anything regarding your pond. Its all unique and custom to your specific water feature.

How many gallons are in my pond?

The only exact way to measure your pond gallons is to borrow our water meter or using your city water meter when filling or having a water truck deliver your measured gallons. So, we use a standard formula for getting very close to your pond volume: L x W x H x 7.48. So if your pond is 10 foot long by 8 foot wide by 2 foot deep, that would be 160 times 7.48 = 1196.8 or roughly 1200 gallons. Knowing the gallons is important so you know the amount of treatment to use, and the approximate amount of fish that will be safe to keep.

Are your chemicals safe for my fish, plants, frogs and dogs?

Used properly, all the chemicals and treatments sold at Backyard Blessings are completely safe for plants, fish, frogs, wildlife, kids and all family pets. The products we use and sell have been tried and true by the manufacturers, then field tested by us, and then offered to our customers. Many of the brands we have used for 10+ years. There are certainly some bad products on the market sold other places, so be aware of what you are purchasing. There are also decent products that if misused can be harmful. Feel free to ask us specific questions about specific products. If it’s a new question to us and we don’t know the immediate answer, we will find out.

Do you sell Sheboygans?

No. But we do sell Shubunkin. Shubunkin are a terrific pond fish to have. They maintain great color, are slow growing, and behave a lot like goldfish. Our customers continue to entertain us by mispronunciation of this fish, calling them everything from Sheboygans to Chewbacans. HA. HA. Thank you for the laughs, we keep a list at the shop! Please don’t practice the pronunciation; we want to keep adding to the list!

What type of stone should I use in my pond?

Most stone in the Midwest works well. There are a few sandstone types that are too brittle and there are a few types of flagstone that flake too much. We strongly discourage against limestone in the pond water or waterfalls because in our experience it almost always raises the ph to extreme levels, making it unsuitable for fish and most assuredly creating algae blooms. We use a large variety of stone types in our water features, but certainly have our favorites. We keep an ample supply open to the public for browsing and purchase.

What should I do in the winter?

Winters can be brutal in the Midwest. Make sure you have everything ready, and know what to do if power goes out or it is subzero. Proper winterization of your water feature eliminates the worry. Please click here to read our blog post about winterization.

Do I need a skimmer?

Almost every pond should have a conventional skimmer. Skimmers will pull in around 70 percent or more of the floating debris in your pond. Skimmers keep your pump protected and they actively filter the water of larger debris and smaller particles. Most larger ponds should have at least one skimmer, sometimes 2, 3, or more depending on the size of pond. We carry several different types and sizes of skimmers, so contact us and one of our professionals will help you find which skimmer works best for your needs.

Can you guys fix my pond if I live far away?

Most of our customer base is Indianapolis and surrounding areas: Carmel, Zionsville, New Palestine, Greenwood, Fishers, McCordsville, Avon, Greenfield, Geist, Lebanon, Franklin, Muncie, Noblesville, etc…But we do travel to wherever we are supposed to be. Let us know where you are and the scope of your project and we will get you an estimate.

Do you have a question for us? Fill out our contact form and we will get back to you in a timely manner.