What is Calcium Montmorillonite Clay or Calcium Bentonite Clay?
Calcium Montmorillonite Clay or Calcium Bentonite Clay is rich in minerals and trace elements (contains over 60 trace minerals) that are needed to help the overall vitality of our fish. It is believed by many to be the secret to the healthy, vibrant-colored koi found in Japan. The Japanese are said to replenish their mud ponds in the spring before filling with Koi. You can simulate this same activity by gradually adding this clay to your pond on a regular basis all year round. If your local water supply is treated to remove a lot of these minerals and trace elements that our fish thrive on, it can be especially beneficial to add this clay.
“Montmorillonite” is a term used to describe a wide family of clays which are mined all over the world, and is a component of volcanic ash weathering. Most people use clay to improve water clarity, but the main reason to apply clay to your pond is for its unseen actions during ion exchange. The added clay is in an alkaline state retaining its electrically active, negatively charged ion. Once introduced to the pond, the toxins, bacteria and pathogens in the water, which carry a positive electrically charged ion, bind to the negatively charged ions in the clay. These particles are held in a suspended state inside the clay particle until it is filtered out of your pond. This ion exchange aides in toxin removal, while replenishing minerals and trace elements. Some of the trace elements include: calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and iron.
Suggestions on Usage
There are several ways to introduce clay into your pond besides just the regular maintenance dosage available with your product. Additionally, you can roll your fish food in the clay. After the clay is absorbed into the food, you can feed your fish a more nutritionally complete version of fish food. Once ingested by the fish, the clay binds to the toxins while passing through the digestion system. It’s also stated to strengthen the immune system, enhance the production of enzymes and detoxify the body in general.
When re-potting your plants in the spring, add a few tablespoons of clay to the potting soil along with fertilizer tabs. Many have noticed beautiful results.
There is even plenty of information available on the benefits for humans and animals.
Are All Calcium Montmorillonite/Bentonite Clays Equal?
There are a variety of grades available. Some contain more silica, while some have more impurities than others. The best way to determine the suitability for your pond is to do a simple test. One test is to simply mix it up. If it clumps up, it is an inferior grade. Another quick test is to mix some in a glass of water. After a few minutes, you should not notice a lot of particles floating on the surface of the glass. The more floating particles you notice, the more impurities that are present.
Don’t have an in-ground pond or simply want an accent to your patio? You might consider an Aquascape Patio Pond. With 2 shapes and several colors and sizes available, you are sure to find one to fit your needs.
In the spring of 2012, Aquascape unveiled several fountains to accessorize the Patio Pond. That was what ultimately sold me on purchasing one of these units. The picture above is my Patio Pond at the end of this season. Although it is not clearly evident in the above picture, I purchased the Adjustable Pouring Bamboo Fountain. You might be able to see it peaking through from the back side of the unit. My aquatic plants loved this environment, can you tell? I also had a few surprise visitors to my Patio Pond. I purchased my aquatic plants from a local nursery, where they were taken directly from their main pond. It wasn’t long after that I noticed several small fish swimming around. Clearly my plants had eggs attached to them upon my receiving them. What an added bonus!
3 sizes available: 24”, 32” and 40”. Be aware that the 40” does require freight shipping, which escalates the cost quite a bit.
3 colors available: Green Slate, Desert Granite and European Terra Cotta
The same 3 sizes are available as they were with the round: 24”, 32” and 40”. The 40” freight shipping rule applies here as well. This escalates the cost quite a bit.
Only 1 color available: Gray Slate
Overall, I am very pleased with my Patio Pond. I actually move the unit into my garage to overwinter the fish and plants.
It was love at first sight when I first saw this plant. Living in Indiana, I love to have that tropical feel in my backyard during the summer. I bought this plant online and planted it in a pot after the threat of frost was past. It was a beautiful addition to my patio.
Keep in mind that in its native habitat, it reaches heights of 9 feet or more. My plant, however, only reached a height of maybe 3 feet. The leaves were truly gorgeous though. You can see plant in the above picture, which is directly behind the standing woman (me!). I’m confident that with a longer growing season plus more fertilizer would have made this plant grow exponentially more than it did. I will be experimenting with that next summer.
Harvesting the Seed
When is the seed ready?
An Alternate Method
Anyone have any thoughts or experience to share? Please feel free to share your knowledge.
Want to liven up your pond with a new fish this year? You might want to consider the Chinese High Fin Banded Shark to add some interest to your pond. Don’t be fooled by the fact that they resemble sharks in their juvenile state, they still exhibit a peaceful temperament, even a playfully swimming manner. They are even known to change color depending on their mood.
The International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society (IWGS) recently announced the 2012 Collector’s Aquatic Plant of the Year: Nymphaea ‘Scarlet Flame’. Shown above, this beautiful day-blooming tropical water lily was introduced by Florida Aquatic Nurseries and won 1st place in the IWGS 2011 New Waterlily Competition.
“‘Scarlet Flame’ is truly unique in its appearance and stands in a league of its own,” says Brandon McLane of Florida Aquatic Nurseries. “This free-flowering tropical waterlily produces up to 3 blooms at a time and is accented by bright green pads with red undersides. We’re quite pleased with the results.”
Ordering is available through the IWGS website.
Spring is officially here! With an unusually warmer than normal winter this year, most ponders have already started getting their pond ready. Are you one them? Need some ideas to assure your pond will be ready? Read on….
This is the time to remove any debris that has accumulated during the winter. Leaves, twigs and fine sediment should be removed with a net. A skimmer net is a good choice for removing sediment, as it has a finer mesh than a fish net. Be sure to the remove pond heater and bubbler that you may have added over the winter to keep a hole in the ice for proper gas exchange.
Assess Your Water
Now is a great time to test your water. Getting a baseline for your water quality will allow you to understand the current condition of the water. There are several water testing kits available. If you need help understanding the importance of what each water testing parameter represents, read this article titled, “Water Quality Parameters for Your Pond”.
In the spring, your water is rich in Dissolved Organic Carbons (DOC’s) because the fish are coming back to life. While their metabolism increases, the beneficial bacteria that naturally help to remove these organics aren’t fully up to speed because of the water temperature. This time is also referred to Aeromonas Alley due to the prevalence and rapid growth of the Aeromonas bacteria. This is potentially a vulnerable time for your fish.
Partial water changes are a great way to help dilute any excessive toxins in the water, while simultaneously adding fresh oxygen back into your pond. When refilling your pond, be sure to apply a water detoxifier to remove chlorine and other heavy metals. The addition of beneficial bacteria can help your pond adjust to the addition of the ammonia and nitrite levels after a long winter. These products are temperature sensitive but are available in cold water varieties as well. You can also consider a Spring Starter Kit, which will have all essential products to help your pond off to a great start.
Happy Spring to You All!
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