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It's time for retailers to get pond ready!

It's time for retailers to get pond ready!

Now is the time to prepare your shop for pond season!

During the winter months, there is not much you can do with garden ponds. They tend to get ignored and neglected by most consumers during this time, with leaves and other matter falling into the pond.

As we move into late February or early March, we start to get a few milder days and the attention returns to the garden. Normally, at this point, garden ponds need a bit of ‘tender loving care’ to help them get back to their best as springtime arrives.

This usually starts by removing unwanted matter from the pond such as leaves, as well as tidying up plants, checking pond equipment and doing some water tests.

As a retailer, you need to be ready for this time, making sure you have everything in stock for your customers as they get to work on their ponds.

From my own experiences, there never seems to be much of a gradual start to the pond season, it tends to go from nothing to "full-on" very suddenly!

You will have consumers asking you questions such as:

“Have you got any water lilies, oxygenators, and floating plants?”, long before they are ready to sell.

“My pond water has gone green” or “how do I get rid of blanketweed?”.

“My pump has stopped working, have you got a new one?”

    A new season also brings along some new customers:

    “I would like to put a pond in my garden, what do I need?”

      Ideally by the beginning of March (you never know when the weather is going to turn) It is advisable to make sure you have good stocks of the following:

      1. Food
      2. Algae and blanketweed treatments
      3. UV lamps
      4. Replacement filter media
      5. Fish disease treatments
      6. Pond water test kits
      7. Water conditioners
      8. Planting baskets and soil
      9. Catching and cover nets
      10. Pond liners and preformed pools
      11. Pumps, filters & UVC’s
      12. Hoses and fittings

      From my experience, these are all top selling items through March, April, and May.

      Other retailer tips: 

      • Get your pond plants in as soon as they become available from us. Look for anything that is in flower such as Marsh Marigolds (Caltha sp.), Water Forget-Me-Not, and Water Hawthorn. If it is in flower, and it looks nice, it will sell.
      • Make sure fish and plants are clearly labelled with simple, bullet pointed information, its good practice to assume there will be a lot of people who do not have an in-depth knowledge of the livestock or products you offer.

      While you have a chance to talk to your customers. It's good to share some early season advice for spring, such as:

      Water tests:

      • Test their pond water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. These levels may have crept up during the winter months and will require some attention, either by using products (which you can recommend) or with water changes.
      • Check pH, kH and gH levels. These may have dropped during the winter due to rainfall and excess water having to be removed from the pond. This can especially be a problem in raised ponds. Low levels of these can lead to filters not cycling properly and being unable to achieve clear water.
      • An NT Labs Pond Lab Multi Test Kit (RH068) is good for this job.

       

      Removing debris:

      • Inspect their pond for any rotting leaves, excessive silt, and sludge. Use a net or a pond vacuum cleaner (Eheim Pond Vac 40, YF010) to remove this. Doing this will help to reduce ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, thus improving water quality and fish health. It will also reduce the risk of getting green water or blanket weed.

       

      Check their pond equipment:

      • It is always a good idea for consumers to give their pond pump a good clean and check over before the weather warms up. Make sure the pump inlet and outlet are given a good clean to improve water flow. Remove the impeller, clean it up and make sure it is in good working order (i.e it can move freely).
      • The filter will also require some attention. Give the filter media a good clean and rinse, but not in tap water (as this will kill off any beneficial nitrifying filter bacteria). Use some old pond or rainwater to carry out this task. Replace any pads or foams that have lost their shape or are excessively clogged.
      • If they have a UVC (ultra-violet clarifier), it is a good idea to replace the lamp and give the protective quartz sleeve a good clean (especially important in hard water areas or if they have a high pH level). This will improve the performance of the unit and help give them clear water all through the year (keeping nuisance green water away).

       

      Pond plants: 

      • Along with tidying up pond plants, you still need to split and re-pot established pond plants, but it must be done by the end of April (my grandad used to tell me that everything grows in May!).
      • If customers are buying new plants from you in the standard one litre pots, it is advisable to get them re-potted into larger pots as soon as possible. This will encourage robust growth and, in some cases, stop them getting blown over in rough weather.
      • Add some aquatic plant fertiliser too, this will replenish some of the vital nutrients that may be lacking in the water. It will encourage growth, creating healthier plants and help them to produce more flowers. Waterlife Pondflora Tablets (YR362) are highly recommended for this.

       

      Check fish health:

      For many, the fish are the focal point of the pond. They are always busy swimming around and making the most of the delightful environment that has been created for them.

      • Check their health. Do they look ok? Have they got any marks, spots, or ulcerations? Are they swimming well? These are just some of the questions that will need answering, especially at the start of spring.
      • Advise your customers accordingly. Some pond keepers do like to use a disease preventative treatment at this time of the year such as Tetra Medifin or Waterlife Medizin which will help reduce some of these problems.

       

      Feeding fish:

      • Throughout the colder weather, your customers should have been feeding their fish a lower protein diet, or wheatgerm based food (which is easier to digest but keeps the fish’s metabolism ticking over). When the water temperature gets to 10°c (50°f) or above, and the fish are eating more, it is advisable to switch back to their normal staple diet. Some aquarists mix their staple foods with their winter foods during a changeover period in the spring to ween them from one food to another.
      • Many consumers, especially Koi keepers are now feeding more modern all-season diets such as NT Labs Medikoi or Sera All Seasons which contain ‘easier-to-digest’ probiotic ingredients. These are extremely good for the fish and easier to use than some "normal" diets.

      Hopefully, there is some helpful information in here to help you make the most of pond season in your shop and make some satisfied customers in the process!

      You can find a list of our recommended pond season products here: LINK

      As always, you can direct any questions to your rep, or our sales team.

      We hope you have a great pond season! 

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