Pond and Lake Management FAQs

Ackenberry Trout Farms Pond and Lake Management FAQs




  • Can I add chlorinated water to my pond?

    Chlorine and Chloramines are often found in city water and are harmful to fish and the beneficial bacteria in your pond. 

    Chlorine can kill trout at 0.03 parts / million (ppm). The chlorine attaches to oxygen binding site's (haemoglobin) on a fish's red blood cells and prevents the uptake of oxygen from the water.

    We can remove chlorine, chloramine and ammonia from city water using a product such as Pond Pro All in One Water Conditioner in small fish ponds. 

    For larger ponds purchase food grade sodium thiosulfate to remove chlorine. One ounce of sodium thiosulfate crystals should remove the chlorine in 40,000 gal of water. Test the water to be sure. Sodium thiosulfate will turn chloramine into ammonia which will be broken down by bacteria in a large pond or lake.

  • Do I feed my fish in the winter?

    No.  Stop feeding your trout when your ice free area is less than 30' or 10m in diameter.  Start feeding your fish after your pond is ice free in the spring.

  • Do I need a license for buying trout?

    Yes, in alberta you need a license from alberta agriculture.  Most ponds in alberta can be stocked with fish, however when water leaves your pond you need a metal screen blocking the outflow.  The normal way to do this is dig a culvert in the lowest spot around your pond.  Place a expanded metal screen over the culvert. 

    Phone 780 427-5083 to get forms or more information on licensing

  • Do you provide fish delivery?

    If you are unable to pick your fish up from the farm, you can request that one of our trucks to deliver your fish.

    Our approximate costs for the truck is $0.55 / km traveled so this is what we charge our customers.

    To keep costs down for our valued customers, we divide up the kilometers between several delivery stops. Most deliveries cost between $45.00 and $100.00.

    If your pond is a long way from main highway expect to pay a little more for delivery. Our costs are:$0.05 / km for oxygen $0.15 / km for fuel $0.15 / km for truck $0.20 / km for driver (plus $0.20/ km for extra driver for long trips) (we can only average 60 km max in one hour because of stops etc.)

  • How can I prevent Blue Herons from eating my fish?

    I will list techniques in order from easy to hard. 

    Apply blue or black pond dye in your pond making it harder for blue herons to see fish.  Must be dark and works best if applyed before herons come in the spring.  Also works for cormorrants.

    Place at least two blue heron decoys around the pond.  Works great for smaller ponds but works less and less as ponds get over 200 feet in diameter.

    Use electric wire fence.  Place two wires at 6" and 12| above water.  Should be placed in 10 inches of water and use plastic stakes at an angle so the wire 12" above water is a little farther out than the first.  Works great if you don't have a dockor other items the herons can't sit on.

    Place at least two alligator decoys in pond.  Also helps for cormorrants.

  • How can I test for D.O. (Disolved Oxygen) levels in my pond?

    The most economical way is to buy a good quality DO chemical test kit or digital meter.

    Take a water sample from middle depths of you pond with a bottle mounted on a pole. When bottle is at desired depth, simply pull the cork out by pulling the attached string and you will have your water sample. Test this water a.s.a.p. to obtain accurate DO levels.

    Alternatively for $269 you can buy a meter with a 3 or 4 meter probe.  let the probe sink 3 meters before taking reading. 

    ****make sure you calibrate the meter at around 1 - 4 deg celcius so the reading will be accurate during winter.****

    Ackenberry Trout Farms sells these test kits for your convenience!

  • How deep should I dig my pond?

    Trout ponds should be a minimum of 15 feet deep to stay cool enough.  Because ponds are not always full we should dig the pond deeper than this.  If you have less than 15 feet of water depth and no cold spring water entering the pond you may need a fountain or surface aera.tor running at nights only during the hottest months.

  • How do I clear up the clay in my new pond?

    The best way to clear up clay from a newly dug pond is to use aeration and pond logs or floc logs.  These polymers are great at clearing up inorganics such as clays or soils from pond water.  See our articals on pond logs.

  • How do I control aeration and algae?

    Algae prevention using aeration in Alberta Canada

    Another method that can be used in addition to the above methods is aeration. When a pond stratifies during the summer an area with low or no oxygen is created at the bottom of the pond.

    This anoxic zone can be many feet deep, and aids in the release of nutrients such as phosphorus and iron. The breakdown of ammonia, nitrite, and dead plant matter is 10 - 40 times slower without the presence of oxygen. Thus the anoxic zone is creating favorable conditions for faster algae growth.

    An electric aerator works best if turned on during the night when oxygen levels are lowest. This also aids in keeping the entire pond cooler by exposing more pond water to the cool air at the pond surface at night.

    Be careful when first aerating with fish though. The anoxic zone should be mixed slowly. To do this drop your air stone or end of the air line about 1/2 way to the bottom for the first time, and drop it an additional foot every second day after that.

    If your pond has good wind exposure on the bank, a windmill aerator can be used to take advantage of wind instead of using power.

    How do I set up the air line so the bottom mud is not stirred up?

    Use a product such as flex-air diffuser stations or Robust-aire diffuser stations. These come with a plate to prevent disturbing the bottom of the pond.

  • How do I control algae in my Alberta, Canada pond?

    Do you have algae problems? 

    • In Alberta and most of Canada we experience long days during the summer. This is one of the reasons algae grows wild as soon as phosphates are available in the water.

    • Algae also grows faster than macrophytes or aquatic plants. 

    • Fighting algae requires multiple techniques and approaches.

    First, we must stop the nutrients at the source of the problem.

    This is accomplished by controlling the amount of animal wastes and soil nutrients entering the pond. We should plant grasses in the waterways leading to the pond. Cattle or other farm animals should not be allowed to drink directly from the ponds.

    Pumped water should be supplied in a trough away from the pond on the downhill side.

    Fertilizer should not be used in close proximity to the pond, especially anhydrous ammonia.

    Reduce the nutrients in your pond and it will clear up over time. One way to speed up this process is to add bacteria that eat up some of the same nutrients that algae require to grow and multiply.

    Pond Pro All natural pond clarifier contains 4 species of bacillus bacteria that eat up organic nutrients in the water column and from the bottom of the pond.

    The other element algae needs to grow is sunlight. Blue or black pond dye's such as trueblue or Pond Pro lake dye block out much of the sunlight entering the pond. Aeration goes a long way in reducing algae growth. Blue-green algae require phosphates to flourish. 

    Continuous pond aeration reduces internal nutrient recycling by up to 98%. I have not seen blue-green algae or cyanobacteria come back on a pond that has a electric aeration system installed by us. Polydex an algaecide certified to be used in drinking water can also be used to spot treat for blue-green algae, or hair algae along the shore.

  • How do I get my fish home?

    We encourage you to pick up your fish right at the farm.

    You can view aerators and equipment, pick out the exact size of fish you require and sometimes get extra advice on raising trout.

    Pick up your fish from Ackenberry Trout Farm using the following techniques:

    • If you only need 150 (6 - 8 “) trout or 50 (8 - 10”) trout you may bring plastic storage totes (117L) or plastic barrels and we can supply large 5 mm bags and pure oxygen at cost for $6.00. We like the garbage cans because they are so easy to carry when using the two handles.
    • Alternatively we have smaller bags for $4.00 if you are transporting in the car.

    The approximate number of fish that can safely be transported in each type of bag for 2 hours are as follows. Note the oxygen in a barrel can transport for up to 8 hours.

    Fish size Storage tote 16 x 40 “ bag  O2 in barrel  4 – 6 130 80 375 6 – 8 96 50 150 8 - 10 40 25 90 If you go farther distances, or need to transport larger fish, it is more economical to transport using an oxygen bottle, regulator and barrel.

    Ackenberry Trout Farms can supply the plastic barrels ($15.00), air stones ($20.00) and barrel liners ($3.00) if needed. Two barrels can be run using one regulator.

  • How large a pump do I need for my waterfall

    Water falls require about 100 gpm of water flow for every 1 - 2 feet of waterfall width to look like a natural water feature.

  • How many carp should I stock in my pond?

    For ponds smaller than 2 acre we stock about 1 carp for every 20 feet of shore line.  For ponds with very steep shores you can reduce this to 1 carp for every 30 feet.  For shallow weedy shores we can stock 1 carp for every 15 feet of shoreline.

  • How many rainbow trout should I stock?

    For small ponds less than 1 acre a good number to start with is about 100 - 150 trout / 100' x 100' area

    For 1 to 5 acre ponds we stock about 500 fish / acre

    For ponds greater than 5 acres we stock less than 300 fish / acre. 

  • How to maintain healthy ponds.

    Maintaining good water quality and controlling weed and algae growth can be easy as following a few simple steps.

    First - REDUCE NUTRIENTS ENTERING POND - Stop the nutrients at the source of the problem. This is accomplished by controlling the amount of fertilizers and soil nutrients entering the pond. Plant grasses in the waterways leading to the pond. Fertilizer use should be limited close to ponds, especially anhydrous ammonia.

    Next - ADD OXYGEN TO THE POND - Ponds naturally accumulate more and more nutrients in the bottom and can be seen as black muck. In nature this happens fastest in small ponds and bodies of water exposed to less wind and more nutrients. These nutrients are released in the water every spring and often result in massive algae blooms. Long term aeration programs can reduce merky water and algae.

  • Is algae bad for my pond?

    Some algae in a pond is good, and plays a vital role in pond ecology.

    Limited amounts of green algae become part of the food chain for trout and other large predators. Zooplankton, use the algae as a food source, and aquatic insects such as water boat-men eat zooplankton.

    Larger predators such as trout eat aquatic insects, and the trout waste becomes a nitrogen source for the algae.

    Algae control is required when blue green algae or hair algae becomes the dominant species of algae in the pond. The first line of defence is prevention by using pond aeration and pond bacteria or Bio-boost. This is normally all that is required to turn your eutrophic pond back into a mesotrophic pond.

    If hair algae grows around the shore it can be raked out with a weed raker, or sprayed with polydex or polypro algaecide.

  • What is true blue pond dye?

    True Blue Pond Dye is used for algae and weed control as well as to bring a natural blue appearance back to your pond. True Blue Pond Dye is formulated to filter sunlight penetration for weed control. It also is used to deter predators.

    True Blue Pond Dye has been successfully used by municipalities, golf courses and pond owners for over 10 years.

    It’s safe, easy to use and is harmless to fish and wildlife.

  • Why aerate your pond?

    A pond or dugout that is aerated properly has many benefits.

    • First, any extra nutrients that enter your pond can be broke down by bacteria up to 80 times faster in the presence of oxygen on the bottom. Without oxygen at the bottom of your pond much of the decayed plant material will remain as a thick layer of black mud slowly releasing nutrients and deadly gases into the water.
    • Second, you increase your chances of raising fish successfully. During certain times of the year oxygen levels can approach lethal limits. Aeration can help your pond get through these brief but deadly times. This is especially true of smaller and shallower ponds that have an abundance of weeds or algae. The two times of the year when oxygen levels are low is late winter/early spring, and late summer/fall.

    Rainbow trout do best with dissolved oxygen (DO) levels at 4 parts oxygen per million parts water. During the summer when water is at 20 , DO levels should be 5 ppm.

  • Why can't I catch my trout?

    Rainbow trout are easy to catch at times and impossible to catch the next time. Rainbow trout do not like changing water conditions such as sudden drops or rises in water temperature.  They also quit biting after heavy rain activities.

    The best months to catch rainbow trout are May 10th to June 30th and Dec 10 to Dec 25th. 

    The worst months to catch rainbow trout is April to May 10th, Sept 10th to Nov 15th.

    Some fish lures that works for us is small single hooks with fish eggs, brown power bait, pink power bait, or pink worms hung below a bobber.  Mepp spinners can work well when fish are more agressive. During june flys works great including little may fly patterns and little black flys with trout oil scent applied.

  • Why should I aerate my pond?

    With oxygen present, aerobic bacteria will grow and reduce your nutrients in your pond up to 80 times faster than if no oxygen is present. The little bit of nutrients that remain will be absorbed by the plants and algae in your pond which time get eaten by grass carp and aquatic bugs.

    An electric aerator is the most popular and works best if turned on during the night when oxygen levels are lowest. This also aids in keeping the entire pond cooler by exposing more pond water to the cool air at the pond surface at night.

    Floating Fountains add beauty while aerating the pond as well. 1/4 hp to 2 hp fountains are available for purchase at Ackenberry Trout Farm. Five interchangeable nozzles are included to create 5 unique spray patterns to make a stunning center display.

    Next - STOCK GRASS CARP & TROUT IN YOUR POND - GRASS CARP have been used in Alberta ponds as an effective control of a large number of aquatic weeds including duck weed, filamentous algae and many other pond weeds. Grass Carp are herbivourous and strictly vegetation feeders.

    Carp provide a safe, biological weed control alternative for ponds.

    Grass Carp are routinely stocked with RAINBOW TROUT. These colorful fish are fun fishing, nutritious, and relaxing as well Rainbow Trout are used to keep irrigation screens and water pumps free of fresh water shrip and other bugs that may clog your systems.

Contact Ackenberry Trout Farms Today

RR 2, 49350 Range Rd 211 | Camrose AB T4V 2N1

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(780) 878-3839