Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Seasons Greetings from the AQUA DOC Team

From all of us here at AQUA DOC, wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday season. 

2015 AQUA DOC Team.

Enjoy your water this year!

 ~ The Frogger Blogger

Lake Mapping Services

AQUA DOC is now offering lake mapping services! As part of our lake and pond studies packages we will be now offering bathymetric, sediment composition, and submergent vegetation mapping. This new technology uses a boat mounted three-dimensional sonar unit to collect down-looking and side-looking data. This data can be analyzed to produce a number of maps and statistics on a given water body. This can be helpful in management as well as provide the client with some useful and exciting maps.

Lake Mapping can assist in the following:
Bathymetric map of Lake Taylor
 in Bainbridge, OH.
Created for Pilgrim Lake Colony Inc.
  • Navigation
  • Recreational Safety
  • Fishing and Fish Habitat Assessment
  • Plant Biomass Estimates
  • Aeration Planning and Design
  • Lake Zonation
  • Benthic Composition
  • Whole-Lake Treatments
  • Sediment and Runoff Analysis
  • Comparison and Long-term Trend Analysis 

AQUA DOC in its commitment to providing excellent customer service now offers the best in lake mapping. To find out more about the benefits of having your water body mapped please contact your AQUA DOC technician at (440) 286-POND or email

Enjoy your water this year!

~ The Frogger Blogger

Friday, June 5, 2015

Dang! That Fountain Looks Good...

Our friends up in Kiel, WI were very busy over this past winter working on some brand new lighting technology. AquaMaster® Fountains and Aerators has developed  the worlds fist color changing lighting array for their line of floating fountains. Here at AQUA DOC we have been testing this product over the past few months, and are in aw of it's stunning colors and light shows.
Examples of the various colors that can be achieved by the RGBW LED system.
This product is based off of the AquaMaster LED Night Glow Lighting Systems, but offers new lighting options due to the fact that it contains RGBW (red, green, blue, white) LEDs. This setup allows the user to customize the fountain to meet any color or show type, including the pre-programmed holiday themes. Just like with any AquaMaster lighting system, the RGBW's are constructed with high quality stainless steel, operate efficiently with minimal cost, and are backed with a 3 year warranty. This system can also be retrofitted to existing AquaMaster fountains, typically requiring and supplemental panel. To Inquire about this product please contact your AQUA DOC technician at (440) 286-POND or email For more information on lighting systems and options please see the external links below. This product is sure to leave your friends and family saying, "Dang! That Fountain Looks Good..."

Enjoy your pond this year!

~ The Frogger Blogger

External Links:
40 Watt RGBW LED - AquaMaster® Fountains and Aerators

Monday, April 27, 2015

Carnivorous Plants in Your Pond

Common Bladderwort (Utricularia macrorhiza)
Plants that eat animals, somewhat unusually some may think- But in fact they are  quite common, both in waters of the Midwest and around the world. A specialized genus of submergent vegetation commonly know as bladderwort (Utricularia sp.), has the ability to trap and consume zooplankton, protozoans, flatworms, and even mosquito larve. The plant's physical structure is unique in the fact that it has small branching bladder like traps located throughout the underwater portions of the plant, hence the name bladderwort. Zooplankton in the water column are attracted to these traps by a sugary mucilage secreted by the plant. Once there, the prey sets off a series of trigger hairs and is sucked into the bladder with the use of osmotic pressure.

Although the plant does have photosynthetic leaf-shoots, the ability to supplement it's energy production with the consumption of higher-level organisms is assumed to evolutionarily benefit the plant under nutrient limiting conditions. Bladderwort has been found to thrive in the harshest of conditions including the the cold of Antarctica and acidified lakes of the Adirondacks- But don't be surprised if it's found in the pond down the street either, this plant is truly cosmopolitan in freshwater. In the United States a couple varieties exist, typically displaying a yellow or purple colored flower mid to late summer. Utricularia is not considered a nuisance plant, and seldom has the ability to over populate a waterbody. 

So, if your out fishing at your pond or down by the water's edge, take a look and see if you can see any distinct branching bladders (typically 0.2 mm to 1.2 cm wide; See image above). And if you don't like what you see, don't forget about the AQUA DOC's full season premium lake and pond management services for nuisance weed and algae control. Now is a good time to be thinking about your aquatic plants, before the major portion of the growing season starts. For more information and to get in contact with our experts please call us at (440) 286-POND or email

Enjoy your pond this year!

~ The Frogger Blogger

External Links:
University of Buffalo, Carnivorous plant packs big wonders into tiny genome
USDA Wildflowers

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lakescaping and Shoreline Preservation

Almost always, the first thing people notice about your pond or lakefront property is the condition of the shoreline. Lakescaping is a lawn/shoreline design that uses native wetland plants, shrubs, and trees to create an eye-catching and functional solution to shoreline erosion issues. Some benefits of this type of planting project over traditional shoreline hardscapes (sheet pile, rip-rap, etc.) include reduced care and maintenance cost over the long term, more efficient stabilization of soils, discouragement or elimination of migratory bird (geese) impacts on lawn areas, improved water quality, and increases shoreline terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity.

Your typical Kentucky bluegrass lawn has a rooting depth of approximately 2-4 inches. Many of the wetland plants native to our area of the world offer a much greater rooting depth- some with roots greater than six feet deep. When properly chosen, these plants have the ability to anchor eroding shoreline soils, withstanding all sorts of inherent environmental factors including water level fluctuation and annual freeze thaw patterns.

Migratory birds including the Canada goose generally prefer a direct line or path to and from a respective waterbody. Backyard ponds with a traditional monoculture lawn shoreline offer an ideal habitat for Canadian geese and other migratory birds. By breaking up this pathway with the use of taller and hardier wetland plants, geese populations are forced traverse a more difficult situation when accessing the water; decreasing the potential of your pond attracting nuisance bird populations.

While creating a stunning lawn design and protecting your shoreline you are also functionally changing the dynamics of your pond’s immediate watershed. A properly vegetated shoreline serves as a buffer from incoming nutrients and runoff, naturally increasing water clarity and selecting for beneficial plant species.

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)
The goal of lakescaping is to return 50-75% of the shoreline to a naturally vegetated state. However, as it will take more time and energy to maintain, we realize this design is not for everyone (especially in the early planting stages), but if you view your pond as a wildlife refuge, or wildlife viewing area AQUA DOC is now offering shoreline plant sales. Join us this spring in celebrating the beauty and functionality of native wetland plants by participating in our 2015 blue flag iris sale. For more information please call us at (440) 286-POND or email

Enjoy your pond this year!

~ The Frogger Blogger

*Customer responsible for planting of all purchased Blue Flag Iris.

*Remember never plant woody vegetation or trees directly on earthen dams as their hardy root systems can damage your pond over time.

External Links:
Chicago Botanical Garden Lake Shoreline Erosion Control and Habitat Enhancement
Lakescaping for Wildlife

Friday, January 9, 2015

Canadian Geese
Not so long ago, to see a Canada goose was rare.  Now, they are common all across the country.  So common in fact that, in many instances, they have become a nuisance.  Canadian geese, as beautiful as they may be, can make a big mess for pond owners.  The birds are divided into two categories: migratory and resident.  Migratory Canada geese, as the name implies, migrate yearly.  Resident Canadian geese tend to stay in one place, however, and therein lies much of the problem.  Once established in a nesting ground, the geese are very difficult to get rid of and an over-abundance of them can have a negative impact on the area. 
Canadian geese are attracted to open spaces with lots of visibility and open water making many urban residential and commercial locations prime real estate for the birds.  Landscaping that is attractive to humans, manicured grassy areas around ponds for example, is attractive to flocks of geese as well and provides perfect nesting grounds.  Furthermore, being grazers, the highly fertilized lawns of such locations provide a good food source.  Canadian geese have a life-span of 25-30 years and are very adaptable species with a high adult survival rate.  A mated pair will nest yearly with an average clutch of 4-7 eggs and the hatchlings have a good survival rate.  The vast amounts of desirable habitat, protection provided by federal and state laws, the adaptability and survival rate of the geese, have combined to create a US population more than a million birds.  Quite a comeback for a bird that was once almost extinct. 
Canadian geese are beautiful birds and add aesthetic appeal to many ponds.  Not only do the birds add to the beauty of many parks and public areas, but some states allow for hunting of the birds, giving them recreational value as well.  However, the flocks of resident birds, once they have established in a location, can have many adverse effects on an area.  Large flocks can trample and compact grassy areas, leave copious amounts of droppings, carry disease, and can become aggressive, particularly while nesting.  Goose droppings can cause slippery conditions, smell foul, transmit disease such as e-coli, and contribute to algae blooms in ponds by adding extra nitrogen and phosphorus to water.  While nesting, the male will aggressively defend the nest as the female sits on the eggs.  An angry male, though not a big threat to most adults, may bite and could hurt a child.  Since the geese like areas frequented by humans as well, the preceding issues can cause problems for people. 
If you have an over population of geese at your pond, what is to be done?  The answer is not an easy one, and most fixes tend to be temporary due to the adaptable nature of the bird.  There are many humane methods that can be employed and greatest success seems to be achieved by using a combination of two or more methods.  Rule number one is do not feed the geese.  Though it may be fun to see a goose up-close, by feeding them, you’re encouraging them to stay.  Furthermore, they may become aggressive which can be dangerous, particularly to children.  Visual and auditory methods can work, especially when combined.  Use of flashing lights, such as used in products like AwayWithGeese (, mylar balloons, and decoys ( are all common visual methods.  Auditory methods, such as air horns and shooting blanks, can also be employed (always check with your local authorities in advance).  The use of dogs, Border Collies in particular, and motion activated water jets are popular means of scaring off the geese, also known as hazing.  Environmental modifications can be made too.  Adding rock walls, fencing, and/or philly-stran to make access to water more difficult can be helpful.  Also, the presence of longer grasses the geese are not likely to eat and where predators may hide make the area less appealing to the birds.  When possible, it is best to employ these methods in combination and as early as possible before the flock gets too established for best results.

It is also possible to move flocks.  This is done during molting when the birds are flightless.  Flocks are netted or herded into pens and relocated.  However, Canadian geese have very strong homing instincts and will often return unless moved a very far distance and/or as juveniles.  Hunting is also employed to thin or eradicate flocks.  ALWAYS consult your state or local wildlife service if this extreme measure is required as the species is protected and hunting is regulated and/or illegal.  There are also methods of disrupting reproduction such as egg oiling or addling.  Again ALWAYS check with your local and or state wildlife authorities prior to pursuing any of these methods.  In general, these methods are only to be performed by a licensed professional.
The Canadian goose has made an extraordinary recovery in the US.  The once rare migratory bird is now a common sight all across the land and the population is expected to continue to increase.  With this increase, management of the flocks is often necessary as they come into contact and sometimes conflict with humans.  AQUA DOC has many products and suggestions that may assist in minimizing the conflict to help make the contact more pleasing.  For more information contact us at 800-689-5253 or email
Stay Warm!

~ The Frogger Blogger


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bryozoan found in an Ohio Pond
Photo courtesy of AQUA DOC Aquatic Specialist, Mike Drobnick

What On Earth Is In My Pond?

If you have seen one of these in your pond, you've seen a phylactolaemate bryozoan, an animal that has inhabited our planet for millions of years.  Though there are several thousand species of bryozoan, the phylactolaemate bryozoan is exclusively found in freshwater and, currently, there less than a hundred named species.  Bryozoans make their home on underwater structures such as fallen branches. 

The blob you see pictured above is not a single animal, but a colony of individual zooids.  The colony begins with one zooid which will reproduce to form copies of itself.  Every member of the colony is a genetic copy of the first.  Bryozoans reproduce through both sexual and asexual means such as fragmentation.  The freshwater phylactolaemate bryozoan also form statoblasts through asexual means.  These statoblasts become encased in a shell like covering and will either be carried away from the parent colony to regrow in a different location or may remain attached to the parent colony to rebuild when the parent colony dies off.  New colonies are produced through sexual means, however.  Bryozoans, believed to be hermaphroditic, produce larvae that will detach from the parent colony and float or be carried to a new location to form a new colony. 

Generally, the bryozoans will remain under the water unnoticed by pond owners.  However, when the summer draws to a close and the water temperatures drop you may see colonies floating in the water.  This happens when individuals die and gasses build up which make the colony float.  Bryozoans are generally not harmful and can be a food source for other animals.  They can, however, cause problems in watergardens or closed systems if they become lodged in filters or pumps.  If bryozoans become an issue or are an eyesore, the colony can be removed by hand.  Bryozoans will most likely return the following year, however, as buds or statoblasts have already attached elsewhere to begin another colony. 

If you have questions about these odd creatures, ask your Aquatic Specialist or contact AQUA DOC at 800-689-5253 or         

Happy Holidays!

~ The Frogger Blogger

Fresh water bryozoan
Photo courtesy of Mike Drobnick