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General Tips

Blue Fish Pond Liners – Why Is Blue Fish Pond Liner Such A Good Idea?

By | General Tips

Competition Blue Pond Shield EpoxyPeople have been keeping Koi for some time now. As a matter of fact, Koi were actually used as a food staple by rice farmers at one time. Because the rice fields were shallow, the Koi could be let loose to swim freely until it was time to capture them.

It was not until only a couple of hundred years ago that the inbreeding that was taking place started to produce a variety of colors in Koi. This is when Koi began to be noticed as something one might want to breed and collect.

Soon the uneven blotches of red and white were turned into distinguishable patterns of color. The fish were bred so that the offspring produced would be rich in the patterns sought after.

This led to more and more breeding as the Koi became popular, but one thing stayed the same. These fish were in mud ponds or other type of natural water features where they were hard to see.

As time went on it became apparent to Koi breeders that the color of background used to display Koi was an important factor in what others perceived of the fish. If the background was not right, the new breeds of Koi with blues and yellows and even chromatic looking colors did not look as bright or lively.

Black was one of the most popular colors to display Koi against for a long time. But as new breeds of Koi became available, even black wasn’t going to do for long. You might have a beautiful Komonryu to show that is difficult to see against a black background.

Now hard as I might look and research, I cannot tell you when the first blue background was used. However, I do know why. From what I could find, the blue background actually allows one to view the Koi in whole.

What this means is even some of the Koi breeds that have transparent portions of fins or blue coloring in their bodies can be viewed against a blue background and all of the fish can be seen.

If you have a winner in your pond, blue will make the fish stand out better.  That’s a fact. Have you ever been to a Koi show? When the judges are looking at the Koi, the fish are always in a blue tub of some sort. This way the judges can see everything they need to see.

This is why Pond Armor offers Competition Blue as a color for ponds. Now only is it another color to choose from, but the shade of blue has been mimicked from actual show tanks. So if you are stuck and wondering what color you want to use for your pond, consider blue.

Fish Safe Epoxy – Choosing A Fish Safe Coating For Your Pond

By | General Tips

Fish Safe EpoxySo you are ready to waterproof your new pond.  Maybe it is an existing pond with a small leak.  Either way, in your search for something to seal and waterproof it, you realize that only a few of them are labeled fish safe.  What does it mean to call a coating fish safe?

First let me give you a little information about coatings in general.  It is a common misconception that once a coating is cured, it is safe.  Unknown to most people is that fact that there are some coatings on the market that can leach of toxins into your pond even after they are cured.

Take roof coatings for instance.  Yes they do a mighty fine job of waterproofing a roof.  Because of this one would think that they would do a mighty fine job of waterproofing a pond too, right?  Well they will more than likely waterproof the pond, but what else will they do to the pond?

Oh, and I hate think of what might happen if the coating had not fully cured yet and you put your fish in the pond.  That might be as close to an instant disaster as you can get!  But let’s step back and take a look at the whole picture for a minute.

With all of the waterproofing products on the market today that are pond related, you need to do your homework and make sure that what you use in your pond really is safe.  Your fish certainly cannot tell you that they feel ill and by the time you realize that something is wrong, it may very well be too late.

I had heard a horror story and was unable to verify the truth in it, but I will pass it along as a hypothetical example.  I had heard that there was once a manufacturer of a preformed plastic pond liner.  This manufacturer had made the mistake of using the wrong type of plastic for their product.

Because of this, the plastic leached toxins into the water and would kill fish over a period of time.  Now again, I could never validate the story, but knowing what I know about plastics, I cannot invalidate it either.  But realistically, that does not matter.  What does is my knowledge that you as a pond owner, have become more educated in they way you choose a product.

It is better to be safe than sorry right?  A fish safe epoxy or any other coating should be a coating that is tested to ensure that it is fish safe.  Pond Armor, for instance, tests Pond Shield products for this purpose.  It is done so that when you purchase product, you know it will not harm your fish or plans for that matter.

That is not to say you could drink a gallon of the epoxy or any other coating.  That would be foolish.  But by having it tested and proven, what it does say is that in conjunction with the way the product is applied and used, that by following the instructions you can be assured that your aquatic life will not be harmed.

That is an important thing for a pond owner to know.  So know the product you plan to use to waterproof your pond.  Your fish will be glad you did.

Pond Paint Did You Just Say Pond Paint?

By | General Tips

I am covering my ears right now.  La la la, I cannot hear you!  You can’t possibly be considering putting paint in your new pond could you?  If so, let me let you in on a few things first.

Paint is defined as a substance composed of solid color matter suspended in a liquid medium and applied as a decorative coating to various surfaces.  A decorative coating.  It might look good but what is it doing for your pond?  Does it serve a purpose for anything other than looking pretty?

Those are some pretty important questions to ask because if the coating you apply is just a decorative color and will not at least waterproof you pond, then it becomes useless.  If you want to seal and waterproof your pond or water feature, you need to coat it with a product that is designed for that purpose.

Paint will not do in that scenario.  Most paints, because they are designed for basically colorizing the item that it’s applied to are applied pretty thin.  Usually paints are applied at a thickness of 2 mils or so because that’s all that they need.

Even if you applied the paint any thicker, it would not necessarily mean that the paint would be any stronger.  The coating you choose to water proof your pond or water feature needs to have additives built in that make it strong.

These additives should be designed to produce very specific strength properties as well as specific elongation properties.  Without them, the coating would not be able to stand up to the punishment it might have to endure.

Now sure some paints are designed to protect things like woods, plastic and other materials, but the protection is usually only in a UV deterrent form because the item being protected may deteriorate if UV is allowed to continuously attack it.

In regards to pond paints, you should also not get your materials confused.  For instance, a chemical used to seal an item may only provide protection enough to repel water or moisture, not waterproof against it.  In a lot of cases sealers need to be reapplied regularly in order to keep moisture penetration at a minimum.

But do you see what happens?  “…keep moisture penetration …”  Moisture and water still penetrate to a certain degree.  A waterproofing coating would not allow penetration of any sort.  When it comes to waterproofing a pond or water feature, your goal is to stop this penetration of water which can eventually form a leak.

Paints and coatings are made up of a variety of raw materials.  A lot of them will contain chemicals that are designed to evaporate in order to cause curing to take place.  I bet you didn’t know that when a chemical evaporates out of a coating, that coating shrinks.

It sure does and when it shrinks, the coating becomes susceptible to cracking all by itself.  How waterproof could the coating be then?  Pond Shield epoxy, for instance, is made without the use of chemicals like that.  The curing process is more of a mechanical method in nature and will not shrink after it is applied.

The other thing you need to consider with pond paint or any other paint would be how toxic the material is.  This means knowing what the toxicity is even after the paint has cured.  If the coating you apply is toxic, it may harm your fish.  I have heard horror stories of the wrong coating being used and the death of all stock being the result.

The problem with fish is that they can’t tell you that their environment is making them sick.  Your water may look perfectly fine but you never know what may actually be happening to it.

Finally, you have to consider the lifespan of pond paint.  A typical paint might last 20 years doing the job it was designed to do on the side of your home, but it may not be able to perform properly or for very long in the wrong conditions.

A good example might be co0rrosive effects of the salt content in a salt water holding tank.  Yes, salt is corrosive.  A paint product might not even be designed for use in that manner, but the correct coating will be.

So save yourself the trouble and purchase a quality material that is designed for the purpose of waterproofing as well as housing aquatic and plant life.  In the end, you’ll find that the money you spent was indeed a quality investment for both you and your stock.

How To Use Glazed Tile In Your Pond

By | General Tips

You Can Use Glazed Tile In Your PondThese days, people are just not satisfied with a typical, run of the mill, boring looking pond.  I have seen a wide variety of styles and designs in my time and what I have concluded is that as we progress towards the future, so does the look and feel of the backyard pond.

Backyard ponds are not the only things changing either.  People are now putting ponds directly in their homes too.  In doing so they find that they want to make their pond meld in with its surroundings, as though it was supposed to be there.

One of those ways is to incorporate glazed tile into their motif.  Unfortunately, what usually happens is the glazed tile is put in place and then the water proofing is addressed.  This is a mistake.

The problem with glazed or glass fired tile is the shiny, smooth surface it has.  Coatings just do not stick to this type of surface.  Attempting to do so may initially show signs of success, but any coating will eventually fall off.

What you end up with is the coating bonding to the grouted areas of the surface but popping off of the glazed areas.  This will more than likely happen to all areas that are glazed.  In the end, you will have a raggedy edge of coating that’s left on the glaze that produces quite an unsightly appearance.

I have been asked if just the grout can be coated.  In my opinion, this is not only a labor intensive task, but one due to failure as well because you’ll more than likely get coating on the glazed surface at some points.  When you do, these areas will deteriorate and you will end up with the same unattractive look.

So what is the fix for a scenario like this?  Well if you have already installed your tile, the bad news is there is no cure.  You will have to remove the tile and get the Pond Shield epoxy coating installed first and then reinstall the tile.

This Process Works With Pool Tile TooIf you have not installed your tile yet, then you’re in good shape.  You would simply install the Pond Shield epoxy coating on whatever the tile is being installed on.  Let the coating cure out and inspect it for any missed areas.  Touch up those areas prior to moving forward with the project.

Once the coating has cured, you can sand it with 60-grit sandpaper. This will give the surface of the coating some tooth so that the material you use to attach the tile with sticks to the coating.

Here is where you need to be careful.  Usually tile is attached to a surface using a typical cemtiticious thinset that is essentially a very fine cement powder mixed with water.  Once it is mixed, it has the same sort of properties as mortar but is much more refined like plaster.

The problem is that typical thinset will not adhere to a coating.  Instead you’ll want to set your tile in place with a very sticky, acrylic type of thinset or a polyurethane adhesive.  These materials are stickier than normal Thinset.  Combined with the tooth you just gave the coating, either of these materials will bond the tile to the coating.

Once this is done, grout the tile as you normally would and you will be in business.  The final product places the waterproof barrier behind the tile, while allowing the tile to still be bonded in place, giving you a new design aspect for your pond.

Just think of the possibilities.  If you take a look at the wedding cake styled fountain in the pictures gallery, you will see the process actually taking place.  In this scenario, the installer was constructing a wedding cake fountain from pre-cast concrete wedges.

The wedges were then assembled and coated with Pond Shield epoxy.  The surface was abraded and the black glass tile set in place with the acrylic thinset.  The whole process only took the installer a few days and the finished fountain has become the center piece of the shopping area where it is located.

Fixing an Epoxy Blush

By | General Tips

Epoxy BlushAn epoxy blush can happen from time to time and you will know it when you see it. Basically, your epoxy finish will look milky white or in cases of the darker colors have a grayish color to the surface.

This can happen because of one of two reasons. Either the epoxy hardener was not mixed with the resin properly or the curing process took place during a time in which the dew point closely matched the outside temperature.

The later scenario usually happens during colder temperatures and as nightfall approaches. You should make sure that your new coating has at least a six hour window of consistent temperature to cure in.

To protect against condensation, you should apply your coating during a time such that condensation will not accumulate on the surface of the coating until it has completely cured.  The curing process can also be aided by placing a tarp over the coated area while the epoxy cures.

When mixing, you also need to make sure you scrape the sides of the mix container you are using and mix the epoxy thoroughly.  This will ensure that the hardener is mixed into the resin thoroughly.  Be sure that you only mix 2 parts of component A with 1 part of component B.  A complete kit (quart and half, gallon and half, three gallon) comes pre-measured already.

If you have a case of epoxy blush, do not fret! It is pretty simple to fix. In most cases simply rubbing the area with a rag with lacquer thinner or acetone on it will clear the blemish right up. In worst case scenarios you may have to scuff the area with a green scotch-brite pad to remove the fogginess and then apply new, thin coat over the affected area.

Pond Shield Application Temperature

By | General Tips

Pond Shield will cure if applied at above 50° F. Considering that, you should keep in mind that because Pond Shield has been designed thick in order to hang properly on vertical and upside-down surfaces, it can seem a lot thicker when it is cold. The application process can be a lot easier if you store your kits inside at room temperature for 24 hours before taking them out to the project site. So the 50° F temperature is not necessarily a must, but would make things a little easier.  Normally, the coating cures out in about 24 hours and is ready for use, however, if the nighttime temperature dips below 50° F, then it may cure out a little slower.  In cases like that, the coating may take 30 or so hours to cure, but it will cure.

If you find that the Part component of your kits has solidified, simply replace the cap and submerge the kit in a bucket of hot tap water for 30 minutes.  Allow the coating to cool down for at least 30 minutes prior to application and the coating will be back to its normal state.

Properly mixing your epoxy will also make it easier to apply too. Pond Shield clear can be stick-mixed where the pigmented versions should always be mixed with a jiffy mixer attached to a drill. Mixing with a jiffy mixer will change the viscosity of cold epoxy and make it easier to apply. Pond Shield sets up in about an hour at 72° F. Lower application temperatures will retard this process some, giving you longer pot life, whereas hotter temperatures shorten the pot life.

Care should be taken at any temperature not to over mix the coating. Stick to the instructions and you should not have any problems. You can also store Pond Shield inside at room temperature just as you would during colder applications. Epoxy that has been stored outside in the sun at 85° F for instance will have a shorter pot life because the epoxy may already be heated up. As a rule of thumb, make sure you only mix the amount you know you can apply within an hour or less.

Removing the White Safety Ring from the Can

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Pond Shield is packaged in a manner that the kit contents will not spill out during shipping or handling. The white safety rings are pressed on in our manufacturing plant and can be difficult to remove.

One method of removing them is to use pliers to grab the lower edge of the ring and pry upwards. Apply this maneuver about every 1/4 inch around the can’s lid. The white ring will usually pop right off with this motion, but if you still have difficulty, you can then pry the remainder up with a small flat blade screwdriver.

Grip Side of Ring with Pliers
  Grip Ring with Pliers
Pull Ring up from Can
  Pull up from Can

You can discard the white ring after removal and simply tamp down the can’s lid to store any extra Pond Shield you may have left over. Pond Shield has a very long shelf life. You can find a best if used by date on the kit. It is best to have applied it by then.

Once you pour the hardener in with the resin and mix it for use, there  materials will return to their natural state and the Pond Shield can be used as it was when purchased. For the longest possible storage life, store your kits in a cool dry place with the lids securely tamped down.

How to Use a Wet Film Thickness Gauge

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Your Pond Shield epoxy kit comes with two easy to use wet film thickness gauges. Both of these gauges come printed on the same card and all you have to do is cut them out before you use them. Cut along the outside edge of the black boarder around each gauge. Try and keep as close to the outside of the black line as possible.

Once you have finished cutting your gauges out you should fold them in half. This will make it easier to check the thickness of your Pond Shield epoxy coating because you can stand the gauges in the coating. Apply slight pressure to the top edge of the gauge so that is dips into the coating. Don’t use too much pressure or you’ll get a false reading. Your new coating only needs to be as thick as the black line is in order to give you all of the strength properties that we talk about in this web site. Don’t be fooled. The finished thickness is plenty and will do the job perfectly. You have the choice of applying Pond Shield thicker, but it is not necessary.

Step 1 – Cut along outside of the black border

Wet Film Thickness Gauge Step 1

Step 2 – Fold in half

Wet Film Thickness Gauge Step 2

Step 3 – Stand gauge in coating to measure thickness

Wet Film Thickness Gauge Step 3