Top 10 Tips for a Healthier Pond
A healthy pond is a win, win situation for all involved. Firstly, if you have it well stocked with fish, those fish will be able to thrive. Furthermore, if you have prioritized plant life the entire ecosystem will benefit from the care and attention you have given to the health of your pond.
And finally, you will be winning due to the sheer pleasure you will experience every time you spend time near your beautiful water feature.
However, how exactly do you achieve this? All pond owners will be aware of the delicate balance that is involved when looking after one.
To make things easier we have pulled together 10 top tips you can do that will have a positive impact on your pond’s overall health and beauty.
1. Varied plant life
All ponds benefit from a varied mix of plant life. You should aim to balance out the underwater plants (those that thrive while completely submerged), with those plants that have leaves floating on top of the water and plants that fully grow out of the water (the latter types are known as emergent).
A good resource for recommended pond plant life can be found at Flora Locale. Another worthy resource is Plantlife.
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2. Use Pond Dye
We all know that excess algae are a real problem that is detrimental to the overall health of your pond.
One of the best ways to reduce the growth is to limit the amount of sunshine penetrating the water.
No, this does not involve building a giant sunshade or relocating the pond, a simple addition of pond dye will do the trick.
Pond dye acts to give the water a more reflective appearance that means less sunlight is actually absorbed. The end result is reduced algae growth.
3. Thinking about the shade
Another point on the subject of sunlight; while overhanging trees and plants will provide shelter for pond life, (as well as reduce the amount of direct sunlight falling on the water), too much shade will actually reduce plant life.
If leaves and other organic material fall into the water, this too is detrimental when it starts to decay. The important issue here is to have a good balance of shaded areas and unimpeded light.
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4. Remove the organic debris
As we touched on above, the best ponds will have a mixture of above-ground plant life and species that are submerged. However, the wider setting may involve overhanging trees, bushes, and flower beds, all of which can cause organic debris to end up in your pond.
The important solution here is to have a skimmer net on standby. Fallen leaves, sticks, petals and grass should be removed from the water before they have a chance to rot.
A little time spent with the skimmer net or pond vacuum will help reduce the problem of organic debris, while making your pond look better too.
It is also a good idea to take care of the pond vegetation. Trim dead sections of the plants and remove them from the area of the water.
Also, when pruning your garden or mowing the lawn try to clean up as much of the waste product as you possibly can; the less that ends up in your beloved pond the better.
5. Varying depths
This one is actually more relevant in the design stages of your pond, however it is possible to retrofit the depth after construction by adding stonework shelving or other means to vary how deep the water is.
And why should you go to these lengths? Simply because a range of shallow and deep water within your pond will allow for different habitats. The end result is happier and healthier plant life and fish.
6. Aerate the water
Aeration is an important variable for a healthy pond.
Benefits include a reduction in algae growth as well as reduced odors caused by anaerobic conditions.
There are a number of ways to aerate your pond. Waterfalls and floating fountains are a popular approach.
You could also consider purchasing a lake bed aerator. These are positioned on the bed of the pond and are powered by an air compressor.
The machine creates an air column that rises from the depths, raising oxygen levels and disrupting the water to reduce stratification.
Again, the end result is healthier water for your pond life to thrive.
7. Chemical Care
Pond owners naturally need to take care of the garden around the water feature. However, when using pesticides or fertilizers in your yard, you do need to consider the impact they may have on the pond.
Water draining off the land may carry these harmful chemicals into the pond, where they will have a detrimental effect on your plant and animal life.
Always exercise caution when tending to the wider environment.
8. Partial Water Changes
Partial water changes have a real benefit on the condition of your pond, yet it is a task many pond owners avoid.
It doesn’t have to be that way, however.
A good rule of thumb is to aim for about 10% of the water in the pond to be replaced every two weeks in the summer, (every 3 or 4 weeks in the winter).
The water that you add should be the same temperature as the water in your pond and it needs to be dechlorinated. The video above is a helpful guide on the best way to go about giving your pond a partial water change.
Floating islands of plant life are a great way of adding phytofiltration to your pond, (i.e utilizing natural plant filtration to remove nutrients in the water).
Aquatic plants, marginal plants, and normal terrestrial plants can all be used to achieve this.
Hibiscus, Water Willow and Water Snowball are all recommended plants that can be added to a floating islands and are efficient nutrient reducers.
The benefits are twofold, not only do you have a more beautiful water feature due to the added plant life, you also have healthier, cleaner pond water.
10. Do not overfeed the fish
Our final tip is to simply avoid overfeeding your fish.
You should aim to add enough food so that your fish have had enough to eat and that there is not too much uneaten morsels to end up on the bottom or in the filter. (A visual inspection will tell you if you’re adding too much. If after 5 minutes you still see foodstuff floating around, you will know your fish have received more than they can handle).
Also, remember that fish will eat less when the water is colder. During the winter you may well need to reduce the amount you add to the pond at feeding time.
Image Credits: Pixabay