Pond Maintenance

Tips and tools to maintain your pond

Pond maintenance is essential to the continued enjoyment of your garden or fish pond. Properly locating and setting up your pond is the first step to ensuring that it remains healthy and pristine with minimal effort.

When deciding where to locate your pond, make sure you take into account the amount of sunlight it will get. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight will stimulate algae and weed growth and may heat the water to an uncomfortable or even dangerous level for your fish.

Also, while many people prefer to locate their backyard ponds near their homes or next to decks or patios where they can easily be seen and enjoyed, these areas can sometimes be collection places for runoff. Water and rain runoff can carry debris and chemical residue into your pond, disrupting the balance and harming the plants and animals that call your pond home.

Properly locating your pond to keep it out of direct sunlight (at least for most of the day) and away from runoff will help ensure that you need only perform minimal garden pond maintenance to keep the water clear and the inhabitants healthy.

Pond Maintenance Tools

Perhaps the most essential tool for maintaining your pond is a pond filter. A good pond filtration system will include filters for debris and chemicals, and may include a bio filter.

Pond skimmers are helpful for removing debris, such as twigs and leaves, that falls or is blown into the pond, and pond vacuums allow you to remove any such debris that has had a chance to settle on the bottom.

Soft-bristled brushes come in handy for scrubbing the pond liner — as well as features such as rocks, statues and pond fountains — during an annual pond cleaning. If you don't have access to de-chlorinated water through your local water source, you will also want to purchase a de-chlorinating agent for the water used to clean and refill the fish pond.

UV sterilizers kill bacteria, parasites, algae and other microbial organisms, protecting fish from disease and keeping the water pristine.

Pond Maintenance Procedures

There are two main procedures you will have to perform to keep your pond well-maintained: pond weed control and pond algae control.

The best pond weed control is prevention. Proper pond placement and construction is perhaps the best way to prevent aquatic weeds. Stocking the pond with grass carp is another way to control pond weeds naturally. Use aquatic herbicides only as a last resort and then only according to the directions and with extreme caution, as they can harm other aquatic plants, as well as fish and other pond dwellers.

Pond location and construction are also key elements in pond algae control. Limiting the amount of direct sunlight on the pond water and digging the pond at least 3 feet deep to prevent sunlight from reaching the bottom will help control algae growth. Barley straw bundles can also be used to control algae naturally. Use one bundle for every 1,000 gallons of water, and make sure the bundles are submerged but not completely sunken (they need light to break down properly).

Pond water treatments, even ones labeled "natural" or "organic," should be used sparingly, especially in fish ponds. Chemicals can be harmful to fish, and even natural additives can disrupt the balance of the water and negatively affect fish health.

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