Pond Maintenance 101
A common misconception about personal pond ownership is that it’s a one-and-done affair. By this we mean, it’s wrong to think that once you’re done creating your water feature, the work is over. On the contrary, it means that the true work has only just begun! Owning a personal pond means that you must be continually maintaining it to sustain it’s quality — especially if your pond is a home for aquatic creatures. In this blog, we’re going to share the essentials regarding pond maintenance, so stay tuned!
Cleaning Your Pond
The most obvious aspect of pond maintenance is the routine cleaning of your pond. As time goes by, you can bet that debris, sludge, and who knows what else will begin to build up in your pond. Along with the visual dissatisfaction procured by debris, trash, and sludge, unwanted materials pose a risk to the health of your microcosmic ecosystem. For instance, trash, or even decomposing organic material, can be extremely toxic to both plants and fish that may be living in your pond. Additionally, the buildup of debris can inhibit proper water circulation.
To combat this, there are a variety of tools. A basic pool skimmer can usually do the trick when it comes to removing unwanted materials from your pond. For bigger ponds or ponds that are logistically difficult to clean, there exists a huge market of pond/aquatic vacuums designed to filter foreign objects from your pond water.
If your pond is in serious need of maintenance, the best solution would be to give it a deep clean. To deep clean a personal pond, simply remove the water (and creatures) from your water feature, scrub any sludge away and remove any debris. It’s also recommended to annually clean your pond in the spring when plant growth and fish activity are low.
It’s important to note that occasionally, intentionally included plants can require cleaning or maintenance. By this we mean that a plant should never cover the entire (or majority) of your pond’s surface. In addition, if a plant you’ve included has died, it should promptly be removed. If you need to deal with excess or dead plants in your pond, simply use a rake to remove the unwanted growth!
Along with cleaning your pond, ensure that you give attention to your water pump and filter. Making certain that both pump and filter are free of debris enables the hardware to operate effectively, ultimately improving the state of your water feature.
PRO TIP: When creating your water feature, be sure to select the correct size of water pump and filter. This will save you a lot of maintenance work in the future, as a properly filtered and pumped pond will stay cleaner, longer.
Maintaining A Balanced Environment
A balanced environment is essential to maintaining a healthy pond. As well as being essential, maintaining a balanced environment is tedious and multifaceted. That being said, a balanced water feature environment will help your pond look the best it can be, while also being happy and healthy.
Balancing Your Water’s Chemistry And Temperature
A pond would just be a hole without water, so it’s important that the water in your pond stays maintained in regard to chemistry and temperature.
The water chemistry of your water feature can be affected in a variety of different ways. As discussed above, decaying organic material like leaves, branches, flower petals, or even fish food can release chemicals that are toxic to fish or plants in your pond — that’s why it’s so important to regularly remove any foriegn objects from your water feature.
To remedy a chemical imbalance in your pond, there are a variety of chemical solutions that are designed to regulate pond water chemistry, and return it to a balanced state. To stay informed on the status of your water chemistry, we suggest investing in a water-chemistry testing kit and regularly testing your water. This way, you can stay on top of any changes, or you can remain satisfied by the stellar status of your pond!
Water temperature is another vital aspect of backyard pond maintenance. Similar to maintaining a balanced water chemistry, maintaining the proper water temperature requires you to regularly assess the temperature of your water. Water temperature imbalances occur most frequently in the summer (when water overheats) and in the winter (when water becomes too cold).
In the winter, your best bet is to invest in a water heating system for your water feature. This will ensure that your water will stay a liveable temperature for any fish inhabiting it, and that your water won’t freeze, potentially damaging the filtering or pumping hardware. If a heater is not an option, place wood or a ball on the surface of the water in order to prevent total freezing. Another option is to invest in a pond cover for the winter months.
In the summer, you can prevent your water from overheating through a variety of methods. First and foremost, when planning your garden pond, try and keep it in a shaded area, as direct sunlight will drastically increase your water temperatures. Additionally, aeration systems constantly work to cycle cooler water around your pond and maintain its desired temperature.
However, if these are not options, and you still need to lower your water temperature, add cool water to your pond. That being said, it’s important to note that when adding cool/cold water to your pond make sure you’re changing the temperature gradually. You can do this by only adding water that’s within 10 degrees of your pond’s temperature.
Aerating your pond reaps a variety of benefits in the long run. Most directly, aerating a water feature adds oxygen to your water which improves the water’s health, the amount of oxygen any fish-dwellers can access, and promotes good bacteria growth. What this means is that an aerated pond will decrease the likelihood of fish suffocation, as well as stopping nutrient (and thus muck/sludge) buildup.
To properly aerate your pond, the most effective and consistent option is to invest in an aerator. An aerator endlessly circulates the water in your pond, adding oxygen, maintaining temperature, and preventing nutrient build ups. On the more natural side of the equation, there are a variety of oxygenating plants you can add to your water feature that will actively aerate your pond. Arrowhead, eelgrass, and fanwort are all examples of exceptional oxygenating plants.
Obtaining The Perfect Pond
Proper pond maintenance is the key to ensuring that your water feature stays fresh, functional, and fashionable. This blog has covered the basic information regarding proper pond maintenance, but if you’re still confused, overwhelmed, or if you simply don’t have an interest in maintaining your pond on your own, Dreamscape Ponds is here for you. We offer services encompassing everything water feature related, be it new pond construction, water feature maintenance, or even landscaping!
Give us a call today and let us take your pond to the next level!