Water gardens and ponds have become a popular home landscaping feature over the recent years. However, there’s a lot more to maintaining them than just filling an enclosure with water and adding some fish. Below are some of the essential things to know to keep your water garden pristine and beautiful:
Don’t go crazy with the fish.
Once you’ve set up your garden pond or ornamental water feature, you may be tempted to fill it with life. While we understand your enthusiasm, try not to overcrowd the water! You should have less than 10 inches of fish for every hundred gallons of water; anything more than that and your pond will become overpopulated, leading to an imbalance in the water due to an excess of waste products.
Additionally, try to only feed your fish the appropriate amount of feed. Going overboard with the fish food may lead to some of it going uneaten, which will then decay and muck up the water. Fish should be fed once a day, with only enough food they can eat in a couple of minutes. Any leftover food should be removed from the water immediately.
Control the growth of Algae.
Algae are nonflowering aquatic plants that may grow in bodies of water due to an excess amount of nutrients. If you use lawn fertilizer and the runoff deposits into your garden pond, it may lead to the growth of algae. Try to put in some plants along the water’s edge — they’ll soak up the nitrogen compounds and phosphorus in the fertilizer before they get into the water. You may also want to keep your pond adequately shaded. This is because light is crucial for algae to grow, so controlling the amount of light that gets through to the surface of the water is very important.
If you do find that your pond has had an outbreak of algae, it’s essential that you remove as much of it as possible immediately. This is because algae also uses up the oxygen in the water, and lack of oxygen can cause the fish in the water to die.
Clean your pond regularly.
Keep your pond neat by periodically removing debris from the surface of the water before it has a chance to decay. This includes spent and wilted flowers, yellowing leaves and foliage, and excess plant growth. You’ll want to keep at least 60%, ideally 70 to 80% of the surface of the water clear. Fallen leaves should also be scooped out regularly, as well as any litter or trash that may find itself in the pond. Fish waste and leftover feed should also be cleaned out lest it raises the ammonia levels in the water to dangerous heights.
Make sure you have the right size pump and filter.
The correct pump for your pond should be able to circulate the entire pond’s water volume at least once per hour. Water pumps help keep the pond clean and aerate the water, providing oxygen to everything that lives in it, and not installing a pump in a man-made pond would be a mistake. It also drives the filtration system, which again helps keep your pond in a healthy condition. On that note, you should definitely invest in a filtration system that’s suitable for the needs of your pond. Ideally, you’ll want your filter to handle more than the pond’s actual capacity for optimum results. You’ll also want to keep that filter clean.
It might seem like a lot of work, but maintaining your water garden couldn’t be easier. Just keep our tips in mind and your pond should stay healthy and lovely for a long time to come.