Naturally, ponds can maintain their own ecosystem with little help. Maintaining your pond is essential for creating an environment friendly for fish and plants. A pond and its inhabitants go through seasonal cycles. With each season there will be slightly different pond chores to perform.
- It is not uncommon, early in the season, to have an excess of algae causing green, murky water. The problem will correct itself once the aquatic plants have started to leaf out.
- Removal of dead foliage and clean out any debris that collected over the winter.
- After the last frost divide, replant and fertilize plants and water lilies.
- After last frost add new plants to the pond—water temperature 60º.
- Fish will be starting to come out of dormancy—start feeding them. Keep in mind they are weak and vulnerable to disease at this time.
- If the pump has not been running all winter inspect the pump, filters, accessories and electrical connections for damage. Clean pump or have it serviced if necessary.
- Spring is a good time to jump start your biological filters by adding starter cultures (beneficial bacteria). The filters will develop beneficial bacteria over time but by adding bacteria or enzymes you enable the filter to start removing toxins right away.
- Pond activity reaches its height.
- Aquatic plants are growing and blooming. Keep flowers dead headed and prune off any discolored leaves.
- Avoid use of insecticides on or near the pond. Hand-pick pests from plants then feed them to your fish.
- Use hose to spray aphids off of water lily leaves
- As the temperatures outside get warmer water evaporation increases. Be sure to top-up your pond at regular intervals.
- Check on your fish periodically so you can catch any sick fish. Immediately remove any sick fish and treat with appropriate fish medicine.
- Clean filter pads regularly based on clarity of the water. (Once a month)
- Check pump to make sure it is functioning properly.
- Remove any fallen leaves or debris from the pond every day before they have a chance to decay and pollute water.
- Clean pump and filter regularly.
- As plants begin to turn brown trim them back.
- Fish may need a little more food to build up fat stores before winter.
- Place netting over surface of pond to catch any leaves.
- Can empty pond at this time. Put plants into cold storage and bring fish inside.
- Fish become inactive—go into hibernation.
- Take out pump and clean it.
- Move frost tender plants indoors in for the winter
- Take out biological filter, drain it and rinse it. Allow it to dry out. In the spring, when you put the filter back in the water it will take a couple of weeks for the beneficial bacteria to reestablish themselves in the filter media.
- It is normal to have excess algae growth until aquatic plants establish themselves.
- Oxygenating plants help to starve out algae by consuming available nutrients from the water.
- Surface plants (water lilies, water poppies) cut off sunlight needed for algae to grow.
- Addition of fish and snails can also help because they eat algae.
- Using a filtration system will help also help. Algae cells get trapped in the filtering medium.
- Algaecides can be used but should only be used as a last resort. Be careful, some algaecides can be toxic to fish. Algaecides are a temporary solution - only killing existing algae.
- Be patient. Allow the pond time to achieve a natural ecological balance between plant life, nutrients, light and temperature. Once the plants start to grow, they will filter sunlight and provide shade plus lower water temperature. These plants will consume excess nutrients in the water.
- Do not change all the water. This provides a fresh supply of dissolved mineral for algae to feed on and prolongs the time for a natural clearing to take place. Further sudden temperature change places stress on plants as well as fish. 30% water changes will help.
- Do not overuse chemicals. This will create artificially clear water which may become green again as chemicals lose their effectiveness. Chemicals are also likely to hinder the growth of aquatic plants. Improper dosage can result in loss of all plants and fish.
- Be sure to have sufficient plants for a balanced pool. 65% of the total water surface should be covered