Ten tips to take care of your summer pond
Ten Tips To Take Care Of Your Summer Pond
Here we have put together our top 10 tips for caring for your pond during the summer months:
1. The sun/shade balance
While trees offer benefits to any pond near which they grow, providing valuable shade and shelter for wildlife, too much shade can reduce pond plant growth and, conversely, too much direct sunlight can cause ponding problems. algae.
Large amounts of fallen leaves can also cause an increase in decaying organic matter in the pond and affect water quality.
It’s best to create a balance between sunny and shady areas, so prune trees where necessary and consider using plenty of the pond’s broadleaf plants to create pleasant shaded areas for pond inhabitants.
2. Beware of poisonous garden plants
When creating a new pond, keep in mind that some trees and plants are poisonous. For example, avoid placing the pond anywhere near laurel, bay, wisteria, or yew.
When planting around the pond be sure to check the suitability of each plant as many varieties such as delphinium, foxglove, ivy and lily are toxic to fish.
3. Grow a mix of different pond plants
Plants not only make the pond more aesthetically pleasing, they also provide hiding places within the pond, create shaded areas, and absorb nitrates, which helps improve water quality.
Additionally, they help oxygenate the water and provide spawning/breeding grounds for fish and other wildlife. Try to provide a mix of plants, such as submerged pond plants/oxygenators, marginal vegetation (which will provide shelter for amphibians, dragonflies, etc.), floating species, and, for deeper ponds, water lilies.
4. Avoid tap water
Although tap water in Spain is usually of good quality, it often still contains high levels of nutrients such as nitrate and phosphate, which contribute to algae/green water problems within the pond.
Tap water also contains chlorine/ chloramine which, while making the water safe to drink, is very harmful to fish. When refilling the pond, it is better to use rainwater collected in a water reservoir. If you must use tap water, always treat first with a suitable dechlorinator that removes both chlorine and chloramine.
5. Be careful with chemicals
Take special care when using pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers near a pond, as these can easily enter the water through runoff when it rains or if a sprinkler is used.
An average sized pond will not be able to dilute such chemicals to safe levels and they could have a disastrous impact on the life of the pond.
6. Oxygenate your pond
A healthy pond will be well oxygenated, a necessity for the survival of the fish, amphibians, plants and other organisms found within. Oxygen is also essential in the breakdown of decaying organic matter.
Ponds that lack oxygen will quickly become stagnant, often with an unpleasant odor, and will soon develop a thick layer of algae (depleting the oxygen further). Oxygen levels can be maintained through pond pumps, filter outlets, air pumps/air stones, fountains, and waterfalls.
Wherever the pond surface water ripples visibly, oxygen is incorporated into the water. All aquatic plants will produce some oxygen, but certain species (sold as ‘oxygenators’) are particularly efficient at helping to oxygenate the water.
Adequate oxygenation is particularly important on hot summer days and at night, when pond plants produce CO2.
7. Keep green water at bay
Remember to change your UV clarifier bulb every 6-12 months. An ideal time is at the beginning of the pond season, each spring.
Even if the bulb has not burned out and is still on, it will still need to be replaced regularly, as after 6 to 12 months the outlet can no longer treat the water effectively.
At the same time, the quartz sleeve should be cleaned to remove any build-up of dirt, which could hinder UV transmission and reduce its efficiency.
8. Regular filter maintenance
If you have an ornamental fish pond, it goes without saying that regular filter maintenance is of great importance. A well-optimized and maintained filter should only need cleaning a few times a year; the amount of cleaning depends largely on the biological load of your pond.
In general, the filtration should be cleaned as soon as you notice a drop in water flow from the filter outlet pipe, as this would suggest that the mechanical filter media is starting to become clogged with debris.
Sponges should only be rinsed in a bucket of pond water to preserve the beneficial bacteria that break down fish waste (chlorine and chloramine in tap water kill this essential bacteria).
Biological media shouldn’t require cleaning as often, but when it does, again, a quick rinse with aged pond water is all that’s needed. Aside from the impeller, nothing inside the filter needs to be spotlessly clean.
9. Analyze pond water
The fish produce waste in the form of ammonia, which is then broken down through filter bacteria into nitrite. Both ammonia and nitrite are highly toxic to aquatic life, so having a decent filtration system is important.
The nitrite is then converted by filter bacteria to the less harmful nitrate, which is then taken up by plants or diluted by small water changes. All of these levels can be monitored using a simple water testing kit, which only takes a few minutes to use.
High levels of nitrate as well as phosphate (found in fish food, soil, tap water) can cause algae blooms and simple tests can alert you to rising levels and action can be taken.
10. Don’t overdo it
Lastly: don’t overstock the pond, don’t overfeed and don’t clean too much. Pond population level is critical to the health of your fish – excessive numbers of fish can deplete oxygen levels and put too much strain on the filter with the amount of nitrogenous waste produced.
Overfeeding also increases the amount of nitrogenous waste in the water, so be sure to offer your fish reasonable amounts of food. Remember that between feedings, there is plenty of natural food inside the pond for the fish to navigate.
Wildlife ponds, in particular, look best when they’re not too cluttered, as the natural mix of plants, leaves, twigs, stones, silt, and mud provide a home for a multitude of creatures. As mentioned above, when performing maintenance on the ornamental fish pond, do not clean the filter too much; a quick rinse of the medium in the pond water is all that is needed to remove the larger debris.
Discolored media is absolutely fine, and the sponges only need to be replaced if they don’t spring back when squeezed (make sure you only replace 25% of the sponges at a time).
We hope these steps help you get the most out of your pond and water features this summer, and if you have any more questions, they may have already been answered in our FAQ section.