Common Pond Maintenance Mistakes

Having a beautiful pond with crystal clear water does not happen without work. The reason you have shimmering water is because of routine maintenance. When the water becomes murky, the pond is showing signs of an imbalance and the pond’s health is at risk probably due to improper upkeep. Below are some common pond maintenance mistakes to avoid.

Inadequate Filtration

Filters are crucial for a healthy aquatic balance. It is important to incorporate two types of filtration: mechanical and biological. Mechanical filtration is the removal of suspended solid materials from the pond water that helps keep your water clean and clear. As a calm flow of water cycles through the mechanical filter, bits of debris and solid waste like leaves, stirred up muck, and free-floating algae settle onto the surface of the filter. These types of filters need to be cleaned or replaced frequently to avoid blockage. We suggest cleaning once a week.

Biological filtration is the process that removes excess ammonia by using nature's nitrogen cycle to detoxify organic waste products. These filters are comprised of colonies of bacteria that feed on and break down harmful chemicals in the pond and convert them to harmless chemicals. Biological filtration is extremely important for a man-made pond. If your pond is unlined, biological filtration may not be necessary since the exposure of the water to the soil allows the bacteria in the soil to act as the filter. For lined ponds, however, we recommend purchasing a filter with special areas designed for these bacteria to grow in a protected environment and a way to force water through the bacterial colony. Keeping your pond free from ammonia and toxins is essential for fish health, and bio-filters also help remove the waste products that lead to extreme algae growth.

Insufficient Adjustment Time

Ponds take time to adjust to different elements. From plants to fish to chemicals, each need specific adjustment time in order to create a thriving aquatic environment. Even using treatments like Pond Cleaner Tablets, which use healthy bacteria to clarify the water, can take some time to work. When adding new fish make sure to add a few at a time over a period of several weeks. The biological filters need to get used to the ammonia and other toxins produced from the extra waste so adding new fish little by little will help prevent fish kill and algae build up.

Overcrowding and Overfeeding Fish

Depletion of oxygen and build up of ammonia are key triggers for excessive algae blooms. When there are too many fish, there is a depletion of oxygen, which is hazardous to the safety of fish and plants. Overfeeding can cause excess waste, which leads to high ammonia levels in the water. The combination of depleted oxygen and high ammonia will lead to extreme algae blooms. To avoid, feed your fish only what they can eat in 3-5 minutes once a day. They will remain healthy and keep your aquatic environment thriving. If you still have algae, try Algaecide, which is safe for fish and plants and helps balance the water.

Lack of UV Sterilization

Poor water quality can cause fish stress as well as bacterial and fungal infections. This may occur due to a lack of ultraviolet (UV) sterilization. UV sterilizers or clarifiers kill algae and other harmful bacteria as the water passes through the ultraviolet rays leaving the water clean and safe for fish and plant life. We recommend TotalPond’s UV Pond Clarifier to decrease infections and prevent nasty odors and murky water.

Build Up of Leaves and Debris

Dead organic materials sitting in your pond are super food for algae to grow and accumulate. Getting rid of dead leaves, fish, or plants will help to reduce the ammonia and keep the water clear. Having a net handy can help to get rid of these materials fast and easy.

Adding Water or Partial Water Changes

At the beginning of the season it’s recommended to do partial water changes like we explained in our Spring Checklist for the Perfect Pond blog. However, once your pond has established the proper biological filters, it is dangerous to add new water as it can introduce pollutants and toxic chemicals like chlorine and shock the ecosystem. This can also disrupt the biological filter process rendering it ineffective, which can have hazardous results for your pond. Unless your water level is unusually low try to avoid doing this. If you must add new water or conduct a partial water change then do it little by little. Use chlorine remover and other water conditioners and water additives to remove harmful chemicals.

Runoff and Poor Drainage

The combination of excessive rain and poor drainage is a danger to your pond. When rainwater causes runoff into your pond it carries pollutants from the air and chemicals and fertilizers from the soil that can damage the quality of your water. A great preventative measure is to build a “lip” around the edge of the pond.

Not Enough Shade

Natural shading is important in the design and construction of a pond. Too much direct sunlight can cause temperature change and algae blooms so having trees and bushes as well as adding plants like water lilies will help to starve the algae of nutrients. About one-half to two-thirds of the pond should be covered.

Follow our recommendations and avoid these common mistakes to ensure a healthy pond and glistening crystal clear water all season long.