Healthy Ecosystem

ec·o·sys·tem [ˈēkōˌsistəm]

a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment; in general use, a complex network or interconnected system.

Once you have selected and installed the pump, filter, and aeration, the pond is on its way to becoming a healthy environment for any inhabitants.

So, what is next? Give the pond even more character by adding aquatic life. Pond plants play a large role in keeping a balance of beneficial nutrients, providing oxygen, natural filtration, and shade, and prohibiting algae growth. Pond fish add a beautiful aesthetic of glistening colors, graceful movement through the water, and mosquito control. While turtles do not provide any essential benefits, they are darn cute and provide an element of intrigue and beauty to your water garden.

Clean, clear, and high-quality water is important for the pond's well-being, so while the filter does most of the work, make sure to clean the pond regularly. Clearing away leaves and debris and keeping the organic waste to a minimum is essential. Check out Other Important Things to Consider at the bottom of the page to learn more.


There are 4 major types of plants you can use to add many benefits to your pond.

Marginal plants like Irises are usually placed along the outer edge of the pond blending in with the landscape setting.

Deep Water plants like lilies will offer shade for fish and offer protection from predators. Oxygenating plants like anacharis provide oxygen as well as pull carbon dioxide from the water.

Floating plants like hyacinths independently float on the surface with their roots drifting below. These plants act as natural filters.

DID YOU KNOW? Algae feeds off other nutrients in the pond to grow. To keep the algae from overtaking the pond, consider adding plants that compete with algae for nutrients and keep the water clean and clear. These plants include hornwort, anacharis, cabomba.

An important part of adding plants to your water landscape is adherence to planting noninvasive species. Luckily, The University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health has created an Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States. For a list of invasive aquatic plants, click here.


It’s always a good idea to start with a small number of fish and add gradually. Here is a rule of thumb to use as a guideline to avoid overstocking and ensure the overall health of your fish:

For small fish like goldfish and comets, 1 in. of fish for every 5 gallons of water.

For Koi fish, 1 in. of fish for every 10 gallons of water. Koi fish have a faster growth rate, so you may have to remove a few of them at a certain point.  


Whether you have a pet turtle or wild turtle residing with you, there are so many reasons to be fond of turtles. They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes and are the ultimate conservationists.  

Other Important Things to Consider