A pond adds a beautiful aesthetic to any property, but it requires maintenance to keep the water healthy and the pond looking its best. Water quality is a crucial component of maintaining a healthy pond habitat, but achieving or maintaining water quality can sometimes prove challenging. If you've been wondering how to keep your pond water clean, follow these easy tips that can help you keep your pond water as healthy as possible.
Have a Healthy Fish Population
Pay close attention to the fish population in your pond. If you have too many fish, it can negatively affect the quality of the pond water. There will be too much fish waste to handle, and the fish won't be happy without sufficient space. Your pond is considered over-populated if you have more than 10 inches of fish for every 100 gallons of water. Consider rehoming the excess fish to a reputable pond retailer or contact your local pond management companies in Florida.
Avoid Overfeeding Your Fish
Always keep track of how much food you're giving your fish each day. If you overfeed your fish, the uneaten food will decay over time in your pond. Try to feed your fish only once a day and never provide your fish with more food than they can eat in two to three minutes. Choose a quality fish food that doesn't quickly sink to the bottom of the pond, and remove excess food in the pond frequently.
Find the Right Size Pump
Look for a pump that circulates the water in your pond at least once an hour. Make sure the pump's flow isn't restricted by debris in the pond. Avoid pumping water in your pond beyond its flow limitations.
Create a Healthy Balance of Plants
Avoid overcrowding your pond with too many plants. An overabundance of plants can create oxygen deficiencies at night and prevent sunlight from entering your pond during the day. To achieve a healthy balance of aquatic plants, aim for having 40% to 60% of your pond's surface area shaded or covered by plants.
Keep Your Pond Cool During the Summer
Keep a close eye on the water temperature of your pond, especially during the warmer summer months. Never let the temperature of your pond exceed 75 degrees. This makes it difficult to maintain an appropriate level of dissolved oxygen, which is essential for the health of your fish. Creating the appropriate balance of aquatic plants during the hot summer months can keep your pond cool during the hot summer months and help your fish breathe.
Clean Your Pond Regularly
Uneaten fish food, fish waste, and decaying debris can quickly accumulate in your pond and increase the water's ammonia levels if it's not cleaned regularly. Use a pond skimmer to remove debris from your pond's surface and a pond net to remove waste before it has a chance to reach the bottom of your pond.
By following these tips, it's possible to keep your pond clean, healthy, and suitable for aquatic life.
As any reliable pond management companies in Florida will tell you, nutrients are a vital component of proper pond management. Responsible for sustaining all animals and plants living in an aquatic ecosystem, nutrients, when properly managed, can aid pond owners, managers and enthusiasts in maximizing the health, and therefore usefulness and enjoyment, of a pond.
By the same token, an excess or surplus of nutrients in a pond can cause a host of problems, damaging the pond and its plant and animal inhabitants, as well as posing the risk of harm to the community's who enjoy and rely on the that waterbody.
How Nutrient Overload Can Occur
While water contains many different nutrients, the two most common are nitrogen and phosphorus. As aquatic plants decompose throughout the year, they release these nutrients, which settle in the sediment at the pond floor.
When these nutrients are at balanced levels, they help the pond's ecosystem to thrive. When they reach excessive levels, either through failure to properly clean the pond or by introducing nutrients from outside sources, an excess can develop that surpasses this balanced threshold.
Often, excess nutrients are introduced into a pond via stormwater runoff. As stormwater travels across sidewalks, roadways and other surfaces impervious to water absorption, it captures foreign matter like fertilizer residue, pet waste and grass clippings that it then carries into the pond. Such excess nutrients, along with a variety of pollutants, are thus transferred into the pond, where they inadvertently negatively impact the aquatic ecosystem there. This includes contaminating the food sources for the life in the pond, in addition to causing nutrient overload.
Potential Dangers of Nutrient Overload
When nutrients overload a pond, they can:
Poor water quality can accelerate the rate of aging of a particular body of water and, in so doing, pose risks to the health of any nearby community dependent on that waterbody to thrive or survive.
A buildup of nutrients can fuel invasive species infestations and recurring algae blooms, causing thick mats to develop on the pond's surface. This, in turn, prevents the exchange of oxygen necessary to sustain aquatic plant and animal life in the pond. As a result, fish in the pond can die off en masse, and beneficial plants and zooplankton can be destroyed.
Moreover, as these dead fish and destroyed plants and zooplankton begin to decompose, they will release more nitrogen, phosphorus and other organic material into the water, thereby only perpetuating and exacerbating this cycle of destruction.
If left unchecked, this can lead over time to the accumulation of sediment and muck at the bottom of the pond, significantly reducing the volume and depth of the waterbody. Even worse, harmful algae, like Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, can bloom, producing an array of harmful toxins to release into the water. Human exposure to these toxins, such as through swimming in tainted waters, has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and ALS.
To avoid the problems of nutrient overload in your pond, learn to properly manage and remediate your pond's nutrient levels, or hire one of the competent and reliable pond management companies in Florida to do it for you.
North America's 1.5 million ponds aren't just for fishing — they prevent erosion, cool their immediate surroundings, and can be used to recycle greywater from septic tanks, boost energy efficiency, and promote biodiversity.
Although nature does a good job at keeping pond ecosystems in balance, ponds can grow unhealthy over time, exhibiting symptoms such as:
Fortunately, even if your pond shows all of the symptoms above, there's still hope! Although restoring your pond might not be an overnight task, it's worth the effort.
1. Wait Until This Time of Year for Pond Remediation
No matter when you remediate your pond, you're bound to disrupt existing wildlife to some extend. However, experts recommend restoring ponds between November and January.
Pond remediation shouldn't be a yearly task. Go into the pond restoration process with the intention of not remediating your pond for at least a decade, if not longer!
2. Draining Isn't Always Necessary
When restoring neglected ponds, many pond owners want to start from scratch. After all, that's what's recommended for restoring pretty much everything else that's dirty — getting them squeaky clean — right?
Completely draining ponds ruins their natural balance of microorganisms, plants, and animals. This step is generally reserved for ponds that are completely unsalvageable and have been neglected for years on end.
If the water is reasonably clear, don't bother draining it. If it's murky, drain away! Leave at least some water behind — anywhere between one-third and one-sixth of the pond's original contents. While the water's low, scoop out the grime at the bottom.
3. Cover Part of the Surface With Plants
Experts recommend covering at least 50% to 75% of pond surfaces with plants. Water lillies are a fan favorite among pond caretakers. They look nice, grow quickly, and offer easy surface coverage. Although they can crowd out small ponds, you can easily control their growth by trimming them.
Make sure to never introduce invasive species to your pond. These plants will compete with native plants until they're knocked out of contention, ruining your pond's ecological balance.
Always select plants that are well-suited for your area based on the USDA's Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
For plant ideas, check out this list or reach out to pond management companies in Florida.
Lastly, make sure your pond has several marginal plants. These plants, which surround the edges of ponds, are an essential component of every pond's ecosystem.
4. Don't Use Chemicals
Although various chemicals are advertised as effective pond cleaners, they're often poisonous to wildlife. Avoid using chemicals during the pond restoration process, opting for natural remedies wherever possible.
Though these aren't the only ways to restore your pond, these four suggestions are a great place to start. If your pond still isn't in good shape after trying these suggestions, you can always turn to pond management companies in Florida for help.
Having a pond on your property can be rewarding, but you have to manage it to continue to reap the benefits. Ponds are often beautiful and serve as a way to show off aquatic life, but when they're poorly maintained, they can become filled with algae and harmful bacteria, which is unsightly and unhealthy for plant life and animals that you stock the pond with. A dirty pond can also attract insects that can make being around the pond unpleasant. Some types of maintenance will improve the health of your pond, but others will only harm it.
The Do's of Pond Management
One of the best things that you can do for your pond is provide it with the beneficial bacteria that it needs to thrive. The right bacteria can keep algae and sludge away. Bacteria can also help your fish stay healthy. You should also treat your pond with a bacterial product even in the winter. Lots of people think that their pond is healthy in the winter because it looks clear, but the cold also kills off a lot of the beneficial bacteria. In spring, algae blooms because the bacteria isn't there to fight it off. You can stop this process by treating your pond all year long.
Cleaning your filters and running pumps all year is also important. You should clean your filters with a garden hose to get rid of algae. And if you have any questions about what you might be forgetting to do, ask for technical help from an expert from a pond management company in Florida.
The Don'ts of Pond Management
Changing your filters can actually hurt the quality of the water because this actually gets rid of beneficial bacteria that are keeping your algae in check. You should also avoid the temptation of clearing out your pond and starting over if you're unhappy with its health and the way that it looks. When you start over with new water, you get rid of all of the bacteria and the pond is sterile. The water will look good for a couple of weeks, but it will quickly become full of algae bloom.
Don't pull blanket weed off your pond when it's still alive. This kind of weed will send off spores when you tear it, so you'll only see the weed return in a few days. Instead, wait until it has died to pull it off the pond. You should also avoid letting your pond completely freeze over because this creates a seal that doesn't let any new air enter, which can cause your fish to die. You should also stop feeding your fish because they don't eat in the winter and the extra food will only feed algae in the spring. Finally, don't change the filters. Instead, only clean them so that you keep the beneficial bacteria.
If you have a pond, you can also employ one of the pond management companies in Florida to help you keep yours clean and healthy.
At Crosscreek Environmental, we believe in providing a comprehensive, environmentally friendly approach in creating solutions to maintain the beauty and health of Florida's ponds, lakes, wetlands, and shorelines. We use the B.E.S.T.™ geo-tube solution and are one of the best geo-tube solution providers in the state of Florida.