Good pond care means clear, healthy water and a good balance of aquatic plants to water volume. Garden ponds need not consume hours of regular care if the following are tended to as we move through the changes in the seasons – from Winter into Spring:
Pond liner installation and good pond care
Herons love a ‘fishy story’, so keep it a secret and protect your pond from their unannounced visits, which are often more frequent during their nesting season. A good quality pond liner such as Epalyn or Butyl installed above a protective pond underlay is a good start to minimising the risks of a leaking pond but if visits are a frequent occurrence, we recommend installing a pond guard or adding a decoy heron to your pond or very close by.
- The water in your pond will slowly get warmer as day light hours get longer and Spring approaches. With this your fish will become notably more active and so will need feeding again. When the ambient temperature reaches 50F (10C) you need to start to feed them enough that they can consume every morsel within 5 minutes, any amount more than this will sink to the bottom of the pond and turn to sludge, which will in turn affect the water quality.
- Use a pond vacuum to clean unhealthy amounts of debris from the bottom of your pond. Don’t get too enthusiastic over cleaning as you don’t want a pond that is too clinical – need some algae to maintain a healthy ecosystem. This task should only be done if you weren’t able to keep Autumnal leaves from landing in your pond and sinking to the bottom, or you have housed more fish than are healthy in your size pond leading to high levels of fish waste or you have had a general lapse in pond care – careful not to suck-up any frog spawn or tadpoles. Regular maintenance should greatly reduce the need for this task.
- Divide, repot or add new aquatic plants. A garden pond that is fully exposed to maximum daily sunshine will benefit from having water lilies growing over a third of the water to provide shade and thereby prevent high levels of algae growth. The addition of oxygenating plants, which are efficient at absorbing minerals and carbon dioxide, helps reduce algae growth. Should blanketweed (a form of algae) start growing in your pond you will need to lift it out with a garden rake while taking steps to greatly reduce further spread, which if not controlled will choke out your fish.
- Warm water holds less oxygen and fish use more oxygen when active as happens in Spring through to the end of Summer so make sure your pond is aerated – if you switch your pond pump off in Winter, switch it back on when your fish start to become noticeably more active.
- Clean the filter of debris so that the flow of water isn’t inhibited by accumulated debris. During the Summer months the filter should be cleaned every week.
- Examine the pond liner for any possible tears or damage which will lead to water lose. Should any repair work need to be done, a rubber pond liner repair kit is often all that is needed.
- Spring is a time for growth and rejuvenation so be sure to take a close look at the fascinating changes taking place – a well maintained pond will become home and nesting site for many aquatic organisms – you may well see frog spawn and Newts sharing your pond!
The temperatures in Spring can vary and as fish awaken their immune systems may still not be strong enough to fight off bacteria or parasites so keep a check on them for any unusual behaviour such as scratching themselves on the side of rocks. Pond treatment will need to be added to the water in confirmed cases.
The best is the rewards you reap for a well maintained garden pond during those perfect sunny days spent outdoors!