Once you have completed the construction of your garden pond and the pond liners are settled in place, you will then want to plan what to put inside it. A pond can be a very attractive feature to your garden if it is has a good selection of aquatic plants and ornamental fish. You do, however need to get the natural balance right for your pond to be virtually self-sustaining.
Firstly, you need to find out what types of pond plants are available and which ones will be best suited to your size pond. If you are going to introduce fish to your pond, then this will also affect your decision on what pond plants to chose. Some aquatic plants are harmful to fish and therefore aren’t recommended. When selecting the type and quantity of plants, also remember that plants grow and can take over a pond quite quickly.
Pond plants not only create a natural and informal feel to your pond, but also serve many other useful functions. They attract wildlife to the pond, providing food, rest and breeding sites for a host of creatures. Pond plant foliage produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide and minerals from the water that would otherwise build up and encourage the growth of algae.
There are four groups of pond plants. Each group has its role in the healthy balance of your pond. The groups are oxygenators, floaters, marginals and deep-water aquatics.
Oxygenators grow under the water. Their roots and stems are submerged and usually the leaves are submerged as well. They fulfil a useful role in the pond by absorbing nutrients, and so reduce the growth of algae. Oxygenators keep the water clear. They are often bought in bunches. Most oxygenators do not flower, but two exceptions are water violet and water buttercup.
It is highly recommended to get the plants established first before introducing fish to your garden pond.
Pond water heaters are an ideal pond accessory if you keep Koi or other fish, important that the pond water is kept at a stable temperature to ensure continued health of fish throughout the year.
Pond water heaters usually come as a submersible pond heater or as a floating pond de-icer. As the name suggests floating pond deicers float on the surface of your pond and melt a hole in the pond ice cover. Submersible pond heaters heat a much larger area and are situated inside the pond water. Pond heaters lie on the bottom of the pond and must be completely submerged when in use. The parts of the heater, which come into contact with the lining of the pond, are rubberised to prevent them from touching the sides or bottom of the pond and damaging the pond liner. To determine the size of pond heater you need, consider that it takes approximately 1000 watts to heat 250 gallons of water to 10-degrees Fahrenheit. Use this calculation and the water capacity of your pond to calculate the size pond heater required.
Fish can usually survive in ponds during the winter months provided the water is deep enough. If you have a shallow pond you should use either a pond heater or a pond de-icer, as they are more likely to ice over in the winter months. If you notice bubbles forming under an iced over pond, it could be methane gas, which is formed from decomposing organic matter and is toxic to fish if it is not allowed to escape. If your garden pond does ice over and you don’t have a pond heater or pond de-icer, an alternative method is to place a pot of hot water on the ice surface until it melts through, allowing the methane to escape.
Submersible pond de-icers work by keeping a small opening thawed on the pond surface to allow toxic gases to escape and to allow oxygen to enter simultaneously. Floating pond de-icers float on the surface thawing the ice across the top of the water. Pond de-icers contain automatic thermo-regulators that turn on whenever the water temperature drops below 40-degrees Fahrenheit. Floating pond deicers are the lower cost option, the easiest to install and are ideal for small garden ponds no larger than 35′ x 35′.
Buying fish for your pond requires a lot of planning to avoid a high mortality rate.
It is essential to first determine how many fish and of what size your pond will comfortably accommodate before going out to buy any. To find out how many fish you can safely stock your pond with, you need to measure the length and width of the pond in centimetres (or inches). Multiply one by the other and divide by 120 (48). This will give you a rough guide as to the total number of centimetres (inches) of fish you can keep in your pond (excluding the tail). Another way of doing the calculation is to allow 60sq cm of surface for every 1 cm of fish (equivalent to 24 sq. inches per inch of fish). Since fish grow and breed, it is best to start off with around one-third of the theoretical maximum number. For example, a 1.8 x 1.2m (6ft x 4ft) pond will support 360cm (144ins) of fish, equivalent to 36 fish averaging 10cm (4ins) in length, but, in practice, you should have about 12 fish. In theory, therefore, stocking calculations should be based on the eventual size the fish will grow to. You may prefer to stock your fishpond with a mixture of some small specimens which will still grow and some fully grown larger fish so that your fishpond does look too empty when you first stock it. When stocking your fish pond it is also important to ensure that all fish are compatible.
Once you have stocked your pond you then need to ensure an adequate diet, which is crucial for the long-term health and survival of your fish. All fish require the same basic nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, fats or oils, vitamins and minerals. Modern high-quality commercial foods are palatable enough to be accepted by most fish. Goldfish, for example, will eat floating Koi pellets and sticks, just as readily as Koi fish. However, the dietary requirements of every species should be investigated and specialised foods used as needed. A large, well-planted pond will contain a good stock of natural plant and animal food items supplemented by flying insects and air-borne plant debris. If the fish in an established pond are few, they may get by without additional food. If, however the pond is well stock, regular feeding is essential.
If your pond is maintained efficiently, with adequate plant and fish stocks, an appropriate feeding regime and a suitable water management system, there should always be sufficient trace elements (minerals or inorganic salts) present to meet the needs of both fish and plants. If you suspect a deficiency, you may add supplements to the fishes’ food, but these should not be relied on long-term as a substitute for a properly balanced diet.
There are a variety of fish available to choose from according to their suitability for large, medium or small – sized ponds:
Fish for large ponds
A large pond is defined as one that holds more than 6825 litres/1500gal of water. The following fish are suitable
Koi and Carp
Giants among pond fish, Koi and other carp can grow to 1 meter (3.3 feet) or more in length and so are only really suited to large, well filtered ponds, without much in the way of ornamental planting, given their habit of pulling up vegetation. Some forms of Koi are highly valuable – running into thousands of pounds, so the security of your pond also needs to be kept in mind. Koi ponds are usually laid out with steep slopes to prevent cats from splashing these ornamental fish out of the pond.
Koi fish require more oxygen than e.g. goldfish. For this reason a Koi pond should be positioned away from overhanging trees to prevent leaves or conifer needles falling into it. Rotting leaves and plant parts consume oxygen thus stealing it from the fish. Feed Koi fish sparingly as uneaten food pollutes the water and supports algae growth.Fish for the medium size pond
The goldfish remains as popular a choice as ever and generally does well in both larger and small ponds. Its oxygen demands and need for space are low compared to other species. Gloriously multicoloured shubunkins are a goldfish variant. They have black spots on top of a bluish and orange-blotched basic colour. Goldfish routinely grow to 15cm or more and sometimes even double that.
Orfe and Rudd
Many pond-keepers have a particular fondness for the golden orfe, an active fish which spends most of its time near the surface, which makes them easily spotted – though this also means that some form of protection from cats and passing herons is probably a good idea. A gregarious species, they prefer to swim in shoals, so for them to thrive they need to be kept in groups of at least half-a-dozen, but since they can grow to 30cm or more, they need a fair bit of space. However, rudd, which only grow to about half that size, make a good alternative for the smaller pond, being very similar in their habits.
Tench are excellent “pond cleaners” since they spend most of their time at the muddy bottom of ponds scavenging for food. The advantage of stocking these fish in your pond is that food left uneaten by the other fish is not left to rot. Aquatic snails are their favourite food. They grow to 25 – 30cm.
Once you get your fish home, float their unopened plastic bag in the pond for half-an-hour or so, so that they gradually reach the same temperature, then open the bag and let pond water enter. This will allow the fish to become accustomed to the pond water – its chemistry will be different. After another few minutes, you can safely release the fish.
Then all that remains is to enjoy your new arrivals!
A wildlife pond essentially is a pond planted with native plants in order to attract native animals. If the purpose of your garden pond is to attract wildlife (as opposed to an ornamental pond or using it to stock fish), then you need to start by constructing your pond in such a way that wildlife can survive in and around your pond. A pond built with shelves of varying water levels or at least one side of the pond having a gentle slope, will allow creatures to get in and out of the pond with ease.
To attract and keep a wide variety of wildlife visiting your pond, you also need to create a safe haven for them to live in. To achieve this you need to plant a diverse range of native plants in your pond and lots of leafy plants around the edge of your pond. Lay a pile of logs, branches or rocks in amongst the leafy plants to the edge of your pond. This will create a safe haven for frogs and toads. Also ensure that you create corridors amongst the vegetation for them to move about with ease and in safety. Frogs naturally find new ponds quickly so adapt your pond to offer the best conditions for them to live and breed in.
Another amphibian likely to visit your pond, are Newts, which will arrive in early spring. They leave the pond in summer and will hide under logs and rocks on the waters edge. Newt tadpoles breathe under water until they are ready to leave the pond in late summer.
Your pond will also become home to many insects. From mid summer to the end of September you may spot dragonflies buzzing around hunting other insects. Dragonfly nymphs spend up to 5 years in the pond before they hatch into an adult fly. Other insects include the Pondskater, which skims across the water looking for insects that have fallen into the water. There are also beetles are various types, which will inhabit your pond.
Hedgehogs are also attracted to ponds and may be seen at dusk as they go out in search of snails, slugs and earthworms.
Small birds, such as greenfinches and blackbirds will also use a pond, which has gently sloping sides. They will come to the pond to drink and bath. Herons may even visit your pond to feed on any adult frogs that may have become complacent about their own safety. Dense planting on the edge of a pond and rocks in and around a pond will create a safe haven for frogs making it more of a challenge for herons to come to your pond in search of food.
Your pond may even be visited at night by local foxes and badges.
Try not to disturb the water in your pond or around the edges from late autumn to early spring so that any hibernating creates are not woken and frightened away. Any cleaning or mending of your pond should be done in early autumn.
Winter Pond Maintenance
The management of a pond during winter depends to a large extent on its climatic location. In the UK, seasonal climatic characteristics mean that maintenance routines must be altered to cope with the changes that take place during the colder months of the year. The changes that occur are the shortened days and lower temperatures, particularly at night. As winter arrives, fish, other wildlife and plants all respond to this seasonal change in various ways. Fish will move to deeper areas of the pond for longer periods, plants stop growing and die back to enter their resting phase.
As winter progresses, ice may form on the water surface on a frequent basis. The depth of the ice may vary depending on the severity of the night time conditions and may not thaw during the daylight hours. Snow too may fall and cover the pond contributing further to the dark conditions within the pond. If snow does fall onto an iced pond, then scrap the snow away to allow light to penetrate the pond.
With falling temperatures, fish will progressively lose their appetite as they become less active in winter. Fish are likely to cease feeding if the temperatures drop to about 4oC and no attempt should be made to feed them. Generally though, during the typical UK winter month’s fish should be fed light, easily digestible formulations.
If your pond freezes over and remains so during daylight hours, make a hole in the ice to allow carbon dioxide to escape (carbon dioxide is toxic and therefore lethal to fish). The simplest way to make a hole in the ice is to pour hot water from a kettle on to the ice. It is advisable not to smash through the ice with a hammer or similar object, as this will send shock waves through the pond, which can stun fish.
Some Koi fish keepers now use pond heaters to maintain the pond water above 10oC (50oF) throughout the winter months. This keeps the pond ice-free and the fish active and feeding throughout the season. Fish kept under these conditions will continue to grow and not go into hibernation. It is believed by Koi experts that fish do not suffer by missing out on the period of hibernation that they would normally undergo in the wild or in a non-heated pond.
If your pond is used solely for fish, it is recommended not to switch off the pump and filter system but to run it normally or at a reduced rate.
Good-quality butyl or epayln rubber pond liners are not susceptible to frost damage. They remain pliable throughout winter. It is therefore advisable when planning a pond to use a good-quality pond liner vs cheaper, less flexible polythene liners which are likely to suffer damage during the winter months.
Click here for more Pond Maintenance Tips
When you first fill a pond it should be done with tap water. Rain water is generally too acidic for fish and for most plants. Rainwater is only suitable if it has been properly filtered first. Tap water contains varying levels of chlorine, which can irritate the mucous membrane of fish. It is for this reason that ponds should be left to stand for a few days before introducing fish so that the chlorine gases can escape first.
The amount of work required by a pond pump depends both on the height and the distance the water must be carried. For every 3 meters of horizontal distance the water must be moved, you need to factor in a height of 0.3 meters. The total height is determined by measuring from the water level of the pond to the top of the waterfall or fountain.
A pond pump should ideally circulate the total volume every hour but once every two hours would suffice as an absolute minimum. To calculate the volume of your pond you should multiply the surface area (in square metres ) of your pond by the average depth (in metres ), which will give the pond volume in cubic metres. Every cubic metre of pond volume will contain approximately 220 imperial gallons of water. So, a pond of 15 cubic metres will contain approximately 3,300 gallons of water. From this figure, you can determine the flow rate needed for the proper circulation of the water.
There are, however a number other variables involved that can affect flow rates such as the length and diameter of the pipework, the number of bends and tightness of each, type of filter used and whether a fountain is being run off the same pump. With so many possible variables, it is advisable to go for a pump that gives a higher flow rate than you think you need as the flow rate can always be restricted to reduce it, but you cannot increase flow rates above the pumps maximum output.
Repairing a damaged liner without having to replace it
Pond liner repair kits are available for patching damaged flexible pond liners. To repair the liner, you may need to drain your pond first if the damage is near the bottom of your pond. If it is to the side of your pond, then you may just need to drain the water until the damaged area of the liner becomes visible.
When repairing a Butyl or Epalyn rubber liner, clean the liner with a rubber pad and clean water. Let the area dry before applying the repair material. It is not advisable to use a solvent or gasoline to clean the liner. Mastic tape (a double-sided tape) is used with off cuts of flexible pond liners to repair holes and slits creating a watertight bond. Mastic tape is not suitable for repairs to PVC liners. For this type of liner, we suggest either keeping, or getting hold of offcuts of PVC liner and use with PVC patching glue or household adhesive, to repair a damaged PVC pond liner.
To repair a damaged rubber pond liner place an order for Mastic Tape or for Repair Strip
Refer to our Pondliners Online Blog on repairing a PVC pond liner.
Pond liner manufacturers guarantee and the period of the guarantees are as follows-
- PVC liner less than 60 square meters has a lifetime guarantee and over 60 square meters, a 20-year guarantee.
- Epalyn or Butyl rubber liners less than 100 square meters have a lifetime guarantee and over 100 square meters, a 25-year guarantee.
Please see our Terms and Conditions about our pond liner guarantee or contact Liners Online if you have any further questions.
PVC Pond Liner can be ordered to a MAXIMUM width of 8 meters. Epalyn and Butyl pond liners are available to order in all dimensions.
Selecting the right pump for your garden pond?
A pond is essentially a small, enclosed body of water that is ‘cut off’ from the outside world. Although ponds are affected by the climate, falling leaves, dust, insects and many other factors, it lacks a numbr of important ingredients that most healthy, natural bodies of water psssess. These include a constant supply of fresh water, continual remaoval of ‘old’ water, a large bacterial population to process wastes and a food supply that is in balance with the pond inhabitants.
If a garden pond can successfully reproduce its natural counterparts by being large enough and sparsely stocked with fish, and by containing abundant plant growth, then it will become self-sustaining. But, most garden ponds tend to have a higher ratio of fish to plants than an equivalent natural pond. In such circumstances, conditions in a pond will deteriorate unless an artificial means is used to prevent this from happening.
The two most important pieces of equipment in helping a garden pond to sustain life are a pump and a filter.
The function of a pond pump is to circulate water and therefore to aerate it to maintain a healthy balance in any garden pond or water feature. If you keep fish in your pond then aerating the water will provide them with sufficient oxygen.
There are many different types of pond pumps available on the market of which they are fall into two main categories: either as a submersible or external (surface) models. It is therefore important to work out the water capacity of your pond before deciding on either a submersible or external pond pump.
For small and medium-sized garden ponds, a submersible pond pump is a more economical and practical option. They can be placed directly into the pond and require little installation. Submersible garden pumps range in size or gallons per hour (GPH), from 50 to 50 000 GPH. For most garden ponds, pumps from 350 – 4000 GPH are perfectly suitable.
For larger ponds of 1000 gallons to 20 000 gallons (3 800 to 75 700 litre) or more, such as a Koi fish pond, it is usually a good idea to consider installing an external pump as they are more energy efficient. External pumps are better for using with pressurized external filters as well. Other advantages to installing an external pump are that they are easy to clean, come with a removable leave trap which clog less often, generally last longer and are easier to repair and replace parts.
Although external pumps cost a little more up front, the energy savings will counter balance this initial outlay within the first year. It is, however worth comparing the running cost, as many cheaper pond pumps cost more in the long run once the cost of electricity is taken into account.
The size of liner you require can be calculated as: Maximum length + (2 x maximum depth of pond) x maximum width + (2 x maximum depth)
These are items such as pond pumps, pond repair kits and pond accessories only. This does not include pond liners orders.
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When you’re looking for the ideal pond liner for your garden water feature or for a large pond on a rural property, you may find yourself trying to decide between an Epalyn (EPDM) product and it’s Butyl counterpart. Both are rubber liners with very similar properties and only minor differences between them, so we’ve set up this guide to help you make your decision.
Both Epalyn and Butyl are products of the highest quality – they are very flexible, have high elongation and tensile strength which makes them both long lasting products (provided a protective underlay is used to protect from sharp stones and visiting rodents). They are both non-toxic to plants and wildlife, making them ideal pond liners for fish ponds, as they don’t affect the ecosystem adversely. Both products are weather resistant, easy to install and require very low maintenance after installation. Should these synthetic rubber pond liners get damaged, they are both simple and fuss-free to repair. This, however, is where the differences start.
Butyl is flexible because it contains more than 50 percent butyl polymer. Epalyn, however, is made with 100 per cent EPDM polymer.This polymer is a more recent innovation that has become more popular around the world, lowering it’s price and making it a more cost–effective choice. While Butyl still has the upper hand here in the United Kingdom due to it’s long-standing position as top choice for pondliner material, Epalyn is not a compromise on quality. In fact, Epalyn performs better under extreme conditions – when heat aged at 121 degrees Celsius, its brittle point and tensile strength are higher than that of comparatively aged Butyl.
When it comes down to it, both products are almost identical to the human eye and have very similar performance ratings, so whe you’re choosing your next pond liner it comes down to two key issues – the traditional quality of the Butyl or the modern cost-effectiveness of Epalyn. Contact us at Liners Online today for a range of both types of a href=”http://www.
Follow these step by step instructions to select and order a pond liner:
- Click on the ‘Pond Calculator’ or on the main image on our Home page ‘Need a price for your choice of pond liner?’
- You will then be taken to the ‘Pond Liner Size and Price Calculator’ page Select either the ‘Imperial’ or ‘Metric’
- Enter the length, width and depth dimensions of your pond plus overlap* into the pond calculator. This will give you the square meter dimensions of pond liner to order.
For all orders which include a pond liners and rainwater butts, there is a delivery charge of £15.50.
For orders of smaller items only such as pond pumps, gardening accessories and pond liner repair kits, there is a delivery charge of £9.70.
For orders of solar powered garden lights, the grow tent and rain diverter there is a delivery charge of £7.75.
The Fresha Tank Disc there is a delivery charge of £2.00.
Delivery is within 5 working days by a national carrier. These postal charges apply to all UK Mainland deliveries only. Delivery charges to the Scottish Highlands and Islands are available on request. A signature is required upon receipt of all Liners Online orders.
If you live in an area that experiences high rainfall, you want to put structures or systems in place to guard against runoff into your garden pond. Rain runoff has the potential to carry harmful chemicals/high nutrient levels (from fertilisers used on the lawn and flower beds or pesticides sprayed onto surrounding plants) into your pond. Rainwater will also cool your pond rapidly and therefore you will need to alter the amount of food fed to your fish if their movements are visibly slowed due to the drop in water temperature.
Continuous rainfall may eventually cause your pond to overflow. An overflow break-point to drain water away from the pond is recommended. If you know ahead of time to expect a long period of heavy rain, you may choose to remove some water from your pond. If a heavy rainfall comes unannounced and you are concerned about the safety of your fish, you can remove your fish from your pond and keep indoors in a quarantine tank until you have bought the water down to a safe level. Once the rainfall subsides, you should return the fish to your garden pond.
A garden pond should be built on flat ground and not at the bottom of a slope. Alternatively, build a retaining way to protect your pond or run-off route around your pond to prevent rainwater and melting snow flowing into your pond.