5 Pond Liner Installation Mistakes to Avoid

Pond liners are made of impermeable materials designed to retain water. An additional layer of protective lining is recommended to form a barrier between the soil and liner to protect from sharp edged stones and rocks, which may be pushed up over time due to ground movement. To minimise potential issues we recommend buying the correct type and thickness of pond liner to meet demands of pond size and reduce maintenance issues over its lifetime.

Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when buying and installing your liner liner:

  • Guided by price alone:  We recommend you choose a membrane that is thick enough to resistant puncturing, one that is not likely to deteriorate when exposed to the sunlight and that is strong enough to line a pond for many years. It is worth spending a little more upfront to avoid problems later. Plastic or PVC liners are not as durable as rubber liners such as Butyl or Epalyn. The best choice for a garden pond would be a 0.75mm thick EPDM (Epalyn) liner.
  • Ordering the incorrect size pond liner: Once you have dug the hole, measure it accurately in three directions – the length, breadth and depth. Then go online to put these figures into a pond liner size calculator to get the exact dimensions. Remember to factor in extra for the lip to anchor the liner over the edge of your pond – at least 2 feet/0.15m overlap to go around the entire rim of your pond.
  • Not adding a protective underlay to your order: A pond liner needs to be protected ideally from above and below. If no protection is added by way of lining your pond with a geotextile protective underlay before installing the pond liner, it may tear.
Geotextile underlay installed prior to laying down the pond liner
  • Failure to secure the edges of the liner: When installing the liner, generously overlap the edges to make sure your feature is water tight. If the overlap is insufficient, the sides of the pond will become exposed as you start to fill your pond with water. The overlap must then be secured in place with your choice of edging material.
  • Not installing a box-welded liner to a formal design: Fitting a flat sheet to a water feature with vertical sides and right angles will be very challenging. A box welded or tailored to fit liner welded to the exact requirements of the pond design will avoid this. These liners are made with a welded base and flange at the top for fixing. The benefit of this type is that there are no unsightly folds which also have the potential of harbouring debris.

Avoid these mistakes to ensure you create your dream garden pond that will give you years of pleasure.

Add pond to make garden wildlife friendly

If you looking to make your garden more wildlife-friendly, why not add a pond. This can be lined with a good quality pond liner to successfully contain the water. PVC, Butyl and Epalyn pond liners are all non-toxic therefore fish and aquatic-life friendly.

Garden ponds represent a freshwater habitat that could play an important role in supporting macro-invertebrates (damselflies, dragonflies, water beetles, snails, aquatic worms) biodiversity. Garden ponds may also play an important role in the conservation of floral communities.

Any permanent water will bring all sorts of wildlife to your garden. By having a garden pond you create somewhere for residents and visitors to drink and bathe. A pond also provides a breeding and feeding place for amphibians, insects plus wildlife that prey on them. Continue reading

What to consider when building and stocking a Koi pond

“How many Koi can I stock my pond with?” A question pond experts frequently get asked. A general rule of thumb as stated by the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association is 2kg fish per 1000 litres (or 1 inch of Koi per 10 gallons). But, in reality the answer is not as straight forward as that. There are many variables that need to be considered when stocking a pond.

Size of filtration system, water flow rate, inclusion of aquatic plants and volume of water (1500 – 2000 gallons is considered an ideal size for Koi) all impact how many fish a pond can accommodate. Investing in a high quality pond liner, pond pump and filter is a great start to investing in the perfect environment for homing Koi.

Pond size and depth of Koi pond

Another consideration is do you decide how many Koi fish you want and then build the size pond to create a healthy ecosystem to accommodate them all. Or, build first and then slowly stock your pond monitoring the water as you go? Both options are viable. You also want to consider the full grown size of the Koi. You wouldn’t want to get rid of any prize pets when, after a period of time you realize your fish are getting stressed because they don’t have sufficient space to move about in. Stress affects their immune system so best avoided.

How to determine stocking density

Known fact: fish excrete waste and consume dissolved oxygen. So, for a pond to stay healthy a good quality filtration system needs to be installed. The filter will provide beneficial bacteria that converters fish waste, uneaten fish food and decomposed matter. If waste is not dealt with it turns to ammonia.

A high quality filter, correct size pond pump and a bottom drain are essential to maintaining a healthy ecosystem for Koi to thrive. A bottom drain sucks water out of the pond and passes it through the filter. The cleaned water is pumped back into the pond. Who wouldn’t say ‘yes’ to this self-cleaning pond set-up? Another effective cleaning system is a skimmer. Both reduce the risk of sludge build-up at the bottom of a pond.

Why average water temperature is an important consideration

Koi are poikilothermic which means that their body temperature is determined by surrounding water temperature. If the water is warm, their metabolic rate increases so they consume more food, excrete more waste and require more oxygen. The opposite happens when the water temperature drops (autumn and winter months). So what impact does average water temperature have when stocking a pond? It means that in colder climates the stocking density is higher than in warm climates. Why, because less waste for bacteria to have to ‘clean-up’ and less demand on dissolved oxygen levels.

Koi pond and importance of stocking density

When stocking a pond the more patient you are the greater the chance of maintaining a healthy pond environment.

Should you add aquatic plants to your pond?

Koi keepers are not all in favour of adding aquatic plants to their formal ponds. Floating aquatic plants such as water lilies can reach a size that covers half the surface area. This gives fish a place to hide rather than being in full visibility. However, they do offer shade and shelter. Aquatic plants absorb nitrates from the water and release oxygen. If aquatic plants aren’t included a skimmer, aerator and large enough filter system are vital.

Conclusion

There is lots to consider when planning a Koi pond build and stocking while maintaining a healthy ecosystem for your fish to thrive in.

Important points to note are that the ideal pond size for Koi is one no bigger than a 1500 to 2000 gallon capacity and between 1. 5 to 2 meters deep. All 1500+ gallons of water will need to go through good quality filter system every three hours to maintain the health of the pond. Vertical sides and a convex bottom are preferred to allow sludge and decomposed matter to readily flow into the bottom drain to pass through the filter system.

Koi need space to move about in. Too many in a confined space will cause stress which in turn will have a negative impact on their immune system.

We hope you have found this article helpful!

This entry was posted on November 13, 2019, in Garden ponds.

How to maintain you pond pump and filter

The flow rate of your pond pump will affect the clarity of your pond water. A pond pump working optimally will help to maintain a healthy, thriving ecosystem. However, a murky pond can affect the flow rate and so it becomes a vicious circle until the cause of the murky water is dealt with and filter plus pump are clean. Skimming-off dead leaves and debris from the surface of your pond as part of regular maintenance will go a long way to keeping your pond free of algae build-up. And as a result your pond pump will be relatively free of debris build-up, which could affect the impeller. The impeller is the rotor used to increase the pressure and flow rate.

It is important to keep an eye on the water level because you don’t want your skimmer to run dry. Also make sure that an over-growth of plants, algae blooms or debris aren’t blocking water flow rate or clogging your skimmer.

When to clean your pump and filter

If you notice a slow functioning pump, it is time for a clean. It is important to keep the pond strainer covers free of blanket weed, also known as string algae, and debris to prevent your pump over heating.

  • Disconnect from power supply before lifting a submersible pump from pond.
  • Use water only to wash out silt, sediment, algae and debris.
  • Hose down filters with a strong jet of water.
  • Check hose to make sure there are no blockages.

How to stop algae affecting pump

A certain amount of algae is healthy but an over production preventing sunlight penetrating a pond and choking the production of oxygen is not. The first and most obvious sign is when the pond becomes cloudy.

Excessive algae blooms could be due to any one or all of the following reasons:

  • not enough aquatic plants to stop algae taking up all the oxygen and nutrients
  • pond receives too much daily sunlight
  • high nutrient levels. This maybe as a result of rainwater runoff bring nutrients from fertilizers into the pond or due to debris accumulation

Algae invasion can be prevented by blocking rainwater run-off reaching your pond, avoiding the use of lawn fertilizers, planting sufficient aquatic plants to provide shade to at least 60% of pond surface, removing fallen leaves before they sink to bottom of pond, and avoiding overstocking and overfeeding of fish.

String Algae in pond can affect pond-

Another way of controlling algae is to put barley straw in the water. Pond experts are divided in their opinions about the use of barley straw to control algae. But, anecdotal evidence certainly proves it is worth pond owners trying it rather than using chemicals or battling an algae invasion. The recommended time to add the barley straw is in April. The packaging should tell you how much to put in relative to the size of your pond.

Good general advice to keep your pond pump working for many years is to avoid frequently switching it on and off. They are designed for continual usage.

This entry was posted on August 16, 2019, in Garden ponds.

How to use a pond liner to create a wildlife pond

Pond liner, boulders, aquatic plants and a bit of creative inspiration is all you need to build a successful wildlife pond. The flexibility of a pond liner also offers the ability to design a water feature for wildlife that will blend with your surrounding landscape. You can go rugged and natural or more formal with the inclusion of a stream.

Before you start building your wildlife pond, it is important to decide what sort of creatures you are hoping to attract. If it is frogs, newts and other small four legged creatures then your design would need to include a sloping beached area. This will allow easy access and exit from the water without the risk of drowning.

Another consideration is what steps you will need to take to keep your pond healthy. Stagnant water can become a breeding ground for unwanted flying insects and lead to the growth of excessive algae blooms. Moving water is important in helping aeration so consider adding a stream. Splashing water helps the natural diffusion of oxygen and creates currents to circulate oxygen around the pond. Solar powered pumps and aerators can be a useful addition particularly during the summer months.

It is important to remember that a wildlife pond needs seasonal maintenance as much as a fish pond does.

Wildlife pond maintenance

  • avoid too much sunlight by ensuring that there is some shade covering at least 25% of your pond particularly during the warm summer months.
  • in autumn, skim-off fallen leaves before they sink to the bottom of your pond creating a layer of sludge. Some sludge is good because there are creatures who live off the nutrients it gives off, but too much will affect the water quality.
  • add oxygenating and floating aquatic plants to help aerate (improve amount of dissolved oxygen) the water as well as provide shade and shelter to frogs and other visiting creatures. Keep aquatic plant growth under control by removing excess to avoid covering the entire water surface. Leave any pruned aquatic plants to the edge of your pond so any creatures sheltering under the leaves can return to the water.
  • when water levels drop due to evaporation it is advisable to fill with water from a rainwater butt or wait for the rains to fall. This will reduce the risk of increasing nutrient levels of the water.

A wildlife pond is not limited to a traditional hole in the ground lined with a pond liner. You can use a metal or stone trough, wooden barrels or old ceramic baths. A pond liner with protect metal from corrosion or a wooden barrel from rotting. Add cleaned rocks for creatures to rest on and aquatic plants to help aerate the water to improve clarity, quality as well as reduce algae and weed growth.

Old metal buckets can make a perfect wildlife pond

Build your pond go as big as possible and line with a protective underlay plus pond liner. The use of gravel and boulders will help create a natural look. Planting shelves are great for adding planting diversity and a gravelled sloping edge is great with wildlife to move in and out the water.

Pond liners are a popular choice for constructing ponds

The magic of water has fascinated us for centuries. Virtually all cultures on earth have found a way to incorporate water into their gardens and homes in some way. Garden ponds continue to hold the same fascination today. They bring a new dimension to our outdoor living space and create a stunning focal point in any garden. Ponds lined with a pond liner and constructed with gently sloping edges can also provide an important habitat for wildlife native to the area.

Today, with the availability of modern material such as pond liners, pumps and filters, creating an attractive garden pond is not a difficult task.

Before you begin the construction of your pond, it is well worth the time and effort to design and plan for it. There are five key areas, which must be considered in the planning process. These are the style of your pond, the size, type of pond, position and whether you want moving or still water.

Ponds are often described as ‘formal’ or ‘informal’ based on their design. A formal pond design is one with straight edges and is symmetrical, whereas an informal pond is designed to look natural and is suited. An informal pond design is most suited to those intended to attract wildlife.

The size of the pond is an important consideration and will depend on the intended purpose for the pond and the overall budget. The size of the pond should also reflect that of the garden. If the intention is to stock fish, the pond size and depth are important. For large fish such as Koi, you will need a depth of 90cm (3ft) and a large surface area versus that of smaller fish, which require a pond of 45cm (18in) deep and a surface area of at least 3m2. A garden pond featuring a waterfall meandering down rocks

The pond type is really dependent on what you want your garden pond for. You may wish to create a pond designed only to attract wildlife. These ponds tend to be informal in style, and require a lot of planting around the edge of the pond as well as in the pond to create a safe haven for wildlife. A wildlife pond must have at least one gently sloping edge to allow wildlife to enter and leave the pond easily.

Ideally a pond should be positioned where it can receive six hours of sunlight a day. Sunlight is important for plant growth. It should also be sited away from trees. The roots of trees can damage pond liners, so avoid placing your pond near them. You also need to build a pond where there is access to an electricity point as most pond pumps and filters require to function.

Then, lastly you need to decide whether you want to enjoy the sound and tranquillity of moving water through a waterfall or fountain. Moving water is also very beneficial to the pond and those that inhabit it, as it helps to aerate the water improving its oxygen level.

Having gone through the planning process, you will then need to decide how to construct your pond. The options are to use preformed moulded plastic, brickwork or flexible pond liners. The flexible liners are the most popular choice for constructing ponds as they allow for design flexibility and are easy to install. There are different types of liners available characterised by their durability, weight, cost and strength. Butyl and epalyn liners are stronger and more UV and weather resistant than PVC liners.

Tips on what type of pond liner is best for your water feature

As the weather hopefully continues to improve, thoughts turn to the garden. If you are looking forward to adding a water feature to your outdoor space this spring then Liners Online have all the tips and advice you need to plan, build and maintain a garden pond. They also have a choice of pond liner guaranteed to contain water for many, many years if installed above a protective underlay.

Firstly, you need to start with the basics. You need to choose a pond liner, and preferably one which is resistant to both frost and ultra-violet rays, and that it has the flexibility to resist pressure from growing roots.

PVC (poly vinyl chloride) is a watertight 0.5mm thick, black sheet. Because it is lightweight, it is very flexible and moulds well. It is not very elastic however, and not easily repaired as it has a tendency of going brittle. It requires correct installation and maintenance.

Butyl or Epalyn Pond Liner?

Butyl pond liner has always been a popular choice in the UK. It a black, synthetic rubber sheet that possesses both flexibility and elasticity. This product is UV stable with excellent elongation properties and is non toxic to both plant and wildlife.

Butyl pond liners can be used for all types and sizes of pond installations. The value of the Butyl pond liner is that it is much more heavy duty than PVC and is less likely to be damaged.

A relatively new product on the market is Epalyn, which again is a black synthetic rubber sheet, but this pond liner is an EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer). The polymer (which provides elasticity to the sheet) marks the difference between the two products: Butyl contains more than 50% butyl polymer and Epalyn is made with 100% EPDM and is less expensive than the former.
Epalyn pond liners offer the following benefits:
• High flexibility
• High elongation
• Superior weather resistance
• Low maintenance
• Ease of installation
• Environmentally friendly
Now you have chosen your material of choice, the question is how much do you need? This is easily checked by using our Pond Liner Calculator online measurement facility. Simply input the maximum depth, maximum length and maximum width measurements of the hole you have dug into our calculator. The calculator will then give you the dimensions you need to order. More complicated designs including those with islands or plinths can be discussed with staff.
There is a wide choice of materials available for pond liners and Liners Online offers the best, most competitive selection as well as advice on how to install and maintain your perfect pond. Simply visit us online or call 01526 399033.

Discover impact of ponds in urban communities

Ponds, according to the Department of Environmental Food and Rural Affairs, are defined as: Man-made or natural waterbodies which hold water for at least 4 months of the year. This definition includes very small bodies of water, which can sometimes have a high conservation value. It also includes semi-seasonal and temporary ponds, which often dry up in summer but can support valuable pond communities.

It is estimated that three-quarters (more than a million) of Britain’s ponds have been lost to the country-side over the last hundred years. A Countryside Survey has shown that losses are due to continued development of land or a change in the use of the land from a natural habitat to agricultural bringing a negative impact on ponds.

According to an article published in 2009 by the School of Biology and Environmental Science at University College in Dublin, ponds are amongst the most diverse freshwater habitats and support more species (including uncommon and rare species) compared to lakes, rivers, and streams. Ponds are considered to be a cost-effective way of maintaining biodiversity.

There are a number of research papers referencing the positive impact of ponds built in urban gardens or communities and how they are helping restore the environmental impact these loses are having on biodiversity. Urban ponds support many species and are of ecological value. The diversity of wildlife inhabiting or visiting ponds does largely depend on what the build of a pond was intended for.

Ponds offer so many benefits

  • attract a great variety of wildlife than any other garden feature
  • the ever changing system provides wildlife education for children
  • provides a source of drinking water during dry periods
  • easy to manage environments so a cost effective way of enhancing biodiversity
  • ponds add beauty throughout the year
  • their aesthetic appeal adds value to properties
  • ponds may be built for flood control, irrigation purposes, or as a means of bringing communities together to enjoy nature – bird or wildlife watching

Ponds can vary in ecological value depending on how they are managed. Those home to predatory fish or those whose vegetation is controlled by the use of chemicals are likely to affect the survival of amphibians and small organisms attracted to the pond with little shelter for the young to hide from hungry predators. Versus ponds with natural vegetation, sloping banks, no predatory fish and sufficient shelter, offer a beneficial ecological habitat.

Ponds bring communities together

Ponds can offer a place for communities to meet to bird or wildlife watch, or just to relax

Pond characteristics differ according to their primary function: garden pond, industrial ponds for water storage, water garden for an ornamental display, drainage systems, landscape feature, fish ponds for housing and breeding as well as wildlife ponds which mimic a natural environment.

With continued urban development to meet the housing and commercial demands of an expanding nation, we need to safeguard biodiversity. Building a pond is just one way we can help nature.

This entry was posted on February 20, 2019, in Garden ponds.

Why a formal shaped pond needs a box welded pond liner?

A formal, ornate, symmetrically designed pond with clearly defined edges is the perfect choice for those who want a focal point in their garden. Formal ponds tend to be square, rectangular, circular or hexagonal in shape with vertical sides. They can either be built into the ground or raised. The installation of a pond liner is recommended to retain water but should ideally be fitted eliminating creases, which can easily distract attention away from the formal look. A box-welded or tailored-to-fit pond liner offers a flawless option to ensuring optimal water retention. A box-welded pond liner is fabricated to the exact size and shape of your pond, which can then quite simply be dropped in for a perfect fit.

Continue reading

This entry was posted on January 10, 2019, in Garden ponds.

Discover all you need to know about adding aquatic plants to your pond

A colourfully landscaped garden is only as enchanting as the amount of effort that has gone into designing it. The same applies to garden ponds and the addition of aquatic plants to create a bespoke water feature. There are a wide range of pond plants available on the market. Plant varieties all have their own specific requirements such as amount of light, substrate type and growing conditions. Maximum size is also an important feature worth noting. The three basic aquatic plant types: submerged (also known as oxygenators), marginal and floating. It is a good idea to incorporate planting shelves into your pond design if you plan on adding marginal and submerged plants.

Colour, height, texture and planting conditions all need to be well researched to create great visual interest. How you combine plant attributes will give you the aquatic landscape you envisage.

Pond plants and planting shelves

To incorporate a range of aquatic plants you need to add planting shelves at various depths. Submerged and marginal plants will need planting in a special pond basket before securing in place on a planting shelf. Use washed gravel to plant in rather than soil.

Pond plants are able to have their nutritional needs met from decomposing fish food and fish waste. If fish aren’t present and nutrient are levels low, add in a liquid fertiliser designed specifically for pond plants.

Pond plants added to a garden water feature

When choosing planting pots, avoid choosing those with a bottom drainage hole. Soil will leach out of the pot adding nutrients to the water, which will then lead to an increase in algae growth. The same applies to the use of plastic mesh baskets unless you line them with cut-offs of Geotextile underlay or hessian. Both materials will stop soil leaching out while allowing continuous water, gas and air movement to pass over the plant roots.

Planting pots without a drainage hole work well provided the water level of the pond is kept above the surface of the pot. Add a gravel top layer to stop soil leaching out.

Fabric pond baskets are gaining popularity as they can easily be moulded into tight spaces. The height can be adjusted by folding the sides down. They also;

  • allow roots to be aerated for healthy growth
  • rot resistant
  • easy to move around and conform readily to the shape of the pond
  • blends in with the pond contents
  • no risk of cracking

To plant, add aquatic soil to your chosen pot. This will help to anchor your plant in place and holds nutrients for healthy growth. Pots stop plants getting too big and invasive.

Aquatic plants provide shade and use up nutrients in the water to help maintain a healthy, well oxygenated, clean pond and they control levels of algae growth. Add aquatic plants to your pond between mid-spring to early summer.

This entry was posted on October 19, 2018, in Garden ponds.

How to maintain a healthy pond with or without a pond pump

A pond pump is the heart of a man-made pond. A pond pump circulates and aerates the water which helps to maintain a healthy pond environment. There are two basic types, a submersible and an external pump. But, not all ponds need a pond pump as we will go on to explain.

The closed ecosystem of a garden pond needs to be carefully managed. A pump creates water movement and splashing sounds most people associate with having a pond. But, there are ponds that can thrive without a pump and still be healthy.

How natural ponds thrive without a pond pump

Wildlife and natural ponds can be home to amphibians, insects and micro-organisms (invertebrates) all living together harmoniously. With life they all excrete waste into the water adding nutrients to the system. High nutrient levels along with sunlight encourage algae growth. The presence of algae in a pond can start to choke out pond inhabitants affecting the natural ecosystem. It is therefore in the interest of a pond owner to ensure such conditions don’t happen. In a wildlife pond clean, oxygenated water is possible without the presence of a pond pump. It’s own environment becomes the filter. In a man-made pond, particularly those home to Koi, it is almost impossible to prevent algae from flourishing without the presence of a pond pump and filter system.

In a garden pond – whether a preformed mould or pond liner is used in the build, there aren’t the natural substrates for micro-organisms to thrive on and so a filter system is needed. It provides a type of surface for micro-organisms to attach to and eat plant and animal matter floating around in the water.

Filter and pump system are only really essential if you want to keep Koi fish. They work to control algae levels.

A solar fountain can be enough to keep the water moving and sufficiently oxygenated on hot days.

Pond maintenance without a pond pump

In a natural pond micro-organisms are present in high abundance. They exist in the soil and on plants. They function as a ponds ‘vacuum cleaner’ living off plant and animal organic matter found in the water and turn it into nutrients that aquatic plants need to thrive. Micro-organisms play a vital role in keeping the system in healthy equilibrium.

In garden ponds built using a protective underlay and pond liner the presence of micro-organisms is greatly reduced. Pond liners are necessary for the containment of water but intervention needs to be put in place to ensure that the quality of water is maintained in the absence of those microbes. Dead animal and plant matter is removed from the water by a pond filter and pump before it decomposes.  Decaying matter will increase the nutrient levels beyond what is needed.

Large garden pond aerated by a stream and waterfall

Steps to managing healthy pond water quality

There are a number of steps pond owners can put in place to reduce nutrient levels.

  • Maintain a healthy balance of fish to pond volume – Koi fish excrete far more waste than goldfish. Too many Koi in an average garden pond will increase nutrient levels
  • Feed fish no more than they actually need and take particular note to the seasons as fish are less active in autumn and winter therefore eat less
  • Include sufficient aquatic plants to cover at least a half to two-thirds of your pond surface. This will reduce the amount of sunlight entering the water and will use-up nutrients in the water leaving less for algae to thrive on. Plants also offer a substrate for micro-organisms to live off. Plants take-up nutrients in the water leaving little for algae to thrive on.
  • Aeration is necessary to prevent an increase in anaerobic bacteria

The correct size pond pump is one that will circulate at least half the volume of water through the filter every hour (gallons/hour). So, a 1500 gallon pond would need a pump that can filter 750 gallons per hour for sufficient oxygen supply to plants and fish. A koi pond needs a pond pump that will cope with the amount of waste excreted daily. Pumps work off mains electricity supply drawing in water and pushing it out again by means of an impeller driven by a motor. A submersible pump is suitable for fountains, waterfalls and filter systems. They require regular maintenance to avoid debris build-up in the filter which could cause the motor to burn-out from over use.

 

This entry was posted on October 4, 2018, in Garden ponds.

Why fish huddle together at the bottom of a garden pond?

A fish pond is a dynamic environment with sun, wind, rain and vegetation all affecting the quality of water. The health of pond water is a main contributor as to whether fish will thrive or not. Goldfish are the most hardy of pond fish and will tolerate a certain level of algae-filled and muddy conditions. However, a cramped environment (number and size of fish relative to volume of water) causes stress as a result of increasing nitrate levels.

To keep fish happy and thriving in your pond it is important to understand their behaviour at different times of the year. Doing this will help you to know what is normal behaviour versus a reaction to dealing with stress or change.

Over crowding, a lack of oxygen, over-feeding and poor nutrition, are stress factors that may lead fish to huddle together at the bottom of the pond. In this article we explore four factors that adversely affect the well-being of fish.

Factors that lead to a change in fish behaviour

Poor quality food lacking in essential nutrients

Fish have specific nutritional needs for good growth and bone development. Fish will soon recognise poor quality food and stop eating some or all at feeding time. Wasted food will sink to the bottom of the pond and decompose. Oxygen is taken from the water and used in the decomposition process. Noxious gases such as ammonia are then released into the water. The gases are poisonous to fish and result in stress, or in unmanaged situations, death. Feeding fish a food they love and to the correct quantity will keep them happy and pond water healthy.

Change to the health of pond water

The quality of pond water (which must not be confused by water clarity) has a big influence on how well Koi and goldfish will thrive in their environment. The health of fish is directly related to the correct balance of  pH, dissolved oxygen, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. These need to be carefully regulated – water hardness can also have an effect. Any rapid change will lead to stress. Example, fish seen gasping for air is a sign of a lack of oxygen in the water.

Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate gases are toxic to fish if they are allowed to build up in a pond. Fish excrete ammonia as a by product of metabolism. Fish respiration uses up oxygen and nitrifying bacteria use oxygen to convert ammonia from fish waste. If oxygen levels are too low, the detoxification process slows. The result is a build-up of ammonia in the water.  Dissolved oxygen levels can be maintained by reducing the number of fish (if there are too many per pond size) and installing a fountain, stream or water jet to aerate the water.

Fish metabolism is sensitive to pH changes. They will tolerate a range of values on either side of neutral but not extreme changes. The ideal for a pond is between pH 6.8 and 8.0. Check the pH of the water at least once a week.

Predators

Your fish maybe threatened by a visiting heron. If a predator visits in the early hours or at dusk you may not be aware of the threat to your fish and therefore why they are huddled at the bottom of your pond. InstallinKoi fish pond with waterfall to maintain healthy levels of oxygen in waterg deterrents such as a pond net will make your pond less attractive to predators. The sooner you are able to identify and stop predators attacking or threatening your fish, the sooner they will resume normal behaviour again.

Pond water temperature

Koi don’t like rapid change.  For example, a sudden drop in temperature of the water can cause them stress. A wet, cold summer may result in the pond water getting cold leading to fish going into partial hibernation or displaying other behavioural changes. They hover about at the bottom of the pond where the water is warmer, stop eating or rub their bodies on the side of the pond.

Oxygen dissolves naturally in water. The temperature of the water determines how much oxygen will dissolve. The warmer the temperature, the lower the amount of oxygen.

Koi seen jumping out of the water or moving about very rapidly, is a sign of oxygen deficiency in the water. A hot summer will lead to an increase in water temperature and a drop in oxygen levels. Install a fountain, artificial stream or plant oxygenating plants to maintain sufficient oxygen levels.

Pond fish – Koi and goldfish are more active when the weather is warm so make the most of their vibrant personalities by reducing stress as much as possible.

Other related blog articles on pond maintenance and how to help fish and other pond inhabitants thrive:

This is how to measure a pond liner for pond with waterfall

 

Garden pond maintenance: how to keep your pond healthy during the summer months

My top 5 steps on how to build a pond and fit a pond liner

This entry was posted on August 14, 2018, in Garden ponds.