Care and Maintenance.

As I said earlier, my pond has required surprisingly little maintenance. Basically, you will need to occasionally clean your filter(s), test your water, add a little water when needed, and keep excess debris out of the pond.

Most experts do not recommend draining and cleaning your pond more frequently than every five years or so (and not even then if it really doesn’t need it). Remember, you have established a living ecology. All of that algae, (good) bacteria, and microbes are a natural part of a healthy pond. If you clean it all off, you are just starting all over again. 

Most experts recommend changing some of water occasionally by siphoning out some of the water from the deepest part of the pond and then replacing it with fresh water. IMPORTANT: do not change or add too much water at a time. The chlorine and other chemicals in your tap water can be harmful to your fish. It is recommended that you only change or add about 20% of your pond’s capacity at a time. If your tap water has a high content of chemicals, there are chemicals that you can buy and put in your pond to treat the water and neutralize the harmful chemicals. 

While we are talking about chemicals, the people that I have come to trust for advice do not recommend heavy use of water treatments and chemicals. You will find that there are a lot of chemicals available for sale that promise to give to crystal clear water and do all kinds of good things for your pond. They usually say they are not harmful to fish or plants when used properly. My advisors tell me that you can achieve clear water and a healthy pond naturally without adding chemicals unless absolutely necessary. I have found this to be true and avoid adding chemicals as much as possible. 

You will probably experience an “algae bloom” soon after you install your pond and then once or twice a year thereafter, especially in the spring. This is normal and will usually clear up in a few days to a couple of weeks. An algae bloom is a sudden spurt of algae growth that may turn your water green for a while. Algae growth is a natural and important part of your pond “establishing itself”. Eventually, algae will cover your pond liner and anything else in the pond. This is natural and good. The trick is keeping the algae growth in check. This is accomplished with the proper balance of filters and plants (which are natural filters). 

You may experience a growth of “string algae” which is a long, green, stringy form of algae that tends to cling to the sides of your pond and plant pots. This is a little harder to deal with. You can buy little bales of Barley Straw to put in your pond, which is supposed to help prevent string algae. If you have a problem with string algae, or other unwanted growth, seek advise from a reputable expert. Again, I have found Web sites such as invaluable for advice on pond care.

Insects: Plants and water naturally attract a variety of insects and other wildlife. We really have not found this to be a problem, but have noticed more bees and wasps since we installed the pond. 

Mosquitoes: The experts say that water gardens generally do not increase mosquito population because, 1. Mosquitoes do not breed in moving water and, 2. fish will eat Mosquito larvae before it hatches. Since you will have a fountain or waterfall, your water will be moving.
However, we did seem to have more Mosquitoes the first summer of our pond. I can't say for sure if the pond was the source or if it was merely coincidence. There were other areas around my home where standing water could have contributed to the increase in Mosquito population.

Next:  Winterizing Your Pond


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