Pond Care: A Definitive Guide

For our fish to explore safely in the pond, we must take into account a series of aspects that avoid the poor maintenance of the pond and can have an impact on the quality of life of fish.Among basic care in the pond some are: the removal of weeds that affect the plant balance of the pond, as well as that of dead plants so that their decomposition affects the quality of the water.

Another aspect is to control the water level and its cleaning, since the rains and the wind can increase or decrease its quantity and quality, thus hurting both the fish and the plants themselves that need stable and adequate levels to their characteristics. Removal of fish or other dead animals such as insects or amphibians is vital. Their life cycle is short and periodically we must pay attention to this point.

However,  different seasons of the year require different care.

Here are the Seasonal Tasks For Pond Care

 

Spring

Clean out the pond, if necessary
Carry out any repair work
Clean off algae from surrounding paving, decking or stepping stones
Remove water heater for storage
Reinstall pumps, filters, and lights
Check the water chemistry with a commercial test kit and if necessary treat water with pH adjuster
If plants are diseased, treat water with fungicide
Late spring divide plants and thin

Summer

Check water chemistry with commercial test kit.
Clean the pumps strainer to make sure it remains unclogged, do this once a week
Control algae with algaecide if necessary (remember this is only a quick fix)
To control algae properly you need biofiltration added to a UVC or waitfor the natural process which takes 6 to 8 weeks, every pond is different
Remove blanketweed regularly
Keep the water free from decaying foliage
Check water level weekly, and fill up if necessary
If you add more than 20% of pond make sure to treat the water
If herons are preying on fish, fence the pond or cover with netting
Keep any fountains on all night.

Autumn

Secure a net over the pond to collect falling leaves and debris
Keep the water clear of dying foliage
Cut down foliage of marginal plants
Cut back excess growth of submerged oxygenators

Winter

Install a pond heater or stock tank de-icer.
If not being used, remove, clean and store pumps, filters and lights
If the pump is still operating add extra bricks to its base to raise it nearer to the surface of the water
In warmer zones, place a floating object on the water to stop the water from possible freezing.
Remove snow from ice sheets if necessary, to allow light to enter.

Stocking Levels for New Ponds

Pond Size
Oxygenating Plants
Floater
Water Lily
Small
8 ft X 6 ft (2.5m X 2m)
15 bunches
6
1
Small to medium
12 ft X 8 ft
30 bunches
9
2
Medium
15 ft X 9 ft
45 bunches
9-12
3
Large
30 ft X 15 ft
75 bunches
20-30
5

Start up plantation

  • Use submerged oxygenating plants to start production of oxygen levels in your pond
  • Use fast growing floaters that spread quickly to give the pond a cover from too much sun penetration, that can cause green water (algae growth).

Plant Care Through The Year

Spring

  • Trim off all dead and winter damaged foliage from perennial plants
  • If removing winter casualties check first that there is no new growth at the base of the plant, if not, remove and work compost into the soil before replanting.
  • Once the danger of frost has passed, introduce new plants, and reintroduce plants that were removed for protection over winter.
  • Divide crowded or overgrown plants as necessary.
  • Feed aquatic plants especially water lilies with slow release fertilizers. Ordinary garden fertilizers may be applied only where they will not leach into water.
  • Once all planting, replanting and feeding has been done, mulch boggy areas of soil to conserve soil moisture.
  • Remember that a temporary greening of the water is natural in spring.Do not take action unless it persists.

Summer

  • Deadhead flowering plants, where decorative seedlings are not desired.
  • Remove any dying or disease affected foliage. Congested foliage may be lightly thinned.
  • Make note of plants that are becoming overgrown and congested, so that they may be thinned in Autumn or the following Spring.
  • Note gaps in plantings where new plants could be accommodated when dividing crowded plants.
  • Check plants for symptoms of pests and diseases, treat as necessary.
  • If algae growth is a problem, consider whether there are enough submerged and floating-leaved plants in the pond, it is not too late to introduce more.

Autumn

  • Collect and either plant or store any material for propagation, such as ripe seed or winter buds.
  • Check plants for symptoms of pests and diseases and treat as necessary
  • If you have a green house (or indoor light garden) take cuttings of tender and borderline hardy perennials in case the parent plants do not survive the winter.
  • Remove frost tender plants for over wintering dry and store any containers from which plants have been removed.
  • In extremely exposed areas, cut back tall grasses, reeds and other plants reducing their height by about half, to prevent wind damage.
  • Protect moisture loving plants against cold weather with a mulch of straw or other.

Winter

  • As severe weather sets in, take measures to protect plants.
  • Float an electric stock tank de-icer in ponds to keep the water from freezing over completely.
  • If you have a cool, light place where plants may be stored over winter bring in marginally hardy plants and keep them evenly moist over winter in trays of water.
  • Leave dying and frost damaged foliage on perennial plants until spring to protect new growth below.
  • To make sure that the water environment remains healthy for dormant plants. Make holes in ice sheets and brush off snow to let light in.
  • Browse through our plant catalogs and under attractive new plants for your pond.

Diseases

  • Water lily leafspot (dark patches) form on water lily leaves, which eventually rot and disintegrate. Leaves should be removed and discarded. Spray with fungicide after new leaves appear in Spring, repeat every 10 to 14 days until flowering begins. Rhizome rot, a widespread disease that causes the leaves of rhizomatous irises to die back. Cut out any rotting parts of the rhizome and dust the cut surfaces with a fungicidal powder.

Pests

  • Iris flea beetles (bluish black beetles) attack waterside irises in midsummer, small leaf areas lose their tissue. Control by frequent spraying with a strong jet of water. Vine weevil (dull black beetles) attack several moisture loving perennials, such as hostas, primroses and astilbes eat out of the margins of the leaf by making irregular notches. However, most damage is done by the larvae, which eat the roots until the plant wilts, remove the weevils by hand. During hot dry summers, Spider mites congregate on the undersides of water lily leaves and other aquatic foliage held above the water. Remove by hand or drown by weighting down the leaves for a day or two with nets

Seasonal Checklist for Fish Care

Spring

  • Use a testing kit to evaluate the water’s pH levels.
  • Introduce new fish
  • When the water temperature reaches 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) begin feeding high carbohydrate diet (wheat germ) do not begin feeding high protein diet until the water temperature is (60 degrees F) (15 degrees C).
  • Reintroduce fish over wintered indoors
  • Inspect fish for parasites or disorders that they may have picked up during the winter
  • Remove algae
  • Keep an eye out for herons which become active in the Spring when food is not yet plentiful
  • Take precautions against predators by erecting a netting fence approximately 18 – 24 inches high around the perimeter of the pond.

Summer

  • Introduce new fish
  • Replace water lost through evaporation
  • Check water lily leaves for pests then hose them into the water for fish to eat
  • Regulate feeding since more natural foods are available to the fish
  • Check fish regularly for pests and disease, especially in very hot weather
  • If necessary remove fry to a separate pond or to a bucket of water taken from the pond until they grow larger
  • In hot spells, if fish are surfacing and gasping, use a hose with a spray attachment or a sprinkler to rapidly increase the oxygen content of the water

Autumn

  • Feed fish when the weather is warm and bright
  • To build up fish for the winter months supplement their diet with high protein foods
  • Remove tender species of fish and keep under cover for the winter
  • Net the pond to protect it from falling leaves and debris, keep an eye out for herons as they prey more heavily on fish to build up their own reserves for the winter months.

Winter

  • Cease feeding fish as they become semi dormant
  • Place terra cotta pipes at the bottom of the pond to provide fish with shelter from predators
  • If freezing temperatures are forecast install a stock tank de-icer. Or a pool heater or place one or more floats in the water or cover a section of the pond.
  • If a pond ices over make an air hole by placing a pan of boiling water on the ice. Never break ice with a hammer the shock vibrations are harmful to fis

Finally, we must pay special attention to the introduction of new fish in our pond so that its adaptation is produced gradually and with the best results..

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