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7 Tips to Maintain Clean Pond Water

7 Tips to Maintain Clean Pond Water

Most pond and water feature owners understand the importance of maintaining water quality in a pond habitat. Sometimes your pond water may look fine, but your fish are acting differently, which could signify that something could be a little off in your pond. Other times, your pond water may look green, murky, or sludgy, indicating there’s an issue.

Keeping a pond clear and healthy can often be done through simple, regular pond maintenance. 

How to keep your pond water clean?

With a little knowledge and understanding, you’ll become better equipped to solve whatever pond water issues you might have. To get started, take a look at our 7 tips to help maintain clean pond water.

1. Maintain a healthy fish population

A large part of pond maintenance that's often overlooked is having the right number of fish. Having too many fish in your pond can cause an imbalance in the pond water, with excess fish waste disrupting the delicate ecosystem.

As a general rule, if you have more than 25cm of fish for every 380 litres of water, your pond is likely over-populated. Does your pond have too many fish? Consider finding some of them a new home, or expanding the pond to be larger. If you choose to go the re-homing route, keep in mind that many pond retailers and contractors will accept your fish.

2. Don’t over-feed your fish

When you feed fish more than they can eat, the uneaten food is left to decay in the pond. This causes an imbalance in the pond, and can lead to cloudy or murky water. If excess food is left in the pond too often, it can cause algae growth, which makes your pond look green and slimy.

Be careful not to feed your fish more than once per day, and no more than they can eat in 2 to 3 minutes. Choose a quality fish food – preferably one that floats as opposed to one that sinks to the bottom of the pond if left uneaten. This will allow you to easily scoop up any excess food after feeding time is finished.

3. Create a proper balance of plants

Maintaining the right number of plants in and around your water feature is beneficial to your pond's health. Many pond plants help to oxygenate the water, which is great news for your fish and the general ecosystem. At season’s peak, you should have 40% to 60% of the surface area of your pond either covered or shaded by plants. Too many plants in and around your pond can cause oxygen deficiencies at night due to the photosynthetic process. At night, plants take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide. Too much carbon dioxide in the water is bad news for your fish.

4. Choose the right size pond pump

Another important pond maintenance tip is to make sure you have the right sized pond pump for your water feature. Your pond filter should be circulating the entire pond’s water volume a minimum of once every hour.

A clogged pond filter is bad news for your pond, so make sure your pump’s flow isn’t restricted by debris in the skimmer or biological filter. If you notice debris in places it shouldn't be, gently remove it. You should also be careful not to pump water higher than it was intended. Every pump has its flow limitations. We’ve made it easy for you to choose the correct size pump for your pond and waterfall with our online pump selection guide.

5. Clean debris from pond before it has a chance to decay

Your pond skimmer will remove most of the debris from the surface of your pond, but you can also use a pond net to skim leaves and small sticks from the water's surface, before they have a chance to descend to the bottom to decay. Decaying debris, combined with fish waste and leftover fish food, can cause ammonia levels to spike in your pond. Try not to plant too many trees that regularly drop leaves around the edge of your pond.

Beneficial microbes such as Aquascape Clean for Ponds also help to keep your pond water healthy and clean for your finned friends. Clean for Ponds uses a powerful blend of heterotrophic bacteria that digests organic waste and sludge caused by fish waste, decomposing leaves, uneaten fish food, and other debris.

If you don't have the time to manually add treatments to your pond water, you might like to consider installing an Automatic Dosing System to electronically dispense the product. Add beneficial bacteria and other treatments to your pond to help with breaking down debris and maintaining a proper nitrogen cycle.

6. Choose a proper pond filter

Just like your pond pump, your pond filter should match the size of your water garden. Most pond filters are based on ideal circumstances, and if you exceed these, your filter can become less effective. As such, it's good to always up-size your filter so that it can handle more than the capacity of your pond. This is based off ho many litres of water your pond contains, so keep this in mind when choosing your filter. Remember to clean your filter according to instructions.

There are two types of filters in an Aquascape ecosystem pond. A mechanical filter and a biological filter. The mechanical filter, also known as the skimmer, removes surface debris such as leaves and small sticks from your pond water. The biological filter, or BioFalls filter, is positioned to create the beginning of a waterfall in your pond. This filter uses bacteria to break down pond waste, converting it into less harmful compounds that can be absorbed as fertiliser by your aquatic plants.

7. Keep your pond cool during the dog days of summer

When pond water exceeds 24º C, it often has a difficult time retaining acceptable levels of dissolved oxygen, which is critical for the health of your fish. This is why it’s important to have the surface of your pond shaded by aquatic plants – to help keep the pond water cool.

In the Australian summer, you may notice your fish struggling with a lack of oxygen in the water. If you see them gasping for air at the pond's surface, it's likely there's not enough oxygen present. To remedy this, add an aerator to bring more oxygen into the feature and help them during times of extreme heat.

Bonus tip: Keep ammonia in check

Ammonia can be harmful to your fish and should be addressed right away. If you see your fish jumping out of the water, your pond may be experiencing an ammonia spike which can happen after adding an algae treatment. You can purchase an ammonia test kit at your local pet and aquarium store and if you find the levels are high, simply treat your pond water with Ammonia Neutralizer.

There are many different things you can do to keep your pond water clear and healthy. We hope you've enjoyed reading through these 7 tips, and have learned some helpful information for your own pond maintenance journey. Read more about how to keep your pond happy and healthy on our pond maintenance page.

If you'd like a hand with pond maintenance, contact your local Certified Aquascape Contractor for help. 

Aquascape Ecosystem Pond in Arizona - with Clean Water

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