Keeping a backyard pond is a great way to get in touch with nature, spend more time outside and help the environment. A small pond can make your residence feel more like home, and the act of maintaining a pond can be very rewarding. However, if not properly cared for, a backyard pond can easily be overcome by algae, predators, heat or cold. Here are some ways you can keep your pond clean and beautiful.
1. Introduce Fish, but Not Too Many
One of the perks of pond management is the ability to manage a fish population. Watching your fish interact with each other and grow can be a fascinating pastime. However, before introducing new fish, you should make sure to do some research on how they might adapt. It’s also important not to overpopulate your pond. A common rule of thumb is to have no more than one 1-inch fish for every 10 gallons of water, or one 6-inch fish for every 100 gallons.
2. Introduce Plants, but Not Too Many
A healthy backyard pond should also incorporate plants and vegetation such as lilies, marshes and oxygenators. These can add to the aesthetic beauty of the pond while providing valuable shade during the summer months. Just like with fish, it’s also possible to have too many plants. At the peak of summer, aim to have 40% to 60% of the water covered or shaded by vegetation. Too much vegetation can lead to oxygen deficiencies at night, putting fish at risk.
3. Clean Your Pond Regularly
Not all algae is bad, but too much algae can be very damaging to the appearance and health of your pond. Make sure to clean regularly, either with a garden rake or an algaecide, to keep the algae population under control. Things such as leaves and dirt can also be quite dangerous. If they are allowed to sink below the surface, they can start to decay and produce high levels of ammonia. By skimming the surface of the water with a net, you can keep unwanted debris out.
4. Watch Out for Predators
While it may be fun to watch frogs and birds hanging out near your pond, they too can have a damaging effect if they start eating away at vegetation or fish. Keep a watchful eye out to make sure these critters don’t take control of your ecosystem. Other predators to watch out for are raccoons, muskrats and leeches.
These are just a few of the ways you can keep your pond in the best condition possible. It requires time and effort, but with the right balance of plants, bacteria, and wildlife, your pond can be the central focus of a beautiful backyard.