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Here are quick 10 Tips to keeping clear & clean Pond water this summer.
1. Maintain a healthy fish populati on
If you have more than 10” of fish for every 100 gallons of water, your pond is likely over-populated. Excessive fish waste can cause an imbalance in pond water. Consider finding some of them a new home. 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. Be careful not to feed your fish more than once per day, and no more than they can eat in 2 to 3 minutes. Remove all excess, leftover food.
3. Create a proper balance of plants
At season’s peak, you should have no more than 40% to 60% of the surface area of your pond either covered or shaded by plants. Too many plants can cause oxygen deficiencies at night due to the photosynthetic process, when the plants take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide.
4. Choose the right size pump for your pond
You should be circulating the entire pond’s water volume a minimum of once every hour. Make sure your pump’s flow isn’t restricted by debris and be careful not to pump water higher than it was intended. Every pump has its flow limitations. Refer to the chart on the outside of the pump’s box to make sure you’re making the right choice for your pond.
5. Clean debris from pond before it has a chance to decay
Decaying debris, combined with fish waste and leftover fish food, can cause ammonia levels to spike in your pond. Clean out your pond and add beneficial microbes such as Aquascape’s Beneficial Bacteria to help keep it healthy and clean.
6. Choose proper filtration for your pond
Your filter should match the size of your pond. Remember, most manufacturers rate their filters based on ideal circumstances, and if you exceed those, your filter becomes less effective. Always up-size your filter so that it can handle more than the capacity of your pond. Also remember to clean your filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
7. Keep your pond cool during the dog days of summer
When pond water exceeds 75º Fahrenheit, it has a more difficult time retaining acceptable levels of dissolved oxygen. This is why it’s important to have your pond shaded by aquatic plants (see tip #3). Fish need oxygen to survive. If you see them at the pond’s surface gasping for air, add an aerator to help them during times of extreme heat.
8. Use Beneficial Bacteria - Biological Pond Clarification
Algae can be a big problem in most man-made ponds. It grows when there is too much light, and too many nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus. If you reduce the level of nutrients, algae will not grow as well. Problem solved.
So how do you reduce nutrient levels? The answer is really quite simple – you make sure that the pond contains a lot of beneficial bacteria. Beneficial pond bacteria also need nutrients to grow and they will out compete the algae for nutrients.
9. Use an Ultra Violet Sterilizer or UV Clarifier
Everyone hates to have that dreaded algae bloom in their pond, we all want nice clear water. If you own an outdoor pond you are no stranger to the unsightly green!
A well-balanced pond ecosystem rarely has problems with green water, but any water feature, when out of balance, might require you to resort to artificial means to control algae blooms. In the Spring, before beneficial bacteria has had a chance to multiple and keep the water clear naturally you will most likely have a green break out. This is where UV clarifiers come in handy. Their main purpose is to clear the water and get rid of those nasty algae blooms that cause green water. But remember, UV clarifiers only get rid of the single-celled, floating algae. It does not get rid of other forms of algae such as string or blanket algae. Sterilizers, on the other hand, do exactly that. They sterilize. Commonly used in the aquarium industry and fish husbandry as another line of defense in preventing major parasite and bacteria outbreaks, they are designed to get rid of and kill just about everything in the pond water. To accomplish this, they need to have a longer contact time with the water. Sterilizers require extremely slow flow rates compared to clarifiers. So, if you want to make sure you zap everything in your pond, then this is the way to go.
You also should be aware that UV sterilizers cannot be used with certain medication applications because in addition to the effect it has on bacteria and parasites, it can have a similar effect on the makeup of certain medications, often times rendering them useless. So a good rule of thumb is that the sterilizer be removed or turned off when medicating.
Where do these fit with the general hobbyist? A lot of hobbyists use sterilizers on a smaller scale, in the 9 to 24 watt range, in their own quarantine tanks. Whether you choose a UV clarifier or sterilizer, it should be installed in-line after the skimmer or other mechanical filter, pre-filtering the water to keep the unit from coming in contact with heavy debris.
10. Use a good bacteria colonizing media, like Matala
Matala is the first media which is actually made for the express purpose of filtering koi ponds. Matala had to have certain characteristics to give the desired results. First of all it had to handle the high solid waste levels associated with koi. It had to be easy to clean. The media would also act as a substrate for biological filtering, a home for the good bacteria. A high surface area per cubic foot is necessary. However, the media could not plug up too quickly or the bacteria would go anaerobic. The media would have to provide good movement of highly oxygenated water throughout the entire filter in order to be efficient.
Furthermore, a good biofilter media requires what is called interstitial spaces. These are the small open spaces in between the media where bacteria can "fill up" in a safe and slimy bacterial matrix. Bacteria love interstitial spaces. The perfect media would let go of the dirt during cleaning but sustain the bacteria attached. Matala is rigid so it is self supporting, and slightly buoyant, making is easy to position and stay put in a filter. Aquarium Illusions sells the Blue, Green and Black sheets of Matala. Each pad has it’s own unique structure lending itself to a different job in filtration. They can be used singly or in combinations for the best in biological surface area.
Article partial excerpts from Aquascape Canada