You’ve heard the phrase, “a good offense is the best defense.” I’m pretty sure that phrase was never truer than it is in your pond. If you are looking to win the game, with a good system of routine equipment maintenance, beneficial bacteria, and aeration, your pond can stay in prime condition all season.
Filtration, filtration, filtration. Much like the location of a house, filtration is EVERYTHING. Don’t skimp here, spending a little more now, will save you tons in upkeep later. Buy a good quality filter, that is easy to maintain (because let’s face it, if it isn’t easy, it isn’t as likely to happen, especially as time passes) and comes with a support team only a phone call away to help you with any problems that put you on defense.
Be sure you are filtering to the capacity you expect your pond to handle, or you have the ability to easily add filtration as your fish population grows. What does that mean, you ask? Here is the fine print on filter sizing. Say you have a 1000 gallon pond. If you purchase a filter that says it is designed for up to 1000 gallons, what they really mean, is that the filter is designed to sustain the fish load that a 1000 gallon pond should house.
This is where most pond fumbles happen. In the pond world, there isn’t a hard and fast rule book to follow that states what your exact fish load should be, but there is a rule of thumb. Since it is only a rule of thumb, most people prefer to consider it merely a suggestion, and not law, kind of how freeway speed limits are viewed.
The rule of thumb in ponds is this, each adult female koi should have 500 gallons of water, and each adult male koi should have 250 gallons of water. Females need more because they get much bulkier than the males, and produce a higher waste load. (Cue bad jokes. I’ll wait, go ahead) This means, a 1000 gallon filter is actually only designed to filter the water for 2-4 fish, because in a 1000 gallon pond, you should have only 4 males, OR only 1 female, and 2 males, OR only 2 females. That said, take a peek at any pond you see, and I’m sure you’ll agree, most people have too many players on the field.
So plan ahead, if you have a 1000 gallon pond, but know that you will definitely get more than 4 fish in there, get filtration for a much larger pond. I know how people are, so when I have a client that is setting up a 1000 pond, I always suggest that they shoot for filtration for a 6000 gallon pond, to help filter the number of fish that I know they will end up with.
The Pond Digger installation team uses Helix Life Support Filtration equipment, https://theponddigger.com/product-category/filters-and-pond-filtration/helix-bio-mechanical-waterfall-filter/because we love the ease of maintenance, the ability to add on more equipment when the time comes, and the great support from the staff when a problem arises.
Maintenance is often very overlooked. If I get a phone call from a client that has water quality issues, my first question is, how often are you cleaning your filter, and performing water changes? If they hesitate to answer, I already know they aren’t doing it like they should. We suggest cleaning your filter weekly, which will also perform a small water change.
Cleaning the filter removes any debris the filter has gathered, allowing it to collect more, while the water change revitalizes the elements in the pond that are in tap water that the fish and pond both need. Don’t forget to dechlorinate!
Weekly additives of beneficial bacteria. This is easy to overlook, easy to forget, easy to skip, and so incredibly helpful that if you knew what it actually did, you would NEVER forget.
The beneficial bacteria helps to break down the excess nutrients and waste that can cause undesirable algae in your pond. It helps break down low levels of ammonia, and nitrites which can be damaging to your fish’s gills, internal organs, slime coat, and overall health. It also helps break down debris that settles on the bottom of the pond.
If you’ve done the first three offensive moves, adding aeration is the Hail Mary that your pond has been waiting for. Adding bubbles seems merely decorative, but is actually an amazingly hard-working addition to your pond.
The bubbles, when the diffuser is positioned correctly, climb to the surface of the pond, creating a circulation circle. This circulation circle brings freshly aerated water to the bottom of the pond, where it can work to break down fish poop, excess food, and other debris.
At the surface, when the bubbles break apart, they allow oxygen to enter the pond. Your fish use oxygen for proper organ function, and of course to breath, keeping your fish happy and healthy.
The plants use oxygen at their roots to help break down organics for consumption, which helps the plants grow, and helps produce more blooms, and who doesn’t want a ton of beautiful blooms in their pond?
Now you have the playbook to reach the goal for your pond, get clean, clear, water to keep your fish healthy and increase their longevity. Easier maintenance for you, means you’ll spend more time relaxing, and less time working on your pond. It’s a win/win!
If you would like to see Eric’s go to Design Guide for Ponds, you can download a copy here.
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