When your pond is designed and constructed right, it shouldn’t need much upkeep. How much is “not much?” For an average-sized 15’ x 12’ natural pond with a 10’ stream, we’re only talking a few minutes a week. It’s a small investment that ensures countless hours of enjoyment.
But then, we’ve all seen good ponds go bad. Misguided or completely absent “maintenance” has left many a pond green, murky, and stinky. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Debris gets into any pond. The trick is to remove it before it sinks to the bottom. If you don’t, that plant matter will slowly decompose into a brown and smelly muck. Filtration to the rescue!
There are two key components that give a pond proper filtration. A mechanical skimmer houses a pump and pulls water through a basket and multiple filter mats. This simple process removes most large debris and sediment before it reaches the pump below. A biofilter, sometimes called a Biofalls, provides a habitat for beneficial bacteria. These microscopic friends break down and remove other waste like ammonia, nitrogen, decaying plant debris, and fish waste that can cause water-quality issues and algae blooms.
Rocks and gravel
Beneficial bacteria play such an important role with filtration, so give them all the help you can. Rocks and gravel provide additional areas for these valuable microbes to live. Bacteria adhere to rocks and then break down the small amount of debris that the filter misses. Sometimes people are afraid of putting gravel in their ponds, thinking that it would make cleaning muck more complicated. But when a pond is properly balanced and maintained, the muck layer doesn’t form.
We encourage adding bacteria to your pond during the growing season – it boosts this powerful cleaning engine. If the bacteria treatments seem like a chore, you can add it automatically with the Aquascape Dosing System. This unit supplies your water feature with the necessary amounts of bacteria and enzymes to keep water clear. Just change the packet every month or two and the doser does the rest!
A pond pump does double duty. It provides filtration but it also helps add oxygen to the water. This enables the fish and bacteria to do their work.
Moving water is an important part of the pond ecosystem – and it looks good. For most people, a waterfall is the most impressive part of a pond.
Our aquatic friends are a necessary component of the pond ecosystem. Fish munch on algae and sometimes dine on plants and insects in the water, too.
But fish also have an amazing effect on people. Watching fish is like watching a fire in the fireplace – it’s relaxing. Some people are initially lukewarm about having fish. But hosting these underwater wonders is often one of the best parts of having a pond.
The final ingredient of a low-maintenance pond is plants. They remove many of the nutrients in the water, detoxifying the pond in the process.
Most plants don’t live in water that’s more than 12 inches deep. That means that it’s nearly impossible to have plants in a pond that’s two or three feet deep all over. In our construction, we build steps into the design. So, plants thrive, naturalizing and softening the effect of a pond.
Pond maintenance schedule
Once all the pond ecosystem parts are in place, what kind of maintenance is required? Here’s a schedule to keep you on track.
- Check the skimmer basket. You should do this every two or three days. After a storm or a windy day, this may need to be daily. – Time: 1-2 minutesIn fall, we highly recommend using a net to prevent tons of leaves from getting in the water. Your pond netting can look surprisingly unobtrusive and save hours of work.
- Add bacteria. This is as simple as dumping a little powder into the water. – Time: 1 minute every week or 5 minutes every two months to change the doser packet
- Feed the fish. This isn’t a chore – it’s a highlight of the day. But if you’re out of town for a few days, don’t worry. The fish will be fine eating debris in the pond. Time: 2 minutes
- Check the water level. With a pond, there will always be a small amount of water loss through evaporation and splash. You just need to keep an eye on it. Every pond is different, but monitor the water level maybe once a week. Again, this isn’t really a chore – you just have to hang out by your pond. – Time: 5-10 minutes
- Trim plants. You generally don’t need to worry about this until the plants are mature. It also depends on the number of plants you have. – Time: 15 minutes a month
- Spring clean. We highly encourage a cleaning and checkup to make sure your pond is working efficiently. It starts the new growing season off right and makes sure your pond looks great.This is a messy and time-consuming job that works best with proper equipment. If you’re an enthusiastic DIYer, you can clean a pond yourself – here’s how. But you might consider hiring a professional to save the trouble. – Time: 2 minutes for a quick phone call or up to a full day if doing it yourself (time will vary depending on the size of your pond)
And that’s about it!
Keeping your water feature in good working order doesn’t take a lot of time – leaving you plenty of time to personalize your outdoor space. And that’s the fun part!
A water feature can enhance your yard and your life. If the maintenance is out of control or if something just isn’t right, Good Earth Water Gardens can help. Give us a call at 913-749-8090 or contact us online. We can identify the issue and help you get on the right maintenance track!