A water feature creates an environment that looks and sounds beautiful. But many people worry that the maintenance of a pond can outweigh the benefits.
The truth is, taking care of your pond isn’t a big deal if you do it right.
The two biggest issues with pond maintenance are debris and algae. But there are simple ways to manage the muck and gunk. Here’s what you need to know.
How to keep debris from mucking up your pond
Most ponds have the pump in the bottom of the pond. But debris – like leaves that fall into the water – has no way to get out. Eventually, this gunk will sink and build up.
As the pump continues to work its magic, it can suck debris into the intake. Eventually, the pump will get clogged and need to be cleaned. When there’s a lot of junk in the pond, you need to clean the pump more often. And that’s not even addressing the way the debris looks. It can really detract from the beauty of a pond.
All of the leaves, sticks, and blossoms that fall into a pond are decomposing. That adds a significant amount of organic matter to the water and stimulates algae. All aspects of your pond are tied together, and we’ll get to algae in a minute. But let’s deal with this plant matter.
You can use a pool net to fish the leaves out of your pond. But this is a time-consuming task that most people don’t want to mess with.
What we suggest is installing a mechanical skimmer just outside the pond. The pump is placed inside the skimmer. As the pump operates, water goes through the skimmer. Debris is caught in a basket, then you empty the basket. All done!
This setup makes pump access easy and keeps debris in check. It’s so convenient that at Good Earth Water Gardens, we never install a pond without a skimmer.
For most of the year, all you have to do is check the skimmer basket once or twice a week. However, if you have a lot of trees around your pond, you know autumn is an intense time.
In the fall, your skimmer basket might fill up in a few hours. The easy solution here is to put a fine net over the pond. PVC pipe supports a dome over the water and leaves fall off to the side of the pond. When it’s done properly, a net is surprisingly unobtrusive. Plus, the benefit far outweighs any visual impairment. For more detail, check out our video on how to net your pond.
How to manage algae in your pond
Wherever there’s water, there are algae. We’re not trying to create a swimming pool here. But we do want to control the algae so that it doesn’t make your pond water look scummy. It’s natural for a pond to have a bit of film on the rocks and gravel. It’s OK as long as the water is clear.
There are two types of algae:
- Algae that turn the water cloudy, leaving your pond looking a bit like pea soup
- String algae, which form long green strings that attach to rocks or your pond liner. This stuff can spread rapidly.
The first type of algae can be fairly easily controlled by adding beneficial bacteria. Every pond owner should add bacteria on a regular basis to keep water quality high. These good bacteria will eat up nutrients from fish waste, runoff, and debris that aren’t filtered out. Bacteria help to reduce the muck layer that can form on the bottom of the pond. As the bacteria remove the organic matter, algae go hungry and the water stays clear.
String algae are a little more challenging – beneficial bacteria don’t impact it. String algae love the sun, so if your pond is in a sunny spot, you may be prone to it.
There are products that claim to control string algae, including barley extracts and algaecides. However, the most effective way we have found to control it is the IonGen System.
This system releases copper ions into the water. The copper then kills the string algae but isn’t toxic to fish or other wildlife. Algaecides can be harmful to fish and animals, so an IonGen is a better solution.
The right maintenance can make pond care easy
When you get a handle on debris and algae, you can focus on the joy of having a water feature. And isn’t that what having a pond is all about?
Good Earth Water Gardens designs, maintains, and renovates ponds all around the Kansas City area. We’re Professional Certified Aquascape Contractors with many years of experience and training, and we’d love to help with your water feature. Give us a call at (913) 749-890 or connect online.