While a pond can be a wonderful feature for any property, there’s no denying that keeping the water healthy and the pond looking its best can take some work. If you’ve been wondering how to clean a pond, there are some easy steps you can take that will reduce the amount of labor needed.
1. Aerate Your Pond
Whether you have a small decorative pond, a koi pond, a larger pond or even a small lake, aerating and/or agitating the water definitely help keep your pond clean. Why does aeration matter? Let’s take a look at what happens if your pond water becomes stagnant.
Pond water contains a certain amount of oxygen. When a pond is stagnant the oxygen floats to the surface of the pond and the bottom water layer loses oxygen. When you aerate the pond water, this adds oxygen to the bottom layer and ensures that all of the water has a proper amount of oxygen. Low oxygen levels often lead to fish death, and aerating can prevent this from occurring.
Aerating can prohibit algae overgrowth and even reduce the amount of muck (decomposing matter) that builds up along the bottom of your pond. This much is made up of plant waste, fish waste and other materials. This muck not only reduces water clarity and reduces oxygen levels, but it can also create some unpleasant odors and aeration can go a long way to preventing muck from building up.
When it comes to aeration, you have several choices. For a fairly deep pond, bottom diffusion aeration can be a great option. This diffuses the water from the bottom, forcing the water up toward the surface where it can access more oxygen. If your pond is six feet or deeper, a bottom diffusion system is recommended.
A bottom diffuser also can be a good option if you live in an area where the top layer of your pond freezes over. When too much of the surface of a pond freezes, then very little light can reach into the water, and this leads to fish death. With a properly-installed aeration system, you can prevent these “winterkill” issues.
For a shallower pond, you might consider surface aeration, such as a waterfall. Not only will this help agitate the water, but it’s also lovely to look at, which is another bonus. There are other types of surface aerators aside from fountains, but we can’t deny that these look lovely as well as providing that much-needed aeration. Again, if your pond may freeze over in winter, a bottom diffuser might still be necessary.
2. Invest In A Pond Rake
Ok, we know this article’s title suggests that we are providing “easy” tips, but raking your pond can be a great way to remove algae and debris, as well as for removing muck. If you have a larger pond, consider heading out with your rake once per week and removing the debris. A pond rake is inexpensive and while it’s time-consuming to rake out the pond, if you make time once per week, it needn’t take an excessive amount of time to remove debris.
For a small decorative pond or koi pond, spend a few minutes each day removing dead leaves, twigs and other debris. Spending just 10 minutes per day removing some debris (you may not even need a rake for a smaller pond) can go a long way to keeping your pond water and your fish healthy. With these small ponds, a skimmer might be all you need to get out the debris.
One quick koi pond tip: Be wary of over-feeding your fish. Over-feeding is a very common mistake people make with their koi ponds. Not only is too much food bad for your koi, the excess food will just rot in your pond and create a situation ripe for algae growth.
3. Add The Right Plants
Adding plants can be a great option for any pond. Plants can help keep water temperatures cooler and provide much-needed shade for fish and other aquatic life during the hotter months of the year.
Adding floating plants can be a great option. Not only are these beautiful, but they also restrict the growth of algae and eat up some of the nutrients that algae need in order to grow. Some plants even add extra oxygen to your pond water. We highly recommend that you speak with a pond expert and discuss the best types of plants for your pond.
As a side note, if your pond is stocked with fish, it is crucial that you keep this fish population under control. When there are too many fish in the water, they must compete for oxygen. An overstocked pond, after all, raises the water temperature and the amount of waste from these fish becomes excessive. When water temperatures rise and there is too much waste, oxygen levels drop and this leads to fish death.
4. Add Colorant
If you are aerating and raking and vacuuming, but your pond’s water color isn’t as attractive as you like, you might be scratching your head and wondering how to clean a pond and restore the water to a beautiful condition. After all, you might pass by a golf course or park and see a beautiful sparkling pond and wonder what are they doing to that you aren’t doing.
The answer could be as simple as adding colorant to the water. It might seem like adding dye to your pond water is a bad idea, but it can be very beneficial for a pond. Colorants typically are made from the same dyes that are used in our food, so they are considered safe for your fish, as well as livestock and humans. You just want to ensure that you purchase food-grade dye and that your dye is veterinarian-approved.
Colorants not only enhance the color of pond water, they also can lower the temperature of a pond. Hotter temperatures drive up the temperature of pond water, which lowers the oxygen levels in your pond. Not only can low oxygen levels harm fish, this also encourages algae growth. The darker water also acts as a shield from predators that might be hoping to eat your fish.
When you combine colorants with aeration, you can achieve a very healthy pond, and adding colorants is a relatively simple process, you just need to make sure you wear protective gear as the concentrated dyes can stain your skin and clothing.
5. Add Beneficial Bacteria
When one searches for “how to clean a pond,” you probably hear a lot about adding bacteria. One of the easiest ways to reduce excess nutrients is to simply add beneficial bacteria to your pond. The bacteria will eat away at the green organic material and sludge, improving water quality and clarity.
Often adding biodegradable bacteria packs once per month is all you have to do to keep the water clean and healthy. Beneficial bacteria combined with an aeration system can make pond maintenance extremely easy. In some cases, especially in areas prone to temperature spikes or very high summer temperatures, you may need to treat monthly and add a supplement to maintain a clean pond.
To add the beneficial bacteria, you just calculate the approximate number of gallons in your pond and add the appropriate amount of biodegradable bacteria packs. You cannot over-treat the water, but you can undertreat, so if you add a little more product that you absolutely need, this will not harm the water. Be sure to read the package directions carefully, and select products that are veterinarian-approved and safe for fish, wildlife, livestock and humans.
In general, that’s how to clean a pond. Preventative steps such as aeration, adding bacteria and some basic maintenance should keep your pond water healthy for your fish although certain circumstances might necessitate additional treatment or steps. At Healthy Ponds, we have an assortment of products that can help with pond maintenance, and if you are sure which products are the best fit for your pond, you can give us a call, email us or contact us via live chat.