How to Maintain a Healthy Garden Pond and the Equipment That You Will Need

| February 3, 2012 | 0 Comments

Garden ponds are now a regular feature in a large proportion of gardens. Building a pond and stocking it is one thing but continuing to maintain the pond to ensure it remains a healthy environment requires a certain level of dedication. As well as your time, determination and care, you will need to purchase a few key pieces of equipment to help you analyse the ‘health’ of your pond.

The level of maintenance required can vary depending on which fish you choose to stock your pond with. For example, Koi fish require a high level of care and maintenance. This needs to be considered before you build your pond and should be a factor in deciding what type of pond you build and what level of maintenance you feel able to achieve.

Regular water quality testing of your pond is important as you cannot always see the problems that can affect the health of your pond.

pH meters are both desirable and useful for the typical stocked garden pond. A ph value less than 7 means that the water is acidic and a measurement higher than 7, means that it is alkaline. Small pH variations are normal and can be harmless but some fish, especially Koi can only survive in waters of a specific pH (between 7 & 9 with approximately 7.4 being most suitable). Certain pH levels (too high or too low) can cause the fish to become stressed and they can then become diseased.

Salinity meters are also an important piece of kit which will measure the salt concentration in your pond. Salt can be useful for eliminating dangerous nitrates in the water, killing parasites and for treating infectious diseases among your fish populations. As with pH, salt levels can change quickly and unpredictably and it is advised that you use a salinity meter on a regular basis.

Dissolved oxygen meters are often used by pond owners. Dissolved oxygen levels are susceptible to abrupt changes and can cause fish to become ill or die if the levels are too low. Different factors can affect the dissolved oxygen levels such as temperature changes (oxygen levels decrease as temperature levels increase), amount of fish in the pond and level of filtering. Healthy oxygenating plants and good filtration systems can help to keep oxygen concentration at acceptable levels but regular testing is advised.

An owner of a pond with fish in will need to test for ammonia and nitrates. Ammonia is produced by the fish in the pond and is a natural form of waste. If ammonia is allowed to build up in the pond, any fish in there will die. Most people remove ammonia using a bio-filter and by removing and changing approximately a quarter of the water in the pond when ammonia levels are particularly high. Nitrates are produced when using the filter to remove the ammonia in the water. It is the bacteria in the bio-filter which creates the presence of nitrates. Another bio-filter is required to make sure that these nitrates are not harmful to your fish. Water changes can be performed again to help remove nitrates that have not been filtered.

Individual high specification meters are recommended for regular testing of a pond but there are also general test kits available which test for pH, nitrate and ammonia levels and can be bought from garden / koi fish specialists.

To ensure a healthy pond, you will also need:

Pumps and filters – there is a lot of choice out there to suit all budgets and requirements.

Suitable submerged plants such as Starwort, Hornwort, Water Violet and other oxygenators.

Parasite and infection treatments – there are a large variety of these including the popular salt treatment method.

Maintaining a stocked pond is no easy task but is essential if you are serious about managing the health of your fish. By

 

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