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The Key To Clean Pond Water

Maintaining Water Quality

Most water gardeners are aware of the importance good quality water plays in a pond habitat. Not knowing how to get or keep water quality can prove challenging to some pond owners. Your water may be perfectly clear, but your fish may not be acting like you're used to seeing, which can tip you off that something might be a little off in your pond's water. Before you make any rash decisions on treating your water garden, ask yourself the following questions:

How many fish should be in my pond?
If you have more than 10" of fish for every 100 gallons of water, you may have too many fish and should consider finding some of them a new home or building a second home for some of them.

How much should I feed my fish?
No more than once per day is recommended and no more than they can eat in 2 to 3 minutes – then remove all excess, leftover food.

How many plants should I have? At season's peak, you should have no more than 40% to 60% of the surface area of your pond either covered or shaded by plants. Too many plants can cause oxygen deficiencies at night due to the photosynthetic process, where the plants take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide.

How do I know if my pump is the correct size for my pond? You should be turning over, or circulating, the entire pond's volume a minimum of once every hour. Make sure your pump's flow isn't restricted by debris or trying to pump water higher than it was intended. Every pump has its flow limitations. See the side of your pump box for information.

What does it mean if there is a lot of decaying debris on the bottom of my pond? Decaying debris, combined with fish waste and leftover fish food, can cause ammonia levels to spike in your pond. Clean out your pond and add beneficial microbes such as Aquascape's Beneficial Bacteria to help keep it that way.

What type of filtration should I have?
Your filter has to match the size of your pond. Remember, most manufacturers rate their filters based on ideal circumstances, and if you exceed those, your filter will become less effective. Always up-size your filter so that it can filter more than the capacity of your pond.

How often should I clean my filter?
Most filters need to be cleaned no more than once per year. Refer to manufacturer's instructions for details on your specific filter type.

What should my pond's water temperature be?
Water exceeding 75º F has a more difficult time retaining acceptable levels of dissolved oxygen. This is why it's important to have your pond shaded by aquatic plants, which should provide shade cover to 40% to 60% of the surface area of your pond. It's also why you need adequate circulation in your pond.

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About the Author

Ted Greiner, TJB-INC Landscape & Drainage Contractor
12 Crestway
Hamden, CT 06514

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