This page last edited on

01 August, 2008

Ponds & Fish

Pond Maintenance

Pumps and Filtration:

  All ponds with a liner or pre-made pond forms need to have pumped filtration. The front pond has three filters and the back pond has one. Each filter box has the pump in it which is attached to tubing which circulates the water. The filters have a hole in the middle where the tube goes through. Each box has a cover which allows water to go through but keeps large objects from getting in. Approximately ever two days my filters are clogged enough to require cleaning. This is the majority of the work called "pond maintenance." It is the part of having a pond that you put up with but it can be enjoyable to, especially on gorgeous days. I unplug my pumps and UV filters and dismantle the boxes. I use my nozzle on the hose and spray out the algae and pond gunk that collected on the filters and in the box. It is very important to hose out the tubing as well because all that gunk gets clogged in tubing and will impede water flow. After everything is cleaned up I put it all back together and turn the pumps back on.

  You will need to determine, based on the size of your pond, how many and what type of pumps, and how many gallons per hour (GPH) they should be. Waterfall pumps are different than the kind of pumps that I have. Waterfall set up is different than what I have as well. I don't know anything about how to set up a waterfall pond. When you are preparing to install your pond you will figure out how big it will be and then you can buy the necessary equipment you'll need to run it properly. If you order your pond supplies online you can get everything at once and save on shipping. If you have a company install your pond they will be able to get everything for you and will set it up for you. Even so, more than likely you will do your own maintenance to save yourself the money. Make sure to get the right sized tubing to fit your pump and your device (spitter) that inputs the pumped water into the pond! This CAN be a nightmare when trying to hook your tubing up to a spitting turtle or frog or whatever you use. I have gone through all of that and now I don't use spitters - I just let the hose itself "spit" into the pond! If the size of the pump tubing is different than the spitter tubing you can use various sized tubing to bridge the gap.

UV Filtration:

  I also have two UV ray filters as well which helps in keeping the algae down - making the water clear. They are not necessary in the colder climates but here in south Florida I consider them essential. Even with them, I still had algae problems but it would have been far worse without them.  You can find them online or at stores. Check around for pricing as they can be expensive. You also have to change the bulb about every six months and they are not cheap either! You need to hook the pump tubing up to an input on the UV filter and then put tubing on the output which "spits" into the pond. The idea is that the water goes through the filter case which houses the UV bulb, killing the algae.

Volcanic Ash - Calcium Bentonite:

  I also put volcanic ash in the pond every two weeks - also called calcium bentonite - to keep the water clear.  I first saw this on Ebay and have been a faithful user ever since. I swear that it is a miracle substance for keeping the water crystal clear and taking out impurities. Its supposed to have over 60 minerals in it and I can tell you the fish absolutely love the stuff! You will receive instructions on how to use it when you get your product. I can honestly tell you that it has been the only thing I tried that actually worked in keeping my ponds here in south Florida crystal clear year round. I previously tried barley straw but that didn't work.

Checking the Ph and other levels: (repeated on Goldfish page)

  I cannot stress enough how vitally important this is!  I have had fish die from acid water and I didn't even know it! I ended up taking water samples to Petsmart to see if they could find out what was killing my fish. They tested it and told me the water was acidic and that is what caused my fish to die. I have tested the water coming out of the hose and the Ph is always alkaline, around 7.8 so I know its good coming out. Goldfish need at least Ph neutral - 7.0. Any decline to acidity will jeopardize their lives. For whatever reason, over time the pond water DOES become acidic. There are complicated factors involved I'm sure, but I now realize that I need to check the Ph level at least once a week and remedy it if the level is 7.0 or below. 

  Get in the habit of checking the Ph when you install a pond and have fish in it. I did not know to do that in the very beginning. I did not do my research before hand and the fish paid the price. Please learn from my mistake!  Ph test kits are inexpensive and easily found online or at the local pet chain stores in the fish section.

  $$$ $aving tip - use baking soda to raise the Ph of your pond, not chemicals that are outrageously priced!!! Use one tablespoon of baking soda for every 10 gallons of water. Retest and check your Ph level and add more baking soda if needed. You cannot add too much baking soda but you could add too little and your fish could still die. 

  The signs of acid build up in fish are floating at the surface, flipping onto their side, missing tissue or body parts and pale colored scales. In the end it is very obvious the fish is in deadly distress. This is a completely avoidable situation if you just test for the Ph on at least a weekly basis whether you have a pond or an aquarium. Another sign of acidity is from the pond itself. All algae dies, the plants become white and the water is white as well. The pond liner will look as though you bleached the algae away. It is a grim scene.

  There are also test kits with strips which test for various things like ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, etc. You should does this at least once a week as well if you have a lot of fish in a small pond. I have never had a problem with anything other than Ph in my ponds.

Water Changes and Making the Tap Water Safe: (repeated on Goldfish page)

  I cannot stress enough how vitally important this is!  When you fill up your pond for the first time you will need to make sure to add the proper chemical, such as Jungle Pond's Pond Start to the hose water so that the fish do not die. You need to add the chemical every time you add water, even if it is just a little bit to fill it back to full.  Tap water has chlorine and other chemicals in the water and they will cause your fish to die within minutes. I've had this happen several times and I've learned my lesson about always adding the chemical when the hose is filling up the pond.  You can find Pond Start to make tap water safe at any pet store or home improvement store like Lowes.

  The signs that your fish are dying from the untreated hose water are surfacing at the water and making bubbles, flipping onto their side, sinking to the bottom and rolling over and resurfacing until they eventually sink again and die or float dead on the surface. If ALL of your fish, and especially the fry and the rosy red minnows are all doing this you know you are in serious trouble!!!!  If you are able to get Pond Start or some other product to make the water safe into the pond within a few minutes of seeing this reaction you MIGHT be able to save your fish. I have run out to Lowe's several times in this emergency to get Pond Start and quickly added the entire bottle. I did lose a few fish but not all like I would have had I not added the water treatment. NOW I always keep at least two bottles of Pond Start on hand for when I do water changes or add water to fill up the ponds. I never take chances on adding water anymore without also adding the Pond Start because I have lost fish with just adding even a little bit of hose water.

  The other important thing to do is once a month drain 25% of the pond and replace it with new hose water.  Never drain the pond entirely to get rid of algae because it will come right back in a few days or weeks. Aged pond water has the necessary beneficial bacteria in it to help break algae down. You don't want to have to start all over on that long process.  Replacing 25% of the water helps rid the water of ammonia build up and other impurities than can cause death in your fish. Fresh water also stimulates the fish and according to some, induces egg laying. I notice how happy and active the fish are when I do water changes. They seem to feel like new fish!

  A healthy pond means healthy fish! Goldfish produce a lot of waste which in turn causes algae blooms which depletes oxygen and can cause stress and death. Keeping your pond well filtered and pumped will vastly reduce the stress on your fish and it will keep your pond looking cleaner and brighter than you ever thought possible!

  I hope that my pond maintenance tips were helpful to you!

 

Ponds Page | Pond Tips | Pond Maintenance | Goldfish Information | Front Turtle & Goldfish Pond

Back Goldfish Pond | 2 Tiered Pond | Old Turtle Pond | Old Bathtub Pond

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