Backyard pond and waterfall maintenance doesn’t have to be tedious and time consuming if it is built properly in the first place. Follow these simple rules to keep your pond clean and clear.
People who entertain the idea of having a waterfall built usually come to the realization that a waterfall comes with a certain amount of maintenance. You may already have a waterfall and have gotten tired of added everything that your local pond store owner tells you to. You can’t get something for nothing. If you want something beautiful that is full of life then you have to spend a lot of time keeping it beautiful and full of life, right?
Well, opposed to popular belief this is not always the case, says Gerald Vannest, the co-owner of Fire and Water, LLC, a waterfall construction and pond maintenance company that has been building waterfalls and ponds exclusively for more than 5 years.
“Ponds take less maintenance if they are built right in the first place,” Gerald explains. “Ponds that do not have the key elements in place will always be harder to keep in balance than ponds that are well designed from the beginning.” So what are the key elements? Gerald explains that in order to keep your maintenance to a minimum there are five components: mechanical filters, biological filters, plants, fish, and beneficial bacteria.
Mechanical filters are any component that removes debris from the water by kinetic means. Any leaves, sticks or any other matter that lands on the waters surface would be removed before it starts to decay. The most common mechanical filter is a pond skimmer. A skimmer pulls the water towards a basket where all the floating debris is caught and easily removed. Skimmers can also pull water from the bottom of a pond to catch smaller particles. “This is where the filtration process starts, Gerald continues, if you don’t catch the leaves and debris they will only start to decay and create more food for algae.
Biological filters and beneficial bacteria go hand and hand. Biological filters are much different than mechanical filters in that they house bacteria, and break down harmful substances on a molecular level. Basically these types of filters will take ammonias and nitrites (which are harmful to fish) out of the water and turn them into nitrates, which plants can use as fertilizers. “The key is to create a balance between all of these components. So your pond will start to take care of itself,” Gerald said.
Fish and plants are two more elements that are an important factor to this balance. Fish (Koi) are scum eaters; they eat algae and other unwanted elements in your pond. Fish return to the balance from their waste, which the biological filter turns into plant food. Fish will eat on the plants that you have in the pond, but it shouldn’t be noticeable if you have enough plants to balance the pond.
Plants and algae compete for some of the same nutrients that are in the water, and plants are a higher life form than algae. If you have a lot of algae, then chances are you have too much nutrient in the water and not enough plants. “Just remember it is not necessary to feed your fish. You should only have one inch of fish for every square foot of water surface in your pond,” Gerald explains.
There is a way to keep a beautiful water garden without all of the maintenance that typically goes with it. By keeping a balance, and letting the pond take care of itself, your ponds should be more enjoyable and less trouble than ever.
About the Author: Fire and Water, LLC are among the best water feature builders in the world, having both a passion for, and a commitment to the trade. You can view the Fire and Water portfolio at http://www.naturalwaterfall.com